Lessons Learned – The Hard Way

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family this year.  We have a lot to be thankful for.  Darryl is stable and we are really enjoying our time with him.  He is such fun and uplifting to us.  This is a difficult time in our lives and horrible for Darryl.  I find that my concentration level is not very good when trying to start on some of my complex projects and it becomes frustrating.  So I am working on smaller projects that will not require the intense concentration needed in making heirloom quilt.

In my last post (17 Nov)  I indicated that I would start on my Bird of Paradise (original name) quilt – but still trying to decide on which pattern to use.  I started with the A Bountiful Life pattern.  A couple of my quilting buddies had told me about freezer paper (pre-cut to 8 1/2 x 11) that one could print applique pieces from the computer, or copies.  What an experience.  I jumped right in to my new “time saver” project.  I printed the out the 4 quadrants of each block from the book on regular paper and then again on the freezer paper.  I could see the ink cartridge emptying before my eyes (LOL).  But I justified the expense because of the time I would be saving!   I proceeded to tape the freezer quadrants together with some special scotch tape….I thought I was really going to breeze through this process and be on my way.  I was until I cut out all the pieces for Block 1 and skipped over to the iron and BAM!  Gee if you put a hot iron on the tape, it melts and melts on the iron (see what I mean about concentration, creativity and the ability to think when under stress – there isn’t any).  I figured out a way to remove the tape (I think I tried to place something over the tape but that did not work either – another DUH!).  But I did get Block 1 preparation completed and have been working on it.  I realized that this paper is only good for a one page pattern, OR make 2 copies of things and cut out areas and then reprint……EXPENSIVE AND TIME CONSUMING!  I have decided that I will  to go back to the old-fashioned way of TRACING each piece!   Lesson Learned $$$$$$.   Here is the applique process I use for my needle turn applique.   I will be using Batiks for my quilt.

Block Pattern
Freezer Paper block

Notice the doted lines – this is where I used the tape that quickly melts when a hot iron is placed on it….. LOL  Not sure if I will be able to top this stupid thought process, well maybe I can as time will tell.   Lesson Learned:  Do not start a complex quilting project when under stress!


Placement Block 1
Checking the colors and placement


ABL Block 1
Block 1 – A Bountiful Life Pattern

OK – Now to continue on with the “no brain” quilter.  After my disaster with the freezer paper, a friend of mine asked me if I had any patterns for the Antebellum Ladies.   She wanted a lap quilt made with the Ladies of that Era.  I found an old pattern titled, Belle of the Ball by Cindy Surina.   Wanda’s request provided me a challenge and inspired me to continue on quilting, but with a project that is not so complex and detailed.

Selecting the fabric took a day or so because I knew the colors she would like but could not decide on Reproductions or Batiks.  I settled for a fabric line called Charlottesville from Connecting Threads that I had purchased a couple of years ago.   Because I have an abundance of the lovely 8 1/2 x 11 freezer paper and the fact that the pattern would be much easier to print out, I decided to “save time” by using it rather than tracing the pieces.  One thing about being brain dead – you can keep repeating the same process thinking the result will be better, but one still achieves the same result – PROBLEMS.  The quilt will have 4 Ladies Blocks and I have absolutely no idea how I will do the setting, but it will come, I am sure.

So here we go with Lesson Number 2 for the month!  I started having some problems when I started appliqueing the blocks – the pieces were not fitting correctly on the back ground fabric and I had to re-cut some pieces a few times.   I never have problems with my applique pieces fitting  on the background fabric – UNTIL THIS PROJECT.   Last night I finished Block 3 when the light bulb came on!!!!!  My printer was printing the freezer paper pattern about 1/16th of an inch smaller than the original pieces!  Believe you me – 1/16th of an inch is enough to drive a quilter to give up quilting forever.  So now I am down to the last one and of course, the fabric pieces have already been cut – so I know I will have to be ever so careful so I do not become frustrated and throw it in the trash can!  I wonder if any other quilters out there in the Quilt world ever get this frustrated.   The Ladies look fine, but getting there has been an experience.    Lesson Learned:   HAND TRACE ALL APPLIQUE PATTERNS.  There are no short cuts in the process!

