A Quilt Along, My Life

Do You Love Red & Green Antique Quilts?

You’re in for a treat if you’ve always wanted to

make your own red & green antique quilt.

My good friend, Robin, of Nestlings by Robin

has created an absolute masterpiece!!!

Just today she introduced her PDF pattern for sale

& for a limited time it’s at an introductory rate.


She’s also hosting a Quilt-Along starting soon to keep you motivated.

Check out her blog for details &

join her Facebook group to be a part of the buzz!


Just Keep Sewing…


My Life

The Hummingbird Heroine, A Novel

The year 2020 will certainly go down in history as the one to remember.

I can’t quit witnessing firsts!

Yesterday we woke to Clare noticing a hummingbird stuck to the fly strip hanging in our garage. I knew there was a hummingbird in the garage the evening before. We’ve had that happen before & it was difficult to usher it out. The poor thing would not look down, just hovered at the ceiling until Clare & I made a makeshift funnel of cardboard to escort him out of the building… Well, Clare wasn’t around this time, neither was anyone else. I tried the cardboard trick but I couldn’t make it work. I decided at dark I would turn on the outside lights with the door open, it would “see the light” and fly out.

A couple of hours later I noticed it had worked! or so I thought… I can’t believe I didn’t notice the poor helpless thing trying to fly his way off the sticky strip… To my defense Clare didn’t notice him up there either when she got home that night.

Fast forward to the poor tiny creature stuck to the fly strip. I climbed a ladder and took down the strip, bird & all while wearing throw-away gloves. I could see his little heart beating so I carefully unstuck the poor thing leaving lots of tiny feathers behind. It made me so sad. Why had I not predicted that could happen?

After releasing him from the fly strip Clare locked ornery Mabel the cat in the garage & I set the very still hummingbird in the gazebo to see if he would regain strength after being rescued. He was very sticky from his tiny beak to his tiny hiny! Honestly I had no hope for him, but I had to try.

I looked online to see recommendations for removing sticky fly strip residue. Ever get that on your skin? It’s crazy, hence the reason it works great for trapping flies! It seemed that cooking oil was the most recommended remedy. I went back to the gazebo a few minutes later and the hummingbird was hopping around!

He looked dreadful; his tiny beak was stuck full of tiny feathers.

He was trying to free himself from the gook!

There was no way he could get rid of that on his own.

I decided to try the recommended fix. I poured some cooking oil into a bowl & got a small cloth. I wiped him down with the oil which immediately removed the gook & the loose feathers.

I then decided he needed to be washed warm water & Dawn dish soap. He looked downright pitiful.

Keep in mind his body would fit entirely into a tablespoon!

They’re so small & weigh next to nothing!

By this time he wasn’t moving at all again.

I was pretty sure he’d reached the point of no return.

Clare & a friend recommended some food,

so I made some sugar water for him.

He wasn’t moving so I had no clue how to feed him. I just set it close.

I figured he would smell the sugar and drink it if he could.

 In time he was on his feet again.

In the meantime Clare had made a Walmart pick-up for us so it was time to help her retrieve the groceries and sort them for our family.

Mr. Hummingbird was set on a tall perch in hope that Mabel the huntress would not get loose and have a mid-morning snack!

Several minutes later Clare joined me as I checked on him.

He flew to the floor of the gazebo & was trying to separate his tiny wet feathers.

I was so happy to see that!

He eventually started fluttering his wings (what was left of them).

His wings were drying and he was separating them with his little beak.

So cool to witness.

Before our eyes, he fluttered & fluttered

trying to gain height to get out of the gazebo,

then he took off and flew into a patch of pine trees in our yard!

Last night at dinner we witnessed a hummingbird at the hibiscus tree.

I couldn’t believe it was him, but I hope it was.

What 2020 firsts have you’ve witnessed?

In this crazy time I’m sure there are lots of them!

Nothing else to do, so

Just Keep Sewing…



My Life, Third Thursday Thread Sisters

What Are You Binding Wednesday, Hard Crackers

A lot of quilters that I know hate to bind a quilt.

I don’t understand that mindset.

I LOVE to bind quilts!

I love the process & more than anything

I can’t wait to finally see the finished quilt!

Today I’m binding a small & scrappy quilt, Hard Crackers.

Several months ago, pre-COVID19,

Heather & I established a new sewing group.

We decided to meet once a month

& sew on the same agreed upon quilt.

We would meet on the third Thursday & so

the Third Thursday Thread Sisters (TTTS) was formed.

Well, the very first month we were

supposed to meet we were under quarantine.

We decided to form a group text instead

to share & to show progress of our little quilts from 10:00 or so until noon or so…

It seems fortuitous now looking back at the origin of our sewing group.

The idea came from a guild presentation.

It was a group of quilters doing the same thing.

They came and showed their little quilts, many from this book.

