The 1 Week Quilt – Part 5 Fill for the Flower Blocks

The only thing that was left on the quilt was to do the fill on the 4 flower blocks. I knew that I would just outline the flowers and maybe trace the inner petals. But I needed to do something in the brown faux border and fill in the cream.

1 week quilt - piecingI had no idea what I was going to do in the blocks at all. I hadn’t been to worried about it because usually as I am quilting the quilt lets me know what it wants. In this case it wasn’t saying much.

So I moved the quilt to a block. And just stared at the block. I decided that I would do my favorite – Feathers (’cause really are you surprised?). I did BIG feathers in the brown faux border. But they looked too big and empty to me. So I went back through them and added a center stem. MUCH better.

1 week quilt - flower block

For the cream center areas I really wanted to try McTavishing. I have been practicing it A LOT on paper. Pretty much whenever I am sitting down I have a pen in my hand and am practicing. But I haven’t had the guts to try it on a quilt.


I think its time to try.

I am so glad I did. I am THRILLED with how it looks. It was really quick to quilt. It provided GREAT texture. And it played nicely with the fabric to make it look like someone painted the fabric. It looks like the texture of an oil painting to me.
1 week quilt - flower block 1 week quilt - flower block 1 week quilt - flower blockWith the quilting all done…. It looks like this:

1 week quilt
I was thrilled with the texture, the feathers, the mix of formal and informal quilting. It was all just right.

I didn’t like how the border just kind of went off into forever because of it being such a light color. But I had already planned on using the burgundy fabric as binding. I felt confident that it would help frame the quilt.

So I bound the quilt. Put it in the wash. And my heart broke. I thought there might be a chance that the burgundy would bleed. So I checked the quilt for pink before putting it in the dryer. There was no pink in sight so I threw it into the dryer. When I pulled it out there were blue grey streaks all over the border and occasionally on the feather blocks.
1 week quilt
At first I thought it was from the wash out blue marking pen. However, the marks weren’t any where close to where I marked the quilt. If the marks were bleeding from the fabric I would have expected it to be more close to the color that bled rather than in streaks. I was stumped.

But, Mom was going to start her treatment and I wanted her to have her quilt. So I gave it to her anyway. I figure at least since it was already stained then she wouldn’t feel as bad about taking it to the hospital. She of course claimed that the bleeding gave it character and loved her quilt.
1 week quilt

Next I have to get ready for our annual pumpkin carving party!!!! I can’t wait!

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The 1 Week Quilt – Part 4 Feather Block Quilting

If you recall from the design post, this was my concept for the feather block.
1 week quilt - design

I really didn’t mark much, just the center and 1/4″ from the edge in the corners.
1 week quilt - feather block

Then I echoed the petal shape and finished up the cross hatching. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be.
1 week quilt - feather block

Once those were done I changed thread and started the feathers. First I used the same variegated that I had used on the borders. It looked HORRIBLE! The thread was variegated was: blue, green, red, yellow on a 1″ interval. While those colors looked great on the border these feathers were MUCH smaller. There were single feathers that were only 1″. So there were feathers that were all yellow, and feathers that were mostly yellow. They completely disappeared on the fabric. Which made the feathers look like they were missing parts. Ug!

Now what? Tap, tap, tap. I liked the blue and green feathers. So what if I used a dark solid? Much better!!!!
1 week quilt - feather block

What to do about those feathers I already stitched? Well if it was for a customer, if it wasn’t for my deadline I would have ripped them out. But this was for Mom. It was meant to give her comfort. So, yep, I stitched over those offending feathers with the brown. And yes, you can see it, IF you know it’s there (dang it, I spilled the beans again) and IF you look REALLY hard. So I didn’t loose any sleep over it.

On to the fill inside the petals. I thought pebbles would be too informal. I could do a stipple, but I already know how to do a stipple. I wanted to try something I hadn’t done before. ECHO!
1 week quilt - feather blockLove how it turned out.

Next up, those darn flower blocks. I STILL hadn’t decided what to do with those guys. Sigh. Tick Tick Tick.

