Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Hearts and Cows and Invention and Creativity

These are new heart blocks by Sandi Henschel for my swap.  Pretty fun. Very Hoochy and very colorful and fun! I especially like that black with the big snowflakes as it added some punch in there-it works if the background is mostly dark black as white usually takes over and makes you eye want to go there instead of all over the quilt surface. I call it the white rule!
Isn't this fun? I love it! 20 blocks....makes you feel in the mood for love...or more hearts and sewing. :0)
This will make a lovely quilt for twenty of the girls who are swapping blocks. FUN
THIS is the truth! Think positive and not negative. It starts with making gratitude lists and you can start smell and build it. I have my Grandkids doing this anytime they come over.
Today I am happy for the beauty of snow, that my husband is going sledding with his Grandkids after school. for raisins in oatmeal (yum), for warmth in our home, for flannel ph's, for a good stash, for sharp needles, for time to sew, for good friends on the internet, for something hot to eat on a cold day, for kids who love me, for the privilege of loving my kids, for emails from a friend out of the blue, for cow quilts, for being able to laugh, and for you.
Above- alot of you wanted this posted again because it made you IS pretty funny.

Isn't this new cow darling? This is by Carol Heuter who comes to my retreats from Arizona. She is so much fun and reallly creative and inventive. I think he is wonderful and look at those boots! NOT to be missed!
Here is Winnie the Moo who I think was done by Leanne. If I am wrong please correct me. Isnt she fun and she loves her hay. Love the fabric and the eyes and the border is great!
Carol Drudy is a friend who took my retreat in West Virginia and she has style! I thought this adorable cow had so many good touches in it! Lots to look at and lots of fun while looking. I loved how the cow is whistling, don't you?
I had to show this again because it is just too darn great! Jamie Morton took my workshop at Asilomar last year and she is a wonderful artist that works in many ways. She is working on a wonderful tribute story quilt about her Father. It is going to be wonderful.
I was so excited when I saw these darling cows because it makes you smile just like the ones above.
    THIS is what this is all about. Taking an idea and doing a cow for FUN and enjoying the way it makes you feel. These cows have traveled all over the US and will be in Phoenix for the AQS show, Hooland and Switzerland and in Sisters again this summer. Right now we have 56 quilts in the collection that travel and more all of the time.  I had a man tell me that he has worked at hundreds of quilt shows and never heard laughter and excitement like the cows. I think it is because it is ok to laugh and there is so much to look at. THIS is what creativity and inventing is about. Making something that brings a response from people. If you can do that you made it!
The pattern is in the Out of the Box with Easy Blocks book.
      And I am putting in a shameless promotion here-if you don't know how to invent and be creative, come to my retreat with summer in June. See side bar. Not only will all of that be covered but we will have some of the most creative students that help each other and are happy and awesome!
     Also I will be in Tahoe for story quilts and in West Virginia at Cedar Lakes for my five day story quilt workshop this spring. Come and join us!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Valentines Day Mary Lou swap,Mary Lou's Retreat Projects (some), Empathy vs Sympathy what's the diff? And Mary Lou Retreat INFO

I have a block swap room as many of you know and this month we are working on (what else?) hearts!
Michele is Johnny on the spot and has hers done already.
I picked these colors and thought they would look cool and the one of our girls in the group (Deb) sent me this photo from Pinterest (no name, I am sorry, hope she see's this).
Our blocks will be scrappier and we are swapping 16. So either we need to put wider sashing in for a nap quilt or make it a story quilt or use other blocks to make it bigger.

There are so many fun things to do with hearts and I love this little quilt I made for the bedroom of a Grandchild. It is nice seeing words and words that contain afirmations are great especially LOVE. Hearts are almost like words, right? This quilt is in my book I did with Mel Mcfarland called "Out of the Box with Easy Blocks." There is an alphabet just made for words in quilts! Two styles! You can order the book here and get prizes in with your order!
    Don't you just LOVE reds and pinks this time of year???
The darling quilt below was done my my friend Kathy Collins. I love her work.


