PDF patterns for the next three FAFSQ blocks!

Well, Christmas is just a pleasant memory now ... though we still have all the decorations up (we'll keep the decorations up until February - in honor of my father-in-law and his birthday, a wonderful man, who passed away last year). Talk about hectic! We had my mother-in-law (divorced from my FIL for 'bout 30 years) over for Christmas Eve and Day ... and to say that was on the hectic and stressful side would be an understatement! To say that I'm less than what she had hoped for her only son would be like sayin' quilters love fabric! :)

But anywho, I've finally got the mess cleaned up and I'm back. The day after Christmas, we had over 8 FULL bags of trash!! Our garbageman earns his pay and then some! And I really doubt that our annual "Christmas tip" made up for it one iota!

One source of trash is the newest addition to our household: the cutest li'l guinea pig you ever did see! My sweet li'l boy, Luke (10 years old - and feelin' it!), has been pesterin' us for a pet for the past two years. O'course, takin' care of a pet isn't an easy task ... and this Christmas, he told us that he finally felt "mature" enough to take care of another li'l life. So, Santa brought the cage and we supplied the piggie. You never saw the trash this cutie makes (the piggie, not my son - though he does run a close second)! Bedding, food, poop ... you name it! I really didn't think that such a small critter could poop so much! I guess that's why the Good Lord made'em so cute - if they weren't so adorable, we'd eat'em and not keep'em as pets!! And for a li'l "poop machine" he's a cutie and a half!! As soon as I can catch the li'l stinker I'll take some pictures. That li'l critter moves FAST and doesn't seem to be too comfy in front of a camera!

Alrighty, all jabberin' aside, just take a quick look to the left and you'll see the new patterns in PDF form. I'm tryin' a different method of "printin' them to PDF" so if ya'll have ANY issues with the patterns, please let me know!! If the letters or numbers are too small when you print'em, if the numbering is confusin' ... whatever might not be what it could ... I want to know about it!!

I also want to give a quick "thank you" to all the wonderful quilty friends who wrote me after my latest "newsletter" thankin' me for the patterns and givin' me encouragement! I swear, I may just kidnap ya'll and make you live with me! I don't get THAT much support and encouragement from my family and friends!! Ya'll are truly special ... and truly a Blessin'!! Ya'll are the ones that make the work worthwhile ... the creative juices flow!! So .... thank YOU!!! :)

Well, updatin' my site and blog is goin' to have to wait a spell ... we've got a few electrical issues that have to be fixed before I can go into my studio (where I have my main computer and the software I need to use). For the next few days I'm without power in there. We're hopin' to be able to use extension cords to hook up to the upstairs (my studio is in a converted garage) ... but if that doesn't pan out, the "premiere" dates for my blog and site may have to be postponed a bit. For those of you that are interested, I'll keep ya'll updated. :)

One good thing ... I've got two new pin cushion patterns ALMOST done. I'd like to use pictures/photos for the directions instead of illustrations - mainly because I think it'd be easier to understand than simple illustrations. One of them is a bit on the tricky side and the photos will be a big help. My dear, sweet, quiltin', daughter will be helpin' me with this! Yay!! She's out of school until the 7th of January, so we'll be puttin' in a LOT of sewin' time!!

Anywho ... please feel free to give me a holler - whether it's a cause ya'll need help with, a pattern you'd like to see, or to complain or compliment - I'd LOVE to hear from ya'll!! Meanwhile, I'll be designin' more quilts and blocks!! And tryin' to catch a picture of that cute li'l piggie! :)

Until next time ...

Big ol' quilty hugs!!
Connie :)

Finally!! I've got the new FAFSQ patterns printed to PDF!! They'll be up here soon ... I'm sendin' the links to the PDFs to those of ya'll who've signed up for my newsletter/eZine first (since ya'll have been so loyal and patient!) and I'll post them here in a couple of days.

And I really owe ya'll an apology ... I honestly thought that hubby was mended up enough that I could devote my time back here again and that things would be back to normal ... but "normal" seems to still be a bit in the future. But don't get me wrong ... I see every day that the Good Lord gives me with my family and friends as a Blessin'. So I hope ya'll don't take what I've said as complainin'!! :)

I've got a few other things to say, but I'll put'em up as separate posts - that way, if'n you're not interested in the topic, you don't have to read it! :)

Until then,
Quilty hugs!!
Connie :)

Nothin' new today ... just wanted to check in with ya'll so you know I've not disappeared again! I've been workin' on the Quiltin' Tote pattern - I'm really hopin' that ya'll will like it and find it useful (and fun to make!). It's Fat Eighth friendly, too ... but Fat Quarters are invited, too. It has (sew far) two sizes - so if you'd like it roomy enough to tote your quiltin' supplies to your next class, make the big'un. If you'd rather use it as a cute li'l purse (okay, not THAT li'l), then make the "li'l sister!"

The big'un measures 15 inches wide at the top, 13 inches wide at the bottom and is 15 inches deep. The lil'un is 12 inches wide at top, 10 inches wide at the bottom and is 12 inches deep. I'm thinkin' you'd be able to put at least a small cutting mat and ruler in the big'un (with handy pockets for your rotary cutter and such). With the lil'un, it's not so big that your checkbook (you have to have it handy for your trips to the fabric store, right?) gets lost - but big enough to hold whatever hubby asks you to carry for him. :)

It's pieced (but you can always applique on it, of course!) - a variation of the "Turning Twenty" block (that is sew popular here lately), but you can use your favorite block. There's no "pattern" to it to print - you'll just find the center of the block and measure for your cuts (I'll show you how with illustrations - that's what I have left to finish). And for the first time (blush) I'll have a finished product to share (charged up my camera's batteries and have a new digital card in her!).

And again, subscribers will get it first ... "membership's" got to have some perks, I figure. I've also got the next block for the Folk Art Flavored Series Quilt comin' up, too! This time, it'll have the appliquein' instructions to boot! I'm hopin' to have it all ready by Monday ... tomorrow hubby and I are goin' to go meet some good ol' friends up in Destin (down the road a piece). So Sunday, other than goin' to church, is reserved for sewin' and quilt designin'!!

I really hope that ya'll are as excited as I am 'bout this! I'm really lookin' forward to sharin' more with ya'll!! And keep an eye out for a few simple (but elegant and fun) sewin' projects perfect for gift-givin'!! :)

Until next time (soon!!) ...

Big ol' quilty hugs!!
Connie :)

PS - I'm still catchin' up on my e-mails - so if you've not gotten the last newsletter/update yet - or an e-mail confirmin' your subscription, keep an eye out! It'll be in your mailbox 'afore the weekend's over!!

Yippee!! Today was hubby's second day at work! The physical therapy sure has done wonders - as well as his stubborness - and he's taken over his old duties at Cub Scouts (I was a poor substitute - the kids adore him so), and is drivin' himself again! Even though work is as always, full of stress for him (he works for the government, so stress is part and parcel), he sure is happy to be self-sufficient again! Havin' me wait on him hand and foot wasn't just tirin' for me, but for his pride, too. And we'll say that my drivin' isn't up to his standards - I think he's left dents in the dashboard from holdin' on when I'd drive him to PT! So let's say that he's happy to be behind the wheel and leave it at that! :-)

Anyway, I hope it's obvious that I didn't stay away 'cause I wanted to - but because I just had no time (or energy). Don't get me wrong, we're still brutally busy and I'm still tired ... but his bein' more mobile sure does take the edge off. I'm plannin' to spend all day in my studio tomorrow ... I've got tons of sketches to get on my computer (and turned into actual patterns - including a "Quilt Totin' tote bag" - but you can use it for anything, of course!!), so I'll be busier (and happier) than ya'll can imagine! I have to say, when you're spending 2 hours every other day in a doctor's office, it gives you time to think and sketch! :)

Alrighty, here's the patterns I promised ... I know the "Pun'kin Patch" quilt is a bit too late for Halloweenie, but I think it'd work for decoratin' for Thanksgiving. I really meant to get it posted here in time to stitch up for Halloweenie, but as I said up there, it's just been too durn hectic 'round here. I even had to cancel the class I was goin' to teach here in PCB ... hubby was havin' what we call a "bad leg week" and I couldn't leave him alone. :(

Anyway, here's the patterns ... if'n you have the time and inclination, give me a holler and let me know what ya'll think (good or bad). And I am back - and unless hubby decides to dive off a boat onto a steel clad deck, I'm here to stay. :)

Pomegranates applique diagram
Pomegranates applique pattern

Pun'kin Patch Quilt

Big ol' quilty hugs!!
Connie :)

Just a quick shout out to my local readers here in Panama City Beach ... next Saturday evenin' (October 13th) I'll be teachin' a quiltin' class at the Paddock Club Apartment's Club House (off Beckrich Road on the "Beach side") from 6 to 9 pm. It's FREE - although you do have to bring your own fabric and supplies, LOL!

This class is meant for the beginner but I'd love to see you there if'n you can make it and have the inclination. Even if'n you're not a beginner ya'll can still join in on the socializin' - and who knows? You might even make a new quilty friend or two. At the very least, you can witness the joy of people learnin' how wonderful the art of quiltin' is! Which, to me, is always excitin'!!

