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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Seth has been ignoring us for some time, so I twisted his arm and made him write a blog today. Just kidding, he's been wanting to, but he's been hanging out with his church friends a lot...which makes my heart quite happy! Here he is now:

Hiya! It's been awhile, huh?
For those of you that are new, my name is Seth, and I LOVE to work with herbs!
For today's blog, I am going to talk about
(*followed by sounds of dread*)

If you have allergies to things in the environment, then the worst time to go outside is anytime the sun is shining. The best time is at night or when it's raining. 
Known cures for Pollen allergies include,

Dr. Medications (GROSS--Can we say, Side Effects?!)
And my favorite...HOME REMEDIES!!!

My recommendations include, 
Don't go outside in the bad time of day mentioned above.
Avoid any other exposure
A clean house is a happy house
Shower the minute you come inside and wash your clothes
Wash hands before touching your face

or try my 

Peppermint Hay Fever Remedy

Boil a pot of water.
Throw in a handful of peppermint (or white pine needles).
Remove from heat.
Sit over the pot, draping a towel over your head and the pot, then breathe deeply for several minutes.
You can then use the the water from the pot as a nasal spray. 

Well, that's about it! 
Next time I am going to tell you about PET ALLERGIES.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Learn to Quilt--Project 1--Day 7--Finishing!!

Hey, you all have Stephen to thank for giving you such a long time to complete that last step of laying out your design and sewing it up. Plus we like to keep you in suspense about "The Extra Piece". LOL. Since the suspense is killing you...lets get to it.

First, square up your quilt top. Your borders won't look nice if you don't.

Iron and starch your border fabric. Fold it so that you can cut it lengthwise. Cut it as follows:
4 cuts at 1 1/2"
4 cuts at 2 1/2"
(if you are an experienced quilter, you may want to make that second border a bit smaller, then you might have enough to cut up for binding).

Take that extra piece that you have been wondering what it's for, and cut it in half. Then cut those pieces in half again. You now have four little extra pieces. (That it?? Cut it in four pieces? Why the suspense? To add interest. I've always wanted to be a mystery writer. And it could be that I didn't want you to confuse it with your other pieces.)

Let's start sewing on borders. Many people just put the border on, leaving extra at the top, and at the bottom, then just chopping it off to even it up when finished. I read recently this makes for wavy borders, and it's so true! I now (as in as recent as this quilt) make my borders the 'correct way' and not the 'lazy way'. It does make a bit of difference. 
We are going to do the longest borders first. Lay your quilt out and measure from end to end...DOWN THE MIDDLE!

Using this measurement, cut 2 of your 1 1/2" strips to this size. Starting with the middle, then the ends, then all in between, pin your border on, right sides together. Sew with the same 1/4" seam allowance as usual.

After you complete the top and bottom, measure and cut the 1 1/2" side borders and sew on as before.

We are now going to make our pieced borders. Sew six rectangle sets and one of those little extra squares end to end. You can sew your little extra piece anywhere along your strip to make the scraps work out how you want. You need to make two of these. One for the top, one for the bottom.

Measure and sew them on. You will have extra to cut off. The exact extra is dependent upon how much you had to cut off to square up your quilt top. 
Now piece your side borders. You should have 5 sets of rectangles for each side, plus one of those little extra squares. Here is my side borders (minus the extra square because I forgot to piece them on before taking the photo)

After measuring and sewing these on, do the same as we've done all along with your 2 1/2" border strips. Do the long sides first, then your short sides. Here is what mine looks like with all the borders in place:

LOL, I just noticed it's hanging upside down. (look at the tree squares). 
You can finish just as we did the candle mat,layering it and turning as you would a pillow; or you can save it until you learn to do binding. Our next project will include learning  how to do binding.

Do you want to know what my favorite part of my first tutorial was? The fact that we used up EVERY square from that charm pack. I don't like having extra scraps. This was a challenge for me. I am working on a couple more. I hope you've enjoyed our first tutorial. I am headed to my Creation Station to work on the next!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Learn to Quilt--Project 1--Day 6

Before we begin today's tutorial, let's do a quick inventory to make sure we are on the same page:

1--candle mat--finished(yay!)
12--uncut plain squares, plus one extra
12--pieced checkered squares (I failed to mention that you had to steal a couple from your border pile)
1 pile of pieced rectangles to be used for a border
Border and backing fabric, and batting.

