Friday, September 12, 2014

Week #7 of Friends & Companions Sew-Along!!

It's another Friday...boy they're whizzing by, aren't they?  Block #7 is up and today's designer is Mary Ellen Robison of Red Crinoline Quilts.  Mary Ellen is partner to Paula Barnes at Red Crinoline, and let me say...this woman is a extraordinary piecer and funny!  You have no idea how funny!  So hop on over to the Red Crinoline blog, and see what Mary Ellen has in store for you!

Marcus Fabrics has sold out of my Pin Money fabric collection.  I'm so grateful over how well that line was received, and over the moon delighted so many prints were chosen by Di Ford in her Quiltmania mystery quilt!  

Anyway....if you're still looking for Pin Money bundles, I was able to acquire the missing bolts of fabric needed to make more Pin Money bundles!!  I have Fat Quarter and Fat Eighth bundles on my website.  So, get them while they last, because once they're gone......

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Little Show -N- Tell

I received an email from Diane Courteau last week.  Diane lives in Canada and participates in the Prairie Women's Sewing Circle club at the Fibre Junction Quilt Shop.  Diane wanted to send me pictures of her Contrary Wife quilt (Journey 2 of the PWSC club) because she entered it into the Montreal Quilt Show in May.  I'm really glad she did...wait 'till you see it!!

Here's my original Contrary Wife quilt seen on the cover of the Journey Two pattern.  It's all done in reds and browns.  

This is my antique quilt which was the inspiration for Contrary Wife.   On this quilt, the stars are appliqued and on my quilt they're pieced.  The muslin rectangles in the center of each block bear signatures.  They are faded, but you can tell they were all signed by one person.  I sure wish this quilt would tell us its story!!  I'm not sure how old it is, but think it's pretty safe to say nineteenth century.  All hand appliqued and hand quilted, and in great shape!

Diane Courteau's Contrary Wife Quilt.  
This is Diane's award winning quilt!  Isn't it just lovely?!!  She took creative liberty with the awesome border.  While I am flattered when quilters make my quilts like I have, I encourage everyone to change things up and make it your own.  Look what Diane's creativity produced!

Diane won a 2nd place ribbon in her category which was hand quilting.  Just stunning, Diane!

Congratulations, Diane,  and we're all so happy you shared your beautiful quilt with us.  Diane said she is planning to enter another of my quilt designs in the Montreal show in two years.  We can't wait to see what you do!  

Here's a gentle reminder.....a PLEA really, to send me photos of your Market Day quilts.  I really, really want to see what you've made!!  I have been getting lots of pictures from so many of you from around the world, and I thank you!!  Our deadline is approaching.  I will post my.....

Airing of the Quilts 

very soon, so please email your photos by September 15th!!  Remember, your quilt does not have to be quilted or bound.  

Thanks for visiting my blog, and I hope you enjoy your day.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Week #6 of Friends & Companions and Other Fun Stuff

It's Friday and that means another new block is coming from another Marcus Fabrics Designer!  Fabulously talented Nancy Rink of Nancy Rink Designs will post her block today.  Be sure to  visit her blog and get to know Nancy better.  She is warm, friendly and very funny, and if you ever get the chance to meet her or take a class from her, DO IT!!!  I'm betting you'll recognize her work because she's been designing Block of the Month programs for a long time now.  I can't wait to see what block she's designed myself!!  

I can't seem to stop designing new quilts with my Prairie Gathering collection.  This one just came back from being quilted.  It's one of three new quilts that will be grouped together into one pattern.  The pattern is called Gathering In Red.  The other two are in the trusty hands of my friend and quilter extraordinaire, Ronda.  A sneak peek is all I can do right now.  Please forgive me....I'm so excited about this just had to share.  Something rather special will accompany this pattern, too!  Oh, I can't wait to spill!!

Today, I'm packing the car headed for the open road leading to Mackinaw City, Michigan!!  It's time for our Great Girlfriend Getaway with Lynne Hagmeier (Kansas Troubles Quilters).  I've never been to this area of Michigan and I can't wait.  Living in the Chicago area all my life, I've heard nothing but great things about Mackinac Island, and we'll be right there!!   Can't wait to spend quality time with Girlfriends this week.  So, so fun!!  Planning to spend the following weekend on the Island with my hubby.  Watch for pictures on my Instagram and Facebook pages while I'm gone.  

