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

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A New Quilter?

I brought a non-quilting friend with me to our guild's annual picnic last week and during the course of the evening she mentioned that she wished that she could make a quilt for her daughter-in-law who is battling cancer. I assured her that she could make a quilt and offered my help. Yesterday we got together for a crash course in quilting. As you can see from the photo, my student is a quick study! We used the disappearing nine patch pattern and had a great time playing with all of the different layout possibilities. Before the afternoon was over we had finished the center of the top, planned the borders and backing and even discussed her next quilt! I believe there may be a new quilter among us!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's A Match!

Once again my local quilt shop has saved the day! They had a bright pink thread that was a very close match to what I needed to finish the quilting on my Quick Strippie. The new thread is a bit darker, but now that the quilting is finished it's very hard to tell the difference between the two threads. I don't think anyone will notice the difference. Now to get the binding done, so I can move on to the next project!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Don't You Hate It When This Happens?

This Strippie Quilt has been sitting in my sewing room all basted and ready to quilt since May...shameful, I know. I picked it up last night and wondered to myself why I have been putting off quilting it. I could have it quilted and bound in just a few hours, so I talked myself into finishing it up before starting on the Disappearing Nine-Patch that I planned out over the weekend. I decided to quilt simple free style curves along the strips...fast and easy! The only problem was that my estimation of how much thread it would take was off. I have 12" of quilt left to do and not nearly enough thread to finish the job. To add to the dilemma, I have no idea where I bought this thread or what the color number is. I guess I'll be making a trip to my local quilt shop today to see if I can find a close enough match. So much for a fast and easy finish!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Time For Some Color!

I am ready to work on something besides purple for awhile, so I pulled these fabrics out to make a quick disappearing nine-patch quilt. The green dot will be the center block and a narrow border, the red floral will be the outside border and the other prints will make up the nine-patch blocks. I'm really looking forward to working with all of these fun colors!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Made With Love And Hope!

"Sisters are for sharing laughter and wiping tears."

I surprised my sister with her quilt last night and yes, she loved it just as much as I thought she would.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Inquiring Minds Want To Know

I've had a few emails asking for directions for the blocks that I showed on Design Wall Monday, so I thought I would post the measurements that I used. Please remember that these blocks are still in the experimental stage...sew at your own risk!

Block 1: Start with a 6" white center square, border the center square with 2 - 2 1/2" x 6" red strips and 2 - 2 1/2" x 10" red strips, followed by 2 - 1 1/2" x 10" blue strips and 2- 1 1/2" x 12" blue strips.

Block 2: Start with a 6" red center square, border the center square with 2 - 1 1/2" x 6" blue strips and 2- 1 1/2" x 8" blue strips, followed by 2 - 2 1/2" x 8" white strips and 2 - 2 1/2" x 12" white strips.

Measure your finished block and find the center measurement. Cut the block in half and then into quarters.

Next take two quarters from Block 1 and two quarters from Block 2 to form a new block.

If you put together any of these blocks, send me a photo...I'd love to see them!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Binding Back-Story

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love plaid and striped bias bindings. In fact, a good share of my quilts end up with striped bias bindings, so some people may have a hard time believing that this purple gingham is not what I had originally planed on using for the binding on my sister's quilt. Shortly after I posted that I was gathering purple fabric for my sister's quilt I received an email from Marlene of Under the Rose saying that she had "some purple and white fabric" that she would like to send to me for my sister's quilt. By that time I had purchased all of the fabric needed, so I thanked her for the offer and suggested that it could be used for a Project Linus quilt, so if she really wanted to be rid of it, I would combine the scraps from my sister's quilt with her fabric to make a quilt to donate to Project Linus. She agreed that it would be a good use for the fabric and a box arrived on my doorstep a few days later. Remember she said "some fabric" which I assumed to be a yard or maybe two, so imagine my surprise when I opened the box to find eight yards of beautiful purple gingham fabric! On top of that, it matched my sister's quilt perfectly! There was no doubt that this fabric would end up in my sister's quilt after all, as the binding. As for the other seven yards, I have a feeling that I'm going to be making more than one purple quilt for Project Linus thanks to Marlene's generosity!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Black Bottom Cupcakes

Black Bottom Cupcakes

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Beat together the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and egg until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Set aside.

