Busy but not blogging

Life has been busy but obviously I haven’t been on the blog much…for months!  Now it’s time to catch up…photos mostly of projects completed and in the works.

My Sewing Room is a wallhanging that everyone in my quilting group made.  Each of us did our own thing with the pattern.  My background is made from Japanese Taupe fabrics with wool applique.  It was a fun quilt to do and I had the perfect spot for it in my sewing room.  I machine quilted this one on my Juki machine and it was my first time using 2 layers of batting.


Hollyhocks and Bunnies is a wool applique table topper from a Primitive Quilts and Projects magazine.  Most of the wool I used was hand dyed in my kitchen.  It was in place in time for Easter 2016.


I needed a project to practice sewing on my Gammill long arm machine.  I found this project in a book for a roll up picnic blanket.  Our youngest daughter had just become a member of Kappa Delta sorority so I made this for her.  She loves the beach so I made a beach blanket for her figuring that if my quilting skills were sub par it really wouldn’t matter.  Selecting cheap fabrics from JoAnn I drew out a Kappa Delta in the center and then did an oyster shell quilting around it with a feather border.  On the back (below) I used a denim and here you can see the quilting.





And here is the beach blanket all rolled up and ready to go….by the way, it did see a lot of use this past summer.  Well worth the time and energy.


Birdsong is a Jan Patek quilt design and I project I have carried around for 15+ years.  I am thrilled to have this one completed and on the back of my recliner now.  I quilted this with a meander stitch on the Gammill longarm.  Nothing cosmic…just happy to have it finished!

Bill and Cynthia, long time Air Force friends of ours from our very first assignment, now have 3 grandchildren.  Luke is the first born and we gave him a leather flight jacket when he was born.  His sisters however, Biss (Elizabeth) and Phoebe, had to wait awhile for their gifts.  Biss is now 4 years old, Phoebe a mere 6 months.  This spring and early summer I pieced quilts for them.  Upon Once a Time for Biss, who is in a princess phase of life ( not a bad place to be I must add!) and Zig Zag for Phoebe.

Some of my quilting friends were shocked I did some modern styles…and I rather enjoyed them…so much I have 2 more in the works.


My Beloved is a rug I began in a workshop with Lisanne Miller.  It is hanging above the fireplace in our master bedroom for our 35th anniversary this year.


Bee Garden is keeping my rug company as a fireplace screen.  Its a wool applique Maggie Bonanmi design.  My handyman, Tim, made the wonderful walnut frame!


Summer Popsicles is a Fig Tree Quilt design.  I signed up for a quarterly quilt project from them this year.  This will be a table runner and I need to quilt it.  Missed the boat for this summer so it will debut in Summer 2017!


My mother’s birthday is in August so I pulled out this project.  Mom (Jeanne) passed away 3 1/2 years ago….not a single day goes by that I don’t think of my parents.  This was something I was going to make for her.  The pieced squares were done by my grandmother, Pauline.  Many of the fabrics I recognize from clothing that my mother made for us.  I planned to use Grandma’s quilt as a backing and then purchased the 1930s (my mother was born in 1934) reproduction fabrics for the stars on the front.  I plan to call this quilt Jeanne & Pauline.  I’m very sorry I didn’t get this done for my mother.img_2360

This is such a useful pillow.  It’s a stitching pillow by Primitive Gatherings.  There is a place for a pair of small scissors and a needle keeper under the birds wing.  It’s a great place to rest your hands while sewing.  The back of the pillow has a zipper and I keep my projects stored there.  Perfect for the car as well as my sewing chair at home.


