Quick and Easy Teacher Gifts

One of these years, I’m going to be way ahead of schedule and not scrambling to make teacher gifts at the last possible moment.  But not this year!

As I was searching Pinterest for something quick, easy, relatively inexpensive, and pretty, I found this awesome wrist cuff tutorial. And it fit all my criteria!  All in all, it took only a couple of hours to make a dozen or so bracelets.  I used some of my old Hoffman Challenge fabrics, and some other fun prints from my scrap bins.  My girls picked the buttons.

Here they are:







And a close-up:






And my daughter modeling one of them:

modeled bracelet






Don’t know what I’ll do next year when my son has all male teachers, but at least I’ve got a year to figure that out!

Happy Stitching!


JQSG- More Progress

Welcome to the Japanese Quilting Study group, a semi-monthly blog series devoted to exploring the wonderful world of Japanese quilts and quilters!  You can see all posts in the series by clicking the tab above.

May progressEarlier this month, I posted about finishing the center blocks for this quilt.  And I mentioned how I enjoyed the slow progress of this project.  A few days later, I woke up and realized we were halfway through May, and this quilt is scheduled to go on tour mid-July. Ack!!  So the project has risen to the very tippy top of my quilt priority list.  Here’s an updated progress shot of the quilt.  I’ve rewatched the entire Pride and Prejudice series while stitching hexies.  Such a delightful way to spend the evenings.

Do you remember Teresa Wong’s guest post on my blog last fall?  Her book release date approaches quickly, and you can now pre-order it on Amazon.  How cool is that? Wowsers, just after seeing the cover I’m in love with it.  I can’t wait to read all about the quilters within.  And I really enjoyed this post about her first stop on her book tour.  My little hexie quilt is going to be in some lovely company, don’t you think??

Happy Stitching!


Quiltmaker Blog Tour Winner

First off, I want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who stopped by my blog last week!  What a fun tour!!

As my regulars know, I try very hard to respond by individual e-mail to every comment left on my blog.  I will not be able to do that for the tour comments.  But please know I’ve read and appreciated every single one of them!  In fact, all the great comments about Jane Austen inspired me to stay up WAY too late last week, watching Pride and Prejudice, sipping tea, and sewing like crazy on my Yoko Saito hexagon project. Fun times!

Congratulations to Marie, who commented with:

I haven’t tried English paper piecing. Not sure if it’s for me but maybe someday…. I do love English period shows and movies though.

You’ve won a copy of Quiltmaker’s 100 blocks volume 11!  We’ll be in touch with you over e-mail, Marie!







And now I’m back to work on a couple of new patterns, end-of-the-year teacher gifts, and a slew of crazy projects that I can’t wait to share with you soon.  I’m looking forward to a less frantic schedule in June.  No school and all the kids home means a more relaxed pace, right?!?

Happy Stitching!


Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 11 Blog Tour


Howdy, and welcome to my stop on the blog tour!  I’ve really enjoyed seeing all the gorgeous quilts and blocks this week.  Hard to believe we’re already halfway through the tour!




hexadaisy for QuiltmakerMy block, Hexadaisy, can be found on page 30.  It’s a fun combination of English paper piecing and simple pinwheel patchwork.




Since the daisy petal shapes are a bit different from normal hexagons, I thought I’d share a tip for basting:

bastingCut out a rectangle roughly 1/4″ larger than the petal shape, and baste the rectangle instead of trying to cut out 1/4″ all the way around the shape.  It’s much easier to work with! Also, basting with thread (instead of glue), and NOT basting through the paper works best for this project.  Since the petals will be appliqued to the base, you can press the paper piecing and pull out the papers.  The basting stitches remain in place to make the applique easier.

My original block was made from all American Made Brand solids.  I love the vibrant colors.  Solids are also fantastic for EPP, because it doesn’t matter which side of the fabric gets basted.

I’m also a huge Downton Abbey fan, so when the time came to make a quilt from my block, I delved into my treasured stash of Downton Abbey fabrics from Andover.  I wanted to make a whole quilt of hexadaisy blocks, but time was against me.  So I made one block and surrounded it with a fun arrangement of 6 inch half-square triangles.

Hexadaisy close-up






Hexadaisy quilt




To make the pinwheels twirl, I quilted them with large spirals, and filled in the spaces with stippling for a bit of texture. Even with the EPP, this quilt went together surprisingly quickly.

Hexadaisy quilting

So, how about you?  Are you ready to take your own hexadaisy for a spin?  Quiltmaker will be giving a copy of the current issue to one reader from my blog.  To enter,  leave a comment below.  Are you a fan of English paper piecing? Or English period dramas? Or both?


For an extra chance to win, “like” The Caffeinated Quilter on Facebook, and let me know in the comments below.

Happy Stitching!


JQSG- Quilt Progress

Welcome to the Japanese Quilting Study group, a semi-monthly blog series devoted to exploring the wonderful world of Japanese quilts and quilters!  You can see all posts in the series by clicking the tab above.

