QOV 4 & 5 for 2016

Now remember I needed to get 3 quilts done in a week. And keep in mind I also have a full time job and two mini Steam’s to take care of. So a few days really only meant a few hours that I could sneak in after getting the minis to bed.

The first of the three took me several days to get done, but it was sooooo worth it! But now I only had a few days left to get the second two quilts done.

As I opened the 2nd quilt I said a little prayer asking for a quilt that really needed edge to edge (E2E).

QOV 2016-5

YES!!!! THis quilt had far to much going on and no quite spots for fancy quilting to show. In other words – it was perfect for E2E.  And look at that beauty! It’s gorgeous!

I borrowed a panto from a friend that is just perfect for QOV quilts. It has eagles, flags and stars. But try as I might I couldn’t get a picture that would show off the quilting.

What you say? I could have just taken a picture of the panto itself? Why, that is indeed a brilliant idea! But, couldn’t you have told me that BEFORE I gave the panto back? Oh well. You’ll have to use your imagination.

The awesome thing about this, the quilt was only on the frame for 1 DAY!!!!! It might just be possible to finish all three!

So I sent up another prayer that the 3rd quilt would be a E2E quilt.

qov 2016-4 (3)

Ok. This one was close. Yes I could do custom on it. But there was enough texture that I was worried it wouldn’t show. It was a hard decision, but with a deadline looming, I decided to do the same panto that I did on quilt #2.

And this picture… that’s after the quilting. You couldn’t see it. So, I am thinking I made the right call.

I tried to get some pictures on the back of the eagle and flags, but the back was the same fabric. This was the best I could get. You can sort of see the eagle on the left, and one of the flags on the right.

qov 2016-4 (7)

And I did it!!!! 3 quilts in one week. I got them delivered in time to get bound and awarded.

Now I still need to catch you all up on the birthday party!!!! Wait ’til you see it!

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QOV #3 for 2016

Oh boy! Do I have some catching up to do or what?!!!!

Things have been really busy this summer. Too many hours at work. A few camping trips. A awesome birthday party for Ms M. Several QOV quilts for a special presentation this August. And a wonderful 4th of July.

Where oh where to start?

With the quilts of course!

There is a big presentation scheduled here in the middle of August. I had three that needed to be done by the middle of July so that there was time to get them bound. I have had these quilts for a while, but haven’t been able to get to work on them. So of course 1 week before they were due I got started. 3 quilts? 1 week? Um, sure!

When I get the quilts they are all folded up in a bag. So I don’t really know what I am getting. I was really hoping for 3 that needed an all over, because seriously, 3 quilts + 1 week does not = CUSTOM.

Then I opened this…

1 Top

Ohhhh, look at all that white space just calling for custom. I just couldn’t do an all over on this.

I decided to worry about the block strips later and all their white space later. The side borders weren’t going to show anything. So I did some simple Xs and swirls. The green sashing got some undulating feathers.

2 Sides and sashing

With those done it was time to determine how to treat the block strips. Nothing was really jumping out at me. So I broke out the sheet protectors and started drawing. I needed something that looked good but could still be done on a time budget.

Option 1: Single feathers.

These I could do SUPER fast. And they would look really nice. But, they weren’t speaking to me. And, there was nothing from this that I could pull into the blocks except to maybe stitch in the ditch the piecing. Dang, that was going to be a LOT of ditch work.

3.0 Audition (1)

Option 2: Mirrored Feathers.

This would require only minimal marking. Just a line to aim the feathers to. Hmm. Still not quite right. Again, no help inside the block.

3.0 Audition (2)

Option 3: Arched feathers.

This would require me to mark the spines.  It was far to similar to what was done in the green sashing, and it didn’t really pull the rest of the piecing into the block. Hmmm.

3.0 Audition (3)

This quilt really was screaming for a secondary pattern.

Option 4: Circles & Piano keys

3.0 Audition (4)

Now that was screaming at me!!! SQUEEEEEE!!!! This design. THIS design. This DESIGN!!!! Dang, look at all that ruler work. This was going to take a lot of time.

