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

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ornament Time!

TOMORROW is the deadline! 
If you want to be included in the ornament exchange I need to know today how many that you would like to exchange.

If you don't have a clue what I am talking about, 
you can find the info up top under the Ornament Exchange page.

For those of you that are already 'in', 
I need your full name and address.
I will divide everyone up and give you your list of partners next week.
Thanks and happy Ornament making!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Good Grief!

A very long time ago I got to be a guest blogger over at Stash Manicure. I am not sure that she thought much of me at first, because I used an edited version of this as my opening photo. (I just showed the frazzled woman's head)

I was trying to be a bit silly off the top...but I've gotten much better at writing since then.
Unfortunately, I still think I must look like that photo most days.

Wednesday night I went to bake chicken for dinner.
Preheated the oven, cooked it for 45 minutes, cooked the veggies, got ready to take out the chicken...and it was gone! Somehow it managed to hop right back into the refrigerater where it was marinating nicely.
Husband thought that I might need some time away after that, so he sent me to the library. Alone!
Check out my pile of wonderfuls!

It's a huge pile of books to read for the book review blog and a ton of quilt books that I got out of the new book section.. I might even review the quilt books. Here or there? Not sure.

Anyway...I got home and Stephen was a complete bear, all stressed from mom being away from him. It took me quite a time to settle him down to sleep...somewhere around midnight.

He and I were up at normal time (6:15) yesterday morning. I went to make my husbands lunch and realized I'd left the pot of beans on all night. Ugh. 
Well, looking on the bright side, I was quite happy that I had some leftover chicken that I finally had managed to cook the night before....
only it was missing from the refrigerator. What in the world--again??!!Who keeps moving the chicken?

I found it in the cabinet--tucked not so happily inside the tupperware I had stored it in the night before.
Ok, I am pretty sure I've lost all sanity at this point.

Told my husband about it, and after we tossed the chicken and beans, we scraped something together for his lunch, and sent him on his merry little way. A couple of hours later I get an email telling me to have the boys ready...that all men and boys will leave me home alone for at least 2 hours that evening...he said because he thinks I need more of a break.

Ummm, I think I must have needed it too.

I didn't get as much done as I would have liked, but I did have two hours of complete silence and sanity. 
That was very nice! 
I don't recommend coming over for dinner. Cooking is not my thing. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Hexagon Star

Artistic, Hexotic, Hop-A-Long, Hex-a-long, Hillbilly, Hectic Hexies 

Are you ready? Did you even attempt to guess what the design would be from yesterday's bits and pieces?

Grab your Triangle Cardstock Paper. Draw out your first Hexagon. (Remember, I am only using markers for photo/teaching purposes. You need to use a pencil for thin lined accuracy!

Next, turn your Hexagon so that a point is up. Measure one side and divide by 3. If you made your Hexie six triangles wide (which I recommend), it is divided already.

Now, draw two lines. Each needs to be 1/3 of the way away from the point. See below:

Note, point is up and there is a line two triangles from the to the right and two to the left.
Now, rotate to the next point and draw two more lines the same way.
I switched colors to help you see it better. This time I did the green lines.

Now, rotate one more time and do the same. This time I did the orange lines.

Do you see the design now? You can grab your pencils and start coloring. As with most quilt blocks, there are several options that will make it look different. Here is the option I am going with:

It is helpful to mark your design with which color is which before you cut.
Of course, you might have colored yours in. I had to redraw mine with pencil, so then I marked my colors.

Not so bad on this easy design, but there will be more intricate ones along the way.

Now, cut them with your rotary that you keep reserved for paper, and start sewing!
After you baste all your pieces, start with the middle and work out when you do your whip stitching.

I did all the little triangles attached to the middle hexagon first.
Then I started working on the outer hexagons. You need to start closest to the middle and work your way out. So I do up one side, then up the other. (Hope that makes sense.)

Do all the outer Hexagons in this manner.
It looks cute, doesn't it?
Next do your outer triangles. Be very careful to have all your outer edges even.
Then you are done! 

