Saturday, September 26, 2009

Great Blog
Everyone needs a friend like Kelly. She always seems to be on the cutting edge of anything fabric. AND she shares the links to what she finds!
This is a link she sent me to a wonderful blog. If you have any interest at all in free motion quilting, then you MUST click on this link. Leah Day is designing a new fill-in quilting design every day for 365 days. The link takes you to the start of her challenge. She is currently on Day 44. Leah has even augmented some of the designs with video, so you can actually see how she does it. This is wonderful.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Girls, Girls, Girls

This is the summer of girls - baby girls that is. Of all the many babies born in my circle of friends/family , they are all girls. Sweet little bundles of joy. Three of them are granddaughters of my friends and the other two are twins, just born on the 22nd to my son's future brother-in-law.
I wanted to make a little something for my friends to celebrate. Two of the babies have unusual names, so I thought something monogrammed would be nice. Easy, simple - burp cloths - using the pre-fold cloth diapers. The search for cloth diapers led me to Babies R Us. I had never been to that store before. What a store. It took me a while to find the cloth diapers. (Hint - They are not located with the disposable diapers. Logical?) I bought 100% cotton - premium - package of 6. Then I bought fat quarters of the prettiest pink fabric that I could find.
First, I embroidered the name 5 inches from the bottom with a very girly font. I couldn't find a font that I liked in my Bernina software, so I downloaded a font from This website has tons of fonts and most of them are free, if you use them only for personal use.
Then I cut the fat quarter of the cotton fabric in half so that I had a piece that was 11 inches deep. Press the long edges under 1/2".
Fold the cotton in half lengthwise, right sides together. Lay it on top of the cloth diaper on the monogrammed side.
Trim the sides so that they protrude about 1" on each side.

Turn the diaper over and sew up the sides barely catching the diaper in the seam. (It's a little hard to see.)

Trim the edges to 1/4".
Then turn the fabric right sides out.
At this point the diaper will be encased with the cotton fabric.
Pin to secure and then sew around all of the sides, 1/4" from the edge.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza

The Mancuso brothers have brought the PNQE back to the Philadelphia area. We were all excited. It had moved to Harrisburg for 3 years and that was about a 1 1/2 hour drive for me. The show seemed to get thinner and thinner both in terms of quilts and vendors. So I was ready for a great show.

I volunteered to white glove. In return for this, our quilt guild, Calico Cutters, was allowed to sell tickets for our raffle quilt. So I had a lot of time to peruse a lot of the entries and exhibitions.img014

I’m going to stick my neck out here a bit and give my opinion of the new venue and the new show. The venue was nice and bright and ccccccold! The aisles were very wide and there was plenty of room to get around. There were lots and lots of vendors with a huge assortment of merchandise. Liza Lucy with Glorious Color had a great booth with tons of Kaffe Fasset fabric and some great new appliques patterns.

My favorite quilt in the entire show was a quilt that won a first place ribbon in the innovative category in a travelling exhibit from the World Quilt Competition.. “Parrot’s Island” was made by Claudia Pfeil from Germany. Although I am not a big fan of bling and crystals, the applique and machine workmanship on this quilt was outstanding. And even more exciting was the back of the quilt. She used black fabric and for her quilting, she used the same color thread in the bobbin as in the top. The result was spectacular. Here are 2 pictures of the back.




Now as to the quilts. I found the quilts to be OK. I felt that some of the ribbons were well deserved and some – not so. The most glaring mistake was a completely machine created quilt – including both piecing and quilting. This quilt was awarded a blue ribbon for Best Hand Workmanship! What was that about? The woman white gloving that aisle even pointed this out to the management and they pretty much blew her off. It makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

The PA Mancuso show has historically had many exhibits. This was still true. Just as a pure guess, I would have to say that the quilts on display were 50/50 competition and exhibit quilts. I just feel like they use the exhibit quilts to fill in. Why aren’t more people entering this show?

