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

Fractured Dandelion art quilt- another UFO complete

I’ve been working on some of my UFOs so I can free up some project boxes for “new” projects.   I know I could just buy more project boxes but then there is the matter of needing more storage space.   I’m sure you can relate.

dandlion copy

2017 – Dandelion UFO

Anyways, last year I was working on a dandelion art quilt.

I really love the look of dandelions when they turn white.   So I made a large, close-up dandelion and used a grey background because I wanted to say it was a “modern” quilt (LOL).

Techniques used included reversed appliqué for the center, couching of yarn for the stems, and fabric paint for the white puffy ends.    I even quilted it.   However, it was not speaking to me and I didn’t want to just add borders (as originally planned).   So off it went to UFO heaven.


I recently pulled it out again and hung it on my design wall, trying to figure out what to do with it.   Donna said, “just cut it up“.    I thought about it for a few more days and then she suggested that I watch the episode on cutting up a finished quilt, by Katie Fowler on The Quilt Show.   She has been known to cut up a finished quilts and then re-arrange and re-image the pieces into a new quilt.   So I watched the episode and after it was over, I cut up my UFO quilt.   I cut the segments into 4″x4″, 4″x8″, 4″x6″, and 4″x 12″ strips.   It only took a few mins to cut it up and already I liked it better.



I then grabbed some accent fabrics and a dandelion leaf fabric (that I had originally planned to use as a boarder).   I quilted up some sections of these fabrics and then cut them into 4″ strips.   Now the fun really began and I played on my design wall with the puzzle fabric pieces.

I butted the edges of the quilted segment together and then stitched them together with a decorative stitch and then finished it with a variegated yarn binding.


Completed “Fractured Dandelion” art quilt.

I love this quilt now!

Donna was so right.   All I had to do was cut up the UFO and make it into something new.  I will certainly do this again as I really like the unexpected/fractured results.

Happy Stitchin,   Mary



A Year of Hope – part 4

I am enjoying the process of making these small quilt squares and trying new techniques.

Block #10 – Pink Balloons – I liked the look of the building in this card with the balloons.  So I tried out a new quilting design from Leah Day’s book – 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs.  First I used the “Cubing” design #47 because it looked like a brick wall on gray fabric.  But the gray color was not “upbeat” enough so I switched to a light purple/pink background and quilted the square again.  I tried a couple of window designs before the final design. I added a sheer fabric over the window to give the illusion of glass.  I used decorative stitches on the window frame and window sill (stitch # 750 and #637) to add some details.  I hand stitched on the yarn “strings” before fusing the balloons to the piece.  Using free motion quilting, I added a spiral design to the balloons.

Block #11 Curved Weaving – I have done fabric weaving before using straight strips of fabric so curved weaving was new to me.   I followed the directions for weaving fabric in the book ” Fabric Embellishing – The Basics & Beyond”.  The pictures and directions were easy to follow. The fabric has fusible web on the back so you can iron the fabric in place after the weaving.  I will definitely use this technique in the future.  I used a small satin stitch to stitch along the weaving lines.  Using free motion quilting, I quilted the fused leaves and branches and other details in the background – circles and another branch with leaves.




Block #12 Tree with hearts: I received this cute card with a teal tree with hearts instead of leaves. I found a package of different size heart buttons and small multi-colored buttons at a craft store.  After quilting the background, I fused on the teal tree and free motion quilted the tree to the background.  Then I started stitching on buttons.  I think I got carried away because I stitched on 84 buttons.  LOL.  Then I trimmed down the block.  I decided to baste the edges of the block on the machine.  Oops.  Some of the buttons were now too close to the edge.  So I have to remove about 15 buttons and re-stitch them further away from the edge.  The block that keeps on giving.


Keep having fun sewing and quilting.   Donna

Quilts for Hurricane victims in NC

Hurricane Florence Has Gone, but Challenges for the Carolinas Have Just Begun

We live in the Wilmington, NC area and have personally seen and have friends that were devastated by Hurricane Florence.   While it is no longer in the national news, people are still struggling in NC.    Housing is a huge issue.  More than 600,000 homes received some type of wind or water damage, and 2,600 commercial buildings were submerged in at least one foot of water.   Some families are living in small tents on their property.   American Red Cross said more than 200 people are still living in Red Cross shelters in the state.

More than 129,000 people have registered for individual assistance and more than $105 million in individual assistance has been approved for homeowners and renters.

Schools in Pender County were closed for 5 weeks.   Children who’s homes were destroyed lost everything (school supplies, clothing, toys, books, beds, and security).   “There are close to 900 kids who are sleeping in cars or sleeping in tents in their yards because the insurance checks haven’t come back yet.”

Many of the stories are heart wrenching while others are uplifting as they help restore your faith in humanity and in the kindness on others.   Neighbors helping neighbors.   This will be a long recovery and we feel blessed to have had little damage (personally).


