Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt progress….or lack of

I started working on the Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt the day after Thanksgiving. Bonnie Hunter – is giving a “clue” every Friday.

Even if you aren’t ready to “start” the Mystery Quilt, you might find it fun to follow along on Bonnie’s blog.  These instructions will only be on the blog for a limited period of time, so download them as they post; or you may have to wait until they are published in a book in the future. (Typical mystery quilt posts are left “live on the blog” for several months; and she warns on the blog to hurry and print your copy). Last year’s mystery, Celtic Solstice was taken off the blog around June 1st, for future publication in one of Bonnies books.  I think I read some discussion about this one coming down in the spring, so snag your directions, even if you aren’t ready to work on it.

I am using Bonnie’s recommend colors for the quilt.

First clue had us make 280 half-square triangles for Unit 1.

These were joined with 2.5″ black and yellow squares to make into 100 4-patches.  80 of the half-square triangles were set aside for later.

Clue 1 Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt

Clue 1 Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt

The next clue, on December 5th, had us making Double Diamond Units.

ONE Double Diamond Unit complete...

ONE Double Diamond Unit complete…

We need 100 double diamond units.  Bonnie gave detailed directions (REALLY DETAILED!!) on this clue for 3 different methods to make these units. I chose method 3, and got started cutting all my units. Then disaster struck and I got sick.  I spent almost 2 weeks under the weather with a horrible cold and sinus infection and just now started to feel human again.  So; my Clue 2 is sitting in nice little baskets on the ironing board, waiting for me to get busy.

But I couldn’t start until I finished the last part of the Grandkids “fabric paper dolls” project and get in the mail.  I finished on Monday night; and spent yesterday getting things wrapped up; and in the box for the mail all day yesterday. I looked at the calendar and realise that the package is going to be LATE.  Dang the cold. I feel terrible that my little grands won’t have it on Christmas morning.  But, “IT” happens and I hope that the box arrives on time.  NO PICTURES of the rest of the gift-making until after they get the box, as their mommy reads my blog and I like her to have a surprise now and then. So; if you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen the final item….but if you don’t well…you have to wait for photo’s in January on the blog!

I have a couple of other Christmas items to get underway STARTED& FINSIHED this week, but MUST clean up the sewing room first.  I have stuff EVERYWHERE…..

Meanwhile back to the clues….last Friday (Dec 12), Bonnie Hunter release Clue 3; which is 120 units of “two by four” squares.  No picture from me yet, because I haven’t even gotten to this point, but the units are done with strip sets into what looks like double 4 patches; with special care given to the color placement.   Go take a peak at the clue if your curious  –

No chance of my being caught up before Clue 4 is released this Friday; but I will continue to download my instructions and follow the progress of other quilters on Facebook. There is a huge group of followers (over 24,000) on Facebook, Quiltville’s Open Studio group.   I need to do a little work around the house, and maybe get a Christmas decoration or 2 put up to add some cheer BEFORE Christmas arrives and perhaps get the hubby a Christmas gift!

Happy sewing, and I am off to do a little “domestic goddess” work before the health department tacks a notice on the front door!


The secret is revealed!

My secret project has been delivered!! So now I can share it with you!  It started in September when my quilting sister-in-law Carolyn contacted me and asked if I would want to work on a project with her.

We selected a color; photographed fabrics and had great discussions back and forth on patterns etc. She mailed me strips; I mailed her strips; we each built blocks!  It was great fun. Back and forth in the mail!

I had the honor of “putting all the blocks together”; and mailed them back to her for borders, backing and quilting & binding. She got the longarming done on her new machine and ensured safe delivery!

So; enjoy the process

We selected our fabrics

We built our blocks

and now the project is delivered to our sister Cathi!
We certainly surprised her!  When she visited me in November, I gave her the pillows.  (I told her they were leftover blocks from her Great Granddaughters quilt).  Truth is; I had so many strips cut, I was able to make the great granddaught a quilt to match.  She got to see that quilt BEFORE she even knew about her own!  Tricky me…….I bet she wondered why I gave her those pillows…..

