Thursday, December 22, 2011

Half-Square Triangle Heaven

Some time ago someone in one of my quilting groups gave me an idea on how to make all those itty-bitty half-square triangles without having to pick them up, match the triangles, sew ... so thanks to the great piecer who planted this seed!  When I find out who it was exactly, I'll give full credit ...

Here's the scoop ...

Since the Bake-Apolooza 2011 is done, and since all the Christmas quilts are done and delivered, I decided to work on a project that I've wanted to do for at least 4 years.  I pulled out my Kaffe Fassett fabrics and pattern and I've started piecing one of the quilts.  

It involves 87 snowball blocks and of course that means that each snowball has 4 corners that need to be pieced to the block and then trimmed ... and that part that is trimmed is a potential half-square triangle.   

Well, I absolutely HATE HATE HATE handling those itty-bitty pieces so taking that idea from my quilting friend, I double stitched the corners while piecing them to the block. 

Notice that I first sewed about 2 threads out from the diagonal line.  That gives me a little extra fold-over which gives me a much better corner.  Not wonky from having to s-t-r-e-t-c-h up to the corner.   Then using my presser foot as a guide I did a second line.  I made sure that I had enough space between the lines to provide a good seam.  Not a 1/4" seam, but a good 1/8" seam.  If the 2 lines are too close you're going to be cutting into a seam.  Don't want to do that!


Yeah, takes a little extra time, but let me tell you ... I have some pretty nice half-square triangles ALREADY PIECED!  Woo woo!!!  

I love getting two jobs done at one time ... pieced snowball blocks ...

and ...

a box of perfectly pieced half-square triangles ready to be used ... wherever ... 

These particular hst's are about 2 1/4" square. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Voila! It's done ... and just in time!

Remember this little beauty?  Well, I did something this morning that I haven't done in years and years and years ... I woke up at 4:00 a.m. and actually got up and did something productive!  I only had a few odds and ends to do to this batik jacket to finish it off, so I got it done.  And just in time!  It's for my sweet MIL ...

Usually when I awaken so early in the morning, I don't actually get up.  I just stay in bed, convinced that I'll go to sleep sometime soon.  This morning I was overcome by the feeling that CHRISTMAS IS ALMOST HERE!!!! so I'd better get up and get crackin'.    So that's one more item that I can check off the list.  

Only a few more cakes to make and then the Bake-Apolooza 2011 will be
at a close.  Sigh ...  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Spinning Pinwheels


This is Sharon's Bright Spinning Pinwheels!  Isn't it pretty? 

I was almost afraid of the black borders and the totally black backing ... can't use black batting because of the white background. 

So I put on one of my favorite battings, Quilters Dream Blend, and then used a Lime Green Isacord thread.  And this combination with the Fossil pantograph came out beautifully!  

Don't you love the lime green thread against the black fabric.  Oooohhhhh ....

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ho Ho Ho ... How many cakes???

I don't know about you, but I am about baked out!  I have made dozens and dozens of cookies (all 'secret' recipes, you know!), pounds and pounds of fudge - have you tried using the dark chocolate chips?  YUMMY!  And each morning I get up and make two Holiday Cakes.  I am so over this ...

But I do like the Christmas holidays.  And each year I swear that next year I will be better prepared ... start the cakes in early November, bake and freeze the cookies, shop for presents.  Oh who am I kidding?  I haven't stepped inside a mall once this season.  The internet is my friend, the internet is my friend ... at least until I see the credit card bill!  I absolutely love that I can google any item whatsoever and find a place that will ship it right to my door.  I love technology.

I'm laughing because the only "stores" I have shopped in are my local quilt stores!!  Don't we love the Stuff My Stocking 12 Days of Christmas thingie?  I have a stocking full of stuff that I plan to divvy up amongst my quilting friends for Christmas.  This is the best idea since the rotary cutter! 

I am already starting to think about the New Year and how I want to improve my quilting life.  I keep considering letting go of some of my 'kits' that I bought in years past - and I honestly know that I'll not get to them.  So maybe it's time for them to find a new home.  I have some fabric that is absolutely wonderful, but I'm just not in that space anymore.  I keep thinking that I can't be the only quilter in this dilemma.  Maybe we should consider a Quilter's Consignment Shop?  I don't want to give away my stuff and I certainly don't need to buy anymore or trade for more.  So why not a consignment store for us fabri-holics.  Out with the not-so-new and in with the ... wait a minute... that's how I got into this mess.  Anyway, out with the not-so-new and in with a new attitude.  BUY IT AND USE IT IMMEDIATELY.   That's the ticket!  BUY IT AND USE IT IMMEDIATELY!!! 

I have a friend that has proclaimed no more buying fabric.  Several of us have bets on how long this will last ... I'm looking at March 2012!  LOL!

Cross and Crown Vintage

This is this years last of the vintage quilts.  I researched the pattern and found that it is called Cross and Crown.  MeMaw got a little wild with all the patterns so doing any custom quilting on this just wouldn't show at all.  So customer Kim and I decided that even though it is hand pieced, the best thing at this point in time would be to do an all-over on it.  No matter which way I photo this quilt you just aren't going to see the quilting.  So just enjoy the craftsmanship of the design and the piecing.  

Close-up of the Cross and Crown.

 The quilting pattern is a meandering feather.

Last photo is showing the vintage-type backing that we found at one of our LQS.  It is absolutely perfect!  Thanks, Linda!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Bake-apolooza 2011!

