Project Quilting Focus Through the Prism (September): Flying Red Dolls

28 09 2015

What is it? Oh, yeah! Month 5 of the Project Quilting Focus Through the Prism Challenge! Only 2 more to go: blue and Indigo.  Or is it Indigo and purple? Or purple and navy? All I know is: It’s not RED.  Because that was covered this month!
Cherrywood Fabrics red plus flying geese plus a doll print mixed with some paper piecing resulted in this month’s challenge.

Top it off with a bit of Marcia’s fancy quilting and we have another month complete. [Applause]

sep 6

The doll fabric was a “shopping bag” provided by a quilt shop made of unsold material. Neat idea, but I never liked the fabric.  Perfect for use in one of the challenge quilts, right?

Sep 2 Sep 3

A back detail:Sep 4

And here is a shot of all 5 quilts so far in the challenge:

Sep 5You can find the other quilts from this month linked up here.  Go check it out.  The quilts are all so cool and unique!

Added: Most of my paper piecing inspiration for the FTTP challenge has come from Block Rock’n at I usually do some sort of modification of those patterns. For this one, I found this pattern, but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for, so I had to get out the graph paper.

To make this, I drew out a paper piece pattern. You can print it to any size, but to make a 20×20 square, each of my 4 pieces is 10×10 (so each is printed on 11×17 paper and cut down).


To assemble follow these steps (this worked for my brain, but you might find an easier way):

  1. Piece sections A, B, C, D, and F as separate units in order 1,2,3,4, etc.
  2. The #2 pieces for Sections A & B should be the same fabric.
  3. The #8 & #9 pieces for Section F should be the same fabric.
  4. Sew A & B together.
  5. Sew C to the AB combo.
  6. Sew D to the CAB combo.
  7. Sew E to the DCAB combo.
  8. Add F to all of that.
  9. Repeat 3 more times, then sew the 4 quadrants together.

And have fun!

Project Quilting Focus Through the Prism (August): Green Pinwheels and Dragonflies

29 08 2015

After a very busy month, the August Focus Through the Prism is done and linked up before the deadline. This would absolutely not have happened by the deadline without Marcia (who quilted it, added the binding, and provided photos of the finished product). First the pics and then I’ll tell you how it happened.



imageBefore starting the challenge, I had to complete a t-shirt quilt Sugar Maple Quiltthat would hang behind one of the stages at the Sugar Maple Festival.  Of course, I didn’t even start cutting the t-shirts until 2 weeks before the festival. Bah!
But by 14 Aug, it was ready to hang and I was excited to get creative with dragonflies and pinwheels in green.

First the planning.  I based the design on Block Rock’n Lithium but made it a bit larger and added 1/4 pinwheels to the corners.

Aug Planning

I found a beautiful dragonfly fabric with cattails at Mill House Quilts in July (“Water Lilies” by Cedar West for Clothworks). Aug FabricThis would fit quite fine as my “panel” and be used with the Cherrywood green and a few others.  Because I follow directions ;-), each of the pieces for the pattern were cut and numbered. Assembly was fast and easy. Who knew that paper piecing would be so much fun?.
Aug Fabric 2
So, now for the challenge: we were leaving to visit family out of state the last week of Aug. And the piece still needed to be quilted, bound and photographed, This is where Marcia saved the day and once again, she added motion. It looks as though the pinwheel might actually start moving. 🙂

Now that we are home, I’m ready for Sep with RED.

Project Quilting Focus Through the Prism (July): Orange Log Cabin-ish

31 07 2015

This month were were told to be inspired by the log cabin block. That really messed with my plans. I had already picked out a cool paper pieced center pattern with lots of triangles and the boxy-ness of the log cabin just wasn’t meshing with that.  So I thought about other characteristics of the log cabin: things like stacked “logs” and red centers. Those I could work with.


So some of my spikes have stacked layers and red centers. Inspired by the log cabin block: Check!
Gorgeous Cherrywood hand dyed orange fabric: Check!

I didn’t have an panel to cut up for this one, but I found some beautiful ___ fabric at Mill House Quilts to use.


After paper piecing the Mercury pattern from Block Rock’n to make a 12″ block, I drew out some larger spikes to paper piece and fill in the corners.  The problem was after the wedges were made and I turned them round, I had to choose between 3 options.


I REALLY liked what the spikes created, so those became the center.

After some super fancy stitching by Marcia (I really am loving her work) and piping and binding, July’s orange log cabin is complete.


image image

This is the first time my points and center have ever been so sharp.  Slowing down has definitely paid off, but I have to say that the accuracy is probably to the credit of paper piecing, not my skills. 🙂

I would have liked to have fixed the red bands that didn’t line up quite right. Once the block was finished, however, I only had about a 1 x 3″ piece of that red and there was no going back.



Project Quilting Focus Through the Prism (June): Yellow Friendship Star

28 06 2015

june imageIt’s the second month of the color challenge Focus Through the Prism. The block is Friendship Star and I picked the yellow Cherrywood fabric.       There was another panel in my stash that was asking to be cut up, so I complied and made it the background. There isn’t a before picture, but here is what was remainingimage.

