Sunday, July 31, 2016

and we love it!
I have 5 blocks for this week:
I call this one "Under the Sea".   I had some great fish fabric begging to be part of the quilt.  The fish and the shells and the sand, and the seaweed make up the block with the ominous touch of wiggly worm on the fish hook.  The original version of this block had a boat in it but it sailed away.

Now my beloved Chuck Nohara blocks.

I don't do hearts often so I had to come up with another motif finish the block. These pretty flowers are from French General fabric and I like the way it finished.  I purposely lapped the motifs over the stems to give them more of a sense of belonging.

I was not in the mood for symmetry when I made this block.  It is such a great block but I decided to change it up with some asymmetry but with balance.  Most of the design is inside the circle which makes it interesting along with the odd numbers of elements.

Here are some of the butterfly blocks from Chuck's book.  I wanted to make the one in the upper left corner with the pieced fabrics but I did not like the shape.  So I combined several to make one butterfly.  The wing is reverse applique.  I like it okay except I wish I had cut the fabric more at angles like the first butterfly. This block gave me the chance to try out a technique new to me-that is using strips sewn together-a technique which can be very effective.

I call this block "The Curious Flowers" because they look for all the world like they are busy inspecting the ladybug.  You can see I changed the block a bit but not much.

Speaking of ladybugs.......I have been promising to show you more of my Caswell quilt and the ladybugs reminded me.  Here are two sections of the quilt which the lady bugs have claimed as their own.
This section also has snails, and a hummingbird.  You can see how I have sewn birds and bugs over the seams of the blocks to break down the viewer's first recognition of the quilt as composed of blocks.  The ladybugs tell their story over two of the blocks as to the snails, the hummer, the moth and the honeybee.

Here is the second grouping of ladybugs and also a bird perched on a leaf singing a birdsong which I "composed".  Again you can see an example of the unity which was my goal.

Free motion quilting-check!  Done this week-lesson 8. One more and we begin the borders.  I decided to work on only one sampler at a time.  Here is progress so far:
This has been a fun sampler and I will be sorry to see it end but I have another one in the planning.

Here is Mrs Blossom Muggles inspecting the start of the abandoned sampler:
She is such a big help with her praise and insightful criticism.  She is also a clown.  Here she is pretending to be a vam-purr:
I decided to set this sampler aside because I am not sure if the FMQ in this sampler, while nice, will suit the direction I want to go to learn methods and means of quilting around applique.

I also have three photos of the little dinosaurs which visit my backyard:
This is a Eurasian ring neck dove.  We have several. They are a soft white grey and much larger than the usual doves.  They really enjoy teasing Yoshi, our outdoor cat, who like to stalk them only to have them fly off at the last minute.
Can you see the hummer?  Just barely!  I will have better photos in the fall when many, many visit our feeders. 
This is a female hairy woodpecker.  She likes to eat ants from the feeder and also likes the sugar water as a sort of sap.

I have two wonderful new countries who visited this week: Sweden and Finland!  Lucky me!  I am very pleased you visited.  My mother's family comes from Sweden.  I added the flags to the growing list.

Well, I think I have covered all topics.  I am so pleased when you visit and leave a comment.  I read all the comments and just love them and will respond if you are not a no-reply blogger.  I want to know what you are working on!


This week I will be linking to those great blogs: Slow Stitching Sunday, Patchwork Times, Em's Scrapbag, Esther's WOW, Let's Bee Social, NTT, Whoop, Whoop. and Off the Wall.  Visit as these are awesome blogs!

Sunday, July 24, 2016


Here are my blocks for this week:
They all begin with Chuck Nohara.  Do you like them?  I think they are all very cheerful.

Bold and yellow. Sunny and cheery. And very simple.  I love the fabrics in this block.

              This       one I changed up a bit.  I changed the flower and added the extra stems. Nice peach color.

   I just love this pot of flowers!  The yellow with the tiny roses is one of my favorite fabrics in this quilt and it makes a perfect little pot for the flowers.  

The block below I changed quite a bit.  I wanted a porcelain looking bowl and I think this fabric does a decent job of that.  I kept the basic shape of the bowl but added the rim and a delicate curving handle.  I hope you recognize the fruit as an apple, orange, nectarine and nectarine and of course, some strawberries.  I like this block and think the bright colors complete the subdued bowl nicely.

 Look at this bird: 

This is a house finch.  Don't you think he is one scary looking critter?  Look at that bill and those beady eyes and those nasty claws. What does this remind you of?

