Pet Mosaic Retreat

This past weekend I attended a Pet Mosaic Retreat with my favorite sister-in-law, Carolyn. Perhaps you are familiar with her blog:

Anyway, back to the retreat!  Last year, I saw a post from Cheryl Lynch about her recent group who had come to her lakeside cottage and done a project together.  Cheryl was already gearing up for this year, and I convinced Carolyn that we should attend.  So, Carolyn booked a flight from California, and arrived on Sunday, prior to the retreat.  We had a wonderful few days of visiting my newest granddaughter, and  all things quilty, before we headed up to Pennsylvania to Cheryl’s cottage.

We arrived about 5 pm on Thursday, and were able to get our sewing equipment unloaded and set up before dinner time. We had our pick of rooms! Yes, we got to sleep under quilts!   We enjoyed the one on one time that Cheryl provided at this retreat. She is set up for 4 quilters, so it is a small intimate group.  The wonderful food was prepped by her husband and finished by Cheryl and we always had way more to eat than possible.  We sat out on the dock to eat lunch and dinner on Friday.  The weather was so beautiful, we almost  forgot we were there to sew!

Lunch on the dock

The view out the windows that surrounded the room where we sewed was spectacular!  We made sure our design walls did not block it!

across the lake

Our project preparation included bringing a large piece of flannel or felt (in a contrasting color) and affixing it to the styro board that Cheryl provided.  She also had available a large AccuQuilt cutting machine for us to use.  We cut LOTS of 2″ squares on Thursday evening.  (I do wish that I had planned better and cut some at home before I left, so my time was more efficiently spent on the project!)  Each project takes 1296 two inch squares.  Carolyn and I were sharing the grey and the black.

We started right in designing our project after our early morning walk and breakfast of baked French toast and fruit.

Cheryl had given us a “grid” that went over our photo that we are working on.  In the photo below you see that I have blocked out with post-it notes all but the area I wanted to concentrate on.

Beginning the project

My project had an “ear” in the top left corner, so pretty quickly I was making color & shape choices.  The first section has 81 pieces.  I used those great marking pins that I made last year for the first section.

Ear  is formed

In order for the piece not to look like “pixels”, Cheryl helped us to create the angles in the pieces that would help give the proper shape.  In the above picture, you can see where I had to make several angles, and there are “pieces” tossed on the bottom of the board that had “been discarded” because my angle was not “exactly” what I wanted.  Funny thing is, I ended up pulling some of those “discards” off the bottom of the board for other spots.  At this point we are pinning right into the stryo board behind the felt. Much easier to “rearrange” if the pins are straight in.

Here you can see where I am working on the 2nd ear, and a photo of my subject (MITTENS).

2nd ear

I keep moving my “post-it notes” around on the gridded photo so I can stay focused.

By Saturday, I had progressed to the point where I could really “see” his ears, and had the first 4 sections arranged on the design wall. There were some pieces on that board that I ended up “drawing on paper” and paper piecing up to 5 fabrics to get all the angles “just right”.  I only did that a couple of times.

Mittens ears

Next up was sewing the first “section” together.  Cheryl has such great techniques to share and methods to keep us from getting pieces “confused” while we sew.  My angles were not “perfect” but I am not taking it apart! (Well, not today anyway)……

Section one

And the second section –

Mittens Mosaic

This was a fun project to work on, and Cheryl was available whenever we needed help!  She let us “design”, but was right there whenever a consultation was needed, and made wonderful suggestions on how to achieve the look we were after.  We did lots of pinning and numbering to keep things in order. Here is a “close up” that really helps you to see how the shading is taking place, and how much “space” is lost to the seam allowances.

the ear

As with any retreat, there is much laughter, talking, food, fun, wine and sewing.  I just started joining the third section on Sunday morning before it was time to think about packing up for departure after lunch.  Carolyn and I had stacks of 2″ squares everywhere on our tables.  So, I spent about an hour folding uncut fabric and sorting and stacking by “color” so it would be easier to deal with when we got home.  I “should have” thought ahead and brought small baskets/storage boxes so we could keep things organized during the retreat. Cheryl was sweet to let us “raid” her cabinets and pull out bowls and bakeware to keep things in.  Somehow, we managed to get it all home with out it becoming a jumble!

