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I am a wife, mama and grandmama getting through life by hanging on to a needle and thread.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


No, the ribbon is not really large...the quilt is really small! This hand quilted whole cloth miniature was absolutely spectacular. "Celestial Garden" was made by Jane Holihan and measured just 16"x16"!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

On The Road Again

We're on the road again and heading to Havelock, North Carolina to visit with our youngest son and his wife for a few days. They moved to the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in April and this is our first trip to see them in their new home, so everyone is very excited about this visit. We are looking forward to seeing the base and doing some sightseeing while we're there. I think there is also a trip to the beach planned along with a few other things, but mostly I'm just looking forward to some quality family time! Of course, if anyone knows of any nice quilt shops in the area...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Then We Shopped!

Remember a couple of weeks ago I was saying that behind every quilter there is a huge pile of fabric? Well...my pile is a whole lot bigger now! Friday morning our marathon fabric shopping spree began at Burkholder's Fabric Store, a wonderful shop in Denver, PA with over 12,000 bolts of quilt quality fabric at a bargain price and on top of that, it all happened to be 20% off! From there we went to Sauder's Fabrics, where I found the perfect tea party fabrics for grandbaby #4's quilt (also at unbelievable prices). Our next stop was The Old Country Store in Intercourse, PA for even more fabric and a stop upstairs to see the Fon's & Porter's quilt exhibit at The People's Place Quilt Museum. By that time we were all just about "shopped out", but we just couldn't pass by The Quilt & Fabric Shack in Bird-In-Hand as we were driving towards the highway. It was well worth the stop and I think we all found at least one last bargain. At that point we all declared that we had shopped 'til we dropped and headed home...happily fondling our new fabrics on the way. Lancaster County, Pennsylvania is certainly the place to go for fabric!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Another Quilt Show Highlight

Another highlight of the Quilt Odyssey quilt show was seeing Sharon Schamber's, "Scarlet Serenade", winning quilt of $100,000 Quilting Challenge Magazine contest. What an exquisite quilt! It's another quilt that photos just do not do justice, but you can see close-ups of the quilt that show some pretty amazing detail here. On top of getting to see the quilt up close and in person, I also got to meet and chat with Sharon Schamber herself! The meeting was purely accidental, I was shopping through the vendor's booths and spotted the quilt halo (designed by Sharon Schamber) that I have been wanting. As I picked it up, a woman behind me said that I was sure to enjoy quilting with it. I turned around and started to talk to her and then realized who I was talking to! What a thrill to spend a few minutes chatting about quilting with one of my quilting idols!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mother Earth and Her Children

One of the many highlights of the Quilt Odyssey quilt show was seeing Sieglinde Schoen Smith and listening to her tell the story of her multi-award winning quilt, Mother Earth and Her Children. It was nice to hear her tell the story of the quilt in person. The idea behind the making of the quilt was to tell a favorite childhood story in the form of a wall hanging for her grandchildren. She began making the quilt without a pattern and a year and one day later, she finally called it finished. It is a remarkable work of art and is a quilt that needs to be seen in person to truly be appreciated, but you can see a nice powerpoint slide show of close-ups of the quilt at the Brecklingpress website.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Quilt Odyssey 2008

What a fantastic trip we had to the Quilt Odyssey quilt show! The quilts were all amazing...each and every one of them! There was a wonderful display of antique red and green quilts, a retrospective of Karen Kay Buckley's quilts that have been on the covers of magazines over the years, an interesting challenge category that asked entrants to create a new quilt from a vintage quilt block, and then of course there were the judged quilts. The one shown in the photo, Nebraska's Rising Sun, by Sandi McMillan and Laura Franchini, was awarded the best of show. It is a truly magnificent quilt, but so were all of the others! I sure wouldn't have wanted the job of awarding the ribbons...there's no way I could ever pick a favorite!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hershey Here We Come!

I'm so excited! Early tomorrow morning a few friends and I are heading to the Quilt Odyssey Quilt Show in Hershey, PA. Our plan is to spend the day Thursday taking in all the sights at the quilt show and then Friday we will spend the day fabric shopping in the area before heading home. Two full days of quilts and fabric shopping in the chocolate capital of the United States with my quilty friends...what more could a girl ask for?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I Get To Make A Cowboy Quilt!

When my youngest son and daughter-in-law found out that they were expecting their first baby they planned a Beatrix Potter themed nursery for a girl and a cowboy theme if the baby was a boy. The results of the ultrasound are in and if you haven't already guessed...grandbaby #5 is a boy and grandmama gets to make a cowboy quilt!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Oatmeal Cookies

I have yet to eat a cookie that I didn't like and it would be really hard for me to pick a favorite, but if I had to choose, these would definitely be in the top five on my favorite cookies list!

Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 cup sugar for rolling

In a large mixing bowl, cream together shortening, sugar and brown sugar; beat in egg and vanilla. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together and stir into creamed mixture. Stir in oatmeal and nuts. Form into small balls and roll in additional sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Little Applique

This Dear Jane block, J-1 Josepha's Jonquil, is an all applique block. I used the fusible interfacing applique method and that seems to work best for me. It's not perfect, but I think it's acceptable and will look fine once it's placed next to 169 or so other blocks!

