2015 Resolutions Update

It is the middle of February and I feel like I’m making a dent in my 2015 Sewing Resolutions. I thought I would give you all an update, see #3, 4, and 5.

#3 – Finish Projects! 2015 seems to be the year of the UFO. Many of you shared that thought with me at the Winter Retreat. I finished two of the above mentioned UFO’s over the retreat weekend – Jitterbug, begun a year ago at the 2014 retreat AND Postcards, purchased at the Fall Retreat 2013. Anyway, the UFO stack is going down.





I’ve been working on a few more UFO’s with my participation in the All People Quilt UFO Challenge. As a review, readers have been challenged to complete 12 UFO’s this year, one each month. I started with Cupcake Party in January and Airplanes in February.

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Cupcake Party


Cupcake Party is almost finished, just need some personalization on the two placemats. Airplanes was purchased several years ago, a true UFO. I changed out some fabrics and also did a little re-design. The top is finished and ready for quilting – YAY!

#4 No Buying – I have made a small purchase so far this year, just one. As mentioned in #3, I changed out some fabrics in Airplanes. I needed two more light fat quarters and an inner border. That is ALL I purchased, just $12, another YAY!

#5 Clean Out Room #4 aka The Sewing Room – This one was a biggie. I actually tackled this in early January, before the Winter Retreat so that my UFO’s were in order, fabric stash organized (lots of fabric donated) and the most important thing, labels for everything. Here are some pics!

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Another YAY!!!!!

I hope you are all having success so far this year with both your resolutions and UFO’s! Please share them with me, Happy February!!!

Winter Retreat 2015

Another winter quilting retreat has come and gone – another blog post to write. So thinking about what to write, it seems that I always end up writing the same thing. We start on Friday, Show and Tell on Sunday, snacks, vendors, and lots of sewing. You all know that already. So instead, I will just share some pictures and comments – Enjoy!

1. Lots of sewing, pressing, even some handwork, and smiles because we are away for the weekend doing what we love.

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2. And its not only quilts, some bags, a Kitchen Aid cover and sometimes just blocks.IMG_6075IMG_6029IMG_6011


3. Finally, quilts in many stages of completion . . . IMG_6038IMG_6009 IMG_6044 IMG_6041 IMG_6024


Can’t wait for the next one!










A New Year!

IMG_1687Whether we call them resolutions, goals, challenges or hopes for the new year, it seems like everyone is writing about this in their blog posts the first few weeks of the new year. I am no different. Today I will give My 2015 “Sewing Resolutions” and hope you will all share your “Sewing Resolutions” too.

1. Write More Blog Posts - This goes without saying. My 2014 started out promising but then I got busy, had surgery and there went the year. No excuses for 2015.

2. Reorganize Quilts - I think some of you may relate to this – I seem to have too many quilts. After owning a quilt shop, teaching and running retreats, the quilts do seem to pile up. The picture below is just one cabinet. I do need to sort, organize and maybe sell or give away a few. I’ll let you know the status of this project as the year goes on.IMG_5972

3. Finish Projects  – The projects I am referring to would be those that are already cut and ready to go. The clear 12×12 boxes are nicely stacked. Those projects need to be completed THIS YEAR!


Coincidentally, another quilt blogger shared a list from All People Quilt that is titled UFO Challenge 2015. For this challenge, they ask you to list 12 UFO’s currently in your sewing room. They have provided a worksheet on their website. On the first Monday of the month, they will draw a number and post it. That is where you begin. My version will be to work on that project and finish it during that month. Easy right? I would love it if you all would share with me your resolution for completing UFO’s and also if you are competing in this UFO Challenge.

4. NO Buying – this means no buying kits, fabric, patterns, etc. UNLESS they are a necessity for finishing the above #3. Also allowed if needed for a gift.

5. Clean Out Room #4 aka The Sewing Room – When I am immersed in a quilt or any other project, I tend to get a little messy. Things get cluttered, what can I say? Time to purge and streamline in 2015. IMG_5976 IMG_5975

6. Sew with Madeline – My 7 year-old granddaughter Madeline is very artistic. I started sewing/quilting lessons with her last July and she finished her first quilt. YAY Madeline!!! (And I WILL write a separate post about her in the near future.) In 2015, we will finish binding her first quilt and work on a new one, her dog quilt. This resolution might be the most fun!


I don’t see a problem completing any of these resolutions, maybe #1, but I’ll try my best to get more posts in this year. Blogging sometimes overwhelms me and then I just don’t do it. This year, I hope to not be overwhelmed and to just write and communicate what I’m working on, sharing with you and hoping that you will share your projects, tips and ideas with me.

IMG_5978May 2015 bring you days that are bright, productive and creative!

Holiday Recap


I hope you all enjoyed the holidays. It seems they always by so quickly but it also feels good to be back to a routine of healthy eating, exercise and of course sewing in the new year! So before I give you my “Sewing” New Years Resolutions, I thought I would give you a recap of my holidays.

For my family, December was amazing as we welcomed a new addition — grandson, Anderson Michael, born on December 8!


