Quilting, Sketching & Mug Rugs

Happy Monday…after school vacation!! Yipppeeee! Vacation week was fun and I managed to accomplish a few things. It was a busy week while I attempted to remain calm while Amanda was in France (despite news stories that fueled my anxiety) and make it a fun week for Lindsey and Leah who, well , didn’t get to go to France. We aimed to do something fun each day and I think they had a good time. I know I did! And Amanda had the time of her life, for sure.

I worked a few days on the Love Notes quilt that was acting as my therapy quilt while Amanda was abroad. I got all the pieces cut and I’m working on stitching the blocks together. I stitch and pin them to the design wall in no particular order as of yet.

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I’ve used quite a bit of sizing on each patch hoping to overcome the bias problem. So far, it’s going ok.

I made a bunch of Star Wars totes for the comic show as well.

My sketching class on Craftsy continues. My third assignment was the banana one where I had to use two values of the same color in a watercolor sketch. So basically sketch the same item twice and color it two different ways.
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The feedback I received from the instructor was this:

I think this is a lovely study. One thing to watch out for are proportions–your banana might be getting a tad bit skinny, like a string bean. The colors are spot-on, though. The other thing I would work on is making the background values even darker, and laying in the banana’s shadow. I think that would really help the banana “pop” more. Nice job!

I was pleased. The fourth homework was HARD, you guys. It was to sketch a person in motion. So basically sketch a person moving very quickly and fill in most of the detail from your memory. I sketched Leah walking in front of the fireplace. It didn’t come out great and I had that darn coffee table in my way. Ugh.

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The only part I liked was that you could see her foot lifted up like it was in motion..sort of. Here was the reply of the instructor:

Nice job. You’ve got the right idea, working with the general features first, like the ponytail and the style of clothes. I think you can be even more gestural with these. I would try sketching in public with people you don’t know and see what you can capture.

I think he’s too kind to say what he really thought! LOL!

Today after lunch I took my sketching on the road which is really what this urban sketch class is about. I went to Dunkin Donuts, ordered a coffee and started to sketch. I ignored anyone looking at me strangely. My intention was to sketch the whole counter. I realized I was way, way, way in over my head so I did the part of the counter that was right in front of me.

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I’m not feeling all that encouraged but I will keep trying. One of my favorite quotes by Eleanor Roosevelt is, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” She is right. She is sooooo right. Also, I watched all 6 Star Wars movies in order last week so I’m feeling particularly Jedi-ish with the mind set that I can do anything. Ha ha ha. At least that’s what Yoda says.

Ok, on to mug rugs. I never posted what the mug rugs looked like that I sent to my two partners, Tina and my mom. Here it is.


I found the free pattern on line and I thought it was really cute so I made one for each partner.

Today I’m working on my presentation that I’m giving to the Seaside Quilters in early May. What are you up to?

And I do still podcast though it seems I skipped a month. I’ll be remedying that this week! Stay tuned!!!


Spring in Paris, Sketching & A Therapy Quilt


My girl is off to Paris and she’s having the time of her life! It looks beautiful there and I can’t wait to hear from her each day and see all the amazing things she is experiencing.


Each day is a new adventure for Amanda and her fellow students. They are a lucky bunch!

While she is away, I decided to begin work on the Love Notes quilt that I am making for her. It’s a Missouri Quilting Company tutorial.

I am using the Kiss Kiss charm squares from Moda which are adorable and have little Eiffel Towers all over them. The only thing I’m finding not adorable is this:

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Some of the charms are nearly a full 1/4″ off. Grrrrr. I am cutting my own yardage of Kona White for the white charms instead of using a precut so I know that my cutting is accurate and these charms are off. I’ve found a few like this and I keep setting them aside. I did buy two of the charm packs so I have wiggle room but this is what annoys me about precuts. Anyway, I’m happily working away on Amanda’s quilt as I think about the wonderful time she is having and what a great experience this will be for her. I know she’ll come back changed in a way and that’s ok. We are supposed to give them wings and my girl is flying.

My watercolor field set came this week and I was able to do the third homework assignment in sketch class. The assignment was to sketch two of the same item and then paint them in two values of the same color. This is right up a quilter’s alley! I’m feeling kind of proud of my work on this one. I really, really tried to get the rounded curves down. We’ll see what the instructor says when he looks at it.

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The fourth homework will be to sketch people in motion. Good Lord, I have never even sketched a person not in motion!! This will be tough.

Don’t forget to post your beautiful mug rugs and potholders in the Flickr Group. There are some really nice ones in there now.

And the Sail Away Mug Rug pattern is still just .99 cents in the Craftsy store.

