Quilts I’ve made…1981-present

As it gets cold outside, I start getting quilting fever. Of course, it doesn’t help that my friend Jackie is always quilting and sending me these awesome photos of the quilts she is currently working on. Thanks, for sharing your wonderful quilts with me, Jac!

one of my friend jackie's wonderful quilts

So when I get catalogs in the mail that have pretty quilts in them, I never want to buy them, I want to make them. Now the thing with quilting is that it takes FOREVER to put one together. At least the ones that I have done in the past have been seriously timely affairs. So I have chosen a coverlet size to tackle this time so that I get quicker results. That doesn’t mean I will have a quilt to cuddle under next week but maybe by February.

I receive catalogs from a company called Garnet Hill and I saved one of them with this simple design.


So Sunday night, after painting on Jan’s cows most of the day, I went to the fabric stash. Quilters have a saying that “the one that dies with the most fabric, wins”. I think Jackie is way ahead of me there but I have a pretty good assortment. The key, I think is to rarely throw any of them away because you can still cut a section out and use it, especially for a quilt like this one that has lots of different patterns. So this is about a 4′ x 5′ size coverlet with a black fabric as the background and I had to cut out a total of 96 circles for the pattern on top. I used a Pyrex lid for my pattern and simply drew the circles on the fabric and started cutting.

color laid out

I love the way it looks. It is so colorful and in the winter months will be a happy quilt to sit under. Each of the circles will have to be hemmed and then appliqued to the top. This is a similar technique that I did on the quilt that I did for Thomas.

Thomas' finished quilt

My plan then, was to make each of the boys a quilt for their high school graduations. Of course,neither got  finished until they were almost finished with college. Thomas had requested a black quilt.  We compromised and put black in it and lots of color on the interior. The border on this one is appliqued and has a vine that runs around the edge with fan-like flowers on the vine. I think it turned into a quilt that he will cherish for years to come and it is also a very happy quilt.

Thomas with his quilt

Over the years, I have made many quilts for friends and family and you can see more of them  here at our family website. For awhile, I was doing baby quilts for my co-workers and one year there were so many babies born that I was wondering if they had it in for me. I finally had to resort to pillows.

John's finished quilt

John’s quilt took on a more nature theme. He is a forestry guy so I found a quilt on the web that I really liked but had to draw out the pattern because there wasn’t one available. The quilt shop in Staunton, VARachel’s Quilt Patch had these wonderful batik fabrics and the lady helped me to choose them for the pattern. The border on this quilt has appliqued trees, frogs and fish. I think it will be good to do a simple quilt now and not take on something so complicated.

John with his quilt on his birthday


detail of John's quilt

Making Dilly Beans July 15, 2011

In the spring, I was reading some gardening blogs and came across these beautiful canning jars made by Weck. They are European canning jars that have apparently been around forever yet I was unfamiliar with them and fell in love with their shapes and simplicity. They are pricey compared to the American classic Ball jars but I wanted a few of them so I bought a selection of them here and when they came I was excited to put some of my homegrown vegetables in them this summer. As I see my tomato vines becoming trees, full of fruit, I’m thinking tomatoes for the winter months in some of these beautiful jars. Maybe some salsa. I also have an abundance of cabbage that is really tasty that Herb has been looking into chow chow recipes that would also be pretty in these jars.

So when I had picked a larger mess of beans than we could eat, ( ever wonder where the phrase “mess of” vegetables came from?) I decided to look into putting some of them up in the Weck jars. After some internet searching, I discovered that I needed to do pressure cooking on the jars to properly can the green beans and to avoid botulism. We have a pressure cooker but not one large enough to do the jars in.  I also came across a forum about Weck jars stating they were uncomfortable doing pressure canning with these jars. This meant that I needed to find a recipe that involved the water bath sealing method of canning.

I located a dilly bean recipe and adjusted it to my needs given that I wasn’t using the Ball jar version of canning. So I have included the recipe in case you want to try out a bit of canning.

I didn’t get photos of the filling of the hot liquid into the jars because there was a bit of panic at that point in the kitchen but basically I used a ladle and funnel to get the liquid in there and then carefully centered the rubber rings ( they get put into a pan of hot water to soften them up) onto the glass lids, and clicked the clips onto the lids. Three clips per lid. I let the jars cool overnight and the next day took the clips off and tested to make sure the lids had sealed. Gladly, all of them had sealed but if they hadn’t, the directions say that you can put them back into the water bath and try again.

So now, I am just waiting on the tomatoes to ripen up and become plentiful so that I can put them into the round version of the jars. YUM!






Another site to purchase Weck jars is here.

Dilly Green Beans

Orange and Teal

Belle has chosen orange and teal for her wedding colors are  and I absolutely love them. I mean, orange is just so happy (laughing orange) and the teal is a cool color. So, I am putting them into the party that we are doing for them on September the 24th wherever I can. Rather than try to find accessories to fit that color scheme, I thought it would be fun to make the parts to the party myself. I have purchased some things in those colors and in the coming weeks I will share some of those items with you but for today I am going to share the beautiful tablecloths that I am making to put on the banquet tables in the yard. With Herb’s help we are trying a “how to video” posting today, so please bear with us.

Hand painted Tablecloth in process

tablecloth supplies

 for this project, you will need:

  • a flat sheet or large piece of fabric. I used flat sheets that I found at a discount store. Although it seems they are harder to find these days due to sheets packaged as sets.
  • the fabric dye. I used just plain old RIT and “somewhat” followed the directions on the back
  • rubber stamps of your choice, I used the soft spongy kind but you could use a potato or a linoleum block. You just need something that will make a design with
  • paints. I used an assortment, a latex house type paint, a wall glaze and an acrylic.
  • a brayer is nice to have but isn’t absolutely necessary and a piece of glass to use the brayer on as a palette
  • a detailing paintbrush
  • an ink pen
This first video will give you an idea or how to get the orange dye onto the fabric so that the color vignettes from color to white.
And in this next video, I will demonstrate how to stamp the patterns onto the fabric using a printmaking brayer and paint.
And finally, I demonstrate how to add the details to the stamped design so that it looks more handmade and give the design more character rather than a boring stamp. A little glitter and shine make it look elegant and special.