To (hopefully) make the pot a bit sweeter, I'll also be handin' out an exclusive-like pattern to the first 10 people that show up! And don't worry, it'll be a pattern for the beginner and advanced alike to enjoy! Complete with fabric requirements, cuttin' directions, piecin' and appliquein' instructions!

If'n you're interested and need directions or more information, just give me a holler!! We'll take care of ya'll just right!! :-)

Hopin' to see you there!! :-)

Big ol' quilty hugs!!
Connie :-)


Within the space of 'bout 5 minutes I got several e-mails askin' bout the other blocks in the Folk Art Flavored Series Quilt and askin' the dimensions of the newest block (Pomegranates), which I plumb forgot to mention in the pattern (my only excuse was that it was 'bout midnight last night when I packaged it up to send it off!)!!!

The Pomegranates block is 18 x 5 inches FINISHED. Which means ya'll, if'n you use the traditional 1/4 inch seam allowance, cut your rectangle of fabric 18.5 x 5.5 inches. The Sunflowers and Coneflowers (the first two blocks) are 9 x 13 FINISHED, with ya'll cuttin' the rectangle at 9.5 x 13.5 inches.

And here's the links to the first two and the "schedule" for the blocks, though, truth be told, I've done a horrible job at adherin' to my own schedule! :-(

Folk Art Flavored Series Quilt "schedule"
Sunflowers block diagram
Sunflowers pattern (left)
Sunflowers pattern (right)

Coneflowers diagram
Coneflowers block

Now, bear in mind that the Sunflowers block is split up into TWO pdfs - one for the left Sunflower and one for the right. However, from now on, each pattern and the pieces will be in one pdf - I figure that makes it easier for ya'll to download'em and keep track of'em.

Alrighty, PLEASE, if I've forgotten anything else, please, PLEASE, give me a holler and let me know!! If'n you can't use'em straight off your computer, there's no point in me doin' em!! And I surely don't want to waste your time with patterns that aren't ready to sew!!

Big ol' quilty hugs!!!
Connie :-)

Good mornin' my dear, quilty friends!!

Just a quick heads up to ya'll: To those of ya'll who've signed up for my eZine, you should have gotten a SMALL token of my affection in ya'll's mail this mornin'. Specifically, the next installment of the "Folk Art Flavored Series Quilt" and the "Punkin Patch" (pieced and appliqued) quilt. Now, for the Punkin Patch quilt, ya'll got a full-fledged pattern - fabric requirements, piecin' directions (applique directions to come) and cuttin' directions. If'n you didn't get this e-mail or the links didn't work rightly, please give me a holler and let me know!!! If'n it isn't workin' it's not useful to you and I want to fix it!!

Now, for ya'll that haven't signed up for my list, ya'll will still get these patterns in a few days here at my blog., I just wanted to give a big "THANK YOU" to the kind folks who have been so supportive and encouragin' since I started this here blog. Every day, I get e-mails with such kind words and wonderful thoughts that I swear, I durn nigh cry every time I open up my e-mail. It still just knocks me to the floor how carin' ya'll are!!!

Also, I just wanted to let ya'll know that I will be redesignin' this here blog so's I can upload tutorials and just make the patterns easier to find. For some reason, Blogger just doesn't make it easy to search for those things. Sew, I will have tutorials (complete with photos - if'n ya'll can stand my unmanicured fingernails! LOL!) comin' up SOON. But, the eZine does still have priority over uploadin' tutorials. The eZine will have a link (since it's all digital) to tutorials in each issue.

And those on the eZine list will have a few special, exclusive-like, patterns only for them, just so's ya'll know. There will be a few of'em that I won't be uploadin' to the blog (membership has to have SOME perks, I figure!). But if'n ya'll sign up after I've sent'em out, I will send ya'll links to "back issues" and "exclusive" patterns. I figure that's only fair, right?! :-)

Alrighty ... if'n you've not signed up, it's not too late! And for those of you who've already signed up, take a second and check your e-mail! Hopefully, ya'll won't be disappointed!!

In the meantime, I've got a few more patterns to finish up (one of which will be one those exclusive-like ones to get you in the Holiday spirit!) and an eZine article to edit. O'course, I have to fix up some lunch for the family first ... but it'll be SOON!! :-)

Until next time ...

Big ol' quilty hugs!!
Connie :-)

Update on the hubby (the saga continues)

Well, as most of you know, hubby went into surgery Tuesday for his poor ol' knee (and I know most of ya'll know this seein' as how I came back to a humongous pile o' e-mails wishin' him well! Thank you!!!!). Surgery went better'n could be expected ... they ended up doin' him orthoscopically (they didn't think they could before for some reason unbeknownst to me) and he was out of the OR in two hours, groggy, giggly (now, can you imagine an ex-military officer, yea 'bout 300 pounds, over 6 feet, bein' giggly? Don't worry, I couldn't have either!), and more affectionate than I've EVER seen that man - includin' on our weddin' night! Believe me, if'n I could have, I'd have snuck some of that anesthesia out in my purse!! If'n my hubby's behavior is any indicator, "anesthesia goggles" beat "beer goggles" any day o' the week! :-)

After many (and I'm bein' kind, here) silly jokes, and an hour later, we got that poor man stuffed in the back of the Jeep and we headed home. Now, why it didn't dawn on us a'fore the surgery, I don't know, but we realized that our livin' area is UPSTAIRS. So, o'course, we call on our best friends (two strappin' men in their own right) to help poor hubby up the stairs. Lordy, if'n it wasn't like watchin' some sort of "Xtreme"sportin' event! Three men, huffin', puffin' and tryin' to reassure each other that THEY had the hardest part and were doin' the most work (men sure can be silly, can't they?)! T'was a sight to behold! And hopefully, ya'll are still rememberin' how giddy and silly hubby was! Well, let me tell you ... he was hoppin' on his good foot up the stairs and boy if he didn't look like the Easter Bunny bein' chased by some mother hens!

But it wasn't all fun n' games ... the pain medications had a'hold of him ... he was not only still under the anesthesia (which I already said was the "good stuff"), but also had one o'them "pain busters" - a li'l bulb type thingie on a catheter that pumps pain killers directly into his knee. The pain killers were SO good that he didn't feel even an ounce o'pain. Most of ya'll'd say that's a good thing - and it would've been for most. But not my hubby. I think I've already mentioned that he's a bit on the stubborn side (he makes most teenagers - whom we all know can be a bit on the mulish side - look like the most biddable critters on earth!) and o'course, he assumed that he could do durn nigh anything. So he got up several times (ten times wouldn't be much of an overstatement, I assure ya'll) and ended up poppin' a few stitches! We called his doctor who pretty much said that as long as the bleedin' stopped, we were okay until Friday (his follow-up to get the bandages removed). Still, he was feelin' no pain.

Well, as all good things must, the pain buster thingie soon ran out of pain-bustin' and Lordy, was it bad when it did. So things have been a bit on the rough side o'the street - hubby's been agonizin' somethin' fierce. And as all of us get when we're in loads o' pain, he's been a bit on the cranky side. But he's been takin' the pain in more stride than I know I would - Lordy, if I wouldn't be bitin' the heads off invisible folk if I were in as much pain as he is. The poor man can't even get himself up to use the potty ... just the movement needed to get up is too much for'im. But he's still bein' a soldier 'bout it. :-(

So if'n ya'll don't mind ... I'd surely appreciate a few prayers, well-wishes and sweet thoughts sent his way. As I've said a'fore, he's a good man and though stubborn as all get out, a sweet natured fella with a heart o' gold. He's still more concerned 'bout everyone else in his life - 'specially the cub scouts that miss him so. And he's still tryin' to take care of his work - if'n he doesn't, some wonderful people out there workin' "for him" might not have anything to work on next year. So, he really deserves and needs all the sweetness he can get.

I'll keep ya'll updated on the saga of the knee ... and if I don't post for a day or two, everything's okay - it's just hectic and hard to find the time to get online. I came back to bein' online this afternoon and found out that my router had died. Took me forever (and several blue words) to get a new one, get my service provider to see it, and then get it to work with my lappie.

