Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Good Deeds

I know that everyone is so busy this time of the year. And I know that quilters can be some of the most generous people that I know. So after the holidays, when you have some free time and you're counting your blessings, check out Just Imagine Designs , with a list compiled by Mary Nelson Zadrozny. Pick a day, pick a project and use your creative talents to do some good.

A very wise man once said to me "You don't give until it hurts. You give until it feels good." And it will.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Key West Here We Come

On Dec 9th, I finished the manuscript for my first quilting book. I wish I could tell you what it's about, but I cannot. Not yet. Let me just say that it's a surreal experience that there will be a book with my name on it!

I am not a detail-oriented person. It then took me 2 days to put everything together that needed to be shipped to my publisher (yes I said my publisher!) including all of the quilts. As I was thinking about packing for our now to be annual sojourn to Key West, I realized that it was a little over a year ago that I had this idea. Last year, I spent a month before our Florida vacation getting my projects together. I submitted my book proposal at the end of January. What a year it has been. It is rewarding to me that I was able to stick with it. I know it is not over yet. I'm not sure what the editing process is going to be like.

So after packing up the book, I had to clean the house and pack up our things and some quilting projects for our trip. I did have a lecture in the midst of all that at Undercover Quilt Guild. What a nice group of people. Seeing one of their tables with used magazines at 6/$1, I got out my money (big spender that I am ) and splurged for my road trip. Mark Lipinski, editor and I would say author of most of the articles, of Quilter's Home kept my husband and me entertained through the state of NC.

We spent the first night in Florence, SC. Since we have my cute little Bailey with us, we had to stay at a pet friendly hotel/motel. I know I have become a little more fussy as the years have passed, but .... I slept in my clothes on top of one of my quilts. Bailey barked through a good portion of the night, protecting us from the truckers standing around outside smoking!

It was quite a relief spending the second night at my sister-in-law's house in Plant City, FL. She's a great cook and the bed was clean. But my dog had to find something else to bark at:
Is this Christmas in Florida?

On Thursday, December 17th, we arrived in The Keys. There is nothing like driving down Rte 1 where you can practically touch the Gulf of Mexico on one side of you and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. A beautiful sight. 6 weeks in paradise with a lot of pent up creativity and 2 bins filled with fabric.

I hear it's going to snow in PA.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Low Cal Cupcakes

I had a crazy idea. What if I made a crocheted cupcake, inspired by the crocheted tablescape at The Wayne Arts Center for holiday presents? Could I do it and did I have the time?

First I found a pattern that I thought was very cute. It was created by Teresa Richardson. There's also a video with it. A no-brainer? Not for this brain. I haven't crocheted since I was a child. And there were some unusual steps. I watched the video. Huh??? It was just too advanced for me. But I was driven. I had to make those cupcakes - 10 to be exact!

What's a girl to do? I called my friend Nancy. She is up for any challenge. She loves to knit, but hadn't crocheted for a while. But indeed she decided to give it a try. And success! I went to see her, armed with a crochet hook and some yarn, ready for my first lesson. The cupcake Nancy made was just adorable.

Here is the result of my crochet lesson (and many hours of crocheting and uncrocheting) and the drive to make my friends giggle! (I know, it does seem like I have too much time on my hands.) I loved making the cherries.

And now Nancy is hooked! She made me a doughnut. I love it. I'm tempted. Should I try another low cal baked good? I think my baking days are over.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New Fabric

I love this fabric, especially the green with the blue polka dots. It makes my heart sing. (I think I will use it for my border.) Blue and green is one of my favorite combinations. It's a Henry Glass fabric, designed by Barbara Jones of Quilt Soup. It's a mixture of her Bubblegum Basics line and the brand new Simply Sweet . It's for a project for my upcoming book. They were thrilled that I am using their fabric and so am I.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Our Family Expands

Sorry for the lack of posts. Not much sewing going on, but lots of other stuff. Life is good!

On November 21st, there was a wedding in our family. My son married his long time girlfriend. They had been dating for 7 1/2 years and were planning on getting married in May 2010 in Philly at a beautiful venue. We, as the groom's parents were planning the rehearsal dinner for all of the out of town guests in town, as a "Taste of Philly". We all were willing to limit our guests to live within their budget. 100 invitees. So, what happened?

