Usually I am the one redecorating, but this time it is my mom.  She made a new quilt, shams, dust ruffle, and curtains for her room, all out of Artful Home.  She also repainted the walls a different shade of blue.   I love how it turned out, so I asked if I could share it with all of you.   I couldn’t find a before picture, but here is the after picture:

The photos turned out a little dark, as I have trouble with lighting indoors.  This angle is a little better.  The bed skirt is black, so it really doesn’t show up in the photo, but it was made using Mom’s easy method.  (click here to see a tutorial).

The pattern is Starlit Evening, found in my Living Large 2 book.  It’s one of those quilts that looks really challenging, but it is stripe-pieced and all the diagonal seams nest.  However, there are no short-cuts for making it king sized!

The shams our made using the “bound with ties” pattern from our Shams with Style book.  The stripe is actually applied like binding, making it so easy to do – and that means you can totally avoiding having to do piping. 

I also borrowed a little more of Mom’s show and tell.  She recently finished up this quilt.

It’s called Patchwork Posies and can also found in the Living Large 2 book.  The fabric is from our “Whimsy” collection that came out last month.  BTW, it’s the perfect pattern for fat eighths or fat quarters.

That’s all “my” show-n-tell for now – so have a good weekend!


Posted in Decorating, Fabric Trends, Quilting | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments

Spanish Tiles

I’m just popping in quick to show you a quilt that I finished.  It’s called Spanish Tiles and can be found in my “Living Large 2” book.

This is a more modern color pallet than I usually use, but I wanted to make a quilt with a gray background.  I set out to find a color combination that would work with gray.


I based my color story on this fat quarter.  It’s from the Kumari Garden by Dena Designs.

The print directly above and below this print in the quilt are also from that collection.  There are some other really cute prints in that line, and now I’m tempted to get it in the pink colorway.  Most of the other prints are from my stash.  I happened to have a really old fat quarter pack of Ivy Trellis by Riley Blake Designs (I left out the oranges) that went pretty well with the Kumari Garden.

I had over half of the Ivy Trellis fat quarter pack left, so I used it to make my backing.

I tried out a new quilting design on this quilt.  I have seen it before, but never tried it myself.  As I was working on it, I hated it.  It felt really messy and uneven and I was worried that I had ruined my quilt.  When I took the quilt off the machine and laid it out, I breathed a huge sigh of relief to see it wasn’t as bad as I thought.  In fact, it’s really growing on me and I’m happy to have found a new design to mix in with my other quilting designs.

I love a good finish!  I was happy to see that the Kumari Garden line had a nice stripe for the binding.

This is my third time making this quilt, so in case you missed the first two, here is how they turned out:

You can see more of both of them here.  If you are following along with Maria on her way through “Living Large 2”, you can see her color option here.

I’m off to finish a couple more things before heading into the weekend, so I bet scoot.  Take care and talk to you all next week . . . .










Posted in Fabric Trends, Machine Quilting, Quilting | Tagged , , , , , , | 25 Comments

A Knitting Fool

So, the weather didn’t hold and I haven’t finished the quilt from my last post.  There are really only a few days a year that are nice enough to sew outside, mainly because the wind is always an issue.  It’s hard to keep track of all of your pieces if the wind keep stealing them!  Something that is easier to do outside in almost any weather is knitting – and there has been a lot of that going on lately.  I know a lot of people say they don’t knit in the summer when it’s hot out, but I think it’s the perfect thing to take outside – you don’t have to worry about the wind,  you don’t have to lug an iron and ironing board, cutting tools, machine, etc.  I also get a lot of knitting done in the car.  In fact, I started this project on the way to quilt market in May.  That was about 34 hours in the car, which meant 34 hours of knitting time! (my hubby does all the driving, in case you were wondering).

It was a very easy knit, though I did have my lace pattern handy in case I got stuck.

The pattern is called  the Oriel Lace Cardigan.  Ravelry details can be found here, including a couple changes that I made to the pattern.  The button band was supposed to be picked up and added later.  I just did it as I went (it’s a top down pattern), which was much faster and it eliminated the waviness that the original button band had.

I also started this one in the car on the way to quilt market.

I was a bit nervous about this one, as I liked many of the design elements of the original pattern, but I wanted it to fit differently.  Here is a shot of the original pattern for the Dramatic Lace Cardigan by Sweater Babe:

I think it’s very pretty, but I knew that all the extra fabric hanging to the front would drive me crazy!  This type of design is so popular right now, but I have an easier time with things that button up in the front.  In this case, a shawl pin works pretty nicely.