I have been working slowly and steadily on my Yoko Saito Hexagon and Fence Post quilt.  I stitch a couple of flowers in the car, or a rail fence block as a leader/ender when I’m at the sewing machine, and ever-so-slowly, the quilt evolves.  I have finally finished all the rail fence blocks for the quilt center.

Rail fence center

After finishing these, I needed to get a taupe for the center borders between the rail fence blocks and the hexagon flowers.  I wanted something in a teal/turquoise and gray color scheme.  One World Fabrics had the perfect tonal print from Daiwabo, and you can see it in the corners above.  You’ll be seeing more of it soon!  I was so tickled that the fabric arrived three days after I placed the order, and the colors were true to what the images looked like on-screen.

Only 30 more hexagon flowers to go.  Then I’ll start assembling the quilt in earnest.  I’m looking forward to hand-quilting it too!

Check back on Wednesday for the Quiltmaker’s 100 blocks tour!

Happy Stitching!



Craft Fair and Pattern Display Mini-Tutorial

I officially survived my first craft fair!  Overall, it was a lot of fun, and I learned a ton.  And came home and promptly fell asleep on the couch.  It’s amazing how exhausting standing and smiling can be!

finished booth








In all my internet and pinterest searches of craft fair displays, I found very little about how to display patterns.  So I brainstormed ideas with my friend Elizabeth, and we came up with this simple and effective way to display patterns.  I purchased a portable easel from JoAnn’s with a 40% off coupon, so the display came out to less than $30.

First, I took a foam core board, pack of stick-on hangers, and several patterns to get a sense of the hanger placement.

supplies for pattern board






I set up the patterns on the board, and visually estimated spacing between them.  Then I stuck on the hangers, using the lines on the foam core as a guide for hanging them straight.  After applying the hangers, I waited for the half-hour recommended on the packaging before testing out the new board.







It worked wonderfully!  Best of all, it’s reusable, and I can switch out whatever patterns I want to highlight.

patttern display








And finally, I used this fun tutorial to make a little half-apron for the event.  It was perfect for holding change, a calculator, and a pen.  Yes, I could have bought a plain one.  But it was fun to make, and the coffee fabric was another visual connection to my brand.  The tutorial was pretty simple to follow.  I’ll definitely be using this again!







The best part of this show was the opportunity to talk to people in person about quilting.  I love the online community, and the ability it provides to interact with quilters around the globe.  But it was a real treat to watch people come up to the booth, touch the quilts, and talk about memories they had of family members and quilts.

And now that I’ve been through the craft show process on a small scale, I’m looking forward to vending at local quilt shows. . . and maybe Quilt Market, someday!

Stay tuned for more fun coming soon on the blog.  I can’t wait to show you some progress on the Hexagon and Rail Fence quilt, and next Wednesday is my tour stop on the Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 11 Blog Tour!!!!  Happiness :-)







Here’s the magazine cover:  My block  is in under the letter “B” in “Blocks”,  third block down.








Can’t wait to share more with you soon!

Happy Stitching!





A Quilt and a Craft Fair

Is it just me, or does the world always get really crazy in April and May? Months ago, I blithely signed up to help out our church youth group by vending in their craft fair at the end of April, and providing a quilt for their silent auction in June.  Both dates seemed so remote at the time, and suddenly, they’re eminent.

I decided to do a scrap quilt for the auction donation.  I’ve been a fan of Cynthia Brunz’s website, Quilting is More Fun Than Housework, for a long time.  She does the most amazing things with her scrap bins, and makes it look so easy.  I picked her Scrap-a-Palooza Quilt #3, pulled out a bunch of fun brights and a background gray, and started stitching. What did I learn?  Her quilts are so easy, and fun to make!  I had this top done in less than a week while the kids were home over spring break.

Brightly Woven quilt








And it’s going to be hard to part with.  Each of these snippets tells a story.  Most say “hey, this was in your daughter’s quilt”, but that’s what pinks are for, right?







I quilted it with more hook and loop swirls,  in the same variegated thread as my daughter’s quilt.  I worried that the variegated thread contrasted too much on the yellow blocks, but it’s kind of mellowed since, and doesn’t seem as jarring to me now on the finished quilt.

backing fabric







I splurged a bit for the backing, and bought this fun sea turtle print.

This quilt will hang in my booth at the craft fair, both for a pop of color, and to help advertise the upcoming auction.  So, if you’re in the Dallas/Fort Worth area next Sunday, stop by and say “hi!” Here’s a link to the show with more information.

craft fair









I’ll have some handmade stuff available, and sale prices on some of my best patterns.  Vending at a craft show is a completely new venture for me, but I’m looking forward to it.  Next week, I’ll have pictures of the booth mock-up, as well as a cheap but cute way to display patterns.

Happy Stitching!


Pinwheel Jam in Tropical Colors

My oldest daughter has loved the Pinwheel Jam quilt since the first design sketch appeared on my design wall. So once the rush of pattern development ended, I let her pick the colors for a quilt of her own.  I’ve worked on it in spurts since last fall, and it’s finally finished!

