Category Archives: Uncategorized

Breast Cancer Awareness T-shirts

 I just came across the article about the Cheerleaders at Gilbert High School in Gilbert, Ariz., raising money for Breast Cancer Awareness and that they were banned from selling their t-shirts because they were inappropriate. 

All I can say is if one person can be saved by the message on their t-shirts that state “Feel for lumps, save your bumps,” then it is well worth it.  They are doing a great thing making these t-shirts and should not be denied raising money for this cause.  Anything that promotes Breast Cancer Awareness should be accepted! If just one person can be saved from this disease by checking for “lumps” than it is all worth it!!   What do you think??  You can leave comments at:

Healing by Quilting and the WTC Pentagon PA Memorial Quilts

I just posted a story on our Nifty Fifty Breast Cancer Survivor Page.  Many of us who quilt are the first ones to step forward and help anyone in need through sewing a quilt.  Whether it is just making one quilt block for a huge project like the WTC Pentagon PA Memorial Quilt

 or sewing together a quilt for an inidiviual who is hurting, sick or in need of support.   Or it could just be for a yearly local charity quilt. But it is a known fact that quilters make quilts to help others heal.  And in turn it helps the quilter deal with the other’s losses. 

What happens though when the quilter is the one in need and is hurting through personal tragedy?  Many times that quilter actually stops sewing and quilting.   I don’t really know why this happens but I have seen it many times.  I myself have had a few family tragedies the past four years and I just realized after reading the story I posted on our Breast Cancer Survivor Page that I have not been quilting like I used to.

  I think I got a little boost today to inspire my quilting.  I was one of the organizer of the WTC Pentagon PA Memorial Quilt.  This project received almost 20,000 quilt blocks to honor the 9/11 victims.
We used 7500 quilt blocks in the original quilt panels and we donated some to other WTC quilt projects.

I organized the volunteers to sew the remaining 7,000 quilt blocks into Honor Banners and Charity Quilts.  The Honor Banner Quilts were dontated to the Military, Firefighters, EMTs, Churches, Rescue Dogs, Port Authority, Pentagon, Airlines and Shanksville PA. 

The Honor Banner Quilt which was Donated to the Pentagon
All Honor Banner Quilts used this quilt block as it’s center block.  It represented NY, PA, the Pentagon and the first responders.                                                                                                                                                        

 I received a phone call from one of volunteers this past week. Jeanne still had two of the charity quilts at her house from our project. She had held onto them for the past ten years.  She had made many quilts for the project and these were the last two.

She was not comfortable about mailing them to Arizona because our organizer of the  project Amy Sue Leasure had suddenly passed away.  She did not know who was going to take over the project so she kept them safe at her house.  She emailed me a few weeks ago wanting to know what she should do with the quilts.  I asked if she would bring them to me so I could find a home for them locally.

She arrived today with these beautiful quilts.  The quilt blocks are red, white and blue stars and are signed by their makers.  There are even two quilt blocks from France.  These two quilts will be at our local 9/11 ceremony at the Stafford Courthouse tomorrow.

Quilt Block from France

Another Quilt Block sent from France

I photographed the quilts and I will be making a label for them. These quilts have inspired me to get back to quilting. You can learn more about the WTC Pentagon PA Memorial Quilts on Facebook.  Here is a link to the video

Breast Cancer Awareness Quilt Finds a Permanent Home at Michigan State University Museum

I have very exciting news regarding our Nifty Fifty One Breast Cancer Awareness Quilts.

 I have been contacted by the Michigan State University Museum!! They have offered a permanent home for one of our Breast Cancer Quilts.  They have written about our Breast Cancer quilt on their Quilts and Health Blog.

I will be mailing the quilt to Michigan this week so it arrives in time for them to photograph it for their upcoming Quilters Newsletter Magazine.  The Museum plans on using our quilt to continue to bring awareness to breast cancer.

We are very excited about the Museum’s request and look forward to seeing updates regarding our quilt at their Museum.  We will keep you posted on any new news regarding our Breast Cancer quilt on my blog or you can follow their blog at 

And those of you living near the Michigan State University Museum will able to visit our quilt in person!!!

We would like to thank the Museum for taking an interest in our quilt and to continue to use it as our groups have in the past to bring more awareness to Breast Cancer.

