Holiday Time

Holiday Time

It’s that very busy time of year again and I know this because I just searched for my cell phone and found it in my hand. I’m attempting to be organized and yet life continues to feel a bit out of control. My brain well knows that control is really an illusion. I still make a plan and hope for the best. Right on cue, there was an unexpected trip to the vet (Ella’s fine; the truth is that at 12 ½ she’s reached the place in life where it’s always something) and an unplanned trip to the shop for Sweet Husband’s car. So much for control.

It’s less than three weeks until the shortest day of the year. I really hate getting up in the dark and having it be almost dark at 4:30 in the afternoon. It’s not much of a mystery why our ancestors celebrated the shortest day and the fact that the days would begin getting longer. There’s always the outside chance that December 21st will find me dancing in the street.

I’m very tickled to have finished the quilt for my granddaughter. This one I made for love of the fabric and it also reminded me why I swore off black a couple of years ago. Hand sewing the binding on was a real trip. Now it’s ready for cuddling, drooling and maybe a little spit up. Clearly I don’t make baby quilts as heirlooms. If they wear out, they wear out and I’ll make another one.

Now I’m finishing a small group quilt. Each person in the group made three triangles for each of the other members. Because we used equilateral triangle rulers, we received perfect triangles, making them really easy to put together. Each of us is on our own to decide how to set them so it’ll be interesting to see what the different members came up with. I would love to have it be just this diamond, but that would be a real challenge to hang and since we’re entering them in a show, the diamond will be in a light gray rectangle.

The block of the month is going well. Two of the first four are completely finished and the other two are almost there. While I was in the Rogue Valley last weekend, I picked up my December blocks. I’m not letting myself start them until the Christmas decorations are up.

Sweet Husband put up the lights on a sunshiny day last week. I’ve already hung the Christmas quilts. Beyond that, I’ve done nothing. The plan is to be decorated by the end of the week. The one thing I did do was make bourbon balls yesterday so they’ll be tasty by Christmas. The hard part is staying out of them for a couple of weeks.

I’ve got one more Christmas top I’d like to finish, but that’s iffy, at best. Still, it could happen.

Packing a lot into the next three weeks? Don’t forget to give yourself a break to enjoy a hot coffee or tea and just be for awhile.

Got something cool you’re working on? Send a picture; I’d love to see.


Winter Sunshine

Winter Sunshine

Our little corner of the world is currently enjoying some winter sun.  And yes, it’s not officially winter for three more weeks.  Still, several days in a row of sunny weather anytime between the first of November and the end of March is a real thing here and I take advantage of it whenever I can.  This means I have more energy and there’s no excuse for not doing a couple of outdoor chores.  Yesterday it was mulching the hydrangeas that went in last spring.  The more mature ones are pretty hardy, but the first year plants don’t seem to care for a hard winter.  It will likely freeze overnight while we have sunny days, the price we pay for sunny winter days.

The last dahlia hangs in.

I’m working on two quilts for Christmas and while one will surely be finished on time, the one for Sweet Husband is giving me fits.  This never happens without a deadline.  The pattern was from a magazine and I cut the templates just right.  The only problem is that when the blocks go together, the lines don’t flow the way they’re shown in the pictures unless I take ½-inch seams.  This is why we get headaches. (Insert frustration scream here.)  The new plan is to finish the one I know I can get done, finish the blocks for the small quilt group that meets in two weeks and then hope to at least get the difficult top done before the big day.  This actually reminds me of my maternal grandmother who taught us to play gin rummy.  Grandma always reminded me that you have to be able to change your strategy in the middle of the game to win.  It turns out that Grandma was wiser than I used to think.  And yes, I should’ve started this earlier.

I’m sad to report that I sewed this many together before I realized the curved lines didn’t flow together!

I mentioned in my last blog that I had acquired something fun and here it is!

This machine was given to me by a friend who tells me that it belonged to her grandmother.  My friend no longer uses it and doesn’t really have room for it.  I wanted to buy it, but she was more concerned with the machine getting a good home.  All the cords need to be replaced and the cabinet needs a little love.  I haven’t had a chance to do any research on it and realistically, that might not happen until after the holidays.  The truth is that no matter what, I’m just tickled to own this older machine.