You can remove your basting stitches and your paper from the middle hexagon and the middle triangles ONLY. Your outer ones must stay until they are attached to another hexagon or appliqued down.
The photo above shows which I removed my basting/papers from and which that I didn't. 

Today's block is called the Pointing Star and was published in the Kansas City star in 1936.

Please if you make one, consider sharing it on our 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Ahhhh's Have It.

The Artistic, Hexotic, Hop-A-Long, Hex-a-long, Hillbilly, Hectic Hexies will begin tomorrow!
(Above would be all the names that you all chose. I am going to call it the Ahhhh Hexies for short. I do hope that is ok by you.)

I thought it important to share a couple of things before we begin. If you have never done English Paper piecing, I have all my resource posts under one page up top---ironically called English Paper Piecing!

I am not giving you a quilt pattern. It is up to you to design your Ahhhh's into whatever you want. Incomputech does have Hexagon graph paper. You can find it RIGHT HERE. I changed sizes around and printed a couple that I like for designing my Hexie quilt.

I will be making at least one quilt along the way; but I also may make some wall hangings, use them for embellishments, etc. Here is a really rough draft of the quilt that I will be making.

It needs flipped as well. It should be 5 colors across and 7 down. I will be making a rainbow-ish quilt. The first row down will be dark burgundy down to light pink, next row will be dk orange to light yellow, next will be dark brown/green to light green, next will be dark blue to turquoise, and last deep purple to light lavender.
I really want to showcase my Ahhhh's, so I will be making black hexies for in-between. 
I am way too busy to even start on my black hexies for now until that dresden quilt gets done, so I won't be sharing this until after the new year probably.

I have at least 84 different Ahhhh's to share with you. It will take over a year at one a week...that should keep us busy a while!

Now, as for actually making your Hexies. After many, many dresdens and a few other things along the way, I have decided I like these methods the best:

1) Use a cheap hand quilting thread and large needle to sew right through your paper. Yes, the stitches show up on top and don't make for as pretty web photos, but they hold up so well and don't slip. 
 See that little tail? Leave it there. I start and stop my basting ON TOP, it makes it much easier to rip it out.

2) Use a smaller needle and matching thread to sew the pieces together. I don't have a ton of colors at my fingertips so I am using gray thread to do all my piecing. Which, by the way, I whip stitch. After trying many methods I feel that holds up the best. More about this in an older post--you can find it up top.

3) When you are basting something with sharp corners, such as triangles, you can leave the wings out. Like this:

If you decide to not do this, and you baste the corners in, you have to be ultra careful not to bend or distort those points. Look at the top point in the photo below. The points are much sharper above.

Wanna Ahhhh Teaser?

These are all of your parts for tomorrow. These all make up one 6" hexie. 
Can you figure out how it is going to look?

Oh I almost forgot!!!
We have an Ahhhh Hexies Flickr group. 

See ya tomorrow, bright and early for your first 
Artistic, Hexatic, Hop-a-Long, Hex-a-Long, Hillbilly, Hectic Hexie!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Blog stuff

I am crazy. That you know. Today I would like to reiterate just how crazy that I am. 

For those that don't know, I actually have 3 blogs. 
This is the 'main' blog, but it has spurred a couple more and another soon.
But before you get into your head that I am too crazy, hear me out.

The Woman's Bible Study is going great, and Jacque has stepped up to help me. 
We've gotten into a routine of each taking it for a week. 
We are currently slowly working our way through Proverbs a verse or two at a time. 
Then we will move onto John.

My newest blog is Got Good Reads?
I know...great English! for you International friends, it is a play off of a milk commercial. {Got Milk?}
This one I originally planned for just conservative book reviews, but it is morphing before it even gets started!
We now have 5 authors (and more to come). 
(I am looking for MEN and TEENS to be authors.)

