Monday, December 30, 2019

Best of 2019

Each year, Cheryl invites bloggers to join the best of 2019 link-up and share their 5 best posts of 2019.  And the best part?  We get to define what 'best' means!

 My best of 2019 all correlate to some major things that happened in my life or for my blog.

The first is Briar Rose - my first quilt to hang in a QuiltCon show!  You can read more about the quilt and the show here .  I had great fun stalking my quilt and seeing people stop and look at it!  Briar Rose was also published in Make Modern magazine - a second exciting milestone for me!  (See that post.)

The second is my quilt Linked which also appeared in Make Modern magazine.  Photographing the quilt in a beautiful field of sunflowers made for my best location quilt photo!

The series of posts and tutorials from the Hand Pieced QAL generated the most post views by far.

The posts that regurlarly generate the most views is One Monthly Goal which will be returning in 2020 with great sponsors!

Finally, my post about My Dad's Quilt is the most important one of the year.  Quilts are about giving hugs and my quilt was my stand-in when my dad passed away a few days after I had visited - I wasn't there but my quilt was.

Looking back at my blog activity for a year is always a fun thing to do!

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Thursday, December 26, 2019

One Monthly Goal December Finish link-up

Ready to link up your December finishes?
Don't panic - this link-up is open until December 31 at 11:55 pm ET.

Did you see the big sponsor announcement for One Monthly Goal 2020?  Check it out!  I enjoy running the link-up and happy to host the event again next year.

My goal for December was to make my Harry Potter pillows as a gift for my daughter.  I did it!

Now its your turn to link-up.

There will be three winners this month Fat Quarter Shop is offering a $25 gift certificate,  Make Modern is offering a 6 month subscription, and Arlene Stamper and Melissa Harris of The Quilt Company is offering a Camp Sugar Bear BOM pattern and the accessory fabric packet.  

There will also be a bonus winner with a thread prize from Aurifil as a bonus prize - each month you linked up during the year with a successful goal earned you an entry towards the bonus!

Congratulations to Kathryn, Billie, Donna, and Susan - our lucky winners!  (updated 1/5/2020)

Visit the One Monthly Goal event page for the specific requirements for links and social tags. 

And remember, to be eligible for the prize(s) by random drawing you must linkup at both the goal setting and the accomplishment linkup in a given month. (December
 Goal Setting Link-up.)

Make sure you add a link to this OMG post so others can follow where you are linking.   Let's make that easy -  just paste this into your post:  

Sign up to receive email notifications when the One Monthly Goal linkup is open.  Think of it as a helpful reminder!  Joining the link-up from Instagram -see the tutorial.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Monday, December 23, 2019

More Pillows for Christmas

I always like making a handmade gift for each of my kids.  I went with pillows again this year - such a fun project!

These are (of course!) Hermione and Harry!  I used a 20" pillow insert for this one (affiliate link).   The pillow front was back with fusible fleece instead of regular batting and to quilt, I outlined each of the shapes using matching thread.

My son is an indoor rock climbing enthusiast so I made him a pillow filled with the rock shapes he needs to cling to.

I know nothing about rock climbing - except I'm too chicken to give it a try - so I found an image online of a collection of these colorful holds.  I put the image on my ipad and then used my ruler to help me visualize a grid.  I then used graph paper and redrew each of the images.

Everything was raw edge applique using Heat n Bond.

I've started putting zippers into pillow back as sort of a 'faux' invisible zipper.   Perhaps a better tutorial coming in the future, but basically, put fusible fleece on the 2 piece for the back leaving 1/2'' without any fleece on each piece.  Quilt the back pieces - I just do a few walking foot lines for some texture.

Sew these pieces together with 1/2'' seam using a basting stitch.  Your pressed seam will be the width of your zipper!   Carefully pin the zipper and topstitch down.   (I usually put a few pins in from the back and then re-pin from the front and then REMOVE those pins in the back.)

Once the zipper is sewn, open up your basting stitches and you've created a zipper pillow back.

Mom got her VW pillow in the mail and my sister reported that she loves it!  (Read more about that pillow here.)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Friday, December 20, 2019

Reflecting on 2019 and Welcoming 2020

The end of one year and the beginning of the next is a wonderful time to reflect on goals accomplished and to set new ones for the upcoming year.  I'll be linking up to the #2020PlanningParty!

