Monday, April 12, 2021

Make-A-List Monday - Spring Has Sprung!

Hi, all!

Well, I don't know about where you are, but here in Tennessee, spring has sprung!  The trees are greening out, the daffodils have faded for another year, and it's planting time!  I do love this time of year, but it's a terrible war between the part of me that wants to be outside, and the part that wants to be sewing.  So I try to do a little bit of everything!  But it's only for a short time, right?

Here's what happened with last week's list...

1.  Cut out blocks for a new t-shirt quilt, and assemble/quilt.
Done!  This was a fun quilt to make!

2.  Write an estimate for another t-shirt quilt, this one to celebrate a retirement!
Done, but they decided to go another direction.  Win some, lose some!

3.  Deconstruct shirts for another memory quilt, and for this one, I'm going to use a pattern from my new memory quilt book!
Wow, that was a job - about 50+ pieces of clothing, hats and bags to deconstruct - but it's all done and ready to start!

4.  Make arrangements with all the interested parties to get my new oven installed. (This involves our schedule, the delivery men, my cabinet guy, and the installers - kind of like juggling eggs!)
The eggs are in the air, and we get serious about it tomorrow when my cabinet guy comes to pull out my old oven and make some adaptations to the cabinet so the new oven will fit.  Then the installation guys come on Wednesday to install it!

5.  Get a haircut - finally!
Hallelujah!  It's a good cut - we decided to leave it long but she trimmed it all up and now it has some "bounce" when I walk, and looks a lot healthier too!

I also put some time in to refreshing our porch, too...

New cushions, new rug, new table, a lantern with a sweet smelling citronella candle, and a yard gnome!  I've also added to the flowers you can see there, so it's lovely and inviting!  

This week, though, I've got to get a good bit done, and don't have many days to do it, since I'll be dealing with cabinet guys and installers.  Here's my list for the week....

1.  Cut the blocks for the golf memory quilt.

2.  Sandwich and quilt the puzzle t-shirt quilt.

3.  Make the second set of blocks for my "Me Sew Happy" quilt.

4.  Quilt two high school graduation quilts for the ministry.

5.  Make some baked goodies with Lilli to break in the new oven.  (These will be used when the quilt ministry ladies finally get back together this weekend for a clean-up day!)

I think I'm going to leave it at that - I really need to get these things done and if I do, then I'll add some other things too.  

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



Sunday, April 11, 2021

Hands2Help - Meet Guest Blogger Carole With A Hometown Heroes Idea!

Hi, all!

It's time for another Hands2Help post, and this week our guest blogger is Carole, who blogs at From My Carolina Home.  Carole designs beautiful quilts and hosts mystery quilt-alongs for her designs, which are always named for dances.  Her current mystery is the Pachanga, which always makes me think of Dirty Dancing - how about you?  

This week Carole has a great suggestion and tutorial for our Hometown Heroes project, so let's get started!

Oh, and don't forget - this is a check-in week, so if you've got some progress to share, you can link up at the end of this post.  I can't wait to see what you've been working on!


Thank you, Sarah, for putting this super charity event together again for another year.  I'm Carole, and I blog at From My Carolina Home.  I have to say I was so inspired by your idea to make something for our heroes of the pandemic.  There are so many I would like to thank, and a small project makes a great way to thank a lot of people.  These could be made by your guilds for presentation to ER units, fire departments, vaccine clinic personnel, or other people who made a difference this past year.  So, here's a quick tutorial for you!

"You're a Star" Pillow or Wall Hanging

1 6-1/2-inch squares
4 4-inch scrappy squares
4 4-inch background squares
4 3-1/2-inch background squares
2 strips 1-1/2 x 12-1/2 inches
2 strips 1-1/2 x 14-1/2 inches
1 14-1/2-inch backing
Fiberfill stuffing

Embroider or paint “You’re a Star” on a piece of fabric and cut to 6-1/2-inches square. 

Pair the 4-inch scraps with the 4-inch background squares, mark a diagonal line on the background, and sew 1/4-inch away from the line on either side. 

Cut apart and press, square to 3-1/2 inches.  Arrange embroidered square, HSTs and 3-1/2-inch background squares in a star block as shown.  

Add border strips, beginning with the 12-1/2-inch long one on opposite sides, then add the longer strip to the remaining sides. 

