Modern Sunbonnet Sue's Musings

Musings from the mind of a modern day Sue:
Sue's Saturday Morning Musings 2

The last seven days have been very busy. And, the holiday season isn't officially begun, although you cannot tell that by the Christmas displays in stores. I have been busy planning my Christmas gift giving projects. Last Friday, I got together with my two sisters for our first Saturday of the month sewing day. My youngest sister worked on a baby quilt for a co-worker, while my older sister worked on our group baby quilt project. I spent my time cutting out flannel pajama pants and jersey tops for each of my grandchildren for Christmas. Sunday, I put together my last baby quilt block. Here are the latest installment of blocks for our nephew's baby quilt. You can view the previous blocks at my Baby Quilt Blocks post. I made the purple cat from a scrap of shiny costume fabric. Pink velvet was used for the ears and nose, while cottons were added for other features. Black embroidery floss accented the body and face. My older sister made the other three blocks, which are talked about in the previous post.

I received my autographed copy of the latest Elm Creek Quilts novel, The Giving Quilt, in the mail Wednesday. I ordered the book from a Wisconsin book shop that hosted Jennifer Chiaverini for a book signing. By placing my order in advance of the signing, I was able to receive an autographed copy, along with a limited edition pin. I haven't started reading the book, since I have too many sewing projects going to find time to read.

Yesterday, my three-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter had T&A surgery - tonsils & adenoids. She did very well at the hospital, but Mom & Dad are having to provide lots of TLC now that she is home. Grandpa & Grandma brought her some rainbow flavored popsicles to help soothe her sore throat. This morning, I have been going through my fabric stash; pulling out larger pieces of fabric that will make pillowcases. I plan to make several for all of my niece Steph's girls. She has two girls of her own and her husband has four girls. I will purchase books for Christmas, that will be wrapped inside each pillowcase. Today will be the day to get all those pillowcases cut out.

I also shopped at JoAnn's last week-end and picked out some fabric for a dress. I plan to make each of my granddaughters a holiday dress. This has been a tradition for me since my own girls were young. Hopefully, I will find time to cut out the dresses today, but, if not, I have Monday off from work and can get the cutting done then. Sewing on all these projects will commence on Thanksgiving week-end. My sisters and I have begun a tradition of a Black Friday Sewing Day. None of us cares to be in the stores shopping, so be began a sewing day several years ago.

Enjoy your week-end!

Posted Sat, Nov 10 2012 9:42 AM by Pamela | 1 comment(s)

Church Ladies' Apron

It's Sunday afternoon and, in Michigan, we are back to Daylight's Savings Time. The "fall back" an hour time change gave everyone an extra hour of sleep, last night. Actually, I slept the same number of hours, going to bed one hour later and getting up at the same time. Figure that one out.

My DH and I, along with my in-laws, attended church with our eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson. It was a blessed day, hearing them give their testimonies in church. They recently began attending a church, recommitted themselves to God, and were baptized. They attend a vibrant, young church in Lansing. There are eight babies under one year of age and many from the Campus ministry. My father-in-law played his harmonica during the communion. God truly answers prayer.

My daughter asked me a couple weeks ago if I could make an apron that she could give to a friend, along with another item, as a Christmas gift. I had cut out a couple of aprons last year, from a Church Ladies' Apron Pattern by Mary Mulari, but only stitched up one of them. So, I pulled out the other apron and stitched it together last Sunday. I presented it to my daughter today. It's such a simple apron to cut and sew, because it's reversible and has a curvy edge. I like it even better than my Mom & Me Aprons pattern by Atkinson Designs.

The fabrics feature cherries. One was purchased back in the 90's, while the reverse was a fabric sewn into a curtain that someone gave me. The cherry designs fit perfectly with this vintage inspired apron pattern. I like this pattern so well, I would make it again and again. Maybe you can still find the pattern at your LQS or check out the Mary Mulari website.

Happy Stitching!

Posted Sun, Nov 4 2012 3:08 PM by Pamela | 4 comment(s)

Two Bunnies & a Scarecrow

Halloween is the most fun for the little ones. I had a great time trick-or-treating with my three-and-a-half year old granddaughter. We also did trunk-or-treat at two local churches, which was much safer. My granddaughter was adorable as a pink bunny and her little sister dressed up as a bunny, too. She slept most of the time.