Ella is not above a photo bomb.

I’d love to see what others among you are sewing up this month.  You can respond on our Facebook page, Mother on a Broomstick or comment here.

Be sure to do some quilting for fun!


On a Foggy Morning

On a Foggy Morning

We’re enjoying a rain-free, kinda sunny morning.  Any sunshine in late fall or winter is a big deal here.  I took this picture this morning outside my studio.

It was really foggy earlier, leaving little droplets everywhere.  We haven’t had many spiders this year so this web was a beautiful surprise.

In other news, we’ve restarted our monthly newsletter.  It will include reviews of quilting books that we’ve found inspirational and educational.  We’ll also include some practical information and photos for quilting on your home machine.  It’s actually really easy to sign up for the newsletter.  Just look to the right of this post for spaces for your name and email address.  If you have questions, just let us know at

This week I’ll be putting out and hanging up my Christmas quilts.  The newest addition to the Christmas collection is “Snapshots: Christmas.”  How quickly it gets quilted is dependent upon how much wall replacement happens in my studio.  Barb’s studio space will definitely be affected.  The guys who are working on it are great.  It’s the noise that I find really distracting and headache inducing.  There is one really loud and whiny power tool that has led me to understand where head bangers come from.

Are you making gifts this year?  If so, we’d love to see pictures and hear about  your projects.  You can email us or post on our Facebook page.  If you decorate with quilts, we love to see those, too.

This little wool project was from a pattern I bought some years ago at the Northwest Quilting Expo.  I just love it and it’s so me, especially when I’ve bought a bunch of fabric.  This is the perfect time of year to cozy up to the fire and do some relaxing handwork.

With winter fast approaching, I always think we need some color to offset the brown of sleeping trees and the grays of fog and storm clouds.  With that in mind, our next pattern will look very much like this:

I like it for a wall hanging or maybe a winter baby.  This pattern will be ready by mid-December so you can add some sparkle to your January.

Have a great week.  Give yourself a break and quilt for fun!



Life and Quilts

Life and Quilts

As the clouds roll in and the nights get chilly, winter can’t be far away.  While winter is officially about six weeks out, sweaters and boots are already in the rotation.  Right now, some trees are still full of yellowing leaves, some are looking sparse and others are already bare.  It’s that weird in-between time when sun, rain, warmer temps and a cold wind can all happen on the same day.  So layer up kids, ’cause anything could happen.

I’m facing an interesting challenge right at the moment.  It seems that one wall of the house needs serious work due to some leakage and that includes one wall of the studio.  In order to get that done, everything in the studio had to be 4-5 feet from that wall.

What this means is that I’m now sewing in a seriously confined space.  It forces me to be tidier and (somewhat) cool with a less efficient set-up.

If the above picture makes you cringe, you’re in good company.

It also means that things must be folded and put away as I go, which is not my usual MO.  I tend to just toss things on a chair or the floor until a project is finished.  That habit is a no-go in the current situation.  It also is making me rethink how I want to change things up as I get the rest of my space back in three or four weeks.  There is also lots of pounding and sawing going on right outside my window.  Luckily, this doesn’t really bother me.  It’s just life happening.

I’m making a quilt for a dear friend who I worked with for 15 years.  I decided to go through my files of saved pictures and patterns from quilting magazines and found the perfect thing right away.  I already had some of the perfect fabrics and had to fill in a few colors.  I cut the pieces as noted in the directions and as I’m sewing the pieces together, I realize that the 34 cut pieces of blue really need to be 68 cut pieces of blue.  Luckily, I always buy a little more fabric than the pattern calls for so it’ll be okay.  The truth is that whatever magazine this came from probably published a correction the following month.  The other truth is that I tear stuff out and file it and maybe come back to it years later (in this case 12 years later).  So here’s the lesson:  Read through the pattern and cutting directions.  If the numbers or fabric amounts don’t seem right, refigure.  Also, a little extra fabric is cheaper than going back to the store or hunting down more online.  I understand that magazines are on deadlines and mistakes can slip through the cracks.  Our challenge is to figure out a way around the issues.


