More blocks for Friendship Group. I changed out the center hexi for this brown one to work with January's yellow fat eighth. Do you like it better than when I had an orange one in the center? I do.
Cat of the Month. I think the brown is perfect for the basket. I imagined my friend Max (RIP) as the cat. I am determined to fix the pattern so the ears are not quite so difficult.
I like that fabric as a mug, also. So, I am ready for the March meeting. You have not seen the additions to the tumbling blocks but I will show them again in a few more months when I get March and April's fabrics.


Scensational Gift from Harrison Niece

Chickens. Chickens. Do I have a chicken (and ROOSTER) obsession? Why, yes, I do, thank you. A few months back Country Stitches was having a sale on some of their fat quarters and I picked up this hideous yellow because the chickens were so cute.
I especially like the small chickens and the ones with dots. A fat quarter does not go far for quilting unless one makes ONLY doll sized quilts. What to do. A little time passed and one day, I unfolded this 18" X 20" piece of fabric and found that if I pieced one of the chickens, 
there would be four of each  design. Perfect. I put them face down on unbleached muslin, sewed around them, slit the backs, turned and pressed them. 
Then I had a stack of 24 chickens in various sizes and attitudes. So I put them aside.

One day, they came out again. What to do, indeed. They went with me back to the quilt store and I looked at various fabrics in various colors. That yellow is truly vitriolic. Why not try a color from one of the chickens? I thought maybe the gold or the green to quiet it down. Quilty Friend (the Original) pulled some garnet. YUCK I thought, but no. Unbelievably, it quiets the yellow and lets me enjoy the chickens. Now what. Twenty-four 4.5" blocks. ON POINT. What would you do?


Look at what I just added to my Virtual Tea and Related Paraphernalia Collection!

Isn't it the neatest thing? It is Staffordshire, circa 1930 and was recently sold at auction for right around $1000. I would gladly pay $10 to go into a museum to see some vintage teapots but even if I won the Lottery (unlikely, since I do not purchase Lottery tickets), I would prefer to have this in my Virtual Collection. I just do not have the space for a REAL collection.


Snagged that John Bunyan quote off of the internet, probably through FaceBook. If today were Judgement Day, how would I measure up? Maybe I would be surprised by little things I thought were inconsequential at the time but meant a lot to others. I like to think so. Still, I should probably put more effort into making a difference. So what should the Monday Mantra be?

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
Charles Dickens

“No one has ever become poor by giving.”
Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank  

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”
John Holmes 

“Non nobis solum nati sumus. (Not for ourselves alone are we born.)”
Marcus Tullius Cicero 

“Doing nothing for others is the undoing of ourselves.”
Horace Mann


See this? This is what happens when I go to bed with quilts on my mind. The Southern Appalachian Modern Quilt Guild, of which I am proud to be a charter member, issued a challenge for the March meeting. Green. Yes, just one word. Green. I fell awake one morning last week and instead of doing my homework for my Audrey class, I just HAD TO HAD TO HAD TO make this little project that was forcing its way out of my brain into my hands. I don't even think it qualifies as a "Modern Quilt Movement" object. Contemporary? Maybe. What in the world am I to do with it? What was I thinking? I am unlikely to carry it as a purse. Well, maybe I would. Once.

First, I had to invent the purse part. That was tricky. As I awakened, I thought about putting in a little girth with the elastic side panels. Decided NOT to add batting between the layers so the elastic would contract more easily. Good idea. My original draft was for a purse double this size but I was too cheap to use up that much fabric on a whim.  The elastic side panels made a lot of sense when the project sized down to half.

I thought about an outside pocket but didn't want to use more than a fat quarter for the main part of the bag so I raided my stash and found this pretty pink and orange fabric. When I was finished, the pocket looked better with the wrong side public. Why not. I just happened to have a running quarter yard of this GREAT stripe. I LOVE stripe as binding.

The wiener dog was easy. I have a lot of fabric in HAPPY green. I did not know how much I liked green because my green tolerance is fairly narrow. Apparently it runs quite deep. Anyway, after inventing the purse, drafting the dachshund was EASY. HomeSon saw the project and called it a Wiener-melon. I think he is right.

Quilty Friend (the Original) says I could put tools in it like rotary cutters and Frixion Pens. I think she is right. Guess I will keep it.


Oh, MYYYYYYYyyyyy. Five minutes from my house is this brand new attraction. I have been driving past it for several months, not really knowing what it was all about but today, I saw a new sign.
Right in my own (new) hometown. I am intrigued.


