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Friday, December 25, 2009

Hope your Christmas is full of family, food and of course, something to stitch.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

God Bless us - every one

I read Alma's blog this morning after my trip. I would like to urge all of us to join her in doing this. There are a lot of quilters and together we can make a difference.

Her words:

Today remember those less fortunate. I know the economy is bad for most of us. But think how a small amount of money given by a large group of people can add up to a lot. If we all pledge to donate all the change in our wallets to the Salvation Army today, it could really make a difference.

Let's do this!

God bless us - every one.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Almost ready - Merry Christmas to you and Yours

I've been grabbing a minute to read blogs at night before I fall into bed. I love reading the funny ones and the ones about the laid back Christmases - relaxing days Christmases - but not to be had here.

Christmas is a month long event for this household. With kids and grandkids living so near every weekend has something going on and most days of the week are filled with some quilting and some Christmas. One big weekend is the annual picking of the Christmas tree from the front pasture.

Jake and Pops go out and find a tree the right size and shape, cut it and trim the lower branches.

Then we brought it inside and the kids had hot chocolate and cookies. Meanwhile Pep and Jake got the tree in the stand and I put the lights on.
Usually I then slowly trim it but this year the kids drew lots of decorations so I only put up my antique balls and Eunice's (Pep's moms) angel. And of course they added lots of their decorations.
That was a day's work.

Last weekend we had our Christmas with Max and his 3. I made all of the little ones a small crayon tote using a pattern from Clothesline Quilts. Moda forgive me I got "Cars" and "Spongebob" fabrics to make the totes. I thought they were cute and the kids all love to color. My idea was to keep Cullen and Quinn's totes here so they could use them when we go to church. NOT! They played with them all afternoon, colored on the pads I put in them, read the book on "colors" I put in. They were definitely a hit . If I want ones to stay here for going to church, I'll make new ones.

Cullen is the "Cars" person - he was pretty easy to buy for this year. Quinn is the one with Mickey Mouse, Spongebob and Spiderman - a little more diverse. Aidan is pretty grown up at 7.

Kelly, Jake & Zoie will be here Christmas Eve and morning. Then Brian and Shannon and their 3 come Saturday.
A very full month - a very good month.
Meanwhile, I've been slowly but steadily working on the January wallhanging, Mini Quilt and the new Mystery Quilt. I have January's block ready to stitch. I'll take it with my tomorrow - no, it's today now - when I run down to Springfield to my brother's and pick up Zoie's Christmas puppy. Jim's a vet and he found us a Japanese Chin for her. I'll spend the night there while Pep says home and put's toys together. Then back to wrap and bake - and slow down some at night and early mornings to sit and stitch. God bless applique.
On New Year's Eve we stay at home and go to bed.
Merry Christmas and Happy Quilting to you all.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I forgot

to say - Quilter Kim, please email your shipping info to and Tara will ship your kit right out. Sorry bout that.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ornament Kit

Zoie drew a name and the winner of the Ornament Cutout Kit is Quilter Kim. Hope you and your grandaughter have lots of fun with it. Zoie decided to use some twill and homespun for the back of the ornaments since they would be up against the tree. That way she has 20 ornaments instead of 10.

They have two new kitties this year and have been pondering what to do about ornaments. These, some paper ones made by the kids and some apple slices on fabric loops will probably be the only things on the tree besides lights. Good year to get it for her.
We're off to sew.

Thanks for all of your great comments. We have 9 pairs of cardinals that come to our feeder every day, Brenda. They are just awesome.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A lot of a pretty good thing - mostly

I love snow - as long as I don't have to drive in it. Pep made it home safely yesterday morning and was off last night. Kelly and both of my boys in KC did fine so I just get to think of the pretty part.

I filled the bird feeders early this morning. Bully didn't like the deep snow but went out anyway. Sniff, our Welsh Corgi, may be low but he loves the stuff.