I am on the email list for the Cornell University Lab for Birds-the nation's best bird resource!  I received a interesting email about dinosaurs.  What is the connection, you wonder? Scientists now believe that dinosaurs,  given that they were warm blooded and laid eggs, were the direct ancestors of birds. They also now have evidence that dinosaurs were all feathered.   It cheers me no end to know that dinosaurs are still among us though, thank goodness, at a user friendly size!

Here is the link to that article: 

and here is a photo from that article showing the beasties in the feathered glory:

Who knows what colors their feathers were.  Maybe they were brightly colored like dinosaurs of today. Anyway, please look again at the little house finch.  Imagine if he were able to look you straight in the eye-birds would not be so cute then.  

I have been a good girl and have been working on my fmq!  Lesson 7 completed: 

This one was easy and fun.  I have joined another fmq sampler group and have my quilt sandwich made but have not yet stabilized it or completed the first lesson.  I found odds and ends of fabric on hand.  I think of the quilt as peaches, grapes, blueberries and plums probably because I was working on the fruit basket block while I put this together.  

I am so happy to say I have 3 new countries visit me this week:  Greece, Jamaica, and Ireland.  Welcome to my new visitors!  I have added their flags.

Happy quilting this week and stay cool (or warm for those hanging upside down in the southern hemisphere.)

Linking up this week with Slow Stitching Sunday, Patchwork Times, Em's Scrapbag, Esther's WOW, Let's Bee Social, NTT, Whoop whoop, and Off the Wall Friday.  Check these blogs out for some pretty quilts.

Sunday, July 17, 2016


All these blocks are my favorites plus I love my new camera.  I have had such problems in getting true colors with my old camera that it is such a pleasure to have my work and fabric choices show up as they actually are. Practice, though, will make the best photos!

Do you like this weeks blocks?  I went off the reservation for a couple of them and 2 are pure Chuck.

This is a pretty cool block!  It has so much movement and such dynamic shapes.

I saw this block in Chuck's book and thought, yeah, okay, why not.  But WOW, I love it and think it turned out great partly because I visualized the flowers as rosebuds and partly the fabric choices.  I am very pleased with it and with the dainty rose bud background.

I liked this block and I love morning glories. Just before I made this block I looked out the kitchen window at our redwood fence which has morning glories vining all over it.  Which gave me the idea of a white picket fence with several morning glories and here is where I ended up.  You never know what your destination will be.

When a person is creating, it is the process that is so interesting.  This block went through several changes and I wish I had taken photos of them so you could see how the end product arrived.  The first thing was making the hummer smaller.  Then when that was done, I realized the bird needed something to eat. I put the 2 flowers at the bottom of the square where the hummer could reach them and added a green stem under both.  Since one wing was too light and blended into the background, the result was a one winged bird diving into some watermelon. So I replaced the wing and moved the flowers adding a new stem which has some movement.  I really like it now.

Did you see my flags at the bottom right of the blog?  I am adding 3 more today: Turkey, Singapore, and Denmark.  I have tried to add a flag counter but tried 2 and both would only count the USA.  I don't know where I went wrong but eventually gave up.  If anyone has any info or advice on how to add a flag counter, I would appreciate it if you tell us.

I am joining a new free motion quilting sampler group.  I don't quilt an actual quilt very often as my quilts take about 9 months to complete working 35 to 40 hours per week on it-mine are very labor intensive.  Color combinations, fabric choices, block design, crafting the pattern, shaping the applique, sewing the pieces, and then, often, redesigning and re-appliqueing the pieces. But this is how I like it.  

I have told you of my fear of fmq which is aggravated since I quilt a quilt so infrequently.  The solution I arrived at is to always be working on a fmq sampler.  Suzy Webster at Adventures in Applique has begun one which looks interesting.  You can look at this post for info:
Here is a photo of the flimsey she has designed:

She will have a new lesson every Friday.  So go visit her blog if you want to sign up!

No bird photos-that is not for lack of trying but rather because no one interesting has come by this week when i was camera ready.


I will be linking up this week to:  Slow Stitching Sunday, Patchwork Times. Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Blog, Lets Bee Social, NTT, Whoop whoop, and Off the Wall Friday.  Great blogs with great quilts!

Thursday, July 14, 2016


I am very excited.  It is a beauty and I love it.  So far I have taken the best photos of my life.  Of course the above photo was not taken with the new camera -lol-so it retains my trademark lame look.  Here are a couple more photos.  The first shop is with regular focus and the second is zoom.  It has lots of pixels and a sharp focusing lens.


So. with no further are some photos taken with the new camera!

Is this great or what!  You can even see the detailing on the feet and the colors are perfect.  

And here is our neighbor at the corn feeder. 

