The Daily Improv

I’ve said it other years, but this is my year of cleaning out my WIPS! I’m doing a good job of it, now to get them photographed and blogged about!

This is my first quilt I finished this year! It’s not one of my oldest WIPs, but it was sitting there just waiting! All the blocks were done, they just weren’t put together…

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Amy Ellis of Amy’s Creative Side had a one week Improv Challenge last year.  The intent was to get you started in improv. I love improv and am not new to it, but I couldn’t resist her one week challenge. Who knew it would actually over a year for it to all come together though… (well, I should have known based on my track record!)

Each day you get a prompt and make one block from that prompt.

And actually, it looks like anyone can still do it any time. Just sign up here!  Each day sends you a new prompt and it’s a great way to try something new or different with out the commitment of a long term sew along!

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I really love how it turned out!

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I think the first day was stripes. In this picture you can see my stripes block and one of the triangle blocks to the right. The top one was the paper pieced improv block challenge. I still struggle with the idea of paper piecing and improv in the same sentence. To me they don’t go together! Other people would totally disagree with me and that’s ok! So I made a couple of paper piecing patterns and went with it. We’re trying new things, right?

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This is my favorite one! The Log Cabin block! I love improv log cabin blocks. love love love! I actually made two of these!

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And curves. Another of the prompts was curves. I think I ended up with two curve blocks, too. There’s even more curves bceuase as I was squaring up the blocks, I would use those cut off pieces in other blocks areas to make the blocks ‘fit’ with each other. I love the little bits of curves here and there.

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And then the back was a big improv block in itself! As I mentioned before, I used a lot of my ‘cut off’ pieces to piece the front. I also incorporated smaller scraps to fill in the background space. I had a few smaller pieces left over for the back, but I mostly used the bigger scraps. When I was done with the back, I had just enough of this fabric pull left for the binding!

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I’m usually a straight line, one pattern all over kind of quilter. Trying new things with piecing doesn’t scare me. trying new thing with quilting does! In this one, I tried to change the quilting in different areas to reflect the improv shapes of the blocks. You can see it here on the back pretty well.

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What do you think? Are you up to the challenge? Give it a try!

The Daily Improv

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Design by me, with prompts from Amy’s Creative Side

Quilted my me

Completed in  March 2020

 

Improv Flower Pillow. Done. Finally.

WAYYYYYY Back in 2017 I took a fun little class to make one Improv Flower Block with Mr. Domestic.

And I made the block. Right then! I had these grand plans to hand quilt it. But it just sat there and got moved around my sewing room for literally years… Then last month, I was like, forget the hand quilting, let’s get this done! And I did!

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I’m really missing my friends at the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild these days! The guild offers a lot of fun classes and this one with Mr. Domestic, back in July of 2017, seemed like it would be fun. He’s quite the personality!

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I honestly don’t even remember the steps he taught us to get to the finished product, but it’s basically an improv process of sewing strips together and then cutting them into strips again.

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Here’s the crazy thing. I had half of it finished before I even left the class. And all the other strips done, too. I went home and finished the block two days later. Then it took me 2.5 years to get it quilted. Which took about maybe 2 hours or so… Then another 1/2 hour to turn it into a pillow. WHY???? Why do I let things sit for so long before finishing them????

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My original plan was to hand quilt it, but I love the texture I got  with the quilting I did do!

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Like usual, no quilting on the back. I do like to use two pieces of fabric on the back though. I cut two solid pieces and serge the edges. It gives it a more solid feel. I don’t know how to explain it, but I like it.

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I did my new love, the invisible zipper. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. Invisible zippers are more invisible if you match the zipper to the fabric! I was on a roll and didn’t want to wait until I got the right colored zipper, so I went with what I had. And I’m ok with it! ha!

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And that’s it! 2.5 years in the making… Has anyone else made this block? Did you make a quilt or a pillow or something else? It would be fun to make a mini version into a pot holder!

 

We Made Masks

Honestly, I didn’t want to, but we did.

Here’s my quick soap box… I don’t feel like in a country like ours there should be a shortage of any health care PPE. Not in this day and age. Hospitals should not have to worry about getting PPE to protect our healthcare workers. We live in a land of plenty. A land of mass wealth, but we can’t supply our own people with protective gear to us safe from disease. Most of us in the US are very lucky and blessed to be in the situation we are on a typical day in the United States of America. But today we aren’t. States are not getting the supplies they need as a UNITED country. We are being led by a group of people that don’t believe in science and don’t see the need for PPE or clean air, etc. This is why I didn’t want to make masks. It makes me angry.

But here’s the flip side to why I didn’t wallow in my anger and protest the making of masks.

