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??