Monday, November 24, 2014

Cute Buttons

Do you love buttons?  I can't resist them.  At quilt market I went a little crazy at the button booths.  Look at these absolutely adorable buttons I found at this great booth from Brazil.  I have to look up this vendor and see if he has an outlet here in the US.

My sister-in-law and I both had to buy a set.  At first we were just going to get the Mary and Joseph and baby button, but then we saw the donkey and cow and sheep buttons.   We couldn't pass those up.  Then the angel and star buttons were next and it was all over.  We decided we would embroider a manger scene onto some kind of Christmas background fabric, then sew on the buttons for a totally cute wall hanging.  I have a great gold on cream classic print which will look totally perfect.  

Now. . . where can I find a manger to embroider??????

In case you lost count, I retire in 60 days, 3 hours and 49 minutes.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.

And my deepest apologies to all of you who have to work on Friday after Thanksgiving.  It is called Black Friday because so many people have to work that day who should be getting a day off instead.  Support the local small businesses in your community.  They support you!  Just my 2 cents.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Happy Sewing Day

Many thanks to the ladies of the Perry Sew Day on Saturday.  What a wonderful group of ladies, spacious and welcoming facility, and positive atmosphere.  What a pleasure it was to spend the day with all of you.  And super thanks to my friend Barb Eikmeier for inviting me and sharing her wonderful talent and positive energy with all of us.  I got a lot done!

I have been watching Lea Day's machine quilting lessons on Craftsy: The Secrets of Free-Motion Quilting and thought it would be a good time to try out what I am learning.  I stretched out my backing and taped it down, smoothed my batting carefully over it, and pinned my Diamond Stars quilt top on top.  Pinned it in place as instructed, and ready to quilt.

It was times like this that I wished I was a better quilter!  How I wish I could do all those pretty designs that look so effortless when the experts do it.  I harken back to all the lessons learned from quilters I admire (Brenda Weien, who does all my big quilts; Diane Anderson, who is just about the best quilter I know; Pam Clarke, who's method for quilting between the dots really inspires me; and Lea Day, who makes free motion quilting look so easy).

But my friend Barb gave me a great suggestions and I decided to quilt in the ditch while I mulled over other fill-in ideas.

Here is what it looks like all quilted in the ditch.

I was thinking of doing some kind of fill in the what spaces.  What should I do in the stars?  Any suggestions?  There will be buttons in the middle of each star so I don't need to do anything super dramatic.  This is a small quilt after all.

Ok, back to making mashed potatoes for our early thanksgiving dinner with the kids later today.  I have a Sweet & Sour Pot Roast on the stove cooking, a chocolate mouse pie in the fridge chilling, hot spiced cider mulling in the crock pot, and potatoes waiting to be scrubbed for garlic smashed potatoes.  The pot roast is an old German recipe from my mom's dad's side of the family.  Made with a big chuck roast, bay leaves, vinegar, ginger snaps, sugar, and raisins, it is just too good for words!

Oh, and I almost forgot!  My new Indian Blanket Pattern and Sea Glass Diamonds Pattern is still on sale on my website for 20% off with the coupon code MGD20% -- but only in November.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Not Enough Time to Quilt

Since I returned from Quilt Market I have not had a minute to do anything quilty. Well, that is not entirely true.  I haven't had time to do anything quilty at home, but I did go to a fabulous retreat in the gorgeous Ozarks of Arkansas for five days in which I completed a few projects.  Actually is seems that is the only way I get things done. . . quilt retreats.  I am blessed to be able to attend a lot of them so it keeps me on track.

Here is what I got done at my last retreat:

I completed the top to Diamond Stars.  Wow, was this pattern fun to make.  And with a jelly roll and a yard of background fabric it was really fast!  I am taking it with me to a sewing day tomorrow where I will quilt it and put on the binding.  Once that is done I can photograph it for the pattern cover.  The pattern is ready and just waiting for a good color picture for the cover.

The cool thing about this pattern:  there are no set-in seams.  It is put together in strips and there are no Y seams, or tricky piecing.  It is super easy to do and amazingly fast.

The entire quilt, center and borders can all be made from 1 jelly roll and a yard of white fabric.  It really is amazing.  It can also be made from two charm packs, with the addition of a little yardage for the thin borders and binding.  A less expensive alternative, but still way cool.

