Rags for Riches

As I was busily cutting old denim jeans to use for another June Tailor Charming Circles Tote, I looked at the stack of denim pocket pieces that sat without a plan.



Charming Circles Bag – Ruler for Retreat Demo Donated by June Tailor, Inc.


Sometimes I have the quilting attention span of a puppy.  The pockets screamed “squirrel”!    So I stopped cutting and started piecing scrap denim pockets and pieces (instead of finishing my cutting).  I sewed a denim back from scraps and used top stitch thread that I use to hem jeans leaving the edges open.  In this way, when washed, the edges would have the “frayed” look that I like for the Charming Circles pattern.

This is similar to the charging pockets that I posted using curtain grommets but is a lot faster to finish.


It’s too bad I didn’t have any of the jeans that are popular now with the fancy pocket decorations…

What do you think, is this a good use of pockets?




Just Can It!

Just Can It!  or Put a Lid on It!

I’m not sure of the historical timeline of these phrases, but as a parent of tweens,  I am positive that when a Mom says these things, she is definitely thinking something else!

So while we enjoy the very momentary silence that might follow this canning reprimand,   let’s take a look at the very last picture block from Farm Girl Vintage that I am including in my quilt, Canning Season.  I plan to use the Haystack layout in the Farm Girl Vintage book but with large 12″ scrappy haystack blocks instead of the smaller ones suggested in the book.  You can really see some of grandma’s stash showcased here with some of mine.  It is definitely scrappy!


I chose the blocks for this quilt as I went along and thought of a story in my life that they represented.  I realized too late that I should have made the smaller blocks!  This final block is special to me and was very difficult for me to complete, as my grandmother passed away this spring.

My Grandmother, Sylvia, lived about 4 hours away.  Our family would take the road trip to visit fairly often.  As the oldest grandchild, I was able to share a long time with my grandmother at both the house she raised her family in, and then later in her new neighborhood.  I have so many memories.  My youngest uncle and aunt still lived at home when I was a little girl.  There were easter hunts (where we thought we lost the last egg), Uncle Don’s old green car in the driveway, sticks in my uncles stocking, Christmas parties, Grandma helping me clean rust off an old bicycle in the shed, Airplanes that flew over the house (all the time),  her old-fashioned washing machine, homemade Christmas ornaments, aunt Kathy’s Barbie doll and clothes that they would drag out of the pull-down attic when I would visit,  Aunt Kathy asking me to be her flower girl, Coffee and Scrabble / Crossword / Cards.  (Yes, I have Grandma to thank for my coffee habit!).  I could not even begin to name them all.

She also taught me to quilt.  I am forever grateful for her encouragement.

Canning Season represents another little memory.  Every time I would visit, she would let me open a new jar of jelly.  We would go down to her pantry shelf and she would give me one to open for our toast.  I loved to open them because the top of the new jelly jar had a wax plug in it and I always thought that the jelly at the top, that had never been used tasted the best!  For some odd reason, I thought that was really fun…
(Aren’t kids strange?)

The quilt is coming together now.  I am using the blocks you see here with white sashing and scrappy cornerstones.   When complete, it will be a happy quilt of warmth and memories.




Challenge Accepted -MQG

A couple of years ago I joined the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild. Since then I have enjoyed Guild meetings with presentations by both local and national fiber artists. I have seen many techniques presented that I was not familiar with. Large-scale fiber art displays, fabric weaving, extemporaneous piecing, appliqué techniques, indigo dyeing, and faces are just a few.

What I have most enjoyed in my Guild are seeing the challenge pieces completed by the members and opportunities to socialize and meet some of the talented, artistic people in my area. I have made so many new friends.

This year, I decided to accept one of the challenges; Riley Blake Spring 2018 Fabric Challenge.

If you signed up early enough, they sent you four fat eighths (9″x21″) from their “Riley Blake Basics” collection to create a quilted object of your choice. I challenged myself to make it completely from the fabric provided without buying additional fabric.

“Featured basics include Navy Mini Hashtag, Rose Gold Kisses, White Triangles and Navy Stripe.”

Today, I submitted my official entry online and we are encouraged to share on social media, so here is my plug… I really enjoyed participating! Free fabric. How could I go wrong? One way, I would get to hang in a booth, the other, I have an adorable new addition to my quilting studio!

Without further ado, here is my entry;

Feathered Photo Pop

The pattern is a take on the Binding Tool Star pattern by Missouri Star Quilt Company. By scaling it down even smaller than a mini binding tool, I was able to construct about a 14″ mini quilt from only four fat eighths, including the backing and binding.

I call it the “photo pop” because I inserted fabric photo corners in the seams of the center block. You can slip your favorite photograph into the corners for a quilted frame.