Oct 31, 2018   “Six weeks ago, Hurricane Florence’s powerful storm surges, winds and rains brought unprecedented devastation to our state, causing an estimated $17 billion in damage,” Gov. Cooper said.   Compared to previous storms in North Carolina, damage from

Hurricane Florence is historic. Hurricane Matthew caused $4.8 billion in damages and when adjusted for inflation, Hurricane Floyd caused between $7 and $9.4 billion in damages, meaning that Florence has caused more damage than Matthew and Floyd combined.


I saw a post on From My Carolina Home website and just wanted to share it.

This is a wonderful idea and I hope it will be a huge success.

Mary & Donna


A Year of Hope – part 3

I have been on a roll with this wallhanging project.  I have a total of 11 squares completed and I am working on 2 more this weekend.  I have  so many ideas for these little squares of Hope that I am not sure they will all make the “cut” for the wallhanging.  I want to make at least 20 squares so I have some options with colors for the layout.

Block #6


Block #6Flower Pot.  I wanted to use some of the design guides and elements from Deborah Boschert’s book – Art Quilt Design.  She uses personal symbols in her little collages.


Looking at the card, I decided to use the 5 flowers and then have fun with collage.  I quilted the background with the running stitch (#4) and changed the stitch length to about (3.0) and width (3.0).  I also used odd numbers for my design (5 flowers, 1 pot, 3 squares, 3 straight lines).

It was fun playing around with the different shapes and colors to come up with my design.


Block #7 – Nepal – My daughter in law is from Nepal and she has been cheering me on during this cancer journey.


Block #7

For this square, I stitched on a card from Nepal onto fabric that she bought in Nepal for me while visiting her family.  I added some other collage elements to the quilt square.


Block # 8

Block #8 – “Playing with sheers” – I used the “Third Plus” design from Deborah Boschert’s book.

I wrote on the background fabric using a black fabric gel pen. (First I ironed a piece of freezer paper to the back side to help stabilize the fabric before writing on the fabric).  I wrote some inspirational phrases on the background.

I added one of the flowers from the card and a sheer ribbon to the quilt square.

Using free-motion quilting and black thread, I made the outline of a pot over a piece of sheer fabric.






Block #9 – “Hope” – I wanted to try adding a word to a quilt square just using free motion quilting.

Using a Frixion pen I drew the letters on the fabric.  First I stitched around the letters and then small stippling around the letters.

I tried 6 different fabric background before picking the background for this square.   

Keep having fun sewing and quilting.   Donna

A Year of Hope – part 2

I am having fun making the mini-quilt blocks using all the cards of encouragement that I received this year from family and friends. I am trying out some new techniques and materials in the quilt blocks which is fun.  I am planning to use shades of pink in all the blocks with accents in purple, green, teal, orange, and white.

Block # 3: Ilathera Duck (Colonial Williamsburg card) – I folded a color catcher that was tinted blue in the laundry for the water and stitched it to the edges of the quilt square.  I quilted the background sky fabric with a wavy stitch using the walking foot.

I changed the colors of the card so that I would use more pinks and purples – purple rock and pink flowers.  For the purple duck, I added details with free motion quilting and used colored pencils for shading.

Block #4: Cherry Blossoms – Using a solid pink for the background, I quilted the square with a decorative stitch (#206) of flowers and leaves before attaching the appliqué pieces.

I used scraps of suede for the flower buds and fabric for the branches (attached to the quilt square using a triple stitch).  I stitched on felt buttons for the flowers.

Block #5 Flower – This card had a single flower.

I decided to remove the paper flower to use on my quilt square.  I added an orange/purple center to the flower and stitched it to the square.  I was inspired by some ideas in a book by Gina Perkes (“Appli-Quilting”).  The leaves, circles and stem are fused to the background. Then I used free motion quilting instead of the blanket stitch around the fused pieces.  The background is free motion stippling.  I couched yarn using a zig-zag stitch and #21 couching foot.


Keep having fun sewing and quilting.  Donna

Fall (Aboriginal) Art quit

Last Fall, we went to a Sheep & Wool festival in NY on our way to visit our brother.   One of the things I bought was a few small batik scenes and our little Art Quilt group decided to each use one as the inspiration for an Art Quilt.

This is the one that I got. IMG_5021

Now, I love Australian Aboriginal fabrics and have been collecting them for awhile (storing them in a draw, waiting for that special project).     This little inspiration piece, to me, just screamed Australian Aboriginal fabric and beading.

I grabbed my favorite fabric and some other fabric from our stash and just played.


My finished piece.

The base (before quilting and embellishments) went together pretty fast.  I think I work better if I don’t overthink it and just “play”.

I fussy cut the tree trunks from some birch tree fabric that we had and collaged some bold tree tops.

Here are some close-ups.

After I quilted it, I started embellishing it with hand embroidery, couching of decorative threads/ribbons/yarns.   I decided not to add beading as I thought it already had enough embellishment on it and couldn’t find bead that I liked for the piece.

Finally I added a variegated  yarn-couched binding.



My piece is a bit bolder, in color, than the inspiration piece.

I had a blast working on this piece.

Inspiration is everywhere.


Happy Stitchin’