Dragonflies in Flight

During the summer, one of my favorite activities is to go kayaking. This is a fairly new addition to our lives. After our son borrowed a friend's kayak, we became interested and found a place to rent some for the day. It was the most amazing feeling to be peacefully gliding down the river, up close to nature, seeing things from a new perspective. Additionally, it was very stress free and relaxing, opposite of when we owned a large boat. We were hooked and bought some of our own.
Now we have boated for years, but usually on a motorized boat. We even owned a canoe, but that was difficult to maneuver. It was heavy to transport around, and sized such that we had to put it on the roof of the truck or in a trailer behind the truck. When we had a cottage on a lake, we used it more often. Our kids were smaller, and all four of us could fit in it.

We canoed around a few lakes and rivers, but were never really comfortable in it. Maybe it was the rivers we chose, or just the tipsiness of t…

Pumpkin Season

Last fall, as one of my first seasonal quilt patterns, I made a jack-o'-lantern wall hanging in my more typical style. It wasn't perfect, in fact I had to go back and add in the grass because the pumpkin seemed a little off kilter to me.

The main purpose of the project was to write a pattern for it, and I did.Taking a phrase from my friend, it wasn't perfect, but it was done. An idea that had been floating around in my head was a finished product and hopefully someone would find it useful as well.
Six months later, I had some black fabric left over from a t-shirt quilt I made my nephew for his high school graduation. This was the second t-shirt quilt I had made, the first being 17 years ago for my husband's race shirts.
Back then I had no idea how to make a t-shirt quilt other than cutting up the shirts and sewing them together. I also didn't know how to quilt then, so there was no sashing and I sewed it sandwich style with yarn ties.

Fast forward quilt a few years an…

Snow and More Snow

Winter in Wisconsin. One thing that is guaranteed is that we will get snow. How much is up for grabs, but we will get snow. All the way through April this year. I promise, this is my last "snow" post!

This winter we did get much snow. There was a good couple of inches in time for a white Christmas, but that melted and has been long gone. Until this week that is.

A beautiful, fluffy snow fell last weekend - 6 inches worth. Sunday was the perfect day to shovel. Clear blue skies, sunny, exhilarating! And the snow was light. Shoveling went so well I even took a walk afterward.

More snow fell on Monday. More fell yesterday. More is coming by the end of the week. Enough from all that we will have at least 10 inches of snow or more by Saturday. Ok, it is still pretty, but I really like it when it falls on the weekend and I don't have to drive to work in it!

The snow is such a beautiful backdrop for the trees. Evergreens have snow dotted branches. Deciduous trees look striking …

Frustrations and a Simple Solution

Some quilts just fly together. Little effort. They almost create themselves. This one was not one of them. In fact, it was downright frustrating.

Designing the quilt went well and I knew exactly what fabric I wanted to use for the flower petals and leaves. However, that fabric didn't match well with any of my existing background fabric. The pink and green made the backgrounds look yellow.
In my stash was a piece of greyish white fabric that worked perfectly, but was too small. Off to the store to find something similar so I could keep going.
Getting all the flower petals on fairly symmetrically was my main focus. The Teflon pressing paper worked really well for that. I ironed the flowers on the background and set off to sewing. 
Recently I switched to cotton batting hoping that would help with free-motion quilting (which I haven't tried yet). Instead, my thread kept skipping and knotting on this quilt. Sigh. 
I persevered and got one flower entirely done. Then I looked over to…

Oh How My Mind Wanders

Last week I posted about my Etsy shop clean up. While doing this clean up, I added a little line to my shop announcement page. Something had me thinking in this direction and I decided to go for it.

My last little line? I had a small idea about offering digital printable files on my site. They would be there to help you simplify your life. What kind of printables, that I wasn't sure.

At first I thought of planning pages - quilts, projects, groceries, menus etc. But a quick look on Etsy for quilt printables took me in an entirely different direction - cards! The next day, I woke up early with greeting cards on my brain.

My years of teaching desktop publishing to middle school students came back to me quickly. Microsoft products really can offer a lot and since I draw my patterns in Power Point, using Publisher to create the cards was the logical next step.

