All but binding……

I am nearly finished with Mittens, my pet mosaic project I started in May of 2016.  (If you click on that link you can go back to my FLICKR album and browse through all the photo’s).  I’ve written many times about Mittens on this blog, and wanted you to know I have FINALLY reached the end!

Mittens will be completed in the next day or two with a week to spare.  I entered him into the  Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Quilt Show  which takes place on July 21 & 22, 2017 in Lewes Delaware.

I did a LOT of thread work on this project trying to give the idea of his fur, especially in his ear you see below-

Thread painting

All that heavy thread work caused the sides of the quilt to pull in and make a “bow” in the sides of the quilt near the ears.

I needed to block the quilt.  I went to the internet and read lots of posts on how to block the project, and compiled info from many sources for “my method”.

Can you see how wavy the sides are???

Quilting finished

I ended up on the floor with 2 of those old fashioned cardboard cutting mats, a carpenter’s square with a yardstick attached and about 500 pins, and two tape measures.  I just kept working and working until it was as square as I could get it. The pins went through the project, into the cardboard mats and then into the floor!  (Industrial carpeting!!!)  This took me nearly 3 hours as I worked to get rid of as much of the “curve” the heavy quilting caused.  If you have a tip on how to keep that from happening, let me know! The project & borders were straight before quilting!

I got the water bottle out and started spraying.  I let it “soak” in and waiting an hour or so, and plugged in the iron, and steamed and pressed the whole quilt.  After I was finished with the iron, I set a floor fan near it and walked away.

Blocking Mittens

I let him dry for about 18 hours and then I pulled out the pins, put him on the table and trimmed him up.

While he was drying I got busy with making the binding and the label and the hanging sleeve.

I did my label on my embroidery machine and edged it in some cute cat fabric.  There are pieces of this fabric scattered out in the project.

Label for my Pet Mosaic project

I stitched down 2 sides of the label in the edges of the binding, and fused to the back of the quilt. I still have to hand stitch around 2 sides of the label, and the bottom and ends of the hanging sleeve.  Since Mittens is a wall hanging, the top of the sleeve is stitched in the edge of the binding.  Which binding?  Well….Susie’s Magic Binding of course. It is stitched to the back of the quilt and READY for me to roll to the front and take those final stitches in the area of the flange.

That is my project for this summer afternoon!  What are you working on??


NOTE – Cheryl Lynch taught the class where I began the project – check out her website Cheryl Lynch Quilts  .  If your guild is looking for a great teacher & speaker, she comes with my recommendation!


Pet Mosaic piecing completed

It only took me 7.5 months to “finish” the piecing of this project.  You might remember I went to a retreat at Cheryl Lynch’s cottage at the end of May  ( where we started our mosaic projects.  My sister in law ( ) worked on her Rotti while I worked on my cat.  (She finished her’s and has already had it in a show —     )

This was the look of my project when I packed up to leave the retreat.

Mittens Mosaic

I came home from the trip, was faced with out “deadlines” and left everything in the bin until August.  During August and September I got the project “out of the box” and back up on the design wall.  One 2″ square at a time, plus lots of additional angle piecing to “make the curves” work out.


I got busy sewing once all the design work was done; but toward the end of September, the deadlines snuck up on me again!

Layout is complete

So, by October 8th, Poor little Mittens was stuck again! Mittens spent all of October, November and December stuck on the wall…..  I don’t know what is worse….being stuck in a box or stuck on the wall?  (see those blue blocks? I took 2 classes from Bonnie Hunter, and I claim distraction!)

When I started thinking about UFO’s that I want to complete in 2017 I decided that MITTENS the Mosaic Cat would have to be  # 1. A few days after I recovered from New Years, I got busy.   Seriously, the hard part was done, it was just 5 or 6 days of sewing.


In between model rail road club weekends, and a snow storm that dumped 8.5″, and 44 degree temps in my “over the garage” sewing room, I did some work.

Yesterday I was able to join up all the sections .


and   I would like to report that he is “constructed” to include a 3″  border !