My daughter snet me the neatest thing on the difference between sympathy and empathy.
It is well worth taking time to see and you can skip the ad at the beginning too! You won't regret taking time to see this and it will make you a more thoughtful person too. Something to really think about in the New year!

I could not believe my eyes when I saw the jackets that the USA is wearing...are you kidding me? And they make fun of quilters! Sheesh, could they have gotten more on these if they tried??? This is funny and I thought at first it was a joke. Guess the joke is on the atheletes. Yikes..
 Mary Lou's Retreat is staring to fill up and we have many awesome things planned for you in a brand new facility that is only a few short miles to four different quilt shops. YES four. Miss Tina will cook for us again and we have fun extras planned. The theme is Christmas in June and I will have all kinds of patterns for Christmas trees and wreaths and some small projects for ornaments and ideas of ornaments with kids for when you get home. We are hoping to plan a cruise on Lake Coeur d'Alene for the day before the retreat and then we will go to Mary Lou's favorite shop there and then to dinner at The Coeur d'Alene hotel for those who want to. Hope you and some girlfriends might like to come. We planned this for later in June so you teachers can come and not worry about your schdedule.
More info at
Above -"lunch is ready"- French onion bread and anti pasta salad ala "Miss Tina -brownies from the oven for dessert...Below Miss Tina takes a break with strawberry basil water
Below is just one of thw wreaths we will offer along with a large Christmas tree 
Just one tree sample-now the figures all have faces, buttons, crystals and embellishments 
Ideas galore!
Perhaps you would like to do a pieced ornament tree...come and get the directions for a fun one of a kind tree with sayings pieced in like "JOY" or your family name 

Mary Lou went to Germany, France and Switzerland  and got many image ideas for trees and wallhangings. She will be teaching this class at Asilomar in 2016 and plans to use this as her first workshop. Trees, angels, little gnomes, beautiful ornaments and loads of other ideas will work well for making lasting quilts to be kept in the family or outside of the family for years. SO many good ideas and we have them for beginners and the well seasoned quilter. :0)
Hope to have your come and have fun with us and we hand out tiaras, makings for ornaments and all kinds of Christmas related ideas for winning one of a kind quilts! And, we won't be cold!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I am blessed, Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, Valentine's projects and Connie helping me

 I decided to join my block swap with Valentine hearts and we are using black backgrounds and red hearts...stay tuned to see the results! Very fun
Speaking of Valentines, my Grandson came today and wanted to make a quilt. We worked on a Valentine for his MOM and DAD and he was quite pleased...this is the second little project we have done and more to come...
Connie came over yesterday and we laughed and talked and sewed on Mark's quilt....we have one more day possibly two to get this put together for him....
It is more fun sewing with two people than my opinion...
Connie is also working on a new cow and I have one in mind....we were looking at my stash and gee there are SO many ideas there! Do you ever notice what wonderful fabric you have and wonder why you haven't used it? That is where I am.
I am thankful to have a place to sew and a good stash...I am blessed
    Today my friend sent me this to share...they sound good and easy to do for Grandkids.... what do you think?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

And the winners ARE....

The winners of the comments (chosen by drawing names out of a bowl) are....
Diane P.
Jan R.
Janice Martin
Mary Winegar
Lovely comments all, thank you.
     Please send me your address's within two weeks and I will send you out fabric and buttons for a nice surprise!
My email is

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Christmas Projects, Cows, Mark and something to laugh about! Plus winners from comment on Monday!

I am embellishing my Christmas tree quilt that I will be teaching this year. Here is part of it and it is going to be fabulous (in my opinion.)
If you are interested in taking this class, please look at my schedule on
and sign up. You will love the patterns and the ideas and all of the embellishing I have added since this was taken. I am sewing on many great buttons, small yoyo's and maybe even some small item like keys and do dads I have collected over the years for Christmas. THIS is what is fun!