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Sketching and Tote Bags

I continued on with the next two lessons in my sketching class. Thank you to everyone who commented either here or through email and Twitter about my progress (or lack thereof)! The first homework assignment was to sketch a still life. The second assignment was to use pen and cross hatching to create texture. I sketched a vase and started cross hatching to show some shadow, etc. Well, I pretty much cross hatched the heck out of it which was good practice but not great in terms of actually showing shadows correctly. I posted this in the class homework section and this was the reply I received from Paul Heaston who is the instructor.

This sketch has better ellipses, nice job! You are getting some lovely textures with the cross hatching and the pattern on the vase. Look for highlight areas, where the vase is getting more light and less shadow, and don’t worry about cross-hatching in those areas.

Next time, I’ll be more judicious in the amount of cross hatching.

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The next homework assignment is to work in watercolor. Hmmmm…don’t have any nice sets laying around..yup, back to Michael’s this morning for a water color pad, brushes and the paints. I had success in getting the pad and brushes but the watercolor paint set that is recommended wasn’t there. I came home and ordered it on Amazon. It will be here Saturday. I got the travel set of 24 colors so that I can take it with me to Kauai this August. I do indeed picture myself sitting in a lush, tropical locale with my sketch pad and watercolors and flowing, flowery dress and oh, maybe a sun hat. Can’t you just picture that? Ok, reality is I’ll be sitting in my wrinkled shorts and t-shirt begging my family to let me stay one more minute to get that last detail!! LOL!!

Yesterday I tried sketching on the go. I had to pick up Lindsey from school and had a few minutes to spare. I pulled out my pocket sketch book and a pencil and looked for something interesting. Unfortunately, I picked the wrong side of the parking lot with only this to look at:

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I sucked it up and went to work. In a few minutes time, I sketched this:

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Not terrible? I’ll be looking forward to that new paint set on Saturday and I’ll post my homework when it’s complete.

In sewing news, I made 4 tote bags for upcoming comic shows. Sock-It-To-Me-Toys is the name of the business that I am working with and they are attending quite a few shows in the near future. I enjoyed making these very much. They are fast and they are lined and boxed which makes them super nice. I hope they sell well at the shows. I have a lot more fabric so there will be more of these made up in the next few weeks.

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Ok, don’t forget the Sail Away Mug Rug pattern in on sale this week for .99 cents on Craftsy!! After next week, it will be $2.00.

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Sketching, Prom & Paperclips

Happy Monday Evening!

So the prom finally happened!! Feels like we’ve been talking about it forever and just like that, now it’s done. Here are my three favorite pics of Amanda and Dan from Friday night.










From the dress, to the hair, to the nails, to the flowers it was all picture perfect. I was over the moon for these two.














On Sunday I headed out to Joann’s to pick up comic show fabric and some sketching supplies.

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I’m taking Paul Heaston’s Sketching The Everyday class on Craftsy. I’m only on the third lesson but I certainly enjoyed shopping for the supplies! Here is my homework assignment from the second lesson. It’s not great and I’m hoping to improve over time. The main idea in this class is to sketch something every, single day. Here’s my Bromelia sketch…

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I bought a small sketch pad for my purse so maybe I’ll make the goal of every day. The next homework is to use pen and practice adding texture with cross hatching. I think the class is interesting but I was hoping for a bit more instruction about actually drawing. Maybe that will come in later lessons. I’m a bit spacially challenged and drawing in 3D is very hard for me. We’ll see….













Lately, I’ve become a fan of James Clear who is a motivational speaker. He wrote this very interesting article about cultivating habits and the use of the paperclip strategy. I think it’s a great idea and could easily transfer over to quilting. Imagine having a cup full of paperclips representing projects. Take a read, let me know what you think.


On James’ website you can find two free ebooks about setting goals. I like his approach to easing into a new habit and setting reasonable goals that can be built upon. It is helping me with my Couch To 5K running and lifting some arm weights. The Couch To 5K program works on that premise. It has you run just a few minutes to begin and when you have that mastered, it has you run a bit more all the way to 5K. I’m adding in some light weights for my flabby arms and as James suggests, I’m setting goals that are easy enough to accomplish so that I don’t lose interest. It’s good stuff…worth the read.

Have a wonderful evening! It’s Disney night on Dancing With The Stars!! Yippppeeeee!


Swap Update & Stuff

Happy Wednesday!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! I spent the weekend with family getting ready for Easter. We went to church and then hosted dinner and an egg hunt here. It was such fun. Here are the girls on Sunday morning…


Earlier this week I had some fun mail from down under! Philipa of Ozzypip Quilts made a beautiful tea shop quilt that you can read about on her blog. I admired the appliques so much and was ecstatic when she mentioned that she had purchased the pattern twice by accident. I immediately asked her if I might take one of those patterns off of her hands in the form of pattern trading. She was game and I sent her one of my Easter patterns in return for this one!
