Well, I was not going to make this one block from the Audrey class. It is called the Linear Log Cabin. In it, one uses eighths of inches and cuts either the darks or the lights noticeably thinner than the other color. I do not care for Log Cabin and have not turned the BASIC Log Cabin blocks I made into mug rugs yet, although that IS my plan. No, I had completely decided that those mug rugs would be my last Log Cabin. Then, I went to Quilting Group last Tuesday and some of my fellow sewists could not believe I would skip a lesson. They were right. I sat right down that afternoon and chose my fabrics. I decided to make the thinner "logs" the light ones. I knew I would not use the block in my 2nd grade quilt but I selected from that palette anyway, since the fabrics were "out". This is not my first attempt. Somehow my finished block did not measure the right size. My teacher told me to take the outer "log" off and recut it so the block finished out the right size. I DID take it off and I decided to just border it with a completely different color, discarding the darker orange shade. Not only that, I decided to make a tote out of the block. I have not yet put it together and I think I have an excuse for that.  
The block is ready, fabric is pulled for the tote, but I will wait until the quilt is done and let it be the storage case for the quilt. I may even make it into a pillow case style quilt storage case. Sounds like a good enough excuse for procrastination, right? 
I am also plodding along with the applique for my Audrey quilts. This one is for the Kindergarten quilt. I want to add some whimsical stitching to this pretty little flower. I put a little on but want to do more. The problem is, I can not decide whether to do all the "art"ing of the block before it is backed with the batting and ready for quilting or make it part of the quilting.


I also received my fat eighth yard scrappy fabric. The neutral will remain the same but the feature fabric will be 30s reproduction feed sack style fabric. I am trying to piece an eight inch star each time, do two specific appliques, and feed the rest of the scraps into some tumbling blocks and hexies. I used up a lot more of the neutral than I thought I would so I had to piece it to make the star but I don't care. It was the challenge of using as much of the fabric as possible that I was interested in. Of course, the fact that it is 30s fabric did not hurt one bit. I can already tell my quilting piece work has gotten better since beginning my Audrey class. For one thing, I don't have to look up the block I want and make the size they have, I can look at the block and figure out how to cut the fabric to make it the size I want it to be. Good thing, since I need that skill for the Saturday Soiree I wrote about yesterday.


I really have been busy. Hardly even any time at all for messing about on the computer. My blue block of the month was finished the next day after I picked up the lesson. THIS time, the directions were a tiny bit easier to understand but I went by the picture a WHOLE LOT. I am going to write to the company one of these days. I can't believe they were unable to write out some straightforward directions. Didn't their BETA testers even mention it at all?


Thank you, KIM!

I don't crochet. Well, hardly ever. So I can not claim this as mine. Instead, people are beginning to add to my collection of tea-related photos and such! Isn't this a beauty? I love, love, love the leaves.

If you want to see some really spectacular crochet photos, just click THIS LINK. You may have to log into FaceBook, though.  For the past few days, I could have used a cozy for my cup. It has been chilly and I have been in front of the fire a couple of different nights. I think SPRING is just around the corner, though.


The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.
--C.G. Jung

Hmmmm. All this time I thought I was a Freudian, NOT a Jungian. Oh well, sometimes a  needle and thread is just a needle and thread.


It was already spring in Florida when we visited in January. I do not remember the name of this flower, but you know I like purple so I had to photograph it.

Of course, you probably recognize the azalea blossom. Aside from violets, I think the azalea was the first flower I recognized by name. I usually think of azaleas as a February flower but by the time we got to Florida this year, most of the azaleas we saw were well into their idea of spring. 
One Sunday afternoon, we went for a walk in Orlando and saw this pretty blossom. It is some kind of tree, but I do not know its name.
Here is my little bluebird of happiness, my spring sign. They are shy and very quick. This fellow has particularly beautiful coloring but he flew off before I could get a closer shot.


Just a few short weeks ago, I had given up on having an actual winter. Even my trees were budding and my wonderful day lilies and daffodils were sprouting. I was even thinking about digging in the dirt a little and separating some of the bulbs. Every time I went to the store--almost all the stores I patronize--bulbs were for sale. Surely I could find room for just one more? Then the snow came. 
 Oh, no! I wondered if I should cover the dear little things, like we do in Florida when frost threatens. But I decided to wait and see.
We have the plastic plant pots and the chop sticks to keep the dog from running over

them. The plan is to have the flowers bordering our pathway from the drive to the house. See how determined they are to grow? If I had to make a kid do a science fair project, I would have him track the temperature of different growing things. As you can surely see, the motivated plant has made the snow recede. There were little rings around all of the bulb plants and they seemed determined to grow despite the blanket of snow. We had lingering snow spots through the yard for almost a week. Next year I will try to notice where the snow melts first and look for the blue flag, crocus, and violets warming up for spring.


