Monday, December 23, 2013

Right Place, Right Time

I had the most amazing experience yesterday that I just have to share!

I've been helping a friend at an ice cream place and happened to be working alone yesterday when a family came to the window. There was a young woman who looked to be about 18 or 19, her younger brother, and her mom and dad. I remember thinking that this young girl could be my own daughter, but not because she looked like me or even like my own daughter. I'm not sure why I felt that way but the feeling was so strong I actually had to stop myself from saying it out loud to her.

After waiting on the girl, her brother and her mom, the three of them headed back to the car. Now, after turning my attention to the dad, I realized he looked familiar to me. When I told him I thought I knew him, he told me his name, and sure enough, I did know him. About 20 years ago, I was dating a guy that worked with the man standing in front of me. I had met him and his wife and became friends with them through my then boyfriend. After getting to know them, I found out they had been trying to have a child and had gone through a couple rounds of fertility treatments that were very expensive but unsuccessful.

It was at this time one of my best friends discovered she was pregnant. She knew she didn't have the ability or desire to care for another child on her own, so she decided adoption was the best solution. I got my friend in touch with this couple and after they worked out the details, they adopted my friend's baby. That "baby" was the young woman I had felt so drawn to yesterday!

A few minutes after I had finished talking with the dad and he rejoined his family in the car, the mom and young girl came back to the window. The mom told me she wanted to introduce her daughter to the woman that was the reason she came to be part of their family. I was honored to know that's how she felt about me, but realize my role was very small and it truly was a case of being in the right place at the right time.

When I told my Monday quilting group about my experience, they told me it was a Christmas miracle. I don't know about that but I felt it was something I needed to write down and share, so here it is!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

New Pattern from Larkspur Lane Designs!

My newest design is called DEAR SANTA, I'VE BEEN NAUTICAL, and the pattern is finally ready! The signal flags spell out Merry Christmas and the included embellishments add to the Christmas theme. This design is perfect for anyone that lives near the water or wishes they did! The design is mainly paper pieced but there is a little bit of applique as well. The pattern is only available from me right now and I can be reached via email or by commenting on this post. My email is

Monday, December 09, 2013

Wonderful Winter Weekend

The view from Margo's living room
Friends are the family you choose. I'm not sure if I chose them or they chose me but I have a wonderful friend family! 

I just came back from the most wonderful weekend with 2 of my friends. They are supportive, kind, generous and truly amazing people. The 3 of us stayed at a B & B in Mayville, NY, owned by my newest friend family member, Margo Stuart. I was fortunate to meet Margo earlier this year when I was asked to teach at a quilt retreat in February. I am so lucky to own a little cottage not far from Margo's place but we close it up for the winter and it isn't big enough for more than one or two quilters to sew in at a time, so it has never been  an option for a quilt retreat. And I am so glad it isn't because I may have missed out on meeting Margo!

Ariel's Bed and Breakfast is a magical place to stay at any time of the year. Margo is an amazing cook with a wicked sense of humor and I love being around her. She is also a quilter, so we always have a lot to talk about. She is very well-traveled and has a million wonderful stories to tell so if you can get her to sit for more than a minute you are in for a treat!

I'm already looking forward to my next visit!

Here is a link to her website if you're planning a trip to Western New York and looking for a great place to stay:

Not many things can drag me away from home at this time of the year but the reason I was in the area is that I was invited by Joy Reich, who owns Calico Patch Quilt Shop in North East, PA, to do a pattern signing on Sunday, December 8th, as part of North East's Sugar Plum Weekend. It was very well attended and I got to see some old friends and meet some people I've only known through Facebook. What a great time!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Finally Finished!

This quilt might look familiar to you if you use Pinterest. Its my original design but it has been pinned hundreds of times. Which is really cool! The picture that was first pinned was a picture of just the angel block and I thought people might be interested in seeing it FINALLY finished, so here it is!

This quilt measures about 17" wide by 19" high and is paper pieced. The pattern is ready and sells for $10. Send me an email if you're interested in purchasing a copy.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Country Claus Door Hanger

This is Lynn Rossey's (from Super Stitch in Warren, PA) version of my design Country Claus Door Hanger. She purchased a kit at Quilting Around Chautauqua in September and put her own spin on my design by adding the beard detail. She is planning on teaching this pattern as a class.

I think I need to make another one!

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Making of the Whitehall Public Library Quilt-Part 1

The first step in making this quilt was measuring the space that was available to me for display when the quilt was finished. We had a large wall that is visible from the door as you walk into the library. It is an interior wall away from the windows and direct sunlight. The quilt measures approximately 98" wide by 67" high.

Once I knew how much room I had I began designing the quilt. After looking at other bookshelf quilts on the internet and discussing the options with Alfie Chico, whose idea it was to make the quilt, and Debby Recker, we decided we wanted a window or fireplace in the center of the quilt.

