Sunday, December 30, 2018

2019 Scholarship Quilt by the Independence Hall Quilters

Hello Everyone,

We picked up this version of my Heritage pattern from the machine quilter this week.  This quilt was made by the ladies of the Independence Hall Quilt Guild in guild.  It is the 2019 Scholarship quilt.

It was beautifully quilted by Debbe Coleman at Red Pony Quilts in Lodi.

Tickets for this quilt will go on sale soon thorough the guild.  It will be making its rounds around the county, and I'll be bringing it with me on my travels from now until next October.

It could double as a whole cloth quilt.

Now to the almost 400" of binding.  My arm hurts just thinking about it!


Monday, December 24, 2018


Hello Everyone,

I have a confession to make.......I believe in Santa Claus.

My view of Santa Claus has changed through the years.  As a young child growing up in Paradise, I can remember the anticipation of Santa's arrival Christmas morning. I remember so well being absolutely thrilled when I got a ironing board and a small toy iron.  Let me tell you, THAT thrill is gone!

Our maternal grandmother would always spend Christmas Eve at our house so she could join in all the morning fun. She was the fun....until it came to bedtime.  We had a very small home which meant Gail and I had to share our small bedroom with Grandma.  That in turn meant Gail and I had to share a twin bed.  Did I mention that Grandma snored like a drunken sailor??  Now I ask you, how can two small kids who are sharing a bed get any sleep on Christmas Eve, when the rafters are rattling?  Then of course we would get the giggles, and wake Grandma up. 

Fast forward to my teen years.  Our parents would have just enough money to buy us clothes and board games. How we loved board games! Did anyone ever play Careers? or Game of the States? Of course we all played Clue and still do with the grand kids.  Colonel Mustard isn't as handsome as he used to be.  We would get dressed up in our new clothes and go visit our grandmother's friends in nursing homes around Paradise on Christmas Day.  Jennie Kenline, Maude Garretson, Nellie Welch.  I remember them well.  I remember taking them small gifts, and they were delighted.  I was starting to become Santa Claus.

Fast forward to when I was in my 20's with three small children.  Mr. Joe and I always went to Paradise to spend Christmas with my parents.  My mom was a thrifty shopper, and would start shopping the January sales and buy enough clothes to keep our kids looking well-dressed for an entire year.  They also bought a few toys, and the kids were happy as clams.  My parents were our Santa Claus since we couldn't afford to give them a lot of gifts.  I can remember my Dad saying the best Christmas present for him was watching our kids open their presents.

Fast forward a few decades and we enjoy watching our grandchildren open their presents.  I now know exactly what my father meant.

I love the food and the smells associated with Christmas.  I still love playing games around the kitchen table.  I love the gift of laughter and playful teasing between brothers and sisters.  I love the humor and wonder where my kids got their quick wit and always have us laughing.

Now, I want all of you to look in the mirror.....go ahead, I'll wait.  Ready? Did you see Santa?  I believe in Santa Claus because of YOU.  Let me tell you how your generosity has helped so many people who lost everything in the Camp Fire.  To date YOU have donated over $15,000 to my fundraiser.  YOU have been Santa to so many people by helping the following:

7 of my childhood friends and their families who lost everything
4 first responders from Cal Fire and the town of Paradise
2 destitute families recommended to me by friends
1 person severely burned and in the hospital for 12 days.
1 volunteer at the Paradise Police department
1 family who rented my childhood home
100 quilters from the Ridge Quilters Guild

You have helped people with disabilities, autism, and cancer who have lost everything.  You have put smiles on so many faces and quite possibly made them happy and smile for the first time in weeks.  YOU have shown them kindness and generosity unlike I have ever seen. YOU are Santa.  I believe in YOU.

Merry Christmas,


Sunday, December 23, 2018

Down to the Wire

Hello Everyone,
Is this table runner going to be finished in time for Christmas?  The answer is a resounding NO. I'm loving the fussy cut plaid squares in this block.  This is more of a table runner for Winter so I can leave it out on the table for a longer period of time.

