I love nothing better than seeing quilts in nature! You’ve seen “Summer Quilting” (click HERE) to see quilts both poolside and on the beach), so I thought it’d be only fair to share some winter-themed quilts and a few with nature.
First up is a McKenna Ryan quilt pattern. I purchased the kit from Missouri Star Quilt Company several years ago – the year of the bear in our yard (Click HERE to read “It’s a Bear Out There” and see the markings). This bear was supposed to have a red cap and scarf, but I changed it up by using the wool from a sweater which was in my late mother-in-law’s stash. It makes the quilt more special for me and I feel I can keep the quilt on display throughout the winter.
Next is quilt is called Winter Blessings and was kit I purchased from Shabby Fabrics. It was so fast and easy to put together – I highly recommend their kits if that’s what you like. Everything was labeled and organized beautifully. It was kinda like a paint-by-number, only a lot more fun and waaaaay better outcome!
The next photo shows just a bit of a quilt (with a Buttercup bomb) that I made long ago in my second-ever quilt class. It was supposed to be bed-size and I actually thought I would finish it my first day in class! I only got it to the throw-size stage (and not during that class), but it’s a favorite!
Here is my latest version of JOY Quilt Pattern. I used a Hoffman panel for the tree (front side) and gifts (reverse side) on a scrappy, snowy background. See all my patterns in my Etsy Shop HERE.
Snow makes a lovely background for quilt photography.
Hope you are enjoying some warm stitching time during these short winter days.
Are you buying a quilt or a blanket? Troublemakers on social media sites seems to go through phases where they like to confuse the unaware buyer.
Oftentimes, companies will promote products that show in our Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest feeds based for things or subjects we like and follow. Sometimes social media learns these details when we simply talk in front of our phones. (I’ve had things show in my feeds that I’ve only THOUGHT about – how’d they do that?)
A popular trend for a while was what appeared to be beautiful appliqued quilts for sale. Not only were these “quilts” were priced was too low. Furthermore, they were way too pretty to be true.
You and I know the difference between a quilt or blanket!
While they are marketed as quilts, how does a non-quilter know if they are buying a quilt or a blanket?
First, the biggest clue for you or I is based on the fact that we KNOW the amount of work and time it takes to make one of these works of art. Mass production is highly unlikely. If fact, for many of us, an intricate quilt like one of these is a “one and done”!
Beware of themed quilts.
These people like to prey on unsuspecting parents or grandparents. For example, they might feature a quilt with a music theme. If one’s child or grandchild is into music, it’s an easy sell!
What was my next clue? THEY CALLED THEM BLANKETS!
Furthermore, which is it, a quilt or a blanket? In the photo you see what appears to be intricately appliqued quilt. Their mistake: calling it a blanket!
You likely won’t get either!
The problem is they are fake companies stealing real quilters’ pictures and using them to cheat other people. It’s unfortunate. Quilters need always be aware that their photographs can be hijacked.
Next clue: $59
You couldn’t buy the fabric for a quilt (or maybe a blanket, these days) for $59!
Last Clue: Selling MANY different quilts (or blankets)!
It’s amazing (and kinda sad) how many people respond excitedly to these posts by tagging their friends and loved ones. You can read the comments to see how many people are tagging others to show them this great buy. One such post which was being massively shared was for brilliant pieced, appliqued, and quilted musician-themed quilt of a cello – all for $59!
The personal story behind the quilt or blanket dilemma.
It’s been a “thing” in my family for years that when one of them asks me to pass them the blanket, I stand up and yell, “They’re quilts, not blankets!” (like Harry Potter, only with a pretend wand). Then, I add, “I am not a Blanketer!”
I’ve recently joined a pattern-maker group and, sure enough, they are suggesting you search these sites to see if these companies have stolen your pictures. (I have no idea what you do if that happens.)
What to do about the sites?
I try to report the company, when allowed by Facebook. I also comment on the post that the company is a fraud. The only other thing I know to do is to tell as many people as I know not to fall for something that looks too good to be true.
By the way, even if you ask for a blanket in my house, your’e going to get a quilt!
Here are some fitness ideas for quilters who want to combat sore shoulders and other complaints commonly caused by repetitive movement.
First, we likely all agree that we are often driven by goals…goals to get our projects FINISHED, that is! Let’s explore some ideas for how to continue to work through our aches and pains with these fitness ideas for quilters.
Initially, as a new quilter, I got real excited about setting up my sewing work space. I didn’t trust my instincts. However, I had already mastered the art of buying quilting books, so I bought the latest title on the topic.
