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Here in Southern California we don’t get a lot of those days that just make you want to stay home.  Today’s one of them.  Mid-50s and rainy.  We even had some thunderstorms roll through here earlier!

In between doing the laundry and nagging my daughter to clean her room I managed to get a bit of sewing done.  I was able to piece the strips to be used for the back of my kaleidoscope top.  It  didn’t take nearly as much fabric as I expected – I only cut one 4.5″ strip from each of the fabrics and that was enough.

I’ve been a bit bad about finishing things lately!  I have 3 larger tops – Kaleidoscope, Kickin’ Stash, and Twister – that are all done, but I haven’t been able to muster up the motivation to put together backs and pin them.  And my daughter stole half my basting pins.  (They’re currently being used to hold ‘fashions’ on barbies…)  And those are just the large tops.  I also have 3 smaller diamond quilt tops finished – sliced and diced the diamonds with my GO – 82 diamonds and 1/3 to 1/2 yard of fabric makes a wonderful 30×30 baby quilt, just right for donating!

Tomorrow it’s off to a guild show – bringing my umbrella!  Parking is a few blocks away from the building, and hopefully it’s all sidewalks.  There are also vendors and my friend who helped set up said the boutique is full of some beautiful bargains.  And Sunday is a Modern sit and sew where I’m hoping to finish off the top to my Dresden Plate.  I’d love to start cutting another quilt there as well, but with all these tops on my conscience I feel like I need to clear the backlog a bit first.

Thanks for stopping by!  Deb

My child is blessed to be the daughter of a quilter.  She’s been around sewing since her youngest days.  When she was 15 months old, she would play with ‘balloon’ pins in my pincushion.  At 2.5, she’d bury herself in fabric.  Before 4, she’d designed a quilt and helped to make it.  She’s been using sewing machines since she was 5.  I always decided that if I could involve her in my hobby(obsession), I could have more time for my hobby(obsession).  And have more quality time, and encourage her creativity, and… the list of rationalizing goes on…

Last summer, she won a pattern at Quilt in a Day’s store – Cinnamon Swirl.  She decided this was going to be her first quilt, because it was her pattern.  Fine by me, because as it’s a log cabin variation, it’s something that she could do.

In the spring, we found a Honey Bun she liked – Birdie by Moda.  It had been out for a while at that point, but we were lucky enough to find some matching yardage for the borders at the same shop.

Slowly, slowly, we worked our way through the quilt.  Learning about WOWies (wiggly seams that must be ripped and/or resewn), and easing fabric, and lining up edges.  Pinning.  Rotary cutting, which still scares me but she does it better than pinning.

At the end of May, her quit looked like this:  5 blocks done, 10 blocks in progress, 5 blocks unstarted.  Quilts had to be turned in Sept 5!

When the day came that the top was done we rejoiced with glee!  And sent it to school.  DD’s teacher last year had a helper that is a quilter.  I was sure that she’d get lots of prasie for it, and I was right.

It took us a while to figure out how to quilt it.  There were a few false starts, and I ripped out several blocks for her while we figured out how she could best tackle the quilting.  We ended up with something that she could do, though it wasn’t either of our first choices.  It was her first quilting project ever, and she did good.  Sure, there’s variability on the stitch length, and there were a few toe catchers that had to be fixed, but she did it.  Herself.

She finished it just in time (with prodding from me).  We’d entered her quilt into the San Diego Quilt Show that was last week.  The night before the quilts had to be turned in she was stitching on the label.  She did everything on this quilt.  She sewed it, quilted it, and bound it all on her own.  I helped with cutting, pinning, and basting, but made her try those skills too.  Pinning seems to be her worst subject!

She got it done, and her entry was hanging there for everyone to see!  They had the kid’s quilts in a different place this year.