The weekend went so fast, but what can you do?  Sit on the dock and eat dinner, and enjoy the sunset!

Sunset over the lake


Next post I will share a few photo’s of Carolyn’s project.

Meanwhile, if you would like a preview – Cheryl has posted about our retreat weekend –   While you are on Cheryl’s blog, be sure to check out her specialty ruler- Curvalicious .  There is also information about her upcoming retreats!  I am so glad we signed up and spent a wonderful weekend learning a new technique.  I promised her that I would get my project finished and ready in time for a “group exhibit” in 2018.  A lofty goal she has given us!!!

I have lots of other projects in the works, and today will be my first day in over  7 weeks without travel or company……..but the sun is shining, the lawn needs cut, the pool needs cleaned and all I want to do is sew!

More later, as the day is already halfway gone!




A great Fabric Acquisition Road Trip

I have been busy since my Hawaii cruise, and will take time later to share the fun. This is my last day with visitors since I returned. My grandchildren and  their parents came the first week I was home. The day after they departed my favorite sister in law  arrived from California.  We have enjoyed working on quilts, visiting guild Bee’s and meetings, and going on a 4 day retreat in Pennsylvania. We are wrapping up the visit with a Fabric Acquisition Road Trip in Lancaster County PA.

Our 1st stop was at The Quilt Ledger in Christiana PA.  It was a lovely ship that was easy to find near PA Route 41. The shop tended to lean to a more modern style than most of the shops around Lancaster County.  I however, went for some novelty fabrics that coordinate with a bolt of railroad track fabric I purchased last year.  I will be starting my pillowcase project soon.  I sell train motif pillowcases at the annual model railroad train open house in November and December and January.

Our 2nd quilt shop visit was to Family Farm Quilts in Ronks PA. ( although the address  is 3511 W. NEWPORT PIKE, RONKS, it really is 2 minutes away from the Kitchen Kettle Shops in Intercourse PA).  In this shop I noticed some great wide (108″) backings for less than $10 per yard.  Here I went a bit fat quarter crazy picked out bundles for my next 3 months with 2 quilt Bee’s.

Our 3rd stop I have to say was the very best. It was suggested by Cheryl Lynch that we visit Weaver Dry Goods near Lititz PA. Located on W. BRUBAKER  VALLEY ROAD, it was easy to find if you don’t ignore the GPS!!  It was worth taking the round about trip when we were able to find the shop. This is an amazingly well organized shop. There is a lower level where great bargains can be found. All novelty fabrics on the main floor are grouped by subject.  I found some  Thomas the Train fabric for pillowcases here at a reasonable price. This store was very neat, light and airy, and the fabric racks were not too high. I could reach the bolts easily and really see the colors. My #1 choice for next visit. Love all the choices of color for wide backing below  $10/yard.
Our 4th and final stop was at Burkholder Fabrics in Denver PA. This store was a sponsor of Ocean Waves Quilt Guild quilt show last year. I’ve been there twice before and they have a huge selection to choose from.  I found some lovely batiks  for a project I am planning later in the fall.  If you visit this store, come with a plan!! There is SO much going on it is overwhelming! !

We will stay over night in Lancaster County and do a bit more shopping before we head out to the airport. My sister in law shipped one project box before she came, and will be sending it home along with 2 more boxes of newly acquired fabric.  Good thing I put the packing tape in the car for the extra flat rate box. Sure beats overweight charges on the suitcase!
That’s all the news I can manage typing with my thumbs on a small screen. My apologies for the spelling.
Picture below was our view this evening from the motel in Lancaster County.


Hope all your stitches are straight!

