almost there…

reminds me a little of star wars when they’re trying to put a proton torpedo down a shaft on the death star.

“almost there…almost there…”

yep…almost there…


seven out of eight borders: ON!

last border…


yep…that was all the border fabric i had left.

*head to table*

so what does one do?

head to the internet, of course.

now…i do need to reiterate here that this fabric is almost impossible to find.

so little of it is left.

but i found one online shop that is selling fat quarters.


in the u.k.

(okay…not so ‘yay!’)

but if that’s all there is then…okay.

i spent about $8.00 on a fat quarter.

i guess desperate times call for desperate measures.


another good reason why one should keep up with their block of the months.


“almost there…”

Layer Cake Rag Quilt

the truth is after the first two times i did rag quilts i wasn’t a huge fan.

but, then again, i did use 2″ squares…on a twin size quilt.

and i didn’t use the right scissors.


what was i thinking?!?

i’ll skip the long story between then and now but this is what i’ve come up with…


isn’t it cute??

so here’s the tutorial (and a printable pdf that is two pages is at the bottom of the post):

what you’ll need:

1 layer cake

3 yards of coordinating fabric for backing

about 1 yard of 90″ wide off the roll batting (or scraps…but i would recommend something thin…i used warm & white)

(you can also get yardage…

1 2/3 yards medium fabric for large squares

1 1/4 yards EACH of dark and light fabric for small squares

backing and batting remain the same.)


next divide your layer cake into two piles of (21) squares each.

i had my blues and reds (these are your lights and darks) in one pile then creams, yellows and light pinks (these are your mediums) in the second pile.

Trim the medium squares down to 9″.

there will be (21).


Discard scraps and set squares aside.

next cut the lights and darks squares in half vertically AND horizontally.

there will (84) 5″ squares.


see how pretty they are??


next is your backing.

first cut (6) 9″ strips then sub-cut them into (21) 9″ squares.

then cut (11) 5″ strips then sub-cut them into (84) 5″ squares.



2/3 of the way done…

now for the batting.

i used scraps but if you are using off the bolt or out of a bag i recommend cutting the large piece in half then folding those in half to make them more manageable.

for your batting cut:

(21) 8″ squares (yes…that’s right…8 inches)


(84) 4″ squares


my piles kept toppling over there were so many!

now for the sewing…get your sewing machine set up with matching thread.

you can switch colors to coordinate with the darks, mediums or lights.

personally, i used a light gray polyester thread.

we’ll start with the small squares (get the big job done first so it’s all downhill after that).

lay out a small backing square, then put a batting square on top of that centering it as best as you can.

(there is a strict no-perfectionist rule for this quilt…it’s the one time i give myself permission to relax!)


(note: the change in photos happens to be because i was at a retreat in a gym with horrible lighting.)

then lay the medium square on top.


do you see how my batting is still kind of centered??


match the sides of the backing and top pieces as best as possible…but if it doesn’t match revel in the freedom of not worrying about it!

then take it to your sewing machine and stitch diagonally from one corner to the next.


i like to lay the two fabrics one my knees with the batting on the table then stack and sew, chain stitching the whole time.

when finished snip them apart, turn them and stitch diagonally the opposite corners to make a big x on the square.

repeat for the big squares.

(why oh why didn’t i get a picture of the big squares??)

back to the small squares.

with backing fabric together, line up and stitch (1) light square to (1) dark square…


using 1/2″ seam allowance.


did you catch that??

1/2 inch seam allowance.

yes…that is correct.

and you’ll see why…

make (42) sets of these guys.

now, stitch two of these guys together by turning one around then with backing fabric together, match seams…

IMG_4983and stitch a 1/2″ seam.

make (21) four-patches.


it’s really important to make sure that your four-patches are all sewn the same way and

your lights and darks are in the same locations.

you’ll just want to check that you’ve got it right when you finish.

i laid out all of my blocks until i got a lay-out that i liked.

then, using the same 1/2″ seam allowance, stitch (1) large square to (1) four-patch.


make (21) pairs.

stitch the pairs into rows.

you’ll make (7) rows made up of  (3) pairs.


well, now…see, isn’t that pretty?

but we’re not quite finished.

next comes the ragging.

i went and purchased rag snips.

here’s what they look like…


from fiskars.

they have a spring so all you have to do is worry about closing them because they spring open.

now you’re going to clip the 1/2″ seam allowances.

