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?

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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…

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:)

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…

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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…

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brilliant!

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.

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here’s a close up of the ‘f’…

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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…

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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…

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i got my fabric cut…

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then started my flying geese.

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

i just continued sewing them together.

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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.

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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…

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first i had to fly some geese north…

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then i had to fly some geese south…

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then blocks into rows…

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and rows into a quilt.

isn’t it pretty??

but that isn’t it.

you see…i got my new machine…right?
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see!!

:)

i had a lot of fun getting used to her.

circles, swirls and feathers!

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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.

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oh. my. gosh.

splendid!

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we went to the space center.

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we met friends…

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and friends…

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we looked at quilts…

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took classes…

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and generally hung about…

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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…

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and am finishing writing up several patterns.

including the Cutie-Patootie Bag.

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

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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…

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

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(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

quest for wellness: post 1

i think i have suffered with food related allergies all my life.

however, it wasn’t until about 6 years ago that it came to light.

what started as a quest to answer a question regarding chloe’s health turned into so much more.

there have been a lot of struggles, arguments, victories and disappointments.

i binged.

i conquered.

and then i got some answers.

i’m allergic to:

dairy (all forms including sheep and goat)

coffee

shellfish

cod

tuna

blueberries

cranberries

almonds

hazelnuts

sesame seeds

and

peanuts

but there’s more…

i’m sensitive to:

wheat

soy

chocolate

and all chemicals used in packaged foods

(ie natural flavoring or spices)

which means i don’t eat any of those things.

ever.

if i do i get:

insomnia

diarrhea

constipation

rash on my cheeks

moodiness

low body temp

lethargy

thyroid gets off

and more, which all escapes me at the moment

the main under-lying cause?

an over growth of yeast in my gut.

what? you ask.

yeast is, generally, naturally occurring in most peoples’ intestines.

but if you are eating foods that you are allergic to,

have been on multiple rounds of strong antibiotics,

(for women) used either the pill or IUD for birth control,

are under great amounts of stress

and have a high sugar diet

then you, my friend, just like me are a candidate for an overgrowth of yeast.

generally it’s candida but there are other yeasts as well.

i’m finally getting serious about it though.

last week i bought a program for reversing yeast overgrowth.

and since then i’ve been slowly preparing my body so that when i start the program next week it’ll be almost ready.

and i thought…why don’t i blog about it?

so here it goes…

the biggest factor is eliminating all sugars and starches from the diet.

this includes all baked goods (with a few exceptions and i’ll show pictures in coming weeks), potatoes and any foods that are high GI.

but as sugars and starches are eliminated more vegetables and low GI foods are introduced.

quinoa, kale, eggs (lots of eggs) are just starters.

avocados.

so thankful i love those guys.

and as i’ve made this slow transition i’ve started noticing some changes.

my face is clearing up.

it still appears dry (making face make-up really not good…i just look scaly) but the redness isn’t as sharp and the “zits” are fewer.

also, i’m sleeping better.

i’ve had this constant problem in my shoulder for over a year now…but when i stay away from the sugar it’s actually getting better.

fewer flares of the enflamed muscles.

my mood swings are significantly less as well.

i’ve also discovered some new foods.

a quinoa salad (i don’t know the measurements but if you play with it there’s some good stuff)

quinoa cooked with water and a bit of salt (chicken broth would work beautifully too)

cool the quinoa then add:

paprika

herbamare (generous sprinkle)

salt

pepper

1 leaf chopped kale

1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper

2 green onions chopped thinly

1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar

1/2 avocado on top

options:

currants or raisins…i wonder what apple would taste like in it.

if you come up with any others please let me know and i’ll add them here.

make a lot of the quinoa then you can freeze it in smaller batches, though i wouldn’t freeze the salad.

it would turn the veggies to mush.

i had it with dinner (in lieu of potatoes) and for breakfast (with two fried eggs on top).

it’s filling (which i worry about weight loss…don’t really need to lose any) and really healthy.

right.

so i’m going to go back to work now.

i’ll share with you as the experiment continues.

ciao!

homemade applesauce

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here are my apples.

pretty, huh?

we washed, rough cut all the icky parts out,

threw them in the crockpot with two cups water and 2 tablespoons cinnamon.

there were about 9 or 10 apples.

i have no idea what kind they are but they’re pretty sweet.

then i put the crockpot on high for three hours.

voila!

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okay.

so that doesn’t look very appetizing.

blame it on the photo.

the applesauce is a lovely pink color.

and the applesauce is amazing.

better than store bought.

:D

lazy sunday

it’s not often we ditch church.

usually something extreme has to happen for this to occur.

for example:  the washington state fair.

that was enough.

today?

well, yesterday i drove to a friends wedding 2 1/2 hours away only for my phone to die (out in the middle of nowhere).

it contained the directions.

no phone.

no clock.

no gps.

so, without seeing my friends, i turned around and drove home.