I devoured that book, studying every picture and reading every word. I set up my sewing space just like the author suggested. I really liked how productive I could be in my little sewing station, everything within reach…until I started to hurt.
Consequently, I began looking for fitness ideas for quilters, because I had found that the more I stitched, the less I like it. I had to take breaks.
I’m not saying there was anything wrong with the suggestions for optimum quilting output. They just didn’t work for me…or my back.
Mostly, I tend to keep lots of tension in my shoulders and upper back. Improper chair height, table height, poor posture (very me) are all contributing factors for tension in the upper back area. But I had noticed some changes in the lower half of my body, too. Maybe it was just the aging process–or was I just sitting on my backside too much?
The first of the fitness ideas involves your iron. Move it!
Granted, I may lose a few minutes of stitching time walking to and from my ironing board, but that’s okay because that little walk gives me a chance to reach up, stretch backwards, and roll my shoulders. Sometimes that’s all it takes to keep me from stiffening up over a day of stitching.
Think of extra movement as a chance to stretch, instead of wasted time.
Therefore, I no longer have everything within reach. It’s a different mind-set, really. Now I try to think of the extra movement as an opportunity to rev-up.
Secondly, consider fitness ideas like “creative movement”.
Whether you are getting up to press seams, cut fabric, or grab lunch, try to throw in some steps you don’t normally do. How about a side-to-side step? Or step-touch (like walking down the aisle for a wedding). Sometimes when I am loading a quilt on my long-arm, I move from one end to the other by doing small plies or squats. Now I’m not talking about deep, hurt-your-knees- or-lose-your-balance kind of movements, but small movements that wake your body up and warm up some cold muscles.
Find fitness ideas that YOU enjoy.
If you like creative movement, take a look at this set of dvd’s: Body Groove. Admittedly, I only do this video when no one else is home, but it’s quite fun! I can’t say it’s a hard work out, but it’s so enjoyable and freeing that I look forward to that time every day! These are simple movements to music (not aerobics) that you do at your own ability level.
Next, turn on a tracker.
As much as I talk back to my fitness tracker some days when it fusses at me to move, it really helps me to realize how sedentary my life can be. Your phone may work to track your steps, also. The down side to tracking steps is when you forget to take your tracker off it’s charger and feel like you’ve wasted all of those steps you took (crazy)!
Stitch One, Curl One…or something like that.
I keep a small free weight (a full water bottle works, too) near me so that when I take a break I can do a few bicep curls, shoulder presses, or tricep curls just to keep the blood moving and my muscles awake. I feel like my brain works better, too, when I am more aware of my whole body while I’m stitching.
Please keep in mind that I am a quilter, not a doctor or trainer. Please don’t hurt yourself. Seek medical advise before starting any exercise program.
Okay, so it’s not really a quilting cabin. It’s a deer camp for the hunters in the family all year round. But for one week, we try our best to “chick” up the place!
Step one, clean it up.
We spend a bit of time when we arrive to vacuum, mop, disinfect surfaces, wash bedding, and do mouse and spider prevention– because it really is a cabin in the woods!
Step two, bring it all in!
First, we’ve set up the table. Followed by the tables, machines, fabric, thread, needles and pins, design walls, quilt blocks, music, movies, lights, food, food, more food. Lastly, and best of all, friends!
In this quilting cabin, we sew among various trophies on the walls and hanging above us from the ceiling.
Get ready to work!
Read on to share in our adventures which included a low-flying plane, a Polaris ride through the property (with a fortunate ending), limited cell service, a ringed-moon, hooting owl, quilt reveals, sunrises, demos, sunsets, more quilts, a little (wink) Mamma Mia, and a lot of laughter.
One day, we stood in the field at the top of the hill and made an impromtu target for a money/food/water drop with this water bottle as the target. It felt like a scene from Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.
We did get a flyover!
A few days later, got us a ride through the property, complete with thorns and briars and overgrown brush. So, it was a Polaris, not a mule, but that doesn’t sound as exciting.
We were truly blazing trails! This was our view from riding across the the dam.
It was all fun and games until we broke down! Fortunately, the abrupt stop didn’t happen in the middle of nowhere OR in the middle of the briar patch. A brief, downhill walk back to the truck was welcome! We stayed close to the quilting cabin after that.
One morning, about 4:30, Linda and I met in the kitchen and since we were both wide awake, we decided it was time to take the coffee to the porch. The moon had a beautiful red ring around it. We rocked, talked, drank coffee, watched the stars turn into a sunrise, and heard an owl in the tree.
