Snowmen and Holiday Blessings

Hi everyone, hope you all had a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving.  Doug and I had an amazing holiday.  For the first time in two years we had all of our children in one place, it was such a blessing. Our daughter arranged for us to have family pictures done as you have to take advantage of the those special moments when you have them.  I look at them now in their frames and my heart just glows. We came home after that special time and I threw myself into decorating for Christmas.  I love decorating for Christmas.  I have boxes and boxes of decorations.  It takes me days to get it all done, but I love it.  I put on Christmas movies and Christmas music and watch the witches of Halloween and pumpkins of fall get replaced with adorable snowmen of winter.  A lot of people collect Santa’s but for me it has always been snowmen.  I keep them up into February, especially since I have lived in Florida, as it fills my need for the cold north without having to go there.

Here are some pictures of the snowmen I have collected over the years.

Even with all the snowmen we never forget the reason for the season. xoxox

As we approach the holiday season we want to thank all of you in the quilting community, quilters, friends, family, students, clients and customers for all of the wonderful fellowship and blessings we have received from knowing you.  Your stories and encouragement have been awe-inspiring and we are so happy to be part of this wonderful community.   Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe or any other holiday Doug and I wish you all the blessings life can bestow.  May your time with your loved ones be cherished and joyous.

See you in 2018

Love Trish

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Fussy Cutting with All Squared Up Tee’s Templates

How are your Christmas projects coming?  I am in the process of getting some of my Christmas presents made.  The quilt I am working on is being made from fabric I have had in my stash for years.  It is so funny how you can buy something because you really like it but not know what you are going to do with it. Fast forward 10 years and you find it in your stash and have the perfect person to use it for.  I had some cute Parisian Cat fabric that is perfect for a niece who loves anything Paris.  One of the fabrics i used for fussy cutting into blocks.

My 6 1/2″ All Squared Up Tee’s Template was perfect for the job. I even cut the blocks on point.  See how you can look right through the template to the design.  With no lines in the way you can see what you want to put in the quilt perfectly.  The templates are perfect for this kind of quilt block and the blocks can be made in a variety of sizes.  4 1/2″ up to 16 1/2″ if you want them that big.

Do you have a project where you want to fussy cut the fabric.  Check out the various sizes of All Squared Up Tee’s Templates. I bet we have the perfect size to help you make your quilts easily and your centering and cutting perfect.

Have a great weekend.

 

What’s Old Is New Again

Fall has come to Florida, YEAH!!! I am so happy.  We were able to open all our windows and slider doors today and let the cool breezes come through house.  We even went for a drive out to the coast for dinner in Doug’s convertible, fantastic.  Don’t know how long it will last but will enjoy it while it’s here.

Off and on I have been redoing some old quilts that I had just tied instead of machine quilted.  This last one I did is a quilt I made for my Mom and Dad’s camp in Maine about 20 years ago.  I say about because I was bad back then and didn’t put labels on my quilts.  Bad Girl, Bad Girl, ugh. I now put labels on all my quilts.

This quilt originally had a hunter green backing on it and had been pillow-cased and then tied. I took it apart and found another flannel that would match the best I could and quilted it.  Since this is all flannels with batting it certainly won’t be used here in Florida, as it is really heavy, so I am going to give it to our son who lives in Syracuse, NY.   It is said that Syracuse is the city in the US with the highest number of inches of snow a year, something like 138.  It will certainly help to keep him warm on those cold winter nights. Hope you are all having a great week and enjoying your fall.  Have a great Halloween  next week and be safe Trick or Treating with the little ones.

God Bless, Trish

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