Tuesday, August 07, 2018


I've been silent on this blog and on social media for a few weeks.  The first week involved a lot of this:

I spent a week on Myrtle Beach with my family and had an absolutely fantastic time.  Babies + sand + water = just what the doctor ordered!

As soon as I got home, I was unfortunately hit with several rather large challenges in my personal life (note: my health is fine) and a very unexpected death in the family.  I am dealing with all of this by making a virtue of necessity:

I learned how to chop wood.  A line of tornadoes swept through my town in May.  We lost several trees then and more keep falling.  A few weeks ago, one fell on the house.  We had it and several others cut down.  These are RIDICULOUSLY large trees and we now have literally tons of firewood to split, stack, and season so we can burn it in 2020.

This is what tons of wood look like:

I never had a desire to chop wood but it is an incredibly effective stress reliever and I rather enjoy it.  It's me vs. the log and most days I can hear the logs laugh at me.  When I succeed at splitting the wood, it feels great and it is super satisfying to see the stack of split wood grow ever-higher. (Note: I do not stack the wood.  I am married to an engineer.  'Nuff said.)  Every day I go outside and spend an hour or two swinging a sledgehammer or maul and work myself sweaty.

When I roll another log off the pile, I dislodge it and RUN out of the way!  These are over 30" across and 15"+ tall.  Once they are on the ground, I roll them and wrestle them into place and get all kinds of muddy and meet all kinds of critters:



We have a fascinating selection of bugs, spiders, and beetles living in our woodpiles.  I won't share those photos; you are welcome.  You'll know when I come across a snake, though, because you'll hear my screaming wherever in the world you may be.  I do NOT enjoy snakes.  They are all neck and completely untrustworthy.  While we do have a few copperheads on the property, to me all snakes are poisonous and I threaten to move somewhere more civilized whenever I come across one.

My brain is beginning to function again, life is calming down, and I can't wait to share more quilting goodness with you soon!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Florabunda Finish: A Plan B Life

I was supposed to go to New York City this week, but some weird side effects from one of my medications kept me home instead.  I wanted to turn that negative into a positive, so I spent my extra time at home finishing the quilting and binding on my Florabunda A La Mode quilt.

My new 2" Ribbon Candy Stencil is a perfect fit for this quilt.

I threaded my Handi Quilter Stitch 710 machine with FabuLux First Love thread and set to work.

 I love the high contrast between the black background and Melanie Testa's Florabunda fabrics.

If you look closer, though, you'll find that there's some color hiding in the plain black fabric:

I was surprised when I discovered that this particular blend of teal, hot pink, and royal purple thread only shows up on black when you look closely.  Who knew?

Now we both do.

This wasn't a bad Plan B for a sick day.

Do you try to redeem lost days?  As quilters, quilting can fill up the vacant spaces quite nicely!

Monday, July 09, 2018

Splendid Sampler -- Block THREE

Splendid Sampler block three is Clamshells by Helen Stubbings.

I love this block and can't wait to machine quilt it:

Helen is amazingly talented and has a great Craftsy class about English Paper Piecing.

Are you participating in this round of The Splendid Sampler?  Pre-order your book HERE.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Tuesday Tip: Pressing Seams Safely

I am a huge klutz and that makes ironing dangerous for me.  I am working on a quilt that requires some seams to be pressed open and figured out how to press those seams safely:

I keep my Dritz Easy Hem near my ironing board for when I'm making garments.  It works great for that and also works great for pressing seams open!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

New Online Class!

I have a new online class on Annie's Creative Studio -- Peachy Keen!  This was a difficult secret to keep because I absolutely fell in love with the quilt!  

Here's the class description:

Three simple blocks and dimensional applique stems, leaves and flowers are all it takes to create the gorgeous Peachy Keen Wall Hanging. In this Learn, Make, Create! episode, quilting expert Debby Brown will demonstrate a quick way to make bias strips, how to make the dimensional flowers and tips to meander your background machine quilting so that it flows from one block to the next. You'll learn two methods to prepare templates for the flowers and leaves. To add the pattern to your Annie's Creative Studio pattern library or to download it to your personal device, click on the Patterns tab.

