Patriotic Sewing and a new Mascot

In addition to being president of the very new Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild, I am a member of the Des Moines Area Quilt Guild, a traditional guild that has been going strong for decades.  Our guild is making quilts of comfort for our local Veterans Home and Hospital in Des Moines.  Two quilty friends and I are making a large lap size quilt together…my part was to make these five Tucson Sunset blocks.

These fabrics are so “outside of my box”, I had to raid the stash of my friends to make them!  I don’t buy these shades of reds or neutrals…  I tend to do many things at once, and I am typically working around a mess, rather than moving it out of my way or cleaning up the mess before I move on to the next task.  That’s when things like this happen… cutting your template in two because it happened to be under your fabric…. Oops.

Oh well, a little tape and my template was good as new!

I was lucky enough to win a giveaway on Sew Mama Sew’s Giveaway day, and this little pretty (recently named Eleanor) has become the new mascot of my sewing studio. 

She was made by my friend Veronica, who is still trying to find good homes for Eleanor’s brothers and sisters (if you might be willing to adopt one, go take a peek at them here!)  In addition to elephants, Veronica crafts amazing handmade jewelry, the sweetest little ipod cases, tissue cozies and some knockout potholders!  She’s a mad paper crafter as well…  Please go pay her shop a visit!   And tell her Doris and Eleanor sent ya!

Have a great weekend!



Generosity for Joplin–Two Ways to Give

My heart and my mind have been with my neighbors to the south these days, those brave souls in Joplin, MO.  So many stories of bravery, selflessness and generosity from people who suffered through terrible loss and tragedy.  In one of their darkest hours, these good people are giving everything of themselves to help their neighbor…

A request for help came to my email this week, originally sent by Gloria Parks who represents one of the quilt guilds in Joplin, Missouri. Her email reads:

I am in charge of donations for our guild of 75 quilters. As you probably know the house we store our fabric and tools in was completely destroyed. We found only two crib quilts in the debris so about 80 quilts we had already made are gone. Any material, batting, quilts, large pieces for backings, etc. will be appreciated. You couldn’t ship mats and large rolls of batting, so any donation of money for these items we would love. Our quilt store, Joann’s and Walmart are destroyed so we can purchase in an adjoining city. We have also set up a relief fund for victims. Anything donated can be sent to:

Gloria Parks

2921 N. Hickory

Joplin, MO 64801

Checks should be made out to Gloria Park.  Her guild creates 178 quilts a year (!) along with 150 pillowcases made for children going through cancer treatments, which she personally drives to Kansas City to deliver yo the Children’s Cancer Hospital. They made dresses to send to Africa and star blocks for the Military Quilt this year. We make baby layettes, blankets and preemie hats for the hospital and every Christmas all of us make Christmas stockings and put money in them for the children in a home here. We knit scarves and hats to give out in winter and some women make sleeping bags out of old batting and fabric for the homeless. We help the needy and now we are the needy.

They are asking for supplies, for quilting, so they can continue their service work…  They are the needy, but one of their greatest concerns is being able to continue their work in helping the less fortunate…those in greater need.  Amazing people, no?

One more way to contribute, you can send finished quilts that will go to those who have lost everything, or worse, lost someone precious.

Ackfeld Manufacturing is a craft supplier based in Missouri.  From their site: If you have a quilt that  you don’t have anyone in mind for please donate to the victims of the tornado in Joplin Missouri….. If you would be so kind as to send them to Ackfeld we will get them into the hands of the Red Cross. Please sign these quilts and let them know where they are coming from so that they can feel the love of the world surrounding them. 

Coffee, anyone?

I made this quick little Christmas gift for a friend who popped to mind when I first saw this coffee themed fabric:

Here’s the back:

She and I have traveled together, and roomed together at various Quilt Retreats over the last five years and she’s admittedly a little grumbly in the morning until she gets her coffee. She’s been known to manipulate and bribe me to go retrieve her coffee for her, just like her hubby does for her at home.

I quilted three little coffee mugs into each end of the runner, and quilted the rest with stippling and shadow quilting:

I hope you are enjoying having it on your table! I received a coffee related gift myself, in our small group grab bag exchange. This potholder and coffee cozy were made by Veronica:

Perfectly my colors, and I love the linen/cotton mix! Beth revealed our almost quilted American Heart Association quilt, that I told you about in November:

It will be auctioned off at the Des Moines AHA Gala in February. Great job on the quilting, Beth!


