What to do When Life Doesn’t Go as You Planned

What to do When Life Doesn’t Go as You Planned

Life got a bit crazy for me this past fall and then it was time to make Christmas gifts.  My great plans took a huge detour after being in an accident Thanksgiving weekend, while returning home.  Although the car was totaled, Mr. B and I suffered only whiplash and bruises.  Our Guardian Angles were watching over and protecting us.  The injuries did slow me down a great deal and I had to cut back on the things I planned to do.  My blog also fell victim to the chopping block.  But I’m back and want to fill you in.

This past fall I took Kathy Shaw’s Traditional Quilt Course -201.  I enjoyed this course as It had been a long time since I took a basic quilting class.  It was good to review the basics.  The addition of embroidery kept the class from being boring.  After a couple of tasks which covered basic skills, including a lesson on how to check for a correct quarter-inch seam allowance, we finally got to the constructing lessons, where we got to make nine basic blocks.  Each block had an embroidery attached to it making it a Mug Rug.  I used the embroidery designs from Jenny Reynolds of Elefantz for my embroidery patterns.   

Originally, I had planned to give these little beauties away but I fell in love with the whole set.  Then a little voice in my head told me, they would look beautiful under my crystal snack dishes, as they were just the right size.  That was all it took,  to take them off the gift list.  Mr. B just laughed when I told him I just couldn’t give them away and repeated what the little voice had told me. 













































Christmas Gifts

I was able to make each of our grandchildren a Quillow.  I’m proud to report I used my stash to create the nine Quillows.  I had fabric left over from the quilts I had made them a few years ago.  My mom donated several yards of fabric for the backs of about three of the nine Quillows.  Each was about 60” square.  

I’m sharing a picture of one grandson with his Quillow.   From his picture you can see how joyful he was to receive such a cuddly gift.

Until next time,


Wild Berry Jams and Jellies, Plus a Work in Progress

Wild Berry Jams and Jellies, Plus a Work in Progress

I have spent most of September picking, processing and making jams and jellies from the wild berries that grow here at Camp Hahobas.  Salal  berries were the first  berries I picked.  I wasn’t even aware they were edible until I was told they were by one of the brush pickers that harvest the Salal.  The the Salal plant is used by the floral industry.  So the next time you get a pretty bouquet, the greenery in it just might be Salal.








Next I harvested Black Berries.  Mr B says they are also called “Wait a minute vines” cause you need to wait a minute while you untangle yourself from their thorny vines.  Fortunately I have a Black Berry hedge growing in my front yard.  So I didn’t have to go far.

Last I pick the tiny  Kinnikinnick berry or Bearberry.  After doing a search to see if it was edible I discovered that Native Americans smoked Kinnikinnick and the berries are still used medicinally to treat bladder and kidney disorders. Truly, the leaves of Bearberry plant still fill many a pipe today.


The photo (to the right) makes the berries appear bigger that they really are.  The berries in the pan (photo below) gives you a better indication of how small the berries actually are.






When I say tiny, I do mean tiny.  I worked one afternoon for 3 and a half hours and all I collected was two quarts of these little guys. By the time I processed the berries I got 1 and a half quarts juice from them.  I had to add a quart of black berries so I would have enough juice to get one batch of jelly.

I went out a second time to pick the tiny berries again but got rained out, Fall is finally here.  I added two cups of black berries from the very last picking.  But it wasn’t enough so, I added about two cups frozen blue berries, thawed, and it still  wasn’t enough.   So I added enough Apple Juice to make the 5 cups of juice called for in the recipe.  I wasn’t sure what the taste would be, but it’s good.  It tastes something close to cranberry sauce.  It will be good for the Holidays.  Served with fresh hot scones or biscuits with creamy sweet butter, “Yummy!”





A Work in Progress

I want to share a project which is a gift for a loved one in my family.





I drafted the crazy block myself.  It’s getting easier to draft these blocks.  This block is by far the busiest block I’ve done.







I tried my hand at dying a few pieces of lace.  I used alcohol inks mixed into water. I got subtle coloring, which was what I wanted.  I used the yellow lace butterfly  and the flowers in an oval.




Each in  part of the block was designed especially for it’s recipient, right down to the little charms I sewed on it.  Bet you can’t guess what her favorite colors are? All that needs to be done is to put this block into it’s frame.