I made a sample in flat cotton and filmed while making another sample using Sew Batik fabrics.  I was not a fan of batik fabrics until I tried stitching with Sew Batik fabrics.  They have converted me 100%!

Filming for Annie's Creative Studio is a lot of fun because they give you the pattern and I get to show you how to make the project.  What could be better?

"It could be better if it was free?" you say?  Well...…  You can sign up for a free 30 day trial at Annie's Creative Studio and take this class for (you asked for it) FREE!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Splendid Sampler -- block TWO

This week's Splendid Sampler block is Milk and Cookies by Rebecca Bryan.

I borrowed Tara Lynn Baisden's block to show how I would machine quilt it:

Oh, the things that I could say about cookies.  I tried to make the quilting look a bit like a cookie.  How did I do?

Are you making blocks from The Splendid Sampler 2?  How would you quilt this block?

Friday, June 15, 2018

Friendship Quilt Along -- Gracious

This week's block from Amanda Herring's Friendship Quilt Along is Gracious.

I am writing this post from a hotel room in Long Island, NY while teaching at Pieceful Quilting.  Next week I hope to be caught up with all of my blocks and to show you my progress.

Here is how I would quilt this week's block:

Follow along with all of the other quilters working on this week's block HERE.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

A Splendid Sampler Sequel -- block 1

I am thoroughly honored to be a part of The Splendid Sampler 2!  The book is available for pre-order, but Pat and Jane are releasing a block every week up until the release.  The first block is Quilt Market by Alex Veronelli.

I borrowed Kitty Wilkin's block to show how I would quilt it.

I had to quilt this block with ribbon candy because, in my not-so-humble opinion, it is the world's most perfect machine quilting pattern.  Too much ribbon candy, however, can be a bad thing.  This block divides itself into sections of three strips.  I alternated quilting ribbon candy in one strip and lines in the next one throughout the block so the quilting didn't become muddled.

Are you following along with The Splendid Sampler 2?  What fabrics will you use to make this quilt?

Florabunda -- My Day on the Blog Hop!

I'm so excited that today is my day on the Florabunda blog hop!

When I received my fabric, I fell in love!  I knew I wanted to use this fabric in my A La Mode Cutie Pattern and I showcased it against black fabric.

And here's my finished quilt!

I decided to machine quilt only the black fabric so that the Florabunda fabric would POP!  I didn't want to use solid black thread, so I decided to use First Love instead:

This probably looks like a bold choice of thread to use on black fabric, but I know from experience that this thread blends into black really, really well.  Like "impossible to photograph" well.


Have you fallen in love with Florabunda yet?  Would you like to make this 48"x48" A La Mode Cutie Quilt using Florabunda fabric?

Enter HERE

If you wonder how you would machine quilt this quilt, you don't have to wonder for long.  My new video class will teach you how.  It's not quite ready yet, but you can join my mailing list to stay in-the-know about all of my upcoming classes.  Yes, I said classes, PLURAL!!!

Thanks for stopping by to see my Florabunda quilt.  Be sure to check in on all of the other blog hoppers!

June 7–Tiffany Hayes
June 9–Sara Mika
June 10–Lyric Kinard
*June 11–Kathy York 
June 11–Teri Lucas
*June 13—Tiffany Hayes 
June 13Jamie Fingal 
June 14–Debby Brown 
*June 14–Heidi Kelly 
June 15– David Gilleland 
June 15—Melanie Testa
June 16–Melanie Testa

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Machine Embroidery Challenge -- part two

Last week, I shared a challenge that Lisa Archer from Pickle Pie Designs issued -- dust off my embroidery machine and USE IT!

I found her Modern Machine Embroidery book on my bookshelf and transferred the designs from the CD to my computer and then to a drive for my embroidery machine.

