Finished Product

Tree of Life Quilting Class at the Quiltmaker’s Gift Quilt Show

Introducing the Quiltmaker's Gift Quilt Show at Grace Episcopal Church, Nampa
Introducing the Quiltmaker’s Gift Quilt Show at Grace Episcopal Church, Nampa


Earlier this year, while I was teaching at College of Idaho, I met a number of wonderful quilters, including Suzi Johnson.  Both Suzi and her daughter, Stacey, took my strip quilt class at C of I and did a great job on their quilts.  Towards the end of our class time , Suzi asked me if I would consider teaching a class for quilters at her church during their  annual quilt show.  After we reviewed the date for their show and discussed the logistics, I agreed to do so on October 3rd.

I sent Suzi some ideas for an all-day workshop and she reviewed them with her priest, Reverend Karen Hunter.  They chose a table runner that I designed called the Tree of Life. I was excited as I drafted the final pattern for the table runner in preparation for the class. I experimented with a few ways to make the half square triangles for the trees and used Electric Quilt software to finish the final specifications.  It was exciting to see it all come together.

The Tree of Life Table runner - Large size
The Tree of Life Table runner – Large size



Colleen Murphy quilted my sample table runner and really captured the essence of the quilt.  She did a beautiful job of quilting additional branches and leaves into the setting triangles as you can see from the picture.  It was the finishing touch for the design and my sample was complete for my upcoming class!

When I arrived at Grace Episcopal Church, I was delighted to meet my students in the Parrish Hall.  The classroom was all set up with tables, ironing boards, irons, etc. and these ladies were ready to sew!  There were some quilts draped across the middle of the room, which were a part of the quilt show that was taking place in the church next door.

Stacey, Joy and Suzi cutting their blocks
Stacey, Joy and Suzi cutting their blocks

In no time at all we were under way and the girls were making great progress on their quilts.  It was amazing to see how different everyone’s blocks looked because of the varied fabrics and color choices.

Sarah and Nancy hard at work, trimming their half square triangles.
Sarah and Nancy hard at work, trimming their half square triangles.
Linda, Gail and Stacey
Linda, Gail and Stacey








Showing how to use make half square triangles
Me, showing how to make half square triangles

While we were stitching away, a group of ladies from the church were busy in the kitchen cooking.  Their delicious lunch provided plenty of energy for the group as we continued working on our table runners.

Suzi with her chain stitched half-square triangles
Suzi with her chain stitched half-square triangles
Gail with her completed trunk block for her Tree of Life runner
Gail with her completed trunk block for her Tree of Life runner

It was so much fun to see the table runners come together.  Mid-afternoon, we took a brief break and attended the Quiltmaker’s Gift Quilt Show that was being held in the church next door, while we were in our class.  It was beautiful and I’ve written a separate blog on the show itself.  I was very honored when asked to share some of my quilts in this show.

Reverend Karen Hunter and Suzi Johnson
Reverend Karen Hunter and Suzi Johnson

Later, Reverend Karen Hunter  looked in on our group to see how we were progressing.  I think she was impressed by all the talented quilters who had gathered for this class.

It really was a fun day and I so appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this very special event.  What a great group of ladies I met and had such a fun time stitching with.

Thanks again for inviting me to be your instructor.  You were all a joy to work with and the class was delightful!

Happy Stitching,





Finished Product

New Pattern – Insulated Bowl Holders

Note:  This pattern was originally called the Microwave Bowl Holder, but has been changed to the “Insulated Bowl Holder”.  It is the same pattern, the only change is the name and the suggestion to not cook food with it in the microwave to avoid any risk of fire.  Instead carefully slip the hot bowl into the holder to protect your hands.  These are also very popular to hold cold dishes as well.  Enjoy!

Here’s the original blog that refers to the Microwave Bowl Holders…

No more burned fingers from hot bowls in your microwave!!!

Small Microwave Bowl Holder
Small Microwave Bowl Holder

I am pleased to announce my latest pattern – a pattern for Microwave Bowl Holders.  No more burned fingers from hot bowls in the microwave!  They also work great to insulate your hands from a cold dish of ice cream.

It is a fun pattern to make and instructions are included for 3 sizes:  Small (fits average size cereal bowl), Medium (fits large soup bowl); and Large (fits 9-10″ bowl).

All 3 sizes stacked together
All 3 sizes stacked together

They stack and store easily and are very handy in the kitchen.