Happy stitching!

Log Cabin Pillows

I mentioned these pillows yesterday on my post; but did not have a photo. My sister just sent me one!

log cabin pillows

log cabin pillows

Grandma has been busy!

Last post a month ago, but the time has flown by!  My big sister from California came to visit for a nice long weekend, and we got to celebrate her birthday together.  I sent her home with 3 LOG CABIN pillows that match the quilt I am making for her GREAT granddaughter.  I saved 1 pillow to go with the quilt.  Now, sadly; that quilt is still a work in progress; 8 of the blocks quilted; then set aside for other projects!

Twin Sized Log Cabin quilt top - Barn raising pattern Oct 2014

Twin Sized Log Cabin quilt top – Barn raising pattern Oct 2014



My twin sized log cabin project

My twin sized log cabin project

You know how it goes when you get busy! I was prewashing all my fabric for the Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt; then it needed to be ironed; and stacked up and ready!  Last Friday Clue # 1 was released!  So;  280 half-square triangles; and 100 blocks have been made. All but 80 of the HST made it into the blocks. Tomorrow is a new clue.

100 blocks for step 1

100 blocks for step 1

100 blocks are ready

100 blocks are ready

In between all of this, I decided to pursue and find Moda Flats Doll panels. They released last spring and I could never find them in the local stores or on line. I was really drawn to them; thinking what a fun thing to make for the grandkids. I watched a You-Tube video and was HOOKED. So, the frantic Grandma pursuit began! And I scored big time. I found them at a fabric shop in central Indiana; and got 6 panels. Once I had them in my hand I realized I could really do this without all 6 panels. Each panel made 2 dolls; and came with multiple hair combinations. I ended up selling 5 of the panels to my friends.(I could not hoard them, they are so much fun!)

Moda Flats Doll design by Angela Yolston

Moda Flats Doll design by Angela Yolston

I have been having a grand time making “fabric” paper dolls for the grandkids. Each one is better than the last. I have made some clothing “on my own” and other outfits by using .jpg images and sizing them to fit; then printing on fabric. I have enjoyed the creation of these dolls and I hope the grandkids like them as much as all the grandma’s I have shown them to.

Having SEW much fun!!

Quilt that honors

I have seen some lovely quilts this year, honoring the service of US Military men and women. On this day in America, we honor our Veterans. Many have been honored with Quilts of Valor, a program that started here in Delaware, making quilts to give to families of fallen service men and women.
Three of the quilts below were seen at quilt shows; one is my own. There are many ways to honor the service to our country, and this is my way. Thank you from the heart of America.

Air Force

Air Force

Honoring a US Navy serviceman. Spotted at AQS Lancaster PA March 2014

Honoring a US Navy serviceman. Spotted at AQS Lancaster PA March 2014

Spotted at the Mid Atlantic Quilt show.  Honoring all the family members who had served.

Spotted at the Mid Atlantic Quilt show. Honoring all the family members who had served.

I really liked this quilt; telling the story of so many family members. Below is the sign associated with the quilt from the show.
galaxy apr 5 2014 261

And lastly – this is my effort to honor a fallen US Air Force airman. I made this last year for his little boy as a tribute to his daddy:

Not show quilt, but one I made to honor a fallen service man.

Not show quilt, but one I made to honor a fallen service man.

11 years ago in a land far far away

Eleven years ago, I took the first of any trips with my beloved Aunt Jean, who was well into her 80’s. What a sense of adventure she had!! She loved to travel and especially loved a long cruise. So when she invited me to go with her it was no surprise the trip would be about 24 days long.

Together, we flew to Athens Greece, where we spent 2 days sightseeing before embarking on our cruise.  We’d both been there before, but it had been some time!  She regaled me with stories of a trip with fellow teachers she had taken while teaching in Europe in the late 1950’s and 60’s.  I told a few stories of my own, having visited while living in Turkey and taking military hops to Athens in the late 1970’s.    I was surprised at how much had changed in the ancient country in 30 years.  She was equally surprised.  The work being done on the Acropolis was one big surprise.

