Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Kathy's Doll Quilt Club

Here's Cherry Baskets - the first pattern in my new doll quilt club, Papa's shirts & Mama's Dresses. Quilts made from scraps. Isn't it sweet? A perfect little summer quilt. I really had a lot of fun designing this one for those of you who purchased the monthly club.

I wanted it to be a surprise to subscribers so I deliberately didn't reveal the quilt until I was sure almost everyone who signed up had gotten their pattern.

More surprises await! There will be four more patterns for cute little quilts made from reproduction fabric scraps and shirtings arriving in mailboxes in August, September, October and November. 

Sign up for the club here

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Dinner in a Box

Have you tried one or seen ads for those meal-in-a-box subscriptions containing food delivered right to your door?  My sister-in-law ordered one from Martha Stewart called Marley Spoon and they gave her a free coupon to give to a friend. The coupon was good for 3 meals. She gave it to me! 

Martha and Marley Spoon

The boxes come with a choice of meals and include recipes for 2, 3, or 4 meals per week. For my free box I was allowed three meals and ordered ingredients for Summer Chicken & Vegetables, Spinach-Strawberry Salad and Almond-Tomato Pasta. Good choices I thought. If Martha likes it, it's usually okay with me.

Here's what came in the box:

Everything was incredibly fresh and looks very tasty. There's orzo, balsamic vinegar, capers, Kalamata olives, chicken breasts (packed nice and cold with ice packs), rotini pasta, tomatoes, spices, garlic, zucchini, strawberries, more tomatoes, almonds, fresh Romano cheese, Pecorino - everything you need to prepare three easy meals. All you need to add from your pantry is oil, salt and pepper. Or a loaf of French bread to go with the salad. It all came refrigerated and packed nicely. (But HEAVY - I had to drag it inside, couldn't pick up the box. Need to do some serious strength training I guess.)

They sent waaaay too many strawberries for tomorrow's salad so I thought I'd just sneak a few now for a snack . . . .

Cooking is sure going to be fun the rest of this week! No thinking or shopping necessary . . . . I'm going to prepare the chicken and vegetables tonight.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Small and Scrappy

Happy day! My new book is up on Amazon.com and so that means it's coming soon. Now you can finally see the cover and read a little bit about it. 

Small and Scrappy, Pint-Size Patchwork Quilts Using Reproduction Fabrics by Kathleen Tracy 
It has a nice ring to it, don't you think? 

The book includes patterns for 16 delightful little quilts. The quilt on the cover was made by - drum roll, please - my friend Marian from Australia. How exciting that this particular quilt that I designed for the book that she made for me was chosen for the cover! I can almost see those of you in my small quilt groups jumping up and down in excitement. You all know Marian and know that her quiltmaking talents and skills are awesome. It gets better. Then, as soon as you open the book you will see another quilt on the title page that was made by another familiar name.  Sorry, you'll just have to wait till you have it in your hands to see that one. 

All of my quilts are still with the publisher so I have no photos to show you yet.

You can pre-order the book from Amazon.com.  Books will for sure be available for purchase from your local quilt shop sometime in December. You can ask them to order it for you. 

I will also be taking pre-orders for signed books on my website but probably not until October or November. I'll let you know. I have it on good authority that books will be shipping from Martingale (my publisher) to shops in early December. If you order a signed copy of the book, I'll do my best to get your book out to you as soon as possible after my books arrive. 

Amazon.com has a wonderful feature where you can take a peek inside books but I think they wait to show that until the book is actually released. Keep checking the page and soon you'll be able to see some photos from inside the book. They look wonderful.

The book includes some cute pincushions you can make that match some of the quilts.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Vintage Irons

Have I mentioned that I love my vintage irons? My new favorite is the vintage GE travel or "portable" iron. I found one in excellent condition, barely used, and it's perfect for pressing my small blocks. The reasons I love it are that it gets nice and hot, has a pointed tip and is easy to maneuver because it's not big and clumsy. 