IMG_9069 - Small
3 Sizes of bowl holders stacked together

The pattern includes detailed instructions and illustrations that guide you through easy construction.  You can make one from a fat quarter of fabric or several from a yard.  You’ll be amazed at how quickly these holders come together and find yourself making several for yourself as well as family friends.  And…. they are a GREAT gift idea!!!

Large bowl holder
Large bowl holder

In addition, they are easy to personalize, based on your fabric selections, and are reversible!

Pattern for Microwave Bowl Holders

One of my customers told me that she uses one every night to hold her cold dish of ice cream – another great idea!

The pattern is available online at Craftsy as well as locally, here in Boise, at the Quilt Crossing.

Last but not least, they would also be a wonderful hostess gift during the holidays.

I hope you will try them out and, if you do, share some photos of your completed holders as I love to see completed projects from my patterns.

Hope you are enjoying this “BLACK FRIDAY”…

Happy Sewing!



Finished Product, Gift Idea, Kitchen Accessories, New Patterns

Anna’s Apron – My New Pattern…

Last year, I made an apron for a gift exchange for our annual investment club’s Christmas party.  The girls really liked the apron I made and the final recipient said she loves to wear it because it is not only cute, but extremely practical as she no longer has to search for a kitchen towel when she is working in her kitchen.  Both of my daughters suggested that I should  create a pattern for it so I could share it with others, so…  

My first prototype of Anna's Apron with Terry Cloth Kitchen Towel and Route 66 themed fabric

I’m pleased to introduce my new pattern, Anna’s Apron.  The wonderful thing about this apron is that once you have it on, you always have a kitchen towel within your reach because it is the base of your apron.

Terry Cloth Apron with Optional Pocket

The pattern includes 2 different versions for the waistband as well as an optional pocket pattern piece and has detailed instructions and illustrations that walk you through the apron’s construction, step by step.   It is a fun and easy pattern to make.

The apron is a great gift idea and can be personalized for almost any occasion.  It is the perfect solution for those hard-to-shop for people on your gift lists. 

Anna's Apron with Woven Kitchen Towel as Base

You can also make the apron using a woven cotton kitchen towel.  I prefer the terry cloth towel because of the body and absorbency it provides and it is more wrinkle resistant. 

What I enjoy most about this pattern is that you can easily personalize the apron and really make it meaningful to the recipient,.  I have several pieces of fabric that I have collected for future aprons that will be a lot of fun to give because the theme of the fabric is relevant to the recipient.  For example, I have some fabric that has a coffee theme and the resulting apron will be a gift for my favorite coffee connoisseur.     The jumbo rickrack is a fun accent and perfect trim for this pattern.

This Apron has fabric with theme of San Francisco on Terry Cloth
Pat, my Apron Model


If you would like a  pattern, you can purchase a copy on Etsy  or by replying to this blog post.  It is also available locally in Boise at the Quilt Crossing. I think you will find this pattern to be a fun apron for yourself as well as for others.  You’ll be amazed at how handy it is to have your kitchen towel “at hand”.   I would love to see some of your finished projects and hope you will share pictures of them.   I also want to thank my friend, Pat Henderson, for being the lovely model for my apron pattern. 

Pattern Cover

I’m excited to share this new pattern with you and hope you will give it a try.

Happy Stitching!


Finished Product, Gift Idea, New Patterns

New Kit Available – Ride ‘Em Cow Girl (or Cow Boy) Western Paper Doll Play Quilt Kit

Belén with her Western Paper Doll Quilt

For Christmas this year, I made our granddaughter, Belén, a western play quilt.  It became one of her favorite toys to play with and she really enjoys it. 

Belén dressing the dolls in her quilt.

I had several requests for a kit for the western play quilt and am pleased to announce the “Ride ‘em Cow Girl (or Cow Boy) Western Paper Doll Play Quilt” kit.

The finished play quilt is 50” x 42” with little cow boys and cow girls as the main focus on the center fabric of the quilt.  They are all ready to be dressed in their western wear that is on a separate coordinated fabric.  The coordinating outfits will be backed with fusible fleece (included in the kit), to help keep them in place, even when the quilt is in an upright position.  