And here is the best news of all.  I will be offering this quilt as a KIT!  I am just waiting for the fabric to arrive from Moda and kits will go on sale!

Here are some more ideas from to find time to quilt.
 Time to Quilt

Hope you find some time to quilt this weekend.  I am taking all day Saturday as a quilting day, and then spending Sunday cooking and eating with my kiddos and g-baby.  Oh, did I forget to mention he is the cutest baby on the planet?  Not that I am biased.  :-)

And guess who made that adorable quilt he is sitting on?  hehe.

Friday, November 7, 2014

November Block Posted

The free Block of the Month for November is up.  We are getting close to the end of this year's BOM and I am looking for ideas for next year's free BOM.

This block is called Feather Flower (Block 11).  Go to the 2014 BOM page to get the free pattern.

I am back from Quilt Market in Houston and trying to get organized and caught up with all the follow up I need to do.  It was a great week of quilt mania, and you will be seeing the results of that craziness in the coming weeks.  Three quilts will be featured in Keepsake Quilting catalog, probably the spring edition.  They are all 30's quilts and will probably be sold as kits as well as patterns.

Here is a small preview of my newest quilt.  I just finished the top and will be quilting it next week.  It is called Diamond Stars and the pattern will be on my website next week.

Here is a peak at my booth at Quilt Market.

The quilts on the left are two of my newest patterns.  I kept the name Indian Blanket for the one with the black background.  But I took the suggestion of one of you for the other quilt.  Thanks to Bonnie B for the suggestion Sea Diamonds.  I changed it just a bit to Sea Glass Diamonds, and I really love the name.  Bonnie will receive a free pattern!

Graphic designer Anne Ashley designed my "book", table covers and morning glory banner.  They really added to the booth.  She is an incredible designer and I really recommend her work.

This is my sister-in-law Mary Jo, who helped me in my booth.  She was an incredible help setting up and running the booth.  And of course, she is a great quilter and a wonderful sister!

My new patterns should be up on my website by next week.  Taking some time for me to get everything unpacked and put away from my big trip to Houston.

More to come. . . . .


Friday, October 3, 2014

October Block Posted & Name That Pattern Contest!

I am frantically working to get ready for Quilt Market the end of this Month.  I have been putting on binding and hanging sleeves and working on the final edits on my new patterns.  Trying to keep up with this BOM and another I am doing for my guild has been fun but frenzied.

Here is the October free Flower Fiesta block of the month.  Be sure to mosey over to my BOM page and download your free block.  Missed some?  They are available for sale on my website for just $3.50 a pattern!  And for the next week they are 20% off!

Pattern Sale!

And as a special gift to all my readers who have stuck with me through this crazy year, I am offering a 20% discount on all patterns on my website for one week! Now you can get those missed block of the month blocks at 20% off!!

Click Here to start shopping and saving!

At checkout use coupon code MGD20% and your discount will be deducted from your total purchase.  Hurry because this coupon code is only good through October 11, 2014.

Here is another new pattern which will be coming out this month at Quilt Market.  The patterns will be available on my website by November 1.

I just got it back from the quilter and am going to bind it this weekend.  I'll post a picture of the finished quilt after I am done this weekend.  It really came out nicely.

Finally, I need your help.  I am not convinced I like the name for this pattern.  I have been calling it Pale Pavers.  UGH! ot thrilling!

 Leave a comment with a suggestion for this pattern name.  

If I select yours I will send you a copy of the pattern for Free!  You always have such great suggestions.  I can't wait to hear what you come up with this time.

Monday, September 8, 2014

September! Really??

OK, I got it, September is here and I am crazy busy!  School started up and I am teaching again -- my LAST Semester -- before I retire.  It is so time!  But I am also preparing for Quilt Market in Houston in October and getting 6 new patterns (and six new quilts) ready as well.  Yipes.

