Thursday, December 23, 2010

Finishing Touches

So nice to have Christmas Eve off work tomorrow.  Mom and Dad are visiting and we will probably sew and cook all weekend.  Nice!

Last Gift is for my Gramma who found only recently that she loves embroidery. I made this little wooley needle case for her.   Kinda looks like it got socked in the eye but ok.  I will place this in a box with gobs of other embroidery goodies, like floss and an organizer box and on and on.

 Mom said the butterfly should be in color, but the butterfly was an after thought, he's lucky to be there at all    

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  I hope you all get to visit with family and share the warmth and joy ....and food that family can bring.  

Peace on Earth to all y'all.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Kitty Proof Ornaments

Yesterday I took a drive over to Signal Hill to visit Rose Hughe's RavenSpeak Exhibit!  The exhibit was beautiful and inspiring and I can't wait to start using all the bead packs I picked up.  Ran into some friends and friends of friends there.
When I got home, I started my first attempt at making ornaments that my Willie can't destroy. I found this tutorial on Make Stuff  Of course I had to make up my own rules, but this tutorial helped me get the general idea. 
Here is the first one, smaller 2" ball - made 2 the same...ish.

Then there are a bigger 3" size and I made 2 red and 1 green so far.  I think the white makes them stand out more.  I think I will have to keep going!

So are they working?  Well...he does seem to think I am making them for him to play with but at least he can't break them when he takes off with them.  There is a point in the process where I have to put the ball down and fold the next piece and he would sneak up, grab it and run.  It was pretty funny the first 50 times.

We are off to the movies to see the new movie with "The Rock" fweet fweew!  (my best wolf wistle).  Pete is going because he is assured that stuff'll get blown up.

Hope you are all enjoying your weekend!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

She's a my birthday too!

My birthday is actually Monday, but Mom and Dad sent a package early and Willie made me open it early.  He is so impatient.  So even though the card said No Peeking!, Mom said I could.

And lookie, its a Vera Bradley bag and I just love the colors and its huge in side!

She also sent a special matching pen and mechanical pencil set and a little tin mints box to complete the set or....Accessorize!

Don't you love it!  Can't wait to shop!  Its great having a quilter mother, she knows the perfect gift!

 Truth is...Willie actually just likes the box and the paper in side.  He is always amazed at how much stuff he can destroy pull out of the box toss into the air and not get yelled at.

But get on one little table with food and its.....WillieNo! Git Git Git!  All Hell breaks loose!

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mystery Present

I'm back from a business trip in Las Vegas.  Every year I speak at Autodesk University in Las Vegas.  This year, Autodesk University was at Mandalay Bay.  I think I walked about 5 miles a day from the hotel to the convention center.  But the food is fantastic and the people always a pleasure.  Autodesk University is a 3 day training event for Autodesk software users to come and gather as much knowledge as possible in a short time, just like a quilt show.  Always fun and exciting, but am glad to be back and get a chance to sew this weekend.

Yesterday I took a class at the Orange Quilt Bee.  I can't share with you the end result yet, because I made a Christmas gift for someone who watches my blog.  You'll have to check back after Christmas to see the end result.  But I can share the supply pile with you. that a zipper in that pile?
I don't know.......

Class was a ball and mostly made up of other instructors from OQB.  They are loads of fun and it was great getting to know everyone in class.  Everyone in the class managed to finish their project and had a great time doing it.  Lisa was amazing and has a lot of patience.  Everyone was sewing at difference speeds, me being the slow poke in the crowd.  But Lisa, was willing to do each step 12 times, once for each quilter.  Good grief!

What are you all making for the Holidays?  Would love to hear from you.  You can post a link to your blog, or send me a picture and I'll post on my blog.

Hope you all get to sew this weekend.  


Monday, November 29, 2010

Reverse Appliqué Class - Done

 Hi All,  Hope you had a wonderful Holiday weekend!  I got to see my cousin Matt and his daughter Brigid who lives up north in Washington.  We had a great time and great food and brought my guitar over to hear what Matt has been creating.  (A budding coffee house guitar star).   Gramma made my husband Pete a pie care package to go.  One whole pie pan with pieces of apple, chocolate cream, and pumpkin.  He was in heaven.

Thanks Uncle Joe and Aunt Debbie for having all of us over (about 18 in Southern California).   I love my family, we are truly blessed.

So Saturday, I taught a reverse appliqué class at Orange Quilt Bee in Orange California.

I had three lovely people in my class and we had great fun.  Ok, maybe not so much fun as they worked really hard.  Everyone did great and I think they all got the hang of the technique.

