Sunday, October 11, 2015


I was ready to move onto the borders for Sunflower Gatherings.  I hadn't read ahead much.  Figured on cutting four lengths and beginning the last of the wool applique. I opened up the last package.

I purchased my kit directly from Primitive gatherings.  They are always good at giving generous portions as well as cutting tips when pattern pieces are tight.

I looked inside.  It's a pieced border. several  pieces to be sewn together.  It's really going to add to the quilt.  I guess I better get that sewing machine threaded, right?

Glue Sticks-- I baste my wool applique using Elmer's glue sticks.  I struggle with the steam -a-seam.  I've even taken a class directly from Lisa Bongean and I still struggle at making the pieces stick.  I end up losing pieces or the minute I start stitching that peel up.  The glue stick mounts the pieces well and has no impact on hand applique or machine quilting later.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Bottom Rows....

I loved Sunflower Gatherings from the minute I first saw it.  A 2014 Summer Block of the Week program, I had to have been one of the first ten people to sign up.  I was enchanted with the dragonfly. The bright colors totally went with my home.  There's nothing like getting quilt stuff in the mail. It was like Christmas once a week-- every week during the Summer.

But my son got married, My job took some twists and turns. A season changed. Christmas projects came to the front of the line.  Who wants to work on Sunflowers with 3 feet of snow on the ground?

But alas, the snow does melt. Porch sitting returns and I was ready for handwork again. I didn't want to fund a new project.  My kitchen got the extra funding this Summer.

 I want to believe that I don't quit.  It's important to me.  So I pulled out the blocks. I realized I had more not finished than I had even sewn last year.  So I got busy.

The photo is a pictures of the final rows.  I'm going to sew them together --- Now On to the the Borders....

I hear rumors...Christmas Gatherings is coming out soon.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

On the Eighth Day....

God Created Pumpkins....

I've never seen an ugly one....

Monday, October 05, 2015

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.....

The seasons are changing fast.... Autumn is in full swing.

I run my two pups daily and seldom do I come home without a leaf, an acorn, a dried branch of something.

A perfect time for quilts.  Quilts on my table, that ladder back of a chair, the foot of a bed -- Fall and quilts just go together.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Wool Applique

Hand work is my permission slip to sit still on the couch and listen to television at night.  Don doesn't get how I can be into a tv show without actually seeing it.  I don't know.  It just works for me.  I can't tell you things that happen if they weren't spoke, but I completely enjoy sitting close to Don while I do it.

I am a planner.  Holiday details, Work details, appointments -- I'm on top of it.  But when it comes to quilting I fall short.  Yesterday the strawberry quilt was proof.  A girlfriend wrote me and said I wasn't behind, I was ahead for next year.

I don't feel the Christmas thing  in June and it's hard to work on a pumpkin quilt at Easter Spring time.  But there's nothing more "Holiday" spirited that to look in the living room and see that wicker basket filled with the makings of a pumpkin quilt -- right now, in the season that it belongs.

This is a Heart to Hands Block of the Month quilt.  I just bought the patterns and I'm using wool I have on hand. The backgrounds I purchased quilt shopping with Carolyn my daughter-in-law, so I keep her in the loop on my progress. She doesn't quilt, but is the first to grab the car keys and take me shopping when I visit.

Every house should have pumpkins this time of year.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

And then there were Strawberries....

While it may not be strawberry season-- it is definitely a strawberry quilt cover-up season.  I started this piece in January with a couple of quilting friends. I believe one used thirties prints and one used Daysail fabric. Me, I chose 3 Sisters fat quarters. There may be some Fig Tree Quilts pieces as well.

Not my kind of quilt-- Not my colors.  I just wanted to make it with friends.  It started from a pin in Pinterest.  Every time I looked at the quilt all I could think of was the grandbabies I'd have one day and how I would bribe teary-eyed kids fighting taking  naps with dreams of Strawberry ice cream, strawberry milkshakes and strawberry milk and promises of each if they would just rest a few minutes under that quilt.

I really got to get me some of those grandkids.......


Friday, October 02, 2015

Lessons Learned...My New Kitchen

I thought it was going to be a four week project....It wasn't.  Try six months.   But it was so worth it.

Introducing -- My new kitchen....

