Collage Quilting students are the best!

Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of presenting and teaching for the Tri-County Quilt Guild in Cypress, Texas. This is a large guild with over 300 members and 80+ in attendance at the meeting. I was treated to dinner before the meeting. Not gonna lie. It made me feel like a rock star! Later in the week, I taught a dozen enthusiastic ladies at Bobbins & Threads Quilting & Crafts in Houston.

I have found the heart pattern is the best way to learn collage quilting and the ladies certainly stepped up! It is a large enough image that students gain confidence in their collaging skills to move on to a more challenging pattern. The ladies came ready to work and by the end of class we actually auditioned lots of completed hearts for background fabrics.

Each heart is so unique! This is the first time I’ve had someone try Christmas motifs and it is beautiful! The lady in the hot pink shirt had lots of new Kaffe Fassett fabric. Seriously, I was on the verge of drooling. It was all so new, I didn’t have any of it in my stash. Also, you might notice a Tula Pink vintage tuna can in one of the quilts. I allow students to pick through my secret stash when I teach. I have found quilters to be very good at sharing. It is probably why I always wind up with more great fabric than when I started teaching the class.

Angel In Flight collage quilt pattern release!

While at a recent quilt retreat, I put the finishing touches on my latest quilt hand sewing the binding and quilt label. The quilt measures 42″H by 45″W. The pdf pattern is available in my Etsy shop. I call it “Angel in Flight.”

I chose lots of Kaffe Fassett fabric, and a teeny bit of vintage Tula Pink, for the angel wings. Can anyone spot the tuna can? While auditioning the wings at work, Robin, picked out the perfect background fabric. She really knows how to put fabrics together! The ombre background fabric, by Hoffman, is called Southwestern Skies Storm Clouds. It gives the perfect illusion of the angel wings flying to Heaven. Margo, owner of My Favorite Quilt Store (great online fabric store), picked out the binding (Blissful Blooms Navy by Moda). The longarm quilting was done by Lisa Taylor at Kingwood Quilts. The quilt label was embroidered by the lovely Sally, who has been making my labels for the past 10 years. This quilt was truly collaborative. Yep … it took a village to make this quilt and I love how it turned out!

While designing the angel wings pattern earlier this year, I envisioned it being a baby quilt. It would be one where you lay an infant each month between the two wings and snap cute photos documenting baby’s growth and changes. Of course, when the quilt was finished, the first words out of my mouth were “This is not a baby quilt.” But it could be. I have someone that wants to make it with pastel fabric. Stay tuned! It will be lovely!

The photos below basically show the steps of collaging the angel wings. Many of the supplies to make my collage quilts can be purchased at My Favorite Quilt Store such as Steam A Seam 2 Lite, pattern ease, applique pressing sheet, Karen Kay Buckley Scissors (blue handle), fusible glue, and lovely fabric!

Gumball Machines Galore!

I just realized I’ve never posted the three versions of my gumball machine art quilt pattern. It is available for sale in my Etsy shop. The pdf quilt pattern also includes a quilt photo, supply list, detailed instructions and now you have three ways to collage it!

The first art quilt version is a traditional I-Spy quilt in the form of a super fun gumball machine! I call it “I-Spy Gumballs.” It has approximately 50 gumballs and is a great opportunity for little ones to learn language. It would be a great gift for the preschool/kindergarten teacher on your Christmas list.

The second gumball machine quilt used a fraction of my Halloween novelty fabric. Over the years, my eyeballs tended to gravitate toward Halloween fabric. I never knew exactly what to make with it. I call this art quilt “I Spy Spooky.” I love to hang seasonable quilts and was happy to add a whimsical Halloween quilt in my entryway!

Of course, the third gumball machine quilt is a shout-out to Santa Claus. I started with a Santa panel and after a little fusing and cutting placed him in the gumball section of the quilt. I used Christmas fabric that reads “white” for the rest of the gumballs. It was fun to experiment with different shades of red and white for the gumball machine base. I call this art quilt “I Spy Ho-Ho” in honor of Mimi, my special needs daughter, who passed away in 2018. She adored Santa. Due to her limited speech, she called him “Ho-Ho.”