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The 1 Week Quilt – Part 3 Border Quilting

With the piecing done it was time to get down to some serious work. The design and piecing took up all the “extra” time over the weekend. So the quilting had to be finished in my few hours in the evening between when the mini-steams went to bed and when I couldn’t stay awake any longer (sometimes that time is MUCH shorter than it really should be).

I knew the feathers would go super fast. But I wasn’t sure how long the ruler work would take. And I hadn’t even decided on a fill for the flower blocks.

I used two layers of 80/20 for batting. There were two reasons 1) I wanted some great texture on the quilt and 2) I wanted it to be really warm. Recently Mom has been getting cold pretty easy, and I have heard that the treatment rooms are pretty chilly.

So out come the rulers to make the arcs in the border. I started on the corners because those arcs needed to be 3/4 of a circle and it would be hard to adjust if any fudging was required.
1 week quilt - bordersBut I did design the border to fit the arc ruler that I had so that I would fit an exact number of repeats. Yea. That had been the design. Only I forgot to account for the ECHO of the arc. So I was off by about 3/4″ to fit a full arc in the center.

Eh, not a huge issue. I already had lots of practice using my compass with a blue marker on the second QOV quilt. And the circles weren’t so different in size as to be noticeable.
1 week quilt - borders

Here’s a picture of the top border with their piano keys added. Doesn’t that texture look great?! The 2 center arcs are about 3/8″ smaller, but you would never know unless I told you. Oh, wait, I just did. Dang it.
1 week quilt - borders

Now that the frames were done it was time to add the feathers. I decided to add the feathers using a variegated thread. I wanted to pull some color from the flowers back into the border. I was really happy with that decision. But I wanted the center feathers to look more like a flower. A little bit of thread painting to add a disk. It was just the right touch.
1 week quilt - borders

1 week quilt - borders

1 week quilt - borders

Borders done, now it’s time to move on to the feather blocks. Clock is a tickin’!

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The 1 Week Quilt – Part 2 Piecing

With the design complete and fabric selected from my stash it was time to start the piecing. The design called for an 8″ cream block with 2″ burgundy and 2″ green border. Like this:
1 week quilt - piecing

But when I sewed it I was worried that it didn’t leave enough room for the quilting design and that it would draw too much attention away from the flower blocks. I decided to make a test block using 1″ burgundy and 1″ green border. I placed them both on the panel. Yep, I liked the 1″ border better. The 2″ border block can go in my orphan block pile for some other future use.
1 week quilt - piecing

Several hours later the top was done!
1 week quilt - piecing

And loaded on Millie! All ready for the quilting to begin.
1 week quilt - piecing

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The 1 Week Quilt – Part 1 Design

The Steam family got some pretty shocking news. My mom was diagnosed with cancer. Within weeks of the diagnosis she was in surgery to have the tumor removed. The plan had been that about 4 weeks after surgery chemo and radiation treatments would begin. All of this happened while working on putting the finishing touches on the Police Birthday for N. I knew that as soon as the party craziness was over I wanted to make a quilt for mom that she could take to her chemo treatments to keep her warm. And also so she’d be reminded of all the people who love her and are saying prayers for her.

However this only left me ONE week to design and finish the quilt. PHEW! Not much time. But I thought I had a good chance of pulling it off.

I knew that the piecing would have to be kept to a minimum if I wanted to get this done in time. I also knew that I wanted to showcase the quilting. And to keep things fast I wanted to use fabric I had in my stash so I could get started immediately.

I had bought this panel quite a few years ago with the intention of making a quilt for mom, but never got to it. Perfect. They could add a lot of pop and color without any piecing.

1 week quilt - designI used the same panel to make this quilt and it was super fast and just about the size I was looking for, but it didn’t have any space to showcase the quilting. I’d need a different design.
1 week quilt - design
I played for a bit on EQ until I cam up with this. The cream squares would actually be the flower blocks from the panel. Then the bordered blocks and the quilt border would leave room to showcase some nice feathers. Each block is 16″ with a 6″ border. 62″ square, just a smidge bigger than I was aiming for, but still in the general size range. Layout done!
1 week quilt - designNow about that quilting. I stole borrowed some of the kids easel paper and started drawing. I knew I wanted to do some ruler work and some feathers. I just LOVE curved cross hatching so that was a must. I tried out 2 feather versions. I thought the echoed feathers looked nicer.

