Wednesday, May 27, 2015

May for Me - Guest Post from Carolyn!

Hi I am Carolyn Meuser.

How special to be invited to tell my story here at Marcia’s May For Me Event.  But just as I began to think about it, unexpected distractions, interruptions, and disruptions took a lot of attention.  Now suddenly it’s way past mid May!  

But there was one happy project amidst all the confusion – making tote bags for three lovely ladies in my family for Mother’s Day.  I just had to make an extra for me.  It’s a handy size with 4 x 12 base.

 I love to give gifts, and I had been thinking a lot about gifts as I was making the totes.  Sometimes, I know just what is right for someone and just happen to have it on hand.  But usually the intention and the idea are waiting for the reality to catch up.  Maybe there’s just the intention and no time to wait for the idea or inspiration and no time to shop.  Maybe there’s no time to comb through supplies on hand if an idea does come to mind.  No time to make something.
I suspect everyone can recall gifting experiences and the frustration and maybe even desperation of coming up with a gift on to short a notice, and wondering if it would actually be welcome.  After all, so many people do already have a lot of stuff.

So I thought of starting a trend – a gifting wall.  I even thought of making it a regifting wall, because I've often noticed people enjoying regifting, both on the giving and receiving end.

I first got the idea from a friend who was facing a cross-country move.  She had set up a shelf on a screened in porch to display the giveaways.  Partly it was a fun social thing for anyone visiting to view the knick knacks, dishes, etc. and share their history.  And partly it was to offer a gift of whatever someone might express interest in.

I thought the concept of a gifting wall could even be expanded to a lending library of stuff.   It could be pictures and wall art available to lend if you didn’t want it taking up space, but no one was ready to acquire it for sure.

I have appropriated some shelf and wall space primarily to display gifts as I make them and have them available to offer when someone admires them.  I already did that with some little stuffed owls.  I had sent red and orange ones to grand nephews and nieces.  Later, when they were here for a visit, the little girls, 3 and 6, spotted lavender owls.  They played with them off and on during the evening.  The girls even had one in hand as they were leaving.  The 6 year old, with little sister by her side, explained to me that they didn’t have any owls that color.  Of course, they went home with the lavender owls.

Whether for gifts or just a sewing and craft activity, there are many possibilities with fabric and thread.  As you know, loving fabric and thread can lead to accumulation.  It’s been great to try complex projects with quilting and embellishment and learning special techniques.  But it’s always tempting to acquire fabric and thread faster than I can create.
I've come to realize that I need to transform my stash into useful results, and that has now been leading me away from the intricate, exquisite projects.  I’m trying to focus onto more practical items that are less time consuming.  So that’s my current direction as I think about replenishing the gifting wall.  I’m trying to make a big dent in my stash by doing what’s practical and simple and quick.  Maybe it’s something I'm doing for me to avoid the stress of last minute gifts.

For a lot of quilted gifts that need to be made quickly, I use what I call the Basic Potholder Method.  It’s what has already been done by everyone; I just gave it a name.  It works for table mats, runners, placemats, coasters and mini quilts, and camper quilts, as well as potholders and full size quilts.  And it avoids the tedious, time consuming task of binding.  It’s a method I like to share with a beginning quilter, especially a young child.  A small project like a potholder is sometimes a good project for a beginner.
I like to select attractive fabrics for a pot holder top and backing and place them right sides together.  Then add batting to complete the sandwich.  Stitch around with a ¼ inch seam allowance, leaving an opening at one end to turn.  Trim corners to reduce bulk, turn, whip stitch opening closed, and top stitch around the edge.  Machine quilt with some straight or decorative stitching, and the item is done.  Pot holders like these four were made that way.

Two fat quarters can be used to make six pot holders 7 x 9 inches, using whatever batting you choose.

Potholders are such a basic part of everyday life. Someone’s always reaching for a potholder whenever they're in the kitchen.  We have a drawer full, right beside the oven and microwave stack.  Easy to flip through.  You can just take your pick, thick or thin, large or small, and move on to serving “somethin lovin from the oven.”

Some folks are into scrapbooking, creating albums of memories of wonderful events and experiences.  Quilters make memory quilts to capture the essence of a family time or event.  I thought how I have a drawer of potholders – some associated with favorite people or pastimes, some with holidays, some have favorite colors or designs and stitching, and some are merely utilitarian.  All of this led me to the conclusion that you can tell a lot about a family by observing their potholder collection.

