Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas !!!

Tomorrow is Christmas favorite day of the year. It's been a busy few weeks with wrapping up projects:  a T-Shirt Memory Quilt for a customer referred to me by Santa Anna Quilter's Path; a red-work quilt for a friend, JoAnn in Midland; the Rolling Star for friend/relative, Mary Lee in Mansfield; and the Butterfly Blocks for Helen in Coleman......see "Then & Now" for details.

Last week, our local quilting guild, The Happy Creative Stitchers, celebrated our Chritmas with a luncheon and gift exchange.  Here is a photo of our group.  I really enjoy all these ladies and have learned so much by meeting with them once a week for the last year and a half.

Frenchy and the Sewing Room are on vacation for the next few days, but I have many plans for 2012.   I'm hoping to have a Sister Visit in January, so we can work on some projects together. 

So, enjoy your holidays; see you in 2012!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

December 11

Well, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say.....Frenchy seems be doing MUCH BETTER!!!  I've stayed busy all week finishing up quilts:  I delivered one in person on Friday night, put another in the mail last Thursday, and completed one for a granddaughter today.  I've been re-arranging my sewing room; now I have all my pretty thread spools and cones out where I can admire them along side all my fabric stash.  It's like opening a new box of crayolas!

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Frenchy has continued to give me problems with thread breakage.  I started a project a couple of weeks ago....a serious project for a paying customer....and just minutes into it, the thread broke.  I started again, and the thread broke....this went on for 2 more tries.  I stopped and called my local tech.  She was empathetic, came over to look at the machine, and then when the thread broke for her after readjusting the tension, she offered to have me use her machine until we can resolve the problem...AI GAIN!  So, the next day I loaded up the quilt and my threads and notions and off we went.  The quilt was finished in about 3 hours.  I expressed my concern that Frenchy has a gremlin or is a Lemon!    In response the next level up...Sales Manager, came last week.  After she worked with the machine and nothing significant happened, she offered that perhaps the tension adjustment should be replaced.  A new one was in the mail and arrived within 2 days (on a Friday and we were out of town).  The new part was put on last Monday.  Since then I have completed 3 quilts....and no problems.    I am reassured by both HandiQuilter reps that their goal is to have all customers satisfied and that most 'lemons' (of which there have been few) have internal issues, not thread breaks; so maybe the problem is fixed!   I have another quilt loaded and ready to work on it tomorrow with more waiting in the wings.  Only time will tell.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

San Saba Arts & Antiques Show

I attended the Arts & Antiques Show in San Saba last weekend......and it was a successful experience for me.  I arrived in San Saba on Friday evening just in time to unload and set up for Saturday morning.  I met my friends, Kay Mitchell and Kathy Andrews, and we all stayed at Burnham's Lodge located on the square.  It was a pleasant surprise.....a store front converted into individual guest rooms with private baths and a community kitchen.  After we got set up at the Civic Center, we three met at the room and unpacked; then we drove around town to see what there was to see.  It's a nice little town with a nostalgic square and shops all around it.  We found the local liquor store and had a cocktail before bedtime. 

The show was scheduled for Saturday from 10 - 6 and Sunday from 11 - 4.  The first day I sold 4 quilts, and I made a number of contacts for future projects.  We had dinner at a local Mexican Restaruant, called Pepperbelly's, located just a few doors down from our lodging.  Afterwards we made a shopping trip to Alco and Kathy purchased a game called "LCR".  When we got back to the 'hotel', we asked 3 other ladies if they wanted to play a game, and we settled in at the community kitchen table for a few hours of "LCR" fun and laughter. 

Sunday wasn't as prosperous for quilt sales, but again, I made several contacts and passed out at least half of my business cards.   We started closing up a little early because the traffic thinned out about 3PM.  I was ready to head home right at 4PM, picked up Spanky in Brownwood and arrived home by 6PM. 

This was a fun experience and worth all the preparation.  Since I've arrived back home, I've gotten one call from a lady I met in San Saba who wants to make several "Memory" throw quilts for her children from her late Mother's fabric stash.  These are scheduled for January 2012; I have 4 commission projects due for completion before Christmas.