My little bunny is a bit tired after all the excitement and walking around.

Mom had to wake this little bunny up. I gave each of my grandchildren a Halloween book.

My grandson dressed up as a scarecrow - the Scarecrow of Oz, to be exact. Here he is with Mom last Saturday. Just adorable.

Hope all enjoyed time with their little ones. Isn't being a Grandma great!



Posted Fri, Nov 2 2012 6:09 PM by Pamela | 2 comment(s)

Bee-tique Fundraiser

The second annual Michigan Quilt Network Showcase retreat was another success, this past week-end. I was responsible, again, for fundraising efforts. Whereas, last year we made Silent Auction Baskets; this year featured a Bee-tique. What's a Bee-tique, you say? Well, our theme engaged the word "be" throughout, so a "bee" seemed the logical choice for decoration. The Bee-tique evolved from our annual Garage Sale to a more upscale boutique. Items were packaged and marked in advance, with stylish merchandising. Check out some of the displays.


 Some quilters made "bee" themed pincusions, button jars, and other items to sell. Other items included bags, wall-hangings, fabric bundles, and guild logo merchandise.

Books, patterns, fabric, and notions were orgnaized into baskets and tins, priced to sell. No more bidding; just purchase the item for a bargain price.

All the items for the Bee-tique are donated. Our guild made over $750 from the sales. I would say it was a success.

Happy Stitching!

Posted Mon, Oct 29 2012 8:49 PM by Pamela | with no comments

Alpha Quilt

The Mid-Michigan Quilters' Guild is completing another education project for the Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum. The newest project involves members making a quilt for every letter of the alphabet. Last Spring, I received the packet for the letter "P" and began planning the quilt design. When I chose the letter, I had a pig in mind and, since pink and purple both start with the letter "P", I also decided to use fabrics in these colors throughout the quilt. I have lots of polka dot fabrics and used many of them, as well.

I wanted to make the quilt fun for young children and began planning ways to embellish the quilt. I downloaded pictures of pigs from the internet and played with them until I came up with the right design. The pig was fused and machine raw-edge appliqued. The parasol, not an umbrella, seemed like a fun idea, with a yo-yo and button for the tip.  The pansies and leaves are fussy cut from fabric after attaching it to a fusible. In this quilt, I chose Steam-a-Seam Lite. Prairie points became the suns rays. I decided that my pig was prancing among the pansies, so I had to add the tutu. The ric-rac as a border trim was a recent addition. As well, I changed the binding fabric, choosing to use a darker pink to frame the quilt. The FMQ was completed on my domestic machine using 50 wt. thread; an Aurifil in a light grey color on the background and a varigated Mettler in orange/yellow for the sun.

The only stipulations for the quilt were the 18"X20" finished size, the font and size of the alpha letter, and the addition of the letter button, provided with the kit. The backing fabric and batting were also provided. I finished my quilt in time to present it at the guild meeting last night. The quilts will be hung as a grouping at the museum. A label will provide information about each quilter and their quiling history.

A Pink Polka dot Pig Prancing among the Purple Pansies with a Parasol.

Designing quilts is a lot of fun. Our guild's education projects are funded by the guild's quilt raffle. The last education project was also for the musuem, while our first education project involved making ISpy or Picture Play quilts for local libraries. I can't wait to find out what the next education project will be.


Posted Wed, Oct 24 2012 8:14 PM by Pamela | 2 comment(s)

Magic Stack-n-Whack Quilts

Another QCA member is making a Stack-n-Whack quilt and it reminded me of the three quilts that I had made years ago. Magic Stack-n-Whack Quilts by Bethany Reynolds, was published by American Quilter's Society in 1998. I made my first quilt in a class at a LQS. I purchased a large fish print with a teal background and lots of reds, oranges, yellows and greens in the fish. I chose the Half-Square Triangle pattern and used a Moda marble in blue for the background. It was so much fun discovering what the blocks would look like as they were stitched together. I still use it on my bed in the winter.