Building Blocks for Step 4 Scrap Dance Tango

It is amazing how much you can get done in an afternoon!  The parts are all in bins, ready to assemble.  Carol designed the steps in such a manner that we just had to assemble “already constructed parts” for this step.  Block A is completed- all 72 for a king size!

43 out of 72.

Pairs selected for the next  bit  of stitching for step 4

All 72 blocks completed

Hubby had a model railroad club “ops session” and was gone , and I took advantage of the time to get Step 4 for the Scrap Dance Tango Mystery Quilt completed.

Believe it or not, I even cooked dinner. Afterwards, I went back out to my sewing room and took all the blocks off the wall and put them back into their file trays, to wait for “next month”.  Remember, I still have a couple of boxes of “parts” ready to go!    I know I am in good shape for the Half Square Triangles.  How about this for a little math:  I made 1430 half square triangles.  In block A that I just completed, I have used 720 of them. The rest await the next step.  We also used 144  dark 2.5″ squares and 288 background 2.5″ squares.  I may have to do  a recount and see if I have all those solids  & neutral squares ready .

The king size might seem daunting, but I have to say, having it broken out into the steps is really working! Thanks Carole!

For scale reference, the Half Square  Triangles are 2.5″.

Pattern is by Carole on her blog From My Carolina Home

Oh, I did mention I am working on a baby quilt…..I finally have all the fabric prewashed, and have been working off and on all week to get it all starched and iron and ready for cutting.  I have 3 more pieces to tackle before the cutting begins.

As I was sewing yesterday, it was snowing!  Yes, my tulips are up, the daffodils have passed their peak, the iris are coming along nicely, the spring grass needs to be mowed, and we had wet huge snow flakes mixed with rain all afternoon.  Today, the sun shines, no snow stuck, and the grass is too wet to mow and we woke up to frost.  Spring has been fickle this year.    That is what we get for the 75 degree Christmas day we had!

Somehow, I don’t think I will get to sewing any skirts for my trip or doing any fun embroidery work on t-shirts either. Oh well, nobody cares what I am wearing on my cruise! My capris from last year won’t get worn this week anyway, so I can start pulling them out and getting them ready to pack.  I’m have way to much fun to fuss anyway!  One week from today I will be flying to California to meet up with my little sister before we board our ship on Monday for 15 days round trip to Hawaii. I am going to leave all the planning to her! The only non-fun is the 6 am flight on Sunday for a short hop to Philadelphia and thank goodness the flight west is NON-STOP and I will be asleep as much of that flight as possible!

What exciting plans do you have for this week??


Curved piecing class and Step 4 Scrap Dance Tango

I want to tell you about a class I took this week with Maria Shell – Tales of a Stitcher .  Maria Shell lives in Anchorage Alaska, and having her come to speak and teach at Ocean Waves Quilt Guild in Delaware was amazing.

I stumbled across Maria’s blog the first few months of my blog journey and began following her.  She is so inspired and creative and fun. I had the opportunity to meet her in person at the IQF in Houston, where she was doing demo’s for CRAFTSY.  If you have followed my blog, you might remember me making “Artful Oven Mitts” a few years ago, using her tutorial and pattern.

Two years ago I contacted Maria about the possibility of speaking and teaching at our guild during my time as co-vice president.  At that time, our budget didn’t allow for the costs of air travel, and I was unable to book Maria.  Last fall, Maria contacted me and let me know that she was going to be on the East Coast in April, speaking at the Studio Art Quilt Association annual conference in Philadelphia!  The timing of the conference, and the timing of our guild meeting lined up perfectly!  Our current VP’s worked out all the details and Maria came to Delaware!

Maria lectured on Monday at our guild meeting, telling the story of the journey of an Alaskan Quilter.  Her community quilting projects are fascinating, and her work with a group in North Carolina was such a wonderful, heartwarming story.   It was fun to hear how this young woman from Kansas ended up in Alaska.  We enjoyed her lecture and seeing her quilts “up close” and in person was a treat!