Quilting versus House Renovations

It has been quite some time since I have posted on my blog or even quilted.  We have been busy getting work done on our house.   Now that all of our children are on their way with either jobs or college we decided to take the plunge!!!  In the Spring after completing our Nifty Fifty 29 Butterfly Swap all my quilting was put aside and paint brushes and estimates took over my life.

We installed a new kitchen and Brazilian Cherry hardwood flooring. It took a lot of time getting estimates, selling our furniture, shopping for new furniture and putting a fresh coat of paint on our walls.

It was very refreshing to find some hardworking and honest contractors through our endeavor.  I was so impressed with Larry who is the owner of The Home Team Flooring.  Larry installed our hardwood flooring and did an excellent job.  He even did our stairs for a reasonable price!!   He does not take advantage of the consumer and offered all our wood flooring at the wholesale price. He only charged us for labor.  I was so impressed that I helped him put up a website starting with a great Review Page so other consumers could find a top quality honest businessman.
Here a a couple of photos of our new Brazilian Cherry Floors.

The only problem with getting such beautiful flooring installed is now our fireplace looks drab and old.   Does anyone know a great way to spruce up brick?  I was thinking of maybe staining it but this is uncharted territory for me and I do not want to mess it up.  Any suggestions out there?

Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner Spray, 32-Ounce
BonaKemi WM710013358 4-Piece Hardwood Floor-Care System

Butterflies, Butterfflies Everywhere!!!

I finished sorting out the hundreds of beautiful and unique butterfly quilt blocks this week from our Nifty Fifty 29 Butterfly Swap.  They are now flying their way across the country…..Louisiana, Arizona, Colorado, Wisconsin, California and Oregon to name a few.

Today it is raining and nasty out but it was a beautiful day when I started to sort the butterfly quilt blocks. I decided to take advantage of the sunny mild weather and went outside with the tote of quilt blocks and started the sorting process on my picnic table.  It did not last long before the wind whipped up and lifted the butterflies up and off the picnic table.  At one point I had a bunch of butterflies literally flying away from me.  After three attempts I gave up and took them inside.

Just started sorting the butterflies.  They take up one table.

Sorting the Twenty Plenty International Quilt Blocks.
Three long tables full

It was a lot of fun sorting them and seeing each design spread out across my table.  It sure was a lot easier sorting  6 inch quilt blocks from 16 participants (everyone did 3 states) than 2500  12 inch quilt blocks from 50 participants as we had done in our other swaps.

Halfway through!!

Finished sorting and the butterflies are ready to fly across the country. 

 I took the packages to the post office today at noon.  They said delivery should be by Monday but they are not guaranteeing it.  They may take a little longer to reach the  west coast.  But I am sure you will get them sometime next week. 

I am looking forward to everyone’s comments when they first open their packages. 

So on to the next swap…..Amish.  We are picking out the fabric this week.  I am so excited for this swap since I did not participate in the other Nifty Fifty Amish Swap.
My sample Amish Quilt Block

 I have had several quilters concerned about me retiring the Nifty Fifty Swaps….who knows if an idea or unique theme takes me by storm……. I might just reconsider.  Leave a comment if you have an idea.

Search for butterflies  

Japanese Quilters and Comfort Quilts for Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunami Victims

Our Nifty Fifty Quilting groups have also done international quilt block swaps.  Our Nifty Fifty swaps usually had 50 quilters but we thought 20 international quilters would be a more reasonable number of quilt blocks to manage. So we chose the name Twenty Plenty for our international swaps.

We eventually had a total of three Twenty Plenty International quilt swaps.  We had so many quilters for our second swap that we had to divided the groups into two.  The theme for our third Twenty Plenty swap was Sunbonnet Sue and our hostess was Suzanne Pratt.

Our international swaps included over 50 different countries and 135 unique quilt block designs.  We had several quilters from Japan. One of these quilters was Hiroko.  Hiroko participated in all three  Twenty Plenty Swaps.  She did many unique and beautiful quilt blocks.   

Hiroko’s Quilt Block

Hiroko’s Quilt Block

Hiroko’s Quilt Bloc

Hiroko was contacted by our local newspaper when they did a story about our swaps called A Patchwork of Friends and she was quoted in the newspaper article….
“Hiroko Onozawa wrote from Japan to say: “I can’t find any suitable words to express my mind. I have
received 60 blocks from around the world.” Later, Onozawa wrote to tell members that she would appear on television in Japan because of her participation in the project.”