Close up of Western Clothes and Gear for Paper Dolls and Horses

The cost for the kit is $59.00 and includes all the 100% cotton fabric for the quilt top and borders as well as the fabric for clothing and gear for the paper dolls and horses, including:

  • Pattern with detailed instructions for making the play quilt and western clothing and gear for dolls and horses.
  • Fabric for main focus fabric with horses, cow girls and cowboys on it.
  • Blue fabric for outside border of quilt that has boots, ropes, horseshoes & cowboy gear
  • Fabric for paper dolls’ western clothing and western gear
  • Fusible fleece for the backing of the paper doll western clothing and gear
  • I will make a custom label with your child’s name (4 lines maximum) and your own personal message that you can put on the back of your finished quilt – see sample below.  The cost for the label is $10.00.
Quilt with all the paper dolls and horses dressed

You’ll need an additional 2 ½ yards (42” fabric) or 1 ½ yards (60” fabric) for backing and 3/8 yard for binding.  (Note:   I used a minkee cowhide print for backing Belén’s play quilt.)

This is a fun project to make for your little cow poke.  It is an easy pattern to follow and sew and does not take long to complete.  Once it is finished, you’ll be amazed how well it will entertain your little buckaroo. 

Finishing Touch - Custom Label will be included with your kit

If you would like to order your kit today, please leave a comment to this blog post or send me an email at:  [email protected].

Thank you and Happy Sewing!


Finished Product, Gift Idea, New Patterns

B’s Big Girl Quilt Pattern Now Available!!!

When it was time for our granddaughter, Belén, to transition from the nursery to a new room, I volunteered to make her a quilt for her new bedroom.  Her Mom, Alecia, had purchased a darling rug for the room and I wanted to pull out some of the colors from that rug.

Monkey see, Monkey do… Belén imitating what she had just seen Nana do to measure the back of her quilt.

I also wanted to make it a colorful, but simple design, so I designed a strip quilt.  When I completed the quilt, I was encouraged by Patty, one of the owners of the Quilt Crossing, to publish a pattern and also to teach a class.  I agreed to do so and that is how my very first pattern, B’s Big Girl Quilt, came to be.

Picture of Quilt on Belén’s bed with matching pillowcase

I had the pattern available as a handout for students of my class, but had not yet finalized the graphics and final layout for distribution.   My students enjoyed making this quilt and it was so much fun to see the different looks they achieved by varying their color schemes.

Melanie Blair in class working on a quilt for her granddaughter

In December, my daughter, Alecia, and I were talking about the status of my pattern and she asked me to send her a copy of the draft, so she could review it.  We also set a deadline when I needed to deliver the finished product as I work better when I have a deadline.  I sent her the almost-completed pattern on the agreed upon date and we set up a time after Christmas to get together for final formatting.   What I didn’t know is that she passed this information along to her sister, Anna Marie, who had drawn my name for Christmas.  Anna then proceeded to work with my draft, along with some pictures Alecia took of the quilt, and finalized the format on her Mac to complete my very first pattern.  In addition, she set up an Etsy site as one means to distribute my patterns.  When I opened my gift, there was a lovely red portfolio.  Inside it contained:a draft copy of the pattern, a CD with all the final files, copies of information on my Etsy account all neatly filed behind tabs entitled “Etsy” and “B’s Big Girl Quilt”.  At first I was confused, then overwhelmed, amazed and so delighted!!!  What an amazing gift from an even more amazing daughter…

Red Portfolio with tabs, along with copy of the cover for my pattern

Once I had recovered from opening my gifts, Anna asked me to review the pattern and suggested we get together for final format changes, etc.  Yesterday, we met to do so, as well as train me a bit on Pages, a Mac word processing program that was used for this pattern.  We also updated a few things on my Etsy account, etc.

So today, I am pleased to announce the publication of my first pattern, B’s Big Girl Quilt.

It is a great pattern for a beginner to learn quilting or also a quick pattern for a more experienced seamstress.  The pattern includes instructions for both a twin and baby quilt.

If you are interested in purchasing the pattern, you can obtain it for $7.99 at my Etsy site by clicking on Etsy or you once you are on the Etsy site, simply type in “big girl quilt” as a search and it will come up, usually in the second row.   (It has been tested by students in two classes at Quilt Crossing, but I welcome any additional feedback you have.)

I hope you had a wonderful holiday.  Mine was very special this year and I’m overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness and work that went into my gifts.  The best gift of all though was spending time with my amazing family.

Happy 2012!!!