Friday, March 27, 2009


Sawtooth Nine Patch Quilt Top

I started this quilt probably 10-12 years ago. I promised myself I would only use fabric scraps I already had and not buy anything new so there are many memories here. I still have not quilted it because I thought I would hand quilt it (hahahahahaha) and now that I am loving machine quilting, I just need to get it done. I am no longer a fan of "traditional" quilt patterns but would still like to finish this and keep it. It fits a queen size bed, too! Maybe for a guest room quilt. The pattern is called Sawtooth Nine Patch and I made it from a book called "Quilts from America's Heartland".

Some of the fabric history on this quilt includes:
  • The calico fabrics are from the early 80s from the quilt I started in 1981 for my then boyfriend.
  • The dark blue batik is fabric I bought in Cameroun, W. Africa when I was doing missionary work there in 1986. I also made a dress from it which I still have.
  • The blue floral is Liberty of London which I used to drool over in a shop in St. Louis where I grew up. I still remember buying this piece, off a big long spool. I made a blouse from it but don't even remember what it looked liken now. This is all that's left.
  • The dark red Noah's Ark fabric is from a quilt shop in New Jersey where I lived in the early 1990s. I made pants and a vest for a niece or nephew from it.
  • The dark green Christmas fabric was from a dress or skirt I made my niece (who is currently learning to drive, eek)
That's all you can really see on this photo. Look at all those little bitty pieces! How did I find the time and patience?

Quilt Top

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spring Snow

Hot Chai Snowstorm

I'm from the Midwest where we routinely got buried in huge snowstorms yet we always went to school and work and nothing shut down. Yet here I am today, working from home because it's snowing. Self-initiated. I could have driven in, even now, though they've predicted up to 22" the roads look fine. I feel like such a wimp.

After the heat went off, oops, I did turn it back up, I had to take a short break for a cup of hot chai and noticed the birds cleaning out the last of the peanuts in the feeder out the window.

What I really want to do is work on my next sewing project... later...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sweet Quilt Finished

"Sweet" Quilt

I finished this yesterday. I love the way it turned out, especially the birds on the back and binding. I had a big surprise after free motion quilting the whole quilt successfully, no problems, I realized I had not dropped the feed dogs for the quilting. I'm puzzled as to why I didn't have a problem moving the fabric then. I'll have to experiment.

Also, I did not pre-wash any of the fabrics on this. I washed the entire quilt after it was finished though. It worked beautifully. I think.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ciabatta Success!


I finally found a bread that I may be able to make successfully each time! Ciabatta. It may be the recipe that I got from my bread class, I don't know, but this is the first bread from the class that I made that turned out perfect. It was SO good with butter right out of the oven. I had to stop my husband from eating it all so we could have some for today.

It's different from other bread making in that you don't really knead it. You mix it in a mixer (with dough hooks) and then when it's rising, you turn it with a spatula 2-3 times during the day (yes, an all day process). The dough is moister than other doughs. When you cook it, you actually slide it out of the bowl onto the baking sheet, you don't form the bread. Anyway, wish you could taste it!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Twitter and Blog Feature

I was featured here! What a nice article from Melanie at Fabric Shopper! Thanks!


I just joined Twitter, you can follow me by clicking on the Follow Me icon on this page. I'm still getting the hang of it. I feel rusty or something but I'm starting to get the hang of it!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Quilt Pattern Correction

If you downloaded the quilt pattern before 3/19/09, I forgot to add to the chart on the pieces you need to cut: 8 pieces of multi-dot fabric, 4 x 5.25. The download site has the updated pattern. Thanks for everyone who has commented and if you find any errors, feel free to let me know!

Tutorials and Patterns

Detail of Quilt

Well, I've decided that I really love putting together patterns and tutorials so stay tuned for more. Next up is the smaller fishes quilt and then I'm going to have a Charm Pack pattern for the quilted tote bag. I love Charm Packs and you can also just cut your own squares if you want.

Quilted Tote Bag

If you have any requests for any patterns from things you've seen that I've made (check my Flickr and Etsy shop), let me know!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

VW Bus Quilt Pattern

VW Bus Quilt

I've completed the quilt pattern and it's available to anyone who asks, FREE! You can download it from here: VW BUS QUILT PATTERN

OR drop me a line with your email address and I'll send it.

Click here to email me!

Monday, March 16, 2009

In the beginning...

First Quilt

I started sewing loooong ago when I was 10. My parents gave me my first sewing machine when I was in college and I've been pretty much sewing ever since. In 1983, right after I graduated from college, I joined a group of friends, including my Mom, we were all ages, in a "quilt group". I mostly did cross stitch at the time and one of the quilt group members designed and sold cross stitch patterns (she was the Cross Eyed Cricket for anyone who remembers that era!).