But, they backed right up to the featured quilter’s area this year.  Eleanor Burns was the featured quilter this year.  She was so kind to my daughter!  Knew the quilt, and said she’d been mentioning it in all of her Strip Tzzz lectures.  We ended up staying for one of the lectures, and Eleanor recognized my daughter in the audience.  Called her up front.  Then Eleanor proceeded to toss her own quilt up on to the crossbar, tug the drapes apart, and flip my daughter’s quilt through from the back for all to see.  Loved it!!!

Afterwards Eleanor went around the corner with us and had a picture taken in front of the quilt with my daughter.  So great!

My daughter is proud of herself, rightfully so.  I’m proud of her, too!  You go, girl!

Hi!  Welcome to my little corner of blogland, and to my entry into Sew Cal Gal’s Christmas Quilt Show!  Thanks for stopping by!

Years ago, I bought a pattern from Bee Creative Studios for a small tree quilt – appliqued, off kilter and fun.  I always meant to do it and never got around to it.  Other priorities at Christmas, you know!  When I finally decided to do it, and I wanted the rest of the patterns (Tree Trimmin’ was one of a set of four) they were out of print.  I could find one here, and one there, and nowhere for the last one. 

So I punted.  Punting is a technical term.  It has nothing to do with football.  It has more to do with creating a ‘make it work’ moment.

(Yes, I am addicted to Project Runway.)

On the back of the one pattern I had were pictures of the set of four.  I re-drafted the wonky backgrounds, then replicated the spirit of the fun blocks, replacing the last one with another Christmas thing altogether.  Then I copied it all onto freezer paper.  Ironed the freezer paper to the incorrect side of the fabric and started cutting.  Oops!  And, I barely remembered to add the seam allowance when cutting. 

Well, keep on moving, right?

So now I sew bigger-than-intended strips of green onto the background.  Applique the elements down, in the most casual sense of the word applique.  I straight stitched around the pieces.  Period.  No   turning under, no fusible, no anything else.   I did have the forethought to make the snowman a double thickness of white.  I though the snowman looked fine, but with the photography and the flash the green behind is shadowing through.

There’s a way to do a quilt in a day, and it doesn’t involve Eleanor Burns.  (I love Quilt in a Day patterns and shop.  But in no universe where you can’t bend time can a queen sized birds in the air quilt top be made in a day.)  The way to do it is to cut every corner you can possibly find.

Another oops.  (Move too fast and you can make a lot of these.)  I meant to trim the green, then sew on the red (to make the whole quilt top), then applique things on.  Oh well, it’s just a bit bigger now.  Then I lopped some off the green to make the blocks a bit wonkier.

So now I look at how much red fabric I have (1/2 yard) and figure out how to cut the ‘sashing’ and ‘borders’.  And, for that matter, how to sew them on!  I want to make this as simple as possible.  So I sew 2″ strips to two sides of each block (the inside sides) and 5″ strips to the other two sides.  The 2″ strips will end up being mock-sashing and the 5″ strips will end up being a mock-border.  I call them ‘mock’ because they’re really just logs around the centers.

I laid the blocks out on my cutting mat (good thing the top was small enough!)  and get everything lined up how I like it.  With my longest ruler, I take a deep breath and cut a straight line up the center, and through the middle.  I sew the four blocks of my quilt together.  Then cut again along the outside, making sure the outside ends up with straight sides and square corners.

Pin, quilt as desired, and bind!  I quilted this very simply – just a few straight lines echoing the outlines of the blocks.  The binding is this really cool Christmas fabric I just got – peppermint sticks, and it’s printed diagonally!  No bias binding!

Even with going to a guild board meeting, I still got this quilt done in a day.  And I love it!  It’s fun and bright and doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Thanks to Sew Cal Gal for hosting this Christmas Quilt Show and allowing us to all participate.   There are lots of great quilts entered in this virtual quilt show, so why don’t you head on back to Sew Cal Gal and click on some more?


What ese have I been working on?  Well, a couple of trials at a baby quilt for my cousin’s new arrival, due later this month. 

