Saturday, March 21, 2020

What are we going to do to relieve the stess?

My friend called the other day and said she was upset.  I was doing very well that day.  We chatted, I acknowledged her fears and she said it helped just to talk about it - Covid -19 - which I learned is the official term and stands for Coronavirus Disease of 2019.  Today, I called the same friend and said that I was feeling a bit out of sorts - not sure what was happening....I'd like to help, but not sure what to do, will people be ok, will the small businesses survive this, how bad will it get?  We don't have those answers but she simply listened.  Different days, different feelings.  I suspect we will all have our up and down days.  Uncertainty is stressful.  But, listening and talking helps. 
If there is one thing I have learned from quilting and sewing is that it is therapeutic!
And, learning something new is therapeutic and gets your mind off what we can't do much about.
I have pulled out my embroidery machine over the past few weeks and am now determined to have fun with that machine! And I'm teaching my dog Bennie Spanish (which is helping me, too).  He is also learning yoga positions - he is pretty good at MountainTops - he's sleeping now or I'd grab a picture.....  I'll post later it if I can get one.
Humor - it is okay to laugh!  I so appreciate the jokes going around, because we need to laugh.
Those are my thoughts tonight....
Be well, be safe, take care.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Potholder for a Pot of Gold (Recipe included!)

There is a winter snow warning and we are pretty much snowed in tonight with a white out. (Side note: My son, Marty was born on March 17, on a day just like this!)
So I am challenging myself to make a small project -and of course, not leave my house.
I just had to have a St. Pat's Day rainbow  I had to dig and dig for all the ROYGBIV colors.  I found most and there is even one flannel in there.  The challenge to myself was that I finish this now.  I did it!  Now to get more fabric, well after the storm! :)
Our potholder - see Free Fusible Brochure and Sample Project is dolled up with scraps for a St. Patty's Day Rainbow which will undoubtedly end up going into a Pot of Gold - or, more likely holding a Pot of Corned Beef & Cabbage (which is as good as gold to me!).  A perfect use for scraps and our potholders!

A two sided potholder (or make 2 one-sided).

Here is my mom's recipe as well!

Irish Corned Beef &Cabbage              
slow cooker

I texted my mom the Sunday before St. Pat’s Day:  “Mom, I need a corned beef recipe I can cook in the slow cooker in 5 hours”.

Thanks, Mom!  (Nancy Donnelly)

3 lbs Corned beef brisket
Frozen or fresh:
1 pound baby carrots
Potatoes  (red, I like to buy them already cut and washed - or canned)
1 can of beer
Seasoning:  May come packaged with the meat.  If not, rosemary and dill are great.

Thaw meat following safe handling instructions, or buy fresh when you get the cabbage. 
Mom’s words: “Throw it in the slow cooker now with a can of beer.  Don’t rinse it.  Set slow cooker for 5 hours on high. Add potatoes and carrots after 2 hours.  Add chopped (wedges) cabbage last half-hour.”
My tip:  If you decide to add the cabbage after the 5 hours (ok to do, like once guests arrive), make sure the slow cooker is still on!
Serves 6.

FREE Fusible Brochure & Sample Project - Blossom Potholder

A Fusible Brochure Potholder Project is free with any order and available at many quilt shops.  Email us at to request one or 25 for shops, classes, or guilds.

There are basic instructions on the panel.  This Blog Pictorial gives more detailed AND updated instructions.
Enjoy the freebie! 

Mattie, Terri, & Lavelle

This project was a team effort.  Lavelle Wallace (Social Media Manager) designed the project for a staff challenge that was, "Design a quick project using at least 2 Quiltsmart designs and 2 different methods".  Terri is Quiltsmart's Customer Service Manager and did the sewing and the photos for this post.  Mattie wrote the instructions and is Quiltsmart's Founder & Pres but mostly loves Creative.  

The potholder has our ZigZapps Blossom & Petals on one side, and  The Original Fusible 2.5" Grid Panel on the other.  These are 2 great examples of the Quiltsmart Methods.  

You could also use this freebie to create 2 potholders - just use the insulating batting on the backside of each instead of the 2 together.

Flower Center: (1) 3”  square
Flower: (1) 6” square
Flower Background: (1) 9” square (allows fudge factor)
GRID: (16) 2.5” squares 
(1) 9” square insulating batting
Hanger:  2" x 5" rectangle

1) Cut out the flower on the outside circle dashed line.  In the middle of the center circle, there is a dotted line.  Slit  along that.
2) Place the interfacing piece rough side (glue dot side) to RIGHT side of the center circle fabric.   The flower interfacing will hang over the edges of the center circle fabric.

Stitch on the solid line around the center circle.

Make a small slit along the dashed line around the circle.

Place your scissors in that slit and continue to trim on the dashed line, freeing the flower interfacing piece.

Turn the center gently through the slit.  Use a pointer-creaser to smooth and round the seam.

 Follow the same procedure for the flower - place, stitch, trim, turn.

3) Layer the flower and center, fuse using a Quiltsmart Pressing Sheet.

Zigzag (”zigzapp") around the circle edges. Set aside.

4) Fuse the 16 squares to the interfacing, centering them between the dotted lines.  The Quiltsmart Pressing Sheet. will help at this step and later when fusing the batting to the square.  It helps keep the pieces in place, and it helps from getting excess fusible on your iron.  It is also a lightweight sheet so you can see your work through it.