My neighbor Betty even joined us, I put her in the corner, see.  But not because she is bad.

I brought samples and tools and suggestions, my quilt bag of requirement was packed full, you can't see but I have a pile on the floor as well. ;]

I did not get a picture of the finished results, but we are meeting later in Dec to show and tell and I can't wait to see what they have completed.

So right next to where we are working my sample quilt for the Tic-Tac...Oh!  pattern is display in the store front window.  Very excited about that.

Off to Vegas for my annual Autodesk University jaunt.  I am only teaching one class there this year and am looking forward to it.

Have a great week and hope you get time to sew.

Love Aunti Nicole

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bee Splendid in November

This is Audrey's month in my Bee Splendid friendship group.  She did most of the work and pre-cut all the squares.  The block is the same for everyone but the arrangement will vary.  I just love the cheery cherry fabrics she chose.

2 Blocks are 15 1/2" square.

Its been rainy and cold all weekend here in "Sunny" Southern California.  Its ok, because I love to watch the rain outside and play with "sunny" fabrics inside.

Oh and isn't this a cute idea for the siggy block?  I probably shouldn't have written my name across the big middle like that, but hey...Willie told me to do it, that's what he would do.

I am looking forward to seeing these all put together.

Have a great week,


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hexie Table Toppers

 Last year I saw Julie Herman at Jaybird Quilts demonstrate this cool ruler in the Beyond the Reef booth at the Long Beach Show.  This ruler by Creative Grids is designed specifically for 4 1/2" strips or 2 strips of 2 1/2" sewn together.  You can cut several 60 degree triangles without moving the ruler.  Perfect for Hexies.  Well by the time I convinced myself to buy one, they were sold out.  = [

(Just now, while I was adding the link I looked at the Creative Grids site and ooh la la.  They've got some new stuff on there.  Check it out at Creative Grids Products) They've got a new one with the setting 30's.

So anyway, I watched the hexagon quilt along on Jaybird's site from the sidelines for the next few months.  I had a 60 degree ruler but knew it could be done more quickly with the crazy looking one, so I waited.

So this year at PIQF in Santa Clara, this is the first thing I got from Beyond the Reef (after the hugs and hellos of course)...mine!  I got to be demo girl and subsequently learn how to use the tool.  Among others.  When we sold out of that fancy ruler, I demoed the 60 degree ruler and found that...hey thats no so bad!

What to do... what to do...?
My Aunt Sandy asked me to make her a table topper to match her newly remodeled kitchen.  So I figured what better way to try out my new ruler.  Mom helped me pick out the fabrics from Calico House in Brea. Robert Kauffman's "Marbleous Jacquard" for the black and "Imperial Collection" for the rest.

 I went a little crazy and ended up with a bunch of I made two, natually!

I can't decide which to give her, so I'll probably just give her both of them...

The first one went together quickly and I machine quilted, I like the way the machine quilting came together to make a star.

The 2nd one I appliquéd to a large square of black fabric and hand quilted.  It only took me a few nights in front of the TV.


So with the left over hexies I made pot holders which insulbright which is basically heat resistant battting.  A trick I learned from Natalie at Beyond the Reef.

If you want to practice your 120 degree binding techniques, I recommend these little buggers.  If you don't, well then add setting corners or appliqué it down to a square.

First of the Christmas presents done!

Hope She likes them
Niece Nicole

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Joy's of a Friendship Group

Every month for the last 5 years I have visited with the EZ Quilters.  We are a friendship group in Orange Country, about 18 strong now.  The women in this group are all wonderful quilters and so creative and talented. 
One very special EZ quilter is Joan Rossen.  This woman never complains, is always encouraging and does some of the most beautiful work I've ever seen.  She has allowed me to show her most recent work of art here.  This double wedding ring is for her daughter and while it took her a while and many great hurdles to climb during this time, she has completed it and done a fantastic job.  Her hand stitching is exquisite and colors beautiful and vibrant.  I wish you all could see it in person.  Maybe we will get her to put it in our Bi-Annual guild quilt show.  

Love you Joannie, I know your daughter is going to absolutely love this quilt.

If you are a lone quilter, join a local group or get into an on-line group, guild or start one yourself.  Even if you may not feel you have the time.  Take it.  You will be inspired, encouraged and constantly challenged to step up your skills.  

I am so honored to be involved in 4 such groups EZ Quilters, Wool Gatherers, Flying Geese Quilt Guild and Bee Splended online bee.

Have a great week!

Love Aunti

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lefty's Lot in Life

Being a left handed person growing up in a world designed for right handed people, its nice when someone makes something just for us.  We do things and think just a little different than our righty siblings.  Not so much as any one would notice, we just tend to just deal.