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients, stirring until just smooth.

Fill paper lined muffin cups 1/3 full with cupcake batter and top with a generous dollop of cream cheese filling. This will fill the cups almost completely which is fine. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the tops are slightly golden brown and the cupcakes feel springy when gently pressed.

These cupcakes should be stored in the refrigerator and will stay fresh for 3 or 4 days, but rarely do they last that long before they are all gone!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Christmas In July!

There is always a door prize drawing at our guild meetings...for a dollar you get a chance to win a lovely pack of fat quarters. I look at it as donating a dollar to the guild each month because my ticket is never drawn. Last night that changed...thanks to the young lady visiting from Georgia who pulled my ticket from the basket! I won these beautiful fat quarters from the Frosted Memories Christmas collection by Moda. It also happens that Needles Quilt Shop is having a Christmas in July sale this Thursday, Friday and Saturday and all of their Christmas fabric is 25% off and pre-cut fat quarters are only $1.25! I'm taking this all as a sign that I need to make a Christmas quilt, so I guess I will be Christmas shopping for companion fabrics this weekend!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Design Wall Monday

Anya and I were talking about all of the beautiful Bento Box quilts that we have been seeing on the quilting blogs lately which led to a little experimenting last week. Instead of making my blocks with the usual two colors and same width strips, I tried it with three colors and varied the width of the strips and came up with some interesting results. I still need to make a few more blocks, so I'm not sure what the final layout will look like, but I think I like the direction it's going in!

You can see Anya's Bento Box experiment at Hills Creek Quilter.

Be sure to stop by Patchwork Times to see what other quilters have on their design walls this week and add your latest project to the list too!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Homemade Jelly Rolls

The other day I got together with a couple of friends to help sort through some of the many boxes of fabric that has been donated by our guild members for guild charity projects. While we were sorting and folding we came up with the idea to cut strips for some jelly rolls. Have you ever tried to roll a jelly roll of the fabric variety? It's not the easiest thing to do! It does take some practice and at least four hands to get them just right, but we thought these turned out nice enough to be used as door prizes at tomorrow night's MLQG guild annual picnic.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Rescue Quilt

This is a hand pieced, hand quilted antique quilt that I found in a thrift store a couple of years ago. I could tell right away that it was very worn, stained and faded, but to me that means that it was loved. What a sad end for a quilt with so much history...to be left hanging in a thrift store. It looked like a treasure when I first saw it hanging on the rack, but once I unfolded it I discovered that someone had cut into it to make some sort of craft project! Suffice it to say, it broke my heart to see that quilt all cut to pieces and hanging in shreds. I put it back on the rack and walked away, but as I walked through the store the quilt kept calling me and I knew that I would have to take it home with me even though it was so severely damaged. Once I got it home, I carefully trimmed the quilt even and replaced the binding. It's not the quilt that it once was and it's certainly not a show piece, but I'd like to think that whoever made it so long ago would be happy if she knew her work is respected and the quilt she made is still loved.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ready To Raffle!

The binding is on and the Very Berry Lemonade quilt is ready to be raffled off! All of the proceeds from this raffle will go to the Northern Tier Children's Home, a local non-profit organization that provides community based care for boys and girls. If you are in the area and would like a chance to win, raffle tickets can be purchased at the NTCH Thrift Store located in Whitneyville, PA.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Miles Of Binding

Anya has finished quilting the Very Berry Lemonade quilt and has passed it back to me, so I can put the binding on. What in the world made me volunteer for this job??? I normally make small quilts and wall hangings which don't take hardly any time at all to put the binding on. This one is full sized and all I can say is...Holy cow, it's a long way around this quilt!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Design Wall Monday

Over the weekend I took a few minutes and stitched my Dear Jane blocks together. Don't look too closely...there are points missing all over this quilt, but done is better than perfect, right? The next step will be deciding on borders. I'm thinking a narrow border of the solid tan and then some kind of scrappy pieced border followed by another tan border. Maybe a braided border or just a simple border of scrappy bricks? Anyone have suggestions?

