Friday, September 22, 2017

Happy Fall!

I love fall! I love the cooler temps, pulling on a sweater and leggings, bundling up under a a quilt. Sadly, even though the calendar says "fall", Texas didn't get the memo. It's still 90+ degrees outside and I'm hiding in the air conditioning in capris & a t-shirt. boo.

However, I've been having a blast making some new clothes for when fall finally decides to show up. I had been eyeing up Grainline Studio's Linden Sweatshirt pattern for a while. About a month ago, we were driving through Austin and I convinced hubby I needed to stop off at The Cloth Pocket. They had the pattern and some yummy french terry sweatshirt fabric, so of course I indulged!
My very first Linden Sweatshirt! I added about 2 inches to the length (front and back) and did a split hem using this tutorial. Easy as pie!
As with all Grainline Studio patterns, it was well written and easy to follow. The finished top fits great and looks terrific.
Then I found a super soft, gorgeous knit at Joanns and it just jumped into my cart (gotta love those 50% off coupons!). I quickly whipped up another Linden...
For this one, I added six inches to the front and 8 inches to the back. It's nice and long and will be great with leggings! I did a side vent bottom using this tutorial and I love the way it looks.

I had also bought a gorgeous cotton knit floral at Hobby Lobby. Seriously, this fabric is so soft, it feels like butter! I wanted something drapey out of this fabric, so I chose this pattern from my stash...

I made view D, which is simple and quick and the finished top is just perfect.
So, I'm ready for fall..... any day now!


Monday, September 11, 2017

woven pillows

I wanted to weave some pillows for my sister's birthday. She has a new gray couch. I chose these beautiful bright colors to go with two shades of gray (ps: that's not her couch, it's mine. I know, not gray)....

The weft was all light gray (double strands in a 10 dent heddle) and the warp was a mixture of the brights and darker gray. All of the yarn is Valley 8/2 cotton from Webs. I did all plain weave but played with color to create patterns.
In the end, I had 2 pretty pillows to bring to her last weekend. One 16" square and the other 11"x16" rectangle. I have oodles of fun fabric to make bags and things with later.
also not my couch, or hers

I hope they bring her joy!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

fancy foxes

Baby quilt #2 that I pieced on retreat has been delivered to it's new tiny owner, so I can share it here! I was amazed how quick the foxes went together. I had cut them out (all from my stash) so when I got to retreat I was ready to sew sew sew...
Diann quilted it in a woodgrain pattern with minky on the back and it's super soft
I loved making this one! Just might do it again. Pattern is Fancy Foxes by Elizabeth Hartman.
This is finish #3 in the third quarter of the 2017 finish-along.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Reading People... book review

I've recently become very interested in personality typing. Several podcasters I listen to on a regular basis are obsessed with it, constantly asking their guests "what type are you?". Whether it's Myers Briggs typing, Enneagram, or something else, everyone seems to be classifying  themselves, their friends, their family members. Wanting to know what all of the hoopla was all about, I loaded up on books from the library and Amazon. Then I became totally confused! I had no idea where to start on my quest for information. The more I read, the more questions I had.

Anne Bogel to the rescue! Anne is the voice behind the awesome podcast, What Should I Read Next? and the author of the blog, Modern Mrs. Darcy. I answered a call to participate in the launch team for her new book, Reading People, releasing September 19. I got the email that I had been chosen for the team, loaded the book onto my kindle app and dove in, having no idea what the book was about. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that it is the ultimate guide to personality typing!

As the book unfolded, all of my questions were answered. Each chapter introduces a different form of personality typing, from Myers Briggs to love languages, Enneagrams, Highly Sensitive People (a new one for me!) and more. Anne writes in a conversational style. I felt like we were sitting at my kitchen table over a cup of tea. I took many quotes away from the book, like this one, one of my favorites...
Anne gave so many resources and steps to take to learn more. I did reconfirm that I am an INFJ. As for my Enneagram type, that is still up for debate! More reading to be done. Hubby and I had a fun evening reading each other's personality descriptions. Even after 30+ years together, we discovered things about each other and gained insight into why we interact the way we do. Fascinating!

I think everyone would benefit from reading this terrific book. You can preorder yours here, and receive  lots of bonus goodies from Anne. Five stars from this happy reader!

while I did receive an advance copy of this book for free, the opinions I've shared here are totally my own. I really did love it! 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

baby quilt

I shared in my Q3 finish-a-long goals post that I had two baby quilts to make for babies due early September, a boy quilt and a girl quilt. Well we all know babies have minds of their own! Both arrived in August! I was able to deliver the baby girl quilt this weekend....
Pink and gold was the request! I cut squares from my stash and did offset borders. Quilted it with crosshatching in the patchwork and curvy lines for the rest.
Backed it in flannel for lots of cozy baby snuggles, and pieced the back with some extra squares too...

checking this one off as DONE! The boy quilt is done too... will share that soon, after it has been delivered!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


When your adult son's childhood best friend contacts you and says "can I commission you to make something for my mom's birthday?" you jump right on it! Seriously, I was so thrilled to hear from him and to make something for the precious lady who was my son's second mom growing up. An honor! He said mom loves giraffes & gave me colors to work with and I was off and running.

Two 20" quilted pillows were the end result. I used assorted grays for the backgrounds & burgundy and gold prints for the giraffes, which I drew up from random clip art, fused and machine stitched on.

I even put a giraffe on the back of one pillow...
She told me today that that one always makes her smile. 

I did exposed metal zipper openings on the back, so the covers can be removed and washed if needed...

