Books you must read!

Ring of Posies Wall-Hanging

It all started when I read Linda Poole's newest book called Painted Applique. I've included a link at the bottom, because you are going to want this book! I knew that I would become addicted to applique, and that's exactly what has happened!  Linda has beautiful projects in her newest book, and I just fell in love with the one called Ring of Posies. There were various techniques that I have been wanting to try, and having lots of white space enabled me to do just that. Surprisingly, the first area I considered was the outer corners. I knew this wall-hanging would need to lay flat against the wall, so I wanted something that would be even and stable.  I decided on a one-inch grid. That's one of my favorites.


Since feathers are my absolute favorite, and just had to add the circular feather wreath design in the center. And speaking of the center, this ring of posies is not perfectly circular, which (in my opinion) makes it perfect! It's much easier to feature a design in the center of something if you don't have to fret over whether all of the circular elements are perfectly aligned. I extended the feathered wreath by echoing it. As you can see in the pictures, some of the echoing travels out further in some parts than in other parts. Being able to do that just added to the fun!

I knew that I wanted to have some micro-stippling close to the applique, just to make it pop up a bit.

Partially echoed quilted circle
Partially echoed quilted circle

Here's another angle on the center section:

Feathered circle
Feathered circle

And the entire wall-hanging:


You will LOVE doing this project!  And the great thing about Linda's new book is that every project in it is featured in applique (like this one)and also in a painted version of applique! She has some gorgeous birds that she shows you how to paint, and it looks like a very easy process. That may just be my next project! Here's a link to Linda's Painted Applique book

Or, save some time and purchase the finished 40 x  40 wall-hanging! Available for a short time only, this quilt is priced at $275.00 including shipping to your location inside the continental United States only.

Update: Quilt has been sold!

Surface Textures

Anita Shackelford has been an admired and respected quilt artist for quite some time. In 1997, she released her book "Surface Textures". This book is as valuable today as it was more than 10 years ago.

The book begins with "the history of raised work", with photos dating back to the 1700's and 1800's. Continuing on, Anita guides you through the process for making corded channels, padded work, stuffed work, feathers, and textured applique. Toward the end of the book, you will become acquainted with stippling patterns such as grids, echos, serpentine, rosettes, teardrops, and more. Finally, there is a chapter on suggested projects including clothing, home decor, and crafts.

Truly, a wonderful book for your library.


I've just finished reading "Quiltscapes" by Rebecca Barker. I have to say, it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I have had in a long time. These quilts (there are 24 of them featured in this book) all convey feelings of warmth and history.

The author grew up on a dairy farm in Oxford, Ohio. Living in Ohio now, all of these scenes touch my heart. Rebecca has been painting ever since she was a child, and took up quilting in the 1980's. In 1994, she decided to bring quilts into her landscape paintings. Her first painting depicted a quilt hung from a clothesline in the foreground, and a farm landscape in the background. I'm sure many of you are familiar with this painting.

In her book "Quiltscapes", Rebecca includes full-sized patterns for all of the quilts that are shown in her paintings. This book is a valuable resource for patterns, and belongs on a coffee table -- not hidden away on a shelf. You will turn to it again and again, for inspiration --- and for peaceful feelings of home.

Here is a partial quote from the actual product description at Amazon: "Each evokes impressions of the pleasant and positive places that form the patchwork of our lives. Included are the patterns for piecing or appliqueing the blocks depicted in the paintings. Quilt makers can choose from 24 well loved blocks, such as Whig Rose, Palm Leaf, Rose of Sharon, Wild Rose Wreath, Orange Basket, and Church Windows. "

This book is a must read, and makes a wonderful gift!

Stash Envy?

Stash Envy! Author Lisa Boyer is an expert quilter and here teaches the quirky, funny side of quilting in a book packed with quilting humor. From sharing ugly fat quarters at a fabric exchange to crocheting doilies as a motivator for returning to quilting, STASH ENVY AND OTHER QUILTING CONFESSIONS AND ADVENTURES will be the perfect gift for any avid quilter who 'already has everything'.

I just LOVED this book! Make sure you get one for yourself, and a few copies as gifts for your friends!


The Oreo Cheesecake recipe from The Cheesecake Factory is worth having this book -- even if you never made anything else!  I'll be cooking my way through this wonderful edition in between quilts, and I hope you want to join me!  Ron Douglas reveals copycat versions of carefully guarded secret restaurant recipes and shows family chefs how to prepare them at home, saving time and money. With these easy and mouth-watering recipes, families can enjoy a night out in their very own kitchens.