Now, he will hang on the wall until I can come up with a quilting plan!  There are lots of photo’s in my album –

Thanks to Cheryl Lynch Quilts –   for the great project and guidence.  If you can take a class from her, you would certainly enjoy any project she will teach.  This is my 2nd  “Cheryl” project.  My first was in June 2014, when she came to Ocean Waves Quilt guild and taught a class with Dupioni Silk.  The class was called “Sensational Silk” and I LOVED that project. I made a wall hanging and I just love the way the silk catches the light. It hangs in my living room.

Barn Raising in Silk  27 x 39"

Barn Raising in Silk
27 x 39″

I now have a  Janome 1600p quilting machine and frame, so I want to get busy practicing before I tackle this kitty!   This set up has been “sitting” since early September, waiting for me to find time to use it.

Janome 1600 mid arm

I now have a collection of needles and bobbins for this machine, and was “gifted a set” of leaders for the 12′ width; so I must  load up a practice quilt and “get busy”.

I am “anxious” to use these wonderful tools that I have and see if I can make good use of them.

What is on your 2017 UFO list?

More Mittens and good reasons

I’ve taken a long break on this pet mosaic project** because of more pressing demands.  The last two days I have spent working again on stitching sections together.  It will soon be midnight and  I have clocked nearly 10 hours straight! I started focusing on joining sections that were already sewn yesterday.  Today I got 3 more sections sewn.  Each section has 81 squares or can be counted as 9 rows across & down. .   Mittens is turning out pretty cute I think!

12 sections done

I really needed to move this project UP on the wall before I could lay in the rest of the design.  I have the next 4 rows on the wall, and need to move them up, now that I have made room.

Rows 28 to 32

I have 5 more rows to go to get his mouth and chin into the design. I packed up all my “containers” of squares 2 weeks ago so I could work on something else!  They are in a big container on the floor at the bottom of the design wall. No doubt I will be spreading them out all over the place before I finish~!~.  This is a time consuming but fun project.

Speaking of projects — remember those bibs in my last post??   Well, this is why I make them — Check out that smile!

The reason making bibs is so worthwhile

Where ever you are, I hope what ever you make brings a smile to someones face!


**Mittens Pet Mosaic Project – Class by Cheryl Lynch –

MITTENS has 2 eyes!

Pet Mosaic Update — Mittens really does have 2 eyes!  My quilting sister-in-law asked at some point if he did, and now, I can show evidence!  I have worked on this project off and on this week; primarily on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I fed my dear hubby dinner at 9 pm tonight because I was on such a roll!  Here is a look at him over the last few days.


August 25 2016


Aug 27 2016  Spent some time building in the right ear and side of his head

Mittens Aug 28, 2016

Aug 28 2016 – head taking shape


Aug 31 2016 – Working on the left side of his face and the bridge of his nose.


Sept 2, 2016 – And now he has a nose and I am starting on his left cheek!

Kind of like watching paint dry, but it is fairly exciting to see him coming together.  There are areas that I will probably rework a little bit around his nose, nostrils etc before I move on to his lips.  My next goal is to finish that left side of his face.

Hope you enjoy the project process.  Thanks to Cheryl Lynch  ( Cheryl Lynch Quilts )for her wonderful instruction and to Carolyn Lingor (  One Block Wonder Woman) for her great advice too.      (My hubby has been kindly giving his artistic point of view on some of the pieces with transitions and it has really been helpful…right up to the point where he said “I never thought you would stick with this”; at which point I threw him out of my sewing space….)  (I did let him come back in to look at it today!)

This soft fuzzy thing is Smokey, the brother of Mittens.  He has much softer fur, and very soft stripes.  He looks dejected because he is not the star of my Pet Mosaic Project.  He claims ownership of me, as “HIS” human.  If I sit in a chair, he will instantly be in my lap!



Mittens was selected for the project because of his highly defined markings.  He looks a lot like his mother – Momma Cat; but she doesn’t have the pretty white above the sweet pink nose.

Momma Cat

Momma Cat is a cat with attitude.  She does like to talk alot, and is in mid conversation when I took this picture.  She lives “outside”; and likes to share her food with every stray that wanders in the yard.  (This is how we acquired these 3 cats…they moved in and took over).   She is all settled in to her nice little igloo, waiting on the coming storm.