To all of ya'll who've written me with such wonderful wishes and words of encouragement, thank you muchly! I'll be writin' ya'll back soon ... I have to get my poor ol' patootie off the chair now and out to my son's Open House and book fair, and then grab some dinner for the family. Soon as I'm back, I'll be writin' ya'll back. I'll also sneak off and get some more designin' done! Lordy, do I need to do that!! Bein' away from ya'll is bad enough, but not gettin' time to design some quilts?? Well, that's just cruel!! :-)

Until then ... big ol' warm n' quilty hugs!!
Connie :-)


I don't know if ya'll know this, but Google's set me up so's I can see how many of ya'll are visitin' me a day (over 500 hits a DAY! Wow!!). I just also found out that I can see where ya'll live ... not your actual address, o'course, just the city ya'll hang your hat in. And guess what! I'm gettin' a lot of people from my own little town (well, not so little, thanks to the condo developers and Mtv) of Panama City Beach! :-)

So, now I'm dyin' to know who in PCB is visitin' me (50 unique visitors from PCB and PC!!)! 'Specially 'cause I might know you ... I don't s'pose any of you neighbors'll come forward and let me know we're just a hop, skip and a jump away from each other, would ya'll? I'm picturin' a few minutes of gabbin' at the next St. Andrews Quilter's Guild meetin' ... mayhap gettin' together for a bee? Or how's 'bout lunch over at Hook's? Or J. Michaels? I'll even settle for a quickie lunch at Sonic's! :-)

I'm hopin' some of you will holler at me and let me know who you are!! I'm so excited and so ... curious!! I feel almost like I'm on a scavenger hunt - but for future quilty friends!! Yippee!! Now this is a wonderful way to start the day!! Imagine! Next person I chat up at the grocery store could be a subscriber or visitor!! Wow! That just really boggles my mind! Sort of like meeting someone in your thirties in a new town thousands of miles from where you grew up and finding out that you were in school together, but always had different classes! Yay!!! :-)

Alrighty, I just had to get all giggly over that ... it just tickled me to no end!! :-)

Back to the patterns!! :-)

Until next time (later on today, I'm sure - hubby told me I was in a gabby mood this mornin'!!) ...

Big ol' quilty hugs!!
Connie :-)

I'm sorry, ya'll ... I made a HUGE mistake in my last post - one that merits more than an edit in the post itself ... Jill has been hard at work, helpin' critters in need since 2003 and has made 5,000, no ... I'm not kidding, FIVE THOUSAND blankies for our furry friends!! I don't know 'bout ya'll but I really don't think I know ANYONE who's made 500 quilts, much less 5,000. It goes to show you just how important her cause is and how strongly she supports it!

She'll take virtually any kind of washable fabric ya'll can spare: cottons, knits, polyester, fleece, denim, flannel, etc. Please, please, I'm urgin' you to take a few minutes and look over your sewin' room ... don't you have a bit of fabric that you bought, but just never found the perfect project for? That you need to "move" to make room for new squishies? That otherwise, would just sit on your shelf, just collectin' dust? You can give that fabric a new life as the cuddly, comforting "woobie" to a four-legged friend. And the reward is more than makin' room for a new fabric acquisition - it's the knowledge that one more sweet critter is using YOUR fabric to soothe itself to sleep ... and knowing that s/he knows that someone cares.

Now, o'course, I'm not saying that Fido or Fifi will know your name and be able to thank you (I may be goofy, but I'm not THAT goofy! LOL!). But think about this, please: an animal that's given comfort in such a stressful time will better cope with other stresses. An animal that can cope with external stressors is more likely to make a good, sweet pet for a family - or an elderly person. And that equals not only a happier owner(s), but also one less sweet animal to be destroyed. That animal that you help save, could help save some person out there. Mayhap pull them out of a fire, maybe just make someone's life less lonely. The lives you save can only increase ...

So please, please, take a gander 'round your sewin' room and send some unwanted fabric to Jill ... you'll make extra room in your sewin' room for more fabric and'll make sew many lives sew much better. :-)

And not that it's THAT big of a sellin' point, but I'll repeat my offer of a special, exclusive pattern packet for those who donate fabric to Jill and Critter Comforts. You'll get doggies, kitties, birds, cows, a couple of pigs ... and more!! Just for doin' a li'l light cleanin' in your sewin' room and takin' a quick trip to the post office! If you were to buy those patterns somewhere else, well, you'd spend more than that in time and $$! I mean, a single pattern can run you $8 - and I'm offerin' at least 6! Probably more ... as I'm feelin' awfully inspired! :-)

Hopin' that Jill hears from you soon - and gets plenty of squishies SOON! :-)

Big ol' quilty hugs!!
Connie :-)

Quiltin' for desperate critters in need!

I've been jawin' on about charitable causes and whatnot all mornin' so why should this post be any different? :-)

I'm goin' to talk about "Critter Comforts" right now ... it's a wonderful organization run by Jill, an amazin' woman - she takes fabric that ya'll donate and uses it to create beautiful, cuddly quilts for critters in need!

Sew far, she's made (with a li'l help o'course) over 500, yep, I said FIVE HUNDRED critter quilts!! Each one of those quilts goes to an animal in desperate need of knowin' that they have two-legged friends that give a woof. Or a meow.

Now, are these critters pampered pooches? Finicky felines? Nope, these are abandoned critters ... four-legged friends needin' a home of their own. Some of them might be puppies that the owner just decided they didn't want. Some of them might kitties that were just abandoned on the side of the road, left to fend for themselves. All of these sweet animals have two things in common: a desperate need for a home, and Jill.

But Jill can't do it alone ... she needs YOUR help! She'll take that help in the form of fabric (practically any kind'll do), thread, batts, and Hobbes Batting UPC codes (those li'l proofs of purchase on the batts you buy that you weren't goin' to do anything with anyway) ... just anything that you think might help her keep these poor critters comfy. I don't know 'bout you ... but I'd prefer a cuddly quilt to a cold, cage floor any day o' the week. And with your help, Jill can provide just that - comfort to an animal who needs it.

So, please, please, ya'll ... give Jill a holler and ask her what you can do for her wonderful, selfless, cause. If you don't, who will?

Before you make your decision, go on over to her web site and see the sweet li'l face of some of the animals that she's helped so far - and some precious critters that need a good home. Believe me, my dear quilty friends, once you see those sweet faces, you'll be mailin' fabric and such to her the next day! If not sooner!

To make the deal a bit sweeter in ya'lls favor ... if'n you donate something to Jill, I'll send ya'll a packet of patterns (exclusive! - they won't be posted anywhere else!) of animal-themed patterns. Dogs, cats, birds, cows ... and more! All yours if'n you just take the time to send Jill a much needed squishy! If'n you like my patterns NOW, I can assure you that I'll be takin' extra time and care to make sure that these patterns are WONDERFUL!! :-)

Big ol' quilty hugs!!
Connie :-)

A Quilt's Revenge

Alrighty, I thought some of you might get a teeny giggle out of this (and some of ya'll will feel sorry for Buddy the Wonderdog). Whatever your reaction, I just HAD to share this!

I've given away most of my quilts - I've only kept a few that either have special memories (like the one that I gave my Gramma before she passed away and that she left me) or are utility quilts.

One such utility quilt is a blue & white Irish chain that I made when Buddy was just a pup ('bout 5 years ago). Every day that I hand-quilted it, he'd lay on the end that wasn't in the hoop ... and did I already mention that he was teething at the time? So every once in a while, I'd have to make him stop chewing my quilt! I swear, that quilt had just as much doggie slobber on it as quilting stitches by the time I was done!

That is the quilt that we all huddle under while watching scary movies, cuddle under when hubby has the AC set at 60 degrees (brrrr!!), and just nap under when it's rainy. It's used every day in one way or t'other. So, with it bein' old and bein' used all the time, it's got it's share of "toe-catchers." And I've just been too lazy to mend the holes and ripped binding spots. It's on my "do it one o'these days" list ...

Well, yesterday, that quilt got it's revenge. Buddy, my poor sweet, dog decided to use it to sleep on (not encouraged, but I usually turn a blind eye - he's family and it's a "family quilt"). Well, someone drove by the house in one of those loud trucks and he, as he usually does, shot up to go see who was makin' such a racket in HIS territory. Usually he goes, barks a little, and comes back to his "spot" all comforted in the knowledge that he showed that truck "what fer."

Not this time. This time, his toenail on his left paw got caught in one of the "toe-catchers!" That poor goober just cried and cried - totally forgetting about that rotten ol' truck. That mean ol' quilt just held his toenail fast - not lettin' go for all it was worth. I couldn't calm him down enough to get his toenail out and finally, he bucked the "right way" and it let go. But not before it pulled the toenail partially out! So we've got an appointment to see the vet tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Buddy's giving that quilt a wide berth.

I can almost hear that quilt laughing.

By the by, Buddy's fine. He's not even limping. But he IS avoiding my quilt like the plague. :-)

Quilt Shows Alert! San Fransciso Bay area!!

For those of you who'll be in the San Francisco Bay, California area the weekend of September 22-23rd, you're in for a TREAT! You've got two, count'em, TWO quilt shows to choose from!! Yippee!! Boy, am I envious! :-)

The first is the Diablo Valley Quilters quilt show in Danville (California, o'course). If you went to their show last year, you'll be pleasantly surprised - they've expanded their venue and DOUBLED their size from last year! Did I already mention that I was envious of all of you that'll get to go to show? And Pauline, a friend of mine, and a DVQ member who'll be workin' the show, says that if you get a hankerin' for wine, you can always visit the wineries nearby! Yum! :-) If that sounds sew good to you (as it does to me!), mosey on over to their web site for more skinny on the happenin's.