We will be assembling today's runner much in the same way as the candle mat, only larger. If you need to refresh your memory, you can read about it RIGHT HERE. You may need to refer back to it several times for more detailed instructions of tonights tutorial. 

Just as in the mat, start by trimming 1/4" off the right side and bottom of your 12 plain squares.
Arrange them anyway you would like as long as you have four horizontal rows of 6 squares. Here are a couple of possibilities I have:

When you choose your design, it is best to either label them, or just leave it laid out and work on two squares at a time until you are finished so that you won't mess up your pattern. Also, press all the squares in the top row to the right, the second row to the left, third row to the right and fourth row to the left. This will assure that they bump up together nicely when sewing to the row below. 

On our next tutorial we will finally use that 'extra' square. I've had people ask me about what in the world it is for. You didn't think you would have to be so patient, did you??

Stars in Heaven

I will post the next tutorial later on this evening, but I was tiptoeing through blogland, and happened upon this beautiful picture:

Junibear spends most of her day creating altered images. Sometimes they make me laugh, or smile, and some are sweet. I like to post poetry or other inspirational things at least once a week, and I just could not resist sharing this with you. 
Enjoy visiting Junibear

Monday, August 23, 2010

Learn to Quilt--Project 1--Day 5--Table Runner

Today's tutorial will be short and sweet! 
Hopefully you have finished your candle mat, and if so email me a photo...I'd love to post it for you!

Today for your runner, you need to take your little pieced rectangles and divide them in half. Sew half of them into squares as before:

Then make a nice pile of the other (matching) halves:

We will use this pile on a pieced border. 

When finished, you should have 12 pieced squares, and your 12 uncut squares that you picked out in the beginning. 

Talk to you soon!

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Great Holiday Ornament Exchange

Do you know that last year at this time I could have told you exactly how many days until Christmas? I could have told you way back in June!! But, that is because I knew our little Christmas baby would be born before Christmas. The first due date was January 6th. I laughed. Then, they were pretty sure it would be around January 1st. Nope. I was determined that he be born BEFORE Christmas. Trust me. No woman enjoys those last few months of pregnancy, but a 40 year old woman enjoys them even less. (Having been pregnant at 20, at 40 and once in between I can say this.) If you don't know, our precious bundle was born December 23rd, and came home Christmas morning.

Anyway...all that rambling was to say...I have NO idea how many days until Christmas. But what I do know...
We own NO Christmas Decorations. No tree, no stockings, no ornaments, not a thing. We just have had a few crazy years, so we have nothing. What I do know...for the first time in like 20 years or so, I have room for a tree! A real live tree!! So, I want to have a little fun.

Let's have a huge, worldwide ORNAMENT EXCHANGE. Wouldn't it be fun to exchange them from people all over the world?? Even more fun would be to exchange them with all different types of artisans, using all different mediums!

I have been thinking on this for a few days, just how I would handle it. Here is how it will work:

  1. You contact me. You may leave a comment on the blog , via email (, or on the facebook Great Holiday Ornament Exchange Fanpage.(there will be a section under the discussion tab) In the comment,  you need to tell me exactly how many you are interested in making/exchanging.
  2. We will do this penpal style. I will match you up with however many that you want to exchange. If you want to make 12 and exchange 12, then I will give you 12 names. Just because you 'get' a name, doesn't mean that they will 'get' you. It will all depend on entries, preferences, etc.
  3. Make it simple!! You can make them as complex as you want but the whole idea is to have fun. And to fill my bare, un-purchased tree with ornaments. You can use paper, wood, fabric...whatever! Just please make sure they are collector quality. You want the person receiving them to be able to cherish them!
  4. You are responsible for all shipping. We will have a ship date of December 12, 2010. (For this year...if it works, we'll do it again!) Please keep in mind that overseas shipping can be expensive, so plan this when deciding how many you want to make.
  5. Include the family. Kids are welcome. This is a great way to teach them how to make something very special for someone else. Keep in mind kids will be involved. All ornaments must be family friendly/appropriate. 
  6. You must let me know what you are making...this way I can make sure recipients get a variety. Your idea secret will be safe with me. If you don't mind sharing, I will make a dedicated page on My Website for others to see. 
Feel free to spread this all over the internet, on other blogs, forums, twitter, facebook, etc. The more the merrier!

I am digging out the Christmas music for inspiration!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Learn to Quilt--Project 1--Day 4 (Finish the candle mat)

Guess what?! By the end of this tutorial, your little candle mat will be finished and you can boast that you are now a quilter!
(It's a long tutorial tonight. But sew worth it!)