There are a couple of different card sizes in Publisher, half a page, quarter page horizontal and quarter page vertical. I dec…

Bundled Up

In addition to the snow, it's been cold here, really cold. Like below zero Fahrenheit, which means the windchill is even colder. This happens every winter, despite our belief that it won't!

As such, I have a few winter coats. As my dad said, one for every ten degrees. Yesterday, I bought a new winter coat to replace an old one that had a sticky zipper. I tried replacing it with a shorter coat, but my lower half got cold, so back to a longer coat. Glad I finally found one. My husband brags about how many years he has had his coat. Guys have it easy, styles just don't change for them.

Snowmen have it easy also. They never get cold! It has been years since our kids were young enough to have an interest in making a snowman, so now a days I just admire the ones that are in other's yards. I have made a few snowmen quilts over the years, but there is always room for one more!

Some past snowmen include these two. The homespun one on the left was made from a pattern my aunt ga…

Snow Means Snowflakes

We are in the midst of winter here - or should I say the throws of winter. I think that is how you say it. Another way to explain it is the frozen tundra, deep freeze, subarctic. Ok, maybe not subarctic, but sub zero Fahrenheit is cold!

The one good thing about all of this is we did get snow for Christmas. It came just in time on Christmas Eve. I am sure it made some people's travel trips to relative's houses not much fun, but it was a slow, steady, not too much snow. Much better than a blizzard.

Snow always gives such a nice clean cover to everything, making it feel unified and cohesive. I couldn't resist getting out and taking a walk the day after Christmas. It may be cold out, but sunshine and snow are worth it!

Snow for Christmas - picturesque, lights gleaming in the white landscape. Snow. Snowflakes. Yes, snowflakes. Those tiny, unique, utterly fascinating snowflakes. I love catching them on my black mittens so I can see the many varied designs.

One year while teachin…

All the Seasons

Seasonal quilts are definitely my thing and I am so happy I have decided to focus on them. One year, I had this great idea to make a seasonal calendar quilt. It is a little hard to see from the picture, but there is a button in the center of the plaid quilt where you can hang a smaller quilted square with a seasonal picture. I made one for each month of the year. This sold to a neighbor before I could even take it to the art fair. While some of the applique designs were from magazines, the internet etc, some were mine as was the sizing.

When I first learned to quilt, I sold small quilt and craft items at a craft store. These simple wallhangings were some of my first seasonal quilts. As we approach the beginning of a new year, it is always fun to look back at where you started and the ideas you had.

Quilting for You or Them?

In one of my past posts, I wrote about my struggle to find the "right" quilting path. At one point, I started making more modern looking quilts because I thought that is what "they" would like, "they" being the people who come to our quilt booth.

However, I really didn't like making modern quilts. I don't like working with white fabric (I always stain it) and the designs were just not my thing. Plus I couldn't figure out how to quilt in all the white space.

After three years of doing this, I finally gave up. And, bonus here, I heard a woman at our booth say "Who makes the modern quilts? I didn't think that was your thing?" Ah ha, the serious buyers were the ones who like our traditional style.

This picture shows my quilts for sale last fall. There are are three that I made for me. Can you spot them? (Snowman, sailboat and hummingbird).

So after this past show, I gave away as many quilts as I could, and had my aunt try to sell a f…

My Fabric Stash

First of all, don't laugh. When you think of "fabric stash" you probably think of a large cabinet full of fabric. Fabric overflowing the shelves and out the cabinet doors. Bins of fabric. Well, that is how my aunt's fabric stash looks anyway.

Mine is very small in comparison. Since I tend to be more on the thrifty side, it is hard for me to buy lots of fabric and have it sit there. Also, I have found that when I do go out and buy a few pieces that I might use, I don't use them. They tend to sit, and sit. The original idea faded away or became unappealing.

Additionally, when I buy fabric with too loud or distinct of a pattern on it, I find it very hard to use. Thus my love of blending batiks. About a year ago, I bought a lot of blue fabric to make a pinwheel quilt that I never made. Well, now I am left with a lot of blue fabric that has slightly different variations of color in them. Why I thought they matched was beyond me. I also have a teal blue that I was goin…