Category Archives: quilts

“ that I love!”


our 4 yo grandson ready for the fireworks


Every day I am grateful to be living here in the USA, truly the “home of the brave, land of the free…”

We’re all eager to celebrate our nation’s birthday.   But it is important to pass our love and appreciation for the liberty we enjoy on to our children and grandchildren.

Special children’s clothing for the July 4th holiday shows them that this is an important celebration.  Since my grands are all far away this Independence Day, I’ve looked back at a few earlier celebrations with and for them.

This was granddaughter Vivian Rose’s first July 4th.



Our two older grands wore these outfits one summer.



Of course, the holiday specific food is also important—and enjoyed.


18 month old granddaughter Vivian Rose loves her corn on the cob!




always a favorite–cupcakes with tiny American flags


Sewing up some Americana is another expression of patriotism.  This mini quilt hung from our old farm bell which the children rang to call the family to dinner.



A pillow made from a linen guest towel is a quick project.  This sits on the wicker couch on my back porch.



I’ve wanted to make this Marcia Layton quilt for so long, but as yet it’s just a patriotic dream.  Her use of yo-yo’s is just delightful.



Celebrate our country’s birthday with kids’ clothes, home dec projects or traditional July 4th food.  But do celebrate!



May  God bless America!


Children and Puppies=Inevitable Damage

Children and puppies–I do love and enjoy them.  Damages are to be expected and the children who are the light of my life  never fail to deliver in their younger days.



Recently, Vivian Rose, 4 yo, was here for a week of Nana Camp.  She is a scamp so I rarely let her out of my sight.  But one  day she slipped away while I was on the phone.  She was wearing her back-to-school Children’s Corner Jane.


At the top of her head is what Vivi calls her “fountain.” This was her signature look for a few weeks at the beginning of the last school year. She loved it.


As I turned away from  the kitchen sink, Vivi stood behind me, looking quite artificially serene.  Her outfit was streaked with what looked like peach sidewalk chalk marks.


Vivi’s back to school Jane.  After laundering the stain remains


“What’s on your shirt, Vivi?”

Smiling sweetly, “Dirt.  Umm hmm.  Brown dirt.”

“It doesn’t look like brown dirt.”

Big blue eyes widen as she replies, “Well, the red polish was vewwy vewwy high u—uh, I mean…. it’s brown dirt.” She smiled and walked away.  End of subject.  What she lacks in honesty, she makes up for in creative explanations.

After laundering, the “brown dirt” still remains.  I can’t imagine what she got into in such a short period of time.  She had to leave the kitchen, run through the dining room, down the hall, up a flight of stairs, across that hall, through our master bedroom, and into the master bath.

The red polish is, indeed,  “very, very high up”  in  a wall cabinet above an antique wash stand. Vivian Rose travels fast and climbs high.  But the outfit is a year old so the loss was not great.

We had a grand time.  She loves to dump out  my button jars to sort and play with the novelty buttons, especially those which are heart shaped.  She sewed a kitty cat keychain.  Sewing is always a favorite activity with all 4 of my grandchildren.


Getting started on a keychain.


While she was here it was time to have pictures taken for our church directory.  She happened to have with her a white smocked pinafore that her mother had worn 35 years earlier.  It’s a little too big, but I loved seeing her wear it.


35 year old Little Sunday Dresses pinafore, smocked with Ellen McCrn’s monogram.


That Little Sunday Dresses Pinafore  pattern by Florence Roberson is a treasure.  Notice the armscye.  It is wide and square, with ties to draw it up to fit the child.  It can be worn for at least two years.

And she loved playing with our Shepherd/Great Pyrenees mix puppies.   Samson and Delilah are crazy about her.


4 month old Delilah is kissing Vivian all over her face and neck. Vivi is squealing with delight. Crabby 11 yo yellow Lab Rastus looks on with disgust at Delilah’s unseemly behavior.


But these pups, too, have taken their toll.

Confined to the utility room for a short while, they helped themselves to a few books from my homeschool library shelf around the corner.  I guess they wanted a good read that they could really get their teeth into.  Anne of Green Gables and  Greek Legends  are only legendary now.


The plastic bin of puppy chow covers a large area of unraveled carpet.Who needs carpet?


They’ve eaten the upholstery off the back of one dining room chair.  But dear Bob says not to worry! We can just put that chair in the hall against the wall.  They have chewed the binding and fringe from the dining room rug and eaten shoes and slippers.  But that still seems like small potatoes to me compared to earlier pups Jacob and Esau.

Those  black Labs were Olympic gold medalists when it came to damage.  Their biggest score just broke my heart.

A year prior to the “incident,” Capitol Imports had asked me to make an heirloom quilt for their traveling trunk show.  They sent a king’s ransom in laces, Swiss batiste and all manner of  trims.  Six weeks of work later, the 60″ square quilt was lovely in my humble opinion.  Capitol agreed.  It toured  the world with them.



