Saturday, December 13, 2014

Chemo Quilts = 4 more

T'is the season for charity quilts.  Always needed, this time of year they help a lot.

I like to make theme quilts.  The kids get to pick their own quilt, so it is fun to guess which one will go first.  I think the Cat Theme will attract a girl; Outer Space = boy; Sweet Treats = either boy or girl, young or teenager; simple shapes for a Young Child.

Cat Theme

Outerspace Theme

Sweet Treats Theme

Simple Shapes for a very Young Child

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Fun Wear

Fun Wear - Pajamas

For the top I used a knit top I already owned.  So, I would say the top is 'embellished', not created. 

However, for the bottoms, I started with a pattern I altered for myself many years ago.  I eliminated the side seam, lengthened the legs, then added a band at the bottom.  This way, I could make the legs long enough to cover my ankles when sitting, yet keep them off the floor when standing.  The placement of the pink pocket was dictated by a flaw in the fabric.  The others were added 'just for FUN'.

Continuing the conversation, since I started with a pattern, is this an original design?

PS.  All of the fabrics, pattern and the top were items I had 'on hand'.  Nothing was purchased for this specific project.  I usually have lots of flannel around since I use it to back my Chemo Quilts.  Of course I always have lots of cotton fabric.  I've used this pattern before, but never in this particular way.  I made them now because I wanted more 'Warm Wear' + I wanted it to be fun to wear.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Ann's Tea Room 11-29-2014

Happy Accident

When I first printed this, I noticed that the ink did not cover the parts of the fabric that were over printed by the manufacturer.  I thought about turning the fabric over to reprint 'clean'.  However, I decided this lacy look was perfect for my tea room.

Ann's Tea Room Entrance

Ann's Tea Room

The chairs and table are covered with an assortment of old linens:  Nana's hand embroidered pillow cases, odd lace curtain [also used one on the entrance], place mats sewn together, and other old pieces I never use.  Fun to get them out.  I think a young lady like Morgandy is just the person to enjoy this.  She also gave the opinion that the hand embroidered pieces looked hand made, but the lace on the chair looked like it was machine made.  She is just learning to hand sew with her mother.  She appreciates hand made things more than machine made.

Tea Table Setting for 11-29-2014

The Menu

Morgandy Reading the Menu

She will be 6 on January 23, 2015.  As a kindergarten student, she could read most of the menu.  She was quite serious about the menu.  Her father does her hair. I love these young guys who are active parents.  It is so much fun to watch. I started taking care of her when she was a few days old.  I am used to seeing her every day.  This interruption for school is sometimes hard to take.  Like most children now-a-days, her life is also filled with classes and other extracurricular activities.  Love vacations because she is around a lot more.

Morgandy's Sandwich Choices

Morgandy's Dessert Choices

This of course, was her favorite part.  She also likes the Camomile Tea better than the Afternoon Tea. She often comes over for a simple tea in a mug and a little snack.  All occurring at my kitchen counter.  This was a fun treat for both of us.  She was stuffed, but wanted to finish the plate.    I fixed the rest in a take-away for her.  She was happy with that.

Hope you all have someone special you can pamper once in a while.  This was soo much fun!  Took me back to Tea Parties my daughter and I used to have with a stuffed animal [s] and/or a doll [s].

Saturday, November 22, 2014

After Festival = Necessary Sewing

Like many of you who attend Festival from 'AWAY', I am often challenged by the food options.  As a vegetarian on a low sodium diet, my options are limited.  Also, like many of you, I found the Phoenicia Deli and Bar.  Never made it to the bar.  You can buy beer and wine in the deli section which I take to my hotel room.  The Deli is FABULOUS!  My biggest problem was getting the hot food back to my hotel while it was still warm.  Thus, my first project on returning was making a 'heat pack' for my take out.

Correct Layers for Insulation

Layers:  reflective fabric [ironing board cover fabric] + reflective insulation [found in the insulated window coverings area at Joann] + cotton batting + my designed top.  

Outside View

Just because it is practical does not mean I do not want a GREAT design.  Not sure if this is great.  However it works for many dimensions/quantities of warm wrapping.  I just wanted to experiment with off-set squares.  Lots more sewing = lots more FUN.

