Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Today I started working on swap blocks for a Black/White/Touch of Red swap that I'm hostessing for my Friendship Swap group. We each selected blocks from Sylvia's Bridal Sampler. I'm making Ohio Star (here) and Grandmother's Flower Garden. The challenge is to make the blocks mostly black and white, and just add a hint of red.

When I saw this fabric,

I knew it would be perfect for this swap. Besides, who could resist those adorable birds?

Monday, March 28, 2011


I have used up all my made-ahead siggies for swapping. My last ones used a spool stamp and spool fabric.

This time, I decided to go with something representing our location on Lake Superior. Whitefish Point Bird Observatory is just down the road/beach from us, at Whitefish Point. Especially in the spring and fall, there are many migratory birds. But all the time, birds are around.

So I selected this shore bird stamp and fabric for my new batch. I'll be using them on the International Siggy Swap (scroll down on the left on my sidebar if interested), and also for the 2011 Dear Jane Siggy Swap, which just opened up today. You must be a member of the Dear Jane list if you are interest in that one.

If you'd like to swap one-on-one with me, just email me. And it you need to know how to make these siggies, scroll down, and click on my siggy tutorial.

Lighthouses, waterfalls, shore things, etc. all would be good to represent our Paradise location, so I have lots of fodder for the future.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


I whipped up a batch of 3 dozen cupcakes with chocolate frosting and sprinkles the other day. They are fusible applique and are for a birthday swap on the ScratchingPost group. On your birthday you received cupcakes from 49 others. I think they'll make a nice b'day table runner, place mats, etc. I might even put some on the cuff of a birthday pillowcase. But, my b'day isn't until July, so there's plenty of time to decide.

My sewing machine is at the spa, so I thought it was a good time to get these all done for the rest of the year.

They are made like other fusible applique.

You trace, press the fusible on, and cut, just like always.

Once you have the two halves, we don't fuse them to a background. We are just making an applique that the receiver will fuse down. So, flip back the part of the paper to fuse the two pieces together.

Fuse the overlap together. Then flip the backing paper down. To save your pressing surface from the goo, use a fusible applique mat, or I like to use parchment paper (available by the foil, etc., at the grocery store, intended for baking) as a disposable fusible applique pressing mat.

And it's all ready to send to the birthday girl.

So far, I don't think anyone has received any two alike! Yum!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I ended up making 9 blocks for the Block Lotto this month. I think it's a record breaking month, as to total number of blocks made. That means we'll have more winners, and I have my fingers crossed to be one of them!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


My eight-year-old granddaughter, Ali, decided she would like a pillowcase made by Nana too. You may remember the chipmunk one I gave to her sister for Christmas. She had selected a rather pathetic piece from the scrap bag that I let the grands use for their sewing projects, without asking. I suggested a shopping trip to select just what she would love. So off we went. She picked this groovy fabric. And while they did have coordinates, she also selected these bright Kona solids for the trim and cuff. A couple hours later she was all ready to sleep on it.

The first morning, she commented that she woke up and wondered where her stripes were (from her usual pillowcase). Then she remembered!

Here's an up-close of the peace and love fabric. I would have selected it back in 1969 or so!

I use the rolled sausage method to make these, and then do a French seam for the side and bottom. That way all seams are encased. I should do a tutorial sometime. It's much like the one on this web site, where I learned about the sausage method.
But I do a French seam. This site is almost how I make mine.
But I make my French seam all in one with a pivot, so I can trim up the corner to reduce bulk. I really should do a tut.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Isn't this a cute pattern? I won it on Tag Along Teddies blog. Kris Meares designs patterns and this one is now in her on-line store. I'm planning to make this wall hanging for my DGD who is totally in love with HER bear. Yes, it's hers. She's 2, and the name of the bear is 'MY Bear'. I will probably replace the blues with oranges and pinks. Kris is down-under, in Australia, so it will be a couple weeks before the pattern arrives.