I loved their champagne Swiss and trims.  Combined with pink lace tape and pink satin ribbon, and free motion quilting, the scrappy design was elegant.


I asked if I could borrow the quilt to show at a class I was scheduled to teach in Orlando.  Somehow, the dates were mixed up and the quilt had not arrived when I left for class. Later the FedEx delivery person simply threw the box over the fence. and drove off.  Dum da-da dum….

On my way home after class. I called my husband.  He said that Jake and Esau had chewed something up.  “What?” I asked.

“I don’t know what it is–something white and fluffy.”  I had no idea that it was my quilt.  At home, the quilt was a pile on top of the freezer, with nothing much to identify it but all the batting that had spilled out.



I was actually nauseous when I realized what had happened.  How could I tell Capitol?



How much would it cost to replace the materials and of course, the time recreating the quilt?




Monday morning Capitol called, cheerfully asking if the quilt had arrived in time for my class.  I didn’t even have time to prepare mentally.   I just blurted out that my puppies destroyed the quilt and I’m soooo sorry!!!!

There was a brief silence and then….and THEN…this lovely lady said she understood.  Her puppy had eaten a new shoe that morning.   I hardly thought that crime compared to Jacob and Esau’s evil act.  But her kindness was so appreciated.

She went on to say that if at any time I wanted to remake it, just let them know and they would send replacement supplies!  How amazing was that???

I never did remake the quilt.  It still lies folded up in my linen closet, a reminder of another day, another time, another beauty lost to puppy teeth.  Beauty is fleeting, don’t they say?

But the damage of children and puppies, as I said before, is small potatoes.  It does not make me any less eager to see them and to have them included in our lives.  It helps me focus on bigger issues, like what will I sew next?

What will you sew next?


I’m Baaaack

It has been a wild ride in the time I’ve been out of the loop. After 5 days of Hurricane Matthew preparation, hunkering down with no internet, tv, cell or landline service and then clean up, we headed to Mayo Clinic.  My husband underwent a minor cardiac procedure, as if ANY cardiac procedure can be minor.  He’s just fine, we’re back home and now I’m back to blogging and sewing.




First, I want to share this cute, quick and easy Halloween faux-pieced wallhanging that I really enjoyed making just before Matthew made his unwelcome visit.  A complete photo tutorial is posted here at Brother’s new blog, Stitching Sewcial.  The designs are from the new Disney Halloween Collection at

There is still time to whip up this kid-pleaser for the increasingly popular Halloween season. Unlike corn stalks or hay bales, this decoration can be packed away for next year and more years to come.

Children love this, especially when they see Goofy’s skeleton glow in the dark.


Goofy by day


Goofy by night

Goofy by night


I especially like the yo-yo pumpkins that dangle from each side. Continue reading

Wisteria Lesson Photo Transfer



This little piece is one of my favorite projects.  Embellishing any worthy image is incredibly rewarding but with today’s technology, it could be done so much more easily.  When I stitched Wisteria Lesson, each of the embroidery designs was positioned one at time with a printed  template then stitched one at a time.

Now with my Brother Quattro I can scan the image and then position all the designs on the computer.  By using the sort feature,  most of the design using the same color, such as the dark purple, would be stitched at the same time.  This would eliminate a huge number of thread changes.

With this advance in technology, I could more quickly and easily embellish a photo of my grandchildren romping through a field of bright pink phlox and black eyed susans and one of my garden and one of the treehouse with the azaleas blooming nearby.  And as soon as I finish sewing Vivian Rose’s 2nd birthday dress, mending my daughter-in-law’s couch pillows, resizing my daughter’s tablecloths, making new pillowcases to match Alastair’s new bedding, and….and….

Well, there are a few other must-do’s but I definitely plan take on one of these photo transfer projects as soon as possible.  Read all about it in this earlier post.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This project surely must warm the heart of anyone who has shared the joy of needlework with a child. When the 1913 edition Embroidery Lessons with Colored Studies was added to my library of vintage and antique needlework books, I was enchanted with the cover illustration.

The goal of the teacher to inspire and instruct, the challenge of the eager young student to succeed, the scent of the wisteria, sweet and heavy….I experienced all of this as the intimate vignette drew me in.  Under that idyllic arbor, I dreamed of teaching my fantasy granddaughter to sew.  (Hurrah!  I have TWO and 10 year old Laurel is already an accomplished little sewists!  Vivian Rose’s turn comes up in a few years.) I went so far as to plant a wisteria vine right then and there, though I had planned to do so for some time.



Wisteria Lesson, my title for this charming scene, has been transferred from the booklet cover to a sheet of specially treated silk which was bonded to paper and run through my inkjet  printer.  The silk image was layered with thin cotton batting and a backing and machine quilted.  It is embellished with machine embroidery and a few hand embroidery stitches.  This really fun project was made possible by the very talented and creative Sue Lord.

