Welcome to my blog. I was inspired by the book, "Blogging for Bliss" by Tara Frey.

Welcome to my blog. I was inspired by the book, "Blogging for Bliss" by Tara Frey. My goal is to share a little about my life, and a lot about my longarm quilting business, Lone Tree Designs.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

UFO's and P.I.G.S.

    Ahhh, the UFO (Unfinished Objects), or the slightly lesser known P.I.G.S. (Projects in Grocery Sacks). We all have them.  It's a love/hate thing.  We used to love them...but, as is the case with many of our material goods (or company that has stayed too long!), we have fallen into a state of indifference, annoyance, or downright hate.  Yet, we feel obligated to finish...at some point:)
    Here's the thing.  The longer you wait to finish it, the better the chances are that you won't like it when you finally do.  Now, we all have those challenging projects that we pursue off and on over the course of a few years because it is just too many little pieces, or too much work, to finish it all at once.  When those projects are finally done, I tend to be excited, proud, and a bit relieved.  I still feel some affection for those projects.  I am not talking about those...I am talking about simple little kits, table runners, small lap quilts, etc. that we just keeping putting off.  I am talking about that queen size quilt we started to go with the new paint job in our bedrooms seven years ago (and the bedroom has been painted twice since then) that we no longer even have a reason to finish.
   Now, I don't subscribe to the start one project and finish it before I start a new one!  ARE YOU KIDDING ME???  My A.D.D. would never allow that!  However, I encourage you all to make a plan to finish some of your unfinished projects.  I have mentioned it before, but I will say it again...I LOVE my facebook group!  We numbered 12 projects at the start of the year, and each month, we work on/make progress/ and yes, even finish whichever project number has been drawn for the month.  This single approach has done more to help me finish UFO's than anything ever has.  I highly recommend this method for anyone who wants a little bit of external motivation to get stuff done!  Challenge your quilt guild to number and get started!  There are still 5 months left...pick 5 projects and get going!  To motivate you, here is a picture of my number for this month...a birthday gift that I started for a friend somewhere between 5 and 7 years ago!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Pre-Cut Magic


  Life can be hectic...but, we want to make quilts that look cute and don't take a lot of time.  What to do? Start out with fabrics that are already cut for you:)  Now, I am not a HUGE pre-cut fan for one simple reason, and that is, they are not always consistent in size.  You would think that with the technology available the pre-cuts would be exactly right, but they almost never are.  With that warning, I will still tell you why I like them:
1.  whttp://quiltingtutorials.com/  The Missouri Star Quilt Company (missouriquiltco.com)tutorials are wonderful!  If you haven't yet discovered Jenny Doan and her very good tutorials, search youtube or google for them.  The Love Letters quilt that I finished this month comes directly from her.  Also, be sure to check out their quarterly magazine called "Block" because it is a beautiful publication with tons of great patterns that focus on "easy" and on pre-cuts.
2.  There are tons of patterns and books out there specifically designed for Jelly Rolls, Snaps, Charms, Layer Cakes, etc.  Companies such as Timeless Treasures (one of my favorites), and a host of others, offer free download patterns on their websites for their pre-cuts.
3.  You get up to 40 different fabrics in small quantities which are perfect for making scrappy projects. It is so nice not to have to ask the employees at a quilt shop to cut you a small amount of a ton of different fabrics in order to get a wide variety.  The 10 inch squares, especially, can go a long way for a scrappy pattern that just needs several small pieces to make flying geese, 1/2 square triangles, etc.
4.  Jelly Roll Race!
5.  Everything matches, and you don't have to even think about it:)
6.  They make great gifts!
7.  You can dip your toes into a pool of fabrics that you don't normally buy and don't have in your stash without a huge financial commitment.  For example, I have been craving a quilt made from Edyta Sitar's fabrics.  I don't have a single one in my stash.  All I had to do was purchase a layer cake, a jelly roll, and border fabric and tada!  I have everything I need for a quilt without adding a bunch of fabric that won't match anything else in my stash.
8.  Pinked edges allow you to "stack" and applique blocks for a fun, raggy-ish effect.  Find lots of fun ideas and patterns for these types of uses for charms and layer cakes in Loose Change by Lynn Hagmeier, of Kansas Troubles.
Quilt pattern found in Lynn Hagmeier's book, Loose Change.
My only piece of advice for working with pre-cuts is to choose patterns that are forgiving of the slight variations in size, or patterns that require you to square up your patchwork so that you can be sure of an accurate finished product.  Other than that, pick up a pattern and some wonderfully pre-cut fabric and finish a quilt top in a weekend!  You will be amazed at the time saved when you don't have to cut everything yourself!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Butterflies...and more Butterflies



