New Year – A studio upgrade

One to the thing I love about visiting quilting friends studios, is that you get new ideas for organization, storage or layouts for your own studio.

big board ironingWe used to use a traditional ironing board, and then we saw that one of our friends purchased a Big board that slipped on over you existing ironing board.   We bought one and Donna made a new cover for it.   We really liked it.

Then we saw someone else, that had a sewing “big board” with storage built in.   Hmmmmm.    The space under our “big board is wasted space that we could certainly use more storage.

ironing board with shelvesSo, I got online and purchased 2 shelving units on wheels (because everything in a studio is better if it has locking wheels).   Now we have a “big board” ironing station with additions storage.

I think we all need as least one studio space upgrade in the new year and this is ours.

Happy Ironing,


Quilt Raffle – And the winner is, ME

Our local quilt guild has an annual quilt raffle as a fundraiser.   The drawing for the raffle is at our end of year Holiday Party in December.

Woohoo, I was the big winner!!!   Here is the quilt that I won.


Somewhere in here is one of the blocks that I made (but I can’t remember which one it was).

I think that the quilting is outstanding and was very excited to win.    It was a wonderful end to a tough year.

Happy Stitchin,


Finished the last few blocks for Year of Hope Wallhanging

I finally finished all the blocks for the wall hanging.  Now I am working on the assembly of the quilt.

Healing Hands block: I was inspired by a pair of earrings that I bought near the Grand Canyon probably 10 years ago at a craft show of Native American crafts.  The earrings are called “Healing Hands”.  So I decide to make a circle of hands around a ring of flowers to represent all the people who have helped me on my journey. I made the flowers using color catchers which had been dyed in the laundry. Then I painted the flowers with fabric pastels. I used free motion quilting to make the hands.


Painted Sun block: This sun block was inspired by a card that I received.  I used hand dyed fabric for the base of the sun.  I added free motion quilting designs to the sun using the card for inspiration.  I free motion quilted the background with a stippling design.




Sisters block: The last block that I completed was for my sister, Mary.  She was a great caregiver for me during my cancer journey. Mary was awesome.  I was inspired by paper doll quilts that I saw on Pinterest.  Mary helped me “size down” the paper doll images so that I could make a template for the dolls that would fit on my block.  The paper dolls reminded me of our childhood – playing with paper doll cutouts.  I used fusible machine appliqué for the dolls and sisters’ flag.  I outlined the dolls with black thread and free motion quilting.  I used green burlap for the grass.


Old block

“Redo” of the Hope block: When I started working on the quilt layout, I needed to change the color of the Hope block from pink to teal.  I used fusible machine appliqué with the new Hope block.

My next post will show the completed wall hanging.  Can’t wait.

Keep having fun sewing and quilting.  Donna

New block

Two blocks for the Year of Hope wallhanging

I am almost done with the blocks – only 3 more blocks to make.

Comfort and Tea block:  I have been drinking lots of tea this year – mostly green tea plus different herbal teas.  I decided to dry a couple of the red herbal tea bags to use for a block.  I used a piece of hand dyed fabric for the background.  The tea mug and flower are fused machine appliqué.  I free motion quilted the words “comfort and tea” around the tea mug. I stitched down the tea bag and tag.


Butterfly block:  I was inspired by one of the cards that I received which reminded me of a butterfly.  It took me 2 tries to make the butterfly block because I didn’t like the first one that I made.  For the 1st try: I used water soluble stabilizer and thread scraps to make the fabric for the butterfly.  To make the thread fabric: take a piece of water soluble stabilizer (I used Solvy) and fold it in half.  Place the threads, ribbons, or yarn inside. Then quilt the folded piece using a small stippling pattern.  Soak the piece in water for 1-2 minutes until the stabilizer dissolves.  Let it dry on a towel.

1st try

Then you can cut the fabric into a shape like the butterfly wings.  I added a black body to the butterfly and finished quilting the block. This butterfly looks like the butterflies that my kindergarten students used to draw.   But I didn’t like the block for my project so I started over.  2nd try: I decided to add a bush with flowers to one corner of the block. I used a piece of tyvek for a wing of the butterfly.  I like my second block better than the first try.

