Saturday, April 26, 2008


This is what my sewing table looks like when I have too many projects going and can't make a decision about which one to work on. The good news is that I actually cleared it off today and sewed quilt backs together for three quilts. I still have to finish the third one because I was using up big and small pieces from my stash and it was taking forever! I leave tomorrow for Arizona and I am taking three projects to my quilter there. Hopefully I will be able to bring one or two back quilted! QUILTED! Isn't that the best feeling?! My Prairie Paisley project is all packed (there I go again)! I have all the stars completed and all the sashing units and hopefully I can assemble it while at my son's house.

I did complete this little cutie this week. It is a design by Cheri Saffiote-Payne and I saw it on Dawn's blog last year and fell in love with it. Last week Melanie from Covered Porches and Wooden Screen Doors showed her version, which is also very cute! Then my friend Karen at Sew Primitive got in the act. I really had to race to finish it before Karen because she dove in so fast. Luckily she didn't know I was racing with her! Ha! Yea, I won!
Well, you will notice that each of us changed a little something from the original design. It is fun to see what each person has done to make it their own.

When this project was almost completed I went to the Country Loft website and ordered two more of Cheri's patterns! I am really loving these primitive-folk art quilting projects!

Well, that's it for now. Next time you hear from me I will be posting from Arizona! Hasta la vista Baby!

Monday, April 21, 2008


It seems that I have had a lot to say lately. Tomorrow I am going to a friend's house to play with wool. Doesn't that sound fun? I found an old camel colored wool coat in my closet that I will never wear again and it wants to be reincarnated into something cute. Tomorrow my friend Joan and I are going to take the coat apart and wash it. We already picked out a really cute project with a beehive on it and other cute stitchy things. Fun awaits!

I was just visiting my blogging buddy Perry and she has a fabulous quilt on her blog that is being raffled off to benefit Cystic Fibrosis. You absolutely must see this great quilt, and then buy a chance or two to win it. If we each buy one ticket we could help to benefit this cause, and someone will get lucky and win the gorgeous quilt! $5 gets you in the running! Perry's darling little granddaughter is suffering from this disease. Perry has instructions for us on her blog.

Probably many of you are familiar with the Quilts of Gee's Bend. They have been shown on TV specials and have been exhibited around the country. I saw them on display here in Virginia Beach a couple years ago. These are amazing quilts that were born out of poverty in an isolated area of Alabama and have come to be respected pieces of textile art. As quilters we know what it means to have a relationship with fabric and we feel the force of fabric speaking to us. I know these women felt that same creative force as they constructed these quilts, primarily from old work clothes and donated materials. The pictures of the quilts are fascinating, but to see them in person has unbelievable impact. You feel like they want to reach out and tell you their story. So, in fact, they do! The museum gave us headphones and a recorded history of each quilt so that we could listen to their story as we wandered through the gallery. It was a wonderful way to personally connect with the quilts and their makers.

Now having said that, I had to chuckle when I saw this ad in the paper last Sunday. I really and truly hope that the Quilters of Gee's Bend are enjoying every minute of this, and that they are benefitting financially.

Apparently my clever title missed the mark! "Taking a Chance on Love" is a song and I was playing off it regarding the raffle quilt. You know, take a chance-win a quilt! No, I am not off having a mad affair! Sorry if you are disappointed. (Annamiek!)

Friday, April 18, 2008


Can you tell that I enjoy alliteration? I couldn't resist this Pairie Paisley line of fabric by Minick and Simpson. I bought a few fat quarters to play with. I looked at various patterns and decided that I like mine the best! Isn't that a glowing recommendation? The pattern I am using is called Wintergreen, and I designed it for Christmas 2007. Some of you will remember it, I hope! I think I will call this quilt Summer Blues. Get it? The link above for Minick and Simpson will take you to a really nice blog about them at The Fat Quarter Shop, which also carries the fabric line.