Back Side

The reason one tie is a lot shorter is because it somehow got flipped into my stitching area while I was quilting.  The velcro closures have flexibility according to the contents.  The ties still allow for a lot of contraction and expansion while keeping the contents warm.  Unfortunately, unlike many in Quiltart, I have NO family background of doing hand work or sewing.  This is the result?  I could have 'fixed it', but saw no reason to do so.  It just reminds me that I am a late starter who is learning most things the hard way.  That is, I learn by my mistakes. 

A Very Warm Wrap

Pin Problems Solved

In 2013 I lost some of my favorite pins.  As crazy crowded as Festival is, it was not surprising.  However, I was dismayed.  Especially since I could not replaced some pins.  Found this vendor who sells attachment backs that do not come off.  Bought some.  Used them.  2015 will be the test.

Security Pocket Problem

I made these pockets before my first trip to Europe in 1985.  They worked very well except that the tie/strap I used was a purchased cord made of some slippery synthetics.  FINALLY, after years of struggling and almost loosing my 'pockets', I made a cotton fabric tie.  I know this will work a LOT better than the purchased cording.

NOW, I have my reservation + gear all ready for 2015.  Will I see you there?

Friday, November 21, 2014


Continuing the conversation.  Just because the intent was to make a piece of art, that does not make it art.


I like the individual ingredients.  Some are both burned and frayed.  However, the whole is awful.  I make a lot of false starts.  Hopefully, I am learning from those mistakes.

Opal Inspiration

Pieces using burned and/or fringe that I do consider art

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Blue Rose

Blue Rose at IQA Oregon

This quilt started backwards from the usual way I work.  I started by creating the center of the rose, created the 'petal parts' plus the 'petal edges', then stitched down the background.  As often happens, the designed changed along the way.  Unfortunately, I have lost the name of the QA member who graciously sent me this photo.  Thank you  so much.  I LOVE 'seeing' my quilt in the show.  Could not do this without your help.  Hope I can do the same for others sometime.

Rose Bud + Center

Each petal section was quilted before it was attached.  This gave the body plus dimension I wanted. I used the black to further extend my limited amount of blue satin.

The Method overview

Sketch, Petal detail, and the rest of the satin.  I sketched the 'petal edges' in curves on the satin.  This way I was hoping to get as much usable satin as possible.  It worked.  

Blue Satin laid out on freezer paper

The rest of the blue satin was cut into strips, edged with gold paint, then gathered to complete each of the petals. The petals were sized according to the lengths of 'blue satin edging'.

Method of Strip Piecing on the Paper Pattern.  

I wanted the colors to get lighter as the rose grew.  I also wanted the strips relatively vertical.  In hind sight, I wish I had made then radiate outward from the center..  The problem was, I could not figure out how to do that and still get the color change I wanted.

All the Petals pieced, then ironed on the freezer paper for ease of turning under the edges.  

Layout with Outside Strips Stitched down.

Now I stated adding the completed petal sections.  I tucked the blue satin edging under as I went. Then machine appliqued the outer edge. All of the pieced were marked with a number.  This was necessary to match up the satin with the strip pieced petal.  Finally, it was ready for quilting.  Lots of quilting completed my project.  I thought it was going to Houston after Oregon.  Unfortunately, I was wrong. 

Blue Rose
41 1/2" x 64"

Besides some unexpected medical challenges, plus necessary unplanned work, plus the endless hours to complete this quilt,  I had no time to make anything else.  Hopefully, I will plan better next year.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Redesign = Robe and nightgown

While visiting my dear cousin Carla after the wedding of their youngest son in April 2011, she loaned me this robe.  I loved the fabric outside with terry cloth inside.  Last February, I looked all over the web for something similar with no results.  I also looked for terry cloth with the idea that I would make one.  The quality of the terry cloth was abominable!  Nothing I would ever want.  

Frustrated, I called to find out where she purchased this. She told me she got it several years ago.  Even though she later purchased another one she liked better, they were no longer stocking this type of item.  I decided I would try to find a better quality terry.  I looked at towels, but buying them would entail a lot of $$ for nice ones + designing a robe to fit them.

Before I could decide what I was going to do, a package containing this robe with a matching nightgown arrived at my door.  Totally thrilled and surprised, I thought I would shorten the night gown and make a pair of shorts to go with it.  Then, after wearing the robe for a while, I wanted to make a sturdy belt to replace the cotton one that came with the robe.  I decided to pick up the yellow in the print.  I made a layer of yellow print+ cotton batting in the center + white fabric the width of the batting.  After quilting this center, I folded the edges in, then covered the joint with a strip of blue gingham similar to the trim on the edge of the robe and the gingham ribbon decorating the nightgown.  I also cut and finished a slit in each side of the robe so that the belt was inside of the robe in the back.  Much more flattering because it left the robe loose over my backside.   I real like this little change.