People ask me sometimes where I get the ideas for my quilts. Usually I just process the world I live in - it's pretty rich and varied. This morning I just consciously noticed one of the garden gates. But I've done 3 "Gate" patterns over the last year. Watch for "Spring at the Gate" - due to ship in February with our Looking Back fabric line. We'll be ready for spring around then. Right now, I still like snow. There's a pot of soup on the stove, the chickens, cats and dogs are all cozy and I get to quilt.

This Saturday I teach Girl Gang at Quilter's Station in Lee's Summit. Zoie will be going with me so I got her this kit to make Christmas ornaments. You have to order them in 3's. Zoie has one, Tara took one for Sierra and we have one left. If you'd like one for a little girl in your life, just make a comment below - say something Christmasy or snowy. We'll do a drawing of all of the comments Friday morning.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

And we have a winner

Linda Schaefer of Ca emailed Tara the correct guess. There were a lot of correct guesses and Kendra drew Linda's name from them this morning. Congratulations, Linda. Each month next year you'll get a free Mystery Quilt block.
We have one kit left of Cabin in the Pines and will probably auction it off in January. For those of you who didn't get the kit and want to make the quilt, it will be a BOM that comes out with our next fabric line. In different fabrics, of course.
For those of you that got the Mystery Quilt this year, your last block will be mailed out soon. Have fun!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

An extension of Mystery Quilt contest deadline

First - we need to post an extension of the deadline in the Mystery Quilt Contest. We had a little trouble getting the email out so we extended the deadline to Monday the 30th. You have through the 30th to guess and Zoie will draw a name on the 1st from the correct guesses. What does the grandfather clock have to do with the Mystery Quilt???? Well - nothing but there is a story that goes with it.

As you know if you read my post last month, Pep and I have been married 40 years as of October 18th. The first time we went to his parents home I saw this Grandfather's clock and just loved it. It was Pep's mother's clock and had originally belonged to her father. Pep remembers his grandfather letting him hide in there when they all played hide and seek. The clock stood in the corner of their living room for 40 years that I know of - but it didn't work. Eunice had jewelers over on several occasions to try to fix it but it just didn't work. Since she loved the way it looked - just like I do - and it had been her father's, it stayed in the corner of the living room. Last month before the house was sold, my son Brian went to Chillicothe with me to bring the clock to our house. He thought we should put it in the living room but that would have called for a major upheaval and furniture rearranging - not one of my favorite chores. And there was a space in the back bedroom where it would just fit. We got it home just as it started raining and put it in the bedroom. The weights had gotten askew and the lock was stuck so I had Pep come open the door and straighten things out. He set it and started the pendulum.

It's been working ever since.
And it chimes. Some clocks have a lever to turn off the chimes but not this one.
And it's in the bedroom with the crib :)
We can just stop the pendulum and that will stop the clock. We've had to do that a couple of times when people need to sleep but it has started up again each time we reset it.
And I'm not moving it! It might stop working. It seems to like it where it is.
Pep's mother would have been so excited - maybe she is!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mystery coming to an end

I was doing one of my favorite things thIs morning while I sipped my coffee and listened to my tapes. I was sewing the binding on this year's Mystery Quilt. It's almost time for the December Mystery Quilt block to be posted on the website, finishing up this year's quilt. Sooooo.......

we decided to have a contest. Make a guess as to what the 12th block will be. Just post your guess in the comments section or email Tara at We're sending out an email on this contest too so all of the guesses won't be in the comments section. And since we're sure that there will be lots of correct guesses, will draw a name from the correct guesses on Friday the 27th. The winner will get a free Mystery Quilt next year. And do remember that next year the quilt will be almost totally different - it will be a sampler though - my favorite kind of quilt. Good luck ladies.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Frost on the Pumpkin?

This might be carrying "frost on the pumpkin" a bit too far.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Berry making

We're getting ready to send out the last section of Pomegranates and Berries - a quilt with lots and lots of berries. I'm getting familiar enough with blogging to try and show what I think is the easiest way to make lots of berries. And those of you that know me know that I love to put berries on quilts. This method works great for any kind of circle though, not just berries. So here goes.

Trace the circle on your pattern the required number of times onto freezer paper and cut the circles out.
Or if the berries are the right size (and most of mine are) buy Avery dots at your local office supply store.