Anyway, I'm thinking pot holders make great gifts!  And so I keep making them for the gifting wall.  I always have a few minutes for sewing on a quick and easy project.  So here’s what I decided to do.  I want to be ready to make use of those minutes to use up and sew down my fabric and thread stash by going with simple and efficient construction.  I know I have some pretty half yard and yard cuts.  I'll get fabric and batting pieces and the right color thread ready to machine stitch whenever I have a little time.

Now that we're into the May For Me Event, I'll be looking through my stash to pick out some favorite fabric to make potholders especially for me.

Sometime earlier in 2014, I ran across Marcia’s blog post about mini quilts, and I discovered the concept of coasters and mug rugs as mini quilts.  I also ran across a little paper pieced block that had been waiting a long time to be finished.  It got a frame and was quickly turned into a mini quilt.

I liked the mini quilt idea so much that I began making a mini quilt to send in my greeting cards, thinking it wouldn’t just be tossed in the waste basket, but would be kept and used.  It would remind friends that they were thought of.  A mini quilt can be sent in a card with a first class stamp, if it meets the envelope size and weight limits, is flexible, and no thicker than 1/4 inch.  I keep greeting card stock on hand, so I can even send a mini quilt in a blank card with a note when there isn't time or inspiration to create a card.  Scraps too pretty to throw away have ended up in mini quilts like these aqua floral coasters.

A remnant of a crazy patch print yielded this set of coasters for use at holiday time.

For 4th of July, I made a set of coasters for my sister-in-law and her mother.  Later, I made some more elaborate pieced coasters and added stitching with decorative threads. The pattern used for that blue paper pieced block is from one of Carol Doak’s books.  I liked it so much, that I used it for this block that I attached to the back of a vest.

I had planned to get back to some free motion quilting during May For Me.  As I was getting ready to cut some plain white fabrics and low loft batting to make small sandwiches, I noticed that both fabrics had fringed selvage edges, which can be used to frame fabric art.  In fact, that’s what brought the vest to mind, because the vest fabric had fringed selvages, which I had used to frame the paper pieced block.  So before I cut the white fabrics for the FMQ sandwiches,  a wide strip of fringed selvage had to be cut off each edge to save for framing.

It was time to pull out some past samples of FMQ.  They were passable, and I felt I could do that well or better with a little practice.  Unfortunately, the darning foot with my newer machine did not work well.  It seemed to drag and keep the fabric from moving smoothly.  The FMQ was so unsuccessful it had to be abandoned.  

Instead, paper piecing is going to be my May For Me activity, using that favorite block, and maybe some others.

Our Arizona springtime has been pleasantly comfortable this year.  Soon, however, we'll be moving into summer with warmer days that find us retreating indoors.  I'll be working on larger projects such as this table mat and quilt top.
I once joined a bear paw swap and ended up with an assortment of blocks.  I decided one would make a pretty table mat, so I added an orange frame and turquoise backing.  I wanted to use a wrap around binding to form a turquoise border.  I found a video tutorial to learn how to do the wrap around and developed it further to accommodate the added frame and border.  Here’s how it turned out.

Eight of the other blocks from the swap were colors that would coordinate for a quilt top.  My stash yielded fabric for one more block to make a tic tac toe arrangement.  But first, I had to add background fabric to some blocks to make them a uniform size.  The blocks which should be 14 ½” ranged from 14 ¼” to 15”.  I had procrastinated about doing that, but finally decided I wanted those handsome blocks in a quilt that people could enjoy and maybe not even notice the minor irregularities all that much.  I decided to add a frame strip in cranberry red around each block and use a strawberry red print for wide sashing.  And so it became my Bear Paws and Berries quilt top.

Now I look forward to seeing what others have been doing during May For Me 2015.  And thank you, Marcia, for allowing me to share in your event this year.

Thank you Carolyn for sharing a post on my blog. I love reading about what others are doing and sharing.

You can leave a comment here and I will forward them to Carolyn.

Do you want to share a post about what you are doing? You can share links to your business and groups and all the places you share!  Please email me your post and photos and I will share them throughout the year .... not just in May!

Enjoying May, one day at a time...


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

More Baby Burp Cloths!

Yes I am a quilter, but I also sew!  

Two years ago, I made baby burp cloths for my daughter for her new baby.  She loved them then and still loves them now, as they still use them. They are soft for wiping a little face. They take them in their travel bag for a quick clean up.

