Monday, April 27, 2009

Charming Charm Quilts—Scrap Quilt Royalty


I’ve been cutting a few pyramids here and a few pyramids there. Here’s what 400+ pyramids look like:

400 CutPyramids

I try to knock out a few each day. Here’s what the waiting pile looks like:


Oh, and there are several Moda Charm Packs hidden away too, just in case.

And the bag o’ crumbs:


And ten little pyramids all in a row (look like little tepees, huh?):


I became curious about when charm quilts were first being made so a little googling taught me that they were wildly popular during the American Victorian age. They were also known as “Odd Feller” because there were no two identical pieces of fabric. AKA “Beggar” because women often asked others for bits of fabric to collect enough different scraps. ( Womenfolk. com is an excellent site for learning historic tidbits about quilting. There’s even a section on uncovering myths about quilting.

The very word “charm” brings to mind collecting (think charm bracelets) and also delight. These precious 5” squares certainly fall into both categories. As I’ve previously mentioned, my charm squares were swapped and collected with my mini-group. And they ARE delightful. In fact, they are so “charming and delightful” I’ve had a hard time cutting them up!!! I’ve enjoyed a couple of years of just fondling them and looking them over. It was time to commit!!!

According to Victoriana Quilting Designs these quilts sprang from the custom of collecting one-of-a-kind buttons on a string, called either charm or friendship strings. I love that idea! Oh, no, I feel another addiction coming on…

And Quilters Studio stated that generally they are constructed of a one-patch design. So…no two fabrics alike and only one patch template. Love it.

It’s a rainy day here in KC so time to whack a few more pyramids. Have a simply charming day!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Every Day Is Earth Day

How glorious of Mother Nature to bestow upon Kansas City such a beautiful Earth Day. It is sunny and will reach the mid-70s later and best of all, the wind is calm.


Our plan to celebrate the day is to go “geo-caching” with friends this afternoon. It is our new hobby. While we are novices at it, our friends are pretty proficient and hope to teach us a few tricks. If you aren’t familiar with it, you can learn more on It involves using a portable GPS


to find secret “caches”. Coordinates are given at the website, along with a few hints and other tidbits. It’s a good way to get a bit of exercise by hiking and to explore areas you might not ever take a look at. All in all, lots of fun.

A very wee bit of sewing


took place yesterday. The fourth installment of the Kansas City Star BOM came in the Sunday paper. This one is called Whig Rose or “Rose For Julia” and honors Julia Ward Howe who wrote the Battle Hymn of the Republic in 186l. In 1869 she helped organize the American Woman Suffrage Association. I have really loved reading the snippets of history about women who were so instrumental in equal rights.


Here are the first four blocks. They will not appear in this order in the quilt. I do see that I need to jazz up the color scheme somewhat!

Hope you have a wonderful day—and go do something earthy!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Three Years Of Blogging

Wow, it’s hard to believe but I’ve been writing this blog since April 20, 2006.  Some marriages don’t even last that long!   I wanted to celebrate in some manner and decided that, for me anyway, the most enjoyable way would be a little walk down memory lane.   You know, kinda like TV shows do a reel of clips of old shows when they reach a milestone episode?   Since my blog’s theme is primarily “making stuff”, I’m showing some of the projects I have had a lot of fun creating.

A few quilts first…. (See, I do occasionally finish things.)











And a favorite antique quilt (NOT created by me)


Some crocheted goodies







A knitted baby sweater with crocheted hat


Since I am expecting houseguests for the weekend, I am posting this a bit early.  Happy Blogiversary to Me!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter

May your Easter be filled with chocolate bunnies and marshmallow chicks!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Eggs, Glorious Eggs


Over the past couple of years I have made a determined effort to, as much as possible, eat locally grown and produced food. It is a concept that was brought home to me after reading the wonderful Barbara Kingsolver’s book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Of course, there are so many things that the KC climate and locale cannot produce (lemons, bananas, shrimp,etc.) but there are so many things that can come from local farmers. I recently discovered these local eggs in my grocery store. They are beautiful—no Easter egg dye needed LOL!

browneggsbox browneggsnote

I love that they are from free-range chickens and that no antibiotics or hormones were used and that the hens were vegetarian fed. And each box contains a little note from the farmer telling a bit about what is going on at the farm that day. This sweet entry says, “Little calves are appearing beside their mothers in the pasture fields. The little lambs with their mothers are out for fresh air too—how cute they look; it is a sign of spring…” How precious is that!

Speaking of lemons (we were, weren’t we?) I found the most yummy lemon cake recipe here.

From these


to this….mmm.


The recipe is written in metric. I diligently googled the conversion chart but I have to tell ya, I came up with some pretty bizarre amounts in the American equivalents!!! Imagine my glee when I discovered that my Pyrex measuring cups had both the metric AND American amounts all lined out for me. Whew! Anyhow, made the luscious, lemony, light cake yesterday and it is GONE. So moist, so delish. I won’t post the recipe but hope you’ll click the link above--you won’t be sorry. Speaking of the link above (and we were, weren’t we?) Attic 24’s blog is one of my new favorites. A young mum in England, Lucy writes eloquently and entertainingly. She is a beautiful crocheter (one of my current obsessions) and has a Victorian home that is about 100 years old that she is doing wonderful things to. Check her out.