The photos were taken from my cell phone.  My camera battery needs charging.
If you are like everyone else your thought is-- nice kitchen, but it doesn't look anything like Melanie.

Even I always pictured myself with this farmhouse white kitchen with neutral counter tops.  Don wanted a classic.  He said we were getting older and the upkeep on a white painted kitchen would be more than I bargained for.  This was his vision.  He lets me hang quilts -- literally all over the house, Window panes, cross-stitch pillows, and wooden signs have tucked in spots everywhere.  I decided I could charm any kitchen into something of my own.

They are Kraftmaid cabinets but my husband installed each and everyone of them.  He took each one off the truck and hung each on the wall.  He had never done it before, but learned things from dismantling the other cabinets and the internet --- he soon became a professional ...again working on this after putting in his 45 hours at the grown up job.

Things we learned along the way -- A Fifteen inch  plate rack is for plates smaller than 15 inches.  He modified the rack with carved scallops in the edges to make my plates fit.  

We started with a map of our old kitchen and discussed what we wanted to change --- what we didn't like about the old kitchen.  The floors of gray hickory, for a barn wood feel.

I have this paranoia about microwaves frying my brain when the microwave was above my stove -- so I moved it.  Don thinks it's too low the jury is still out on this.

The company wanted a fortune for a plywood backing on the snack bar.  Don bought cherry boards and built his own bead board wains-coating  for half the price plus it looks stunning.

Our house is a the definition of 'OAK-R-US', so it was scary choosing cherry wood, but we changed the door trim and baseboards in that room and it all blends just fine.

Spacers are important.  The Kitchen lady insisted we buy them and we could return what we didn't need.  She was right.

Crocks, quilts, cloth napkins,  wooden spoons, and a wicker basket or two cozy it up just right.

There hasn't been a lot of quilting.  I'm not much of a carpenter, but I was his sidekick for clean-up duty and a sounding board when he needed it.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

He has No Idea.....

Truthfully, he has no idea just how talented he is... We finished remodeling the kitchen. (Details-- next post).  With the additions and subtractions, we realized my buffet and dish shelf no longer fit. Trying to be grateful and not complain, I kept saying-- no big deal-- but in my heart I was dying.  I changed my dishes with the seasons and yes-- it's probably a sin of some sort, but I truly appreciate dinnerware of every kind. He promised me we would replace the furniture one day -- not to fret. All I kept thinking was-- maybe it was a sign that I was obnoxious about the plates and cups.

A Saturday a few weeks ago we headed to Green Bay -- the objective -- A china hutch.
Folks, there were none to be found.  There may have been a couple, but none would fit  the spot or match the kitchen.  I saw a Yankee Candle display--" Don, this is it. Just like this, but half the size and not red... I'll paint it another color.  His response, "Easy enough-- I'll build it for you".

This guy has already remodeled a kitchen this summer and has that grown-up job that finances our life.  He even wanted the drawers to have " Dove-tail joints-- so he bought a gadget and made them:

So between helping a friend remodeled their basement he worked on my project... He goes to work at 6:30 every day-- He even got up 2 hours early one morning to work on it.

The end result---- My Hutch.... The floors are gray hickory, so the hutch has a cherry top to match the kitchen cabinets and painted gray sides.

I'm completely bragging. Guilty as charged.  But when you talk to him about it, he only talks about ways he could make it better next time. These days I don't complain when he helps out friends-- as I did when I was younger--- because he truly has talent, a gift that should never be kept to himself.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Box of Crayons...

That is what this reminds me of.  It's pieced but not pressed or quilted.  I want to complete
it with the black print for binding and ship it to my mom.  With a red splatterware pitcher, it will be perfect for her summer table.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Recipes in the Mail

For both my girls ---Chelsey and Carolyn.   A new recipe---I could have called and told them about it.  I could have sent it in a text or an email... but I wanted them to have the card with handwritten details to hold onto....Somethings should never go out of style.....

Sunflower Gatherings - Two Blocks left.....

When I'm too tired for anything else, I reach for my sewing basket.

There are more wool pieces to add.  They overlap onto the setting squares on each side of the block.  Right now they are neatly safety pinned to the back of the block so that I don't lose them.