As one of the lessons in my Audrey class, I did paper piecing. Typical of the English language, there are two phrases that are identical that mean two TOTALLY different things. (Foundation) Paper Piecing means using a paper or other matrix with drawn lines as guides for sewing a series of overlapping seams on on the other side. (English) Paper Piecing means to use heavier paper as the shape to fold fabric around in preparation for sewing the pieces together. Lately, I have been doing both.

 Here is a little nine inch by nine inch quilt that happened because I was experimenting with Carol Doak Free Foundation Patterns.
 I made four hearts (three inches each) from scraps in my red scraps bag and then the project just took on a life of its own.

I enjoyed it so much.


Happy Birthday, Anton! Here is a video from Tying It All Together to make your Valentines Day special.


I ALSO completed four Log Cabin blocks last week. Log Cabin is not my favorite block to look at but it sure was easy to do the Audrey way. For Kindergarten I had to do six inch blocks. These will not go in my Kindergarten quilt because they do not fit on the schematic but they WILL be used. I chose red for the center for heat. Traditional Log Cabin blocks have a red or yellow center representing the hearth/heart of the home. 

Next, I put on a fabric that reminded me of coffee beans and dark black espresso. Then, the lightest fabric, which is called nail heads but it looked like sprinkles on the whipped cream of a designer coffee. Then, checks, looking like organized coffee grounds, unlike the times I dump the grounds on the wrong side of the filter in the morning. Last, a print that reads like coffee with cream.

Four unfinished Log Cabins, overlapping.
Why all the coffee connections? My Portlandia sister gave me some cute coffee fabric from her stash and I decided to use it for the backs of the four little blocks and make MUG RUGS!

Coffee and tea slops and spills on these little cabins will only "age enhance" them. Besides, I can't think of anything cozier than a nice cup of coffee or mug of tea by the hearth.


RAVENS EVERMORE! Sure enjoyed the SUPER BOWL. How's this for TEA TIME TUESDAY?
Found it HERE.


My Monday Mantra. Sums up my last few weeks perfectly.


So do you think that was enough activity for the week? Me neither. Here are the blocks for this month's Small Quilt Challenge. 
Yup, I chose fabric on Feb 1, cut out on Feb 2, did preliminary stitching on Feb 3, secondary stitching on Feb 4, finished on Feb 5. I am sort of proud of them. I can tell from the photos that I will not be happy until the whole thing is tea-dyed. I do not like the flash of white with the creams.
If you are my sister-in-law in Portlandia, you will recognize fabric that until last week was in YOUR stash! Thanks, Sis!
My personal challenge was to look at the picture of the quilt and figure it out because my copy of the book had to go back to the library.
I have not cut the setting triangles but I have selected the fabric and done the measurements--at least according to MY size blocks. I made the tiny light colored squares to finish out at 1".
My next challenge was to try to mix it it up a little bit color wise. This is outside my comfort zone but I DID try. I am very comfortable with BRIGHT BOLD colors and I especially like an analogous pallette with an accent from across the color wheel.
This fadey stuff is hard for me but I am really enjoying the challenge and I am taking the time to look at each print by itself. So far, I have made 3 small quilts and each has one fabric found in one of the others. I like the connection, like a circle.


Told you I was BUSY, yes? I finished this hexagon flower quilt top. At least, I thought I had. I think I will add a border in brown and do some fancy hand stitching.  It is about 12" by 16". Even though I hand appliqued, I went ahead and used the machine to join the blocks, unlike the previous Small Quilt. This is a design by Kathleen Tracy from her book Civil War Sewing Circle. I think this quilt would look great in contemporary fabrics, but for some reason, I am being drawn to these of long ago. Unfortunately, my stash keeps increasing every time I get with Quilty (Original).

And yes, I did this in between working on my schematic for the Audrey class. Sometimes the brain needs to disengage and handsewing is the perfect activity.


Here is the tote I told you about yesterday.  I was trying to get it done quickly, so of course, I made a hasty decision and could not correct it. 

I wanted the green to be behind the pocket and the blue to be on the back as well as the outer pocket. Oh well, design opportunity.  

I added applique, stitching, and buttons. I also made notes on the pattern for changes for next time. 

I had it in mind when I went to A SCARLET THREAD south of Atlanta and bought a couple o' three pieces of fabric to try the tote pattern again. What do you think? 


Here is some I HAD to have and I cannot even say why. It will be place mats or another tote. Girl can't have too many. What do you think of the basket weave? (Country Stitches) I think it is a GREAT go-with for a tote OR place mats.