Saturday, March 27, 2021

May Baskets & Yo-yo’s on my mind! The QUILT I want to make TODAY!

 Hi!  You've reached Mattie's Blog.  I do lots of tutorials, so poke around and have fun.  We love hearing from you (comment section below) and would love seeing pics of your creations!  The link below will direct you back to our website so you can find the Baskets....  I hope you LOVE this little charmer as much as I do!  Mattie, Quiltsmart Founder & President

With an abundance of solids and an old table runner of yo-yo’s.... what I want to make today are baskets!  Probably because the weather is a balmy 62 degrees and sunny- yet I’m in a sewing mood.

I sew for others a lot, and lately I’ve been trying to take the time to sew something up for me, if the spirit moves me and today it did.  

So far, I cut (9) 8”x 10” squares. I fused outside the lines to hold them in place before sewing.   I find that if I simply start something, that 50% is done!  So...yeah, half done, lol! 

Check it out at  

Baskets & Yo-Yo’s

Cindy Claycamp, “Quilting Memories”, and  I collaborated on her pattern to make the baskets available in printed interfacing.  She has a pattern for larger sizes, too!  She can be reached directly at Pattern copyright 2014 by Cindy Claycamp.

Sew on the solid lines.

 Trim on the dashed lines.  Clip at the inside angles. 

Cut through the INTERFACING ONLY on the dash-dot line.

Turn interfacing to the back, finger-pressing well.  A Quiltsmart Pressing Sheet will help secure the interfacing around the hole.  




Pointer-Creaser will help make the curves smooth.  Use it to gently push out the curves and to slide along the edges of the seams- between the fabric, not next to the interfacing.  

If you want the embroidery marks at the bottom of the basket, transfer those now by basting over the lines printed on the interfacing.  Choose the color of your bobbin to either be the same as your embroidery floss, or blend in with the basket.  

Embroider or decorative stitch either now, or after the basket is fused and stitched to the background fabric.  

Fuse the basket to the background.  I used a 10 x 12” background. 

A pressing sheet will keep any fusible or iron residue off of your basket. If you are using laces or silks, you would want to use a pressing sheet. I like it for the solids because I’m assured of not getting any scorching on my baskets if my iron were to be too not.  Start with a polyester setting, but test first as iron settings differ from iron to iron. 

Zigzagging is the next step.  The technical term is “appliqué”, which means “to apply”- but it sounds fancy and scary!  

I suggest a 2.0mm length and width for beginners- moving toward a 1.5mm width and 2.5mm length if you wish as you get comfortable.  Keep the stitch mostly on the basket with The needle skimming the edge of the basket to go into the background. Use invisible thread or the same color as the basket or a decorative thread & decorative stitch. You can also hand appliqué, as done on the green basket.  Sew the yo-yos, buttons etc. after you quilt. But like me you probably can’t wait to set them on the basket and see how they look. I used the Clover yo-yo maker- I love it.  I used the small and the flower in this basket.  

I can’t locate that yo-yo table runner- bummer .... but, I like making yo-yos while bingeing a show!  So off to do that for a bit!  I’m quite sure the runner will show up after I get a bunch made for my May Baskets!  

Next up...zigzagging,Are use a small stitch 1.5 mm with and 2.5 mm length is my favorite stitch, but if you’re a beginner I would suggest 2.0 for both measurements and get used to that before you change it. Have the needle just skim the side of the basket and most of the stitch stays on top of the basket. 

This cute little basket is ready for some hand embroidery over that transfer of stitches from the sewing machine. Those don’t have to be perfect by the way. 
You could also use  embroidery (I’m planning mine- I think I might use tone on tone thread and a variety of stitches from my machine or hand stitches).  

I couldn’t wait to lay these sweet little blocks out and get a sense of how my quilt will look... and can’t wait to put on the yo-yo’s! 
Keep checking back for updates!  I'm working on this at least every few nights- and every chance I get! I will take pics of the entire process to completion. 

Stay safe & sound! 


Saturday, February 20, 2021

Let GO & SEW! QUICK READ - and Breathe! Ahhhh..... !

Hi Friends!

I got both of these treats from friends, who obviously know me well!  I'm drinking the coffee now while working on a t-shirt family quilt (cute!) for Allison.  If I do decide to step away from the sewing machine today and get dressed, I will wear the shirt!  Thank you Christine and Mariann for gifting me these adorable "props"!

