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Celebrate National Poinsettia Day

One of my favorite things to do is to find a beautiful Image, extract the colors from the image and then find fabrics to go with those colors. It’s a great way to experiment with color and to select a beautiful palette for a new project. So, in honor of National Poinsettia Day on December 12, I worked with a photo taken at a local business, Merrifield Garden Center, by one of our staffers, Nancy, and created a bundle of fabric that is also this week’s web special.



In addition to the fabrics, I wanted to give you a suggestion for a project which uses these fabrics. I’ve chosen the block, Triangle Charm, from our Quilters Block Library . This is a free pattern which can be downloaded in a 6, 10 or 12-inch block. I selected a 10-inch block. This allows you to easily cut the triangles from 3-inch strips.



A half yard bundle will give you plenty of fabrics to make sixteen 10 or 12–inch blocks with leftovers for other projects. You will need additional fabrics for your choice of border.

The block is an easy one made with a simple right triangle. The final outcome of the design is reflected in the amount of each color used. The secret is in the shading and there are a variety of ways to shade it. For this blog, I have chosen two variations. Block 1 has more darks with the lights giving the sparkle and Block 2 has the color shading reversed so there are more lights in the quilt. Both have exactly the same fabrics from our Poinsettia bundle.


Block one and block two


Select the block you prefer then layout and arrange one block to use as a fabric placement reference for the remaining ones.

In the layout I have used, half of the blocks are made one way and the other half are reversed. Block 1 is used here.



First, four of the regular blocks are pinwheeled. Make two of these regular pinwheel units.



The reverse blocks are also pinwheeled as shown below. Make two of these.



Arrange the regular and reverse pinwheel units as follows:



In past blogs I have talked about proportions of color and how different a quilt can look depending on how much of each color is used.  The color impact of this same design, using block 2, which contains more light colors is quite striking.


Quilt made with block one and quilt made with block two


To me, adding a border to a quilt, is like putting a frame on a painting. It finishes off the design. Like paintings, some quilts do not call for a final “frame” but for the most part, I like to add some sort of border, usually a “border print”. Click here to see a video demonstration of how to put a border print frame on a quilt and achieve perfectly mitered corners.

Here are four different border print frames. Two yards is sufficient if using the 10” version of the block. Some borders suit the darker version of the quilt and some the lighter version.


Casablanca red border, 2795-04


Casablanca brown border, 2795-02


Sophia border, 1280-05


Ashford border, 1695-41


I hope you enjoy playing with these fabrics.  Let us know what you choose to do with them.

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Join Me for Inspiration from Around the World

Craftours has now posted the details of the three trips in which I will be joining them over the next 13 months. What better Christmas gift to receive or to give yourself than a trip to a wonderful place full of design ideas, color, beauty, nature and so much more. For those who want to participate, we will have a unique hand piecing quilting project inspired by the art, architecture, crafts and spirit of each country. You will be given full details of the project as we get closer to the trip.

I hope you will join me for one or all of these great trips:

Treasures of Ancient Greece May 16 – 26, 2020

For details on the trip to Greece, click here.

Exotic Uzbekistan Oct. 3-14, 2020

For details on my trip to Uzbekistan, click here.

Ultimate Kenya Safari Jan. 15-23, 2021

For details of my Kenyan safari trip, click here.


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‘Tis the Season…For Quilting!

It is hard to believe that fall is past! Winter Solstice is upon us. This fall was such a whirlwind of activity beginning with visit to Oregon to see our grandchildren (and of course their parents), the Studio’s anniversary sale, then all of the preparations for our annual shop hop with Quilt Market sandwiched in. We also flew to California to spend Thanksgiving with one of our sons and his wife and are preparing to fly to Oregon for the Christmas holidays. It should be lots of fun.

A few weeks ago my 9 year old granddaughter informed me that she wants a sewing machine for Christmas along with lots of fabric…so how could I resist? She and her younger brother, Emmett,  did such a great job a year ago when they came to visit and I introduced them to the sewing machine. She took to it so quickly that I think she is ready. I got her a good beginner machine, the EverSewn Sparrow 20. I’ll keep you informed on how it goes.






Amidst all of this I have been busy preparing for our 2018 Mystery Quilt. We had such a great response to this year’s quilt that we decided on the “mystery” concept again. I have designed the quilt in four colorways and there are a variety of techniques covered. As I did last year, we will film video lessons to go along with each clue. We have listened to your feedback and will once again have a smaller quilt. This time it will be a little larger, rectangular in shape and will be suitable for a throw, lap quilt or wall hanging. We are still finalizing the lessons and patterns and plan to have the first clue in either March or April.