And yes, I’m stubborn and have been known to protest things!  Some funny things, some very personal and political things. Here’s a funny story. Back in the day there was a local drug store in New Orleans that was bought out by another store that didn’t sell Coca Cola products, only Pepsi products. I never went to that store again while I lived in New Orleans. Ha!

Ok, back to why I did make the masks.

Two reasons.

The first is that I’m lucky enough to still have a job, to be home and safe with my kiddo, husband and dog, and I have a stash of fabric and elastic. And the biggest thing is I have the skill and machines to make masks. Not everyone has these things. And I know that and I can’t take that for granted during these times.

The second reason comes from my job. I spend a lot of time in hospitals as an architect. I design rooms around codes that deal with the safety of workers and patients. Where does the PPE go, where do they put on the PPE, where are the hand wash sinks in relation to all the movements of the healthcare workers. And where are the trash cans for all the PPE to go. I see all the one time use, non recyclable products that we use in this country for PPE to protect ourselves. And it’s really depressing to me to see all these one time use products. Not that my masks are going to take the place of the disposable PPE in the hospitals, but my hope is that maybe this mass movement of sew-ers and quilters making masks, just maybe, there could be a shift in thinking from disposable to reusable. It’s hope that kept me moving as I made 47 masks last weekend.

OK, that’s my soap box.

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And these are my masks. I had a small list of friends and family that I wanted to make them for, but as I was cutting, I kept cutting. I didn’t keep count and had no idea how many I was actually making! There are probably a million tutorials out there. Between working 50 hours a week and trying to homeschool the kiddo I didn’t have the bandwidth to do a lot of research. I’ve always liked Dana’s tutorials from Made Everyday, so I just went with her tutorial that you can find here.

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A couple of things I do like about her tutorial is that that fit over the N95 masks if anyone can ever get those again and it has a pocket to put a filter in.

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I added a step from her tutorial. On the bottom of the front and back of each masks I did sew a 1/4″ hem so that when they get washed they won’t fray.

There has been a lot of discussion debating ties or elastic. I went with elastic. If I tried to tie a bow behind my head every time I wanted to put this on, I would never wear one. I’d tie my hair in knots and curse and complain every time! And the thought of constantly tying my sons mask to his head did not interest me in the least. So elastic it was for our family! And therefore, our family and friends, ha!

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There four different sizes in the tutorial. I made the kids and adults.

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And we ended up with 47 masks. Most all of them have found homes. I feel like I may have to make another small batch before I’m done with masks.

Last night at our Seattle Modern Quilt Guild one of our members did a very through presentation of the pros and cons and in and outs of making masks. You can find here presentation here. There’s a ton of information collected to help you make the best decision on which masks are right for you. Be sure to check it out!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

A Christmas Hedgehog Pillow

I’m all about the holiday animals! A halloween cat, Rudolph the reindeer, and a now Christmas hedgehog! (and there might be more to come…. )

This is another project I made last year, but haven’t shared yet.

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Do you like paper piecing? If you do, you should probably know Tartankiwi! I love her patterns! I have a few, but this is the only one I’ve made yet. I’ve been eyeballing her patterns for years. Then when I saw her hedgehog pattern in the issue 64 of Love Patchwork Quilting Magazine, I knew I had to make it. So I did!

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It’s a lot of pieces, obviously, but it’s a really quick sew. I needed something for the holiday swap for our SMQG Holiday pattern, so I decided to make this. But I loved it and my family loved it so much that it didn’t quite make it to the swap.

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And look how good it goes with this other pillow that I made years ago! It kinda had to stay here, right? (Back me up here… 🙂 )

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I love this Cotton and Steel Fabric, too. For this one I just made an envelope back. It was before my new obsession with invisible zippers.

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My plan was to post the presents I’m making, but then I realized, those receiving the gifts would see them and that kinda blew my plan… Luckily I had some holiday sewing projects saved from last year! Ha!

 

Be sure to check out Tartankiwi’s blog and you can get the hedgehog pattern on her etsy site or her payhip site.

 

Happy Holiday sewing!

 

 

 

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer! Quilted!

I’m so excited to show you this Christmas quilt! I’ve been waiting all year! I finished it about a week after Christmas last year and decided to wait until this year to show you.

It’s an abstract Rudolph!

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As soon as Sew Kinda Wonderful posted about her upcoming Urbanologie quilt, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. literally, the moment I first saw it! I only wanted the one block from the quilt, but I bought the whole thing anyway… I couldn’t wait to see if they ever published the patters separately, which they haven’t by the way… Maybe one day I’ll make other pieces of the quilt, but not the whole thing together. It’s not quite my thing.. But the antlers… LOVE!

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Since I had so much white space, I wanted a color for the binding and went with the bright green to make it a little more playful.

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And for the nose, I used the same process I used on my sports quilt I did ages ago… You can find the tutorial here.