Remembers that Homer Simpson's neighbor Ned Flanders?  He owned a store  specializing in products for left-handed people: everything from left-handed can openers to an entirely left-handed car, of which only three were ever made. Many of the Leftorium's products are merely labeled as "left-handed," such as pens and nunchucks. He does not sell, however, left-handed eyelash curlers.

As a lefty, you may have overlooked a few little things we learn to deal with along the way, like:
  • When I write with pen or ink, my hand drags across the writing and so its usually smeared and my hand is dirty.  Really an issue back in the day when I did hand drafting.
  • Playing a right handed guitar, i can finger the fret pretty well but my right arm has big trouble strumming a rhythm.  I think Jimi Hendrix actually took a right guitar and restrung it to play it left handed.  Makes my head swim just thinking about it.
  • Can Openers can be a bear because we have to use weaker hand.
  • Rotary cutting fabric on the other side of the table, makes it a little difficult to work at a quilt store layed out for righties, those of you who have tried know what I mean.
  • Most instructions for embroidery, knitting, crochet, etc are for righties, but I just turn them upside down.  On line tutorials you can use a photo editor to give you the reverse.
  • When teaching hand techniques to righties, i just face them and have them mirror my movements.
  • Righty's scissors can be downright painful to use.  Your fingers get all cramped up in the holes and its just awkward from the get go.

Some great Christmas gifts for that left handed quilter or for your wish list if you are a lefty.  My Mom bought me the left handed Ginghers one year for Christmas.  Its like cutting through butter and they fit perfectly.  Also, Martelli makes this left handed rotary cutter, cuz we can get carpel tunnel too.

Do these tools make a difference?  Absolutely!  And one fun added little bonus when righty pick up our tools they are just a little awkward and look at us and smile with a whole new understanding of our lot.

Lefties and friends, please comment with a story or favorite lefty tool.  I'm sure I'm not the only one.  Lefties follow me and I'll bring you news of other lefty tools and funnies along the way.

Love Aunti

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Playing Catch-up on Birthday Blocks

My EZ Quilter's Friendship Group is doing a block exchange this year.  On everyone's birthday month, you receive a special block of any kind from each of the 18 members.  It can be something different for each block you create.  The only consistencies are the size 8 1/2" and include a white on white.  I have an applique snowball block with the first letter of their name for each month.

 So here are Lisa, Helen, Liz and Debbie's blocks. This should get me caught up Sept, October and  November.  It has been a fun challenge and its great to see all the different blocks that people come up with. 

Happy Birthday to you!

Love Aunti Nicole

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Caution Wet Cat!

This is my favorite Halloween fabric find this year.  This is "sebastian ghastly"  from the Alexander Henry Fabrics Collection.  Natalie had this fabric in Beyond the Reef at PIQF and I just had to have some.  I'm glad I did because we sold out in no time.  She also had it with orange background, and yep that sold out too.  Not sure what I'm going to do with it, maybe a quilt, maybe pajama bottoms.

It supposed to be scary but even the sweetest cat looks a bit irritated when he is wet.

The truth is my WillieNo! loves the water as long as its his idea.  He goes into the shower every morning after I'm done and does his bath sitting in the wet shower pan. Then proceeds to track his wet butt and tail all over the house.  If I'm taking a bath he lays on the edge and tries to grab my toes in the water.  Its great fun!

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween everyone!

Love Aunti Nicole

Friday, October 29, 2010

Shoo Fly... Don't Bother Me

Its finally finished!  I started this quilt, wow almost 2 years ago for my dear friend Gina in New Mexico.  I decided to hand quilt it so it had to wait its turn.  I started the hand quilting around the beginning of this year and just finished it.  Now its bound and ready to go.  

Shoe-Fly is a traditional pattern, a simple block with sashing and corner stones.  This was done scrappy and the only fabric I bought was the background.  I love how the colors fade in and out.   I used what we call Uglies mixed with bright pretty fabrics.  Uglies give your quilt character and interest.  Scrappy is fun because you can take fabrics that normally don't go together and they look great together. 

So don't throw out those fabrics you think don't go with anything, cuz I'm here to tell you...they will find a place if you do scrappy.  I mean look at the picture below, would you ever think to put those together in a quilt, no not while they are on the shelves.  But thats the fun of scrappy.

The hand quilting was done with a variegated thread.  I heart variegated thread for hand quilting because it gives your eyes something new to look at every 30 secs or so.  


The paisley border was a little out of the theme, so I used a woven check for the binding cut on the bias to bring that country look back into the quilt.

