Monday, April 27, 2015

Make-A-List Monday - and a Giveaway Winner!

Hi, all!

Wow, did last week fly by for you?  Mine was a blur of child care - fixing lunches, monitoring homework, giving baths, driving EVERYWHERE - I put over 100 miles a day on my car! - followed up by a whirlwind trip to the AQS Quilt Show in Paducah!  

There was a lot of sleeping in the car after school... 
(Emmy, not me - the screaming kept waking me up!)

...a lost tooth necessitating a visit from the tooth fairy 
(who needed to be re-educated on the current value of teeth...)

...and new pictures of Nathanael to be admired!  When Emmy saw this one, she said, "Aw, 'Thanael - he cute!"

When I got home Saturday afternoon late I wasn't sure which end was up - but I knew where I wanted to be - in my studio!!  I managed to do just enough to get the happy endorphin level up before the girls arrived back for the week Sunday afternoon - but oh, do I miss my studio time!!

Well, now that I've made that intricately crafted excuse for whatever I didn't get done last week, let's look at last week's to-do list...

1.  Start repairs on the antique crazy quilt.
Started!  As you can see in this pictures, I am hand-stitching bridal illusion (really fine tulle) over the damaged blocks, then trimming it close to my stitching with my tiny curved-blade scissors.  I've got cream tulle for the light pieces and black tulle for the dark ones.  As my friend isn't planning to use this as a working quilt - it will be a photography prop - this will protect the damaged spots without changing the antique integrity of the quilt top.

2.  Cut out 400 signature blocks.
I'm close - yesterday I think I got up to 375 - so I'm going to call this one a win!!

3.  Write a tutorial for the pennant quilt.
It's started - and that's a good thing!  It will take another day of sitting for a couple of hours to finish it off, so maybe tomorrow or Wednesday I can finish it.

4.  Work on a quilting design for the black stained glass quilt.
In progress!  I think I know what I want to do in general - an inklingo/zentangle type of design in the negative space, sort of like the picture below. What I'm still trying to work out is what to do immediately around the blocks.  Any ideas would be welcome!  You can see the quilt here.

5.  Keep up with any quilt ministry needs that arise.
Done!  We gave away three quilts this week...

This quilt went to a woman living in Louisiana, just diagnosed with leukemia...

And this one went to another woman in Louisiana dealing with cancer.

This quilt went to a gentleman who worked in our local school system for many years.  He has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer and has returned to Arkansas to live with his extended family and receive treatment there.

 We had a blast at Paducah - I got to see my friend Shannon of Fabrics N Quilts!  

Don't forget that she's done a complete makeover on her shop's website and there are blog hops going on to promote the new site!  I'll be sharing about it this Friday, but there are other blogs that are already hosting giveaways - check out the list below and enter all the giveaways!  

Quilt Shop Gal:
Mary Mack Made Mine:
Weekend of 5/1: 
Confessions of a Fabric Addict:
Life in the Scrapatch:

I also got to take a class with the fabulous Judi Madsen of Green Fairy Quilts fame!  

I've always admired her quilting style and mad skills, and it was fun to get a little hands-on time learning how she does it.  I'll never be that good, but at least now I can aspire!

And after spending a medium-sized bucket of money, I received one of these bags for my trouble...

We took some of our budget money for this year and purchased a BlockRockit mid-arm quilting machine for use at the church!  If you've never seen one of these little gems, check one out somewhere - it's small but mighty!!  We have to wait a little while to get ours, but in about a month she'll be ready to go!

OK, so much for last week.  Here's what I think I might be able to get done this week...

1.  Finalize a design for the stained glass quilt and start quilting.

2.  Keep working on the antique quilt repair.

3.  Sew the label on Nathanael's quilt before Friday night.

4.  Write Friday's blogpost promoting Shannon's new site.

5.   Keep up with any quilt ministry needs that arise.

 Since I have the girls until midnight or so on Friday, I don't anticipate having much sewing or quilting time this week.  Fortunately, I can do most of the things on my list from my comfortable table at the McDonalds near Emmy's school!!

