Monday, September 10, 2012

Keep Making Hexagons

We'll be making that little hexagon flowers quilt  in  my book The Civil War Sewing Circle for the October challenge and so it's not too early to get started making the hexagons now. It seems like I've been nagging you all summer. When October comes and it's hexagon crunch time, you'll really be glad you finished a few of them.

Hexagons have been on my brain recently and I am now seeing them everywhere I go. I went to a restaurant and as I was leaving the ladies rest room I noticed the floor tiles and had to laugh. Look - hexagon flowers.

This style of tiles is so popular in bathroom floors in older buildings but I don't think I ever noticed that they were hexagon flowers. They looked familiar and I'm pretty sure I had these bathroom tiles in my first apartment years ago, LOL.
A recent shopping trip -
I've been shopping here for years but never really noticed that the Carson's logo is a hexagon flower, duh.
My bracelet box is a hexagon. Never noticed until today.
I was forced to clean out our front hall closet last weekend, when an attempt to find something  my daughter needed to take back to school with her failed miserably. I knew it was in there  SOMEWHERE.  It's been way too long since I last cleaned out that closet. At the end of the weekend I ended up with several hefty bags full of  shoes, boots and coats (some with big shoulder pads, if you can believe it. Of course you can, LOL.). And then I found this on a shelf, way up on top, in the back. I can't even remember buying it. Maybe it was a gift, who knows? Or, maybe the Hexagon Fairy is living at my house.
Teeny tiny pieces. Seems like the puzzle would take as long as the quilt.

They're everywhere. And this is your last, gentle reminder that you should get started making some little hexagons and hexagon flowers if you're itching to make that quilt with us in October.

I demonstrated just how easy it is to make these at the quilt show I attended in Galesburg a few weeks ago. Several women who watched me whip up a few said they had no idea they were this simple. Quilters - you can do this too! The instructions are in the book but you can find some great tutorials all over blogland if you look hard enough.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

September Challenge Quilt

 This month's Small Quilt Challenge is a free pattern. Yes, quilters, that's right - you do not have to rush out and buy a single book of mine to be able to make our challenge quilt this month. Yippee.
Here's the quilt I designed for September. You can find the pattern here
Many of you said you liked the small quilt I made from a large orphan block and posted here last month. Same concept - large block made with red and brown fabric but I used a different block for this one. If you do not like red and brown, please make it using your own favorite colors and prints. This holds for any of the monthly challenge quilts - you can always make any of them in different colors; they do not have to look like mine.

I pulled out my fabrics and started cutting mine yesterday -
Since I already made a red and brown quilt last month, I thought I'd play around with some other colors for mine. We'll see how it turns out.

I hope you all enjoy making this quilt. In order to accomplish one quilt every month, try taking it in small steps. Divide your work into weekly sewing sessions that make it easier for you. For example, this week, pick out your fabrics and maybe cut the pieces. This shouldn't take too long. Just have fun with this part of the process and don't stress about finishing the whole quilt right now. Put it aside and then spend a few hours sewing the pieces together next week. The borders can be sewn the following week in just a little bit of time and, before you know it, you have finished your quilt top. Spend a little time quilting it during the last week.

We will be moving on to hexagons in October!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fabric Collector - or Hoarder?