Enjoy your weekend.....I know you'll be have a new block to make!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Summer Favorites

After surviving one of the most dreadful winters on record, we are trying hard to hang onto summer as long as we can.  I know it's the same for a lot of you!  We entertained a bit over this long, holiday weekend, and I thought I'd share a couple of the desserts I served that are perfect for a warm summer night!  (Or, quite frankly, any 'ol time!)

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries with Cheesecake Filling
I took this dessert to a party last weekend, and served them again at my house this weekend.  Both times, they were a huge hit!  Best thing is they're really easy.... here's how to make them.
(Click here for a printer friendly, downloadable recipe for Chocolate Dipped Strawberries with Cheesecake Filling.)

 Clean and hull 24-30 fresh strawberries.  Try to get them as large as you can.  I placed them upside down on paper towels to dry.  It's important to have dry strawberries.  

Cut a slice off the bottom making them flat so they'll stand when filled.  Place them on a cookie sheet lined with either wax paper or parchment paper.  

In a double boiler, melt half a bag of Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet chocolate chips.  

Place them back on the wax or parchment paper.  When all have been dipped, place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 5 minutes to quickly set the chocolate.

With a mixer, combine an 8 oz package of softened cream cheese, 1/3 cup powdered sugar and 1 tsp vanilla until smooth and creamy.  Place in a pastry bag (or zip loc bag with corner cut) and pipe the filling into each strawberry.  

Garnish each with 5-6 mini chocolate chips and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Easy, isn't it?!!

Caramel Apple Grapes
Most of you probably know about these bite-sizes bits of yum, but just in case some of you don't know about these little treats, you really need to try these, too.  If you like caramel apples, you'll love these because, unbelievably, these three ingredients taste just like eating a caramel apple!  
(Click here for a printer friendly, downloadable recipe for Caramel Apple Grapes.)

Wash and dry a bunch of green, seedless grapes.  (Make as few or as many as you'd like!  Be warned, you can't stop eating them!)  Melt some vanilla almond bark either in a double boiler or in the microwave.  Spear each grape with a toothpick, dunk into the melted almond bark, and roll in chopped peanuts.  Set on a serving plate and refrigerate.  That's it!  Tastes just like a little bite of caramel apple and the perfect pairing of salty and sweet.  Yum, yum, and oh so refreshing enjoying a cool dessert on a warm summer night.  

One more thing I have been enjoying this summer is this delicious Blushberry iced tea from Tazo.  When Lynne and I were visiting the Patchwork Garden Quilt Shop in NY, shop owners Joan and Bev served this wonderful iced tea. Now, to know me is to know I am an iced-tea junkie, and am very particular about my iced tea, too.  Has to be fresh brewed.  This is delicioso!!  Hard to find, but Target has it in our area.  

So, thanks for visiting my blog, and I hope at least one of my summer favorites piques your interest.  Give them a try while summer is still here.  

Fall is by far my favorite season, and while I look forward to it, I'm not hurrying the seasons along.  

Enjoy your day off and hope you do something you love!
(Hhmmm, like eat and sew?!)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Week #5 of the Friends & Companions Sew-Along

It's Friday and that means it's time for a new block in our Friends & Companions Sew-Along! Today, you must click over to my friends at Olde Green Cupboard Designs blog.   Gloria, Vicky and Heather have a brand new block that I just love,and I know you will, too!!  

And, now, at long last, my dear friend Lynne Hagmeier's (Kansas Troubles Quilters) new book has finally arrived!  The book features her unique "layered patchwork" technique and is chock full of great projects all dedicated to her family.  Look for it at your favorite local quilt shop or click here to order one from KT Quilts today.  

I'm still working on piecing the new quilt.  Yesterday, I was running errands and grocery shopping all over town.  We're having our neighbors over for dessert tonight and I'll be in the kitchen baking today.  I'm excited to share my newest 'no back' dessert with you.  I made it last weekend and took it to a party and everyone LOVED it.  It was gone in 5 minutes.  So, I'm making it again for tonight.  I'll share the recipe with you.  Hopefully, I'll make piecing progress over the long weekend as I have to finish this quilt in a hurry.  I'm leaving for Michigan next weekend!