I have a blueberry burp cloth on my shoulder in this photo. These were the ones I made 2 years ago.  I love being a Grandmama!

I did not really use baby fabric, but it was what I had in my fabric stash and I loved the fabrics!

Sorry these are not available for sale
I did have vintage looking baby carriage fabric and I made these for my daughter.  I wish I had more of this fabric!

Sorry not available --- I don't have any more of the carriage fabric.

I used quilting cotton on one side and flannel or brushed cotton on the other side. I wrote a tutorial and shared it on  It is a PDF Downloadable pattern and it is only $1.00. Click Here for the pattern

It is loaded with tons of photos with easy to follow instructions.  You can make some too!

Recently, I have been making them again for special orders and for gifts.

I just sent these six baby burp cloths out for a special order.

The pink flannel with bicycles have sold also, but I could make more, as I do have more fabric. Just ask me!

When I make them for special orders, I sew a few extra at the same time.  I have these baby burp cloths available for only $5.50 each, plus shipping.

2 X $5.50 = $11.00

SOLD, but I can make more --- Just ask me! 
2 X $5.50 = $11.00

2 X $5.50 = $11.00

2 X $5.50 = $11.00

1 X $5.50

If you are interested in purchasing any of the baby burp cloths that I have available, you can leave a comment here or send me a direct email at

I will update this post as soon as they sell.

You do not have to buy them in twos, I just took photos in groups.

Most of the fabrics are one of a kind and I don't usually have more of the fabric.

I have more Teddy Bears, but no mint green flannel left, but I have blue.  I have more pink and blue bicycles and jump ropes fabric and can be made with flannel in blue, cream, or pink.

Here are a few photos of some fabrics I have available currently for making special orders.

I really enjoy sewing almost as much as I enjoy quilting!

Enjoying May, one day at time...


The Missing Monkey Wrenches Quilt

I created this 20" by 20" quilt for the Focus Through the Prism Series for the Off Season Project Quilting Challenge for May.  This is my post of my completed quilt for linking up for the Challenge.

I am Marcia Wachuta.
I named my quilt:  The Missing Monkey Wrenches.
I create in Boscobel, Wisconsin.
I am a long arm quilter, who sponsors all of the Project Quilting Challenges with prizes.

I am offering a "Quilting Special" to everyone who makes a Challenge Quilt.  Only $25.00 for special detailed quilting on your 20" by 20" quilt for the challenge each month. Includes quilting and thread and batting. First email or message me that you are mailing your quilt top and backing fabric to me each month by the 1st of the month.  It must be in my quilting shop by the 15th of the month and I will mail it out by the 22nd of the month or earlier. Add $6.10 US shipping for return shipping. Total Only $31.10. I would LOVE to quilt your challenge quilt!

Here is the post about Marsha's Monkey Wrench Quilt and Quilting. I shared lots of up close photos of the quilting.

Click here for the links to all the posts about my Missing Monkey Wrenches Quilt. It will start with the most recent post (this post) and then scroll down to the last post. I shared it all.

Here are the individual links to each post:

1. About the Focus Through The Prism Series for Project Quilting and the Fabric Bundle - I share all the photos of the fabrics with my print fabrics.

2. Selecting the fabric for my quilt and creating my quilt

3. Post on quilting my quilt including more up close photos

4. This post: the completed quilt - the quilting and binding.

Here are some more up close photos of the front and back of my Missing Monkey Wrenches Quilt.

I really enjoyed creating and quilting this quilt for the challenge.

Yes --- I stitched my name and 2015 into the quilt, but I could not decide on the direction of the quilt, so I quilted in my name at an angle.

Instead of an embroidery stitch for the binding I selected a tiny stretch stitch.

And a couple photos of the backside.

I made the hanging sleeve, but I still need to hand stitch it on.  That needs to be done before I mail it to Kim in January 2016. Plenty of time!

I am leaning towards this direction.

But I like this one too! This one was my original idea.

What are you doing with your scraps?

I am saving each month's scraps, together in a one gallon bag for a quilt project that I will share with you in July. I am saving the hand dyed fabric pieces with all the print fabrics that I used.  This month, I had a yard of the green printed fabric, but I probably won't use all of that for my scrap quilt, but for now, I will save the whole yard with the scraps instead of putting it back with my shelves with my stash fabric. I am waiting til July to share my scrap quilt, as then I will have 3 bags of scraps to use. If you want to save yours too, grab a bag and label it with your scraps each month.