Even though I would rather be quilting than cooking, we all have to stop and eat once in a while, right? Just to give you an idea of what's included in this book (and no drooling on your keyboard!), here's a table of contents:

Applebee's: -baby back ribs -bacon green onion mashed potatoes -chicken quesdilla grande -crispy orange chicken skillet -fiesta lime chicken -garlic mashed potatoes -low fat grilled tilapia w/ mango salsa -santa fe chicken -spinach pizza -tomato basil soup -walnut blondie w/ maple butter sauce

Arby's: -apple turnovers -barbecue sauce

Arthur Treacher's: -fried fish

Bahama Breeze: -jamaican jerk grilled chicken wings

Baskin-Robbins: -cheesecake ice cream

Benihana: -hibachi steak -japanese fried rice

Bennigan's: -broccoli bites -honey mustard dressing -hot dressing dressing -linguine diablo -onion soup

Boston Market: -creamed spinach -cucumber salad -dill potato wedges -macaroni & cheese -meatloaf -spicy rice -squash casserole -stuffing

Brooklyn Cafe: -sun dried tomato seared scallops

Bullfish Grill: -shrimp & cheese grits

California Pizza Kitchen: -bbq chicken pizza -chicken tequila fertuccine

Carrabba's Italian Grill: -italian butter -meatballs

The Cheesecake Factory: -avocado egg rolls -banana cream cheesecake -cajun jambalaya pasta -chicken fettuccine -crab cakes -oreo cheesecake -pumpkin cheesecake

Chi-Chi's: -baked chicken chimichangas -pork tenderlion w/ bourbon sauce -salsa verde chicken kabobs -steak & mushroom quesdillas

Chili's: -baby back ribs -beef fajitas -chicken enchilada soup -chocolate chip paradise pie -margarita grilled chicken -salsa -southwestern chicken chili -sounthwestern vegetable soup

Church's: -fried chicken

Cracker Barrel: -baby limas -banana pudding -cherry chocolate cobbler -fried apples

Dairy Queen: -heath blizzard -ice cream -onion rings

Denny's: -country fried steak -country gravy

Dollywood: -dipped chocolate chip cookies

El Pollo Loco: -beans -pollo asada

Hard Rock Cafe: -baked potato soup -bbq beans -bbq ribs -homemade chicken noodle soup -pulled pork -shrimp fajitas

Hardee's: -cinnamon "flake" biscuits

Hooter's: -buffalo shrimp -buffalo wings

Houston's: -buttermilk garlic dressing -spinach & artichoke dip

IHOP: -banana nut pancakes -colorado omelet -cream of wheat pancakes -pancakes -swedish pancakes

Joe's Crab Shack: -crab cakes -etouffee -rice pilaf -seafood stuffed mushrooms -seafood stuffing -stuffed shrimp en brochette

Johnny Carino's: -5 cheese chicken fettuccine

Junior's: -famous no. 1 cheesecake

KFC: -buttermilk biscuits -honey barbecue wings -original recipe fried chicken

Luby's Cafeteria: -spaghetti salad

Macaroni Grill: -chocolate cake w/ fudge sauce -focaccia -insalata florentine -pasta gamberetti e pinoli -reese's peanut butter cake -sesame shrimp -shrimp portofino

Olive Garden: -angel hair & 3 onion soup -beef fillets in balsamice sauce -bread sticks -brushetta al pomodoro -chicken crostina -chicken san marco -chocolate lasagna -fettuccune alfredo -fettuccine assorito -5 cheese lasagna -fried mozzarella -lemon cream cake -oven roasted potatoes -pasta e fagioli -pizza bianco -pork filettino -salad dressing -sangria -tiramisu -tuscan tea -zuppa toscana

Outback Steakhouse: -cyclone pasta -honey wheat bushman bread -key lime pie -marinated steak -walkabout soup

Panda Express: -orange flavored chicken

Panera Bread: -asian sesame chicked salad -broccoli cheese soup

Pat's King Of Steaks: -philly cheesesteak

Perkins Restaurant & Bakery: -pancakes

P.F.Changs: -chicken lettuce wrap -chicken w/ black bean sauce

Pizza Hut: -cavatini

Planet Hollywood: -cap n' crunch chicken

Popeye's: -cajun rice -dirty rice

Rainforest Cafe: -blue mountain grilled chicken sandwich -crab cakes -safari sauce

Red Lobster: -batter fried shrimp -casear dressing -cajun shrimp linguine -cheddar biscuits -clam chowder -deep fried catfish -dungeness crab bisque -fried chicken tenders -grouper siciliano -hush puppies -lobster fondue -shrimp diablo -south beach seafood paella -trout veracruz

Roadhouse Grill: -roast beef & mashed potatoes

Ruby Tuesday: -chicken quesdillas -shrimp pasta parmesan -sonoran chicken pasta -super salad bar pasta

Ruth Chris's Steak House: -barbecued shrimp

Shoney's: -marinated mushrooms -pot roast -tomato florentine soup

The Soup Nazi: -crab bisque -cream of sweet potato soup -indian mulligatawny soup -mexican chicken chili'

Starbucks: -chocolate fudge squares w/ mocha glaze -ginger bread n loaf

Subway: -sweet onion sauce

Taco Bell: -beef chalupa supreme -burrito supreme -enchirito -mexican pizza

T.G.I. Friday's: -baked potato skins -broccoli cheese soup -honey mustard dressing -jack daniels dipping sauce -orange cream -shrimp mainara -sizzling chicken & cheese

Union Pacific: -apple pancakes -grilled white pekin duck breast

Don't throw it away -- SEW it away!