I also used some hand dyed vintage yellow fabrics from Debby Henning at Zebra Arts.

I sent my quilt off to Marcia Wachuta and it returned really fast looking AMAZING!!  I really like what she did with the stitching. image It’s hard to tell in the pictures, but she made the center physically pop out of the quilt surface. imageI’m a convert and will be sending many more quilts her way.       The idea behind the quilt design stemmed from the Friendship Star and thoughts of my friends:  different circles, some closer, some more distant, all unique, all colorful, always dynamic.

After adding a yellow and orange Suzy’s Magic Binding, this month’s project is complete!


Project Quilting Focus Through the Prism (May): Blue Monkey Wrench

26 05 2015

AngledOver at Project Quilting, Kim came up with a brilliant off-season challenge called Focus Through the Prism and all she has to do is tag people on Facebook to get them to commit to actually complete  7 projects in 7 months. It’s crazy, really.

So here’s the challenge in a nutshell:

1. We each buy a pack of gorgeous hand-dyed rainbow (roygbiv) material from Cherrywood Fabrics
2. Every month Kim sends out a challenge for a block, we pick a color and make a 20″ square wall hanging within 30 days.

Easy, right?whole

My first month completed: Blue Monkey Wrench.

I started with this design, because well, I’m still on this paper pieced compass kick.

imageAfter picking the blue Cherrywood, and unpacking my stash from the move to a new house, I came across a panel called Aurora Borealis by Rosewood Organics for Frond Design Studios.image

Knowing that it looked impressive hanging at the quilt shop where it was purchased, but would never be more that a scrap of fabric in a drawer, I decided to make it the background for my compass.  The nice mix of blue hues won me over.

imageI also discovered a vibrant batik purchased at Stitcher’s Crossing that had to be used. In fact, I may try to fit it into each challimageenge.

The best part about this project has been seeing how everyone starts with the same basic instructions and pack of fabric and end up with such individual and creative interpretations.

The creations are posted here.

quilt 4

Project Quilting 6 Challenge 6: Isn’t That Charming?

21 03 2015

It’s time for another Project Quilting challenge! Here’s the finished product (front and back).

18The challenge required that we use charms (5″ squares), so while at the Prairie Heritage Quilt Show in Sun Prairie WI last weekend, I had an excuse to browse the vendors. (Ok, well, I didn’t actually need an excuse. Checking out new prints is just FUN!)  A pack of Moda New Muslin Mates ended upcoming home.charmThings went smooth with assembly, but the quilting? Not so much.  After having it almost done, I got honest and admitted that … just yuck.  So all of the stitches needed to come out.
The seam ripper is your friend!10
After simplifying things a bit, I’m happy with the result. All of the charms in the pack were used (plus 3 white squares) for the font, back, and binding.


The hexes were made from a circle using a technique demonstrated here.

The hexes using this method don’t come out with sides quite as equal as when a template is used, so “Wonky-ish Hex” might be an appropriate title for this quilt.



Thanks to Kim for another season of Project Quilting!

Project Quilting 6 Challenge 4: Have a Heart

22 02 2015

There is this cool challenge called Project Quilting that Kim Lapacek over at Persimon Dreams coordinates (#pq6). This is the 4th challenge for Season 6: Have a Heart.

She throws out a challenge Sun at noon and you have to get it done by the following Sun at noon.  Crazy, right?  My goal was to get just one done on time. Well, the goal has been met.  A bit sloppy on the corners lining up, but done.  How about “Balancing Opposites” for a title?


The challenge required 12 hearts.  Last Sun I drew this up:


My sewing machine and I then struggled with with some 1″ squares to create the center during the week.


On Friday, shit got serious. I took the day off of work and focused on hearts.  It paid off because I got it done! Yeah me! With an important lesson learned: Square up ALL blocks as you go!

Here are some pictures.

image    image

The fabric collection is “Whisper” by Janine Burke of Blue Underground with Kona Cream for an accent.  Love, love, love the color combinations!

Women and Men

14 07 2012

(Written while staying in Jordan for a few weeks.)

Stumbling, and frequently tripping, my way through the not-so-subtle-but-frequently-bent nuances of Arab male/female relations has been one of the biggest challenges the past couple of weeks. It’s up there in complexity and almost as mysterious and foreign to me as the arabic language.

In the US, I am friendly, outgoing, and as likely to hug a guy as a girl with, at minimum, a handshake for all.  I really don’t think much of it, unless the guy is married or the situation very formal.  Even then, a handshake is a very neutral, appropriate, and comfortable greeting.

That is all different here.  I’ve hugged when I shouldn’t have, extended my hand to have it refused or awkwardly, weakly shaken, and kept my hands by my side when one was surprisingly offered by someone in greeting.  The more I try to do what is “appropriate”, the more I seem to mess up.  The guard is down when it should be up and up when not needed.

