Wallets and more wallets

Last weekend I taught a wallet class.

The participants all seemed to be happy that they were actually taking a finished product home. The black and silver cork was a favorite with students, and its easy to see why. It is so striking. The hardware on one is silver and on the other it is gun metal.wallet5

Each wallet was so different, especially on the inside. wallet4

This would be the one to take to a party, with glittery vinyl on the outside, bottles of wine on the inside, and copper hardware.


The natural cork with rainbow confetti was also a favorite and the options when you use fabric is endless. Just look at the squirrels on this one. Unfortunately, I missed getting an interior shot of these. wallet6

This is the pattern for the Diva Frame Wallet and was designed by Jessica VanDenburgh. The pattern and hardware can be ordered from Sew Many Creations, or may be available at your local quilt shop. Some alterations may be required if using cork.

It will be a short post this time around. I am now preparing for a class on Designing for Ruler Guided Quilting that I am teaching next weekend. Needless to say, what I do in the quilting world ends up here so if Ruler Guided Quilting interests you, then keep a watch for related posts in the near future.

Now that its Easter, you may still be looking for a last minute recipe that isn’t ham or turkey. You are in luck. Ken’s Kitchen sent a couple chicken recipes for you to choose from. georgian chicken under brick or Slashed Chicken.

Have a great weekend. Hope it is a special one for you.


Posted in 2019, accessories, Classes, Highlighting others, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Amazon Star, A Sneak Peek

Drum roll, please!….

Somewhat premature since it still needs to be quilted, but you persevered with me through the doubts and decisions so you deserve a sneak peak.  The original pattern vs my reiteration.

You saw each bag as I made them. They were joined to make the following sections:

Center, Amazon Star Center

sides Sides 

corners Corners

I love the muted spikes but those orange stripes I was fretting about a couple weeks ago still bother me. They should blend with their neighboring blue fabrics into points of the star, instead of being stripes. I have considered adding just a little Inktense* to make them blend. Here is a sample of what it might turn into.

Do you think it is worth the risk? Feel free to vote yea or nay.

My independent review of Judy Neimeyer’s Amazon Star pattern:

I loved, loved, loved how organized everything in this pattern was. From buying and cutting the fabric, organizing the paper pieces, including the color chart, and sewing the sections, they could not have made things any easier. I was always working with small manageable sections until the very end when I was joining them together.

There was enough complexity in the pattern to challenge me and enough variety to keep it interesting. No sewing 500 HSTs or sewing a million strips! I usually only had to make 8 of any one item – just enough duplication to gain speed and accuracy. If there was a particular section I didn’t like, I knew I only had to make 8. I was never bored. The quilt top was finished with a speed that surprised me.

Paper-piecing = piece of cake. Almost. I was thrilled with the results of paper-piecing until I got to the Y seams at the end (only 8 – ha!). There they failed me. I got much better results once the paper was removed. (Yes, I did those seams more than once.)

It is hard for me to say anything negative about this pattern except for the cost (20 meters of fabric for the front; 10 for the back & binding); it is probably the best pattern I have ever made. 80% of it was very easy.

If you have ever wanted to make a Judy Neimeyer quilt, don’t be intimidated. Go for it! The results are worth it.

*Inktense are watersoluble ink blocks or pencils that become permanent when dry.

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Amazon Star, Bags #5-10

Bag #5: This is more like it. Dark and calm. sawtooth strip

Bag #6: This is the last of the orange and red. From here on in its all blue. bag6

Bag #7: Its hard to believe I’m already starting the border. Not loving it so far. bag7

Bag #8: More borders. The original pattern had contrasting fabric for the spikes but I wanted to tone it down. In this case the star will be the focal point; the spikes will be far more subtle. bag 8

Bag #9: I was glad there were only 8 of these to make. It was a little bit of a monster for paper piecing, but I’m starting to love these spikes. Isn’t it funny how you like some fabrics grow on you work and others don’t? As I was stitching, the song ‘Moody Manitoba Morning’ came to mind.bag9

Bag #10: No real work with Bag #10. These are simply background pieces that will be used in the final assembly. bag10

That’s it! This week the task will be to sew the sections together and remove the paper.

