March Madness 2018

March Madness 2018 FB HeaderMM Bracket 2018-round 1.jpg

For the last couple of years, the fine people at Paintbrush Studios have hosted a Mad for Solids Competition, where quilters create a stack of colors, give them a name & describe their inspiration, and they go up against each other.  (Why should basketball fans have all the fun?  Quilters need some play time, too!)

Above is the bracket where many beautiful colors of Painter’s Palette Solid fabrics will vie to reach the championship match-up.  The first “game” is already up online, and it features two different stacks of fabrics (seen below).  I hope you’ll take time to vote for your favorite each day.

Here are the links:

•  Paintbrush Studios Blog: Introductory Post, where you can see all the 16 bundles and read about each quilter and their inspiration
•  Paintbrush Studios on Instagram
•  Paintbrush Studios on Facebook

You Can Be A Winner

You can also win free fabric by voting.  They will randomly select four voters from the championship game to win fat quarter bundles of the winning palette.  To make sure your favorite bundle is the winner, vote for the one you like best to get it to the championship game.

My game day is this Friday, March 23rd.

Please sure to check back here for info on how you can vote for me, and to see why I chose the grouping that I did.

But for today, head over to Paintbrush Studios to start your voting with two beautiful different stacks.  You’ll only have one day to get your vote in, a 24-hour period from 6 p.m. on the day announced, when a new round will take its place.

March Madness18 Game 1 stacks.png

Have fun!!

Escape to Texas • March 2018


We escaped to Texas last week, to visit our son and his family, as well as head to San Antonio, where my husband participated in a scientific conference.  TexasMarch_1

Pico Iyer, a well-respected travel writer noted that “The urgency of slowing down — to find the time and space to think — is nothing new, of course, and wiser souls have always reminded us that the more attention we pay to the moment, the less time and energy we have to place it in some larger context. “Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries,” the French philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote in the 17th century, “and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.” He also famously remarked that all of man’s problems come from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”TexasMarch_2

So I tried to grab some undistracted time with my grandsons; Alex and I made a Lego sewing machine.


“When things come at you very fast, naturally you lose touch with yourself,” noted Marshall McLuhan, over a half-century ago.

It was nice to get away.

Triple Squares in “On Your Mark”


My friend Simone recently launched her first line of fabric for Paintbrush Studios.  It’s called On Your Mark and has its origins in punctuation marks.

Triple Squares_1

Because I’m a pal, I get to sew with it.  I made her a baby quilt using her fabrics, perfect because the fabric has a lovely soft hand that the quilt won’t be scratchy at all.  I call this Triple Square.

Triple Square Block.png

It’s basically a variation of a nine-patch, using 2-1/2″ squares with side pieces of 2-1/2″ by 6-1/2.” It goes together very quickly (like I started it Saturday afternoon, and delivered it, unbound, by Monday evening).  You may have seen this at QuiltCon, where she used it in her demo.

Triple Squares_2

Triple Square, 42″ square

Triple Squares_2b

It finishes at 42″ square.  I quilted it in random angle lines, going around and over and above the brightly colored squares.  I threw in some random other background pieces, just to spice it up.  Then I channel quilted it around the outside edges, to create a type of border.

Triple Squares_3

The reverse of Triple Square

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This is Simone’s free downloadable pattern for her collection, titled Gumdrops, which you can find on the link at the top of this post.

Look for Simone’s fun and colorful collection coming soon to a quilt store near you!

The Calendar is my Friend. Repeat.

Too Much Social Media.jpg

I read this cartoon, from Stephan Pastis, some time ago, and I’ve saved it as it seems like it hits a bit too close to home with that wasting time on social media thing.  But rather than harp on that tired subject again — social media is ruining our lives — I’d rather take it a different direction, and talk about the one thing that helped me manage my social media as it relates to quilting: I made friends with my paper calendar.

In blogging, I used to just write blog posts at random: if I had made a quilt, or ran across something cool to share, I did.  But once another blogger said she scheduled her blog posts, I realized that she thought about them, worked out when she wanted to them to show up. In other words, she used that old-fashioned tool of calendaring her posts.


I use a small desktop calendar, and circle the date and pencil (not pen) in a code word, so I know what’s happening.  It helps me space out things (not always successful on this, but I’m working on it).

I came home from QuiltCon, vowing to work smarter, determined to change up how I used my favorite calendaring book, the Get To Work Book.  Too often I was using it as a journal — you know, writing down the things I did, or needed to do, and crossing them out in yellow marker when they were completed.  Yeah, even if I’d just written them down.


These are the project pages at the back of each month.  Post QuiltCon, I dumped wrote everything that was in my head down on paper.  I then took time to break it down into tasks, slipping a few onto every week of the month. Has it helped?  Somewhat.  I know now what I have to work on. I  don’t know about you, but I tend retreat to social media when I am bored, or perhaps, overwhelmed.   I can also be easily distracted by the wonderful eye-candy on Instagram (but in some ways that’s another topic for another day.)



In his article, “Warren Buffett’s ‘2 List’ Strategy: How to Maximize Your Focus and Master Your Priorities,” James Clear makes the point that even though many things are good to do, if they are not your top priorities, they will distract you from what’s most important, and from what should be given your best and undivided attention.

He notes that “Every behavior has a cost. Even neutral behaviors aren’t really neutral. They take up time, energy, and space that could be put toward better behaviors or more important tasks.”

Some other tips:

  • Simplify your media.  If you do Facebook, get off of Twitter or Snapchat.  Leo Babuta writes: “You can be a part of a social network and not participate all day long…I’ve consciously decided that I’d prefer to be creating rather than always connected to the social stream.” (from Zen Habits)
  • Notifications (from FB, IG, etc.) are a huge time sink.  Bubata recommends turning them off: “Don’t be notified everytime people post things or reply to you or follow you or email you or comment on your blog.”
  • I also liked the tip from Elizabeth Grace Saunders in the article “Front Load Your Week,” when she says “To minimize stress, spend less time worrying about planning exactly how long every activity will take you to do and more time front-loading your calendar by putting your most important activities with deadlines early in the day and early in the week. For example, something due on Friday should start appearing in your schedule by Tuesday afternoon…Front-loading gives you the ability to stay on top of projects that take longer than expected without getting stressed or working into the wee hours of the night.”
  • To follow up with that, front load your day.  Know when your best energy level is, and stack up tasks for that time.
  • My favorite focusing device is to ask myself:  “What do I want to have completed at the end of this day?”  That question alone has propelled me through me many a foggy moment.
  • Humans come first.  My husband is El Numero Uno, then my family, then friends.  After my husband, the order is flexible.
  • I am also a human.  (Obviously I have several firsts, but it all works out.)  By saying that I am a human, I need to be aware of how I feel after sitting scrunched over, reading my small screen. I need to be aware of how good a walk feels, even if it’s in the middle of the day, and only around the block. I need to be aware of how I feel when I can’t get anything done, because I’ve spent too long reading on the web, instead of getting to my work.  I need to be aware of how good it feels to have my life ordered, and not frantic.

Some regular tasks help me order my month, such as:


Gridsters March 2018

Marsha’s block for the Gridster Bee, March 2018

Sewing Obligations, such as blocks for my mates in the Gridster Bee.  I like jumping on it and getting it done at the beginning of the month (see tip about front-loading, above–I like to front-load my months, too!).


Turning the calendar to a new month.  I believe that with all my digital calendars, at times I lose sight of how time can be structured and used.  Bringing forward that new page reminds me to check my project lists, re-order priorities, bring on new tasks.

It’s not harmful to be involved in social media as many interesting and significant discoveries, as well as new friends, can be made this way.  Some nights, when I’m too tired for sewing tasks, I like to read blogs.  I use Feedly and Bloglovin’ to help keep my reading organized and to follow up with people on Instagram, and Facebook.  It’s enjoyable to see what everyone else is doing.

Do you have tips for staying focused?  If you care to share, please leave them below in a comment.


Frivols 3


Time for the third Frivols box to reveal its secrets, and to be made into a quilt.

I loved the reproduction/traditional fabrics as they appealed to another side of my fabric-loving self.  I don’t usually buy these, but I enjoyed working with the rich colors and rich surface pattern.

Frivols_3_6 tin

More information is on the bottom of the tin, such as size and additional fabrics required.



Moda’s blog post about this indicates that a bunch of smaller blocks can be made, instead of these larger blocks.  Okey-dokey, but no.  The cards are inspirational (I blurred out the measurements for their bonus block for copyright reasons), and again include the directions for another block on the back.  Okey-dokey, but no.






After cutting them according to the directions, I stacked them up, and put them back into their tin.



Now to report on the Painter’s Palette Solids Giveaway.


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The Random Number Generator picked #21: Cathy C. Congratulations to Cathy–I’ve sent you an email letting you know.  Thank you to all who entered my little giveaway!

QuiltCon 2018 Wrap-Up

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QuiltCon is so many things: a quilt show, a conference with great speakers and classes, shopping–complete with short demonstrations going on, a chance to meet Famous Quilters, a chance to hang out with friends and people you don’t see much, and most of all, it’s quilts.  Lots and lots of quilts.  And fabric–did I mention that, too?

I arrived with Leisa Wednesday night in time for the beginning of the conference on Thursday, February 22, 2018.  I stayed until Sunday afternoon, about 10 minutes before they rolled up the rug and kicked us all out.  It was inspiring, exhausting, stimulating and I had a great time.

Three of my local quilt buddies came with me: Simone, Lisa and Leisa, and we met so many others at different lunches and dinners:


from l: Joan, Mary, Leisa, Lisa, Cindy, me, Stephanie, Janice, Simone


from l: Leisa, me, Mary, Joan (end of table), Cindy, Jenn and Heidi


I was able to see my quilt hanging up Paintbrush Studios’ booth.  In the circles above (click to enlarge) it’s evident the booth was busy (center circle), and Deena, Amy Barickman and her mother were so kind and helpful.

I had TOO many classes, and generally I learned something new from almost all of them: QuiltCon 2018 ESE Classes.png

(Click on any circle to enlarge.)

I love the pencil case of my seat-mate in my Boho Embroidery Class.  I wonder what Angela would say about that sign (!), and you see the beginning of my printing.  Thank you to my daughter for the Amazon Gift Card which became a great squeegee.  My umbrella is crying–we need rain!


Famous Quilter had a Craftsy film crew wherever she went and even in our class.  I thought the operator of the Steady Cam deserved a photo.

QuiltCon2018_Pineapple Fabrics

Pineapple Fabrics booth at QuiltCon 2018


I had was asked by the kind people of Paintbrush Studios to do a demo using their Painter’s Palette Solid fabrics, and since I love those solids, I knew it would be easy to talk about them…


…until I saw that the cozy 20-seat demo space had been replaced by a large screen and 80 chairs.  My husband talked me down off the ledge, and Leisa cracked jokes to make me laugh and forget I was terrified.


(photo by Leisa Plocher)

The first demo was difficult for a variety of reasons, but at the second demo on Sunday morning, I had a great time.  Thanks to everyone who came and I hope you were all early enough to get a kit.


Instructions can be found here and here (where you can also right-click to download the instruction card) in case you want the info.



I also have a few samples from QuiltCon that I’m happy to share.  Leave a comment below if you’d like to try Painter’s Palette Solids.  I’ll pick one winner from the comments.  If you are a follower, leave me a second comment stating that, and you’ll have twice as many chances!

Giveaway is closed now.  Thank you!

Quiltcon Goodnight

I’ve been posting a ton of quilt images on Instagram, and will continue to do so for a while.

FYI: QuiltCon will be in Nashville in 2019, and back to Austin in 2020.  See you there!