After cutting the nightgown really short, I had plenty of fabric for shorts + something else.  Not finding any gingham near the color I wanted, I was frustrated. A friend drove us to a lot of shops on our Quilt Shop Hop.  All I found were pastels.  She went through her stash and gave me some left over pieces she had from a past project.  Color was perfect!   This turned out to be a LOT.  I made the shorts by using a pajama pattern I had previously purchased, yet never used.  I LOVE the idea of sewing basic clothes; do not like the work involved.   Spent too much time doing trim work.  I was now bored with the project.

However, I wanted to trim the shorty gown.  Although I am not usually a ruffle person, this seemed to cry out for more ruffles.  Now I thought I was done.  However, I still had more fabric.

I had enough gingham to make some 3/4 pants. I cut down a pattern from making flannel pajama bottoms. After adding a pocket to bring it all together, I was done. I had also purchased a knit top at a thrift shop with the idea of using it for a summer PJ top. Hated the collar. Cut that off, gathered the bottom edge of the original nightgown, sealed it all with the yellow to make a very comfortable top. Still it was too long. This was the hard part for me. I shortened it. I guess it would have been easy with a serger, which I do not have and do not want. However, I used a zigzag stitch on my Juki which is adequate for night wear that no one will see except you few folks who read this blog

Occasionally in August we have some really HOT days.  I tried to make a skimpy top for this weather.  I had a pattern which I used for the jacket, but now I tried to adapt the tiny tie top for a PJ top.  After making mock ups using fabric I knew this would NOT work.  Flash of inspiration and realization that I was wearing a very comfortable bra, caused me to trace the cup patterns.  Even though it was curved piecing, they fit perfectly.  I put them together with some fabric covered elastic and tie front plus tie straps.  This allows me to adjust as needed.  Although not as supportive as my bra, it is very comfortable.  Not sure when it will be hot enough to need this garment.  Still I am very happy and proud that I could make it.

Very very happy this project is done.  Can't believe it started in March.  I had to force myself to work on it.  LOVE the idea; hate the process.  Glad this monkey is off my back.

At this time the temperature is dropping.  I have all my windows closed.  I dug out my light weight fleece because it may go below 50 tonight.  Wild weather changes due to the atmospheric changes.  

I have a quilt in my head which is wanting to be created.  That starts tomorrow.  I will be happy happy happy to start creating an art quilt again!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Star for Houston

Star for Houston

After piecing 2 stars that ended up too small, I started with an oversize piece of yellow linen.  Then I added the star shape.  The center is actually a metallic dark blue..The stitching is fluorescent red on the outside edge; fluorescent orange inside.  The inside stitching is flourescent lime green.  In person this star really VIBRATES!

Still time to send your star to Houston.

Wish I had stitched on my name instead of using a pen.  It was very difficult to write on the linen.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Drones Quilt Project

My Block
a scant 10" x 10"

How this project started is copied from

"The idea for a Drones Quilt came from some women in the UK who started the project as a way to memorialize the victims of U.S. combat drones. We believed that there were lots of anti-drone activists in the U.S. who would like to make our own version of a Drones Quilt, and so the idea traveled across the Atlantic.
The idea is to collectively create a piece of artwork which connects the names of activists with those killed. The names humanize the victims and point out the connectivity between human beings.
Plans for the American version of the quilt include creating educational materials, photographs and information which together with the quilts will create an exhibit which will travel the country, informing and educating the American public.
Sadly, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, only about 20% of the drone victims have been identified, so there are many, many victims whose names are not known."

Several months ago I saw either a video or a television program interviewing Drone operators.  Most said it was similar to a computer game:  they had a target assigned, the object was to send a Drone to blow up the target.  It did not feel 'real' to the operators.  Then one of the operators sent a Drone going to the assigned target.  Just seconds prior to the 'hit', two boys on bicycles drove into the target area.  The operator saw them explode.  That became a nightmare for him.  The reality of the 'game' sank in.  He quit his job.  At the time of the broadcast, he was in therapy.
When I heard about this program via my local Brunswick Peace Works, I knew it was for me.
I hope my block does not need explanation.  However, because I am so close to it, I can not experience it with fresh eyes.  PLEASE leave a comment about your reaction to my block.  All comments will be appreciated.
I will mail it as soon as I know that it is understood as is.  Otherwise, I will make another.

