Thursday, April 24, 2014

ShooFly Quilt -- the fabrics

I had so much fun piecing Pat Sloan's Scrap Happy Sew Along Shoofly Quilt!

I have plenty of scraps, but I didn't use them in this quilt.  Instead, I pulled fabrics from my stash.

I started with this blue daisy fabric:

I bought it at Sturbridge Quilting and Sewing Center over a year ago.  I love that shop!  I bought the fabric just because it made me happy. The owner makes me happy, too. Hi, Gina!

Next I pulled this tiny green background print:

I bought it at Pinwheels about 15 years ago. I've bought a lot of fabric there over the years. A Lot. A LOT!!!  I thought it was pretty so I bought the rest of the bolt.  Come on, admit it.  You've done this, too.

The next fabric was this green dot:

I bought it at Woodstock Quilt Supply.  That quilt shop is closed now, but it was always one of my favorites and I still miss Bob and Jim.  Thankfully, they are still my FaceBook buddies.

I pulled the sashing fabric next:

I bought this at The Quilt Basket.  It is my local quilt shop and my whole quilting life is basically their fault. Blame Cathy.  I bought this fabric just becuase I liked it.

The last fabric I pulled was the large yellow dot:

I bought it at Bits N Pieces in Crown Point, IN. That shop is near the busiest intersection in the entire state of Indiana. Ask me how I know that.  I fell in love with the fabric while I was teaching there and a few yards followed me home.

I put all of these fabrics together in my quilt.  If I were in a quilt shop with unlimited choices, I probably wouldn't have put all of these fabrics together.  Since I was shopping my stash, though, I am really pleased that my old "happy fabric" purchases worked together so well in a quilt.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Globetrotting block of the month -- San Juan!

I finished my second San Juan block from Pat Sloan's Globetrotting block of the month.

The pink and yellow makes me ridiculously happy!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Globetrotting, block 3: Chicago (in review)

Block three of my Globetrotting quilt is done!

I made the Chicago block:

I came up with a quilting plan (click here for full tutorial):

I quilted the light green fabric (click herehere for full tutorial):

I quilted the periwinkle fabric (click here for full tutorial):

I quilted the cream background fabric (click here for full tutorial):

I quilted some ribbon candy, just for fun (click here for full tutorial):

I can't wait to start quilting my San Juan block:

Stay tuned!

All of these amateur YouTube videos are free.  If you would like to see my professionally produced quilt DVDs, they are available for purchase:

Sit-down Longarm Quilting: Getting Started
Sit-down Longarm Quilting: Quilting Blocks and Borders
Sit-down Longarm Quilting: Using Rulers and Templates
Sit-down Longarm Quilting: Thread Work

If you would like to take a machine quilting class with me, check out my teaching calendar.

Globetrotting Block 1 Washington DC (in review)
Globetrotting Block 2 Venice (in review)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Cakes!

I have a problem.  It's  a serious problem:

Cupcakes are popular and I enjoy them, but I don't enjoy getting frosting up my nose.  It tickles and is a waste of good frosting.

The solutions I have considered so far:

1.  Eat the cupcake with a fork
2.  Break the cupcake in half horizontally and eat in two separate sections.

Those solutions created more problems, namely:

1.  A cupcake is meant to be eaten without cutlery.  Using a fork defies the intent of the cupcake.
2.  Eating the cupcake in two sections means that one section is eaten without frosting.  The horror!

Yesterday was Easter Sunday.  It was also the day when our family celebrated my children's birthdays (one recent and one soon to come).  I made Happy Cakes (a young family member's name for cupcakes) for our celebration.  We sang, candles were extinguished, and then my mind was blown!

My daughter's friend took a cupcake and ate it in a way I have never seen.  Others at the dinner table had the same cupcake epiphany.

Allow me to demonstrate:

Start with a cupcake:

Peel off the wrapper:

Divide the cupake horizontally:

Invert the bottom of the cupcake and place on top of the frosting:

Mind.  Blown.


I avoided everything on my to-do list this weekend and sewed instead.  I am currently obsessed with Pat Sloan's Never Enough Chocolate sew along.

I showed the finished blocks on Saturday.  Since then, I pieced the blocks into rows.  Then I started searching for border fabric.

I found strips and strips of pieced 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles and decided to use them as my border fabric.

I am in the middle of a few machine quilting projects, but I hope to get this quilted, bound, and ready-to-love soon!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

for Deborah H

Deborah H read my last blog post and had a question about my "chunky" fabric.  Deborah, I cannot respond to you (you are set up as "no reply") so I'm posting an answer here.

The fabric is a loosely woven fabric.  It has a nubby texture and I've used about a bolt of it.  I barely had enough left to cut the setting triangles.

I'll miss this fabric now that it's gone.

I hope this answers your question.

