Sunday, April 23, 2017

Patterns, Patterns Everywhere!

If you haven't checked out the "Patterns Available" tab on my blog -
what are you waiting for? 

By June 1st, I will have 17 - YEP, 17 new patterns released. 

I have been designing for magazines, books and fabric companies for the last 4 years and now I am also publishing designs under my own Masterpiece Quilting brand. 

The first four patterns are available on Craftsy as pdf downloads -

Many have introductory pricing - so you don't want to miss that.



My top-selling pattern is Blossom, which is a huge surprise to me.


Be sure to keep checking back frequently as new patterns will be appearing all the time!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Furry Friday

As an Island Batik Brand Ambassador, we do more than just play with mega cool fabrics (really we do!) 

We help spread the word about several initiatives including Furry Friday by sharing on our blogs about animals that are in need of adoption.   This weeks Furry Friday is brought to you by Benartex.

This week's focus is on two pets that are in need of fur-ever homes.

First is Chester - a beautiful male black and white cat.



Chester may look tough, but that's because he's a natural-born leader. Chester lives in a cage-less facility and uses his alpha personality to make sure all the free-roaming cats get along. In addition, he LOVES dogs, and makes sure his fellow felines are nice to them too. Still, Chester longs for a forever home where he can snuggle in your lap and help with the laundry (really!). Meet him at Animal Refuge Center, Inc., in Vine Grove, Kentucky.

You can learn more about Chester or any of the other cats available by clicking here.

Next is Ceasar, this beautiful pooch.



Spunky senior Ceasar is 10 years young and, no matter what conventional wisdom holds, he loves learning new tricks! (Although he already knows sit, down, shake and high five!) Caesar gets along with other dogs, walks nicely on the leash and loves to play with toys and cuddle with his person. Meet him at the Humane Society of Summit County in Twinsburg, Ohio. 

You can learn more about Ceasar by clicking here.

I totally understand that your family may not need a new pet (we have a 2 dog limit!), but there are still ways for you to assist pets who are awaiting adoption.

Kennel quilts are easy to make and can be donated to your local shelter or rescue for use be either cats or dogs.  Here is my Miss Lilly, who we adopted from a local rescue, along with Zoey, in the back, modeling some of the kennel quilts I made earlier this year.
 




Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Adventurous Applique - Island Batik Challenge


It's finally spring and what is more springy than a big ole bouquet of flowers?  I have lots of them popping up in my flower beds around the house and they are so beautiful.


As part of my role as an Island Batik Brand Ambassador, each month we are given a challenge quilt to make.  April's challenge is Adventurous Applique.  Well, I will gladly admit that I enjoy applique a whole lot more than foundation piecing, which was last month's challenge.  If you haven't read about my foundation piecing experience, then click here.



I am doing triple duty with this pattern - It's my Adventurous Applique Island Batik challenge, my Stitching Stars Blog Hop feature quilt and the first release of my new pattern line!  Talk about a perfect trifecta!

So without further adieu - I would like to introduce you to Blossom...






Blossom is a 21" x 21" wall hanging that is perfect for chasing away the winter blues and bringing a splash of Spring color into your home.  In addition to the Island Batik fabrics, I used Aurifil thread for piecing and Superior Threads for the blanket stitch around each of the appliques.  This pattern is a great stash buster with its scrappy border.

Here is a close-up of the quilting.  I quilted a free-motion swirl in the background around the applique and into the matching fabric sections of the border so it appears to be one area.  In the pieced border blocks, I used a curved line to accentuate the piecing.




To celebrate Blossom as my first pattern release, I have special pricing on this pattern at $5.95 for the entire month of April!  You may purchase it as a pdf download from Craftsy.   Print patterns will be available by May 1st.  Just leave me a note in the comment section if you are interested in a print pattern and I will connect with you.