New free Block of the Month for September is posted.  Hop on over to the BOM 2014 page and download your copy now.  And if you are a subscriber, the newsletter with the bonus block went out today, so be sure you check that out as well.
September Free Block of the Month

Not a subscriber?  Want the bonus block?  Its easy to do, just fill out the subscription for on the left hand side <<<<<<<<<< over there and click submit.  I send out the newsletter on the 1st and the 15th each month, so you won't miss it if  you subscribe after the 1st.
September Bonus Block

OK, so it went out on the 8th this month and not the 1st.  I promise it was ready to go several days ago but my web maven was on vacation and I couldn't update my website till she got home so I had to sit on it a few days.  Usually I can update it myself, but it was having fits -- I mean serious fits -- after a complete update and overhaul, and I was not gonna try and screw with it and then get a scolding.  I know just enough to be dangerous.

So what are the new quilts I am bringing out at Quilt Market?  Here is a preview!
Summer Iris Picnic Quilt:

Indian Blanket: (And my quilt tester Kris Y did an AMAZING job on this quilt!)

Plus 4 more. . . . hold on, will post those later when I have more time.

Now check out this new gizmo I discovered!

2014-08-04 19.01.33

Product Review

The Easy Binding Winder

Do you struggle with binding like I do? I recently found this great new gizmo and wanted to try it out. It winds your binding onto a cylinder, which can be lifted from the winder and removed, and then inserted back in the winder when you are ready to stitch it onto your quilt.
It is called the Easy Binding Winder and my friends at Connect the sent me a prototype to try out. Several amazing things about this winder are worth noting.
1. The prototype was made with a 3-D printer!!! Can you believe it? That is just so cool!.
2. It really works! No bells or whistles, just simple mechanical action that does what it is supposed to do. No batteries, electricity or muscle needed.

Here is how it works. Clamp the Easy Binding Winder to your ironing board and prepare your binding. As you press your binding in half roll it onto the winder using the hand crank. When you are done you can unscrew the hand crank and lift the winding cylinder out of the base for storage. I am told it will come with several extra cylinders. When you are ready to sew the binding on your quilt you can set it on your sewing table and feed the binding out as you sew.
I loved how easy it was to wind my binding. This was incredibly easy to do and convenient to place by my machine when I sewed my binding on the quilt. I had a little difficulty with getting the clamp tight on my ironing board, but I think that may be resolved when the final version comes out. I liked that it could be clamped from the front or the side of the base. The handle is easy to hold, and winds smoothly, and was easy to remove from the base with just a simple hand screw. I am really looking forward to this product coming on the market.
Find out more information at And thanks to my friends Peggy and Rex at Connect the for loaning me a prototype to test for them.
Oh and don't forget to take their survey on their website for a chance to win a free Easy Binding Winder!
2014-08-04 19.02.18
2014-08-04 19.01.20

Sunday, June 22, 2014

July BOM block posted early!

I have had the whole month of June off and let me tell you, it has been productive. It has been rehearsal for retirement, and shown me that when that pesky day job is out of the way I really can get a lot done!  :-)

So among the things I have accomplished with my time off -- getting some quilts finished and drawing a lot more designs.  First, here is the July free Block of the Month - a little early - posted and ready to download on the BOM page (see the tabs at the top).

This is one of my favorite blocks, and it goes with so many of the other designs.  It really makes a great alternate block, and has such a fun and feminine look.

I am working on another BOM for my quilt guild and really enjoying it.  It is in art deco style applique florals, and so far it is going well.  As a sneak peek, here is the first block.

Its a bit different from my usual thing!  But I am having a blast doing these.

I finished a baby quilt for one of my son's friends who just had a baby.  This is a design she picked out and I made it up.  It was sew simple and fun to make.

This is the first quilt I have done on my new Martelli long arm machine.  Worked great and sooooo easy to use.  It is a sit down machine and the circle you see hanging on the arm slides down and sits on the fabric.  The gripper on the back holds onto the fabric and the knobs on the top make it easy to move.  I even did all the stitch in the ditch with it.  It was actually easier and just as accurate as my domestic for stitch in the ditch.  Go figure!

This is a version of my Vintage Sampler quilt that they did as a BOM at my LQS. They just did 30 of the 42 blocks, and all in 30's fabrics.  I designed a special setting and border for it, and now it is hanging up in the shop, and patterns for it are selling well.  The sample was done with hand blanket stitch around all the applique. Faith Gordon made this one and did a fabulous job!  Can't wait to see it quilted.