OK then. So like a good little blogger, I layed (laid? Is there an English teacher amongst us?) the pattern pieces out so everyone could get a glimpse of the pieces. Make lots of 4-patches! I actully drew the perfect fabric from my stash to complement the beautiful Prairie Paisley. (I just want to say that name over and over again). So the 4-patches and the stars came from my wonderful stash. I love my stash, and I am so glad that it combines so well with Prairie Paisley. You could actually make the whole pattern in Prairie Paisley, but I feel righteous if I can add stash to any quilts I make. (It kind of supports the whole idea of having a stash).

So here is a taste of how the pattern will look in my Patchalot Pattern with Prairie Paisley. Yum! Take a look at that beautiful border fabric. Can you read the selvage? It says Prairie Paisley, of course! (I should get a promotional check from Moda for this post)!

I made a trial of three blocks, added sashing and called it good! Then I began cutting and stacking. Five blocks from each of five red fabrics. Maybe more, as I think I will make this quilt bigger than the original.

Well, after I decided for sure what I was making I had to hurry back to the LQS and buy more Prairie Paisley for the background and sashing. My original plan was that I was going to get all the cutting done and then take it with me to work on when I go to Arizona next week. I may have to find something else though. This is going together so quickly that I will have the top finished by then! Oh well. Do you know I have a stash in Arizona at my son's house? Just a small stash, but enough to play scrappy.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I am off to my sewing room to work on my ......... You fill in the blank! (If you said Prairie Paisley, you are right)!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


This post is totally promotional! But don't let that stop you from reading on...

This darling little quilt with the bird in the center is what Lea, my Japanese blogger buddy, created using my Medallion Doll Quilt pattern! She is so talented! I know lots of you have discovered her blog and her charming personality, but if you haven't been there, please go visit! You will be happy that you did! So many cute things to see!

Are any of you into needle-punch? Karen, from Sew Primitive, has created the cutest little needle-punch patterns! The girl never sleeps! She has them displayed on her new website Folk Art Children. Even if you don't do needle-punch, you should visit her website to see her other patterns and her wonderful Folk Art Children Portraits! Then check back often because she creates like a mad woman! She just can't help herself!

I have been watching for this Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine to come out and I finally got it last night at the quilt shop. I do buy this magazine often, and I love it, and this issue has Tazzie's Sister's Choice quilt in it! (Click that link to see her quilt) Yea TAZZIE! I love Tazzie's designs because she uses lots of scraps in very creative ways. If you read her blog you already know that. OK , here is the thing that drives me nuts about that magazine: It doesn't give us a date or year on the cover, or inside. It says Volume 16 Number 7. There are usually a few different issues in stock and I never can tell which is most current. I never know if I missed an issue. It's just a minor little irk. I think it is a great magazine, and I LOVE knowing that cute little Aussie designer they have!

These links are some of this Sister's Choice!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


This is me with my new best friend, Kaye England. Lol! Last week the local Bernina shop, A Different Touch, had Kaye come and speak about tools and cutting techniques. That, and push Bernina just a little, which was like preaching to the choir. Kaye, as you may know, is a very entertaining speaker. It didn't take much to get her off message and talking about her childhood in Tennessee and corn cob fights in the barn. She still lives on a farm, though now in Indiana. She has llamas and goats and at least one chicken that she spoke of that gives her one egg a day.

Of course she stressed the importance of accuracy in cutting and in sewing and in RULERS. She has helped to develop a line of rulers for Nifty Notions that she guarantees are the best and most accurate. You can find them on her website. Kaye touted the importance of a straight-stitch throat plate (single hole rather than slot) for accuracy in quarter inch stitching. Apparantly the slotted throat plate that comes with most all machines can cause the fabric to cave from the pressure of the needle, distorting the seam allowance. Huh! Who knew? Well, as you can imagine, there was a run on straight-stitch throat plates at the cash register! Mine is on order.

Probably the coolest thing that I learned was to use two colors of thread when sewing. If you have a different color in the bobbin then it is easier to take out the seam should you need to. She says you can just pull the bobbin thread, if you know which one it is. Is that cool, or what? Yes, it's good to get sewing tips, but who ever gives great seam ripping techniques?