Here is a picture of me at my booth in San Saba......

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I spent today getting prepared to attend an Arts & Antiques Show in San Saba this weekend.  I have 20 quilted pieces.....bed quilts, lap throws, wall hangings, pet pallets, and doll quilts....ready to price and pack.  I've asked for 2 tables at this event, and I'm taking 2 screens to put behind my tables so I can hang some items on them.  I'm getting excited about showing my work and getting my business cards out to the public.  I'm also taking a 'portfolio' with examples of  finishing other peoples' projects, which is my ultimate goal:  Getting Grandma's quilts back in circulation!

Updates next week on my experience.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

October!!!....What a Month; and it's only half over!

Fiesta de La Paloma, Coleman's annual fair, was held the first weekend in October.  We went out of town, and I was unable to attend; but I sent three quilts for entry in three different categories of the Quilting competition.  I was surprised to learn the following Monday that my three quilts won three blue ribbons, and, an even better surprise, Kwik Krazy won Best of Show!!!  How great is that???

 Kwik Krazy wins Best of Show.....Also won First Place for Hand Pieced/Machine Quilted.

My Sister's Green Garden won First Place for Machine Pieced/Machine Quilted...

Pretty in Pink Polka Dots won First Place for Baby Quilts......
It seems like time continues to elude me.  I stay busy on a number of civic-related projects, but I'm still preparing to attend an Arts & Antiques Show in San Saba on November 5 & 6.  I finished 3 quilted projects last week; 2 are ready for binding this week; and 2 more need to be quilted before the end of the month.

I have a Red/White/Blue Star Pattern Quilt to finish for a Veteran's Day Raffle and 3 more projects for family & friends.  Today I got a call to quilt a T-shirt quilt top for a Christmas gift. This might really become a business!?!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It's Not My Fault!

Frenchy is back home....waiting in the foyer to be carried back upstairs and put back into use.  I have about 10 projects stacked up with backing and batting........ ready and waiting for quilting.  They say "Timing is Everything".......I've been super busy with city-related projects that have taken up a big portion of my time, so this little 'break' (no pun intended) has been timely in that I don't feel guilty for not getting these projects done quicker.  It's NOT my fault!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


It's been a busy summer....where  has the time gone??? 
Well, I've got some good news and some bad news:  the bad news is that I started experiencing thread breaks again ...over and over again.... on the longarm.  Poor Frenchy.....he's been having some internal problems.  At least I HOPE it's his internals and not operator error!  On Monday, I completed two small projects that turned out nice; a real sense of accomplishment.  Then on Tuesday afternoon, after attending Tuesday Quilting Guild, I put another small project in the machine and time after time, I had a thread breaks....all within a 12" square.  Needless to say, I was mega-frustrated!  After a couple of calls and a visit from my local tech, Frenchy was boxed up and sent to Utah for a thorough examination.  That's the good news.  We will now find out if the thread breaks are truly his problem or my problem. 

In the interim, I have projects stacking up around me.  I have 3 projects for other people and a number of quilts I had hoped to complete before a scheduled "Antique & Art Show" in San Saba. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

August Progress

It's been hot and dry.... not much yard work to be done, so I've been spending a lot of time with my sewing machines.  In fact, I"ve been obsessed with sewing machines all month.  I started out shopping for a Singer Featherweight and found a plethora of them on eBay in all types of conditions with, and without. cases and other accessories.  I found one that had my name on it with all kinds of attachments and a pretty good case (at least the latches still work) and won it at a reasonable price!  While shopping for that, I kept finding toy sewing machines and ended up purchasing a couple of those.  Then I started counting how many sewing machines I actually own:  my original Universal sewing machine from the 70's; my grandmother's International; a Peerless (1959 era), a small Singer I bought to carry to classes, a Janome MemoryCraft 6600, a Handi-Quilter Avante 18 Longarm, aka French; and a new Janome 2030 that I recently won at the Grand Opening of Kelly's Quilting the Featherweight and 2 toy machines:  total 10!  That should be enough to keep me satisfied for awhile. 