But really. It had to be done. I still had no idea what to do inside the blocks. But this. THIS is what needed to be done in the white space.

So first to sew the circles. Bonus, I get to use my new circle templates!

3.1 inner cicrcle

To make these faster, I did not do each circle individually. I did all the bottom arcs working right to left. Then I did all the top arcs working left to right.

3.2 inner circle

Then I echoed the archs. And did the piano keys.

But while I was doing the piano keys inspiration struck for the blocks themselves!!!!!! I could continue the arc inside the piecing for almost a orange peel. And then use a smaller template and repeat the same idea inside the block. IT WAS PERFECT!!!! It wasn’t too distracting on the piecing. It carried the design into the blocks. And it was going to be SIGNIFICANTLY faster than ditching each block. I LOVED IT! Bonus, I could to all of it with out any additional thread cutting. Just keep working my way left and right!

3.3 Inner circles

Finally I did the feathers in the open arcs. Again, I did the bottom arc working right to left. And the top arcs working left to right. This allowed me to do each row very very few thread cuts. Unless I ran out of bobbin thread it took only 1 cut. My pianio keys are not pretty working left to right. So for that I had to cut and go back to the right side of the quilt.

3.7 finished design

3.5 Full design

This is one of those quilts that I wish the back was less printed. It would have made an awesome “2nd quilt”

Back (1)

Back (2)

Back (3)

9 Finished (1)

This quilt was really hard to fold up and send off for binding. We had a good thing going. I love it when the quilts speak to me. It feels like we become friends. And this quilt and I had become good friends. I hope its new owner likes it as much as I do.



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Dutch Garden

Last year we purchase a new hard side camper and I made both mini steams quilts for their bunk beds. But I never got around to making one for our bed. The space where our bed is very dark, so I wanted something to lighten up and cheer up the space. But at the same time it couldn’t be too light because, well, we’d be camping and it’s going to get dirty.

I knew the quilt would have to use stars. Star blocks are by far my favorite block. But I am not a fan of quilts where every block in the quilt is the same block. I like sampler quilts and quilts that mix it up some.

I also really wanted to be able to do the whole quilt top from stash. No fabric purchased. But quite a while ago I had bought 1/2 yard cuts of about a dozen or more blue and yellow floral fabrics. That should do it. I just would need to find some solid(ish) fabrics to fill in.

And as with almost every quilt that I do I want to try something new. I have never done a dresden plate quilt before and I love them. This seemed like a good place to try them out.

Finally it had to have applique. I love love love applique.

After looking for a patern and hunting thru the internet, I couldn’t find anything that fit the bill. So I started playing around in EQ7. After several (dozens? Hundreds?) attempts, this is what I came up with.

Dutch Garden Layout

I still haven’t decided what I am going to do in the last outer border. I’d love to have solid fabric and then just mimic the applique in the quilting, but I don’t have enough fabric that reads solid to be able to pull that off. So I am going to wait and see what I have left from my yellow and blue stash and figure it out as I go.


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Stepping into a Mothers Day Gift!

Uggggg! Mother’s Day totally snuck up on my this year. I was planning on taking the kids to a diy pottery place to make a gift for their Grandma. Alas! They wouldn’t be able to put anything we made into the kiln until next week.


So now I need a functional homemade gift the kids could do and have it ready in one day.

To the rescue…….Pinterest!

Luckily I had a board made with fun gift ideas. One of those ideas were stepping stones. So last night we went shopping for supplies. Instead of buying a kit for $20 per stone (YIKES!), we bought just the supplies.

  • 60 lbs of quick set concrete (enough for 6ish stones) – $6
  • 2 hexagon forms – $9
  • Assorted glass and marbles – $15

So for less than 2 kids we bought supplies that should make about 6 stones!!! Sa-weet!

This morning we divided up the decorations and got all our supplies organized.

Last minute Mothers Day present! Stepping stones! Supplies all set up.

The tutorials I found on line suggested using either Vaseline or cooking spray as a mold release. You can probably tell we are using cooking spray.  It was quite the challenge to stir the concrete. Poor N was trying valiantly to hold the bucket while I stirred. He was laughing because the stirring was moving him around too.  With an impeccable sense of timing, Mr. Steam showed up right when I finished mixing the concrete. But he did help pour it into the molds.