I am still learning.  I think the focus was on the bark which shows up in high resolution.

Last but, of course not least are two photos of the best beloved.

Blossom said not to put this one on-line.  She is yawning and says she doe not really look like that-she is really a rare beauty.   Blossom is annoyed with me for displaying it. She sitting in the drawer of Petra Prins Dutch chintz some more of which I should be receiving soon.

I have added something new to my blog and that is a picture of the flag of each country from which someone visits the blog.  They are in the bottom right. The first flags are in order by the number of hits from that country.  Most of the later ones have just a few.  In the past few days I have been newly visited by Italy, Thailand and Mauritius. 

Mauritius is an interesting place.  It is a small island about 1200 miles off the coast of Madagascar.  It seems like a wonderful place per Wikipedia.  Not only is it beautiful, it is diverse in people, religions, languages and has a very democratic parliamentary style government and a very tolerant population with a nice standard of living.  People there are poly lingual-Both French and English are spoken in Parliament. It is also the home of the extinct Dodo bird and an important island in the Indian Ocean trade. 

One aspect of the internet and blogging that is especially important to me is it's internationality and I love when other countries stop by to visit me on-line.

I finished my free motion quilting lesson for this week.  Use of rulers in fmq is the aim of this lesson but I do not have rulers and, at this point anyway, do not envision using them.  So I used this lesson as a opportunity to practice straight lines in a design. 

Harder to hide the flaws with a good camera but there you have it, lesson 6.  I have a new sampler in mind when this one is finished based on a beautiful one by Margaret Solomon Gunn.  I asked her if she had a pattern or video demonstrating this sampler.  She did not but kindly told me how she divided the sampler and directed me to the magazine Machine Quilting Unlimited wherein she has an great article on fillers to use to fill the sampler. 

More blocks are completed-one of Chuck's and one I designed.  I will show them later. I mostly wanted to share the new camera which I hope will improve my blog.

Happy quilting!

Saturday, July 9, 2016


All I look at now are Chuck Nohara's blocks and find I am inspired to whimsey.   I am having so much fun with this and it has pushed future quilts out of my mind.  You remember how I told you that I was rushing onwards on this quilt as I have several beautiful things waiting in the wings.  No longer!!  All my focus is on these blocks and where they are taking me.  I am so excited!

Last week I showed Chuck's blocks beside the ones I adapted from them.  This was a big hit so I thought I would do it again this week explaining what adaptations I made and why.

I followed the original on this one using my colors. I like that it is simple and bold.

How funny is this block?  Chuck's success in the interest of her blocks is in part because of the unique fabric choices she makes.  I do not have this knack to her degree-to see a fabric and know how it will enliven the story of the block.  So, in this case, whimsey to the rescue.  "Sleep, perchance to dream".  And so it is with kitty who dreams of mice.  I know kitties dream-mine always do.  You can tell my their twitching paws and wiggling whiskers.  I can only imagine mice inhabit their dream stories.

See how great the fabric choices are on the above block!  I adapted this one a bit.  You can see I followed the stems and leaves but substituted twigs for leaves as my block is on a small scale.  I was searching my fabric some good circle material when I saw these flowers and decided to use them in broderie perse.

Quite a few changes here.  You can see that Chuck relied on her fabric choices to make this block come alive.  I had to improvise and hence more whimsey.  My vines capture the trailing flowers in the original and birds have moved into my birdhouse.   Please note the birds as I will have something more to say about them later.

I like all the blocks I made this week.  They add so much to my quilt.  Here is a photo of where we stand so far in what used to be the stonefields quilt-maybe now called "Chuck, Susan and Me".  My husband groans at my lousy grammar.

Okay...we have 9 rows of 12 blocks = 108 blocks.  I want 13 rows of 11 across =  143, so i have 35 to make though I may not stop but instead replace some of the existing blocks that I'm not to crazy about.

 Mctavishing, the funnest one so far.

You remember the birds mentioned earlier.  These birds are actual birds called Painted Buntings.  Our part of Missouri is the northern most breeding area.  I used to see these exotic birds when we lived on our zen farm and now my husband sees them eating partridge peas while he is walking in the woods. This photo is of the male.  He is unbelievable with indigo, red, and yellow.

Copied from

and the female-just a pretty little chartreuse bird!
Copied for
They are the birds who have moved into my birdhouse!

That's all for today.  I have not forgotten that I promised to display my Caswell quilt blocks and I will soon.  Hope all goes well with you and


Linking up with Slow Stitching Sunday, Whoop-Whoop, Esther's WOW, Patchwork Times, NTT-great links with great quilts!