I use a computer program called QuiltPro when designing my quilts but could also have drawn the design on graph paper instead. The program made it much faster to make changes and check sizes.

I have always enjoyed making things look 3D or as realistic as possible so making the window was probably my favorite part of constructing the quilt. Once I knew how big I wanted the window to be I added the detail of the beveled window frames in my design program. To make the beveled pieces I sewed together 1 strip each of white and gray fabric. My strips measured 1" wide by the width of my fabric so they would finish as 1/2". I set these aside until I had my window background ready. I paper pieced the intersections of the window frames so I could be very accurate. This is what the intersections look like in my design:

To make the background I took a piece of green fabric and placed it wrong side up on a piece of the sky fabric. I cut a gentle curve through both pieces of fabric. The reason I placed the green fabric wrong side up is because I wanted the far hill to look "grayed" out and farther away than the closer hill. Both hills are made from the same fabric. After cutting the curve, I removed the extra sky fabric and the extra grass fabric and sewed the two remaining pieces together along the curve. If you've never done curved piecing make sure you practice on scrap fabric first. After sewing the first curve, I layered this piece of fabric with more of the grass fabric, right side up this time, and cut another gentle curve. If you're afraid of curved piecing this could also have been appliqued.

Once I had the 2 hills sewn, I cut this piece of fabric apart to fit in the window panes. Next, I cut my white/gray strips into segments to fit in between the windows and sewed them together in rows. I made 3 rows. After I paper pieced 4 window intersections, I sewed them together with the white/gray strips to make the horizontal parts of the window panes paying close attention to the positioning of the strips to create a shadow on the underside of the mullions. I sewed these strips in between the window rows, added the outside pieces of my window frame and my window was complete. I'm not giving measurements here because my measurements are unique to this quilt and may not work for another quilt.

It may be easier to see how the window was constructed in my computer drawing shown below:

Well, that's all for today! I have other things I need to do but if you want to make a quilt like mine this should help you get started.

Good luck!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Curious about this quilt?

A recent comment about my library quilt got me thinking. Rob, the commenter, wanted to know if there was a pattern for this quilt. Unfortunately, there isn't and there won't be one because it was commissioned to fit a large wall at my local library, but I'm considering writing a series of posts about how I designed and how, with the help of friends and the use of a wonderful sewing machine, we were able to make this quilt. I'll probably cover the purpose of this quilt and how it was used to raise funds for the library, as well. Is there anyone else out there who's interested in the process?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Did you miss me? No? You might get another chance!

Summer is winding down, and soon, my kids will both be back in school. When I have a day off, I will REALLY have a day off. I'm looking forward to having a couple of hours strung together to work on my quilting and/or designing instead of a few minutes here and there. I'm hoping the extra time will inspire me to really get back to work.

I've been designing and publishing my patterns for ten years now. I've had some success, made some money, been published in a dozen different magazines, taught hundreds of classes, made lots of friends and enjoyed nearly every minute of it. I've been disappointed and taken advantage of, too, but for the most part it has been a wonderful experience.

But....I have had some new doors open up recently, opportunities I think I want to explore and see where they take me, so now I have to decide where my heart is. How do you know when the time is right to make a change?

Fortunately, if I decide to focus on something besides quilt designing I'll still be doing something creative and sewing related. I've got a lot to think about, I guess. If you've ever made a big change in your life I would love to hear about your experience.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Working on fall projects!

Anyone else working on fall projects yet? I sketched this out yesterday and stitched it out last evening. Its not really finished, but I wanted to audition the beautiful fall leaves fabric I chose for my border and just laid the stained glass block on top of it. I think I like it! I love quick and easy projects like this one. Fusible web applique with fusible bias tape as the leading makes this project go together very quickly. The bias tape is sewn on with a double needle and takes almost no time at all.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Making Progress

I'm amazed by those people that can start a project and work their way all the through to the end without getting distracted. That isn't a skill I possess. I tend to work on several projects at the same time taking lots of breaks and eventually getting around to finishing them. If this angel looks familiar it might be because its been pinned and re-pinned numerous times on Pinterest since I first blogged about it in December 2012.

I finally got around to adding borders and quilting it yesterday. Now, it just needs a sleeve, label and binding. With any luck, it won't be another 7 months before it is truly finished!

I recently pulled out a box of UFOs that I started years ago when I was a new quilter. They are all projects that I either lost interest in or put aside because I didn't, yet, have the skills necessary to finish them. My goal is to finish all of them or pass them on to someone else who will. Hopefully, I will get to post lots of pictures as I complete my projects!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

New Design Available!