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You know me and solids! I rarely use prints, but I wanted to here. And I ordered all the fabrics online. I took a good guess at which ones would work together, and they all do! By sheer luck of the draw!

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And the back. I didn’t do very good at straightening out when I basted, but oh well… A little crooked.

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Token label picture!

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I would say this has enough white space to qualify as a Modern Quilt! ha! Have you made a Christmas quilt this year?? I want to size this down to a pillow as well. Probably not this year though! But an easy matching set, wouldn’t you think?  I’ll be sharing some more Christmas things soon! Between sewing projects!

My Halloween Quilt! with a paper pieced pattern download

I know, most everyone has moved onto Christmas, but I’m still posting about Halloween!

I started this about this time last year. I had a plan. I was going to do one block each month… I was also going to make one Halloween and one Christmas placemat each month. Let’s just say NONE of those things happened! Oops!

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I didn’t quite finish in time for Halloween, but I finished 3 days later. So I’m calling that a win!

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I did intend for the stripe to go from top to bottom, not side to side… But I realized I didn’t have enough of the green fabric, so I switched gears mid stream. I actually really like having the stripe of pieced blocks along the bottom.

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Our Halloween guests seem to like it as well! They can still scare, but show off the stripe! ha! Who doesn’t love seeing monsters and skeletons cuddling under a quilt on the porch bench??? So sweet!

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For this quilt I did paper piece the stripe. That’s how I got such sharp points! Look at those points! I love it! You can download the quilt block here. It is a 12×18 page, so most home printers won’t print it, but your neighborhood office supply store will be able to. The block makes a 10″ square.

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How do you do binding? I sew mine onto the top and then iron it over to the back and hand stitch it to the back. I have not mastered the machine binding! Nope! And I love the time away from the machine to do a little hand stitching anyway!

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And the back. I made a few extra blocks with the scraps to put on the back. Then I just pieced all my scraps for as much of the back as I could. Then I just started adding larger pieces to make up the difference.

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Man, did this quilt almost give me a heart attack??? I was in the process of quilting it. I quilt on the dining room table. We had family friends over for dinner, so I just through my quilt and the machine in my son’s (also known at Lulu’s room, our 3 year old great pyrenees mix) room. Well, the pup got super excited about our guests, so we put her in ‘her room’ to calm down… When we go in the room, she has chewed up the quilt. I stifled my scream! we did still have guests… But luckily, she had just chewed the excess you add to the batting and back! So it was totally ok, but, man, did it scare me! And no, she didn’t get sick at all!

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My token label picture that I take for each quilt!

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I’m so excited to have it finished! And even though I have a list of more Halloween projects to do, I’m also excited to move on to handmade Christmas presents! What you working on after Halloween? Did you sew anything for Halloween?

 

The Grumpy Cat Halloween Pillow

I grew up with cats, but now I’m allergic, so I’m totally a dog person. But as soon as I saw The Grumpy Cat pattern by Sew Fresh Quilts, I knew I had to make it!

The last thing I needed was another Halloween pillow, but I love, really love, Halloween pillows! Anything Halloween really… And since I have a ton of Halloween fabric, I need ot use it, right?? So I purchased the pattern from Sew Fresh Quilts Etsy store.

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The Grumpy Cat a super easy make! It also comes in two sizes. I made the small one at about 8×10 inches.

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Are you also curious about the pumpkin? Now this is a pattern that I didn’t purchase… I just winged it. It’s inspired by the Mini Pumpkins pattern from Sew Kind Of Wonderful using the Mini Quick Curve Ruler. I’d recommend buying the pattern so your pumpkins aren’t lopsided like mine are! But for my pillow it works. I love the little pumpkins though!

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I just used a bright orange for the back. And I didn’t use an envelope style pillow. I put a zipper in it. My go to used to always be the envelope back, but I think it’s going to be the invisible zipper from now on!

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I’m loving this invisible zipper! This one isn’t quite as invisible as others I’ve made, but pretty close. I use a couple of tutorials, one from Sew Katie Did and one from Stitched in Color, for the invisible zipper.

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So there you have it! Another Halloween Pillow to add to my collection! I kinda want to make a quilt to. One grumpy cat at the bottom with a bunch of pumpkins… Maybe a witch’s hat? Who knows! I’m finishing my second Halloween quilt now, so I don’t know if I ever will, but I like the idea.

What are you stitching this Halloween?

A Christmas Quilt

It’s been a while since I shared a finished quilt!

It’s my Christmas Quilt! I have a Halloween quilt and I have a ton of amazing Christmas fabric, so I knew I needed to make a Christmas quilt! I’m a huge sucker for both Halloween and Christmas fabric. especially Cotton and Steel Christmas fabric…. I can’t get enough so I had to do something with it!

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The only problem with Christmas fabric is that it isn’t solids! It’s prints, hence the Christmas theme, right! And I’m not real good with prints! I get totally pushed around by print fabric.

