Friday, January 15, 2021

Betsy's Blessing Tutorial Part Two

Hello Everyone,

In between working on the BOM for Marcus Fabrics, I've been working on Betsy's Blessing.  I still haven't decided how big or small I'm going to make this cutie.

You have to make a lot of strip sets, and half-square triangles for this little block.

I have a basket full of parts and pieces to make another 20 or so blocks.

Here's a tutorial to make the little sashing stars.
You will begin by cutting the following to make the sashing units.  
Cut a strip of yellow that measures 5" x width of fabric.  Then subcut it into 1-1/2" sections.
Cut a strip of red that measure 1" x width of fabric. Then subcut it into 1" squares

Draw a line on each one of the squares from corner to corner.  This is your stitching line.

Stitch directly on the line.

Trim the corners off 1/4" from the line.

Press each corner toward the red.

Now do the exact same procedure on the other corners.

Click HERE for the link to the first tutorial to make the blocks.  They are easy blocks to make, and you can use up a lot of scraps in the making.  I am only pulling fabric from my stash of Betsy Chutchian designs.  They all work so well together.

I don't know what I was thinking, but I decided to migrate the bookkeeping for my business to the online version of Quick Books on January 1st. I've been using the same software for 10 years.  You know that phrase about teaching an old dog new tricks?  Well, I'm not sure that it applies to this old dog.  I've been glued to my office chair for hours at a time.  I think I've finally got it figured out, and actually like the power of the new system.  The only problem is......when I loose my Internet connection, I'm up a creek without my accounting paddle.

On another note, I called our health care provider, and now we have an appointment to get the first installment of the vaccine.  I am so excited to get this process started in the next couple of weeks.  When I called, I was on hold for 2 hours and 10 was worth the wait even though I had to listen to the recorded message about 1,000 times.

I hope you all have a great weekend.  Since everyday seems the same here in the mountains, everyday is the weekend.


Friday, January 8, 2021

QuiltMania Issue 141

Hello Everyone,

Yesterday, I received an advance image of my Heritage quilt pattern which is going to be in the next edition of QuiltMania magazine, issue 141.  This quilt was made by the Independence Hall Quilt Guild in Arnold, guild.

There will be more pictures of the quilt in the magazine, a story about the guild, and the directions for the pattern.  This will be coming to a newsstand within the next couple of weeks.

The quilt was made with scraps from my stash by this group of women in the classroom at Independence Hall.

A lot of hands, and sewing machines made quick work of this beauty.

We met twice to work on the quilt, and some of the girls took blocks, and worked on them at home.  At our second meeting, the blocks were squared, and then sewn together.

Mazey helped me put on the borders.....not!

The quilt was quilted by Debbie Coleman.

Raffle tickets were sold for the quilt, and all of the proceeds went to the scholarship fund to aid seniors at the local high school to advance their education.

Look for this cover at your local quilt shop or bookstore.

I've been at my computer for hours each day working on the block of the month for Marcus Fabrics.  No sewing for me.  I'm only working with images of the fabrics from a new line designed by Judie Rothermel.  I can't wait to get the fabric, and turn the blocks that I've created in the computer and on paper, into finished blocks. I'm creating detailed monthly cutting charts for quilt shop owners, and writing the pattern at the same time. 

Mr. Joe dragged me away from the computer yesterday when he saw that I was getting a bit frustrated, and needed to MOVE.  A brisk walk with Mazey was just what I needed to clear my brain, and focus my vision out into the forest.  Sometimes I can't see the forest for the trees. I guess I need to get out the chain saw.



Friday, January 1, 2021

Happiest of New Year's to YOU!

Hello Everyone,

Today I'm going to dig out one of my many UFO's, Betsy's Blessing, and enjoy working on it again. I will be churning out Churn Dash blocks while I'm watching the College Football Bowl games.

I love these little blocks!  I'm only using my stash of Betsy Chutchian fabrics, since they all work so well together. I put a little tutorial together which you can locate by clicking HERE.

So, dear readers, 2020 is now in our rear view mirror, and it's time for a reboot.  What lessons did we learn from last year?  I learned many things about myself, and I'll bet you did too.  I learned just how dear friends are, and I'll never take their hugs and smiles for granted ever again.  We've all had to learn to smile with our eyes, now that half of our faces are covered up.

I always knew how dear my family is, but now I profoundly realize just how loved they are.  I miss giving and receiving their hugs.  I miss seeing the interaction between all of them during family gatherings.  I miss it all.  When our son was dealing with Covid, there were many days filled with worry for his return to good health.  He is doing fine now, and so far, no other family members have contracted the virus.

I learned not to schedule every day with workshops, lectures, classes, and vending at quilt shows.  In 2019, I was always packing, and preparing to leave for an event.  I think I was gone more than I was home.  I have enjoyed being home for the past 9 months.  Yes, my income has taken a huge hit, but my piece of mind and happiness is priceless.  My Etsy shop has really kicked into high gear, and it has filled the financial void.

