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!

Texas/Louisiana Row by Row Quilt … 2015 version is done!


So today is the official start of the “Row by Row Experience” quilt season. I know … I’ve just lost a bunch of you! So let me explain. I believe the concept started with 20 shops in 2011. This year there are over 3,000 shops participating. I fell in love with the whole notion in 2014. Each year, participating quilt shops from all over the United States, and way beyond … think Canada and Europe … create a free row pattern … and fabrics for the row which you can purchase if you like. But you have to visit the actual shop … which … if you are road tripping this summer anyway … why not! Their website has maps for shop locations and photos of the rows so you can plan your route. I’m pretty picky about the shops I visit. They gotta have a row I wanna actually include in a quilt!

The theme this year is “On the Go” and interpretation by quilt shops is all their show. New this year is a “junior” division for youngsters. Not all shops are participating but this is so cool for youngsters interested in quilting! So eight rows sewed into a quilt makes for an official “Row by Row” quilt. There are also prizes involved if you stitch up 8 rows, quilt it and don’t forget to bind it. It has to be finished! Be the first to bring it into a quilt shop that participates in the project. I’m not so interested in that part. I just love the creativity of the project … and I’m slow!

The great thing about row by row quilts is friends and family that live far will sometimes acquire a row for you! I’ve already made my list of favorite rows and the Houston area has several I am considering to visit.

So let’s chat about this 2015 quilt. My adorable sister, Gretchen, who lives near Victoria, Texas picked up a row. My quilting friend, Michelle, picked up the two lovely rows in Louisiana. Then there was the ever awesome Sally. She and her husband did a row by row road trip and came back with the loveliest of rows. Of course, I put my order in beforehand and wouldn’t have found myself near Bandera, but for Sally!

So on to this just completed row by row for 2015. The theme for 2015 was “water.” Hence, umbrellas, fish, and seagulls, etc. I have a spot for it all picked out! I like to hang my quilts, so I made this one using 5 rows on the front and 3 on the back. Eight horizontal rows just makes for a very long quilt.

Sadly, since I have worked on this quilt for so long, I can’t locate all the photos I took while piecing the rows. Darn! I gotta remember to be more organized when I get around to the 2016 quilt.

So the great thing about this whole project is the skills you acquire while making each row. The row with the seagull and lighthouse from Louisiana was the most challenging. Small fabric pieces on the gull almost made me have to go to confession, but I LOVE how it turned out. Persistence paid off! Basically, each row is a mini-quilt with lots of lessons learned during the piecing. The easiest row was, by far, from Quilter’s Crossing in Tomball which, by the way, has a lovely quilt shop. The umbrellas were all pre-cut with the fusible on the back. Obviously, I did this row first!

Since my favorite long-arm lady moved away … come back soon Kim Norton … I had the lovely Taylor at Cupcake Quilts do an all-over design called “Sailboats.” She used Hobbs batting 80/20 and variegated thread called Signature 99151. I always use our local Personalize It Kingwood, store owner Tracey is awesome, to make my patch on the back.

If you are a quilter and considering participating in the Row by Row Experience … happy travels!

2014 Texas Row By Row Quilt – Part One


I finally almost have all my eight rows pieced together on my 2014 Texas Row by Row Quilt. The 2014 Texas project began last summer (started in June and ended in September). I noticed the pieced row hanging on the wall behind the cash register when I visited our local quilt shop, The Quilt Room, in Huffman. After collecting eight patterns from different shops, this is one of my favorite rows!

The gist of the experience is to create a quilt using at least eight different row patterns collected from participating shops. It is kinda like geocaching, or a ginormous Easter egg hunt, only more fun if you are a quilter because fabric is involved. The participating shops create a pattern which is free. They also sell the fabric for the row.


This pattern is from Sew Let’s Quilt It in Dallas. I wasn’t able to travel to Dallas but the pattern and kit became available for shipping after the event was over. They gave me enough fabric for two rows so I shared with my friend, Sally, who picked up a row for me! You see how this works?


This row and fabric came from Quilter’s Patch in Victoria, Texas. My little sister, Gretchen, picked this row/fabric kit up and mailed it to me. I have to admit to a little bribery. I told her if she did me this favor I’d make her a table runner for Christmas! She probably would have done it for me for nothing. It’s the kind of person she is!


Sew Contempo has a lovely shop! I wanted to linger but had to get back home. I love the colors they chose for his block! It was fun to put together.

Next post will show off my last four rows!

This year’s 2015 Texas Row by Row starts in mid-June and I hear the theme will be water. This year lots more Houston-area shops will be participating. I’m pretty excited as I think Sally and I have hooked Michele into joining in the treasure hunt for quilt patterns!

Follow link to find out what is planned this year for 2015 Row by Row Experience. The project began in 2011 with just 20 shops participating in New York. In 2015, all 50 states and Canada will be participating!