This is my favorite hand quilting find.  Clover's Dome quilted needle case allows me to load 10 needles in one shot.  I load 10 quilting betweens on a needle threader, pull the thread from the spool through the needle threader loop.  Then pull one off at a time, cut it and put it in the dome.  Then the next and so on.  Finally you twist the case and the thread gets tucked in the bottom.  It has a little plastic cover to make it kitty proof.  

I can't tell you how many times my WillieNo! ran off with my pin cushion loaded with needles and I had to find needles in cream carpet.  Assuming I remembered how many I had in the pin cushion.   lol...NOT!

Thanks for stopping by and Gina, I Love You Sister, and I'll have this to you in time for your Anni....Birfday.....Ok, Christmas!  Eh-Wheh-Chu!  Squeeze Jade and Pablo for me.  Squeeze em hard.

Love Aunti Nicole

Monday, October 25, 2010

Two Fun Giveaways!

A couple of my favorite bloggers are hosting giveaways.  How very generous of them.

Thru this friday (Happy Birthday Sarah!) - Confessions of a Fabric Addict, some lovely charm pack give aways, how did she put it Moda Sweetness.

Thru Nov. 5th - Visit Irish Muses for another Go Cutter Giveaway!

I hope you all win!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I can hardly believe its only been a month since Natalie saw my Bee blocks for September and suggested it would make a great pattern.  I wrote up the pattern, came up with some creative ways of cutting multiple blocks this way.  Grabbed some fabric and got started.  

I wanted to get the pattern done by PIQF so I passed it to my stunt quilter and Mom extraordinaire to do for me.  She did a lovely job, don't you think?.  Thank you Rose of RavenSpeak for the picture! 

Natalie allowed me to set my pattern up in her Beyond the Reef booth at PIQF in Santa Clara.  The quilt never did find a home in the booth and we just kept moving it from here to there right in the big middle.  

We were please to find that the patterns made their way to the cashier all weekend long at PIQF!  

Thanks Natalie and mom for your support as I venture into this new world!

So later when trying to take a good picture of the quilt, WillieNo! went for Pete's jugular.  Pete is just ignoring Willie and me and looking around him to see the TV, lol.  But does't the quilt look warm and yummy.
I just love this Moda line.  I used a jelly roll from the Basicgrey/Origins line, Graph Paper Vanilla for the background and Aromatherapy Brown Sugar for the border. 

So after all that, here is the pattern!  and my new Store :]

Friday, October 22, 2010

Just back from PQIF!

Wow so much to share, I might have to post again tomorrow.  The show was fantastic and I met lots of great  people.  I hung with friends Natalie and Lisa of Beyond the Reef, Rose Hughes of Raven Speak and my favorite quilter Mom.   Lots of Food, Fun and Fabric!  Oh and feet ;] Thanks Natalie for the pedi party.  A great time was had by all, as is customary at Beyond the Reef!

Here's Mom and I was not the good little shutter bug.  Hoping some of my fellow BTR peoples were better at getting pictures of the booth.

Some exciting news!  Natalie allowed me to have my Tic-Tac...Oh! pattern in the booth and we sold a bunch.  It turned out great and I'll post it soon by itself.  There is a sneaky peek in the picture above ;]

Not sure about the rules, on pictures of the quilts at the show, but since it was my favorite and I'm giving her credit I hope its ok.  There were lots of beautiful quilts, but this is the one that stood out to me as a beautiful mix of traditional and modern creativity.  I just love it.

Thank you Terri McNeill & Rebecca Todd of Ireland


So why did it take me so long to post?  No I didn't get lost, but had little 3 day job adventure in Bakersfield after PQIF.  Where I met two great quilters by sheer coincidence!  I'm telling you we are everywhere!
I was minding my own business training some engineers how to use AutoCAD Electrical in Bakersfield, when I mentioned to one of the engineers that I had just come from a big quilt show in Santa Clara.  He said, "Your kidding, my wife Ann is a quilter and oh..our administrative assistant Urlene is also a quilter".  So the gals came and met me on my last training day and had lunch and and tell of course.

Ann brought in a few of her beautiful quilts and gave me some yummy looking jelly's that her daughter made for the fair.  My Mom is visiting this weekend and we will have to open it and do the taste test.  Red Hot Pomegranate, Wow.  I can only image at this point.

What great people quilters are!

I hope you all will be there in Santa Clara next year!
Love Aunti Nicole

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Won't chu take me to... Wonky Town!