But wait - there's more! Emmy tells me I almost forgot the giveaway winner!!  I asked Little Miss Random to choose a winner...

And she chose number 133!  (aren't you proud of me - I finally figured out how to get a picture of the Random Number Generator in my blogpost!!)  Number 133 is Barb N...

...who wanted to know how we roll our toilet paper - over, or under!  I tell you, inquiring minds want to know!  Congratulations, Barb!  I'll be emailing you and Christina so you can hook up and get your copy of the pattern!

By the way, I absolutely loved reading the random questions you guys came up with!  I think my favorite, though, was the person who asked, "Fabric, or chocolate?"  Totally unfair!!!

So now that all the business is taken care of, inquiring minds also want to know - - - what are YOU working on this week?



Oh, and here's your "awwww" moment for Monday...

Nathanael holding his new mom's hand!
Love those little sneakers!!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Hands2Help - Introducing Our Next Guest Blogger, Val!

Hi, all!

It's Sunday, and that means it's time for the latest H2H guest blogger!  And be sure to read all the way through to the end of the post - we've got some new sponsors that I want to let you know about!

Today we are welcoming Valerie of Val's Quilting Studio.  Val has a fabulous blog!  One of my favorite features on her blog is her Tuesday linky party, Tuesday Archives.  Each Tuesday she chooses a theme and you can link up old blogpost you may have forgotten about - revive those old posts and show off your beautiful quilts!  Today she's going to share the reason why she makes charity quilts - and so now I turn this post over to her!


Hi everyone, and thank you Sarah for this wonderful opportunity!  I'm grateful to guest host here today to share how much of a difference our quilts make!!  You see, twenty-two years ago I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Disease and underwent 10 months of chemotherapy followed by a month of daily radiation.  And I'll never forget the comfort of my mom sitting by my side during every treatment, knitting this blanket for me.  (...when she wasn't chasing our then 2 and 3 year old daughters that is!  Love you mom!)

To this very day, I love my heart blanket.  It has been worn thin from years of use and its softness has been replaced with those little bubbles knitted blankets get after a million washes.  Its holes have been mended and re-mended.  Yet here it sits every single day, on my favorite chair.  I'm comforted by the love of my mother when I see it...when I cuddle upon it. And even though my mom has since made me a newer...bigger version, nothing can replace the memories and love this ol' one holds.

I enjoy volunteering my quilting services for Project Linus, hoping the whimsy designs I create add a smile to many children who receive them and remind them too, of comforts and support of loved ones as they went through a difficult time.

I am so grateful to be a part of H2H with all of you and appreciate the opportunity to let you know from experience, that your efforts make a difference!

Click here for more information:


Thank you, Val, for a wonderful post, and a great reminder of how important our efforts are!  If Hands2Help is your only experience with charity quilting, I hope you will take the time to find a regular local outlet for charity quilts.  There is nothing quite like the feeling of hearing that your quilt has made a difference in the life of the recipient - to see a picture of someone holding your quilt and smiling, perhaps for the first time in days, knowing that someone they don't know cared enough about them to make a quilt for them.  Or hearing that the mother of a deceased soldier wraps up in the quilt you made when she feels sad and alone, and needs to feel the love and prayers that went into it.  Or seeing a quilt draping a casket - those are the hardest, but you know that the quilt had great meaning for the person you gave it to. Val is right - the quilts you make are important!  Keep up the good work!!!


And now, as promised, let me share with you about some sponsors who have come on board since our "Meet The Sponsors" post!

Karen Green is donating two surprise packages of quilt-y goodness!

Terri Bohling is donating a Jungle Things fat quarter bundle!

Lara B. is donating 50 neon green Wonder Clips and some fabric and other quilt-y goodness!

And the lovely Hema of Malini's Quilts is donating 
a fat quarter bundle of Jungle Ave by Sara Lawson!  
Check out her Etsy shop - it's great!


Be sure to check back next week when we'll have another great guest blogger!!



Friday, April 24, 2015

Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? Stained Glass at Night...

Hi, all!

