Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Count Down to the Year 2011

New Year's 2011 countdown banner

The one thing I am looking forward to the most in the New Year is getting my new prescription glasses ... so I can see ... and sew ... and read ... and blog ... again ... :-) Pat

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Tree With Lights

Christmas countdown banner

Yesterday we held our annual tree decorating party. Family and friends ... food and fun ... memories made ... and here it is !

... all it needs is the candy canes ...

;) Pat

Sunday, November 28, 2010

"The Tree"

Christmas countdown banner

Today we went on our annual Christmas Tree hunt. We found "the perfect tree" ... a seven and a half foot Blue Spruce which we cut ourselves at Liberty Acres Tree Farm, carried home and now is set in the living room awaiting our tree decorating party which will be later in the week when we can again assemble the family. Now our home is scented with fresh cut spruce.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm .... divine!

:) Pat

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Falling Slowly

This is the view from my backdoor today. I love the fall!

I am fortunate to live in an area with many Fall Quilt Shows happening around me to enjoy and inspire. Last weekend I was able to visit two different Quilt Guild offerings on the same day. As usual, I found many beautiful quilts and enjoyed their boutique sales, raffles, cafes and vendors.

One of the shows was the Tewksbury Piecemakers ...

... annual display. One of the highlights of this show is their wonderful raffle baskets. There are only twelve offered per year, each with a monthly theme. These are never your average recycled basket of scrappy fat quarters and thread, but are filled with fabric medleys, gift certificates and special little gift items. This year I was the very lucky winner of the "July at the Beach" Basket ... and here it is ..

... a folding beach chair with a handsewn and quilted beach towel and matching quilted beach bag filled with everything from sunscreen and bubble bath to novels for summer reading, two beautiful floral fabric medleys, a quilt pattern, button embellishments, notebook, a candle, suncatcher, and much more. Here is a photo of just the bag and the beach towel folded for travel ...

Best of all ... this win included a $40 Gift Certificate for a professional machine quilter ... and ... a $25 Gift Certificate to Sew Together, a new quilt shop that has just opened up nearby!

I have looked at all the beautiful fabric in their shop on their blog ...

... so I am already happily planning my next quilty adventure!

;) Pat

Friday, September 24, 2010

My Quilty Home for Fall

The air is not cooler here at all now that it is fall. The dry summer-like weather hangs on and the pollen count must be high today. Ah-choo!

Time to make my home all quilty and comfy for Fall. I made both of the quilty things in these photos at least two years ago, but they are still among my favorites.
The photo below was taken many years ago when my boys were teens and my daughter a tween. We carved pumpkins and added them to the count at the Great Pumpkin Festival in Keene, NH. This place holds a special place in my heart as both of my boys were born there. I can still recall the first year we took our boys to trick-or-treat in this lovely town center ... when my oldest paraded as Big Bird and the youngest was "Little Bird" and carried in a pack on his Daddy's back as he was not a year old yet ... the boys were so cute in homemade costumes I fashioned from yellow plush. There were only a few pumpkins laid along the edge of the sidewalk that year ... it was before the actual "Great Pumpkin Festival" was born, but from those small seeds a mighty festival grew.
Now there is a huge scaffold which can be seen in the background and the festival is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year. For more information, check this link ...
My daughter framed this photo for me as a gift once as she knows how much I love these memories.

I hope you enjoy them, too! :) Pat

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Fall countdown banner

I shall be happy this year to see the summer allergy season come to an end. It has been a long, hot, dry summer.

Life has been in the way far too often to the past few months and I have not been sewing. Usually everyday troubles make me wish to see the pretty fabric flowing through my fingers and soothe and smooth away the wrinkles, but it just has not been sew.

I am hoping the cooler weather will bring more than a change in the seasons ... a new beginning rather than just an end of something ... "seasons change and so do I" ...

I am hoping there is time left for you ...

........... Trivia Time: Name that song ;) ...........

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Choice is Mine!

... For the Theme for the June Charm Swap on Block Central!

These are 6" Square Charms.