BEFORE we begin, you need to note a couple of things. 

  1. Forget everything you have ever heard about finishing a quilt. We are NOT finishing these two quilts the traditional way. There will be no binding. To remove all binding fear from you for this first quilt, we will be finishing it 'pillow style'. 
  2. Please read the whole tutorial before beginning tonight. There are also some extra hints at the bottom
Let's start!!

Grab your piece of backing fabric. (Do not make the mistake I did. I grabbed my border fabric accidentally, and cut it up!! I originally included plans to add a border for this little quilt, but thought better of it. We will learn that on the big quilt.) 
I like to starch my backing fabric. Turn it to the back side, spray it, and let the bubbles soak in until they are gone before you iron.
After you are finished, fold in half lengthwise and iron on the crease. This is a very important step. If you don't iron the crease, then you will have a little 'hill' when you cut on the fold.
Now, take it to the cutting board, line it up, and cut off the selvage end.

Move your ruler and cut the fabric at 8 1/4". Take your cut piece, iron out the crease and cut again at 12". Your backing piece should be the same size as your front.

Now cut your batting the same size. (I used fleece for my batting. It is nice a thin). 
Stack your 3 pieces in this order: batting on the bottom, backing piece right side up, then front piece right side down. 

Pin through all three layers. I like to pin the corners first and work out from there. 
Do you see the non-pieced square in the middle top? (mine is green) We will begin sewing just to the right of this square. You HAVE to reverse several stitches to make sure your sewing holds. Sew 1/4" from the edge, and stop 1/4" from the end of the row. 

At the end of the row, you are going to stop with the needle down and pivot the quilt away from you. Align your edge at 1/4" and sew again. Repeat this all the way around. 

Stop sewing and reverse before you get to the middle square. This square should not be sewn along the edge at all, but the rest of the quilt should.

Clip the corners, being careful not to clip your sewing lines.

Carefully turn your quilt right side out. Push the corners out with your pinky finger. You can use a blunt object, such as a pencil eraser to do this if you would like. 

Iron your entire mat. Make sure to make a nice edge of your two seam allowances on the unfinished square.
Pin again.

Now, just as before, sew 1/4" all the way around the entire mat. Reverse at the beginning and end of your stitching, and pivot at the corners as before. 
Sew one more time, all the way around, just on the edge of the mat. 
Your edge is now triple sewn (once inside, two outside). It isn't going anywhere!
Be sure you use matching thread. I actually used a very light color I wouldn't normally use, but I wanted you to see the result. Especially in a minute when we quilt it. For this quilt, I probably would have chosen a dark earth tone. 

Now we are going to quilt it. On this little teeny tiny quilt, it won't take but a few minutes. We are going to do a method called "Stitch in the Ditch". That means you just sew along the valley between two pieced sections.

Do this on the entire top. Start on your middle sections that go from edge to edge. Then do your checkerboard sections. Here is the back of mine all finished (without the thread ends trimmed). You can see where I quilted.

All done!! Wasn't that easy?

Just a couple of hints. My machine has a stitch that puts a knot at the beginning of your sewing. It's easier than reversing. Not necessary, but if you have it, use it. Here is what it looks like (I-30):

Most professional long-arm quilters refuse to quilt 'in the ditch'. It's too hard to get it in that straight line all the time. If your machine has a control to slow the speed, do so for the quilting! It will help. 

Next week we begin our larger runner. It is just like this...but bigger! It will also have 3 borders...that is something totally new that we didn't do on the little mat. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Learn to Quilt tutorial

I am so SORRY to post this, but there will be no tutorial tonight.

I had to stay up all night last night to get a project out, and I sewed for HOURS on end. Normally that would be a great thing...but not when you have a silly, goofy, messed up shoulder/arm.

Tonight I simply cannot push the arm to sew. Instead I shall take some ibuprofen and get my husband to massage it. Sound nice? It will be. He's very kind to massage my shoulder every evening. My son makes all natural rubbing oils for my arm. He grows his own mint just for me...the cooling, relaxing affect of the mint is awesome on my shoulder. You can read more about Seth and see him drying his mint just for me RIGHT HERE on an older blog post.

Thanks for your understanding, and have a GREAT evening!!


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Is your clock fast?

I have joined in on a 'block party'. It is my first ever. There are 12 of us, and the rules for this particular party were for each of us to make 12 blocks, 12" square, and they had to have the main focal fabric be floral. 
 I chose to do a paper pieced block. Paper piecing allows for intricate details to be much easier since you have lines to sew on.