If you are needing to source collage supplies/fabric such as Karen Kay Buckley scissors, pattern ease, Steam-A-Seam 2 Lite, applique pressing sheet, fabric glue, and pretty fabric consider purchasing from my go-to online store: My Favorite Quilt Store.

The adorable model with the completed quilts is my handsome grandson Ben! He’s five.

2021 quilt projects in the rear-view mirror

The year 2021 will go down in my quilting record book as the most prolific. I completed 9 quilts, 20 little Christmas pillows, and a Christmas table runner. Who says COVID and lockdowns have to be boring or non-productive?

Two quilts went to charity! MD Anderson’s Ovarian Quilt Project received the heart collage quilt with the yellow background. This year the auction raised over $46,000 to fight ovarian cancer. Thank you brother for purchasing the heart collage labor of love which honors our sister. Mary passed away from ovarian cancer several years ago. Today, the last day of the year, is also Mary’s birthday. She would have been 67 years old. Happy birthday in Heaven dear sister! The online auction occurs every two years. I’m already thoughtfully contemplating the next one for 2023!

The butterfly quilt designed by Laundry Basket Quilts went to The Village Learning Center’s annual gala. Mimi attended their amazing day center for many years before she passed away. It is a charity painfully near and dear to my heart. This quilt is my favorite for 2021. I love how it turned out. The quilting by Judy Mathis really made it shine. And, of course, Sally continues to amaze with her embroidery design skills on the quilt labels. I called it “A Flutter” because that is what a group of butterflies is called.

I’ve already set my quilting goals for 2022! I start the year by presenting, and teaching, collage art quilting at a couple of local quilt guilds. There are a number of UFO quilts on my list, fabric organization, a baby quilt for my fifth grandchild due in May, two charity quilts, and a quilt retreat to attend! 2022 is going to be a busy, creative quilting year!

“I Spy Gumballs” new art collage quilt pattern!

I’ve been working on this new collage art quilt pattern for a while now and it is finally ready to release! But first … the reason why I chose a gumball machine! In the past, I’ve enjoyed making “I Spy” quilts for the grandkids, and charity, from a pattern that utilizes lots of little mason jars. Each “jar” is a different novelty fabric. So adorable! But then I thought … what about an old-fashioned gumball machine with each gumball being a novelty fabric? How much fun would that be? The prototype “I Spy Gumballs” quilt is in line to be longarmed at A Needle and Thread. My friend, Sally, made the adorable quilt label! She is so talented and enjoys surprising me with a new embroidery design. Since the quilt top is complete, I am releasing the pattern.

This quilt would look amazing hanging in a child’s room, playroom, or classroom. The finished quilt size is 34 inches wide by 50 inches long. There are approximately 50 novelty “gumballs” in the quilt. Lots of opportunities for a child to learn language! Each gumball is 3-1/4″ in diameter. The PDF pattern can be purchased in my Etsy shop and, as always, a portion of the proceeds goes to charity! This quilt is so much fun to make and I can’t wait to teach it!

I’m currently making the quilt again. This time with a Halloween-theme in mind. Stay tuned!

Quilted, Bound, and Labeled … “Peace Crane” Collage Art Quilt

There is something quite satisfying about putting all the finishing touches on a quilt! This art quilt was no exception. It will always be my COVID quilt. The one I struggled with during a difficult time. The long arming is complete (thanks to the lovely Eric at A Needle and Thread), the quilt’s binding and hanger is hand sewn on, and lastly, the quilt label (Sally keeps surprising me) seals the deal. In an instant, the quilt project goes from being a UFO (quilting acronym for “Un-Finished Objects”) to a finished quilt!

Origami “Peace Crane” art quilt

Traditionally, an paper origami crane is a symbol of hope and healing during challenging times. An idea came to me during the first few months of the pandemic. I spent lots of time at my daughter’s house hanging with the grandkids. One of our activities was origami. I believe it is just as difficult to fold a crane as it is to turn it into an art quilt.