 The first quilt didn’t go so well.  I mean, it sewed out and everything but it didn’t speak to me.  It screamed.  What did it say?  “I have a value problem!!!”  And my daughter agreed. 

So I stewed for a week, trying to figure out what else to do, and got the Dresden Plate die from AccuQuilt that had been backordered for three weeks.  I played with the die with some scrap fabric, and right now am sewing quilt number two using the dresden plate pointy-end blades and a striped pirate fabric.  It looks much better than it sounds!

North County Quilters’ Association, a guild that I belong to, is having their 25th Anniversary Quilt Show and Auction this Saturday Nov 6!   It’s in Escondido.  The doors open at 10, and the auction starts at 2.  There will be quilts (over 100!) to look at and maybe buy, silent auction, vendors, and a member’s boutique.  Directions and whathaveyou (that’s a technical term) are posted on the guild’s website, so give it a visit and come and give the quilts a visit this Saturday!  All net proceeds from the auction will be donated to local charities later this year.

I wish I had pictures to share!  The quilts donated are in every style and type.  I remember a tiki bar quilt, called, of course, Margaritaville, and also one (which no one but me is allowed to bid on) with turtles that looked Hawaiian-inspired.

See you Saturday!  Deb

Last weekend was the Back Country Quilt Show.  It is, as you can guess, in the back country.  After spending two weeks quilting, I needed a break, so off I went.

You have to want to get to Ramona from where I live.  Take the highway, to the logical end.  Keep on going.  Turn right.  Go for 16 miles.  Down – up, mostly – a twisty turny 2 lane road with mountain to one side and a guard rail to the other.  No gas, about 2 pulloffs, blind corners where you hope the guy coming at you stays on his side of the double yellow line.

I’d missed last year’s show, and wanted to get out there this year.  I spent a nice few hours looking through the quilts, boutique, and vendor booths.  There was a wide variety of quilts there, from a pre-1900 heirloom to quilts made by kids – modern, kitchy, and everywhere inbetween.  To give you an idea of the variety, my three favorites are pictured below.  Enjoy!

For a cute and kitchy vibe, there was this apron quilt done in 1930s fabrics:

For a more modern vibe there was this quilt of saturated reds, pinks, oranges, and purples.  Very cool!

For pieced patchwork, this quilt was it for me.  It’s an X-Block quilt, which I’ve never tried, but the block gets lost with the fantastic quilting!

My AccuQuilt GO! cutter came today!!!  When the doorbell rang I figured it was my daughter home from school, but she came about 2 minutes later…before I could even get it inside.  The girl who can’t carry her socks upstairs had it inside in 2 seconds.  And you’ve never seen a kid more motivated to pick up her room, do her homework, and go to the library than one who knows that the shipping boxes won’t even be opened before we’re done.  She’s taken it over, the GO! and my sewing machine both, so I’ll try it out after she goes to bed tonight.  Here’s a look at the new addition to my quilting room:

(See that arm?  Unless she was at the sewing machine that’s as far away as she got from it.)


Yesterday I drove up to the Quilt Show and Auction put on by the Valley of the Mist Quilters in Temecula.  I’d seen pictures and wanted to see it for myself!  I packed up my camera, some water, sunscreen, and my credit card for an afternoon of quilt-ogling and shopping.

You know what?  I forgot the memory card for my camera.  I’d been downloading some pictures and it didn’t make it back into the camera.  I took a bunch of photos on my cell phone, but they’re not great.  I also forgot a hat.  When it’s over 90 and you’re heading to an outdoor quilt show, bring a hat!

It was a great afternoon, even without the camera and a hat.  There were hundreds of quits displayed all over Temecula’s main drag.  Folk Art, Dresden Fans, Cobblestones, Log Cabin, Applique.  I saw some modern patchwork, and the art quilts in the gallery just begged you to get in a little closer to see how they were put together.

There were some wonderful quilts in their auction.  The announcer was very comical, and kept interjecting comments into the auction process.  They had a professional auctioneer, so I’m sure he was unaccustomed to being interrupted by someone saying “and don’t forget it sparkles!”

