Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The View

I like waking up to fresh snow outside. Everything is clean looking and sparkly.  There is the view out my studio.

The other day I showed the fabrics for the new quilt, based on Little Man's Winkel and today I want to show all the fabrics I have chosen: the pinks, oranges, and lime greens.

Before I jump into that quilt though, I've got to finish the Sparkling Winkel top. Half the rows are sewn together.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Holiday Quilt Progress

I have been working on the Holiday quilt, adding WOWs to the parts and sewing them together.

I am really, really glad I decided to limit the amount of stuff. Of course, it wasn't as easy as it looks. I sewed some of the trees in the wrong order, and added the outer white "border" to the wrong side of one of the vertical tree rows and had to take that all apart.  Sigh.

 Here is the finished Holiday Quilt flimsy.

Oh, I have a correction. My Mom tells me I was three years and five months old when I asked my grandfather what H-A-P-P-Y-H-O-L-I-D-A-Y-S spelt, not four years old.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Colorado Quilt Book

Many of you asked if I would send my brother and his wife the inspiration photos for the Colorado Quilt. I did one better. I made a booklet, because although I know what each bird represents, my brother and his wife wouldn't have any way of knowing that.

I created a power point presentation.

Each page had the inspiration photo,

 the bird that I made as a result, 

and a little story about what attracted me to it.

Even the things that weren't birds.

The booklet is 61 pages long and includes every bird, chicken, butterfly and flower in the quilt. It also includes the barn and a few other comments. I printed it in color then brought it to Staples to have it bound. I'll be mailing it to my brother and my SIL along with their Christmas present. 

And yes, of course I made a copy for myself.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Twinkle Winkel!

This is the toy my granddaughter tossed in my direction when I was visiting earlier this year. I've just discovered it is called a Winkel.

This is the Winkel toy that my belongs to my friend Julie's grandson. I love that the colors are different!

The last time I was at Quilted Threads these lovelies hopped into my arms. All I have to do is add a bit more orange and lime green. I guess you can tell where THIS is going...

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Decision Day!

I made two decorative trees for the Holiday quilt. No reason I can't use them both.

I made a gold asterisk, and stuck that up there, then tried to connect it visually with the gold present at the bottom. I did not like it. Nope, nada, not at all.  As soon as I set the birds down the other night I knew the asterisks wouldn't work with them. But you know me, I have to TRY it to be sure because hey, sometimes weird stuff DOES work.

And no matter HOW I rearranged all the trees I couldn't find an arrangement I liked. Finally I thought. F*** it. I designed the damn thing with one column of trees on either side and only three boxes.

So I got rid of all the extra stuff and took a step back.  Yup. This is it. The extra trees were cluttering up the design, and the gold asterisk and gold box were unnecessary. Limiting the number of trees also allows you to see the decorative trees better. The design is simple and clear, and communicates everything I wanted.  This is it. Now I shall fill it all in with my usual variety of White On White fabrics.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Presents! Trees!

I made a couple more presents for the Holiday quilt. I'm pulling stuff out of my stash and trying to use it creatively. I do NOT want to go shopping for Christmas fabric. Anyway, I really like these three boxes.

I thought a couple of other boxes in different sizes would work, but nope.

Next I trimmed the tree triangles and added tree trunks. As you can see, I moved the pieces to the floor of the studio because I can't see very well on the wall in the hallway because it is too dark, and also too far away from my sewing machine.  I've started laying things out, as you can see. Ignore the asterisks up there for a minute.

I had some leftover asterisks from another project and stuck them there to see what they would look like.


When I went into the studio the next morning to look at the layout in daylight, I discovered Millie, "helping me" by making sure the blocks don't fly around on their own.

I didn't decide about the asterisks, but looking at this I realized I needed at least one of the trees to be a lot more decorative.  Oh well, those decisions are for another day.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Two Turtledoves... Maybe?

You had to know I would do it...

You just HAD to know I was going to include some free pieced birds in the Holiday quilt!

Maybe these two are the two turtledoves in the Christmas Carol. Or maybe not. It doesn't really matter.

I am having so much fun with this!

If you want to make your own turtledoves, or your own unique birds, get my tutorial  here, on my Etsy shop. It's an instant download, so you can get started right away.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A Tree or Two or More

I wanted some trees for my Holiday wall hanging. These greens were the most Christmas-y dark greens I could find that would work. I liked this WOW because some of the circles had sparkly silver in them. Gotta have some sparkle on a Holiday quilt.