On Tuesday Maria taught a workshop.  Our class was called Circle and Curved Sampler, and the cutting was done WITHOUT A RULER  (gasp)!! I heard people in the class saying “how freeing” !!  The sewing was done without PINS !!!   Imagine that!    I found it all very fun!!  

Maria is such an excellent instructor, taking time with each student, working on their “color palette” for the piecing project, doing countless demonstrations, and no doubt answering our same questions over and over again.   I took a rather large bin of fabrics to the class, had a general idea what I wanted to work with, and found her sense of color/pattern to be so effective.  My stack of fabric left on the table after she helped ME decide what to use was totally different that what I had chosen in the beginning, but it all worked well together, and I had fun with the process.

 Somehow in my excitement to get busy cutting, I never did take a photo of the stacks of fabric, but I did get a couple of our curved piecing.  My “circle” piece never got photographed either.  So, get ready for graphic and non traditional!  I will identify my photos and those I took of other classmates.    These first 4 are my fabrics/pieces


This first picture shows the soft gentle curve that was done and how smooth the stitching was “without pins”.

Reading the 2nd layer

This photo shows us getting two layers lined up for another round of “cutting curves”.

Curved pieces

Then we “relayerd” our stack and got these wonderful pieces to stitch

The outcome

And, after a little stitching, you have this fun “bit” to work in with more layers and curves.

The photo’s below are other classmates projects –  I liked these because of their fabric choices!

Other class participants projects

Other class participants projects

Do go take a look at  Maria’s website & Maria’s blog and get inspired by her use of shapes, curves and “no rulers” work.  Her long-arm quilting makes the pieces almost vibrate. It was as much fun to look at the “backs” as it was to see the pieced front.

And now, the update on my “MYSTERY” project.  In case you have’t been following – I am doing a mystery quilt called Scrap Dance Tango Mystery Quilt.  This was designed by Carole and you can find this months “step 4” information on her blog – From My Carolina Home  .  You remember my 1430 half – square triangles I finished up in March….and those two great blocks we made in February and March, right?

Well, you take 2 blocks from February And we are starting step 2 and 2 blocks from March Step 3 complete Scrap Dance Tango Mystery quilt

and join them together!  CUTE…..

And this is what you get with  step 4 !

First completed block for step 4 of Scrap Dance Tango Mystery quilt

Thank you Carole for the earlier post!  I asked Carole to “post early” as I allow for no interruptions on my 2nd Friday of the month for sewing. Well…that didn’t happen, as I had to make a return visit to the doctor, get a chest xray, and prescriptons, and tie the last senior quilt at church.  I do really appreciate the early posts, if for no other reason I could anticipate sewing later! I finally got to my machine after supper, and got these 14 blocks  put together.  I have another 14 in “halves” ready to stitch the center seam.

14 blocks complete for step 4

When these blocks are finished, they will be called block A.  I need 72, and they should not take too long.  What is fun about Carole’s patterns is when you start “construction” of the blocks, the bits are ready to sew !!

I do need to “trim and square up” after this block.  Block A finishes at 8″ if I did the math correctly.

Carole has set up a FLIKR group to share photo’s and mine are linked there!  Check out the colors and variety of backgrounds people are using as they work on the “mystery”.  Scrap Dance Tango Flickr group

Next weekend this time I should have my suitcase packed and ready for my trip!  Boyoboy do I have a lot to do this week!

Hope you are getting a little warmth and sunshine and Mother Nature has stopped playing winter tricks at your house.


Half Square Triangle FUN

525 done.  905 to go!!

I FINISHED MY 1430 !!!

  I am working on the Scrap Dance Tango Mystery Quilt and in Step 1 we needed to construct 2.5″  half square triangles.  Well, I bit the big bullet and decided to go for the KING size; and it required 1430!!!  I have been plugging away at them since mid January.  Carole promised we would not need them all the first month!

Step 2 required 432 in the construction of the first block –

144 made for step 2 of the Scrap Dance Tango Mystery quilt

I made 144 of those blocks.