Kris is a real sweetie. Not only does she post her fun blog, but she has her on-line store, and she's one of the hostesses of OPAM -- One Project A Month. OPAM certainly helps me FINISH something every month. Even if it's something small.

Thanks so much Kris, for all you do for the quilting world.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Bronwyn, over at Red Brolly Blog, has posted a free pattern for this lovely Easter bag. I just love hand-embroidery mixed with patchwork/sewing. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone! My gift to you is this great Irish Brownie recipe. I got it from Micki, over at Irish Muses Blog, last year. I'll be making some later today. Enjoy!

Chocolate Guiness Brownies

Ingredients: 4 eggs, 3/4 cup superfine sugar, 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped 4 ounces white chocolate, chopped 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup cocoa 1 1/4 cups Guinness stout, Confectioners' sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8-inch-square pan. In an electric mixer, combine the eggs and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the bittersweet chocolate, white chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and beat into the egg mixture. Sift the flour and cocoa together and beat into the chocolate mixture. Whisk in the Guinness. Pour into the pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. To serve, dust the cake with confectioners' sugar and cut into squares. Serves 8 to 10

Then, if you want to have a very comforting drink, nothing beats Traditional Irish Coffee. Here is how to make it:

1 1/2 tsp. sugar per glass
hot coffee
1 1/2 oz. Irish whiskey per glass
lightly whipped cream, 3 Tbsp. per glass
freshly grated nutmeg
1 Tbsp. grated lemon rind
Assemble four or more Irish Coffee glasses. In each glass combine 1 1/2 tsp sugar with enough hot coffee to dissolve the sugar. To each glass add 1 1/2 oz. (one jigger) Irish whiskey. Fill glasses to within 1 inch of the top with hot coffee. Float 3 Tbsp. whipped cream on top and sprinkle the cream with freshly grated nutmeg, if desired

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


What a week! My DJSS has been traveling, and that is why my Feb. gift just arrived on Monday. But yesterday, Tuesday, my March gift came too.

Wow is all I can say! She sent me a beautiful beaded necklace from S. Africa. It is so bright, and so beautifully made. I just love it. She also sent me a tissue cover made by refugees in Beruit, a magnet from Boston, a DJ bumper sticker reading "No Pain, No Jane" 'Finished is Better than Perfect' (a Dear Jane quilt saying), and a container of yummy 'pills' for quilters only.

She is so thoughtful! I'm feeling very 'gifted' this week.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Susan's Texas Quilting Adventures is having a blogoversary give-away! She has not one, but three prizes! Hop on over to get your chance to win any of these three exciting gifts. It's open to all, blog or not, USA or not, etc.

Monday, March 14, 2011



This lovely gift arrived from my Dear Jane Secret Sister today. The fat quarter collection is just lovely, and would work well in several quilts I have going and/or are collecting the patterns for as block-a-months. And the necklace is so fun. Quite a surprise! It's been a lovely pick-me-up on a day when I had to take my sewing machine in for repairs -- :( Thank you, if you are out there in blog land reading this.
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Sunday, March 13, 2011


This lovely siggy arrived from Italy yesterday. I love Rosanna's delicous design. If you are interested in swapping siggies on the International Siggy Swap group, scroll down and look for it on the left on my blog.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


If you enjoy dancing quilt blocks, forming into all various settings, this is a really fun video for you.


Sunday, March 6, 2011


Block Lotto is doing D4P (disappearing 4 patch) blocks, in red and white this month.

You start with a basic 4-patch.

Make a cut both sides of the center line, one-inch out, both horizontally and vertically.

Rotate the middle long stripe pieces 180 degrees, and sew the block back together.

I made two in no time!

You can find a complete tutorial for these blocks here, on Sew Wonderful's blog.


We're ready to stitch our appliques down. One important consideration, is to use a stabilizer. This will prevent your applique from 'bunching up' as you stitch. I use Sulky Tear Easy. There are many kinds available, and some gals use coffee filters or children's drawing paper. I get the Tear-Easy on the notions wall at JoAnn's. It comes in two widths.