Productively Non-Productive

After traveling extensively for the last several weeks and having to prepare for Easter company tomorrow, I have much to do.  It's difficult to decide what to do first.

I've decided to do none of it and to work on Pat Sloan's Never Enough Chocolate sew along instead.

After I finish each proejct, I cut my scraps into a few useable sizes and have filled a filing box full of 5-inch squares.  I pulled two different black musical prints as my neutral fabric.  I chose scrappy brights for my "red/yellow" blocks and a steady purple for my "chocolate/yellow" blocks.  The corners are supposed to be pieced, but I couldn't find anything in my stash that worked and pulled a chunky textured black and white woven fabric from the "to be cut into squares" pile.

I know that this quilt is named Never Enough Chocolate.  I love chocolate and I believe that statement in the core of my being, but I have to rename this quilt.  What do you think of "Jellybeans?"

Friday, April 18, 2014

Oh, Pat.

Pat, Pat, Pat, Pat, Pat.

I promised myself that I wouldn't work on this quilt any more until tonight.

The temptation was too strong.  My will was too weak.

This quilt called to me.  It whined and begged and pleaded with me to drop everything and make another block.

So I did:

But isn't my purple block LOVELY?  I'm going to make all six blocks the same but the rest of the blocks will be scrappy.

I still have to decide on fabrics for the setting triangles and borders, but I won't work on that until later tonight.

Will I be able to resist?


More Popcorn, Please.

I just returned home from my trip to teach at the Australasian Quilt Convention.  These folks sure do know how to throw a party!

As much as I like to focus on the show and what a great job I have, there is another reality:  It is difficult to travel around the globe.  Sitting in an airplane seat for that long is pretty awful.  Watching movies helps to dull the pain.

I was able to sleep on the long flight from LAX to Sydney because I had my own row on the airplane (score!) and could lay down flat.  Every other flight I was on was full so I was awake for every minute of the joy.  All 34 hours coming home.  T H I R T Y - F O U R   H O U R S.

I kept a list of the movies I watched and wrote my reviews for my husband.  You can read them, too, if you like:

I've seen this before, but I didn't really know that until I started watching it.  I would have stopped watching it if I had remembered how it ended, so it was kind of like re-watching it for the first time?  I kind of liked it but it wasn't a straight post-apocalyptic tale (which I love) but rather very graphic novel-ly and those aren't my favorite stories.  This is animated, if I forgot to mention that.

About Time
I'm trying to find a way to tell you that I love this movie in stronger terms than "I LOVE THIS MOVIE." Billy Nighy was in it, and I kept waiting for him to break out into song, a la Love Actually.  He was wonderful, even when not singing.  The main character was an older Weasley boy (Harry Potter), but he was a charming young man.  This movie is about time travel but it's not about time travel at the same time.  It's about life and love and ... just rent this movie.  NOW!

Diary of A Wimpy Kid
Not my first choice in movies, but it was short and my flight from NY to LA was ending.  This was cute and, from what I remember from 30+ years ago, a pretty good depiction of how awful middle school can be.

Arrow, season 2, episodes 1-9
I binge-watched on Arrow season 1 on Netflix last year and was bummed that I didn't start watching the current episodes on Hulu this year while the early episodes were still available.  I hoped that the 9 episodes available on the flight to Australia would catch me up to the episodes currently on Hulu, but alas, no.  I have to wait until the season is over to watch the rest.

Law Abiding Citizen
I watched this at the recommendation of my seatmate on my flight home from Australia.  He thought it one of the most underrated movies ever.  As I watched it, it looked a little familiar.  The longer I watched it, the more familiar it got.  I never remembered it enough to turn it off, so I re-watched the whole thing.  I don't think I agree with my seat-mate on the "most underrated movie ever" but it was a decent movie.  Gerard Butler is usually enough reason to watch a movie, but he wasn't very Gerard Butler-ish in this.  Creepy.

Sherlock, season 3 episode 3
Not having TV at home, I have to rely on the internet to keep up with some current shows.  Sometimes, though, the internet fails me.  Sherlock season 3 was available on PBS for a limited time.  I am apparently not the only person who thinks that this is the best. show. ever. made.  Whenever I went to PBS online, I could never stream the show.  Too many other folks were trying to watch it at the same time and we broke the internet.  I snuck in episodes 1 and 2, but they took the show down before I got to see episode 3.  Thank you, Delta.  My life is more complete now.  If you really loved me, though, you'd air Downton Abbey.  I had the same problem and only saw the first episode of this season.  Sigh.