Special, a birthday gift for my sister

(To be honest, I write this post mainly for me.  It is a way to keep my focused for the year.  I thank you in advance if you take the time to read it.  But no worries if you don't.  I've included some eye candy of my favorite finishes to give you something to look at!)

Spin, my first experiment with small piecing

In December of 2018, I set my goals for 2019 (see that post) and I feel good about the results.  My word for the year was balance and I wanted it to apply to physical things (think removing clutter) as well as to how best to focus my day and time, specifically - 
  • Balance my day with writing, exercise, quilting and family
  • Find homes for finished quilts
  • Deal with my scraps - plan a project or find a home - and buy fabric only to support a project 
I feel good about the overall balance in my days and will continue this into 2020.  I definitely moved fabric and quilts from my home to their forever homes.  Still a bit more of this to do but a bit difference from a year ago.

My underlying goal for the year was to try things I'd not done before - presenting to my guild, collaborating with another quilter on a project - and am happy to have done those things.

My Hand Pieced QAL quilt

I gave myself very specific goals - here is how I did :

Goals accomplished
  • Develop and teach a quilting class or guild workshop - I presented an overview on Modern Traditionalism at my guild and shared some of my favorite quilts
  • Create a new quilt for submission to QuiltCon - I created two!  Neither got in but I'll submit them again next year.
  • Submit new quilt designs for publish - I submitted 2!  Linked was published in November and another will be published in 2Q 2020.
  • Collaborate with other quilters/bloggers on a project - Kristin and I ran a very fun and successful Hand Pieced QAL.  (Shhh - we might just be working on one for 2020!)
  • Publish tutorials at least quarterly - In addition to the series of hand-pieced QAL tutorials, I published six tutorials including tips for burying threads, hand-pieced pumpkins,  a faced bindingfabric coastersblocking your quilt, and hand-piecing curves.
  • Improve my design skills through practice - I made good progress on this creating at least 5 quilts with very original designs that really pushed me as a designer.
A Favorite Block - a challenge quilt

Goals partially or not achieved -

  • Encourage participation in One Monthly Goal - While I'd give myself a passing grade on this one, I fell way short of what I hoped to do.  OMG will be back in 2020 (see the announce post!) so I can tackle this one again.
  • Develop a social media approach - I still need a strategy for how best to use Facebook
  • Practice and perfect a new FMQ design  - My practice quilt top is ready to go but, alas, I've not even started
  • Develop a better curated Instagram  - Didn't happen. 
  • Practice my photography and improve the flat shot  - Only minimal progress on this goal
  • Do more with the fabric I already own - I was successful in using my own fabrics for smaller projects and also managed to sell or donate fabrics I was confident I would no longer use.  For larger projects, I tended to buy fabric.   I'll give myself a passing grade. 
Dizzy - quilt created specifically for QuiltCon 2020 challenge

My word for 2020 is boundaries - as in set them to find balance in my day AND break through them to push myself to use try different colors in my quilts and work hard to improve my skills in my quilting, in my writing, and in my daily exercise.   (My words for the year have been balance (2019), bold (2018) and brave (2017).

Maui, gifted to my sister in celebration of her new home

For 2020, my specific goals are similar to 2019 but there are changes - 

  • Participate in a group quilt for submission to QuiltCon 2021
  • Submit new quilt design for publish
  • Improve my design skills through weekly challenges
  • Keep pushing my boundaries on color
Motivation and Inspiration (my blog tag line)
  • Collaborate with other quilters/bloggers on a project
  • Encourage participation in One Monthly Goal
  • Figure out how the purpose of the ESQ Facebook group
  • Publish tutorials at least quarterly
Improve my skills
  • Practice and perfect a new FMQ design
  • Practice my photography flat shot
  • Do more with the fabric I already own
  • Improve my technique in quilting and in my exercise
Welcome Home

Happy New Year!

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Announcing One Monthly Goal 2020 Sponsors

Two weeks to the new year and it is time to announce our sponsors for One Monthly Goal 2020!

The basics for One Monthly Goal remain the same - share your goal for the month then visit Elm Street Quilts to link-up your goal share.  Return at the end of the month to share your achievement.  (Need more information?  Read all about it on the One Monthly Goal page.)