I will NOT be using this freezer paper for printing a pattern until I figure out how to get my printer to print a perfect and accurate size of a pattern template or applique pattern pieces.  I have already printed out a few blocks of Love Entwined pieces – but those will be going in the trash can.  For the time and money I have wasted this month on brainless decisions I could have purchased the Stonefields Quilt for $200.00!   But I guess this is just part of life’s little pleasures and lessons.  Here are the finished Ladies Blocks 1 through 3.

Red Lady
Lady in Red


Blue Lady
Lady in Blue


Green Lady
Lady in Green

Clay and I have decided that it is time for a trip to the Choctaw Casino in  Durant, Oklahoma for Christmas.  We will be there for the entire week of the Christmas!  I plan on taking absolutely NOTHING to work on – just enjoy the getaway!  Clay told me I need to be a BIG Winner at the Casino this trip to recoup my brainless decisions! I will try.   I am hoping for a snow storm so I can once again enjoy a White Christmas.  The last one was in 1996 when I lived in Sterling, Virginia.  Ah,  the 1996 Blizzard!  So much fun.  If I cannot have snow, cold weather will be so nice.  We had a nice spell of cold weather in November, but now we are back to the 50’s at night and 70’s during the day – UGH!    I know that we will come back refreshed and ready for the New Year.  We will spend New Year’s Day with Darryl.  Heck – I may even find my creativity again and finish Wand’s Antebellum Ladies quilt!

Have a wonderful Christmas and a great New Year!


Threads of Memory and Civil War Bride Questions

Well!  I finished Block 10 of Threads of Memory – only 3 weeks late and just in time for Block 11 on the 29th!  Whew!

Block 10 Threads of Memory 1
Block 10 Threads of Memory

I have tried many ways to do the elongated star points.  First try was with the EZ rulers, templates, and finally I found Eleanor Burns had a wonderful way to make them.  Just like her rulers for flying geese – these come out perfect every time.  It is so much more fun when a quilter finds a ruler that really works to perfection every time.

Now on to my review of the 4 patterns for my Bird of Paradise Quilt Top (CWB, Lost Boy Quilt, A Bountiful Life).  I did a little research this afternoon and found that on the New York Museum website that the quilt top that really matches the original is Lost Boy Quilt and A Bountiful Life.  Patricia Cox has changed the outer border by adding leaves and flowers,  CWB added birds and flowers only – no animals.

So I believe I will stick with the Lost Boy Quilt and use other pieces of the other patterns if I like their animal or people templates better than the original ones.

Because Karma was hanging over my head today – no electricity from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM.  I should have known that the day was not going to be the best Monday for me – I have a Pedometer for my morning walk.  This morning the dumb counter was not working correctly – I only walk about 30 minutes  and after walking 20 minutes it was not registering – HA  – I fixed that problem!  I sat down on the porch and shook the dumb thing until it registered my 30 minutes.  Now you might think this is cheating, but since I had walked my time and I track my steps each day and keep a record – I was not going to let that little ole’ Pedometer mess my day up!  Heck No.  Our electric company was doing that for me without even realizing it!

Being without electricity and heat did not bother me because I have 2 nice size windows in my Studio (in the ’30’s with a nice wind chill), so I tried to pull some fabrics and work on Happy Scrappy decisions (a little difficult to do with a flashlight), reviewed my 4 patterns (outside in the sunlight before Clay started gassing me with the tractor fumes) and started to bring a quilt outside to finish the binding, but at the last-minute decided to knit!  Well, that was not the smart thing to do – I messed up a row and did not realize it soon enough – so now I have a big mess and hopefully I can correct it!  I finally just gave up and completed some “have to do” things and at least I have made a decision to start on preparing all the blocks for my  Bird of Paradise Quilt Top during the day and work on other UFO applique projects in the evening.

My friend Jaydee told me I could be a Sponge (soak it all in and worry and fret) or be a Duck (let it roll off one’s back) Quack Quack Quack.  Cross your fingers – hopefully I can kick Karma out and be a better Duck – Quack Quack – tomorrow!   I even have Clay Quacking when things tend to not turn out like we perfectionist/planners/organizers prefer!  Somehow it does help to laugh and start saying Quack Quack!

So Happy Quack Quack Day to all and hopefully my day tomorrow will be more productive.  Who knows.  Maybe it will be a quiet and peaceful day tomorrow.

Happy Quilting!