The first time I met Sue Lord was at a workshop.  She showed samples and offered detailed instructions on photo transfer to fabric at a workshop. In her musical Georgia (pronounced “Gaw-ja”) accent, Sue drawled so much new information and so many creative ideas that I returned for the repeat session in  the afternoon.

Coming back would have been worth it just to hear her talk again, regardless of what she said,  but Sue seems incapable of simply repeating a class.   She added new material and even more inspiration to the re-run! Or maybe I was just getting the hang of the drawl.  Whatever.  At any rate, my head was spinning when her lecture/demo was over.  Raring to go, I left with enough handouts and confidence to tackle a photo transfer project.   I knew Wisteria Lesson would be that project.

Continue reading

Stetson Mansion Christmas Tour



My–Oh–My!!!  How I wish you all lived close enough that together we could all visit the breathtaking Stetson Mansion in my hometown DeLand, Florida.  The historic (1886) Victorian home of John B. Stetson is  gloriously decorated for Christmas.

dining room


Even I,  whose Indian name surely would be “Woman of Many Words,” cannot begin to describe it.  Make Room for Quilts by Nancy Martin features one style entitled “Too Much is Seldom Enough.”  That’s as close as anyone could come to accurately describing the look.  In a 10,000 square foot home, how could too much be enough?

The 1-hour Christmas tour with my PlayGroup Mamas was so spectacular that I am returning for another visit with my older grandchildren and other family members this weekend.

Tour guests waited on the veranda until the tour began.



The Frozen-themed reception parlor was so realistic that it gave us Florida gals a chill. Continue reading

Expo Inspiration+Free ME Yo-Yo’s

Pattern: Flamingo Cove

Pattern: Flamingo Cove    Notice the yo-yo’s on the fish, turtles, crab, pelicans, flamingos, bush and more.  My favorite is the sun yo-yo, surrounded by rick rack.


The Lakeland Quilt and Sewing Expo in Lakeland was the highlight of last week for Suzanne Sawko and me.  We were swamped with inspiration!  Our last minute trip was scheduled too late for us to register for classes, but the vendors and quilt displays made the trip more than worth while.


Lion's Den

Lion’s Den pattern

Continue reading

Quilted for Tea Time

rug violetsCR

Isn’t this just the most elegantmat?  This was a birthday gift from my dear friend Suzanne Sawko who has honed her free motion quilting skills to a level that qualifies as real art.

The varied textures and intricate patterns on this piece make it almost too pretty to use.  The stippling is so tiny that those areas appear flat.   The quilting designs vary from large and open to small and tight.  Variety makes this such an interesting piece to study, especially while enjoying a cup of tea.

rug alone

Suzanne is a great fan of on-line classes and has taken several quilting courses.  One of these focused on free-style feathers and other free motion quilting techniques.  The designs are not drawn onto the fabric, but created like a pencil sketch drawn with no eraser. Continue reading

Kisses and Hugs Kid Quilt

Another county fair has come to a close.  The ferris wheel, flying elephants and merry-go-rounds have been broken down, loaded up and driven out of town.

All three grandchildren rode the rides, checked out the exhibits, ate the junk food and saw the ribbons on Robert and Laurel’s entries.

7 year-old Robert very sweetly humored 3 year-old Alastair by joining him on the flying elephant.

Big winners were Robert’s blue ribbon chocolate chip pumpkin bread and Laurel’s Best in Class Kisses and Hugs quilt.  While they learned new skills and had fun, I savored each minute of quality Nana-time as they prepared entries. They were so proud of their accomplishments.

Robert’s hocky game, Santa pillowcase, stuffed in-the-hoop dinosaur, football tote and Gator tie tee shirt–Laure’s Girl Scout tote bag and monogrammed handkerchief

Continue reading

Sewing at Nana Camp

We’re having a big time with granddaughter Laurel, 8, who is here for the week.  While brother Robert is at basketball day camp, she is here at sleepover Nana Camp, where there’s a lot going on.

This is Laurel’s new sewing area.  She has finished more than half of the 9-patch blocks and 4 oval yo-yo’s.  The blue painter’s tape helps her maintain the required 1/4″ seam allowance.

A new sewing station has been set up for her in my sewing room.  From here, where my cutting table, iron and all my equipment is located, to the dining room where she has sewn before, it’s a  three day trip.   Her new spot is much more convenient. This is a permanent set up so she won’t have to put her sewing away at dinner time.

The antique sewing table where her little Brother machine is perched was a birthday present from my dear husband several years ago.  See the “yard stick” printed on the table top? Continue reading

Luke’s Quilt

Luke’s twin size quilt–shown on queen size bed

It is so easy to come up with sewing projects for daughters and granddaughters.  But finding things for the boys, especially as they grow older, is a real challenge.

My dear friend, Suzanne Sawko, has always made fabulous things for her four grandsons. Now, she is on a quilting binge and the boys are quite pleased with their birthday gifts.  This one was made for 11 year-old Luke. Continue reading