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend, and don't labor!  Sew, sew, sew!!  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Prairie Gathering Assembly Line

We have a big production line going on here assembling the Shop Guides for the Prairie Gathering Quilt of the Quarter program.  Boxes and boxes of paper, binders, tabs and bags have taken over our basement.  It's such a great feeling to see things coming together!  Paper cuts are a job hazard and we keep a box of Band-Aids nearby.  Oh, what suffering we do for our craft!  Teehee!

Meanwhile, upstairs in my studio, I'm working on one of three new small quilts going into a special new pattern using the Prairie Gathering fabrics.   (Stay tuned for an announcement about why this pattern is special!)  This is the center of one of the quilts.  I just adore simple patchwork like these checkerboard blocks, don't you?  There's just something so wonderful and satisfying in piecing these blocks.  And, I think these squares show off the fabric prints very nicely.  

Be sure to visit the blog of my pals and fellow Marcus designers Gloria Parsons and Vicky Iannucci on Friday.  Besides designing fabric, they design all kinds of lovely things for their company, Olde Green Cupboard.  They will be posting their block instructions for our Friends & Companions Sew-Along on Friday, so tie a string around your finger so you don't forget!  

Hope you're finding some time to spend with fabric, needle and thread.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Pati's Block for Week #4 & New Aged Muslins

Did you know that Marcus Fabrics has this collection of "New" Aged Muslins?  This beautiful array of colored, overdyed muslins is a feast for your eyes to be sure.  Marcus was the first company to bring you overdyed, aged muslins in the warm beige tones seen in the collection at the far right of the color card.  They are all made from the highest quality goods and subtly bring that aged and worn feeling that we all love right into your quilts.  

Recently, Marcus took aging their muslin collection a giant step further by dying the muslin in colors and then giving them the aged look the beige fabrics have.  The results are stunning!  

Just think of all the things you can do with these fabrics!  I'm not a fan of working with solids in my Civil War repro quilts because they're too "flat" for me, but these New Aged Muslin fabrics have that gentle shading and texture that is anything but flat!  I'll be cutting them up and working them into my next scrappy quilt for sure.  Just wanted to share a really  good thing with you!  Ask for them as your local quilt shop.  

It's Friday!!!  That means another block is ready for you in our Friends & Companions Sew-Along!!  

Click here to hop on over to the Marcus Mentions blog and get to know Pati Violick, Director of Marketing.  You're gonna love her block!

Have a great weekend stitching!  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Wagon Wheels Hitting The Road Again!

I'm packing my bags once again to hit the road.  I do love traveling and visiting quilt guilds and shops, and I am grateful for the invitations I receive.  

I thought you'd like to know where I'll be in the coming year, just in case it's near you.  I'd love to meet you!  So, here's my travel schedule for the remainder of 2014 and for 2015.


Sept 8-12     Great Girlfriend Get-Away with Lynne Hagmeier, Mackinaw City, MI

Oct 10-13    Huckleberry Patches Quilt Shop, McCall, ID

Oct 15-18    National California/Oregon Trail Center, Montpelier, ID

Oct 23-27    Fall Quilt Market, Houston, TX


January 16-18    The Country Loft Quilt Shop, LaMesa, CA

March 4-6           Sinissippi Quilters Guild, Rockford, IL

March 26-27       Returning to National California/Oregon Trail Center 
                            with Lynne Hagmeier, Montpelier, ID

May 15-17          Spring Quilt Market, Minneapolis, MN

June 6                 Quilts N Bloom Quilt Shop, Haubstadt, IN

July 30-31           Rossville Quilt Shop, Rossville, IN

August 10-11      Lincoln Nebraska Quilters Guild, Lincoln, NE

Sept 15-16          Town Hall Quilt Guild, Clarkson, MI

My 2016 calendar is all full now.  Hard to believe I'm booking dates in 2017.  Crazy, isn't it?  

If you're in an area where I'll be visiting , I'd sure love to meet you!  

Don't forget to visit the Marcus Fabrics blog, called Marcus Mentions, on Friday.  You'll meet Pati Violick, Director of Marketing at Marcus.  All of the Marcus designers work closely with Pati and so much of the good stuff you see from Marcus has passed through Pati's desk.  You'll get to know her a little better and receive her block for the sew-along, of course.   

Friday, August 15, 2014

Wrapping Up A Productive Week!

Alphabet Song ~ designed by Shawn Williams for Threads That Bind
I've had a very productive week this week.  I love when that happens.  All too often, I feel like I've worked and worked but don't really see progress.  I do make progress, of course, but not always in a very tangible form. 