Finally, here is my favorite piece of advice: "Art is a personal decision! If you put it (fabric pieces) together, it goes together!" I totally agree. Too often we look for everyone else's opionion to validate what we do and what we, personally, like. What a fun day!

And then came the quilts! You are probably familiar with Kaye's Voices of the Past series. The quilt here with the flags is called Betsy Ross-surprise! The next one below, with the very scrappy stars and chain blocks is Amelia Earhart. Oddly enough, one of my designs is the same pattern, which happened to be hanging on the wall, and Kaye pointed it out! How funny is that? Mine is called Tea in the Garden, and has a little bit of applique on it. Obviously a traditional pattern in the public domain. Each beautiful and very different. I have actually been wanting to do a scrappy version, so now I know just about what it would look like.
I hope you enjoyed this little tour of England. I sure did! *VBS*

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


A couple years ago I remember Melanie, at Covered Porches and Wooden Screen Doors, mentioned that she put out fabric scraps for the birds to build their nests in the spring. Such a cute idea! So I decided to try that. We have a deck on the third floor that is surrounded by trees. (Remember the squirrel probelms?) Anyway, I placed a hand full of fabric strings on top of a table and anchored them a bit with shells. I was hopeful that the birds would recognize the wonderful bounty that lay before them! The pile became smaller, and I wondered if some got carried by the wind, or had the birds found this little stash? One morning last week I was sitting in the livingroom, just off the deck, and saw a bird on the table. In my mind I saw him picking up a strip and flying off with the strip blowing in the wind. I sat quiet and hopeful that the bird would figure it out. Then what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a couching crow! Yes, this dear birdie had a creative bent! He picked at the same strip over and over again until he had ruffled the little strip into a flower, and off he/she flew with it! He is not just building a nest, he is decorating it! Wouldn't it be funny if birds had contests to see who made the most creative nest? Suddenly I am seeing reality TV in birdland: Flip This Nest! Or how about Decorating Cheep! Seriously, I wish I had a picture of that bird. It was so cute!
So how do you like my blog's new look? I asked my talented granddaughter to see what she could do to give me a facelift, and voila! She performed her magic! I always have to depend on the generosity of others when it comes to this techie stuff. She did good! Now she needs to teach me!
For those of you who wondered if I would ever come back with the completed eagle quilt, I am happy to show you the finished quilt. It measures 21" x 21". The corner stars are foundation pieced, which makes them quite easy to construct. I am still working on the pattern, but it will be done soon. I will keep you posted. I am scheduled to teach this as a class in June here in Virginia Beach. Can you tell I took the picture on the deck? I love that deck! Sorry, no squirrels allowed.
We are receiving our daily share of April Showers here, so that can only mean lots of May Flowers, Right? I do look forward to that! Have a happy day!

Friday, April 04, 2008


I want to show this wonderful magazine that my friend Lea sent me from Japan a couple weeks ago. So much was going on around here that I didn't get this posted. But I do want to share it. This is the cover, which is actually on what we would consider the back. This works well for me because I have a habit of thumbing through a magazine from the back, which in this case is the front.

The magazine is loaded with photos of beautifully detailed quilts and also quite a few bags. It is apparent to me that the Japanese women have taken this craft to a whole new level of perfection.
Everything is meticulously crafted and hand quilted. It is a treat just to feast your eyes on this.

I like to tease Lea about doing everything by hand, but I suspect she gets more done than I do with my machine. Isn't it wonderful to see where creativity leads people, and how the same craft develops in different ways in different locations around the world? These are things that make us unique, and also bring us together. This is also one of the joys of blogging: meeting quilters from over the globe. We see talent that we appreciate and enjoy, and before long we have found a friend. I have surely found a friend in Lea. This is my kind of global warming!

Now oddly enough, Lea loves all things primitive! When you visit her at her blog, be sure and check out her photo album of projects she has completed. Cute, cute stuff!
Thanks Lea, for the magazine. I am enjoying it and so are all my friends!