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Week 1 with Amazon Star

Bag #2

I read the instructions at least a dozen times… and kept getting lost. There were units, and sections, and parts, and strips, and colors, and steps – all with numbers following them.

Example: Strip Piecing Part 1, Unit LS-1, Section #5, Fabric #5, Color #10. Phew! I had to do some mental gymnastics on this one.

This was certainly a new-to-me method of strip piecing. 

In the end, I had to treat it like a tax return and just followed the instructions, step by step, thankful that someone else had written them.

Once I got it, I enjoyed the process and loved the results. Bag #2 made me happy – the colors were so bright and colorful, the points so nice and sharp. bag 2

Bag #3

Doubts started to nag me. Subtle at first, then full-fledged, even invading my dreams.

The orange was suppose to be an accent. I didn’t expect them to be quite so overwhelming. bag3

Bag #4

Seriously, what was I thinking?! The colors should blend. It looks like my star will have stripes. bag4

As the week continued, the coloring chart became my constant companion. It kept me from making mistakes and when I lost the vision, it helped restore it. It gave me the confidence to continue. color chart


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Amazon Star Starts Shining

Monday was going to be THE day. I was going to start my BIG quilt. I could hardly wait! (In case you missed it, see Blue Monday for background)

The grandchildren were over Saturday. As they were outside playing in the snow, I wondered if it was too early to set up for Monday. I decided not.

For large quilts I like to set up on the dining room table. With more room and tons of natural light, its the perfect space to sew – especially in the winter when the sun is shining or the snow is falling. I can look outside, but feel cozy inside.

Decisions on which thread and which sewing machine to use were made. Bobbins, scissors, cutting mat, rulers, and rotary cutters were gathered. The 10 bags of cut fabric were retrieved. All set. cutting

Maybe I should read the instructions. They are long and complex. I have only made one paper-pieced quilt and it was a log cabin. Hardly qualifies, right? Reading instruction would be good.

Judy Niemeyer says the key to success is being organized. Yes, I could do that too, so I find all ‘Unit A’ pieces and cut them out. Unit A corresponds with Bag #1. Of course I have to open Bag #1 and line the fabrics up in the order that they will be used.

Now what? Dinner is over. The grandchildren are gone. Should I try one ‘Unit A’ piece? Just to make sure I understand the instructions?

That wasn’t hard. Maybe I’ll make another, and another, and another…

So, Monday isn’t even here yet, and Bag #1 is done. bag 1


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Postcard Journaling

It’s scary to head into something without direction. It’s also liberating and just a little exciting. More so when things turn out better than expected; less so when they don’t.

Here was the plan: a few days in Long Beach CA, a few days in Avalon (Catalina Island), and a cruise with port days in Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. I was going to find a source of inspiration  and complete a Postcard Fabric Art (PFA) for each location. In preparation, I completed a number of backs ahead of time.

You can see that the backs were done and wrapped around to the front for a finished edge. I use double sided adhesive Flexi-Firm (a Pellon product) so once the fronts were done I trimmed and ironed them down for the center to adhere. Then I simply whip stitched the raw edges.

In addition to front fabrics slightly larger than 4″ x 6″, my supplies were limited to a box of Inktense blocks, sharp pens, and thread. The designs would have to be kept simple. kit

The inspiration for my postcard of Long Beach was this symbol of a fish, located outside the Aquarium of the Pacific. long beach1

I coloured the background, drew the fish, ironed fusible fleece to the back and then stitched it. Fairly easy.

Catalina Island was more of a challenge. Inspiration was everywhere. The biggest problem was deciding what to do. One morning I went out with my Inktense blocks to transfer some textures by rubbing the blocks over the fabric – wood floorboards, bricks and dividers.

I started two postcards. The first used the texture of the wood, which I decided (after the fact) to use for this planter that I saw hanging on the wall of a house. I got as far as the embroidery of the plants before I threw the whole thing out. A little more research on how to use Inktense is required

The second card wasn’t much better, but I kept it. The red was transferred from a brick. Then I decided to make the fountain that was in the center of the Pedestrian walkway but of course, it was too big. I wanted to feature the tile work but couldn’t work in the fine detail that was required, and my scale was all wrong. Nevertheless, here is my Catalina postcard. I even found a wood sticker to put on it. 