So, today, I'm going to Let GO & SEW (we all already know that it helps!),  I hope you can, too!

Be Safe & Sound,



P.S.  Wouldn't those blue and whites make a pretty palette (yes, it is spelled correctly...I just googled it) for a quilt....hmmm.......?

If you want to get this fabulous duo - the shirt is a Life is Good shirt (I LOVE that company! - and the ampersand!), - the mug you would need to google as the font on the bottom is a -2, I think, and I can't find my magnifying glass.  :)

Hey - you read all the way to the bottom (I think)!  Comment below and copy/paste in an email to us at, then add your snail mail address - AND I will send you something nice from Quiltsmart!

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Hearts & Crafts! - 14 little projects for your sweeties and yourself!

There are 14 projects on the blog from last year.  They were very popular, so I thought we would share them again. Lots of hints and tips, and step by step photos! And - they are just as fun to make this year!  I'm making more - I especially love the bowl fillers/pin cushions. I'm making some from my mom's linens for family. 

Here's your link....

Hearts & Crafts!

The link will take you to the first blog - so scroll through to see them all.  A few are pictured here.

Be Safe & Sound,



Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Midnight Sewing: Snowball Stars - you will LOVE this EASY pattern (& "Snowballs" Recipe) - Perfect Points & Curves with No Curved Piecing!

 "Snowballs" Runner Instructions: Scroll past the following narrative (but if you read it, it might spark a snowball memory from your childhood). 

"Snowballs" Recipe:  Scroll under quilt instructions.

On... Snowballs!

My mind is going crazy with ideas after I read 2 quilt magazines, and 2 quilting books.  Mostly what I was inspired by was that in a was all, "same old, same old" - but, with different layouts and more modern fabrics.  My mind was in a whirl!  I'm rather impulsive, .... out of bed and doing it!

 So.... here is one of the mind-blowing...ha ha, patterns.  A tablerunner from my cookbook, "A Quilter in the Kitchen".   But, I'm using our 4" Quarter Circle instead of our more common smaller one.  This will make the runner fast and modern!  This pattern will be in the upcoming book, "Here are the Instructions" - A companion book to "A Quilter in the Kitchen".  But, you can have the quick version here for FREE!!!!

When I was in 5th grade and outside on a snowy day for recess, up on top of a large pile of bulldozed snow, I turned to the left and ZAP!  I saw stars literally.  Down I went as my legs fell under me and my head and eye were a blur of STARS and pain.  So painful, that no cry was let out.  I could not breathe. I pushed snow on my face.  The kids were yelling, "Are you ok?"  The next thing I remember is being in the nurse's office lying down with an ice pack on my eye. The nurse said, "you're going to have a shiner!"

My shiner was deep in color as days passed, and as massive as the snowball that hit me - though I never saw that coming.  The kid who threw it didn't mean to hit me - we were all throwing snowballs and having a great time.  I certainly got a lot of attention for a few days.

I did partake in future snowball FUN with my friends and family, and my own kids when I was older.  But, I was always wary of those around me.  A shiner it was - and impressive enough to recall 50 years later.  I thought of calling this quilt "Snowball Shiner".... but that might bring "ouch" memories to some. Whatever the name, the pattern forms awesome stars that shine between the snowballs.  You can name yours for your winter memory!

It's January 3, at 2am as I write this, and I wanted to delve into my cozy flannels and perhaps use them up a bit (so I can buy more - yeah!).  The Snowball pattern seams to be perfect for this night, as the wind is howling around the butte (a small mountain to this born midwesterner), and we are getting a dusting of snow.  Bennie is looking at me like, "Really again?  I'm trying to get some sleep here.".


The layout.

My design draft - thinking that I would stop there, but before I knew it I was pulling the fabrics together.   I love to design digitally, but legal paper works, too! 

Fabrics... I still don't know if I will use plain white flannel or the mix of the creams (siding toward that as they would probably show less food spillage).  




Quiltsmart 4" Quarter Circle Interfacing - 2 panels  (makes 56 quarter circles - you will need 40 for this project)

Snowball Fabric:  1/2 yard or scraps (at least 4.5") to total.   Cut 5" strips or 10" squares into (40) 5" squares (4.5" / 9" will work, it is just tight). 