As in “Sis Boom Pow!”, the block gather I joined, to sew a few blocks for a charity quilt being assembled by Miss V, of Bumble Beans fame. I also contributed blocks to her Nothing But Kisses charity quilt that raised funds for Love Without Boundaries. And a recent Pixie Dust Gather quilt that will also be sold to raise funds for another worthy cause.
My first block is a flower, a single gorgeous bloom, reminiscent of a stained glass Rose Window
Inspired by a sudden glimpse of the Rowen Pillow in a recent Crate & Barrel catalog that landed in my mailbox. Love this block and will have a hard time parting with it… Both blocks are done in raw-edge applique, on fused pieces of fabric. The fabric from these are from Jennifer Paganelli’s Sis Boom collection for freespirit. She donated them to our group of thirty International quilters to create this quilt for charity.
The design for my second block grew from the decoration on the cloak of my Jim Shore “Love at First Bite” dracula…it sort of jumped out at me one morning shortly after I received the fabric from V, while I was eating my cereal at the table and mindlessly scanning the items decorating the table…
That’s what I like about creating my own patterns and designs, you never know when inspiration will strike…I hope you like them, Victoria! I look forward to seeing the quilts assembled!

My week in review

I have yet to make it home before 9:00 p.m. this week (I leave the house at 7:00 a.m.) so not much is happening in the new studio besides cat naps (the two cats, not me or Sweetie). But I’ve eeked in a few obligatory projects…

Four Red Dress blocks for the quilt my quilt group is making to auction off at the American Heart Association Gala in February:

These dresses will be the four cornerstone blocks in a sampler quilt with applique borders. I did fusible applique with a small zig-zag stitch to finish the edges.

I also made this star-in-a-star block for the same quilt, my contribution to the sampler portion. I had a little trouble with my star points in this one, and if I were to do it again, I would paper piece it for better points and precision…live and learn. This block shows the other colors being incorporated into the quilt:

I also got a good start on my Sis Boom Pow! applique blocks…only sneak peeks at this point, they are still works in progress!

These Jennifer Paganelli fabrics are to die for! She donated the fabrics to us (30 internet-connected quilters across the globe) to create blocks to go into a quilt that will be auctioned for charity.

And I got started on another stencilled screenprint-look T-shirt for a birthday gift:

For my non-United States visitors, I should explain the phrase, “I geek banjos”. There is currently a nationwide advertising campaign going on to promote using your library. You can check out the link here. There are billboards, bumper stickers for your car, t-shirts you can custom order, and a website to share what you research or read (i.e. “geek”) at the library. The T-shirt above is for a certain guitar player who recently bought a banjo, just for fun, and is now obsessed with all things banjo. You can custom order t-shirts with you own phrase, for example…”I geek quilting”, “I geek crafts”, “I geek fly fishing”, “I geek literature”…you name it, but the custom shirts are $30+ dollars, a little spendy for this gal.

I remember as a kid, being at a department store or the mall with my mom and wanting something, and she would say something like, “$17.00?!? That’s ridiculous! I could make it for half that!” and we would leave empty handed. Sometimes, she made a facsimile of the item desired, sometimes she wouldn’t get around to making it and I’d put it out of my mind. As a kid, I always just wished we could buy the one already made. Now I appreciate everything handmade I ever had…and I am now SO my mother’s daughter…!

Happy Hour

Still packing, selling off and giving away extra stuff we won’t have room for in the new place, and working six days a week–but I did sneak in a little sewing time last night….my Happy Hour! I’m working on a shop sample from the Atkinson Designs book above. The cutting for this quilt took less than an hour, quite possibly the easiest pattern I’ve ever used (of course, I usually gravitate towards the challenging ones, and since this is a shop sample, I didn’t choose it!) The fabric is from the Kiwi line by Timeless Treasures:
I’m using the solid lime green in the top photo for the binding. I managed to get all 20 blocks sewn up in no time at all last night…I also finished quilting this, a mini quilt for my Guild’s small quilt auction at the October AQS Show in Des Moines:
and, finally, an update on my new studio. My sweetie picked this number up for me on his trip to the Twin Cities last week, and we assembled it together on Sunday (and he installed a ceiling fan for me):I love Ikea, and I’ve been admiring this Expedit bookcase and desk set for a long time. This will be my new sewing table. I think it’s big enough to have my Pfaff on one side and my Featherweight on the opposite side. I’m loving the idea of filling up all those cubby holes with books, fabric, and other goodies!