In October, the couple invited us out to dinner to "discuss some wedding issues". We knew something was up, because when I was talking about the rehearsal dinner with my son, he asked me if the deposit was refundable. Refundable????

So at dinner, the news was broken. They were getting married by the end of the year. Cancel all the Philly plans. The wedding hooplah and everything so "over the top" had gotten to them. They "just wanted to be married". Immediate family only, 15 guests. At our place on a small lake in the Pocono Mtns - in Pennsylvania, down by the lake where my sons had spent their childhood summers.

I have a daughter!!!! Welcome to the family, the new Mrs. Lynch.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Published in Hebrew!

This is just amazing. Ami Simms, curator of The Alzheimers:Forgetting Piece By Piece exhibit (among other things) sent me a copy of this publication. It's in Hebrew! From Israel! From their Alzheimer's Association. The page on the right, with a quilt by Kate Laucomer, is the cover. My quilt, "Leaving Us" is pictured inside. I told Ami if she is heading to Israel, I would be happy to carry her bags! (She's not.)

Ami has many irons in the fire. Check out the website: . There are lots of small quilts for sale. There is merchandise for sale with the logo on it and the most exciting thing is a quilt smack down! Quilts by noted quilters, Hollis Chatelaine, Sue Nickels, John Flynn and Becky Goldsmith are for auction and the competition is heating up. Check it out and see all the wonderful work Ami et al has done to raise awareness and money for Alzheimer's.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Joy of Teaching

I received an e-mail last week from one of my students from a workshop I gave at the
Loose Threads Quilt Guild in Spring City, PA. Linda Hamel sent me a photo of her finished project. Woo hoo Linda, you did a great job. There were a lot of people that attended the workshop and it was a lot of fun for me to share my knowledge, teaching them many tricks that they didn't know their computer could do.

It has been a little frustrating for me this Fall, because of a wonderful opportunity that I have. The bad news is that I have not been able to share a lot of what I have been working on recently. And I have been working on a lot. The good news is that I am working on a book to be published by Martingale. It is slated to be released in January of 2011. I do really love to share what I know about quilting with others, especially the design and inspiration part. The computer is an integral part of my process and I want everyone to be able to get more out of it.

This year, I made a concerted effort to get my name out there and actually started getting booked for guild lectures and workshops. I am pretty eclectic and have several topics that I talk about. You can check them out on my website under lectures. I have been thrilled with the response.

When I do teach, I feel that anything that is in my head is yours for the asking. I know that not every teacher feels that way, but I feel that if you go to the trouble and expense to bring me to your guild: if I know it, I'll share it. One of the best parts of teaching is when you see your student's work, like Linda's.

Here are samples of what people can make in my Personalize It workshop. Learning to use the computer to manipulate photos, make fusible alphabet appliques, print on fabric and do embellishing are all part of a chock full day.

I would love to come and speak to your group. Quilters are the most warm and wonderful people. It would be fun to meet you and share what I know. Drop me an e-mail.

It Was A Martha Week

Martha Stewart, that is. And I am not afraid to say that I admire her. She has elevated cooking, crafting and cleaning from a housewifey thing to something to be admired and taken seriously. Her self-promotion gets on my nerves sometimes, but you have to take the little bit of bad with the good.
On Monday, Martha was doing a book signing for her new book, "Martha Stewart's Dinner At Home". It was at a Williams Sonoma Store at the King of Prussia Mall - once the largest mall in the US. You had to purchase the book from Williams Sonoma to have the privilege of getting a ticket to stand in line to see Martha. Free mini cupcakes, baked from a recipe in her book, were available to help pass the time waiting on line. The line snaked through the mall. It was so exciting and the time passed pretty quickly. As I was debating about who to have her inscribe the book to - do I give it as a gift or do I keep it for myself? - we were told that Martha was not personalizing the book. Decision made! That was easy.
As we got closer and closer, it became more and more structured. Have the leaf flap of your book here, no photographs here, only photographs there, etc.... Considering how many people were there and that we were close to the end of the line, she was delightful.
That's me in the blue. Can you see one of her bodyguards in the background?

So if that wasn't enough Martha, Wednesday a gang of us had tickets to go to the Martha Stewart show in NYC. I had to leave my house, in suburban Philadelphia at 4:30 AM. Our fearless leader, who obtained the tickets, got us to Manhattan in record time. We grabbed some breakfast and got on line at about 8 AM. Once we were allowed inside, we signed in, had our purses searched and then waited.