I was even more ecstatic when it arrived and I found out it was fusible applique and not needle turn…Yippppeeeee! I think you all know by now I have a love affair with fusible applique! The pattern is really for a teapot cozy but I might do as Philipa did and make a quilt out of it instead. I’m hoping Philipa receives the Easter pattern in the mail this week. As of yesterday, it had not arrived. Fingers crossed!

Yesterday I made this tote bag as a sample one for the comic collectibles sewing I am doing. It’s lined and has a boxed bottom which I like very much.
























It took an hour and I used this great tutorial from Skip To My Lou.

It’s also reversible if you want to line it with something fun and not just a solid color.

The mug rug and potholder swap is well under way and participants are beginning to receive some really fun mail!!! If you have received your mug rug or potholders, please take a quick pic and post it to this Flickr Group. So far there are two photos in there so go ahead and take a look!

Also this week, I received an invitation to speak at the Seaside Quilter’s Guild in Duxbury, MA in May. I am really looking forward to presenting my Mission Possible: A Quilting Journey presentation and trunk show. It will be lots of fun!

I’m hoping to get on track with the pattern writing for the Hanukkah mini quilts today. Friday is Amanda’s junior prom and we are busy preparing for that tomorrow and Friday morning! Then we will be consumed with getting Amanda ready for France!! We’ve been talking about this trip for a long time and it’s almost here. For those of you that travel, can you confirm this for me regarding voltage adapters and converters….if your iphone or camera charger states that its input is 100-240 volts, does she only need an adapter and not a converter?

Have a beautiful day, everyone.


Mug Rug Fun

Happy April 1st!

I finished up the two mug rugs that I am making for the swap. I have two partners this time around and one of them is my mom! She came to visit this weekend and she brought me the cutest mug rug!!


Isn’t is adorable? I’ve been using it everyday. I think mug rugs are such fun. I’ve really enjoyed making the ones for the swap. I have to mail the one I made to Tina who is my second partner and I’ll give my mom hers over Easter weekend.

How are you all doing on the swap items? Some of you were making pot holders and other the mug rugs. Projects are due to partners at the end of April! I can’t wait to see finished projects. I set up a Flickr Group for any photos you want to add of your mug rugs or potholders. It’s called Mug Rug and Pot Holder Swap 2015. CLICK HERE FOR IT.

This week I also relocated the sewing cabinet I use for my Featherweight from the dining room to the living room. It fits in this space perfectly!
























I can push the beige chair out of the way when I want to open the cabinet to use the machine. I’m happy to have it in the living room because it’s hard to see well in the dining room. The lighting isn’t too bright in there.

I’m all about Easter now getting the house cleaned, food planned and the Easter baskets and egg hunt squared away! I’m dying to play with fabric but it might not happen for a few days.

What are you all up to this week?


A Finish, A Cake & Some Doodling

Happy Friday! We made it!!

This week I finished up the dreidel quilt that will be the second of two mini quilts in a new pattern for Hanukkah.


This dreidel mini quilt along with the menorah mini quilt will be offered as a pattern in a few weeks. I just have to type it and send it off for pattern testing. I don’t have a name for the pattern yet…any suggestions? I’d love to hear from you!


Last Friday was a huge day around here for us. After 5 very long years, Amanda finally got her braces off!! She’s been hoping and praying that they would be off in time for prom and her France trip and every effort and I mean every effort, was made to make that a reality for her. After numerous appointments and 4 tooth implants, we’re finally making progress. She’s not done by any stretch but the biggest factor for her was getting the braces off. All 3 girls and I have Oligodontia which is multiple congenitally missing teeth caused by a gene mutation. So even though it will be a long road of dental issues all around, we had to celebrate this big, momentous occasion with a cake!! Yay Amanda!!


I had some really fun mail this week from podcast listener and blog reader, Lori!! She sent me a bunch of fun fabrics to be used in making the comic show toiletry bags. I love them all and can’t wait to have a bag sewing session! Many thanks, Lori. It made my day for sure!!
























I can hardly believe Easter is next week….where does the time go? I really need to go clean my house…

Have a fabulous weekend everyone! Oh…almost forgot…here’s a great article from the Wall Street Journal on doodling. A study was done that showed doodling aids in constructing new, creative ideas. So doodling one image led to even more creative ideas and images. It was also shown that people who doodled while listening to a long list of names could recall 29% more of those names than those who didn’t. I know I could use some help with recall so I better get doodling which coincidentally is not something I normally do. Check out the article and let me know what you think. Click here for the article.


Monday Progress & Screen Time

Last night and this morning I made some progress on my hour glass quilt that will be the raffle quilt for the music school in June. I got all the rows sewn together. In the next few weeks I’ll be basting, quilting and binding this one.


