Saturday, December 28, 2019

Not Tea Cups

Hi, everyone!  I didn't mean to take so long between posts, but things have been mighty busy here - plus a trip out of town and Christmas!  Anyway ...

I love watching quilting videos on You Tube while I'm on the treadmill - especially ones by Missouri Star Quilt Company.  I watched one by Hillary (Jenny's daughter) called The Tea Cup Quilt and was fascinated by it.  It didn't look like tea cups to me, but I loved the sort of free-form squares and rectangles.  I knew I had to try it!

I cut into some batiks and before I knew it, I had a good number of blocks:


It was fun and they went together quickly!


And may I add, egads, I love these batiks!!!

I came up with the layout I wanted ...


... and had the top together before I knew it.  (The blue painters tape pieces were my row/column markers.). I auditioned a couple fabs for borders and came up with this:


I'm very pleased with the overall look and feel of it!


For the quilting, I did double wavy lines, running down the length of the quilt.


The whole thing reminds me of rain, so the wavy lines seemed to be a good fit.

For the binding, I used lighter prints at the top and darker at the bottom:


That was before I had done the hand work.  Yes, I sewed it on by hand!

About the same time I was making this, my husband mentioned the new door-less shower and how, now that it was cold out, it gets super drafty in there - and did I have any ideas about what we could do?  Well ... YES!


The colors are perfect in there, the size is right, and the whole "looking like rain" thing sort of fits the shower.  I found a nice-looking tension bar and clips, so installation was super easy - and we can take it down when the weather warms back up.

Because it all looks rainy to me, the boxes sort of look like curtains in windows - so I'm calling this the Curtains Quilt.  I'm not sure that's perfect, but it's good enough!

Fun tutorial, fun quilt to make, and it was awesome working with those batiks!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 13, 2019

Ferris Wheel

I'm blaming starting yet another project on some of my quilting friends.  Ha!  They had been discussing English Paper Piecing (EPP).  It's a technique I've used before and really enjoyed the process.  Basically, you have paper or cardboard shapes, secure your fabric around that, hand sew the fabric pieces together, then remove the papers.  Here's a much better explanation - click here, please!

My other projects were miniatures - hand pieced, hand quilted.  The first one was a Hexagon Quilt, made in August of 2000, using Civil War reproduction fabrics:


My finger is for size reference in these.

In December of that year, I pieced this one:


I called it "Voting Blocks", as I made it during the election period.

Next up, a combo of some EPP, a little appliqué, and a touch of embroidery:


I called that one Grandmother's Tiny Flower Garden - made in 2007.

ANYWAY, I remember enjoying the process, so I thought I'd start another! That would explain ...


What a mess.

I had a pattern pack of pre-made templates for a quilt called Ferris Wheel, so I thought I'd give that a whirl.

I've watched a lot of YouTube vids about EPP and the current trend is to use glue rather than stitching your fabric to the templates. That sounded a lot easier and faster!  My pieces are about half and half - some stitched, some glued. All I had to start was a glue stick, and I was a bit concerned about the template removal process.

The pattern I'm following calls for sewing your shapes into long strips ...


... two different kinds of strip sets ...


... then joining those strips together:


That's as far as I've gotten. (I even exhausted Maggie, as you can see!) The big difference between this one and the others is that there are three different shapes.  The hexagons are pleasant enough, and the squares are OK, but YIKES, those triangles are insane to deal with!  What was I thinking?!?

Anyway, I'll have time to get back to hand work coming up, so I will continue to march on it.

Oh!  And I found a "quilter's glue stick" that is recommended by some of the EPP experts.  I got mine from Amazon - you can see it here.  Very handy and much neater to work with than my old glue stick.

That's it for now!  Thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 12, 2019


I know!  It's been way too long!  I've been doing a lot of quilting, just not taking the time to update the blog.  I thought I'd make an attempt to get caught up starting today.

Remember the Not Kira quilt I pieced back in August?  I quilted it back in October.  Let's take a look at the process!

I wasn't sure what I was going to do at first, then went with wavy lines.


I love wavy lines.  I used Canaan, by King Tut.  Lovely shades of silvery, light grey!

I thought I'd do groups of three one way and one lone wave doing a criss-cross. You can see that better on the reverse side:


The more I looked at it, though, the more I wanted MORE.


I knuckled down, tried to be patient with myself, and did a three-line wavy pattern, both ways:


I was so much happier!

Speaking of happier, I also realized that yes, for some projects I really like the "all machine bound" option - especially for things that will be laundered frequently. But for this? No. I really knew I'd be happier doing the binding by hand. I sewed the front on by machine of course ...


... and now I'm slowly but surely sewing it to the back by hand.

Also, at the suggestion of a friend (thanks, Cindy!) I have renamed "Not Kira" to "Kaleidoscope"! I think it's a good fit! Full photos upon completion!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 7, 2019


Hi everyone!  In the "Yay, I'm Finished!" category today, we have ... Christmas In The City!!!


