Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013


What projects has everyone been working on?  Quilting, binding, cutting, piecing?  Or is this a non-quilting, crafting, cooking, purchasing... kind of weekend?  

As usual - trying to get in a little of both.  As you have probably guessed - doing one project or just sitting are not on my happy list!      

Spent some time with the youngest yesterday doing mother-daughter stuff - you know... shopping and eating!  We went to Goodwill, to Target (to return a shirt) and then to Ross to look for dresses.  The youngest got a really cute shirt.  Next was the Dollar Store for some boring stuff like toothpaste and cotton swabs - but it is always entertaining looking around at all the fun stuff a Dollar Store has!!! Then we went and had sushi... yum.....  Can I just say that we love crispy tofu?  Mmmmmm, they put it on a bed of greens and carrot strips with this dreamy dressing....  mmmmm....  We have been trying to recreate the dressing - but we just keep having to go back to try it over and over because there is just one flavor we cannot seem to put our finger on.... Darn!  One last stop at Big Lots for some snacks and Easter candy for our church Easter Egg Hunt for the little ones.... and we did not forget to take it to church this morning!  

What an awesome day.... especially since I got to spend it with my youngest.  Next weekend I get to spend some time with my oldest on Easter... so looking forward to that!  

Have been thinking a LOT about the glorious fat quarters I bought on New Year's Day at my favorite Quilt Shop.  While it is pretty cool to have a stash built up - I am not quite up to the level of being able to just pull some fabric out and create something yet.....  So... what did I go and do??  Signed up for another class.  Yes, I know, I know..... said I was not going to do that... makes me too busy, etc.....

However, in my defense - it is only three evenings and it is the most adorable quilt I have ever seen!  Super excited and cannot wait to share it with you... the pattern is "Urban Cowgirl" - on Moda's free pattern page.  This pattern uses 30 different fat quarters, yes - 30!  So just might have to pick up a few more to go with these 

or maybe some will come out.  Can see now in the picture that more contrast is needed.....maybe some more dark colors...... but then that might come from the background fabric - which will probably be brown... like milk chocolate...  maybe a little lighter than the brown I threw on the pile.... probably a solid....  

Oh the possibilities and so very exciting!  Plus I will learn a new technique - putting adorable 3-D flowers in the centers of the stars....  This class starts in April and will most definitely tell you all about it!  

So what to do with the other fat quarters????  There are  lovely blue fabrics and a lot of light yellow fabric left over from the "Mystery to Me" quilt top......  

Maybe it is time to start making all the different traditional blocks.  Definitely start out with easy ones.  I love the star blocks.  My rationale is that this would be a great skills builder... for me at least.... being a beginner and all.  

As I was surfing on the internet and going through my books.... I found patterns for blocks which represent each state.  A moment of clarity hit me (which is rare)...... 

I could make blocks of the states from which different members of my family were born in. So, I put together an Ohio Star for my hubby last night.  Will have to take it apart because I bunched up the fabric in one spot so the point is wonky but overall what a fun block.  

I am going to use the same yellow fabric for background on all the blocks and the same blue and yellow fabric for the center or if the center is not solid like the Ohio Start - used in the construction of the center - but different blue fabrics for the rest of the  block.  I think this just might be a beautiful quilt!  Not only for the colors - but that we will be able to look at it as a family quilt.... see a block and know exactly who it is for.  

Weekends are the best aren't they?  Just wish they did not have to end.....  

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Oh my {sigh}.....  

Mystery quilt top without borders, delivered yesterday.... check.  

Month 2 of Block of the Month, shown and received kit for Month 3.... check.  

Mailed giveaway to Tanya of Tanya and Richard Quilts.... check.  

Ahh.... will not bore you (or myself) with the daily chores and work related stuff.....  

Put my feet up and read a little in my book.....  check, check, check..... 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

I waited.....

Got some much needed time in the sewing room today.  Still have plenty to do tomorrow....  You see, I waited.  That's right - I waited until the last minute.... okay not the very last minute - but pretty darn close.  I have a couple of deadlines....  This week is Mystery reveal at my favorite quilt shop and the following day it is time for BOM.  And I am only half-way through the construction of the mystery quilt - not even close to cutting or sewing a border on....  and until today - had not made the tester block for BOM....  

Yes, I waited... much too long. 

Oh it felt good to get in here and cut, sewing, press, cut, sew and press...  ahhhhhh.....  

But first I got to spend some time with some of my favorites - the Prayer Shawl ladies....  It is great to spend two hours every month with these women who love to work with yarn and love to do it for charity!  I have written about these awesome friends in several earlier posts... here and here .....  what is really fantastic is that a friend of mine from high school joined us today.  We had reconnected over Facebook - but have not seen each other in over 30 years! 