As the Tropical Storm Hermine heads up the East Coast of the USA, I hope you are safe and sound where ever you are. Looks like we are going to get a big hit from the storm beginning Saturday morning, with 3 days of Tropical rains and winds as the storm is predicted to settle just off the coast of Delaware.  As my sewing room is “out over the garage” I may not be able to venture out to play with this project, so I will have to settle  and play with the real cats in the house!


Pet Mosaic and Paper crafting

I have spent 2 months trying to “clear the backlog” of projects so I could get my pet mosaic “back up on the design wall”.  Back story in case you are new —  My sister-in-law, Carolyn (aka – One Block Wonder Woman ) flew in from California in May, and she and I went to a retreat hosted by Cheryl Lynch  ( Cheryl’s blog ) . We signed up in JUNE 2015 for the May 2016 retreat. The project was a Pet Mosaic; finishing around 54″ x 54″.   (What a great retreat by the way, in the Pocono Mountains, on a lake, with wonderful food and great instruction and inspiration.)  (After you read my post, go check out Carolyn’s post about her project –Creating a dog from scratch can be Ruff .  If this type of project interests you, Cheryl Lynch is a GREAT teacher.

Flash forward to July and Carolyn’s project is finished! Quilted and bound, and making the circuit to quilt guild meetings, hanging at her local quilt show next month etc.

Meanwhile….mine has been languishing in a plastic bin on the shelf….waiting……waiting….waiting….so patiently (unlike the real live pet)….

When I packed up to leave the retreat, this is how far I had gotten – two sections “stitched together”, and two more ready to stitch, plus 2 transition rows.

the ear

              MAY 2016

Well, now that my many projects from the spring & summer are complete – I had a clear design wall and Mittens the cat is back up on my wall at home.  Since my last post 9 days ago, I have been working at a turtle pace on this project.  I keep telling myself I am moving forward.  Carolyn worked on hers from Memorial Day until the end of July, so I am pacing myself!  (She reports dreaming about her project….)


August 17, 2016

So, here we are back on the wall at home, and I have joined the blocks for the first 9 rows.  We are working in 9×9 sections for stitching, and much bigger area for design purpose.  I’ve been thankful for the extra grey and black fabric that Carolyn mailed to me; which helps give more variety and texture.  (did you notice all those pins on the right side…..convenience factor…they are all used….no wonder Cheryl said 500 pins on the supply list!)  Even though I am working on a felt board, with the air conditioner, and the ceiling fan, I want my pieces “secure”.


August 18, 2016

These are 2 ” squares, and in order to make the shape transitions, I am doing some minor “piecing” within the 2″ square.  Sometimes I make a piece 2-3-4-5 times before I feel like I have caught the shape.  And of course, I have to remember what will happen when the seam allowance comes into play.


I am headed towards his eye and am trying to capture the shape and the changes of color in his eye, along with the light sparkle.


August 20, 2016

So, you can see, I am using lots of methods to keep track of where I am.  On the board I used row marking pins, then slips of paper to mark the columns and rows; and then I went with blue painters tape to define my field, numbering along the side and bottom.  The photo I am working with is on the right in this picture, and I have blocked off (with post-it notes) everything except my area of focus. That helps.  I was only going to work down 11 rows in this section, but I really needed to capture the shape of his eye, so I moved my tape down and will continue that area.  And you can see those blocks that are just “hanging around” on the side of the board near the photo…well those are my “OOPS…not quite what I intended” pieces.  Who knows, I may find a way for them to fit elsewhere.

I feel pretty good about how Mittens the Cat is progressing in this project. Below is what he really looks like….hanging out. In this picture the lighting isn’t great and he looks like he has a brown cast; but he is grey, black and white.  It is his pink nose that I love. And those little tufts at the top of his ears!  He has such great markings, and I am hoping once I move on to the right side of the project, that they will start to show better in the fabric placement.