Using a play on words I call it “Peace Crane” in honor of Cat Stevens’ song Peace Train. Recorded in 1971, fifty years ago, it is one of my favorite in a long list of oldies. I remember attending a Cat Stevens’ concert when I was a high school senior in Houston’s Sam Houston Coliseum. Obviously, his song is relevant today.

I started “Peace Crane” in 2020 during the height of the pandemic. I call it my COVID quilt mostly because, like wearing a sweaty mask and the imposition of quarantine, I struggled. The concept of an origami crane appealed to me. But for some reason, it was difficult to execute. I tell myself people will either love it or hate it. I did it anyway. I worked on an area of the collage and would leave it be for a few weeks. Then I would take off all the flower motifs and start over. When the crane was finally covered in motifs after several months, I struggled with the background. I told myself this time I would piece the background instead of using a colorful solid batik. After auditioning that concept, I hated it. I’m finally happy with the black and white patterned background. I can’t wait to get it back from being quilted by the lovely Erica at A Needle and Thread. I guess that must mean things are getting back to normal in the world. I have tossed the mask aside and hugged a bunch of people recently. It feels so good. Hop on the “Peace Crane” with me.

The art quilt is 42″ W by 43″ H. The “Peace Crane” PDF pattern is available for purchase at my Etsy shop!

Saying goodbye to a charity quilt

The other day I hopped on the HOV lane toward Houston. I carefully weaved my way through downtown as I had for so many years toward the medical center. This time I was alone. For four years my husband was treated at MD Anderson Cancer Hospital (MDA) for a stage 4 cancer. Sadly, Rick passed away at home last year from a brain tumor. I am so grateful to MDA for the four extra years he was with our family. The day he died was also when Texas was shut down due to COVID-19.

The purpose of this trip was to drop off a quilt made for MDA’s Ovarian Quilt Project. Every two years their online auction raises funds for research and education. In 2021, the auction will be held October 20 through November 3. The collage art quilt is in memory of my sister, Mary, who passed away several years ago from ovarian cancer. It is called Mary’s Heart Garden. She loved gardening and had a huge heart. I hope it makes a lot of money.

I purchased lots of the fabric at myfavoritequiltstore.com, where I work part-time cutting fabric orders. Most fun job on the planet. Just saying! The art collage quilt was custom quilted by Erica at http://aneedlenthread.com. My friend, Sally, is the embroidery wizard and does all my quilt labels. Erica and Sally always make my quilts shine a little brighter!

2020 … a year in review

I feel like the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland taking out his pocket watch from his vest. Yes, I’m late, I’m late for a very important date! I should have written this post two weeks ago about my “year in review.” I have written one every year for a very long time. For most of us, 2020 was painful with a capital “P.” Yep … me too. My husband of nearly 48 years passed away after four months on hospice. He died the day Houston’s Rodeo was shut down due to COVID on March 11, 2020. Rick was Texas born and bred. So it must have seemed to God to be a noteworthy day. At least the Willie Nelson concert during the rodeo happened. Since then I’ve been pretty much locked down like everyone else trying to figure how to dig myself out of the deep rabbit hole of grief. I am haulin’ myself up … a little at a time.

So is it any wonder I have been sitting at the sewing machine … a lot. I’ve finished 7 quilts (2 of which were pieced and machine quilted Christmas tree skirts), 4 pillow cases with French seams, a cute table topper for my sister, and a mini sleeping bag for a Ken doll. Not quite Twelve Days of Christmas song-worthy … but almost. This many quilts in one year is a new world’s record for me.

Oh, and I’ve poured myself into writing something special. I finished a manuscript for a memoir about my sweet Mimi who left us in late 2018. The title is An Angel Lived Among Us. I started writing it in early 2019 a few months after Mimi died. Shortly after that my husband’s brain tumor popped up. Yesterday, I sent off the book proposal which was more painful to write than the book. You wouldn’t believe the stuff publishers want to read about instead of the actual book. However, this is such an interesting learning experience for me. If the memoir is not picked up by a publisher, I will self-publish. Stay tuned on the book’s publishing progress!

Until next time … stay safe out there!