Friday, April 7, 2017

Stitching Stars Blog Hop

Stitching Stars Blog Hop



As I'm writing this blog post, I must admit I'm a bit nervous ...  This is my FIRST blog hop to participate in as a blogger!  And I want to do a really good job, so it won't be my LAST blog hop post :)

The Stitching Stars are a group quilters and sewists who met last Fall at the inaugural Sew Pro Conference in Chicago.  It was an amazing time. I learned so much, gained confidence in my abilities as a designer & blogger and forged friendships that will last a lifetime.

Blossom is the theme of this Stitching Stars Blog Hop and I would like to introduce you to my new design, Blossom.




Blossom is a 21" x 21" wall hanging that is perfect for chasing away the winter blues and bringing a splash of Spring color into your home.   I used Island Batik fabrics, Aurifil thread for piecing and Superior Threads for the blanket stitch around each of the appliques.   This pattern is a great stash buster with its scrappy border. 

To celebrate the blog hop, I have special pricing on this pattern at $5.95 for the entire month of April!  You may purchase it as a pdf download from Craftsy.   Print patterns will be available by May 1st.  Just leave me a note in the comment section if you are interested in a print pattern and I will connect with you.

In addition to my Blossom quilt, I also stitched two blocks for our Blog Hop give-a-way quilt, Rising Star. This beautiful quilt was designed by Lissa of Lovingly Lissa and quilted by Lisa of Lisa and Loralai.


To enter, just follow this link: a Rafflecopter giveaway


This is the final day of our blog hop, so if you are just now joining us please take some time to check out the posts from my fellow bloggers this week.  I have thoroughly enjoyed reading each post and seeing how each blogger has interpreted the blossom theme.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Friday, April 7, 2017



A final few words before I close, social media is a powerful tool that has changed the way we communicate with others.  We all love likes, comments, fans and followers - so don't be afraid to share your love with all of us!  Here are my social media connects:

Facebook: Masterpiece Quilting or Masterpiece Home Décor
Instagram: @masterpiecequilting
Pinterest: MPQuilting


Friday, March 31, 2017

Black Eyed Susan - Quilter's World Summer 2017 Cover Quilt

Black Eyed Susan


It's the closest I'm going to come to being a cover girl... my quilt was selected as the Cover Quilt on the Summer 2017 issue of Quilter's World Magazine!




When I got my quilt back from the publisher along with a complimentary copy of the magazine, I didn't really pay much attention to the magazine right away...  then about an hour later I picked it up, looked at the cover and thought the quilt looked familiar....  Well a few seconds later it hit me and the happy dance began ......  MY QUILT IS ON THE COVER!

As a designer, it's always a special honor to have your quilt selected to be on the cover of a magazine or pattern book.   It's the first image a customer will see and hopefully it prompts them to purchase the issue.

A little bit about Black Eyed Susan ...
It measures 63" x 63" and can easily do double duty.  As shown in the photo, it's the perfect compliment as a bed covering and can bring a summery touch to a guest bedroom.  For summer gatherings, it could function as a table topper over a patio or picnic table and yet, still look stylish in the sunroom draped over a wicker loveseat.

It is predominately pieced but does have raw-edge fusible applique for the flower centers, stems and leaves.  The LeMoyne Stars are pieced with an assortment of yellow fabrics, so this is a great way to utilize some stash fabrics.




And the best part - these Black Eyed Susan don't need water and aren't going to wilt!




Thursday, March 30, 2017

Mini Madness


I'm a college basketball fan, so this has been a busy month for me watching my bracket get busted all over the place!  But as an Island Batik Brand Ambassador we are celebrating Mini Quilts - with Mini Madness!


I love the challenges we get as Brand Ambassadors!  This month our challenge was to make a Mini quilt - smaller than 24" x 24" square and to use foundation piecing or English paper piecing.  Well, this was definitely a challenge for me on both parts - as I normally work with large quilts - 70" x 70" or bigger and foundation piecing, well to be honest, isn't my favorite :)

But challenge accepted as I definitely had to work "outside of the box"!

I started by scrolling through patterns in EQ and found one I liked, then made several modifications to really emphasize the spiral in the center.  Next I pulled in my Island Batiks fabrics for color options and came up with this preliminary sketch. 