  One of the most popular classes at the shop in Kearney has been this butterfly quilt from the book, Quilts Without Corners by Cheryl Phillips.  The book itself comes with a mini wedge ruler which is used to make the body of the butterfly, and then you must purchase a long 10 degree wedge ruler to make the wings.  The finished quilt on the front of the book is actually a circle, but there are directions in the book for making it a square.  It is a beautiful quilt.
  At this point, I have quilted at least 7 of these quilts!  Each one has been very different, and all of them have been beautiful, so I started thinking...maybe I should make one of these:)  Now, understand this about me...I am a pretty lazy quilter.  By that, I mean to say I tend to make things that are relatively easy and quick to finish because I have the attention span of a small child:)  However, I have lately been asked by a couple of fairly large quilt guilds to speak and give a trunk show for them next February.  I began to make a mental list of all my quilts and what I would like to show, and I thought that I really should start making a few quilts that are more difficult and have a little more "wow" factor.  To that end...I signed up to take the butterfly class in July!  Yikes!  I chose my fabrics-bright batiks, of course- and have done all my strip sewing and cutting in preparation for the class.  All that remains is to take the class and start putting my own butterfly together.  I am psyched!  Stay tuned for progress reports and pics toward the end of July!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

And the Winners Are...

Today is the big day!  The winner of the free fat quarter bundle of 8 fat quarters of AMB solids is Diann who left the following lovely comment:
DiannJune 12, 2014 at 7:19 AM
My niece ended up marrying a man from Nebraska, so we went to their wedding in Lincoln. I liked it very much. As you said, it's a city with a small town feel. I think it's the perfect size.
The winner of the Nebraska Shop Hop fabrics from the Quilters Cottage in Kearney, NE is:  
I love Nebraska, my Mom's home state :) I am thrilled to learn there is an awesome quilt shop in Kearney, as we often stop at the Cabelas there :) Next trip through I will try and stop in!!! Your block is a wonderful representation of Nebraska!!
Congrats to both winners, and thank you so much to everyone who viewed and commented on my license plate.  It was so much fun creating it, and even more fun hearing from all around the country!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Welcome to Nebraska



AMB solids representing the Platte River, fields of beans, wheat, and corn, and a windmill with 3D prairie points to represent the importance of the water that makes our lives possible.  Welcome to the Nebraska license plate!

The lovely summer skies as photographed by my son Bill Griepenstroh of Bill Grip Media.
Lincoln, our capital city,  is a beautiful metro area with all the amenities of the city and a small town feel.  The International Quilt Study Center http://www.quiltstudy.org/  is a MUST SEE for quilters around the country.  The Sunken Gardens is a favorite place in Lincoln with koi ponds and awesome landscaping.