Stars Fabric: I would suggest at least 2 fabrics, so you have contrast.  1/8 yard of 2 fabrics, or scraps to total. Cut (40) 3" squares.  If you use scraps, you might want to make a few extra so you have choices.

HELPFUL TOOLS:  Applique Pressing Sheet, Pointer-Creaser, Rotary Cutter, Mat, Ruler.


1.   4-patches: Sew the squares into (10) 4-patches using a 1/4" seam allowance.




I laid my 4-patches out to get a sense of how they would go together.   I do have a "pattern" with the blocks - I had always used 2 darks and 2 mediums.  I turned them alternatively between the darks & mediums.

2.  Snowballs:  Place interfacing ROUGH side to fabric RIGHT side. Another way to look at it is both will be RIGHT sides up.  See notes below. 

TIP:  Pin interfacing to fabric - OR: fuse outside the shape (see blue marker to the left).  This will be the part you will cut away. 

 If SCRAPPY:  Cut 40 interfacing quarter circles with a rotary cutter and mat.  Don't cut on the curved dashed line - leave about a half inch margin outside the curved dashed line. 

If ONE FABRIC:  Just lay the interfacing panel on the fabric.  

10" SQUARES (left):  For a quick process and a good variety, choose (10) 10" squares (9" will do also) and lay one set of snowball quarter circles on each square. You will then end up with 40 quarter circles in a nice variety of 10 different fabrics.


3.    Stitch on the solid line of the interfacing.  Use a 2.0 stitch length.


4.    Trim on the dashed lines.  I use a ruler for the straight lines and a scissors for the curved lines.  If you have a light color, trim just inside the curved dashed lines so that the printed line won't show through the fabric.  You might want to see first if that will happen, then trim as needed.




5.    Turn gently with your fingers. Using a pointer-creaser or other similar tool, gently stroke BETWEEN the fabric (not the interfacing!) of the seam to smooth the curve. 











  6.    Lay the Pressing Sheet on your ironing surface.  Lay a 4-patch on that.  Place the quarter circles along the edges as shown here.  This is not intuitive.  One might think that the corners should match - but, no ...the curved edge goes over the 4-patch straight edge.  You can mix up the Quarter Circles, or place in any design you wish.



Fold the quarter circles in half and place that crease along the seam of the 4-patch.  the edges of the curve will meet with the corners of the 4-patch - but you may need to tweak it a bit to make the quarter circles form a square.

7.    On each block, zigzag stitch (My fav: 1.5mm width, 2.5mm length, but if you are a beginner, try 2.0mm width and length until you are comfortable with the stitch and then set it to the setting that you want.) along the 4 turned edges of the quarter circles with contrast, decorative, invisible, or blending thread.   



8. Turn blocks over and cut away the interfacing and part of the fabric along the zigzagged curved seam lines.  Leave about 1/4" - 3/8" seam.


9.    Pin two squares together where the quarter circles meet, matching them.  Matching the corners and the pinned spot, stitch the squares together in a 2 x 5 array, using a 1/4" seam allowance.  Stitch one row, then add the next.  Use the marking at the end of the quarter circles as a guide for the quarter inch seam, not an absolute. Press seams open or to one side.

10.    Quilt and bind as you wish.







A vegetarian version of the recipe in "A Quilter in the Kitchen" (available January 2021).

Serves: 2-4 people.   Serve about 6-10 Snowballs per person, depending on how big they are, and if you are serving other tummy warming winter side dishes. 



"Meat"balls:  1 package frozen plant-based "meat" balls (or regular frozen meatballs). 

Yogurt Sauce:

1 cup Greek plain nonfat yogurt - at room temperature (so the yogurt won't curdle).

2 cloves garlic (cut very small & saute in a tiny bit of olive oil or butter)

3 Tablespoons Almond Milk (you could use any kind of milk)

4 Tablespoons Shredded Parmesan Cheese.


1.   Prepare meatballs according to package instructions. 

2.   While meatballs are cooking, mix yogurt, sauteed garlic, and milk together.  

3.   When meatballs are ready, put them in a serving bowl (or individual bowls/plates), and top with room temp yogurt sauce.  

4.   Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese.  Serve immediately. 

Leftovers:  These are also great served cold for lunch!

Enjoy & Keep Safe!


Quiltsmart Inc.