All kinds of books will be reviewed. For all ages. Old classics and new favorites.
I even reviewed an old music CD on Saturday.
The reason for this blog is that there are plenty of book review blogs out there, but they only review the new stuff. I want a variety of new and old. So if you like to read, or listen on tape, or you have children or grandchildren, pop over there and have a look. I think you will enjoy it. 
Since there are 5 authors, I don't expect it to bog me down. 

The next blog that I am considering is a Hillbilly Handiworks 4 Sale blog. 
I am bummed that denim is being such a problem because one of the first things that I was going to do was set up a page of available dog blankets. 
Well, anyway, when the problems get ironed out, this will be blog number four. 

Finally, I do hope to write a children's story blog someday. 
It will be along the lines of Stephen's adventures--sort of. 
But this one will be a long time off...a really long time. 
I'll wait until life isn't as busy. :)

So, there you have it. All my current blog craziness. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

More machine problems! (And Mabry){And a final thought}

Don't buy a singer. Just don't do it.

When Linda and I were discussing our Mabry blocks the other day, she gave me a hint that helps her keep hers in line better. She and I both piece with Janome's and both of our machines have 7 feed dogs. Linda said that unless she manually lowers the needle (using the turn handle) it gets crooked every single time.

I got to thinking...and my older paper piecing is much better. Such as my dragon. So I turned to manual TRex machine and figured I would just use it from now on for paper piecing. It is what I used to use, and liked it, so why not again. I uncovered it, moved all my Mabry supplies over to it (all those itty bitty fabric scraps are a pain to move around) , turned it on and NOTHING. The light was on. But the foot pedal would not work. At all. Now why in the world??? This machine is only 3 years old. (or is it 4?). It sat for 6+ months because the timing was off, and I had to get that fixed. It sat in the repair shop for another 3 months, and now back home I've barely used it and the foot pedal doesn't work. A quick check online--new one is $45. So the Jeans Machine is going away again until tax which time I will decide whether to buy the new part or throw it out of the window.

My husband and I both have agreed that I will not do denim on my new nice machine. I just won't. So all dog quilts are stopped until further notice. I am so frustrated!!! I do have another machine I got at a garage sale. I'll dig it out and see what I can do with it sometime. Just don't buy a Singer. Ok? Especially a CG 550.

Ok, now onto Mabry. I last left you with a very wonky water wheel and didn't show you my improved version.

This weeks blocks are EE thru EJ. I have put them in one photo, along with a couple of pins for size comparison.

The little blocks are small, but they are not hard to do. 
The hard part is joining the blocks. They are so small even for the straight pins!
I did try Linda's method of manually lowering the needle and took the first couple of stitches that way, and turned my machine to it's lowest speed. That helped alot, and here is what the above blocks look like all joined together:

Not perfect--but better. There are almost 70 pieces in that small area.
Next was to join to last weeks blocks:

Like my wonky Hillbilly wheel? I am AMAZED at Linda's. Her's is perfection.
Notice the bottom half of mine is much better than the top half. 
Thanks Linda for the hint. 

I am thinking the pattern has a mistake and should have some black on that one block in the middle of the water wheel. It is not on the foundation, but it does not look right. 

These blocks now need to be joined to some from before:

I look forward to seeing my blocks improve greatly now that I know the problem. But my desire is not great enough to go back and fix everything. 

A final thought today: I have been very embarrassed about my Mabry blocks but I am a stick to it person. I really didn't understand why I was doing so bad. I didn't have this problem years ago on all the paper piecing I used to do. Hopefully we have found the problem, but if not, I did get to thinking that often times people are better at teaching something than actually doing it themselves. For instance, think about Olympic athletes. Often their coaches never made it to the Olympics. Yet their students went on to win gold medals. I am a good teacher. That I can admit. My sewing is not perfect. Never has been. I am trying to improve. But...I can still teach and a wonky water wheel will not keep me from doing something I love--teaching. 
Of course, Linda, now this means that you have to become a world famous paper piecing designer or something. Just like those Olympians! Just pressure. :0)

Friday, October 21, 2011

I have found the perfect quilt!

