Witches, Witches, Witches Galore

Hope everyone is having a great week.  Since I shared my inside holiday decorating I thought it would be fun to share what the outside of my house looks like.  My theme seems to have become witches flying into things and crashing so my yard is full of witches in crazy circumstances.  Maybe I need to check my wine frig to see if any is missing. 🙂

I found the witches legs in a catalog and thought they were so cute but didn’t want to spend the money on them.  Here in Florida things only last a few years and then bleach out because of the sun so I don’t like spending a lot of money on outside decorations since they don’t last as long as they use to up north. I remembered reading someplace about using pool noodles to make legs so I bought some and kind of did my own thing.  I got the socks at JoAnn’s and some shoes at the local thrift store.  First I stuffed the feet of the socks with some poly-fill and then slid in the noodle.  Because I was putting real shoes on them I added some PVC pipe, at my hubbies suggestion, to the inside of the noodle for support but if you aren’t going to use real shoes you don’t need the pipe.  I then put the shoes on the feet.  The shoes on the green socks needed some wire to help keep them in the proper place because of the open style but the boots stay on all by themselves.  I used tent stakes fastened to the pipe to hold the legs in the ground.  Once I had everything together it only took maybe an hour to do both sets of legs.  Now I can just replace the socks when they fade and not have to buy a whole new set of decorations every few years.

For anyone admiring my mums on the porch, they are beautiful silk.  I have learned in Florida it is a waste to buy real mums, they die so quickly in the heat.  We also have to wait till the very last minute to carve our pumpkins as they rot in just a few days.  I really do miss the north this time of year but then the really cold weather and snow hits and I am all for my Florida home again. 🙂

Hope you enjoyed seeing my crazy witches.  What kind of decorations, theme do you have for Halloween?

Have a great week. I am working on some projects for my grandchildren which I will share with you later in the week so stay tuned.


Decorating For Halloween And Fall With Quilts

Hi everyone hope this finds you all well and enjoying your fall.  My hubby and I went on a river cruise and sightseeing trip in Europe for 18 days and even though the weather was against us and it rained most of the time we still enjoyed seeing new things and going back to a few places we had been before.  We have been in recovery mode the last few weeks but I took the time to get my house decorated for Halloween and Fall.  I love this time of year and it is the one season I sorely miss living up North for.  We just don’t get those beautiful leaves changing colors down here in Florida :-).

I thought I would share with you some of the ways I use quilts to decorate all over my house to bring the fall season to me since I can’t go to it.

This is a block of the month quilt I love so I hang it over the couch where it adds color and texture and I get to see it every time I walk in our family room.

This is a fall panel that I made into a mini quit to hang on my oven.  I just use small safety pins to pin the straps over the oven door handle and have a great decoration for the kitchen.I found a free standing quilt stand at one of the quilt shows I went to and I have it in front of the large slider glass doors going out onto my patio.  I change the quilt every season.  This is the fall one.  Years ago I found this quilt pattern and loved it but didn’t even register how small it was going to be till I had started making it.  I finished it and put the tabs on it to hang it up on a small rod someplace and then realized I could use the tabs to hang it from my secretary desk.  I open the front door of the desk, slide the tabs down in and close it again. Now I have my wonderful little quilt decorating my living room in a very unexpected place.  I ended up enlarging the pattern to 3 times its size and making it again to hang over Thanksgiving. This is a table runner I made for my dining room table, I love all the colors in it.

Some of you have seen this quilt before at one of my Lecture/Trunk Shows.  It is one of my favorite quilts as it is a memory quilt for our family as well.  The original pattern was for a much bigger quilt but I scaled it down taking out some of the borders that the original pattern included.  The other thing I did was to design some of my own costume appliques to use instead of the ones included in the pattern.  The ones I designed were of costumes that our kids wore on various Halloweens. Those were an Ice Cream Sandwich, M & M, Soldier, Snow White and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.  Adding our own children’s costumes takes the quilt from a nice generic Halloween quilt and turns it into a very special memory quilt for our family.

This is the entrance to our master bedroom suite.  I use the little niche to hang a variety of small quilts.  I have a book of seasonal “Window Quilts” that I have made several of.  I usually put them in this niche and hang them with two small map tacks.