Founder & President 

Tip:  To decorate on a budget, pull from what you have.  Use little figurines and bowl fillers (wool balls for the dryer!), pine sprigs from the Christmas tree or an outdoor bush, magazines, and though not pictured - little photos of nostalgia winter fun!



Friday, November 13, 2020

We all need attention. AND: Truck & Tree FREE Instructions!

I was cleaning out my "pattern" cupboard - that is in quotes because it had precious few patterns and much more fabric - and looked over to see this sight.  Awh..... popped out of my mouth!  Bennie did not get his usual walk today, or even a trip to the office, as it is crazy nasty weather and I didn't want him to go out.

I put him on the porch so he could decide for himself and he turned right around and went back in - but I don't think he understood my "mom knows best" intent.

Once he realized he wasn't going anywhere, he started taking out the toys (neat and findable now that I have my adorable little pantry with a dog toy basket on the bottom open shelf- another blog).  I played with him for a bit, giving him that attention he was craving and also getting a few steps in for the day, then had to get to work on a new idea that we have - we are so excited!

Note the truck pillow in the background - made with our 2.5" grid.  So fun!  I call it "Truck & Tree" - very clever, right? 2.5" Grid Panel The wheels are our ZigZapp 5, 4, 3" circles. 5, 4, 3" ZigZapps Circles I used the 3", but you could do a monster truck with bigger wheels!   

Truck & Tree Instructions - Free Download     

Grid Instructions - FREE Download    

The hubcaps and "star" are from the scrap button jar.  I spray painted them silver with a leftover can of paint....soooo - free! I love "free"!

I used my "signature"...ha ha, not sure if it is "mine", envelope back treatment of  2 fat quarters folded and overlapped to fit the pillow size, then stitched right sides together to the pillow top.  This works great for 16" and 18" pillows.

Back to work as our target date for the latest big idea pattern is... - better not say, will put to much pressure on me.  Let's just say it is close.

Let us know  your comments about this post and we will send you a coupon code.

 Take care, sew for therapy, & take time to give attention to your loved ones and yourself!





Monday, October 12, 2020

Home for Halloween fun: pretty smart apron hacks & pumpkin cookie recipe!


Home for Halloween Fun: Pretty Smart Apron Hacks & Pumpkin Cookie Recipe!

Home for Halloween Fun!
Reversible, darling apron that can be made into a quick Halloween costume or play clothing!
See a recording of this project on Facebook LIVE (October 8, 2020).  



Model: Mattie, Quiltsmart President & Founder, Creative Director, Bend, Oregon
Base Outfit: 
White t-shirt or blouse
Jeans or skirt

Attributes of Dorothy:
Blue and white checked dress.
Two white buttons on the dress at the waistline.
Red shoes.
Basket with Toto dog.

Sewing Variations:  
I cut the ties at 4" wide x 36".  A little wider so they are more of an accent.  Turn with a Fasturn #6.

Barmop cream towel takes the place of the reverse skirt.The Dorothy side has the same fabric as the bib top, which was made from kitchen cloth napkins.
Embellishments for Apron:
Reverse side is sheep print fabric.  I raised them for 8 years, and still are very fond of the sweet creatures.

White Buttons. 
Gathered skirt.  The "real" Dorothy had a smooth waistline, probably a bias cut, but gathered was easier for this rendition



Model: Kathleen, Quiltsmart Enthusiast, Kensosha, Wisconsin

Base Outfit: 
Black leggings & skirt or dress.
Black long sleeve top. 

Attributes of witch:
Black Hat
Black outfit

Colorful socks
Witch hat

Embellishments for Apron:
Purchased embroidered towel with Halloween motif. 


Model: Terri, Quiltsmart Customer Service, Johnstown, Pennsylvania 

Base Outfit: 
Black Leggings.
Black Long Sleeve top.

Sewing Variations:  

I stitched (4) 3.5" strips of gold and (5) 2.5" strips of black together to make the fabric for the bib front. 

Attributes of Bee:
Gold and black body 

Embellishments for Apron:
Striped fabric OR sew stripes together for front.
Model: Theresa, Quiltsmart Sewer, Redmond, Oregon  
Base Outfit:
Jeans & long sleeve t-shirt or flannel shirt. 

Sewing Variations:
None.  The reverse side can be seasonal or a motif - anything you like!

