Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Christmas Ribbons

Hello Everyone,

Here's the latest fabric that arrived from Henry Glass & Co. The line is called Holly Hill Christmas by Mary Jane Carey.  The fabrics are a very nice mix of polka dots, plaids, and stripes in this traditional Christmas line. 

I studied the fabric for a day, and then it spoke to me.  I designed a block in EQ software one day and then concentrated on the sashing and border the next day.  I thought about it overnight, and in the morning I did some tweaking to the design.  The blocks are going to finish at 10".  The sashing is going to be 3" and it's a little different than my usual sashing.....which is a good thing.

So I switched from making a table topper for Fall and went right to Christmas.  This isn't the only line of fabric from Henry Glass....they sent TWO lines at the same time! I'll post the other line later on in the week.  I know someone who is going to be very busy!  Lord help me if I suddenly get designers block!

I pretty much can't adhere to the one month turn around for the completion of a project(s)....especially when I receive two lines in the same month.  Those of you who know me, know that I don't do simple.  I like complex, and interesting blocks, and that takes time, and considerable effort on my part.  My designs are a reflection of me, and I will not compromise my style to get a quilt in the finish column.  My design is also limited to the amount of fabric I receive.  I'm constantly calculating and re-calculating the fabric requirements.

If a design is going to have my name associated with it, I'm not going to slap something together and call it a finish.  It has to be thoughtful, well-planned, interesting, and something that I want to have on display in my home for years to come.  It has to be a pattern that is well-written, and something that quilters would enjoy making.  I think you will enjoy my new design called Christmas Ribbons.  The word ribbon should give you a clue to the sashing design.  Insert smile here....even Mr. Joe likes it.

On another note, Mr. Joe and I have also been working in the yard.  We have to maintain 2/3 of an acre in preparation for fire season.  It is a daunting task since we are on a hill.  We've been pecking away at it day by day.  Misery loves company, so we always work together in the yard.  It also is a safety concern in case one of us starts to roll down the hill!  We call this bowling for old people.  So far, neither one of us has had a strike!

So my days consist of sitting in front of my computer designing and pattern writing.  Or I'm in my sewing room happily quilting away while listening to podcasts or music.  Or I'm holding a pitch fork and rake while I'm tackling the enormous pine needle problem.  Please refrain from any pitch fork comments!  

Madame Ambassador

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Moda Block Heads - Block #15

Hello Everyone,

I really liked the block offered by Corey Yoder in the Moda Block Head program this week.

All of my blocks are 8".  I'm only using fabrics designed by Betsy Chutchian for Moda, and they all work so well together.  Sometimes I don't care for the blocks offered, so I don't make them.  Some are too modern, or too simple. (I sound like Goldilocks!)  The program goes on for over 50 weeks, so I'm not concerned about the number of blocks I end up with in the end.

Yesterday, right before dinner, I was standing in my dining room talking on the phone with my daughter.  I watched a herd of deer run across the street in front of our cabin.....with a mountain lion in hot pursuit.  I was speechless, and my daughter thought something was wrong with me.    There have been so many bear and mountain lion sightings lately.  There are fewer people up here since our sheriff issued a statement telling the owners of second homes to stay away. So, the animals of the forest have moved back into their territory, and become quite comfortable.

I only go for walks now at the Middle School.  No more walks around the neighborhood until there are more people around.

This is day #39 of our incarceration.....I mean self isolation....or shelter in place. The other day, I moved all of the furniture around in our great room.  It was a great chance to do some Spring cleaning.  I moved my desk over by a window so I can easily see the critters passing through the back yard.

I had to cancel my Sew'n Wild Oaks quilting retreat which was supposed to happen next week, which I moved to the 2nd week of June.  It is just too soon, and we don't know yet when our restrictions will be lifted. I hope my August and October retreats are a "go".  I'll miss seeing "my girls" for four days of continuous quilting and laughing.

Now we have to start our massive yard clean-up before fire season begins.  It's a never-ending story of pine needles, twigs, and pine cones.  If we both work an hour or two a day, it breaks the job done to a manageable undertaking.  Wish us luck!