Check out all the Monkey Wrench Quilts for the Focus Through the Prism Series for Project Quilting for the May Challenge at Persimon Dreams --- Click HERE
 am linking up this post there too!

Enjoying May, one day at time...

May for Me Winners Announced!

Since I was going to share 3 PDF Patterns and only 7 people left comments, I decided to share 7 PDF Patterns!

PDF Pattern --- Hankie Mug Rug Tutorial

Thanks for reading my blog posts!

Thanks for commenting for a chance to win!

Here are all 7 winners:

If you see your name here and I haven't emailed you, it's because I can't, as you are a "no reply commenter". 

PLEASE email me at and I will email your the PDF Pattern!

 Vroomans' Quilts said...
I have hankies from my great gran and both grans, but I couldn't cut into them. I would have to visit the local flea markets and pick up some for a project like this.
May 17, 2015 at 10:30 PM
 EnderGaming 4u said... 
I have a few hankies. I still use them once in a while. I am going to pull them out and take a look at different look at them
May 18, 2015 at 6:25 AM

 Rosemary B❤️ said...
What a cute idea, Marcia.
I might have some hankies somewhere, but goodness know where....
I love these muggy ruggies. 
This is always a quick and easy project to make someone a pressy because you love them
Have a fun Monday. It is a hottie here in Virginia 35 miles west of the Cesspool. 
I think we might get rain too. 
May 18, 2015 at 7:21 AM 

 Betsy said...
Marcia, I have been making a set of placemats for every month and these would be awesome to make especially with my old hankies
May 18, 2015 at 7:39 AM 

 Kathy E. said...
I do have several hankies! One is very special as it was my sister's who died when I was 17 years old. It was given to me the day I married and I tucked it inside my wedding dress. My mom also had many sweet hankies that I now have. All of them carry great memories and I'd love to make something with them!
May 18, 2015 at 7:56 PM 

 Jusmom1 said...
I have a very special hankie that belonged to my grandmother who died when I was small. I would love to make a mug rug with it, but would probably hang it on the wall next to my sewing machine to have it in sight! Thanks for the chance to win!
May 18, 2015 at 8:20 PM
 GranChris said...
I made all the hankies I had into a quilt years ago but I will be watching for them now that I see new ideas.
May 19, 2015 at 2:31 AM  

Again thanks to all of you who read my blog posts.  I know that instagram, twitter, facebook, and pinterest and other sharing venues are growing fast.  I share in all these places too...  But I still plan to post on my blog - right here!  I love sharing what I am creating and how I made it.

Enjoying May, one day at a time!


Friday, May 22, 2015

Marsha's Monkey Wrench Quilt for Project Quilting's Focus Through The Prism Challenge

I am running a "Special Quilting Deal" for the Focus Through the Prism Wall Hangings. My Special is Only $25.00 -- that includes special detailed quilting and thread and batting. They are 20" by 20" in size. Customer pays the shipping back and forth.

Each month, we are given a new challenge and we use one of our hand dyed fabrics from our Cherrywood Bundle.  

My customer and friend, Marsha selected red!  

We were challenged to create with our inspiration being the Monkey Wrench Quilt Block. Click here for the Project Quilting Details.

I loved the white space in Marsha's quilt and it was perfect for quilting the rest of the quilt block with white thread on white fabric.

I started quilting on the red parts and then quilted the white parts and then quilted the background.  Here are some photos of the process.

Lots of stop and starts ... so lots of scrap thread!

I selected White quilting thread for the white parts and a Southern Red on the Monkey Wrench Blocks and a Burgundy for the background.

I used a double batting - 80/20 Cotton/Poly on the bottom and Poly batting on the top.  It enhances the quilting and gives the quilt some firmness for hanging. 

I sent photos to Marsha right away!  She loved it!  I can't wait for her to see it in "real life"!

Some photos of the backside...

I don't know which side it the top or the bottom. I don't think it matters.  It looks cool, any way you turn it.

I took some up close photos of each Monkey Wrench Quilt Block.

 What a beautiful quilt!  Marsha definitely has an eye for design!

I will be sharing my completed Monkey Wrench Quilt soon.

Click here to see how I made mine and the quilting too. The link starts you with the most current post about my Monkey Wrench Quilt and shares all of my post about this challenge.  I named mine "The Missing Monkey Wrenches".

Thanks again to Kim at Project Quilting - Focus Through the Prism for another wonderful quilt challenge!

Enjoying May, one day at a time,


Click here for the Current May for Me Giveaway!