On another note, I have a great gift or decorating idea. As the new year approaches, many of you will be in full-on mode planning weddings and either baby or bridal showers. During the 29 years of my annual Hilton Head Seminar, one of the decisions that always had to be made was what to do about the centerpieces at the banquet tables. Depending on how large the event, centerpieces can be quite costly.



This year at Quilt Market we found the Vase and Vessels Pattern by Amy Barickman for Indygo Junction. I came home from market with the pattern in hand and made a couple of vases using border print fabrics. The technique is similar to English Paper Piecing except the fabric is fused over the Fabriflair stabilizer instead of basted over papers. As I was working, the idea suddenly hit me that this would be a perfect project for a centerpiece for an event. Use the event colors and select fabrics to match those colors. Depending on the size of your vase, put a pint or quart Mason jar inside the vase and then select flowers in similar colors, as I did in the picture above. At the end of the event, one lucky person at the table could be the recipient of the centerpiece!

I want to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very happy holiday season! If you are going to be in the Washington D.C. area over the holidays, we would love to see you. We will be closed both Christmas and New Year’s Day.



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Happy Thanksgiving!

In these times of uncertainty, families want to hunker down and be together. What better time than the Thanksgiving holiday where our thoughts go to family, cooking and the Thanksgiving day feast.

This year I want to share with you my recipe for turkey stuffing.  It started out as a basic stuffing recipe, but each year I look at ways to improve it. This is what I will use to stuff my turkey this Thanksgiving.


Happy Thanksgiving


Jinny’s Stuffing

This recipe makes approximately 8 cups stuffing. Allow about  ¾ cup per pound of turkey. I usually roast a large turkey and will typically at least double this recipe.

1 ½ cups chopped celery

1 cup chopped onion

¾ cup butter (I use smart balance)

8 cups soft bread crumbs (cut into cubes)

3 cups chopped apple

2 cups chopped pecans

1 lb. package of Jimmy Dean Hot pork sausage

1 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

1 tsp. ground sage (if I still have some fresh from the garden I put in about 2 Tbls. Chopped fresh sage)

¾ tsp. dried thyme leaves

In a large pot, melt the butter or Smart Balance and sauté the onions and celery until tender. Remove from heat and stir in about ¼ of the bread cubes.

In a separate pan, sauté the sausage until brown and crumbly.

Mix the remaining bread cubes, sausage, pecans, apples and spices with the sautéed onion and celery. Stir to mix all together and stuff into turkey just prior to roasting.

My dressing gets a little more complicated because I have one vegetarian who can’t eat the sausage or the dressing if it is cooked in the turkey. I have another person who likes the sausage but can’t eat the nuts. So I mix every thing together except the sausage and nuts.  Then I put a little dressing in a small oven proof dish and add a little sausage. This is for the non-nut eater. Next I add all the nuts to the remaining stuffing and make a small dish for the vegetarian. Finally, I add the sausage to the dressing and this goes into the turkey. Unfortunately, the vegetarian and non-nut eater don’t get their stuffing cooked in the turkey, but I dribble a little melted butter or Smart Balance over the stuffing in their dishes, cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven with the turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


P.S. The shop will be closed on Thursday, November 24 but we will reopen at 10:00 AM on Friday, November 25. Don’t forget small business Saturday on November 26 and support your local quilt store and any other small business you like in your neighborhood. If you want the businesses to be there when you need them, they need your support.

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Wishing You a Peaceful Holiday Season

Holiday signIt is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season, worrying about buying the right gifts, baking cookies, decorating a home.  With so many distractions, we sometimes forget to pause and take stock. I’m reminded of the words of Dr. Suess in his famous tale of How the Grinch Stole Christmas:

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

I hope we all take a moment to take stock and that our thoughts are full of all the blessings we have—our families, friends, homes and communities.

And for me, that includes you, too.  I’ve enjoyed meeting many of you in classes and in the Studio, reading your emails and comments on Facebook and my blog and, of course, sharing my love of quilting.  Even though we may live countries apart and we may never meet, we are all part of this wonderful quilting community.

Yes, I think quilters especially understand this message from the Grinch.  The gift of a quilt is a labor of love whether for a friend, family member or even a stranger.  The world can be a scary place these days.  I am so grateful to be associated with generous men and women who give others tangible signs that they care, that the recipient is special.  Maybe the world just needs a few more quilters.

We have lots of exciting projects ahead in the New Year but for now, let me wish all of you a happy, healthy and peaceful holiday season.

christmas 2014