I tried, but I just didn't have enough time to machine quilt it.  I may make it longer too by adding two more trees and one more block.  I will have this done in time for my next quilt show in February.  I always try to offer new patterns and kits at shows.  I'm always planning ahead......and I always plan more than is physically possible to finish.

The block is from my Country Sunshine pattern.  The tree is from my Homemade Holiday pattern.  That way I'm not always reinventing the wheel.

Well folks, we are down to the wire now.  Everything is wrapped, most of the cards are done, and I braved the grocery store yesterday at o'dark hundred.  I made some cookies and a coffee cake.  Our Christmas is a community affair, so I don't have to do everything.  We always provide what I call the roast "beast" for Christmas dinner.  On Christmas Eve I usually fix crab cakes.  That is one tradition that I'm not doing this year.  Have you seen the price of crab?  Here on the West Coast, the stormy seas have cut down on the availability of fresh crab. 
I'll be making Stuffed Manicotti instead.
This recipe is delicious!  The only issue is that you use every bowl, and pan in your kitchen when you make it.  You also cannot be lactose intolerant as there is a ton of cheese.  You can also turn this into a vegetarian casserole and leave out the Italian sausage.  My little market makes their own Italian sausage with wine.....yum!  I will make this today and serve it tomorrow.  I would much rather spend my Christmas Eve playing cards with the kids than cooking.
Shiitake Mushroom, Italian Sausage, and Spinach Manicotti
12 manicotti or cannelloni shells
1 lb. mild Italian sausage
1/4 cup butter, divided
4-1/2 cups sliced fresh Shiitake mushrooms (8 oz.)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (10 oz.) package fresh spinach, coarse stems removed
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Gouda cheese
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1-1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded Mexican four-cheese blend
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Cook shells according to package directions; drain

Sauté Italian sausage, drain, and set aside

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet; add mushrooms and garlic, and sauté until mushroom liquid is absorbed.  Transfer mushroom mixture to a large bowl, along with the sausage.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in skillet.  Add spinach; cover and cook over medium-low heat 5 minutes or until spinach wilts.  Add spinach to mushroom mixture.  Stir in ricotta cheese and next 4 ingredients.  Spoon spinach mixture evenly into shells.  Place stuffed shells in a greased 13" x 9" baking dish.

Melt 1/3 cup butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat; whisk in flour until smooth.  Cook 1 minute, whisking constantly.  Gradually whisk in half-and-half; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly.  Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Add Gouda cheese, stirring until cheese melts.  Pour over stuffed shells.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a small fry pan, add Panko.  Stir frequently until browned.  Remove from heat and put in a bowl.  Stir in Mexican four-cheese blend; sprinkle over shells.

Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until bubbly.  Yield: 6 servings

Note:  If desired, cover and chill manicotti at least 8 hours before baking.  Remove from refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.  Bake as directed.
Enjoy your day everyone. 

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Another Country Sunshine

Hello Everyone,
I haven't had time to quilt, yet I feel the need to post quilting pictures.  I asked Heike for her permission to repost her images of her beautifully finished Country Sunshine quilt.  Thank you so much for making my pattern Heike.  I love everything about it!  Your piecing is pure precision.

The fabrics are called Rachel Remembered by Betsy Chutchian for Moda.

The quilt was beautifully quilted by Renee at Log Cabin Quilter.

I love the way Renee quilted this design in the setting triangles....

......then carried it into the border.

Each pattern includes a block layout sheet which makes your life easier when you are assembling the block.  The pattern is available HERE in my Etsy store.

More preparations for Christmas today.  More check processing for my fundraiser today.  More of everything today!


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

A Face to the Displaced

 Hello Everyone,
Let me introduce you to the Hawkins family. With their permission, I'm posting a picture of a family YOU are helping with your donations to my "Stitch Paradise Back Together" fundraising campaign.
I found this family through a contact at Ebbetts Pass Fire District. Jason Hawkins is a fireman, one of the first responders at the Camp Fire and a resident of Paradise.  Jason's wife was born and raised in Paradise. 

