My son and his wife have a beautiful Himalayan cat named Nomad. They named him Nomad because my son's company transfers him from job to job. As a civil engineer on large road construction projects, assignments have been at least 2 years long however the 405 project in L.A. lasted over 4 years. Once that project was done he transferred to Honolulu and that made it difficult to take Nomad along. There are many rules for taking pets to the Hawaiian islands. So Nomad came to live with me.

Nomad has been with us since last October. During that time my husband and I have fallen madly in love with him. He's adapted to our early morning routine and knows all the nuances of our family like spending time outside in the yard. He even enjoys when my granddaughters visit, which was not the case when he first got here.

This week has been a terrible week. On Monday Nomad seemed ill and a visit to the vet confirmed that he was having trouble urinating. They kept him overnight when they discovered that his urinary tract was totally blocked. After a day of catheterization and flushing out his system, he came home with some medication to help the healing process. Between Tuesday and today he did not get better. In fact, he was worse. He was listless and lying on the floor twitching from pain. So back at the vet's office we got the horrible news; they could not help him. They could attempt surgery but it was such a long shot they advised against it. So the humane decision was made by my daughter-in-law to let him go. We recently celebrated his 4th birthday with our granddaughters who thought it was fun to have a kitty birthday. He was way too young to be this ill.

Nomad loved quilts. He spent most of his days with me in my sewing room so he was a big part of everything I made. No matter where there is a quilt, he would lie on it. This photo of him was taken when the linen closed was left open. He instantly found a quilt to lay on when the door opened.

We are devastated. 


Memorial Shirt Pillow Cover

A few months back I completed a memorial t-shirt quilt for an acquaintance. At her request, I took the leftover shirt pieces and turned them into pillow covers. Her plan was to give them as gifts to her sons and stepsons in memory of her husband however, she just could not part with any of them. And I made her 8 of them. So she requested 5 more. I incorporated pieces of a few different shirts into each pillow cover thinking that each piece of fabric might represent specific memories. Each rectangle is made from a piece of a polo shirt and the sashing was made from strips cut from a cotton oxford shirt. I think they will make a nice gift for any of her family members.
T-Shirt Pillow Cover


Little Monsters Quilt - Completed

I finished my little monsters quilt today. It's been difficult to find time to sew lately because my husband had rotator cuff surgery yesterday. Not that his surgery is a huge burden on me, however, he did commit to completing my granddaughter's loft bed he's making before the surgery date arrived. That meant I was going to be putting the finishing coats of urethane on the bed frame since I'm home all day.

The project would have been completed in plenty of time but the weather was not cooperating. We needed some days where the temps were over 50 (according to the back of the urethane can) and that's been rare in the past month. I was happy to help out. But it did take away from time at my sewing machine.

So now that the bed is done, I am happy to be back in my sewing room and out of the workshop. After all the applique on this little quilt, I chose to just machine quilt around each block and keep it simple. I found some really cute fabric for the back and chose to use a stripe for the binding. This project allowed me the opportunity to map out each block myself and determine all the block sizes on my own.

Things are much easier with a pattern but this sure was an economical way to get the job done.

Quilts for Kids - Basket Weave Turtle Quilt

The Quilter's Palette pattern
I made this quilt using the book, A Quilter's Palette. I love this book because it gives great suggestions for using a wide range of color options and various sizes in quilt blocks.

I used the Basket Weave block instructions found on page 187 in the book. It tells you how to figure the size of each piece in order to make the block accurately. For example, the instructions read: you will need a small square and a large square twice the size of the small square. I don't have to do any complicated math calculations to use up the fabric that I have. I love that.

I used some quilts for kids fabrics to try out the instructions and the results were great. I just wish my photos came out brighter; the yellow is very pretty and bright next to the turtle fabric.
The Quilter's Palette pattern


Selvage Blocks

Lately when I am in my sewing studio I've been getting a closed-in feeling. It happens whenever my scrap piles start to run over and my unfinished projects stay unfinished. I really need to sort, purge and put things back in their proper places however I find that difficult to do when things are unfinished. The answer to the problem sounds so easy...just finish things but that's not how my mind works. 
Somehow clutter makes my creative juices flow. And I am staring at my selvage basket with its overflowing strips of pretty colors. I stop working on my current projects and decide to make a selvage block. I cut a 9-inch wide piece of muslin from the bolt and make 9 x 9-inch squares out of the strip. As I sort and iron a few of the selvages, I start to feel a sense of accomplishment just from tackling the overflowing basket. But I haven't even made anything yet! Not even a single block. 

I looked at a few blogs regarding making selvage blocks in order to pick up a few tips on how to get started. The best advice I could find was to make a straight line in the center of the muslin in order to keep the selvage strips straight as I build each block. Once one block was done I was hooked. Within two days I made 30 blocks and totally emptied my selvage strip scrap basket.

