Making Perfect Applique Circles

As I mentioned in my previous “Planning” post, I am back to working on the Color Wheel quilt and making MANY, MANY more circles.

The next post will be about my new corner design….hint….it looks NOTHING like what I had planned to do, but today I made a video about using the Karen Kay Buckley templar templates.


This is such an easy method and I am SO excited to have this skill in my “toolbox”!!!!


What I did this Summer….a preview

For me there are five seasons each year….

  • Tax Season (January thru April)
  • Tax Season recovery (May)
  • Summer Fun (June thru August)
  • Travel Season (Sept thru mid-November)
  • Holiday Season (mid-November thru December)

For many years, the summer season was when we traveled but in the last few years more of the travel has moved to the autumn months meaning that Summer is MY FUN TIME!!!

As I got to this past weekend I was stressed knowing that June 1st was just around the corner and I didn’t have a plan yet!!! You see, I am a girl who LOVES a plan!!!

As Michael and I were walking on Sunday morning we were talking about my dilemma and the ideas started flowing. I started thinking about the things that I had missed so much in the last few “sheltering” months and decided that it was time to do something about it!!

I started off by making a list of friends to have over for coffee or lunch and then we added couples to have over for dinners. Since several of our favorite restaurants have opened back up, we also added going out for dinner at least once every two weeks……dinner IN a restaurant and NOT in our house!!

And speaking of food, I made Marinara sauce on Friday and REALLY enjoyed spending time in the kitchen….NOT a usual feeling for me. So, I added cooking a new dish each week.

Okay, that takes care of the social side of life….now let’s talk about the creative side. I am going to need some…..

One thing that I am really feeling is the need to get out of the house so I am going to visit some art galleries, museums, antique stores…..basically anything that is open right now!!!

I have recently pulled out the Color Wheel quilt and am starting to work on it again…..

It is a fun project but it takes a lot of thinking and planning and isn’t something that I can just pick up and whip out. So maybe I need to be working on two projects at one time… that is more creative and needs lots of thought and one that is super fast and easy. Since I have enjoyed piecing so much maybe I will aim for a Scrap Quilt. I hate to start a big one and then decide that I don’t like the pattern so maybe I will make a charity quilt in the design first…..just thinking out loud here!!

Finally, I need something to stretch my mind a bit. I love this quote…..

One of the local universities has several free online courses about creating websites. I have signed up for three of them and am already over halfway thru with the first one. My goal for the summer is to finish all three and hopefully use what I have learned to develop a website and strengthen this blog.

So now I have a basic plan for the summer and a more detailed plan for this first week. I am hoping that I can get to the end of August and happily look back on everything that I did last summer!! And if you are following this blog, you wont have to GUESS…..

….I will take you along for the ride.

And, in case you are worried, the year wont be devoid of travel. Covid permitting, Michael and I will spend 3 weeks in Mozambique in November!!! More good times to come.


Perfect binding….almost

When I was finishing “Mahek the Market Girl”, I wanted to try my best to make the binding PERFECT.

I made and attached the binding in the manner that I have always used, making sure that the corner stitching met in JUST the right spot and trimming that little piece out of the corner to reduce the amount of bulk.

But, as folded the binding over, getting it ready to hand stitch, I kept looking at my corners and knew that they were not going to work well.

Then I remembered an email I had sent to myself back in NOVEMBER that had been languishing in my inbox since. The video was from Susan Cleveland and was called “Two Ways to Reduce Bulk in the corners of binding”. Click the link below to view it.

I finally sat down and watched all 20 minutes of it and found several things that were SO helpful……

  • Making the binding so that it is a bit wider on the back of the quilt.
  • Being sure that the fold of the flipped over binding is opposite to the fold of the sewn-on binding (watch the video….she does a much better job of explaining)
  • Taking a few stitches in the corner on the top side of the binding
  • Anchoring the hand-stitching thread inside the seam before heading to the binding.
  • DON’T clip those corners!!!

So, I did the only thing left……CUT that binding off and started over again…..

This time I carefully marked my corners so that I could stop at exactly the right spot…..

Once sewn on, I do a few other things that I think help with the binding. Firstly, I press the binding out from the front……

Then I turn it to the back and start folding it over and pressing it as I go. When I get to the corner, I use the tip of the iron to press it out as best I can…..

As I fold each corner, I press it well and put clips on each side……

I am very happy with it and think that it makes a great finish to a fun piece.

About Face….

Back in February, I was continuing to work on my “Henna Girl” quilt and completely messed up the quilting on her face…… see the post here.

I picked it out the same day that I quilted it and then put the quilt away until after my studio was finished and I felt comfortable going back to it. It just so happened that my comfort level finally returned last week!!!

After my initial disaster, one of my quilting buddies, Rosie, sent a diagram that she thought would help…..

After studying this for a while, I sat down with yet another photo of the face and started drawing in lines. After numerous attempts, I decided that this one had the most promise…..

When I got ready to do the quilting, I was nervous about trying to free-hand it again so marked some guide dots to help me along…..

This made the quilting much easier to do and, in a very short time, I was thru……

I finished the background using a ruler to quilt parallel lines at various widths.

The final step was to add the beads. I had original planned to use beads that I had on hand, but ended up at Joann’s one day and found the PERFECT beads…….

So….I am happy to present “Mahek the Market Girl”…….

Pathagoras was one smart cookie…..

According to Wikipedia, Pathagoras of Samos was an ancient Greek Philosopher who lived from 570BC to 495 BC. Under Occupation, it lists Philosopher, Teacher and Mathematician……quite the trifecta!!! But this third occupation is the one that puts him squarely in the middle of a blog devoted to quilting!!!