Quilting Cabin, Mamma Mia Style!
How does Mamma Mia fit in? Well, one annoying quilter (there’s always one) couldn’t get “Waterloo” out of her head. Knowing only that word of the song, that’s all she would sing…over and over until they finally turned on the movie and then NO one could get that or any of the other songs out of their heads. Let’s see…”Dancing Queen”, “Waterloo”, “Super Trouper” “Honey, Honey”, “Momma Mia”, “Money, Money, Money”, and “Our Last Summer”
Yes, friends, you are all welcome – you’ll be singing those songs the rest of the day!
That one Annoying Quilter
Yes, friends, you are all quite welcome for the reminder (blowing kiss).
We had a wonderful week. I regret we didn’t take more pictures, because, believe it or not, some quilters, quilts, and activities didn’t get photographed!
Quilting Cabin Gallery
Retreats are about more than just getting away.
Naturally, there is something wonderful about being around old friends, making new friends, and having limited responsibilities. You can do whatever you feel like doing. You laughing and share.
These are all things that you can’t do at home, stitching alone.
In conclusion, when you’ve left the quilting cabin and you head back to civilization, let me leave you with this song…
“Back to life…back to reality” (another song for you…by Soul II Soul, 1989) You’re welcome, friends!
Beyond patriotic quilts, quilted delights of all genre are the general focus in any room in our house. Rarely does someone ask, “Are you a quilter?” when they walk into our home.
Suprisingly, I only realize that this might not be the norm when I see my house through a non-quilter’s eyes.
Granted, there is sometimes the fleeting thought, “Do I have a problem?” Surprisingly, “Bloop!” -that thought’s gone! Without a doubt, this is why I surround myself with fellow quilters. Summarily, if I have a problem, they do, too!
Back to patriotic quilts.
Perhaps you are aware from previous posts that I lost my dad. He was a World War II veteran.
I and my sisters hosted a memorial open house in his honor. I had the task of decorating the church hall.
Accordingly, patriotic décor was an easy choice. Patriotic quilts were assumed. I asked my friend, Nancy, to bring a few of her quilts. Between the two of us, we were able to decorate an entire fellowship hall with mostly quilted pieces.
Who knew we had that many patriotic quilts?
It sure made easy work out of decorating for a challenging day.
Without a doubt, honoring my dad was the best part about using the patriotic quilts.
Here are just a few pics:
Moreover, the quilting friends who helped make and present food and drink for the day are treasures. You can’t beat quilter friends!
From full-size, table toppers, table runners and centerpieces, we had a variety of quilts to work with. They made the task easy with a few decorations on hand.
Therefore, I’m so grateful that Nancy shared her quilts!
Finally, A neighbor once asked me where I intend to hang all of my pattern quilts in my house. Well, with now more than 50 patterns that use BOTH beautiful sides, I would definitely need another house!
(By the way, I only had 16 quilt patterns when she’d asked!)
Liberty Quilt Pattern
This lighthouse quilt is made with both sides of one patriotic stripe by Kaffe Fassett. The background is made from a wide variety of fabrics, including numerous patriotic designs.
See more than 50 quilt patterns in my SHOP that use BOTH beautiful sides of fabric!
Oklahoma Backroads is a great quilt for someone in OKLAHOMA! or South Dakota!
In 2014, I made this Bonnie Hunter quilt called “Oklahoma Backroads” (click here for pattern link) for my daughter’s graduation from high school. The quilt had the dual purpose of commemorating her role as Laurey Williams in the musical, OKLAHOMA!.
First, like most Bonnie Hunter designs, this one had lots of pieces.
Secondly, I used lots of scraps (as one does in a Bonnie Hunter quilt). I LOVED that many of these scraps were from my late mother-in-law’s stash. One of those fabrics was from matching colonial dresses she had made for Jacquelyn and her and their American Girl dolls, Felicity! See the Felicity tea pot quilt HERE. Additionally, I used fabric and lace on the borders which were used on Jacquelyn’s costume for the role of Laurey.
As a college graduate with a major in musical theatre, Jacquelyn was excited to land a real job, straight out of school!
When she accepted a three-month run in South Dakota, I was happy to know she was taking her quilt with her. We were all excited that she’d landed the role of Laurey Williams for Black Hills Playhouse! As you might guess, our vacationed to South Dakota for opening night!
I love that there are meaningful fabrics in the quilt she’s packing for her first time so far from home.
We’ve never been to this area of the country. In addition to seeing the beautiful new landscapes, I gained a quilt shop featuring my patterns! Click here to see The Quilt Shop.