Evidently, she loves bright colors as much as her mom does. . .

tropical pinwheel jam








And she is far more adventurous than me.  She picked out a variegated hot pink thread for the top.  I was so apprehensive about it, but it blends pretty well with all the colors.

tropical detail1






She even picked out the quilting designs, asking for pebbling in the big pinwheels, and meandering everywhere else.

tropical detail2






Happy quilt, happy mama, happy daughter.  Life is good!  Although, I’ve now upset the balance of how many quilts each child has, so the other four kiddos are clamoring for new quilts too.

I hope your weekend is full of fun and bright fabric!

Happy Stitching!


The Kountry Karnival Quilt, Finished!

If you follow me on facebook, you’ve probably seen some in-progress pictures of this quilt.  The school my children attend celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.  For the annual fundraising auction, I was asked to make a t-shirt quilt from all the shirts they’ve collected for Kountry Karnival over the years.  Thirty t-shirts, to be exact.  While I was a bit daunted by that many, they actually worked up into a reasonable size quilt that drapes nicely over a queen-sized bed.  Here’s the quilt:







Our school colors are red and white, but only the center t-shirt is red.  So I used red for the borders.  To somewhat corral the crazy of that many different colors, I also included 3″ squares of the border fabric randomly across the quilt. I think the uneven borders saved my sanity on this project.  Being able to attach red bands at the outer edges of the rows prevented me from having to calculate the size of every block and try to accurately make sure each section of the quilt wound up precisely the same size as its neighbors.  If you’ve ever worked with t-shirts, you know they don’t quite behave as well as cotton, and tend to stretch and shrink to the size they want to be.

Here’s the backing, and yes, sadly, it is crooked.  I have no idea how I did that.  All three strips of backing were sewn together straight, and lined up on the floor straight before I basted it.  By the time I realized it, I was past the point of no return (it was mostly quilted), so it’s staying like that.







I free-motion quilted swirls in this one too (big surprise, I know!).  It was a fun and forgiving design to sew.  Although the center of the quilt (where it’s also t-shirt on the back) was a BEAST to sew through.  I think after that, I will avoid any attempt at making a two-sided t-shirt quilt, ever.







And here’s a quick shot of the quilt outside on the school playground before the quilt was on its merry way to auction.









Way fun, but I am soooo glad to have this quilt off my to-do list.  And so grateful for my Artistic to quilt it on.  T-shirts are HEAVY, and I think that would have been hard to deal with on my domestic.  The Artistic has an extension table, which I used for this quilt, and it was a lifesaver. Having the entire quilt always on the table really helped alleviate drag issues.

Now I’m off to bind all the other quilts I’ve managed to finish quilting lately.  (Three, to be exact.  This is crazy.  I’ve never gotten so many quilts quilted this fast before).

Happy Stitching, and may you have a wonderful Easter!!


JQSG- Exploring the Work of Shizuko Kuroha

Welcome to month 14 of the Japanese Quilting Study Group!  You can find all previous posts from this series here.

Several years ago at Quilt Festival, I stopped by the Quilt Mania booth and fell in love with the cover of a book- Indigo and Sarasa.  This was my first experience ever with Japanese quilting, and it’s probably still my absolute favorite quilting book.

Shizuko Kuroha






The quilts are spectacular.  No matter how many times I look through the book, I’m amazed at how she arranges shapes and colors.  (The link above will show you nearly a dozen pages of quilts within the book).  For example, she not only sews with hexagons, she sews with irregular hexagons, so that over the course of a quilt, some hexagons will be perfectly symmetric, and others will have sides skewed, such that the whole quilt seems three-dimensional.  Some of my favorite quilts of hers involve drunkard’s path blocks set to resemble curved pinwheels.  The sashing between the blocks is also pieced, and creates a swirling flowered effect.

After the stunning photographs, my second-favorite aspect of this book is how simply, and eloquently Mrs. Kuroha shares the story of her journey as a quilter.  The publishers did an amazing job of letting her gentle voice shine through the pages.

And finally, this book is a treasure trove of instructions.  She goes in-depth with explanations of hand-piecing, and every single step is illustrated with a clear photograph.  If you’ve ever wondered how to start and end seams, cross seam intersections, or anything else, this book has your answers.

Just last year, Fons and Porter published a book with Mrs. Kuroha called “Log Cabin Restructured”.  It also has a wealth of piecing instructions, a beautiful gallery, and tons of information about sewing log cabins– even log cabin hexagons and curved log cabins.  This book focuses far more on projects than Indigo and Sarasa, and is a bit simpler to follow because it is only written in English (Indigo and Sarasa has both French and English text).

Both books, however, are lavishly illustrated and chock-full of valuable quilting information.  If you’d like more information about Shizuko Kuroha, check out this interview from Quilter’s Newsletter.

Next month for our study group, I’ll have some updated photos of my hexagon and rail fence quilt.  I’m also hoping to attempt a project from Indigo and Sarasa, so I’ll have some progress and impressions to share from that learning experience as well.

Happy Stitching!