I made another quilt for my niece for her granduation. Then, I made a quilt for my in-laws for Christmas. It used an outdoorsy fabric with deer, bear, mountain goats, wolves, and other wildlife. I used a mottled tan fabric for the background. Of the three quilts, this is the only one that I took a digital photo. The quilt was displayed at a show by the Alma Kiltie Quilters during the city's sesquicentenniel celebration. The quilts were draped over chairs placed on tables. The fabric for the blocks is used in the border, so you can see what the fabric looked like before it was cut up for the Kaleidoscope design. The pattern is the 60 degree Diamond from the book.

If you haven't made a Stack-n-Whack quilt, check it out. The process is easy to follow and the blocks are fun to make. I still have fabric I purchased to make two more quilts. I'll have to make them someday soon for my grandchildren.


Posted Sat, Oct 13 2012 3:04 PM by Pamela | 1 comment(s)

Baby Quilt Blocks

What did you do last week-end? I sewed together a few blocks for a baby quilt. My nephew is expecting his first child. My sisters and I thought that we would make a baby quilt for him and his wife. We picked an applique quilt that has baby animals on it and are making the blocks from different fabrics. Kinda like one of those board books with animals that has cutouts with fur for the baby to touch.

Saturday, my oldest sister and I made several of the dozen blocks. My pink pig is made from minky fabric. My brown bunny has a pink velvet ear and a fake fur bunny tail. The owl is made with a feather fabric and has felted wool for it's eyes and claws, along with a corduroy tree branch. Lastly, I made a raggy piece of fabric from yellow flannel and cut out my duckling. His wings are attached, so that they are moveable.

My sister made a goldfish from gold lame. The fins are moveable like the duckling. She also made a lady bug from red silky fabric with velvet spots and started a butterfly from a multi-colored batik with a purple velvet body. You'll have to wait until the quilt is finished to see her blocks and the other five baby animals we are making, since I didn't get a snapshot of her blocks.

Hope you enjoyed your week-end.

Happy Stitching!

Posted Mon, Oct 8 2012 7:57 PM by Pamela | 4 comment(s)

My Favorite Earrings

It's a beautiful September day. Just right for outdoor activities like golf or football. Maybe you'll be taking in a craft show, like I plan to do this week-end. My DH and I plan to meet up with our daughter and son-in-law to enjoy lunch and some local festivities. Of course, that means we get to see our grandson. I have the advantage of seeing him more frequently than my DH, since I stop by my daughter's at least once weekly after work. They live about 50 miles south of us, so that deters us from just stopping by, like we often do with my other daughter. My DH enjoys spending time with the grandchildren and seeing his daughters, so today is special for him.

My grandson is growing so much. He coos and sputters little noises. And he smiles and spits up, too. When I stopped to see him last week, his Mommy was feeding him a bottle. As soon as he heard my voice, he kept tipping his head backwards to try and see me. He didn't eat much after I arrived, much to his mother's chagrin. Whenever he gets his diaper changed, he cranes his neck back to look at the quilt on the wall of his bedroom. Everything is decorated in a jungle theme and the quilt fits right in, even though it is one I gave to may daughter year's ago.

I picked up the pattern in Chicago 2004 at the Quilt Expo I attended. My daughter collects giraffes and the quilt was perfect for her. I was able to find fabrics  that duplicated the design quite well, using a similar batik for the background. The "earring" butterflies were made from a mottled batik and a black fabric with small white dots. Everything was fused into place and raw edge machine appliqued. I enjoyed making this quilt. It is one of the first quilts that I free-motioned quilted on my domestic machine. The finished size is 40"X43".

My Favorite Earrings! by Sandy Fitzpatrick of Hissyfitz Designs

Enjoy your week-end!

Posted Sat, Sep 15 2012 9:25 AM by Pamela | 1 comment(s)

MQN Mystery Quilt - Making the Block & Reveal

Making the Block:

We are about to put together the mystery quilt blocks. Have you figured out the block pattern? Let's put together our Mystery Block!

Putting together the Block Rows

1)      Stitch Row 1 to Row 2 –

Row 1 is shorter than Row 2, so place it on top. Match the rows at the center triangle tips, being sure to join the rows with a pin through the tips. This ensures that one tip will not be cut off. Match the seams and overlap Row 1 by ¼ inch past the seam of Row 2, pinning to secure while stitching.