If you watch the show, you're familiar with Joey - a kind of goofy sometimes sidekick. Well, he was our warm-up guy. He instructed us on the finer art of hand clapping and sound effects like Mmmmmmmmm!During our wait, we could purchase items from the Martha wall. Who couldn't use a Martha hoodie? (It's a good thing.)

Then we filed into the studio.
It was huge and was laid out in a horizontal orientation. The audience was much larger than I expected. I think it was about 165 people. There was seating on the floor right in front of Martha. We found out that you had to "know somebody" to be seated there. (That's our fearless leaders next goal.)
Emeril was a guest, cooking from his new book - 20, 40 60. And YES! we got a copy of his book as a freebie. The show is live in NY, but not in Philly. The hour flew by. It was so much fun . We're all ready to go again. It IS a good thing.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Crochet As An Addictive Art Form

The most recent meeting of "Layers", my small art quilt group, led us on a field trip to The Wayne Arts Center in Wayne, PA to see a calligraphy exhibit, called "The Artful Letter". It definitely was not your wedding invitation type calligraphy. Many of the pieces were truly works of art, taking a quote, handlettering it and then somehow enhancing it with a drawing/painting.

The big surprise was when we walked down the hallway to get to the next gallery. There was a dinner table set with everything crocheted. And when I say everything crocheted, I mean everything. (Click on it to enlarge it.)
We all stood there with our mouths open. It was quite a sight. Then there came the identification. First it was, oh look, the utensils are crocheted with metallic yarn. Then, look it's a hamburger with fries. Chocolate cookies, 2 eggs sunny side up with bacon .....and orange juice. Lasagna, pancakes, a half peeled banana. It was crazy. There was a green tossed salad, ice cream sundae, a piece of layer cake. It was such fun as each new item was identified.

Behind us were a few lucite display cases with more items. My favorite was the Thanksgiving turkey. I can't tell you why this exhibit intrigued me. But it was one discovery after another. Even though I haven't crocheted since I was a kid, I can imagine, perhaps, making a crocheted lemon. Then saying, that was fun and pretty easy, how about if I try creating an apple, then a banana and on and on until I was creating a Thanksgiving turkey! I could see it being addictive. I guess that is what is so intriguing to me. (I even brought a non-quilting friend back the next day and she was equally enthralled.)

The creator of this display is Joy Kampia O'Shell. Check out her website if you want to see more of her work.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Inexpensive Quilt Storage System

I have been searching for ways to store my quilts that don't involve folding. I have been creating quite a few quilts, thanks to my varied topics for my lectures. Up until now, if they were not hanging on my walls, they have been piled on the beds in our extra bedrooms. Clearly, a temporary solution.

My son is getting married next Spring. So we are doing what everyone does when there is a big family event coming. You look around the house and all of a sudden you realize that it's time to spruce it up. Things are looking a little tired after 17 years. OMG - did I say 17 years? I can't believe we have been here for that long. Where does the time go?

Anyway, putting on the backburner the types of things that require a lot of effort, thought and money, I have been focusing on those long ago deserted boys' bedrooms. So now I have to find a place for my quilts that have been residing on those beds. Inexpensive really appeals to me. I have used those foam swim noodles, available at the dollar store, to transport a quilt, unfolded. But what if I used them for storage. Not a unique idea, but what if I put many quilts on one noodle?

So I laid out a bunch of my smaller quilts (with the aid of my helper). Then I placed the longest one on the bottom, laid down the noodle and rolled.
Finally, I found a piece of fabric in my stash that I will never use and wrapped the roll in it.

And those little holes in the ends of the noodle were the perfect little place to tuck in the ends of that cover fabric.
I have done this with a few noodles and have piled them on a shelf in my closet. The best part is there will be no fold marks when I need the quilts for lectures/exhibits. I haven't rolled any of my larger quilts yet. The noodles are only 48" long. To store the longer quilts, my plan is to use a dowel as a joiner by inserting it into the holes in the end of 2 noodles. Tape the noodles together with a little duct tape, and voila! Another thrifty solution.