Thursday, April 23, 2020

Bountiful Blessings

Hello Everyone,

This is what I've been working on.  I'm going to be all set for Autumn with this table topper gracing my table.

I've been wearing my Madam Ambassador hat for Henry Glass Fabrics for the past couple of weeks.  The fabric is named "Autumn is Calling" by Color Principle. I enjoyed working with this palette of gorgeousness.

The blocks finish at 5" and look so good around the center panel section.

Here are the fabrics that Henry Glass Company sent to me.  When a box of fabric arrives, I always put it out where I can see it everyday, and then starting imagining what I'm going to design.  The center panel was meant to be a placemat.....but not for me.  The circular panel became the center medallion for my 40" x 40" table topper.  I always try to think outside of the box.

The weather has warmed, so I can spend time in my garage machine quilting.  I will probably have the big garage door open, so I'll be on the lookout for bears while quilting.  There have been so many sightings in our neighborhood.  They are getting entirely too comfortable around here.

I am really looking forward to Fall this year.  I'm looking forward to my family gathering around a harvest table, with this table topper smack dab in the middle.  I'm looking forward to their sense of humor throughout dinner, and the constant chatter between all of the cousins.  I miss that now more than ever, and anxiously await the day we can all be together again.  If I sound melancholy, I most certainly am.

This is day #37 for us in self isolation in California.  We can't open the country too soon.  I don't want the clock to have to start all over again. Let's do this right the first time, and listen to the experts. As our Governor Newsom says, END, PERIOD, FULL STOP.  Stay home, and be safe.

Madam Ambassador

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Lil' Orphan Scrappy Tutorial Part Three

 Hello Everyone,

This tutorial is the 3rd and last one in the series for Lil' Orphan Scrappy.  The tutorial will cover the final border and how to put the quilt together.

Begin by cutting (26) 5-1/4" x 5-1/4" light squares and (26) 5-1/4" x 5-1/4" dark squares.

Place the squares right sides together.

©      I use a small Omnigrid™ ruler that has a centerline ¼” from both sides of the ruler.  Place the ruler diagonally on the wrong side of the light fabric and draw a faint line on each side of the ruler using a marking pencil or quilting chalk.  Make sure it is a very thin line.

Stitch directly on the lines. Cut them apart between the stitching lines.  Open, and then press seams toward the dark fabric for half of the HST.  Press the other half toward the light. You will have (2) half-square triangles. I used a Bloc-Loc ruler and trimmed the HST to 4-3/4" x 4-3/4".

       Sew the HST together in groups of two and mix the colors together. Since you pressed half of the HST's to the dark, and half to the right, use one from each pile.  The seams will nest together. After you stitch two together, press seams to one side. 
       Make 26 sets.

Make (4) light HST for each of the corners in the border.  Cut (4) light squares 5-1/4" x 5-1/4"   Place them right sides together.  Draw lines just as you did in the prior step.  Cut the HST apart.  Trim to 
4-3/4" x 4-3/4".

Now you are ready to layout your HST and blocks.  If you have a design wall, use it.  Blocks look so different when you lay them out on the floor.  I suggest you take a picture of the layout, and if you have the capability, turn it into gray scale.  You will be able to see the contrast much better in gray scale.

Alternate the direction that you press the seams. Press one row to the right, and the next row to the left so the blocks will butt up against each other.

      The quilt should measure 77” x 86”.  There are a lot of seams in this quilt.  If you are remotely close to the final size, be happy!

Here is an up close image of my machine quilting.  I purposefully planned the layout with staggered blocks, so I could have a quilted line of feathers between the rows.  I also quilted a tight stipple in the light areas of the blocks.

Here's the quilt on my long arm taken from the side of the quilt.  It is so hard to get a good picture to highlight the machine quilting.  In the zig-zag area, I used a golden thread color.

If any of you ever have a question, I'm just an email away.  Here's my email address:

I hope you enjoyed the tutorials.  I would love to have you send me pictures of your blocks, and of course pictures of your finished Lil' Orphan Scrappy quilt!