Every morning I have a list of things to get accomplished -- half of them related to quilting.  Then nightfall comes and I realize they have not gotten accomplished...but that is what weekends are for.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Summertime Crows

The countertops in my 'new to me' kitchen are black.  So I want to cozy them up.  That means a new table topper for my farmhouse table. 

This is wool applique on cotton fabric. I decided not to center the wool block because so many times that vase of flowers or basket of bread cover it up.  The star block is a block I found on Pinterest.  There were many pieces to cut out, but it was the perfect size finishing at 14.5 inches.  Quilting is the next step.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Sunday, July 12, 2015


Listening to the oldies music... My 3rd cup of coffee...I wanted to type a post.  The photo:

I'm working on the Snapshots Quilt that Fat Quarter Shop and Bonnie & Camille have joined together to help St. Jude's Children's Hospital.  I have no bright Red or Baby Blue in my house-- none.  I just heard  Bonnie & Camille's story and wanted to contribute.  

Working out every morning early I always see the St. Jude's Children's Ads and know that childhood illness happens more often than we like to think about. Proceeds from every block goes to the hospital.

While I have no grand-kids yet --- I can just see me rocking them and talking about each block on this quilt and why each block makes us smile.

I guess hindsight I could have just used the pattern with my own fabric colors -- It may have 'Fit' in my house more.... put I loved the quilt-- exactly the way it was portrayed in photos and now I have a reason for baby blue in my home... 

You can't help but smile every time you see these blocks.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Kitchen Table Piece

I wanted a new piece for the kitchen table that went with my new kitchen cabinets.  This is a block from Kathy at Heart to Hand Quilts.  I used a fabric scrap from the closet.  I tea-dyed it to make it the right color.  I used wool pieces gifted to me from a friend.  It just one block.  I'm going to piece three other blocks to surround it.  Each will be black and creme colors.  My countertops are black Ubatuba granite so I want to bring everything together.  It's nice quilting without a deadline for a change.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Summer Blocks

It’s almost Friday --- well, it sort of is.  I have the day off tomorrow for the  Independence Day holiday falling on Saturday. It’s nice to have a three day weekend.  And we’re going to have a few days of summer at the same time.  With weather patterns in the U.P., you never know.
Summer time rolls around and one thing I always look forward to is Primitive Gatherings Summer Block of the week.  Keeping life in perspective made me realize I did not complete last year’s program.  Life got busy and I started sewing for Christmas. Eric got married.  I loved the project – that was not the problem.  I repeat – Keeping life in perspective made me pull out last year’s project to work on instead of ordering the new 2015 project.
I finished this block on Wednesday. I love the dragonfly.

It connects with other blocks , so I will pin them away and piece the blocks together.  I did not purchase the thread kit.  I used threads I already had or three strands of DMC floss.  With getting a block in the mail each week, a Freebie project is also included. I love getting mail.
 I completely fell in love with it all over again.  I’m hoping by the end of the summer to have this baby ready for quilting. 
There’s a ton of 4-patch quilt-along’s going on out there.  I’m also considering this one mine. Wool applique works great on the porch.

It’s going to be a great quilt.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Road Trips....

Because this is my quilting diary.  I want to keep things documented correctly.  We went to visit my son and daughter-in-law in March.  I had something for each of their pups-- Monogrammed Dog collars, something for Eric... and I wanted Carolyn to have something as well.

Eric has always been very cautious and stated, " Don't decorate Carolyn's house.... let her do it."  I completely get it and respect what he means.  I still laugh when we are all together and and someone will look at  Carolyn and look at me when we are having a discussion and then turn to Eric and say, " My God, you have married your mother..."  While I don't know how Carolyn feels about it-- I taken it as the utmost in compliments.

Back to the quilt.  It was Wednesday before we were to leave on Friday morning when I whipped up four blocks and quilted the piece. My the end of March-- Everyone will welcome anything that says Springtime....  I was literally stitching down the binding in the car on the road trip. That's why I only have the cell phone pictures.

A little nervous, I thought about what Eric said --- and still remained confident the table topper was the right call....

And it was.  She loved it.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Courtney and Morgan's Journey

She asked me to make a signature quilt for her wedding.  It just needs to have a lot of white space... for 300 people to sign.... There will be plenty of burlap and lace... Navy bridesmaid dresses.  Quilting is a really personal thing for me and the thought of being judged by 300 people made me nauseous,but it was for Courtney.