This blended family has been tested more in the last few years than any family should be tested.  One of their daughters at the age of three was diagnosed with leukemia.  Another daughter had a kidney and liver transplant. A kidney was donated by their 19-year-old to the little sister.

I spoke with Jason last night and learned that six of them are now living in a 20 foot trailer in Chico.  Jason suggested that he send a picture of his family so you can see who you are helping.  This is what Jason wants to tell you.
"Here is an older picture of my family, we were in Hawaii for my daughters Make A Wish.  To everyone who has donated to this, (Stitch Paradise Back Together) thank you from the bottom of our hearts. My family has had a roller coaster year but we will finish out the year strong and your donation is truly a blessing, again thank you so so much. Merry Christmas to you all."
As we all prepare for the Holidays, think about, and pray for the Hawkins family and all the people displaced by the Camp Fire.  Think about the lyrics to Away in a Manger and Silent Night as you sing, and hear it this season. It takes on all new meaning for me as I sing "bless all the dear children in thy tender care".  May the Hawkins family get into a permanent home soon, and sleep in heavenly peace.


P.S.  Read about my fundraising campaign to Stitch Paradise Back Together HERE.  To the many people who have donated so far, thank you, thank you so much.  Your donations are putting smiles on faces and are making a difference.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Heritge on Parade

Hello Everyone,
Several months ago I was contacted by Robert Kaufman fabrics.  They asked permission to remake some of my patterns in their fabric lines.
My Heritage pattern was their first choice to remake in their Winter's Grandeur 7 fabrics. Click HERE to see the fabric line which will be available in July 2019.

Each quilt looks so different in their fabrics.

You can get more information from the Robert Kaufman website HERE.

The pattern is available on my ETSY site HERE.  This is also the same pattern that my guild is making for their scholarship quilt.  It is at the machine quilters as we speak.  This is a very scrappy version.

I'm off to Livermore this morning.....back this afternoon before the rain/snow settles in for the night.  I have to plan all of my trips around the weather this time of year.  I don't want to get snowed in or out!  I'd much rather get snowed in......especially during Christmas.  It is just so cozy in the cabin.


Saturday, December 15, 2018


Hello Everyone,
The definition of resilience is:  the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness
That is the feeling that I had when I left the meeting with three of the members of the Ridge Quilt Guild.....the guild in Paradise.
The president lost her home, but she saved her President's binder and brought it to the meeting.  They saved all of their community quilts, but they lost the fabric to make more.  They saved their opportunity quilt called "Sweet Surrender", but these ladies are doing anything but surrender to the devastation that swept through their community.
The three ladies that Gail and I met with have been able to contact 77 of their members.  They believe they can get a core of 30 to 40 members back together.
Do they have a meeting
Do they have a place for
Do they have tables and
Do they have everything they need to host their quilt
Have most of the guild members lost everything......YES
This is where we come in to help.  I'm going to write a substantial check to the guild and let them prioritize their greatest needs to keep them together.  Now more than ever, the members need to be able to gather and rebuild their sense of community.  Guilds do so much good.  By helping this guild, they will in turn help their community heal as well as heal themselves.

I took this picture this morning while processing more of the checks that came yesterday.  I'm not sure that it was the best idea to show the fire in the background.....but I thought I would leave it. After all, these are the envelopes that have poured in with checks for the victims of the Camp Fire.  All of you have been amazing and you've helped so many already.

To date.....drum roll.....quilters across the world have donated $13,105 !!!!

The bank tellers look forward to seeing me and love being updated on the progress of the fundraiser.  I'm sure the folks at the Post Office think I'm getting way too many Christmas cards!

I'm also going to be able to buy some quilting supplies for the quilters.  More on that as the orders are placed and received for pins, rotary cutters, blades and rulers.

