Giving Hearts

A fun group of ladies meet every Wednesday morning from 9 – noon at the Lutheran Church in Quincy for fellowship, coffee and quilting.

This pleasant, joyful group of eight women make over 100 quilts/year for the Lutheran World Relief Organization. They also make a quilt for each graduating senior and new baby in their church. Amazing. Mostly because of the eight women, only two profess to be dedicated quilters. They simply enjoy friends, fellowship and the purposeful act of giving. They laugh, share stories, have coffee and sew.

IMG_1319[1]I was so overwhelmed this morning when I went to visit them. Jesse and Audrey have been inviting me to come for coffee for quite some time. This morning I showed up and brought with me a tub of fabric to donate to their cause, but to my surprise, they had a gift for me…. handmade quilts to take to Pateros High School for the fire relief effort.

Two members of the group read the Pateros update, shared it with the others, and they wanted to help. Not with just 10 quilts, not just 25. They donated 48 quilts!!! 48!! Three were baby quilts, the other 45 are all 60″ x 80″. Such an amazing gift. So very generous and selfless. I am so excited to take this labor of love to Pateros on Sunday.

As news continues to come in about the ravaged livestock, the unconscionable looting and the lack of food, I just feel so compelled to help them, and I am so proud to live in a community that shares the same concerns.

The events in Pateros, Malott and Brewster and the generous giving that has resulted reminds me of an old legend. Its about a man who stumbled upon a large brown barn after walking for days in a dark, overgrown forest. Seeking refuge from the cold night air he broke into the barn, only to discover that this was the barn where Satan kept his seeds to be sown into human hearts. Curious, he began to explore the bins of seeds and noticed the containers labeled “seeds of discouragement” far outnumbered any other type of seed. Just then one of Satan’s demons flew in to collect a fresh supply of seed. The man, unafraid, asked why there was such an abundance of discouragement seeds. The demon laughed and said, “Because they are so effective and take route so easily.” The man then asked, “So you have so many because they grow everywhere?” At this the demon became sullen. He glared at the man and declared in disgust, “No. They never seem to thrive in the heart of a grateful person.”

As we all give to those that have been struck by this tragedy, we can’t help but feel blessed with what we have, thankful that we have enough to spare, and hopeful that we can make a difference. We can show our neighbors we care, and thereby dispel discouragement.

I am so moved by the generosity shown today. Not just by this amazing group of women, but by Dan Catlin, who although quite ill, brought down a large load of items on the list, Vicki Brissey, just on her way back from vacation, swung by Costco for a case of handi wipes to drop off before going home, Mary Smouse, still recovering from surgery, brought in many items and just needed someone to help her unload it, and Jenn Tincher, whose two young boys are giving up toys, horse tack and a day of ‘playing’ to bake with mom.

Thank you all so much.

One final thought as we shop for items on “the list”:                              You can’t take your money with you, but you can send it on ahead.

DIY Design Wall

Our Retreat House opened two months ago and has been VERY popular! It is a beautiful, comfortable, fully equipped home that sleeps 10. There are ten tables, ten adjustable Koala chairs and ten portable 4′ x 6′ design walls.

We wanted a design wall for each ‘retreater’ (nothing worse than one person monopolizing the design wall all weekend…)

So the design walls have been a big hit and we’ve had lots of requests for directions to make them. They are very light weight, easy to move around  and very easy to use with the flannel ‘grippy’ wall along with the added ability to use stick pins.

I made all of the design walls in the garage. Each one took about 5 minutes and $40 worth of supplies. I started with a foam core insulation board. These can be purchased at Lowes or Home Depot. They are 1″ or 2″ thick and 2′ x 8′ or 4′ x 8′.   I selected the 2″ thick boards, and 4′ wide by  8′ tall. It cost about $15.IMG_1224[1]   I cut 24″ off of the top of the board so they would fit nicely in the house without rubbing up against the ceiling. Also, not many quilters are tall enough to use the full 8′ of space. So this made the boards 4′ wide by 6′ tall. They can be easily cut with a box cutter or sharp kitchen knife and a ruler.

Once cut, I laid the board on a set of draped saw horses.


Then I cut 2 1/8 yards of the gridded flannel fabric. It is 54″ wide, so the 76 1/2 cut is perfect for the 4′ x 6′ board.


The next step is to lay the flannel over the board, but first I sprayed it with 505 Basting Spray. This just made it easier to keep everything neat and right where I wanted it. I was able to make all 10 boards with just one can of 505.


When you smooth the fabric down, just make sure you have a couple inches hanging over each side.


Continue to smooth until the top looks nice, then flip it over and begin securing the fabric. Staples made sense at first, but they were difficult to use with the soft board so we chose a strong, clear packing tape which worked very well.


The corners are finished just like a present.


