Saturday, August 29, 2015


My sister, Diane, takes some beautiful pictures of church steeples she sees. Here is one I borrowed (with her permission)...
 You can see more in her Flickr group, taken by her and others (I even took a couple of them) Her pictures were the inspiration for my latest mini quilt. 

After I made my Imagine quilt for the Riley Blake Challenge, earlier this year, I decided I should work backwards and make a quilt for each of my words of the year. Grace was my word in 2014. 

This quilt is 18 x 20 inches and made with two shades of grunge fabric. And yes, I'm going to make a second one for Diane! It's only fair since she provided the inspiration. 

Two words done, three more to go (going to try to get them done before I choose a word for 2016. Wish me luck!)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Dottie Angel Frock

Always one to jump on a good bandwagon, when I saw a copy of the Dottie Angel Frock pattern (Simplicity 1080) just laying around at our local Walmart I decided to give it a go. 
I had been eyeing up all of the cute frocks on Instagram (they look especially adorable on petite little frames, skinny girls looking like they are heading out to tend the chickens & collect the eggs. For the record, I have neither a skinny frame nor a flock of chickens, but I digress.)

I have a couple yards of Liberty floral I've been hoarding that will be perfect for this, but I wisely decided to do a muslin first. I bought some sale fabric at Joann's, something pretty, just in case it actually fit & looked decent, I could actually wear it!
Check out that pretty pocket! I almost did it without the bias binding, but then I found this stripe in my stash and decided to make my own binding. So glad I did!

I also relied heavily on tips from my pal Mahriam, skip the contrast bottom (not suitable for, ahem, fuller figured shorties), lower the front pleats to accommodate a fuller bust. I also chose not to use bias binding on the shoulder seams or the hem, as that seemed pointless to me!

I made the tunic length. Honestly, it looked a bit like a frumpy apron on the hanger. Finished it up in one day and, wonder of wonders, it FITS and actually looks cute on me!
I will indeed be making one out of my Liberty fabric very soon. Meanwhile, I have a wearable muslin! Hooray.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

empty nesters

Ally is happily moved into her college dorm & hubby and I find ourselves with time alone together. Our first stop after dropping her off on Saturday? Buc-cee's....
If you're not a Texan (we're not but we've lived here long enough I guess some people consider us Texans) you may not be familiar with Buc-cee's... an enormous gas station/gift shop/snack bar. If we're being honest here, we mostly stopped because they have large, clean restrooms & after an hour or so in the car and large diet pepsis, we were in need of those! We also took advantage of one of the 40 gazillion gas pumps.

But that wasn't the most exciting stop of the day (nor was it a planned stop! ha!). Halfway home is Waco, TX, home of Chip & Joanna Gaines of HGTV/Fixer Upper fame. I had been dying to stop at their home store, Magnolia Market.

Truthfully it's a teeny tiny shop, but there was a nice assortment of home dec goodies & the staff was friendly & helpful. Hubby & I wanted to buy one of their well known metal quote signs and spent a few minutes mulling them over. In the end we chose this one, because it defines our marriage to a tee...

I love it propped up on our mantel!

After we visited the shop we set out to find "the Silos" which Chip & Joanna are renovating. Soon it will be the new location for their shop and their business (I'm already plotting a return visit!). It's under construction now, but I got some pretty good pictures (with my phone, from the car!)

 The white building with the four high windows is the renovated building.
I just love the rustic silos!

It was a fun first day for us empty nesters for sure!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

pillowcase dresses for Africa

I'm so delighted that my oldest, Leigh Anne, will be traveling to Swaziland, Africa, in October. She'll be going on a mission trip with Liberty Church NYC and since one piece of their mission is to visit orphanages, I decided to make some pillowcase dresses to send along with her. Yesterday I recruited two of my favorite young sewers to help me out....
 They worked very hard most of the day, excited to sew for such a special mission and asking lots of questions about the orphans in Africa along the way. Many of the questions I didn't have an answer for, so we made a list and sent it off to Leigh Anne, knowing many of the answers won't be given for a couple of months.
 The girls were pretty proud of the first dresses they finished....
Lexi, the quality control dog, never left the room
By the end of the day the girls had made NINE dresses to send to Africa! They do great work.
I have about a month to make some more dresses to add to their stack.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Plano Quilt Show

On Friday I went with my buddies to the Plano Quilt Show. We're so lucky that this fabulous annual show is only a few minutes away from where we live! I love to go every year. It's a smallish show, so it's manageable in a couple of hours. The quilts never disappoint and there are terrific vendors too. I will confess to having spent some money along the way!

Here is the quilt that one Best of Show. It's called Baltimore in Bloom and was made by Sally Magee. Her appliqué work is fantastic! This, my friends, is something I will NEVER tackle! So glad there are wonderful quilters like Sally who do.
One thing I've noticed is that there are more and more modern quilts appearing in the show each year. Yay! Here are a few that I especially liked:
Shannon Page had several quilts in the show, but I especially liked this one. I love the little flecks of color scattered throughout the background. They look like confetti to me!

Geometric Transparency was made by Cheryl Isbell. I've been intrigued by the transparency quilts popping up on the internet and thought her quilt captured the concept especially well.

This quilt is called "Jeff" and was made by Ileana Salzer, a quilter I know from our bring n brag days. I thought it was really fun, but I couldn't help but wonder why she called it Jeff? Hmmm I'll have to ask Ileana next time I see her.