This month's Bee Splendid challenge is for Sue and she has chosen Wonky Town!   This is a fun block and you can experiment with non-symetrical, unstraight and just plain silly architecture.

So here is my interpretation of my townhouse that is the end unit on a building.  But since I cut out the other 3 units that normally ajoined, WillieNo! had to investigate.

Here is a close up of  Wonky Cat.
 For my second block I chose my Mom and Dad's A-frame house that is set out in the middle of the countryside, with a beautiful view of Mt.Shasta  and a pasture across a stream.  Of course you can't see all that, but you can just imagine.

To the see the rest of the blocks made for Sue, check out the Bee Splendid badge over on the side.

3 more days to PIQF! or Piqueef as my husband Pete calls it.

Have a great Sunday!


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Reverse Appliqué Class

November is coming up soon!  I am so pleased to announced that I will be teaching two classes in November at Orange Quilt Bee in Orange, California.  The people there are so warm and wonderful and shop is just gorgeous.

The first class will be on Reverse Applique and I am looking forward to it.  If you are in the So Cal. area, I would love to have you in the class.

I created this pattern with the class in mind.  I hand quilted because I felt the need to have more to do, lol.  The pattern will be included with the class and is small enough to finish in time for Christmas or at least get you into the spirit of the holidays.  If you have a pattern that you want to use for the class bring it with you, you'll be able to follow along with your pattern as well.

Class Date:  November 14th, 2010
Sign up at

Christmas Ornies

Hope to see you there!
Aunti Nicole

Saturday, October 2, 2010

PIQF 2010 Santa Clara is Coming!

October 14-16 is Mancuso's Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara.  For the last 3 years, I would up and mom would drive down to meet in the middle in Santa Clara.  We hang out with Natalie and visit the show.  Usually I am only there for the weekend, but this year I am taking some extra time and will be there all four days!

This pic is from last year PIQF 2009, Julie, Natalie, me (short stuff!) and Mom (Jane).  
We had a great time last year and made a new quilting friend Julie Herman of jaybird quilts, she is so animated its like watching cartoons all day.  

I'm bringing a couple of my patterns, one of which my mom is stunt quilting for me.  I will be hanging out doing some Kindle Cover/book cover and reverse appliqué demos.

If you are going to be at the show this year, stop by Beyond the Reef,   Natalie has a great selection of Hawaiin, Beachy (not bitchy) and modern fabrics.  Her booth is always a treat at the show.  Be sure to introduce yourself.

We hope to see you there!

Aunti Nicole

Saturday, September 25, 2010

basicgrey/origins for Moda

Natalie at Beyond the Reef was telling me about the Moda grunge fabrics.  So, I found these while I was out today.  This is away from my normal comfort zone but I think I could get used to it, hehehe. ;]

Have something special in mind and I think this will work perfect for it...but more on that later!

Thanks for the tip Natalie!


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Tutorial - Resize your Templates

Have you ever had a great template that was just the wrong size?  Yep, me too. 

While working on a hand-quilting project I was ready to do the borders.  Had done an inner sashing with a rope template I had.  My husband said I needed to do the outer border in a similar style, but I did not have another size of the same design.  So…I made one.

Tutorial - Resize your Template

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dresden Delight

My EZ Quilter's friendship group has made this beautiful Dresden plate quilt for our Flying Geese Guild Auction on October 23rd 2010. 

Each EZQ member made 2 blocks and passed it around for hand quilting.  Those who don't like to hand quilt did sashing, borders and binding and....

The pillowcase was embroidered with Dresden Delight.

I love the way the quilt turned out absolutely stunning and I am so proud to be a member in the group of incredibly talented and creative quilters.  Great Job Ladies.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Confessions of a Fabric Addict: GIVEAWAY! I've Hit A Milestone!!

Confessions of a Fabric Addict: GIVEAWAY! I've Hit A Milestone!!

Happy 100th Post to Sarah!

Congratulations Sarah on your 100th blog post.  She started her blog only 8 months ago and shares some pretty amazing quilts.

This weekend she is featuring a fantastic giveaway in honor of  her 100th post.  Check it out!

Stop by and get in the fun!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bee Splendid in September

This months Bee Splendid block exchange is for Carrie.  A string quilt and anything goes 2- 12 1/2" blocks.

Carrie sent us Kona Snow, Peacock and Lagoon, assorted Kaffe Fassett prints and a few more to boot.

This was fun but more challenging than it looks.  I had to turn a blind eye to my symmetrical mind.  I was watching Coco Channel trying to get inspired to think outside the box.  Its hard to quilt and read subtitles, my French is not what it used to be, but I managed.

I will be getting them in the mail shortly.