Rectangles, triangles, trees. Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy.

And a box with some half square triangles to suggest a bow. Certainly not rocket science.

The lighting is SO CRAPPY there, this really looks ugly. It certainly needs more stuff. (And the trees need trunks, but they haven't even been trimmed yet!)

This is the plan in my sketchbook.  It'll get there. I can already hear my friend Julie saying, "I'm not worried. I know you'll be able to pull it off."

Looking at the sketch now, I like the asymmetry, particularly the boxes at the bottom. I'm going to have to make sure to keep that.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


I started HAPPY with the P's.  I knew how I wanted to make the P's so I got right to it. I wanted to make them just a little bit different from each other. Then I made the Y and sewed them all together.

I have a special way to make the lower case A's. It's a complicated letter this way, but I love the way they look.

Here is the final HAPPY.

And here are the HAPPY HOLDAYS panels.

I put up a piece of flannel on the wall where this quilt will hang. It makes for a place to design this quilt, considering the Sparkling Winkel is still on the design wall in the studio.

Next up, some trees!

Monday, December 4, 2017


I hate empty walls, like this one. This is where the Chicken quilt usually hangs, but it hits the floor, and my cat Millie likes to hide behind it, and the back gets covered with cat hair, so I took it down.

But it's the holidays and I thought it would be fun to make a holiday quilt to grace this wall. I won't get it finished and quilted before Christmas, but so what?  The first thing was to figure out what I wanted. Some things were obvious. No Santa, no snowmen, no applique, nothing cutesy. 

Then I remembered a story my Mom used to tell me. When I was a kid, we had a small wall hanging with a pocket for Christmas cards. On the pocket were the words "Happy Holidays." Apparently when I was four years old I asked my grandfather... "Pepere, what does H-A-P-P-Y-H-O-L-I-D-A-Y-S spell?"

 So I decided my Holiday Quilt had to have those words. I decided the words would be in red fabrics on WOW (white on white) fabrics, and that I'd make one letter out of only one fabric. Here are the fabrics I picked.

I wanted to make the dot of the "i" a mini asterisk flower. It's not exactly easy because the asterisk has a lot of seams.

I didn't really hit my stride with these letters until I got to the A. Looking at this word, I felt the O-L-I-D didn't really fit with the rest.

So I took it apart, and remade those letters. The letter D, both in uppercase and lowercase, d, is my LEAST favorite letter to make. I'm not overly excited about this one, but I can live with it.

The new little robotic rug sucking monster is going to have a good time when I let it loose in the studio, although I will pick up the larger pieces first.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Where the Box Lives

When my brother first proposed doing a swap for one of his boxes, my first thought was, where am I going to put it? Horizontal space is limited at my house.  But I had this table in my bedroom that partly covered a full length mirror I hated. Yes, Julie, that is one of your quilts.

 So the box lives there.

As soon as I saw the box in Colorado this past summer, I knew what I'd put in it.

Jewelry.  What else? I put some of my most favorite pieces in it. I covered the bottom of the box with a silk scarf so the interior wouldn't get scratched.

The top lift out tray has my high school class ring, an engraved silver thimble that belonged to my grandmother, some vintage pins from the 50's and 60's that were my Mom's, a much older vintage pin that belonged to my grandmother, a locket containing my goddaughter Violette's photo, some of my favorite one-of-a-kind pins, and yes, there's a five dollar bill in there too. For some reason I think a jewelry box always has to have some money in it.

My Colorado brother came over for dinner last night with my Mom and had to check it out. Here he is sniffing it to see if he can still smell the scent of the California Nutmeg that makes the box's bottom.

"It's funny," he said, "I've never seen it with anything in it."

Friday, December 1, 2017


I'm the oldest of four children. My brother on the far left is the "Mexico brother" who is a world class rock climber (think El Capitan). My sister is a fourth degree black belt (which she loves to remind you about all the time). The brother on the far right is my Colorado brother, the fine furniture maker and the new owner of the Colorado quilt.

With us living in different parts of the country, it's rare when all four of us are in the same place at the same time. It happened this week, so we made sure to get some pictures.

Here we are with our Mom. The oldest of us kids is 63, and the youngest is 55. I'm not telling you which is which.