I place a pin through the tip of each triangle, but do not put it back through the fabric. Then, I place a pin on either side of the center to anchor the fabric. Finally, I remove the pin through the tips.

2)      Stitch rows together; press seams toward Row 1.

3)      Stitch the combined Rows 1 & 2 to Row 3 –

Row 2 and Row 3 are the same length, so it doesn’t matter from which side of the seam you sew. Determine if either side appears longer and place that side of the seam down. This will allow the feed dogs to ease the seam as you stitch. Match the seams and pin together.

4)      Stitch rows together; press seams toward Row 2.


Finishing the Block

1)      Go to Clue baggies #4 and #5. Remove the remaining 3-1/2 inch squares. Using your rotary cutter and a ruler, cut the squares at a 45 degree angle through the center, forming two triangles. These are the corners of the block.

2)      Stitch the corner triangles to the block rows. Place the long edge of the triangle to the matching fabric end of Row 3 or the side of Row 1. Center the triangle by matching the points and creasing in the center. Place the crease at the seam of the row triangles. Pin in place.

3)      Stitch; press seams toward the corner triangles.

4)      Place the completed block onto your cutting mat with the block on the diagonal. Center a square ruler on the block, so that the previously sewn triangles form the block corners. The light squares will extend beyond the ruler. Trim these triangles along the edge of the ruler. My blocks measure 11-3/4 inches. Trim all blocks to the same size.


You have completed your first Godey’s Lady Book mystery block. Sarah Josepha Hale was the editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book in the mid-1800’s. The block, in the collection of Carrie Hall blocks at the Spencer Museum of Art, is done in two colors. I preferred the look of the Godey’s Lady’s Book block portrayed on the side of the Lytton Library in Iowa to make this mystery quilt. Finish making all your blocks. Then, get ready to put them together.

Happy Stitching!

Posted Wed, Sep 12 2012 8:16 PM by Pamela | with no comments

Heartland Trail Bicycle Trip

My DH and I completed a 20 mile ride, on the Meijer Heartland Rail Trail, last Sunday afternoon. We had been preparing for this ride for several weeks. However, we had not accomplished such a long trek. It was a beautiful day and the trail was easy to ride upon - no hills. It was very serene. We stopped half way, for a break and snack, at the city park gazebo. We watched a great blue heron scoop fish out of the pond before flying off. Then, we rode back the way we came. What a delightful day.

We're already planning our next big outing. We want to eventually ride the entire Meijer Heartland Rail Trail loop from Alma to Greenville, a centruy ride. For those who don't speak cycling, that's 100 miles. We probably won't do that until next summer, over two days. This 50-year-old grandma still has it!

I got a package in the mail today from Ethelbird & Eliza Kids Fabric online fabric shop. They are right here in Lansing, Michigan. I purchased backing fabric for my Hungry Catepillar quilt. Very Hungry Caterpillar Numbers Blue Here's what the backing fabric looks like. I finished the top and will have my long-arm friend quilt it. Just have to piece the backing and make the binding before sending it off.


Posted Wed, Sep 5 2012 8:18 PM by Pamela | 4 comment(s)

Sue's Saturday Morning Musings

I just mailed out my MQN region newsletter; three weeks later than I planned. I needed to finish the last Mystery Quilt step before printing it and that required that I have enough of the quilt completed to photograph that step. I have, as usual, too many projects on my plate. One of my many flaws is to say "yes" when asked to do something; anything. This leads to more projects than I have time to spare. To manage all these committments, I must break them up into smaller sections. Thus, I create my 'To Do List' to keep myself organized and stay on task. Otherwise, I can feel overwelmed and end up doing absolutely nothing. Of course, this leads to procrastination, as I cannot move onto completing the next item on my list until the previous item is finished.

Overcommittment and procrastination regulary keep company with me. As well, finishing projects often eludes me, due to my tendency toward perfectionism. Thus, the newsletter was at the end of August (it's actually September today) instead of the beginning of August. I cannot count the number of quilt projects that I have waiting to be finished. Actually, I can count them, because I have. My list continues to grow, even though I seem to take a few off each year.

