to my readers

This blog is now all about my personal life, including updates concerning Jerry's health. For quilt and pattern related posts please visit

Friday, July 30, 2010

Midnight snacking--calorie free!

Late at night fabric shopping these days can make a person fat. I am serious! Up until recently I stayed away from 'honey buns', 'jelly rolls', etc. (I am talking the fabric variety here.)
I never understood why in the world anyone would want pre-cut fabric in little pieces!
Well, I have since changed my mind. And, have found it is a great way to lose weight! Next time that I want a 'turnover', I'll pop into my local fabric shop and order me up some no calorie yummies!!
Let me explain what some of these terms are:

This is a CHARM PACK. Charm packs usually contain 40-42 squares of fabric measuring 5". Each square is a different piece of fabric from the same line of fabrics. (Pictured below). Makes for a beautiful scrappy quilt that matches perfectly. Our first 'learn to quilt' project will use a charm pack.  A LAYER CAKE is the same thing, but measures 10" square. 

JELLY ROLLS and HONEY BUNS  are long strips measuring 2.5 inches and 1.5 inches respectively. Once again they have 40-42 strips. These are great for the popular method of 'strip piecing'. A strip piecing quilt is in the 'learn to quilt' plans eventually. Here is a jelly roll:

A 'dessert roll' is smaller. It has 10 5"x 44" strips. I just bought one of these recently and have something fun planned for it!

Turnovers (mmm apple...) are 6" triangles, when put together make a 5" square.(There are 80 triangles in a turnover.) They pair up great with charm packs!

I have had a lot of fun designing quilts with all these yummy fabric selections. (Once I got over my hang-up of buying small pieces). One of my favorite quilt stores does some GREAT TUTORIALS using these products. THE MISSOURI STAR QUILT COMPANY sells any flavor of these sweet treats that you can imagine. And the best part? They have a DAILY DEAL that is amazing! Every night at midnight (central) some kind of midnight snack goes on sale. But you gotta be quick, because I've gotten on as early as 12:15..and they were sold out!

What will you have for your midnight snack tonight??

Monday, July 26, 2010

Learn Before you Quilt--Lingo

Well, it is almost time! Won't be long until we get to start our Learn to Quilt lessons!! For now, Mondays will be our quilty day. I am not going to set that in stone because you just never know when life is going to get in the way of your best laid plans, don't you agree?

Before you start, you need to learn the lingo. That way when you pop into your local quilt shop, you will at least know something about what you are doing!! So, settle in for your vocabulary lesson. I promise, I won't even give you a pop quiz. I actually borrowed the terms from the Quilting for Dummies cheat sheet. You can follow the link below for more quilty hints. If you have any questions, please ask!

