Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hello Autumn & Giveaway

Hello quilting friends!  In honor of the first day of autumn, I have to share a little autumn colored pin cushion I made for my sister.  On June 25, I blogged about my pincushion craziness, but I forgot to include a pic of this little honey I made for my sis. This Honeysweet fabric by Fig Tree & Company is so autumn lovely!! Hmmm . . . I may have to steal this back when someone is not looking! 

Have a great day all!  Here’s hoping you get carried away quilting often!


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Koronis Quilting Retreat

The Chapel at Koronis Ministries 
Two weeks from today I will be heading to my semi-annual quilting and scrapbooking retreat at the beautiful Koronis Ministries camp on Lake Koronis in Paynesville, MN.  Let me tell you . . . I CANNOT WAIT to get there.  (Yes, my use of all caps means that I am nearly shouting those words in my own mind.)  I will have a spring in my step every day for the next two weeks!  My husband and daughter will sneak eye rolls at each other as I become increasingly annoying in my anticipation of KORONIS!

Ten years ago two lovely ladies from our church, Pat and Diane, invited me to attend a “September Quilters” weekend retreat. I had never been on a quilting retreat before, and I was a little nervous.  But what I found was a warm fellowship of women bound by common interests, strong faith, and lots of good humor.  These ladies have been a blessing in my life for ten years and I am eternally thankful for the first invite that brought me into this circle.

Over the years the September Quilters expanded to include a couple of scrapbookers and paper crafters.  We decided that gathering once a year was not enough, so we added a spring retreat as well. (We are warmed by the notion that we are such long-timers, the camp directors still refer to us as the September Quilters, no matter what activity we are doing and no matter if we meet in September, October, or April.) 

And what was originally a weekend retreat has also grown. Instead of driving to camp after work on Friday and staying until Sunday, some of us began using a vacation day to arrive early Friday morning.  Eventually the craziest in the group decided to take two vacation days, arriving Thursday morning.  There are occasional giggles that we should make it an entire week, but we think most of the husbands might have a fit over that.

~ Fall Retreat 2014 ~

Occasionally someone cannot attend due to work or family commitments, and they are truly missed.  But somehow we never miss a beat when we see each other next. Some of us have moved to different towns.  Some of us have retired and become grandparents.  Lives have changed.  With the exception of my mom and a close friend who lives in my current hometown, I am only able to see these ladies twice a year.  But we come together every retreat like comfortable old friends . . . picking up on conversations as though we just spoke yesterday, catching up on how much the children or grandchildren have grown, and (of course) sharing projects that we have been working on since last retreat.

At KORONIS! we have held a baby shower and a wedding shower.  We have spent too much money on fabric at the local quilt shops. We have forgotten to pack underwear and had to make an emergency purchase at the local discount store. We have abandoned our diets and regular fitness routines in lieu of sitting and “working” for 12 to 14 hours each day.  (We get our exercise by cutting fabric or walking to the richly stocked snack table.)  We have sewn in our pajamas late into the night.  We have woken up to more beautiful sunrises across the lake than we can remember. We have raced to be the first in line at meal time, beating out any other groups at the camp.  (After all, we ARE the September Quilters!) We have laughed, we have cried, we have gossiped (oops) and we have shared devotions.

Harriet, Ibby and I all had fun making the Moda Love Charm Quilt during the Fall Retreat 2014.

As I am writing this, I am struck once again by how lucky I am to have KORONIS! in my life.  I am also wondering if someone is reading this and feeling blue that maybe you don’t.  My message to you is this:  make your own KORONIS!  If you are a quilter, sewist, scrapbooker, jewelry maker . . . you surely know a handful of women with similar interests and warm personalities.  Start with a day retreat in someone’s home. Begin a gathering.  Take time for yourself with other women who share your passion and you will know a lifelong blessing!

Thanks for reading today!  KORONIS!  T-minus 14 days! 

Good morning campers!

We are always so happy to arrive at camp!  ~with Corri & my step-grandma Shirley

Two of my treasured small quilts from Fall Retreat 2014.

Ibby found a treasure at the quilt shop!

Poor Ibby, someone tried to steal her new wire basket for their stash.  

Diane won the Halloween door prize!

Brenda sorts through hundreds of photos. Hmmm . . . she has some work ahead of her!

Look at this lovely pinwheel quilt Pat made from my scrap triangles from spring retreat!!!

A little Fig Tree fun . . . Navajo Star.

Nancy with her stunning quilt!  What a beauty!

Mom Penny and daughter Vicki are happy with their progress.

Wow, some of our pieces are soo bitsy!

Corri . . . capturing the special moments of her beautiful family.

Shirley is making aprons for her daughters and granddaughters!

Evenings are lovely at Koronis.

~Fall Retreat 2013~

Love the soft warm colors in Brenda's quilt!

Our work stations . . . all lined up!

Ibby's beautiful Fig Tree project:  Cherry Pie!  Love, love, love!

Brenda working on a counted cross stitch Christmas stocking.

We love Clare, whether her eyes are open or closed!

Our favorite twins, Pam & Deb, working on their photo books.

A little fall lovely by the lovely Diane.

Harriet's pretty wall hanging used the layered panel / chenille technique.

Oh such warm autumn colors in Pat's table topper!

Press, Penny, Press!  

Fig Tree sailboat . . . one down . . . 15 to go!

We are surrounded by God's beauty at Koronis!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Pattern Release: Mini Story Stars

Today I am so pleased to announce the release of my pattern, "Mini Story Stars." This quilt design was inspired by memories of my daughter when she was young and would line up all her dolls and stuffed animals to play school or have a tea party. A little quilt that told a little story would have been a welcome addition to her cozy classroom.

"Mini Story Stars" is 27" x 27", making it the perfect size for a table topper, wall hanging or child's play quilt.  The pattern purposely calls for only four fabrics for the top, allowing you to really focus your shopping on finding those two special fat quarters of feature fabric!  The star points are made up of easy half square triangles that are sewn slightly oversize so you can trim them down, square them up, and create perfect piecing!  I hope you will consider giving this pattern a whirl.  I think you will really enjoy the results! The pattern is available on my Etsy Shop

My initial focal fabric was "Little Heroines - Little Red Riding Hood" by Lecien Japan.  This fabric is so nostalgic and heartwarming.  I really wanted to design a quilt that featured the sweet, small images of Little Red, and also highlight the larger text blocks that included outtakes from the classic storybook.  The soft swirly quilting on this sample was done by Barb Erickson at Quilts on Broadway.


The second sample turned out just as sweet.  It is made up of two pieces from the “Vintage Market” line by Tasha Noel for Riley Blake Designs and “GardenText” by Holly Holderman for Lakehouse Dry Goods. The colors in this quilt are so vibrant and fun!  I can just imagine my daughter playing on this quilt and making the little scenes come alive.  I decided to do some simple straight-line grid quilting on this sample, and I really like this effect too, particularly in the text areas!

Very special thanks to a talented sewist and pattern writer, my Instagram quilting friend Michelle Curtis. She tested my pattern and created a beautiful modern version she is calling “Love Letters.”  It was really thrilling to see someone else’s creative spin on my pattern!  She even added some darling appliqued hearts.  Please take the time to visit her blog Chelle's Quilts and check out her beautiful quilts, bags, pillows and more!  You can also follow Michelle on Instagram at @chellesquilts! 

I want to say thank you to my family and friends who cheer me on . . . and continue to listen to me even when I am getting carried away.  You know who you are and I love you all!

Special thank you to my mom, Brenda Ohlson, who put her 30 plus years in the desktop publishing/printing/editing industry to good use as my Senior Pattern Proofreader Extraordinaire!  She is also my biggeset cheerleader.  And Dad, I know you would be proud that I am "running fast, jumping high, and doing good."

Finally, if you create your own "Mini Story Stars," please share pictures on Instagram using the hashtag: #ministorystars.  I would really be tickled to see your projects!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Workshop 2: Easy Fat Quarter Shoulder Bag

Today I was lucky enough to spend the afternoon sewing with two terrific young ladies, McKenna and Ellie.  Sewing with friends is so much fun, and the enthusiasm these young sewists brought to my house still has me feeling bubbly.  This was officially the second Carried Away Quilting workshop, as McKenna, my daughter Haley and I had a pillow case making workshop a few weeks ago. Today's project, the Easy Fat Quarter Shoulder Bag, is a free tutorial on my blog.

McKenna is jumping right into this hobby with both feet. She is collecting fat quarters and purchasing sewing supplies, and she has lots of ideas for projects she'd like to tackle.  Ellie has already pieced beautiful quilts for both grandmothers and her brother! I was so impressed with the fact that she also did her own hand binding, and it was AWESOME!  The future is bright for both of these funny, smart, motivated young ladies!

When we completed the pillow cases in August, McKenna suggested that our next workshop project should be a shoulder bag . . . something with a long handle that you could wear across your chest with the bag landing near your hip.  The challenge for Taunja was on . . . come up with a pattern that is straight forward, teaches some basic bag making and sewing techniques, and can be accomplished in a couple of hours.  To keep things simple, I settled on a concept that would use just three fat quarters.  The girls had their assignments:  purchase three coordinating fat quarters, pack up their sewing supplies and meet at my house on  September 13, ready to roll.  I had my assignment: write the pattern, test it myself, and get ready for my sewing day with  young friends. Woo hoo!

We had a great afternoon and I think their Easy Fat Quarter Shoulder Bags turned out great. Check out the pictures below.  I am so proud of these girls.  I've included a free tutorial on my blog if you would like to make your own bag.  If you are on Instagram, be sure to post your bag using this hashtag:  #easyfatquartershoulderbag

Thanks for reading!  Here's hoping you get carried away quilting, often! 


Lots of pinning because Taunja is nuts about pinning!

McKenna working on the outer bag piece.

Ellie getting her outer bag pieces joined.

My favorite part . . . turning the bag out and seeing the finished product!


Three happy girls (well 2 happy girls and 1 happy "older" girl).