Acropolis 2003

We had a lot of fun together seeing sights that were familiar, yet forgotten through the years.

Jean was the best travel buddy I ever had and we did several more trips together as time would allow.  Miss being able to call the dear lady and telling her about the latest bargain I had found on a transatlantic cruise.  She loved being on a ship, and would have lived on one if she could have found a way.  She was my Pied Piper, always attracting interesting people to the table and the conversation.  She passed away a few years ago at age 93, following a “last cruise” to the New England Coastline.  The fun I had taking pictures of her with all the good looking gentleman always gave her a laugh.

Mary and Jean Athens (4)

Fred and Jean

We had a lot of adventure together! Her 2 favorite sayings were “life is uncertain-eat dessert first” and “Go; have fun, meet for drinks and lie about your day!”.

More to come in the future!

A peak at October

Well; you know I have been off the mark working on my blog for a few months.  If you read my blog on a regular basis you know life has been a little busy. My daughter and her family were here at the beginning of the month.  I started a new quilt project in October, that I will show you a glimpse of. The month flew by!

The title of this post is a PEAK AT OCTOBER – this is what it was looking like last week at my house.

Fall sky Oct 2014

Fall sky Oct 2014

Fall colors inspired me

Fall colors inspired me

I had a wonderful time in October, with my quilt bee friends.  We meet once a month at a members home, and have a lot of fun, sharing projects, enjoying lovely food, and working on something worthy. In September and October we worked on “heart pillows” for breast cancer patients.  Stuffing the pillows and stitching them closed kept our hands busy while we visited in October. When I arrive at my friend Gayle’s house, I was a bit late, and was told to”wait at the door and close my eyes”.  I heard a lot of giggling and silliness and when given permission to turn around – this is what I saw!

Material Girls

Material Girls

The Material Girls Quilt Bee does know how to have fun!

We participated at the end of the month in a “multi-bee” sit & sew for 3 days.  Three “bees” from Ocean Waves Quilt Guild get together for fun!  Everyone brought their own projects and worked on them, and we had wonderful conversations and meals.  It is always interesting to me to see what people are working on, and what the manage to get accomplished in 3 days of sewing.  I’m sure I could get more done, on my own at home, but it would not be as much fun!

The lovely thing about these gatherings is the opportunity to ask a question to a more experienced quilter, and learn from their experience.  Everyone seems to wander around the room visiting, catching up, and ooohing and aaahing at the variety of projects underway. There were people doing foundation piecing of Christmas trees, and Storm at Sea; there was a lady working on a block that required about 7 or 8 different templates. There were projects being completed from our guild retreat in February, and there were several new projects just getting started.   Enjoy the photo’s.

Linda Gabriel project

Linda Gabriel project

Dana worked on her project from a class in June

Dana Mason worked on her project from a class in June

Cindy Jones using beautiful musical fabrics.

Cindy Jones using beautiful musical fabrics.

Barbara Hoffman with her "STACKS" quilt

Barbara Hoffman with her “STACKS” quilt

Dana showing her One Block Wonder

Dana showing her One Block Wonder

Gayle - Lost Sock

Gayle – Lost Sock

Melissa and her modern quilt

Melissa and her modern quilt

My quilting project, using the pretty stitches for quilting on my Janome

My quilting project, using the pretty stitches for quilting on my Janome

The project I have “under the needle” is what I worked on.  I did some quilting extra blocks to make them into throw pillows for a day and 1/2; then started quilting a log cabin twin sized quilt. I love using the pretty stitches built-in the machine. The pillows were a great practice time for me. The quilt under the needle is for my “great-great niece” who just turned a year old. I had intended to make her a baby quilt last fall but never got to that point on my list. So, she gets a twin sized quilt which will last her a bit longer in life any way. I made it in my sister Cathi’s favorite colors, because she is the great-great Grandma!!!