I've been able to work at my sewing machine early in the morning on a quilt I'm making (slowly but surely!) for a magazine submission.  I've stitched in the evening on a variety of things like the wool sampler in the photo above, which has only been a WIP for four years now!  I put the last stitches in it, so now I can have it framed!  Yay!
Tin Pinkeep & Fabric Ball ~ Designed by Pam Buda for Heartspun Quilts
I've also been making more English Paper Pieced fabric balls.   The red one in the photo above is made using the reds from my newest collection, A Prairie Gathering.  I've begun to make one using the lights from the collection, too.  They look so darn cute in the vintage Jell-O tin, don't they?!  The pattern, called Tin Pinkeep, is available as a kit which includes the pattern, pentagon papers, and the vintage Jell-O tin (fabric not included).  You can order one here.

You know it's Friday, and that means that another block has been posted on our Friends & Companions Marcus Designer Sew-Along!  It's Sarah Maxwell's turn.  She is one half of the design team of Homestead Hearth.  Click here to read her blog post and get her block info!  

And just one more reminder......please send me a photo of your 
Market Day Sew-Along quilt for the....

Airing of the Quilts!
Your quilt does not have to be quilted!  We all want to see what fabrics you used and how it all turned out.  

Pictures have been coming to me from all's going to be so much fun!!  Please email your photo as soon as you can.  Email to with the photo as an attachment.  
Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Cheers for Lynne!!

The post man took his sweet 'ol time in delivering the latest issue of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine to me!  I've been waiting and waiting at the mailbox each day for this special issue.  It isn't everyday when one of your very best friends is the featured designer in a favorite quilting magazine!!  But...oh, it was worth the wait!!  And...that's Lynne's quilt on the cover!

Did you get your copy of the magazine yet?  You have to so you can see all the pictures of Lynne and Robert's cabin, quilt shop and retreat center!  If you love vintage quilts, antiques, and of course, Kansas Troubles you'll savor every picture.  Not to mention that Lynne's beautiful quilt, Rustic Stars pattern is in there.  It's Lynne's simplified version of the difficult, very striking Hunter's Star pattern.  I visited Lynne's cabin, shop and retreat last month.  Click here to see the blog post of my visit.  Congratulations, Lynne....just don't stop doing what you're doing!  We all love Kansas Troubles!!  

Did you visit Paula Barnes' blog last Friday for the next block in our sew-along?  Her block is great...I'm loving it!  Check back with her this week to see the winners of her give-aways, and remember to visit Sarah Maxwell's blog (of Homestead Hearth) on Friday for her block instructions.

I also have a wonderful announcement!  Erica H., who lives in the great state of Alaska, has set up a Yahoo Group for the Friends & Companions sew-along!!  Our thanks to Erica for taking the time to set all of this up and be the group moderator.  So kind of you!  Click here to see the Yahoo Group site.  Enjoy!  

Friday, August 8, 2014

You Really Bought That?!!

Creativity and how it manifests itself in each of us fascinates me.   I'm betting some of you are thinking you're not creative at all.  In reality, we all are in some form or other.  For me, it's something I have to work at.  I need to feed my creative soul with inspiration.  After doing this awhile, it gets easier and easier, becoming more second nature.  

You never know where you'll find that inspiration either.  
Take this ratty piece of patchwork.  Would you give it a second look?  It's dirty, has lots of stains, and probably lay on a garage floor somewhere.  I took a good hard look and bought it for $5 at an outdoor antique show.  The funny thing is the man selling this piece looked at me like I was crazy for buying it.  Um,'re selling it, so I guess we're both crazy.  Not so crazy really.  He didn't know I was really just looking at the fabric prints!  I wonder what he thought I would do with this?  

When I say dirty, I mean dirty!  Eeek!  Looking closer reveals a few really sweet prints.  I used two of them in my newest collection, Prairie Gathering!  

The first one is this sweet tiny rosebud print.  Even covered in God knows what, you can see how simply lovely it will be.  You can see the new Prairie Gathering fabric on the left.  The team at Marcus Fabrics did an amazing job in replicating the details of the print and the soft colors, and I chose a very light mottled look for a little aging effect in the background.  If you like the grungy one, you'll have to gunge the fabric yourself!  Teehee!! 