2 1/2 hours.

my butt hurt.

my legs hurt.

i wore a dress, darn it.

with my cowgirl boots too.

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(the view of mt. rainier from my car window on my way to drop off the girls at a friends house.)

so today i languished in bed with my two girls; one on either side of me.

after some time we got up.

made and ate breakfast.

then we went and picked apples.

they are in the crockpot with some water and cinnamon.

homemade applesauce.

it’s going to be divine.

in the mean time i decided to catch up on intuits small business big game contest.

did you hear?

i made it into the top 20,000 businesses and onto round 2.

other than the video (which is wracking my nerves, btw) i finished the other bits and pieces.

you can start voting for me now.

the link is just over there on the right.

i hope.

i haven’t tested it yet.

i’ll work out the video this week.

on that long LONG drive i rehearsed about 75,000 times.

you’d think i got it worked out!

:D

and the rest of my day?

some sewing.

some gardening.

maybe wash the car.

though i will avoid at all costs, driving the darn thing.

my rear hurts even when i think about it.

oh hey!

y’all want an update on our American Hero’s Block Challenge??

253 blocks plus my friend orrelle sent me a completed top.

not bad, methinks, for our first one!

thank you to all who joined in on the fun.

here’s a photo of her quilt…

Image 1isn’t it grand?

in the box was this…

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it warmed my heart and broke it all at the same time.

so much loss in our world.

i love that we could help orrelle process her grief in this way.

i’ve not got a date with my sewing machine.

when the applesauce is done i’ll post some pics of it.

you won’t be disappointed.

the apple tree

i think i’m going to be posting a lot about this tree.

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do you see it?

do you see all the apples??

this tree is laden with apples.

that’s how my life and business feels right now.

heavy.

full.

ripe.

and when i look at the tree i feel blessings upon blessings.

but there’s also a very real reality you can’t see.

i have absolutely no idea how to grow apples.

my lack of knowledge is stunning in this department.

there’s so much i don’t know that i don’t even know what i don’t know.

seems obvious doesn’t it?

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but look at those apples!!

surely they grow themselves, don’t they?

well…actually, no they don’t.

for instance they need regular watering.

if the tree doesn’t get water regularly it drops it’s apples.

and then there’s the ones that rot on the branches.

and the ones that get eaten by worms.

despite all that i love this tree.

it is a representation of me.

so.

there’s a lot i don’t know…about myself, about my business.

i often feel like i’m exploring myself, facing obstacles, taking apart that which doesn’t work and putting it back together again.

i find myself evaluating what i want to do against what i am able to do.

this is all good stuff.

there’s so much fruit in it.

and in the process i am reminded of the shepherd boy, david.

he learned to trust God in the fields.

and this served him well for when he became king.

not that i’ll ever be a queen…but i think what you get what i’m saying.

but today a friend came over and wanted to look at the apples.

she took two and said, “i’m going to cook them with a bit of sugar and cinnamon.”

that got me thinking.

so i picked three.

cut them up.

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after taking out some of the bad bits…and the worm…

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i put them in a pan with a bit of water and cinnamon.

(we’re avoiding a lot of added sugar wherever possible.)

and…i forgot to take a picture of our applesauce.

but the girls proclaimed it the best they had ever had!

it was pretty tasty…even with the skins.

:)

lesson learned.

sometimes good things can come from things that are less than perfect.

american hero quilt block challenge

about 5 years ago i was introduced to a wonderful organization called american hero quilts.

their goal is to provide quilts to injured soldiers at joint base lewis/mcchord (in washington state) who have returned from overseas.

sue, the founder, has some amazing stories about the soldiers who have received quilts.

these men and women have so many challenges to face with their new lives.

the goal of american heroes is to show them that they are loved and cared for.

sadly, over the last few years i’ve not been able contribute to them.

until now, that is.

: :

my friends kathy and sylvia have offered to help me in this challenge.

here’s how it’ll work:

below is a tutorial for an easy block.

we would like you to make as many blocks as you’d like and send them to kathy.

then we’ll get them put together and send them to american hero quilts!

our goal…

to make 10 quilts.

that is 350 blocks!!

you’ll use three colors: red, white and blue.

using scraps is totally acceptable.

please no flannel, fleece, or fabric with metallic print.

due to open wounds these materials can only cause more problems.

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this is what the finished quilts will look like.

here’s the tutorial:

cutting instructions

cut (8) 3 1/2″ squares

cut (4) 6 1 /2″ x 3 1/2″ blue rectangles

cut (4) 6 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ red rectangles

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sewing instructions:

draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the white 3 1/2″ squares.

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divide the squares in half…four will be stitched to the red rectangles and four will be stitched to the blue rectangles.

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line a white  3 1/2″ square up with the right side of a blue 6 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ rectangle.

stitch just to the right of the drawn line (side closest to the outside corner).

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can you see it?

repeat with the rest of the blue rectangles and with the red rectangles.