I have chosen a Black/White Theme ...

one black-on-white print charm
one white-on-black print charm

I hope everyone likes my choice. :-)

I have had a lot of fun with these quick and easy swaps. Members take turns choosing the color choice or theme and each of us send two different 6" squares directly to each swapper. This is great way to use up stash and gather fabric for a charm quilt. If you have what is needed in your stash the cost is only a .44 cent stamp to get two new charms. It is always fun to see what others will send and I have really received no duplicates of fabrics in all the months I have been playing.

With these black/white prints I have a plan to add some of the bright colored charms I have received in previous swaps and make a bright and bold quilt.

If you would like to join in the fun, sign-up here ...


New swappers are always welcome!!

On the home front, I have had a very nasty summer cold that just does not want to quit and I have gotten very little done this past week. Nor was I well enough to go to the quilt shop yesterday to use their long-arm as planned to quilt a couple of quilts. I do not even really feel like going on a quilt shop adventure today although my hubby would like to go on an excursion. Last weekend, before my cold became full-blown, we did have a lovely outing to a quilt shop on the way to the beach where he added to His Oriental Fabric Stash and then we journeyed on and indulged in a real treat ... a huge, yummy Fisherman's Platter at the best place on the northshore of Boston for fried fish. Mmmmmmmm!

Hope everyone enjoys a wonderful long Memorial Day Weekend!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

More Baby Quilts in the Making and Delivery

Above is the newest quilt that the Q&N Quilty Aunties have in the works for the new grand-daughter on the way to one of our members. Wendy said her daughter had chosen a pink and brown circle pattern bedding set for this baby girl. So I went to EQ6 and drew up the layout for a pretty pink and white and brown variation of the Wedding Ring Block found here on the McCall's Quilting website ...

Here is the fabric we are using for the inner and outer border around the scrappy piano key border. It is from one of the new Moda lines.

I love the colors for this one. I need to finish up the 30's Fabric Swapping and Sending so I can get on with making my block for this cute quilt.

Last Saturday I mailed all but the largest swap packages and they have already started to arrive at their new homes. It feels so good to have the bulk of this big swap done. Normally I mail all at once but I was running late due to postal issues and wanted to get as much of this packed and sent when I could get to the post office last Saturday. I plan to mail the remainder on this coming Saturday.

Here is a photo of the baby quilt that was delivered last week to our newest Quilty Nephew ...
  Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails Baby Boy Quilt.

May God Bless this baby and his family and may his new quilt cuddle him and protect him with our good wishes and keep him warm and may he know that he is loved!

To make your own cute quilt from this adorable free online applique baby quilt pattern click here ...

Sundrop Puppy Quilt ...

Have I mentioned lately how much I love making baby quilts!

:-) Pat

Thursday, May 13, 2010

End of Day One of the 30's Fabric Swap

Here is how my swappy day went ...

Right after setting up, my quilty inspector wandered through to check to make sure I was doing everything right. Fortunately I was, so she soon lost interest. Mina went over to settle on her favorite scrap piece of batting on her favorite box to shed her hair there. Nice kitty.

Butterfly was not even interested in inspecting, as I had just opened the window to let in some fresh spring air and she quickly grabbed that prime location and paid no attention to the swapping. Nice kitty, too.

By mid morning I was ready for a coffee break and this is what it looked like at that time ...

My system for making sure I do not give a swapper back her own fabric is to cover her pile with her "control sheet" when I am working on her package ... in this case, Sherry's. Since Sherry and her daughter Nikki are both in the swap, I try not to give either one of them the other's fabrics as I sure they share fabric at home. That way they get more variety.

It was soon time for lunch ... have to keep up my energy. This was my view when I came back ready to resume swapping ... A few more trips around the table and I discovered a fourth "duplicate." As you can see Cindy and Nikki found the same fabric. In this case I pull the duplicate set and swap them at the same time so that I do not double up on anyone who is swapping fewer sets. Then I swap the other person's fabric next, so I do not get confused later by an empty baggie. Having the photos of the fabric in the album cuts down greatly on duplicates, but a few are inevitable. Swappers who have sent many sets will end up with a few doubles, but usually they are making larger quilts so an extra pieces of the same one can be a good thing.