I love the back of this design too – in fact, it is the reason that I decided that I had to make it!

I’m not sure that my yarn was the best choice for this pattern, but it has been in my stash for a while.   It’s the cotton jeans yarn by Rowan/RYC.  It has a subtle tweed to it that I really like, but I don’t think it is going to hold the blocking that well.  I feel like I am still in the learning process of choosing the right fiber for my knitting projects.  The rest of the details can be found here.

This next one is a super quick knit.  It took me just a couple nights to make it – seriously – it’s that quick!   I am probably one of the last people on Ravelry to make the Leisl Cardigan, but I happened to have just one skein of yarn left from this project.  It was just enough to make this small shrug.

I usually think shrugs are kinda cute from the front, but look too short in the back, so I’m not sure how much I will wear it.  It will probably be just perfect for a summer sweater though, as it won’t be too hot.

Despite my reservations, I just loved the color of this yarn, so I had to use up that last skein!  I really love the subtle color variation of hand-dyed yarns.

Ravelry details here.

I started this next project about three years ago.  At the time, I got bored with it and quit working on it.  I usually do things with more detail and that seems to keep me more entertained.  I also felt like the yarn was looking worn on the edges already, and I hadn’t even worn it yet.  I rediscovered it this summer and decided to quick finish it.

It was originally supposed to have long sleeves, so leaving them off is what allowed me “to quick finish it”.  (BTW, I have now found a nude colored tank to wear under it.)

Turns out I love this yarn!  I still think it is going to show some wear and tear, but it is sooooo soft and comfortable that I think I will love wearing it.  The yarn is Premiere by Classic Elite.

Ravelry details here.


One last project for today – it’s yet another red one. ( I promise my next knitting post won’t include any reds.)  This pattern is called Green Gable by Rachel Bishop, though I think I will have to call it Red Gable.   I used one of my favorite yarns, Hempathy by Elsebeth Lavold.  It’s a super sturdy yarn, though not nearly as soft as my last project.

I liked the pattern for several reasons.  I like anything that fits comfortably like a t-shirt.  I also like the raglan sleeves and the lace detailing by  the neck.

The pattern was supposed to have ribbing at the bottom, but I added the lace detailing instead.

This was a super quick project and the lace pattern was very easy.  I always have to have a project with mostly stockinette stitch at hand.  That way I always have something to pick up that doesn’t take too much concentration – so I can visit, watch a movie or baseball game, read etc and can do the project mostly by feel.  (I always have a harder project going too, for when I get bored with all the SS stitching.)

As you can see I have been a knitting fool lately.  I have three more projects that are almost done.  I’m almost ready to pull out my fall knitting, so that will slow me down considerably (sleeves, hoods, etc add lots of time to projects.)  So, I’m just wondering – Does anyone else turn into a knitting fool during the summer?










Posted in Knitting | Tagged , , , , , | 31 Comments

Summer Memories

Every summer I like to do at least one post of our lake play days. We usually have a couple each summer.   I had mentioned in a previous post, that I have been really bad about taking my camera out this summer.  A couple of weekends ago we had a birthday party here for my Dad and sister and I remembered to take the camera out.  It may not be the most interesting post for all of you, as the kids and memories aren’t yours, but I love looking back at posts like this and remembering when . . . . . .  So this post may be just for me, but go ahead and look if you would like.

Kids always love to play on the dock – or should I say “run” on the dock.  It’s a good thing they are partially padded and the dock surface is rough.

There was swimming with Daddy.  I hadn’t seen this little guy for a couple of weeks and all of a sudden he is swimming like a fish.

There is also kayaking with Grandpa.  Or Papa or Bumpa, depending on which kid is along for the ride.

It was an important day for this little gal, as she learned to jump off the dock and swim to the lader (with some assistance from Joel, though she insisted that she do it by herself).

This little guy wanted to give it a try too.  If his big sister could do it, so could he.  He insisted that “Jewey” hold his hands at first, as you can see he is a little hesitant.  Maybe worried is the more appropriate term.

Before we knew it he was jumping off the dock and even going underwater.  I thought that was pretty brave for a 21 month old.  He was having so much fun.  You can just see it on his face.

The older kids were more interested in being launched up into the air.

I thought this looked rather painful, but they kept asking for more.

When they grew tired of swimming, they wanted to drive uncle Joey’s fishing boat.  It always makes me a bit nervous, kind of like when the kids want to play in my sewing studio.  Joel’s fishing boat is full of hooks, fishing poles, and more hooks, just as my sewing room is full of pins, rotary cutters, and scissors.  No kids were harmed or hooked though . . .