Then Step 3 required 288 in the construction of the second batch of blocks –

Step 3 complete Scrap Dance Tango Mystery quilt

I made 144 of those blocks.

And then I continued to work on my squaring up of  the rest of the blocks, 20 here, 20 there and I am finally done!  This container has 739 in it!!

739 half square triangles in this container

I figure I made about 29 extra HST’s, but hey, I would rather have a few extra than come up short at the end.  All the fabrics except the neutral came from my abundance of scraps.  I use the June Tailor Perfect Half-Square & Quarter-Square Triangle tool for marking cutting and squaring up.  I like it better than any other method I have tried.

The good news is, I am NOT burnt out on HST’s and am planning a BABY QUILT for my newest tiny granddaughter who is just 2 weeks old.  She is having grey, white, and coral accents in her nursery and I acquired the fabric Monday for her quilt!  I am thinking a chevron pattern with 4 or 5″ blocks. Graphic and modern will be the goal!!

Baby quilt fabrics

Now, the bad news is, I don’t have a lot of time before I leave on a trip to Hawaii the middle of April, so she will probably not get to her quilt until I am back home the first week of May!!   Next week is “Ocean Waves Quilt Guild week” with a meeting on Monday, followed by an executive board meeting; class on Tuesday, a trip to the airport with the speaker on Wednesday, a board meeting on Thursday and the release of Scrap Dance Tango Step 4 on Friday!!  Oh, and I am going on Sunday to pick up the speaker in Maryland!  PHEW….when am I going to pack for Hawaii??   Keep an eye open for progress as I go along.  Gosh, it might be fun to try my hand at hand quilting while I am on my 15 day cruise, but I don’t think I want to try this as a “first” project.  I would need my quilt bee buddies along to guide me and none of them are going to be tagging along!

I am still working on Senior Quilts.  We tied 3 yesterday at church, and will tie the other 3 on Saturday.  I brought 2 more home to bind, and will start prepping that binding this afternoon.  I will do those with Susie’s Magic Binding!!

I have another project  “on the floor” of the quilt room, laid out and planning borders.  My friend June started this quilt from a kit her daughter gave her at least 15 years ago.  It was a UFO that she really wants finished, but is just not quilting much any more.  I mentioned it previously and showed pictures as I was adding borders.  I am working on the 20″ drop (in the green) that she wants and am short fabric.  So, creative thinking has got me adding a panel along both sides and I will also be adding a couple of strips similar to what shows on the right side of the picture. 


It has been a struggle to get this finished for her, with her design concepts very different from mine!  Oh well, you may see this again about once a month, because it seems I can only dedicate one day every few weeks to working on it!!

Time to make some binding and think about that sweet little baby girl whose quilt fabric is calling me.  Honestly, finding time to sew is tough, because I have been hopping in the car as often as I can to go visit and hold and snuggle her!  I forced myself to stay home today, do a little laundry, clean toilets and sweep the kitchen and sew binding.  Can you guess where I would RATHER be ??  And I am thinking ahead to later in the spring or early summer when her cousins will come from Texas for a visit and to meet the new addition to our family!  Gosh I love being a Grandma!!!  And let me tell you….Grandpa is enchanted as well!

Time to get sew!!  Enjoy your projects and family time!  (Remember my last post?  Yes, the final border for Allietare is still waiting!)


note; Allietare is a Bonnie Hunter / Quiltville mystery quilt

           Scrap Dance Tango Mystery Quilt is designed by Carole at From My Carolina Home blog.

Links to both are on the side bar of the blog.






Major progress on Allietare

I have held off on any Allietare updates until I had some significant progress to report.  The edges have been trimmed and 2 rounds of borders have been put on.  The pattern finishes as a nice queen size, but I upped the border size slightly and have ONE more round to go.  I am going for king size, and will be adding a 12 ” border all around in a textured tone on tone gold print that goes nicely with those gold center blocks.

One more round if borders to go

I’ve been “on break” from sewing while I recover from bronchitis that kept me out of the sewing room for a full week.