It just so happened that Martingale was having a super sale!

So, we acted quickly,

deciding on a couple of books to use for the basis of our quilts.

Again, fortuitous don’t you think?

I made the first choice.

Since we had 9 in our group,

I made a smaller version of this quilt

to accommodate our signatures.

Since the quarantine continued, to help us keep in touch,

we decided to sew each Thursday instead of just the third.

These are my blocks from the first quilt…

but whilst making them I decided they were too light.

I wanted them to hang near my new table runner.

Meanwhile, the next 3rd Thursday was approaching…

Bonnie chose Lizzie’s Tents.

I remade my blocks.

I love the quilt!

So far we’ve assigned 3 quilts, one per month.

Since the third Thursday is this week

I was determined to finish my June quilt.

I finished the top last week.

This morning I layered, quilted then sewed the binding to the quilt.

Tonight I will do the handwork to complete it!

Tomorrow we start our next quilt!

Perhaps you should start a sewing group

with some of the quilting friends you’re missing.

I’m so thankful for this connection with

some of my quilting friends

during this surreal time.

Please let us know what you’re binding

& share them with us on my Facebook group:


Just Keep Sewing…


Christmas Sewing, My Life, New quilt pattern

These Just In, New Christmas Patterns

I’m excited to announce my brand new patterns

& a new template too.

You know how much I love to sew for Christmas.

Well, these are all Christmas, all the time!

My favorite is my brand new sampler Christmas Greetings.

Like my A Merry Christmas to You pattern,

this pattern can be made into either 5 small quilts for you

or as gifts for 5 of your friends


after making the 5 small quilts

you can sew them together into 1 larger quilt

then add a couple small borders

to make 1 awesome wall or table quilt for Christmas.

I enjoyed using my new Brightpad to trace

the letters for the perle cotton embroidery.

There are a handful of Tiny Dresden plates and partial plates involved.

I love using 2 different fabrics for each plate to add interest.

Just remember to always have the same fabric petal on top

when you sew the pairs together.

After the first seam the fabrics will automatically alternate.

I made 2 sets of everything

so I could photograph both versions for the cover

but you’ll only need to make 1.

Fusible web appliqué makes the letters quick.

I tried out my new Tiny Tree Template Set!!!

I LOVE how easy & accurate cutting around my brand new

plastic templates make these trees!

(I also love my “new” tiny cupboard that I found

on black Friday when my sister, Lori, & I were antique shopping!)

These 2 trees were just for fun.


I’ll for sure be designing many more patterns with these!

In no time I had a perfect stack of trees.

The hardest part of most of the blocks was deciding the fabrics!

I used a lot of Sweetwater’s new Christmas line,

The Christmas Card.

I noticed today that The Fat Quarter Shop now has it available.

I also used some of Jo Morton’s new line, Glad Tidings

plus I used several more reds & background fabrics.

Displaying them on my antique laundry basket helps me see them all at once.

It all started so MUCH tidier that this!

Key to the scrappy effect of these quilts is spacing out the fabrics.

Be sure to use a variety of fabrics in each type of block

so they will flow across the quilt &

not be sitting right next to each other

& fade one block into the next.

See what I mean?

I tried to not put any of the same background fabric side by side with itself.

If this happens it can change the design of the blocks.

I wish I’d taken more pics of the assembly,

but I was so busy working that I forgot!

Aren’t these 3″ spool blocks cute?

Keeping track of scraps that can be used in other blocks can save fabric.

This is really important when I’m working with sample fabric

before it’s available in quilt shops.

I also kept close tabs on the quantity of blocks

that I needed to make for 2 sets of the quilts.

Anyone else find it annoying to find you’ve only made 17

blocks when you need 18?

Or when you KNOW you made enough blocks but you have no idea where they went?

I was obviously interrupted when I was

working on the spool blocks.

I almost started cutting more fabric but then decided to take a trip

to the kitchen for a drink or snack & spotted them!

Notice the tool on the counter right beside them???

I don’t remember now what I was asked to help with

but it certainly broke my train of thought!

Who needs any more excuses for mistakes

when working with so many moving parts x 2? lol

The Big Board was great help in pressing the

completed top before adding the borders

but the biggest help I promise you is Mary Ellen’s Best Press!

Next came the half-square triangles.

They’re a snap when you use Thangles.

So much fun!

My generous tester, Chris, made her quilts into the 1 large quilt.

She mentioned that when I do this as a quilt-along here

that she wouldn’t mind making the 5 smaller quilts version.

So, what do you think?

Are you in for another quilt-along?

You can find Christmas Greetings on my brand new website here!

Look for more new patterns there too

and also here in the coming days.

Just Keep Sewing…


A Quilt Along, My Life

1-A-Day, 3″ Blocks, The Puzzle!

It’s now time for the really fun part of our Quarantiny quilts!

