Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Holidays

Finished this Prairie Schooler ornament design this weekend.  Want to start a new tradition of making at least one cross stitched ornament each year.  Prairie Schooler has so many great santa designs too!

Ever since receiving these darling ornaments last year, I have wanted to decorate a kitchen tree. 
When I found the cookie cutters last summer thought they would look perfect on the kitchen tree.

Couldn't resist this unusual doily at an antique store recently, and I can never pass up an old army blanket at a good price!  Want to share our favorite holiday cookie recipe with you.

Orange Cookies

1 cup butter (softened)
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
8 ounces sour cream
1 egg
1 T. orange peel
1/3 cup orange juice
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt

Beat butter until fluffy.  Add half of the flour, and mix in sugar, sour cream, egg, orange peel, orange juice, baking powder and salt.  Stir in remaining flour.  Bake at 375 degrees on greased baking sheet.

Orange Icing

3 cups powdered sugar
2 T. butter
1 t. orange peel
3-4 T. orange juice

Mix all together and frost cookies with orange icing when cool.

Hope you are all having the merriest of holidays and have time to get a few stitches in! 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cherry Cake

These sweet Lancaster cake stand blocks were received as part of a swap, and I have decided to put them together with alternating appliqued blocks with a cherry theme.  Now I'll have to look for a real cherry cake recipe - does anyone have a good one?

Received these darling appliqued baskets recently from another block exchange in which we made the baskets from Blackbird Designs' Cold Wind Blows book.  Just think they are adorable and will add a few more to make a doll quilt this winter. 

Its a beautiful day today and a little warmer after cold weather for this part of California - 29 degrees the last two mornings.  Thank goodness our lemon tree doesn't look too worse for wear though.  The remaining turkey is bubbling away on the stove for soup this next week.  Its definitely soup weather!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

October Last

Making some progress on the Moon and Stars quilt.  I need to make more of the triangle settings so the pattern will emerge.  The block on the left doesn't belong where it is, but wanted a picture to see how it would look with a different setting. 

Found the dot fabric for the backing today.  I'm pleased with it as I just love dots and these were the perfect color combo - also 40% off at a Halloween fabric sale!  Hopefully purchasing the backing fabric will inspire me to finish this quilt - I'm really amazed at the way this quilt is designed, and like the coverlet effect.  Had oodles of cute trick or treaters this year, so I sat and appliqued while waiting for the doorbell to ring.  I'm back to red and green applique for a bit, so will show that next time.  Happy Halloween to all!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Moon and Stars

Taking a break from the beloved red and green quilts to work on something totally different.  Just finished the first block for the Moon and Stars quilt from McCall's Vintage Quilting magazine, Spring 2006 issue.  I loved this quilt from the moment I saw it, and this seemed to be the right time of year to start it!  The antique quilt was made in Texas in 1896.  Once more blocks are finished and put together, will post so the stars in the corners show up.  Don't you just love the graphic appeal of two-color quilts?

So excited that the pieced baskets from the Reproduction group swap arrived this last week.  They are all so unique and wonderful - so fun to see the creativity and marvelous work that went into these blocks and am thinking about how to put them together.  Will definitely make at least two to six more blocks to go with these. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Basket Bug

Yes, I too have been bitten by the cute basket bug, and have been making the Trick or Treat baskets from the Where the Cold Wind Blows book from Blackbird Designs.  These baskets will be swapped out and will eventually make their way to quilters all across the US and Australia.  Can't wait until October to see the baskets I get back!
Its the end of the gardening season, so I have been harvesting the seed pods from my black-eyed susan flowers to plant again next summer.  I love  these flowers as they are so colorful, drought-resistant and long lived.  I always plant a big patch outside my kitchen window to enjoy all summer long.  I will have way too many seeds to use myself, so if you are one of the first ten friends who would like some seeds, please leave me a comment, and I'll get a packet of susan seeds off in the mail to you.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Old Glory

Finished this pillow just in time for the 4th of July - its called Old Glory by Crab-apple Hill.  I do love a nice ruffle on a pillow, don't you?  Enjoying fireworks tonight, and bbq ribs, blue cheese potato salad, corn on the cob, baked beans, and rhubarb strawberry crumble for dinner.  Watching Jazz by Ken Burns this afternoon.  What a glorious day - hope your 4th was just as good!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Signature Quilts

My mother-in-law received this signature quilt from her Mother when she got married in 1941.  The quilt contains embroidered signatures of her relatives, some of whom I have met.  Capitola and Clell Gray's signatures are there - they attended our wedding 30 years ago.  Wish I had gotten to know them better.  Adren Denny's signature is there - we purchased his house years ago, and our oldest daughter now lives there.  My husband's grandparents, William and Edna Green, have their signatures included and it was so fun to see my husband's surprised expression when he realized this.  The quilt is so precious to us and will be passed along to our daughters someday.