The next step was to piece it! 

I realized I mentioned it earlier - but it bears repeating... I do NOT like paper-piecing.  I don't like tearing the paper off - yes, I know to use thin paper and a short stitch length, but I still don't like it.  But I have learned that I can use a water soluble stabilizer instead of paper and just wash it away.... I LIKE that :)   My product of choice is Ricky Tims Stable Stuff Poly....  No, I didn't get paid to say that - I'm just sharing what works for me, and that's what it's all about - finding what works best for you!

Any, back to my Mini!   I dove right in and had the middle section pieced right away...  it's looking good so far!

Next was the outer "wings" as I called them, they went together really well too... then we got to the finally assembly... As the following photo shows, it was a little scary at times but challenge accepted - I persevered !


Since this whole project was "outside my box", I decided to quilt my Mini on my domestic sewing machine  - which is TOTALLY "outside my box" since I'm a longarmer!  This is the first quilt I have EVER quilted on my sewing machine....  EVER!  

(I think that experience my warrant a blog post of it's own - stay tuned!)

I'm really pleased with how my Mini turned out and even happier that I took the challenge and tried something totally new.  I have decided to name it "Spiraling Out of the Box"!

  So, next question - is anyone interested in the pattern for "Spiraling Out of the Box"?  Reply in the comments and let me know. 



Thursday, February 23, 2017

Paying it Forward to our Furry Friends

Paying it Forward to our Furry Friends


My furry friends have always been part of my life - the majority of my baby pictures have a dog or cat in them as well as me! So when I read this month's Island Batik Brand Ambassador challenge, I was eagerly excited to pay it forward for some furry friends.
 
 
 
As part of the Piece for Shelter Pets Initiative, Island Batik as well as The Quilt Pattern Magazine, Aurifil Threads, QuiltyBox, Benartex and Hancock's of Paducah joined forces to assist animal shelters and rescue groups across North America. One project included creating kennel quilts to help our animal friends in times of need, such as when disasters strike and pets are separated from their humans.
 
Since I have owned several rescue dogs in the past and currently have one, Miss Lilly, I knew I wanted to make several quilts.  I ended up making a total of 6!
 
 
The center two quilts are made using Island Batik fabrics and the remaining are made from orphan blocks from another project.  What a great way to utilize orphan blocks! 
 
 

And finally, the quilts must have a Paw of Approval before being shipped to Bark N Roll, a shelter currently in need in Louisiana.   Zoey, our solid black Cockapoo, was quick to test out the quilts and determined they are perfect for sitting!  Miss Lilly, our tri-colored Corgi-Chihuahua mix, is a bit camera shy but she finally joined in the fun and decided to pose for a photo too. :)


 
 


 
 
I hope these quilts provide comfort to the furry friends who need them.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Happy Galentine's Day !

 
Whoa, wait .... Galentine's Day....  Yep, Galentine's Day!
 
 
If you’re not familiar with Galentine’s Day, a holiday created by the fictional character Leslie Knope from the TV show, “Parks and Recreation”, watch this video.
 
As Leslie explains, Galentine’s Day is a celebration of our best gal pals and lady friends, and it’s the day before Valentine’s Day. Why shouldn’t we celebrate our fellow females who encourage and inspire us?!
 
So regardless of how you refer to them - your tribe, your posse, your Ya-Ya sisterhood - they are the important women in your life.  The ones who keep you sane, the ones who comfort you and the ones who tell you to "suck it up and move on" and I'm incredibly thankful to have an amazing group of women who make up my tribe!
 
In honor of Galentine's Day, I've created a mug rug as a perfect gift for my gal pals. 
  
 

The design is 6" x 10" so it's large enough not only for a beverage but a snack or two.
  
 

It's super simple and really fast to make - about an hour from start to finish.  I selected three fabrics from the Valentine's Day group that arrived in my Island Batik Brand Ambassador Box.  First step was to cut the fabrics and lay out the pieces as they were to be pieced.



I stitched the center section and the end units together; pressing seams open so the finished mug rug wouldn't have bumps from the seam allowances.