So now I have another unfinished quilt project to add to my angst but it sure was fun making those blocks.


Tin Can Wind Chimes - WIP

Tin can wind chimesI am working on a project with my granddaughters where we will make some wind chimes out of cans. I've collected soup cans, coffee cans and other cans so I have a variety of sizes for this little project. The only problem I've had is weather. I needed to spray paint the cans and the chances of me having the free time and getting a warm, sunny day at the exact same time needed to happen.  Our Wisconsin weather has been terribly unpredictable this year so there hasn't been very many nice days.

I took the cans outside, shook the chalkboard spray paint can and got it done. I was starting to wonder if it would ever happen. Now I have to get some cording to string the little cans to the big cans. In the meantime, I will have my granddaughters paint some of their wonderful artistic creations on the cans. Once that dries we will use some chalk to draw some more on the cans before we string them altogether.

I think this will make a nice birthday gift for their mama. I will post our progress as we get the painting done!


What's on the design board?

The last few weeks have been rainy and windy and cold. Unseasonably cold. That means there's no spring planting, gardening or yard work going on around here which seems like a great reason to work on a new quilt. 

I will admit that I saw this scary monster pattern online and I loved it. However, the pattern price was pretty steep. So steep that this one-income-family member rarely spends money on anything that is not necessary and this was definitely not a necessary expense. That does not mean I couldn't come up with my own version of said pattern.  

There's an old saying in the web design world...good designers borrow, great designers steal. I think this might be close to stealing. However, in my defense, this project is for my pleasure only, not to be sold or recreated again. It's just a little something that I can have my granddaughters work on with me (they will be putting the pupils of the eyes on all the monsters). Then they can have it when it's done.

So here it is, on the design wall for a little while longer. It's going to be a fun summer project for the girls.
Monster Quilt blocks


Milwaukee Modern Quilt Club Project

Wisconsin State Fair Entry
I belong to a modern quilt club that meets monthly at our local quilt shop. This winter we decided to create a modern quilt as a group and enter it into the Wisconsin State Fair and possibly the Modern Quilt Show. We decided to use Milwaukee landmarks as our theme and each member of the group chose a local landmark as their quilt block. We used the Modern Quilt Show color palette from a few years ago as our guide in making our blocks.

Over the past month we got together with our blocks, decided on a layout and stitched the blocks together. We all agree that the project is coming along very nicely. We only have a little time left to get the quilt top quilted and bound (July 29th) but we are confident that we will finish in time.


Finished Quilts

This weekend we are having our big neighborhood rummage sale. Sadly, it happens to fall on my Quilts for Kids once-a-month sew day so I will have to miss this month's meeting. I was so looking forward to turning these quilts in. At least I am getting things cleared out of my house...and hopefully making some extra cash. I'm certain any money made will be spent on more fabric - that's just how I roll!


Quilts for Kids - Charm Square Quilt

I found a photo of a quilt on Pinterest and the only description that went along with the photo said that the quilt used charm squares. So I took the little information that I had, cut 5-inch squares of fabric in both a solid and prints and pieced half-square triangles out of them.

I made sure I used 4 different prints so when I made the blocks each one would have 4 unique triangles of floral in them. I cut 3-inch strips of a coordinating fabric to use as sashing and borders and viola! ... a charm square quilt.

I took the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and use fabrics that were floral prints but not necessarily from the same designer. I just made sure that they all had at least one color in common among all the prints. The result was a really cute, cheery, summery looking quilt. Cheery is always my goal when making something for Quilts for Kids.


What's on the design board?

Over the past month I've been working diligently to finish a client project - a quilt and 8 pillow covers. This has left me with little time for other projects. It didn't help that I was sick for half of April and my main sewing machine spent 10 days in the shop...thank goodness for my little backup machine. 

Even though I enjoy making quilts for others, I must say I was a little stressed out about everything going on in my life that was not quilting-related. Plus we are having a neighborhood rummage in early May so I've also been busy digging things up that we no longer need/use to sell next weekend. So now that I've run out of excuses, here's my design board as it currently stands.

I'm using a new book to make the blocks for this next Quilt for Kids quilt. I will write more about that when I've finished the quilt. I have a nice start on this simple block so it shouldn't take me long to finish this one. I also have another QfK quilt ready for quilting and binding so I hope to be finished with that one soon as well.

I really like these monthly posts. They keep me moving forward even though it's usually at a snail's pace.


Quilts for Kids - Market Square Quilt and Sports Quilt

I completed 2 more quilts for Quilts for Kids today. Both of these quilts were made without patterns. I made them from photos I pinned to Pinterest. The thing is our QfK chapter gets donated fabric and sometimes there's just small pieces of fabric collections so it can be challenging to figure out what to do with it. These were quick and easy and didn't take long to complete since I kept them smaller than usual.