I really had fun with this one.  That fabric ... I just can't thank my friend Donna enough for giving me her VERY cool retro "scraps"!!! I love the bright, cheery fabs paired up with the city map fabric - I'm very pleased with how it came out! (... except maybe for having some rows "off", but that's another story altogether!)

I ended up sewing the binding by hand; I'm really happy with how it came out!  I'm still working on my machine binding skills, but ... I need work!

Here's a look at the back; you can get a good look at the quilting this way:


I had a swingin', groovin', retro-coolin' time making this quilt! Thanks again to Donna for the awesome fabrics!

Thanks for reading!

PS:  Maggie likes it, too.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Storage Cube

Hi everyone!  I thought I'd give you a couple updates today!

Remember the not-a-Kira quilt?  I finally pieced a backing for that!  I have it all basted and ready to be quilted.  Now I just need some time.  And to decide how I'm going to quilt it.  I keep changing my mind on that!  One of my friends suggested the name "Kaleidoscope" and I really like that!  I think I'm running with it!

And the Hunter's Star?  That massive quilt is now in the hands of a professional long-armer.  I'm SUPER excited!  More details to come on that!

The only other project I've tackled lately is a toy box for my girls!


I used Soft and Stable to help the box hold its shape.  I heard in another video that using Wonder Clips can help "train" the foam to go the way you want it to go, so after I hit the top seam with an iron, I Wonder Clipped the top before doing the top-stitching.  It worked out very well!

It was tricky sewing a cube (the "Y" seams at the bottom corners), but I followed a tutorial by Debby Shore. I found her directions to be clear and easy to follow. I've just "discovered" her videos and am really enjoying them!

Speaking of enjoying things ...


Both Cam and Maggie are enjoying their new toy box!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Wrapping It Up

Hi everyone!  I have two more little fabric baskets to show you today - made from the same tutorial from Pink Penguin that I've used many, many times.  I love the size and shape of this basket; we have a few here at the house and they are so handy!

A couple weeks ago, I showed you two I made recently - the one in colonial/early American type fabrics was for my mom and the denim/homespun one was for the owners of the cabin we stayed in on our trip out to see her.  Just a little "thank you" -- especially since they had no problem with our pups staying there.  I made two others, and they wrap up all the "making them for the trip" projects!

First up was this one:


Pumpkins, acorns, leaves, sunflowers ... a lot of fun Fall fabrics!  I wanted to leave something with my mom to give to my sister-in-law.  (She and my brother live close to where my mom is, but they weren't home when we visited.). I thought it was adorable!

Next, a variation on a theme:


Sunflowers, crows, birdhouses, lots of garden motifs.  I didn't piece the top of the outer part; I just wanted those sunflowers to shine!  I gave it to my neighbor as a "thank you" for taking our mail in and watching the house a bit while we were gone.  She grows sunflowers, like the good Kansan that she is - and has a veggie garden.  She really seemed to like it; I loved giving it to her!

That's a wrap of the "trip" projects!  As always, thank you so much for reading!

Monday, September 30, 2019

Drawstring Tote

Hi everyone!  I have another bag to show you today -- and it's actually NOT a Dumpling Pouch!  I know; it's shocking.  Ha!

I've wanted to make a drawstring tote, or cinch-top tote for YEARS!  I finally took the plunge, using fabrics I've been really wanting to do something fun with.  Let's jump ahead to the finished bag!


There are many, many different tutorials for this type of bag all over the internet. I finally chose one (this one, by Shabby Fabrics) and gave it a go. I did make some changes ... of course!

I decided to use Soft and Stable for the body of the bag and to quilt it.


Can you see the quilting? Here's the flip side:


I used a fabulous variegated pinks/reds thread by King Tut - Red Sea. It was perfect for this project!

I didn't like how you could see the wrong side of the fabric of the cinch-top when it was open as per the tutorial, so I sort of doubled that. I'll have an easier way of doing it next time; it is a bit bulky when you cinch it closed, but I'd rather have that than the wrong side of the fabric showing. Yes, even if I'm the only one who will see it!


I used variegated pink string that I had - and quadrupled it.


I also used the end caps from the the same discarded windbreaker mentioned in my last post (I used the zipper for that pouch!) to dress the ends of the strings up a bit. I think it's a nice "finish"!

It's already been put to work (on the trip) and not only did well, but was so fun to use! I've washed it now and it still looks awesome!

It was so fun to finally make one of these totes AND to use these fabrics!  I'm sure I'll be making another one of these soon!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Number Seven

Hi, everyone!  Yes, another Persimmon Dumpling Pouch!  Have I mentioned these are a bit addictive?!?  This one was for the trip, too, but to take to my mom as a little gift.  (The little colonial fabric basket was for her, too; she used to do a lot of tole painting and likes the Early American look!). Anyway ...

I did a little wavy quilting on the outside of the pouch and ...


Fortunately, I saw it coming and had ordered more to have on hand for just such an emergency!

"The King is dead; long live the King!"

I so totally love King Tut thread!!!

PDP#7 had a cool, retro vibe to it!


The fabric is a heavy canvas, so it has nice shape and form even with "just" batting inside.  The zipper is from a discarded windbreaker.