Can you believe it's already Friday again?  It's hard to believe the week has passed by so quickly - - - but you know what that means! It's time to get our whoop whoop on!  Are you ready?

Today I want to share a project I worked on last week before I got the little girls (and all sewing time went the way of the dodo bird...)

It all started with sixteen of these little beauties - paper pieced courthouse steps/log cabin blocks made by Sharon of Vroomans Quilts.  Aren't they gorgeous!  

This was my original thought - to lay them out in an X design on a black field.  But then...

...I started fiddling around with them on point, and came up with this modified granny square design.  The four blocks in the center were already assembled, with the tiniest little black strips and an itty bitty cornerstone joining them.  It is truly amazing, but I am not patient enough to replicate that kind of work.....  So I grabbed a bolt of Kona black and starting assembling the blocks into a quilt.

After some serious pedal to the metal time, this was the result.  I showed it to my husband and told him it would have black triangle corners to finish it up into a square.  My husband looked at it and said, "If you put black on the corners, you're going to have an awful lot of black!"  Well, yeah.....

...but he made me start wondering if it would be too much black.  So I turned it the other direction (not on point) and took a pic to see if I liked it.  Being, as usual, unable to decide, I put it on Instagram for a quick powwow with some other quilters, and the on-point design won, hands down!

So I added the corners.  That was a tricky proposition - I didn't have enough black left to make full-sized corners (which I realized after cutting the first two!) but the quilt was going to turn out larger than I wanted anyway, so I made a smaller set for the third and fourth corners and trimmed the first ones down to match.  I think it now measures about 66" square.

And look how gorgeous it looks with the sun shining through!  Although those beautiful blocks glow a good bit on their own, as you can see from the studio shot above this one.

Because of the way it glows, I'm calling it 
Stained Glass at Night.  

It was originally intended to be a ministry quilt, but I think it will serve another purpose that I can't reveal yet.  I'll work up a ministry quilt out of my stash to "repay" for the orphan blocks that form the basis of this one.  

As far as quilting goes, I'm thinking of using a "zentangle" type of quilting in all that black negative space, using a glossy black thread.  The backing is going to be a rich reddish purple artists' canvas type print.  The binding will probably be either black or scrappy - I can't decide on that yet, and would welcome any suggestions!

I'm also hoping that my class with Judi Madsen in Paducah this weekend will give me mad quilting skills and uber-inspiration for a great design on this quilt!

And here's one more thing we're whooping about around here this week...

So - - - can I get a Whoop Whoop?


And now it's your turn!

What are you whooping about this week?

What's got you dancing the happy dance?

Share - we want to dance right along with you -
Because it's always more fun to dance with friends!

Remember - it doesn't have to be a finish - 
just something that makes you happy!

The party will stay open until Sunday at midnight.

Hope to see you there!



Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Come With Me on a Magic Carpet Ride! Giveaway!!

Hi, all!

I hope you want to go for a ride with me - 
I've got one fabulous Magic Carpet to share with you!!  

I was recently privileged to be allowed to "test drive" a new pattern by Christina Cameli of A Few Scraps.  Now you may know Christina as the author of First Steps To Free Motion Quilting and her newest book, Step-By-Step Free Motion Quilting.  (If you don't, you really should check out her books!)  But now she's branching out into pattern design - and she's made a great start of it!!  

So here's the beautiful design she has created...

"Magic Carpet"

Don't you love the way it looks like the blocks are floating over the background?  Hence the name "Magic Carpet"!  And while that looks complicated, Christina has made it a snap to put together.

I had a great time making this quilt - it's so quick and easy! It took me about an hour and a half to cut out (while talking to several people, so you could probably deduct a half hour or so if you are working solo!) and another two and a half hours to piece together.

All of that to say, this is a quilt you could easily complete in a weekend.  And I managed to make it all out of my stash, which made it a great stash buster, too!  

Christina is now selling the pattern for Magic Carpet over on Craftsy as a digital PDF download.  I hope you'll hop over and get your own copy - it will become a favorite, I'm sure!  She shows some alternate colorways to give you more ideas, and there's even a coloring sheet included in the pattern so you can try out your own color sequences!