If I make 17 of these blocks, I need 68 blue pieces.  Got lucky this time.  Next time I’ll look closer at the numbers in the pattern.  The doggies in the center are from a Laurel Burch collection from some years ago.  I have learned over the years that if I find some really special fabric that I totally love but don’t know how I’ll use, buy a bunch!

Feeling a time crunch coming on before the holidays?  Try something smaller and non-anxiety inducing.  These patterns are on special this month for 20% off.

Setting an Autum Table

Setting an Autumn Table




Santa Says Hi


We’re bringing the newsletter back after a long vacation.  Sign up on our Home page to get more quilting information, book reviews and tips.  Also, we’d love to hear from you, so email us at

Quilt for FUN!






They’re here!  It’s “the Holidays” and they include everything from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.  All in all, that’s about six weeks of fun, stress, and stress to make it fun.  I love the idea of it all and am planning to relax and enjoy as much as possible.  If it could just look like a Christmas card of a cozy cottage with snow all around, gingerbread men waiting for Santa and a warm fire in the fireplace as opposed to chains on the tires, and a cancelled flight.  So here’s the new plan:  don’t go for perfection, go for fun.  Don’t do it all, do the parts you love.  Sound familiar?

So this happened yesterday.




The forecast said a bit of snow in the morning.  It actually snowed on and off most of the day.  It didn’t stick and this is what it looked like this morning.


 It did leave some serious snow in the mountains and ski season promises to be good this year.

I put the Christmas quilts up and Sweet Husband assembled and decorated the tree.  While I have some thoughts about a new Christmas quilt, it will wait until after the holidays.  I have a couple of projects with deadlines that need to be dealt with first.  With time running short, I recommend a table runner like our “Santa Says Hi” runner that can realistically be finished before the end of December.


Depending on the colors of your fussy-cut centers, you could go anywhere from traditional colors, to coral and olive green to apple green and purple.  What’s in your stash?

This is also the time of year when we start thinking about resolutions.  This year I’m going more realistic.  I want to get some new patterns out there and have them be available in a timely manner.  A Christmas pattern that comes out at Thanksgiving isn’t going to cut it.  The best way to accomplish this is to put in on the calendar, put it on the list and write it in ink in my planner.  We have some fun ideas and are looking forward to sharing them with you.  In the meantime, see what we have on our shopping page!

To all our quilting friends, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Quilty New Year!

Candy and Barb








A Note From the Soggy Northwest

A Note From the Soggy Northwest

Just so you know, it’s not currently raining here.  Also, the guy who hit the news floating atop his keg is not related to me.  I  consider it completely possible that my back yard could be declared a National Swampland.  If there were such a thing.  Which I’m pretty sure there’s not.  Basically the back yard is a soggy mess.  On the bright side, there is likely ski-able snow in the mountains.


Last Thursday I came home from a visit with my mom on this.


It was a bit like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.  Luckily, it was a pretty short flight.  Later, we had thunder hail.  There was a lightning strike a few blocks from here that blew out windows of the house next to the tree that was struck.  It shook our house like an earthquake.  Then it hailed and hailed.  Never a dull moment.


What kind of gift are you hoping for this season?  I have quite enough “stuff”  to last me.  What I would really treasure is extra time at the cutting table or sewing machine.  Like a really big hunk of time when I don’t have to go to the store, run a load of laundry, fix dinner or let the dogs in or out or in or out.  (Toby and Ella excel at wanting to be somewhere they’re not.)  But here’s the big question:  how well would I use it?  And secondarily, would I really want to find out?  Now that I think about it, maybe it’s better that I don’t know.  Still, a girl can dream.


“It doesn’t matter where I am.  I just want to be someplace else.”

I’m making a new “Santa Says Hi” runner for after the holidays.  January here is pretty bleak and some bright colors and hot tea are just what a person needs.  It’ll be perfect for when the holiday decorations come down and the house looks kind of dull.