I finally got the quiling completed on the Quilter's Puzzle.  This was a pattern that Sister Tricia shared with me.  We each started working on hand-piecing during a Caribbean cruise in 2008.  Due to the many quilt tops I had accumulated when it was completed, it went on the back burner until now.  The back is pieced with 2 different purple fabrics.  Hand-pieced, machine-quilted and hand-binding:

This is a Block of the Month from 2009.  Hand-pieced, machine-quilted and hand-binding:

And finally, a quilt I made for my grandson.  His mother's grandmother gave me the panels from her fabric stash and I found the border/backing fabric on sale a few weeks later.  This will be in his Christmas package this year.

If you've read this far, leave me an "anonymous" comment just to let me know you've been here.  You can add your name if you like. 

More quilts to come.......................stay tuned!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

This is the HOTTEST July I can ever remember......

I've stayed busy piecing and quilting, but it is soooooo HOT!!!  The last couple of weeks I've been working on a pattern called "Crown Jewels".  I used 2 packages of pre-cut squares and some black remnants to make this modified top.  It still needs work to make it bettr proportioned, but time will take care of it.  Quilt Shop Hops are coming up and I'll be looking for just the right touch.  Stay tuned!

And, I've also been working on a quilt for my grandson.  His maternal great-grandmother cleaned out her stash and shared lots of fabric with me.   Within the treasure trove of material, I found two panels of animal theme prints.  I recently ran across a closeout on a jungle print fabric, and as luck would have it, there was enough to make some broad borders around the connected panels and to finish out the backing.  I am ready to bind but can't decide on how to proceed.....I'll sleep on it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sew Many Quilts...Sew Little Time!

Grand-daughter Lilli left on Sunday afternoon, and Sister Trish arrived Sunday night.  Trish brought six, count 'em SIX, quilt tops.  We got busy right away on putting one onto "Frenchy".  We ran into some problems with the Coats & Clark thread but I had some King Tut on hand that matched and it worked much better.  We worked until 4:30AM Monday morning and finally got to bed by 5AM.  We were up again about 9AM, but I had a splitting headache.  After a Motrin, a nap, and a light lunch, we headed back upstairs to tackle more quilting.  While she quilted her quilts, I intermittently worked piecing squares on my Janome.  We didn't stay up quite as late on Monday night but we didn't stop until about 1:30AM (Tuesday).  We completed 3 quilts in two days to the point of binding, which she plans to finish at home. It was a productive 36 hours. On Tuesday, she went to Quilting Guild with me and we had fun making an applique block with the group.  We had a nice lunch at the new Italian Restaurant on Commercial St. and it was time for her to head home. 

Since then I've been jumping from one project to another in different stages:  border on Red Roses in a Garden Maze (my rendition of a standard pattern); putting 30 blocks together for A Green Garden; piecing an unusual star pattern made from Walmart pre-cut fabrics; and readying myself to face a real challenge.....completing a vintage quilt for Grand-daughter Catie's other Grandma.  Now you understand my title:  "Sew Many Quilts....Sew Little Time!"

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lilli's Lap Quilt is Finished

Lilli came to visit on Thursday night and we've been working on her lap quilt daily.  In addition to learning about how to make a quilt, she's been learning how to sew on a machine:  a dual-learning experience.  She had to leave a day earlier than originally expected so I was finishing up the project while she packed to leave.  The finished product: 
Sistser Tricia is on her way to visit for a couple of days......more quilting fun!!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Weekend With My Grand-Daughter

My fourteen year old grand-daughter is visiting for a few days and she's learning to quilt.  Last night I cut her fabric into 5" squares in preparation for a day's work today.  She began by using the design board to layout her squares in rows.  Then we began sewing the squares together into rows.  There are 10 rows of 10 squares....lots of purple! Here she is at the Design Board.  Watch for progress......