Here you can see the stabilizer sticking out, as I'm ready to stitch. Just make sure it totally covers your applique back.

Practice on scraps to get the look you want. Things to consider: stitch (buttonhole, satin, etc.) stitch length and width, thread thickness, thread color, etc. I'm using Aurifil 50 in a color to match the applique. This is a thin but strong thread, 50 weight. I use it and Precensia for almost all my stitching. They work well and don't fuzz up the needle and bobbin area excessively.
Stitch all around your applique piece. Fasten beginning and ending threads. I have a tack stitch on my machine that I use for this. You can also pull the threads to the back to tie.

This is what the back looks like, all stitched.

Tear away the stabilizer from the back, both outside and inside the applique. The type I use removes easily without distorting the stitches.

Here's an up close of my stitches.

Just continue with all your appliques. I change the thread color in my top thread, to match the applique piece. The bobbin can remain a neutral.

No affiliation with any of the products mentioned. Just what I like.

I want to mention that many gals find it helpful to starch at every step of the way. This will help to keep your fabric crisp and smooth. I avoid extra chemicals in my life for heath reasons, so I rarely use starch.

As with all things quilty, we have choices. There's no one right way. Isn't that nice?


Thursday, March 3, 2011


Now it's time to get your appliques onto your fabric. First you need to prepare the background. Cut it out larger than needed. The process of stitching applique, whether by hand or machine, 'takes up' some of the fabric, and you will trim the block to size after it's all stitched. Then finger press it in half in both directions, so you can see where the center is, and you have guidelines for centering your design. A finger press is good enough for you to easily see (although maybe not in my picture, LOL!), but will iron press out easily later.

The fun begins -- arranging my pieces.

Here I have my pieces pretty much (not exactly) how I want them. It's time to start sticking them down.

Peal back and remove the paper.

You can see that the paper is removed but the adhesive remains all around the outside edge of my applique. I can finger press it in place now. Continue with all your pieces.

One last check that everything is placed just how I want it. I can still move things around here, just like moving a sticky note.

I have appliques on my triangles too, so I finger press those in half both directions too, so that I know where the center is.

The stars get centered on the triangles and finger pressed down.

A star goes on my star.

Once you are satisfied that everything is just how you want it, it's time to press. Use the settings for the fusible product you are using. Mine says to use steam and a cotton setting, and to press for 10-20 seconds, so that's what I'm doing.

Here's everything all pressed down and ready for stitching.

Next, I'll finish with how I stitch these down.


We're continuing on here with my tutorial. You have your shapes all drawn and cut from lesson one. Now select all the shapes that will need to be cut from one fabric. Your fusible will go on the wrong side of the fabric.

Be sure you follow the directions on your fusible product. They do vary a bit, and for best results follow the manufacturer's guidelines. I'm using Lite Steam a Seam 2, and following what they say.

First lay your shapes on the wrong side of your chosen fabric to make sure they all fit.

Give the wrong side of your fabric a good press to remove wrinkles and to heat the fabric. You don't necessarily have to heat the fabric, but I do, and the directions say if you have trouble with it sticking, heat the fabric first. Whose wrinkley-looking hand is that on that iron? LOL!

Peal off the backing paper. Be sure the fusible stays with the paper with the drawn line! With my product one side peals off easier than the other. You draw on the side that sticks better, so that at this stage you can easily remove the paper on the other side.

Give the shape a good push down with your finger all around the shape.

Here they are all finger-pressed down. Don't use an iron at this stage!

Cut through the fusible and fabric following the drawn line. You may want to use smaller shears for small appliques with more details. Sorry for the blur. It's hard to take a picture and cut at the same time, LOL!

All cut out and flipped to the right side.

Cut out all your appliques for your project in the same manner. Next we'll be arranging them on your fabric.