I think mine is ready to become a magic carpet - it got in some serious practice during the early photo shoots!

But wait - - - there's more!  Remember I mentioned a giveaway?  Well, Christina is offering a copy of the pattern for one of my readers!!  How exciting!!  So how can you enter, you ask??

1.  Leave a comment below.  Let's make it fun!  Leave a random question for the next commenter to answer, and answer the question left by the commenter before you.  I'll start it off for the first commenter with this question - Fries, or Tater Tots?

2.  Followers of my blog get a second entry.

3.  Go check out Christina's blog - I guarantee you'll love it!  If you are a follower of hers, leave a comment here for a third entry.  If you're not a follower, you ought to sign up - she posts great designs for free motion quilting and has a series of tutorials that I use for teaching free motion quilting.

So it's that simple.  You don't have to jump through all the hoops to enter, although you can if you want.  I hope you'll all leave a question with a comment, though - that's the fun part!  And it will give me some enjoyable reading while I'm answering all your comments...  ;-)  You can enter until Sunday, April 26th at 12:00 noon CST, and I'll announce the winner on Monday, April 27th.  


And now, for those of us old enough to remember another "magic carpet ride", here, for your viewing and listening pleasure, 
is Steppenwolf...

Good luck, and big hugs!


Make-A-List Monday - on Tuesday! Internet Issues....

Hi, all!

Welcome to Tuesday!! I had intended to post this on Monday night, but my internet was wonky at home and I've just now had time to get somewhere with functioning internet service!  But it's all good now...  I'm thankful for free Wi-Fi at McDonalds!

It’s been a very busy and eventful week for us, as some of you who follow me on Instagram already know!  Because Monday, I became…

...Nana to three fabulous kids!

My daughter and son-in-law completed the Chinese legalities to adopt Nathanael Monday!  They still have some hoops to jump through to get him into the U.S., which will take several days and involve some more travel throughout China.  

They are loving their time with Nathanael, although missing their little girls, who are missing them right back, but doing well staying with us and their other grandparents.  Papa is determined to spoil them as much as humanly possible, while Nana is just trying to keep everyone on an even keel......  ;-)

In two days, Nathanael has already picked up the signs for “more”, “water”, “light”, and “open” (I’ve got some catching up to do!) so he’s eager to learn and communicate.  

Since I played mom/chauffeur/cook/tutor/etc. for the better part of last week, I had a short list.  Let’s see how it went!

1.  Finish the gift quilt.
Done!  I haven’t given it to her yet, but I’ll be blogging about this later today - with a giveaway!!

2.  Check with a local fabric shop to see if I can hang out in their space while Emmy is in preschool for the next two weeks.
Done!  The Hancock Fabrics in Murfreesboro, TN is allowing me to use their classroom during Emmy’s school!  Yipee!  They sure are nice folks there!

3.  Prepare projects I can take with me to work on while Emmy is in preschool.
Done!  My main focus will be the repair work on the antique crazy quilt, but I’ve also got some flimsies for the quilt ministry that need some work, and some signature blocks to cut out.  And blogposts to write, and a tutorial to prepare.... oh, I don't think I'll be bored at all!

4.  Keep up with any quilt ministry needs that arise.
Done!  We gave away several quilts this week…

This quilt went to the mother of a young woman who was killed in a traffic accident near our church; she isn’t in good health and this has hit her hard.

This quilt went to a relatively young woman who was just diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer…

This quilt went to an elderly gentleman who is nearing the end of his life…

An elderly lady who just won’t slow down is now wrapped up in this quilt. She has broken neck bones and other health problems, but insists on living at home and actually does more than her healthcare providers want her to.

And this quilt went to a woman who is suffering from severe panic attacks. Our hope is that this quilt will remind her that she is surrounded by God’s love and the prayers of many people when she is feeling overwhelmed.

So - I did manage to get to everything on last week’s list!  This week’s list will be short as well, but let’s see what’s on tap…

1.  Start repairs on the antique crazy quilt.
2.  Cut out 400 signature blocks.
3.  Write a tutorial for the pennant quilt.
4.  Work on a quilting design for the black stained glass quilt.
5.  Keep up with any quilt ministry needs that arise.