If you don’t want to use a photo, you can embroider or big stitch quilt in the center block.

I am excited about my pattern idea and can see other mini quilt patterns with this concept in my head.

Perhaps after the contest is over, I can post the pattern I have worked up. I can’t wait to work up a series of photo pops. They will be so much fun to hang in my studio throughout the year.



Ruler Hack

In my obsession with organizing my happy space, I recently organized my quilting rulers.

The large rulers hang on the wall near my cutting mat. Medium rulers now hang in the inside of a door on my tall cabinet. Command hooks work great. I like the ones with the narrow metal hooks best. They fit easily through the ruler hang holes.

And…. drumroll please. (I wish I had a before picture, but I don’t, and there is no use going backwards!)

All of my small rulers used to reside piled in a single drawer of a cabinet. Now, they hang on S hooks behind my cutting table.

The beauty of this solution is that it is hung with command tape. Theoretically, if I decide to relocate it, it will come right off.

Command Towel Bar – Ruler Hack

How do you rule?


Let it slide

My husband came to me (several times) last year and told me that he thought the kids really needed a 3D printer… Mind you, they do not know how to use 3D modeling software yet. 😉

Well, he did finally purchased a printer and some filament. We have small plastic fidget spinners, and utilitarian tools floating around the house now. (I admit, it is really fun to watch it print, and way more useful than my eggbot!)

When I was loading and marking new leaders for my Handi Quilter today, I decided that I should load a ruler tape to help keep quilts square. (I’ve seen lots of videos of people using them, i just haven’t ever tried one). I sketched up what kind of markers I needed to fit my flexible centering tape, and asked if he would help 3D print some.

Voila’! I love what we came up with. I guess his machine could prove to be useful after all!

If you are so inclined, and have a 3D printer, check out his design on You could print some too!

Sliding Longarm Tape Markers

Update:   If you don’t have a 3D printer, or just want some without the extra effort, I now have sets of three available for sale (Limited Quantities!).  Check out my new SHOP!

He is going to try to make the next batch thinner, but I’m going to test these out tomorrow. They seem to stay in place very nice. Long arm Quilters out there, what do you think? Do you see any drawbacks to these or ways to improve them?

Now, I need to dream up the next useful quilting tool for the printer. The one I have in mind might just accompany a new pattern!



Interstellar Suite – Quilt Week Part II

NO, this isn’t about Interstellar or the Interstellar Suite – Movie Soundtrack scored by Hans Zimmer.  However, the Danish Symphony’s performance is impressive and Wikipedia says that Interstellar was one of the most pirated movies of 2015…

This is about a finish!
When I visited Paducah, KY for Quilt Week in 2017, my friend Kayla and I visited the National Quilt Museum.  We met artists George and Virginia Siciliano, both distinguished quilt artists in their own right, and George was giving demos of his miniature quilt designs!  He specializes in log cabin block variations.  By variation,  I mean twisted log cabin blocks.  These were not like any log cabins I had ever seen.   Check out his website.


It was wonderful to meet the United States Marine Veteran, musician, and quilter.  He is a wonderful teacher and seems encouraging and supportive to others who want to try their hand at his trade. I was smitten with the colorful designs and chose to purchase his tool and pattern called Interstellar Suite.

The unit has 180 pieces including my borders and binding.  I used some gradient dyed fabric, cut into strips with a solid black background.

Tips and Tricks for Miniature Foundation Pieced Assembly:

  • Pre-cut and organize your strips
  • 80 weight thread (fine)
  • 60/8 Sharp needle  (Note:  Cannot use most auto-threaders with this size.)
  •  Shorter stitch length – I used 1.8 – 2 mm
  •  1/8″ seam allowances  (His tool worked well for this.)
  • A sharp 45 mm rotary for trimming between pieces
  • A small wood wallpaper paint roller (mine is about 1.5″ wide)
  • Patience.  It grows slowly, but then finishes beautifully!

When I precut my strips, I cut my lengths slightly longer than the pattern indicated.  This may have created more seam allowance bulk, but did not detract from the design.  The wood roller was sufficient to press the seams between sewing.  I did not use a hot press until the block was completed.

To display the block, I used Soft & Stable as the batting so that it would not get creased or distorted over time.   I didn’t think this piecing needed any additional quilting to make it “POP”.

I definitely want to try to do more of these.  I may even get adventurous and try to create one without a foundation pattern!  I just need to decide which equal side shape I want to start with.  Or perhaps, I will make a full size quilt as one big twist.


12″ Interstellar Suite Miniature Quilt – Completed in 2018 by Elizabeth Brown                                 Pattern By George Siciliano

Here’s to Twisted Cabins!  Play on.