Don't give up on that project! Reading the book "That Dorky Homemade Look" by Lisa Boyer has really energized me to finish my UFO's. How could I resist buying her book when her first "Principle of Dorky Quiltmaking" is to buy fabric that you "feel sorry for"! That is soooo ----- ME! Many times I've bought something that I thought would make an adorable project, and my husband and kids would look at me like I had finally gone over the edge. I would dive head-first into my idea, get half-way through the project, and then run out of steam. Whether it was my own creation, or whether I was following a pattern, sometimes things just didn't look quite right.

Quoting Lisa Boyer, "Enjoy the process. Don't worry about judgements, and realize that the rules are something you can embrace or reject at will, whatever suits you. Quilting styles, fabric colors, opinions and rules change with time. The only truly lasting thing in a quilt is the love you sew into it."

How many times have you gotten half way through a project, and then gave up? It just wasn't turning out the way you expected that it would. The disappointment was strong, and it was easier to toss the project aside than it was to think about wasting any more time finishing. it. After all, you thought.... how could it possibly get any better if it looks this bad now? Of course, then the guilt sets in --- and you think of not just the time that has been wasted, but also the money for all of the materials that are in your project. Occasionally, you question your own skill set, thinking that your project doesn't even resemble the picture on the front of the pattern!

If this ever happens to you, try to find a box to store this project, and consider finishing it someday. Why store it in a box? Because throwing everything into a bag just leads to having the contents become wrinkled and messy. If everything is in a box, ready to begin work again, chances are that you will want to "play" with this project. Store the fabric, any pieces that have been cut, embellishments, the patterns, etc. in your box. A clean pizza box can be wonderful for this. Next time you are in the pizza shop, get a few boxes for yourself. You can label the top or front with the project name, and stack the boxes neatly on a shelf. Almost every project is worth finishing, even if you use the item for a different plan than the original idea. Taking a break from the frustration can give you a fresh outlook, and you can return to finish the project sooner if you actually "can't see it" for a few days.

Consider the project below. Susan bought a pattern for a beautiful Asian wall-hanging. She carefully chose a printed panel and all of the coordinating fabrics, trims, medallions, border fabric, backing, batting, and metallic thread. Following the directions closely, she executed every step with careful consideration. The piecing was perfect. All of the ribbons were inserted in the correct places. Even a soft satin binding was added to the outer edge.

But for some reason, Susan wasn't pleased with all of the work she had done on her project. The directions called for stitch in the ditch between blocks, and stitching around the graceful flying cranes with metallic thread. All of the steps were done perfectly, yet Susan felt something "just wasn't right" with her finished project, and it had been tossed aside for many months. Last week, she brought the wall-hanging to my studio for my opinion.

After one glance, I decided that the thick fluffy polyester batting was the culprit. While it served the intended purpose of making the detail stand out on the flying cranes, it also made the entire background puffy. The outer borders were five inches wide, and without any quilting inside to hold the layers together, each one looked slightly lumpy. The weight of the metal medallions pulled on the fabric, and without any support, the fabrics in those two squares hung there limply. Each of the squares looked pretty.... but again, puffy. We had to plan a way to save this project. In it's current condition, Susan didn't want to hang it up on her wall.

We looked through lots of designs for the various areas, and chose patterns and borders to add to her project. Two of the medallions that were on the quilt were glued on, and could not be removed, so we had to plan around those. Also, there were ribbons and braid to avoid. I love a challenge!

Here's a picture of the five inch wide puffy border without any quilting:


And this is how it looks with quilting to hold the layers together:

New Border

I've had many projects come through the door that just need a little bit more work to make them truly finished. When Susan came to pick up her wall-hanging, she was jumping for joy. Her Asian wall-hanging had been set aside for months, and now it's ready to hang. A few days later, she wrote to me saying "You inspired me to try another quilt!  Thank you from my heart! " It's a great feeling of accomplishment to finish a project. Having my partially completed projects neatly organized has helped me to finish some that I had thought would never be finished. Some of my UFO's have become gifts, and other's have been donated to charity upon completion. I will always remember Lisa Boyer's words of wisdom: "The only truly lasting thing in a quilt is the love you sew into it."

And for another great book by Lisa Boyer, check out "Stash Envy and other Quilting Confessions and Adventures"!

Hunter's Star

Tons of beautiful batiks --- and lots of patience! The black pieced stars in the corners of the blocks are only 2 inches across. Ronnie wanted the stars to "pop", so there is stitch-in-the-ditch around each segment. The sashes are ditch-stitched, too.

The pattern for the Hunter's Star is by Jan P. Krentz, and is in her book titled Hunter Star Quilts and Beyond. You can purchase it from Amazon here:

The quilting designs are from the Enchanted Collection from Anne Bright.