Last post I chatted about a “SECRET” project…well…I still can’t share it, because it has not been delivered yet.  More later in the month I hope.  I did my part, and now my co-conspirator is working her end of the arrangement.  Shhhh….don’t tell.  I have to say, it is NO FUN keeping the secret, but the delivery will be awesome I am sure.  My special long arm quilting buddy thought up the project and is going to border, quilt and bind the project.

So, did you spy the Modern Quilt Studio patterns by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr in the photos?  There were 2….and I have made one of them myself back in June.

Enjoy this beautiful Sunday and happy stitching!


Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt – Are you doing it ??

Are there any Bonnie Hunter fans amongst the readers of this blog? Are you following her on her blog on Quiltville or Facebook ?   I have to admit that I am!  Having done one of her quilts “Jared takes a Wife” as a wedding gift last year, I am hooked on her scrappy quilts.  She offers lots of free pattern on her blog.

Bonnie Hunter is well-known for offering a Mystery Quilt every year, around Thanksgiving (US) weekend and her color plan and yardage amounts  have just been released.

Bonnie has a group on Facebook – called  Quiltville Open Studio where the excitement is building –!/groups/291023511046957/

She has links to her blog – with all the details.

Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt Fabrics

Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt Fabrics

What is fun is she has used “paint chips” to show the colors.  I did my best with the colors as they appeared on the computer screen and when I printed out the directions.  Since there will not be any cutting until November 28, I have time to pick up the required paint chips and verify my color selections and buy more YELLOW.  I also need to stock up on some black…but I think if I finish a project before the cutting begins, I will have some left over from my “Summer in the Park” quilt.

This mystery will run for about 6 weeks, and Bonnie Hunter releases a new clue every Friday until concluded.  The pattern instructions will stay on her website for 6 months, and then retired for inclusion in an upcoming book.  I saved all the instructions for the Celtic Solstice pattern last year, but did not allow myself the time to work on it.  I have hopes in the future pull the fabrics and to do it.

Sew…….that was what I played with yesterday!!!  Now, on to make those throw pillows, and cut 2″ squares for a landscape class and then maybe dig out the “summer in the park” and put the last 2 borders on.  Oh…hey, I cleaned up and put away all the extraneous fabric that was all over the sewing room yesterday….now if the vacuum fairy would visit, the place would be suitable for visitors…..maybe the hubby will come up and play with his trains while I work today!

(Please disregard that crab which is peaking above the stack of fabric who still needs borders and binding…maybe I will get around to that today or tomorrow….)

Happy stitching!

Secret Project and Special Project

Wow, I can not believe it is nearly the middle of October.  I have had such a busy time, and done just a bit of sewing.

I can’t share my secret project  specifics or photos with you yet, but let me tell you…I had fun working on it.  I was approached by a fellow blogger to work on something together.  We cut 2.5″ strips of a certain color, and we each mailed strips!  How fun is it to open the mail knowing there is beautiful fabric inside.

My fellow blogger had a plan and sent me the pattern and with our combined strips, we made our blocks.  I made 15 blocks (14.5″ finished block) and she did 21.  Our original plan was to do 15 each, but the layout was not working.  She had put her 15 blocks in the mail to me, and when I said it would look better with 36 blocks, she agreed. So she quickly assembled 6 more.  Funny thing was both packages arrived the same day.  I could have done more, but I was a little busy with the grandkids.

More about them in a minute…..  This weekend I put the blocks up on the design wall and through the instant sharing ability we have on Facebook we talked through some “re-arranging”, and agreed on the pattern layout. I started on Friday afternoon and finished up on Saturday afternoon putting the blocks together and getting the quilt top ready to go. I will send it back to her on Thursday (after I show it off to my quilt bee friends – The Material Girls).  My blogging friend is going to decide on any borders and then do the long arm quilting on it.  We have a specific deadline we would like to meet.  I have enough 2.5″ strips of a particular color (NO, I am not telling until it is delivered….) to make 4 more 14.5 blocks…to match the quilt.  I will turn them into throw pillows.  Trust me it will be beautiful.  Once the quilt is gifted, then I will share some photos. :)

So, now…why was I busy and not doing a lot of sewing?  Well, the grandchildren brought their parents for a visit. They live in Africa and I have been without any grandkids hugs for over a year!  It was a wonderful visit. It was also fun to see my daughter and her husband.