Next step was to stitch the remaining seams, press and trim the edges even.



I went "old school" to create my heart template.  Using a method I learned in elementary school art class, I folded a piece of paper in half and drew a half-heart on one side, then cut it out and traced it onto a scrap of fusible web with paper release.



And here is my Galentine's Day finished mug rug top - complete with a raw edge fusible applique heart that I machine stitched in place using an applique stitch.  


The last step was layering the top, batting and backing and machine-quilting a few straight lines to hold the layers in place.  After trimming, I machine stitched the binding to finish. 

Super simple - fast and easy! 
 
Another tip that allowed me to complete this project quickly was the thread I selected.  Yes, the thread!  I used Aurifil Mako 50 weight thread in a matching color for the piecing, the machine applique and the quilting.  One bobbin fill and no top thread changes can save a lot of time!  It's great to be able to use a really versatile thread.

How you use your mug rug is up to you!  Whether for tea and cookies or like me - a Yeti of brewed ice cold tea, string cheese and a handful of almonds


 
So from all the Island Batik Ambassadors, we wish you and the important women in your life a very Happy Galentine's Day!
  

 

 

Friday, February 10, 2017

It's Better Than Christmas Morning

I remember the anticipation of Christmas morning as a child - all the boxes under the tree with my name on them and I didn't know what was inside them!  I felt that same anticipation yesterday as the Fed Ex truck pulled up  ... with a big box of fabric and I didn't know what was inside. 
 
My first Island Batik Ambassador shipment had arrived and I couldn't wait to open it! 
Thankfully there wasn't 6 layers of wrapping paper, duct tape and smaller boxes wrapped inside bigger boxes like Christmas at our house! 
 
 
I grabbed my camera and started snapping photos to share with you!  
 
One of my favorites is the Lake Life Collection that is available in stores now.  You can check it out at Lake Life - Island Batik
 The wonderful staff at Island Batik curated collections specific to each Ambassadors wish-list. Since I'm trying to expand my color palette and challenging myself to design with more muted fabrics Lake Life is perfect for me.  For those who don't know me or follow my designs, typically I play in the bright, bold and full-of-color world! 


As I was opening the box, these little guys caught my eye - aren't they gorgeous? 
They remind me of pinwheel cookies!  They are Stash Builders!   

 
Each individual roll contains 4 - 5" x width of fabric strips.  How genius is that! 
And there are a total of 5 rolls in a package for 2.8 yards of fabric!
 
You can use them as-is for borders.  Cut them in half lengthwise for 2-1/2" strips. Cut them into 5" squares.  I spent most of my sleeping hours last night thinking about all the things I can create with them!   No wonder I'm living on caffeine today!

And last but not least - the thread.  Huge thanks to Aurifil and Superior Threads for donating their products, of course, in colors that match our fabrics!

Okay - enough for now.  I'm off to start creating with all these beautiful fabrics and threads. 


 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

EXCITING NEWS !


We all love exciting news and I have some to share .... 
I have been selected as an Island Batik Brand Ambassador for 2017. 
 
 


What does this mean?

It means I am part of an international group of quilters who will be creating designs
for and making all sorts of fun projects using Island Batik fabrics.  
Stay tuned because lots of designs and new projects will be happening fast...
I have two new projects to be announced yet this month.
 

Not familiar with Island Batik? 

 Be sure to check out their website at Island Batik Website to see all the gorgeous fabrics. 
I will be sharing more about the company and their products each month.
 
 

 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

On The Horizon

Even though the weather forecast includes words like snow, cold and ice in Northern Indiana right now, Spring is just around the corner and now is the perfect time to start sewing for it. 
My design, On the Horizon, is in the Spring 2017 issue of Quilter's World Magazine which is arriving in mailboxes and hitting the newsstands this week.


 
 
My inspiration for the design was the spring sunrises, that I love so dearly, and how they seem to stretch endlessly across the horizon. Spring sunrises have such brilliant colors - so I used batik fabrics to provide a rich saturation to the colors. 
 