Someone brought up this question in my Yahoo group today. Do you hoard or collect fabric? Sometimes we say we "collect" fabric - it sounds so much better and more dignified and that's what I will tell people from now on. But I also think I secretly "hoard" my favorite pieces of older scraps a little too much sometimes. I love them and savor them and can't part with them. I will never find some of those prints again and, if I use them up, I will miss seeing them in my bags of scraps! So silly. I have to tell myself they will be much better off in a quilt where I can look at them all the time. But it IS more like hoarding, don’t you think? 
Hoarding has gotten a bad rap since that TV show about sick people "collecting" stuff they cannot part with, things that remind them of painful losses they cannot get over easily. I looked up the definition of hoarding and it said that, in archaeology,  artifact hoarders sometimes died before retrieving their valuable treasure of hoards! OMG - I know they will find my little fabric pieces after I'm gone and say: "What the heck was she thinking??"
My current baskets of scraps, waiting to be sorted. Ho hum.
I also know I am not alone here and that many of you are much much worse than I am. I have seen some of your closets LOL. But I am bad enough. (I will never take a picture of my closet, of that you can be sure.) Someone e-mailed me recently and asked if my sewing room was messy or neat.  All I can say is I do the best I can. Some days are better than others, depending upon whether or not I want to eat, or bathe or do anything else. What can I say?
Yes, I save my scraps! Anything over 1 1/2 inches!
You know you're in trouble when - OMG, is that a cradle full of scraps?? Where will the baby sleep??
But I DO organize my scraps sometimes -  Don't laugh, here's a basket full of larger scraps that I'm going to use in my Dear Jane quilt . . . . someday.
These are often pretty neat and accessible. Not really scraps, just smaller cuts I will use someday. (Yes, I am still "hoarding" that blue wavy fabric left over from my Orange Peel quilt!) No, they are not always nicely folded if I am busy or in a hurry to move on to something else and need to get them off the cutting table.
More, waiting to be sorted. Oh dear.
Question:  Am I really really ever going to use that little green piece? Best Answer: You never know. Better save it just in case.
Maybe we can call ourselves "Stockpilers" until they decide to make a TV show about that and ruin it. That got me thinking and here's what I want to know  - why aren’t there any situation comedies about quilters, I ask you? Or even dramas? Someone should come up with a medical show where quilters get hurt using their rotary cutters or dropping their featherweights on their feet and cute doctors save them . . . . How about a  "Quilting  Police" drama . . .  "Knock, knock – you're under arrest! Your piecing is awful!"
Perhaps a reality show with quilters confessing to their fabric addictions. Quilting Interventions! Where caring guild members and friends intervene to save the lives of too-far-gone quilters whose families are starved for food and attention. Wait - a brand new season of  "Lost!" (featuring quilters wandering around, asking: where did I put my ruler, thread, glasses, that pattern I just bought??)
I'd settle for an episode of Dr Phil - Why Quilters Quilt and How Quilting Affects Their Housekeeping. (I might volunteer to be on that show. But not if Maury or Springer did it, because then I might have to get naked or reconnect with long-lost family members . . . . ) Homes of the Rich & Famous Quilters. Some of you might even cough up for cable just to see  this one, that's how unbelievable it would be. I could go on and on . . .  .
Puppy says - "Mom, will you stop playing around with your fabric, the camera and the computer and please let me out!"
Have a good weekend. This coming Monday is Labor Day in the U.S., a day that many have off  work. I will be doing last-minute shopping and helping my daughter get all her stuff ready to go back to college. No rest for the weary parents! Remember, the September  challenge quilt will be posted AFTER Sept 1,  maybe Sept 4 or 5, we'll see how it goes.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Last Call for August Quilts

If you are keeping up with our One Small Quilt a Month challenge this year, you still may be working on your Little Coins quilt for August. Hurry up and finish because you will surely love the quilt I have chosen for September.

I've taken mine out of the garden and put it on my small wall of quilts . . . . Mind you, if I had the house, I could fill up 80 walls with my small quilts.

I wish I had more wall space. At least I can look at them and smile as I go up and down the stairs 30 times a day. Perhaps this is why I make small quilts, LOL - because I have a small house with an open floor plan and lots of windows and not much room to display them on walls. I haven't quite expanded into the bathrooms - yet.

Just so some of you know, we started this challenge in January 2012 when I saw so many photos of quilts on walls and thought I could inspire you all to make one quilt a month, for a quilt wall of your very own. So many of you had e-mailed me, telling me you wished you could find the time to make some of the small quilts from my books. So I decided to goad you on - challenging you to make a certain quilt every month. I am still convinced that if you take it in small steps, a few hours a week, every week, you can make one small quilt a month without spending too much time and still have lots of time left over for your other projects.
I know, I know, you're not alone - I have a pile of quilts I still need to finish too.
I am pleased that so many of you have accomplished this goal, and, even if you have not kept up and made all 8 quilts so far, at least you've probably made more than a few. Let's have a big show and tell in January to celebrate, with photos of all of your quilts. If you care to send me your photos I will start collecting them and then put them together into a slide show in January for everyone to see. You will deserve the applause.

Our challenge throughout this year was all about organizing and disciplining yourselves and committing to making more small quilts. Don't forget, if you don't particularly like one of the quilts I've suggested or do not have that book, that's okay - find another little quilt you can substitute. If not 12, then how about six? Better than nothing.
We have 4 more quilts to make this year. In a week or so I will give you a free pattern for another one, for September, so stay tuned. My daughter is going back to college in less than 2 weeks and we are all crazy busy right now so please be patient if I post it a few days after Sept. 1.  I'm doing my best!
My friend Julia's little hearts quilt from one of my patterns. Wouldn't this look too adorable on a wall??

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What's for Dinner?

I got busy yesterday afternoon with laundry and cleaning out some drawers and all of a sudden I realized it was dinnertime so I fell back on a quick summer supper recipe that everyone in our house loves - Corn Fritters!