Quilting Lingo

Hang out in a fabric store long enough and you’re bound to hear some quilting lingo that you may or may not be able to translate. To help you feel more comfortable and in-the-know, here’s a quick rundown of “quilt-bonics”:
  • Appliquéd quilt: A quilt made of fabric shapes stitched to a foundation piece of fabric to create a design.
  • Backing: The fabric used for the back side of the quilt — the bottom-most layer.
  • Basting: Using large, easy-to-remove stitches to hold the layers of a quilt in place. You remove basting stitches after you complete the quilting design.
  • Batting: The filling that makes a quilt warm and wonderful.
  • Binding: The bias-cut trim used to conceal, or bind, the raw edges of a quilt. Bindings come premade, or you can make them yourself.
  • Charm quilt: A pieced or appliquéd quilt in which many different fabrics are used and don’t appear more than twice. Bundles of charm squares are often exchanged at quilting guilds so that quilters can collect a wide assortment of fabrics.
  • Conversation prints: Also known as novelty prints, these fabrics often have large-scale or unusual designs.
  • Directional prints: Fabrics that have an obvious one-direction design, such as a stripe or floral bouquet with a north-south orientation.
  • Fat quarter: This fabric cut measures 18 x 22 inches, giving you a more usable space than you have with a standard 1/4-yard cut of fabric (which would be long and skinny at 9 x 44 inches).
  • Fat eighth: This fabric cut is a fat quarter cut in half to measure 18 x 11 inches. Fat eighths are handy when you need just a small amount of fabric.
  • Fussy-cut: A pattern piece that has been cut to accommodate a specific design in the fabric. An example is centering a floral bouquet in the middle of a square to show it off in the finished block.
  • Loft: The thickness of batting. Low-loft is a flatter, less fluffy batting than high-loft, which is very fluffy and plush.
  • Long-arm quilting machine: You’re likely to find this special machine in a lot of quilting shops. Its sole purpose is to machine quilt an assembled quilt. If you don’t want to quilt your project yourself, many shops (and a good number of individuals) will quilt it for you for a fee using these machines.
  • Muslin: Plain cotton fabric that’s either unbleached or bleached white. It can be used as a backing or in the quilt top.
  • Pieced quilt: A quilt made of pieces that have been cut and stitched together to form a new design.
  • Quilt top: The topmost layer of the quilt; it features piecing or appliqué designs.
  • Strip quilting: Stitching strips of fabric together and cutting the multi-colored strip into pieces to create a new design.
  • Subcut: Cutting an already cut piece into many smaller pieces.
  • Templates: Premade plastic or acrylic pattern pieces or paper patterns mounted onto cardstock and used to trace shapes onto fabric for cutting.

Read more:

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Learn before you Quilt--Machines, Feet, Prunes, and Goop v.2

Time to get back in blog gear! For my faithful followers that could care less about quilting...Don't you worry. I will be back to some of my old blogging habits, including all your fave's like Seth, Stephen, Hillbilly Life, etc. We will just be having some new stuff too, like quilting and a few other crafty things I have up my sleeves.

If you are new, you need to know one thing. I am a Peanuts/Snoopy-aholic! Snoopy usually finds his way around my blog from time to time. Right now we are having a Warm and Fuzzy Fest. The fest got its name because it's warm outside, it is a prequel  to our quilting lessons, and because Snoopy always has something fun or wise to say!

Today we'll start with a recipe from my garage sale bargain Peanuts cookbook. I have never even heard of such a thing as this. Have you?? (Although as I get older I certainly can appreciate it!)

We have ALREADY DISCUSSED my cooking, or the lack of my cooking ability. Here's another Goop cartoon for you:

Ok, now on to the quiltsy stuff. 
This is the second post talking about supplies needed for quilting. If you missed the first, it is RIGHT HERE.
Today the first thing that I want you to know is that you can create a quilt no matter what sewing machine you have. I have a high dollar sewing/embroidery combo machine and a much lesser expensive very simple machine with no electronics and only a few stitch selections. Just tonight I finished a quilt on my less expensive machine. I use both depending on what I'm making. So, no need to go buy a fancy sewing machine!! 
 Though, there is a need to buy some certain sewing feet. 

The first that you will use is called a quarter (1/4) inch foot. This is the least necessary of the quilting feet that you can buy, but the most used and the least expensive. (If you choose not to buy one, I will show you how you can sew without it in our first lessons.) Here is what it looks like:

Here is a different kind. My machine came with this one and I HATED it! I ended up buying one like the one shown above. It is well worth it!

The next foot that is important is called a Walking Foot or Even Feed foot. This is used when we are sewing the quilt sandwich together. It feeds all three layers evenly, in straight lines. Below is a picture of a quilt sewn with a Walking Foot.  The foot cost most people around $30 USD unless you have a Bernina, then expect to pay more.  Here is what mine looks like:

Finally, you will need a Darning Foot, sometimes called a Free Motion Foot. It is also used to sew the sandwich together. The difference between this one and the one above is, the one above does straight lines. This one can go all over the place. Here is a picture of the foot and some examples of free motion quilting:

The Darning Foot has to be used with the "Feed Dogs" on your machine in the dropped/down position. On my fancy machine, I slide a lever to keep the feed dogs down.On my lesser expensive machine, I actually attach a little plate cover over the feed dogs. If the feed dogs are working, you can't free motion. The feed dogs move the fabric through the machine:

There are a couple of other completely unnecessary feet/attachments that you can get. We'll bring them up later at the appropriate times. I hope I didn't totally confuse you, ask questions of need be!