I was very excited yesterday to receive a darling homespun
"Libby Quilt" in the mail! My friends, Joan and Sue, were here and we were going to a birthday lunch for Sue, so they were able to enjoy the opening of the package with me and share my excitement! And look! It says Libby on the Label!!! I laughed out loud when I read what she wrote. "A Lot of Patches 4 Marcie", in case you can't see it. You may know that Libby is cleaning out her scrap bag. These are all little squares of her scraps sewn down raw edged through the top, batting and back. It's Simply Libby! I love it!

I had to laugh because when my friend Joan came over she said she cleaned her sewing room and threw out a whole bag of scraps. She was proud, I was horrified! Then Libby's quilt came and Joan said, "I'm going to haul those scraps out of the trash"! I have to call and see if she did!

My friend Pat, from North Bend, WA sent me a box of scraps that are really wonderful. Pat knows me so well. She actually taught me the mechanics of making quilts when I first started on this grand adventure. When I look at what she sent I realize how well she knows what I love and I will think of her every time I use a piece from that box. It is wonderful how quilting can bring us together in so many ways. Or should I say SEW many ways. Yeah, I know--feel free to whip me with a wet strip of your favorite fabric. (Can I have it when you are done?)

Finn wrote a lovely blog the other day that I recommend you read, if you missed it. She has such a beautiful way with words and I think she often expresses what so many of us feel, and it connects us. I just love my blogging friends. I gotta stop now, I'm gonna cry!

Have a happy day my friends!


Why do I wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning and toss for an hour, then decide I'm not going back to sleep? Why? Is it my age? This used to happen to my mother and grandmother too. Maybe it is because I really don't tire myself out during the day like I used to. But dang, I sure feel tired. So here I am again, blogging at 4:00am. I will go back to bed later and sleep the morning away. What a life. I am just glad that I can go back to bed! At least I am catching up on reading blogs. Bloglines shows I have under 1000 posts left. Ha! Mary at Mary Quilts has a new system for reading blogs. When she reaches the point where she can't keep up, she purges the system and starts again. Seems to me she runs the risk of becoming a bulimic blogger, but it might be just what I need.

I thought I would post a couple more pics from NYC. This is my grand-daughter hamming it up with her grandpa in front of the Bank of America in Times Square. I had them pose there as a joke. DGD is actually picking grandpa's pocket and he is pretending he doesn't know it.

Next, we have the girls at the theater. They love to take random shots, but I prefer just a little organization. You have no idea how many photos they took of their heads together like this and with an arm outstretched, camera in hand to snap the shot. We went to see Mary Poppins and my husband and I sat directly behind the girls in the theater, so I was able to get this photo with the stage screen behind them and their Showbills in hand. This was a great show! Practically perfect in every way!

Across the street from our hotel is what has to be the worlds largest M & M's outpost. You can buy a bag of your favorite color! Did you know that someone sits up all night and separates the colors into those pretty tubes. What a job! But such pretty results! They kind of look like silos, don't you think? Definitely food for thought.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Here I am in front of my computer this morning, opening my (Microsoft) Windows on the World! I have been catching up on blogs after being incommunicado for the past week. I love that I can look in on you through your window in whatever part of the world you reside! I have favorite blogs in Australia, Europe, Canada, U.K., U.S. and even Japan! Thanks for sharing your talents and your enthusiasm, and for coming to visit me!

I have been doing a little sewing to sooth my soul. It feels good! I finished my "star" top, and will get a photo of it soon. Meanwhile I am back to writing directions for a project I completed last year. Remember my funny little eagle? Well, I have had the pleasure of enjoying him on my own wall for a while, since I never got around to writing up a pattern last year. Usually my quilts go to the shop and stay there. No, I don't own "the shop", but they do promote and sell my patterns and so many of my quilts are on display to help do that. (I can arrange for other shops to borrow them, however!)
I adapted this little eagle from a picture of a vintage quilt that I liked. He has now been dubbed the "Patchalittle Eagle". I also did a wool pillow from the same basic design that you can find on my free patterns page on my Patchalot Patterns website.

At least I got that part of the instructions done last year! Now I have this one scheduled as a class for June. The border for this is adorable, if I do say so myself. I will show that next time. Maybe it will entice you to come back!
Have a happy day!