By later afternoon, all the fabrics tend to start to look the same, but I keep trekking. When it is time for a late afternoon break my feet are really getting tired and I need a nice tall glass of iced tea. The table looked much better after that and I was nearing the end of the packages.

Once the boxes and envelopes are empty, I always swap my own fabrics last ...

... and I like to cut enough of one fabric so everyone gets a square of this special swap fabric. This is the one for this swap. It is a new fabric from the Chloe Closet line from Moda ... I love yellow and the flowers are so cute in this one ...

It was time to think about dinner and I made a salad and cut up some potatoes and marinated some chicken and asked my sweet hubby to grill when he came in.

I did go back for awhile and start to go through each swappers stack to count and start making up the "layer cakes". I have done a preliminarily check for about 1/3rd of the swappers.

Tomorrow is another day of swapping 30's fabrics.

Time for sleep! I know I will be seeing pretty fabrics in my head all night!

Sweet dreams, my quilty pals ... :-) Pat

Layer Cake Swap - Ready,Set, Go!!

This is what my sewing area looked like early this morning. I am taking a break and smelling the coffee.

I have been hosting a "Spring Back to the 30's Fabric Swap" on the Quilt & Needle. I love scrappy quilts and this is a great way to share fabric with quilters all over the country ... and even Canada and the UK. It is a bit pricey with the cost of mailing things these days, but when I sew a quilt I can smooth the fabrics and think ... "oh, this lovely bit came from over the pond from my friend Milica" ... or ... "this pretty one is from Ms Cindy, the Misisipimenace" ... or ... "this one is unique, it came from a shop in Ontario where my friend Debbieann shops and she sent me the cutest kitty fabric to pay for her return postage" ... these fabrics are special. It is like attending the local quilting bee in the 30's where friends passed scraps around the circle while they sewed. This is just the high-tech, up to date quilting bee. The technology may be new but the "squishies" are warm and familiar. To follow the swapping, read this thread ...

For this we swapped homemade "Layer Cakes," sets of 10-inch squares, ten squares to a set. There was some drama with the postal system waiting for the last box to arrive this week, but now it is all good. The statistics for this swap are:

15 swappers

132 layer cakes

216 different fabrics

1320 individual 10" squares

Fun ... Fun ... Fun!

There will very likely be a few more squares cut by me to add more variety for the swappers with the largest number of sets ... and ... um ... so I get more fabric in the end. I like to wait to cut these last few until I see all the fabrics in the swap so as to try to not add duplicates. Right now there are only three duplicate fabrics.

For pictures of all the yummy fabrics in this swap, view or album, here ...

More photos coming later ... time to finish my coffee and get back to swapping ... :-) Pat

Saturday, May 8, 2010

My Mother's Day Wish For You

"This is my wish
I hope you know somebody loves you
May your dreams stay big"

... Rascal Flatts, My Wish

I just added this as my 100th song to my player!

It is my "Mother's Day" song.

When I hear this song it always is accompanied by a prayer for my children, my family, my friends, my world. I am a mother and I know how "it takes a village to raise a child." So my prayers go out to all children ... and we are all children, no matter how our hair may be graying.

For Mother's Day, it seems appropriate that the quilty projects I am posting are all blocks for some of the baby quilts that the Q&N Quilty Aunties and making to welcome those bundles of joy are blessings to the Q&N families this year.

For Sara's (doubly blessed) 2nd Grandson this year ...

For Nikki's Baby (and Sherry's Grand baby) ...

For Sally's Granddaughter ...

For Jami's Niece's long awaited Baby ...

These blocks always go out with "My Wish" for these children.

All pattern information for these blocks may be found on the Q&N forum threads in the Quilty Auntie Projects area ...
To all who "Mother" ... Happy Mother's Day!!