Back to the Oklahoma Backroads quilt…and value.
When I made this quilt, I separated my scraps into lights, mediums, and darks. However, I really hadn’t discovered that the values change, depending upon what values surround them. I would have achieved more defined primary and secondary patterns had I paid attention to that. Discover the nuances of value as you learn to audition BOTH sides of fabrics for my own patterns! Click here. I’ve learned a lot with #usebothsides quilts when it comes to VALUE!
There are ties that bind us within our families, within our interests, and within our world. Additionally, current events, a world away, tie us all together.
Personally, this has never been more apparent to me than with the loss of my dad.
Memories of Dad
I think some of you will know exactly what I mean when I say that my heart is sorrowfully heavy and full of joy–all at the same time.
The ties that bind joy and sadness.
I lost my 91 year-old father. I’m sad that our family doesn’t have pictures of the times I remember most from my childhood. These ties that bind seem silly. But the memories are vivid in my mind. Some are simple, like my dad in our garage, fixing the brakes of my bike so I could ride to the pool. Moreover, I remember my dad pulling our boat around for the hundredth time to try to get me up on skis. Did he know the life-long memory he was making? Couple that memory with one of him hitting the throttle and telling me when to pull the plug as we drained our boat. It’s strange, these ties that bind. Finally, I have a not-so-happy memory of dad directing me and my sisters to help put up our tent on a hot afternoon. We were NOT happy campers AT ALL. But these memories are precious.
When the struggle is over.
In these last 13 months, while he struggled with his health, my sisters and I got to see Dad again–the witty, silly, playful side of him. He was an endearing man who softened the hearts of his caregivers and doctors, especially when they figured out he was constantly messing with them.
The peace which passes all understanding.
Moreover, I am full of joy and forever grateful that my dad had great faith, even when it hurt him tremendously to keep it. However, in his final moments he asked, “Where am I?” and answered himself peacefully, “Heaven”, as he passed. Ultimately, this is the only tie that binds that really matters. Few of us get such confirmation at the end of our loved one’s life.
In conclusion, when I start to focus on the doubts and questions of what could have been, I remember that incredible “God Wink” gave us upon Dad’s departure from this world.
Instead of Quilting Analogies to the Tie that Binds
This is supposed to be a blog about quilting. Actually, there are many analogies I could make that use quilt themes to describe family and loved ones and friendships. Instead, I’ll leave a few pictures of the man I called dad. And thank you, friends, for allowing me to share him with you.
Especially nice about this Cheesy Potato Broccoli Soup recipe is that it maintains it’s hearty consistency, even when cooking all day in the crockpot.
For work or fun, a crockpot makes it easy.
Obviously, quilt class is definitely a day of fun! Below is one of the projects quilt-makers chose for the Colorful Petals Class. She’s called Pepita. Learn more about the Legend of Pepita HERE. Notice that Pepita is made with both beautiful sides of one Christmas poinsettia fabric. The pot is made from the REVERSE side. The bouquet is made using an easy broderie perse method using the RIGHT side of the fabric.
Today I’m sharing one of my favorite winter soups. I’ve made this soup for several of my classes and it seems to be a favorite of my quilters, too.
This is a consistent recipe that always get as good review. Pair it with a fresh baguette and some yummy cookies and you’ll have a cozy lunch or light dinner with little time spent in prep. This recipe was adapted from one given to me by my good friend, Kim. (Thank, Kim!)
Cheesy Potato Broccoli Soup
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP Olive Oil
1 small onion, chopped
4 TBSP flour
1 package (or four small florets) fresh broccoli
1 tsp garlic
32 oz. chicken broth
1/2 package frozen shredded hash browns
12 oz. can evaporated milk
2 tsp Worcestershire
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
Stovetop or Crockpot
My crockpot has a stovetop-friendly insert, so I prepare this recipe all in one pot. However, if your crockpot is not made for stovetop use, substitute a medium-size pot or sauce pan to prepare the soup. When the ingredients are together, transfer them to your crockpot for the day.
Moreover, you can make this soup completely on the stovetop for a quick meal.
First, cook onions and garlic in butter and olive oil until tender. Second, add the broccoli and cook it for about 8 – 10 minutes. Next, add flour, stirring constantly for one minute. Follow this by slowly adding chicken broth. Cook until mixture has thickened.
Next, carefully stir in the hash browns, being careful of splashing. Finally, add evaporated milk, Worcestershire, and cheese. Dash with salt and pepper to taste. (I suggest starting with 1/2 tsp pepper and 1 tsp salt.)