Be sure to stop by Patchwork Times to see what other quilters have on their design walls this week and add your latest project to the list too!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

No Slacking!

This is just a little snippet of the quilt that I am making for my sister to prove that I really haven't been a slacker all week. My sister does know that I am making her a quilt and that it is purple, but I still want it to be somewhat of a surprise, so I'm not showing the whole quilt until after I have given it to her. I hope to have it all done by her birthday on the 25th, so that only leaves me two short weeks to do the basting, quilting and binding! Nope, no slacking for me!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Baking Brownies

Yesterday Miss Two informed me that we haven't baked anything together since she was 5! Miss Two has only been 6 for two weeks, but she made it sound like an eternity since we have spent any time in the kitchen together. I guess two weeks is a very long time when you are 6 years old, so baking some brownies seemed to be the best way to remedy the problem!


1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Blend melted butter, sugar and vanilla in large bowl. Add eggs; using a wooden spoon, beat well.
Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually blend into egg mixture.
Spread in greased 9-inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until brownie begins to pull away from the edges of the pan. Cool and frost with Creamy Brownie Frosting. Cut into squares.

Creamy Brownie Frosting

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk

Cream butter, cocoa, corn syrup and vanilla in a small mixer bowl. Add confectioners' sugar and milk; beat to spreading consistency.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thyme Out!

The weatherman is promising summer weather for today and tomorrow here in Pennsylvania, so I'm taking a "thyme out" to play in the flowerbeds and enjoy the nice weather while it lasts!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dyeing For Some Fun!

Yesterday I got together with a group of my quilty friends to experiment with a little hand dyeing. I can't even begin to tell you how much fun it was playing with all of the beautiful colors...squirting a bit of dye on some plain white fabric, mixing in a dab of another color, smooshing it all together and then waiting for the big reveal once it was all dry. We followed Patsy Thompson's hand dyeing tutorial which explains the process very well, but rather than using fat quarters for "drip rags" we borrowed Ami Simms' Yo-Yo Sisterhood of the Traveling Panties idea and used cotton panties (new, of course) to wipe the drips, so now we have panties to match our fabric! Every quilter needs hand dyed panties that match her fabric stash, right? If you haven't tried hand dyeing, give it a try...it's great fun and even a beginner will end up with some beautiful one of a kind fabrics!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

No Template?

No template? No problem! I had to make an odd angle cut for some quilt blocks that I am working on. The pattern says to trace the template to freezer paper, iron the freezer paper to the fabric and then cut on the lines. That's just too much work for me, so I put my ruler over the pattern piece and then marked the outside lines with blue painter's tape. Once the ruler was marked, I was able to place it over the fabric squares and cut the wonky angle with no problem. The whole process took less than a few minutes and worked like a charm!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Faith & Prayer

Over the weekend I was reading through some of the quilting blogs at Quilter Blogs.com and stumbled on the story of a little boy with Autism named Gene Paul. You really need to visit Pumpkin Patch Primitives and read the whole story, but the condensed version is that Gene Paul was in a horrible mood because of the constant rain here in the northeast and wanted it stopped. His mother tried to explain to him that only God can change the weather, so he would have to ask God to stop the rain. It was at that point that Gene Paul's mother began to pray that her son's prayer would be heard, so that he would learn faith and trust in God. Although God sometimes answers 'no' or 'not right now', this time the answer to both prayers was 'yes'. It was such a touching reminder that God, faith and prayer will see us though life's storms no matter how big or small the storm is. God cares about our every need and concern and all we have to do is ask for His help with faith and we will be answered. Yesterday I mentioned a storm that my sister is going through and I want to thank you all for your kind words, but mostly for your prayers! Prayers are what will see my sister through this storm and all of your prayers are greatly appreciated!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Color Purple