The thank you cards make me cry. Here's a paragraph from one letter that came yesterday.
"We are so grateful to you and your sister, and your quilting guilds for all your love and support!  This holiday season, we are focusing on gratitude - not for material things, but rather on friendship and kindness of others.  People have shown us so much kindness and have been so compassionate!"
Here's another except from a thank you note.
"Please know, and share with your most kind and generous friends, that you have touched us during a time that is unbelievably surreal.  You have reminded us of the goodness in the world, and that there are people with hearts that shine brightly during such storms.....there is no way to thank you adequately for this.  But, thank you, from our hearts to yours." 
So I still have more work to do to raise more donations to help some first responders.  I'm going to the Preview Party at the Purple Orchid tomorrow sponsored by In Between Stitches.  I will have my little red kettle out and shake my bell for more donations.

Gail and I also met with a long-time family friend last Monday.  Our mothers started the pre-school together in Paradise in the 1950's......that's how far we go back.  It was hard to listen to Bettie's story of escape.  She was surrounded by flames and propane tanks were exploding around her.  It took her five hours to get out of town to safety.  She looked at us and said, "I'm 70 years old.....I have nothing except for a few new clothes."  Bettie is also a quilter and my sister Gail gave her a sewing machine, cutting boards, rulers and supplies.  She was meeting with a realtor (after we met) to purchase a home in Chico. We found out yesterday she was out-bid by $25,000!  Some of the homes for sale are selling for $100,000 more than the asking price.  This is just one story.  Multiply this by the 27,000 people displaced.

If you are new to my blog, you can read about my fundraising efforts HERE and HERE.



Sunday, December 9, 2018

A Shout Out from The Quilt Show

Hello Everyone,
It was like herding cats as we tried to get Ginger, Mazey, and Copper to pose for a picture in front of the Christmas tree.  Ginger belongs to our son's girlfriend, and Copper belongs to our son.  The three of them had a ball at the cabin.  They also were a big help when we put up the tree.....NOT!
Ginger, Mazey and Copper

Anyway, I have been in contact with Alex Anderson from The Quilt Show (TQS). TQS gave my fundraiser a big shout out today on their Daily Blog.  Click HERE to see their blog. To date, over $11,000 has passed through my post office box.  I've sent substantial checks out to six families severely impacted by the fire.

I'll be in Chico tomorrow and meet with three Paradise Guild members to brainstorm on how best to help.  Alex Anderson is going to be instrumental in helping the quilters in Paradise.  We are going to try to get everyone a care package.  We are still working out the details.

I'm trying to do the best I can to help those in need.  The problem is, everyone who was caught in the fire is in great need.  Two of my friends in Chico have a son who works for Cal Fire.  He is going to give me names of first responders who lost everything.  At the top of the list, is a family with a 4 year-old son.  As soon as I get their contact information, they will get a check.

The generosity of the quilting community has astounded me on a daily basis. Here are the people who YOU have helped so far. 

1.  A quilter who is also a school bus driver.  She drove many children out of town to safety.  She lost everything including her car which she left in the school parking lot while she saved others.  No insurance.

2.  A childhood friend with three generations of family who lived in Paradise.  Out of the six families, five of them lost everything. Some of them didn't have insurance.

3.  Another family friend with a disabled daughter.  The daughter was living in a nursing home in Paradise, now they are all together in a two bedroom home with family out of town.

4.  A childhood friend who I've known since kindergarten.  Everything is gone including her new studio which she never had the chance to use.

5.  Another childhood friend who I've know forever.  My sister Gail went through school with her husband.  This couple also has a disabled son who lives with them.  They purchased a used RV and planned to park it in a relatives driveway......until the neighbors complained.

6.  Our renters who have been bouncing around from shelter to campground in a very small, vintage travel trailer.  Their children are living with grandparents in the Sacramento area.  They just want to be together and be a family again. Again, no insurance. 