And sure enough Hiroko did appear on a Japanese television show…showing off her completed Twenty Plenty Quilts.  Hiroko sent me a copy of the television program.  It was great to actually “meet” one of our quilters from Japan even though it was on a taped television program. I loved being able to see the international quilt blocks that I had sorted and swapped out of my house in a completed quilt.

Hiroko’sTwenty Plenty Sunbonnet Sue Quilt

This is Hiroko’s Sunbonnet Sue quilt from the Twenty Plenty Swap.  
I love the way Hiroko used the purple sashing and border to bring out the beautiful quilt blocks.

Hiroko’s Twenty Plenty International Quilt

Hiroko took a different approach in sewing together the first set of Twenty Plenty swap blocks.  She used a more neutral sashing and border but added a spark to the quilt with a variety of colored stars in her sashing. 

I am happy to say that I have been in touch with Hiroko since the terrible Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan.  Hiroko still had the same email address even after all these years.  I contacted her and I received a response right away. She said that nothing is broken, fallen down and nobody is injured.  I am not sure how far away she was from the earthquake. I am glad to hear that she is safe.

We had three other quilters from Japan in our swaps.  But I have not been in contact with them.  Hopefully they are all safe like Hiroko.  Here are the other Japanese quilt blocks from our swap.

Misako’s Japanese Quilt Block

Nancy’s Japanese Quilt Block

Shizuka’s Japanese Quilt Block

Maybe with this blog they will read about us inquiring about their safety and contact us.  We are especially worried about Nancy as her quilt block is signed Sendai, Japan. Our thoughts and prayers are to all of those in Japan living through this tragedy.  Quilters always come forward to help those who are in need and the Japanese people are in need of quilts to keep warm. 

 The Quilter’s Newsletter has been in contact with the Patchwork Quilt Tsushin which is a leading Japanese quilt magazine.  The Quilter’s Newsletter  will be collecting quilts for Japan and forwarding them to the Editor in Chief of the Patchwork Quilt Tsushin, Naomi Ichikawa.  Here is the information  copied from  the Quilter’s Newsletter Blog
“Send quilts of any size from baby to adult to: Dana Jones
Quilters Newsletter
741 Corporate Circle, Suite A
Golden, CO 80401

•    Mark your box: “Quilts for Japan.”
•    Send quilts as soon as possible and no later than April 30, 2011.
•    Enclose your name, address, phone number, and email address with the quilts.”

You can read more information about sending the quilts to The Quilter’s Newsletter or you can contact them with questions by visiting their blog at


Olympic Torch Quilt Block, Sharks Teeth and Memories

Suzy’s Nifty Fifty One Quilt

One of our original Nifty Fifty Quilters contacted me through our website this week.  I was so excited to hear from Suzy.  She represented Georgia in our first Nifty Fifty Swap.  She designed her Georgia quilt block after the Olympics by doing an Olympic Torch.  It was always one of my favorite quilt blocks in our swap because it was so original and it represented the Olympics which were in Altanta Georgia the year of our swap. You can visit Suzy and her crafts on her blog. 

Suzy’s Georgia Quilt Block  

NF Georgia State Quilt Blocks

Suzy was one of the quilters in our swap who traveled to Virginia to help Wendy and I sort the 2500 Nifty Fifty One quilt blocks and to sew the first Nifty Fifty Breast Cancer quilts together.   

Stafford’s welcome for our Quilting Group

 We had a great weekend of sewing, socializing, show and tell and laughter.  One of my favorite stories was about Jeri…our Oklahoma swapper.  She also traveled to Virginia for the weekend.  Jeri confessed to our group that she was a beginner quilter and she had bought and cut up enough fabric for 2500 quilt blocks. She thought she had to make 50 quilt blocks for each of the 50 states. Our other swappers jumped in and helped her out by buying her extra fabric squares.

Jeri’s Oklahoma Quilt Block

We had so many memorable quilting stories from our first Nifty Fifty Swap.

Nifty Fifty Quilters from our weekend gathering.