I also got my vintage sampler back from the quilter.  WOW did Brenda do a great job on it.  But then, she always does.  I just have to put the binding on and finished the block embellishments. I will post a picture as soon as I can get someone to hold it up for me!  hahaha.

Its sunny and hot here in Kansas today.  Kitties are curled up on the chair next to me, and last night I got to baby sit my adorable grandbaby. He was 5 months old yesterday and we had some serious "Grandma Time!"  Love that little cutie to bits.

Keep stitching!

Friday, May 2, 2014

May BOM Block Posted

The free block of the month for May is now posted on the BOM Page.

This one is a bit more of a challenge than the first four blocks only because the pieces are a bit smaller.  It looks amazing in batiks though. 

I have had a bit of a quilting dry spell lately.  I think it is because the end of the semester is here and I have been busy grading papers.  Wow is that ever an understatement!  I gave up my administrative position this semester and returned to the classroom and full time teaching.  I guess I forgot how much work it is to keep up with all the grading for 4 college classes.  The two freshman level public speaking classes are not too difficult to keep current, but my two upper division classes -- Persuasion and Social Influence and Native American Rhetoric -- have been a real challenge.

I know, my students keep telling me I wouldn't have so much grading if I just didn't assign as many papers!  So true.  I try to cut back, but it is like eating only half a piece a cake.  It sounds good in theory, but in practice hard to do.

The countdown to retirement has begun.  Only 38 weeks to go.  I am marking days off the calendar and making plans for all my free time when I finally hang up my red pen.

I am planning to teach and vend at the June 2015 Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival next year, and hope many of you in the midwest will put it on your calendar and plan to attend.  It is a locally sponsored Quilt Festival with a whole flock of local guilds doing the planning and preparations. I have booked a lot of speaking engagements and workshops for 2015 and casting my nets a bit further afield than I was able to while I am still working a full time job.  It is very exciting and I will share plans in my blog and newsletter as they get closer.

On my to-do list (after final exams next week) is a baby quilt for one of my kids' friends who is expecting in June.  It will be a fun project and I am thinking I might even get the whole top pieced this weekend.

And I had to share a new grandbaby picture with you!  Little Bryce is now 3 months old and getting cuter every day -- no bias involved!  :-)  A friend took this picture of Mother and Baby reading one of my favorite books from when my son was a baby.  Aren't we grandmothers hopeless?  hehehe

With the end of the school year here and the summer off I am looking forward to babysitting, camping, designing, traveling, and perhaps even getting some quilting in.  How I love summer!!!

Monday, April 7, 2014

April Fiesta de Flores Block now available

I am a week late in getting the April BOM posted because I was at MQS in Wichita all last week teaching EQ7 classes.  It was a great time, but a lot of work.  I so enjoyed meeting so many students and colleagues, and of course shopping in the vendor mall!  And the quilts!  All I can say is WOW, they were really amazing and the quilting was over the top on so many of them.  It was impressive.  I just don't know how the judges manage to select a winner in each of those categories. Here are a few of my personal favorites.

 What can I say, I love morning Glories.  Sorry the picture is so blurry.  I was trying to fit it all in the view finder and wobbled.  haha

 I awarded this simple blue and white quilt my "Teacher's Ribbon" because I thought that the quilting complemented the pattern beautifully.  It was simple but elegant, and -- of course -- I can't resist a blue and white quilt!  Still, the quilting on this sweet little quilt was amazing as you can see in the closeup.
 I just like lighthouses, and this was a particularly well done version of a light house quilt.
 Color, it just spoke to me.  I have to tell you that the picture of the quilt looks really different from the quilt in person.  Odd how that happens.
 This was a group quilt where they took a picture and cut it up into pieces and each person did one part, then they sewed all the parts together.  I have to tell you it was amazing.  This is downtown Bentonville, AR home of the first Walmart.
This picture of the Victorian House was the best of show and it so deserved it.  Done in 1/2" squares it was a reproduction of a cross stitch pattern! And the quilting was over the moon.  It was stunning.

Hope you enjoyed the eye candy and will click on over to my BOM page (see the tabs at the top of the page, and download this month's free block of the month.

Thanks for stopping by.