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Quilts pictures here are by Katie of Sew Katie Did, not my work! 

In October 2017, the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild had one of our members, Katie Pedersen of Sew Katie Did, come teach some classes. One of the classes was her Split Personality Class. I signed up! But I didn’t want to take solids. Katie is so good with prints, so I was trying to let that rub off on me during this class. But what to take??? Christmas!

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I love describing what I do as a quilter to non quilters! So basically the technique involves cutting up fabric, sewing it together, cutting it, mixing the pieces up, sewing it back together, cutting it again, mixing again and sewing it back together again! Yep, that about sums it up! You do that and end up with lovely little improv pieced blocks!

But then what to do with the blocks??? 

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I decided to use one of the designs I came up with from the Quilt Design a Day challenge. I forget what the picture was that inspired this design. Anyway, I thought it would be a fun design inspiration for this quilt. 

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I also used another technique that I don’ tthink I have ever used before. Fussy cutting… Well, sewing with solids doesn’t lend itself well to fuzzy cutting, does it now?? Ha!

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And another technique… Pattern matching my fabric for the back!

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Did you know those reindeer came in flannel? So soft! and adorable!

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I liked how the blue binding didn’t totally scream Christmas for the quilt.

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I really like it turned out! And I’m loving watching the family curl up in on the couch this holiday season!

 

 

More Tree Pillows!

Looking for a pretty quick holiday project to fill your next few days? I mean who has anything to really do between now and Christmas, right? Ha!

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I’m so excited to have my own tree pillows! Do you remember the ones I made last year? You can see them here

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I made these from the scraps from last years pillows. Yes, it did take me all year…. Moving on… So last year I used the tutorial from the Quick Curve Ruler ladies over at Sew Kind of Wonderful. I used it pretty right on. With a long piece down the middle to make the trunk of the tree. This year I did a little bit of experimenting. For one thing, I wanted a pointy top!

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For each tree, I started with by following the tutorial. Then I sewed the left and right sides of the tree together. For the little pillow, I cut off the top of the bottom two blocks. And the bottom off the top block. I wanted more thickness to the tree, but with a pointy top!

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And for the bigger pillow, I cut the bottom off of each block. For the top one, I think I took off 1.5″ and down at the bottom blocks, I only cut off about .5″ of the block. And then varied the dimension between the others. This way I got a more skinny tree and a still had my pointy top!

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I really need to start adding zippers… I know it’s not hard. I more or less have a problem with planning ahead and getting the right size and color! So I stuck with the envelope back. I’m also usually not a fabric line kinda person… But you can probably tell that I have a little obsession with Cotton and Steel going on right about now!

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I’m building up my holiday pillow collection! I had a little collection of CB2 knock off pillows, but I wasn’t feeling it this year and gave them away… I’m going more with the quilted look for the next few years….

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And even if I should have been sewing for others, I needed to finish these! And I’m glad I did…. Have you made any quick curve ruler projects?

Quilt Retreat!

Ok, yes, this did happen WAY back in September! But I haven’t written about it, so now I am!

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I look so forward to retreat every year. Partly because I sew from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to bed! Minus a few breaks for meals. Otherwise, it’s all sewing! And sewing with friends! Not just in my studio watching Netflix of dancing around to records! Other real live people! What a novel idea! And fabric comes to us! It’s awesome! Our friends at Island Quilter bring the shop to us!

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I got SOOOO much done! Remember, I said I sewed from early morning to super late at night. I love breakfast, so I don’t want to miss it, so I actually get up in the morning! And it gives me more sewing time! Or should I say almost done. I finally finished my Chaos Top and the back. But I still need to quilt it….

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This is also a bit of a preview of things to come… I finished more blocks for charity quilts. I also finished a Do Good Stitches top and back. And I finished our tooth fairy pillow! Yea! So much progress!

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The group is such a fun group! My buddy, Debbie, and I always have a good time!

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I always get inspired by the work others are doing. The patterns they are using, the fabrics they are using and all the creativity!! It’s an amazing bunch of friends!

Kim’s Technicolor Galaxy quilt was almost done! If you check out her IG, you’ll see the finished version! Totally makes me want to finish mine…. And I love how Allison’s molehills quilt is coming along! The colors are awesome!

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Our amazing Matt brought one of his medallion quilts to finish! I’m not sure who was working on the Chic country pattern. And Dionne was working on her amazing giraffe quilt!! One of her animal quilts is on my bucket list!

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And who doesn’t love an awesome swag bag! Full of goodies! My book will teach me embroidery! I’ve always wanted to learn and now I have instructions. Perfect!

Thanks to everyone at SMQG that put the retreat together and that came and made a great retreat for us all! I’m so excited about the next one! Yea!