Anderson is the first baby for my son Michael and daughter-in-law Erin. Needless to say, our holidays were very special, introducing Anderson to family, friends and his cousins, our 4 other grandchildren.


Leading up to Anderson’s birth were baby showers which means baby quilts. Quilters know that procrastination is not an option when deciding to make a special quilt. I started the planning back in July when we got the news that he was going to be a “he”. I was recovering from surgery, fabric shopping online and came upon Riley Blake’s collection “Oh Boy”. I fell in love with these fabrics and started creating. As soon as I was up to sitting at the sewing machine, everything fell into place, the tops were finished, quilted by my friend Darlene and ready for the October baby shower.

Anderson Cradle

Quilt for baby cradle


Crib Quilt


Baby Shower!

Coincidentally, this fabric line coordinates perfectly with Anderson’s furniture. This was totally accidental, the original crib was discontinued. See how great his room looks!

Crib with quilts

I also whipped up a little Penguin quilt which we brought to the hospital when the baby was born. Erin LOVES penguins so with the penguins and snowflakes, I think this could be Baby’s First Christmas quilt.

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After the baby quilts were finished, I had time to make a few Christmas quilts and a pillowcase for each of the other grandchildren. I think everyone was happy with that.



Finally, I will share my newest holiday quilts!

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Next up – Sewing Resolutions.


Fall Retreat at The Abbey 2013


There was a lot sewing, lots of smiles and a lot of fun this past weekend as quilters descended on The Abbey in Lake Geneva. With the added bonus of an extra sewing day, it was just non-stop sewing from morning till night!


The Sewing Smiles!

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We made our annual stop at The Stitchery in Delavan for wine, cheese and of course shopping!


A popular vendor, Christa from Thirty-One Gifts, brought us the latest in bags and organization.

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We were all quite productive! Here are pics of some of the most popular and complicated projects from the weekend.

*More pics can be seen on my FaceBook Page*

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And as always, the time flies by and there are always more projects left to complete. So we will do it all again in January. Happy Fall!


Off to The Abbey!

003We are off to The Abbey this weekend in beautiful Lake Geneva WI – 50 quilters, including 28 who have taken advantage of our extra sewing day on Thursday! Fifty happens to be a record attendance for the FallRetreat.  Everyone is always so excited for the get-away and look forward to entire sewing weekend. In addition to our annual trip to The Stitchery in Delavan on Friday, two vendors will be set up in the sewing room, That Quilt Shop, Woodstock IL and Buttons and Bolts from Salem, WI. And if that’s not enough shopping, we have Thirty-One gifts and bags visit on Saturday.

With the retreat weekend approaching, I promise to get back to the quilt blog. It has been way too long since I’ve written – I know . . . so long, considering my last post was at the end of June. Since then, I had a little surgery with a little recuperation time, followed by my trip of a lifetime to Italy.


Here we are at the Vatican!

And we also have a baby on the way (parents-to-be are my son and daughter-in-law from Step To The Altar quilt)!  So since June I’ve been working on baby quilts, of course . . . and fall retreat prep. More on the baby and the quilts upon his arrival but for now, it will be Fall Retreat 24/7. Next post will be lots of pics from the event!photo

Off to The Abbey!

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Quilt Show in the Garden 2014 – the Food!



I am so fortunate to have wonderful friends who helped me out this year for the quilt show. They hung quilts, donated prizes and made desserts! Thanks to Maria, Barb, Darlene, Maryann and Bernice for the treats, Megan Melendez (Thirty-One Gifts), Shannon Roberts (Wildtree) and Darlene Votzmeyer, Sew Busy Quilting for the door prizes and Darlene and Maryann for hanging the quilts. You are all awesome!


Each year, I share some of the recipes with all of you.

Buttercream Bars are a favorite in my house. I’ve been making these for years, the recipe came from a friend of my moms. They are super easy and so delicious!

Buttercream Bars

  • 1 17-oz box Dromedary pound cake mix
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 8-oz cream cheese, softened
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 box powdered sugar
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

Combine pound cake mix, melted butter and 2 eggs until well blended. Beat one minute. Pour into greased 9×13” pan. Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add the other 2 eggs and vanilla to the cream cheese. Set aside ½ cup of powdered sugar. Beat the rest of the powdered sugar into the cream cheese mixture. Pour over batter in pan. Sprinkle with nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes or until cake pulls away from sides of pan. Cool 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining powdered sugar.

The other two desserts that I made came from Pinterest, one of my favorite places to find new ideas. I’m always on the lookout for something new each year for the quilt show. Check out my Pinterest Board and you’ll see lots of great ideas for a summer garden party. Here are the links to the  recipes for the other two desserts- Pink Lemonade Cupcakes and Strawberry Shortcake Tiramisu. And don’t forget the Tequila Sangria, its always a hit, I serve it every year!


