Freelance Adventures

Thank you all for the outpouring of love and support following my last post; It’s a difficult, lonely and sometimes scary road; but I’m muddling through. Your prayers and support do help, so much.

Occasionally, I have the opportunity to work on projects outside of my University job and my quilt pattern design business, that utilize my editorial skills or some other skill in my toolbox. In Fall 2013, I edited quilt patterns for a magazine publication, and the patterns for Mary Fons upcoming book. In the publishing world, one works on projects so far in advance, that it’s a fun reminder to see them again when they become reality! Her book will finally be released in May…

Make + Love Quilts By Mary Fons

(Click on the book cover to go to Amazon and have a look see inside!)

Working with Mary was a treat; we corresponded mostly via email, once or twice by phone I think. She’s full of joy and enthusiasm and it’s nearly impossible for some of that to not rub off on you. Here’s the video she shared about promoting her new book in NYC:

Mary Fons Book Promotional Video No. 1 from Mary Fons on Vimeo.

So proud of her finishing this book and I’m looking forward to holding it in my hands. Congratulations, Mary!

I also made a quilt in February for another freelance project, my sweetie said it might be his favorite of all the quilts I’ve made (not sure what appealed to him, but he does like vintage and this is made from 30s prints and Moda shirtings) I never did get a great photo of it, but this gives you an idea of the project…



Maybe one day I’ll be able to make a living with the pattern design and freelance work. I’d be thrilled to work from home. However, giving up those full-time benefits would not be easy. Until then, I’ll continue to be grateful for my job and the great people I get to work with.

Happy sewing,


When Tomorrow Doesn’t Come

I mentioned in my last post that we had a long, hard journey ahead of us. As it turned out, my sweetie’s journey would end just six days after I typed those words. He is free of the cancer and pain and in glory with our Lord. And the long, hard journey is left for me to travel without him, but not alone; as our many friends and family are beside me all the way. My sweetie lived just 17 days with the knowledge that he had Leukemia; and he had only felt poorly for about 17-18 days prior to his diagnosis. We truly never do know what tomorrow has in store.


(I promise I’ll post about other things one day soon, but it’s healing for me to share his story, to share his light – he is so worth writing about, and worth reading about, too, IMHO. So bear with me…) :-)

The first day he felt really sick, sick enough to come home and go straight to bed, was Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14). I cancelled our dinner reservations, and the next morning made him come to the table and try to eat something before I drove him to the Urgent Care Clinic. I gave him a few small trinkets for Valentine’s Day, and a card in which I wrote “you make me happy every day”.  The truest thing I could have written. Even on my “blue” days, he could bring a smile to my face.

He was my best friend, my Number One Cheerleader, and he supported everything I did to foster my creative spirit, (including encouraging the purchase of MORE fabric and traveling to quilt retreats!). We had less than nine years together, finding our perfect mates later in life, but they were truly wonderful years. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you might remember my Wedding Wednesday posts, when I blogged each week about the plans for our April 2011 wedding. He’s always been referred to as “my sweetie” here, maybe in part because we were still newlyweds. But I’d like to think if we were married 30 years instead of just shy of 3 years, I never would have stopped referring to him as My Sweetie; because he absolutely was. This is one of my favorite photos of him from our Wedding Day, his oldest daughter is pinning his boutonnière on before the ceremony. His face is so full of joy, as it often was, but he was so happy that day and every. single. photo. of him shows it all over his face.


I was so blessed to be loved by him. Yes, I’m angry for what we didn’t get to experience together, for what he was cheated out of, but I am so, so thankful for what we did experience together. I can’t say my Faith was not shaken by the outcome of his illness; but I am grateful that I have the Faith we shared to get me through this. My life will never be the same, for better or for worse, and I miss him like crazy. But, he would want me to move forward, press on, and live a good life. So, I’m going to do my best to do just that.  My little brother and I made a road trip the day after the funeral to see my sweetie’s favorite musician in concert, at the same theater that Frank first took me to see him, in June 2007. As my little brother put it, “It was a great show, a great trip and an overall great time. We told stories, laughed, cried and peeled thru piles & piles of kleenex.” True story. (Thanks again, Ted).