The second print I used from my grunge patchwork is this adorable flower motif.  I liked how the flowers and leaves were mostly tan with just a rim of red around them.  It's really a classic old print, isn't it?  Again, team Marcus produced the perfect replica...with a lovely soft, vintage look!  

If you'd like to see where another antique print in the Prairie Gathering collection came from, click on over to the Marcus Fabrics blog where I wrote about one of my 1800's "prairie pockets".

Don't forget to hop on over to my pal, Paula Barnes' blog TODAY for the next block in our Friends and Companions Designer Sew-Along!!  Be sure to leave Paula a comment for a chance to win some goodies from her.  

Remember, if you're loving the blocks and the fabrics you see, it's not too late to purchase a kit.  You can buy a Friends & Companions kit at either Homestead Hearth Quilt Shop or from Red Crinoline Quilts.  

Monday, August 4, 2014

Friends & Companions Sew-Along Winner!!

It looks like our first Marcus Designer Sew-Along is off to a fantastic start!!  

My heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you who took time to leave me a comment.  I so enjoy hearing from all of you, especially about your preferences, loves, and passion for fabric. Your comments are not only insightful, but prove there are lots and lots of us out there, around the world, for whom owning, collecting, and using fabric brings such J*O*Y!!

For everyone in the Marcus Fabrics family, we're all about beautiful fabric, and we love bringing you the very best!  So, naturally, fabric had to be part of the prize for the winner.  Winner....lets make it WINNERS!!

The random number generator chose these three comments:  

Abigail's Pins pattern and Pin Money fabric
Ursula said...
Thanks for such great directions. I love the block. I like to use any fabric that comes along. Scrap quilts are my favorites so anything goes as far as fabric lines. I most often use red, green, blue and yellow but every color has its place. I am making one quilt using your suggested colors and one quilt with blocks made from my scrap collection. 

Congratulations, Ursula!  I'll be sending you my Abigail's Pins pattern and fat quarters from my Pin Money collection.  

Nan's Fancy pattern and American Gothic fabric
The next winner is.....Anonymous who said.....
I love all fabric in general, but seem to gravitate to smaller prints regardless of color. I enjoyed the Market Day Sew~Along very much! I just finished my Union Forever block and love It! I used fabrics from my stash with the kit fabrics as a guide. Looking forward to seeing the other designers blocks as well.

Congratulations, Anonymous!  I'll be sending you my Nan's Fancy pattern and fat quarters from my American Gothic collection.

Ada's Prairie Stitches and fat quarters from the Prairie Stitches collection
The next winner is Mardi who said....

Ok this is my 3rd try at commenting.
Pam I wanted to thank you and you design team for offering the great sew along. I have just finished making the "Union Forever" block. It was great. You advice on trimming 1/16 th" was perfect. It made the difference in this block being a difficult level to an intermediate/ experienced quilter level. It was so exact, I did not have to square up my block! Thank you again. 

Congratulations, Mardi!  I'll be sending you my Ada's Prairie Stitches pattern and fat quarters from my Prairie Stitches collection.

Winners, please email me at to supply me with your mailing information.

In reading your many comments, I learned that some of you are not getting my blog posts via email, which makes it very easy to print the pattern directions.  Please sign-up to receive not only my blog posts via email, but all the other sew-along designers as well.  You'll find the "Follow by Email" icon on the right-hand sidebar of my blog.  

In the meantime, you can also click here for printable instructions of my Union Forever block.

We have more really great blocks coming your way each Friday in the coming weeks.  Don't miss a thing!  Paula Barnes of Red Crinoline Quilts will post her block on Friday.  

Here's the line-up of our sew-along:
8/1                        Pam Buda ~ Heartspun Quilts                        
8/8                        Paula Barnes ~ Red Crinoline Quilts             
8/15                      Sarah Maxwell ~ Homestead Hearth                           
8/22                      Pati Violick ~ Marcus Fabrics                         
8/29                      Gloria Parsons ~ Olde Green Cupboard         
9/5                        Nancy Rink ~ Nancy Rink Designs                 
9/12                      Mary Ellen Robison~Red Crinoline Quilts     
9/19                      Dolores Smith ~ Homestead Hearth               
9/26                      Lisa Shepard ~ Marcus Fabrics                      

10/3                      Red Crinoline Quilts ~ Quilt Revealed!