Set on low setting for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
You know you’re a quilt enthusiast when your home decorating is based on the quilts you’ve made…or plan to make.
Write your blog post…write your blog post…write your–wait, I should get my fall quilts out for the front porch–no, write your blog post…well, I need to run downstairs to look up a password anyway, so I might as well just grab that one panel quilt for the swing…THEN I’ll write my blog post…hmmm, that old Thimbleberries baskets quilt would look nice here…I don’t use it in the house anyway and I’ll wash it at end of the season…oh, maybe the pumpkins one could go here…I really need to work on that blog post…its crazy how many quilts I have all over my house…hey, maybe I’m not alone…
So today’s blog post is about decorating with quilts! Do you? Decorate with quilts? And I’m not talking about hanging one quilt on the wall… do you immerse your house with your quilts? Maybe it is just me. It does seem kinda eccentric. Well, for better or worse, here it is–this is how my mind works when it comes to quilts and decorating:
A few years ago, I had a vision, if you will, of an Italian landscape quilt and so…I repainted my kitchen (complete with break-away brick) in preparation for the quilt I was making. (Yeah, kinda backwards, I know.) Click here to see Bella Vista. Turns out Bella Vista inspired a whole line of quilts, wool applique, and punch needle for an Tuscan-themed book proposal. Two of those projects hang from tables right now:
Bella Tablescape features an arched window on either end of the table runner with a landscape scenery.
Bella Piastrella (beautiful tile) is a pieced tile pattern with fused applique. Click here to see the whole quilt in this post about using flange.
Bella Piastrella means “beautiful tile” in Italian.
Now a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt hangs in my kitchen (I adapted the colors and borders).
In my dining room hangs Italian Proverb, which was a row-by-row pattern I designed for promoting said book proposal. I felt quite accomplished cutting the letters for the proverb with my Scan N Cut.
Italian Proverb Row by Row
In our coastal-themed living room there are currently five quilts. Tropical Fun toured the AQS circuit a few years back in an Accuquilt display.
Tropical Fun made the AQS Accuquilt tour a few years ago.
Click here to see the others in my post, Summer Quilting.
Now for that one quilt I had on my mind, the one for my porch swing. A panel. Simple but great for a swing quilt because it wasn’t too involved or expensive (in case it blows away). Then there are the old greats from Thimbleberries club.
So, please tell me below that I’m not that weird and that you decorate with quilts, too! Or you can say whatever you want, but please comment!
In upcoming posts, I’ll show the rest of my Italian designs and introduce some NEW patterns using both sides of one focus fabric (it’s not just for winged-girls anymore!).
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I’m guessing people who aren’t quilters might find that funny. Quilts are quilts – how can they be scary? I bet you’d agree though, if you quilt for family and friends or for your personal enjoyment, putting your heart and soul on display for a judge, strangers, and peers to see, pick apart, and make written comments on, just might take the fun right out of those stitches and turn them into perfectionism and a bit of anxiety!
Mostly, I enter my local guild’s show which is held every other year. Easy enough. It’s a great show to be in because it’s fun to see what your quilting friends are up to and it’s always interesting to see how each show’s judging preferences change from year to year. I’m especially looking forward to our next show’s new category: Modern. Look here to see my study on defining modern quilting.
I did enter a quilt in a big show (AQS Chattanooga) a couple of years ago and the stress of entering that first time was high! I was terrified I’d do something wrong and miss getting in on a technicality of the process. I had chosen Chattanooga because it was a new location and I thought that would give me the best chances of getting in (I call that my Super Strategy). I guess it worked! I was super excited when I got the email that Bella Vista was accepted. My quilt was gonna be in a book (I thought)! When we got to Chattanooga, I found out they only make the pictorial books for Paducah shows (argh). I knew the quilt wasn’t “going anywhere” at that show because, well…I’ve been to these shows! The work is indescribable and well beyond my skills, knowledge, patience, and determination! But that was fine with me! Getting in was an honor and I had a great time wearing my contestant ribbon! If you’ve never been to a large regional show, GO! Every year I look at many of the quilts at AQS Paducah — no, make that MOST of the quilts at AQS Paducah and just stand there and say, “How.” They are THAT good.
Bella Vista was a semi-finalist in the AQS Chattanooga Quilt Show
So skip ahead to May of year 2017 and some emails I got saying, “Last chance to enter the NEW Fall Paducah quilt show… and, well, you know my Super Strategy is to enter into a new show, so I’m all in! Apparently, the strategy worked ’cause, GUESS WHAT?