Stay safe and healthy.


P.S. If you want to purchase the pattern, it is located HERE in my Etsy shop.

Friday, April 17, 2020

The News From Wilder's Last Resort

Hello Everyone,

This is an update on a new project for Fall using Autumn is Calling by Color Principle for Henry Glass Fabrics.

I have limited fabric, so I'm trying to make the best use of what I have as I design.  In between other tasks, I'm making leaves.

Here is part of one potential layout.  I can just see this as a tablecloth during the entire Fall season.

 I'm going to incorporate this circular panel.

Mr. Joe has been baking sourdough again.  Here's his loaf of cinnamon/raisin sourdough. It was delicious, and makes wonderful toast with our morning bowl of oatmeal.

Not one to be outdone, I made two sourdough baguettes.  Here's a picture of the staples of our life.

This is day #31 of our SIP (shelter in place).  So far so good.  We keep busy each day with chores around the cabin, yard work, cleaning out cupboards, reading, quilting, walks in the woods, and watching TV.  When our self isolation is over, I don't want to wonder why I didn't do something while I had all the time in the world.

The only time we take the car out is a daily trip to the post office which is two miles away.  We also drive to the middle school, about five miles away to take Mazey for a walk at the track.  So it boils down to the car is getting three weeks to the gallon!

Now let's talk about my hair.  I've had short hair for decades. My last haircut was the end of February and I get it cut every 3-4 weeks.  I like to have my hair trimmed over my ears.....well the sides are starting to get long.  I'm afraid if I trim them myself, it's going to look like I'm going for that mullet look!

I actually love the idea that my heavy travel/lecture/workshop/class schedule has been wiped clean. I'm totally enjoying my time at home with Mr. Joe and Mazey.  One thing that I've learned during this time is that I will never fill up my life as much as I have in the past.  I was always getting ready for something.  I was always getting ready to leave home.  I always had a huge to-do list.  Now I have things I want to do, that I've been putting off for years. I'm also sleeping much better.

I've been planning good meals depending on the availability of food.  We are at the end of the supply chain in our little community, and it can be a real pot-luck at our little grocery store.  Now meat is hard to come by, along with TP, pasta, bread, and some canned foods.  When I was cleaning out the pantry yesterday, I found a 5-lb bag of flour.  I thought I'd struck the Motherlode!

Hang in there everyone.  This unprecedented time in our life will pass.  We just need to make the best of what each day brings our way.


Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Springtime Lil' Orphan Scrappy

Hello Everyone,

I saw this Springtime Lil' Orphan Scrappy online and contacted the maker to see if I could post it on my blog.  Ellen, thank you so much for saying yes.

I love to see my designs made in a different colorway.  Here's what Ellen said about her quilt.
It's made entirely of scraps from other projects. I wanted to have a springtime feel... a happy warm smile.
Some people think less of scrappy quilts, but honestly I think the time and originality each one takes makes them very special. It's a challenge sometimes to coordinate your scraps into a cohesive look.
I begin by sorting my scraps into groups that looks great together.  You'll know if one of them doesn't fit in and play well with the others.  You know what you like.  Trust your instincts.

Each and every scrap quilt is unique like a two are ever alike.

Make snowflakes today.


Saturday, April 11, 2020

Lil' Orphan Scrappy Tutorial Part Two

Hello Everyone,

Here is part two of the Lil' Orphan Scrappy tutorial.  I got a little sidetracked when I started making masks.

You can find Part One of this tutorial by clicking HERE  It shows you in great detail how to make an Ohio Star block.  What I failed to tell you is, you will need to make 76 of these blocks.  Slight omission on my part!

This tutorial is going to show you how to attach the setting triangles to the blocks.

I've been busy sewing along with you.

Begin by cutting (152) 5-1/4" x 5-1/4" squares in a variety of colors from light, medium, to dark. You will end up cutting a lot more than the original 152 because you will always find another fabric that you want to add into the mix.  Cut the squares in half.