Next on my 'To Do List' is to complete my grandson's baby quilt. I have one block that still requires a portion appliqued. The borders need to be cut. I did put together most of the blocks into rows, with one row waiting for this last block. My goal is to have it finished by the end of the holiday week-end. I have two other quilt projects with completion dates fast approaching. The problem when you say 'yes'; other people do not extend their deadlines like I do continually extend mine.

I see, in the Jo-Ann's flyer, that there is a Singer Futura embroidery machine on sale with embroidery design CDs available as a mail-in gift after the purchase. Wish I had some extra money. Now that I have three grandchildren, I would like to have an embroidery machine to make designs to add to clothing and quilts. The large, expensive machines are beyond what I want to spend. But, this one is only $700. Plus, Singer has always been a good brand for me. I sewed on a Singer, as a child in 4-H. The first sewing machine I owned was a Singer. My Singer collection also includes my Grandmother's Athena and a early 1900's treadle, purchased at an estate/yard sale. And, my husband gave me a gift of a 1951 Featherweight on our 25th wedding anniversary.


I don't believe that I have shown a picture of my Featherweight in my blog. It also came with the case and accessories.

Well, here I am on a Saturday morning, writing a blog post rather than cleaning or sewing. There I go procrastinating again, sort of. My list for today included writing a blog post, so now I have one more item checked off. Yeah! Enjoy your holiday week-end. I'm going downstairs to start some laundry before I pick up that block to applique.


Posted Sat, Sep 1 2012 10:28 AM by Pamela | 1 comment(s)

Fabrics Galore

We all love fabrics. We love to look at them, touch them, even smell them. I enjoy folding freshly washed and dried cottons and neatly placing them in color coordinated cubbies in my sewing room. Last Friday, I attended the AQS Quilt Show in Grand Rapids. It was WONDERFUL! Too much to do in one day, but that was all the time that I had.

I really didn't need to purchase any fabrics, but I also wasn't going to pass up a deal. I found some beautiful fabrics that I paid only $6/yard. Hard to pass that up. I also purchased a few coordinated fat quarters for $2 each with one free after purchasing ten. Not a bad deal. I plan to use the fat quarters in my guilds Applique Club project for this guild year. We will be making bird blocks using the book, Birds Flowers Album by Bea Oglesby. I also purchased some kids prints in fat quarters, that will go into my collection used for Picture Play quilts. I chose designs that were more boyish looking.

Here are the fabrics I purchased - a total of eleven yards.

I really enjoyed the Tentmakers of Cairo exhibit. The embroidered items (some of you may not call them quilts) are beautiful. It was fascinating to watch the tentmakers at work. If you get a chance to attend an AQS show this year, take in this exhibit.

Enjoy your holiday week-end. Do some stitching!

Posted Wed, Aug 29 2012 8:43 PM by Pamela | 1 comment(s)

Friday with My Sisters

Friday morning is finally here. I am off to Grand Rapids (Michigan) to the AQS show. I have been looking forward to this event for many months. I am most excited about having my youngest sister along. Having never been to a national quilt show, I believe she will be blown away.

She only began quilting with my older sister and I a couple of years ago. She finds machine quilting fascinating and wants to get a long-arm. She has quilted several small items on her domestic machine, a Brother that she purchased last year, and her quilting is phenomonal. She was always the drawing talent in the family. Do any of you recall the gridded drawings in the newspaper? If you followed the lines in the grid, you could duplicate the picture into a larger size. My Dad was always good at that and encouraged all of us to give it a try. My drawings were a little disproportionate. But, my younger sister could nearly freehand without paying much attention to the lines in the grid.

Well, her quilting is the same way. She has already begun creating her own designs. She did a beautiful baby quilt for my daughter. The quilt was just charm squares, but she created wonderful designs in the center and along the borders of the quilt. So, she will be checking out all the long-arm machines at the show. I hope to find some fabulous fabrics, even if it is to just touch them and drool. I have a limited budget and fabric is soooo expensive. Hopefully, someone has a good show deal on fat quarters.

Happy Friday!