Sealed With A Kiss is a recent finish.  It’s a memory quilt for our friend Wade.  I made a similar type quilt for his wife Bonnie and wrote about that in a previous post.  The blocks are made from their daughter,  Lucinda, clothing.  Lucinda passed away at 19, nearly 9 years ago.  This is a wall hanging (a little large) for Wade’s office.  Bonnie helped select the motifs in the borders.  Each border is different.  I had several challenges with this one starting with how to make orange and purple more masculine.  In the end I embraced the purple, Lucinda’s favorite color, and worked with the black and orange from her school colors.  I used a black colorweave fabric from Moda for the borders.  It looks almost like an oxford cloth shirt. I’m happy with the way it turned out…need to do some blocking on it though.  I worked hard at keeping it square but the dense quilting in the borders made it a little wavy.  Don’t worry, I’m on it and it will be corrected!  Since Wade is a University of Florida Gator fan the quilt back had to reflect that obsession!


I have several other large projects in the works…My Crazy Life, a summer block of the week by Primitive Gatherings, a companion wool applique project, 2 more quilts for children, a quilted market basket in the production process, a Rebekah Smith wool mystery project…can’t show you that until it’s done – we were sworn to secrecy!  Next week is a 3 day rug hooking workshop with Cammie Bruce!!  I’m SO excited!  Until next time…hopefully not 6 months from now!


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Never too old to learn

The past several weeks I have attended 2 workshops.  It’s funny how they come in clusters like that.  My first workshop was at the Birds of a Feather longarm quilting workshop.  I was fortunate that this year is was held only 15 miles away from home and that one of my all time favorite quilters was teaching.  As soon as I saw Linda Hrcka listed as an instructor I was registered!



Linda’s business is The Quilted Pineapple…check her out online, blog and instagram.  She has only been longarming for 5 years or so and she has a fabulous style and eye for design.  I learned so much from her…she is my kind of quilter, very down to earth, friendly, and willing to share her talent.  I’ve been admiring her work for the past several years and especially her work that she does for Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings.  I was a student in 5 of her 6 classes.  Now the hard part is putting what I learned into action!

My other workshop was with the rug hooking guild in Richmond.  Again a fabulous teacher, Lisanne Miller, from P is for Primitive.  She helped my color plan and guided me in hooking a rug that has been on my To Do list for a long time….My Beloved.  I made good progress during the 3 days but there’s a lot more to hook.  I’m hoping to have it completed in time for the Virginia Rugfest in April.  Here’s my “work in progress”



My plan is to hang this rug above our bedroom fireplace.  This is a Lori Brechlin design by Spruce Ridge Studios.  We did some modifications on the heads of the people to make them look more realistic.  This is mostly #8 cuts with some 4, 6, 8.5 mixed in and about half of the wools I’m using are my own hand dyed.

Other works in progress:


“Bee Garden” by Maggie Bonanomi.  This will be a fireplace screen, again for the master bedroom.

IMG_1926Prodded flowers that I will mount on old bed springs and used as door prizes for Rugfest.  2 for rug fest and 2 for me!

IMG_1934And a Rebekah Smith mystery project!  It’s a private group on Facebook and we have been forbidden to show photos of the ongoing project…and I’m a rule follower.  I did some reading on her method of embroidery while on a quick trip to Orlando, FL with my husband.  We get monthly installments of the pattern…I’m currently waiting on the second month and almost finished the first month of the pattern.  So far it’s a tree…but no photo!  This runs for a year so it will be interesting to see how this pattern develops .

We did arrive home from Florida in time for me to get one day at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Fest.  As always it did not disappoint, lots of beautiful quilts on exhibit and in competition and tons of vendors.  Yes, I came home with many supplies and few extra projects too.

This time of year is not my favorite…so many difficult memories.  Charlie and I have lost 3 of our parents February 17, March 9 and March 29.  I look forward to the days when I don’t shed tears.  On the bright side, the weather has brightened here and my daffodils are starting to bloom.  Dana, our Kappa Delta girl, will come home at the end of the week for her Spring Break.  She has blossomed at college and it’s wonderful watching her bloom.  Her grandparents would be very proud of her.

