Thursday, December 31, 2015

Bonnie Hunter Mystery -- week 5

Are you sitting down?  Brace yourselves, because I am completely caught up on Allietare!  It's amazing what strong antibiotics can do to improve one's quilting productivity.  I keep walking around saying, "Hey, I'm not coughing anymore!" and "Wow, is that oxygen in my blood?"  Yeah, I was sick and getting used to it.  How sad!

So here's my version of this week's homework:

I loved seeing everyone else's progress HERE.

Are you playing along?  I can't wait for this week's clue when I will, once again, be behind.  I'll have another great excuse though, because I fly out on Monday morning and my 42 days at home will come to an end.  I wish I hadn't been sick, but otherwise I had a fabulous time at home.

One of my largest projects for my time at home was "Clean and organize the sewing space."  I am not sure anyone can ever say they are done with that job, but I have made mountains of progress.  I have found countless UFOs, many of them Bonnie Hunter patterns.  I have shown Grand Illusion, Roll Roll Cotton Boll, Tobacco Road, and Lazy Sunday.  I now add to that list -- Cathedral Stars!

I started this quilt when Bonnie was teaching at a guild event and my friend took me to her workshop for my birthday present -- three and a half years ago.

So, I have six in-progress Bonnie Hunter quilts at the start of 2016.  How many of can I finish before the end of 2016?  How many more will I find buried in my sewing room?  How many more will I start?  

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Word of the Year

The fabulous Pat Sloan got me thinking about my 2016 Word of the Year when she reminded me that her 2015 Word of the Year was FINISH.  That was a good word, wasn't it?  She comes up with some great ones.  My 2015 Word of the Year was UNSUBSCRIBE.  I did a lot of unsubscribing last year and I'm happier for what I've excluded.   This year's word is a continuation of last year's word.  I've chosen:


I plan to spend 2016 re-examining everything and asking "why?" about each possession, commitment, relationship, and habit.  If I have a good reason for it, it can stay in my life.  If I don't have a good reason for it, I'll need to make a change.

  • "Why do I need to keep clothes that don't make me feel fabulous?" 
    •  I don't; they are being given away.
  • "Why do I need to attend a community meeting that I don't add any value to and that doesn't make me happy?" 
    • I don't; I've let them know I'll no longer be involved.
  • "Why am I living with a dodgy phone charging cord when it makes my life miserable?"  
    • I don't; I'm ordering a new one.
  • "Why do I look at my phone first thing in the morning?" 
    • That is a more difficult why and I'm still working on it.
  • "Why would I want to go to the Tokyo Quilt Festival in January?"  
    • Why not?????

What is your 2016 Word of the Year?  And why did you choose it?

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Bonnie Hunter Mystery part 4

Continuing to state the obvious, I am behind on Bonnie Hunter's Allietare mystery quilt.  My progress so far...

Step one:  complete!
Step two:  complete!
Step three: complete!
Step four:

I need to make 29 more sets of these.

Others have made much more progress than I have and you can look at all the lovely pieces HERE.

I have made no progress on:
Grand Illusion
Roll, Roll Cotton Boll
Tobacco Road

I'm mostly over being sick but decided to spend any energy I found this week on being festive instead of quilting, but I did find another incomplete Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt -- Lazy Sunday:

I am home for 8 more days before my 2016 travel season begins.  There is next to no chance that I will finish any of these before I leave, but at least I know waht I will need to work on when I'm home for a few minutes between trips next year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Tough Choices

As I'm recovering from whatever lung ailment has been plaguing me for over two weeks, I realize the importance of pushing fluids.

Do you think I have enough suitable beverage containers?

Update:  I am officially a huge fan of antibiotics and have resumed my love affair with breathing and sleeping after a few days of medication.  I got my Christmas present early!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Fourteen Days

I am home for a stretch and trying to make the most of it.  Imagine my shock when I looked at a calendar today and discovered that I only have another 14 days left at home before my 2016 travel season starts.


I wasn't actually sad about the travel starting; I am actually sick and have been for the last 16 days.

It's totally not fair that 16 of my precious days at home have been spent on being sick.  I'm tired of coughing.  I'm tired of not sleeping.  I'm just tired.  Yesterday, I got some powerful drugs and I'm just now starting to believe that I might live.  My husband is hopeful that he might get a good night sleep again sometime, too!

The good news:  I have hope that I'll be healthy by Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Home for the Holidays

She's Home!  My baby is home!

I recently received a box containing Petal Power, my runner that was published in Generation Q Magazine!