This is my newest pattern now available! Its called Country Claus Door Hanger and measures 18" square. Included with the pattern are all of the embellishments pictured. The pattern retails for $12.50 and is also available to shops at a wholesale price. Feel free to contact me at: with any questions or orders

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

What Inspires You?

Do you keep a file of projects you would like to make? Do you save all of your old magazines? Have you tried Pinterest?

I take a lot of pictures that I think might inspire me to something creative "someday". Someday has arrived for a picture I took almost 26 years ago. This is that picture:
This is a stained glass window that was in a duplex I shared with my best friend a long time ago. It was one of two matching windows that flanked the non-working fireplace in a shabby rental in Pittsburgh. The duplex was old then and not in great shape but we fell in love with the windows, wooden banister and built in hutch and decided this was our place. When we left about 2 years later, we joked about taking the windows with us but had to settle for a photo instead.

My plan was to have the window copied and given to Lizzie as a gift in remembrance of our time spent in that place. We are still best friends now even though I haven't seen her since 2007. We've been trying to plan a class in her home in Georgia so I can afford to take off work and make the trip but something always comes up to prevent it. Its still on my to-do list but will have to wait.

In the meantime, I have decided to make a stained glass quilt of this design since that will fit into my budget easily. Here is a drawing of my quilt design:
I'm certain she will recognize it without me telling her what it is!

So what inspires you?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

From Angel to Geisha!

I just wanted to share a picture of a block I made using my angel design. By adding an obi and removing the wings, I now have a Geisha girl block! What do you think?

Wednesday, May 08, 2013


This is a picture of the project I have been working on for the last year and its nearly finished! This quilt was the brainchild of Alfie Chico, who is now my friend, but when she called me out of the blue to ask me to help with this project, I was totally caught off-guard. Alfie had been looking for a way to raise funds for our local library and originally wanted to raffle off a quilt. She was inspired by a children's book, similar to a coloring book, but with pictures you could customize to your own interests. One of the pages had a bookshelf with books on which you could write you own titles.

After some thought, Alfie, Debby Recker and Paula Kelly, the head librarian at the Whitehall Public Library, realized the quilt would probably bring in more money if the project was approached from another direction. Rather than selling tickets for a chance to win the quilt, they decided for a $100 donation to the library, the donor could choose a title for one of the books on the quilt. The quilt will hang in the Whitehall Library next to a companion book in which each of the donors got a page to say why they chose their book and what it means to them. This made it possible for more than one person to choose each book.

I was the last one brought into the project, but since I have more experience with quilting and machine embroidery, they allowed me to take the helm. After I designed the quilt, Alfie, Debby and I got together quite a few times to embroider the titles. Once the book titles were finished, it took me about a week to put the quilt top together. Then I was able to give the quilt top to my friend, Cathy Werner, of Your Fairy Quiltmother, who did the actual quilting. She did a dense allover design that should hold up well over time.

The quilt was unveiled at the Whitehall Public Library's 50th Anniversary Celebration held at The South Hills Country Club on Sunday, May 5th, 2013. It was well received and after a few finishing touches, it will be ready to hang in the library for the next 50 years and, with luck, many more!

I can't wait to visit it!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Working on a new quilt

I will be teaching this stained glass pattern at Sew Special, Uniontown, PA, June 7 and/or 8 depending on signups. This is a design by Subtle Endeavors that can be done in one quilt or 4 separate quilts. The technique is a lot of fun! Call Sew Special to reserve your spot at 724-438-1765.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

It was just a matter of time

Spring Angel--Larkspur Lane Designs
I recently found a picture of a project made using my angel design on Pinterest. The person who made the project made a wonderful little tote with my angel on the front. I told her how much I liked her tote and asked where she got the pattern. She said she found a drawing on the internet. There is no drawing on the internet of my design, at least not one posted by me. There is a picture of my Christmas Angel that has been pinned quite a few times by other people. This is what I believe she saw. It is a finished block, not a drawing.

Let me be clear, I have no problem with someone using my designs for whatever reason they want, after purchasing my pattern, but designing is one of the ways I try to make a living and using my design without permission or purchasing a pattern is stealing.

I decided to send her a Paypal request for the price of my pattern and she has agreed to pay for it. This person has been very understanding about the situation but in her last email, she said she thought it was unfair that she should have to pay for something she found on the internet. I agree with her, it is unfair, but it is unfair to both of us. When I pinned my photo, I included a link to my blog and a little blurb about this being a pattern that is available for sale. When someone else pinned my photo I don't think they included that information. Please be fair when you are pinning someone else's photos or ideas. Give credit where credit is due.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I've got a giveaway!!!!

I have 2 copies of Jennifer Chiaverini's book, THE GIVING QUILT, and one copy of THE WEDDING QUILT, now in paperback, to give away! These books will take you to another world that any quilter would love to live in!