The kids were a wee bit excited about the project. It cracks me up because N refuses to get his picture taken. But if he can photo bomb a picture then he’s all in. Goof!

Last minute Mothers Day present! Stepping stones! Excited to start decorating.


Then the kids got started decorating.

Last minute Mothers Day present! Stepping stones! Getting started.

Last minute Mothers Day present! Stepping stones! Getting started.

Both kids decided to do flowers. It made perfect sense as these are a gift for Grandma Garden.

Last minute Mothers Day present! Stepping stones!

N’s creation was all his own. He has a blue sky with white clouds and flowers.

Last minute Mothers Day present! Stepping stones!

Poor Ms M had a playground incident earlier this week where she fell face first onto a piece of equipment. She has been quite the sport about it and even has been wearing outfits to match the changing color of her nose. The missing teeth were not a result of the incident (thank goodness!).

She also wanted flowers, but we built here stone together. She did the grass, sky, and rain. I did the flowers and stems.

Last minute Mothers Day present! Stepping stones!


They were both very proud of their creations and can’t wait to give them to Grandma Garden.



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QOV #2 for 2016 – Stars and Feathers

Remember how this year I was trying to pick out QOV quilts to that I could practice some edge to edge and all over quilting? When I picked up this quilt it was still in its bag and I was sure that this quilt was going to be a great candidate for an all over.

1 Quilt top

Not. Even. Close.

All that big wide open blue background. I had to do feathers. I just had to!

The border I decided to do some piano keys coming off 1/2 circle arcs. That fabric was way too patterned for anything to be seen.  On the corners I rayed out the keys. I knew I would never remember how to measure them out when I got to the bottom so I made myself a cheat sheet.

1 remembering border measurements

Even though I was very excited to put some feathers in that big blue space it took me MANY tries to figure out what would work. This drawing was about my 4th or 5th try.

2 Feather design

For as dark as the fabric was it was VERY hard to see the chalk lines. Those white lines on the fabric really proved to be a challenge. I had to concentrate REALLY hard to see.

3 Marking

In addition the pattern made it even harder to get  a picture of how the feathers turned out. Luckily, the quilt was sent with a solid background. Awesome!!!


The setting triangles also proved to be a challenge to layout a spine that I liked. After MANY tries I ended up with this. So elegant.

5 marking setting triangles

And then I added feathers. Oh yeah! This quilt could take flight!

6 setting triangle feathers

Here’s a shot of the back. You can see it even better here. Plus you can see how I did the outer and inner borders.

7 border and triangles back

The fabric was really too busy to show up the feathers very well. But, it sure gave GREAT texture. And since the backing is solid, the recipient will get a really cool whole cloth. Two quilts in one. You can’t beat that!

8 texture


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Spooktacular Fun!

A friend of mine participated in a round robin. I don’t know how you feel about round robins, but they are nerve wracking for me. From my experience you either end up with a quilt that is greater than the sum of its quilters, or you end up with a disaster.

I think my friend’s round robin fell into the earlier. But you judge. (I promise the floor was very clean, we had just vacuumed before I put the top down.)

Halloween Round robin (2)

When I saw this top I asked my friend if I could quilt it for her. I knew the second I saw it how I wanted to quilt it. I was so excited when she said YES!!!!

I knew I wanted to treat each border a little bit differently. And I was going to be so much fun because both the black and green borders were solid fabrics and they were BIG! So there was going to be lots of room to play.

The outer most border was a very busy print, and it had a bit of fullness. So I used a 1″ piano key. It’s a quick and easy border and it great at eating up extra fabric.

In the black border was my first chance to play. I did a mix of pebbles, swirls and paisleys.

black border (2)

The broom got some variegated yellow thread to make it look more like straw.

black border (1)

I did all swirls off the back of the broom. That thing needed to look like it was flying after all.

black border (3)

The blocks were a lot of fun. The crazy log cabin blocks got a spiderweb. That was super quick to quilt up and required no marking or rulers. The characters got diagonal lines.