Place block and backing right sides together and sew along the edge leaving a space for turning.  Turn right side out.  Sew in the ditch between the border and block the same way, leaving a space in the same area.

Stuff pillow with fiberfill.

Sew the remaining ditch.  

Sew the last opening closed either by hand, or by machine continuing the stitching all the way around the pillow for continuity.  


Give to someone who has been a star in this pandemic time.  This same idea can be made into a wall hanging as well.  I'd love to see your creations too, anything inspired by my blog, on the Friends of From My Carolina Home Facebook group, accessible from my blog's Facebook page.  Thanks again, Sarah, and happy sewing everyone!!


Now, didn't I tell you true? That is a fabulous idea, and makes it so easy to share some love with our pandemic Hometown Heroes!  Thank you, Carole, for this fantastic tutorial.

And now it's time for you all to show off what you are working on for Hands2Help!   It doesn't matter if it's just a little, or if you have finished and gifted your quilts already - just take some time to cheer on your fellow H2Hers!  Link up below - and if you don't have a blog or Instagram, you can email me a picture you want to share at salliesue57 (at) gmail (dot) com, and I'll pull together a post to show off your stuff.  (FYI I usually put all those submissions in one post, so try to get them to me by Thursday morning so I can put them in Friday's post!)

Hugs and see you next week!


Friday, April 9, 2021

Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? Finally, A Finish! And A Beginning...


Hi, all!

Wow, this week just flew by, didn't it?  But it's finally Friday, and that means it's time for us to get our whoop whoop on!  I hope you're ready - let's get started!!


It felt really good to get back home after vacation and jump right into a project with a looming deadline - and even better to get it finished!

This fun t-shirt quilt documents a local high school senior's band life through high school.  The shirts are arranged in chronological order...

...and her choice for border and binding were her school colors!

The backing is just perfect, too - a musical print for a band quilt!

She chose to use flannel instead of batting in the quilt, so it's very soft and drape-y, which made for interesting quilting, as it slipped around a lot more!  But it's all good, and the quilt is all finished and ready to be delivered.

And after the finish, I had a "beginning" delivered...

My oven, warming drawer, and a new cooktop came today!  Next Tuesday my favorite cabinet guy is going to come and make some alterations in the cabinet where my current oven and warming drawer are so the new ones will fit properly, and then Wednesday the appliance company will come to do the install.  I'm so excited - and Lilli has decided that she needs to be the one to "break in" the new oven.  She's becoming quite the baker, so I'm pretty good with that!

So - - - can I get a whoop whoop?


And now it's your turn!  

What's got you whooping it up this week?

What's making you do a little happy dance?

Share!  We want to dance right along with you,

And it's always more fun to dance with friends!

The party will stay open until midnight Sunday.

Hope to see you there!



Monday, April 5, 2021

Make-A-List Monday - Back Home Again!

Hi, all!

Home again, home again, jiggity jog!  And while it was cold the last two days we were at the beach, here at home, it's now lovely, warm and springlike.  It's wonderful outside, and I'm trying to achieve some balance between spending time working on the yard and time working on all the quilting commissions I have right now!  I think I may start getting up earlier to get sewing time in so I can then play in the garden...

But let's see how last week's list went...

1.  Add an intro and closing to the first guest blogger post for H2H.
Done!  Susan did a great job with her post and gave us a fabulous tutorial - if you didn't see it Sunday you can check it out here.

2.  Keep working on the vacation quilt.
Done! (OK, sort of!) I finished all 25 blocks, but the assembly will have to wait a while.

3.  Work on a plan for the 12 Days of Christmas in July quilt-along.
I'm still thinking on this one.  I have several ideas but nothing concrete yet (although one is really good, I think, and keeps bubbling up to the top!)

4.  Have LOTS of fun with the grands!
Oh, we did have fun - so much, I forgot to take pictures!  But we played on the beach (Emmy and Nathanael apparently don't feel the cold water when the ocean is involved - we could hardly get them out of the water!), we played Blink! and Uno and Dos, we watched ALL of the new King Kong/Godzilla movies including the newest one on HBO Max!  It was a great trip all around!

It was a super vacation, but now the real world is coming on strong and I've got to get back to work!  Here's what's on my plate for this week...