snip close to the seam line but not so close you clip it.

that’s bad.

don’t do that.


at the “intersections” (that’s what i call them in my head) i like to clip right next to the seam allowance.




then i clip on the other side of the “intersection”…


once those are done i move to one of the other two sides…


and then the opposite side.


the “intersection” will look like this…


i like to do all my horizontal seams first.


then i do all my vertical seams.

sometimes i miss some.

be sure when you think you are done to go back and check that you clipped all your seams!

once the inside is done do a clip around the outside…


when it’s done being clipped this is what it’ll look like before you put it in the washing machine.



these guys can seriously mess up your washing machine and dryer.

consider going to the laundromat.

i always consider it but never actually go (despite the other three items that i need to take…but i digress).

your dryer will look something like this…


okay, okay…the green things didn’t come from the quilt…but those other little fluff balls did.

here’s the lint catcher…


that was JUST the quilt.

i didn’t think of taking a picture of the washing machine.


but once you get it out it’s so pretty!


have fun with the pattern!

email me pictures and i’ll post them.

because i like it when you share…

xo and happy quilting!

~ h

Layer Cake Rag Quilt Pattern


for all those non-quilters out there…

well, and maybe some of you quilters who just don’t know…

UFO’s are

Un-Finished Objects.

they lurk in the back of your closet and brain silently calling your name in the middle of the night.

they also have babies back there.

i’m sure of it.

three years ago i started keeping track of my UFO’s.

made lists of what i had and what i needed to complete.

once i went through my scrap bin…

they were having babies down there too.

this year i haven’t completed any UFO’s (yet)…but i’m about to mark three off my list.

this one…


just needs borders.

it’s like four years old.

the only thing i can say is that it took 8 hours to make two blocks.

working myself up to making them was something of a challenge.

the desire to complete the UFO was greater than the lack of desire to work on those blocks.

and there’s these two…


it’s a client project.

yes…the ‘a’ word (applique) was involved.

i was dreading it.

not the applique itself, rather, all the little pieces.

and then the bunnies were not from a pattern.

i had to make those guys up.

and the client (though really lovely) had a hard time communicating to me what she wanted.

*deep sigh of contentment*

i’ll custom quilt both of them.

the challenge will be to do something other than continuous line curve in the top one…

and something…well…i’ve not a clue for the bottom two.

better get to figuring it out though…those two go on the frame the end of the month!


i’ll be glad when they are done and quilted!

beautiful mess


photo 1

my name is heather and i am a beautiful mess.


somehow, today, in the midst of all that i’ve got going my spirit is at rest.

it is a fantastic thing that has taken place.

it used to be that in the middle of all the chaos would be me, the messiest piece of the chaos.

falling apart into a puddle of tears, yelling…frustrated.

“i just need to finish ______!!”

something has changed.

and i love it.

every little teeny tiny bit of it.

photo 2

now…i can see how my beautiful messiness can be annoying to others.

especially with my business and mystery quilt.

mistakes, problems and disjointedness (is that a word?) all play into it.

and there are people who it just rubs the wrong way.

it rubs me the wrong way.

i have a tendency to be the person who wants to do it all perfectly right the first time.

when it doesn’t then i’m mortified.


photo 3

i’ve learned, though, how incredibly gracious quilters are.

seriously…you all rock.

so much, in fact, that in the middle of my messiness and subsequent apologies y’all are telling me that i don’t need to apologize.

and slowly, finally, i’m starting to understand that it is the imperfect in us that makes us beautiful.

those are the places that our real-ness is.

where our humanity that causes us to connect with other humans.

for if i never experienced fall-backs and embarrassing moments how can i learn what grace looks like?

how do i extend my hand in love and mercy to someone who uncomfortably shows up in that same spot i once was?

today i talked with a woman on the phone.

she is interested in me going to her home (or her coming here) because she is afraid that her quilting won’t be perfect…

so she doesn’t do anything.

it got me to realizing that if i let myself hang out in my desire to be perfect then i am paralyzed.

but if i manage to embrace both, the desire for perfection and the realization that i am not, it is a catalyst for moving forward.

not just moving forward though…

it creates in me the desire to learn and grow, to work hard and practice.

and that is how a beautiful mess like me ends up being just plain beautiful.

ah…i think i needed that.

thank you for indulging me and reading it.

thank you for encouraging and supporting me.

thank you for being you in all of your beautiful messiness too.