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Frenchy seems to be working fine and since he's been home, I have 3 quilts 'under my belt'.  I'm expecting company this weekend.....a special granddaughter who has shown interest in quilting.....and we'll be working on a project during her stay.  Then, back to work again on more UFOs.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Yes, Frenchy came home and right away I picked up where I left off on the "Texas Signs" quilt when he started acting up.  And....right away, he started acting up again!!!  I decided to just 'deal with it' until I could finish this particular project.  After all, it's been in and out of the quilt machine 3 times in the last 4 weeks.  I had at least 9...yes, 9 .... thread breaks before I could complete the quilting.  My goal was to get this project finished and move on to the next (Birds) to see if the problem persists.  I was sooooo relieved to complete all the quilting with NO problems.  I was finished with it in record time.  The next step is to get the binding on it and I will have completed 2 projects in one day. I have much more 'catching up' to do.  I'm thinking the fabric on the 'problem' quilt was the ultimate problem although the timing did need some adjustment.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Good News!!!

Frenchy (aka Handi-Quilter Avante) is fixed; I expect him to be home early this week.  During his absence, I have been piecing more quilts on the Janome, so I'll have plenty to catch up on when he gets back home.  I have missed working on the Long Arm, but also during this interim, I've done some research and found a handy little gadget to ensure good tension without all the guesswork.  It is a little pricey but just estimating all the time I'll save with guessing and re-trying and sampling the tension before I can even get to the real quilting, I've decided it is definietly worth the extra $$$.

I've also learned that if you wnat to leave a comment on this blog, register as 'anonymous' and then I think you'll still have to 'verify' with all the crazy alpha/numbericcal combinations, but your comments will get posted. 

I appreicate all the visits and hope you continue to check in often.  So, more quilt pictures will be visible by next weekend.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Bad News......

Unfortunately, my Handi-Quilter Long Arm is not so 'handy' right now.  He developed some unknown malady a couple of weeks ago and is still out of commission.  In the meantime, I am working on piecing a few more quilt tops on the Janome 5500.  I have many projects to keep me busy until I can get back to quilting on the Long Arm again.  BTW, if you've tried to post a comment in the past, please try again; I've made some adjustments to 'settings' and I found the 'anonymous' option works well.  But please let me know who is leaving the message. 

Monday, May 30, 2011


Finally, after a couple of weeks and lots of research, I'm ready to debut my webpage. Please take a moment to look around and offer any critiques that will help to make me successful in my quest. Thanks for looking!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Working on Making This Work.

A+ Handmade Quilts For Sale!

I've been diligently working on building this site for almost a week now.  It has been a real learning experience and a lot more fun than I expected.  In fact, I've been dreading this for weeks and maybe even months.  However, it's not so bad when you get figure out how to navigate in cyberspace. 

Anyway, now I'm working on how to make the page show up in a random "search". Anybody got any hints?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Initial Post

This is my initial effort to introduce my goals as a 'professional quilter'. 

I was exposed to quilting as a child watching my Grandma Bird work on her projects but I never seemed to find the time to learn from her.  However, I always appreciated the quilts she made and enjoyed sleeping under the quilts and playing on them in the yard. 

I finally took a lap-quilting class with my best friend, Teresa, in the early 90's and from there I was hooked.  The class was to make 4 blocks for a wall hanging, but I continued with blocks enough for a twin size cover. I didn't necessarily like the lap-quilting method, so I read some books and started doing my own hand-piecing and hand-quilting.  My first projects were wall hangings for each of our 6 kids.  Then I took the plunge and started a Wedding Ring Quilt for my husband, Jim.

Over the years, I've created several quilt tops and managed to hand-quilt some of them.  This accumulation has given me justification to purchase a Handi-Quilter Avante 18 so I can finish them and continue creating more and more quilts. I share some of my creations here.

I hope to build a business with these goals:
1) to help other people enjoy their Grandma's quilt tops that need to be completed,
2) to make custom hand-made quilts to individual specifications,
3) to sell my own creations and give them a good home.

My philosophy is:  Today's Quilts are Tomorrow's Heirlooms.  Quilts are a part of American History and although their original purpose is still effective today, they have evolved into an artform as well as a functional part of the home.  They should be appreciated,.  So, if you have a stored quilt in your attic that your Mother, Grandma, or Aunt made some years ago, give me the opportunity to make it a useful and appreciated part of your home decor.

So, that's it for today; we'll see what tomorrow holds.