1.  Cut out blocks for a new t-shirt quilt, and assemble/quilt.

2.  Write an estimate for another t-shirt quilt, this one to celebrate a retirement!

3.  Deconstruct blocks for another memory quilt, and for this one, I'm going to use a pattern from my new memory quilt book!

4.  Make arrangements with all the interested parties to get my new oven installed. (This involves our schedule, the delivery men, my cabinet guy, and the installers - kind of like juggling eggs!)

5.  Get a haircut - finally!

6.  Start working on the yard in preparation for a meeting my husband is having here at the house in a couple of weeks.

7.  Work on some quilts for our high school seniors.

This is certainly not an all-inclusive list - there are plenty more things I could add to it - but it's enough to keep me out of trouble this week.  And hopefully keep me busy busy busy - because I decided that this would be a good time to try out intermittent fasting as I jump back into my diet with a vengeance.  I had fallen off the wagon and gained some weight back, but decided to leave it on as it put me in an earlier category to qualify for the vaccine.  Now that I've had mine, it's time to get back to work losing weight!  I did my first day of IF today, and it went well - I started at 7 pm Sunday night and fasted until lunchtime today, and now I'm back in fasting mode.  A new app called Fastic is helping me stay on track.  Should be interesting!

So now, I really want to know - - - what are YOU working on this week?



Sunday, April 4, 2021

Hands2Help - Meet Guest Blogger Susan and her Stained Glass Tutorial!


Hi, all!

Welcome to the first guest blogger post of Hands2Help 2021!  This week I'm pleased to welcome Susan, of Stitched by Susan.  Susan quilts beautifully with her long arm, and is also generous in sharing her knowledge and skills via the internet.  AND she has a beautiful quilt tutorial to share with us today!  Ever a scrappy quilter, she has come up with a design that is a perfect scrap buster, and she shows it in several different color ways to show you just how versatile the pattern is.  So without further ado, I'll turn the blog over to her!


Hello, and welcome to my studio! My name is Susan Smith (dba Stitched By Susan), and I'm so thrilled to join Sarah and be a part of the Hands2Help project in 2021! 

I grew up in far northern Canada, and in fact lived for a number of years of my childhood in a log cabin without electricity or running water. The lack of electricity meant that I learned to sew on a treadle sewing machine. If you've ever used one, you'll know it's a bit like rubbing your head and patting your stomach at the same time - it requires coordination! But on the flip side, it is relaxing and soothing, and I periodically sew quilts on my treadle to this very day. It is truly therapeutic. 

Over the years my quilting has evolved, and I currently spend my days quilting professionally for others, as well as teaching freehand quilting. I invite you to drop by my "studio" any time at my website, or on InstagramFacebook, or Pinterest.

My mother made quilts in the time-honored fashion; using whatever fabrics she had on hand. And since I learned to quilt at her knee, so to speak, I too love scrappy quilts.  The Stained Glass pattern that follows had its beginnings in a freebie I acquired, and I've edited it to use 2 1/2" wide blocks, as that is a size that is a common quilt leftover, plus I've revised the layout to result in the size of throw quilt I like best. 

Since I'm a longarmer, I've acquainted my clients with my scrappy habit, and they generously allow me to keep a strip from the backings of their quilts when I trim them up. Thus I always have an overflowing basket or two (or 10) of strips which cut conveniently into the bricks required for this quilt. In fact, over time I've picked up the habit of right away cutting up that strip into my preferred brick size when I trim the quilt, and consequently, I now have baskets ready to assemble into quilts.  I've made several that while still being scrappy, are themed, such as the pink one shown in these photos, or bright jewel tones, or black and get the idea.
So, let's get to the quilt, shall we?

Quilt dimensions: 68” x 74”

Fabric  and Cutting Requirements

Both background and stained glass colors are cut into

  • bricks 2 ½” x 4 ½” 

  • blocks 2 ½” x 2 ½” 

If you’re using scrappy lengths of fabric, it’s very speedy to first cut into strips, either 4 ½” wide or 2 ½” wide, and then sub cut into individual pieces.

For the background you will need 188 bricks, and 12 blocks. If you’re cutting all of these from one background fabric, it will require (22) 2 ½” strips or just over 1 ½ yards. Know that these can be scrappy as well, just be sure they contrast quite highly with ALL of the print fabrics, and read very similarly. For example, white-on-white prints work well, but a broad selection of neutrals may not be as satisfactory.