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next trim 1/4″ from the stitched line closest to the outside corner.

do this for all of the blue and red rectangles.

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okay…okay…these are black not blue.

it just wanted to play too!

and i’m also going to admit that i use scissors to trim my 1/4″ seam allowance.

chalk it up to laziness.

you don’t have to copy me…i won’t make you.

:)

next flip the now white triangle up and press.IMG_4103

repeat for the blue and red rectangles.

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aren’t they pretty??

your red and blue rectangles should look like this.

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now turn the red rectangles to look like this…

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then flip the red rectangles onto the blue rectangles right sides together the.

make sure that the ends of the white triangles overlap.

line up the corners and long edge and stitch.

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now open them up and press to the dark side.

(i feel a star wars joke here but can’t get it together…the dark side…)

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isn’t it great?

you should have 4 of these guys.

okay…lay those guys out to look like this…

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i’m keen on laying out quilt blocks.

if things don’t look right now would be the time to make sure.

almost there…three seams to go.

lay the top right mini-block on top of the top left mini-block, right sides together.

line up the corners and stitch.

open up and press to the red long side.

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repeat with the bottom two mini-blocks.

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line up the outside corner and the middle (the middle seams should nestle right against each other), pin and stitch.

press seam open.

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it’s done!!

such a simple block and yet when all the blocks are put together it’s a fun quilt with a wonderful secondary design.

all completed blocks can be sent to:

American Heroes Quilt Block Challenge

c/o Sylvia Youngblut

10308 179th Ave NE

Redmond, Washington 98052

deadline!

(i forgot that part…)

let’s say the end of september so we have time to get the quilts together.

wouldn’t it be great if they could deliver them around veteran’s day??

questions?

please send me  a message through ‘contact us’ and i’ll respond as soon as i can!

thank you for providing comfort and loving support to our wounded soldiers.

*as a side thought, i think quilters are the nicest people.*

: :

p.s. if you include all your off-cut triangles with your blocks kathy will add them to her crumb quilts for the soldiers

fall 2013 mystery quilt

it’s coming up quick!

and i’m thrilled.

we’ve been working hard and we’re nearly ready!

okay…hints (because i know you love them):

the finished blocks size is 12″ square.

there is a Challenge that is optional for those quilters that are a bit more advanced.

the smallest piece is 2-1/2″ square unless you are going for The Challenge…then it’s 1-1/2″.

beginners beware: this will be a challenge if you’ve never quilted before.

we recommend you work with one or two other experienced quilters in case you have questions or come across a hiccup (or two).

ready for the pic?

here’s the jelly roll i chose

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and here it is opened up

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i’ve finished the version without The Challenge.

well…that is, without borders.

that fabric is waiting for me at home.

you will want distinct lights and darks, preferably with the colors dividing evenly.

please go to the link below to give to cancercare.org.

i’m so thrilled to have found this fantastic organization.

http://community.cancercare.org/page.aspx?pid=900&tab=0&frsid=8788

you can purchase your pattern in the links below:

www.etsy.com/shop/heatherspencedesigns

or click the ‘shop’ link here on the website.

can’t wait for you to join us!

we always have a blast.

:)

floating stars quilt pattern

my first pattern.

it’s like my baby.

plus, i just really love this quilt.

Floating Stars Quilt Pattern

this picture is a bit washed out.

but you can see how wonderfully it shows off the charm squares.

my friend patricia pointed out that the charm four patches can be replaced with any block.

*gasp*

she’s right!!

so i asked two friends if they would make the quilt pattern up but to change the blocks.

here’s what they came up with:

lisa’s charming quilt

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“I had this awesome charm pack I had been wanting to use for something. I added the cream from my stash and coordinating fabric. I picked a pieced block and added the sashing around the blocks like in the pattern. After a math error on my part and getting ahead in the directions I was able to get under way on the sashing around the blocks and borders. This was a fun and easy pattern I cant wait to quilt it and give to my niece. I will make another one maybe using a big floral or fun fabric I just cant cut up. Thank you Heather for letting me have the chance to make this up.”

you’re very welcome lisa!

i love what you came up with and appreciate your hard work.

: :

wilma’s striking beauty

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“I initially thought I would buy some “fun” large children prints, but when I got to the store, there was nothing that really grabbed me…until I saw this Andover fabric line. I had to put my math skills to the test to determine yardage (well, actually, it was converting yards to meters plus the math) to be able to fussy cut enough “flowers” from the fabric. The flowers were not large enough for a 9″ block, so I then had to calculate how much fabric was needed for a border to make up the difference. I love the completed blocks. This has been one of my favourite quilts, and I don’t think I am going to give it away! Thanks, Heather, for allowing me to be a quilt sampler!!”

thank you, wilma!!

your quilt is beautiful and almost wish i thought of it myself.

you can find wilma at her blog: http://www.wilmascraftcorner.blogspot.com

: :

so there you go!

a few ideas for you.

what have you come up with??

please share and i’ll add them to this post!