I've planned for many weeks to take several days this week and start - hopefully finish - my Christmas baking.  Several years ago, my sweet MIL mailed us a box of home-made goodies and we enjoyed them so much that I started doing the same thing for my girls.  So each year I make about 12 dozen cookies, some cakes, and a boat-load of fudge and I send each girl a 'goodie' box.  And each year I ask if they really really want the goodie box this year, and of course, "MOM!  Yes!  We want the goodie box."  The daughter living out of country told me that her office workers are already asking "When's your Mom going to send you the goodie box?"  
So, today was spent baking chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, date bars, and Holiday cakes ... with another round scheduled for tomorrow afternoon and on into Monday.  Then we can ship the goodie boxes!  And that's the main part of our holiday, getting the goodies off to where they belong.
So here are a couple of pics of the Bake-apolooza that we are experiencing here in GA!
Story about the cookies:  For years my girls loved me making my 'secret' chocolate chip cookies.  They were in awe of how delicious they were ... and would pester me and pester me for the recipe.  I told them "one day... I'll share the recipe with you.  One day ..."    Time marches forward and several years ago one of my daughters came to live with us.  She had time on her hands so last year she agreed to be my kitchen helper during the holidays.  I was making the chocolate chip cookies ... she looked at the Nestle's Tollhouse chips bag in my hand, and burst out laughing:  "THAT'S YOUR SECRET?"  Yep, good ol' Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies!  So now OUR secret is that we're not telling her sisters!  

The cakes are truly a secret.  My mother made these cakes every Christmas since 1960 or so. And when I got the recipe I continued the tradition.  We call it a "It's not a fruitcake" Holiday Cake!  I make between 15 and 20 of these every year and give them as gifts.  

More pictures tomorrow as the Bake-Apolooza continues.  And next week back to quilting!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

An Eyeful of Trifle ...

Yesterday was a busy one.  I had the small church stitching group here at my home for our Christmas Luncheon.  And I served, for the first time ever, an English Trifle!  Oh my!  Was it ever good!  I did the pound cake, and the real pudding, and then layered with raspberry preserves, strawberries, kiwi fruit, and blueberries, with a sprinkling of crushed biscotti cookies and slivered almonds.  Geez, could I get another item in there, you're thinking?  Nope, it was over the top, literally! 

Mr. Dancing Bear was my Sous Chef** for the day and he did an excellent job!  I was able to sit and chat with the ladies and not worry about the clean-up.  

**And what is a Sous Chef, you ask?  Well, here's what I found:

A Sous Chef is second in command after the Executive Chef in a professional kitchen. This means he or she answers to the chef.  It’s important that a sous chef be intimately familiar with all the activities of the kitchen and be prepared to do them in a pinch.

It doesn't say anything about 'clean-up duties' but Mr. Dancing Bear took the initiative and kept the kitchen all cleaned up!  

I'm working on another vintage quilt and when done I'll post pictures.  

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Feathered Fibers Feature

Carla Barrett of Feathered Fibers is having a free blog giveaway and Carla is holding another Quilt Whisperer Class on January 9, 2012, a creative class on quilting design for all levels of quilters.  She is so talented and is offering up a choice selection for the winner to choose from - and I want the personalized cartoon!  How fun!

To Register for any class, just go to the and click on the Courses button (shown at the top).  Click the name of the class to register.   Details are provided about each class on the right hand side of the page.  Create an account so you will automatically be added to the class.

So go check out her classes at and visit her Feathered Fibers site:

OK, Carla ... am I gonna win this one?

I'll be registering for the Quilt Whisperer Class soon.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Thimbleberries Beauty

Cathy got back her Thimbleberries beauty today so I get to post pictures.  This is a huge quilt!  Somebody's gonna be real happy Christmas morning!!  I did a swirl and leaf on this one.  The fabric is such that quilting doesn't really show up plus I chose a green thread for the top (which really blended...) and a gold thread for the back.  You can do that, right?  Different threads top and bottom?  LOL!!  No quilt police around my house, that's for sure!

 The quilt is so big that it doesn't fit my hallway bannister.

This is the backing.


Dear Santa, I can explain everything ...

Have you talked with Santa yet?  I did!  And all I want for Christmas is ... wait for it ... a Wacom Intuos4 tablet so I can draw potential quilting patterns on quilts before I get them on Max and then totally wig out with "What do I do now???"  

Carla Barrett at is giving a class in January called Quilt Whisperer and a class in February called Tablet Design.  I can't wait!!

Mosey over to Carla's site and take a look.

Thanks, Carla!

Inquiring minds want to know .... about thread storage

Inquiring minds have been asking about my thread storage, so here are some pictures.  Mr. Dancing Bear made these for me right after I got Max, and it seems that no sooner did he get them finished and up on the wall that I filled almost every dowel with a thread!  You'll even see some that are upside down ... those are my "second" cones.  Sometimes I buy 2 cones of the same color - one for the top and one for the bobbin.  Just depends on how much I'm ordering and the size of my pocketbook!

As I'm looking at these pictures I realize that they were taken some time ago.  After I run some errands today, I'll take some newer ones and post them. 



Thursday, December 1, 2011

Vintage #3 - Road to California

This is Bobbie's 2nd vintage quilt that she gave me to quilt for her.  It is called Road to California.   We believe that these particular vintage quilts were done in the '50s.  Again, think of MeMaw sitting and stitching these blocks together without the use of our modern tools. Didn't she do a great job! 

Since this is going to a boy/man for Christmas I chose to do a non-floral/feather motif, but something that would give it some swirl and curl.

The 3rd picture down shows the backing that we chose for this quilt.  It picks up both the blue and the red from the quilt top.  Yummy!