and on a completely different subject…


meet matilda!

she’s not a three-legged puppy…she just likes to sit on the steps with one leg hitched up.

she’s crazy.

and fun.

and i love her.

she gets me out of the house and out of my head.

she has creeped into my heart.

my favorite thing about her?

when i go to be with her, she comes over and buries her head in my belly so i can rub her head, neck and ears.

she trusts me completely.

i’ve never known such trust before.

it’s heaven.

she’s heaven.

so i’m going to try and keep up with blogging.

i can’t guarantee i’ll be terribly great at it (we covered that all ready).

plus my track record doesn’t exactly highlight my commitment there.

however, there’s some exciting things coming up

(like partnering with Missouri Star Quilt Company and RJR Fabrics for Mystery Quilt)

and you are going to want to know about that.

i also entered an entry into the HMQS 2014 ADORNit Quilt Challenge.


here’s a sneak peek.


i’ll do a separate blog post when i find out the results of the challenge.


so this is getting long.

and i have to get dinner on.

and finish a client quilt.

and maybe…(maybe) try and clean my studio.

a little bit.

just because I am a beautiful mess doesn’t mean my studio is a beautiful mess.

sometimes, a mess is just that…a mess.

or maybe it’s creative genius…


yes…that’s brilliant.

my mess is indicative of a creative genius at work.

i’ll keep telling myself that.

you can tell yourself that too.

i won’t copyright that.

have a lovely weekend!

on the wall

i started this project almost a year ago.

in march.

it’ll be one year in march.

a very gracious client asked me to make her a quilt…two, actually.

the same quilt, mirror imaged, with the rabbits in different poses.

Image 1

here’s quilt 1.

the rabbit is just pinned on right now.

i want her to tell me what she thinks.

and the ears!

they look so big!!

in the picture they seem so big, but when i drew them out they didn’t…maybe it’s because they are dark blue.

here’s a close up…


i’m going to put a bee landing on his nose.

what do you think??


for several years it seemed that whenever i opened my mouth there was something else “bad” that had happened.

(“bad” usually means unpleasant, really.)

last year was a year of many amazing things happening one right after the other.

the complete antithesis of five years ago.

still, sitting in the quiet of today, i feel a bit of whiplash when i think back on it.

my body, mind and soul is craving rest.

restful quietness.

a life that’s being managed.

please God, no wrenches this year.

or maybe little ones…

ones that i can take in stride.

i’ve forgotten how worn out i am.


last friday, after helping with popcorn at the school, i took a few projects up to ben franklin for drop off.

(meeting deadlines and using things up give me a bit of high.)

millie, the fabric department manager, says, “you should make a youtube video for your classes.”




*chuckles to self*

i bundled everything back up the hill this morning.

i hate admitting defeat.

we have no video camera.

we have phones.

we have a computer.

we have a digital camera.

we have no video camera.

someone else will videotape me.

watch out world…heather will be on video.


today, however, i’m going to play with beth’s quilt.


this was done with the computer.

in reality i’m much further than this…the triple chain is nearly done and there are only two stars left.

it’s the outside border that i’m confused out.

will get there.

that will be good to have done.

*ahead of schedule*

i love saying that, by the way.


one of the other things i’m ahead on…

well, okay…technically i’m right on time.

it’s just i’ve been behind so much that it feels ahead of time.

right…any way, the thing i’m ahead on is the mystery quilt.

people…it’s all written.

it’s done.

i’ve even got the fancy bits in here and there.

maybe a few little tidbits to add but, really, debbie (pattern tester) is happy, therefore how can i be unhappy?

here’s my fabric…


10 lights to darks in blue batiks.

i think i’ve got the shades right…

i’m thinking this pattern would be pretty in rainbow colors…

aren’t you dyin’ to know??

i’ve all ready had one gal ask about these particular fabrics.

i’m going to talk to ben franklin to see if they would put together kits and if they would mail them.

if not i’ll come up with plan b so keep checking in.

after i’m done with beth’s quilt i’ll be cutting into my fabrics.


just a teeny, itsy bit excited.

i’m still working out how to make the process work smoothly so just hang in there folks for more info.

have a fun quiltie sort of day.

the cutie patootie bag ~ new pattern!

i know you are in shock.

posting twice in two days!


honestly i was laying in bed…just laying there…wondering what time it was.

when it became evident that i wasn’t going back to sleep and listening to d breathe and chloe cough i decided to get up.