I’d love to get all of this done this week, but it may not happen - because this week is Quilt Week in Paducah, KY!!  Yipee!!  I’ll be going up Friday and taking a class with Judi Madsen that night, then spending part of Saturday there too.  I can’t wait!    If you’re going to be in Paducah on Friday or Saturday, please let me know in a comment - maybe we can get together!  And FYI, if you do go to Paducah, stop by Shannon’s booth, Fabric N Quilts, in the big bubble.  Tell her I sent you, and she’ll have a cool freebie gift for you!!  And remember, we’re celebrating her new shop website with a giveaway on May 1st, so take a selfie with her for an extra entry to my giveaway!! 

Oh, and I have one more thing to add to that list - I’ll have a special blogpost later today to introduce you to Christina Cameli’s new pattern - and there will be a giveaway, too!!  So be sure to check back and see her wonderful design!

So now, the question is - - - what are you working on this week?



Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hands2Help - Introducing Our 2nd Guest Blogger, Lisa!

Hi, all!

Sunday is here, and it's time for another guest blogger for the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge!  (It's also our first check-in date - you can read more about that at the end of the post.)  Today I'm so very happy to welcome Lisa (a/k/a/ Ellie Quilter) from Love to Color My World!  She's got a great post for us today, which solves a problem I bet many of us face! So without further ado, here's Lisa!


Hi! My name is Lisa and I blog under the name Ellie Q (for L(isa) E(rin) Quilter) over at Love to Color My World. I've been following Sarah's blog for a few years now and am constantly impressed with her turnout of quilts to give to others. When she asked for guest bloggers to post tutorials this year for the Hands2Help Challenge, I jumped at the chance.

I enjoy making charity quilts but I frequently encounter one stumbling block: the quilting. Picking a pattern and finding fabric in my stash? Yep! Stitching the quilt top? Sure! Then I get to the quilting part. I don't have a longarm (it's on my "someday" list), and I can use all the machine quilting practice I can get on my domestic machine. But I frequently am frustrated by the pulling and maneuvering of the quilt, not to mention the huge blank canvas that needs to be filled with stitching, so I'm less inclined to finish those charity quilts--it just seems like too big of a job.

A while back, I made a quilt for my guild's annual charity project using the quilt-as-you-go method. This made the quilting part less intimidating and easier to do. That's what I'm going to share with you today.

My tutorial will show you how to make the exact quilt you see here, but you can easily adapt this concept to your own needs or stash by using any width strips--just be sure to calculate the length of the quilt so that you start with enough backing and batting!

Row-by-Row Dino Quilt
You'll Need:
3/4 yard focal print
1/4 yard each 3 coordinating prints
1/4 yard each white solid, dark blue solid, light yellow solid and green solid
1/2 yard goldenrod solid
1/2 yard binding fabric
44" x 62" piece of batting
2 yards backing fabric

Focal print:
Three 8" x 42" strips

Coordinate #1 (stripe)
Two 3-1/2" x 42" strips

Coordinate #2 (squares)
Two 3" x 42" strips

Coordinate #3 (green plaid)
Two 4" x 42" strips

White solid:
Three 1-1/2" x 42" strips

Dark blue solid:
Two 2-1/2" x 42" strips

Light yellow solid:
Two 2-1/2" x 42" strips

Green solid:
Two 2-1/2" x 42" strips

Goldenrod solid:
Two 2-1/2" x 42" strips
Three 2" x 42" strips

Binding print:
(5) 2-1/2" x 42" strips

Let's get started!

1. First, we'll make the two pieced rows. Sew each 2-1/2" x 42" dark blue strip lengthwise to a 2-1/2" x 42" light yellow strip. From the two strip sets, cut twenty 2-1/2" wide segments.

2. Sew these segments into ten four-patches.

3. Join the four-patches together to make a checkerboard row measuring 40-1/2" wide.

4. Sew the two 2-1/2" x 42" green strips and two 2-1/2" x 42" goldenrod strips together as shown to make a strip set. Cut the strip set into five 4-1/2" wide segments.

