Nest Egg Tote: learn from my mistakes.

nest egg tote

The Nest Egg Tote by Carolyn Friedlander made me realize I can’t always use what I have on hand or it won’t turn out the way it should, and I learned precision is vital when making this tote.

First mistake: I cut the handle and strap strips too wide. Luckily I was using the wrong sized D-rings and it wasn’t too much of a problem on the handle, but the straps were supposed to sit completely on the outside of the gusset and mine are inside the seams so the handles hang a little wonky:

nest egg tote side seams

Second mistake: I didn’t use ultra-firm stabilizer for the inside inserts. Instead I used Soft & Stable stabilizer and when the tote was finished it tended to collapse. This was one mistake I fixed. I bought ultra-firm stabilizer and stitched it to the inserts I had already made:

ultra firm stabilizer

It was now even stronger and I liked that.

Third mistake: Using a dark fabric on the outside and a light fabric on the inside. The black thread from the outside stitching sometimes peaked through the light fabric even though I used white thread in the bobbin, and I don’t like that.

Fourth mistake: I didn’t intertwine the elastic strips to give the right tension to hold the items inside. When I redid the inserts with the ultra-firm stabilizer, I fixed this mistake:

elastic strips

If I made this tote again, I would make the outside gusset cover the same fabric as the gusset, and I’d try to follow the directions exactly.

Coloring Book Bags.

Coloring Book Bags

My dear friend Diane’s son and daughter-in-law recently welcomed twins (a girl and a boy) to their family. I wanted to make something for the new arrivals and their big sister. I adapted the pattern, Large Coloring Bag., by Clothesline Quilts by using the Shirts pattern by Carolyn Friedlander. The coloring book pattern didn’t have a lining, but I wanted lining. It was easy to adapt that part of the pattern as well.

They turned out great:

For big sister:big sister

For little sister:

little sister

For little brother:little brother

The backs of the bags:

big sis back lil sis back  lil bro back

Coloring is so much fun, and I think these bags were the perfect gift for a perfect family of five.

I’ve made these coloring book bags for two other little girls and I was told they were used and loved. I’ve made quilts for newborns as well, but I suspect they have not been used as much as the coloring book bags.

Coloring outside the lines,


Michael Miller Spring Cotton Couture Challenge

Robot Couture

I finished my quilt for the Michael Miller Spring Cotton Couture Challenge and just entered it online. The title is, “Robot Couture.”

This is the first quilt I have ever entered into a contest or show.

Here’s what I wrote in my entry about the process:

Couture, to me, means a gown with exquisite details. I sketched dresses for inspiration. My daughter said, “That looks like a dress for a robot.” It had polka dots and hexagons which looked like bolts. I created the “bolts” using a reverse appliqué technique. I placed couture fabric with a white back, drew a circle and stitched; cut the hole out, flipped and ironed. They are attached using y-seam technique. I added “grandmothers gardens”, overlapping them up the side of the quilt. I used all the fat-eighths I received, combined with five other colors from the collection.

The challenge was to create a modern quilt using pastels from the spring collection.  Michael Miller sent fat-eighths of eight of the colors from the spring cotton couture collection: opal, breeze, blossom, spa, spring, candlelight, creamsicle and soft white. I wanted to use all of them, and I did. I also added lavender, lilac, geranium, bubblegum and fern green. I used lime and lavender and a touch of fern green for the backing, and lilac for the binding:


One of the biggest challenge was photographing the quilt. I wanted to take advantage of the gray skies today and found this piece of equipment at the football practice field to hang the quilt, using an old jump robe:


The digital photo had to be no greater than 1800 pixels on the longest side. That required me to use Photoshop to resize the photo — a new thing for me as well. The one concern I had was that the photos didn’t exactly depict the actual color of the fabric and that’s pretty important since this was a fabric challenge. The final photos represent the feel of the fabric colors and are pretty darn close.


I machine quilted the circle/hexagons. I used a reverse applique technique to create them. And, yes, I machine stitched them together using y-seam technique. I hand quilted it using Presensia thread, No. 355 (light gray) and No. 266 (deep purple) and some embroidery thread in yellow and light blue inside the circles. I debated whether the flowers needed more quilting but decided the emphasis should be on the dress.