Well, if you are into Medieval things. I am not into that sort of thing. But Seth is. And for years I have been trying to come up with the perfect quilt for him. He loves this one that I made for my brother as he was dying.

(If you love it as well you can go vote for it!
I decided to enter it into a contest this week at Quilters Gallery.
I am not as interested in winning as seeing the response to it, and hopefully getting a bit more exposure.
I love to meet people!
GO VOTE HERE It is about halfway down the page and is called "Kaliph vs The Beast".)

Ok, back to Seth's quilt now that I am done with that shameless plug.
The above quilt is just a wallhanging and hangs in Seth's room at his dad's house. 
(A bit of mom with him that way).
But I did not want to make it again as a bed size.
I did find a quilt called "Crossways" with different style crosses on it and it gave the history behind them.
But that website is now gone.
Seth's birthday is next month, and I had given up on giving him a quilt again this year.

The other day I finally stumbled on a pattern that he will love!
It's a BOM, and they don't even give the finished size, but I am sure I can adapt.
It lasts 14 months, so the last part does not come out until November a year from now.
That wasn't so good, but I sat Seth down, explained the problem, and told him NO PEEKING for an entire year in his quilt box. If he does, there will be no surprise.
I told him eventually he will have a very nice quilt...and it will be worth the wait.
He agreed. Since he never reads this blog, I will allow you to peek. 

Can you guess what block 1 is?

A hint: I am a very picky mom. I don't allow Harry Potter at our house.
So if this looks like something from that. Nope!
In fact, it is not a sorcerer at all. 
Ok, no more hints!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Learning Hexagons--Revisited.

Back when I started the whole, Learn Along with Hillbilly thing, I was a bit bummed that all my ideas were being snatched right out of my brain and onto other blogs. If you will recall, I gave you a list of several things that I would like to learn, and then took a poll of what was the most popular.  Well, I am no longer going to bow to the rest of blogland and I am going to do what I want to do and what I had planned all along. You guys that have been around are my witnesses that I had planned these long ago!

 English Paper Piecing Hexagons are one thing that I just put aside for a bit, seeing as how another very well known blog started an "along" right about the time I was talking about Paper Piecing. So, I stepped back and I watched. And I waited. And I am now confused as I did see some posts, but I don't know if I missed a bunch of posts or not.  I don't remember seeing too many posts about that "along" and now they've started a whole other quilt. So, am I off base here? Am I blonde? What happened to the Hexagon 'along'?

Well, no matter.  I am a learner, so I set myself to learning and researching more about hexagon type blocks. And boy do I have some things to share with you!!

It is time to Learn Along With Hillbilly again! Yay!!

 Starting each week, on Thursdays, I will show you a new type of Hexagon block. (Known in other places as 'candied Hexagons' but here they will be called by their actual name.) ((Although I do need a catchy name to call it each week. Help?!)

You will need to be armed an ready with a straight edge, several markers and pencils of different color, printable card stock (more about that at the bottom of this post), scissors, and fabric scraps. Eventually a compass will be needed, but that will be a few months down the road.

You may want to eventually make these really cool hexagons into a quilt, so you may want to use fabric colors that compliment/contrast well. I have many, many, many designs to show you, so I have no idea how much fabric you will need. You may even want to skip some.

We will only learn one new design a week, so it shouldn't be too hard on anyone.

Now, help me. Learn Along with Hillbilly:__________Hexagons. ( I need that blank filled in.)

Ok, for your Hexagons. Some of these blocks will be VERY intricate. I am using Incomputech (which I use for most of my paper pieces). Use the triangle graph paper. My settings are Page 8.5 x 11, Min. border-0; Line Weight -.5; Triangle side-.5. I like card stock for my EPP. The printed  page looks like this:

It is very important that once you decide on a size, you stick to it...especially if you are going to make these all into a quilt!