It’s time to work the puzzle game.


Remember these?

Time to arrange

then rearrange

& arrange some more

the blocks into the most pleasing setting!

It will probably take me a while to make a final decision

then start sewing the quilt together.

I decided on 128 blocks to arrange for color, value & block name.

Have you seen the options I showed on my Sewing With Susan FB page

if you’ve not made this many blocks?

Here’s an option for just 20 tiny 3″ blocks.


An option for 48 tiny 3″ blocks.



An option for 84 blocks.



Just by adding another circle of blocks around the center block

changes the block count drastically.

My quilt will be 36 1/2″ x 36 1/2″ when I sew the blocks together.



I may have another piece of Thimbleberries fabric

that I could spare for a border or 2 or 6!

I hope you’re excited to work on your quilt too.

Let’s get to work!

Show us your progress at my Sewing With Susan FB Group.

We want to see you’re thinking/making too!



Just Keep Sewing…


A Quilt Along, My Life

1-A-Day, 3″ Blocks — Appliqué Sewing Machine

  Appliqué Sewing Machine Day

Today we’ll appliqué the machine to the background block.

I had to choose a background print

from my incredibly cool Thimbleberries cart!



  • 13″ square of background fabric (will be trimmed to 12  1/2″)


Since I used the freezer paper technique

for machine appliqué I’ll show those steps today.

Feel free to use another form of appliqué,

fusible web, needle turn, etc.

Hopefully you have a 12  1/2″ x 12  1/2″ ruler.

By laying the ruler on the background square

you will be able to line up the appliqué

shape to see where to position it.

(The background should extend 1/4″ around the outside of the ruler.)

Put the bottom of the machine 2  3/4″

above the bottom of the ruler.

Pin the top of the machine in place.

Fold up the bottom of the machine to glue the edges.

Press glued edges to background fabric.

Unpin the appliqué then fold it down

to glue remaining edges.

Press remaining edges to background fabric.

Use the 12  1/2″ ruler to press entire

appliqué to background fabric to set the glue.

Stitch sewing machine appliqué shape to background.

I used a tiny blind hem stitch

with thread matching the sewing machine.

This is the same stitch that I use

to appliqué the Dresden plates.

With very sharp, small scissors,


cut slits in the background fabric

behind the sewing machine.

Be sure to go all around the shape

so you can reach all corners of the paper later.

Now the scary part…

Wet the entire sewing machine,

front & back, under running water.

Be sure to get the entire applique shape wet.

Let it rest a few minutes.

If you’re an impatient person I recommend taking

a walk around your house several times!

You don’t want to remove the

freezer paper until the glue is dissolved!!!

When you’re sure the glue is dissolved,

work your way around the sewing machine


pulling diagonally on the block

to release the stitches from the freezer paper.

If the freezer paper doesn’t easily pop free,

get it wetter!

You don’t want to pull the stitches

away from the sewing machine!

Once the freezer paper is free, pull it out.

It comes out mostly whole,

except in the tight areas.

I used a pin to pull the paper from the needle,

top of hand wheel & spool.

Once the freezer paper is all removed,

set the block to dry.

I like to set these on my kitchen table

& turn the ceiling fan to for a quick dry.

Pressing a wet block will distort it!

Ask me how I know…

Once it’s dry, spray & press

with Mary Ellen’s Best Press.

Align ruler with bottom of machine 2  3/4″ from bottom of ruler.

Bottom corners of machine should be 1″ from the left side

& 1″ from right side.

Trim to 12  1/2″ x 12  1/2″.

Show us your blocks at my Sewing With Susan FB Group.

We want to see your progress too!


Just Keep Sewing…


A Quilt Along, My Life

1-A-Day, 3″ Blocks — Sewing Machine Day

  Sewing Machine Day

Now that we probably have enough 3″ blocks…

Let’s make this cute sewing machine today!


I had a hard time deciding what black

Thimbleberries fabric to choose from my cart!


Click this link to download the sewing machine


that I designed specifically for our quilt.

Note that it is reversed for you.


I used the freezer paper technique

for the sewing machine appliqué.

If you’re not familiar with freezer paper applique,

just trace the design onto the paper side of the freezer paper.

Cut out the sewing machine.

Fuse the wax side to the wrong side of fabric.

Cut out sewing machine with 1/8″ seam allowance.

I used my wonderful Apliquick Bars

and Bohin Glue pen to glue the seam allowance

to the freezer paper.

If you’re not familiar with the technique

of inner corners, outer corners and points,

take a look at Rosa’s wonderful YouTube video

for easy instructions that really work!

Feel free to use fusible web, needle turn,

or whatever method of appliqué is your favorite.

Show us your blocks at my Sewing With Susan FB Group.

We want to see your progress too!


Just Keep Sewing…


A Quilt Along, My Life

1-A-Day, 3″ Blocks — Bitsy Dresden Plate

  It’s Bitsy Dresden Plate Block Day!!!