i snuck downstairs and am now snuggled under a couple of quilts in my chilly house (we keep the temps low at night) with my computer on my lap.

once i’m done here i’ll conquer notes for my pantograph class at the end of the month…plus notes for cutting fabric.

but i realized that, if you missed it on Facebook, this would be the perfect place to chat about my new pattern!


when we were living in our old house in tacoma we were faced with the notion of trick-or-treating.

i was loathed to buy the cheap plastic pumpkins.

imaginings of cracked plastic, missing handles and buckets that get too heavy flashed through my mind.

really, other than avoiding the pumpkins, i couldn’t tell you what inspired this bag.

i wasn’t taught how to create a pattern.

no one showed me how to make sure the dimensions of a bag worked.

so when i make something like this i’m alway stunned.

(learning to trust myself and the inspirations in my mind is getting easier, by the way.)

now, now…please no lectures.

i’ve struggled with insecurity all my life.

by the grace and with the love of God, i’m getting better.

nothing like security to grow out of insecurity.

but i digress (a common problem in my posts)!

back to the cute bags!

so the original bags i made were with fall fabrics.

Image 1

not the best photo (i just creeped upstairs, over squeaky floorboards) to get a pic of the originals.

i ended up having to pull from my stash because  I don’t think I had four fat quarters…just three.

(that’s why we test!)

not to bad, right?

well, i got busy, the girls got bigger, life took over.

my notes, etc, went into a folder and there it sat.

until last month.

where i resurrected it because it’s going to be a class at the ben franklin in bonney lake.

in march.

really what i needed to do was make sure that:

1) it really does work as a pattern (not just a fluke…which does happen)


2) it can indeed use four fat quarters.

so over christmas break while waiting for my new machine to arrive i whipped up this cutie guy…


(once again…not such a great photo…)

cute, huh!?!

and i’m starting to realize the depths of my love for polka dots…

these were all half yard cuts.

but it confirmed that the pattern was good, measurements right…ah yes.


now for class samples…


with a few embellishments…

these two little bags really ARE made with four fat quarters.

(yes, there are dots…and chevrons.  oh dear!)

i think i’m going to try some with a rick-rack closure and a big cute button…

and one with some fun lace…

oh my.

i think i’m addicted.

how many little girls do i know?

oh heck with that…little boys like to carry around things in bags too…

so…where can you get it?

at craftsy

or at etsy!

paper patterns arriving soon.


catchin’ up

my title feels like a song.

actually, the way i’ve been getting things done my life feels like a song.

i mean, here it is a normal wednesday and i’m posting to my blog!

a miracle has happened!

well…not really a miracle, though how we got here seems like it.

the reason why i’m catching up?


this guy right here.

oh.  my.  gosh.

admittedly the first day was very sketchy.

i actually wished for my old machine back.

but i knocked myself upside the head and told myself to get realistic.

one day.

it took me one day to sort it out.

i LOVE this computer.

it’s almost shameful to say out loud.

seriously, though, i got 8 quilts done in four days.

and as those 8 quilts were happily stitching away i was:

making food, doing laundry, writing mystery quilt, binding quilts, talking to hubby…

cleaning house, helping with homework, mystery quilt retreat paperwork, mailing packages…

it opened up so much free time that i cleaned up the garden yesterday afternoon!

i feel a new woman!!

plus d has been helping too…



my hubby is quilting!

never thought i’d see the day.

and one of the things i/we accomplished?

before i answer that question i want to say this:

i’m not particularly d.i.y.’y.

typically all time and energy has been sucked into quilting.

plus thinking a process through to take photos just doesn’t occur to me.

however, i had a brainiac idea a few months ago and wanted a ladder in the living room with photos hanging in and around it.

d started hunting craigslist.

finally one popped up.

he got it for $20.

then he secured the legs together and hung it for me.

we spent an evening working out the photos.

but here was the brilliance…


do you see the letters?

i found them at ben franklin.

sanded them down a bit.

painted a layer of white acrylic paint.

then painted a layer of magnolia white acrylic paint.

but then i went and got a little pot of this paint…



one coat on top of the two coats of white paint.

it was kind of streaky where the white showed through but i was good with that.

last night, after all my yard work, i grabbed some sand paper and sanded all the corners and a rough sand on the top.


here’s a close up of the ‘f’…

Image 1

can you see the edges??

the white shows through!

i’m just kind of proud of myself.