Until next time,



Doing Something Different

Doing Something Different

Sometimes I need to take a little break from quilting and do something different.  This is what I did.  Recently, Craftsy had a “half off sale” on their classes and one of those was Bead Embroidery: Beyond the Basics with Myra Wood.  I learned several new techniques which I can add to my Crazy Quilt Blocks.


This is my version of the class project. It is a wrist cuff or bracelet. The majority of the beads came from Fire Mountain Gems and Beads . 

I have used a combination of glass, shell and semi precious stone beads.



Class Hand OutI plan give it as a gift, when it is finished.


On this second project, I have used Ammonite Fossil cabochons as the focal pieces.








This is my doodle design or plan for beading.




I chose the Ammonite pieces because I love fossils and find Paleontology fascinating. At one point in my college education I considered going into that field, but education and becoming an elementary teacher won out.                                                                                                                                    This is my work in progress. 

I am using a combination of glass, shell and semi precious stone beads on this project as well. I will frame this piece when finished as a kind of sampler.  There are a few deviations from the “doodle design”.  But that’s the way it goes sometimes.  

What do you do to take a break?

Have fun learning something new.

Until next time,


The Splendid Sampler

The Splendid Sampler


Quilt designers Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson have teamed together along with 83 other quilt design artists and have created “a year long 100 block ‘Epic Adventure’ of quilt making”. Is a mystery quilt that will feature a range of quilting techniques including; applique, embroidery, paper piecing, regular piecing, and English Paper piecing (EPP).  Each of the blocks are 6 inches finished, unfinished the blocks measure 6 ½ inches.  The project started February 14, 2016.  To participate you only need to sign up for the project.  There is no cost for the block patterns. The link below will take you to the Splendid Sampler’s web page.  You can read all about the project and sign up for it if you desire.

I will post my journey with the Splendid Sampler and my blocks. It seems an ambitious project, but so far, I’m having fun with it.  This is my first time participating in such a large group project.  I’ve been able to chat with quilters from all over the globe.  It’s been very exciting!  Click here to go the Splendid Sampler


Here are my February blocks:

Block One – February 14 – Hearts a Flutter by Pat Sloan                     spendid block 1-web edit


The heart is appliqued onto the four patch .  I used light weight fusible interfacing technique to turn under the raw edges.  the fusible interfacing holds the applique piece in place while being sewn onto the background fabric.

The fabrics I used to make this block are all civil war reproductions fabrics.  I have decided to make all my blocks using civil war reproduction fabrics.  I have collected a good variety of this type of fabric, as it’s one of my favorites.



Block Two- February 21- Wings by Jan Davidson

splendid block 2-web edit

This block is pieced and features a little embroidery for the butterflies antennae.  I also added Bullion Knots for the butterflies bodies.  36 little squares equals lots of seams.  I had to really work hard at making sure my  seams were true quarter- inch, so all my seam matched up. 







Block 3 – February 21  Lots of Love by Melissa Corry

splendid block 3a- web edit


This is also a pieced block.  I enjoyed making these sweet hearts








Block 4 February 24 by Jen Kingwell

splendid block 3-web edit

I had fun with this block.  It featured round circle flowers.  I dressed them up with a bit of embroidery to add “petals” I used a variety of pearl cottons in sizes #3, #5, and ,#8.  The vase or pot also got a bit of decoration too.








Block 5 – Simple Simon by Celine Perkins

IMG_2650-web edit


This is a pieced block. Making it reminded me of making a Disappearing Nine Patch. This block started as a nine patch and then was cut into equal quarters.  As you can see it is sewn back together with sashing strips of blue.






Note: I haven’t forgotten about the Four Patch Quilt I promised.  I’m working on the tutorial for it and will have it ready soon.

Until next time, keep sewing!



Part 5: Quilting Rules or Guidelines How to use the Rotary Cutter

Special Note:  With the exception of one photo, the hands in this post’s pictures belong to my husband (Jerry).  I knew which angles I wanted the pictures taken, but was having troubles explaining them to him. In the end it was easier to teach him how to hold the rotary cutter and cut fabric.  So I took the pictures and Jerry was my model.

How to use the Rotary Cutter

Body posture– Always stand while you are using the rotary cutter (unless you have a physical disability) you will have less neck and shoulder fatigue.

Always cut away from your body. You will have more control of the cutter when cutting away from your body because you can see where you are going. This also allows you to cut more accurately and stay in alignment with your ruler.