 Since there’s not really a hard deadline on this, I can do it in spurts when I need some quiet time.  It’s actually a sanity maintenance kind of project.  I can only make so many cookies, clean up so many spaces for guests and organize so many presents before my brain needs a break.  It’s easy to get to the point where you never take a deep breath and relax throughout the whole month of December.  I have to put those time-out moments on the schedule and stick to it and I heartily recommend doing it.  Just like quilting, the holidays are supposed to be fun.

So enjoy this holiday season and get a little extra sleep.

Quilt for Fun!


Try, Try Again

Try, Try Again

It’s a beautiful, cloudless fall day, the kind that makes me think, “We don’t need any cold, wet winter.  Let’s just do this until spring.”  Okay, yes, we need winter.  But I’m going to enjoy the heck out of this while I can.  Also, sunny days make me more energetic so I need to take advantage of that.

On that note, I remade the very marginal winter cabin I put up last week to some thing I like much better.  It involved buying fabric because even though I have a big stash, it doesn’t always have what I need.


So far it’s only been fused and I’m looking forward to adding some detail and quilting it.  The ultimate plan is to put a house block on each end of a runner and have the center be the fabric on the border of this block.  This way I won’t hide a block under the candles or flowers or whatever the centerpiece of the table might be.  It’ll probably be a week or so before this is finished as I have a couple of Halloween projects to finish.  I’ll show the block as I go along.

For those who are spider phobic, stop reading now and go to our Shopping Page.  We’d love for you to make one of our patterns and show us your work so we can show it on the Gallery Page.

So here’s the deal:  it’s fall and we have spiders.  They use my garden decor to anchor their webs and catch lots of bugs that I don’t really want in my house.  (It’s still warm enough to leave doors open for the dogs.)  The spiders are industrious little guys and there’s always the possibility of getting a neat picture of a web on a damp morning.


This one has caught some dinner and seems to be doing a little repair work on the web.


This big boy’s (or girl’s) web shows up a little better against the bricks.  Nothing currently caught in the web, but he doesn’t look like he waits to eat.  This concludes the bug portion of the blog.

Thank you for indulging my “Nature Moment.”

There’s still time for an Autumn themed quilt and we have some ideas for that on the Shopping Page.

If you have an idea for a quilt pattern you’d like us to create, let us know.

Holiday Time

Holiday Time

I walked in Target this morning, feeling really good about how I was ready to get into the Christmas spirit.  I get a little grinchy when Christmas starts on the 15th of October, but now I’m ready to jump in.  And just beyond the carts was . . .  two racks of bikinis.  Back in my bikini days, I started shopping for them in February because that’s when the best ones were available.  But early December? Really?  Just needed to get that out there.

We put up a new pattern this week – Starshine Runner.  It’s a two-block quilt and is easy to make bigger, if necessary.  It also comes in two block sizes.  It’s great with, but not limited to, the fun Christmas fabrics that are out there now.  Time is getting short before the holidays, and this project can be done in a weekend.  Also, the pattern is on sale and available digitally.

Starshine Runner

Starshine Runner


Here’s one I’m working on right now:


I always said I’d never get into hand appliqué.  My grandmother used to say, “Never say never and always avoid always.”  She was really right about that one.  I used the pattern from “The New Appliqué Sampler” by Becky Goldsmith & Linda Jenkins for the quilt in the picture.   It started out to be just for practice and I learned a lot as I went along.  There are a few rough spots but all in all, I just like the bright colors and funkiness of it.  The top’s been finished for a couple of years, and now I’m in the mood to quilt it.  I decided early on to use all batiks for a couple of reasons.  The first is that I like the look of them and the second is that because they’re so tightly woven, there’s less raveling.  For a beginner (and, I suspect, the veteran) it’s more fun when you don’t have to fight the fabric.  I’ve also learned not to do appliqué on a deadline.  Sometimes the fingers just say no.

We’ve started a newsletter that comes out about once a month.  We’ll talk about some different quilting subjects, including some creativity research I’ve done.  We invite you to sign up on the website homepage ( and we’ll even send you a little treat.  We’d also like to hear from other quilters, from beginners to experts as we believe that the more we know, the more interesting quilting becomes.

Barb and I wish you all the fun and blessings the holiday season brings.

Quilt for fun!