For the stained glass colors you will need about 450 bricks, and 12 blocks. I advise cutting some extra as you will want to be able to have a variety of prints and colors to choose from. I also suggest using at least 50 different prints.

TIP: I’ve included a couple of other color ideas in the layout

at the end of this pattern.  


To give you an overview, you’re going to assemble all the rows first, and afterwards lay them all out, and then sew the rows together.  This gives you the freedom to shuffle around the rows to play with the print groupings.  

I found it most efficient to sew 3 of any one row, all at the same time.  Let’s use Row 7 from the layout diagram for an example.  It has 5 print bricks, 1 background, 5 prints, 1 background, and another 5 prints.  So at your sewing station, choose 3 prints and lay them out as though you’re going to sew one right after another.  Choose 3 different prints, and lay them right sides together on the first three.  Sew the short sides of the first pair, don’t cut the thread, and feed the 2nd pair under the needle and sew.  Again, don’t cut the thread, and feed the 3rd pair under. Now cut the thread. 

Open these pairs (no need to press yet).  Choose another 3 prints, and lay them right sides together on the right hand pieces.  Again, sew the short sides, one right after another, without cutting the thread until after all 3 are sewn. Cut the thread, and open the segments at your work station.  Now you can see how 3 strips are being formed.  I found working on several strips at once helps immensely to keep the pattern straight, and not to get confused over what comes next.  I also found that doing more than 3 strips at once got very cumbersome, but feel free to experiment to find what works for you.

Continue adding to the right side of all 3 strips, following the print/background layout for this row. When the entire rows are completed, trim all the threads between rows and press.  It doesn’t matter which side you press to, as none of the seams intersect when the rows are sewn together (happy day!). It’s easiest to press from the wrong side first, to press all the seam allowances in one direction, and then to give it a final, thorough press from the front.

Keep all the “like” rows together; for example, all of Row 1. If you have numbered pins, use them to pin the strips together at one end.  If you don’t have numbered pins, just a slip of paper with the number written on it, and pinned on, works too. 

Hang all the groupings of rows over an open door. This keeps them

smooth and makes them easy to choose when you

get to the layout.

When all the rows have been sewn, it’s time to assemble.  You will want a large design wall (or design floor) for this. Use the numbered layout diagram (near the end of this post) for a guide, and remember, all “like” rows are interchangeable.  So if a Row 4 and Row 5 next to each other start with exactly the same print, you can swap out the Row 4 for a different Row 4.  Stay relaxed about it though; unless you have used a LOT of different scraps, it’s very likely you’ll have a few instances of the same fabrics beside each other.   

Mark the left side of Row 1 with a brightly colored pin (or slip of paper pinned on). This will help you know at a glance the orientation of the quilt as it grows. Sew Row 2 to Row 1, right sides together on the long side.  I recommend pinning at least this first seam, matching the beginning and ending, and having the bricks offset.  Press the finished seam toward one side.

TIP: If you need to assemble in several sewing sessions, number and

label the beginning of every row once you have decided on the final layout.

For subsequent rows, lay the new row on the assembled part (check your bright pin for orientation), and you’ll be able to line up the new seam allowances with the second row back. If you’re comfortable with that for reference points, you won’t need to pin any more long seams, you can just make tiny adjustments, if needed, as you sew along the row. Just sew, and sew…..and sew.  

When all the rows are assembled, give the sides a final trim; there is sometimes a smidge of unevenness there. A large cutting mat and an 18” ruler are good tools to straighten up that edge.


Quilt and bind as desired. I chose to quilt my pink Stained Glass quilt with my signature Crazy 8 design (and, yes! it is done freehand). It adds fabulous texture, especially after washing and a wee bit of shrinkage.

Enjoy your Stained Glass Window quilt, and I hope it’s made a fair dent in your scrap bin!

If you make this project, please post pics to Instagram using the hashtag #stainedglasswindowquilt or to Facebook, tagging me on both as @stitchedbysusan.  I also have a Facebook group for my patterns where you are welcome to post progress pics and ask/answer questions, and just generally hang out with other quilt makers.


black and white version

red and white version

jewel tones on gray version


Thanks, Susan, for such a great tutorial!  I don't know about you all, but now I want to run drag out my scraps and start cutting pieces for several of these fun quilts!  