And, on the quilting front


this pyramid cutting station was set up in the kitchen. I had intended to do this in front of the TV in the living room in the comfort of an easy chair but find I have to rotary cut standing up!!! I pulled out a ton of the nickel squares and culled out whites, creams, and screaming brights. I am making two piles: darks and medium/lights as I cut. I’m trying to keep them in groups of ten (hence, the six-pointed star effect!) for ease in counting. I have to tell ya, the mini-rotating mat and the pyramid ruler are proving INVALUABLE! And, yep, that’s a Klutz glove you see there because, well, I am a Klutz!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Odds and Ends Monday

Since April has proven itself to be “the cruelest month” these first six days here in KC, there seemed nothing better to do than stay inside and do a little of this and a little of that.

You may remember if you have read my blog for a few years (please say you have…) that my mini-group embarked on a year-long 5” square swap around 2005-2006.

This photo was taken after 9 months’ of swapping.9MonthsNickelSwap

Well, I really never had decided exactly what I wanted to use mine for, except that I was pretty sure I wanted it to be a “charm” quilt—one pattern piece. For years I have loved these 1000 Pyramid quilts (from a 1989 book Creative American Quilting)

1000Pyramids1 1000Pyramids2

and thought maybe these little nickel squares might work. After searching for an acrylic template that would fit snugly inside the fabric so as to keep waste to a minimum, I finally saw one on the Fons & Porter TV show. I promptly ordered it but it was back-ordered for several weeks. Wah-la, it finally came in the mail the other day


and I love it. It is adjustable and can make pyramids from 1” to 6”. This will be a great TV project in the evenings to sit with my smallish mat and rotary cutter slicing those little babies!

Another divine TV project is crocheting. While watching Changeling yesterday, in front of the roaring fire, I whipped out this little scrubbie and matching dishcloth as a quick gift for a friend I’m having lunch with later this week.


Doesn’t that flower made from a non-stick scrubber, some cotton yarn and a G hook just scream Spring? Such fun.

More crocheting…I have been wanting to crochet a Ripple afghan for the longest time and think I have FINALLY figured out how to do it. The pattern stitch is a piece of cake, it’s the counting that always messes me up LOL!!! So…..collecting some yarn and digging through the stash….


and deciding on this pattern (from a Lions Brand yarn book)…


I should soon be ready for another TV project. I am hoping to catch a good sale on the rest of the yarn I will need. My sewing machine is upstairs and most of my current quilty projects are machine-y, so I try to have some fun stuff to do while DH and I watch the tube in the evenings.

The temp is hovering at 33 degrees right now, the wind is fierce, and the skies are gray. I WANT MY SPRING---NOW!!!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

A Little More On Tennessee

Karen   and Marne so kindly asked to see more photos of the trip to Tennessee.

Hope this works. I am still fumbling with Windows Live Writer!!!

I promised to give more info on the wonderful shops I stopped at on the trip and to show in more detail the greedy purchases souvenirs.

On the way down we made a quick rest break in Paducah. Paducah??? Say what? Isn’t there a sweet little fabric shop there whose catalog I drool over? Why, yes, that would be Hancock’s of Paducah.


I will almost always go for a nice bit of cream fabric since it seems as though I use it constantly for applique backgrounds so I picked up a yard. The darling little honeybuns are from the Flag Day Farm line by Minick & Simpson. DH is so funny in quilt shops! Something will catch his eye and he’ll insist I buy some. So this very patriotic fabric will most likely go into my Courthouse Steps project.


Then a stop in Chattanooga at a WONDERFUL shop called Lavendar & Lime just blew me away. The shop owner had a most gorgeous quilt using Charisma charm packs that I HAD TO MAKE! But, of course, she was out of the charm packs. Waaaa, waaa, waaa. I bought one jelly roll on spec and the book with the pattern (thought in mind: find those charm packs on the internet!!!) Which I did but opted to wait before ordering in case I found them elsewhere on the trip. As an aside, I must give a shout out to quilt shop ladies. Whenever we travel, we always work in a quilt shop or two and my husband never complains because we ALWAYS get the best info from quilt shop ladies!!! Anything from best place to eat lunch to historic attractions in the area to easiest routes. Gotta love quilt shop ladies. Beyonce should write a song…

On a tip from the Lavendar & Lime owner, we headed down to Chickamauga via her BEST route and stopped at a shop in Ringgold, Georgia, she recommended. Sew Bee It—fantastic!

FromSewBeeIt FromSewBeeIt2

I have been admiring the Louisa May Alcott book by Terry Thompson so I took the plunge. While waiting to pay, I saw Remembering Adelia which had just come in. This is by Kathleen Tracy, the lady who wrote those wonderful doll quilt books, American Doll Quilts and Prairie Children and Their Quilts. Even if I don’t make the quilts for Adelia, I have already loved reading the diary excerpts she had written during the Civil War. (I know this is a very lo-o-ong post, so maybe you’d like to grab a cuppa?)

In Sevierville, Tennessee, we found The Cherry Pit, another amazing shop. And wouldn’t you know, she had a shop sample made up of Charisma—and it was kitted!!!


I don’t have a photo of the quilt but I did buy the kit. I can either make the one I saw in Chattanooga or this one! And I supported local quilt shops. Yay, me!

This post probably sounds very materialistic (oops, bad pun) but honestly, when we travel, I’d rather have quilty souvenirs than t-shirts or cedar boxes. That’s my story and I’m stickin’…….