I recently participated in a signature block swap with 20 other online friends, and am looking forward to including their signed blocks in a quilt.  Lots of ideas for making the quilt are coming to mind, including adding the signature blocks to house blocks, star blocks or maybe a crazy quilt.  These blocks contain memories of happy times getting to know people who I may never meet from all over the world, and from several U.S. states.  Have you made a signature quilt and how did you decide to include the signatures?

Saturday, June 19, 2010


My dear mother-in-law passed away last Sunday after a long illness. We were so fortunate to inherit some of the quilts made by her, her mother and her aunts. They are completely hand pieced.  These quilts were carefully packed away in her cedar chest and we never knew they existed. 

Just love both of these quilts and feel so lucky to keep them in our family.  My husband remembers his grandma doing a lot of "sewing" when he was young, but doesn't recall his mom making any of these quilts.  It is fun to really study the fabrics and quilting designs up close. 
Back in the early 1990s when I first started quilting, I remember getting my mother in law her first rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat for her birthday, and showing her how to make a log cabin quilt.  She had a lot of fun making it, but never mentioned that she had made quilts before, using the traditional methods.  She was a beautiful southern lady who looked like a 1940s movie star.  She traveled across the country from Kansas City to California to marry my father in law, who had just enlisted in the navy in 1941.  She was only 16 years old!  Now I know where my daughters get their courage and independent streak!  We really miss her...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Project Rotation

After two weeks of piecing spool blocks, think its time to do something new, so got out these appliqued pieces from the Birdsong quilt (Jan Patek's pattern) which have been in a drawer for a couple of years.  All the appliqued strips are made and need to be sewed together with the connector pieces.  


The spool blocks will be tucked away in this bowl for a while until I feel like hand piecing again.  I'm a firm believer in project rotation, and eventually they get finished.  This works, in theory, as long as I can resist the urge to start something new!    Would love to hear your thoughts on this - do you work on a single project from start to finish?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Daylilly Dreams

Despite the cool weather this year, the daylillies are in full bloom. We get the plants from Amador Flower Farm which has acres of these beauties.

Almost a table full of spools - up to 21 now - so making progress.  A few of my favorite hand piecing tools are shown in the dish.  The little omnigrid ruler is just perfect for marking the sewing lines.  Also discovered that DMC thread in a neutral color works great and is nice and thin so it doesn't make the seam allowance overly large.  Applique pins work great for matching points, and the thread doesn't get hung up on them too often.  A fine point mechanical pencil is great for marking the sewing lines, and has shown up on all the fabrics so far.  What hand piecing tools do you use to make the process easier? 

Friday, May 28, 2010

Vintage Spools

Have noticed some sweet spool blocks posted on various blogs lately.  Seeing these made me remember a quilt I have always admired in the classic Quilts, Quilts, Quilts book.  Started pulling fabrics and hand piecing these 6 inch blocks this week.  This is my first venture into hand piecing, and I don't know what took me so long.  I love to hand piece, as its so portable and accurate!  My machine piecing skills leave a lot to be desired...  How many of you are hand piecers out there?  Would love to hear about your experiences!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Red Runneth Over

So nice to finally have a finish and popped this quilt in the washer and then into the dryer as I was anxious to get the crinkly, antique look.  Didn't give it a second thought (or look) before drying, and rats, one of the red fabrics bled, despite prewashing the fabric!!

Will try washing it again with a color catcher and see if the red comes out.  My daughter, Jamie, told me not to worry, it just makes the quilt look more antique.  Bless her...  I'm happy with the echo quilting in the borders - boy did it take a long time though!  Thanks for any suggestions you have on getting the red out.
I'm happy to report that the color catchers worked like a dream and the red came out!  Thank you all for your suggestions!  -Dixie

Friday, May 14, 2010

Millenium Garden Quilting

The Millenium Garden quilt (Jan Patek) is all basted for hand quilting and has been languishing for a while.  Time to get it out and finished.  Have started echo quilting around the shapes, and like the effect, but this is going to take a while, so I need to try to set some goals.  If I can stick with some deadlines this quilt will finally be finished before the summer is over!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Spencer Museum Quilt - Crown of Thorns Block

This block took a little longer to make as it has more complicated pieces, but I'm happy with it.  Had to piece the background, but I don't think its too noticeable.  Love the pieced fabrics that are used to make pieces in blocks in the old quilts - I think they add so much character.   Finishing this block means the Spencer quilt is 1/3 done!  Going to head in a different fabric choice direction with the next set of blocks.  Hope it works out!