These two quilts, the ghost and the witch are in my sewing room.  I usually hang a quilt on my design wall and just remove it when it is in use and then I have a hanging quilt rack that I can display one.  I share my sewing studio with my husbands model railroad hence the train quilt above my design wall. 🙂 I hope you enjoyed this little primer on decorating for the fall with quilts.  They don’t all have to be hung up on quilt racks and rods. Don’t be afraid to use quilts in different ways in your home, challenge yourself to find a way to use a quilt you really like so you can make it and enjoy it.

I would love to hear and see how you all use quilts to decorate in your homes so please share if you can.

Have a great week and enjoy getting ready for fall.



Nancy Zieman Retires

It is with great sadness I share the news of Nancy Zieman’s retirement and the return of her cancer. She is the consumate professional who has given so much to our craft either with her show Sewing with Nancy or her numerous books, classes and the list goes on. Her legacy will be with us long after she has said her goodbyes and we will be forever grateful for what she has given us as individuals and as a group. Please keep her, her family and friends in your prayers as they go through this difficult time. To read her personal good bye please go to

Using Color Catchers In Your Wash

I have used Shout Color Catchers for years in my wash when I am concerned a new piece of clothing or fabric is going to bleed onto everything else. I have had people tell me that they don’t believe they work but I have found them to be very useful.  There was an article recently in USA Today by Cindy Bailen and Johnathan Chan which reviewed the use of color catchers in the wash. I thought is was really well done and worth a read for those who do laundry that includes both clothes and quilts.

Can this laundry sheet keep your white clothes from turning pink?

When I make quilts for clients I usually always give them a box of the color catchers with their quilts and recommend they use them when they wash them.  As the article explains, when doing regular laundry they aren’t always necessary, especially if you are separating your colors.  However, when I make my memory quilts I am using all kinds of fabrics and colors and you never know when something may bleed.  I have my clients use the color catchers as a precaution so their wonderful quilts and memories don’t get ruined by a stray color in the wash.

I hope after reading the article you feel more comfortable deciding when it may be appropriate to use the color catchers and when you can leave them out of the wash.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and that those of you in the path of Harvey take care of yourselves and stay safe.  I have lived through several Hurricanes and they are not fun so those of you lucky enough to be someplace else please keep everyone in the path of the storm in your thoughts and prayers.

God Bless


Turn About is Fair Play

Hope you are all doing great.  I am sure those of you with children are either recovering from the first weeks of school and the madness it creates or are getting ready for school to start and the madness to come.  I have been busy traveling for our Granddaughters birthday and our nieces baby shower and have been supporting my husband in his love for trains.

For over two years my hubby Doug has helped me pack and unpack my mini van, set up and take down a booth and worked long hours for me at numerous Quilt Shows. A week ago I got to pay him back in a small way by helping him at the National Model Railroad Convention.  This year the convention was in Orlando at the convention center.  Doug was in charge of the rail tours where convention attendees travelled around the central Florida area to see model railroad layouts.  We spent the last 3 years touring layouts all over so he could evaluate and set up the tours.  At the convention we got up early each morning and sent the tours off to where they needed to go and helped out in a few other areas. On the weekend he got to shop at the National Train Show and we got to see some really neat model railroad displays.

Here are some photos of the layouts.  I love looking at all the details.

Replica of Smokey and the Bandit

If you look close this tornado has sharks in it. 🙂

Large “garden” size railroad.

It was great to be able to finally repay in some small way all the hours of hard work Doug has put in over the years for me at my shows. We had a great time working with the volunteers from the Sunshine Region of the National Model Railroad Association.  They worked very hard and put on a great convention.

It is great having a hubby that has a hobby of his own so he understands the passion and time that goes into something you love.  It also helps that his hobby, trains, is as expensive as my hobby, quilting! That way neither one of us can complain about the cost of the others “hobby”.  LOL

Here is hoping you also have a hubby or significant other who supports your crazy obsessions and allows you to reciprocate when you can.

Have a great rest of the week and weekend, take time for your passion.

Memory Quilt Ideas

Hope this finds everyone well and enjoying their summer.  I have been traveling a lot visiting family and friends and it has been great.  I have also spent time designing quilts for my family that I can’t wait to get started on.  A few are in the works but since they are gifts I will share them at a later date.