I had my first real boyfriend then and decided to make him a quilt. I started it in 1983. Hand piecing it (that means not using the sewing machine!) until we broke up. I later finished it when I was married, in 1994. The fabrics I used (YUK) were so cool to me at the time. I loved all things country (gagggg) at the time and was disappointed that my mother decorated our house so "modern"! (Thanks Mom for having good taste!)

I quilted hearts on every other square as you might be able to see in the photo. The back and binding are muslin, doesn't hold up well, the binding is coming off all over the place, also due to hand stitching.

I just happened to notice the quilt yesterday when I was ironing. I still use it for things like picnics, on the hammock, and in the house. I just had forgotten it's origins and it's age!

I'm glad we have such beautiful fabrics to use now. I stopped quilting because of the whole country stigma. I know some people may still love this look, I just don't.

VW Van Quilt Pieced
And in other news, my husband, who probably should have married Lilly Pulitzer and lived in Palm Beach if you saw his wardrobe, was wearing pink shorts yesterday. I finagled him into holding up my pieced PINK quilt. He has no idea why. hehehe

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Quilt Pattern

VW Bus Quilt

My current project is another quilt featuring Heather Ross VW Vans pink fabric coordinated with dot and stripe fabrics. I am documenting the pattern, complete with instructions which I will offer FREE to anyone who would like to try it out. It will just be a .pdf file that I can send you and you can print. But I have to finish a few things to make sure I got everything right. This one is a little bigger than the goldfish quilt. I'm also going to document that pattern if anyone is interested. Stay tuned...

VW Bus Quilt

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Making Quilts Baking Bread


There is just not enough time in the day. Sigh. I think if I didn't have that pesky 8-5 job during the week I would have much more creative time! But alas, it's a necessary evil and fuels my fabric buys and cooking classes!

So I finished the fishy quilt and I just love it! I learned a few things, too.

1. Even though I pre-washed all the fabric, it shrunk about an inch more after I washed it completely finished. This is probably from the batting which is not pre-shrunk.

2. Washing the fabric after quilting it makes it look like a real quilt! I re-took all my photos after I washed and dried it, I like the way it puckers.

3. I used 100% cotton thread which seemed to work really well and is recommended.

4. I used a 50/50 blend of bamboo/cotton batting and I see no difference between it and a 100% cotton batting. So don't waste your money on bamboo unless you have a different reason for using it. You can buy 100% cotton organic batting, this was also all organic.

5. Linen is harder to quilt than cotton but I didn't have too many problems with it, it's just a different texture, at least the linen I used which is kind of course.

I'm planning to post a tutorial on the blog for this pattern or something similar. Later.

I am currently also baking focaccia! Yum. It's currently rising.
(the focaccia is finished!)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My Next Quilt - Heather Ross

I've been hoarding these Lightening Bug fabrics for awhile and it's time to let them free! I have this idea of combining them with linen and cotton, backed with flannel, for baby quilts.

Next Quilt
Another quilt idea
Quilt Ideas

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Quilt Top Finished

Quilt Top
Quilt Top

I've been collecting fabrics from the now out of print Heather Bailey Freshcut line recently and finally got enough to make this quilt. There are a few other fabrics in there from Erin McMorris, Urban Chiks and Tina Givens.

I've finished the top and am trying to decide which fabric to use on the back and then the quilting begins!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"Secret" Tomato Sauce Recipe

Homemade Pizza

Maybe this is obvious to some of you but I feel like I just made the best discovery! I have made pizza and pasta sauce from scratch using canned tomatoes or sauce many many times but didn't really like it. In my bread baking class, we made pizza and one of the chefs made a sauce so we could eat our creations for lunch. It was incredible so I took several cups home and asked him for the recipe. Here it is. Simple as can be but amazingly good. I don't have proportions, just make them up to taste.


Canned tomato sauce (any brand, salted or not, just so it's smooth)
Olive Oil
Dried Oregano
Powdered Garlic (not garlic salt, pure powdered garlic)
Red Pepper Flakes (This was the ingredient I had always missed! I couldn't find them in the regular grocery store, had to go to a spice shop. This is similar to the red pepper you see at pizza shops sitting on the tables but without the seeds. The one I got at the spice shop is called Aleppo. It packs a very small heat, adding just a little tang in the sauce).
Secret IngredientAleppo Red Pepper


Heat olive oil in a saucepan until fragrant and simmering, low-med heat.
Add the garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes.
Heat for about a minute.
Add the tomato sauce and let simmer awhile.

THAT'S IT! SIMPLE! I just can't believe how much I like it compared to Ragu or other sauces.