Times a-wastin’ and I need to get back to work….taking an iquilt class online with Judi Madsen and long arm quilting.  I’ll be showing you my practice blocks soon!

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Quarterly Catch Up

Seems I post on a quarterly basis…total Slacker!  Since I haven’t written anything recently I don’t want you to think I sit around at home eating bonbons….though the scales might suggest otherwise.  I have been working on projects and here is photographic evidence.


My hooked rug “Compote & Tulips

I started this rug in July 2015  in a workshop with Norma Bastini with many of my own hand dyed wools.  I love the background which was totally Norma’s idea. Design by Lori Brechlin.


“Tom Turkey”

Another workshop rug in October 2015 with Cammie Bruce, a wonderful low contrast primitive hooker.  I hooked this rug in her low contrast style.  She uses a wide cut (9+) but this is #8 cut.  We have another workshop next October and I think I’ll try her wide cut.

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“Flow Blue”

My cousin Melissa and I drove to Tipp City, Ohio for a 3 day workshop with hookers Karen Kahle and Ali Strebel.  The workshop was devoted to Textures and Techniques. Ali taught us needle felting, standing wool circles, pleating, ruched wool.  All fun ways to add texture to a rug.  Karen Kahle (my favorite rug hooker of all time) taught us the above, hooking rugs with a vintage Speed Tufter tool.  Melissa and I each found a tool on ebay.  These rugs are hooked much like punch needle embroidery from the back.  We used #8 wool strips.  It makes a very vintage looking rug.  We had several patterns to choose from but this one was an obvious choice for me since I inherited my Great Aunt Katherine’s collection of antique Flow Blue china.


For Karen and Ali’s workshop we were all asked to wear a handmade name tag so I punch needled this one.  My second option was to write my name on a piece of duct tape.


2015 pincushions from Cottage Keepsakes

I worked through most of this book’s patterns for pin keeps.  They were very addictive.  I think I missed a couple of the patterns but I love this grouping.  I loved it so much that I started the second book….


January 2016 pinkeep “French Market Flower”


A fun dye day with Missy and Kay

More fun with friends, Linda, Katie and Val

Making cork wreaths

12 days of Christmas blocks by Temecula Quilt Company

A mini sampler of 3 inch blocks

Christmas gifts 2015

A crocheted rag gym bag for Dana using Edyta Sitar’s cold spell batiks

A hooked backgammon board rug for Kristen and Rich

Wool Christmas pie ornaments decorating wrapped bottles of Governor’s White from the Williamsburg Winery


Bertie’s Block of the Month (nice toes Karen!)

My quilting group started this block of the month in 2014.  Instead of making it in a quilt we decided to make individual blocks that would button onto a pillow.  You can see the pillow with the first block.  It is great to have this off the “works in progress” list!

Temecula Quilt Co. mini hexagon quilt

Instagram is the latest development in my social network…kind of like it.  Many of my blogs I follow do instagram projects.  This is one of them from a favorite California quilt shop (hope to visit it in person someday!)  This is a hand pieced quilt using the English paper piecing technique.  Each side of the hexagon is about 1/2″.  This is mini replica of an antique quilt.  It was actually so fun to do that I have plans to do another tiny (3/8 inch) hexagon quilt…hopefully you will see a completed project in a year…or two…or three.

My gal pal, Mona, had me over for a day.  She also has a long arm and decided I needed a break through moment.  She gave me a mini-class on Pantogaph quilting.  It was so helpful!  Gave me the confidence to go home play a little and then open the door to begin longarm quilting projects.  As she said, “There’s no going back!”


Sewing Mug Caddy

I mean really…the things you find online!  My quilting friend, Loy, gave me this HUGE mug for Christmas a year or so ago.  It was in my sewing room and turned into a depository for assorted sewing supplies.  Then I found this idea online with free directions and set out to dress up my mug and make it more functional.  With pockets both on the inside and outside it is a great mobile sewing caddy for me…it goes everywhere in the house.  Hope Dana doesn’t notice the CNU pen…she needs to get me a Longwood pen! Hint, hint!IMG_1769

And this perhaps this is my biggest accomplishment…making room for one car in the 3-car garage during a big (well, not huge by most standards but 6 inches in Williamsburg is significant) snowstorm.