After you've visited the Diablo Valley Quilters' quilt show, be sure to take a side trip to see the "Quilting in the Garden" quilt show in Livermore ... Alex Anderson (yes, THAT Alex Anderson - I love her, too!!) takes part in that show every year - why would this year be any different?! If you want to find out more about gettin' there, what to see and sew forth ... visit their web site and see what there is to see! :-)

And we can't forget the Alameda Quilt Show, who's proceeds will go to benefit the Humane Society of Alameda (if we don't help these potential QIs, who will?). For more details, give their web site a look-see. Try and make it if you can and support their wonderful cause!! They're only asking a $5 donation to get in and see the beautiful quilts and all the vendors' goodies! :-)

Alrighty, if anyone's got neat announcements to make about THEIR upcomin' quilt show, give me a holler and I'll help get the word out! You know we quilters LOVE to travel and when we do, what do we love to see more than quilts?? Other than fabric to MAKE quilts! :-)

Take a peek to the left-hand side in the next couple of days ... I'll have a new section over there (where the polls are now) givin' ya'll info on upcomin' quilt shows and wonderful opportunities to help your community!

And remember to give Pauline a big ol' hug from me when you see her! :-)

'Til next time, big ol' quilty hugs!!
Connie :-)

Charitable causes & community projects

Well, goodness, if I didn't forget something important, here! I swear, sometimes I think I've only got two brains cells left - and durn if they hardly ever manage to rub together to make a spark! :-/

I MEANT to say earlier that if any of ya'll have any charitable organizations that you support or any charitable or community projects that you're workin' on, I'd LOVE it if you'd holler at me about'em. 'Specially if they're quilt related (or can be made quilt related). Sew, if you're workin' on (or your guild is or you know someone who is) a special quilt for a cause you feel strongly about, please let me know and I'll post a link to your organization or just provide info t'other quilters on what THEY can do to help. Or if you're auctionin' off a quilt to help a cause, or need help STARTIN' a quilt to help a cause, I'll help you get the word out on it.

As you can probably tell, I'm fair big on givin' back to the community - I've probably seen "It's a Wonderful Life" too many times! LOL! But it's somethin' that's always been close to my heart. We see such terrible stories in the news every day ... it's a real blessin' when you can do somethin' to offset the tragedy or heartache of others.

I'm also a big supporter of the "Pay it forward" principle. Doin' good things for others can only bless us in return. And it feelin' so good to do good for others doesn't hurt none, does it? :-)

Sew, please, if you have a project or cause that benefits your community (or anyone elses' o'course), please holler at me and let me know so I can help get the word out! There's others out there who'd love to help!! Let's get YOU and THEM together and let the blessin's increase!! :-)

Big ol' quilty hugs to you ALL!!
Connie :-)

How much does the eZine cost?

That is a common e-mail question I've been gettin' here lately. And I've gotten a few subscription requests makin' sure to say "FREE eZine." So, 'afore gettin' back to designin' a few more patterns, I just wanted to address some of ya'll's concerns.

The eZine IS FREE. Well, not really free, considerin' that ya'll are paying for your internet service. And Lord knows, they've got their hands in your pocket more than almost anyone! :-)

But, I can understand ya'll bein' concerned. It seems like nowadays everyone's got their hand out sayin' "I've got this, you've got to want it - now pay me!" I can't open one of my favorite magazines without seein' an ad for this new gadget or whatsit ... a lot of which are just silly and unnecessary. Whilst a lot of those things may make quiltin' easier, our fore-mammas did quite well without'em. And don't even get me started on how expensive our "fabric habits" and sewin' machines are ...

But I'm doin' this because it's FUN and, honestly, it makes me feel good. I get to do my three favorite things: illustrate (the patterns), quilt, and meet new, wonderful people. There's very few opportunities to combine all three of those loves - and this eZine is, thankfully, one o' them. But I do appreciate ya'll askin' if it's free. If ya'll are a bit suspicious about it bein' free, it must mean that you think it's goin' to be good! :-)
(Alright, even if ya'll aren't REALLY thinkin' that, it still makes me feel good to think that ya'll are!! LOL!)

I don't think ya'll quite understand how good it feels, how Blessed I feel every time I get an e-mail from ya'll asking to join, tellin' me that you like my patterns, or just sayin' "hi." Every e-mail from ya'll is just like a big ol' hug. And I've never seen a time that a hug wasn't an upliftin' thing. :-)

And even more inspirin' is the offers to help ... I get so many of those a day that it's hard to keep up. Sew many of you ... well, ya'll are just like family to me. I know that sounds silly, but that makes it no less true. The number of e-mails that I got askin' me how my poor hubby's doin', the well-wishes, the e-mail hugs ... well, like I said already, I just feel Blessed.

Sew to me, offerin' a few patterns, a few articles, and tips n' recipes, well ... I'm by a country mile gettin' the best out of the deal. In fact, as I see it, I ought to be paying ya'll! But if there ever does come a time that I can't keep this up without generatin' some kind of revenue, it'd be to have a few ads in the eZine (I've already gotten a few requests to place ads - I'm still on the fence about that). But the eZine will ALWAYS be free to subscribers.

And just so's ya'll know, if I DO take ads in the eZine, I'm promisin' that they'd be for good shops that I, myself, would shop at (and I'm what you'd call a bit of a miser - I expect a LOT for my $$). If I can't put my own "stamp of approval" on the shop, you won't be seein' it. You'd not see anything from a fly-by-night shop or one that I didn't feel really believed in quiltin'. Now, if ya'll have anything to say about that ... to yea it or nay it, please let me know. This eZine is for YOU ... and if it isn't what you want, then there's no point in me doin' it.

So, if my takin' ads at some point bothers you or if you think it's a decent idear, please holler at me and let me know. If'n I need to, I'll post a poll about it. But I'm really hopin' that ya'll will just e-mail me. 'Cause as I've said time and time again, I LOVE hearing from you!! :-)

Okee-dokee ... that's about it for now ... if ya'll will excuse me, I've got some patterns to finish and upload! ;-)

Big ol' quilty hugs!!
Connie :-)

Wow! I'm really blown over by how many of you decided to learn quiltin' all on your own! Talk about bein' adventurous! It just goes to show you that quiltin' isn't just a hobby - it's a state of mind. And I think we're talkin' about some VERY creative minds! I think it's just awe-inspirin' how so many of you just put your mind to it and then DID it - most of you, I'll bet, just taught yourselves!

My first quilt (which I'm fair sure I've already jawed on about) was for my Gramma - an amazin' and wonderful woman. She had made a quilt for every single one of her grand-babies for every occasion imaginable (weddings, births, graduation ... you name it!) and still managed to raise fine children (my dear Daddy bein' one of them!!). So, I wanted to make one for her - for the woman who managed to find the time to touch sew many lives and never expected anything back.

Well, my first quilt was so horrible that, yep, it deserves a paragraph of it's own (consider it a "booby prize" LOL!). I didn't know doodly-squat about fabric (mine had just about every type of fabric - cotton, brocade, polyester ... just to name a few!), much less how to put striped fabric in a quilt! Can ya'll say diagonals here and there?? In my house back then, "fussy cutting" was an attitude, not a technique! If you could have heard the frustrated blue words comin' out of my mouth when I tried to get the striped fabric to look right! Well, let's just say that the average outlaw didn't have nothin' on my vocabulary (or temper)! :-)

And I sure as fire didn't know a durn thing about stitchin'! I knew that and joined a local guild (desperate to know why my quilt wasn't even a shadow of how lovely my Gramma's were) ... and one kind quilter took me aside and gently informed me that I didn't need to use a double strand of thread to quilt! No wonder it was such a chore pulling the thread through the sandwich! At the point that that lovely quilter had given me that valuable (and time and wrist saving) advice, I had only the borders left to quilt! I ended up using 3 spools of quilting thread (I'm not jokin' by the way) on a single wall-hanging size quilt! If you could have been a fly on the wall while I was strugglin' to pull the needle through the sandwich ...! :-)

Alrighty, I didn't just tell ya'll my greatest shame and embarrassment just so's you could laugh at me (well, maybe just a little bit). I really did have a point to make ... now if I can just stop laughing at myself and get my cheeks to stop flamin' ...

Oh ... yes ... my point ... those of you who are teaching yourselves to quilt: you're an amazin' bunch of people! It's not easy ... despite the bounty of books, videos, and such, out there, it's a pains-taking process. No book or video can make your quilting stitches smaller ... no seminar can make your stitches more even and consistent. It's all ya'll's own tireless (well, maybe not tireless - Lord knows quilters do sew much they've GOT to get tired sometimes!), endless pursuit for perfection. A journey in and of itself. And the destination isn't just so's you can pat yourself on the back or give yourself praise (or hear it from someone else) - it's to do the best you can and give your creative spirit a voice.

The one thing that can really depress the doody out of me is whenever I hear a quilter bash her (or his) own work and progress. Too many times (usually from the self-taught quilters) I hear "My stitches aren't small enough!" or "My stitches just aren't even!" or some such nonsense. And I call it nonsense because they got THAT far all on their own! No one took them by the hand down to their local LQS or fabric store and picked out the pattern, fabric, notions, etc ... no one put their blocks together for'em. No one assembled the top for'em. THEY did that all on their own!! And certainly, no one handed them their creative spirit.