We also went for a few tube rides.

We stacked four in the tube for this ride

Just the two girls this time.  I was happy to get Addi (the littlest one) out again, as last time a huge wave came over the tube and she went under water.  For two weeks, all we (and everyone she met) heard about the big wave.  She held on for dear life this time and didn’t get hit with any big waves.

We did all this in two hours, as it was over 100 degrees and the adults wanted to go inside to the air conditioning.  This summer has been horribly hot and humid to the point where it is so humid it feels like you are trying to breathe with a large weight on your chest and a mask over your mouth.  The kids don’t even seem to notice the heat and humidity, so when we told the kids it was time to go in and nap, there were a few tears.  I had to smile, cause I hope that means she likes it here . . .

Speaking of the weather, August has been better so far.  Yesterday and today were so beautiful that I took my sewing machine outside to start a new project.  I have my quilt top almost finished.  If the weather holds and the wind doesn’t pick up, I should have it done by tonight.

It’s been wonderful to finally open up the windows and sit on the deck.  In fact, I may have to start another project tomorrow so I can enjoy it a little longer!

Posted in Family, Minnesota | Tagged | 15 Comments

Whimsy Winners

Before I get into today’s post, I’ll just start with the most important part – the winner of the Whimsy fat quarter pack from my last post:

Mary of

Please email your shipping address to and I will ship out the goods asap!

Good news – I finally finished a quilt.  It probably sounds terrible, but I don’t think I have finished anything since quilt market!  I’ve started a few things, but I seem to be getting distracted lately  – mostly by knitting, being outside, and entertaining.   In fact last week, we had four different groups over, so it really cuts into my quilting time.  I’m not complaining, as I like an excuse to play in the lake and make some of my favorite desserts!

Enough excuses, now back to that quilt I finally finished.  It’s called Spaghetti Junction and can be found in my Living Large 2 book.

This color combination was my first attempt at this design.  I ended up using the color combination below for my book, which is why the quilt didn’t get finished sooner.  There was no deadline, so I kept putting it off.

I love quilts with high contrast, so I think the dark brown was so much more dynamic, especially for the cover of my book.  I still like the cream option, but as you can see, it’s more subtle.   If you would like to see more color options, you can see another of mine here and one of Maria’s here (as part of quilting her way through my Living Large 2 book)

I did get a chance to use up some of my precious Amy Butler prints that I have been saving.  The prints are quite busy, so I decided to do some simple, all-over type machine quilting.

You can see it better from the back side of the quilt . . .

The quilt blends nicely with some of my flowers along my front side-walk.

Speaking of flowers, I have even more things blooming than when I posted a few photos of my garden here.  I have been waiting all summer for my perennial hibiscus to bloom.  Just yesterday, the first bloom popped open.  Now there are five blooms, all about 10″ across.  They are by far the largest flowers in my garden.  Just to give you a perspective, those are zinnias blooming behind the hibiscus.  In fact, they are huge zinnias, about 4-5″ across, but they are dwarfed by the showy hibiscus bloom.

I’m really curious to see what becomes of this plant.  I have only seen it in one garden, so that makes me wonder if they are hard to care for.  If anyone has some feedback on this plant, I’d love some tips, advice, or thoughts on this plant – because she’s a beauty and I’d like to keep her that way!

Posted in Fabric Trends, Machine Quilting, Pattern of the Week, Quilting | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Whimsy is Here!

Before I get started with my post for today, I just wanted to let you know that Maria over at Passing Down Crazy is having a great giveaway with my Living Large 2 book and some fabric.  Click here to check it out.  She is quilting her way through Living Large 2, by making each project in the book.  It’s quite an ambitious endeavor, but it is very Maria.  She is always up for a challenge!  I am anxious to see what she comes up with, as you know I love a good color option.

Yes, the fabric that we (Mom and I) have been waiting for is finally here.  Mom and I painted this line up last summer, so it always seems like a long wait.  Many of you have asked about it, as I said it was coming in June.  Well, it’s a month late, but it is finally arriving in stores.  My bolts arrived too . . . . They look so cheerful sitting in my studio.

I designed a single pattern to show how I envision using the fabric.  There are several size options, from lap to queen and there are two color options – planned and scrappy.