So, this will be a long process; and I am going to work at it as much as I am able.  I have my little interruptions – quilt bees, quilt show meetings; more quilt bees, more quilt guild meetings; etc.  I am not going to rush it.  I have been “standing back and looking” and find pieces I want to change, so I do.

I wanted to share with you the fun stuff I made for one of the grandchildren’s birthdays in August.  She wanted a “HORSE” birthday party…and Grandma got commissioned to use her Brother Scan’N’Cut machine again…..  I cut out 2 different sized silhouettes that my daughter used for various purposes on the day of the party.


Then I cut out some BOWS for the “pin the bow on the pony” game.


And finally – I decided I would make her a “custom” card to fit the theme.  (I am a novice card maker, so be kind!)


The fence and the grass were built into the machine designs, the horse head I found on-line and imported.


I invested last spring in “birthday stamps” so I used them on the inside….and I added the horse & grass inside too.  I still need to work on placement and “order” as I do these things, but I had fun making the card.  It is a learning process too.  (I have been watching video’s from Dawn’s Stamping Thoughts .net , and have determined that the card making hobby is “very extensive” and I have a lot to learn about the tools, punches, stamps, etc…..)

I’m not sure that I will do a lot of “stamping” and “card making” , but the little bit I have done I have enjoyed, and my ScanNCut machine makes it fun! I have to report that I finally learned about the “pressure” setting after destroying one mat this spring.  I have purchased a new mat and when I did this cutting, I had no problem.  At a recent quilt show, I talked to the Brother dealer who was doing demo’s on the machine, and she gave me a worksheet that had listings of settings for different materials. That was very helpful too.    I do need to get a bit more variety of papers, as PINK was a requested color and I used it all up this spring with the BARBIE stuff I cut for a 6 year old’s party.  I invested in envelopes (50 pack); so now I need to focus on cards that are the “right” size for the envelopes I have. Last spring at the card making class I went to, we saw a demo on how to make our own, but I didn’t “LEARN” well enough…….  I will keep watching the video’s and try to learn a bit more.  It is dangerous now for me to go into Michael’s  Craft Store or Hobby Lobby or A.C. Moore.  Good thing there is not one in town!

Hope your sewing & crafting adventures are bringing you joy!



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!




Projects abound this week!

Have had a few more projects completed since the Baptism banner went in the mail.

Last week was Quilt Bee day for the Material Girls and we worked on baby quilts for a charity.

At our meeting we cut 6 inch (I think) squares using some lovely flannel.  I cut up enough for two kits.

I brought home a kit and  another stack of fabric to kit up.

The one I brought home already cut turned out like this —

flannel baby quilt for charity

flannel baby quilt for charity

Winnie the Pooh charity quilt in flannel

Winnie the Pooh charity quilt in flannel


I decided I would try a little “free motion quilting” which was less than lovely. 😦   (But hey, it is a baby quilt and they won’t care that my swirls and stippling aren’t great. Good practice…) I don’t like bringing the back to the front to bind, so I made some binding out of flannel scraps (left over from the wedding quilt last year).

My “next project” was to take a UFO out and finish it.


Cupcakes anyone?

Cupcakes anyone?

Used a pounce pad and stencil

Used a pounce pad and stencil

Quilted some swirls

Quilted some swirls

Finished front

Finished front

cupcake 9 patch back Baking fabric!!

cupcake 9 patch back Baking fabric!!

I loved this cupcake fabric and sprinkles, and most of all the fabric on the back and the border.  I have enough left to make an APRON for my youngest granddaughter…thinking 2nd birthday! (Shhh..don’t tell).

The next project…..there is a story of course.  A couple of weeks ago we were “up North” in Dover DE and ventured into the Habit for Humanity “re-store” store.  A favorite stop when we are in that area (we have one right in our home town we never seem to visit).  I spied a rolling butcher block top cart/island.  It was SOLID wood; real butcherblock top (2″ thick) and the price was $65.  I have been after a piece that I could transform into an ironing station. This met the requirements for sturdy and wide.  It is 2 ‘ x 4 ‘ and a nice comfortable height for working at.  We brought it home, gave it a good scrub with a brush and some murphy’s oil soap. Let it dry for 48 hours, then we coated the entire thing in teak oil.  That took nearly a week to soak in and no longer feel “sticky”.