I opened it to the redwork section, and read it.  The book suggests stitching a redwork apple on a tea towel.  I don't have a fresh tea towel, but I do have quilting fabric.  I grabbed whatever tear-away stabilizer I had on hand, hooped my fabric and stabilizer, and stitched an apple (or two) on some quilting fabric.*

I tore away the stabilizer:

Now I'm dreaming of what to do with them.

What would you do with two lonely little redwork apples?
*Re-reading that, it sounds like it was easy.  It was not.  Let me share the rest of the story:

I am continually trying to clean my sewing room.  When I installed my design wall, I packed up all of my thread in boxes.  I put all of my embroidery thread into a single container... AND LOST IT!  So, an hour later, I found the embroidery thread hiding in an AQS tote bag from 2010 on the bottom shelf of my book case.  

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Scrap Quilt Saturday -- Sweet Tooth

I finished my Sweet Tooth Cutie Quilt!

Just look at the texture the ribbon candy quilting adds to the quilt!

After the machine quilting comes the binding.  This was a most-hated chore for me before two things.

1.  My Binding Baby:

2.  Learning to bind by machine:

This quilt is done, it was all made with scraps from my sewing room, and my sewing room doesn't look any emptier.  I have to make another scrap quilt from my 1 1/2" scrap bucket.  Any suggestions?

Friday, June 08, 2018

Friendship Quilt Along -- TRUSTWORTHY!

This week's block from Amanda Herring's Friendship Quilt Along is Trustworthy.

I might have groaned a bit when I saw that it was paper-pieced but I dove in, made it, and it was quick and easy!

I am writing this post from a hotel room in Layton, Utah while teaching at Handi Quilter Academy and my block is on my design wall in Hopewell Junction, NY.  How is it possible that I never photographed that block before I left home???

Here is how I would quilt this week's block:

Follow along with all of the other quilters working on this week's block HERE.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Florabunda Blog Hop

The Florabunda Blog Hop starts today!

I'm hard at work preparing for my day on the blog:

Florabunda + Cutie Pattern = deliciously lovely quilt!

While waiting to see my finished quilt, follow along with all of the other designers HERE.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Machine Embroidery Challenge

Lisa Archer of Pickle Pie Designs is my hero.  Every time I see her or one of her adorable machine embroidery patterns, I want to make them on my embroidery machine.  I have one, but I'm quite afraid of it.

At Quilt Market in Portland a few weeks ago, Lisa challenged me to use my Janome MB-4.

I have a copy of her book, Modern Machine Embroidery, so there's nothing stopping me, right?

As soon as I get home from Handi Quilter Academy, I'll start stitching.  Don't let me chicken out, ok?

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Tutorial Tuesday: Using a Ribbon Candy Stencil

I'm quilting my scrappy Sweet Tooth Cutie Quilt and am, of course, stitching a lot of ribbon candy on it.  I'm so happy to have my new Ribbon Candy Stencil.  See how easy it is to use on a real quilt!

To answer your questions:

Sweet Tooth Cutie Pattern is available HERE
Machine Quilting Grip Gloves available HERE
Ribbon Candy Stencil available HERE.

Happy Quilting!

Monday, June 04, 2018

Happy Birthday!!!

This is my twelfth year with Handi Quilter, but Handi Quilter is 20 years old this year and I feel like celebrating!

I had my cake and I'll share some with you, too:

Here's to another great 20 years, Handi Quilter!!!

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Scrap Quilt Saturday -- Sweet Tooth

I'm stitching together a scrappy Sweet Tooth Cutie Quilt and I have fallen in love with it.  I have noticed one thing about scrap quilts, however, that I don't love:  they require a lot of grooming!

I snip away the extra threads as I'm quilting and always amazed at how full my snip jar is at the end of the process!!!

Do you have extra grooming to do on your scrap quilts?  Do you have any tips to share?

Friday, June 01, 2018

Friendship Quilt Along -- FUN!

The first block of Amanda Herring's Friendship Quilt Along is FUN!  No, seriously, the name of the block is Fun!