The goal can be whatever you want - any step of the process in making something with fabric, thread or yarn.

Each month, there will be a random drawing to select a few participants who will win a prize from our sponsors.  Winners are selected from those who joined both the finish link-up and the goal link-up!

Fat Quarter ShopMake Modern MagazineAurifil, and 
 Paper Pieces are returning again this year as sponsors.  I truly appreciate their continued strong support of our link-up event!  

New this year, we've added Quiltfolkecopeco, and Therm O Web!!!

Fat Quarter Shop offers a tremendous selection of fabric, notions, books and just about anything you will need for your project. Consider their Sew Sampler box to receive a monthly surprise delivery of fabric and fun. 

Aurifil is home to a beautiful rainbow of thread in all weights, perfect for any of your sewing and quilting needs.  My favorite product is the designer collection boxes which coordinate with various fabric lines!  

Make Modern is a digital magazine launched by a collaboration of quilters based in Australia. Their magazine is filled with modern quilt designs and a wonderful source of inspiration. 

For over 20 years, Paper Pieces has provided pre-cut paper shapes for English Paper Piecing using quality card stock and exact point-to-point measurements. They strive to provide excellent customer service and sewing to support to our customers and community.  

Quiltfolk is the magazine for quilters, by quilters, with about 180 pages of inspirational stories and stunning photography. Featuring four new locations each year, it’s like taking a vacation with your favorite quilt friends without ever leaving home!

Each issue of Quiltfolk is completely free of advertisements and their pages will showcase all of  beautiful quilts uncovered during their travels. Whether you’re looking for traditional, modern, antique, or art quilts – Quiltfolk‘s got you covered. 

ecopeco® makes beautiful cutting mats, available in several vibrant colors and various sizes.   The cutting mats are eco-friendly and self-healing - each mat is made up of five durable layers.  They are PVC free which means no harsh chemicals and no odor!  The mats are double sided, each side offering a different color contrast. 

I had the pleasure of taking an ecopeco mat for a test drive - you can read my review and see my un-boxing video!

For almost 50 years, Therm O Web has served as a prominent adhesives manufacturer for customers around the world. As a second-generation, family-owned company, Therm O Web offers one of the most trusted, innovative and complete lines of adhesives for both the sewing and paper crafting markets, as well as a full line of interfacings and stabilizers for sewing, quilting, embroidery and crafts.

I am so very excited about this year's sponsor line-up.  
Happy New Year!

Fat Quarter Shop 

Make Modern Magazine

(Website  |  Facebook  |  Instagram)

Paper Pieces  
(Website  |  Facebook  |  Instagram)

(Website  |  Facebook  |  Instagram)

(Website  |  Facebook  |  Instagram)

Therm O Web  
(Website  |  Facebook  |  Instagram)

In the days remaining of 2019, take a few minutes and think about your creative goals for the new year and how One Monthly Goal can provide an extra bit of incentive.  I can't wait to see what you make!

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Monday, December 16, 2019

Making a list...

and checking it twice...

How are you doing in the count down to Christmas?  Our tree (artificial) went up yesterday as did my little village.  The Christmas cards went out in the mail today.

3 of the 5 pillows I hope to make are done.  My Dad restored a 1974 VW - it was his pride and joy - and I made this in remembrance.  This will look nice tucked onto a chair.  The VW is raw edge applique and I use my FMQ foot to color the outline.  It was very fun to create!

Inside the pillow is a 12'' x 18'' pillow form (affiliate link) and love the size of the pillow.  (I use this brand of pillow forms all the time and really like them - lots of sizes available!) 

I've got 3 more things I want to make before Christmas plus hopefully some ornaments.  Neither project will take very long (I hope) but I need to get started!

Every single year, I feel the most holiday stress as we approach December 15.  Shipping deadlines suddenly loom.  All the things I need to do can seem overwhelming.   Thankfully this past weekend was productive and my college elf is home to help!

Happy holiday prep to you!

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Friday, December 13, 2019

My Quilts are Staying home

I opened my email Tuesday morning to find none of the 3 quilts I submitted to QuiltCon were juried into the show.  I was (and still am) disappointed but entering quilts into shows is not what defines or motivates me as a quilter.  The process of creating is the motivator.  I get great pleasure in every step of the process.