Sew, all you self-taught quilters, give yourself a pat on the back (or at least, let ME give you one!) and remind yourself, those of you who have just started to quilt, that it's a journey. And each quilt you make is a single step towards that destination. Each quilt an opportunity to stretch your creative wings, expand your horizons, and learn somethin' new. The more quilts you make, the more steps you've taken! And you've got to face it, with each quilt, you've learned somethin' new! A new technique (or an improvement on an old one), a new concept, or a new way of distilling your vision into fabric and thread! You are an amazin' bunch of dedicated people!! Ya'll took a chance on a new creative outlet!! Kudos to ya'll!! Yippee for you!! :-)

And if ya'll will let me, I'd be most honored if you let me join you on that journey. :-)

Okay, ya'll, I'm done preachin' for the moment. I'm off to get more patterns finished and uploaded! :-)

Big ol' quilty hugs!!
Connie :-)

Sunflower patttern pieces, as promised!

As promised, here's the download links to the pattern pieces for the "FAFSQ" Sunflowers block (July 2007) ... just click on the links (there's two PDFs - one per flower, since they wouldn't fit on one page) and they'll automatically download to your desktop (or wherever you want'em!)

"FAFSQ" Left Sunflower (July 2007)
"FAFSQ" Right Sunflower (July 2007)

If you have any problems downloading'em just give me a holler! And if you'd rather download'em as JPGs, just holler at me and I'll upload'em, too! :-)

Until next time, I'll be working on the September block - as promised! And remember, I'd love to hear from ya'll!! :-)

Big ol' quilty hugs!!
Connie :-)

Oops! I Forgot!

I also wanted to ask ya'll for a favor! If you see any room for improvement on the cover (or the rest of the eZine once you've got it), please let me know!! I want this to be an eZine that inspires you, motivates you, tickles you and is just a joy to read! At the risk of sounding tacky, I want this to be an eZine you'd pay for (though I'm not asking you to - it's just that we're all a bit more ... critical of what we actually have to spend money on). And I want it to be worth the time it takes you to read it! :-)

I've heard a bit of criticism on the subject of reading a "magazine" digitally versus on paper ... I'd like the eZine to be worth the extra hassle of reading it on your computer - or worth printing it out on your printer! Sew, please, comments, suggestions, critiques, ideas ... I'd love to hear them ALL!! Sew, please, start hollerin' at me! :-)

Until next time ...
Big ol' quilty hugs!!
Connie :-)

I talked to my hubby last night and he had a great suggestion ... he felt bad that his accident has put back the eZine schedule (didn't I tell ya'll what a great guy he is?!) ... so he suggested that I go ahead and post the September block to the blog (with the pattern pieces) instead of waiting until the eZine was finished.

I have to say, I'm in total agreement ... I figure I've made ya'll wait long enough and some of you, I know, have already started on the Sunflower block ... last thing I want to do is make ya'll have a WIP in your sewin' room longer than you need to! Sew in the next day or so, I'll be getting September's block finished, pattern pieces laid out, and uploaded (with the original PDF on my site as a download link). I hope ya'll will look for the link to be posted here in the next couple of days! :-)

But I'll be sending the link out earlier to those who've subscribed to the eZine ... I figure, their loyalty, encouragement, and support is the whole reason I was able to get this far! Sew they "deserve" (in quotations since I don't think my designs are that great of a prize, LOL!) to get their patterns first!

Sew, until then ... big ol' quilty hugs!!
Connie :-)

Okay, here's the pattern pieces for the Coneflowers block ... I'm sorry it took me a while, but I had to figure out my web host's preferred way of uploading files. Yeesh. Talk about reinventin' the wheel! :-/

Anyway, you have three options:

1. Click on the image to the left and be taken to a page with a fairly small JPG of the pattern pieces.

2. Click on this link and print the original JPG of the pattern pieces (at my site).

3. Click on this link and download the original PDF of the pattern pieces (at my site).

I really recommend downloading the PDF - since you'd get the original PDF file. PDFs are much better when it comes to quality (and file size = less download time). You can resize PDFs in a way that you can't resize raster images (like JPGs).

It's all up to you! :-)

Until tomorrow ... when I'm back with the Sunflower pattern pieces ...
Quilty hugs!!
Connie :-)

Alrighty ... as I said before, ya'll have been so patient, supportive and well ... just wonderful people! I'd like to thank you in a VERY small way ... at least, teeny tiny in comparison to how awesome ya'll have been! Many of you have offered kind prayers, thoughts, and vibes during this difficult time for my family ... and even more of you have remained loyal and visited my blog every day!

Sew ... I'm uploading the August BOM for the Folk Art Flavored Series Quilt. Remember, this block, as I designed it, is a finished 9 x 13 inch size. But, as always, you can resize as ya'll like. If'n you want it bigger or smaller, it's your decision! It's your quilt! Sew let your creativity and ingenuity shine through! :-)

I'm still ironing out the sizing issues with the pattern pieces (the imagers I upload here aren't the same size they are when I save them - go figure!). But in the meantime, I'm uploading the pattern pieces for the Coneflowers block (right now) and the Sunflowers block (tomorrow). I just didn't think it was cricket to make ya'll wait until the eZine comes out ... hopefully, ya'll won't argue! :-)

If you see any problems with the patterns, or just have somethin' to say 'bout'em, give me a holler! I always want to hear from ya'll!! :-)

Until tomorrow (this li'l bee is TIRED!) ... big ol' quilty hugs!!
Connie :-)

Sneak preview ... and a call for opinions!

My dearest quilty friends, ya'll have been so wonderfully patient with me and my trials and tribulations here lately, that I feel the need to impose on ya'll once again! Ya'll have been so kind as to name the eZine, give me suggestions on what patterns to include, and have even been so sweet and supportive as to give me feedback on the blog design as well. Well, no good deed ever goes unpunished, so I'm asking for help again!

I've uploaded a sneak preview of the cover (by the way, if it's too small to see, just click on it and you'll be taken to a bigger version) and I'm hopin' for some feedback, opinions, critiques - whatever you can spare the time to comment - on how it looks (ya'll have already helped sew much on the content!). Sew what do ya'll think? As you can tell, I love "beach-y" colors (considerin' I love the beach enough to move 1200 miles from where I hung my hat for 30 years, that ain't too surprisin', right?!) - but how do YA'LL feel about them? Too bright? Too "out there?" Or just too "Ow! My eyes! My eyes!?"

*** In my own defense, to me, beach-y colors are just plain cheerful and optimistic. And if anything brings out the cheery optimist in me, it's quilting and ya'll!! ***

Please give me a holler - or just take the time to vote (once again, I'm asking you to vote on another poll! I'm startin' to feel like a politician!) ... whatever you have to say, I want to hear it! :-)

Again, ya'll, thank you sew much for all your help, suggestions, comments, and howdy-do's! Ya'll have no idea how much I love hearing from you!! :-)

Quilty hugs!!
Connie :-)

Well, shucks, I was really frustrated the other day when I wanted to post some pix of the items I was talking about (the flexi-curve, the taboret, etc) - I wanted to give ya'll a better idea of what I was talkin' about - and each time I inserted an image, much like last year's fruit cake, it just did not look right at'all. In fact, VERY much like last year's fruit cake, it looked downright scary.

So, I'ma thinkin' about doing a redesign of the blog ... something that will allow me to upload images AND look "right." 'Cause really, if'n ya'll can't visualize what I'm sayin' what good does it do? I can write all day (and believe me, I sure can!) and unless I use references to what ya'll know personally, it doesn't do much good, now does it? :-/

So, one blogging site that I really like is Heather Bailey's blog ... nice, bright colors, easy to understand and navigate ... AND room for great pix! I'd also like to get some tutorials up here soon. Of course, first things first - I've got to get the eZine finished and off to your e-mailboxes! I'd really love to get that done before you start sayin' "Sew Very Creative, who?"

Alrighty, if ya'll could be so very kind as to let me know what you think about this idea, I'd awfully appreciate it ... I've got a poll gettin' set up to the left there, asking for ya'll's opinions! Hopefully, by now, ya'll realize that I care about what you have to say!! :-)

Big ol' quilty hugs!!!
Connie :)

Too much fabric or too little space??

Some days, it's almost hard to tell the difference ... aw, shucks, I'm kidding - there's NEVER any such thing as "too much fabric!" Though as your cabinets bulge, your shelves groan, and you lose small notions (and QIs), I'm sure it can SEEM that way!

Sew since throwing away that "extra" fabric is out of the question ('cause you ARE eventually going to use that novelty fabric that you bought 10 years ago, right?) and you can't exactly ask your hubby to sleep in the closet and give you the bedroom for fabric storage (I can think of no better way for a hubby to "prove his love," can you? LOL) we have to come up with clever ways to economize space AND try to keep your space an inspiring sanctuary - rather than a creativity constipator!

Closet case:
If you're lucky enough to have a closet in your sewing space (if not, you can use your side of the closet in your bedroom - who needs clothes when you can have fabric, right?), invest in a closet organizer. These are usually meant for storing sweaters, shoes, extra sheets, etc, made of canvas, and hang from your closet rod. Stack your fabric (the fold of the fabric facing "out" of course!) in these "cubbies" and keep the stacks neat by inserting cardboard (the backs of writing pads work extremely well - thick enough to be sturdy, but not so thick that you sacrifice space) between the stacks.