1 week quilt - design

For the quilt borders I knew I wanted a swag style look. I was happy with design of the feathers, but couldn’t decide between piano keys or curved cross hatching. I liked both. I was torn. Eh, I could make this decision once I started quilting.
1 week quilt - design

I showed the quilting design to Mr. Steam and he just started laughing. He went over and grabbed a book and turned to this picture. That bridge looks an awful lot like the arc with piano keys doesn’t it?! Too funny, because that engine is the Big Boy. My VERY favorite steam engine. Well, there ya go, piano keys – or train bridge it is!
1 week quilt - designThe entire design for the top and the quilting took less than 2 hrs. I have never had a quilt design to come together that fast. Time to move on to the piecing.


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All Points Bulliten – Policy Party – Part 4 – Games

The final (and N’s favorite) part of the party – GAMES!!!!

I had a pretty hard time coming up with games for the party. N didn’t want an investigation party or crime solving party. To him being a police man is all about the police car. Ugh!

Thankfully, N had lots of ideas for the games. In fact pretty much all I came up with was the treasure hunt, reveal the robber, and the craft. The other games were all N’s ideas! Sniff, sniff – proud Mom moment!

Craft: Make your own Police ID and Badge

As with all my parties we do the craft first. This works well because it gives the kids time to warm up to each other. And it gives them something to do while waiting for all the party guests to arrive.

The police ID was printed out before the party. The kids colored the police person and put it in the ID holder.

The police badge was cut out of pieces of glitter foam sheet. They picked out which colors they wanted and helped punch the hold for the brad that held all the pieces together. The brad was put through the badge, then one side ID holder. Then inside the holder it was opened up to hold everything together.

Police Party Games - Police Party Games - Police Party Games -

Game 1: Reveal the Robber

“As police officers you often have to look at evidence and try to solve the crime. (yea, yea, I know N didn’t want crime solving.) There are four criminals who stole some of the food from the party! We need to figure out what was stolen and who stole each item.”

There were four bowls that had crumbs of food, four evidence bags with the stolen food, and pictures for 4 criminals. The food included: peanuts, cookies, sausage, and cheese. The criminals were of course a mouse, dinosaur, cookie monster, and a bunny.

Each child got to match one piece of evidence. Until all the crumbs, evidence, and criminals were matched up.

Police Party Games - Police Party Games - Police Party Games - Police Party Games -

Game 2: Case of the Cash Crook

I love  scavenger hunts, and we almost always have some form of scavenger hunt.

“Police officers! I just got a call from dispatch, a crook just stole some cash from the bank! Quick get your evidence bags and lets see what’s going on!”

(Everyone under the age of 12 runs at full speed to the castle bank, everyone over that age meanders slowly in that direction.)

“Look the bank has been robbed. But it looks like the crook left evidence. We have to track the evidence to find him.”

(Yea, yea, I know no solving crimes. But seriously what was I supposed to do?)

“Which direction do you think the crook went?”

Police Party Games -

And off a whole slew of kids went following the very large foot prints.Police Party Games -

“Hey, look the foot prints stop. I bet the crook dumped the stolen gold so that he could get away.” Hidden inside the rhubarb patch was a basket of small money bags with Hershey nuggets which they put in their evidence bags.Police Party Games -

“Dispatch called again. There has been a car theft. I bet the crook stole a car so that he could try and get away. Do you see where they car might have gone?”

(This time the slew of kids went following the “tire” tracks.)

Police Party Games -

“Oh no! It looks like the stolen car was in an accident. And look, the police dogs were here! Everyone get a police dog.”Police Party Games -

“It looks like the crook is back on foot. See if your police dog can track the bad guy down.”Police Party Games -

“Good job officers! I see you have found the crook after all! Quick get him in jail before he gets away again!”Police Party Games -

“See that crime just doesn’t pay!”Police Party Games -

Game 3: Hot in Pursuit

This game was a joint concept between N and I. He wanted kids to chase each other on bikes and pull over people going to fast. I thought it would be safer to have them ride one at a time through an obstacle course.