There is such sadness.  I spoke with a childhood friend yesterday who I tracked down on Face Book through his sister.  He is in a shelter in Chico with 1,000 other people!  I haven't talked with him in almost 50 years.  I could barely hold it together while he spoke as his story is harrowing. His power and phone went out two hours before the fire reached his area in upper Paradise.  The sky got very dark and he realized what was happening.  He ran to all of his neighbors, warned them, and they got out to safety.  There were 25 mobile homes on his took 10 minutes for all of them to burn down.  By the time he got back to his mobile home, it was starting to burn along with his vintage truck.  He barely got out in time.  It took him three hours to get out of town to safety.  Some of his drive was through the flames and fireballs. This week he was allowed to go back to his area to sift through the ashes for something.....anything.  He is leaving the area permanently.  The memories of his last day are too profound for him to return.  Since he saved so many, I feel he deserves financial help.

His word of warning to me was, don't go back and see the devastation.  Remember town as it was.

Fundraising is my new part-time job.  With the mention on TQS, it could become my new full-time job.  A role I will gladly accept. 

Again, thank you all for your generosity.  I believe together we can make a difference by neighbor helping neighbor, and friend helping friend.



Saturday, December 8, 2018

Alpine Winter

Hello Everyone,
I've been on the road so much that it's been hard to find time to quilt.  When I can, I've been working on little, plaid trees.

I've also made a block or two to look like a star in the middle of a wreath.  This is actually the block from my Country Sunshine pattern.

I think if I put three blocks together separated by the trees, I will have a nice table runner for Winter.

Enjoy your weekend everyone.  Busy days ahead for all of us.


Friday, December 7, 2018

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

Hello Everyone,
I've been on the road for the past week teaching and visiting with family.  I'm home now and knee deep in Christmas preparations.  The following pictures are just a small snapshot of the creativity that I saw on my travels.
I'm working backwards through my week.  First up are pictures from my Sew'n Wild Oaks girls last Monday and Tuesday.  This is going to be the cutest Christmas ornament you've ever seen!

Vicky has been working hard on my Spoken For design.

Barbara is completely finished with my Cute as a Button design. She made this out of her scraps.

Irene brought in her finished, and gorgeous Country Sunshine quilt.

Meg's Country Sunshine is in an entirely different colorway.  All of the components are placed on the block layout sheet which I include in each pattern.

Pat is completely finished with a Crabapple Hill design.  She also machine quilted this quilt on her domestic machine.

Lynnette is making my Homemade Holiday table runner.

Paula has a pile of Y-squares for Country Sampler.

Gail has a pile of flying geese and Y-squares for her Zinnie's Choice quilt.

Next are photos from my Country Sampler class. I love the combination of colors and fabrics.

 Then there were finished blocks from Row-Mancing Alaska. This block is called Aurora.

I started off my travels teaching Scrappy Leaves.  We always begin with a layout sheet.

The girls organized their leaf background fabrics first.

You can see that the sun is going to be radiating through the trees from light to dark.

That is just a small sample of the beautiful projects that I witnessed over the past weeks.  I feel that I'm constantly surrounded in beauty.  Not only are the projects are the creators.
After being gone for a week, I came home to a Post Office box full of envelopes with donations for my Paradise fundraiser.  I processed checks for most of Thursday!  To date, quilters around the globe have donated over $9,000!!!!  All of the monies collected are going directly to help the people of Paradise.  You have been instrumental in putting smiles on many faces.
Monday I will be meeting with three members of the Paradise Guild.  They had between 120-130 members.  100 of them lost everything.  We are going to brainstorm how best to meet the needs of the quilting community in Paradise.  My contact told me the members have been scattered to the winds.  They are trying to locate everyone and evaluate their needs.  Many of the quilters are ready to pick up a needle and create something.  I keep thinking how I would feel if I'd lost the ability to quilt and create. 
The members who live in Chico are trying to get everyone together to celebrate a sense of community with the quilters from the Annie's Star guild in Chico.  The bonding of quilters will be essential in the healing process. 
I wish you could see me open envelopes, read the personal letters, while wiping the tears away.  Mr. Joe thinks I'm a basket case....which I am during my "mail time".  Your generosity is the most amazing thing I have ever witnessed.  This is the season of giving, and you've come through like champions.  I am forever grateful.