We made the rounds of the local library, park, Oktoberfest, beach and boardwalk, bookstores etc. An “official hair salon” event for a certain 4-year-old resulted in a lovely haircut and “polish” on her nails. A first for her and so exciting to watch her expressions as it was happening.  What fun digging in the sand for pirate treasures with a 6-year-old.  The joy of watching a 2-year-old wiggle toes in the sand was also something to watch. Grandma had to indulge in small beach shovels.  At home they are not permitted to dig in the dirt because of sanitary reasons. So, you can imagine the joy.  It was fun to take them to the edge of the water and watch their faces as the water came close to their bare little feet. Too cold for swimming or getting wet, but wonderful fall weather at the beach.

I have so much fun when my daughter visits or I visit her. She is a great cook, and loves to indulge me with her help and recipes. We enjoyed lots of favorite foods that they are just unable to get where they live currently. The cold weather veggies like  and Brussel sprouts and mushrooms were on the menu here.

We did a special project while they were here visiting.  My 6-year-old grandson has noticed the extreme poverty in the country they reside in. He wanted to do something to help the kids. His family came up with an idea and this is what happened.

We set up a suitcase at our church on 2 Sundays.  The response was incredible.  (Notice the African Wax Fabric for the display board & table cover….)  We collected donated school supplies from members of our church and other friends.

Project fill the School case

Project fill the School case

When all was sorted – it looked like this:


Sorting the supplies

Sorting the supplies

and this:

114 spiral notebooks and construction paper

114 spiral notebooks and construction paper

There were watercolor paint boxes, scissors, colored chalk, little pencil sharpeners, pens and markers, and notebooks and construction paper.  There were 114 spiral notebooks, 227 erasers, 583 pencils and 49 pencil sharpeners!  For families who earn so little, this will be a huge gift in helping their children with their schooling.  It also show what can be done by a few to make a difference.  Those who donated and those who will receive will know that Jesus Christ is at work among them.  What generous spirit the people of Reformation Lutheran Church, in Milford Delaware had.  They donated cash as well, and 2 suitcases were purchased, and 2 more large ones were donated.  My son-in-law packed and repacked until each suitcase weighed the proper amount, and actually put a small case inside a larger empty case. They will visit other family on the west coast and do another school supply drive there too. They will take all these suitcases home to Africa with them when they return at the end of the month.

So, that is what I have been up to! Secret projects and special projects.

What about you?  How goes the quilting?


African Wax Fabric

My lovely daughter gifted me with 4 pieces of beautiful fabric at Christmas time.  I am still just admiring the colors and prints, and have not come up with a project. We are entertaining the idea of covering the dining room chairs with the fabric.

I recently bought 4 ” thick cushion and plan to do box edges for the 6  chairs.  Hubby would prefer matching fabric on all six, and dear daughter has offered to shop again for the right number of yards.  I am figuring a yard per chair; because of the depth of the cushions and boxing the cushion as opposed to just soft wrapping it.  So, dear daughter, find me 6 yards of any print, all the same fabric….yellows, greens, blues, purples…..geometric or floral.  (The florals in the 1st 2 pictures I just LOVE!!!).

If the floral is really large, you have to find a centerpoint and that takes MORE fabric.  The “weighter” the feel, the better I think.  The orange and blue at the bottom has a really light feel, and I don’t think it would wear well on the chairs, but I am considering a skirt out of it!  These big pieces will make nice backs for quilts too I think.  Or aprons……Or pillows………..  I just love them all and can’t decide what to do with them yet. So, they will sit on the shelf with my “stash of fabric” and I get to touch them every day!


3 7/8ths yard



1 7/8 yards


5 yards



5 7/8ths yards

Happy stitching!

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