Doesn't she look pretty in my kitchen?  I wonder how long I can keep the magazine open on the table...

Did you get this issue of Generation Q Magazine?

You can subscribe HERE.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

It's the Little Things

I was traveling this week, visiting family for some festivities and saw this:

Most of those miles were accumulated driving to and from quilting events.

Does anyone else get excited about things like this?  And Super-Hubby was driving so I was safely in the passenger seat when I took this (very blurry) photo.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Lovies from Friends

I have some amazing friends: friends from real life, friends from the internet, and students that have become friends.  Often, these friends surprise me with lovies in the mail.  As the "Debby is cleaning her office in December" event continues, I'm finding more treasures that I never showed you.

The Hello Kitty hook is holding my current Potato Chip Bag next to my desk so that my lip gloss is always at hand.  Yes, I'm a lip gloss addict.  Don't judge me.  I'm also a Potato Chip bag addict because I couldn't make just one:

The ribbon will be used to wrap some quilts in love.  I love to tie my quilts in ribbon before I give them away.  See?:

The Steeler pincushion will be used as a voodoo doll when my team is losing.  It is empty of pins now since they won last weekend!

The post it notes will only come in handy if I become forgetful.  Oh wait, I'm ALREADY forgetful!  And the note that came with those notes was HILARIOUS!  "I know you love dark chocolate so I ate the chocolate and sent you the paper!"  Thanks, Susan!

The candy will be savored for days when I really need a boost.  Days like yesterday when this happened:

Good-bye Kitty!

I don't know what I did to deserve such great friends, but my (broken) Hello Kitty cup overflows!

Friday, December 18, 2015

A Surprise Quilt

I was recently surprised.  My friend was pregnant and I was positive that she was having a girl baby.  So positive, in fact, that I made her a girl-baby-type quilt.  Imagine our surprise when it was a BOY!

I scrambled and pulled together this quilt for my friend's new baby:

I pulled a bunch of black/white/bright orphan blocks from my basket and simply set and finished the quilt.   The middle block is a sample block I made from Pat Sloan's Scrap Happy Little Wishes Challenge.  I can't remember where the other blocks are from.  Do you recognize any of them?

I learned a lot while quilting it, though, because THIS totally happened.

I played with some more of my new FabuLux thread from WonderFil:

So pretty, right?

I quilted a feathered wreath in the center of each block:

... and this quilt was finished!

Happy birthday, baby boy!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Bonnie Hunter Mystery, part 3

Restating the obvious:  I'm behind on my Allietare quilt.  I'm making progress, but still behind.  Ever onward, right?

I am finished with week one (yay!), I only have 2 of 20 sets completed from week 2, and just made enough blocks from week three to see what they look like:

Check out the progress other quilters have made on Allietare HERE.

I've made a little progress on my Grand Illusion Quilt this week:

Two blocks down, 23 to go.  Why did I put this away undone last year?  I am falling in love with this quilt!

I made a little progress on my Roll, Roll Cotton Boll Quilt, as in I ordered the book so I can finish this pile of fabric and turn it into a beautiful quilt:

I can't wait!

I'm still sifting through my quilting room and found yet another unfinished Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt -- Tobacco Road:

Did I mention that I started this quilt in 2005?  OVER TEN YEARS AGO!!!  This quilt has aged long enough and needs to be finished.

I'm afraid to keep cleaning my sewing room.  How many more Bonnie Hunter UFOs will I find?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Be In The Know

I am hard at work preparing to announce several new top-secret super-fun quilting projects.

If you want to be sure you hear all of the news as soon as I can share it, subscribe to my newsletter.  Go to my website and subscribe or go to my Debby Brown Quilts facebook page and subscribe from there.

I'll be in touch with you soon!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Needle in a Stack of Needles

I could use some help.  Does anyone know what pattern belongs with these blocks?

You see, while I was cleaning I found these blocks and some sashings and some other fabrics all together with everything... except the pattern.  I know the pattern was from before 2005 because I made another quilt from this pattern for someone who graduated from high school that year... AND GAVE IT TO THEM ON TIME!  That was so unusual as to be memorable.

The pattern is in one of these magazines:

This might take a while.  Any guesses how many papercuts I'll get while looking for the pattern?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Saving is for the Dogs!

I am a frugal quilter.  That means I never throw anything away.  I don't throw away small fabric trimmings:

I don't throw away batting scraps, either:

I take my fabric scraps and fill a small muslin pillow (approx. 18"x20") until it is stuffed firm.  I put this small pillow inside of a leftover pillowcase and surround it with batting scraps.  Then I sew the pillow closed.  This makes a great cushion for the dogs at the shelter:

It is stuffed full.  It is fluffy all around with a firm center so that the dog doesn't end up sitting in a flat spot.