And if you want a PDF of this post, it's really simple.  Look just below my sign-off, and you will see a green box that says "Print PDF".  (If you don't see that box, go up to the top of the post and  click on the title, which will open up only this post, and then you will see the box at the bottom.)  Click on the box and follow the simple instructions to obtain a PDF that you can either print out or save on your own computer.

Be sure to check back in next week when we will have another great guest blogger, and it will also be a check-in week, when you can share your progress and cheer on your fellow H2Hers!



Friday, April 2, 2021

Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? Beach Quilt!


Hi, all!

Friday is here again, and hopefully we all survived April Fool's Day!  I did see a few Instagram posts of people who were surprised by snow - quite a wicked April Fool's joke from God, I must say.  We woke up to a beautiful day, but twenty degrees colder than we had been the rest of the week - and so windy you could hear the wind whistle through the bathroom vents.  So we didn't have a beach day today, but we did play putt putt and watched four - count 'em, four! - Godzilla movies!  A good day was had by all.

So Friday means it's time for us to get our whoop whoop on - I hope you're ready, because I sure am!  Let's go!


When I was planning for this vacation, I knew I would bring my sewing machine, even if I only got to sew the three days that we were here before the grandkids showed up.  I also brought twenty five block kits for a quilt I needed to make, in hopes that I would get at least some of them made and have a head-start on that quilt.

Well, I got a GREAT start on that quilt, because by Thursday afternoon I had finished all 25 blocks I brought with me!   You can see them all here...

This probably isn't the final layout - I just wanted to get a quick pic before we ate dinner - but I love the colors in this!  All the print pieces are Kate Spain fabrics, and the solids are Kona Snow and a pretty spring green that I can't remember the name of.  

I think I'll take these home and fiddle with the layout on my "design floor" so for now I'll just do my happy dance that the blocks are done!

So - - - can I get a whoop whoop?


And now it's your turn!  

What's got you whooping it up this week?

What's making you do a little happy dance?

Share!  We want to dance right along with you,

And it's always more fun to dance with friends!

The party will stay open until Sunday midnight.

Hope to see you there!



Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Make-A-List Wednesday (oops) and Scrappy Wednesday Rolled Into One....

Hi, all!

Well, vacation has arrived and my brain cells have checked out - I completely lost track of what day of the week it was!  But when I realized it was Tuesday, I decided I could just combine a Monday and a Wednesday post, since I've got something fun to share to help conquer your scrap problems. 

So first of all, last week's list...

1.  Write Sunday's "Meet the Sponsors" H2H post.
Done- and if you haven't seen all the great stuff that's been donated as "thank you"s for the Hands2Help participants, you should check out this post!

2.  Take photos of the shirts for the next memory quilt so I can plan while on vacation.
Done!  I've already worked on the plan a little bit - I have a good idea of how many blocks I need to cut from each shirt and how to work in all the extra memorabilia.

3.  Throw a graph book in my bag for catching ideas on the fly!
Done - and a good thing, because I had a couple of good ideas today and I was glad I had a safe place to record them!

So I did finish what I planned to do - hooray!   This week I have a few things I need to do, even though I'm on vacation, so here's the list...

1.  Add an intro and closing to the first guest blogger post for H2H.

2.  Keep working on the vacation quilt.

3.  Work on a plan for the 12 Days of Christmas in July quilt-along.

4.  Have LOTS of fun with the grands!

I've been working on my vacation quilt this week, and it's making good progress...

I've still got seven of the star blocks to make - they take a good bit longer than the square blocks, but they are fun!   Sometimes I get one or two made in a day if the kids are busy playing a game, but not always, so it may not be finished before we leave, but it's a good start!

And now for the Scrappy Wednesday part - These Clever Hands (@thesecleverhands on Instagram, or you can find her blogpost here) is hosting a sew-along of her new pattern, Me Sew Happy, beginning April 1st and running through May 13th.  Four simple blocks and no more than four per week, and just look - doesn't it make you smile??

She's also doing giveaways every week so if you want to join in, go check out her blog or Instagram feed right now.  This looks like it will be a fantastic scrap buster, or maybe a way to use up those random fat quarters that clutter up your stash.  I've got several ideas rolling around in my head!

So now, I have two questions - what are YOU working on this week, and will you be joining in the Me Sew Happy sew along?