   Nebraska is known for its wide open spaces and a well-developed farm economy. It is defined by the Platte River that runs West to East across the state. Even the name “Nebraska” comes from a Native American word meaning “flat water,” in reference to the Platte.  When flying over the state, the landscape looks like a patchwork quilt made up of long straight rows of crops and green circles where center pivot irrigation allows crops to thrive. In western Nebraska, especially, farmers “strip” farm, growing different types of crops in multiple rows all in the same fields. It has a striking look, even from the ground.  
In a land with unpredictable rainfall, windmills were the lifeblood of the settlers and the animals they needed to survive. Bringing water up from the Ogallala Aquifer allowed western expansion to bring people to Nebraska to stay. I honor those brave settlers and their farming  descendants with my block. For the pattern and instructions for my block, please click on the link:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_fotJuasWP2bml0RFVWaTFpUFU/edit?usp=sharing
Just one little addition to the written pattern...After I wrote and saved it, I decided to fussy cut and add in a piece of the black, fused fabric to extend the left "leg" of the windmill all the way up to the pinwheel.  Just lay it out, trim it to fit, and fuse it so that it looks like the picture, if you want to do so.

  I was born and raised in Nebraska, and I hope to live out my days in this state.  It truly is, as our motto said when I was a little girl, "The Good Life."  I love to travel and have so far been to most of our states, Mexico, and Canada.  No matter where I go, I always let out a sigh of relief when I return to the wide open spaces of Nebraska.  (all photos courtesy of Nebraska Tourism's website, visitNebraska.com, except the ones credited to Bill Grip Media)
Rolling hills and lush green river valleys dot the landscape.

People travel from all over the country to see the annual migration of the sandhill cranes in central Nebraska.  
Chimney Rock is a well known symbol of our state and guided the pioneers on their trip West.
The Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha is rated one of the top zoos in the entire country and was recently named the #1 Family Friendly Vacation Spot by Family Fun magazine.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers have a huge following and on game day, Memorial Stadium has enough people to make it the third largest "city" in the state with over 80,000!  The entire city of Lincoln turns into a sea of red on game day...it is a beautiful sight to behold!
Omaha provides us with the best possible quality health care, beautiful parks, the gorgeous botanical garden Lauritzen Gardens http://www.lauritzengardens.org/ , a world-class zoo Henry Doorly Zoo,  fabulous restaurants, shopping, and everything you could want from a big city while still maintaining the friendliness that characterizes Nebraskans.  It also has at least FIVE really great quilt shops!
Cass County in Nebraska is known for its quilt blocks on barns.

Everyone in Nebraska knows that you "Don't mess with Mother Nature"--but our summer thunder storms have a beauty all their own.
There is no place like Nebraska!
(photo by Bill Grip Media)


For more photos of the natural beauty that is Nebraska including the rolling hills of the Sandhills region, the buttes of northwestern Nebraska, or the many rivers, lakes, and recreational parks, go to the following: Nebraska Travel Photo Gallery

Now for the give-aways:  By now you know that each blog is giving away a free fat quarter bundle from the AMB collection from Clothworks.  In order to be entered into the random drawing, just leave a comment letting me know that you follow my blog, or a comment about anything else that is on your mind.  Have you been to Nebraska?  Where did you go?  

My second freebie is a little fabric bundle of Nebraska Shop Hop 2014 fabrics including a panel and two fat quarters of our Nebraska fabric, generously donated by my mom who happens to own what I think is one of the best quilt shops in the great state of Nebraska, the Quilters Cottage in Kearney, NE...Thanks, MOM!  If you would like to see more about the shop or the Shop Hop fabrics visit us on facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/QuiltersCottage or visit our website at: Quilters Cottage.  

I will use the random number generator to choose a winner on June 19th after 6 pm central time.  Please make sure you leave me an email to contact you.  Clothworks will send out the fat quarter bundles as soon as I get them your mailing address, and I will send out the Nebraska fabrics to a second winner as soon as we make email contact and I get your address.  Good Luck!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Christmas in July is Coming!