I have a collection of pillowcases left from old twin bed sets when my children lived at home.  I'm making good use of my leftover quilting bits and my leftover pillowcases from my linen closet. And a dog just got a comfy bed.  

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Lovies from Friends

I am still cleaning my sewing room/office.  I'm digging through piles of mail and unpacking all of my bags and totes and suitcases from 2015 shows.  I realized that I never showed some of the fun gifts I've received from my quilty friends.  Gifts like:

My dear friend from afar colored a Halloween candy corn card for me and included some Hello Kitty stickers!  Thank you friend!

An online friend ran in and out of my classroom in Houston to give me Hello Kitty skeleton candies.  Thanks!

A new friend saw  a flocked Hello Kitty Halloween card and thought I needed it.  I think she was right!

Thanks for the love, folks!  I don't deserve you!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Deck the Halls ... or Something

I'm not a big decorator.  This includes my house, my table, and any gifts I might give.  I'm missing the "Oh, let's see how pretty I can make this" gene.  The only things I make pretty are quilts.  And babies.  I had very pretty babies.

Back to decorating.  This is as festive as I get:

I put my Christmas quilt and pillowcases on my bed.  This is a large, early version of my Share and Share Alike quilt pattern.  The published pattern is 44x44 and looks like this:

Can you see how the fabric makes all the difference?

Pre-Christmas check list:

1.  Deck halls -- check!
2.  Buy presents -- working on it
3.  Wrap presents -- never gonna happen

Friday, December 11, 2015

Little Wishes for You

Early this fall, Pat Sloan issued a Scrap Happy Little Wishes Challenge.  I finally finished it!

I pulled out brown scraps and cream scraps for these blocks.  I used a consistent black fabric throughout:

I wasn't sure how I was going to sash these blocks, but then I found this chocolate candies border fabric:

It had the same black and brown and cream that I used in my quilt, but it also had hot pink.  I had some hot pink in my stash, so I used it in the sashing.  The problem was that the hot pink was HOT!  It glowed on my quilt.  GLOWED!

I needed to lessen the contrast between the hot pink and the rest of the quilt, so I quilted everything in pink thread.  It neutralized my quilt.  I used In The Pinks, one of my new FabuLux threads from WonderFil:

This quilt is pieced, quilted, bound, and delivered to a friend.  I wante to give her a year's supply of hugs and this quilt is doing that job for me!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Bonnie Hunter Mystery, part 2

Let's start with the obvious:  I'm behind on my Allitare Mystery Quilt.  I have not managed to stay on track with the weekly clues, but I'm not giving up!

I have about 280 of the 294 triangle pairs done from week one, but I wanted to make one set of week two's assignment:

Is it just  me or do they look like Santa hats?  Some quilters have made great progress and have chosen some really fantastic color combinations.  Check them out HERE

I've been home for over two weeks, but they have been ridiculously crazy weeks.  Hopefully this next week will be a mite calmer and I'll get caught up.  Hahahahaha!  Gasp.  Hahahahaha!  Like that's going to happen?

Remember when I pulled out my Grand Illusion quilt last week?  Well, I managed to piece one of the blocks this week:

Only 24 blocks to go.  Plus sashing.  And quilting.  And binding.  And I'm tired.

I found another half-done Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt, Roll, Roll Cotton Boll:

I started this quilt in November 2010.  And this isn't even close to my oldest UFO.

The entire body is pieced but I have just pieces of the border.  I have to buy a copy of String Fling to get the pattern to finish the quilt.  Maybe I'll piece one tiny section of the border this week if the book arrives in time?

So, how many un-finished Bonnie Hunter myster quilts do you have?  I currently have at least three.  I'm still cleaning my sewing room and may find more.  Please oh please don't let me find more.  Pretty please?

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

The Reason for my Madness

I have been cleaning my sewing room since Thanksgiving -- organizing, dusting, finishing quilts, getting rid of things -- all to get ready for yesterday.  Yesterday, I got new windows in my sewing room.  The old windows were broken and living in here was just like living outside:  cold in the winter, hot in the summer, and with plenty of seasonal bugs.

The window guys gave me instructions on preparing my room:  move everything away from the windows so that we can work.  Um......  I have shelving along all of the walls and under each window.  I have two longarm machines that have projects stacked under them.  Basically, everything in the sewing room was going to have to be moved.  To say I was panic-stricken by this news is an understatement.