So while talking (and I do a lot of talking) I got to work a little bit on my newest baby afghan... it is new for me to switch colors every row and I really had not wanted to attempt it because of the time it takes to tie in every loose strand - but this technique uses only three colors and you never cut - until the end that is... you just carry it up to the next row... LOVE THIS....  Another great reason for spending time with my favorites... I learn so much!  

I am really loving working in the bright colors too.  All Red Heart - Bright White, Spring Green and Turqua.  

Once home, out of the visiting clothes and into something way comfy... I started cutting the fabric for the BOM tester block.  Can I just say that I am still in Template Love? And it has not waned one bit!    

This second block is called Mexicali Rosie and it is an awesome block.  

Having a test run is a great idea... there are areas that need work on this one and practice, practice, practice, only makes you better.... so the real block will be cut and constructed tomorrow!  

I am so looking forward to more time in the sewing room... because I still have SOOOOO much to do... but the best part about waiting is that I love every crazy, wonderful, silly, creative, satisfying moment when I finally get there!  

Thursday, March 14, 2013

And the Winner Is.......

Oh my goodness...  what a week.... I must give a BIG THANK You to Michele at Quilter's Gallery for hosting this wonderful blog party... I tell you I have met so many new friends and have read some awesome blogs....  And I cannot even to begin to thank all the fantastic quilters who have joined my blog and left so many great tips, desires and befuddling moments in their quilt journeys!  I am so excited to start this new journey with all of you...  

Okay - on to the moment we have all been waiting for!  

But I must show you the pictures of how we drew the winner... because we spared no expense and got the best of the best to handle this very important and momentous event for this blog to date!  (And all the pictures - except for the very last one - were taken by my youngest who has her own blog - which she has just started!!!!) 


 Here is the very (and I stress very) sophisticated way that we entered all the names of participants into the drawing.  

I employed the best inspector money cat treats could buy!

We also made sure we had the most up-to-date equipment out there! 

The equipment was in tip-top shape....  and quite handsome too :) 

Mr. Tally Man went in for the....... 

Oh wait - the inspector had to make sure everything was in order...... 

And the winner is............

TANYA!!!  "I am a new follower.  I am still a beginner and so lots of things befuddle me....."  

I have sent you an email Tanya!  Congrats for being the winner of my first ever giveaway! 

I know that the rest of the week and weekend we will all be waiting to see if we won any of the other great giveaways and were there ever a lot to enter!  So keeping my fingers and toes crossed for all of us to win something!   

This was so much fun and I am really excited that we will all be there for each other - especially in the moments that befuddle us the most...  

And I have a great hubby and youngest who helped me with all of my fun!  

Well, I am off to finish what got this whole thing started..... 

those darn triangles.............

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Homemade Cards and Pinning Dreams

Wow....  what an awesome blog party we are having right now.  I am still not done visiting all the wonderful blogs - but I will get it done before the week is up! And have I ever made a bunch of new quilty and crafty friends.....  this is fantastic!  

Needed to do a little crafting and continue to work on the "Not A Good Kind Of Wonky" quilt top.  (Don't you just love how your quilt will speak to you - mine always give me their names before I sew up the last piece!  

My dear friend is having a birthday.  I wanted to make her a card and decided I would use the lyrics to her favorite song as a background paper.  I type up the lyrics and using Word - I change the font size and boldness of phrases and words to give it some interest.....  

Then I cut it down to the size I want and get it ready for matting...  
I really like simple cards..... I have been cardmaking for a long time and have found that my taste is more along the lines of "less is more." Now that is only my taste - I have seen some absolutely stunning cards that put mine to shame....  

I love Stickles... it helps add a little sparkle to a card....  

 See how it just added that little extra touch to the stamped flowers!  
And some more matting - a little positioning and there you have it.... 
Pretty little cards for special friends!  (I made up a second one for my friend in Wisconsin who I have been very neglectful of recently!) 

Okay - now I must get back to work....  all this pinning because I made a little huge mistake in block construction.

Bet I do not make that mistake again!  

Friday, March 8, 2013

For the Love of Triangles..... and a Giveaway!

Being new to the world of creating quilts..... I believe that there may be a technique, a pattern, a template or a shape that has each of us befuddled....  (I like that word).  

For me it is a shape.....  a funny little three-sided guy.  It really shouldn't get us into too much trouble, right?  I love, love, love quilt tops where the blocks are on point.  I have made two now and I really do love them.  And what shape is a must-have for an on point design?  You got it..... triangle.  

So in all honesty - even though this is my first ever mini-tutorial..... it is more for me than anyone else.  And it is a no-brainer for the more experienced quilter - that is for sure.... but I must get my feet wet somewhere - so it might as well be with triangles.  

It all started when I was sewing these lovely triangles to a square.... I put the iPod on Pandora - tuned it to the Billie Holiday station and off I went. 