Speaking of that, I have a request to teach Sashing. So, for those of you that are just learning, when I teach it next week, follow along for fun, or turn your head so you won't be overwhelmed!

Tomorrow: terminology :0)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

While we are waiting...

Welcome to the new Hillbilly Handiworks blog. While we are waiting for all of my wonderful Internet friends to make the switch, here are a couple of hints for you.

On my last post (over on the Hillbilly Housewife blog), I gave you some suggestions for rotary cutters and cutting mats. Here are some further hints and helps:

1) Do NOT drop your open rotary cutter on the hard cement floor like I did yesterday. It put a nice dull spot on the blade. But, for normal wear on the blade, when it gets dull...before replacing it, flip it over! It will be like a brand new blade.

2) Do not leave your cutting mat in extreme temps. Heat will warp it, cold will crack it.

3) A quick easy way to sharpen dull scissors is to make a stack of several pieces of aluminum foil. Then cut through them. Again and again. Dull no more!

Please feel free to visit my new website

Let me know in the comment section below what you think of it!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Learn before you Quilt--Rulers, Scissors, and Fudge

First let me thank each of you for your kind words yesterday concerning the Post about my husband and his kids.

Guess what today is?? The first day of Warm & Fuzzy Fest!! What? You have NO idea what I'm talking about? That's OK. The idea just came a couple of hours ago. It is time to get prepared for our Learn to Quilt blog classes. I am off tomorrow to buy the fabric needed for the first project. I am very excited! It is inexpensive, simple and fun! More about that in a couple of days. Before you can even THINK about quilting there are some things that you just have to have. Well, I guess you could live without some of them, but I have no idea how. So all this week, during Warm and Fuzzy Fest (think quilts and snoopy...then you understand how I came up with that name), we will be discussing supplies.

Every quilter needs a rotary cutter, rotary cutter self-healing mat, and a couple of rulers. I will give you my personal recommendations of what you need to get started...

First the rotary cutter. These little wonders have revolutionized quilting. They make it so FAST and EASY to cut out all your little pieces. You do need to be careful though, because they are very sharp. My personal favorite (and I've been using them for years, all sizes and kinds), is made by OLFA. Here are some of the varieties:

This is my favorite. The 45 mm original cutter. I use it all the time. They also sell a 28 mm and a 60mm that I like to keep around. You don't need them to start off with. Just a 45mm is fine.

This would be nice, but not necessary. It is a quick change blade. On the top cutter you need to unscrew a wing nut, but on this handy little cutter, you just push a button.

Some people like this one. It is "ergonomic". Personally, I didn't like it. I actually hurt my hand more!

I like this one as well. It is a 45mm from Fiskars.

Once you decide on a cutter, you need to purchase a Self-healing cutting mat. I am VERY picky about these. I have tried all major brands, and NONE hold up as well as Olfa. If you live in the lower 48, I know you can catch them on sale at Joannes about once a month.  To start out, you should get one at least 18x24, but if you can afford it get the 24x36 size. You will appreciate it. Here is what the Olfa mat's look like:

Finally, you need rulers. (I will teach you how to use all these during our online class.) There are two sizes that I can not live without.  6 x24 and 4 x14. I love them both and use them equally as much. The brand that I like for these is Dritz Omnigrid. Here is what the 4x14 looks like:

This one is yellow, but they make a green one I like better. The grids are easier to see on the green one. Olfa now makes frosted rulers that get great reviews. I need to think about buying one someday :)

Finally, scissors. To start out, you just need a pair of small very pointy sharp scissors to cut threads. (You will use the rotary cutter for fabric.) I have several around. I keep one on each sewing machine, one on the ironing board, and one in my hand sewing bag. You only need one pair...but just make sure they are ONLY used for thread. Once you use them on paper, they are ruined. (Same with your rotary cutter!)