Frank was admitted to the hospital on a Friday evening, the following Monday was February 24th, the day this was announced. He and I knew the previous Thursday that my quilt had been selected the 1st Place Winner; but it was hush-hush. He kept asking me that Monday if the “internet had lit up with my quilt yet”. He was crazy proud of that accomplishment and told anyone who would listen. I was amazed at how many of his doctors and nurses were either quilters themselves or married to quilters–Quilters are everywhere I tell you!  My prize for winning the Riley Blake Challenge came a few weeks ago:

Riley Blake Solids


There are 45 fat quarters, (I believe) every color of the new Riley Blake Solids!  A Rainbow of cheer, for sure. There are also two 3.5″ Stackers of Riley Blake’s Star Spangled line. Expect to see a Row House Creations project using the Star Spangled fabric!

I’m slowly getting back into sewing and quilting, I returned to work this week, and I have a quilt retreat scheduled for the end of the month. And I cannot wait to go see my Modern Quilt Guild girls next Friday! I promise some sewing and quilting posts again, soon!

Happy Sewing,


What a difference a few weeks can make

I was thrilled to find out that my Diamond Dust quilt was chosen as the winner in the Modern Quilt Guild Riley Blake Challenge on February 24th; but it was a little bittersweet, as I was sitting with my husband in the hospital for the fourth day trying to figure out what was wrong. He was going on his third week of fever and getting weaker with not much explanation. On the evening of the 26th, we got our answer: He has Acute Myeloid Leukemia. He’d been perfectly healthy just 3 weeks before, loving his new, fun job after taking an early retirement right after Thanksgiving, we had travelled to his mom’s 90th Birthday Party on February 2nd, and he felt great. Three weeks later he was in ICU in Des Moines battling Leukemia, and his mom was in a hospital in Minneapolis having suffered a stroke.

He has spent ten nights in ICU now, having initiated and completed his seven-day, 24-hour drip of Chemo while in critical care. The first two days off Chemo went well, but he has suffered some respiratory distress and is back on a BiPap (mask) Ventilator today. The first four days of Chemo he had been intubated (breathing tube) and on a ventilator; but then was doing well on just a small amount of oxygen. Most days over the last two weeks have felt like we’ve taken a step or two forward and three steps backward. My sweetie is one of those people that never gets sick; seriosuly, he has had one stomach bug in the 10 years I’ve known him, and has never caught any of the colds or flus that I bring home… The biggest thing in his favor right now is that he was very fit and very healthy until a month ago.

My heart is breaking, and we are still so far from the end of this journey. There have been good days, but the bad days are so painful and difficult. If you would like to follow his story, I set up a site for him. Please keep us in your prayers, it’s an aggressive fast moving cancer, and while he came through Chemo better than expected, he’s fighting to get strength back in his lungs for the remainder of the battle.  He’ll stay in the hospital another 4-6 weeks.  We won’t know for a few weeks yet if the Chemo treatment did it’s job.

A hospital bedside vigil gives one a lot of time to fill. I’ve spent some time each day working on joining the rows of my Candied Hexagons quilt together; I managed to finish piecing the rows this last week:

Candied Hexagons by Doris Brunnette

As you can see, I still have the half-hexagons to add to the sides, and triangle pieces to the bottom. Then I need to decide what I am going to do for the border. Not sure I’ll follow the pattern for that.

It may be awhile before I get back to posting regularly again, it just all depends on where this terrifying journey takes us over the next several weeks.

God Bless,



How procrastination led to a happy accident

I love a good challenge; and I jumped at the chance to join in the Riley Blake Challenge. These fat eighths (approx. 9″ x 22″) were given to us in October (photo courtesy of the Boston MQG website):

Riley Blake Challenge Fabrics

So I had three months to make something quilted using these prints, solid fabrics and additional Riley Blake prints. The deadline even was extended at one point.  But naturally, I started cutting into them about five weeks ago, a full 3 months after these prints were given to me. I had grand ideas to do something to play up the radial design in the orange print, akin to what Linda did. But I changed my mind many, MANY times. An elaborate design, including many small circles, was NOT going to happen in five short weeks.