Here is our group of quilters holding the Breast Cancer Charity Quilt. Suzy is on the bottom row fourth from the left.  Jeri is pictured on the top left holding the corner of the quilt.  I am in the top right row third in from the left.  We are holding my son’s Nifty Fifty Signature quilt.  My son Sean swapped fossilized sharks teeth for signature blocks from our Nifty Fifty Quilters.  He collected these 15 to 20 million year old sharks teeth on the banks of an island on the Potomac River. My son Sean is pictured between the two quilts. Below is a photo of one of the sharks teeth and photos of the island  on the Potomac River in Virginia.

Shark’s Tooth Island Potomac River

Shark’s Tooth Island at Sunset

15 to 20 million old fossilized Sharks Tooth

 I would love to hear from other Nifty Fifty Quilters.

January Challenge Completed

 I finished several Mug Rugs in Blue for the month of January.  Here are my Snowflake Mug Rugs for the cold winter days.  The snowflakes, borders and binding was done in Glow in the Dark Fabric so they are easy to spot on those dark winter nights.  Great way to enjoy your coffee, tea or hot chocolate on a cold winter day and there is room for your snack too……which my first choice would be chocolate but you know us quilters and our chocolate.

I decided to make a Spring/Summer Mug Rug in hopes that warm weather will be coming soon.

I am not saying which Mug Rugs I sent to my secret buddy in the Mug Rug Swap but I also included a goodie in my packet to her.  It is one of my knitted 100% cotton Angel washcloth.  I hope these goodies will help warm her up this winter whether she uses them with coffee, tea or hot chocolate.

 You can find the pattern for the Angel at
Now that is it Feburary, I must start thinking of a project for my Red scraps.  Valentine’s day is coming up and my Granddaughter lives four hours away.  I wonder what quick project I could whip up for a 6 year old.  If you have any ideas for me please leave me a comment.

Quilting Motivation

I have decided to join a Swap and a Challenge this year to keep me motivated and quilting.  The first one is the Mug Rug Swap. I plan on revisiting my various totes of fabric for the Mug Rugs.
It has been a few years since I have gone through those totes.  Every time I sort through my fabric or pattern books whether they are my knitting, crochet, cross stitch or quilting books I get a rush of motivation.  Then I came across the 2011 Rainbow Scrap Challenge and immediately joined. This Challenge gives me a plan and a purpose while sorting my fabric totes.  It will make me sort my smaller scraps by color and use them for the 2011 Rainbow Scrap Challenge. The best part of the challenge so far is that the January project is making Mug Rugs!!!!  Here is the site for the Blue Mug Rugs for January  
I think I will be using some leftover snowflake blocks for my Mug Rugs.  They are on a blue background fabric.  These 4 inch quilt blocks are leftover from when I designed a snowflake  pattern  called Snowy Snowy Night

Snowy Snowy Night Pattern available through A Fabric Oasis
My Nifty Fifty 17 Snowflake Quilt

The idea of my Snowy Snowy Night pattern came from my Nifty Fifty 17 Snowflake Swap where we swapped 9 inch snowflake quilt blocks. Everyone used the same white glow in the dark fabric for their snowflakes and the swappers had a choice of a dark or light blue batik for their background.  I designed many of the snowflakes in our swap and used those designs in Snowy Snowy Night pattern but made them into 4 inch quilt blocks instead of 9 inch.  You can see photos of all the snowflake quilt blocks we swapped on our website at


Illinois State Quilt Blocks

I have all the Nifty Fifty Illinois Quilt blocks that were swapped in our 29 exchanges up on the Illinois state page.  We got a large variety of quilt block patterns representing Illinois.  The most popular pattern made was the Log Cabin quilt block which represented the one room log cabin in Illinois where Abraham Lincoln was born.  There is another log cabin that Lincoln’s family moved to in 1830 but Abraham only visited this cabin since he had already left to start his own homestead.

Abe Lincoln’s Family’s Log Cabin 1830

We recieved some very original quilt blocks which represented Abraham Lincoln himself…not just of his home.  My favorite is the one which was done in Redwork… Another one is Sunbonnet Sue wearing Old Abe’s famous hat.

Illinois Sunbonnet Sue in our Nifty Fifty 20 Swap
Illinois Quilt Block in our Nifty Fifty 19 Redwork Swap

And of course Chicago needed be represented since it makes Illinois famous with it incredible shopping and tourist sites.  What better way to represent Chicago then by having Sunbonnet Sue visiting the city as she did in our Nifty Fifty 25 Swap.

Sunbonnet Sue visiting Chicago in NF 25 Swap