Jason Statham is a delightful man.  I first fell in love with him in The Transporter.  Fell.  In.  Love. Crank was kind of silly but had its moments.
In the Name of the King?  To whom did he lose a bet that he took that role?
War?  Ugh.  How can Jason Statham + Jet Li = an awful, awful movie?
Death Race was fair to middling.
I am still waiting for another magical Jason Statham movie, so I watched Homefront.  It was not magical, but I was stuck on a plane for over 12 hours and felt like giving my man Jason another shot.  The movie was middling to good, but no better.  Winona Ryder (remember her?) held a major role.  I didn't know she still acted.  The interesting part of this movie is that the screenplay was written by Sylvester Stallone.  I liked it more because of that.

Never heard of it, but I've heard of Matthew McConaughey.  The movie felt a bit like The Client, but not in a bad way.  I really liked this movie and I want to know more about what happened to many of these characters.

All is Lost
I wish I had held the job as the dialogue coach for this movie.  I remember one word being spoken after the introduction voice-over.  One.  Word.  I watched a movie kind of like that once before, but this one didn't have a volleyball named Wilson to spice up the conversation.  The movie was probably pretty good, but I was 20 hours into a 34 hour trip home.  I won't watch it again, but I'm glad I watched it on a plane.  It would be a terrible movie to watch at home, since I'm always sewing.  This was definitely a "need to watch 100% of the time" movie.

Billy Elliott
I felt like I was missing out by not having seen this movie.  I watched it, and still don't feel like an insider.  Is it awful to say that I didn't love it?  I liked it but didn't love it.  I know it's probably asking a lot of a child actor, but when he was learning to dance, the child actor was obviously a talented dancer and didn't do "clumsy" well.

Enough Said
Cute.  Sweet.  I didn't know the cast before I watched it and if I had I likely wouldn't have watched it.  Not a huge fan of Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, James Gandolfini, or Catherine Keener.  I am a huge Toni Collette fan, but her character wasn't very sympathetic.  This movie makes me glad that my last first date was when I was 15.  Unless you are my children or grandson.  If you are, I didn't start dating until I was 30.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Another movie I felt left out by not having seen.  I saw it now and a few things happened:  I fell more deeply in love with Matt Damon.  Sigh.  I also got a better appreciation for Mandela and the monumental job he took on when he was elected.  It's also a great underdog sports movie.  This one, I loved.

That's my movie list, folks.  Was I wrong about any of these?

I probably won't get to watch any more movies until I fly to the UK this summer.  Movies are a great travel perk.

I Blame Pat

Dear Pat,

I have 17 quilts in process right now.  I need another new project like I need a hole in the head.

When you first posted your Never Enough Chocolate quilt along, I resisted.  I felt strong.  I was confident I could resist.

With each new post, each new photo, however, you wore me down.  I had to grab my scrap buckets and start stitching.

Are these the cutest blocks ever?

Quilts in process:  18.



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Globetrotting, block 3: Chicago (video 4)

Today I finished my Chicago block from the Globetrotting block of the month.

The block:

My quilting plan:

I used no special tools in today's video.  It's all about the free-motion quilting today!

And now my block is all finished:

I love it!

I'll post a wrap up and then get started on the next block!

San Juan:

Globetrotting Block 1 Washington DC (in review)
Globetrotting Block 2 Venice (in review)
Globetrotting Block 3 Chicago (design)
Globetrotting Block 3 Chicago (video 1)
Globetrotting Block 3 Chicago (video 2)
Globetrotting Block 3 Chicago (video 3)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Cure For Jetlag is...

I have no idea what cures jetlag.  I'm muddling my way through, and so far handling it better than my previous trips to Australia.

My husband knows that travel is hard for me, so he surprised me by putting up my laundry line while I was away.  He knows that one of my favorite things to do is to hang laundry outside.  Yes, I am serious.

I don't think I will be hanging my clothes outside today, do you?  It is April 16 and THERE IS SNOW ON MY LAUNDRY LINE!!!  I am taking this nonsense personally.

To help recover from a late snowfall, I started to unpack my suitcases.

One of my students from last year brought me a little present from what is supposed to be the finest chocolate in Melbourne:

I would have to taste all of the chocolate in Melbourne to be sure (great job, right?), but this was definitely some awesome chocolate!

What to eat first?

My husband and I decided to destroy the Australian wildlife first.  I chose the koala:

I started at his feet.  It felt kinder, somehow.

Slowly torturing this beautiful creature, I worked my way up his body:

Until only his head remained:

I won't show any more photos.  It was pretty gruesome after this.

Thank you, kind student!  My husband and I are enjoying your thoughtful treat!

Globetrotting, block 4: San Juan

I pieced my San Juan block from the Globetrotting block of the month:

I LOVE THIS BLOCK!  I can't wait to quilt it!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

To Sum It Up

Yesterday, I showed a photo of a charm my husband bought me to honor all of my air travel miles.  I also asked for guesses on how many miles I flew in the last 22 days.

That is an old photo of my car's odometer.  I rolled past 11,000 miles on my car last night driving home from the airport.