When I did finally cut into the fabric I was still undecided, so I just cut a bunch of squares and started piecing half-square triangles using Riley Blake stripes, chevrons, ombre dots, a few prints from an Ashbury Heights charm pack I had, a fun red jigsaw puzzle print, and a few different grey/taupe solids from my stash. I focused on using the orange, navy and the greys from the original fabric pack.

Rile Blake Challenge HSTs

As I sewed my squares up into HSTs, an idea popped into my head, so I sat down and drew it out on graph paper. Then I scooped everything up and took it with me to retreat that weekend; where I sewed, pressed, and trimmed for two days straight.  The final design is a throw 64″ x 75″:


UPDATE 2/19/14: My quilt was selected as one of the Top 10 in the Modern Quilt Guild Riley Blake Design Challenge, here! Lots of beautiful entries–I’m honored & humbled to have my quilt chosen.

Once I had the top made and a back pieced together, I passed it off to my business partner, Trina, to quilt on her long-arm. Trina had just gotten a copy of Judi Madsen’s new book that week, and she wanted the opportunity to play with the large areas of negative space I created. She outdid herself…







See how she created shadow HSTs, including quilting the chevron design, the polka dots, and the jigsaw puzzle fabric design? Seriously amazing.


I used many of the prints from the front to piece the back, along with two cream solids from my stash:




The binding is navy solid. These pics were taken before the quilt was washed an blocked. Now it’s washed, soft, crinkly and oh so beautiful! Had I not procrastinated, and started this challenge before the holidays, I would have ended up with a very different design. And Trina probably wouldn’t have asked to quilt my challenge quilt. And I wouldn’t have ended up with this amazing quilt. Serendipitous.


Happy Sewing,


Cheetahs, and Bears, and Owls — oh my!

A year ago in December, I showed you this Baby Cheetah Onesie that I made as a shower gift for a friend’s baby. I also showed you my process for making these in that post.

Baby Cheetah Onesie

This year, I can show you a photo of pretty Olivia wearing her onesie:

Olivia wearing Onesie

Her mommy asked if I’d make her a 1st birthday onesie to wear with a purple tutu on her special day. So, I made her two!

Olivia's Onesies

The quilt that Olivia is sitting in front of in the photo above is from Pottery Barn Kids and has appliqued owls on it, which I used to model my owl on. And the cupcake onesie was just for fun–

Another friend asked me to make this for a new granddaughter, born mid-November (her Daddy is a major Chicago Bears fan), she wanted a Bears logo but with a “cute, baby bear” instead:

Chicago Bears Onesie & Logo

I hope I achieved that; she seemed to be happy with it. It started out like this, a light pencil sketch on the onesie… and then a apply fabric paint before any applique pieces:

Bears Onesie_Start

A detail of the finished “baby logo”:

Chicago Bears Onesie Detail

Disclaimer: This was a custom design request by an individual; I am not mass-producing these items for sale or marketing. The Chicago Bears logo is an NFL officially licensed design.

What a Gem!

On Christmas Eve, this little pumpkin turned a year old:

Gemma 1st Birthday

She’s our grandbaby, Gemma. I started a quilt for her a while ago (Hubby and I picked out most of the fabric together before she was born) but I always give myself until the first birthday to finish and gift a baby quilt. In Gemma’s case, I gifted the quilt to her on her 1st birthday.

I used the Gem Block, lavender prints with a scrappy yellow background:

 Full Shot Gemma What a Gem Quilt

 Gemma What a Gem Quilt

I was trying to design applique into the front when I started this project, but I ended up adding an appliqued monogram to the flannel back instead:

Gemma Quilt Back

Gemma Quilt Back Detail

The G was machine-appliqued on, prior to quilting:

Gemma Quilt Applique Detail

 Gemma What a Gem Quilt

The quilt measures 36″ x 45″, 18 (9″) Gem Blocks and 2 Accent Blocks. I used six different purples (lavenders) and 5 different yellows on the front, the back is a Moda flannel and the “G” monogram is a tone-on-tone Peter Rabbit print from my stash.

Here’s a shot of the little cutie pie modeling with her quilt (she’s wearing a hoodie with buttons all over it, for her Christmas visit to Grandma Doris’s house!):

Gemma & Her Quilt

Happy Birthday, Gemma!