Do you have any good quilt shows near where you live?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

in the kitchen

Confession time. I'm not much of a cook. No, really. I'm pretty terrible at it. I try. I collect cookbooks,  I collect aprons, haha! But I really don't enjoy it much and I rarely put much effort into cooking. 

The other night we were at a restaurant (and yes, we eat out way too much, don't judge me). Hubby and Ally ordered a big sampler platter of bruschetta, several different kinds, all of them loaded with gluten which I can't eat. And no, I'm not bitter. They eat gluten in front of me all the time and I'm fine with it. But this bruschetta? man did it look GOOD! We analyzed it and memorized the ingredients and I decided to recreate 2 of the varieties today on gluten free baguette.

I spent the entire afternoon in the kitchen! I roasted these beautiful red peppers using this recipe.
 And then I made my first ever tomato jam using this recipe. Sort of. Actually I combined several recipes, which seems to be a risky move for someone like me who professes to be less than adequate in the kitchen. But it worked out.

Seven big beautiful tomatoes, light brown sugar, a cinnamon stick and some lemon juice. Resulted in about a cup of very tasty tomato jam.

 And the bruschetta? It was fabulous! I used an Udi's baguette....

On the left, herbed goat cheese, a dollop of tomato jam and a piece of applewood bacon. And on the right, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella cheese and roasted red pepper. Not bad for someone who is basically allergic to the kitchen, huh?

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Bag swap

Stitched With Love has started a new swap club, so of course I had to get in on it right away! Our first swap was to be a pouch or fabric basket of some sort. Fun! Look at all of these beauties that were swapped.....
We were assigned a recipient for our goodies so I knew that Carmen liked Anna Maria Horner fabrics, drinks hot tea & loves sweet treats. Here's what I made for her...

A dainty tote, with a felt tag and some extra goodies....

a pouch with a view with AMH scraps tucked inside, a tea bag pouch and some edibles (loose tea, a tea ball for that and some fresh macaroons) that didn't make it into the photo shoot! Oops!

Do you want to see the precious bag that came home with me? I thought so! Lynn had my name, and she knows how much I love aqua & red....
I love this little zipper clutch! It's perfect for me. And inside...
A little zip pouch for cards/cash (it even had a sonic gift card inside!) and a kleenex pouch, all matching. How lucky am I?

I can't wait for our next swap.

Friday, August 7, 2015

a new bag

Yesterday I knew I had the whole day at home to do as I please (that's code for SEW!). There was a whole list of projects I have to/want to get done on my chalkboard but not a one of them spoke to me. I've had a new bag brewing in my head for a while & decided a little selfish sewing was in order!

I started working on this purse/tote bag about 9am totally designing it as I went along, and by 3 in the afternoon it was done and ready to use.
front of the bag
 Please notice there is NOT ONE SPECK of aqua in this bag! Ha. I knew I could do it! The bag is 12 inches tall, 10 inches wide & 2 1/2 inches deep at the boxed corners.

and the back
It has two handles, each one 32 inches long. Lots of interfacing, fusible fleece and matchstick quilting so it's quite sturdy.

I think my favorite part is the pocket panel on the front - one big open pocket, and a zipper pocket.
Or maybe it's the custom pockets on the inside that perfectly hold all of my cards. And the zip top! I used Svetlana's method from the Lola Pouch and it's awesome. The binding adds to the finish too. 

All in all, it came out exactly the way I had envisioned it! Don't you love when that happens? 

Ok, back to my list....

Thursday, August 6, 2015

design boards

I've been wanting to make some design boards using Lori Holt's tutorial for a long time. On Crafty Tuesday this week I decided this was the perfect project to work on while I chatted with my crafty buddies. I prepped all of the materials in advance so I could just sit and glue. I finished up these six!
These are 10" x 10", so you get all six from a 20" x 30" sheet of foam core board. I love all of the happy colors of binding I used.

They are the perfect size for my New Hexagon blocks.
block #26 almost done!
The tutorial was great and I had so much fun making these. The next morning I made up a big board using another whole sheet of foam core board.
I can't wait to put them all to good use. You should probably make some too.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Happy Birthday Ally!

My little girl is 19 today! I guess I need to stop calling her my "little girl" don't I? She is a beautiful, strong, creative, smart young woman. Ally is celebrating in New York City with her big sister. The house is very quiet without her. 
Happy Birthday Ally! 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

July is done!

Well you'd never know it from my blogging (or lack there-of!) but I had an incredibly productive July in the sewing room. When I checked my list (do you keep a list of finishes?) I had SEVENTEEN finished items for the month! Wow! Some of them I've shared with you here. Some you'll see down the road because they are gifts, swaps or pattern tests which cannot be revealed quite yet. Here are a few of my finishes:
I even managed to keep up with my calendar journal, something that has been hit or miss this year. (it should also be noted that July was the first month since January that I did not get on an airplane! So that may have contributed to my crafty productivity).

My August journal is ready to go. It won't be empty for long, I assure you. Hope to do a better job blogging this month too. There, I said it.
I can't wait to share more of what I've been up to! meanwhile, I just realized that today is my seven year blogaversary. Seven years! man it would have been great if I had a giveaway or something special ready for the event. I'll work on that....