For more information on Drones and this project in particular check out these links

For more personal information OR to send a block, PLEASE contact

and/OR mail a 10" x 10"  block to

Leah Bolger, 3740 SW Western Blvd, Corvallis, OR  97333

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Blue Rose Back

Not a stitch in sight.

Because of severe arthritus in my thumbs, hand work can be very painful.  Once this quilt was accepted into the exhibit, "Coming Up Roses", I needed to tack down the facing; plus add a sleeve.  The WONDERFUL quiltart list gave me some very helpful suggestions.  

I first tried machine stitching the sleeve to the facing.  I could get almost all of it in my machine.  Although, I carefully marked and pined, it came out wonky.  I think this might work IF the sleeve was sewn to the facing before the facing was attached.

I then tried 'fusing'.  Because I have often had problems with fusible pulling loose because I over ironed,  I used 'Liquid Stitch'.  I worked like a charm in securely attaching the facing.  Following directions, which I often do not read, I waited 24 hours to test the hold. I could not pull it apart.  Gluing the sleeve was a bit trickier.  The problem is that the glue would penetrate both layers of the sleeve.  I worked slowly over a few days:  glue, iron, pull off the top layer of fabric.  Let it dry thoroughly.  Repeat until all the edges are secured at the exact crease leaving the outside free to move.

Stitching sleeve to existing facing.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Ruby Shoes material?

I found these today at the Salvation Army for $2.  I do not think they were worn more than once OR most likely they were on display soo long that they got covered with dust.  Now I am thinking of scrubbing the dust off and painting them red using acrylic paints [which I already have].  I think the uppers are swede.  Maybe after the paint comes some glitter?  Should I add some kind of shinny sealer?

Any and all ideas appreciated.

PS.  Already have my room in Houston.  Looking for a room mate.  IF interested, please contact me via email to

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Houston Star Challenge

Star = 9.25"

I made this star using challenge fabrics for everything but the star.  Our guild president made bags of fabric for us to use as we wish, to make anything we wanted of any size.  What a FUN challenge.  I decided to make a STAR for the Houston display.  The only requirement for Houston was that it had to be a star within a 9.5" square with no dimensional embellishments.  Some how this star shrunk through the piecing to become too small.

STAR = 9"

I printed out another set of paper piecing patterns.    I used all different fabrics as a challenge for myself.  This time I was very generous with my edges.  Therefore, I was unhappily surprised to find it squared out at 9".   It had mistakenly printed the pattern for an 8" square.

I will make another star.  However, it is going to be appliqued to a 10.5"square and then cut down to meet the 9.5" requirement for the Festival display.

Are you making a star?  Hope so.  Seems like FUN to me.

Here is the link for the NASA star challenge

I have tried several times to make this link live.  Obviously, I have had NO luck.  Please try copy-paste to get to the site.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


View Out My Side Door

I woke up to a little more than an inch of the white stuff this morning.  The forcast is for a LOT more tonight.  UGHH!  It's April.  I want to see green stuff sprouting from my garden.  

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Chemo Quilts =3 NEW

I used the same easy pattern for each quilt.  However, they are very different from each other.  Also, the cotton flannel backs add to the interest, warmth and cuddle factor.  Each child gets to choose his/her own quilt.  My aim is to create something comforting for a child during the difficult time of chemo therapy.  All Chemo quilts are 40" x 60".  I use 4" and 8" squares to make a 20" block.  I cut up left over fabric, put it in a box, then when I am creating a Chemo quilt, I have some odd pieces to add to the interest.

Chemo Quilt with lots of TEXTURE

Chemo Quilt with lots of TEXTURE detail

Chemo Quilt - CATS

Chemo Quilt - CATS detail

Chemo Quilt - Morgandy fabric

While shopping with her Mom, Morgandy picked out a packet of five fabrics that she liked.  At 4 1/2, she wanted me to make something for myself.  After a discussion about how she liked the fabrics a lot, we decided it would be nice to use them for a quilt for a sick child.  My thinking is that if she like these fabrics, so might another little girl.

All of the Chemo Quilts go to a Pediatric Oncology Center here in Maine.  Unfortunately, there is a growing need because of the increase in cancer.  The sun that has less atmosphere to travel through before it reaches our bodies, air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat are getting polluted by varies means.  We need to care for our planet, if we want healthy people.