With 3 ports in 3 days, my plans for Mexico were too ambitious. In the end, Mexico got one card, so let me tell you about it.

With the homing device most quilters have embedded within, we were barely off the ship when I saw an advertisement for a Quilt Store. Fortunately, it is located along the Blue Line (walking path to Old Mazatlan) and we made it our first stop. mazatlan1

I also have a weakness for thread so when I saw some unusual thread in the clearance bin, I just had to buy it. A punch needle came with it. Never mind that the instructions were all in Spanish and I actually have punch needles that I purchased in the 80’s (never used). mazatlan3

Thank goodness for U Tube videos that I was able to watch once I got home. The pattern was part of the kit. It was stamped on the back of the fabric and the perfect size for a postcard. mazatlan

This was fun and didn’t take long to make. I think I will try this again on future projects.

The back of the cards give details about each place, things we did, and the people we were with. journal notes

My trip journal.


Posted in quilted postcards, travels, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Bags, Wallets

Finished an old project on the UFO list. Now what?

Can’t start THE big project yet. Not until we get back home.

Well, with a few days to go I have to do something.

Don’t I need a new purse for the trip?

I have some beautiful cork fabric.

I have more than one bag pattern. Here is one I haven’t made yet. purse pattern

It didn’t take long. A nice beginner project. purse out

The inside has 2 nice deep pockets, and one zippered pocket.

A new bag. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a matching wallet? I made a Diva wallet several years ago that has served me well on a number of trips. wallet pattern

Not that I really needed a new one but it would be nice to have one that matches the purse. I had the hardware, why not make another one?

I quite like it, but wouldn’t it be so much easier if it was made only of cork? I had to give that a try. And then, just because I had the hardware, I tried it again.

That simplified things. An hour, or two at the most. Seriously, easy as pie. walletsSo, now I have 3. I will need to find someone to share with.




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One off, One on

Have you ever noticed that when your only goal is to complete a project everything goes wrong?

Your machine acts up. The threads skip. Lines aren’t straight. You get ripples. The backing puckers, or edges get folded into your stitching.

Connections had to come off the spreadsheet to make room for Amazon Star.

Amazon Star has been nicely tucked into 10 little bags. cutting

There is also a bag of scraps (just in case I make a mistake). Whatever is left at the end of the project may be used for a pieced back, or may find its way into my scrap supply. Small scraps have already been made into pre-cuts, and anything smaller than 1″ (ridiculous, I know!) is in a bag, just in case I ever want to do anything with fabric confetti. If I get into spring cleaning mode, it just may end up being donated for doggie bed stuffing.

Connections, on the other hand, has been on the spreadsheet since a quilting cruise in the fall of 2016. It was in the quilting que – with 11 projects ahead of it. Working through them one-by-one was suppose to improve my quilting skills. At least that is what I had hoped. This piece was small and should not have been a problem.

DIY construction

Pattern ‘Connected’ by Carol Moellers

But it was. I will not bore you with details. Lets just say it had to do with my piecing of triangles and my straight line quilting which was not very straight. But its done, and turned out not too bad, considering. I am calling it DIY Construction.

With one added to the list, and one coming off the list, it was on to the next step of the Circle Game. The borders are prepped and ready for applique. borders

They will be coming on holidays with me, moving the hours spent in airports or on planes from tolerable to enjoyable.



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QOTB Virtual Trunk Show

Over 100 ladies of our local guild braved cold temperatures in the -30C range to see my Quilting on the Beach Trunk Show. It was such an honour to present these finished pieces to them, and now to you.

For this virtual trunk show, I thought a background of snow might be good for contrast. If nothing else, it sure reminded me of why quilting on the beach in February was a good idea! Actually doing an outdoor photo shoot in January is rather challenging. Maybe I will tell you more about that later.

One week of classes, one year of quilting. Here are the results. The classes were all described in detail last year, so I will simply link to those posts in case you want to read more about them.