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Sewing bindings doesn't make for a very exciting afternoon of stitching, but whether they are exciting to sew together or not, they are an important part of the quilt. The bindings in the photograph are going to be used on a couple of charity quilts that I have been helping with. I love to cut stripe and plaid bindings on the bias, which is what I did with the blue and beige plaid binding in the photo. The bias cut will give the stripes a wonderful wrap around effect along the edge of the quilt once it has been sewn down. There are a couple of ways to make bias binding, but I prefer to cut the fabric on the bias and then sew the strips together rather than fussing with continuous bias binding. The other binding in the photo was cut on the straight of the grain and will eventually be put on the DNP quilt that we put together a few weeks ago. I think the colorful design will make an interesting binding without having to be cut on the bias. Hopefully both of these bindings will be the perfect finishing touches for two more quilts!

Friday, July 18, 2008

G-2 Mohawk Trail

I redid the Dear Jane block, G-2 Mohawk Trail, and it actually looks like the picture in the book this time! Amazing what a difference checking the mirror image box before printing the pattern makes.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ultrasound Day!

Today was ultrasound day and you can probably guess by the color of the fabric in the photo that grandbaby #4 is going to be another girl! Everyone is very excited that there will be another girl in the family in early December...especially the three big sisters to be! Now the quilting fun can begin and I can start planning the baby's quilt and do some shopping for little girl fabrics!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Importance Of "Mirror Image"

Here's my first attempt at a paper pieced block after taking Carol Doak's workshop last Saturday. It is Dear Jane block, G-2 Mohawk Trail...isn't it pretty? The corners and points all match up pretty well and it even came out perfectly square and to the right size, so why doesn't it look like the block in the picture? Someone forgot to click the mirror image button before printing the pattern! It is an interesting block as it is, even if it isn't right, so it may make it's way into the quilt, but I will also make another one the way it is supposed to be.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Flimsy Finish!

I finished the double disappearing nine patch top over the weekend. I really do like how the nine patch blocks fell by placing them in the outside corners of a larger nine patch block and then using the disappearing nine patch layout. Unfortunately the picture really does not do the colors in this top justice. No matter how I photographed it I could not get the colors to show true, so you'll have to take my word for it that it really is pretty!

Monday, July 14, 2008

I-1 Ralph & Nelda's Wedding

I bet you thought that my next Dear Jane block would be a paper pieced one, didn't you? I probably will tackle a paper pieced block soon, but I just love the blocks with the little nine-patches and find them hard to resist. This one, I-1 Ralph & Nelda's Wedding, went together very quickly and was rotary cut and strip pieced.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Paper Piecing Heaven!

I can not begin to describe how wonderful yesterday's workshops were! Carol Doak is an amazing teacher and a truly delightful woman. I honestly hated to see the day come to an end. I learned so much...mainly that everything I was doing before was wrong, so no wonder I couldn't get a paper pieced Dear Jane block to come out to size! As usual, I made the first mistake of the day right out of the gate on the very first seam. The good thing about that was that it cleared the way for everyone else to make mistakes without embarrassment and also opened up the perfect opportunity for Carol to show the class how to repair foundation pieces with magic removable tape. Once I fell into the routine of "trim, sew, press" the rest came fairly easy and without further mistakes. I was able to complete the three smaller blocks in the photo all in the morning session. We focused on the mariner's compass star block in the afternoon and after working with all the tiny pieces during the morning session this block almost seemed easy! Of course it seemed easy because of the fantastic instruction...if you ever get a chance to attend one of Carol Doak's workshops I would suggest that you not miss it!

If you haven't already, check out Anya's blog. She has posted some photos of Carol's quilts from Friday night's lecture. They are amazing!!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Today's The Day!

Today is the day that I have been waiting for...it's the Carol Doak paper piecing workshop! There are two half day workshops and I am signed up for both. The morning workshop is an introduction to paper piecing which will cover the basics of paper piecing. Hopefully I will learn where I have been making the mistakes in the paper pieced Dear Jane blocks that I have been working on. In the afternoon class we will be making a mariner's compass star block from her new book Mariner's Compass Stars. I've always admired the mariner's compass patterns, but have shied away from them...mainly because they just look so doggone hard! Paper piecing has to be the way to go for these kinds of stars...I guess I'll find out soon enough!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Double Disappearing Nine Patch


I was looking through my basket of UFO's the other day and ran across a stack of 6 1/2 inch pink and purple nine patch blocks along with a stack of batiks that I've had kicking around for quite some time. Out of the blue, the idea came to me that I could put the nine patch blocks in the corners of a larger nine patch block and then use that block in a disappearing nine patch design! As I was sewing the blocks together I wasn't sure of my fabric choices and sort of wished that I had picked fabrics with a little more contrast, but once the blocks were cut into quarters and sewn back together I was very happy with the results!


Thursday, July 10, 2008

J-7 Chicken Tracks

There has been more coughing than stitching going on here this week, but I have managed to put together another Dear Jane block, J-7 Chicken Tracks. I rotary cut and strip pieced this one without any problems (unless you count occasional coughing fits as problems).