Tequila Sangria

  • 2 bottles Red Wine (not Merlot) 750 ml each
  • 1/2 cup Triple Sec
  • 1/4 cup Tequila
  • 1/4 cup Sweet Vermouth
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • Sliced lemons, limes and oranges
  • 2 cups 7-Up or Sprite

Mix wine, triple sec, sweet vermouth and lime juice in container of choice. Add sliced fruit and refrigerate for a few hours, just so your alcohol picks up the fruit flavors. You can also add slices of apples and grapes. After mixture is thoroughly chilled Serve over ice and add sugar and Sprite/Seven-Up to taste.

And one more, Pecan Pie Bars, everyone’s favorite!

Pecan Pie Bars

  • 2 cups unsifted flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 (6 oz) pkg toffee chips
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 for glass dish). In medium mixing bowl, combine flour and sugar; cut inbutter until mixture resembles coarse corn meal. Press firmly on bottom of 13×9″ baking pan. Bake 15 minutes. In medium baking bowl, beat sweetened condensed milk, egg and vanilla. Stir in chips and pecans. Spread evenly over prepared crust. Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool thoroughly, cut into bars. Store covered in refrigerator.



Quilt Show in the Garden 2014


We could not have asked for a more beautiful day this year for the 4th Annual Quilt Show in the Garden. Each summer, I host a garden party to showcase the quilts and talents of those who attend my events during the year. As always, the quilts did not disappoint. There was a mix of traditional and contemporary, along with beautiful hand applique and embroidery. To add to the party, we also enjoyed some delicious desserts with friends!


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The winner . . . Jacque’s Butterfly!

For this post, I’ll concentrate on the quilts. All of the guests vote for their favorite from the quilts submitted. Thanks to Darlene Votzmeyer, the winner is awarded a gift certificate for longarm quilting from Sew Busy Quilting. Our 2014 winner was Jacques Butterfly, submitted by Cathy Tierney. This was Cathy’s very first quilt! Jacques Butterfly is a Block of the Month that I taught in 2006 with our Itasca Firehouse group. Cathy’s use of bright colors that she pulled from the border fabric showcases the many different sizes and types of blocks that make up the butterfly. And as a very first quilt, it was actually a very intricate design. Congrats, Cathy – amazing effort!

Now for more quilts . . .


Young at Heart Pet Rescue, Crazy Eights, Jacque’s Butterfly, Pink and Green and Savannah


Yellow Brick Road, Tulips In Bloom and Wild Goose Chase


Chocolat (background) and A Little Porch Time


Bluebird of Happiness and Flower Baskets



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Chocolate Cupcake and Quarter Cup

Sharing our quilts on a beautiful summer day is a wonderful way to celebrate the art of quilting. I hope some of you are already thinking of what you will show next year!

Next up: The Food




May Birthday Girls

My granddaughters, Madeline and Ava, were both born in May and celebrate with a shared birthday party. Madeline will turn 7 this week and Ava turned 3.


Turning 3 means her “big girl bed” will be coming soon. When Madeline turned 3 I made her quilt for the new bed.


Now that Ava is 3, her quilt is in the works. She LOVES purple and I’m sure you’ll recall that I’ve been working on Ava’s quilt (my last few posts). The pattern comes from the April 2014 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting.


After selecting an assortment of fun purple fabrics and making LOTS of half square triangles, I started working on the blocks, though finding the time to sew when our weather finally has turned warmer is a bit of a challenge.

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All the HST’s!


Blocks and . . .

The flowers and garden were calling but I managed to get the blocks finished. Now time to put the blocks together and the pieced border.



Then off to be quilted!

 Happy 3rd Birthday, Ava – your quilt is on the way!


Connect the corners and more!


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Connecting Corners and More

Yes, it has been awhile since my last post . . . and . . . the promised Fast Flying Geese video. Due to some technical difficulties there has been a problem uploading my video to You-Tube. I am hoping to get that up soon but until then I thought I’d share a fun tip with all of you.

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HST’s for Ava’s Quilt

You may remember that I’ve been working on a lot of half-square triangle units for my granddaughter Ava’s quilt and also working on The Giving Quilt which I will be teaching in 2015. The Giving Quilt has a LOT of connecting corners. “Connecting Corners” are typically constructed by sewing a square onto the corner of another square so it appears that a triangle was sewn on the corner.

 A quick tutorial:

1. Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the wrong side of the square to be placed in the corner.

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2. Place the square in the corner, sew on diagonal line.



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3. Cut 1/4″ away from the cut line, Press toward the corner.


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My tip for today:

1. When drawing your diagonal line on the square, draw an additional line 1/2″ away from that line.


2. Sew diagonal as in Step 2 above and sew again on the 2nd drawn line.


3. Trim between the two lines, 1/4″ from main diagonal.


5. And press . . .


You will have your connecting corners and more – a half square triangle unit perfect for a mini!!!

When I teach connecting corners, I NEVER let my students throw away the trimmed pieces. You never know what you can use those HST’s for.

Here is a mini I made from the leftovers from my Ruby Slippers quilt – SO CUTE!

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And one more thing, even if you forget to draw that second line, you can still sew those triangles together. But if you plan ahead, that mini will be finished in no time.

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