At a public water park, there are women in all stages of non-nakedness: from full covering of head, arms, legs in layers of loose clothing to too-small bikinis.  Where do I fit into that? Why does responsibility for sexual control and restraint rest on the women? And what is protecting men from the lustful thoughts of women?  I understand the idea that wearing a covering is a way of preventing the sexual objectivation of women, but isn’t insisting on complete body covering removing her humanity to some extent as well?

I’m not criticizing, but genuinely don’t understand and just hope that I am forgiven for my many fumblings.  At least I have a good excuse and can hide behind my abundant Americanism (and, no, this American did NOT wear a bikini).

I guess that Marisol is going to have to have another of “those” discussions with me. 🙂


Changes 43 -> 44

19 03 2012

Just one short year ago (19Mar2011):

Aparna had not moved back to India yet.
Shivani had not moved back to India yet.
Lucy was not pregnant and packing to move to NC.
Mandi & Anina were still talking and we were all close.
I was joining eHarmony to give this on-line dating thing one more try.
I hadn’t met Paul and was convinced that that person for me just didn’t exist.
Andy still didn’t have his Eagle award.
Andy was in high school and living in Janesville.
He had not started working at PPD yet.
I lived in Madison with no thoughts of ever living anywhere else.
I was still doing the writing class with Miriam Hall.
I had not started my Masters program yet.
Miriam J. had just had her surgery and was still married and wrapped-up in Teddy Wedgers.
Raymond was still living with her.
Jill was not pregnant with twins.
I hadn’t given up on having a relationship with my siblings.
I was mostly car-less and didn’t own the Audi.
I hadn’t shot a gun outside of the military.
I hadn’t taken the gun safety class and had never seen a real pistol or .357.
It only took me 10 min to get to work, not 45.
I hadn’t been to upstate NY or NYC
I didn’t have my ticket to Jordan.
Mario & Mandy were still together.
I spent most of my time outside of work alone or with friends.
Jesse and I spent most Fri nights together.
Jesse wasn’t working for the university.
I had Roxy (dog), Megan (dog) and Teiso (cat).
The wall in the living room was still red.
I didn’t know Jamie and Sara and the kids.
Andy was not yet living on his own.
Jim had not met Kara.
Darren & Kathee were still married.
Friendships hadn’t shifted.
Malaika & I hadn’t made the quilt together for Lucy.
Destiny & I hadn’t made her quilt together.
Tony wasn’t engaged & I hadn’t made his quilt yet.
Harriett was still alive and Dad was taking care of her.
Carol was just his next door neighbor and not his future bride.
Mari’s mom was still alive.
Sue was still working at Milestone.
Naomi was still married.
Maxx hadn’t come out and we hadn’t bonded over firewood.
Tate was still in school and living at home.
PPD was still owned by Fred & the shareholders, not the Carlyle Group.
Darren still sat in our building.
Barb didn’t have Chewy and her dad wasn’t re-married.
Candie’s dad was still alive.
Kara hadn’t adopted two of the three foster kids yet.
Claire was still waiting to enter the world outside of her mama’s womb and meet her papa, Joe, and see her mama, Jessica.
Elliot (e.e.)  was still hanging out in his mama’s womb and had yet to experience that amazing home birth that his parents, Brooke & Brandon, had planned for him.

So may things have changed in my life and in the lives of those closest to me since I turned 43.   Maybe this happens every year, but I just happen to notice right now.  I can’t say that each change has been good or bad, but just that “it is the way it’s supposed to be”.  I’m kind of hoping that next year’s list will be a bit shorter.  I’m ready to coast and take a couple of deep breaths.

I may have expressed that same sentiment about a year ago.

Open Letter (A Rant)

6 11 2011

Today I received on of those mass emailings from an old friend going on about Muslims denying the Holocaust and not wanting it taught in schools in the UK. This was my response to him:

“Please think about the messages that you send. This one is denouncing hate and bigotry of one group (Jewish), but promoting it for another group (Muslim). The truth is that no individual represents an entire group. To say that the entire group of Muslims is offended by teaching about the Holocaust because they say it never occurred is just perpetuating stereotypes and hates. “Muslims” do not say that it didn’t occur. Maybe SOME very vocal Muslims may say that, but I can assure you that the entire population of Muslims know very well that this tragedy DID indeed happen and don’t want it repeated. I also know for a fact that as a group Muslims are facing unprecedented amounts of persecution in the US and around the world FOR THEIR FAITH and SKIN COLOR. They seem to make easy targets these days. Of all groups, it seems that Christians have a responsibility to stand up for people being able to believe what they want to and not be persecuted for their faith. Are there bad Muslim ideologies out there that lead to destruction? Sure. But there are also bad Jewish and Christian ideologies out there that lead to destruction. Does that mean that you should spread hate messages for all Jews and Christians as well?

Unfortunately, it is very easy (as you know) to find ignorant Christians, Muslims, Jews, Whites, Blacks, Browns, _______ (fill in the blank). To say that the words of one or a couple of them apply to the entire group is just wrong and leads to hate and separation. Please don’t spread that. I always thought that you were about spreading love and understanding, not this crap.”

I also asked to be removed from his mailing list.  Read the rest of this entry »