Mitten String

When I was a child, winter seemed to come with more snow. I love snow.

How many of you go to pull out your gloves, or your child’s gloves to come up with two left (or right) hands!  I even tried to buy multiple pairs of the same kind just so that when needed we could find one matching pair.  Alas.  I was a failure.  We still rarely come up with a pair.

My mom was one smart lady.  Mittens with no front or back can be either a left or a right hand.  Then, to prevent the inevitable loss of mittens on the playground, in a snow pile, lost at a friend’s, or carried off by the sock monster, she attached strings to them and put them through the coat sleeves.  We HATED it, but in hindsight, it worked!!

In honor of my mom’s solution, (which has of course been deemed a hazard by today’s standards – Can you believe any of us survive to become parents!) I give you MITTENS, by Lori Holt.


True to my task, I used a mix of vintage stash and new stash in the block.  I also added some sashing to size it up for use in my Farm Girl Vintage quilt.   The Mittens pattern is part of the book, “Quilty Fun”.    Lori has a fun behind the scenes trailer about the inspiration behind the book of patterns on You Tube.

If you make a full row, then you use a mixture of left and right hand facing mittens.  However, if you only make a block, you can just pick your favorite hand!  I picked the one best for a snowball fight!



Call the Kettle Black

I love idioms.  If this is the kettle, I must be the pot, especially when I tell them not to eat snacks before dinner!  I am certain my leftover cinnamon roll and cup of coffee was not on the healthy snack list today…

Mind you,  this kettle doesn’t look too bad, so maybe someday the “apple won’t fall too far from the tree” and my kids will turn out OK in the end!

The kettle block and the mixing bowl blocks are in the Farm Girl Vintage book by Lori Holt of Bee in my Bonnet.  Keep tuned for another Lori Holt block this week!

For Lori Holt fans, I saw she has a sew-along going for a new quilt kit called Let’s Bake.  The sew-along just started January 22, 2018…  Hopefully, I can resist so that I get some of my other projects finished!

Bake On!



10 Karat Gems

I started the year strong in Quilting.

  1.  I completed custom quilting on a Queen Size Swoon Quilt for my mother.
    (Pictures later.  She gets to show it off first!)
  2. I completed piecing and quilting the King size Star Trek quilt (seen in this post.)
  3. I pieced the backings, and quilted some quilts for a good cause.

Then, after all of that big stuff.  I needed a couple of bite size projects.  I had two small wall hangings pieced that just needed quilting.

I’ll post the first one here.  Let’s call it Sewn Machine.


The is a paper piecing pattern, by Kristy @ Quiet Play, called “Geometric Sewing Machine Pattern”. I downloaded it from Craftsy HERE.

The pattern makes a 16″ block.  I decided to border mine with crazy pieced sashing to mimic the many angles in the design.  I used fabric from a layer cake, Wilmington Essentials line call Magic Colors 10 Karat Gems.  I purchased it a couple of years ago because I loved the rainbow mix.  They worked pretty well for this fractal design.  I have plenty left for some coordinating work.

If you are used to foundation peicing, where they tell you how large to cut your pieces to begin with, you may have a slower start with this pattern.  I call this freestyle paper peicing.  You have to determine how large your piece needs to be.  However, I do have a method to the madness.  I really don’t mind it, and for other similar projects, this let me use extensivley from my scrap stash.

If you fold your paper back on the sew line, and work over a light box, you can better estimate the size of the fabric you need.  Let me know if anyone would like a video demo.

I think all my new wall hanging needs is a hand embroidered needle and presser foot.  Here is a peek at it hanging on my wall, along with my other finsihed project, A Kaffe Fassett dresden plate.  They add some needed color to the area!

These gems are finished! 









Boldly Sewn.

Whew, finished!   Do you know that feeling?

This quilt was based on the zipper quilt that I saw in one of the Missouri Star Quilt Company’s Block magazines.  You can watch Jenny Doan’s tutorial at the link below.

The Zipper Quilt – Quilting Made Easy

The main thing I changed was to start with 10″ squares (layer cakes) instead of charm packs.  I used one layer cake and some Star Trek yardage that my husband and I stashed away over the last few years.  The result is an extra long, king size, Star Trek zipper quilt.

A quilt of such Sci Fi magnitude screamed for a quilting design bolder than stipples, feathers, or simple geometrics.  I decided to digitize a point to point command Insignia.  With connected ends, every other one inverted, and nested the rows, the quilt has no top or bottom.

Admittedly I got carried away and had to remove one whole column before quilting so that I didn’t need to piece my backing and batting!

Sew Bold!