Attributes of Scarecrow:
Flannel Shirt
Torn Pants
Hay from neck, arms, feet.

Model: Coco, Quiltsmart Enthusiast, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Base Outfit: 
Shirt to match skin tone.
Shorts, leggings, or jeans - colors from the apron fabric or skin tone.

Sewing Variations:  

I used 7/8" twill tape for the ties - super quick & easy!

Tail:  Glittery fabric, full width folded in half and gathered.  We zigzagged across the gathers, then attached with a safety pin to the other side.  Easy to put on, and to take off!  You could make a longer tail to cover her feet, but we kind of liked the little feet showing.  Our mermaids have feet under their tails!

Reverse side was made into a Snow White apron - by simply using a yellow bar mop for the skirt, blue and a red sash on top.  I sewed the red sash to the blue top before making the bib.  I also put the mermaid fabric and the yellow barmop right sides together, stitched edges, turned, zigzagged the top, then put into the bib apron top as one piece. 

If you know the apron is for a child, make the bib the “shorter folks” length.... 7-8 yr old. Once made, the sides of the bib  can be tucked under if necessary. 
For a tiny tot, ..... you would need a smaller apron.  You could try forming the Market Bag into a costume, using the dress variation in those instructions.
Attributes of Snow White:
Blue top with red sash, large white collar.
Yellow skirt.
Black hair with red bow.
Birds light on her finger. 
Base Outfit: 
Blue puffed sleeve blouse or t-shirt.
Jeans, or yellow skirt, pants, or leggings.


Model: Sue, Quiltsmart Sewer and Consumer Sewing Consultant, Pennsylvania 

Base Outfit: 
Black Leggings & skirt.
Black Long Sleeve top. 
OR, dress and stockings.
Sewing Variations:  I cut the ties at 4" wide x 36".  A little wider so they are more of an accent.  Turn with a Fasturn #6.

Barmop red towel takes the place of the skirt.

Attributes of Minnie:
Shirt: Red fabric, white dots.  Skirt: Polka Dot  (I flipped that for this apron because I like the towel sewn right in to the apron.
Red polka dot bow.  I made a bow and tied it to a headband.
Yellow Shoes
White Gloves

Embellishments for Apron:
Purchased ruffle trim on the bib top to give a puffed sleeve effect. 
Eyelet around the pocket.
Chocolate print fabric is on the reverse side!



Model: Lavelle, Quiltsmart Social Media Manager,  Bend, Oregon 

Base Outfit:  
Western Shirt 

Attributes of Cowgirl:
Shirt:Western style.
Cowgirl hat.
Western boots.

Sewing Variations:
I used 7/8th" twill tape for the apron ties - quick & easy!
Barmop blue towel takes the place of the skirt.
Fringe was added on the apron and skirt (towel).
Embroidery added at the top of the apron.
I made a fake placket  in the front before I made the bib.  After bib was done, I added snaps to the placket.

Pockets could be added from old jeans!

I hope you enjoyed our Apron Hacks!
Below is a hack on my mom's Pumpkin Cookie Recipe.  I made it a bit simpler!
Take Care & Be Safe,

 My mom made these cookies every fall, and they are now a tradition with my kids.  I tweaked the recipe just a bit to make it easier. It still looks a bit more complicated than it should for my easy cookbook - but, like a good off-the-beaten-path quilt shop, it is worth the time!  It just isn’t fall if there aren’t Pumpkin Cookies.  Skip the lettuce - just serve these for dinner!  After all, pumpkin is a vegetable!  The trick to making them quickly and at the last minute is to make the dough ahead and keep it in the refrigerator.  Easy “dinner”!  :)
Makes about 4 - 5 dozen.

1  cup butter
1  15 ounce (medium) can pumpkin
2 teaspoons EACH of baking soda, cinnamon, vanilla
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 cups sugar
4 cups flour

1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup raisins

Mix the first group of ingredients with mixer, then add nuts and raisins with spoon.  Drop by heaping teaspoonful on ungreased cookie sheet (don’t forget the parchment paper!).  Bake at 350° for about 12 minutes.

Let-us suggest:
Walnuts, pecans, dried cranberries, or white chocolate chips.
Some “Pumpkin Cookie” lovers like to frost the cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting.  That can be purchased by the “can” and kept in your pantry until ready to use.