In close, here is a quick shopping list for your cutting supplies...
45 mm rotary cutter
at least a size 18x24 self healing cutting mat by Olfa
a 4x14 and/or a 6 x 24  rotary cutting ruler
a pair of sharp snips

Tomorrow we will discuss feet and needles for your sewing machines.

And now your fuzzy thought for today:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Four too long

July 19th, 2006 (four years ago), my husband (whom I didn't know at the time) woke up and started his day as normal. I am sure that if he had known how the day was going to unfold, he would have tried every way possible to make it never even exist.

Fast forward to April 2007. This is the first photo quilt I ever made:

It is a quilt of Jerry's(my now husband) kids. On July 19th, 2006, Jerry's then wife waited for him to leave for work, then chose to take their kids and go to another state. Unfortunately, this is America, where moms can do that. I will not get into details, as this is the world wide web where all eyes are watching. But, I will tell you this...a lot of false charges were made against Jerry so that SHE (the ex) could have time to flee the state. Jerry was cleared of all charges and used up every dollar he had to try to get his children back. He literally sold everything. His books, tools, vehicle...all gone. All to no avail. He has not had any contact with his children in four years. NONE.

Fast forward to today. July 18, 2010.
Jerry and I are married and have our cute little baby, Stephen. But, days like today are tough. Every new thing that Stephen learns is a reminder to Jerry of things that he is missing in his other kids' life. My son Seth is the same age as Jerry's son "S". (I won't state his full name, but it too begins with 's'). So, when Jerry looks at Seth, he hurts for "S".
"S" turns 13 this week. Jerry wants so bad to be a dad to his now teenage son, and it tears him up inside. But one thing is for certain. Although it is hard, Jerry keeps this verse in mind on a daily basis. It is written on the top of his quilt:

Without faith in Christ, Jerry would have no hope. As it is, at least he knows that God has those precious children in His hands. And although the kids are now four years older, their lovely smiles are frozen in time to him:

Today, please, hug your children a little tighter, and say a prayer for my husband. It's going to be a tough week. I would love to see him with his children again.

In close, do you remember the story of Dawg, our beloved Dog?  You can read about it HERE.

My good friend, Pat is a wonderful artist. She did a watercolor painting of Dawg. See the progress HERE.

The painting is now all framed an hanging proudly on the wall:

The photo is a bit fuzzy but the finished painting has a nice chocolate brown matte and is a barn wood frame--which really fits Dawg's personality. It looks nice doesn't it?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Two Cute

I am so tickled to see all you new folks thet stop by and read my little stories. Fer them that don't know, a little whiles back we up an moved acrost the state. I be just lovin the new cuntry an all. I were a tad bit afeared  when we moved thet the new neighbors wouldn't like a hillbilly like myself. But these here farm folk be downright friendly!

Then do you know what happened today? I must have found some good ol' Hillbilly Kinfolk. They was havin one of them there YARD SALES and jus look at the sign in their front yard:

Can ya be seein it? It says "FREE ICE COLD WATER WITH A $2.00 OR MORE PURCHASE"
Thet sure be friendly!
Then tonite we got all gussied up an went downtown. Boy, this must be a classy town. Take ye a gander at these outhouses:

When I saw them, I thought: " Well, I'll be! His'n and Hers'n Outhouses painted all up perty n Pink and Blue!"
 Ain't them cute?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Follow UP

A couple of weeks ago, I started a new blog topic...all about Kansas City and why I love it so much. In the near future, I will be having some guest bloggers help me out with this. My very first KC blog was
Doin' the Mash

But, when so doing, I failed to post what the inside of a Cherry Mash looks like. So, here ya go: