Sunday, March 31, 2013


Yesterday I spent a wonderful afternoon with young artist Trina Hawkins, a first-year college student majoring in Graphic Design.  Trina is the kind of young person who restores your faith in the younger generation.  She is not only talented, but works very hard and is on the Honor Roll!

One of Trina's art projects is so creative and well done, I wanted to share it with the followers of my blog.  You will recognize it as the famous Hat from Dr Seuss.  The painting alone is great, but Trina added her creative touch by bending wire (using two pairs of needlenose pliers) into the Dr. Seuss quote, "Think left ~ Think Right.  Think low ~Think High.  Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!"  The piece really draws you in and is so well done!  I can only imagine the time it took and how difficult it was to execute. 

Trina has also done an impresive body of work in photography ~~~ what can I say, she's an amazing artist! Trina is learning to follow her Bliss and she literally sparkles with creativity and enthusiasm about everything she is learning.  Her ultimate dream job is to work as an animator, but a degree in Graphic Design will open up a wide range of career opportunities for her.  I admire that she strives for excellence and her enthusiasm is definitely contagious! 

I brought a few of my quilts and embroidered pieces to share with Trina yesterday.  We spread everything out on the living room floor and talked about color, design, white space, creativity, imagination, etc.   Although she isn't a quilter or sewer, and I don't work in the same medium as Trina, we are able to appreciate, enjoy and share each other's passion for creating.  I have always believed that creativity sparks creativity and we spark from other creative people.  I know that I feel most 'alive' when I'm creating and I love the enthusiasm and excitement of planning and dreaming about something new to make!

I believe Trina will go far in her career.  With her talent and her willingness to work hard, she will be able to make her dreams come true.  One day we might see her name on a Pixar animated film! 

Remember to Follow your Bliss!!

Saturday, March 30, 2013


To Christians around the world this weekend is about focusing on the life, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.  In our little community yesterday there were believers carrying crosses all over town.  It was a blessing to see this act of faith.

When my daughter was young there was always much excitement over coloring the eggs and wondering where the Easter bunny would hide them ~~  what would be in her Easter basket ~~~ and of course the frilly new dress with new shoes and a little hat with a flower to wear to church. 

Food has always been a big event in our home for every holiday.  This year we will be celebrating quietly with a dinner of roasted chicken, creamed potatoes, fresh asparagus bundles, fruit salad, homemade rolls, lemon bars and coconut cake. 

However you choose to spend your Easter weekend, I wish you a great time with your family and friends.

Until next week I wish you baskets filled with Peace & Plenty!

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Quilt Archives
Our old workhorse of a printer expired this week.  Yesterday I made the long trek to the nearest 'real' town and bought us a new printer that has more bells and whistles that I thought possible on one machine.  It's like Lucy Ricardo's Handy-Dandy Kitchen Helper that "slices, dices, minces.....all in one handy little machine."  Our printer scans, copies, faxes, prints photos and documents.  The odd thing is that the new printer cost less than our old printer that was a one-trick could only print!

I have been thinking a lot lately about what we would about our quilts in case of emergency.  In case of fire or tornado there is very little a person could do to save them all...maybe being able to save a few.  But what about in case of theft?  Granted we live in a very low crime area, but a person never knows.  It's often easy to get a false sense of security when you live in a rural area. 

This morning I spent an hour printing pictures of our quilts.  I will add some text by hand and these will go into our security box at the bank. 

I made a wonderful pot roast yesterday from a recipe from Jillee at  She called it a Vegas Meets Mississippi Roast. 

This is a crockpot recipe.  Take a 3-4 pound chuck roast and place in your crockpot.  I always spray the inside of my crock for easy clean-up.  Sprinkle a packet of Good Seasons Salad Dressing Mix and one packet of AuJus on top of the meat.  Take one stick of butter and cut it into pieces and lay on top of the roast.  Add 5-6 pepperoncini peppers into the crock and cook on low for about 6 hours or until the meat is tender. 

Make gravy with the drippings on the stove.  I added some Wondra Flour to the broth and brought it to a boil  I had to add water to the broth because it was quite strong.  

This can be shredded with a fork or cut into chunks and served with the gravy.  Our leftover meat will have bbq sauce added and served on hamburger buns.  Everyone in our house gave their seal of approval to this dish...especially Miss Molly.

I hope your day is filled with joy and quilts....Barb

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


I've been away due to a relapse of the illness I had recently.  I believe I am now well on the road to good health again.  I have my fingers crossed this is so!

Yesterday I finished binding a little Log Cabin quilt I pieced a  while back ~~  quite a while back.  It is made from scraps and measures 25 inches square.  The little corner blocks are just 2.25".  As you might imagine they were a bit tedious to make. 

I like to do something a little different in every quilt I make, even if it's small.  The backing on this quilt is an old cotton rice bag.   I thought it would echo the country feeling of the quilt top.  Due to the thickness of the bag I decided to do machine quilting.  The stitch I used is called the Cretan stitch and is a variation of the blanket or buttonhole stitch.  We will use this as a table topper on our kitchen table. 

It feels so good to have another UFO finished.  My next project will be to finish my grandson's hints or pictures in case he reads my blog! 

Food is beginning to sound good to me again and I am cooking a beef roast in the crockpot with golden mushroom soup.  This is something simple but yummy at the end of the day. 

Wishing you all the very best of life!   Barb

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Sometimes the most wonderful things just drop into our laps!  Last summer I bought a new sewing machine.  The difference in this machine and all others I have owned is that it has an embroidery feature.  Being a quilter I thought I would use the embroidery only for making an occasional quilt label.  Once I began playing and experimenting with embroidery designs, I found that machine embroidery is a real joy.

I didn't jump into the machine embroidery with both feet...I went in one toe at a time.  I find the supplies for embroidery quite expensive and, of course, we need all the gorgeous colors of thread.  Then there are the designs...even though my machine has pre-programmed designs, those are not the type of things that really interest me.  So off to the internet I went and entered the amazing world of digital embroidery designs.  Downloading the designs, transferring them to a memory card and then getting them into my machine took more than a little time for me to learn.  It's like second nature now.

Here are a few designs I'm currently working on.  These are fairy tale characters with some background dialogue often spoken by the villain of the tale.  I love the interplay of the scibbled test, the splash accent of red in each piece and the sketchy look of the black outlines.  I think these designs would work well in a quilt, framed to hang on the wall or turned into a small accent pillow.  What do you think?
Little Mermaid

The Glass Slipper from Cinderella

Little Red Riding Hood

The Ugly Duckling

Rapunzel, Rapunzel..Let Down Your hair
Sleeping Beauty

Please give me your honest opinion of these, as I'm thinking about offering them for sale.

Quilting will always be my passion...but I have to tell you, machine embroidery is so much fun!

Thank you for looking....

Wishing you a Bounty of Peace & Plenty....Barb

Saturday, March 16, 2013



Being Irish, there is never any question what we will be having for dinner on March 17.  Rain or shine, sickness or in health we will have corned beef with potatoes, carrots and cabbage and homemade soda bread. 

I always buy a good cut of corned beef and I cook it a day ahead according to the directions on the brisket wrapper. Refrigerate the meat and the broth separately.  Remove some of the fat from the cold broth. About an hour before dinner bring the broth to a gentle boil and add carrots and about 10 minutes later add red-skinned potatoes (halved or quartered) and 10 minutes later lay wedges of cabbage on the top and push them down so they are covered with broth.  Continue to simmer gently until all the vegetables are tender.  Slice the beef and lay on top of the cabbage and spoon some of the broth over the slices.  Cover your pot for about 5 minutes or until the brisket is hot.  Serve and Enjoy!   

I finished up a table runner this week just in time ~~

The embroidery on the center panel was done on my Janome 9500 and the rest of the runner was simple strips.  I'm thinking of adding some hand quilting to the center panel to give it more stability.  My Hubby really likes this runner, but green is his favorite color!

Wishing you a Happy St Patrick's Day from our home to yours!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


My sweet granddaughter Bree likes the quilt and pillowcases I sent her for her birthday last Saturday.  My daughter took loads of good pictures of Bree opening her gift but unfortunately the pictures are sideways because they were posted from a phone.  I worked and worked rotating them, but the rotation won't hold, so here are just three:

Bree loves bright colors and her quilt is nothing if not bright!

It's trying to be a beautiful day.  The sun is shining and our temperature should get close to 60.  With weather like this our Dogwood trees will be blooming in no time.  I noticed the tulips are up but it will be a while before they're ready to bloom.  I should take a walk in the woods this afternoon and see what I can find. 

I need to pull out my grandson's quilt and get it ready to go to the quilter.  I probably just need 4 hours to finish up the rows and borders.  Jesse's birthday is in July, but I don't want to cut it as close as I did on Bree's.  After Jesse's is done, I need to start the quilt I promised my daughter for her birthday this year, which is in August.  This seems to be the year for making quilts for the family...I love it!

Wishing you a wonderful day filled with Peace & Plenty!

Saturday, March 9, 2013


The new year has been..shall we say 'different'.  Normally I'm out of the starting gate on New Year's Day industriously working on new projects.  Not so in far it's been pretty (yawn...) boring.  Not that boring isn't nice (and needed) at times.

Last night I finished up the two table runners I intended to have ready for Valentine's Day 2013.  Both runners are made from the tutorial at Missouri Star and are also featured in the new quilting magazine Quilting Quickly (first edition).  The heart design would also make a darling small quilt to drape over a table or chair.  In one runner all three hearts are aligned in the same the other, the center one is turned.  You can add or subtract as many hearts as your heart desires!

The top runner is made from Flirt (by Moda).  I like the bright contemporary colors and think it worked up cute.  The second runner has hearts made from hand-dyed fabric.  It took forever to get the dye to quilt running on this fabric and I'm thankful I dealt with it before I made the runner.  The border fabric is a romantic postcard print called My Funny Valentine.  Each runner took me about one hour of cutting and construction time.  Each heart takes only six 5" squares and a few 2 1/4" squares.  The binding takes more time than everything else combined.  Some day I will get the nerve to machine bind..until then I attach the binding by machine and tack it down on the back by hand.  Both runners are machine quilted with hearts and loops.

Table runners are simple to make and add so much to your decor.  They are also nice if you need some instant gratification and they also make great little gifts.  I think I will make up a few more of these this year to have on hand for gifting...everyone seems to like hearts.  I think they would be darling made from black prints...

Wishing you a wonderful Saturday filled with Peace & Plenty.....Barb

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Monday morning I put my granddaughter's birthday quilt in the mail hoping it would arrive by this Friday.  Surprise ~  ~ It arrived today safe and sound!  After answering 'No' as to whether there were chemicals, explosives, anything with Lithium batteries or perfume contained in the box, I offered up that the box contained a 'blanket'. 

Mailing quilts (with or without insurance) is a daunting thing for me.  Thank goodness for tracking numbers that enable me to follow the progression of my precious parcel cross country all the way to California this time!  Here's what I was fussing over ~ a simple little Jellyroll Race quilt made from a Soul Blossom (by Amy Butler) jelly roll.  I also had enough fabric to make a few pillowcases to match.  I hope she likes it.  It's nothing grand, but when you turn 22 you're not too old for another quilt from Grandma!  Happy Birthday sweet Bree!!

Bree's Birthday Quilt

Since my last post I'm feeling so much better.  Thanks to everyone here who took the time to send me get well wishes. 