Next year I'm planning on hosting four Sew'n Wild Oaks quilt retreats.  I just have to walk down the street to Snowflake Lodge and I'm there!  Yes, there is a lot of planning involved to make it successful, but once that is done, I'm good to go.  I've missed the retreats soooooo much.  They are the happiest of times for all of us with so much laughter, sharing, eating, and yes, a lot of quilting!

Today, the first day of 2021 begins a new journey.  It's up to us to make it the best journey yet. It's up to us to see the best in everyone, be more tolerant, give more, and expect less.  We need to practice patience and civility.  Enjoy simplicity, and create harmony and peace in our homes. We can do this!  Our story begins at home.

Happy New Year!




Monday, December 28, 2020

My Year as an Ambassador for Henry Glass Fabric

Hello Everyone,

My year has come to a close, and this will be my last post as a fabric ambassador for Henry Glass Fabrics.  What an opportunity this has been!  I appreciate the faith that Henry Glass Fabrics had in me.

I went back through my photos to see my creations.  I have to admit I was surprised at the volume.  Every other a month, a package would arrive at my doorstep and I had a month to create something.  They didn't make any suggestions or put any conditions on what I needed to complete for them.  All I knew is that I had exactly one month to make a project.  No pressure!    Here is a recap from the past year.

First up is Buttons & Bows.  I have a tutorial for this quilt posted HERE.  This quilt was an easy one.

Also in January, I made Peek-A-Boo-Pumpkins.  

I love this little table topper! I will be writing a pattern for this one, and it is going to be one of the projects for my Sew'n Wild Oaks retreats in 2021. 

Last but not least is Seasonal Hexie table topper to finish off January's projects.  I also have a tutorial for this project HERE.

Next up for the month of March is my Spoken For pattern.  If I had an existing pattern that I thought would fit the fabric, I would use it.  I have a tutorial for this block HERE.  

Then I created Bountiful Blessings.  There isn't a pattern for this one.  I find when the fabric panel is gone, the shelf life of the pattern is non-existent.

The big success for me was Christmas Ribbons.  Several quilt shops kitted this quilt, and it was a good seller.  I burned the midnight oil on this one by designing the quilt, making and quilting the quilt, and writing the pattern in a month.  Whew.....that was exhausting.

Then I made Lovey Dovey.  I still have to quilt this wall hanging, and write the pattern.  I also want to remake this design in reproduction fabrics.

Mazey loves Leaf Peepers.  This was another successful design for me.

I liked this pattern so much, I made it twice.  Once in Kim Diehl fabrics, and once in batiks.

As a general rule, I do not quilt with panels.  But this fabric lent itself beautifully to my Heartfire pattern.  I have a tutorial for this block HERE.

This is one of my favorite pictures that I've taken on a photo shoot of one of my quilts.  This quilt is called Cabin Cozy.  The pattern is almost written, and I will be releasing it after the first of the year.

This is going to be a little table runner that will look good on my table at Easter.  The pattern is called Buttonwood.

So there you have it,  my Henry Glass year in review.  If my schedule of classes, lectures, workshops, retreats, and quilt shows hadn't been erased from my calendar, I never would have had this much time to devote to Henry Glass Fabrics.  

I have to admit, at times it was tough coming up with ideas every other month.  I wanted to do a good job, but I didn't want to make myself crazy.  There were times when I was stark raving looney tunes trying to come up with ideas and see them to fruition. 

Next year will be a year of new designs and new opportunities.  I look forward to the challenges and the process of designing and creating.   After re-reading my Henry Glass, year in review.....I think I need a nap.

Madam Ambassador for the last time

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas

Hello Everyone,

Although this year has been a challenge, let us all try to focus on the positive, and be grateful for our many blessings.  This year, we are making new memories while cherishing and reminiscing about the past. 

Next year at this time we will all be together with our families, and appreciating every single moment of being close, hugging, kissing, and laughing.  The "socially distanced" phrase will be in our rear view mirror.

I hope you have a wonderful day, and reflect on the important things in life.....which aren't "things".

Merry Christmas,



Saturday, December 19, 2020

Crossing the Pond

 Hello Everyone,

I have been so bad about posting anything this month.  I can't reveal the project that I'm working on yet, but I can share some good news.  My Crossing the Pond quilt is going to be in the May/June edition of QuiltMania magazine!

I still need to machine quilt this beauty, and I must admit I'm a little afraid to begin.  Now with my feet held to the fire, I'm going to have to decide how I'm going to quilt it.  I'll have to dig in after Christmas, put on my big girl panties, and just do it!  

Those of you who follow my blog know that my longarm is in the freezing garage.  I do have a heater I can use, but it is the equivalent of heating a barn.  I'll be like the little kid in A Christmas Story who got his tongue stuck to the light pole.  My hands will be stuck to the handlebars of my longarm.  I've thought about sending the quilt to a professional, but I want to take ownership of the entire, quilt-making process. Between wanting that, and my procrastination, I've managed to get myself into a pickle.