To prepare, I pulled everything out from under each longarm, decided what to keep and what to donate, and neatly packed it back under the machine in plastic bins.  I could slide these bins around when I moved the machine without accidentally dumping out the contents and making a larger mess than I started with.

Yesterday morning, my husband and I moved the longarms and shelves away from the windows and the window guys successfully installed four new windows.  Hopefully they will keep the weather and bugs out so I can quilt more comfortably.

Today I am putting my sewing room back to rights and hope to further clean and organize during the rest of my month at home.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

The Big Dig

I'm still digging through the layers in my sewing room and have just finished sifting through the layers left during the Paleozoic age.  I can't wait to see what I dig up from the Proterozoic age.  They had some good fabric back then!

This was today's interesting find:

I'm not sure when I bought these, but I do know that I bought them to make a gift for a certain person.  She doesn't use a computer so we can safely talk about her and her gift here.

Has anyone used these?  Can you offer advice?  Did you use a solid piece of fabric?  Did you piece the placemats?  Did you use a (gag) bias binding?  Any helpful hints?  I would like to give these as a Christmas present.  Yes, this Christmas.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Digging Deeper

I'm still trying to get to the bottom of the piles of fabric and projects in my sewing room.  I tried to bribe my grown daughter with "I'll give you $1 to come and organize my sewing room for me," but she didn't bite.  Ungrateful child.

I found this yesterday:

It is an already pieced Yellow Brick Road quilt made from Red Hat Society fabrics.  The top is about 36x45.  I have 4-5 yards of the large hat print for borders/backing.

Why on earth did I buy this fabric and start making this quilt nearly 10 years ago?  I wasn't a Red Hat lady then, and I'm still not old enough to be one now!  While I claim to be 29, I'm actually 50-minus years old and 50 is the age that earns a woman a Red Hat.

I want to get this out of my sewing room.  I could:

1.  Put a couple of borders on it, quilt it up, and then give it away.  (To whom?  I need suggestions with contact information)
2.  Cut up the fabric and turn it into a "made fabric" piece, inspired by Victoria Findlay Wolfe's book 15 Minutes of Play
3.  There is no three.  I'm completely out of ideas.

HELP!  I need more suggestions of what to do with this fabric.  OR, I need somewhere to give this quilt if I choose to finish it.  OR... well, you are all brilliant and someone will come up with the perfect idea.  I'm confident of this.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who has "What on earth was I thinking?" projects buried somewhere in their sewing room?

Sunday, December 06, 2015

What Could Have Been So Important?

I'm excavating my sewing room and I discovered this quilt top:

It measured 64x80 and just needed borders.

I remember making it from a pattern in Nickel Quilts:

I remember that it was the Jewel Box pattern:

What I can't for the life of me remember is why, over five years ago,  I abandoned a proejct that only needed borders?  Who does that?

I'll be adding borders this afternoon, and maybe just maybe I won't put it away for another five years before I quilt it.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

A Curated Fabric Collection

I'm spending much of my "42 Days at Home" time in my sewing room, either cleaning or stitching myself into blissful oblivion.  The stitching is fantastic, but the cleaning is quite a chore and I end up talking to myself, asking myself questions like:

Where did all of this fabric come from?
Why did I box up all of these half-done projects instead of finishing them?
Is it time for dinner already?
What quilt are these blocks supposed to make, anyway?
I wonder if super-hubby brought home dinner?
Where is the pattern for this quilt?  Why isn't it in the box with the fabric?
When will I ever finish all of these projects?
Where did all of these dust bunnies come from?
What is bigger than a dust bunny?
Are dust bunnies supposed to have fangs?
Will I ever stop sneezing?
How will I ever organize this mess?

I asked a few of these questions on FaceBook and my friend Scott Flanigan volunteered to take all of my batik fabrics off my hands for me.  He's generous like that.

I have spent days pulling everything out of my seiwng room and I gathered together all of my batik fabrics:

Yep, that's all of them.  Shipping all of  my batik fabrics to Scott wouldn't help me much, and could all be mailed inside of a Christmas card.

Apparently, I don't DO batiks.  I made a Cutie sample out of batiks once because Cathy, owner of the Cutie Pattern line, made me.

Stepping Stones:

Pattern available HERE.

Super-hubby, who replies to every "Do you like this quilt?" question with "It's fine" really liked this quilt a lot.

Him: "I really like that fabric!  I've never seen anything like that before!"
Me:  "Those are batik fabrics, and you likely won't see them ever again."