Blocks (1)

The green border had TONS and TONS of room to play. First I cut out some Halloween shapes from card stock.

green border (1)

green border (2)

Then I traced those with blue water erase marker. And quilted them.

green border

green border (5)

I just love how they look! Then I filled around them with McTavishing and pebbles.

green border (6)

I thought it would be fun to quilt in some steam and bubbles on the top of the cauldron.

green border (10)

The words got either echos or pebbles to help them pop.

green border (4)

The green was by far my favorite.

green border (11)

green border (80)

green border (82)

There wasn’t much room in the purple border, and there were some pretty tight spots around the ghosts. Pebbles are great for getting into tight spots and you can vary the size to make them more interesting.

Purple border

The most inner border had some interesting round flowers. I wanted to do some 1/2 circles, but I didn’t have a circle template. But I was REALLY REALLY determined to find a way. I had remembered reading about quilters using lids from pots. THAT’S IT! I went thru my craft supplies of small jars and found a spice jar lid that was just the perfect size!

circle template

The center panel I did some cross hatching, but of course I forgot to get pictures of that. -Sigh-.

I sent the quilt back to my friend and it was a hit! The cat even likes it!

Halloween Round robin

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QOV #1 for 2015 – Jelly Roll Race

Normally when I pick out the QOV quilts to work on I pick out ones that have lots of room to play and that I can do fancy custom quilting on because that is what I enjoy so much. However, I almost never get a chance to do all over designs on quilts and I really want to make sure I practice that skill too. So this time when I picked out quilts I tried to pick out ones that were too busy to really see the custom work.

The first one I picked was a variation of a jelly roll race. It was a very cool quilt and really needed an all over pattern. I sampled several different all over designs, and ended up with a loop and star pattern.


However for the border I really wanted to do something different. I found a pin from “A Few Scraps” that are a no mark continuous line star that are PERFECT for borders.


From the previous pictures you really can see that the quilt is to busy to see the quilting. But… Fear not! The backing was solid red!

QOV Jelly Roll Race - Loops and stars

It was amazing to me how much faster this went than fancy quilting! It was only a few hours to finish the whole quilt. Its good to know I can to simple quilting in case I ever need to.

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Floral Cabin – Part 4 Finished and Delivered!

I just realized that I never showed you all the finished and delivered Floral Cabin! Shame on me!

Once I got the quilting done on this beauty, I met up with my cousin and her kids camping and she took it home to do the binding. The husbands held up the top so my cousin and I could take the pictures. I tell ya, there is nothing like natural light to show off the quilting.

This quilt is a MONSTER! The guys had a hard time holding it straight.

Floral Cabin

I just love how the quilting on the blocks turned out.

whole quilt (7)

The borders were so much fun to quilt. And I soooooo love feathers (can ya tell?)

whole quilt (5)

The back is just as much fun as the front. You can really see the two inner borders easier here. I wish I had been able to find a sold color for the back, then my Aunt could have had both a log cabin and a whole cloth quilt.

whole quilt (1)

Late last summer we had a family reunion and I got to see the quilt delivered to my Aunt. She was thrilled!

delivery (1)

Now in case you lost track, this quilt was made by 4 people and traveled to 4 different states. It started in Alabama where my Aunt and two cousins pieced it. Then it traveled to Wisconsin where I quilted it. After that the quilt made it’s way to Minnesota to get bound. Next, on to Tennessee to be delivered. And, finally back to it’s home in Alabama. That poor quilt must be tired. Good thing it gets to live on a bed!!!!

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Valentines from the store is crafty too

So every year I try to find something that we can have for a special valentine for the whole family. And every year I try to find special valentines that really represent each of the mini steam’s personalities. And every year the minis and I make a specifically designed valentines box just for that child.

That is until this year.

The kids and I hunted in Pinterest until we found just the right box. Something that was just what each child wanted. N picked out a Pokemon box and Ms M picked out a Paw Patrol box.

We scanned Pinterest pages and pages and pages and found just the right cards that made each child clap. Unsurprisingly, each child wanted cards that matched their box.

