It’s Ok to Cut Corners!

That top secret project I mentioned last time is coming along nicely.  Of course, now that the boys are out of school, finding time to sew is a bit more challenging – but it will get done – somehow!

It’s 9:45 on Sunday night, the boys are finally in bed!  I’ve been wanting to write about a template set I saw demonstrated at Market and of course, just had to have – the “Cutting Corners” template set by Toby Lischko of Gateway Quilts & Stuff.

 Cutting Corners Template

Unlike many templates that are meant just for one particular quilt design, these templates make many kinds of blocks (flying geese, half square triangles, snowball blocks, etc.) just a little bit simpler! 

You know all those times, the directions tell you to draw a diagonal line across a square, sew along the line and then cut the corner off leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance?  Well, these templates eliminate the need to draw that line!  Align the template according to the directions and you will cut off the exact corner needed to leave that 1/4″ seam allowance.  Then all you have to do is sew your usual 1/4″ seam from the edge and you’re done! Presto!  Now why didn’t I think of that?!  This template set could be used with several of my patterns! 

There are two pieces in the set along with great instructions on the many uses for them.  I used the triangle templates to piece together my binding strips for the library quilt.  Worked like a charm!  Didn’t draw a single line to get those perfect diagonal seams!

Check it out at for yourself at !  While you’re there, take a look at all of Toby’s beautiful quilts and patterns.  She and I both have a love for taking the traditional and giving it a bit of a twist! 


Top Secret

My friend Connie e-mailed me the other day to say my blog was eerily silent, so I thought I better give a little explanation! 

SHhhhhhh!  I am working on a top secret project!!!  I can’t even blog about it because the intended receiver reads my blog!  So here’s a little hint:  we’re going to my cousin’s wedding in Estonia later this summer (yes, the Estonian one that’s marrying the Norwegian, that she met in South Africa,  who proposed in Canada!) and I have to bring a present!

I started working on the design right after I finished the library quilt.  Tons of end of school year activities ate into my time, but I finally started working on it on Monday.  Had to invent a new technique to get it to come out just the way I wanted!  Can’t wait to share – but you’ll have to wait until after the wedding! SHhhhhhhhh!!!!  Don’t tell!


Readers are Leaders

I meant to post a few more Market blogs last week, but I was a little busy trying to finish up a very special quilt.  For the past few years, I have been volunteering in our elementary school library and have had the opportunity to get to know a very special lady – Mrs Luccaro, the school librarian.  She is a most amazing person!  Obviously as an elementary school librarian, it is her job to know the books.  But Mrs. Luccaro knows more than just every single book in the library, she also knows every single child like a book!  Casting off all stereotypes of a dull librarian, her fancy high heeled shoes and sparkly jewelry reflect a dynamic personality which casts its spell over her domain.

It is my fourth grader’s last year at the school, so when I spotted a pattern from a few months back to make the perfect library quilt, I grabbed it.  Although it’s the first quilt I’ve made from a pattern in a long time, I managed to put my signature spin on it. 

The pattern came with a pre-printed panel meant for coloring and a bit of fusible applique.  My son did the coloring and my good friend Cathy used the occasion as a perfect opportunity to practice using the embroidery function on her new Baby Lock machine.  Cathy also supplied the most perfect dolphin fabric that I fussy-cut and appliqued to represent the school’s mascot.  The books are paper-pieced (on the left) and pieced (on the right) with scraps from both mine and Cathy’s collection.  The lamp was supposed to be just paper-pieced, but with a little help from a scrap of Timtex, I managed to make it 3-D.  (Light chain included!)  A piece of re-known children’s author Eric Carle’s licenced print made a perfect backing.

Despite some end of school year craziness, I finally managed to corner Mrs. Luccaro in the library and present her with the quilt.  A gift from me on behalf of my son and the other fourth graders.


Thank you for all you do, Mrs. Luccaro!  We love you!


Quilt Market – Not just about the stuff!

One of the things I love about quilting is the people you meet.  Quilting cuts across gender, age, race, nationality, and even profession(past and present).  Everyone has a story and most are willing to share it!  Quilt Market is just another great opportunity to meet people with some amazing stories!

We didn’t meet Samantha Caffee until we were on our way back to the airport to go home.  We got to sit with Samantha on the shuttle ride to the airport and as luck would have it  – she was also on our flight to Chicago.   So we had a nice long opportunity to get to know this amazing lady. 

Samantha is the owner of The Handmade Dress.  (  She designs and sells patterns for the most adorable little girl dresses.    The more we listened to Samantha’s story, the more we were amazed at how much this soft spoken young woman from Alabama was able to accomplish in any given day.  (In fact it made us question whether or not we were using our daily 24 hours to the fullest!)  Samantha has three kids, ranging from 4 to 8 years old, and is awaiting two more young ones that she is adopting from Bulgaria.  In addition to taking care of the kids, a large garden, an assortment of chicken and goats and baking her own bread, Samantha also home-schools all three children and intends to do so for all five through high school.   To here her tell it, it is all very achievable and very fulfilling.  Her blog is full of stories and pictures of her happy family. 

“Given all that you do in the home, when in the world do you have the chance to design and make your patterns?” we asked.   Turns out that her office area and classroom space are adjacent and so after she gives her lessons and the kids sit down to complete their assignments, Samantha also sits down to do her work.   “Besides”, she said “unlike a quilt, it only takes me a couple of hours to sew up a dress and the pattern instructions are pretty simple.”  She says that she is lucky to have “live” models of varying ages and sizes which allows her to easily size her patterns. 

Please be sure to check out her website and blog, especially if you have little girls in your life!  As much as I love my boys, it makes me wish I had little girls!