Here’s a closer look at the quilt that uses all of the prints from the line

For the color option, I left out the pink and orange, and just used these colors:

The two options look completely different, even though they are from the same fabric line!  This one is my current favorite, as I love the brown, teal and gray together.  (In fact, I love the gray so much, that the line I just painted up for next year has 4 gray prints instead of one. )  I also like the idea that you can get a taste of the line, even if buying the entire fat quarter pack isn’t in your budget).

I had some fun quilting this one.  I did it free-hand and started with the question mark-shaped swirl in the center, then just feathered around it to fill the space.

I will be adding a few Whimsy kits to the website as soon as my internet is running better.  It took me like 3 hours to load these photos.  I have no idea why everything kept locking up on me, but I was determined to get this post done.  In the meantime, I have added a fat quarter pack to the kits tab (EDIT – the kits are now up too) and hopefully you will find the fabric at your local shop any day now.  For those of you who are regular readers, you know the drill about the fat quarter pack.  Leave a comment and you will be eligible to win the first pack that goes out the door.  I’ll pick a winner next week, so stop back soon!

Posted in Fabric Trends, Quilting | Tagged , , | 219 Comments

Garden Photos from Steamy MN

So how is the weather in your neck of the woods?  We are in the midst of a heat wave, with a heat index of 107 degrees.  Honestly, I don’t know how people who have this type of weather all of the time take it.  I’ve mostly been staying in the air-conditioned house, as I’m more conditioned to 5 degrees below zero than this.  Our temperature is actually {only} 94, but the humidity is unbelievable.  Several of our windows are covered in moisture and your camera lens fogs immediately upon being taken outside!  despite that, I did get a few pictures of my gardens that I was telling you about.  Have I mentioned before that I’m a wanna-be-gardener?  I really have no clue what I’m doing, but I really enjoy doing it ;-).

So, let’s start off with the front of the house.  I started with the gardens alongside the driveway and sidewalk.

We are tucked into the trees, so these areas are one of the few places that I get some nice sun to work with.

The sun worshippers really are my favorites, including these Shasta Daisies.  They are about four feet tall, so I’m pretty excited to have them doing so well.

Another new sun worshipper that I am trying out is Bee Balm.  It is already a favorite, with its bright colors and exotic flair.  I have it in this fuchsia color and red.

With my limited sunlight, I have often wondered if I could grow any vegetables.  This year I decided to try a few and see how it goes before I dedicate a large area to them.  I bought these two obelisks and planted peas on one and pole beans on the other.  So far I have gotten a handful of peas, but I am still waiting on the beans.  It’s hard to tell what the reason is, as everything in my garden seems to be two weeks behind what it usually is.  Our June was pretty cold, wet, and cloudy, but maybe things will catch-up with this heat.  With these results, I am still undecided on vegetables. . .

If you turn 180-degrees from the last picture, you go along the west side of the house, back toward the lake.  Here you will find another of my favorite perennials – Brunneria.  Isn’t she cute? It’s actually a spring bloomer, but I was pretty happy with how long it kept blooming.

Continuing along the west side of the house towards the lake, you come to one of my shade gardens.  I started the garden along the left because we couldn’t get the grass to grow.  That should have been my first clue!  I have struggled to get things to grow well here, but the hostas and ferns to pretty seem to be doing fine.

Here are a couple of other shade bloomers that are doing well (a miniature hosta and something else that I can’t remember the name of.)

My favorite shade bloomer in this garden right now, is this beautiful pink Hydrangea ~

I planted 10 Annabel Hydrangea last fall, around our detached shed (again, that area is all shade).  They have so many new varieties of hydrangea, but I still love the snowball flowers of the rather old-fashioned Annabel.

The back of the house has mostly shade gardens too.  Several years back, we had my brother (who is a landscape contractor and builder) put in the boulder walls and steps down to the lake.

My hostas along the boulder wall are almost ready to bloom.

The next year, I added this little garden along the steps, just to add a little more color.

My favorite plant in this garden is the moonbeam coreopsis.  It blooms profusely and doesn’t need any dead-heading or maintenance (so far).

I have lots of other favorites that I could share about, but I will save those for another time.  I also have two other little gardens that I haven’t shown, but they are so new that they don’t look like much.  Maybe when this starts blooming . . . .

In the meantime, I will continue to keep working on my gardens.  I have a few areas that aren’t doing well enough to make it into bloggy land, but I really enjoy working on them.  I don’t even mind pulling weeds and deadheading.  It really is yet another way to be creative, this time without a sewing machine!  So, I’m just wondering . . . how many of you are quilters and gardeners?

Posted in Minnesota | 44 Comments