In the last week, I've touched every piece of fabric that I own and I can say with certainty that I have a curated fabric collection.    I have a lot of stripes, dots, and solids. I don't have any batiks or reproductions.  I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.  I'm just saying that I've noticed.

Are there any fabrics that you don't DO?  Leave an answer and I'll read it tonight.  Today, I'll be at the quilt shop... buying more fabric.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Read My Lips

I am weird.  I know this.  I embrace this.  I choose to hang out with people who are also weird.  We understand each other.

Three years ago, a young friend introduced me to Eric Slager's Minimalist Muppet print and I fell in love.  I fell so much in love that I made a Minimalist Kermit pillow for my friend (read all about it HERE).  She loves that pillow and still talks about it often.

I was speaking with my friend's dad about this and it turns out that he's a huge Muppet fan.  He told me all about his favorite Muppet -- Lips.

He loves this character because they both play the trumpet.  I told myself that I'd attempt a Minimalist Muppet Lips pillow for my friend's dad.

Three years later, I've finally made the pillow.  Since it is minimalist I had to decide what was most important.  I think the eyes were the important part.  Lips squints when he plays the trumpet so I made some squinty eyes on the pillow:

I am not awesome at machine applique.  I'm fine with admitting this.  I only need to be good enough at it to keep the pieces attached.  Mission: Accomplished!

I finished the pillow:

This is a silly little thing and I hope it makes my friend's dad smile.  He's going through some medical stuff this week and I thought it might cheer him a bit.

Have you ever heard of Lips?  Who is your favorite Muppet?

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Bonnie Hunter Mystery

I enjoy all of the celebrations of December:  Eggnog.  Mistletoe.  The annual Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt.

As soon as the Thanksgiving dishes are put away, I look for Bonnie's first clue.  My husband knows this.  My children know this.  My mother-in-law knows this too and asks,  "Are you going to do that thing where you cut fabric into a lot of little pieces again this year?"  Why, yes I am!

This week's hint was to make gray and white half-square triangles.  Lots and lots of them.  Like 294 or something.  I have 90 done:

Must.  Sew.  Faster.

While I am thinking about my Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt, I am remembering last year's mystery, Grand Illusion.  What I'm remembering is that I never finished it:

I found these pieces in a basket, but I don't have the pattern.  Thankfully, Bonnie sells the digital download on her website.  Even more fortunately, it is on sale until December 4.

Must.  Buy.  Now.

So not only am I starting this year's mystery, I'm now re-starting last year's mystery.  By January 1, I will have sewn my fingers to the bone!

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

A Cautionary Tale

All of the quilting teachers who teach at quilting shows and have books and DVDs and online classes are perfect and never make any quilting mistakes.  You know this, right?  Well, all of them are EXCEPT ME!  My motto is "If I can't be a good example, at least I can serve as a cautionary tale."

I am home for the entire month of December and am taking some time to finish up old quilting projects.  I am currently quilting an orphan block quilt and trying out some of my yummy FabuLux thread (Ocean Breeze).  It's soooo pretty!

I pet my quilts as I leave them for the evening (doesn't everyone?) and last night as I was leaving my studio I petted my quilt goodnight and felt a bump.  A bump?  Inside my quilt?  Yep.

I felt it and moved around the bump until I figured out what it was:  a spool of thread.  Sadly, I had already stitched down all of the sashing around that block.  I wondered where would be the best place to unpick the machine quilting so I could slide the spool of thread out from inside of my quilt.  I decided to not unpick any machine quilting but rather unpick part of a seam:

I unpicked about 10 to 12 stitches and then slid out the (blessedly nearly empty) spool of white Konfetti thread.

Why was there a spool of white cotton thread inside of my quilt?  Well, it's mostly a mystery but I do know that the thread was near my quilt because I am whip-stitching batting scraps together for the inside of this quilt while on the quilting frame (large, flat working surface).  I guess the thread got away from me and hid between the layers of the quilt.

I used that thread, though, to stitch the seam closed:

If you look very closely, you can see my hand stitches:

But this is a quilt made of orphan blocks.  If you look closely, or even glance casually, you will see a wide variety of issues.  I'm making this quilt because it is bright and happy and someone will love it and not really care that there are a few hand stitches repairing the escape hatch I made for the spool of thread.  The recipient might even enjoy the quilt more once they know the story!

So, the moral of the story is:  NEVER QUILT A SPOOL OF THREAD INSIDE OF YOUR QUILT!  If I'm allowed a second moral to the story, it would be:  Frisk your quilts regularly, looking for smuggled goods.

My role as a cautionary tale has been fulfilled.