Get artsy with your project storage:
Invest in a (fairly) cheap taboret (the kind artists use to flat file store their work or keep supplies close at hand) ... Target (NAYY) sells a nice quality one for $30. They have "flat file" drawers that close and lock (much like a pencil case). You can store your fabrics, templates, pattern, thread, etc, in one "case" and take it with you into the next room, into the car, or just to protect your supplies until you're ready to work!

Or if you've not got a quilt plan or project in mind, but want to keep your fabric choices together, you can put your coordinated fabrics into one case for safekeeping (and to prevent you from using one of those fabrics in another quilt!).

Avoid being driven batty:
I don't know about you, but when my LQS or JoAnn's has a sale on batts, I go crazy and stock up! Nothin's worse than gettin' the itch to quilt and not having any batts on hand!

So I don't end up neck deep in batts, I use some "extra" fabric and make neckrolls ... instead of using a pillow form for the rolls, I just use unwrapped batts for the inserts. It makes your bed look pretty (I have about 6 on there, now) and it means more space in your sewin' room! Since you don't actually sleep on the "neck roll" pillows, the plastic isn't uncomfy.

Get a handle on your jellies:
Jelly rolls, a fairly new way your LQS sells "charm packs," can quickly get out of hand (especially if you're ME!). In order to keep some order in the chaos that I call my sewin' room, I use a vertical paper towel holder to store my jellies (the rolls, not the doughnuts or jams!). Find the center of the "swirl" and gently poke your finger through the hole. Once you've done that, you can slip the center of the "hole" over the center of the vertical paper towel holder! Once paper towel holder will hold about 6 ... Or if you have one of those ribbon holders that's never as filled a you thought it'd be when you bought it, you can slip the jelly "hole" over that and store more!

Windows to the soul:
Now this is where ya'll might think I'm a loon! I make curtains out of my long cuts! I'll take about 5 fabrics out of a line, put a casing in the top on each, a hem on the sides and bottom, and hang them up as curtains! I end up with pretty "multicolor" curtains that later, when I get the itchin', I can pull the hems and use the fabric in a quilt! Meanwhile, I have those pretty curtains, and MORE space for bought fabric!

Told you that you'd think I was a certified loon! :)

Nuts 'n' bolts
I saw a fabric shop do this and did it myself at home! When you buy fabric in a bolt, take the bolts and stand them up in a bushel basket! I bought about 4 of these a few years back, and every one of them is filled with bolts of fabric stood on end. It looks awfully pretty and frees up space for ... you guessed it! More fabric!

Alrighty, that's about it for now. I hope to have a few more tips on the subject tomorrow, so I sure do hope ya'll still stay tuned! :)

Tomorrow: More tips on organizing your space!

And the poll results are ...

The Quilt size most "requested:"
Lap size: 38%
Wall-hanging: 29%
Queen size: 23%
Full size: 19%
Crib size: 16%
Twin size: 14%
King size: 3%

How many of you use Electric Quilt:
Nope: 43%
Yep (EQ6): 28%
Yep (EQ5): 24%
Nope (uses different quilt software): 7%

Please keep an eye out for the next poll! :)

Tip O' the Day: "Template Tips"

Whilst I'm a bit inclined to keep all the tips I've got for the eZine, it's going to still be a bit before I'm ready to send it out, so ... I'll be posting a few handy tips now and then in the meantime. Some of these you more experienced quilters might roll your eyes at - but they might help the newbies out there. So if it's one you've heard before, be patient and I'm sure that a few'll slip on by that are new to you, too! :)

No-slip templates:
Plastic templates won't be as slippery when you mark or cut out your fabric if you dab just a tiny bit of rubber cement (a bottle costs about $2 at your local discount store) on the underside of your templates! Make sure they dry thoroughly before using them! Usually the "cure" time is about two hours ...

Smooth template cutting:
An old graphics tip ... when you're cutting out the plastic or paper templates with scissors, always move the substrate (paper or plastic that you're cutting), NEVER move the scissors. You have much more dexterity in moving the substrate ...

Error proof straight lines:
Invest in a cheap $4 Xacto knife for cutting out straight line templates ... they work perfectly on the average quilter's cutting mat (in fact, where do you think they got the idea for the cutting mat from? From graphic design!).

Taming tricky curves:
If you're feeling even more adventurous, and would like to cut out simple curves, invest in a designer's "flexible curve." They cost about $5 for a good quality 16 inch "flexible curve." Because it's flexible, you can mold it to fit the shape of the curve you'd like to cut and then move it to the plastic (or whatever medium you choose for your templates) and then cut! Whilst it's not the sturdiest tool, if you don't approach the task like the "Incredible Hulk," it should suit you just fine n' dandy.

You can also use the flexible curve for marking quilting designs on your top. Scrolls, gentle curves and loops, and the "base" for feathers ... with a flexible curve it's a snap!

Tomorrow's tips: Organizing and storing your fabric!

Update on the eZine, new patterns, etc ...

First, I want to take this moment to thank you, my dear quilty friends, for all the outpouring of love, support, and kindness we've received from you during this very difficult time. I'm still wading through literally hundreds of well-wishing, kind e-mails! I've said it before, and I'll say it again: quilters are the BEST people! Who else unthinkingly props up another person, despite their own troubles? Who else is capable of the care, consideration, and kindness? Who else is just the embodiment of the spirit of community?!!

I also want to reassure ya'll that I've still been busy as a bee. While waiting in doctors' offices, waiting to pick up the hubby from work (he works on a military base - and my badge to get on base even labels me his "official driver!" LOL), waiting while another load of laundry dries (strangely enough, even with all the changes his confinement incurred, the housework DIDN'T change - it's still waiting!!), I was on my new lappie learning EQ. It's really streamlined the whole design process! While I'm waiting for hubby to see his doctor (who pokes his knee and says "Yep, you really hurt it!"), I'm designing a quilt!! While I wait for the dishwasher to finish churning, I've designed a new block (to use in a new quilt)! While I wait for the dryer to finish a load, I've "installed" new fabrics!

No affiliation, of course, but EQ has allowed me to keep "quilting" even while I get so many other errands done, giving what creativity I have a much, much needed outlet. It's been a life (and sanity) saver. And it's more than exciting to know that I will be able to provide those of you who've taken the leap to EQ6 the files that I use to create my designs! Knowing that you'll be able to add the blocks I design to your libraries, use elements from my applique blocks the way YOU want to just tickles me to death! I really hope that ya'll share pics of your quilts or even screenshots of how you're using my designs!!

And please let me reassure you that the eZine is still in the works. My hubby's accident HAS pushed things back (obviously) but I still have the files, the artwork, the patterns, the recipes, tips, and sew much more. It's been way too much fun to quit now. And too many of ya'll have contributed for me to turn my back on the eZine now. The last thing I'd want to do is disappoint ya'll!

I'll be dusting off my Mac and getting more patterns uploaded this weekend. I think that, more than anything, is what ya'll have been waiting for! I'll have EQ loaded on my Mac (where it's easier to draw - since I have a tablet and stylus on that machine) and I'll be able to get right on back in the groove of designing, illustrating and UPLOADING!! Nothing makes me happier than to hear how much ya'll like my patterns and I love thinking that ya'll might be using them! Maybe on a quilt for a loved one? Maybe in a wall-hanging for a housewarming gift? Or maybe just to use that yummy fabric you just HAD to buy at your LQS?! :)

Now, I'm curious about ya'll ... I'm going to post a poll asking you who taught you or inspired you to quilt. Please take just a minute to tell me how YOU decided to express yourselves with quilts!!

Alrighty, to close I'll get a little bit mushy and tell ya'll how much I missed you!! I missed the e-mails, the comments ... the feeling that I was connecting with such wonderful people such as ya'll!! Every day, since my first post, I looked forward to posting here, wondering about who was reading this, what ya'll were thinking, what you've been working on ... what you're like as a person (not just someone's mom, friend, sister, daughter, etc - but who you ARE). I really hope ya'll write me and tell me! :)

Until next time ...

Happy quilting & quilty hugs!!
Connie :)

PS - Alma, Debi, Cathy, Yvette, and Heide, I'm writing you back!! Just give me a little bit longer - I have lots to say (but then, ya'll know I'm a talker!!)! :)

Update on "Superman" ...

The update on my hubby
It turns out that he blew out all three major ligaments AND ripped the meniscus (the cartilage between the bones). Worker's Comp (which, as I think I mentioned, we're forced to use since it happened at his work) has taken it's time getting back to us ... but it seems that the wonderful HR woman assigned to us through his work has worked her magic and we're getting a date for surgery!! This has to be the first time I've ever been happy about a loved one "going under the knife." : /

It's been brutal for him. Not a man to sit still longer than five minutes, having to be waited on and "adjustments made for" has really taken it's toll. Once a VERY active Cubmaster for our local Cub Scout Pack, he's had to step down and will be missing many activities in the next few months. It's really been such a devastating time for him.

Now he's back to work and I'm still recovering from taking care of him. Now he can drive his colleagues crazy! Not from being demanding - please don't get me wrong - but from trying to DO everything himself. If I had a penny every time that he tried to do something he shouldn't, on his own, I'd be the richest woman on earth (and you can bet I'd spend it all on fabric!). He's so stubborn! I've had to talk him out of making dinner (crutches on a potentially slippery, wet floor, anyone?), driving to work (it's his right leg that's near useless - his left, from relying on it so heavily, is almost as bad!), and much, much more!!! I swear, it's like babysitting a toddler who's just determined to touch a hot stove!

So, he'll be having surgery on the 18th - he's, of course, looking forward to it. It will be "doing something." It will be a first step on the journey to reclaiming his life. Now why aren't as I excited as he is??

To tide ya'll over ....

While I'm finishing up the Dragonfly panel, I've got a couple of quick patterns for ya'll to help you get your homes decorated for Christmas early! Or make a whole bunch and give'em as gifts or sell at your guild's Christmas Bazaar (which is what I'm doing this year!) You can also blow up the patterns and use them to adorn a pillow! Use'em however you like - hopefully, they've got a million uses (okay, perhaps that's a bit of an exaggeration)!

This is a "blast from the past" in our house ... we made these ornaments a couple of years ago and these were sew simple and sew adorable sitting on our tree! Appliqued with fusible and then optionally blanket-stitched around the edges (to give'em that "homespun look"), the longest amount of time they take to complete is the time you take choosing the fabrics!

The mouth on "Frosty" is a trail of French Knots. For "Frosty's" and Santa's eyes, you can just use a cluster of French knots if you don't feel like cutting tiny circles. And you can even make the cute little scarf 3-D by simply sewing ribbon (or a ragged edge strip of fabric) under the first piece - sandwiching it between the background and the first applique piece. Make sure to cut it fairly long - and then simply trim after you've lightly tied in a bow!

For extra "dimension" slip a tiny bit of stuffing under the pieces such as the snowman's body and head (which is all one piece), and his nose. For Santa, slip a tiny bit of stuffing under his cheeks and nose!

If you want to do these up extra quick, just use felt! Chances are, as the Christmas season rolls around, most homes have PLENTY of felt on hand! If not, these ornaments would be perfect for those themed color packs of felt that you can find at your local crafts store (or WalMart)!

To finish, sew around the edges with either a blanket stitch and stuff - then finish sewing the blanket stitch to close. Also adorable (and very quilty looking) is to sandwich the appliqued top with another piece of fabric right sides together and sew, leaving a small opening for stuffing. Then slip stitch the opening closed. If you like, you can also slip stitch a faux binding or ribbon on the edges!

These patterns, as I've always used'em, are 4 inches square. Not too big and not too small for hangin' on the Christmas tree! But like I said, you can always use'em at whatever size suits you best! :)

Until next time ...

Happy quilting & quilty hugs!!
Connie :)

Update on hubby ...

I talked to our ortho specialist and described hubby's symptoms and it SEEMS like a complete ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear and from the symptoms I described (lack of stability, unable to put ANY weight on it, mainly) it sounds as though my dear, sweet husband will more than likely require surgery to fix it. :(

So, please, to those who're listening out there, please send a few good thoughts his way. He's a wonderful man (far, far better than I deserve) and will most likely never recover completely from this. As it is, not even considering the excruciating pain he's going through NOW, he's got to be on a plane ALONE for over 10 hours with 3 layovers in 3 different cities. He's a bit on the "stiff upper lip" side - when it comes to himself, not others - and will more than likely try to muddle his way through the airports rather than ask for help. :(

So, I'm begging you, dear friends, please send some kind thoughts his way - and if anyone would be so kind as to pray for him, well, that would be wonderful.

Thank you SEW very, very, much!!

Happy quilting & big ol' quilty hugs!!

Yeesh ...

Okee-dokee ... as if this week hasn't been overwhelming enough, I just got a call from my hubby saying that his business trip to the UK has been cut short. Normally, that'd be GREAT news, but in this case, it's not so.

The bad news first ...
While jumping off a boat he works on for the Navy (the ONLY way to disboard, dismount - whatever you call it), he landed wrong and has quite possibly torn a ligament. He can't walk - can't even put an ounce of weight on his leg. And this is a man who completed our DIY move last year with a blister on his big toe the size of a golf ball (I'm not exaggerating - it was horrible and HUGE - it HURT just to look at it!!). I do have pics if anyone's brave enough to see 'em (as long as I don't have to see them again!!)

Sooo ... for the next couple of days, I'm going to be playing nurse (again - if you remember the rotavirus episode - we're STILL not allowed to say the "R" word in this house). And chances are, depending on how bad he is as he gets off the plane tomorrow evenin', it will mean that the eZine will be late coming to your mailboxes.

... sigh ...

I am so tired of the delays - first it was EQ6 being back-orderd, then it was finding out that a Windows emulator won't run it as well as I'd hoped so I could run it on my Mac, being blocked by Blogspot, then it was a last minute realization that EQ6 files won't work in EQ5, and now this. It's really frustrating for me - and unfortunately, it seems as though ya'll are going to be disappointed and frustrated, too.

I really hope ya'll understand and aren't too upset with me. For quite a while I've been doing this all on my own in terms of writing, designing patterns, designing the eZine, trying to sweet talk the manufacturers into sharing secrets with me that I can pass on to ya'll, and managing the e-mail list. So I hope ya'll will understand that I have been doing the best I can.

So the LAST thing I want ya'll to do is think that I've stopped trying ... and to think that I've let ya'll down. 'Cause honestly, that's the last thing I want. I sincerely have been working day and night, doing my best to get this off the ground and make it the best it can possibly be.

Now, I do have some GREAT news ...
I've gotten volunteers!! YIPPEE! I've got four wonderful people who've volunteered to help - writing, proofing, giving me the scoop on their local activities and events and general advice and opinions!! So while my hubby's accident DOES put the eZine back a few days, it'll be even BETTER. I've talked to them at length and they're talented, intelligent, funny, wise and just, well ... AWESOME!! Trust me when I say that quilters, especially these kind souls, are THE best people EVER!

I'd really like to recognize them (and further embarrass them, of course!) here - 'cause they definitely deserve major kudos!! (last names withheld for privacy):

Debi (who's volunteered to write articles!! YAY!!)

Anna (who's also volunteered to write articles!! YAY!)

Gladys (who's volunteered to help me "iron the wrinkles" out of the redwork patterns! Yippee!)

Yvette (who's volunteered to give me the skinny on local events!! Yippee!!)

Alma (who's sharing AWESOME patterns and ideas!! YAY!!!)

Cathy (who's sharing ideas and has volunteered to help me "iron the wrinkles" out of the eZine's design!!)

Thank you SEW much, guys!! I know this is going to be wonderful - I am SO excited!! These ladies REALLY deserve a hand - so please be sure to leave comments here letting them know how much ya'll appreciate their volunteering spirit and talent!! Without them, it'd more n' likely take even LONGER for the first issue to reach your creative hands!!

if anyone else might find it in their hearts to volunteer, I'd LOVE it! It doesn't have to be anything too taxing - mayhap just preview patterns? Give suggestions on what you'd like to see? Nominate someone for our featured quilter? Or just holler at me about your guild's quilt show (FREE publicity for your show - how can you beat that?!). It's ALL appreciated!! :)

Alrighty, I've got to go and pick up my hubby's crutches ... one thing's for sure - he's sure going to get some use out of'em. He's too ornery to just sit on the couch! :)

And 'sides that, while he's still gone, I have several patterns to finish and upload - yes, I know, I've been saying that for a few days now - but I'm j-u-u-u-u-s-t about done! :)

Until then ...
Happy quilting & big ol' quilty hugs!!
Connie :)

Please help!!

If ya'll notice, I've got a new poll at the left - asking if you use Electric Quilt and if so, what version. I'm asking because I'm going to include downloadable EQ project files in the eZine and I just found out that I can't "back-save" to EQ5 from EQ6. I really don't want to leave anyone out, so I'm thinking about buying EQ5 as well ... but I'd like to know first about how many of you actually use it and if so, what version, or how many of you use a different quilting application.

Please take a moment and take the poll! It'll help me make the most out of the patterns I design for you! And please vote even if you don't use quilting software! :)

Thank you SEW much!! Until next time ...

Happy quilting & quilty hugs!!
Connie :)

Whoops! I forgot!!

I meant to post the results of the votes for fave pattern types - I'm removing the poll from the page (since the votin's over anyway) and replacing it with links I think you'll find useful, helpful and just plain interesting! :) I hope you'll give'em a look-see! :)

The results are:
Traditional applique patterns: 13 votes
Fusible applique: 21 votes
ANY applique: 22 votes
Patchwork & piecing: 42 votes

Now, I figure ya'll already figured out why I asked ya'll that - I want to make sure to give ya'll the kinds of patterns you want! And it looks like I need to get a few more piecing patterns up here! :) So, I will! Sew, keep an eye out, ya'll!! :)

Until then ... big ol' quilty hugs!!!
Connie :)

Update ...