And then…


my craft mojo left. Don’t know where it went. Things have been crazy here at the Steam house for a while. And I just couldn’t figure out how I was going to get all of everything don that needed to be done.


The three of us went on a mission and picked out store. bought. cards. (Well technically they picked out store bought sticker packs, but still). And while we were there, I saw that they had prepackaged do it yourself boxes! And guess what?! The kids picked on of those out too!

And you know what? The kids had just as much fun assembling their own kit box as they did making their box from scratch. And they had just as much fun putting their friends name on the store bought cards. And it was still a craft that we sat down and did together.

 And really, in the end, it doesn’t mater if its from scratch. We all need to stay sane. The kids were happy. I was happy. So it’s all good.

And next year, if the kids want to make their cards and boxes from scratch, that will be fine. And if they want to buy kids, that will be fine too.


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52 Pie Challenge is in the Books!

Holly cow! I can’t believe that it’s been this long since I have posted on the blog. Ok, check that, yes, I can believe. Things are always crazy here, but they got really crazy between October and the end of the year. There was a trip to Mexico, a Halloween party, a gingerbread decorating party, a bunch of Christmas presents to make, and there were 14 pies to be made!

Yep, 14 pies. Because, back in March I thought it would be a good idea to see if I could make 52 different pies by the end of the year. The problem was in August I lost my pie mojo and quit. But, I am a sucker for a challenge, even if it is self imposed.

So in December I made 14 pies. Yep, 14 pies in one month. That’s just shy of one pie every other day. Frankly, I think the family will be happy if they don’t see another pie crust for a while.

It was a fun challenge though. And it was quite interesting to come up with pies that the whole family (or at least the majority of the family) wanted to eat. And I was pretty proud that 40 of the recipes were ones I have never tried before.

Here’s the breakdown:

Savory Pies:

  1. Pizza
  2. Broccoli cheese quiche
  3. Ham Cheese quiche
  4. Pasty
  5. Chicken Pot Pie
  6. Spinach Pie
  7. Spaghetti and meatball pie (recipe)
  8. Shepard’s Pie (recipe)
  9. Mini Hashbrown quiche
  10. Asparagus tart
  11. Pizza pudgie pie
  12. Meatball sub pudgie pie
  13. Chicken parmesan pudgie pie
  14. Ham and cheese pudgie pie
  15. Cheese pudgie pie
  16. Caprese pudgie pie
  17. Sausage, potato, spinach and green chili pie
  18. Tomato pie
  19. Chicken and corn pie
  20. Cheeseburger pie
  21. Taco Pie
  22. Steak and mushroom pie
  23. Potato and onion pie
  24. Mushroom and parmesan mini pies
  25. Pulled pork tart
  26. French onion soup tart
  27. Spinach and potato breakfast pie

Dessert Pies:

  1. Banana cream pie
  2. Ice cream pie
  3. Raspberry pie
  4. Lemon meringue pie
  5. Blueberry pie
  6. Chocolate covered strawberry pie
  7. Strawberry rhubarb pie
  8. Chocolate silk pie
  9. Strawberry cream pie
  10. Blueberry and black raspberry crostata
  11. Plum crostata
  12. Lemon meringue pudgie pie
  13. Banana bread and jelly meringue pudgie pie
  14. Blueberry pudgie pie
  15. Cherry pudgie pie
  16. Peach and blueberry pie
  17. Strawberry and Nutella pudgie pie
  18. Cream cheese and jelly (raspberry / rhubarb) pudgie pie
  19. Cherry limeade pie (recipe)
  20. Peppermint ice cream pie with chocolate ganache topping
  21. Mini apple pie
  22. Lemon and raspberry min pies
  23. S’mores Pie
  24. Chocolate mascarpone raspberry pie (recipe)
  25. Whoopie pie

Phew! That was a LOT of pies! And when I told several of my friends that I made it by the skin of my teeth, as the last pie was made on December 31!!! Were they impressed? Nooooo*! They just wanted to know what my challenge was for this year!

*Ok, they probably were impressed. Or just laughing on the inside. I am ok with either.

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