I added fabric tabs at both ends, to make it easier for my mom to open and close, and found two very cool buttons to sew together to use as a zipper pull:


I thought that would make it easier for her to grip!  I also put a little Super Glue on the threads to prevent any fraying or un-knotting.

I made two interior pockets from a coordinating canvas:

  the Persimmon Dumpling Pouch!
The interior fabric is a cute quilt-weight cotton.

I love making these - and adding my own touches here and there!  And I loved giving this one to my mom!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Another Serving Of Dumplings

Hi, everyone!  As I mentioned, I may be addicted to making the Persimmon Dumpling Pouches by Sew Sweetness.  I thought I should make a couple for my husband, for him to take on our trip!

For the first one, I grabbed one of his old uniforms. I thought it would look great with a bright red zipper (still using zips I had saved from discarded clothing!) and a flag-themed fabric for the liner.


I lined the front with batting and put a few lines of quilting in there for detail and to hold the layers together.

Right after I started that pouch, #5, my order for Soft and Stable came in!  I just HAD to try it out, and got to work on Persimmon Dumpling Pouch #6:


Very easy to quilt through, easy to cut, and I'm so thankful for Wonder Clips.

This time, I used a Desert Storm camo fabric.  I used part of it (it was a rucksack cover) for a new mat for the girls and had just a smidge left over.  I thought my hubby could use two pouches.  Right?


I love the professional look I got using the Soft and Stable -- the pouch sits up nicely and just has a great feel to it!

I'm not unhappy with using the batting, though -- the BDU camo is so thick that combined with the batting, it also has a nice heft.  Here are the two pouches:


On both pouches, I installed tabs on both sides, for easy zipping and unzipping.  For #5, I used folded BDU fabric; it was a bit thick to deal with.  For #6, I used the ribbon from DCU pant legs.  I used the same ribbon as a zipper pull for that pouch, and the ribbon from BDU pants for the other.

Here's a peek inside:


By the time I was on pouch #6, I was confident enough to make some personalizations, and put a pocket inside:


I measured before I made it, so it could fit his razor -- he used this as a dopp kit on the trip!

I confess, I may have gotten the girls involved in a couple photos of Pouch #5 ...


Oh, trust me, they were duly rewarded for their efforts!

As always, thank you for reading!

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Drawstring Squishy Bag

Hi everyone!  Several of the little bags I made recently were to help keep us organized on our trip - and this next one is a great example.  True, I had watched another YouTube video and couldn't wait to try my hand at it ... but I also thought it would come in handy for the trip.

I present the Drawstring Squishy Bag With Pocket (tutorial from Erica at Confessions of a Home Schooler):


All coffee prints because yes, we brought our own coffee. We were very glad we had!

The bag is fully lined, drawstring closure, and a sweet pocket on the outside.


It also has a cute little grab handle.

I used cording and a barrel-style cord lock I had saved from something. It was perfect for this project!

Like the Dumpling Pouches I showed you in the last post, this has been through the washer and dryer now and still looks wonderful!

If you're looking for a fun, quick project that has great utility, this one sure fits the bill!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

New Purse And Another Dumpling Pouch. Or 2. Or 3.

Hi everyone!  I decided at some point that I wanted a new purse.  The one I had been carrying was OK, but heavy!  What did I do that made it so heavy?  I have no idea.  Anyway, I knew the exact fabric I wanted to use!

Camo print with a plum (is that plum?) roses:


To be honest, it's a pair of jeans.  Actually, two pairs.  I bought a pair and they were too small.  I was in love with the print, so I bought the next larger size.  They weren't much better, but I vowed I'd be able to wear them.  Some day.  So ... to make a long story short, both pairs are now too large (yeah!  but ... that FABRIC!!!).  I thought a bag was the answer.

My plan was to just wing it for the bag itself, but I had watched a tutorial on how to install a recessed zipper into any bag and thought I'd give that a go.


Her instructions were pretty clear, but I did a lot of stopping and re-starting the vid.  She's a fast talker.  Or I'm a slow learner.  Whatever.  I liked how her tabs stuck way out on each side and it just looked cool.  And relatively easy.  Except ...

"Oh, -- insert HBO words here --!!!"

Yeah.  Oops.  Well, that's why God gave us seam rippers, right?

My bag was together before I knew it:


The fabric, the purple/plum/pink/whatever else is an old Mary Ellen Hopkins that I probably bought in Korea.  I thought it was a good fit!


A pocket on a pocket on the outside front!

I still had fabric left over, so I decided to make another Persimmon Dumpling Pouch!  Or two.


Or three.

I used recycled zippers from discarded clothing:


And for zipper pulls and tabs at each end, I used the ribbon from the bottom of BDU pants: 


The tabs on the ends make it much easier to zip and unzip the bags!


I love that Sara includes three different sizes for the pouch - and they nest inside each other for easy storage!  I took mine with us on our trip (toiletries, cosmetics, etc.) and they were SO handy!  I've even washed them now and they held up perfectly!  Yay!

Please stay tuned ... there is a good chance there are more Dumpling Pouches to come!

As always, thank you for reading!