We made a jail out of a card board box, and made a criminal mask for one of Ms M’s dolls. Then Mr. Steam scrounged up some traffic cones. The jail was at the beginning of the obstacle course and the criminal doll was left at the other end. The kids had to ride in and out of the cones, pick up the criminal and ride back to put her in jail.

Police Party Games -

It was a little concerning how happy Ms. M was that her doll entered a life of crime. Hmmmm. I think I’ll have to keep a close eye on this one!Police Party Games - Police Party Games - NotYourNormalSteam.wordpress.comPolice Party Games -

My favorite part of this game was the various method the kids employed to put the criminal in jail.

There was the “drive by and drop”Police Party Games -

The “toss n go”Police Party Games -

And finally my favorite, the “slam her in the slammer!”Police Party Games -

Game 4: Red Light Green Light

This was totally N’s idea. Wahooo! Good thing, because I was plum out of ideas. I made the signs from some card stock and dowel rods. Each party goer got a turn to be the officer.

Police Party Games - Police Party Games - Police Party Games - Police Party Games -

 Game 5: Cops and Robbers

Simply put: TAG! Only caveat, was once the robber was caught they were brought to JAIL!!!

Police Party Games - NotYourNormalSteam.wordpress.comPolice Party Games -

PHEW! And there you have it! The whole Police Birthday Party! Now on to planning the pumpkin carving extravaganza!!!

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All Points Bulliten – Policy Party – Part 3 – Food

The kids and I always have a bunch of fun coming up with the food names for our parties. We typically have the same thing – fruit, veggies, olives, cheese, sausage, chips – it’s just what you call it that makes it more fun.

In fact, when N and I were discussing the food selection for the party I started listing off the various appetizers. When I got to olives it went like this:

N: How will the olives be served?

Me: In a bowl,  just like always.

N: No, Mom. How will they be?

Me: (very confused) They will be olives in a bowl.

N: But, Mom, the food always IS something. What will the olives be?

Me: (Finally understanding) Ahhhh! Ball and chains!

Such a proud Mom moment! Grin. So lets get to it, shall we?


  • Stolen Gold – Cheese cubes
  • Police Badges – Sunmer sausage
  • Ball and Chains – Black olives
  • Hand Cuffs – Funyuns
  • Cop Corn – Pop corn
  • Police Batons – grapes on a skewer
  • Greenback and Dip – Celery, Green peppers, broccoli, cucumber and dip

Police Party Food -

When I ordered new water bottles for the mini-steams they came in these perfect sized boxes to use as decoration on the appetizer table. N thought that we should have a police station and a jail. He painted both boxes and I cut out the jail bars.
Police station (with special gelato spoon radar added by N)Police Party Food -

Jail decoration.Police Party Food - NotYourNormalSteam.wordpress.comBeing that it was a police party, the dessert was a foregone conculsion. It had to be donuts! Which was perfect, no messing with cupcakes. And they are N’s favorite desert.Police Party Food - NotYourNormalSteam.wordpress.comDrinks:

  • Truth Serum – punch
  • Burglar Brew – iced tea
  • Prohibition Stockpile – beer (hey, the adults have to have a beverage too ya know)

Police Party Food -

Police Party Food - Police Party Food - Dinner:

Normally the party theme only goes as far as the appetizers, drinks and desserts. But N decided that he wanted tacos. And we thought we could probably come up with a police theme for that. And, what do ya know? We did!

  • Take out Tacos – um, yea tacos
  • Steak-out fajitas – flank steak fajitas
  • Pick-pocket de gallo – salsa
  • Grand Jury Guacamole
  • Slammer Sour Cream
  • Shredded evidence – cheese
  • Traffic Tickets – torrillas
  • Sarge’s Spanish Rice

Police Party Food -

Police Party Food -

Police Party Food -

And the food and donuts were a hit with all the party guests.