Thinking of Spring,



Update: December 10, 2014: My quilt wasn’t chosen for the show. I’m really disappointed and it doesn’t make me feel any better when the MQG says there were 1350 entries and the jurors had to make some hard choices.

QuiltCon Charity Quilt: the assembly.

QuiltCon Charity Final

My part of the QuiltCon Charity Challenge is done and ready to ship to Pam in Florida for quilting:

QuiltCon ready to ship

The colors from everyone’s blocks worked well together. I struggled with deciding where each block should go. The assembly went smoothly, though. It’s a very happy quilt top, and I can’t wait to see the finished quilt.

Thanks to Rene Creates for sending the batting and to Shelly Recicar for sending extra white fabric which I used, with some of my stash, to make the backing:

QuiltCon Charity Backing

Now I have to finish the quilt I’m doing for the Michael Miller Spring Cotton Couture Challenge. It is going to be a challenge to get it quilted and finished by the November 30 deadline. Back to work.


QuiltCon Charity Challenge: the process.


Awhile back I agreed to work with individual members of the Modern Quilt Guild to create a quilt for charity.  The challenge was to use their color palette and to use alternative grid design. The color palette they suggested we use: white, light gray, chartreuse, burnt orange, sky blue, cerise, and deep turquoise.

A MQG member organized the bees and assigned individual members to a regional “bee”. I’m in Southeast Region 4 which includes quilters from Delaware to Florida.  Around the first of October we received an email from MQG with everyone’s emails. One of the group members, Jennifer Price, set up an account with and a poll to determine what date and time we could all meet in a teleconference. We got together on the phone on October 10. There are 8 of us in this quilting bee.

One of the quilters, Paige Alexander, suggested a design using a post about Jackie Gehring’s guide to Variable Framing. Five of the quilters agreed to make four blocks each with one of the blocks having a “star” design. We would use white as the frame/background for the blocks.  Cheryl Brickey created a flickr group for us to post photos and discuss our progress.

I agreed to assemble the blocks, which measure 18″ by 18″ finished, and they have started to arrive:

QuiltCon mail

Shelly Recicar from Boca Raton, Florida created these blocks:

Shelly's Block


Paige Alexander from Easley, South Carolina created these blocks:

Paige's Blocks

Cheryl Brickey from Greer, South Carolina created these blocks:

Cheryl's Blocks

When I have the quilt top assembled, I’m going to create a quilt sandwich and send it to Pam Chamberlain in Miami, Florida to quilt. She’s then going to send it to Jennifer in Delaware to bind and finish, mailing it to MQG for display at the upcoming QuiltCon convention in Texas. The deadline for submission is the first of January 2015.

We will then give the quilt to a charity. We haven’t decided yet on which charity.  The process continues.



I heard this piece on the radio coming home from work a few days ago: Letters of Note.  I love letters. I love words.

I like fun words like gee whizz and buzz off. I like flowery words like serendipity and sentimental. I like alliteration.

I like legal words like jurisdiction, justice and jury pool.

I like phrases like “have you lost weight?” and “the test results were negative.”

I like words you have to yell like “timber” and “defense.”

I also like writing letters with those lovely words.

When I was a child I wrote letters to my grandfather who lived in another state. The last letter I sent to him was put in his casket. It didn’t arrive before he died. At that moment I realized how important letters were. I hoped my grandfather loved those letters as much as I enjoyed writing them.

I send out a Christmas letter to my friends and family every year. I’ve kept a copy of each one and they tell the story of our lives.

I enjoy getting cards and letters from my family and friends as well.

I really like putting words together with photos and graphics. That’s why I blog. I’ll keep using characters to create letters of note.

Take care,


P       S

I                                                                                                                              LOVIMG_2802          YO flowerU board


Football and Faces


For many Friday nights I have attended high school football games. My husband is the head football coach at Deep Run High School. The last two seasons I’ve been taking photos at those games. I have a Canon EOS Rebel T3i with a standard lens. My attempts at action shots have been less than stellar. My lens just can’t zoom far enough to catch the moves of the players on the field.

I like the sideline action and the faces. These are the faces from this season:

IMG_3598 IMG_3600 IMG_3748IMG_3957 IMG_4032

Some faces from last season: