Saturday, December 31, 2011

"The journey of a year is drawing to a close. Cherish the moments, all of them, even the ups and downs. Cherish the places you've visited, the people you've seen. Say good-bye to those whose journeys have called them someplace else. Know you can always call them back by thinking loving thoughts. Know all those you love will be there for you when you need them most. Honor the lessons you've learned, and the people who helped you learn them. Honor the journey your soul mapped out for you. Trust all the places you've been. Make a scrapbook in your heart to help you remember.
Look back for a moment. Reflect in peace. Then let this year draw to a close. All parts of the journey are sacred and holy. You've learned by now. Take time to honor this ending-though it's never really the end. Go to sleep tonight. When you wake up tomorrow a new adventure will begin."

-Melody Beattie 'Journey to the Heart'

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Honor the Ending. . .

On a shelf in my sewing room, sits this primitive needlework that I embroidered on an piece of linen I aged, then framed a few years ago.

The quote comes from the book:  'Journey to the Heart' by Melody Beattie. It is my favorite and has always honored the present year's end as well as the beginning of the next. . .

It reads:  Let the journey unfold. Let it be magical. The way has been prepared. People will be expecting you. Yes, you are being led.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The wonder of it all

Yes, today was the day we decorated the Christmas tree. How magical it looked with all the ornaments on it!

 . . . and what do you suppose he was thinking? . . .

Root Beer Cookies

My friend Lisa recently shared the recipe for these delightful cookies with me.Yummy! After tasting them at our Christmas Party, I couldn't wait to bake a batch for my family. An extra bonus is the warm smell of Root Beer in the kitchen while they bake! Here's the recipe:

Root Beer Cookies
(Makes approximately 42 cookies)

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter/margarine
1 egg
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. Root Beer extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp.baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Drop by rounded spoonfuls on a greased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake 6-8 minutes.

When cool frost.

Root Beer Glaze
2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 1/2 tsp. Root Beer extract
2 TBL hot water


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Going Home. . .

This morning in an email, I received an invitation from the UNL International Quilt Study Center welcoming me to their Quilt of the Month series.

I followed the link to their website and read the current article for the December feature. Amazing! I thought. This created some curiosity, so I wanted to see what the previous month's feature had been.

I viewed a recent video of Yvonne Wells explaining her quilting techniques in a 'Question and Answer' session with an audience. I stopped the video in glee, when I distinctly heard her say . . ."I get energy from disarray. The more cluttered it is, the better I can quilt." (Boy, can I identify with this! I thought.)

Yvonne goes on to tell the group that she works on the floor. Explaining to her audience that she, . . . "has to spread it out to work." And, that anyone entering her home would . . . "need to be careful, because it's there on the floor".

When asked if she works with a group of women to complete her quilts, Yvonne answers that she cannot work with anyone. "I can hardly work with my husband in the room." she replied. (A woman after my own heart!)

To view the work of Yvonne Wells and to listen to her video go to Her quilt "Going Home" was featured in the November Quilt of the Month series. The description that follows the quilt explains Yvonne's own message portrayed by this work:

Going Home is a story quilt about choosing to do the right thing. When asked about the meaning of this quilt, the artist Yvonne Wells explains, “Lots of times when kids or other people group together they get into stuff that they shouldn’t. Now, all four of these birds were all flying in one direction and one turned, because the other three were not doing right. So he decided to turn and go back home.”
Sometimes Wells’s message in a quilt is meant to teach. She explains, “The teachable moment is that you don’t have to follow the crowd always. When things are going wrong, use your own mind, turn around, and do the right thing.”

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Saint Nick time. . .

Christmas decor is always fun!

Velvet, wool and chenille are just a few fabric options you can choose for making this wonderful homage to St. Nick. Easy fusing finishes this pillow in no time. Machine appliqued and embellished with buttons. This pillow measures 16" x 16".

Pattern is $6.00 on my patterns page.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Happy TNT Holiday!

Earlier this week, our TNT (Tuesday Night Therapy) Quilting Group, honored this Holiday Season with a really fun dinner party.

My friend Dortha is an amazing and gracious hostess! Her home was decorated festively, and she had set a truly elegant table. We all brought food to share and small gifts for everyone.

The best part of the evening was when we exchanged the quilts we had sewn for each other. I was the lucky recipient of two beautiful creations that Judy had worked so hard on. What a wonderful surprise!

The wide variety of quilts made it especially fun. We were all V-E-R-Y nervous about sewing something 'special' for the other person. . .

Earlier in the year, each of us had drawn a name. Then we provided about three yards of fabric for that person to sew a quilt for us. This was our 'gift' to each other for this Holiday Season. And what a wonderful gift it was! We were all very pleased and grateful.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

An easy block to begin with

This is a block I recently put together for my friend Kristi's Birthday. Following the rules of our sewing group, she provided the instructions and the fabric for each of us to sew and complete one block for her. When all is said and done, you end up with a 6 1/2" unfinished sawtooth Star block.

 This turned out to be so much fun, that I had to sew one up with my own color choices. I started by cutting all the pieces:
  • From the center Star fabric: cut one 3 1/2" square.
  • For Star points: cut eight 2" squares. 
  • Then from the background fabric: cut four 2" x 3 1/2" rectangles and four 2" x 2" squares.

Make four Flying Geese units: 
  • Draw a diagonal line from the corner, on the wrong side of the eight 2" Star fabric squares. 
  • Align a marked 2" Star fabric square with one end of a 2" x 3 1/2" background fabric rectangle. 
  • Sew on the marked line.

Maintain the correct placement of  the pieces by chain stitching them - butting each one up against the other.

 Trim, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance. Press this unit open, the seam will be towards the darker fabric.

 Repeat the process, adding the second set of 2" squares and overlapping the first set. Press the unit open, again with the seam toward the darker fabric. This completes your Flying Geese units.

Trim, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance. Press all units.

Lay out your pieces in their correct orientation to each other in order to begin sewing the block together.

I have found this sequence of pinning to be very helpful. It keeps both the edges from shifting, as well as  the seams aligned as I sew.

Voila! A beautiful block. After seeing it finished,  I decided to add a small 1 1/4" inner border, a 2 1/2"  outer border and make it into a small quilt.

I machine quilted with my Bernina sewing machine, using the Walking Foot. I often 'mark' or establish my quilting lines using blue Painter's tape. I found that the same piece of  tape can be used again and again on the same project.

After quilting, it's time to 'Square-up' the piece.
  • Machine baste 1/4" from the edges of the top fabric, to stabilize all the layers. 
  • Use both a horizontal and a vertical seam line for alignment with your straight edge. 
  • trim only on the right outer edge of your straight edge, turning the quilt to work on all four sides. 
 It's very important to note: if you use the edge of the quilt top fabric to align your straight edge, you are only cutting off the excess fabrics and not 'Squaring-up' your work.

To illustrate, this photo shows that your fabrics sometime shift a little in the quilting process. But 'Squaring-up' helps to correct the alignment of the entire quilt. Adding the binding usually covers most of your 'corrected' areas.

For binding, I like to use Thimbleberries' Lynette Jensen's formula. She has you cutting 2 3/4" pieces for your binding strips, and sew the binding to the quilt using a 3/8" seam allowance. This measurement will produce a beautiful 1/2" wide finished binding.

And here is the finished little quilt. I was very pleased with the results. Thanks so much Kristi!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Welcome to my new blog!

Welcome to Gingham Leaf Designs!

Today, I am truly giving thanks to my wonderful husband for creating my new website and blog! I am ever so grateful, to have so much love and support here at home. After creating and teaching my patterns locally for the last few years, I decided (with much prodding and encouragement by the aforementioned) that it was time to share them with more of you.

There is a learning curve for all of this, so please send me your best thoughts and comments. Don't forget to check back often. But most of all - enjoy!

Best wishes,