Iron the freezer paper dots to the wrong side of your fabric - or simply place the Avery dots there.

Cut the fabric 1/4" larger than your pattern - 1/8" for very small berries.

(I like to keep my patterns and fabric circles in a ziploc bag so I don't lose any.)

Make a knot in your thread and do a running stitch around the outer edge of your fabric.

Pull the thread until the fabric is snugly around your paper berry. Backstitch and cut your thread.

Applique berry to background. Cut out the back and remove the paper with your fingers or with tweezers. This is one of 4 sections to a Pomegranates and Berries block. Each block has 24 berries and there are 9 blocks to the quilt. It is totally awesome to behold. Can't wait to get it on my bed - if I can keep Kelly away from it. She loves black quilts and the border is black.

If I'm doing lots and lots of berries in a block I use glue to anchor the berries before sewing. You don't need much glue - just put a dot on each side of the fabric.

Now sew the berries on by sewing up one side of a string of berries and down the other. That way you don't have to keep starting and stopping.
This is a flower from the beeskep block from "Across the Wide Missouri" by Edie McGinnis and myself. It's the KCStar BOM for 2010.

Love those berries!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

We have a Winner

November Mystery Quilt Block

I really want to thank you all for all the awesome names and really nice comments in my quest to find a name for the Mystery Quilt this year. It was really hard to pick one because there were so many great choices. And I finally had to decide on one.

The 2009 Mystery Quilt will be "Cabin in the Pines". Colleen please email Tara your shipping info and she will send you a Cottage Garden kit.

I did decide to use the name "Homespun Stars" for the Featured Fabric Quilt next year so Patchworksail if you'll email Tara your info we'll ship you a Harmony Layer Cake. (Moda somehow lost my order for the Blessings precuts so I didn't get any - Hope Harmony is OK)
And since there were so many really neat entries that I liked a lot, we did a consolation drawing of all of the rest of the suggestions and Nancy of MT won either my last Harmony Layer Cake or my last Hemming House Jelly Roll. Just let Tara know.

Meanwhile it was Halloween! And since we live outside of a pretty safe small town, all of the grandkids congregated here. I don't have pictures of the 2 smallest because they came after Trick or Treating and were very tired.

Zoie had a gigantic pumpkin (not pictured) that called for the Pops and his Spiderco (sp?) knife that will cut through cars. She wanted it carved to look like a guinea pig. It did too! Pops and Max set to work and soon all of the pumpkins were carved. Quinn had gotten his pumpkin at his preschool party and didn't want a bigger one.

Then on to costumes. Uncle Max applies face make up to a "devil" of a face. (Good old Brian Jr.)

Cullen made a great snake!

What a fun night.
They were all cozy in their costumes. Grandma only wore her jean jack and almost froze to death. Silly grandma!

Monday, October 26, 2009

On October 18th, 1969 at 6:30 pm - 40 years ago - Pep Patek and I got married. His real name is Harry but his friends have always called him Pep. He is now and has always been my great, best friend. Not that we haven't had a rough time or two along the way but we've always been able to maintain our commitment to each other and to our marriage. We were very lucky. (He says this isn't a good picture of him - he wasn't smiling. Life with him has always been interesting.)

Quite a few people got the year right so we had a drawing.

Here is Zoie with her great, best friend, Afentra the Guinea Pig. She drew the angel on the door. You can look for it in a quilt some day. And she drew Alda's name from the Halloween bowl.

Alda, if you'll email Tara at, she'll send you a Blessings Jelly Roll.
I almost hate for it to be over because it's so much fun to read all of the comments.
Thanks to all of you for your guesses and your congratulations.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pep & Bruce now

You've seen pictures of Bruce Gervais and Pep in their wedding tux's. Here they are with Hassan at Fall Market in 2009.

They were watching people get their pictures taken in the Moda frame and commenting, I'm sure.
I think they've both just gotten better and better looking each year.
And I am only slightly prejudiced. They both turned out to be "keepers".

