Visiting the Dallas Arboretum…

NOTE: If you got the way-too-early link to next week’s Wednesday Giveaway it’s only sort of gone. It will post on time next Wednesday. If you already commented, your comments should still be there.

Lorna, the kids, and I went to the Dallas Arboretum yesterday and it looks like spring is already here! Jack took way more pictures than I did.

Jack Taking Pictures

Bear rarely wanted to stop for a photo.


The cherry trees have begun to bloom. That was a surprise to me — I didn’t know there were cherry trees there!


The crepe myrtles are lovely even when they have not leafed out.

crepe myrtle

This is for my friend, Catherine :-).


Let it go…

I make quilts because I can’t not make them. But, once finished, I am more in love with the next quilt. Finished quilts tend to end up in my closet. It seems that I am not finished with the urge to tidy up because I can no longer ignore the shelves stuffed with quilts.

It began with the need to take better photos of my quilts. As I unload the shelves, I’ve found quilts that I haven’t seen in years, like this Amish pinwheel. It’s one of the few that I kept from before Linda and I started Piece O’ Cake in 1994. I had time to hand quilt back in the day!

Amish Pinwheel

I gave away most of the quilts that I made before-POC. I’ve given quilts away since then, but I kept way too many made for books and patterns. I thought that I might need them in the future! Well, the future is here and I don’t need to keep them all. What to do with the quilts that need a new home?

Several are finding new homes with my friends. It’s easier than I thought it would be to choose the right quilt for a particular person — it’s a lot like the wand choosing the wizard. Giving quilts is one of the funnest things ever. I LOVE putting a quilt-smile on a friend’s face.

I know that I will run out of quilts before I run out of friends to give them to, but that’s OK. There will be more quilts. And there are quilts that don’t fit anyone I know — those are traveling with me and will be offered for sale. One this is for sure, I’m done stuffing the closet!



The Daisy quilt, above, was made for a magazine article for Rodale Press. Or maybe it was for inclusion in a book. 

A quilter lives here!

Kim J. saw the “tea mailbox” in one of my recent posts and thought “maybe she would like to see mine”. Yes! I do want to see it and so do you!


Kim says:

This was a collaboration with my husband.  He built the box, I drew the quilt blocks, painted/stenciled the roof and he did the painting.

Here’s the back:


My own mailbox obviously needs an upgrade :-).

You never know what you’ll see if you just look…

I stayed in San Clemente while visiting the Surfside Quilt Guild and my hotel was just a mile from the beach. The one mile walk down to the beach was very nice, the uphill mile back to the hotel was good exercise :-).

I walked to pier for the last time Wednesday morning and took photos of seagulls because I think they are cute.


They look like birds with an interesting attitude… sort of nonchalant and friendly. And these guys were posing for me so I got closer…


Close enough to notice that their tails are dotted!


Who knew! And once you notice the dots, don’t don’t you think that they pull the black and white color scheme of the feathers together? Nature is just jam-packed with little quirky details.



Outer space, all for you!

NASA has a massive library of amazing photos and they are right there for us to use! Read the fine print because there are some restrictions but for the most part we can use them for non-commercial purposes. I have always loved this sort of picture…

This image shows the galaxy Messier 94, which lies in the small northern constellation of the Hunting Dogs, about 16 million light-years away. Within the bright ring around Messier 94 new stars are forming at a high rate and many young, bright stars are present within it – thanks to this, this feature is called a starburst ring. The cause of this peculiarly shaped star-forming region is likely a pressure wave going outwards from the galactic centre, compressing the gas and dust in the outer region. The compression of material means the gas starts to collapse into denser clouds. Inside these dense clouds, gravity pulls the gas and dust together until temperature and pressure are high enough for stars to be born.

This image shows the galaxy Messier 94, which lies in the small northern constellation of the Hunting Dogs, about 16 million light-years away. Within the bright ring around Messier 94 new stars are forming at a high rate and many young, bright stars are present within it – thanks to this, this feature is called a starburst ring.

And the earth from space is also pretty darned interesting!

A hurricane, seen from space.

I was reminded about these free NASA images by John McWade. You should watch his free video about how he made calendars using these images. I read all of his issues of Before & After, published over the last many years. I learned so much about graphic design, text, and layout from him! He is now at and I wish him years of happiness there.

Wowie Zowie!

There’s a quilt in our new book, Piecing the Piece O’ Cake Way, that I called Wowie Zowie. I actually made it in 2 sizes: big bed-size and small baby-size. The bed quilt was designed to go on this bed, to replace that boring gray coverlet…

This is so much better. Wowie Zowie, right?!

This is a queen-size bed and the quilt covers the box spring and the bed rails, just as I intended it to. Angela Walters quilted this quilt for me and she did a terrific job, as always :-)!

Both this and smaller quilt are made solely from half-square triangles. Change the size of the half-square triangle and that changes the size of the finished quilt.

Spring sprung while I was gone!

I don’t know how others manage it, but when I’m on a teaching trip I just don’t seem to be able to post as much as I’d like. Or at all. I did post some photos on Instagram and facebook so if you follow me there, you saw my students hard at work as well as some of their blocks. Let me just say that the Academy of Applique in Williamsburg was a blast! It was a rare treat to be among so many appliquers!

I came home to redbuds in bloom. They look like they smell pretty, but they don’t smell at all as near as I can tell.

I also came home to the news that someone filed a fraudulent tax return using our numbers. Deep sigh. I had gotten a letter from the IRS before I left that made me think that this was happening. I found out today that yes, indeed, our numbers were compromised.

After some searching I found the phone number to call and the nice lady pointed me in the right direction. Steve is on spring break so he ended up taking over, calling the FTC, checking our credit reports, notifying the Social Security Administration and I’m not sure who else. So far everything else is in order (yay!) but it means filing a paper return, with extra forms, and a longer wait for it to be processed. I am thankful that I don’t have plans for our over-payment from last year.

I think that this has become a common enough experience that dealing with it is getting easier. That said, we are lucky to have found out early, before the hackers got any money from the IRS, which is different from the ‘iris’, which was also blooming in my yard today :-).

And lastly, I am going to be giving a trunk show lecture at 11:00 AM Friday morning at the Dallas Quilt Show. I don’t know that I have ever pulled so many quilts out of my closet at one time. There are so many that I won’t be saying much about any individual quilt or we’ll be there all day but I do think it will be a good showing of Piece O’ Cake quilts. If you are interested, I hope you can come!