Each of my blocks have 68 pieces of fabric. 
68 X 12 (blocks) = 816 pieces of fabric to cut
Also below is the 96 pieces of paper I needed to make the 12 blocks.

I will show you photos each day as the blocks progress. I hope you enjoy them!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Learn to Quilt--Project 1--Day 3

Good Monday! I am glad to be receiving comments and emails that you are all enjoying this "Learn-Along". 
Today we are going to break away from working with all the blocks and just concentrate on finishing your little candle mat. By the end of the week the small quilt will be finished, and you will be able to proudly boast that you have made your first quilt. Then next week we will work on your table runner.

BEFORE WE START, LET ME AGAIN STRESS TO NOT JOIN ALL YOUR LITTLE RECTANGLES INTO 'CHECKERBOARD' SQUARES!! WE WILL NOT USE ALL OF THEM THIS WAY. (Was the all caps enough to remind you? I don't want you to have to use that new seam ripper yet!)

Ok, pick out 3 of your uncut squares, and 3 matching pairs of rectangles. (The other matching pairs can go into a new pile set aside for a pieced border for the table runner.) Here are the ones I chose:

On your matching rectangles, place them right sides together, edges even, colors touching opposite colors. It is very important that your edges are all even. I always pin blocks if there are going to be seams that butt each other. Below is the seam I am talking about:

See how the bulk of your sewing from before ends up being half one direction, half the other? That is what we want to help the quilt to lie flat when finished. Pin the rectangles together, matching first the middle seam, then the edges:

Pin all three rectangle sets the same way, then sew them at 1/4" from the pinned edge:

This is what you should have now: You may press the seams either direction.

If you will look at your three non-sewn squares, you will notice that they are a bit bigger than your sewn squares. 1/2" bigger in fact. This is due to the sewing that you did. Take the non-sewn squares to the cutting board and cut 1/2" off the right side and off the bottom. Do not cut any off of the left and top sides. (I just stacked them on top of each other and cut all three at once.)

Now lay all your squares out into the arrangement that you would like.

Matching seams, sew the top row together, then the bottom row. When pressing, press the seams from the top row to the right, and the bottom row to the left. 

Next, sew the top and bottom row together. Make sure to match those seams up and pin!!
After your 6 squares are all sewn together, you need to now "Square UP" your quilt. Take it to the cutting board, and cut place it so that your right edge is along a line. Cut it so that the whole edge is even. Then cut the other edges the same way. You need to make sure you line up the edges along lines the whole time so that you don't cut crooked. See this edge that had some of the top block longer than the bottom block? It needed some 'squaring up'. 

And here it is all squared up and waiting on a border, which we will do on Wednesday. 

Have fun!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Learn to Quilt--Project 1--Day 2

If you missed the Learn to Quilt, Project 1, Day 1 post...find it RIGHT HERE.

How are you doing on sewing your squares together? Pretty easy, huh? Today we are just going to cut them up again..after all that work too. But, it will be worth it. 

Get out your self- healing cutting mat. You will also need your rotary cutter and gridded ruler. Take one of your sewn squares and place it on your mat. It should be placed so that all edges are touching a line on the mat:

Line up your ruler so that it is along the center of your square. This will be at 2 1/2" on your ruler.

Then just cut along the edge of the ruler. If you have never used these before, please practice on a scrap first! It can be a bit tricky to get the hang of. The biggest mistakes made are 1) not pressing hard enough (it's won't hurt it! 2) allowing the ruler to move as you cut. This is won't have uniform squares, and 3) cutting yourself. Keep your fingers out of the way!! 

After you cut, cut those rectangles in half again, the same 2 1/2".

You should now have four pieces that look like this: (these really are four pieces, I just put two side by side so that you would see where we are going with this!)

Now you need to PRESS the seam towards the dark side of the fabric. On quilts we really have to plan out how we press, so that when you match up seams to sew, you won't have a bunch of bulk. If you press towards the dark side on this quilt, the seams will match up easily.

Can you see what I mean? Pressing as opposed to ironing is important. Pressing means picking up the iron and putting it back down. Ironing means moving the iron around on the surface. Get into the habit of pressing your quilt pieces so that they won't distort.

I am going to stop there today. I don't want you rushing on your cutting. Don't get a head of me in sewing either. :) We are not sewing all those little pieces back together yet. I'll explain Monday. Happy cutting this weekend!