I was really pleased with the end result and she loved them! what a fun project for me!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Improv stripes

A few weeks ago, Debbie, over at A Quilter's Table, started an improv stripes sew along. On the first day she gave us a tutorial for how she makes her blocks. This happened to coordinate with my retreat so, after finding some internet when we went into town, I read her post and set to work! I used all black and white prints, along with black, white & a bit of yellow solids.
Once I got home, it was fun to rearrange the blocks, trim them up to make them fit, and assemble them into a finished quilt. Because I don't usually follow the rules (though admittedly, Debbie didn't make any rules, so that was helpful!) I added some appliqué flower petals to my finished top. 

I quilted it on my domestic machine, starting with a yellow spiral in one corner, then adding white lines here and there...
My finished quilt is 25" x 30". I was happy to add this improv method to my toolbox!
Check out all of the beautiful quilts on Instagram at #improvstripesqal 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


Maybe you remember what my word of the year is. Maybe not. I don't mention it much here, and maybe I should. Back in January I chose "Be Present" as my word of the year for 2017 (yes, I am well aware that it is two words, not one. My game my rules!). Even though I have not brought it up here on the blog, keeping "Be Present" at the front of my thoughts has influenced many of my choices throughout the year. It has impacted my reading choices. It has also affected my decisions about how I spend my time.

On Monday, there was a total eclipse of the sun. Maybe you heard about it? Or maybe you are living under a rock and missed it altogether. I get that. Northeast Texas, where I live, was not on the
path of totality (who comes up with these phrases?). Several of my friends packed up their families and traveled to faraway spots where they could view the total eclipse, alongside hundreds of strangers. They all reported spectacular experiences. Special eclipse glasses sold out long before the event. I didn't buy a pair.

Honestly I had no plan to view the eclipse. I have fond memories of such an event back in the 1960s. Everyone in my elementary school made viewing boxes out of shoeboxes and we all paraded onto the playground at the designated time to watch the eclipse. It was cool. But this time, I was happily sewing away in my studio. The sunlight began to dim and cast a bit of an eerie glow over my work. Someone on Instagram posted a picture of the shadow coming through pinholes in the leaves on their trees. Suddenly I needed to see it too,
I walked out to the sidewalk in front of our house and, sure enough, there it was! Dozens of tiny eclipse shadows breaking though the trees. I was totally present in that moment, marveling at the wonders of God's creation..... no one to share it with but filled with awe.
I've heard stories of huge groups of strangers cheering together when the eclipse occurred. Even my husband went out into the parking lot at work with his coworkers and watched it through a pair of borrowed glasses and a pinhole in a sheet of paper. I guess it would have been a cool thing to share with others, but honestly? I was content to spend a few minutes alone on the sidewalk, just being present.

Monday, August 21, 2017


It's taken three visits from Ally & Malibu, but our dog Lexi and Mali have finally become friends. Ally was home last week and then we went down to San Marcos to help her move into a new apartment. Rick loaded up his truck with boxes & did about a million trips up and down 3 flights of stairs. Meanwhile, I had the torturous job of "babysitting" Malibu back at the hotel.
and look who she brought with her! Little llama softie is her new best friend.

More sewing posts coming soon!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

little llama softie

A couple of weeks ago, Jennifer Jangles had  a sew along with her little llama softie pattern. Since Ally loves llamas, I had already purchased the pattern. Naturally I decided to sew along!
What a fun pattern, and easy too! I used sherpa fur for her body. I hadn't sewn with fur in a long time, but Jennifer gave great tips and it was easy to do.
Wool felt for her muzzle. Also, I used the black safety eyes, not that Ally needs them, ha! something new for me. They worked out great . I put a bow on her head so everyone would know she is a girl (never mind the pink ears which should give it away.)

A blanket from my stash, with aqua ric rac and tiny pompoms, because, why not?
Ally loved her so it's a success! Check out some of the other llamas made during the sew along here, on Jennifer's blog. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

and another dresden

One of my retreat finishes last week was this crazy dresden quilt! It was another one of those designs I woke up with early morning and had to make right away. In some ways I love when that happens, those seem to be my most creative moments, just before the day begins. But really, it throws everything off! Nothing else gets accomplished around here until I give in to the ideas and get them made. Oh well!

I grabbed two contrasting Kona cottons that were in my stash, my usual slate gray and a bright orange, and went to work. Each wedge is made from a seamed strip of the two colors, cut with a 9 degree dresden ruler. This means there are 40 total wedges in the spiral. I did the math & cut each dresden 1/4" longer than the previous one. I'm not going to lie, this took a while! But it was oh so worth it in the end!

I was so in love with the final result, I knew I had to take it to my pal Diann (Happy Quilts) for quilting. I couldn't risk ruining it. And I'm so glad I did!
Diann custom quilted it. Check out some of her incredible work...

All that was left for me to do at retreat was the binding!
Finished quilt is 31" square. Also, it needs a name.....

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


It seems I have become a bit of a dresden fanatic lately! This has been fueled in part by a challenge/swap issued by our guild (McKinney Modern Quilt Guild). We were challenged back in the spring to make up to 12 dresdens in a  certain color palette to swap at our August meeting. If I still had the color card I'd share it with you, but it has disappeared. There was a wide range of options, a full rainbow really, in jewel tone shades. We could make any size dresden, any size wedge, in the color palette that we wished. I decided to make a variety of kinds and sizes in primarily two of the colors (teal and bright pink). Then I found a stripe in my stash that had most of the colors in it, so I used that too. In the end I had 8 dresdens to swap.

I turned them in at our meeting last week and received these 8, made by other guild members (I wish I knew who!)
Aren't they wonderful? Now the challenge is to make them into "something" by our October meeting. I have a few ideas and the clock is ticking!