 
 
Size-wise, the quilt is a 60" x 70" so it can be used as a couch throw or fit on a twin bed.
 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Romantic Charms

In Annie's Quilting with Precuts, I had two quilts selected for the magazine.  One was Zippers, the Cover Quilt.  If you want to learn more about it, check out my previous blog.



The second quilt is Romantic Charms....


Romantic Charms is made with 5" precut squares and a neutral solid that compliments the colors in the precut pack.   I really wanted the charms to be the focal point of the quilt, so I used a light peach solid. For the sample quilt, I selected Little Miss Sunshine Charm Packs designed by Vanessa Goertzen of Lella Boutique for Moda.  I loved how there was a wide range of colors in the charm packs.

This is truly a throw quilt measuring 56" square. It would be perfect for covering up with while watching TV or could even do double duty as a table cloth for a picnic. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Zippers - Cover Quilt of Annie's Quilting with Precuts

Zippers made the COVER !

Finding out that my Zippers quilt was selected as the cover quilt of Annie's Quilting with Precuts was the best Christmas present.  I actually found out a few days before Christmas but needed to keep it under wraps until the magazine went on sale to the public.



This quilt is made with 2-1/2" precut strips paired with neutral solid.  I selected a jelly roll of Bobbins and Bits designed by Pat Sloan for Moda.  I fell in love with the fresh color palette.





While I was working on this quilt late last summer, I had several quilts in progress all with similar publisher deadlines.  As the projects were attempting to merge together on my cutting table, I had to QUICKLY figure out a way to keep them organized.  I grabbed the first thing available - a vintage enamel wash pan.



I am avid collector of all things antique and vintage.  (That sounds much better than auction-junkee!)  So it only made sense that I had several of these pans at the studio.  And the best part - they work great!  I had enough room to put the yardage along with the unrolled jelly roll.  As I was cutting the pieces, I could easily toss the extra pieces back into the pan to keep them together.  I now have 4 or 5 of these pan in the studio with projects-in-progress in them!

If you make a quilt using my pattern, be sure to share a photo of it with me on my Facebook Page -   Masterpiece Quilting   I would love to see your version! 



Sunday, January 1, 2017




Happy New Year !!!!

While everyone loves to make New Year's resolutions, it's really easy to make 'em and forget 'em.  My classics are diet, loose weight and exercise more.  Yep, I make the same ones every year and by mid-month I have already forgotten them!

Instead of making resolutions, I have found that I'm more successful if I create goals at the beginning of each year - both personal and professional.

I will share some of my goals for 2017.

To be more diligent sharing what's happening in the studio. 
I plan to blog weekly, be more consistent with social media updates and even start an email newsletter.

To learn photography. Yes, I realize this is a mighty big goal.  I purchased my first DSLR camera last fall and am taking a 26-week online photo class with Ricky Tims.  I look forward to being challenged as I learn how to operate my new camera as well as both Photoshop and Lightroom editing programs.

To practice yoga weekly.  My mat needs me and I need my mat.  I started out really good for the first few months of 2016 ... then summer happened.  I started again in August and did better.  That's the good thing about goals - if things don't work out, you can always readjust and restart again.

To publish patterns under my own brand.  I've been designing quilt patterns for magazines and fabric companies for about 4 years now, but one of my goals is to publish my own patterns.  I'm excited about this as it gives me greater flexibility in how I write the instructions and teach customers how to make my patterns.

To make a dent in my UFP's (Un-finished Projects).  I'm really, really bad about finishing projects that are for me.  As I was doing some cleaning + organizing this fall, I found some 10 year old UFP's and I know that I won't ever finish them ... so I redirected the fabric into other projects.  It really gave me a sense of satisfaction to know that the fabric was put to good use and not taking up space in my closet.

I've got a bunch of other goals but I won't go into all of them now.  Several need to stay under wrap until all the details are finalized and can be made public - so be sure to "subscribe" to my blog.

What are some of your goals for 2017?  Please share them in the comments, I would love to read them.

And as always, Be Safe & Happy Stitching!