Here's one of my blocks (there are two Fun blocks in the quilt):

Instead of using Amanda's gorgeous Hello Lovely fabrics, I chose to use very muted colors and patterns so that the machine quilting will show better.  I definitely need to make a Cutie Quilt (or three) from this fabric line, though, because it is totally darling!

I used Amanda's templates to prepare my freezer paper hand-applique shapes.  This first block was a test to see if my not-so-nimble fingers could once again applique... and THEY CAN!  This project brought much comfort while I was recovering from my last infusion treatment.  They work and I'm terribly grateful for them, but they aren't the most fun things to endure.  I don't have another treatment until after this entire project is completed.  Hurray for a completed project and no treatments!!!

I applique using straw needles and InvisiFil thread.  I find the longer straw needles easier to grip and the 100 weight polyester InvisiFil thread disappears into the quilt for a nearly invisible applique stitch.  How perfect is that???

Instead of waiting until the entire quilt is assembled to show you how I would quilt this block, I want to give you some quilting inspiration as we go.

Check on all of the Fun blocks on the internet today in blogs and on Facebook and Instagram!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Dusting off my Dress-Making Skills

I don't ever remember a time in life when I wasn't crafting.  I know I was crocheting before I could read, knitting before I entered school, and made my first piece of clothing for myself when I was in the first grade.  I kept myself busy knitting, crocheting, and making garments until I was pregnant with my first child.  That's when I discovered quilting and I have pretty much neglected all other crafts in favor of quilting ever since.

Every year, I see more and more garment patterns released in quilt shops and I think to myself, "I used to know how to do this!"  And I collect the patterns.  I have several years of recently released patterns in my collection and each was purchased with the intent of making my own clothes.

Well, the time has come.

I purchased this pattern from the Sew Inspired booth when I taught at Stitches United in Hartford, CT in March.  This is my most recent pattern purchase, so it was on top of the pile.

If you are wondering why the orange owl fabric spoke so loudly to me, I need to tell you a secret:

I have a thing for shoes.

I am in many ways a minimalist, but minimalism doesn't apply to shoes, Hello Kitty handbags, or quilting fabric.  That's where I draw the line.

It finally stopped snowing and turned directly to summer.  On a hot, hot day last week, I remembered that I had an amazing pair of orange sandals.  Remembering this wonderful fact inspired me to finally be brave and make a garment.


Defending my photo, I am currently recovering from medical treatment and not feeling very well.  Also, it was hot and I have no air conditioning.  

I graded myself an A- on this project.  My skills are a little rusty, but I will soon make another (and another!) blouse to remind myself that I know how to sew clothing!

Last Saturday was the last day that my local quilt shop was open in Pawling, NY.  My machine quilting club closed down the store:

If you are sad that my local quilt shop closed, please don't be because it is re-opening in Wappingers Falls, NY this weekend!  Congratulations Quilt Basket!  I can't wait to teach in your new shop!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Scrap Quilting Saturday

Several weeks ago I attempted to clean out my sewing room when I fell into my bucket of 1 1/2" strips.

I pulled out strips until I had enough to make a Sweet Tooth Cutie Quilt.

Since I found some floor (who knew?) in my sewing room, I decided to make use of it.

Even with a good-sized quilt on the floor, there's still more floor!

Here's my plan:  continue to stitch up my scraps until they no longer overflow their bins and become manageable.

Are you all laughing with me?  Good.  Because we all know that this is NEVER going to happen!

I will keep plugging away, though.

Are you working on your scraps?  What is your current scrap project?

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Friendship Quilt Along

I am so excited to be a part of Amanda Herring's Friendship Quilt Along!

When I first found out about it, I immediately wanted to show how I would machine quilt these blocks.  Prepare for more block animations coming from me this summer!

Once I saw the ridiculously cute templates, I knew I had to make these blocks.  I stopped being able to hand sew over a year ago, so I thought I'd machine applique these blocks, but as I was prepping the shapes, I wanted to try to hand applique just one block.  I'm not going to show it to you yet, but it's actually working!!!  I'm not sure I'll be able to hand applique the entire quilt, but what I've done so far has brought me endless joy!