Police Party Food -

Police Party Food -

And last but not least, party games!!!

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All Points Bulliten – Policy Party – Part 2 – Decorations

Decorating for this party was fairly minimal. We picked up some police crime tape and wrapped any surface we could. The kids sidewalk chalk worked great for doing some body outlines. N did all the posing and pointed the way to the party.

Police Decorations - NotYourNormalSteam.wordpress.comPolice Decorations -

I printed out a sign for the front door using free clip art I found on line.Police Decorations -

Again, more crime scene tape.Police Decorations -

As soon as you walked in the front door the kids were welcomed to their police kitsPolice Decorations -

Each kid got to grab a bag of police badge crayons before they left. The mini steams helped make these about a week before the party. They were super easy and lots of fun.Police Decorations -

Their police kit contained a ticket book, police pencil, police sun glasses, police hat. Throughout the party they ended up finding more evidence including their police badge & ID, stolen gold, and a police dog.Police Decorations -

The only ohter decorations we had were a bunch of police shields hung in various spots in the house.Police Decorations -

But, the lack of decorations was totally made up for by the food and games! Stay tuned for the next episode.

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All Points Bulliten – Policy Party – Part 1 – Invitation

N has helped design his parties since he knew what a birthday party was. We almost always pick the theme for his party 10 months (or more) before the actual party. And he has NEVER EVER changed his mind about a party theme.

That is until this year! He had been asking for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle party since before we even had his pirate party last year. I really struggled with that theme. But after designing the whole party decorations to food to games. He. Changed. His. MIND!!!!

Thankfully I hadn’t bought or started making anything for the party. Phew.

So on to the new theme! Police! Why police? Who knows. But police it is. N decided that the party needed to be black and blue. And ONLY black and blue. No yellow. No red. But I couldn’t help it. The card (and the party) needed some pop of color. Once I got a compromise from N that the police car needed a red light we got down to serious card design.

I knew I wanted to have a slider card. But had just planned on having the car move on the background. That is until I found “road” washi tape! Awesome.

The car is from the Cricut Chore Chart cartridge. The shield on the car is from Paper Doll Dress Up. I added a brad for wheels, tail lights and head lights. The bumper and grill were hand drawn on. The light on top of the car was cut free hand.

Police Invitation - Police Invitation - Police Invitation - Police Invitation - NotYourNormalSteam.wordpress.comOutside Text:

Turn on your lights and sirens!

Speed on over to Nicholas’ party!

Inside Text:

Calling all cars….

Calling all cars….

Be on the lookout for the birthday boy!

Suspect: (Name)

Warrant issued for: Speeding to the age of (age)

Please help with this all points bulletin by:

Reporting to duty on: (Date of party)

Filling your report by: (Time of party)

Suspect last sighted at: (Address)

Contact dispatch with your ETA: (Contact information)


Next up decorations and favors police kit.

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Inspiration from a Shirt?

So many quilters post about inspiration in iron work, tiles, wood carving. I have struggled to see it. I couldn’t see quilting motifs or designs except for on quilts. But, the more I quilt the more I see quilts where ever I go.

Tonight I took the mini Steams to the park. The park was pretty busy with lots of kids and parents frantically enjoying some last warm evenings before fall chill hits us hard. The all of a sudden I saw an awesome quilt design. I was staring at it turning my head this way and that. Would it look good with his modification? Could I turn it into an continuous line design? Would it make a better motif or filler?

Then I heard “ahem”

Oh boy! I just realized I had been staring (for quite a while) at a dad’s shirt. I turned about 12 shades of embarrassed.

“Oh, I am so sorry for staring. I am a quilter and I love the pattern on you shirt! It would make a great quilt! Do you mind if I take a picture of it?”

Yep, that seriously came out of my mouth. Gulp.

The dad replies “Cool! It’s actually a band shirt. I am a silk screener. How would you quilt this?”

Ha! The two of us sat there sharing fiber and creation stories. It was great.

So, yep. You never know where your next inspiration will come from.

Oh, and here’s the shirt.


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