Cast your mind back to my Color Wheel quilt that was started about this time last year. I dutifully appliqued all of the circles on and then things came to a grinding halt with studio renovation, tax season and, dare I say it, CORONA!!!!

This was the last post that I made about this quilt and it ended up with the idea of continuing the quilt by putting it on point and adding triangles to each corner. This was my final idea about how to proceed……

So today was the day to figure out what size the triangles would need to be and THAT is where Pathagoras comes in. As part of his discoveries, he found the Pathagorean Theorem, based on this diagram……

….which I don’t REALLY understand, but I did understand the formula where a and b equal to the sides of the triangle and c is the hypotenuse of the triangle……

Since I always loved Algebra, I was pretty sure that I could figure this out!!! Normally, I would have just used trial and error and then cut off any extra along the sides but this time I needed to have things a bit more precise.

The first thing that I did was to lay out the top as it stands right now and figure out exactly where the next border would be added on. I used my Laser Square Up to draw in some basic lines…..

And then measured to see how long each side would be. I found that the hypotenuse of the triangle was 59.5 so now I had to calculate the sides. I started with the formula and did the math…..

…finding that my square needed to be 42 inches. I then drew a 42 inch square on paper, divided it across the diagonal and, voila….it measured 59.5 inches…..


Since I am wanting to have circle made from the 4 triangle corners, I now needed to get the circle drafted. Since my triangle was only 1/2 of the square in the corner, I needed to complete the square to draft the circle. Of course, I had ALREADY cut the square apart and discarded the unused portion so I moved to the floor and “drew” out the other half of the square with painter’s tape……

….making sure that the diagonal was 59.5 inches.

The final set was to attach a pencil and cord that was the correct length……

….and draw the circle…..

These photos don’t look square but I promise that they are!!!

So, now I have a precise size template to use to cut the fabrics and can move on to the more exciting designing!!!

That is TOO much math for one day!!!

Let’s go do something else!!!

Bonnie does it again….

While working on my 2nd Quilt of Valor, I needed to make 1/4 square triangles that ended up at 4 inch finished. It has been a long time since I made these, so I decided to Google it and ended up with Bonnie Hunter again.

She showed how to use her Essential Triangle Tool and, once again, the blocks were quickly made!! (My first foray with the Essential Triangle Tool was here)

When you make them the old-fashioned way, you have to start with a square that is 1.25 inches larger than what you want the finished size to be. In my case that would have meant that I needed squares that were 5.25 inches and I don’t have many of those already cut in my scraps.

Instead, I could use the ruler with 2.5 inch strips and I have BUNCHES of those!!!!

The first step was to cut/find two strips 2.5 inches wide……

….place them right sides together and start cutting, matching the edge up to the 2.5 inch mark and letting the little green triangle hang off of the strip…..

Cut as many sets as you need…..

Now to the machine, sewing from the point to the blocked-off edge…..

Press them open……

…and finally sew the pairs together to make the squares…..

The final step is to trim those pesky corners and they are ready to go.

Once again, I was amazed at how accurate these patches were and how well they fit with the other square and 1/2 square triangles blocks that made up the quilt.

Once again it was Bonnie to the Rescue!!!

Pimp my ride

A few weeks ago there were several posts in the “Juki Junkies” Facebook group about decals for sewing machines. The suggested source was Urban Elementz and I was thrilled to find a set that I loved……

They arrived quickly and this afternoon I decided that it was time to give my Juki an upgrade!!

After cutting out the different sets…..

I peeled off the heavy backing paper and stuck the decal in place……

After rubbing it in place really well, the final step was to peel off the paper leaving the decal…..

It may be a bit of overkill, but I used all of the decals and LOVE the new colors that it added……

The nice thing about these is that they are removable so it is a non-permanent way of “Pimping My Ride”!!!!

Now I just have to come up with a good name….I am thinking about Josephina!!!!

I’m Seeing Red!

….A little late because I forgot to post it yesterday!!!


No, I am not mad!!!

This is the title of yet another challenge quilt that I created back in 2000.

This time the guild had a color challenge and the color that I selected out of the hat was RED.

I wanted it to be bold and audacious and finally settled on a pattern from the book “Op-Art Quilts” by Marilyn Doheny…..

The construction of the quilt was relatively simple, as long as I CAREFULLY followed the cutting instructions. I remember that I didn’t have much extra fabric which meant that proper cutting was even MORE important!!

I even found some of the strip sets when I opened my “Pandora’s Box” of miscellaneous fabrics!!!

I was especially proud of the the two borders that I added. I really felt that the second “strip set” border added a lot to the design.

I wanted to keep the corners simple to really emphasize the bold pattern. I entered it into our guild quilt show and remember that one of the judges said that there was too much movement and no place for the eye to settle!!! It was one of the few times that I wanted to reply to the review and say DUH!!!

Opening Pandora’s Box

It is time again for a Tuesday filled with…….

Last week, I wanted to make a pincushion and had the “brilliant” idea to use up some orphan blocks that I had sitting around.

I pulled out the box innocently called…….

But when I opened it, I realized that it was really ……

….a PANDORA’s Box!!!

There are fabrics and blocks in here that range back to the early 1990’s when I was very young in my quilting career.

There are 1.25 inch strips that were used to hook a rug for my Daughter, Autumn color blocks that were left over from a jacket that I made to wear to my first Houston Quilt Show in 1990, ties that I took from my Dad’s closet when he passed away in 1999, and SO many other memories.

Now, I need to use all of this as inspiration to move forward to making new, fun quilts for our Guild’s Charity Bee. There are several ladies in the group who are amazingly talented at turning nothing into something and maybe, with some practice, I can join them!!!

Moral of this story……don’t open that box….. it may be scarier that you thought!!!