This weekend we hauled it upstairs, into the quilt room (disassembly and reassembly required to get it up the stairs…..too heavy for me to help carry otherwise).  I picked up some nice 90″ wide batting (cotton) at WAL-MART off the bolt and 2 yards later, had a very nice padded surface.  We covered the cotton batting in flannel.  I engaged dear husband with his air powered staple gun to affix it snuggly.

We contemplated further “covering” for the project.  I bought this lovely ironing board cover at a quilt show in 2013 –

You will note that it is a “generous size  65x 29.  (Did I mention how thick the butcher block was?)

IronSlide brand cover by BoNash

IronSlide brand cover by BoNash

Well, it would not wrap around the edge and under for stapling….so, the next best thing….add an edge!!  (Thank you to the nice lady at Walmart who suggested that and sold me a box of self adhesive velcro.)

I added 9″ to the long side on both edges.  We tacked a piece of molding to the cart, with the hooky side of the velcro running the length.  (We measured and affixed the velcro before we tacked it to the cart).  We did this on all four sides.  With some careful markings with pencil and PINS, we marked where the velcro needed to go on the skirting and the ends, and put it on.  (Before we did the velcro step, we stretched out a nice big piece of flannel; taped it to the work table, and stuck the self adhesive cover to this piece of flannel.  I used my “Pampered chef” rolling pin to smooth it out.  Hubby was afraid it would be so sticky we would not be able to reposition or remove the cover if we wanted to.)(He is a genius….) It took longer to peel back the paper on the sticky side than any other part of the project.  The cover had “wrinkles” in it from being folded up in the packaging for so long.  I am SO glad we took that extra step because now, I can easily remove the cover.


Isn’t it fun!! I love the awning stripe fabric.  I have rolls of “decorator” fabric that I was gifted and this was the tail end of a roll.  I have just enough left to cover a bulletin board later this week. (Need more staples for the staple gun first. )  No, ironing a big quilt top will not be a problem  And I can pull it out from the wall as needed.  LOVE LOVE LOVE it.  Going to invest in a container for underneath to hold the starch and water jugs etc…that way they don’t get knocked over when I roll it around.  (Maybe a fabric box with some of that upholstery fabric I have bolts of….)

In between the ironing station project, I worked on a layout of my SILK half square triangles (HST). I took a class at the beginning of May and we made 96 3.5″ HST. Our class was taught by Cheryl Lynch ( ). She is a fabric artist who taught us how to stabilize the silk before cutting! She also had us draw a grid on the back of the fabric and we made speedy HST. Good trick if you are making a bunch in a particular color scheme. Check out her blog — I bet she is looking at architecture for great ideas for quilts.

I played around with a chevron design –


chevrons in silk

chevrons in silk

But then, I decided to try a design that was in the classs booklet called BARN RAISING:



You know I had to pick this.  It was by far the best idea from my perspective.  I think it will be a wall hanging.  It should finish out 24 x 48.  I have 4 rows on the bottom put together.  I have a goal of having it finished to take to the guild meeting  NEXT Monday.  (Garden weeding will HAVE TO WAIT…..).

I need to “up date” my 2014 project list with a few finishes! 🙂  I need to go sew….  My thought was to finish this, as it counts against the UFO list; and then cut out and sew a BAG that I purchased the pattern for.

I have a favorite “video blogger” The Gourmet Quilter” and she did a 3 video tutorial on a great over the shoulder bag

( )!

I loved it so much I bought the pattern from her website! If you have some time, go check out her videos!!  Picture of the bag from her website below to give you an idea!  Love that fabric she used.

(Pattern available here —  )

MY  bag will be made from fabrics in my stash.  At first, I thought I would use some of the lovely NYC fabrics I bought early this year.  But then, I changed my mind. I had some fabric just WAITING for me to use for this bag.  It will be my “treat to myself” when I get it finished.

Do go check out the Gourmet Quilter on her blog. Her videos are DELICIOUS.

Time to sew…..