The day you’ve all been waiting for!

Today we’ll make this adorable, irresistible cutie.

I had more fun going through my Thimbleberries cart!



  • 1 Dresden petal strip 1  1/2″ x 14″
  • 1 background sq. 3  3/4″ (will be trimmed to 3  1/2″)
  • 1 center fabric sq. 1  1/2″
  • 1 freezer paper sq. 1  1/4″


Cutting the petals

If you have my Tiny Dresden Plate Template

you can use it with a bit of retrofitting that I’ll show you below.

Since I’ve modified the template in the past 5 years

to make it easier to use and store

your petal cutting will depend on what version

of my Tiny Dresden Plate Template you have.

Either 1. line up the bottom of “Plate Template” with the edge of the fabric

(don’t cut off the top! extend cutting past the template).

or 2. draw a line 1  1/4″ from narrow edge of template

then align that line with the edge of the fabric strip

(don’t cut off the top! extend cutting past the template).

or 3. print out the pdf below and use that template.



Whichever of the 3 options you decide to use,

cut 12 Bitsy Dresden petals,

rotating the template on the strip.




All seams to be sewn a scant 1/4″.

Use a Seam guide by Perkins Dry Goods

if you’re unsure of where that is on your machine!

Available here on my notions page

along with the rest of the tools that I recommend.


Fold each petal in half right sides together,

then sew from raw edge to fold as shown.

Sew all 12 petals.

Trim away seam allowance as shown.

Press flat as sewn, then turn right side out.

Using That Purple Thang

or other blunt point,

poke out point of petal.

Press again.

Do this for all 12 petals.

Sew 2 petals together (right sides together)

starting 3 stitches from edge,

back stitch to edge, then sew entire seam.

Press as sewn, then press seam open.

This is the only time I trim these seams.

I trimmed them down to about 1/8″

only because if you don’t they’ll be caught in the neighboring seams.

Sew pairs of petals together.


Sew 3 segments together to complete plate.

By extending the petals by 1/4″ when we cut them out

there is no opening in the center,

but that extra 1/4″ made the petals easier to hold onto

while assembling the plate

& also allows for a smaller circle

to be appliqued over the center.


Just 2  1/2″!

Perfect for our 3″ finished blocks.


Trace, then cut 3/4″ circle from the pdf above from freezer paper.

Fuse to wrong side of center fabric.

Cut out fabric with 1/8″ seam allowance.

With Roxanne

or other glue &

Apliquick rods,

glue seam allowance to back side of template.

These tools make my circle almost perfect!

See, no divots!!!

Glue circle to center of plate.

Crease the background square in half both directions.

Align seams of plate with the creases.

Glue plate in place.

Appliqué center to plate with thread matching center

then appliqué plate to background with thread matching plate.

I use a tiny blind hem stitch.

With small, very sharp, pointed scissors,

cut away first the background fabric 1/8″ inside

the center circle appliqué stitches

then cut away the center of the Dresden plate petals.

The freezer paper should prevent you

from accidentally cutting the circle fabric!

Dampen center circle.

Let rest a few minutes then remove paper template.

A slight pull on 2 opposite petals will release the paper template

& it will come right out of the hole in 1 piece!

When dry, press with Mary Ellen’s Best Press.

Trim block to 3  1/2″.


Show us your blocks at my Sewing With Susan FB Group.

We want to see your progress too!



Just Keep Sewing…


A Quilt Along, My Life

1-A-Day, 3″ Blocks — Antique Tile

  Antique Tile Block

Today we’ll make this cutie.

I enjoyed using more pieces from my Thimbleberries cart today!



  • 4 black recs. 1″ x 1  1/2″
  • 4 black sqs. 1″
  • 1 cream strip 1″ x 7″
  • 1 blue strip 1″ x 7″
  • 4 blue sqs. 1″
  • 1 blue sq. 1  1/2″

Sew together the 1″ x 7″ strips on one long side.

Press the seam open or to 1 side.

I tried it both ways with the same results.

If you want more assurance of perfectly matching seams

I’d recommend pressing every seam toward the blue fabric.

It’s easier to nest seams that are pressed to 1 side instead of open.

Cut 4 segments 1  1/2″.


Sew each 1″ blue square to a 1″ black square.

Make 2 “left” units & 2 “right” units

by next sewing a 1″ x 1  1/2″ black rectangle

to either the right side or left side of each 2-square unit.

See below.

Arrange the segments then sew the block.

I experimented with the pressing of these seams as well

with no evidence that one way was better than the other!

Have fun & make a couple or few or 10 more!

I find it intriguing how different each of these blocks look

depending on the value of the fabrics in the different positions.

Show us your blocks at my Sewing With Susan FB Group.

We want to see your progress too!


Just Keep Sewing…