For my purposes I am going to use Sharpie markers, so that they will be easier for you to see. But when you make yours you need to stick with something more thin lined for accuracy. 
You need to draw your first hexie and use this size for all your others. 
Just draw it however large you can fit it on your page.
I like mine to be 6 triangles around each side. 
(which I noticed that other blog did too.)
The six triangles help you in dividing up your designs a bit better. 

Use your straight edge (which I didn't at the top, can you tell?). 

This week just work on getting your supplies and very large hexagons ready.
I can't wait to show you the first block next week!

It could even be this:

No, actually it won't. It will be much more intricate. 
But I had to show you my pink hearses that have been sitting around forever waiting on me to finish my project with them. Wait until you see the other design that matches this one! I have been just dying to show you. Ha ha ha!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

She held my hand...

...yes, that sweet little Mennonite girl did. Again. She even remembered me from the last time, over a year ago.

I now am missing one more tooth, and I don't mind a bit. At only $40--I wish they would just pull them all. Poor young Mennonite girl's hand would be swollen and black and blue with me squeezing it so hard all that time!

I told her about you guys. She was just thrilled to bits that I talked about her on my blog. I think I'd like to move to Jamesport and open a shop. Add that to the dream list.

The house is showing my failure to rise to the occasion even under pain and swelling. (I am a baby about tooth aches. I admit it!) And Seth is stressing about my lack of being a good teacher this week.

So, alas! I cannot work on the mystery quilt solution and show you the options until which time the REAL solution will probably come out. I wish I could 'steal' some of the photos of the other ladies to share with you. It is amazing to see all the different solutions people have come up with.

Please have patience with me. I have to catch up on blogs since last Friday I think! But I'll get there.

Laundry, school, dishes, school, bathrooms, school...are all calling.....

OH, I forgot to tell you...Walmart had Eggnog! Yes it did! Since I am on a soft diet, I figured it was a necessity. Thank goodness Seth loves Eggnog as much as I or it would all be in my hips right now. Do you love eggnog?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Quilters don't shave their legs!

I am serious. They don't. Just look at yesterday's comments. Hey, fine by me!

I have all the blocks to the mystery quilt finished and we are supposed to be shuffling them around, seeing if we can solve it. But I decided it would be more fun to have an abscessed tooth, complete with a very swollen face. I am all looped out on Tylenol 3 right now. Gotta love that Codeine stuff. I am a bit bummed that it is so bad that I am going to have to go have it pulled tonight. I wanted to wait until Saturday so that I could do some shopping at the Amish stores.

I really don't feel up to crawling around on the floor to work on the mystery design. I would use Old Frog Eyes (the virtual design wall...see my side bar ---->>), but I don't think it will work with blocks of all different funky sizes. I don't have a fancy computer quilt program I will craw around after my mouth stops throbbing later this week.

One thing that I can share with you, Linda from Stray Stitches sent these heart blocks forever ago for the charity quilt

And when she blogged about it, Kris from Lavender Quilts wanted to jump on the band wagon, 
so she sent a whole pile of them ( 7 or 8 I think. Remember I am all looped out right now!), and they look like this:

The photo doesn't do that border justice. It is actually a deep purple that she hand dyed herself.
She sent some of the purple along, as well as a beautiful green that she hand dyed:

The other day in the mystery quilt room (or whatever it is called, there goes the fuzzy brain again!),
there were people asking what to do with the scraps from their mystery quilt. 
Well, of course, I took that opportunity to share about a certain paper pieced heart charity quilt.
More blocks are on the way! 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Random Posts

Do you like when you read random blog posts? You know those ones that just list a bunch of crazy thoughts? I do. Usually they are fun, plus many of us are woman and we all know that our mind just goes a million miles a minute. Today I'd like to be a bit random.

Quiltsy Random
My mystery quilt has all the parts, we are just at the guessing stage. I'll show you more tomorrow.

