Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Starry night

Our local Art museum hosted a painting class titled " Starry, Starry Night, happy hour painting".
All of us beginners were going to recreate Vincent Van Gogh's painting?? in 2 hours:)!  You have to laugh at that but with a glass of wine and wonderful appetizers we were ready to have fun.

Our teacher gave us a few basic instructions some acrylic paint and off we went.

It was very relaxing, playing with paint and canvas (which I had never done)  but not nearly enough time for me.
I could have used a couple more hours to finish.

A class picture on the marble steps of the museum.

My picture. You can see I loved painting the sky and ran out of time for the little village and fields.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Winter memories in wool

When our grandsons moved to Michigan, I traced each ones foot-print and hand-prints on to a wool tweed fabric planning to make their mom a cozy "moose" quilt for winter. Finally, after 3 years the quilt is almost finished. The hand and feet turned into cute moose heads with black buttons sewed on for eyes and nose,

I cut out wool felt snowflakes to scatter around on the quilt. Three of the snowflakes my friend Mary machine embroidered on the boys names.

Before they moved here they would come to visit wearing these hats and mittens. They had to be on the quilt!

In between all the applique I hand-embroidered in wool snowflakes, couching them down with shimmery thread as I machine quilted the top.
A few more hand stitches on the binding and it's ready for mom.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


My good friend had a hip replacement last week (she's much older than me! just kidding Laura), and with Valentines day on the mind I made her a quilted mat for her table. This is a very simple pattern, I've made quite a few over the years.

A quick run down on how it's made, I made a plastic hexagon template to cut out the fabric.
This is so easy I made two mats at once.

Cut out the strips that surround the hexagon,

sew the first three on,

cut off the excess fabric and sew on the next strips. Keep doing this until your happy with the size.

I then layered it with batting and a back and machine quilted it in the ditch.
A fun cheery little piece.

This would be great with any fabric.
If your interested in the dimensions e-mail me and I'll send them to you.

The grandsons have been busy making their school Valentines boxes. They had so much fun.
A card and candy eating monster box.

A Valentine robot.

And of course who wouldn't think a football field Valentine box!

The boys also made all their Great-Grandparents cards.

My own personal quilted Valentines from years ago. I made this wall hanging with marbleized fabric hearts and three dimensional  rose buds in the middle 90's.

This little wall hanging with lace doily hearts I made in the late 1990's.

(Is yours up Donna?)

In the early 90's while on a quilt retreat at my friends cottage we visited an huge old house turned into a (spooky) antique shop. I bought this skeleton key and lock and made this heart for it.

Shifting gears to Natural dyeing next summer.
One of my favorite natural dyes to grow is Cosmos flowers the orange ones. They give the most beautiful color and Eco prints and are not light sensitive. I heard there were Chocolate cosmos flowers and for the past three years I've been trying to find some. Last year I could find the plants at $5.00 a piece! They are a very small flowering plant and a annual! That was a little much. This year though I found the seeds on Amazon. I'm ready to begin planting and dyeing but that will be awhile, with about 12 inches of snow on the ground and more on the way it's just a dream. I'll let you know how they do in July!

This is the shipping label where the seeds came from if your interested.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Family Tree Quilt

I haven't really much new to blog about, I've been hand quilting my natural dyed flower quilt and at work (during slow moments)  I work on embroidering in more family stories on my Family Tree quilt.  

This is one of my favorite blocks, I'll tell you the story.
When my grandmother was widowed in 1947 she lived in an old house on the back of their property. This property was in the middle of nowhere although it had a main road going by, one end of the road was a farm town the other end was a larger town.  She had a little grocery store built near the front of the property with her living space in the back. By 1949 her store was open and ready for business. As a kid growing up we loved the store that meant candy, soda and goodies. Every Christmas my father would go into the woods and chop down a tree to put on the roof of the store. My cousin who was an art teacher would paint the front windows and bring the most wonderful, fancy cookies I ever saw. We spent many Christmas Eves (and holiday's) there. Now that I'm older I realize how heroic my grandmother was, a women in the 1940's, never learning to drive and having  a store built out in the country which she ran and lived in until she died in her 80's.

Another addition to the quilt I embroidered on the tree trunk my husband and my initials like teenagers would carve when they were dating, as we started dating when we were teenagers!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Harley-Davidson quilt

Our good friend has a birthday coming up and he loves his Harley. Wanting to make him a quilt I searched the internet and found "Official" Harley fabrics to order. There isn't much cotton fabric out there and it is expensive. I ordered 4 different types to use in the quilt.

This is the pattern I chose. It will be a large lap quilt almost twin size.

My daughter's helping me, I cut and iron while she sews. We've done this on many quilts, it goes fast and gives us special times together.

We bought lots and lots of blacks, grays and a little "Harley" orange.
She has 1/3 of the blocks pieced.

Some of our fabrics in the blocks.

For Christmas my friend Vicky gave me this unassuming  black t-shirt. Looks sort of tough "Harley like.

But when you look closer you see and antique sewing machine on front,

and on the back a wonderful picture and saying.

Thank you Vicky!

Friday, January 23, 2015

The best ways to beat the "cabin fever".

Last Saturday we had sunshine and temperatures in the high 30's, it was time to get out of the house. I packed a picnic lunch and off we went to the wilderness. The wonderful thing about Western Michigan is the wildness is never far away.

We found a nice little spot along a creek,

my husband lit a fire

while I sat out our lunch on the back of the sled we used to pull in our packs.
I had made homemade baked beans, and chocolate chip cookies to go with crackers and cheese and sausage.

 I love picnics, food always taste better outside, and I always feel better.

The next great way to beat cabin fever is quilt bee! Last night I met with my girlfriends and we learned a new quilt technique, called Folded Star.  We each made a sample. You start with two different size hexagons and a piece of batting the size of the small hexagon.

Baste a scant quarter of an inch on the edges of the large hexagon.

Layer them together with the batting in between. Fold over the edges of the large piece of fabric and applique the edges down or quilt the edges down over the small hexagon creating a star. We then quilted down the middle of all the star points.

  Once the stars are finished you stitch the edges together.
So many things can be made using this technique. The following pictures were taken off an computer showing Cheryl Berggren's work.

She made a purse using them,

A lap quilt.

The back of the lap quilt. And remember once a star is done the batting is already in and the edges are bound so when you stitch them together there is no finishing work on the quilt. No binding, nothing.
I'm going to try a few blocks this weekend with my dyed wool.

Cheryl also made a wall hanging with miniature hexagons.
Miniatures are always so cute.

And the full size ones made into place matts.

My friend Mary's been making pieced and quilted ornaments for her tree for next Christmas. There about 3" square. Too cute!

I don't know if I should say Mary or Mary's sewing machine made this little mug rug. She has a top off the line computerized sew machine that pieces and embroideries the piece while you just add in the fabrics when it calls you!!
The little clips are holding the binding down while she stitches it. I'm sure the machine would bind it too if she asked nicely.

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo