• 20Sep
    Categories: brilliant ideas Comments Off on Tessellating Cross Tutorial

    It’s time again for a new round of quilts at A Quilt Block A Day.  That is the Facebook page I have where a group of us does a block a day for three months, four times a year!  We change blocks with the seasons, and, since tomorrow is the first day of fall, it’s time for a new block!

    This is an easy block with a lot of impact—the Tessellating Cross.  This is one I made for my book Fat Quarter Fun.

    In this quilt you have the same design in the light and dark areas.  In other words, you have light crosses, the white, and dark crosses—the black in the sample above and the red in the sample below.

    I’ve chosen to use a bunch of my lavender scraps for my quilt.  Here’s how I did it.  I grabbed my bin of lavender scraps.  I pulled out several hunks that were still full width, i.e. from selvedge to selvedge.  From each of those I cut a 2-1/2″ strip.  Then I cut 2-1/2″ strips of a cream-on-white print. (*See below if you don’t want to use strips.)


    Stitch the two strips together along the long sides.  Set the seam with your iron.


    Fold back the dark strip and press.  Do you know that if you have your dark fabric on top, when you lift and press it, the seam below will always be pressed toward the darker fabric?


    From your strip, cut eight 4-1/2″ segments.  This is enough for two blocks.



    You should have a little more left, so cut two 2-1/2″ segments.  You can use these later in the border, if you want, or use them to make four-patches for another project.


    Take your 4-1/2″ segments and lay them out as shown below.


    Stitch the top half, then the bottom half.  Press toward the long dark strip and stitch the two halves together.


    From the back, you can see that I pressed that last seam in two different directions.  On the left, I pressed it up (toward the lavender print) and on the right, I pressed it down (toward the lavender print).  To do this, you have to wiggle the seam in the middle a bit.  It will open up and everything will lay nice and flat!


    The finished block!  There are only four seams here—three if you strip pieced the first part!


    When I put four of them up on the design wall, you can see the white cross in the center!


    So, won’t you come on over the A Quilt Block A Day, click “Like” and enjoy the progress of the rest of the group?  If you make just one block a day (three seams!), you’ll have 90 blocks by the time winter rolls around!

    You can CLICK HERE for the tutorials for previous A Quilt Block A Day tutorials.

    *If you don’t want to use strips, you can use scraps for your blocks.  You will need four 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ of light and the same of dark fabric for each block.

  • 12Sep
    Categories: Everything!, travels here Comments Off on Scottish Castles

    Of course you can’t visit Scotland without visiting castles!

    This is Culzean Castle.

    It had a fabulous clock tower.

    It’s on the coast near Ayr.

    The view up the coast was incredible!

    I was fascinated by the erosion of some of the sandstone!

    Probably the most famous castle in Scotland is Edinburgh Castle.  It totally dominates the city and you can see what a strategic vantage point it had.

    Our first evening in Edinburgh we took this sunset shot.  It had been raining and the sun peeked through for just a few minutes and lit up the castle!

    This is Cawdor Castle, still occupied by the Dowager Duchess of Cawdor, but she opens it in the summer for tours.

    We spent more time touring the fabulous gardens than we did the castle!

    This is the remains of Urquart Castle.

    It was such a beautiful setting.

    It was spread out over a very large area.

    We climbed the tower and peeked through the windows.

    I loved this tiny round one!

    Stirling Castle.  Do you see a trend with the weather while we were in Scotland?  We were there for two weeks and saw very little blue sky!

    This was a cool little ruin.  It must have been a tiny castle–just perfect for a princess!

    Here’s a castle we snapped from the bus.

    Those castle builders really knew how to pick the best real estate!




  • 10Sep
    Categories: Everything!, travels abroad Comments Off on Kilwinning Scotland

    Bob and I went to Scotland this summer.  We wanted to see the town that his grandfather and great grandfather emigrated from.  The town is Kilwinning.  It is home to Kilwinning Abbey and the first Masonic Lodge, known as The Mother Lodge.

    It was founded in 1140!  Bob’s ancestors were members here.

    We knocked on the door and stated our reason for being there and were given a very warm welcome and a tour of the lodge.

    But most exciting was that they were having a parade the day we were there!

    It was called an Orange Walk or Orange March.

    I had never heard of the Orange Order, but it’s a fraternal organization.

    There were lodges represented from all over Scotland and Ireland.

    Their name comes from Prince William of Orange.

    Each lodge carried a big banner.

    It was so interesting to see the way the different groups were dressed.

    Some just marched, some had drums and some had fifes.

    And a few had drum majors like this guy, who was very good!

    I think there were about 75 units in the parade.

    It lasted over an hour.

    There were a few women’s groups, and I loved their hats!

    The most dominant feature of the town is the ruins of the Abbey.

    You see it from everywhere.

    After the parade, we wandered over to the Abbey.

    We were delighted to find that the tower was open and you could go up with a guide.  While we were stopped on the bell level, the bells chimed!  I just about jumped out of my skin!

    The view was fantastic!

    On the way down, I told the guide that Bob’s great-grandfather had been provost of Kilwinning (that’s like the mayor).  She said, “You know that we have the robe he would have worn when he presided at meetings.”  Well, we didn’t know, but what a thrill to see it and imagine all the times Bob’s great-grandfather donned it.

    She told us there was even a street named for him…

    …so we had to check it out, of course!