Purple has always been my sister's favorite color. Actually, saying that purple is my sister's favorite color is an understatement...my sister LOVES purple and anything that is purple! Lately purple has a new meaning for our family, because it is also the awareness color for Hodgkin's Lymphoma and my sister was recently diagnosed with that awful disease. She spent over a week in the hospital last month for diagnostic testing and to begin chemotherapy treatments. During one of my visits to the hospital she asked if I would make her a purple "Linus Blanket". I had the idea of making her a quilt as soon as I found out that she was sick and I had started collecting purple fabrics even before she asked. So much for the surprise...I had to tell her that I had one in the works special just for her. Now that my sister knows I'm working on a quilt for her I can share bits and pieces of the project here on my blog. (Yes, this is the special quilt that I eluded to in last Friday's post.) At first I thought that this might be a difficult quilt to work on because my sister was so sick and we weren't sure what the outcome might be, but the good news is that she is doing much better now that she has started chemotherapy! The lymphoma symptoms are subsiding and she is only having mild side effects from the chemotherapy, so I'm really hoping that this quilt will end up being more of a birthday present instead of a "Linus Blanket".

Friday, July 3, 2009

Shirt Tales

Have you seen Bonnie Hunter's book, Scraps & Shirttails? It has some wonderful scrappy quilt patterns in it, but the main idea of the book is how to reuse, re-purpose and recycle old clothing so the fabric can be used in quilts. Quilting with clothing scraps isn't a new idea, but I'm thrilled that Bonnie has brought the time worn tradition back into style! I not only like the idea of making something new and beautiful from discarded clothing, but I love that old clothing can add extra sentimental value to a quilt. The shirt in this photo belonged to my daddy. It was one of his favorites because the French cuffs meant that he could wear one of the many sets of cuff links that he owned and liked so much. I knew after my daddy passed away that I would someday want to use his shirts to make a quilt, so they have been carefully packed away in my attic for the last year and a half. Up until now, I haven't had the strength to cut into them, but I need to add a little something extra to a very special quilt (more on that later), so today I will work up the courage to carefully take this shirt apart and give it a new life in a quilt.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Bloggers Luncheon

Kelly from I Have A Notion held a giveaway last week where she asked her readers to identify the owner of the sweatshirts that her two adorable boys were wearing in a photo that she had posted. I correctly guessed that they were wearing the shirts of a mutual friend of ours, Mary Jane. When Kelly emailed me to let me know that I had won the giveaway she asked for my mailing address, but also mentioned that she may deliver my prize in person as she and her family would be in Pennsylvania on vacation this week. Yesterday Kelly, Anya, Mary Jane (blogless), Eleanor (also blogless) and I all had lunch together. What a treat it was to meet a blogging friend from far away in person. I must say that Kelly is every bit as delightful in person as she is in blogland and look at my prize of wonderful bag tags that she brought along! (If you would like to make bag tags of your own you can find Kelly's tutorial HERE.) Kelly also passed these gently used pattern books on to me...thanks so much for everything, Kelly! Also many thanks to Mary Jane for organizing our lunch date and picking up the tab besides. It was a wonderful afternoon...it just didn't last long enough!

I also want to remind everyone that Kelly's week long vacation giveaway is continuing through the week, so be sure to stop by I Have A Notion and enter for a chance to win some great prizes!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Evening Fog

It stopped raining long enough last evening to get our Jeep out for a ride. (This has to be the soggiest summer on record for Pennsylvania...is it ever going to stop raining for more than a day at a time?) Anyway, we traveled some of the back roads of the Tioga State Forest, which is where I snapped this photo of fog settling into the valleys. It was quite a beautiful sight!

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