Not getting into the show doesn't mean my quilts are bad.  It just means the jury was looking for something different. I've heard that over 1600 quilts were entered for consideration which means for a show that will hang about 350 quilts, a lot of rejection emails were sent out.

The Happiness Tree
I'm glad I had the courage to enter the show and face the chance of rejection.  I was fortunate to have a quilt hang at the show in 2019 and will try again for the show in 2021.

For those of you how entered a quilt and for those of you whose quilt was accepted, congratulations!

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Thursday, December 12, 2019

November Temperatures

As 2019 speeds to a close, here is a peek at my temperature quilt through the month of November.

You can see how November - the last two columns - came with temps in the 50s and 60s which seems comparable to last year (below).  I've really enjoyed keeping a visual record of temperatures for two years and plan to continue in 2020 although I do want to change it up somehow.  Got a little bit of time to figure out what to do!

Here is a mapping of the colors.

There are so many temperature quilts popping up and I love them.  I wrote up a tutorial on a temperature quilt if you are interested.  In addition, Anina is running a 2019 QAL!

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Monday, December 9, 2019

Cutting Mat - Product Review

With my studio makeover earlier this year, I purchased a counter height white craft table to use as a fabric cutting station.  Now I've got a brand new cutting mat from Ecopeco  adding a great pop of color to the table.   Doesn't it look pretty?  (Note, this post contains affiliate links.)

 (Please note that the mat was to provided to me at no cost.  My opinions on the mat are my own.)  

The gorgeous color choices available of this self healing cutting mat caught my eye - this color is called quetzal blue. I also appreciate the fact that they are made from food-safe plastic (no BPAs or PVCs) and a great solution for someone who worries about the products they bring into their home.

(You'll notice that my phone camera had some trouble holding the color of the mat consistent in each of these shots even though they were taken around the same time.  The truest match to color is the photo above.)

So how did it perform?  Really well.

The mat is self-healing.  I've put the mat through some cutting sessions and it has held up well.  No marking of the surface so far.

My current cutting mat is a cream colored mat which has had issues laying completely flat.  This new mat is a smidgen thicker then my current mat.    The markings are very clear and easier to see than my current mat.  Every 5" is visibly marked which will be useful for a quick estimate on size of fabric scraps.  There are also a few extra marks which are likely useful for paper crafting. 

 The touch of the new mat feels really nice and smooth.

Unlike some other mats on the market, this mat is reversible with a lighter color on the back.  The difference in contrast will be a definite plus depending on the color of fabric I am working with.

The mat ships flat direct from Amazon in a nice sturdy box inside a shipping box.  What to see?  I did my very first unboxing video. 

I'm excited that Ecopeco will be a sponsor for One Monthly Goal in 2020!   More details on the overall One Monthly Goal 2020 coming soon!

You can learn more about Ecopeco on their website and purchase your very own mat at Amazon.  The mats come in several sizes and several pretty colors.

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Friday, December 6, 2019


This is my quilt Dizzy - recently entered into QuiltCon as part of the Me+You Indah Batik Fabric Challenge.   The challenge required you to use at least 3 of the 4 fabrics provided plus any Indah Batik solids.  (You could use any Indah Batik fabric as the backing.)

I was inspired by the cute little palm tree and centered my design around it.  I also used just a smidgen of the blue with the lightening bolts - it is the first layer that surrounds the palm tree.  After that, I spiraled out white and the green until I ended up with a spiral that was roughly 10'' square.  Then I made 3 more!   These stripes are about 1/8''. 

The density of the quilting went from impossibly dense to about 1/2'' apart by the time you got out to the edge of the quilt.

Dizzy finished at 40'' square and is the third quilt I entered into QuiltCon. I used the tiny piecing technique that I learned from Chawne Kimber for this quilt and also my quilt  The Happiness Tree .

You can read more about the challenge here.

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Vases or Faces

What do you see in the quilt above?

A vase?

2 faces?

A bit of an optical illusion!

You've likely seen this image before - usually in black and white.  It is called the Rubin Vase illusion and visually you can only see either the faces or the vase at any given moment in time.  (Read more about the Rubin Vase illusion on Wikipedia.)

Comment below on which your eye picks up more - the vase or the faces!