It's made with Edyta Sitar's pattern Journey....Loved the name.

I embroidered the tag on the back.  They were married in a courthouse because it affect his tour of duty in the service and now they are having the ceremony.

Quilting  has been slow. We've been remodeling our kitchen. Exhausting, but so worth it. Life is busy. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

For the Record...

Because I guess I think---No scratch that--- Because I know that I believe there's a quilt for everything.

A friend lost her mom. I threw five bucks in a card that was being passed around the office.  But I wanted to do something more.   I wanted to tell her that her mom wasn't hurting anymore.  That she was a great daughter-- beside her mom to the end taking care of her (a true luxury I'll never have). I wanted to let her know that in time-- her sadness would give way to a ton of great memories.

For all those things that for some reason I'm having a tough time telling her I made her this:

A Nine patch table topper.

The base fabric is a Thimbleberries piece, part of a plan to make a quilt that I never gathered the remaining pieces.  By far my favorite fabric of all the Lynette Jensen designed. It was time to quit saving it for myself.

A corner patch sewed in to make a label.

You can see the snow is pulling away from the trees.  We will get a spring.  This journal started out as a daily chat about life and quilt stuff.  For some reason it seems to have changed.  But I still want to keep it to log my quilts.  What they are made of, What I'm thinking about as I sew and the fabrics they are made of.

As a family,we were sitting together a few weeks ago and were talking about our jobs.  Don and the kids talked so passionately about each of their own.  I spoke about how I work hard but my job always seems to be about making it to quitting time.  Don tells me-- it's because you are not passionate about it. ''Mel, your passion is in your quilting.  Always has been.''  While I am far from a perfect seamstress and I'm continuing to improve with every project I find myself grateful for every piece of fabric to quilt and time I have to devote to it.  

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Spring Hopes.....

For all of those growing little weary at this winter's weather.  Our motto in the U.P. is, " If it were easy-- everyone would want to live here..."
But even the faithful grow tired of the frigid temperatures and even colder wind chills.

Our days are getting longer with three minutes of sunlight gain daily.  My sewing room needed cleaning up after Chelsey's quilt before I could get back to another quilting project.  Too tired, I grabbed a piece of Aida cloth and embroidery thread.  So nightly, I made a few x-stitches with a free Pinterest pattern. I really wanted to use linen. Linen projects will have to wait until March when I can get new glasses.  The contacts just don't focus my eyes well enough to see the threads.

I have three or four of these little pieces printed out to complete and sit on a shelf -- just to remind me Spring will come....

Sunday, February 08, 2015


While I did not get to stitch on these this weekend -- here is the project I want to work on....

My Strawberries.  Photographs don't do the fabrics justice.  I even moved the blocks outside trying to get the lighting bright enough to let you see how much I love them.  I read journals of other people who made the quilt who talked about not having the fabrics work together.  Kind of made me weary of trying different fabrics outside a fabric line.  I just didn't want to waste fabric.  But I also realized I didn't want a cookie-cutter quilt this time - It was mine and I wanted it different.  I chose fabrics I loved and decided I had never see a bowl of strawberries all the same color...

The plaid is going to be the binding and backing and the green piece is a half yard print being auditioned for a border.

Heading into the week with the right attitude.   Work sponsors the fun on weekends.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

In Honor of Bertie, Dinah, and Penelope

Chelsey turned 25 and my Eric and Carolyn got a new Puppy -- Awesome, pup,  Don and I have just been so excited to meet her.  Chelsey - still at 25 -- the baby of the family responds --" You never got this thrilled over my cats..."

Truth be told -- we're dog people.  Don and I both have grown up with dogs and never had cats.  I'm even a little afraid of them.  But when you love Chelsey-- it means loving all of her.... including her cats.

When she first moved to a new town, she was incredibly lonely.  Her apartment did not allow dogs. So while selling an ad campaign for the local animal shelter she rescued a cat that has 7 or 8 toes on each paw.  Bertie was an uncommon cat but loved Chelsey implicitly ---so she's ok in my book.  Tempermental --yes --- anti-social -- definitely-- but she and Chelsey made the odd couple look normal.