I love selecting the fabrics to put into this quilt.   They all look so yummy together.  Did I make a dent in my stash?......absolutely NOT.  Can you imagine how many quilts we have just waiting to be made out of our scraps?  I'm sure it would be in the hundreds just out of my sewing room.

I like to be able to see all of my choices, so I lay them out so I can see what colors I need to add, and what colors I have.

Then I selected four triangles that look good with this block.

I line up the triangle and pin it to the block.

Flip it over when you stitch.  Whenever you stitch something with a bias edge, make the bias piece is touching your feed dogs.  You will be less likely to stretch the piece cut on the bias. Let the feed dogs feed it under the needle.

When you stitch on this side of the block, you can see where your stitches need to go, so you don't loose any points. See how the stitching line perfectly intersect across the previous stitching lines.  You never want to be pointless!

Press toward the triangle

I've stitched on the opposing triangles.

Trim off the dog ears.

Then stitch on the other two sides.  Then trim the block to 9" x 9".


This is what you will need to make using the setting triangles.

When you do this, you get that great rick-rack look for the border.

I will get the last part of the tutorial together this week....promise.  


P.S. If you are interested in purchasing the pattern, it is available HERE in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Making Masks

Hello Everyone,
I dropped everything over the past two days and made masks for my family members.  I'm following the directions from Kaiser Hospital.  The directions add an extra pleat so the masks wraps around the nose a bit better.  They would have been so much easier if I'd had elastic.  The straps are the most time consuming element of the mask.

I had this great fabric in my stash to make masks for all of my granddaughters involved in FFA.  The fabric is from the Land That I Love collection by Deb Strain for Moda.  I think the girls will be more apt to wear them since there's a pig on it!

The five turkeys are no longer running amok in my daughter's garage.  They were able to make a pen at the school farm to house the little guys and girls.

Raising animals for FFA is quite the commitment for the girls.  Feeding times at the school farm are staggered so the kids aren't congregating at the same time.  It's a very real possibility the county fair will be cancelled this summer.  If that's the case, the girls will not be able to show and sell their animals.  We may have an entire pig in our freezer!  Maybe a turkey or two also.  But I refuse to buy and eat a goat! They are just too cute and have so much personality.

We've been digging our way out again.  We received another foot of snow over Sunday and Monday.  It is beautiful, but I'm so over the snow, and look forward to Spring.

This is day #23 of our self isolation.  I loved this quote that I saw on FaceBook.  Be grateful today, and be grateful that you have a today.


Sunday, April 5, 2020

Autumn is Calling

Hello Everyone,

I'm putting on my Madam Ambassador hat for Henry Glass & Co. for the next few weeks.  My fabric shipment arrived a month early. since life it a little upside down right now, and all shipping schedules have been thrown out of whack.

This gorgeous fabric, "Autumn is Calling" by Color Principle for Henry Glass & Co. was is the shipment.  Yesterday I sat down and designed and made a couple of leaf blocks.  I LOVE them!  They look a little bit lacey and are very leafy.

Feast your eyes on this fabric palette!  It is so rich and luscious.

The line comes with three panels too.

I haven't decided exactly what I'm going to do, but I drew out one design already.  I know it's going to have leaves.....that's a given.

I'll be switching gears this week as I stop to make masks for our entire family.  They are going to be their Easter presents.

Mr. Joe has been baking again.  This time he made sourdough Babka.  It was delicious.  He made sourdough pancakes yesterday for breakfast.  I've had so much sourdough lately that I may turn into an old gold miner since sourdough bread was a staple during the 1849 California Gold Rush.

I hope you are all staying home and practice social distancing when you are outside.  We won't be going outside today since we are in the grip of a major winter storm.  It is supposed to rain all day and snow all night.  We've got our firewood at the ready on our front porch so we don't have to venture out too far.  However, Mazey still has to go out occasionally.  Friday night, during last potty call for the day, Mazey and Mr. Joe beat a hasty retreat back into the house when they both heard a bear growling.  That growl got both of their hearts pumping a little faster!  I didn't know Mr. Joe could move so fast.

Madam Ambassador