Served on a beautiful blue and white platter, of course

We don't eat these every day and when I came across a recipe in a magazine for Corn Griddle Cakes, earlier that morning it reminded me that I hadn't made these fritters in awhile. We love potato pancakes too (and zucchini pancakes, my specialty) but this is much quicker. I cannot remember where I got this recipe and have altered it a bit from the original -


3 cups oil for frying   (This is crazy. Maybe it's Paula Deen's recipe, LOL. I used a LOT LOT less - a couple of Tablespoons total)

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1  teaspoon baking powder
1/4  teaspoon salt
1/2  teaspoon sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon oil
1 (12 ounce) can whole kernel corn (low-sodium), drained (or, 1 cup frozen corn, cooked in microwave for 2-3 min first)

  1. Heat oil in frying pan. (I use as little as possible, then add more if needed.)
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Beat the egg, milk, and oil together. Stir into flour mixture. Add the drained corn kernels.
  3. Drop the batter by spoonfuls into the hot oil, and fry on medium heat until golden, a couple of minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. 

DO NOT make the mistake of  spooning that last fritter into the pan and then walking away to get your camera to shoot the ones that are done, LOL. They burn easily.

I always serve these with applesauce and a yogurt-Ranch dressing on the side. And often a big crunchy Spinach salad like the one I posted here on my blog last year. 

Special Sauce: 2 T of low-fat Ranch dressing mixed with 3/4 cup of plain yogurt. (This is also my standby plain and healthy chip dip.)

Of course, the fritters taste great with maple syrup drizzled on top too. If you're still hungry, why, grill up some of those turkey burgers as well.

I know I have a right-click thingy on my blog but see my website  for the Corn Fritters recipe you can download in a .pdf file.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Quilt Show

You have to admit, quilt shows are so much fun. Last weekend I attended the Piecemakers Quilt Guild Show in Galesburg, Illinois where they set me up with a booth. I  had a great time and Carl Sandburg College was the perfect, spacious setting for all of the lovely quilts. Thanks for inviting me, Kae!

 "Inspired Baskets" made by  Niki Conklin (inspired by a class she took with Gwen Marston, can you tell?).

"Bright Coins" quilt by  Deborah Grohs. Coincidentally, we are doing a small Coins quilt this month, remember? How's that coming along??

I loved the colors in this quilt - "Moody Blues" made by Jean Near from a design by Tara Lynn Darr.

Simple and lovely by Debbie Spencer.

"Tequila Sunrise" by Jean Lohmar. 

Sandy Schweitzer was there, appraising vintage and antique quilts.

Here's a picture of my booth -

Hey, like my new glasses??

These ladies were all over the place -

My lady must have gotten her hand stuck scratching her shoulder . . .

I was so happy that some of you stopped by to see me and buy books and get your books signed. Julie from Me and My Stitches (you may know her from her comments on my blog) also came over to say hello. She drove there from Iowa.

Look closely at what she's wearing around her neck. When I saw her quilty necklace I wanted one too! I found out that Julie makes quilted jewelry and so I made her run back out to her car and bring in her samples to show me.

I bought a couple of pendants and of course now am kicking myself that I didn't buy more. They were all so beautiful and I could not decide. I do have a birthday coming up though, hint, hint. I wish the pictures had turned out better to do them justice but I had to take these with my cell phone because I forgot my camera that day, wouldn't you know it?

Tiny baskets!

This is one of the pendants I bought. Isn't it wonderful? Look at how Julie fussy cut the little flower in the center. I've always wanted to make a small pineapple quilt, just not this small LOL. Thanks, Julie - I'll think of you every time I wear it.

Take a look at her website and raise your hand if you would love for her to have a booth at the International Quilt Fest in Chicago next year . . . (Sorry, Julie - I couldn't resist nagging you, LOL.)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Quilt Fest Returns to Chicago

This is for my friends in Chicago and other places nearby - I just heard that the International Quilt Festival will be returning to Chicago next year, in June. Yippee!

That's exciting news for those of us living in this wonderful urban area who have been without a major quilt show for 2 years. See details here .

Amazing quilts on display and . . .  vendors galore.  Mark your calendars for June 21 - 23, 2013. And, start saving your pennies.

Thank you Quilts, Inc.! We've missed you.

-  +   -  +   -  +   -   +  -

Also, don't forget, I will be at the Galesburg IL Quilt Show this weekend, Aug 11- 12, Sat and Sunday. Stop by and say hello if you are in the area.


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