Fall Has Come To Pennsylvania

Fall in Pennsylvania is a beautiful time of year. The colors of the foliage glow and are just gorgeous. My favorite tree for color is the maple tree. So most people think that these wonderful colors means Fall is here.
I, on the other hand, don't really believe that Fall is here until I see a plate full of these most delicious pancakes:

Pumpkin Walnut Pancakes with Streusel topping. Only on the weekend. Offered at the sweetest, friendliest neighborhood restaurant. So special that I hesitate to name it. It is really a well kept secret. But I will share at the risk of annoying my friends. The Country Deli - in Gradyville, PA - with the best Fall breakfast. Yum!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Blogger On Line Fall Quilt Festival

Blogger's On-Line Fall Festival - This is my quilt: Family Musings in Blue

This is my first time participating in the on-line blogger's quilt Festival. To view more of the quilts click on this link, The Blogger's Quilt Festival. or the icon on my sidebar. I have only had a blog since February and I am very excited about participating and being part os this on-line community. This piece, called "Family Musings in Blue", was made to celebrate my family. It is really like a modern day crazy quilt in that it has many sections and lots of hand stitching and beading. The sun arch above the quilt is covered with beads and was result from inspiration from the Broadway Show, Fiddler On The Roof.
The song, "Sunrise. Sunset" was in my brain as I was trying to stitch my feelings for my family into this piece. Lyrics like :
"Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play ?
I don't remember growing older,
when did they?"
My family has grown, and it sure is bittersweet to let go and let them fly on their own. Here are some close-ups of some of the sections. This sections is made of hearts, covered with vintage buttons. The background is done by hand with chicken scratch.
This section shows what is hidden behind the doors along the bottom edge of the quilt. It's photos of my family.
And here's another section. The white squares are actually the old fashioned Shrinky Dinks material. It is now called Graffix Film. You can print on it and then shrink it in the oven. Before I shrink it, I punch holes along the edges. After shrinking I have small holes that I can then use to stitch the plastic onto my quilt. For this quilt, I included the story of the quilt on the plastic squares.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Quilts For Food

Last Saturday was the day that we were sold my quilt guild's challenge quilts. If you read my post from Sept 17th, you'll know the background of the quilts. Just to fill you in a bit, if you haven't read about them, we had a challenge based on food and hunger. Selling of the quilts after they were exhibited was part of the deal. So no one got their quilt back unless they were willing to buy it.

My friend and fellow guild member, Lisa is a frequent visitor to The Growers Market. It is a weekly farmers market in downtown West Chester.There are people selling produce, cheeses, fresh meat, baked goods, flowers, etc. And ever changing live music - Today there were 2 banjo players with a wooden dancing man on a stick, that entertained with delight, the younger crowd. Many people come weekly to make their purchases. You could call them locavores, which is defined as someone who eats food grown or produced locally. These people are passionate about supporting the local farmers and the local economy. Everything looked fresh and beautiful. No pesticides here.

So this was a perfect place to sell our 21 quilts to raise money for the Chester County Food Bank. All of the quilts were 24" square and we priced them all at the same price - $50.00. Lisa had one goal in mind and I had another. It was a little rainy in the morning, so it started out a little slow. Eventually we met her goal. Then we met my goal. We were thrilled. By the end of the day, we blew by both of our goals. We sold half of our quilts and received some cash donations as well. We were ecstatic and are looking forward to giving the food bank $526. They can really use the money. They are in desperate need of food.

There are still quilts for sale. We have one more venue this coming Saturday at Drexel Lodge in Newtown Square, PA. AND we're going to post the remaining quilts on The Calico Cutters Guild website.
If you're interested, check them out.

Home For Hannukah

  McCalls Blog

McCall’s Quilting Magazine (Nov/Dec), the Holiday Issue, has published my Hannukah pattern!  Yeah!  It is now available on the newsstands.  It’s design is a nighttime scene of houses lit up as a menorah.  I haven’t seen anything like it before. 

Home For Hannuakhblog

McCall’s has taken the pattern one step further.  At the end of the article, they cleverly show how the pattern can be modified to turn  it into a North Pole scene or an evening village.  Thank you McCall’s.  It isn’t every quilting magazine that includes a pattern for this holiday.  To double the pleasure for this holiday season, they have also included another one of my patterns in their  January issue of Quick Quilts magazine. (Coming soon.)  If you enjoy seeing a pattern for Hannukah in their magazine, shoot a quick e-mail to

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.