Below, I haven't forgotten the toys that go under the tree...I am now embroidering things I love about Christmas and names that mean something to me...wouldn't you like to do a Christmas story quilt? I will be showing this with patterns available in Tahoe, West Virginia and Asilomar...check out the schedule. I am also booking for 2015 and 2016.
Do you remember getting your first Piggy Bank? I do. My brother got a Cape Canaveral set when we were both little...I think what that would be worth now! I have some busted garland on there because that seems to happen every once in awhile too. Do you remember getting your first Piggy Bank? I do.
SO, imagine a Christmas tree with these things on it. I also did some pieced ornaments for a pieced Christmas tree and hope to share those too.- there are TONS of ideas and so much creativity here and if you feel like you need help with creativity this class is for you!

Spealing of story quilts I found this in my files and I cannot remember who did this but do you remember Flash Gordon??? I sure do! Great idea for taking our television sets when we were little, and turning them into reality in our minds! THIS is what creativity and invention are all about! Let me help you create! It is so much fun!
This quilt is by Pam Dransfeldt who took my COW class in Orange California area....she did a story about a purple cow and is wonderful and look at the quilting below!
This photo that my cousin found somewhere looks like me when I spent the night at Ina Mitchell's house and she told me to bring my doll and we could make doll clothes. Ina has passed away but the kindness and patience she taught me will forever last in my heart.
Here is a COW quilt done and called "Contented Cow" by Debbie Brosseti. It has fun buttons and check out that hat! Great fun. I love each and every cow.
I am putting this on here because this is so true! Everyone has a bad day or even week and just something that someone says can make you feel so much better. Be a light in the world even if you are not happy and say something positive and nice. I hear a Bible verse today and I liked was something like "I slipped and your love picked me up Lord." I know how that is and hey, don't we all want picking up sometimes?
I do not know whose quilt this is though I have had this photo for a LONG time. I love anything that is folksy and old and this fit the bills....with all of the chevron fabric out now, think how you could do this with a little piecing...I would love to do Adam and Eve again...I did that a long time ago and it is time to do it again.
I am working on an angel book-just the beginning and it will be an update of my old one with all new photos and ideas. If you would be interested in doing an angel challenge like we have our cows, please send me your email and when I have the rules ready I will contact you.
I had to load this photo on because I know it would please my husband. He is with his brother now in Palm Springs and he hopes to try and golf again. I Just talked to him and he got to Play part of 9 holes and then he just ran out of energy. But the sun is out and he is with his brother and my adorable sister in law who has Parkinson's disease and she golfed and ran out of gas too so she is happy. I told him God is teaching his brother patience. Haha.
I am so happy he can be there in the sun and with people he loves.
I am home, cleaning, sorting, thinking and sewing and plan to sew even more with my neighbor Connie. I am also out of ink with my pen but I am working on my drawing book and hope to have it done soon!
Thanks for you girls who have been patient!
Have a wonderful week! AND count your many blessings/
This Van Gogh cow was made by a girl from Iowa, I LOVE it!
Thought I would add this for comic relief...everyone loves to have something to laugh about and this made me laugh

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Mark's Quilt starts to take shape and isn't the RED in the border great?

Here is Mark's Car quilt today...Connie came over and helped me to put the red around the cars. My sewing machine tension was giving me fits so she got alot done before I switched to another machine. IS there anything as bad a tension when you want to sew???
So the quilt will now get black (on the right) in between each block and then a simple border to make it longer for his legs. :0)
He was weepy when I showed this to him and he said, "this is going to be a beautiful quilt....and it is.
Thank you to those of you who sent blocks. Aren't they fun???
Hopefully we will have this done by the weekend and I can have it quilted and he can use it. Fun.
Thank you for commenting.
I think the red around each block is quite wonderful! And happy and he needs happy right now.
NOTE- some of you asked about how they did some of the corvette's. One person painted it, one person did all thread stitching , one person paper pieced it, several people appliqued by hand and the rest appliqued by machine. It is a quilt of many approaches and it means so much to Mark and Me too. Friends that are quilters truley show compassion in a wonderful way.
Thank you! I think the red looks so cool around each block.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Mark's Car Quilt on the Way to being Finished....Lovely and wonderful for your thought and care!