There have been other projects started and in progress too.  As I complete them I will document it for all 3 of my followers…love you guys and gals!  Hopefully I won’t be so long between posts.  But I must admit, looking back over this post and others, it does make me feel that I am actually productive.  Until next time!

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It’s been a long time

All I can say is I’ve been busy.  The Fall has flown by and with outdoor temperatures in the 70s…I must have slept through it and it’s summer again.  No, can’t be…WAY too many leaves on the ground…it has to be fall.

In September I gave our friends, Bonnie and Wade, a special quilt that I had been working on for them.  They waited a long time since it had been nearly 3 years since I began.  What can I stay… events interrupted my quilting life including 2 household moves, the renovation of this house, the youngest daughter graduating from high school then going off to college, the oldest daughter getting married, my husband retiring after a 32 year military career and the passing of my dear mother.  Fortunately I found little chunks of time to work on this special project for Bonnie and Wade.  The quilt, “Hugs and Kisses”, is a memory quilt from the clothing and personal items of their daughter, Lucinda, who passed away suddenly on Dec. 25, 2007 at the age of 19.   Here are some photos of the quilt in various stages.






Step 1 – Taking inventory of the clothing and making a plan

IMG_0796IMG_0797Step 2 -Lucinda loved dragonflies so I knew that would be a definite theme for the quilt.  Inspired by the beautiful stained glass windows from my church at home I decided this stained glass dragonfly panel was perfect for the center.  This time I used my favorite applique method using freezer paper in a reverse applique method.














Fabrics using for the applique were mostly hand dyed Cherrywood fabrics and some batiks.

IMG_1113Step 3 – Back to the drawing board to work the other pieces of the puzzle.

IMG_1195IMG_1197Working in the Lucinda’s cheerleader hair bow and fleece scarf.





IMG_1302Step 4 – Machine quilting and finding the right words to describe Lucinda’s personality.

IMG_1213Step 5 – Special words for the label and the lyrics to a favorite song on the back of the quilt.







IMG_1214 IMG_0782Step 6 –  Hand sewing the binding at the beach!

Then final step, handing it over to Bonnie and Wade!



Mission Accomplished!


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Restaurant Line Up

One of our favorite things to do on vacation is dine out…..actually that’s a favorite pass time any day of the year for me.  When in Charleston we look for our old favorites, many of them long gone.  The Ice House that was in the Old Slave Market Building with an antique wooden Jameson freezer door made in Hagerstown, MD (whoop, whoop), gone.  Henry’s beside the Market with waiters in tuxedos and white gloves, gone.  The Lorelei, a seafood joint on Shem Creek, gone.  But one of our favorites is still around, Poogans Porch, 72 Queen St.  That’s tonight’s reservation. The last time we dined there I remember Charlie’s mother gushing about the peanut butter pie.  I wonder if it’s still on the menu?

Last night we dined (rather gorged) ourselves at Jestine’s.  House made sweet pickles, corn fritters and fried green tomatoes with a sweet pepper relish, buttermilk fried chicken, mashed potatoes with a tasty thyme gravy, collard greens soaked in ham broth.  Charlie had meatloaf instead of fried chicken. Low country Southern comfort food at its finest.  All served with Jestine’s table wine, refreshing slightly sweet tea!

(Photo coming soon…tech problems from the iPad…it’s apparently on vacation too)
The line up for the rest of the week….. Slightly North of Broad (S.N.O.B.), Warm Olives on Johns Island, a cooking class at Charleston Cooks and our final night close by at Morgan Creek Grill.  We plan to work in a sampling of the famous Coconut Cake at the Penninsula Grille too.