By the time I was pressing the second set that I had sewn.... my fears were confirmed - something was wrong....very wrong.  

Can you see it in the picture above????  I did not center the triangle so every single one of the squares had the triangle in a different spot - so no matter what I do - this quilt top was going to go together pretty wonky!  Not in a good wonky way either!  At this point it was too late to use my best friend in the whole world - seam ripper - because I had cut my corners off!  (lesson number 1 - do not cut corners off until you are sure!)  The funny thing is that the whole time I was humming away, I knew that I should probably find the centers and match them up - but Billie just carried me away and I got into a rhythm. No, I am not blaming Billie either!  (lesson number 2 - go with your gut!)

So when it came time to sew on the second set of triangles.....  I confirmed with my instructor - what I knew all along - center it before you sew.  

The best way I could do this was to finger press the square to find its center and finger press the triangle to find its center..... 

Then match your creases up.  At this point, you can pin.  I usually do not pin until I am assembling rows and I need to match seams and so forth - but that is another post!  

Now you go take your matched creases to the sewing machine....    Needle placement will confirm that you have found the centers and most likely you will have a successful triangle experience.  
Hopefully you can see in the picture that your needle is flush up against the 45 degree angle created by your bottom piece and top triangle.  If your needle is there - all is well!!!  
Let the singing begin!  

Yay - my first ever tutorial!  Now it is time for a real celebration........ GIVEAWAY!  And this is not just my giveaway - you can go see a list of all the other blogs by clicking on the blog button to the right of this post that looks just like this one: 

or you can click here....... and see all of their giveaways too!  How awesome is that?  You know where I will be spending some time this weekend. 

So what am I giving away?  Well, how about a book and a tool? 

This is Marsha Bergren's book called "Let's Twist.... Again" published by CS Designs at and the Lil' Twister tool....  The book has great projects and the twister quilt blocks are ADORABLE!  I picked these up during a Quilt Shop Hop last fall......  

So, how do you enter?  Just two little steps:   

1.   Become a friend (follower) of my blog.
2. Leave a comment to this post sharing your own befuddling technique, pattern, shape......  

Easy as pie!  

(And we will learn from each other!!!!)  

I will ship internationally!  

The Giveaway will stay open until March 14th.**  Then we will put all the names from the comment section below into a hat.  My hubby will pick the winner.  I will share the winner's comment on Friday, March 15th - and ask for contact information

A tutorial and a giveaway - all in one day!

**Just an update - the giveaway will stay open until 8:00 p.m. Arizona time on March 14th.....  Mr. Tally Man will need a little time to set up the very high tech name selection!  (And yes, there will be pictures!)   

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What's Up...... on my design wall.....

The picture just did not come out....   The lighting is very very very poor and I may need to invest in a better camera (the youngest would be THRILLED because she has a new blog of her own).  

So my design wall is full of the layout of the Mystery Quilt designed by Debbie Caffrey (If you ever ever ever get a chance to do a mystery of hers - please do!  I have learned sooooo much from taking the mystery quilt classes at my favorite quilt shop.  Her patterns are so friendly and informative.... and her designs are super creative!)  And boy do I ever love this design....  but I will really have to work at getting it to line up properly.  I will have to wiggle waggle with pinning..... so construction will take longer and be a little more tedious than any other quilt top I have pieced so far.  

Not because of the design, pattern, instructor.... nope - this is all on me!  

You see, I made a mistake in construction of one of the steps and it involved............. triangles.  Yes, they got me again!  

BUT a huge lesson has been learned and I am going to share it with you on March 8th..... Why March 8th?????

Because NOT only will I do my very first ever mini-tutorial.... I decided to go to the next step and have a giveaway..... and to help - I joined  "Blog Hop Party with Give-Aways" hosted by  

So I am really glad that when I started to learn to quilt I decided to keep a written journal......for each class I have taken and for each quilt top I have pieced.....    
It has been super helpful to go back and read what I wrote at the very moment when there was a struggle with a technique or learned a little trick or need a measurement.  I get to see the journey that I am on.  It seems that when I read these notes and journal entries - I learn something else - either about quilting or myself or life.....  

In re-reading my notes during this Mystery Quilt journey - I saw the frustration at my abilities and even wrote a note about never doing another mystery quilt again..... WHAT? 

Well, thankfully that notion was short-lived because I learned that we will be doing a scrappy mystery quilt with 20 different light fabrics and 20 different medium fabrics and they will be 2 1/2 strips....  ooooooo..... yes, I am so excited - okay, okay, okay - this can wait and yes, I will be taking this class :) 

So the little mini-tutorial will be about what I have learned about triangles.... is it a love affair?  Not yet, but there is still hope!  

Miss Susie is not impressed.....  but she loves the sewing room - especially the sewing room lounge chair.  

Hope to see you on Friday!