I didn’t enjoy making this as much as I thought I would because the wonky bias edges drove me to insanity. I used a precut layer cake and as I pieced this together, it seemed as though everything was lining up right but then it didn’t. This quilt won’t win any awards for perfect points for sure. My next precut quilt is going to be the Love Notes quilt and I know there are some bias edge issues with it as I have been forewarned by Torie (Twilter) who has already made this quilt. I’ll have to be extra careful with it and use sizing on the patches. Do you all find precuts difficult to work with sometimes?

I came across a great article about cutting back on screen time. It was written by Stephanie Nickel for Christian Editing Services. It’s called Why I Want To Go Screen Free…At Least Now and Then. Click here to read the article.

I could definitely identify with Stephanie’s feelings of thinking she’s missing out on something if she isn’t checking her email, text messages, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts! Checking those items is like having the mailman come to your house a hundred times a day! There are definitely so many things to look at and look up and learn about. I really love those aspects of today’s technology. I can’t tell you how many times I have to look up things my kids have inquired about…it’s a real life saver some days! What I don’t love about instant technology is the feeling that cyberspace has more to offer than the physical people and items in our lives (like paper books). As Stephanie points out, it’s a feeling that if someone is constantly texting and surfing in your presence, maybe you aren’t interesting enough to pay attention to. No one wants to feel that way or inflict that upon someone else. Of course there are those moments when my head is overloaded from dealing with people that I just want to relax and surf the internet reading blogs and catching up with my cyber friends on Twitter or Facebook. I guess it’s a delicate balance and certainly one to think about!


Looking for a fun and quick Easter wall hanging? Check out this one in Little Quilts For Big Occasions.



Leaving The Orchard

I’ve left the orchard. The Apple iPhone orchard that is! I took the leap over to a new Galaxy…the Samsung Galaxy Note 4! And it’s quite different in many ways. The phone itself is really a phablet which is the larger style that is in between a cell phone size and a table size. I think I’m in love but having to look up how to accomplish the simplest of tasks like resizing photos for my blog is taking up a lot of time!! As did typing in 3 kids worth of appointments and school activities into the new calendar.  I’m almost there with setting the phone up they way I like and now I’m on to fun stuff such as figuring out the camera and where the settings are hiding out.  The camera is 16 megapixels and the main reason I made the jump. I’m hoping to only bring one camera on vacation this year and keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be really adept at using the Note 4′s camera by the time summer rolls around.

I haven’t done much quilting this week but I’ve though about it, does that count? I did attend my quilt guild meeting on Monday night and the speaker was the lovely and talented Judy Coates Perez. You can see her gorgeous art quilts HERE.  Judy paints on fabric with textile paints and inks and then quilts them. She’s won numerous awards and she had us all laughing. I think this was maybe the best quilt speaker we’ve had for one reason…we all learned a lot about her process and why she uses the products she does. Our guild speakers teach workshops on the Saturday and Sunday and then present a lecture on Monday night at the meeting. Often times the speakers don’t really “give up” their process in the lectures. We see a lot of photos of things that inspire them but we don’t often walk away like we learned a process and can go home and try it unless we were one of the lucky ones who got a spot in the workshops. It was a really good presentation and I’m glad I made the trip to see it.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been slowly working on two Hanukkah mini quilts. The first one is finished. I need to start the second one and then draft the pattern. Here is the first one….


It’s hard to see in the photo but that blue Star of David background fabric shimmers with a silver metallic look. I love the way it sparkles. Hopefully it won’t be too long before I finish and then the pattern will be available for holiday crafting in a few months…can you believe I just said that?

Today these cuties took a trip to the vet for some beak trimming. Barney is the blue parakeet, Kiwi is the green. The appointment was actually for Barney’s beak but Kiwi went along for moral support.
























The woman who checked us in at the vet asked if we’d like another bird for free. I hesitantly asked her what she had in mind. She said a woman had come in to hang a flyer for a free Sun Conure. She wanted the bird to have a good home and could no longer care for it. I read the flyer but it said the bird wasn’t good with kids (I have 3) and that the bird demanded a lot of attention and got really loud until it got the attention it desired. Ummmmmmm, no thank you. If it were another parakeet….maybe and that’s a big maybe. Barney and Kiwi have some chemistry together and I don’t think they’d care for another roommate. LOL!

The rest of the week and the days to come are a blur of dentist appointments, activities and errands/phone calls to get Amanda ready for prom and her Paris trip. The days are full and flying by. It’s easy to feel defeated that I haven’t been able to give ample time to Quilt Cabana but this is turning out to be a busy season in our lives. One must go with the flow!

Keep working on those mug rugs and potholders!