 5.  Sew the segments together to make a striped row. Your two pieced rows should look like this and both measure 40-1/2" wide.

6. Lay out all of the cut strips in the order you desire on a design wall. You can see my layout here (and you'll notice it differs slightly from the finished quilt...oops!) But that also demonstrates the beauty of this technique--you can change the layout--accidentally or on purpose--mid assembly and everything works just fine! :)

7. Trim each strip to measure 40-1/2" wide, the same length as the pieced rows. Note: If you make this quilt without the pieced rows, you don't have to worry about trimming your strips; you can simply square up the quilt when you've finished piecing and quilting it. 

8. Lay out the backing and batting. I spray basted the layers together, which I think helps, but you don't have to. Don't worry too much about wrinkles right now--you'll smooth them out as you add rows.

9. Flip the backing/batting combo over so the batting side is face up. Find the center point, lengthwise, and use chalk or a marking pen to draw a line across the batting. 

10. Smooth out the backing/batting along this center line. Take the middle two strips off your design wall and match their raw edges on the drawn line, centering from left to right as well. Be sure the strips are layered right sides together. See how wrinkled my batting is? No problem! 

 11. Using your walking foot, stitch along the layered raw edges using a 1/4" seam allowance. You'll be sewing through the two rows, the backing and the batting...quilting as you go! Press the rows open so they look like mine below. You can also see how I have the excess batting and backing rolled up on both sides of where I'm working. This makes it easier to maneuver around your sewing machine.

12. Add on the next strip from the design wall in the same stitch and flip manner. Before adding each piece, be sure to smooth the backing and batting flat.

13. Below you see the third strip pressed open. You can see that I then quilted the middle strip. I find it easiest to quilt a row after it has been secured with another row on each side. You can quilt each row after it's secured, or you can stitch and flip all the rows onto the quilt and then go back and quilt each row--your choice! I did a little of each based on my mood--when I was in the mood to play around with machine quilting, I'd quilt a row after it was secured. The only drawback to that is that you're switching sewing machine feet (and potentially thread color) often. 

14. Add the checkerboard row. For efficiency, I like to work in both directions at once, pinning a row to the top edge and the bottom edge of my growing quilt top. 

15.  Two more rows added:  Don't forget to smooth out the backing and batting before each new seam!

16.  Here you can see I took a break from adding rows and did a little quilting. The rows are great for practicing some new motifs in a confined space!

17.  When all the rows have been added and quilted, trim the batting and backing even with the quilt top.

18. Use the five 2-1/2" x 42" strips to bind the quilt. 

A couple close-ups of the quilt front and back:

I always love looking at my machine quilting from a distance! :)

I hope you enjoyed my tutorial! You can also use this technique on larger quilts, or even add borders. I happen to prefer this approximate size of quilt for this technique because it's easy--each row can be made from a strip of fabric, selvedge to selvedge (without piecing), and you can just fit the quilt top onto a single width of backing without piecing. 

Thanks again, Sarah, for letting me guest post today! I can't wait to see all of the finished quilts made for the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge!


Thank you, Lisa, for a great post!  I've always wanted to do a QAYG quilt, but hadn't found a tutorial until now!  So now I have no excuse... I must make my first QAYG quilt!!  


And now it's time for to check in!  There's a linky party below where you can link to a blog post on your blog or a photo on the Flickr page for the H2H Challenge.  If you don't have a blog and aren't on Flickr, feel free to email your picture to me at salliesue57 (at) gmail (dot) com and I'll link them up for you.  (Please reduce the size of your pictures before emailing them - 200-400 kb is a great size.  It's big enough to see detail but not so large it takes forever to download!)  Your quilts don't have to be finished for this check-in date - you can just share your progress and be cheered on by everyone!  

I know that some of you have already completed quilts and sent them on to one or more of the charities - I love seeing that you are all so excited about the Challenge!  You guys keep me excited about it too!

I can't wait to see what you're working on!