What I would like to share are a group of quilts that I recently did for a client that used a variety of techniques that I teach in my classes and book.  Some of you may have seen some of them before in my or other quilts but I think it is good to see lots of examples of the flexibility these quilts have as far as what you can put in them and how you can add a personal touch to any quilt with just a little extra thought and work.

I did three quilts from this clients husbands t-shirts.  Each quilt had different shirts for the most part but several things were requested to be in all three quilts.

They are big Redskins fans and he had several shirts but only one pair of pajama bottoms.  I took the pajama bottoms and framed out the shirts in different ways and since I had only 2 shirts used the logo on the sleeve from one shirt for the third quilt. You can see in the photos below the different ways I used the fabric from the pajamas.

Photo 1 

Photo 2

Photo 3

These photos also show several different ways I combined shirts to make blocks. In photos 1 and 3 you can see that I combined two shirts.  Photo 3 also shows how I combined 4 of his polo shirts to make a block.  Each of the quilts has one of these blocks in it. Photo 2 shows how I took a white shirt and framed it in black so it would pop and not get lost in the sashing.  This photo also shows how I appliqued two logos from other shirts onto a whole block to include them in the quilt.

The daughter had a baby blanket that she wanted included in the quilt.  I put it in the four corners of the border.

Does it match perfectly?  No it doesn’t but that is ok these are memory quilts not works of art.  Of course you want to do the best you can to make a nice looking quilt but you are not always given things that match and necessarily go together perfectly. Sometimes a quilters perfectionism about matching and blending of colors and fabrics has to be thrown out the window for the more important idea that the memory of a loved one, time or place must take priority.  I sometimes cringe at what I need to do or am asked to do to make a quilt but when I see the look on the clients face and hear they cried when they got it I know throwing my perfectionism out the window was the right thing to do for the sake of the memories.

Each of the quilts had a quote embroidered and placed on them as well. Below is an example of one of them.  I am not comfortable embroidering directly onto a clients shirt so I usually use other fabric, in this case the extra fabric from the back of the shirt, and do the embroidery on that.  This way if anything happens during the embroidery process it does not damage or ruin the memory item. I simply applique the embroidery onto the shirt.  You can barely notice the applique since I used matching thread.

The last thing I wanted to show you was how I did one of the backs.  One of the quilts had too many shirts so I took five of them and place them on the back of the quilt.  It helped to utilize all the shirts she gave me and at the same time added a nice design element to the back of the quilt.

I hope these examples of different techniques gets you blood flowing with different ideas for your own quilts.  Don’t forget to think outside the box and when you have to make a choice be truer to the memories you are saving than to the aesthetic of the quilt.  This is very difficult for quilters, we are artists at heart which is why making these kinds of quilts is not for everyone.

I would love to see and share some of the memory quilts you have got going out there or did for graduations.  Drop me an email with some photos that I can share.  Also, don’t forget to contact me should you come across something you don’t quite know what to do with I will be happy to troubleshoot it with you.

Keep enjoying the summer and hope you are getting in some fun time with family and friends.

Happy Memories,  Trish


Conor’s Finished Quilt Top

Well, it has taken a while but Conor’s quilt top is finally done – YEAH!!! And I finished it before he was in Preschool or even High School LOL.  Life has been so crazy I haven’t had much time to work on it so I was excited that I finally had a block of time to finish it.  I still have to quilt it but I wanted to share with you.

The first two photos are of the train station, water tower and track observation building blocks. I used photos of real ones to make the applique’s.  I don’t add all the details from the photos, just make the basic buildings, so it is easier to stitch.

I sewed the center together first with the railroad crossing sign, station and water tower block.  I made sure this piece was the same length as the side train pieces.

When I added the border I decide to miter the corners.  I don’t usually fuss with mitered corners but in this case I thought the fabric I was using warranted it.  I am really happy with how it came out.

I am going to finish the quilt this weekend as well as working on some other projects that have been in my queue since we are just hanging out at home.

What are you doing this weekend?   Whatever it is please take the time to give thanks for our Independence and all of our freedoms. Especially thank all our military and others who fight everyday to keep us free and allow us to enjoy this long weekend.