  Believe it or not, in May I started quilting Christmas quilts for this December!  What?  No, my customers are not the ones bringing me Christmas in May...it's my mother!  You see, my mom owns a quilt shop.  We ordered Christmas fabrics clear back in January and February to be shipped and to arrive in May, June, and July.  This year, we must really have been in the Christmas spirit because we ordered A LOT of Christmas fabrics!  As the bolts started to roll into the store in mid-May, we started thinking about our annual "Christmas in July" which will be held the last weekend in July.  It seemed wise to actually get working on samples so that I would have time to quilt them for the big event (as opposed to our usual method of madly working at the last minute and hanging up just the tops!).  As a result, I have already quilted a table runner and four quilts.  I have two more waiting in my closet, and I know mom is working on another one at the shop.  Needless to say, my "Christmas Spirit" is starting to dwindle and is actually feeling a bit crabby right now:)  However, in spite of my mood, Christmas is coming...in about 7 months, so why not get started on those projects now:)  I am already in practice with my holly berries and leaves!

P.S.  Don't forget to check back on Thursday, June 12, to see my AMB solids block for the nationwide Blog Tour!  I hope to have my post up by 8 am Central time.  Sorry to those of you further east, that's about as early as I accomplish anything:)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

My First Overnight Quilt Retreat


I just returned from my first overnight quilt retreat!  It was a smashing success, in my opinion.  We traveled a few hours away to Creston, IA where we met up with 17 great women from that quilt-crazy state.  Did you know that their Shop Hop lasts an entire month (June) and includes 94 shops?  Between 30 and 35 women from Nebraska and Iowa joined together to sew, chat, learn from one another, and just work for almost four full days.  I spent 15 hours at the retreat center on Saturday alone!
A big shout out goes to our host, Joyce Franklin from the Quilts and Other Notions Quilt Shop and Creative Center for accommodating such a rambunctious group of women! The quilt shop is fabulous with a huge selection, and Joyce and her staff are helpful, friendly, and full of great ideas.  The Creative Center is like a mini art gallery showcasing several of Joyce's art quilts.  It is not to be missed.  Be sure, if you are anywhere near the area, to stop by and check it out.  Creston welcomed us, housed us, and fed us (way too much).  Right across the street from the beautiful train depot building, we had delicious coffee each morning (truly the BEST latte I have had in quite awhile). Delicious desserts, coffee, meals, and even clothing and shoe shopping are all within easy walking distance of the shop.
  We were delighted on Saturday by a surprise visit from Tony Jacobson of Fons and Porter.  Tony teaches classes at the Creative Center, and he was there to see Joyce.  We were lucky enough to get to see what he has been working on lately.  He kindly gave me permission to include his photo, with one of his gorgeous quilts.

 I gave a demo on Saturday talking about ideas for 10 inch squares, since we had each brought either a black or yellow 10 inch square to exchange.  I haven't counted, but I should have at least 30 squares to work with to make a project to remember the retreat.

I made a new friend, met lots of fun ladies, got to know some women I already knew from Kearney a little bit better, and finished or progressed on several projects.  Did I mention there was wine and chocolate???




Monday, May 26, 2014

Just Can't Wait to Get on the Road...

I am RETREAT BOUND at the end of this week!  It is going to be so much fun, and I am looking forward to getting a lot of projects either done, or in a state of "doneness" that will inspire me to finish when I get home!  One of the projects that I plan to finish is a concoction using some charm squares and Lynne Hagmeier's (of Kansas Troubles) book called Loose Change and rulers.  I took a class with Lynne awhile ago, and have been wanting to make this fun quilt using her raw edge technique.

Five inch squares and 2 1/2 inch squares raw edge appliqued on top of ten inch squares...FUN!

Before heading out, I had some things to get finished.  I mailed my block off to Seattle for the American Made Brand Blog Tour.  I helped mom pick fabrics, designed a row, and sewed a row for the upcoming Row by Row Experience national Shop Hop beginning on July 1 and going through September 2.  There are 20 shops here in Nebraska participating, so we don't even have to leave the state to get plenty of rows for a quilt!  Of course, it would be more fun if we picked up a row here and there around the country!
Finally, I made and quilted a table runner out of some new Christmas fabric for the upcoming "Christmas in July" at mom's shop at the end of July so that I can take it along to retreat to sew down the binding.
Now...get packing, and I am outa here!