Most of my other irons gave out after a short time and I got tired of replacing them. I accidentally knocked the Rowenta onto the floor once and it was never the same. My fault, yes, but it was spitting and so, okay, maybe it was not an accident . . . Maybe I WAS a bit angry. It does seem like the vintage ones are made to last. Be warned, they do get hot but better too hot than not hot enough.  I have to use a lower setting for this reason and it's still hotter than my other irons. And, there is no auto shut off.

It's been great for pressing those small pieces for my Dear Jane blocks -

Works really well for making tiny applique too.

For a small iron, it has a nice, solid weight - not too light. I like that. The model I bought was made in the 1950s I believe. I really love the way it looks.

(See my blog post on making this cute pressing board.)

I found my little iron at an antiques mall for about $15.00 but I've seen them on Etsy and eBay as well. A little more pricey there, however, with shipping.


My full size vintage GE iron. A little heavier but still that same nice pointed tip.

I loved the old look and wanted an iron just like my mom had. Don't be fooled by this "vintage looking" iron by Black & Decker, below. I bought one once and returned it because the plate was not smooth. Not smooth! The steam holes kept catching on fabric. What a stupid invention. Why would anyone make an iron that catches on fabric??

If you're tired of throwing away expensive irons that stop working and want something that's easy to handle  for pressing small blocks and applique, this one may work for you too. Something to think about . . . .

Friday, July 8, 2016

Smell the Roses

It's been much too hot here. Last week when it was a bit cooler I went to my favorite garden and walked around, taking my time, smelling the roses. The Chicago Botanic Garden has a fairly nice Rose Garden and is much better tended than mine is right now.

I brought my new club quilt with me to have someplace nice to stage it for the cover photo for the pattern booklet. Yesterday, I went to the printer three times (!) to have a sample printed out. And each time they printed one I found a tiny mistake. So I went home and proofed it again and hopefully they'll all be ready to be printed out soon, then mailed at the end of next week. 


The garden has many shady, out-of-the way nooks and it's relaxing to sit down for awhile and watch and listen to the birds. Just sit. By myself. At times it feels good not to be running around like a you know what without a head for a change. In my family, I'm usually the one in charge of  "doing."  Need something? Too busy to do it yourself? Just ask Mom. She'll get it done for you. (LOL - I'm not really complaining. I'm blessed.)

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it."  

 -Ferris Bueller (Yep, you heard me. Ferris Bueller)

Today's Words of Wisdom: Remember to take some time for yourself to slow down and smell some roses . . . . Try to let go of things you cannot control and just enjoy the moment. Not the past, not the future - just enjoy the present. I was never able to do this well until I practiced. I decided I don't do anybody any good, least of all myself, if I'm always rushing around, getting ahead of myself or stewing over something that did or didn't happen.

~  ~  ~

If you ordered my new Club patterns, the first one will be mailed out next week. Thanks for all your orders! It may take me a couple of days to get all of them mailed out. International orders will take a little longer to arrive. I will mail in order of purchase.

You can jump in and join any time and still receive patterns 1 - 5. But keep this in mind: The second pattern will be mailed in mid-August. If any of you decide to order the Club after I mail the first pattern out in July, yet close to the time the second pattern mails in August, I will lump those orders together and then send you pattern 1 along with pattern 2  when the second one is being sent out. So please be patient.

Have a fun weekend!  

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Fourth of July

Pincushions, pincushions, pincushions. We had a little challenge in my small quilting groups this month -  make a patriotic pincushion. Or two. Or three. Oh, however many you like. I guess you could call me a patriotic pincushion over-achiever.

Clearly I could not stop at just one. I had the whole morning free yesterday and went a little nuts making all of these. But you can see I had a ton of fun! I was up until 10 stuffing them  : )

Sometimes all you need is a little challenge to get you going, am I right??

As simple as they are, these little ticking flags are my favorites. 

And you'll love this - My new book that's coming out in December has a whole array of cute little pincushions!

Have a happy and safe Fourth!