Stitch the lines in one direction.

Clip to the stitching at each intersection.


Stitch in the opposite direction alternating the seam allowances up and down.

 5) HANGER: Press 2 x 5" strip in half to crease the lengthwise middle.  Open and fold the long sides to that crease.  Press again.  Now fold in half, encompassing all raw edges.  Press again.

Stitch the folded side closed.  You may stitch the other side if you wish.  Fold the hanger in half and stitch in the corner or close to the corner.

6) Center and pin (or fuse) the insulating batting to the wrong side of the Blossom block.

Center and place the Blossom block right sides together to the grid.  From the grid side, stitch on the solid line around all sides leaving the opening to turn.  Trim t even all edges with the raw edges of the grid - I leave a little extra where the place to turn is so that there is more to turn under.  Turn.  Top-stitch, encompassing the opening.

If you like this potholder, and are okay with the zigzag arround the Blossom showing through to the grid, there is an alternate nice technique. It allows you to sew all around the potholder, and turn it underneath the Blossom which is then put on after turning.
Lucky Heart - A Quiltsmart way to turn an applique with beautiful edges.

(c) Copyright 2020, Quiltsmart. Inc.  All rights reserved.  May not be copied or sold without permission of Quiltsmart, Inc.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

The Flats Sew a Thumbnail Irish Chain Quilt - With fusible grid, it's the easiest!

Thumbnail Irish Chain Quilt

This sweet little quilt is big with Irish charm!  Each square finishes at a half inch, about the size of a thumbnail (at least mine).  I am holding the quilt with just one hand to illustrate the size of the squares.  I must say, the nail color is seasonally appropriate too!


A variety of green and white fabrics. 
Quiltsmart 1" grid, 1 panel. DO NOT CUT THE PANEL!

I made 8 blocks, so a total of
(72) 1" green squares

(32) 1" white squares
(32) 1" x 3" white rectangles.
(7) 5" white squares.  You could cut (175) 1" squares, but that is a lot of little squares to cut when 7 big ones will do.  Though, if you are making a scrappy background, you will probably want individual squares.  See Tips above.


TIPS for sewing the tiny 1” grid (Instructions below.)
(General Instructions for using the grids are included with the 4-panel interfacing packs.)
  • Use a scant 1/4” seam. The 1” grid will theoretically finish at 1/2” - therefore, if a full 1/4” (or wider) seam is taken, it will take up the whole back of the 1/2” finished square and be bulky.
  • Use the whole panel of interfacing for this specific quilt.
  • It is a bit easier to place the squares if you cut a scant square - just a hair under 1".  It's always good to practice with a small grid first to learn the method and try the tips.
  • Squares can be cut individually OR cut in groups where possible.  If you are using the same color background, it is easy to cut in groups.  If you wanted to use a lot of scraps in the background, you may want to cut individual squares.
  • Sew right through the alternate square.
  • Check the first rows of seams that you sew before you clip the intersections - this way if any of the tiny squares fell off or did not get sewn properly (didn't get "caught"), you will be able to fix them - it is much harder to fix that if you have already sewn the cross seams. 
  • Back-stitch at the ends!
  • I clipped the intersections, but I still stitched the seams all in one direction rather than pushing one up and one down.  With this tiny square, it is quite tedious to push one up and down.  But, the clipping actually helps give a bit of ease in each seam, making it easier to sew all in one direction.
  • I like to make the opening in the back, by either making a pleat, then slitting the underside of the pleat OR Sew 2 fabrics together, leaving an opening in the center for turning.  This way you can stitch all around the quilt, making the edges smooth.
Place and fuse WRONG side of squares to ROUGH side of interfacing - fuse the entire panel.  Use an applique pressing sheet to help hold the squares in place while you fuse.  This little Flat is helping to fuse using the applique pressing sheet (smart Flat!).

This square had been fused and is ready to sew!  The Flats pup is guarding the block!
This is why you use an applique pressing sheet.  A cat, or child, or a surprise automatic heater fan might blow the squares!
 This little cat likes to help.
Good Boy!  "I'm a lucky dog."
We fused the white squares first, then the green, but there are many ways you could do this.  Do what works for you.
Because I used the entire panel, you can see part of the other "squares".

Ready to sew!  See the "alternate" squares (5")?

The whole piece before sewing. 

Sew the vertical (or horizontal) rows first.  Fold exactly (as much as possible) on the dotted line and sew through any of the pieces that go over the dotted lines (the larger pieces).

 After sewing the first set of rows, the piece will look stretched out.  Keep going!   

Clip each intersection TO the stitching.  (See Tips)
Stitch the rows going in the other direction. (See Tips)
Press seams in the same direction.  

The Flats pack - super cute Flat dolls!

Look for our larger size Irish Chain soon (2.5" cut squares)!

Happy Lucky Day,

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

St. Pat's Day Light

Wine Shades are perfect to put on a buffet (the runner it sits on is made with our grids).  Add some great "nostalgic" seasonal pics.  This one is of my son Marty on his first birthday (born 3.17.92).  Pop an LED tealight in a wine glass, or a pint mason jar, and add the shade.  A 10 min project that you make with a 10" square and one of the interfacing wine shades. 
You might even want to get them by the roll

happy lucky day!