Now that I’m hungry and worried about my cholesterol levels I should go eat my oatmeal breakfast, do some sort of exercise then hit the beach. Busy, busy, busy!

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A Chane of Scenery

There’s nothing like different scenery and a change of pace.  This week we are at our “happy place.”

 My morning coffee with the shore of the South Carolina coast. 

 Only hours after our arrival I felt a calm and peace wash over me.  Our beloved city of Charleston is close by and we will be dining there nightly.  Charlie and I will be reminiscing over the days of our youth.  I vividly recall my feeling of excitement and the butterflies in my stomach as I visited him during his Citadel days and our early days as an “item.”

    We have imparted our excitement of this area to our daughter, Dana.  She has a natural attraction for all things beach.  But she ,as well, is drawn to Charleston and its southern charm and hospitality.

To get everyone to switch gears we listened to Pat Conroy’s, South of Broad, on the drive.  Both Charlie and Dana bit the hook and are enjoying the book.  Charlie and I have read most of Conroy’s books….Hmmm, I even devoured his cookbook which I need to dig out when we return!

   We look forward to our week here in this beautiful area to rekindle the magic of the low country!  And yes, I brought a basket of hand sewing projects for the porch overlooking the ocean!

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A few finishes and some new beginnings

First finish….our Washington Capitals hockey season is over.  They lost in game 7 in the second round of the playoffs.  Like birds in a cage, Charlie has covered them up until the fall.


I finished my hooked footstool in time to exhibit in the Virginia Rugfest show.  It was a photo finish…completed the night before the show.  It’s one of a pair, the other one will wait until the winter.  Wool is hot to work with so it’s a good cold weather project.

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Our nephew Tim and his wife Kasie are expecting their first child in July.  Her name will be Jamie Mae and there was a baby shower last weekend.  I wasn’t able to attend but happily had 2 completed projects I sent for gifts.  The first is this little apple hat.  Maybe they will have her photo taken with it.


The big gift was this Goin’ to the Fair hooked rug.  It’s a good size, 17″ X 55″ by The Old Tattered Flag, one of my favorite online wool / hooking connections.  The baby room decor is  farm animals so I thought this would fit in and perhaps be something Jamie will enjoy as an adult someday.  I finished the edges of the rug with wool covered cotton cording.  The wool was a stripe, cut on the bias, and I joined the edges like I join quilt binding.  Although a little cumbersome it worked like a champ and gave it a beautiful finished look.


On to the beginnings….I was fortunate enough to get my apple blossom walk at the farm this year.  What a beautiful beginning of the next harvest season, the delicate sweet smell of the blossoming trees and the distinct humm of the bees in the orchard doing their job so we may reap the rewards in the fall.  This is one of my favorite times on the farm which brings calm and joy into my life.



The photo with me is finding a coveted wild morel mushroom in the orchard.  As a child we always spent time each spring picking these delights which I wouldn’t eat.  How crazy is that!?  What I would give for Mom’s breaded mushrooms fried in butter served in a sandwich!  We only found one that day…and to be truthful my nephew, Justin, discovered it then said, “Here Aunt Karen, I know you want to pick it.”  Just a little nugget which brought back a flood of memories.

This is my favorite photo of the day, looking down at the farmhouse from the orchard with the mountain in the distance.  Then look what I did to it using an app, Waterlogue.


Preset Style = Vibrant Format = 6

Waterlogue takes a photograph and turns it into a watercolor painting.  Maybe I should begin painting again…this could inspire me….just what I need, yet another project!

At the Williamsburg house, we have started a new front yard landscaping project. Scrubby trees were removed, old tired shrubbery pulled out, outlines for new beds drawn, estimates for landscape lighting and new irrigation.  It’s time for a facelift to the landscaping that will highlight the French country look of our house.  I should have photos of a big reveal in a month or so.


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