So one of the exhibits featured the quilts of Rose Hughes. Rose is a prolific quilter and I really enjoy her use of silk, beads and hand embroidery.

blog rose


Our quilt guild, also had an exhibit of our 2009 guild challenge entitled “Share The Bounty – Help Fight Hunger”. (Maybe I shouldn’t complain about the number of special exhibits.) We had 34 quilts and after the show, we are going to sell them and donate the money to our local food bank. (Mine is the one all the way on the left – titled “Food For Thought”.) I included lots of hunger statistics printed on some of the blocks.image

Overall, I see some room for improvement. More quilters should be encouraged to enter their quilts. I know there are a lot of talented quilters out there. I have seen some wonderful quilts at guilds’ Show & Tell. I would love to see these quilts in this show.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fabric Makes Me Hungry

A few months ago I went on a road trip with my friend Lisa, a fellow fabric lover.  We travelled to Pennsuaken, NJ to check out J&O Fabrics . It’s located in a building right on Rte 130.  They sell a mixture of cotton quilting fabrics and garment type fabrics.  They have tons of novelty fabrics.  Anything that you could possibly think of.  They have Beatles fabric, every sports team you could think of, games of chance, Dick and Jane, medical themed, food, animals.  I could go on and on.  But of course my favorite fabrics were the Alexander Henry Mexican themed fabric.  I had never seen them before.  I think I must have bought some of each.  And each one was more entertaining than the next.





As I enter my house after fabric shopping, I always drop my fabric off in the laundry room.  While the fabric was in the washing machine, I headed to the kitchen to look for my recipe for Arroz con Leche from my cooking lessons at the hotel where we stayed, Mesones Sacristia in Pueblea.  The fabric made me hungry fro Mexican food. I could always go for something sweet.

When we went to the market in Puebla, I bought real cinnamon


and Mexican vanilla.  Their vanilla is water-based and the entire bottle cost me 50 cents. I store it in the refrigerator and understand it’s got a pretty short shelf life.


To make rice pudding, boil 1 cup of short grain rice in 4 cups of water with whole cinnamon until the liquid is reduced.  Add 2 cups of milk, 1 can of sweetened condensed milk and 2 TBSP of vanilla.


Cook for 25 minutes or until the rice turns soft.  Let stand for a minute.

Serve warm (my preference- especially since I don’t have to wait) or cold in a dish sprinkled with cinnamon.

image YUM!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Upcoming Lectures

Just a quick note to let anyone in the Philadelphia area know that I am giving 2 talks in the next few days. Friday, Sept 11th in the morning, I'm talking to the Homemakers Quilt Guild in Collegeville. The talk is about personalizing your quilts with words and photos and images. On Monday, 9/14 in the evening, I'll be lecturing to the County Line Quilters. They meet in New Britain which is near Doylestown. The title of my talk is "Inspiration From Squiggles and Dots". I talk about finding inspiration from anywhere and everywhere.

If you come to hear me talk, please come and introduce yourself. I'd love to meet you.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Girls Just Want To Have Fun!

Sometimes you just need a little quickie. You know a small little project that you can whip out in a couple of hours, especially when you are spending hours and hours working on time consuming quilt projects.

I was in a quilt shop and I saw this beautiful fabric with bird cages on it. I though it would be perfect to make something for my son’s fiancĂ©'s mother. She breeds and raises birds – Gouldian finches – LOTS OF THEM. (Aren’t they amazing looking birds? Like a child’s crayon coloring.)

imageThe project needed to be not too time consuming and I wanted to use big pieces of the fabric so she would see the motifs. So I found a pattern for this cute purse that said it would take 2 hours. The pattern is “The Two Hour Tulip Purse”. I made the “cantelope” size. After cutting out all of the pieces and fusing the fleece/stabilizer, it took me a little bit longer than 2 hours. It was soooooo gratifying.


I wrote a note, stuck it inside and mailed it off to her for just a little surprise gift. I hope she likes it.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

SAQA Quilt Auction - Eye Candy

I have been a member of Studio Art Quilt Associates for a few years. It's primary focus is promoting art quilts and professional quilt artists. It is exciting to see the quilts and the quilters that are at the leading edge of this relatively new art form. Each year they have an auction of 12" square foot quilts donated by some members. (Not me, not yet.)
All I have to say is EYE CANDY! If you check out this link, you can view the quilts and see the details about the auction. Below are 3 of my favorite quilts by Bodil Gardner, Melinda Bula and Lisa Chipetine.