And shopping!  Quilter’s Coop is right there in town, as is The Wool Lady (yes, that is the store name).  Plus opportunity quilt tickets, fresh fruit, a cheese store, an old-fashioned candy store, and more.

The trip home was memorable as well.  I’m motoring down I-15, and come upon a helpcopter being towed by a pickup.  (It was on a trailer, of course!)  I’ve never seen that before.  Then, a few minutes later, an old – ancient – green Ford.  Couldn’t have been a Model T (because they come in any color you want as long as it’s black) so maybe a Model A?  Then…someone’s having a bad day, because a motorcycle officer has them pulled over.  I’m midwest born and bred, and remember watching CHiPs in the cold of winter – sunny California days, motorcycle cops, and the tan uniform.  I flashed back to junior high seeing it!

Have a good weekend!  I’m off to quilt.  The Fall into Fall giveaway’s in my previous post – HERE.


I was so excited to get this email!  I have a quilt that I wanted to enter, but the quilt, the thread, and my sewing machine were not getting along.  Now I’ve got the push to finish it off again.

The email I received said they’ve moved the deadline from October 1 to October 15 for submissions for the 2011 Road to California show.

Jane’s Fabrics and Crafts is hosting the latest Accuquilt GO! giveaway that I’ve entered.  I’ve been spending way too much time surfing blogs for giveaways to enter.  And not enough time quilting.

And there’s another one going at Millie’s Quilting – she’s tackling Robbing Peter to Pay Paul and Winding Ways – two patterns that I love but they take so long to cut out with templates.  I would love to be able to cut out a half dozen blocks at a time!

I’ve been slicing and dicing squares today to make a few American Girl-sized quilts for the member’s boutique at the NCQA 25th Annual Quilt Auction that’s in November.  I’m finally going to use up all of the 1930s prints that I bought and never used!  However, all entries have to be done by October 18.  It would be so much easier with a GO!

Yesterday I drove on down to the San Diego quilt show for its last day.

As always, I walk out of a quilt show absolutely inspired by what I have seen.  I took dozens of pictures, and had a hard time whittling it down to my favorite three.   I decided to show my favorite four instead!  They show the diversity of work that’s at the show as well.  I like that it’s a non-juried show, so you see quilts that you won’t see at Long Beach or Road to California.

I spent a few hours getting inspired by the quilts and the vendors, and shopping at the vendors as well!  Some of the vendors I bought from last year seemed to be missing this year, but they were replaced by others that were equally inspiring!  I came home with a bag full of goodies and my head spinning from all of the wonderful things I’d seen!

Tomorrow I’m heading south, to the San Diego Quilt Show.  It’s the last day, so if you don’t go tomorrow you’ll miss out!  I’ll be the one with the tote bag bursting at the seams!

I went last year, and had a great time.  There are quilts for everyone, from the most artistic art quilter to the most traditional piecer or appliquer.  Lots of vendors, too, some local, some within a day’s drive, and some that had to travel quite a ways.  I love it, because the ‘local’ area encompasses some shops that are more than an hour away that I’ll never to go to on my own.

I fully expect to come back overwhelmed and toting a large bag of treats and treasures.  Last year’s haul included scads of fabric, patterns, and a few notions no one should be without. 

In the meantime, back to the sewing machine!  I’ve got a twin-sized masterpiece that I want to get done.  It’s taken me two days to get it pin-basted.  Now I’m quilting around the appliques, and then I’ll get to the middle.  Backwards, I know, but I’m still deciding on how to quilt the middle…

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About Aspen Hill

Welcome to Aspen Hill! I'm Deb. Quilter, lover of fabric. Fan of completed projects. Quilt Pattern Designer. My blog is my space where I get to share quilting, sewing, and other creative pursuits. Come back often!

You can find my quilts, doll clothes, and patterns on Etsy.