Leaf Design  – My Manitoba Maple almost didn’t happen. I had to start back at square one as it had to be simplified and enlarged. This is my first start and finish of 2019. I’m glad I didn’t give up. It’s the only leaf of its kind in this forest; definitely an original. qotb6

Seminole Piecing – One pillowcase finished, gave up on the second one. I will keep the book that came in our kit and may (?) attempt this again sometime in the future. qotb&

Hawaiian Applique – I finished my original piece and then decided to try my hand at designing a similar block. Came up with “The Mighty Oak”, thinking it could be the center block of a large quilt. Not happening anytime soon…


Ginger pattern by Barbara Bieraugel

The Mighty Oak

Indigo Dyeing – Maybe it’s a good thing we have winter and this can’t be a year-around activity. I could go on experimenting forever. Knowing what to do with all of the dyed fabric is another thing. Here are a few of the things I made. It also makes wonderful ‘sky’ fabric on landscapes, and you may recognize it from my Advent piece.


Quilt with blocks from class


Mini Indigo (thanks Alysse!)

And then, fabric that was going to be a pillow became a bag…

Shop Hop:

There is something wrong with this 2018 Big Island Shop Hop Stained Glass panel. Its that a snowscape and ocean scene don’t go together. Well actually, its that I got the pattern reversed (but I’m okay with that). qotb2

The next one is a very simple piece that I consider part of my QOTB collection because I bought the fabric there and the colours just seem so happy and tropical. qotb4

This last piece is called Dance of the Dragonfly, a pattern I bought because Dear Hubby liked it. He continues to be such a good sport in supporting my hobby (obsession?) that I just had to make it for him. It is now my favorite piece as well. qotb1

A Winter Photo Shoot

It took the better part of a week to actually get all of these pictures. It went something like this…

…Wait days for it to ‘warm’ up (-20 sounded good). Then I grabbed several quilts and walked down a path looking for some good props. I managed to get one picture before my phone froze.

…The next day was cloudy with snow on the way. Oh, and a little windy. My quilts did not want to stay put. However, I found that putting the phone next to the skin (isn’t that what a bra is for?) kept it warm enough. My fingers weren’t.

…Another day the weather conditions were as perfect as they could get but I had another obligation that lasted until 4:00. By the time I got to the park, the sun was setting and there wasn’t enough light. Whether it was temperatures, wind, lighting or snow, things just changed too fast and the conditions were never optimum.

…By now I was determined to get it done. I found locations close to the car so that I could keep the car running. That way I could return to the car between each picture to change the contraption of pins/elastics on the quilts, and warm my hands. Took awhile but I finally figured out how to work faster and smarter.

That’s it for my QOTB 2018 experience. Next week is QOTB 2019. Thinking of you and wishing you another successful year!

Posted in 2018, fabric dyeing, mini-quilts, travels, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Blue Monday

They said today was Blue Monday. The most depressing day of the year.

They said to avoid the blues, do something you enjoy. I listened.

I have been chomping at the bit to start a new quilt. This one by Judy Niemeyer… jn pattern

I was thrilled to score the pattern last June at our Guild’s Member’s Garage Sale but I resisted buying fabric, knowing that if I had it, I would start the quilt. “No, no, no,” I said to myself. Finish the Quilting On The Beach (QOTB) projects first, finish piecing the Circle Game blocks, finish some old projects, start new ones that have due dates.

Some of you know that my QOTB projects ended with a trunk show last Thursday. Should I not treat myself with something new? Saturday, I bought the fabric. 17 fabrics, 20 meters just for the quilt top. Gulp. jn fabric

It was my first attempt at using Joen Wolfrom’s 3-in-1 Color Tool, and I went with this yellow-orange split complementary colour scheme. jn color wheel

Still, I told myself that I couldn’t start until we get back from holidays. But the announcers convinced me to do something I love – cutting fabric, following the puzzle of instructions (28 pages!) and picturing the final product months (years?) before it is done. jn cutting

Another first – I received coloring pencils for Christmas and decided to use them with this project since they were kind enough to include a colour chart in the kit. So far, it’s telling me that I might want to change up some of the colour placement. jn chart

After almost 12 hours of cutting, I have a big mess, I’m only about half done, and I feel stiff. Pretty good workout in more ways than one. I avoided feeling blue by playing with fabric.

For those waiting for recipes from Ken’s Kitchen, here are the first ones of 2019.

Hope you did something enjoyable today!

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