Planted five different heirloom tomato plants, some basil, and a Japanese maple tree last weekend.  Also need to plant a bay laurel tree, but not sure where it will go.  Very excited about this as we use a lot of bay leaves in our cooking.  Reading Frida, a novel about Frida Kahlo written by Barbara Mujica, which is told in the voice of her sister, Cristina.  So far, its very good!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Birds and Berries

Happy with the colors in this block.  Its a design from the Blackbird ladies.  Aren't their designs wonderful? The weather this Spring is amazing, and the lupine flowers are in bloom now.  Everytime I see them I am reminded of our trip to Alaska.  I got the seeds there when we visited three years ago.  Currently reading Mr. Shivers which is turning out to be a very scary book.  Going to make chicken enchiladas tomorrow - yum!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Primitive Birds & Baskets

More applique blocks finished - its fun to pull out old projects - they seem new again!  These blocks were so fun to applique and love looking at the older fabrics.

Had a fun day in San Francisco on Friday - visited with Holly, the world's best hair stylist!  Even if I wasn't her Mom, I would still say that!  The weather was beautiful and we had a delicious lunch afterward - turkey, cranberry and brie sandwiches.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Early Applique

This is the first block I made while learning to needleturn applique.  The pattern is a modification of one of Blackbird Design's blocks.  My wonderful applique teacher, Gretchen, explained that with all the time I was spending prepping blocks with freezer paper and basting the seam allowance under, I could be making two blocks!  I still like to trace the pattern with a trusty General's white chalk pencil though.  Don't we all rely on a safety net from time to time?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Cherry Tree Block

Ah, such a pretty Spring this year.  Just finished the first block from the Beyond the Cherry Trees quilt.  Changed the pattern a bit, and I like it, but think it lacks the whimsy of the original.  But isn't that what makes quilting fun - its a creative ride all the way. 

Friday, March 19, 2010

Great Grandmother's Rose

My great grandmother owned this quilt, and I am lucky to still have it. I shudder to think I once thought about cutting it up to make quilted bunnies (horrors!)  I decided to try to reproduce a block. Think I will use the block in a crib sized quilt instead. Its fun to feel the connection with my great grandmother when I see her quilt and wonder about the history behind it.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Basket Stitchery Quilt

This quilt (A Tisket, A Tasket by Cotton Pickin' Designs) was started a few years back, and just needs to be hand quilted.  There is no time like the present, and if one block gets done every day (or week) it will be done and ready for my wall by summer!  Doing big stitch with perle cotton, number 12 thread.  What are you working on to get ready for warm summer days?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Cherry Basket Block

Finished a cherry tree block for a friend this morning. Spring is bursting forth in the backyard, and soon the real cherry tree will be blooming. Hope for bowls of cherries this year, with plenty to share with the birds, of course.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Spencer Museum Quilt - Urn Block

The urn block from the Spencer Museum quilt was so much fun to make. We were also so fortunate to visit the Amish Abstractions exhibit at the de Young Museum in San Francsico last weekend. Amish quilts just touch my soul, and it was wonderful to see them up close. Sorry, have no pictures to share because the museum didn't allow this. The quilting stitches were just exquisite - so tiny and even. What surprised me is that almost all of the quilts had machine sewn bindings where the machine stitching was visible on the front of the quilt. I wonder if this was done for strength? Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

New Friends in Folsom

Met up with two new friends from my Primitive Yahoo group at the Folsom Quilt Show on Saturday. They are lovely ladies and we all had the best time looking at the quilts and having lunch at a Mexican restaurant after the show! Only got to take one picture of this gorgeous applique quilt at the show before my camera died, but I'm happy that I got this one. We laughed after the show when we discovered that we all purchased some of the same fabric that is shown in the first two photos. Thought the fabric would go well in the Spencer Museum quilt that I am making.
A wonderful home dec store in Folsom is going out of business (sad!), so was able to purchase the birds for 40% off. The white bird was sitting on a green painted box in the store, but I thought I can paint my own little box? Purchased the paper mache box and green paint at Michaels, and will paint/prim it up with some brown shoe polish. Fell in love with the Mr. Jingles Santa Doll pattern by Reets' Rags to Stitches. It was adorable in person, so need to get it finished before the holidays next year.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Spencer Museum Quilt - Pomegranite Block

The second block of the Spencer Museum quilt is finished. These large blocks are so fun to applique! Gorgeous sunny day outside, so am off to soak up some spring and trim a few rose bushes. First daffodil should be blooming any day now...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Spencer Museum Quilt

Just finished the first Spencer Museum quilt block (Jan Patek quilt pattern). The berries are tiny and have so much fabric gathered behind them that they look stuffed, which I really like! Rainy day here so its a perfect time to stay inside and applique. Hopes and thoughts go out to those living in such tragic circumstances in Haiti. Sent our donation to Doctors Without Borders last Wednesday for the relief effort - they do such worthwhile work.