The pictures may not show clearly… there is a lot of tape. Two layers. I don’t want anything to come loose.

After the taping… the design wall is done! Ready to use.

I hope you found this helpful, maybe you have need for a lightweight designwall!

Happy designing!


Wildfire Relief

Like everybody else in our area, we have been so saddened and worried about our friends to the North. Such massive devastation from a fire that is still only 15% contained after burning 270,000 acres and over 130 homes.






We have been glued to the news, and talking with friends from the area, and wondering what we can do to help.

Brianna and Alex took a load up to the Pateros High School today to check it out for themselves, and get solid information about what is needed. They took up a trailer with water, donated clothing, diapers, formula, bottles, playing cards, candy, baked goods, fruit and a few household items. They found a community that is sticking together and remaining incredibly positive despite the fact many of them have no homes, no comforts and no privacy.


The entire town is without running water and electricity, and will remain without  for at least a month. There are two massive generators providing power to the high school so they have lights and some refrigeration, but it does not give them showers. They are using the gym as a “holding area” for donations and they are sleeping in classrooms. The holding area is a flurry of activity with volunteers sorting, folding and distributing. While Brianna was there, another truck was in front of her unloading water and two more generators, and an SUV behind her had a load of  non-perishable food items.

Even with the wave of support from outlying communities, Brianna felt certain there was not nearly enough food or supplies for the huge number of residents seeking refuge at the school. Brianna spent some time speaking with one of the volunteers in charge. This is the most current list of needs:

  • lots of wipees (think of dry camping…no showers…)
  • lysol wipes, hand sanitizer (again, no way to wash up before and after meals)
  • diapers, formula, baby food
  • gently used clothing and bedding
  • tents, camp stoves, cooking pans
  • propane tanks and charcoal briquettes for BBQs (there are about a dozen at the school, used at lunch and dinner to feed the town and any firefighters in the area)
  • nonperishable food items.
  • garbage bags
  • aspirin, tylenol and OTC allergy medications
  • mops, brooms and cleaning supplies
  • flashlights and batteries
  • portable radios
  • shoelaces
  • new underwear (men, women, children)
  • new socks (men, women and children)
  • water

In addition, they said the only furniture they have need for at the moment is beds and mattresses. They don’t need furniture until they have homes.

The other thing that was obvious was they really wanted home baked snacks. Brianna had about 70 sandwich bags with rice krispy treats and they were VERY well received by the kids that were weary of boxed snacks and packaged cookies. The other thing taken out of her hand rather quickly was the big tub of watermelon.

So, with the above information, here is our plan:   We will have a trailer parked at the shop to receive any donated items on the above list. We will take it up as soon as it’s full and will keep taking as many loads as we can – we are hoping for at least one per week until Pateros and Brewster are back on their feet.

In addition, we would like to have a “goody drive“. This would be baked cookies, brownies, muffins, cupcakes, etc. If you could make them fresh on Saturday, package them in individual baggies or tupperwear you don’t want back, we will take those up Sunday morning. We would also like to bring fresh produce from your garden – but don’t bring any of these perishable items until Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning. Half of the load will go to Pateros, and half to the fireman command station in Omak. We think those common comforts from home are missed, and not possible for them under current conditions.

We will be at the shop until 5pm this Saturday the 26th, then back again Sunday morning at 8:45 and will stay there until 9:30 to accept any baked donations you can bring.  We are really hoping for a substancial amount. There are over 400 displaced   residents and over 1600 firemen.

So, put aside your quilting project for one day and whip out those Kitchenaid mixers….we want more than just basic needs for Pateros… we want smiles!

Rainbow Garden Block

Last Saturday we worked on our fourth block in the Rainbow Garden Series. It was a lovely peach flower, but the best part of the class was the show and tell…..

Class participants brought their previous blocks, now decked out with terrific hand stitches, bright threads, and brilliant beads.

They all look so different!



Here are a few more…


It’s always fun to see everyone’s homework. There are so many possibilities with stitches, threads and embellishments, it is so interesting to see the variations.

This month our block is a large blossom with two little buds.             After tracing the pattern onto freezer paper – we laid it out on the following wool pieces:

IMG_1285[1]Then we cut everything out and arranged it on the design wall:


This will be a fun one to add stitches to. Some french knots and beads in the center, tufted stitches on the petals and some bright additions to the buds.

For those of you that are doing this project at home, I would like to invite you to send pictures of your work. We would love to see what you are doing, I will post them on this blog.

I know it can be hard to stay caught up during summer. Kids are home from school,  gardens need attention and the lakes are beckoning,  but this is a year long block of the month… you will have time to catch up if you are behind.

Happy stitching!!