The aqua faces were applied onto the orange background using a monofiliment thread.  I choose to only quilt the orange background with some loops and then some zigzag stitches using Aurifil orange thread.

The binding took a bit of time to do but I'm very happy with the end result!  My mini quilt is 10'' square.

Curated Quilts issued a challenge for mini quilt with applique faces (see the amazing entries so far).  My quilt is a bit different than the others submitted but I had such a blast with the whole idea, I'm still entering mine!

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Sunday, December 1, 2019

One Monthly Goal December Link-up

Welcome to December!  We had 77 goals linked up for November - lets see what this month brings!  

New to One Monthly Goal?  Welcome!  To join, share a photo of your project, some words about what you want to accomplish in a blog post, an Instagram post (tutorial) or a post on Flickr and add that photo to the link-up.  Return at the end of the month and share your results.  You can read about the event and the rules on the main event page.

We have wonderful sponsors this month - three (3) winners will be randomly chosen from those that link up in both the goal and the finish event plus 1 winner will be chosen from all the participants who finished at least 3 OMG finishes in 2019.  

Fat Quarter Shop offers a tremendous selection of fabric, notions, books and just about anything you will need for your project. Consider their Sew Sampler box to receive a monthly surprise delivery of fabric and fun.  Fat Quarter Shop is offering a $25 gift certificate to one lucky participant.

Make Modern is a digital magazine launched by a collaboration of quilters based in Australia. Their magazine is filled with modern quilt designs and a wonderful source of inspiration. Make Modern is offering a 6 month subscription to one lucky participant. 

Aurifil is home to a beautiful rainbow of thread in all weights, perfect for any of your sewing and quilting needs.  My favorite product is the designer collection boxes which coordinate with various fabric lines!  Aurifil will be mailing a large spool thread set to one lucky winner a our bonus prize for 2019!!  A winner will be randomly chosen from the list of participants who have completed at least 3 of their OMG goals in 2019!! 

I'm excited to introduce our featured designers for December - a mother-daughter team who design the most whimsical quilts - meet Arlene Stamper and Melissa Harris of The Quilt Company  

Melissa and Arlene started The Quilt Company 20 years ago in October 1999! Arlene had been teaching and lecturing on quilting for over 20 years and Melissa came from a corporate marketing job…together they made the perfect team to start a new Block of the Month pattern company. They love designing fun, whimsical and happy quilts.  Their main design rule they always use is “would I hang this in my house!” - so even though trends may come and go, a quilt must pass this test before it is designed.  Their customers love their patterns especially their cute specialty fabrics like the windows, custom signs and even three-dimensional quilts to hang on your quilt.

Quilt and photo credit to the Quilt Company
Top:  Camp Sugar Bear and Gingerbread Village
Bottom: Sew Spooky and Sew Merry

You can visit Arlene Stamper and Melissa Harris on Instagram, on Facebook, and in their store.  They are offering one lucky participant their Camp Sugar Bear BOM pattern and the accessory fabric packet and button packet!  Arlene and Melissa will be doing their own OMG for December - "Our December monthly goal will be to work on some personal projects, now that we are back from Quilt Market, specifically to get started on a t-shirt quilt for a family member."

My goal for December is to turn this Harry Potter block into a pillow as a gift for my daughter.  (You can read more about this pattern on this post.)

Now it is your turn to link up - what is your goal for this month?  (A goal could be to finish a quilt but it could also be to attach a binding.  Whatever it takes to help you move forward and make progress on your projects!  And as long as the project involves making something with a needle and/or fabric, you can link up!)

Make sure you visit the One Monthly Goal event page for the specific requirements for links and social tags. 
 Your blog post (or Flickr post) must contain a photo of your project, a clearly stated goal and a link back to Elm Street Quilts.  Your Instagram post must include a photo of your project, a clearly stated goal and the tag #onemonthlygoal.  (Entries which don't contain the required information may be disqualified.)

And remember, to be eligible for the prize(s) by random drawing you must linkup at both the goal setting and the accomplishment linkup in a given month.   (The One Monthly Goal accomplishment linkup will be available on December 26.)

Make sure you add a link to this OMG post so others can find the OMG link-up from your blog.  Let's make that easy -  just paste this into your post: 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Thanks for linking up!

Have a wonderful day! Patty