Archive for My Projects

Creativity nurtured by Mom

My mom has always nurtured our creative flames.  No matter how small, she fanned them to see if they’d stop simply smoking and maybe burst into flames!  I’m sure I’ve forgotten some of the crafty ventures we tried.  But I do remember playing with dolls and making doll clothes from a very early age.  Mom encouraged that, giving me free reign over the sewing machine in the corner of her bedroom, and all the fabric from her stash I wanted, as long as I asked first. :)

Mom had a doll collection, and passed that along to me when she saw how much I loved dolls.  I kept them on display in an antique curved, glass-front china cabinet, that I was lucky enough to have “stored” in my bedroom.  Our house came with a “built-in” so this treasured piece of furniture found a permanent home with me as a child.  It is in my dining room today!

I loved playing with the dolls.  There are dolls from Canada, China, Southwest American Indian dolls & Kachina as well as antique china heads and new Madam Alexanders in my collection.  My father, an Anthropologist, contributed some interesting dolls through the years.  I think the funniest one was a cave-man.  And there were more than a few Trolls.  LOL

I progressed beyond doll clothes to making entire dolls in college.  I think my first one was a self-portrait doll, that is quite humorous!  I am only 5’2″ tall, and never was “svelt”.  But my doll is long & lean, made entirely of fine-wale cotton corduroy, wearing only bright yellow vinyl Kastinger ski boots, and leather mittens.  I was an avid down-hill skier in my youth!

I went through my “folk” doll period a decade or so ago.  And I love getting those dolls out of their boxes and straightening their aprons & dresses, as much as ever!

My good friend Susan gave me a treasured Angel, made by her mother-in-law, a well known local doll maker.  I love her natural wool roving hair and the details Earlene included.

In honor of my mother and Mother’s Day, I am giving away a neat book by Teresa Cato, FANCIFUL CLOTH DOLLS – From Tip of the Nose to Curly Toes – A complete visual guide to doll making.

I will draw one name on Tuesday May 14th. 

Please go here to enter.


I’m also including a bundle of 6 Cotton Fat Quarters in Black & White prints. So be sure to enter for a chance to win by Monday night.

Happy Mother’s Day to all!

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Greeting 2013


I love pillowcases.  I don’t think I ever met a fabric that I didn’t think would make a good pillowcase!  LOL

Here are two sets of pillowcases I made just before Christmas.  We put together and you can still buy kits for these.  It is pretty efficient to make a 12 x 16 inch Tidy Travel pillow case if you are going to make a full size one.  You just need a bit more fabric!

The Mahalo girls arrived just a week before Christmas!  And I needed something for my 20 year old nephew! :)

Getting Christmas gifts made & mailed is always a challenge for me.  I got things done and in the mail the last possible day, Dec. 19th, and the adrenaline rush was great!  Then the deflated feeling, “what do I do now?”, which was temporary!  Isn’t that a funny feeling?  Kinda like when someone puts resistance on your arms while you try to raise them, and then when they stop your arms seem to “float” effortlessly!  Oh well, that lasted only a few hours. :)

Anyway, Fluffy was so happy to find the box of Cuddle Fur Scraps!  I mean HAPPY!  When Meiko challenged, she stood her ground, I mean box!  LOL

Can you find Fluffy in the box above?  She is on her back, with her head to the right of her body. 

Those are the scraps from the neatest Tidy Travel Pillow for my sister out of that Cuddle.   It is like a stuffed animal for an adult.  Only without personality!  I forgot to take a picture of it!  I also made one for the store, so I’ll have to photograph that and include it here later.

In addition to the usual Christmas decoration, I decided to put a quilt on the dining room table.  I loved it!  When a quilt is on the bed, you don’t get to study the quilting.  And this quilting is fabulous.  Jan Hutchison quilted it back in 2007 for me for the Central Kansas Quilt Shop Hop.  I have really enjoyed studying it up close!






Since Christmas, I’ve written 12 email newsletter!  I usually joke that I send out my weekly newsletter once a month!  But since I got the brilliant idea to offer a gift a day for the Twelve Days of Christmas, I had my work cut out for me!  It went over well and now I’ve got some more ideas perculating, so 2013 looks promising!