I wish, really wish, I could show you the gorgeous images of fabrics that are on the table right next to me.  I've been asked to design a block of the month for Marcus Fabrics using a new reproduction line designed by Judie Rothermel.  This is one of the prettiest lines I've seen!  You, my readers, are going to LOVE it as much as I do.

In my mind, the design had to be jaw-dropping gorgeous.  I've been working, and working, and working some more on it.  I designed three quilt in EQ8 software.  Three very different designs using different techniques.  I didn't think the quilts I designed had the "WOW" factor.

One afternoon this week, our main water line sprang a leak.  The whole time I was outside helping Mr. Joe dig, and repair the leak, I was thinking about the new design.  After the water line was fixed, and I got cleaned up, I sat down at the computer, and bingo, the break, away from the computer was just what I needed.  My jaw-dropping-wow-factor-quilt came to life before my eyes.  The next day I sent an image of the design to Marcus Fabrics, and received immediate validation that this was IT!

Now I'm pattern writing, and shop guide writing, which isn't a trivial undertaking.  I think, and hope this BOM is going to go big, and be in major quilting catalogs. Fingers crossed!

On another note, our son with Covid has finally turned the corner to feeling better.  It was such a worry!  He's a big, strapping 44-year-old man who goes to the gym daily, rides his mountain bike constantly, and goes hiking almost every weekend. He was reduced to total exhaustion for 16 days.  He called us the day he walked outside to the back yard and mowed the lawn.  That was a red-letter day!  Thank God for family, and his girlfriend delivering meals.  We spoke with him daily, but I got the real scoop from his girlfriend and daughter about how he was really feeling.  He put up a good front to us, but he was totally unconvincing.  

We knew he was feeling better when his sense of humor returned.  He said he lost his sense of smell and taste.  He prefaced that by saying he lost his sense of taste when he got married!  Insert grimacing face here.



Thursday, December 10, 2020

Testing, testing

 Hello Everyone,

Maybe you've been wondering where I've been.....maybe not.  I'm working on a special project for a major fabric company which has been filling my days.

I haven't touched the sewing machine for weeks, and I've missed it so much!  Yesterday, I put everything aside, and actually spent some time in my sewing room instead of sitting at the computer.

This is a technique new to me.....curved seams.  It reminds me of those dreaded set-in sleeves that my mom, the 4-H sewing instructor, tried to teach me.  I wasn't an ideal student! These seams are much easier, or I've matured enough to finally figure it out, and not fight it.

I somehow managed not to take home economics in high school.  I was quite partial to the humanities and the social sciences.  I guess having a mom who was a sewing instructor, kept me out of a domestic engineering class. 

The few and far between set-in sleeves that I did make, weren't always a great success.  I tended to have lots of puckers.  I always had more "sleeve" left over than garment.  That's when I decided to just take in the side seam.....which made the top quite snug. I finally got smart, and made only sleeveless blouses and dresses.  

Now, I wouldn't dream of going sleeveless!  Over the past few years I've developed "bat wings" when I raise my arms.  If I got caught out in a breeze, I may just take flight!

On the home front, life has been a bit stressful.  Our son tested positive for Covid.  So far he  seems to have a mild case.  I feel so helpless being 100 miles away.  We almost made a chicken soup run, but cancelled that when he placed a delivery for groceries. I could "feel" him rolling his eyes through the phone. 

We've decided to stay put at the cabin for Christmas.  This will be the first time ever that we haven't been with our kids and grandkids.  I know it's for the best, but I just can't wrap my brain around the idea. Before Christmas, we are going to make a run down to the city to drop off presents on the front porches of our kids, then scoot back to the mountains.  We will stay home this year, so we can all be together next year. 


Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Christmas Village

 Hello Everyone,

It's another day of sharing my Christmas decorations.  This pie safe is the home to my cookbook collection, that it until Christmas rolls around.  I move out all of my books, and fill the shelves with my Christmas houses.

My collection started about 30+ years ago when I bought this little farmhouse. 

My daughter gave me Grandma's House a couple of years ago.  This is absolutely the last house!  I am totally out of room.

The little downtown area comes alive with the hustle and bustle of the season.

I have my favorites houses, and I love to take them out of their boxes every year.  The first two shelves are the downtown area.  Next comes the suburbs.

We then have the farming area.

Last is the hinterland with cabins and camping.  

Every year when I put my village out on display, I feel as though I'm playing house.  To me, that is the sweetest of memories.  I'm not really playing house, I'm making a home.

I love the preparation time before Christmas.  To me this is the "best" time of the season.  The lights, the baking, and the planning all rolled into one.  It's the most wonderful time of the year.  As Diane would say, it's a Toon Cootie not an earworm!