I bet yours is bigger than mine!

I bet yours is bigger than mine – Your quilt stash, I mean.  Have you ever took a look at your stash and said….

“I really wish I could make something with this?”

Actually, this happens to me all the time.  This is mostly because I am not the average Hoard… er Quilter.  My quilt stash is TINY compared to many of the folks I know.

Some People’s Stash:

My Stash:


Yep, that’s about it and I didn’t even get it all folded pretty either.  I have some additional bolts, but less than 6 of them to add to this.  The other fabric I have is for garment sewing. So you can see, I am not like many folks that have rooms full of fabric – and totes hidden in closets and under beds too!

Because of this, I tend to create my projects in one of two ways:

  1. design a quilt and purchase a little more of each fabric than I need – the rest goes into stash
  2. quilt with what is on hand and that can get tricky indeed!

Don’t get me wrong, I DO still by fabric from time to time, but I refrain from buying just to buy. Mostly, I buy fabric in two ways:

  1. There is a project in mind, but I need one or two more elements not already in my stash
  2. There is a really great sale, so time to add in some new fabrics for future use

Also – and don’t hate me – I have no UFO’s.

Yep I said it, and I feel a bit ashamed, like I am missing out on membership to a club of super creative individuals that cannot hold back their ambitions.  Maybe my small stash size is because I have no UFO’s? Can someone help me to achieve UFO greatness?  Or am I OK the way I am?

What does your stash look like?

I would love to see the types of reserve fabric stores others have!

Spring Break – Renaissance Style

For many that know me, this post will not come as a surprise.  Each year from the beginning of April through May, my family and I spend a great deal of time at the Scarborough Renaissance Festival. Spring is time to break out the cloak and brave even the coolest mornings

Scarborough Renaissance Festival 2017 Week One Sunday Photo by Bonnie Charles










Time to switch from quilting to sewing:

Each spring, I switch my focus from quilting to creating garb. Garb refers to the many period garments that serious folks wear at Renaissance Fairs. Over the years, I have sewn many of my own cloaks, dresses, jackets and associated elements. It seems that the spring is the best time for me to switch up my quilting for sewing.

Focus for Spring 2017 – The Cloak:

This year, I concentrated on an element of garb that we were sorely lacking – Cloaks.  In years past, at Scarborough, Sherwood Forest and even TRF (Texas Renaissance Festival), we have been plagued with soggy weather.  Staying warm and dry is important in the spring. The different weights and linings of cloaks helps keep us warm and dry. Below are a few cloaks that have been added to our closets.  Some of these cloaks are for sale or already sold:




















We did a redesign of our website recently and actually added a section for clothing/costumes.  Feel free to check it out!  In the future, you will probably see a mixture of quilting and wearables. Let me know what you think.

Jamie Wallen Long Arm Quilting Class – March 19, 2017

Jamie Wallen – Quilter’s Apothecary

Many of you may have recognized the name – Jamie Wallen.

You may know Jamie from his many Youtube Videos and/or his business – Quilter’s Apothecary.

I was aware of both and prior to taking in this class, I even purchased some of his products, specifically his long-arm rulers and I need to say that I adore them.


So, when the opportunity to take a class with Jamie, I jumped at it!  I will tell you now that I was not disappointed.  The class was held at the Long Arm Quilting Academy in Fort Worth.  Because they do not have an actual classroom for this type of thing, the chairs were set up next to a variety of long arm machines and you can also see the rest of the shop in the pictures I took.  This is not the largest quilt shop, but it did have charm.

There were many different classes to choose from; however, due to limited time I finally decided on the Sunday class “How Would I Quilt That?”  At this point in my quilting life, I find that the most important lessons are learned by listening to what others would do.  Jamie’s own quilting is beyond gorgeous, so I was excited to find out what he would do to my quilt top.

For the record, Jamie is a real straight shooter and he does not pull punches.  He also has a few one-liners that he uses to exemplify the points he makes.  One he reiterated often was:

“Learn your lines before opening night”
(Don’t offer what you cannot do)

His advice to practice, practice, practice and be sure you are good at something before you promise the technique to a customer, is well-placed.