Cutting the fabric

The following directions are for right-handed cutting. (I will do my best to describe left-handed cutting in the parentheses)

  • Place fabric on the mat; lay it with the fold toward you as you are facing your cutting table. This goes for right and left-handed cutters. The edge of the fabric you are going to cut will be on the left side of the ruler. [Refer to the photo] The bulk of your fabric will be on the right of your ruler. (Left handed-cutters: The edge of the fabric you are going to cut will be to the right side of the ruler. The bulk of your fabric will be on the left of your ruler.)


  • Firmly place your non cutting hand on the ruler, in the middle of the ruler so your fingers are away from the cutting edge of the ruler. Place your thumb near the bottom of the ruler [refer to photo below] and your finger tips a comfortable distance up the ruler, don’t stretch your fingers out too far. [Refer to photo below, this is my hand ]


  • With the rotary cutter in your right-hand hold it so the handle is at a 45 degree angle to the table top. (Left Handed-cutters: Follow the directions above with your right hand on the ruler and directions for holding the rotary cutter in you left hand)


  • Place the rotary cutter against the ruler’s edge, a little before the fabric [see photo above], then cut away from your body, stopping when the blade is about even with the figure tips on your non cutting hand. Do not lift the cutter away from the fabric; just hold it in place while you reposition the non cutting hand on the ruler. (Left handed cutters, follow the same directions.)


  • To reposition your non-cutting hand, walk the hand up the ruler. Put the thumb in the new position followed by your figure tips, remember to place your fingertips a comfortable distance up the ruler. The cutting hand stays still until the non-cutting hand is in the new position.
  • Now you are ready to cut again. Continue to cut away from your body, stopping when the blade is about even with the figure tips on your left hand. Follow Step 3 and 4 to reposition your non-cutting hand and continue cutting until you come to the end the fabric.


This process may seem unnatural, but with practice the movements will become comfortable and smooth.

How to Square the Fabric

Before you can begin cutting strips for your project, you will need to square up the fabric to get a good clean edge so all the strips will be straight and uniform. *Note: I recommend you practice cutting on inexpensive muslin before you try cutting on your more expensive fabric.

  • Make sure the salvage edges are together. You may need to iron the fabric to remove puckers and wrinkles. I f you need to iron the fabric, you will need to allow it to rest and cool off before cutting. If you cut it immediately after ironing it, the fabric will shrink up a bit and the strips will not be the correct size. Remember the Laws of Physics: When heat is applied to something, it expanse and when it cools it shrinks.
  • Now that you have smooth wrinkle free fabric and the selvage edges are together, you are ready to square up the fabric. Besides your fabric, you will need your rotary cutter, a 6” x 24” long ruler, a 5 or 6” square ruler and a mat that measures at least 17” x 23” (These are the measurements of my Olfa Cutting Mat).
  • You will be cutting strips that are cross grain cuts. (Refer to photo)


  1. Lay the fabric on the mat; lay it with the fold toward you as you are facing your cutting table. This goes for right and left-cutters. For right-handed cutters the bulk of your fabric will lay to your left. (Left handed cutters, the bulk of your fabric will lay to your right.)
  2. Place the 5 or 6” square ruler on the fabric with the bottom edge aligned with the fold of the fabric (refer to the photo). Next place the 6” x 24” long ruler right up against the square ruler (refer to photo)
  3. Cut the uneven edges of fabric with you rotary cutter and discard the scrap. Now you have a nice even, straight edge and are ready to cut strips for your project.

IMG_1246-editedAvoiding the “V” When Cutting Strips

Your fabric strips will only stay straight as far as your ruler is wide, which usually is 6 inches. After that, sometimes the fabric strips beyond the 6 inches will develop a “V” when you open the folded fabric.  To avoid this “V” you will need to square up your fabric after every few strips. Yes, you will lose a bit of fabric, but it is better to lose a half of an inch or so then to have to recut strips because they have developed the dreaded “V”, which is a bigger loose.   There is a saying, “Penny wise but pound foolish” be “pound wise” and square up after every few strips.

Happy Cutting, Kathy

Next time: How to Read a Quilt Pattern


A Correction

It was called to my attention that in my last post titled, Part 4: Quilting Rules or Guidelines – The Rotary Cutter, Its Care and Safety, I used the wrong term, screw, when I should have called it a bolt.  As it was explained to me, a screw has a pointy end and a bolt has a flat end.  I have corrected this error.

Thank you for your understanding.

Happy Quilting, Kathy