In the last 22 days, however, I have flown...

wait for it...

36,600 miles.

The next time I post about at first-class upgrade and you ask yourself, "I wonder how she she gets free upgrades?", this is how I get free upgrades.  

Globetrotting, block 3: Chicago (video 3)

I'm more than halfway done with my Chicago block from Pat Sloan's Globetrotting block of the month.

Here's my block:

And my quilting plan:

Today I'm going to add the background quilting.  I used the HQ Mini Scallop Ruler and Handi Grip to get the job done.

I'm nearly done now!  Stay tuned for more videos:

Globetrotting Block 1 Washington DC (in review)
Globetrotting Block 2 Venice (in review)
Globetrotting Block 3 Chicago (design)
Globetrotting Block 3 Chicago (video 1)
Globetrotting Block 3 Chicago (video 2)

Monday, April 14, 2014


I'm on an airplane, again.  Today I'm flying home from Australia.

Before I left, my husband bought me a new charm for my bracelent:

He thinks I spend a lot of time on airplanes and might like this little airplane charm.  Cute, isn't it?

While I'm on a 30-hour travel day (yes, all 30 hours of travel will be today because the earth spins), why don't you comment with guesses on how many miles I have flown in the last 30 days?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Australasian Quilt Convention -- the end

My last morning at AQC:

I hate leaving here for two reasons:
1.  This is one of my favorite quilt shows in the world. 
2.  I have a 36 hour trip home and that is never fun.

This show knows how to treat its students:

Doesn't everyone eat a lunch like this every day?

And how about a massage station?

There is a shocking lack of massage stations in my at-home life.

After cleaning up my classroom and helping some friends pack up their machines, a Handi Quilter friend volunteered to check out some Australian dairy products for this lactose-intolerant gal:

He gave it two thumbs up!

As you can see, my luggage is not the only thing going home heavier from this trip!

Hotel Tour of 2014 -- night 35

My room mate, the amazing Sue Benner, checked out last night so I am all lonely in my apartment.

It was a short night, though, and I only used the apartment as a packing station:

I hope hope hope that my suitcases are under 50 pounds each!  Fingers, toes, and eyes crossed.

I have a lot more to say about my time in Australia, but I'll be out of touch for about 36 hours.

Hotel to Melbourne airport
Melbourne to Sydney flight (under two hours)
transfer luggage
Sydney to LAX flight (S E V E N T E E N hours)
clear customs
transfer luggage
wait (5- 6 hours)
LAX to JFK flight (six hours)
get luggage
shuttle to parking lot
drive home (two hours if there is no weather, traffic, or construction)

I have no hand-sewing for the trip (finished it on the way here), but I have a Kindle and a pillow.  All of my flights are full, so I won't get to stretch out and lay down this flight, but at least I have an aisle seat all the way.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Australian Quilt Convention -- Day 3

Last night was the AQC Gala.  These folks know how to throw a party!

The American teachers (L-R: me, John Flynn, Sue Benner) were wearing our party clothes and ready to have fun, Australian style!

The evening's festivities started off with a drum line:

And continued with some very appealing entertainment:

A bunny was on the loose in the crowd:

(the fabulous Jennie Rayment).

They gave some touching awards, served some delightful food, and this jetlagged American left while the party was just getting started.

I'm headed to the Exhibition Hall to teach my class, but I promised my students that we would start easily and quietly this morning...

Hotel Tour of 2014 -- night 34

Last night after the AQC Gala dinner, I was walking home with some friends and saw two squirrels run across the sidewalk.  They were huge.  Huge.  H U G E !!!  They were each the size of my cat and my cat is not a small cat.  An Australian gentleman in the group informed me that they were not squirrels; they were brushtail possums.

My photography skills are pretty lacking, so I relied on Google images to show you what I saw:

One of these was on the ground under the tree and the other was up in the tree.  They were pretty timid and tried to hide from our view.

This trip is a short one for me:  fly in, teach, fly out.  I knew I wasn't going to have time to go exploring and I'm tickled that the local fauna showed itself to me!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Australasian Quilt Convention -- Day 2

Today was another dreary rainy day, but there were happy hearts at the Exhibition Center

I met this fun fella right outside:

We definitely don't have birds like this back home.

Once inside, I found unbridled joy of quilting:


These ladies work at this fun stand:

It was that busy every time I went to the show floor today.  Do they not realize that I need to buy their fabric and bring it home with me?

Once I got upstairs to my classroom, I found it was set up for "Instant Fun: Just Add Students":

The fun continued today at lunch.  Someone must have told the event organizers that quilters like chocolate"


MY students today stitched words on quilts using blended-thread free-motion embroidery.  They were so creative with the words that they chose!  Here is one of my favorite quilts in process:

My students just blew me away today.  I'm looking forward to two more wonderful days with them!