We are so excited....Connie came over today and we planned on what fabric to use to frame in many of the darling car blocks that friends made for Mark when he found out he had brain cancer. Rhere is enough now to make a nice quilt for him to keep warm...he is ALWAYS cold with all of the chemo he is cannot believe how many pills! 
This is a light in the dark times behind us...NICE quilters, offered to make blocks and here they are! He still gets post cards from some of you and he LOVES reading them and showing them to the Grandkids.
     Connie and I are going to frame in some of the car blocks in red and then the sashing will be in the black and then we will do a colorful border. It will be a lovely, warm quilt for this winter for him to keep warm and feel loved.
Thank you so much for those of you who made these blocks and sent cards and post cards....yesterday in church the pastor talked about compassion and how it isn't something you read about but something you put into action. I immediately thought of quilters and what they have done for us. I am thankful for each of you and the compassion and love you have sent to us, THANK YOU>
stay tuned for this to be put together and then quilted!

SECRET- I am choosing FIVE people who comment here for a prize I will mail you! Tell your must be on my follower list

Friday, January 10, 2014

Joila! Story Quilts with Easy Piecing are Fun to Develop in Mary Lou's Longer Classes and Retreats

I loaded this photo on my blog because it is so happy. Look at the colors and the whimsy and the story is by Janice Schindler and it is of her sweet friend Ann who lives in Copenhaugen. She ansers the phone "Hej Hej". And they meet each year for either Houston Market or a Workshop together.
Last year they came and took my workshop at Asilomar and this is Janice's story quilt. It is fabulous.
Ann's quilt is fun because it is clearly European in style and is of her cat and tea pots and favorite things.
It is also bright and wonderful. I wish I had a photo of it for you...I am sorry, I do not.
The back of Janice's quilt was such a HUGE compliment for me and I blushed when I saw it. I think that maybe Janice  is a Kindred Spirit...she is filled with ideas and energy and runs marathons and makes all kinds of gourmet foods to sell to make money for her hobbies. She makes the most incredible pimento cheese...before I had hers, I did not think I liked the stuff. After I had hers, I am hooked!
Above is Janice selling her cheeses, spreads, sandwich fillings, desserts and other great food. I admire her upbeat and happy spirit and the kindness she shows to everyone who she sees. She is a glass full person. Nice to be around people who are like that.

So I have pulled out my angel quilt and am embellishing it. I will be showing some of the fun things as I work on it. This is a great project to work on now and it looks fab to hang anytime of the year. Angels make our lives better and this is a fun quilt that you can personalize and make YOURS by adding some embroidery and words. It is like a story quilt....and easier because the pieces are large enough and the directions show you what goes where in what order. You can order it at
Carol from Panama did this one. I love the colors she chose...they are happy. You can order this pattern at
ABOVE-  Mel who is the co-author of my last book did this wonderful coat and hat you see. What you don't see is that she did two coats and two hats alike for my two Granddaughter's who love their American Girl Dolls. 
Mel is an excellent seamstress with a background in fashion and she has so much patience. She made the girls many darling outfits last year and since it is so cold she thought the dolls needed a coat to be warm. 
I am so impressed and grateful for this. My Grandkids think she is fabulous and my husband and kids do too. She is a thoughtful and talented friend!

Hey! I knew I had photos of Ann's quilt. Ann is the girl from Copenhaugen that is friends with Janice above. Can you see how good they are at using pure color, fun and whimsy? Their palette is amazing and when you have time at Asilomar (five days, you can get something wonderful done. This is also why I LOVE Cedar Creek in West Virginia (in Aprilg this year) and of coarse my own retreat in Spokane Valley's Millwood (a little suburb of Spokane Valley. Cute little town.
Normally we build our borders first but An n had some ideas for easy piecing she wanted to get down first and aren't her border blocks great with the other colors in the quilt?
As you can see by the photo on the bottom, she really mixed and matched her border blocks...I teach many styles and I think she wanted samples for when she got going again on this. It is really going to be fun and I hope she puts a few words from her language here. Words are powerful!

This says it all doesn't it? It is so COLD here! I am a wimp I guess. I am praying that Mark and I might be able to go to Phoenix in Feb. to stay with friends for four days and then come home. I think it would make him really happy and this is what we need. He has his next MRI in March and so I think Feb. would be a good time for us to visit friends and stay with them.

This says it all.....
Isn't this the funniest?