Row by Row Experience

Like most of the other Washington shops, we are participating in the Row by Row Experience, which is a summer long shop hop. It is happening in many other states, is no cost to the consumer, and started on July 1st. You will have all summer (until September 2nd to be precise) to stop by participating shops and pick up your free ‘row’. The rows are 9 1/2″ x 36 1/2″, each shop has designed their own personal row with a “seasons” theme.

The patterns are all original and different. Fun to collect!! The best thing (besides free, unique patterns) is that when you complete a quilt top with at least eight rows and bring it to a participating shop… you win 25 fat quarters!! Now, there are rules… you have to be the first one to claim the prize at that shop (one winner per shop) and you can only claim a prize at one shop. But hey, pretty simple…. fun to play!!

I had a hard time designing my row. Mostly because my biggest issue is my indecisiveness. The theme was “seasons”, we could pick one season, two, do all four…. it could be pieced, fused, embellished… OMG. Too much to decide!!

I did two rows… oh yes, start to finish… then finally did my third row, I liked that one alot. I decided to do all four seasons, all connected with a common sun in between spring and summer, a common tree in between summer and fall and blowing leaves in between fall and winter. I really liked it, then I decided to add a poem to be embroidered. I love the poem, “Spring is the time of year when you find Summer in the sun and Winter in the shade.” But I was worried I might lose people with that… not everyone wants to take the time to add the embroidery. Sad but true…



picture the sun up above the sun flower……


No nose yet…

So I made a fourth and final draft. I am pretty happy with it. I opted to make the four seasons individual which I think is more versatile, and easier for the beginner, and I used buttons instead of embroidery. I also used fusible web, which is not always popular, but I really don’t know why. I love it!!! So simple, so fun, so easy to reproduce a pattern onto a pillow, a towel, a bag, a shirt, a label, a center quilt block…. super fun and endless possibilities.

IMG_1194[1]If you are not familiar with fusible web, this is how I made my row….

Start by picking your fabrics. I wanted something textured that was going to read solid, so I picked Basic Grey’s “Grunge” fabric. It comes in yardage, layer cakes, charms and jelly rolls. 36 fabulous colors!! I used a layer cake so I could pick my favorite four for my backgrounds.


Then I laid things out so I could select the other colors I wanted to use…


I have my pattern drawings so I know what I’m looking for (flowers… leaves… etc). I also selected the buttons I wanted to use. They were bright, I wanted the colors to look good together.

Incidentally, we put together a button pack with all 26 buttons for you for only $11.99. We also put together a fabric kit for $19.99 that also includes the 26 buttons.


Next it’s time to start the fusible web process. Fusible web is the the term used for both the product and the technique. There are several brands of fusible web. The old standby ‘Steam a Seam’ is no longer my preferred fusible. They recently went through a change with their release paper and I don’t like it. There are several other brands out there, but by far my favorite is Lazy Girls new product ‘Fusi-bond Lite’. It is affordable, easy to use, consistent quality and comes on a bolt.

IMG_1158[1]To use, you trace the pattern onto the paper side of the fusible web, when you trace it you want to make sure all of the ‘components’ of the flowers and individual items are separate.

IMG_1159[1]Trace all of the images this way. I separated the blocks, just to keep track of my pieces easier.


Then iron the images onto the back side of your fabrics. The reason I used batik for my first version is I like the fact that there is no right or wrong side to batik fabric.  It makes it easy when you can’t make a mistake!! But again, for this version I have my grunge fabrics. I also, again, rough cut around the pieces just to make them more portable.

IMG_1191[1]Now it’s time to cut them out.  I like to sit in my comfy chair in my jammies with my standing ott lite. I have my pieces on a paper plate (I would like to say I have a pretty vintage serving tray that fits nicely in my lap… no such luck). I do have a lap tray that I use with my computer and with embroidery, but for fusible pieces you really want something with a “lip” so you don’t lose your little bits.

IMG_1192[1]I use the paper plate to hold the little cut pieces and my trashy bits. My favorite cutting scissors are the purple handled scissor by Karen K. Buckley. They are teflon, so the fusible won’t gum up your scissors, and they have a nice serrated edge, so cutting fine points and small edges is a breeze!

After everything is cut, it is time to arrange the pieces on the background block.  Peal off the paper backing, and once you have the design the way you like it, iron it in place. You will want to “press” your iron, don’t drag it across the fabric. If you drag it, you may disrupt the arrangement.

The fusible web is not permanent. It will stay in place until you have time to stitch it down. I prefer to stitch it down during the machine quilting process.

SO… I hope you all decide to do join the Row by Row Experience! It is going on nationwide. If you have quilting friends or families near a shop in Pennsylvania, Texas, California… etc…. have them go in and get you a pattern… what a fun themed collection for a great quilt! Incidentally… one other rule I may have failed to mention… the patterns have to be picked up in person, since the idea is it is a shop hop. So no mailing any patterns. Bummer.