If you'd like a chance to win one of these books, please comment here, but also send me an email at,  so I know where to contact you when you win!

This giveaway is only for people in the US.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Officially Spoiled!

I am back home after one of the most wonderful weekends I have ever had. I got to spend this past weekend at Ariel's Bed and Breakfast in Mayville, NY, making new friends and teaching my special paper piecing techniques. There were 5 of us staying at the B & B and our wonderful hostess is a quilter, too, so the weekend was even more special than I thought it would be. Margo Stuart is an amazing cook, baker, and quilter, among other things, and has lived such an interesting life I really looked forward to the times she was able to take a break from taking care of us and just sit and talk.

This is the first time I have had any reason to go up to the Chautauqua Lake area in the winter time and I loved it! Unfortunately, I forgot my camera so I am waiting for one of my friends to send me some pictures to share here. I had to check on my own little cottage that is on Lake Erie while I was in the area and got to see the lake partially frozen. What a surrealistic view we had from the cliff overlooking the lake. It was so quiet and the landscape was completely motionless so that it felt like I was looking at a photo. It was eerily beautiful and I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to see it.

If you are ever looking for a comfortable and cozy place to stay in the Chautauqua Lake area I highly recommend Ariel's Bed and Breakfast!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Spring Angel Finished

My Spring Angel quilt is finished! I added a Swarovski crystal halo and heart-shaped yoyos to embellish her. The pattern is available directly from me for $10 and can be emailed or sent via regular mail.

I originally used this design to raise funds for my friend who was recovering from an accident with a drunk driver that took the life of her 7 year old daughter. With lots of help from Mary Beth Hartnett and her amazing staff at Quilters Corner, we were able to raise a substantial amount of money for my friend's family.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Looking for spools

 These are a few examples of the carvings my friend, Richard Kent, makes. The top photo is an ornament carved from a shed antler. (Shed antlers are ones found on the ground not from animals that have been hunted.) The bottom photo shows 2 examples of his carved thread spools.

Richard searches everywhere for spools but they're getting harder to find. He told me he would love to hear from anyone who might have some old wooden spools that are at least 1 3/4" high or larger.

If you send him 12 spools, he will carve one for you in exchange. If you want to purchase a spool ornament, they are $15 for one and $25 for 2. They make wonderful gifts for anyone who sews but also anyone who appreciates hand-made items!

I'm sorry I don't have a price for the antler ornaments but if you call Richard at 724-561-4410 he can give you any information you need.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Its good to be back!

Three weeks without a computer and I thought I would go mad! My old laptop started to misbehave so I took back to the store where it was purchased. They sent it away to see what was wrong with it. The estimate to fix it was almost as much as it cost new so I decided to take it to a local computer genius and see what he thought. He told me the service people where I took it never even bothered to open it up but when he did, he said my laptop overheated and all of the solder melted. He also said it was a common problem with that model laptop. So needless to say, I purchased a new computer and I have a new IT guy in my life. If you live in or around Pittsburgh, Ryan McAuley of The Computer Stop, is a lifesaver! You can reach him by calling 412-616-8134.

In the meantime, I had lots of extra time on my hands and got a good bit of quilting done. My Spring Angel quilt only needs the sleeve sewn down on the back, a label and the crystals ironed in place. I plan on entering my quilt in the Three Rivers Quilt Guild show that is coming up in March.

I've got some new things happening but I need to wait until schedules are finalized before I post about them, so check back soon!

Sunday, January 06, 2013

I am SO lucky!

I taught a couple of workshops at Sew Special, in Uniontown, PA on Friday and Saturday. I took a couple of photos, but can't upload them for some reason. I'll be dropping off my computer to have someone take a look at it and see what's going on, but I just had so much fun these past 2 days, I had to share!

The first class was on Friday and we worked from about 9am to 4pm. The class was small so each student got a lot of individual attention. After class, one of my friends, who came with me from Pittsburgh, and I got to stay overnight at Seams Like Home Bed & Breakfast. The B & B is owned by the owners of Sew Special.

When we got to the B & B, there was a group of ladies there who were all working on UFOs. My friend and I planned on ordering a pizza but were told by Rick Eicher, one of the owners, he would be serving a meal to the other ladies and wanted us to join them. We are so glad we did! The food was wonderful and the company was even better!

One of the ladies in particular I will NEVER forget! Ninety year old Naomi was such a joy to meet and so interesting to talk to I made sure to give her my contact information so we could keep in touch. I felt like I'd known her forever. I hope to be just like her if I reach my 90th birthday. I hope she gets in touch with me.

I will post a couple of pictues as soon as I figure out what is going on with my computer!

My class at Sew Special in Uniontown, PA!Photo