Our group of Central Kansas quilt shop owners met in mid-December.  That’s me far back to the left of center.  We’ve already started working on the 2013 Central Kansas Quilt Shop Hop.  This October there will be 12 shops, and the group is having fun working on a theme, custom fabric & prizes!  Stay posted, but mark October 4, 5 & 6 and plan to bring some friends!  Check the website: and Marie, left front, is blogging about it, which should be interesting, since she’s our newest member!


I have been working on a new quilt, CONTESSA, by the Kansas design team, Toni & Jenny of Wing and A Prayer Designs.  It seemed to be going well, til I shot this photo, and noticed that I had turned two squares.  I’ve already ripped and re-stitched.  Better to catch it before it is quilted!  You do have to look pretty close to see it!

This class will probably start in April.  It looks like CONTESSA is going to meet evenings, the 2nd Thursday of the month.  We’re exploring the possibilities of meeting from 6:30 to 7:30.  Let me know if you’re interested. 

Oh yea!  Just remembered we’re also participating in VISIT YOUR LOCAL QUILT SHOP DAY.  That is coming up in just a couple of weeks. 

All day Thursday January 24th we’re going to be showing & demonstrating all different types of fusible products.  Touching & feeling is something you just can’t do here on the internet!  We’ll demo & discuss paper-backed fusible web, batting, stabilizers for t-shirts, purses, bowls, vinyl Slicker Glossy & more!  The demonstrations will go on all day, so stop in anytime, 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. January 24th. 

There is currently a PHOTO CONTEST being sponsored by FabShopHop.  For details on how you might win $500, go to!/QuiltShopDay and then come take your picture at Charlotte’s Sew Natural in Historic Downtown Newton!!

Anyway, 2013 will be another busy & fun year.  We’re off to a great start.  Hope you are too!


Cutest Baby Apron, aka BAPRON :)

I recently ran across a link to this great on-line tutorial for a BAPRON – that’s Baby+Apron, on the ROBERT KAUFMAN web site.  I carry a lot of Robert Kaufman fabrics!  I couldn’t choose just one, and there are so many cute fabrics in MODA, Michael Miller, Quilting Treasures, etc.  Just browse my web site!
While a pillow case nicely accommodates a larger print, this project is a darling way to use a smaller, or medium size novelty print!  And they make great GIFTS too! :)
I do not have the pattern to sell, as it is copyright protected, even though it is being offered for FREE.  You must go to the web site for the complete tutorial and to download the pattern:

We carry a fantastic SUPER-SOFTLY WHITE FLANNEL that is perfect for backing BAPRONS.

Because I anticipate these being washed repeatedly, I did pre-shrink the fabrics before starting.  I do not always pre-shrink the fabric being used for the bias binding because it will not really shrink the same, being on the bias.

We have loads of novelty fabrics that will make DARLING BIBS or BAPRONS!  I used a FAT QUARTER when I just wanted to make one.  You can make 3 with a half yard or have enough to make bias for a different bib.

Have fun with this!  Let me know what you come up with!

New Christmas Stockings are done.

I noticed that this pattern, Stocking Sweet Stocking, has been listed in the top 3 best selling patterns for months at one of my distributors.  So I thought, “Maybe I should make one.” LOL

While the pattern uses the very popular tool, LIL TWISTER, I decided to give Marti Michell’s newest tool, TESSELATING WINDMILLS, a chance, and I LOVE IT!

You can see Marti’s video demonstration here:

Marti video

If you have the LIL TWISTER, go ahead and use it, maybe.  I almost can’t endorse that, as Marti’s tool doesn’t waste any fabric or the time, since you are just cutting and sewing once!


I started with a MODA CHARM PACK, CHERRY CHRISTMAS by Aneela Hoey. 






I followed the instructions that come with Marti’s tool, using the 4″ line and added border squares. 

It cuts & sews just like a 4-patch, making it easy for beginners too.


        Fluffy doesn’t seem to care if a quilt is fully assembled or not! LOL







I was able to cut TWO stocking fronts from this resulting mini-quilt.  







Twice as good as suggested in the pattern using the Lil Twister tool which creates slightly smaller squares.

The Tessellating Windmill tool has 8 sizes marked on it.  So I was able to use the 3″ line for the cuff, which yielded the same size called for in the pattern.