Posted Fri, Aug 24 2012 6:33 AM by Pamela | 1 comment(s)

Wednesday Whatnots by Sue

I've had a kit for a toddler's apron, since last Fall. The pattern is from a Groovy Girls club meeting and the Dr. Seuss fabric, in the kit, caught my attention. I planned to stitch it up for my granddaughter to wear when we made Christmas cookies last year. I finally got around to making the apron. The kit included enough fabric to make a hot pad plus, the Atkinson Designs patterns always plan extra fabric, so I had enough fabric to make two aprons and scraps that I can use in a child's quilt. 

I switched up the lining and focus fabrics, so that the aprons are different. I cannot wait for my granddaughter to come over Friday night, so that we can bake cookies.

And, speaking of Dr. Seuss...this week-end is our city's Hometown Fest. Every year, they show a children's movie outside on the Post Office wall. This year, they are showing The Lorax. We'll all take our lawn chairs up to the back parking lot and enjoy the movie, as dusk sets in. Saturday will include a craft show, fireman's waterball event, ice cream at the historical museum, and an annual bed race. As well, there are kid's games & inflatables, a chicken BBQ, car show, musical entertainment and many more activities. Of course, there will be a quilt show, put on by the women of the Presbyterian church. Family and friends come home for the three day event. Small towns are the best place to live!

The American Quilters Society also has their quilt show in Grand Rapids, Michigan this week. My sisters and I will be travelling, the short distance from our hometown, to get a glimpse of all those fabulous quilts. My youngest sister has not been to a major quilt show, so she'll be in for a treat. Her plan is to try out all the different mid and long arm quilt machines. I'll be looking for some fabric.

Enjoy your week-end!

Posted Wed, Aug 22 2012 8:37 PM by Pamela | 2 comment(s)

Saturday Sewing with my Sisters

Today was one of those Saturdays when my two sisters and I get together and sew. I hosted this time, so I had to get my table space cleared, so that I could share it with both of them. We started at about 10 am and they packed up and went home just before 5 pm.

We each accomplished something. My younger sister stitched together a fleece housecoat that she cut out last year. She finished her husband's housecoat, but her own remained a UFO until today. My older sister brought projects that she's had cut out from Groovy Girls meetings. She finished a Zippy Stripy bag like I had made for gifts last Christmas. She also completed most of a Pocket Rollup. Both patterns are Atkinson Designs.

I decided that every time that we sisters get together to sew, I had to work on part of a UFO. I pulled out a tote with a quilt I started in a Mystery class taught by a quilt friend in the 1990's. I stitched and pressed several 2 inch, 4-patches for the center of the blocks. I also worked on my MQN mystery quilt. Finally, I showed my sisters a fun and easy block that the speaker taught at my Michigan Quilt Network Region meeting last Saturday.

Using a light and dark fabric, stitch two 8 inch squares, with right sides together, along all sides; leaving a 2 inch opening on the bottom left and the upper right side. Cut the stitched squares from corner to corner opposite the corners with the openings, to make two triangles. Line the triangles up on top of each other. Without moving the triangles, make a cut two inches in from the bottom, and another cut two inches in from the side. Now you have all the block sections needed to make the Magic Block. Use the two patch squares to make a 4-patch for the center of the block. Stitch two of the rail strips to the center 4-patch, being sure to alternate the dark and light sections. Stitch a triangle to each side of the remaining two rail strips, again, alternating lights and darks. Finally, sew the two previous rail strips with triangles to the center strip with the 4-patch center. The block appears on point during construction.

Here is the sample block I made. If you set blocks together alternating the dark and light side triangles, you will get a different look than if you set them together so that the dark triangles match the darks and the light triangles match the lights.

After all the sewing was put away, my DH and I went cycling. We haven't been able to ride with so much rainy weather. Our county was under a flood warning yesterday. I worried that the five mile rides that we had worked up to would be difficult with the four day break since our last outing. But, we easily completed the ride, with minimal huffing and puffing. We are definitely building up our endurance for the trek down the Meijer Heartland Trail, planned for Labor Day week-end. We enjoyed homemade navy bean soup for our supper, afterward.

Keep on Stitching!

Posted Sat, Aug 11 2012 7:24 PM by Pamela | 2 comment(s)

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