Another mantra of his centers on the process of long arm quilting itself.  He addressed the nervousness that many of us feel when we approach our machines to start a new project.  For this he says:

“Your machine is just a pencil”

This is powerful as it puts into perspective the simplicity of the process when you get to the point that you are grasping the handles (lightly) and beginning to move about your quilt.

So many beautiful colors

I bring up these tidbits because Jamie did more than simply tell us how he would quilt our tops, oh no!  He spent a great deal of time answering all sorts of questions and going into other topics.  Some additional elements covered were:

  • Batting (what kind and how much for different types of quilting)
  • Thread choices
  • Are you quilting this (quilt top) to make money or build a legacy?
  • You Doodle App for marking your own quilt top
  • How to quilt a hand-pieced top
  • Always prewash Batik backing to soften it
  • Hunter’s star (or pinwheel) nubs? Grab a hammer!

This top was brought in by the nice lady I sat next to during the class. YES, those are all tigers!


We talked about so much more and, ultimately, we ended up going at least an hour over the scheduled class time.  There is no question – we got our money’s worth!


Oh and I also want to mention Rich – who I believe must be Jamie’s right-hand-man.  Rich was the fella that kept the electronic boat afloat throughout the entire process.  Thanks Rich!


Sprinkled throughout this blog posting are many of the tops presented by the other attendees.  Some were just so gorgeous that it would have been criminal to do an all-over meander!

My Project

Below are pictures of the quilt top I brought along.  I consider it a silly little top as it consists of reproduction fabrics in a rainbow of colors, a very large white on white background fabric and drunkard’s path blocks that are anything but traditional. There was unanimous agreement that a purple border would work great for this quilt.

Checking out my quilt top

Purple fabric for the borders

As with the other tops, Jamie had some interesting suggestions.  Curved cross hatching in the circles, lines up and down the sashing and a super fun border treatment of circles.  If you look closely at the white on the quilt, these circles would mirror the pieced ones as well as the flowers in the white on white (which are enormous!)

Border suggestion

Jamie shared both quilted and printed examples of the types of designs he loves to do and encouraged us to take pictures of everything!  



These designs are featured in YouTube Videos.

This pretty little girl welcoming the sun after the rain is so adorable – Please forgive the orientation – for some reason, I can’t get her to stand up straight!

As I said, Jamie was an amazing presenter and I encourage anyone to spend time learning from him.  I had a blast!  The next step is to sew on the borders and get that quilt on my frame so I can apply some of his suggestions.

Has anyone else attended his classes?  What are your thoughts?

A New Year and Lots Going On!

It’s been a while since our last post and it isn’t because nothing is going on.  Quite to the contrary – 2017 projects have made my days busier than ever!

So, let me break down what all the activity was about.


Below are a few of the quilts that came in the door in the last couple months.  Customer 2017 projects include many gorgeous quilts, and I am sure the folks who received them were thrilled!

Such a fun border on a quilt for a lucky husband.

This quilt was finished in a leaf pattern and sage colored thread that melded with the sage and purple theme, just lovely.

One lucky little girl received this beautiful bed covering quilted in boots and hats (a Texas favorite!) I also heard something about getting a real-live horse for the holidays. Lucky girl indeed!

My Own – an absolutely beautiful quilt with many paper pieced blocks.

This stained glass beauty was quilted out using a large meander and black thread! The finished product was so beautiful.


When I was not working on customers’ 2017 projects, I have had a few of my own going on as well.  The first are my entries in the Dallas Quilt Show – 2017

This isn’t a quilt? Sorry – until the show, I have decided not to show images of my “It’s a Charmed Life” entry or my entry for the Master 103 one-person wall quilt.


It is not without a great deal of excitement that I refrain from posting images, I just would rather not jinx anything. If you are as excited as I am to see beautiful quilts from artists around our area, join us March 10-12, 2017 at the Dallas Market Hall.