This coming weekend is when we Spring Forward with our clocks.  You may be up to your knees in snow right now, but before we know it Spring will arrive. 

Wishing you bushels of Peace & Plenty....Barb

Monday, March 4, 2013


I belong to an especially vibrant online quilt forum at Missouri Star Quilt Company and recently we have numerous enthusiastic new members who have joined us from all points around the world.  This is one of the things I enjoy most about being a member of this forum!

One particularly perky new member from Sweden has fallen head-over-heels with making hexagon 'flowers' and  she is trying to accumulate 1200 different prints to make hexie flowers with no repeats.  A daunting task for sure!  Several of us are sending her little envelopes with scraps of prints from our own hexie collections. Her enthusiasm has been very contagious and every day someone else is jumping into the Hexie Pool!

I have a collection of hexie 'flowers' I made the winter of 2010-2011 while recovering from shoulder surgery.  At first I thought they would be too fussy for me to manage, and then there was all that hand sewing.  The lure to endure was there and after a short learning curve I was actually able to make a hexie flower that wasn't too bad.  Then my enthusiasm gradually turned into near obsession and I was sewing hexies day and night...night and day! 

To make the procedure more enjoyable I recommend you buy pre-cut paper (cardstock similar to magazine inserts) foundations.  An excellent source is  They have good products, good prices and very good customer service.  Their website has countless ideas for making and assembling hexies (and numerous other shapes) into beautiful projects.  There are free hexagon printouts you can download and cut out yourself if you choose.   If you do a Google search on hexagon quilts you will find you are not alone out there making little geometric shapes...hexagons are being made and cherished world wide!

My hexies have 1" sides and this is the way hexies are measured (the length of one of the six sides rather than across the center of the paper foundation).  In other words I am making 1" hexies. A flower made from 1" hexies will finish out 5" in diameter after sewing six hexies to the center hexie. I find that cutting my fabrics into 2.5" squares is perfect for this project.  Use up some of your leftover 2.5" strips if you are a quilter.

A stack of paper foundations, some squares of fabric, needle and thread and you're off and running.  I use a #10 between needle for basting and sewing, but use what is most comfortable for you.  I also find that a neutral light to medium taupe thread works great on almost all fabric colors.  If you want to go the distance, silk thread absolutely melts into your hexies and your stitches disappear like magic!  I wear a thimble to help push my needle through the card stock.   For information on basting and all other aspects of assembly, explains it so much better than I could ever do. 

Give hexies a chance...I once thought I couldn't make them and then thought I would go out of my mind with boredom making them....surprise, they're easy, fun and addicting to make!

Wishing you the best of the best.....Barb

Sunday, March 3, 2013


I'm feeling so much better after a week of shutting down and taking antibiotics for the pneumonia that moved in a couple weeks ago.  It wasn't all pills and Kleenex, I actually managed to get my DGD's birthday gift finished and ready to mail.. I will post pictures of this later just in case she's peeking at my blog.

Here are the two little quilts I finished up for the PICU unit in St Louis ~ they will go into the mail to our group leader and will be taken to the center along with all the other quilts she is collecting ~~~

The top quilt is a simple framed square made from the Sweet Tooth line and scraps of solids I had in my stash.  I also made a matching pillowcase for this quilt.  The bottom quilt is a Disappearing Nine Patch (D9P).  I believe the fabric was called Whooos In The Forest (or something like this!)...I had the fabric in my stash for a while.  The backing on the Sweet Tooth quilt is the bright balloon print of the binding.  The D9P quilt backing is very pale pink with white dots.  All items are washed and ready to go to their new home.

I hope you are making/finishing up some wonderful projects.  So far 2013 has been a slow year for me creatively, but I feel my enthusiasm and energy coming back so there will be new projects popping up here from time to time. 

I have a tutorial I would like to do soon and possible another giveaway for Spring!

Wishing you the Best of the Best!