:-) Pat

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Soundtrack of My Life

This post is for Marissa,

(Isn't she beautiful? ... and talented? .. and strong ... and smart ... and amazing? )

Music touches me. It sustains my life. Your music takes my breath away and gives it back and through this, I breathe. Music plays in my heart and I listen.

Thank You from your biggest fan ... from The Mom

Friday, April 30, 2010

Now It Is All Good

I took down the Sunflower Quilt Top and fixed the border and switched the two misplaced blocks .... much better! I need to get this quilted soon. My dining room looks so much brighter and happier with this colorful wall quilt.

You can snatch a piece of this sunshine yourself on sale here ...

... where I bought my kit and support my favorite local quilt shop!

;-) Pat

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Made From Scraps

Here is the table quilt top that I made with the scrap half square triangles (plus added borders) from my Sunflower Quilt. It is half the size of the wall quilt. That is a lot of "scraps" for one pattern. Well, I did enjoy playing with the "leftovers" ... lol! I am fixing the mistake and the border on my wall quilt his afternoon. Then I need to get these two quilted so I can enjoy them.

That shall have to wait though. I have to make and send some baby quilt blocks and get ready for the 30's swap. There is only one more layer cake swap package to arrive and then I can swap! Looks like Monday is shaping up to be the "Big Swap Day!"

:-) Pat

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bright Sunflower Quilt Top

Here is my Sunflower Wall Quilt Top ... um ... (almost) done !

I am making plans for the sandwiching and quilting part. I will post a picture again when it is finished. This may be a week or two as I have to catch up with some baby and charity blocks and projects and I am hoping all the 30's swap fabric will be here soon so I can swap them. The swapping will take over all my dining/sewing room space.
There was just barely enough fabric in the kit as called for on the printed pattern to complete this top. This is one of the reasons I seldom buy kits. I just should have bought more of the focal fabric at the time. The pattern called for four 4.5" WOF strips and two 4.5' x 13" rectangles to make the outer border. I found this was not quite enough. I had to add a narrow piece on the short sides to make them long enough. This may have been because I washed my fabrics (which I always do) before cutting and sewing as the quilt shop owner said someone else had already completed her quilt and did not report the same problem. I was able to talk her out of the last 3/4 of a yard of this fabric which she was saving and I am going to rework the outer border on one of the corners. She decided to order another bolt anyway as she has more of the other fabrics and the kit has been very popular. Now that I have the extra fabric washed, I shall have to take it down and make the outer border better. I see that I have misplaced two of the blocks ... can you tell which ones???? Hmmmmmm???? ... It took me over a day to see this error ... lol ... so I shall go "ribbit ... ribbit"" ;-)

In the end I had 112 Half Square Triangles made from the corners which were cut off while making the blocks. That is more than enough for a good-sized table runner!!

Any suggestions as to how to make it better???
I have been playing with these HSTs all morning and this is what I have at the moment for a layout for the runner. I have enough of the yellow or brown TOT stripe for a narrow border and I can make an outer border of the focal fabric with the extra piece I bought. I plan to sew this later today and then clean up my (very messy) sewing space.

I am still thinking of making a bed-sized quilt with some of these fabrics. I just love them!!! ... :-) Pat

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Current Quilty Project

Here is a sneak peek at what I am currently working on. These fabrics are so bright and colorful and the pattern so striking that when I saw them in the quilt shop I had to make this quilt. Usually I never buy kits. This quilt is wall sized, but I am liking the fabrics so much I may also make a bed size quilt later with some of these fabulous fabrics.

Here are some of my blocks so far. This pattern uses a method of adding squares to the corners to make the blocks that calls for cutting off the corner triangles. I always feel that too much lovely fabric is wasted in the process, so I sew a second line and cut the corners to make Half Square Triangle blocks. These HST are actually 3 inches ... much to large to be tossed away! I am thinking I will make a table runner with them after I finish the wall quilt.