Due to the number of client quilts, I have had less time to finish some of my own.  Below is a patriotic quilt that did make it through the process.

This is Old Glory (bite me) and was created in a very organic way. This is pretty much the way I do most of my quilts. After choosing a favorite block, I continued on until all but a few very small snippets were left of the available fabric.


In addition to quilting, I am working on some sewing projects as well. Nearly finished is this green rose cloak.  The finishing touch of adding beads to all the trim will complete this in time for Sherwood Forest Fair 2017.

Green Rose lined cloak

I am also mostly done with a tuxedo-style jacket for Selesti and should be finished with that in the next couple weeks.  And, of course it’s blue!

And… a CRUISE!

Yes, after over 15 years, hubby and I finally took a proper vacation and headed to the Caribbean for a 7 day cruise. I highly recommend this type of vacation for anyone who has trouble letting go and relaxing.  No phone service and limited internet coupled with being pampered every minute made it impossible not to relax!  We had a great time and hope to do it again soon!

Houston International Quilt Festival – 2016

Houston Quilt Festival – 2016

As I mentioned a few days ago, this year was my very first visit to the Houston Quilt Festival.  It took 3 years living in Texas for me to find the time to go and I will tell you one thing – I will be going every year hereafter!

What an amazing day we had, and a tiring one at that.

So many vendors!

First things First!

The Best T-Shirt Award Goes To....

The Best T-Shirt Award Goes To….

Although we were tempted to dive right into the row upon row of quilts being displayed, hubby and I tore ourselves away to visit the vendors first. The Houston International  I had some specific purchases in mind, and wanted to get all that out of the way before we ventured into the forest of quilts.

The lanes between vendors were literally packed with people, but a few really did stand out. These lovely ladies were happy to pose for a picture.  I told them how much I loved their shirts and their reply was that a friend had them made custom.  Here went my hopes of finding one for me at the Houston International Quilt Festival!




20161105_132458Stitchin’ Heaven had such a fun booth, complete with longhorn!  At first I got to take a picture of them haming it up, but ultimately, they got Terry and I by the steer for a picture.


So, with list in hand, we went booth to booth and I must admit that I didn’t always stick to my list – there are just some things you can’t pass by!  In fact, I bought some finger-less gloves for both my daughter and myself.  Mine were blue, of course.




Soon enough, I found the Superior Threads booth and was able to check off a large portion of my list.  While I usually do order online, I am in the middle of a couple customer quilts that really benefited from seeing the colors in person.  After stocking up on thread and needles, Terry took a quick picture and I was off to check more off my list. (little did I know that some poor woman would be bending over just at the wrong moment!)


Time to see the quilts

A couple hours later, and I will not mention how much $$ and I was done shopping and ready to visit the quilts at the 2016 Houston Quilt Festival. Next year we plan on doing this in a couple days and not just a one-day trip.

We started at one end of the hall (the one closest to the vendors) and worked our way across to the other end. Here we were met by one amazing quilt after another.  All we had to do was turn a corner and a new adventure presented itself.

So many of the quilts we saw have been celebrated by others who also visited the show, but for me, I found there to be a couple categories that stuck out.  The first category is:

Quilts that Made me Smile!

The quilts above did just that – each one of these made me smile.

Quilts that fed my inner geek

Not all the quilts I fell in love with would fit within a pre-determined category.  This next one can only be appreciated in 3 individual images:

What a masterpiece which consists of three masterpieces!

Some quilts were so popular that it took patience to get a good picture.  This Alligator (or is it a crocodile?) was one such quilt.


As you may know, there are at least 1,700 quilts on display. It is very tough to pick images of my favorites.  All I can say is that it is worth your while to visit Houston for the International Quilt Festival and see which of these amazing quilts are your very own favorites!

So, home we went and I got started on some projects. I can’t wait for next year to roll around again!  Did you go to the show?  If you did, what were your favorite quilts?

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