I have been working with our Senior Quilt Project at church, and we have 9 quilts for presentation to our graduates. Our congregations signs these quilts, writing messages of hope, faith and God’s love on them.  They will be presented on Mother’s Day to the graduates.  Each quilt is different.  We have a large selection of fabric that we cut 8.5″ squares from and then each person chooses the pattern and fabrics they think would best suit the graduating student

I made this  one,

Kelsey ' s quilt made by Mary Deeter

This one was made by Mary Lu Wilson –

Lindsey ' s quilt made by Mary Lu Wilson

and really reflects the personality of the recipient who works as an EMT volunteer!  I did the binding on both quilts after we tied them last weekend.   Finished the binding last night and they are ready to return to the church.   Of course, I used my favorite “Susie’s Magic Binding method” and I could make the binding and get it stitched on by machine in an evening.

I plan to work on my friend June’s quilt on Friday, getting her last round of borders on, now that she has decided which fabric and what size she would like them to be.  I feel like I have had it for months, and only work on it once a month.  Once I get the next round of borders on, I will take it to her, and we will decide how to back and quilt it.  No pix until I get that next round on!

I still have a stack of half square triangles waiting in the kitchen to trim for the Scrap Dance Tango Mystery Quilt…..I was a bit afraid to even go near my rotary cutter when I was feeling unwell last week, so there has been no progress on that project.   I also put up a post about starting another quilt along for a mini bargello.  Well, thinking I would use my 2.5″ strips out of my scrap storage bins and how “easy” the project would be, got me planning.  The plan is still there, but I got sick and now feel totally behind!  I am taking a trip in a few weeks and have other deadlines (ooohhh…income tax time) looming!  Plus, I have been on the run, visiting with my youngest daughter 3 days in a row, so I feel like my projects will just have to wait. Family first!  I did have fun this week with my newest quilt bee = the Queen Bees!  It is fun to see them “up and flying” now. They have a plan in place for next month’s bee while I am away.  They are a lively bunch, with all different skill levels, and I think it is fun to watch them share techniques and skills with each other.

That’s about all the fun I can muster for this day!  I hope you have a lovely weekend and celebrate the Risen Lord this Easter Sunday. If you are looking for a place to worship, you are invited to Reformation Lutheran Church, 613 Lakeview Ave, Milford Delaware, with service at 8:30 and 11 am on Sunday. Drop in and take a peak at all those beautiful Senior Quilts too!  If you live elsewhere in the world, I encourage you to take time and worship during this very holy week.



Allietare Mystery Quilt designed by Bonnie Hunter –

Scrap Dance Tango Mystery Quilt designed by Carole –

Susie’s Magic Binding – Aunt Marti’s 5 2 quilts  blog –


Thursdays Doors Niagara on the Lake

11 years ago, I took a wonderful trip with my best friend and our daughters to Niagara On the Lake in Ontario Canada.  We spent a delightful long weekend attending theater productions in the evenings and sightseeing during the day.    On one of our drives from Niagara Falls back to Niagara On the Lake we stopped at the bequest of one of the daughters to take a photo of this wonderful house with the red door.


We were all charmed by the beauty of the home, the yard and the bright red door.  Imagine our surprise at the name when we got “up close” to take the photo!!


A stay in Niagara on the Lake is best experienced at one of the delightful inns or  bed & breakfast abodes you will find in the quaint town.


Our stay at the Highgrove was delightful.


Imagine returning everyday to this welcoming front door!

No trip to Niagara on the Lake would be complete without a visit to Niagara Falls!


Or a road trip –


that ends in a place like this –


and then, when you have stopped at more than one or two of these places –  you tend to get a little silly –


For more photo’s of the falls and around the village of Niagara on the Lake, check out my FLICKR album – Niagara on the Lake album

This post is part of Thursday Doors, an interesting and fun series orchestrated by Norm Framptom. Check out Norm’s page to see his door, and a link to the other doors this week. You can also add a door of your own and join the fun.Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time)