Chelsey realized with her long work hours that Bertie got lonely, so enter stage left--- Dinah.  A charming little calico that made Chelsey's home a darling threesome.  Life rolled on and Chelsey's Heart murmur started acting up.  Coupled her best friend getting married (a.k.a. her brother) Chelsey was just really struggling.  She took out her trash to the apartment dumpster one day and her a small voice and founded muddy Penelope four weeks old, wet, and cold. Chelsey called the shelter and they had picked up the Mom and six other kittens  found in the dumpster earlier.  They must have missed one.  Chelsey said she would bring her in on Monday.  She nursed on her all weekend and despite our saying, "Chelsey, you don't need three cats.." Chelsey's response was, "We're both in really bad places --- we need each other.""  Truthfully, she's my favorite....

So accepting her cats... I made her birthday gifts.   A Mug and Mug Rug along with Cross-Stitched picture I adapted to fit her three loved ones.

Chelsey had seen a  quilt similar to this one on Pinterest right after Christmas.  Making it for her was the only way to shut her up--- literally.  Instead of a Jelly Roll, I used 3.5 inch strips. The Pinterest one did not have a border either.  I wanted it big enough to keep someone warm.  Her living room is cream and black.  I googled 'cat silhouette' and printed out pics for the appliques.  

The appliques really intimidated me.  I was afraid they wouldn't look like cats.  I cut the pieces out and ironed on thin interfacing to stabilize them.  I'm not a 'needle-turn' applique fan  so I ironed under the edges and glued them down with a little elmer's glue stick and then machine appliqued them with a button-hole stitch.  I was going to do them by hand, but had procrastinated so with the dread of working with them so it was the logical choice.  Plus, I feel like they are really durable for tons of machine washings.  This is a quilt to be loved on---   Through naps and movies and bowls of popcorn.

Pictures don't show you -- but there are some really great fabrics in this piece.  I pulled from my stash, because of lack of time -- and because it's there to be used.

My favorite cat  and block -- Penelope.  Oops -- I need to cut that thread.

I brought it to her today.  Funny thing about being raised by a quilter.  The first thing she said was, 
"What did you put on the back???"

It reads:  
In Honor of Bertie, Dinah, and Penelope and the lessons they've taught you.
1. No one should ever be lonely.
2.  Everyone needs Friends.
3.  Sooner or later Everyone gets down in the dumps (ster)... but that doesn't mean you have to stay there.

Happy 25th Birthday.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Chelsey Turn's 25

Strawberries are on the edge of the counter, because Chelsey has a birthday and I want to make her a quilt.

Affectionately known as the "Cat Lady" Chelsey has 3 cats that keep her company in her home town.

I cross-stitched her a picture for her desk -- I found the pattern on Pinterest and adapted it for 3.  The Dresden plate topper was supposed to be a mug rug  but it is a little bigger.   The cat silhouette quilt is also made from a picture off of Pinterest.  My version is going to be black and cream with 6 cats on it.  Hopefully it will be ready for quilting this afternoon.  I might actually finish a quilt on time this year.

Exercise -- something that stays on the 'top burner' for me this year.  I try to tell myself ,'one hour of exercise a day leaves me with 23 hours for other things.  One Christmas gift that has been helping me this year is this:
We got a great black Friday deal and got family members this for Christmas - a FITBIT.  It tracks steps, and miles.  You can log on and track calories, water, and your friends can join and share data.  Don thinks it is a gimmick - but like my Daughter-in-law says, " If it is a gimmick that motivates you -- It's good."  I've been taking the long way to copiers and pushing after work with snowshoes if I haven't gotten my daily 10,000 steps.  It least wearing it keeps me focused on healthy choices. A couple of friends at work even join in.
Last year's exercise record wasn't as great as I wanted, hoping for a great 2015.

 P.S. I'm also documenting the days I pick up a needle and thread.  A gratitude reminder for when I think I never have the time I want to sew... I look and realize I really do....

Sunday, January 04, 2015


The Strawberries are made up of three rows of fabric pieces. The strawberry bottoms are made and the stems also.  It's the middle row that is intimidating to me.  Great instructions -- Quarter triangle squares just don't come easy for me.  I'm taking it a seam it a time while watching football.

Our weather is back to single digits.  Tomorrow we have a high of -4 degrees.  Quilting weather.