Keep having fun sewing and quilting. Donna

2nd try

More gifts for my medical care team and others

I took a break from the wallhanging project to make gifts for my medical care team and friends from the weekly neighborhood card group.  On my last day of radiation, I made cinnamon muffins for the team and some fabric gifts for the nurses.  I am sure that the muffins were gone within an hour of my appointment.  I could smell the cinnamon as I walked down the hallway.  I also made some fabric gifts for my neighborhood friends who we play mahjong with once a week.  They have been very supportive and positive throughout my cancer treatments.  The travel tissue holders are super quick and easy to make.  (  The bag pattern is a little duffle bag (  These 2 projects are good for using scraps of fabric. It’s fun to coordinate the fabrics for the bags and tissue holders.  Have fun sewing and quilting. Donna

A Year of Hope – part 6

I am on the home stretch of finishing the quilt blocks.  I have completed 19 blocks now and only 5 blocks to go. Sometimes I get on a roll and complete 2 or 3 blocks. Then I have to take a break and think about what to create next.  I try to keep a sketch book handy so I can jot down some of my ideas.

Block #17 Family: I started this block with a different idea but then changed my mind after quilting the background.  I quilted the background with Hearts and Spirals on white fabric (#329 in Leah Day’s 365 Days of Quilting Designs). I found a scrap of fabric that was pieced together and I thought it would make cute hearts.  So I pieced together 5 fabrics and then cut out the heart outlines. The hearts were fused on the background and then outlined with a blanket stitch.  I decided to make 5 hearts because I grew up in a family of 5 kids. Mary thinks that this block looks Celtic – we are a little bit Irish.  LOL

Block #18 Ladybugs and Flowers: This block was inspired by one of the cards that I received.  The block is a machine embroidery design (Hatched in Africa designs) that was done in black thread only.  Then I colored in the design using watercolor pencils and pastels.  Using water and a brush, I blended the colors and heat set the design with a hot iron (no steam).  I used a small stippling design to quilt the background.

Block #19 Birds: Last year Mary gave me a bird feeder for my birthday.  Now I have 2 bird feeders.  I have always enjoyed watching birds and even made some bird models when I was young. I have also made several quilts with birds.  Mary helped out with feeding the birds when I was not able to keep up with the feeding. I have a bird guide book that I keep track of the birds that we see in the backyard.

I found some copper colored mesh with a seed design fabric to use for the bird feeder.  The birds are fused on the background and free motion quilted in place.  The background was quilted with a stippling with clover design.

Keep having fun sewing and quilting.  Donna

A Year of Hope – part 5

I am very excited. So far I have completed 16 blocks.  I think I will make 8 more blocks and then start putting the wallhanging together. When I started this project, I was using the greeting cards for my inspiration.  I decided to also make some blocks for family members and friends who have supported me but did not send me cards.

Block #13: In Memory of Mom.  My mom died of breast cancer almost 30 years ago.  Her favorite flower was the bleeding heart.  For the background, I free motion quilted flowing lines – slightly curved lines with a random pattern.  I used fusible web for the leaves and flowers and then couched yarn for the flower stems.


Block #14 Quilting Bee Friends: My quilting friends have been very supportive throughout the year with encouragement and support.  I wanted to use some bee buttons that I had in my stash for this block.  So I looked for ideas for a beehive block on pinterest.  I saw a quilt block that had a beehive on top of a spool of thread. First I quilted the background using a clover stippling design from Leah Day’s 365 Days of Quilting Designs.  Next I added the spool of thread with a piece of measuring tape ribbon on top.  I cut out shades of pink fabric to make the beehive and fused the pieces onto the background.  I used a Honeycomb stitch on my machine (#8) to stitch down the sections of the beehive.  I only had 5 bee buttons to stitch on.  The bees have a happy smile too.






Block # 15 – New York Sons: I have appreciated all the visits, calls, and texts from my sons during my cancer journey.  Both my sons were born in upstate New York and they each lived in NYC as adults.  So I decided to use a New York City theme for their block.  For the background, I used Hoffman NYC skyline fabric – I still had a yard of the fabric leftover in my stash.  I drew the outline of buildings for the skyline using a Frixion pen and a ruler.  Using a fuchsia thread I free motion quilted along the outline of the buildings and added some windows.  I used a teal thread to free motion quilt the lettering at the top of the square.




Blocks #16 – Friends Across the Miles:  I made this quilt block for my 2 oldest friends who have been very supportive during my cancer journey.  I met my oldest friend in middle school in California. We have kept in contact over the years through letters, emails and calls.  She enjoys fly fishing with her husband so I put fish on this square.  My friend from college moved to Australia after we graduated.  We have kept in contact through airmail letters and then emails.  I used aboriginal fabrics to make a kangaroo and a spiral sun on this block.  I also did some writing on fabric using a fabric gel pen.


Keep having fun sewing and quilting. Donna