 A coordinating fabric looks good on the back.

 The stocking is larger than my family has used in the past, but not too big.  The instructions are clear and easy to follow. 

Changing tools wasn’t hard, as I just skipped those steps, following the instructions with the Tessellating Windmill there, and came back when I was ready to start quilting the fabric.

I can see why this pattern is a “best seller”!


Shop Hop Quilt ready to hang.

I’m so happy!  My Quilt Shop Hop quilt is done and ready to hang!  It is big!  94 inches square.  You could make it smaller by changing a few dimensions if you didn’t want it to fit a queen-size bed.  And of course, it would be easy to make it larger!

Lily & I ran up to the Carriage Factory Gallery’s second floor for enough light and space to get a good image. 

Now, when it stops raining, we’ll run it up to the store and start climbing ladders! Yea!

I’m calling this quilt FRIDA’S SUNFLOWER DREAM.  If you search quotes by Frida Kahlo, this one comes up quickly: “I never paint dreams or nightmares.  I paint my own reality.”   So call it “my dream”. :)

The quilt which inspired me and the original pattern are by Deb Madir.  The pattern will be for sale in the store complete with my alternative measurements for cutting, with Deb’s permissioin. 

The quilting was done by Kay Clark of Wichita.


Flower & quilting detail. Frida’s Garden fabric by Alexander Henry and the exclusive sunflower BATIK, available from and in the downtown store.


New Cell Phone Wallet

One of the nice things about living in the middle of Kansas, is our proximity to so many other places!  We’re just about 7 hours drive from Boulder Colorado, and so, with a 3 day weekend ahead of us, we sped off into the sunset on Friday evening.

But, I needed a handy wallet/carrier for my new cell phone/camera before we left!  I couldn’t risk clutching it in my hand for an entire trip.  So here was my “quickie” solution.

First I selected two pieces of fabric (just happened to have some extra Shop Hop batik lying around the sewing room) and ironed them together with Fast2Fuse in between, which has just the right amount of stiffness for the shape of my bag. 

Fast 2 Fuse fuses two pieces together. Very handy! Great body.

Next I wrapped a piece of scrap paper around the phone, and marked the shape I thought I wanted.  I added seam allowance and a bit more, then folded the paper in half before trimming to size so it would be symmetric.  I laid that on top of the fabric sandwich and cut.

Ready to cut fused body/interfacing/lining sandwich with custom pattern.

I need a secure pocket for my credit cards, driver’s license, and cash, so I cut a 2-layer pocket.  I attached one side of a zipper to the top edge and used the 2nd piece to finish the other 3 edges and attached a strip of velcro to the pocket before stitching the pocket to the inside front of the bag.  I placed it just close enough that the 2nd side of the zipper would be partially covered with the binding around the edge, that would be applied later.  I took a tuck at both lower corners to create some depth for the cards.  I should have made the pocket a smidge bigger, as it is a tighter fit than I’d like.  Just have to carry less cash! :)

One side of zipper applied to top of pocket. Other 3 sides finished with pocket lining before being stitched to bag.

After the pocket is attached, the other side of the velcro is stitched to the underside of the flap.  I folded the fabric around my phone and marked where the lower edge should be.  Then I stitched bias around the outside edge, through 2 layers on each side, and 1 layer where the fold-over flap started, from lower corner to lower corner.  I wrapped it to the inside and topstitched in place.

Cord slides into stitched loops (sewn under binding) and gets knotted at proper length, then trimmed. The seam you see here is only because I was using scraps, and stitched two together to get a bigger piece. “Make do!”

 I like my finished bag!

If you don’t want velcro’s top-stitching to show, you should remember to attach velcro before you fuse 3 layers together in step 1. I don’t mind.


Pocket with zipper for inside security.

I was happy to have it with me on our hikes, as the phone’s camera is so good.  Me on the right below, see it peaking out under my shirt.

Me hiking the Boulder Canyon Trail with Lily, Francis and Randy.


And I’m certainly glad I had my camera phone handy when we got to what seemed like the Top of the World on Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park.  What a gorgeous day and fun trip!

Continental Divide summit on Trail Ridge Road, between Estes Park and Grand Lake Colorado.