it’s fun!

d’s going to move the ‘m’ and ‘l’ a bit so everything is a little more evenly spaced.

right…so now that i’ve shared that fun stuff i’m going to go try and get some work done.

have a lovely day!

a new year mystery

my friends tracy, debbie and pam took over the new years mystery quilt this year.

it was nice to be a participant this time!

here are the fabrics i chose…


pretty, huh?

i bought an entire bolt of the butterfly fabrics.

don’t ask me why.

it was a momentary lapse of reason.

i had re-sold a good portion of it…i mean, 15 yards is a bit much.

but i digress…


i got my fabric cut…


then started my flying geese.

and a little more flying geese…well, okay…i didn’t make MORE.

i just continued sewing them together.

Image 5

after that i hijacked the mystery quilt.

you see…i didn’t actually get that far on the 1st.

oh no…because of interruptions (hubby, children, science fair projects, new machine arriving) it took me four days to work on this project.

i digress again!

so, of course, i really wanted to show off the butterflies so i changed the next clue a teeny, tiny bit.

Image 7

instead of two strips of fabric, i switched to three and widened the middle one.


they’ll never let me participate again.

now this is the important part…

Image 8

first i had to fly some geese north…

Image 6

then i had to fly some geese south…

Image 10

then blocks into rows…

Image 12

and rows into a quilt.

isn’t it pretty??

but that isn’t it.

you see…i got my new machine…right?
Image 9



i had a lot of fun getting used to her.

circles, swirls and feathers!

Image 13

and voila!!

*deep sigh*

feeling very satisfied.

no…the binding isn’t on.

can’t decide…

the dark pink?  the gingham pink?  the dark green or the light green??

what do you think??

into the new year

my last post was october 8th.

i’ve given up trying to be timely about posting.

life is so full that it’s pretty low on the priority list.

so onto updating…

quest for wellness: post 2

the cleansing diet was a bust.

i got through day 2 and realized that limited veggies just wasn’t going to cut it.

my life is too busy to eat that way.

and “cutting” something out of my schedule wasn’t an option.

that night i gorged.

not to worry…it was all good food.

but as i kept reading the #1 thing that kept coming up as triggers for my problems was stress.

that’s when i realized something.

i was stressing about a lot.

most of it wasn’t even my responsibility.

so…i stopped.

“have fun with that!” has become a favorite saying.

also, “i’m sorry.”

notice how there wasn’t anything after that??

i also identified areas that were causing stress and figured out how to:

1) cut back

2) cut out

3) fix it

my quilting machine was a huge source of stress.

so, we’ve bought a new one.

(it hasn’t arrived yet…but when it does and it’s set up there will be photos!)

time management.

typically, i excel.

but there were areas that were huge time-sucks (not just Facebook) so i’ve been rethinking those.

a computer on the new machine was one solution.

reliable help with mq and etsy shop is another one.

allowing my girls to be who they are…huge.

let it go…

just let it go.

after finishing the last month of the anti-virals and cutting down on stress my body feels different.

sometimes so much so i’m not sure who i am.

but that’s good!

in other news:

d and i went to houston for the international quilt festival.


oh. my. gosh.



we went to the space center.


we met friends…


and friends…

IMG_4389and more friends.

we looked at quilts…






took classes…

Image 1


and generally hung about…


we also bought a new quilting machine…but i don’t have a picture of her yet.

upon returning home we hit the ground running.

pushing through to the end of the year i worked on quilt after quilt…


Image 2




and am finishing writing up several patterns.

including the Cutie-Patootie Bag.

(chloe named it…very apropos, if you ask me.)


christmas was off the hook.

the girls got quite the hall.

from boots to doll clothes and legos.

a little bit of everything!

my dear, wonderful hubby found (at a friends house) these wonderful pieces…


(she was built in 1908…missing a belt and has a few rusty bits but i don’t care!)


(the steamer trunk needs a good clean and some parts replaced but she’ll be gorgeous displaying fabric, etc.)

so now it is december 30.

we have one and a bit days of this year left.

in reflection it’s been quite a year.

more ups and downs than i can typically handle.

but i’ll say this:

i’m thankful for every moment and all that i’ve learned.

i’ve experienced the deepness of the love and grace of God in many tangible ways this year.

restoration and hope are two words that sing out.

may you be blessed richly, deeply and profoundly this year with all the good things that Christ has for you.

with much love and deep appreciation…

~ h