I'm making my blocks in solids so the machine quilting will show on camera, but I love Amanda's fabric kit.  Do I have time to make two of these this summer?  Oh the temptation!!!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Spring Clean Your Studio

Today is my day on the Spring Clean Your Studio Blog Hop hosted by Muppin.Com.  I'm so excited!

I sew in the family room of my house.  My house is under the trees on the side of a mountain on the Appalachian Trail in the Hudson Valley of New York so I don't get a lot of sunshine.  My family room has walnut floors and paneling so it's like quilting in a cave.  I promised myself to brighten up my sewing space once I got things cleaned and organized.  Maybe this year will be the year?

I have been traveling non-stop, teaching quilting in Ohio, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New Hampshire for the last five weeks.  Yes, my booking agent hates me.  (I am my own booking agent.)  I was in my house for exactly five days in the month of April and apparently the only thing I did on the days I was home was make quite a mess!  I'm not strong enough to show the full disaster, but I took a few photos as I was tidying up.  Note:  it was even worse before I started!

Cutting table?  What cutting table?

Does it get any more real than this?

These photos show approximate 25% of my sewing space.  The rest is just as bad, trust me.

I put on my headphones and got to work.  I made some great progress until:


I accidentally tripped and fell into my 1 1/2" scrap bucket:

I've apparently fallen and can't get up.

My goal is to clean out the sewing room, and we all know that the quickest way to do that is to start working on the smallest cut of fabric in the room instead of doing any actual cleaning.

I think I'm going to be here for a while.

All is not lost, though.

I found my cutting table:

And did you know that there was a DOOR in my sewing room?

That door has been a window for the last 3 years!  I walked onto my deck every day JUST BECAUSE I COULD!

More from my sewing room --

My Dream Big quilt 

is on my new Handi Quilter Forte.  I love that machine and named him Jason Momoa because they are both big and strong and... oh my!

Another one of my longarms is showcasing my favorite ribbon candy quilting:

I teach different versions of ribbon candy in each of my Craftsy classes.  I haven't taught it yet on Annie's Creative Studios, but I have some other fun classes there!  I also have well over 100 YouTube videos about machine quilting.

I'm filming some new machine quilting classes now that will release shortly.  To stay in the know and get quilty goodness delivered directly to your inbox, subscribe to my newsletter.

Thanks for visiting with me today.  I hope you'll stop by here more often!
*This photo is of the door to my sewing room when the darn squirrel scared me to death!

Follow along the blog hop here:
April 23 – Lori Crawley Kennedy –http://theinboxjaunt.com
April 24 – Jennifer Thomas – http://curlicuecreations.blogspot.com
April 25 – Robin Koehler –http://nestlingsbyrobin.blogspot.com 
April 26 – Andi Barney-https://www.andibarney.com/
April 27 – Misty Cole –http://www.mistycole.com/blog
April 28 – Carolina Moore-http://alwaysexpectmoore.com/
April 29 – Heather Pregger –https://heatherquilts.blogspot.com/
April 30 – Linda Bratten –https://lindabcreative.blogspot.com/
May 1 – Lisa Reber – https://www.dippydye.blogspot.com/
May 2 – Teresa Coates –http://crinkledreams.com
May 3 – Lisa Chin – http://www.lisachinartist.com/
May 4 – Jamie Fingal –http://www.jamiefingaldesigns.com/
May 5 – Sam Hunter – www.huntersdesignstudio.com 
May 6 – Jessee Maloney –www.artschooldropout.net/blog
May 7 – Randa Parrish –http://www.sewartsyfartsy.com/
May 8 – Sarah Vedeler-https://meaningoflifedesigns.com/
May 9 – Jessica Darling – https://jessicakdarling.com/
May 10 – Melody Crust –http://www.melodycrust.com/
May 11 – Debby Brown –http://higheredhands.blogspot.com
May 12 – Cheryl Sleboda – http://blog.muppin.com