After this photo, I squared the blocks and cut the dog-ears from the HST. Here one of my favorite tools for squaring these units as I go. It is a small rotary cutting mat so I can just turn and square without moving the block. I have a larger size of these rotary cutting mats for squaring larger blocks, but this small one is perfect for the intermediate steps. The best thing is that I found this smaller mat in a quilt basket I won at a quilt show one time. What a nice surprise that was!

I took some time off from sewing today to cut my strips and squares for the monthly mini-swap on Block Central. I am off to the post office now and then it is back to sewing my quilt. I have started receiving this month's "squishies" ... brown squares and red strips. I love the variety of fabrics I get in these mini-swaps!

May you have a happy quilty day ... :-) Pat

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Life with my Quilty Kitties

I have had a request to see my furry quilty helpers ... so here they are!

Butterfly, the black and white tuxedo cat, is almost 9 years old and is my daughter's cat. She is one of the most affectionate cats I have ever known with her family, but she does not like strangers. Boyfriends must pass the Butterfly test if they hope to be around for any length of time. ;-) My daughter and hubby plucked her from a shelter one Saturday while I was away with my camping gals teaching an outdoor cooking class. My daughter who was thirteen at the time had a month earlier stood holding her three year old birthday kitty while she had to be put to sleep suffering from feline leukemia. We had adopted that kitty from a friend who did not know the mother was suffering from this disease when she had her litter. Lily at three years old was then longest surviving kitty from the mother and her babies and we even had a eye removed surgically to prolong her life. We did everything we could to make Lily's short life as happy as possible. My daughter needed a new baby to love. My husband says this kitten was just laying there and showed no personality and he tried to talk my daughter into a "more animated" kitten. My daughter insisted this was the one and named her Butterfly before they had even signed the papers. Butterfly has shown herself to have a lot of personality! LOL Since my daughter is away much of the time now at college, her cat and I frequently console each other while "Our Girl" is gone.

Butterfly thinks all my quilts are hers!

Mina dissagrees ...

Our other cat is Mina, a 17 year old dark tiger stripe. We have had her for about 8 years now. My daughter is also responsible for bringing this feisty little feline into out home. A friend of hers in high school was being forced to give her up when she was moving to an apartment which did not accept pets. Mina was literally in a carrier on her way to be put down when my daughter called me after school one day and asked if I really meant it when I said I would consider taking the cat if her friend could not find any other home for her. I thought that I asked all the necessary questions ... was she healthy, neutered, clean, could she go out, etc ... I forgot to ask if she got along with other cats! At the time we had Butterfly and our old and late cat, Gennie, who was the friendliest, gentlest cat I have ever known. Gennie passed on at age 19 and I still miss her and have her photo above my computer smiling down at me. Gennie trotted right over to bump noses and say "Hello! Oh, how nice! A new kitty came to live with us!" Mina took one look, growled and disappeared into my boys' bedroom to hide under a bed and not come out for a week or two. She could be heard, though. How that tiny cat can produce a growl as loud and sinister as a mountain lion is one of life's mysteries. Her friend's Mom had been reading Dracula when this kitten had needed a name and she was named after Willamina in that novel. Mina has been called "Vampire Kitty" and "The Claw" at times. She was covered with fleas (and she had been an indoor cat!!) and was scrawny and she was very angry. Poor kitty! She just needed someone to love and she "bonded" immediately with my oldest son and still follows him around meowing 'my hero" after him whenever he comes ot visit. She is a such a sweet little kitty. We think she may have been unfortunately abused at some point in her life, maybe for her unfortunate trait of scratching upholstered furniture to shreds. Ah ... we do love Mina. She is now flea-free and glossy furred and is even chubby (for her) .... and, ah ... she still shreds the furniture though. She loves to help me with my quilting and whenever I get up for a few minutes I find she is in the middle of whatever I am working on when I return and I have to pet her and coax her to curl up on her own folded piece of batting next to my sewing machine.

Butterfly is still a very large and territorial cat who wants to rule the house. Mina is still a smaller feisty "you are not the boss of me!" cat. The fur flies over the quilts sometimes.

So now you know the story of my quilty kitties!

I could not imagine life without being loved by a cat or two ..

:-) Pat