Have a wonderful and safe 4th of July. God Bless


A Few Odds and Ends to Share

Hope this finds you doing great. I have been busy finishing some quilts for my clients and dealing with family stuff.  There have been several posts on Facebook the last few weeks that I saved to share with you.  Since not everyone is on Facebook and, of course, not everyone who is on gets the same feeds so I like to share good information that I see so everyone can benefit.

Jenny Lyon of Quilt Skipper has posted several things that have been great information.

One of the recent items from Jenny is a post discussing Frixion pens and the good and bad points to them.  I had heard about the issues of “Ghost Marks” with these pens from other quilters and a few instructors but her post does a fantastic job of explaining exactly what the issues are so you can decide for yourself when it is appropriate to use them and when it is not.  Check out her post at

Frixion Pens Post

Jenny’s other post is one on choosing the right sewing machine for you.  She owns Bernina’s which I never have but her suggestions on what you should be thinking of mirror many things I have said before and are worth hearing again.  Check out this post at

Buying the Right Sewing Machine

Urban Threads posts on Facebook have some great suggestion on doing embroideries that I can’t wait to use.  One was on embroidering on pockets and one was embroidering on sleeves.  Check out these great videos.

Embroidering Pockets

Embroidering on Sleeves

Even if you think you know how to do something it is always great to watch a video done by someone else.  You can pick up all kinds of tips and ideas you may not have heard of or thought about before that you can use to help you in the future.

Hope you all enjoy these extra posts and come away with a little more information and a  fewer questions.

Have a great week.  I am planning on working on Conor’s quilt this week so hopefully I will be able to show you some updated photos by the weekend.  Take care and have a great week.

Conor’s Quilt Update

I told you I would keep you up to date on my precious Conor’s quilt.  Well, I was finally able to work on it this past week and it is getting there slowly, but surely.  I have the center block appliques ready for stitching out.  I will be appliqueing the letters onto the white railroad crossing sign and then cutting the white sign pieces down to their final size before appliqueing them onto the center fabric piece.

The train cars are finished and ready to go as well.  I will be adding the car details as I applique them onto the background fabric.

I love the process of designing the appliques, but it is time-consuming, as is the stitching of all the pieces.  These are not quilts that go quickly and I have to resist the urge to rush to get it done as I know from experience I will only regret it when I get to the end and am not totally happy with the results.

Do you find yourself getting impatient with a quilt that seems to be taking forever to get done?  I think that is how our UFO’s come to be. We get tired of the process and set them aside.  Luckily, for the most part, I finish the quilts I start. I can’t say the same for some cross stitch projects but we won’t go there, LOL.

Stay tuned for more on this quilt and I would like to wish all the mom’s out there a wonderful and blessed Mothers Day!!

How To Make A Great Small Ironing Board For Your Studio!!

When I teach my classes I usually always mention the small ironing board I have in my studio.   This table is great to sit next to your sewing machine and using for all your pressing as you make quilt blocks and sewing them together into rows.  The best part of it is the size. It is big enough to accommodate the entire large t-shirt blocks as well as the larger quilt blocks I make.  Most ironing boards are too narrow so you can only iron a portion at a time.  I still use my regular ironing board when putting the rows together but the smaller one is much more accessible as I am sewing. I keep it up most of the time as I have the room, but it can easily be collapsed and stored if space is at a premium.

One of my students asked me how I made it so I thought I would share it with you as well in case you would like a great addition to your sewing studio.

It has been a while but I believe I got table from Office Max.  It is a “Realspace Personal Folding Table”.   It is made of a sturdy plastic and the dimensions are 25 ½” Deep X 17 ½” Wide. The height is adjustable 23”-28” so you can fit it to just right height for you.

The ironing board cover I bought at either Walmart or Target and it fits perfect on the top of the table. You can either tape it down at the corners or use 4 of the elastic mattress clips across the underside of the table to keep it on.

The photo below shows how I attach two of the elastic’s together, via the clips, to make it diagonal across the table which is why you need 4, or 1 package.  I found the wide mattress clips and they work a little better than the regular ones but either is fine.

VOILA!!!  A great small ironing board table.

Hope this idea helps make your sewing a little easier. I just love mine which is why I never put it away!

I am spending my weekend working more on Conor’s quilt, hopefully next week I can give you an update.  Wishing you all a great weekend whatever your plans.

Take care & God Bless