Hi ya'll! I'm sorry I've not uploaded any new patterns in a coon's age! :( Things around here have been awfully hectic ... packed hubby off for an extended biz trip to the UK (lucky him, huh?!) and made him PROMISE to visit several quilt shops in the area - with the hopes that I'll get a few squishies when he gets home!! :) Also, school for us is starting in about 2 weeks, so I've had to get the kiddos outfitted best I can (everything's picked over already!!). Then, what with the whole blog situation (that was about 12 hours that I'll never get back!!) and the overwhelming amount of e-mail I've been getting (THANK YOU!! I LOVE hearing from ya'll!) ... well, I'm not complaining in any way, shape or form, but it does set me back a bit in designing. :)

New Pattern Coming up SOON!!
Right now, I'm finishing up a 3 panel dragonfly applique - I've gotten at least 14 requests for dragon flies! You can use them all together as a wall-hanging - or split them up and use it as a "medallion" or just use them as regular ol' blocks. I think it's turning out real cute - there's a couple of ducks in there, too! What's a scene with pussy willows without ducks, right?! :)

And the eZine ....
I'm still working on the eZine (And Sew On ...) and we're up to over 36 pages! YIPPEE!! It has been SEW much fun working on the eZine, hearing from ya'll, and getting to design appliques!! All of my loves wrapped up in a big ol' fabric covered package! :) I've got the download page designed and ready to go - so once the 'Zine is done, I'll send ya'll the link and you can go and download it from there. I figure that way, I won't clog up ya'lls e-mail boxes with big files. But don't worry - I've been using PDF files for forever, so I'm experienced at making sure that the PDF won't be a nightmare to download! :)

For those of you with EQ software ...
Also, I just wanted to let ya'll with EQ know that I'll be putting in downloadable links to EQ project files - I figure that might make things even easier? It might be a bit of a pain in the rear end to download, size wise, but hopefully they'll be worth it! All you'll have to do it "click" the link in the PDF and the download will automatically start ... and if any of you are mega-experienced with EQ and want to give me some pointers on how to make it as painless as possible, I'd sure appreciate it! I'll also be getting Quilt-Pro soon, so I don't leave ya'll out, either! :)

And you oughta see ...
Oh, and one last thing - sort of a plug, I guess. I've been taking a class at Quilt University (a site a wonderful lady gave me - I had never heard of it! LOL) ... it's a "Math for Quilters" class, taught by Dena Cain. And I have to tell you ... if you ever feel the need to sharpen up your math skills or need help designing your own blocks or patterns (and who doesn't?!), I'd HIGHLY recommend this class! Her class and instructions are super easy to understand, without feeling "dumbed down." She's been making the class VERY fun and exciting (and I never thought math could be exciting OR fun!!)! The tuition isn't much at all, either - only about $27, IIRC. And you definitely get "bang-for-your-buck!"

Okee-dokee ... I have oodles of e-mails to reply to and I have 4 quilts I'm designing - complete quilts. I'll post "teasers" here, but the rest of the patterns and instructions will be in the eZine. Mainly because I don't think a simple blog is the right medium for'em. For some reason, I work better in InDesign (what I use for layout - then I export to PDF) than Blogspot! What is it they say about teaching ol' dinosaurs tricks? ;)

I should have the dragonflies posted soon! Please keep an eye out! :)

Until then ....

Big ol' quilty hugs!!
Connie :)

Strippy Log Cabin

Here's another easy paper-piecing pattern. This is a paper-pieced variation of a paper-pieced "Log cabin" - I'm calling it "strippy" because to me, it looks like what you'd find in a string quilt! :)

This pattern is 10 inches square - when you print out this pattern, make to sure to leave AT LEAST a 1/4 inch seam allowance beyond the actual pattern. Paper-piecing makes the pattern "shrink," you know! :)

You could also use this as a "crazy quilt" pattern of sorts - using the strips to showcase your gorgeous hand-embroidery! And remember to think about including a small embroidered spider in your crazy quilts - it's a symbol of GOOD LUCK! If you don't know how to embroider a spider, watch out for directions for hand embroidery in the September issue of the eZine! :)

Okee-dokee ... I'll have more up SOON! Please consider using one (or more) of these patterns to make a Hug Quilt for someone you love! :)

Happy quilting & quilty hugs!
Connie :)

Autograph Heart Block

This block, perfect for a quick "hug quilt," measures 10 inches square and is paper-pieced (sew it's EASY!). Please consider using this block to make a hug quilt (or any other kind of quilt, of course!) for a friend or loved one that needs a hug - or for a victim of the Minneapolis tragedy.

Pieces 1, 4, and 8 are the "heart" while piece 7 is the "autograph" strip. Pieces 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 are the "border" of the block. 4 inch sashing strips between 3 rows of 2 blocks each and for outer borders would make a quilt 32 x 46 - perfect for a hug quilt or autograph quilt!

Please stay tuned for MORE easy to sew pieced blocks!

Until then ...

Happy quilting & quilty hugs!!
Connie :)

Our Thoughts & Prayers ...

I've always said that quilters have the biggest hearts and have the kindest souls. So, I'm sending out a plea to all you quilters out there to send good thoughts and prayers to those who've been affected by the tragedy in Minneapolis.

Even those that didn't lose a loved one have been affected by this terrible tragedy. If you have a friend that was in the area, or lived nearby, or even used to travel that bridge - please consider giving them a "Hug Quilt." Sometimes, something as "small" as a hug quilt can uplift the spirits of someone who's undergone severe stress. Knowing that someone cares can make a HUGE difference!!

Now, for those of you who think "Well, by the time I finish it, they won't be so upset anymore" - a hug quilt is a small quilt (24 x 36 is fine - it just needs to be big enough to "hug") and usually consists of "easy-to-piece" blocks. Believe me, I've made more than a few in my lifetime (most of them when I was just starting out in quilting), and they go QUICK! It's just a matter of finding an easy block that you like.

Consider an "Autograph" block - there's several patterns for them out there. And there's got to be one that you like (and for the beginners out there, one you can do quickly and easily, no matter how many quilts you've made - or even if it's your first one!). To make it easier, I'm going to go through all my pieced patterns and upload a few paper-piecing patterns for some EASY and QUICK patterns. Please consider using one or more for a hug quilt for someone you know who's been affected.

Again, my love, prayers and thoughts go out to all of those who've been affected by this horrible tragedy ... I know I've used that same word - "tragedy" - several times, but no other word seems to fit. :(

Quilty hugs to you all & God Bless!!

Can Anyone Help???

Every once in a while, when I can't find a requested pattern (or can't make it myself), I'll post a plea to all you wonderful quilters out there ... and here's the first one!

A very nice lady e-mailed me asking me if I could find a missing pattern for her. She's looking for the SANTA SAMPLER from MINIATURE QUILTS, Issue 21. This is a foundation/paper-pieced pattern. And ya'll, I get the feeling that this is a UFO she'd REALLY love to finish!

If you have made a quilt from this pattern and can send me a pic, I can recreate the pattern for her (if you no longer have the actual pattern). It doesn't have to be a professional photo - I can even work from photos that Uncle Bill took with his finger on the lens!

So, PLEASE, if any of ya'll have this pattern or a pic of a quilt you made from this pattern, please e-mail me and let's help her get her quilt DONE! :)

If anyone has a pattern they'd love to find or would love to see, please e-mail me! I would LOVE to help! After all, that's what we're here for! :)

Happy quilting & quilty hugs!!
Connie :)

YIPPEE! I'm back & with a NEW pattern!!

Whew! As I was GOING to mention this morning, I was out for the last two days because of a vicious migraine (had them since I was 7 - and usually no big deal - but this time I had the unholy triad of side effects - nausea, vomiting, and loss of vision in one eye). But what do I come back to? A whole BUNCH of e-mails from ya'll letting me know my blog was down, wondering what happened, and if I was alright! THANK you so MUCH for your concern!! :)

What happened, best as I can tell, is that somehow, my blog got high enough rankings that it looked suspicious - that I was somehow manipulating the stats through some sort of robot or whatchumacallit. So they temporarily blocked my blog from being published. Stinky, huh? :(

So I spent ALL day moving my blog to WordPress - an account "attached" to my web site - but as it turns out, WordPress is REALLY hard to use - 'specially for me! "Sides, I'd rather design patterns than futz around wading through miles and miles of code. :)

So, here I am back again - Blogger wrote me a nice note of apology and all seems to be well, here. And I'd rather be HERE, truth be told. For one, the template's much prettier! :)

So, I went ahead and designed another quilt - this one isn't a series, per se - but you'll have to sign up for the rest of it via the eZine, now properly named "And Sew On ...." In the upcoming issue, you'll receive instructions on creating the rooster AND the "Grandmother's Fan" variation (though I'm sure some of you have a better name for it).

(For the "GF" variation, a VERY talented fellow in the rec.crafts.textiles.quilting Newsgroup I haunt, created a beautiful Amish style radiating sun like the one behind the rooster - and my first thought was "That would be PERFECT for the background of a rooster applique!")

In any case, the center "medallion" is 18.5 x 18.5 finished - so if you print out the image here on my blog, you'll need to blow it up 200%. Or you can sign up for the eZine and get the pattern pieces separated. But there IS more to that pattern - if you want to see it (much less get the separated pattern pieces AND the instructions) you'll have to subscribe. :)

I have more cookin' - and you'll get a peek SOON! :)

Until then ...

Happy quilting & quilty hugs!!
Connie :)