Random Health and Beauty tip:
Use hair conditioner instead of shaving cream. My husband really struggles with dry skin since having gone through Chemo, and shaving cream is drying to the skin. The conditioner helps tremendously! 
We use this:

Random Question
Do you say "Pop", "Soda", "Coke"(no matter what kind) or "Soda Pop"?
(Where I come from, we drink pop!) Well, actually I only drink water, but my kids drink pop. 
My daughters favorite:

Random Quote:
"Sometimes I pretend to be normal. But it gets boring, so I go back to being me."

People keep wondering why I don't end up in the photos for Stephen's posts.
Well, I don't like people seeing the real me. 
You see the inside through this blog---and that's what counts!

Random Task this Week:
Drive to my local Amish Town and get another tooth pulled. 
I actually look forward to having teeth pulled now.( sort of)
I mean, if you have to have a tooth pulled, why not where the sweet young assistant holds your hand during the process?
Plus, one never gets tired of seeing little Amish folk.

Random Hillbilly:

Rapid fire comment section:

One word answers as quick as you can...

1) Last color you worked with in your quilt/painting/craft project.
2) Your brand of shaving cream
3) Your favorite pop, or soda pop if you insist on calling it that :)
4) Your next task to do--remember one word answers!
6) Are you a cat or dog person?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Stephen's Farm Adventure

Did you know that I am getting to be a big boy? I'll be two at Christmas.
Big boys should really be able to explore the world. Like go see farms. 
 I told Mommy and Daddy that I would really like to see one before I die of old age;
so Mommy and Daddy took me to the DeAnna Rose Children's Farm. 

The very firstest thing that I got to do was feed the ducks.

'Course that HAD to come first. I love ducks. I have a favorite duck named Ducky. 
He goes lots of places with me, but I didn't take him to the farm cuz I thought he might try to swim with the other ducks and I would miss him if he did that. 
This big duck liked taking the food right out of my hand:

While I was feeding the ducks, I smelled something a little strange. 
It wasn't bad smellin' cuz little boys don't mind farm smells.
When I went to investigate where the smell was coming from, look what I saw:

I wanted to squish my piggie toes in the mud with those piggies. 
Daddy wouldn't let me though. 
Course Daddy had something else planned that was fun.
We found these little goats and I got to feed them:

Then we went to see the big goats. 
Daddy had to help me feed them. They sure were funny jumping up on us like that. 
Daddy learned that squished goat manure shows up really good on black jeans.
Mommy and I giggled about that!

When I was feeding the goats, I saw some really big horses.

They were so pretty, I just had to run over there and pet them. 
Cept I got to do something betterer than that!
I got to jump on the hay wagon.

And the horsies pulled the wagon all around for us.
It was kind of bumpy, but little boys have squishy backsides so I didn't mind.

It was such a fun ride, that afterwards I tried to give the nice horsies a treat. 
They didn't like my M & M's. 
Isn't that strange?

After we left the horses, we went to see the bunny.
It was a pretty bunny but not as pretty as my other bunny friends, Sir Harrington and Lady Hannah. 
They live a long ways away and I only get to see them on the computer, so I was glad to see a bunny for real.

All this farm animal looking made us have to take a break and go to the little boys room.
I didn't mind that at all because I got to see a Jack---oops Mommy said I can't say that word.
I really don't know why though cuz it is in the Bible. 
Oh, well, I got to see a Donkey! 

Did you know that home school Mommies always find school work to do no matter where we are?
I had to sit down and do some math calculations before she would let me see the cows.

Mommy, can I go see the cows now?
I wanna milk one.

The milking cow was out of order.
I didn't know that milking cows could be out of order, did you?
I wonder if the store will run out of milk now?

The baby cow was too far away, and wouldn't come up and let me pet it.
I decided that I guess I'd better forget about the cows and go find some tractors.
I am sure there are fields that need plowed or something!
I started with this red tractor:

See how well I cleared the field? It's smooth as concrete.
But a little boy can't be happy on a red tractor.
I had to go find me a John Deere.

That is much better, see my smile?
Well I gotta go work some more fields.
Maybe I'll find a pumpkin patch or something.
See ya later!