Monday, October 19, 2009

Market pics - and How Many Years

We made it home through the driving rain - not at all a fun trip. At one time heading north just before Dallas it was raining so hard that the water couldn't drain off the road. We were suddenly (in a loaded van) floating sideways as were the cars in front of us. Pep did what he calls "white knuckle driving" the rest of the way through Texas, it slacked off in Oklahoma and then set in again in Kansas. But he got us home safe and sound. Rather exhausted but here again on top of our hill.

This is Sandy Gervais' booth. I'd tell you all about Market but she did it so well I thought I'd refer you to her blog on it. I sat and laughed out loud and read it to Pep. Her pics are great too of everyone. Anyway go to Sandy's blog if you haven't already.

Edie McGinnis and I in front of our "Across the Wide Missouri" quilts. These will be the KC Star Bom for 2010.

The display in the KC Star Booth at Market for my new book "Flags of the American Revolution".

Another view of my booth with my "triangle square" quilt - Oak Leaves and Berries (due to ship with the Looking Back fabric). The triangle square exchange was great fun. Edyta Sitar's batiks (Laundry Basket) are awesome and her marketing ideas are great. If you're a shop I'd really refer you to her book Friendship Triangles.

Picture taken by Sandy Gervais at Market - what I really look like. That's Kathy Schmidt behind me.

Now a contest (within a contest - the Mystery Quilt contest won't end until Halloween - keep thinking up those names for me.) Anyway - October 18th is Pep and my anniversary. And the contest is of course, how many years.

I was thinking about it this morning. There was no Walmart. I spent about $25.00 a week on groceries but there were only 2 of us. And my math back then was as bad as it is now. We got some checks for wedding presents and I added them all up and put them in our checking account to buy things for the house we were renting. I wasn't at work so I didn't have an adding machine. I overdrew us $150.00. We had to ask Pep's parents for a loan the 1st week we were married. They were pretty neat about it. :)


Here we are leaving the reception. Pep's father had brought the champagne and liquor by the case into the hotel. Then he paid the bartender a corkage fee. So he got paid for every bottle that was opened. It was a very fun reception as most of the people from out of town were staying there and didn't have to worry about driving home. We did - so we just took a couple of bottles of champage with us.
Memories. - Good ones.
And 3 kids and 8 grandkids later, we're still building the good memories.
Anyway, I'll end this contest Saturday afternoon, the 24th. If there's more than 1 correct answer I'll have Zoie draw a name. The winner will get a Blessing Jelly Roll.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


This is going to be short because it's taken us last night and half of this morning just to find the picture files after we loaded them onto the computer.

Computers are NOT my thing. Luckily Pep is along. The booth is in the convention center which is not airconditioned (in the set up area only). It is warm (hot,muggy) in Houston at this time of year - I think mostly all year and it rained most of yesterday. Sandy and Bruce ran around in the rain all morning looking for a bench to put pillows on and didn't find one. I lent Sandy a stand and a couple of wire baskets and it looks great.

Here at the end of the day, Bruce and Mark Dunn (pres. of United Notions) discuss weighty matters.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

While we're away.......

We'll be gone almost a week and we'll be pretty busy. So I thought I'd have you all do some work for me while we're gone.

I need a name for this year's Mystery Quilt. I've been calling it the Star Medallion but that's pretty lame.

Here's a jpg of the drawing of the whole quilt and a couple of the blocks that are sewn - can't give away the Mystery quite yet.

I thought I'd have a contest. Just give it your best shot at what I should call the quilt. This is a purely subjective contest. Enter your name in the comments section. I'll give it until the end of October - Halloween Day I'll pick a name.

And since I always miss my garden at this time of year, the winner will get a Cottage Garden kit. If I like 3 or 4 names, I'll keep them for future kits and the runner ups will get a Blessings Jelly Roll.

We're taking Pep's laptop to Market. If I can figure out his photo program and get the camera to work on it (big "ifs" for this not computer person) I'll blog from Market. But I will at least be able to read your entrys. This will be fun.
Better get back to sleep for awhile.
Keep quilting.