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Stamped Shortbread Cookies

These stamped shortbread cookies are favorites in our family. My oldest granddaughter calls them "the melt in your mouth cookies" and they were the only thing that my niece wanted from me for her birthday last year!

Stamped Shortbread Cookies

1/2 cup of sugar
1 cup butter, softened (no substitutions)
2 cups flour
4 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar and butter and beat until light and fluffy. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup and level off. Stir in the flour and cornstarch and mix well. Divide the dough into 18 equal pieces. Shape into balls. Roll the balls in 3 tablespoons of sugar. Place 2" apart on ungreased cookie sheet. For each cookie flatten ball of dough firmly with a cookie stamp or the bottom of a drinking glass. Bake at 350 degrees F for 9 - 12 minutes or until bottoms are light golden brown. Cool for one minute and remove from cookie sheets. Makes 18 "melt in your mouth" cookies.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Yesterday was the monthly meeting of our guild's Dear Jane group, but unfortunately I had to miss it because I was sitting in the doctor's office. It seems that a nagging cough that I have had for the past couple of days has turned into "a touch of pneumonia". I now have antibiotics and a nice bottle of cough medicine that the doctor said would guarantee a good night's sleep with just two teaspoonfuls (yep, it's the good stuff) so hopefully I'm on the mend now! B-13 Four Corner Press is a straight forward easy nine-patch block (perfect for stitching while under the influence of cough medicine). One more Dear Jane block finished and crossed off the list!

Monday, July 7, 2008


Over the weekend Pat Sloan was discussing FIU (Finish It Up) projects on her blog. She suggested that it's a good idea to have a project waiting in the wings to work on for those times when you just have a short time to spend at the machine or don't have the time (or ambition) to start a new project. It makes sense and it occurred to me that my "Matchstick UFO" is perfect for a FIU project! It's a fairly mindless pattern and I can stitch a block together in just a few minutes, so on days when I don't want to get involved in a major project I'm going to reach for my new FIU project!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

M-12 Hopscotch

Here's another Dear Jane block all finished! I rotary cut and strip pieced this one. It went together quickly and easily and finished out to the correct size. Will wonders never cease?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Behind Every Quilter Is A Huge Pile Of Fabric!

Yes, I've been fabric shopping again and my already huge pile of fabric just got a little bit bigger. One week from today is the Carol Doak paper piecing workshop that I have been so anxiously awaiting. I decided that I would make it easy on myself and stick to the same color palette that she used for the example in the instructions, so that required a trip to Needles for some Moda Marbles. They also had all of the patriotic fabrics marked 50% off and no self-respecting fabriholic could possibly pass up a deal like that! Besides, I think they will be perfect for a top secret quilting assignment that I need to get started on.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day

This may seem like a strange tribute for Independence Day, but while we are celebrating our country's independence with picnics and fireworks let us not forget that there are men and women overseas still fighting to protect our freedom and the freedom of others.

Dear Lord,

There's a young man or woman far from home,
called to serve their nation in time of war;
sent to defend our freedom on some distant foreign shore.
We pray You keep them safe,
we pray You keep them strong,
we pray You send them safely home,
for they've been away so long.
Bless those who await their safe return
and those who mourn the lost.
Bless those who serve this country well,
no matter what the cost.

God bless America and her heros!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

For Cake And Country!

Every 4th of July picnic needs a chocolate cake! This recipe is a favorite in our family. It's a very moist cake and easy to make with ingredients that are kept in most pantries.

Chocolate Oil Cake

2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa
2 cups water
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix sugar, flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa. Add water, vegetable oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Beat by hand until smooth. Pour into a 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Cool completely and frost with Creamy Chocolate Frosting.

Creamy Chocolate Frosting

2 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
6 tablespoons cocoa
6 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa, and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter until smooth, then gradually beat in sugar mixture alternately with milk. Blend in vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. If necessary, adjust consistency with more milk or sugar.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

C-1 Trooper Green's Badge

After my last Dear Jane block "disaster", I decided that I would give paper piecing another try...only with an easier block. I took my time and didn't skimp on the fabric. (I think that's where I went wrong with the last block.) This one came out even and square! Needless to say, I am much happier with how this one turned out.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Quilts For Comfort ~ KidsQuilts

"A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove...but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child." ~Forest E. Witcraft

Anyone who knows me very well, knows that I pretty much live by those words and when a child is in need I will do just about anything I can to help. When I stumbled across Alison's blog, My Little Stitching Corner, the other day and read about how she was starting an outreach ministry to make quilts for the siblings of critically ill children I knew I had to help. I have made quite a few quilts for Project Linus, which is a wonderful organization that provides quilts to children who are seriously ill, but as Alison points out in her blog, the siblings of these children are often overlooked and we need to remember that they are hurting too. To quote Alison, "What child-young or old-would not love a quilt to cuddle with when times are very hard or days are overwhelming?" How could I not join in and donate a few minutes of my time (and heaven knows that I have the fabric) and make a couple of blocks to help out? To read more about Quilts For Comfort ~ KidsQuilts or to volunteer please visit http://quiltsforcomfort.wordpress.com/.

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