Review of Leah Day’s FREE MOTION QUILTING DVDs…..

Review of Leah Day’s DVD
Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I treated myself to an early Christmas present and bought the DVD comb from Leah Day on Black Friday. I got the BASICS FOR BEGINNERS and BEGINNER FREE MOTION QUILTING FILLER DESIGNS. I have been following her on line on her blog and YOU TUBE video posts. I enjoy her presentation and the information she presents. Leah goes into depth with her instructions of FMQ, bringing up some considerations I had not thought of before. I enjoyed the ways she discusses her thought process on how she tackles FMQ for a big quilt or a whole cloth. i loved her discussion on strategy, I have not seen or heard the same from some of the other FMQ DVDs I have looked at. Leah shows how to load a larger size quilt, I loved her squoosed phraseology. I have been following along with her instructions with the idea of improving my FMQ. I am making a series of fancy “pot holders” while I practice my lessons. I am practicing what SHE preaches… so wish me luck.

I loved Leah’s presentation of FREE MOTION QUILTING my only complaint was the sound quality. I watched the DVDs with my neighbor who wears hearing aides and she had trouble hearing the DVD because of the sound quality. I think Leah records with her husband in her basement studio so they pick up sound distortion. . We picked up some “echo” during PARTS of the recording. It was not terrible and was tolerable for me. During the times she was actually showing the quilting, her sound and voice was understandable and easy to hear for both of us.

We mastered the “echo” problem by using a MY ZONE HEAD SET for my friend, she could adjust the sound and hear better but we could not watch the DVD together so she borrows it .

I am enjoying the DVDs which are very like her YOU tube videos. I would recommend the series to beginner FM quilters. I think Leah’s DVDs has a lot to offer. I was impressed that this was a HOME PRODUCTION that was made by Leah and her husband.



Free Motion Quilting Project

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Cook books to the rescue of THANKSGIVING


The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The Original ClassicsThe Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The Original Classics by Martha Stewart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

2000, 2007

I do know how to cook,but I do not like to. The only reason to cook is to feed my family. I find basic American food to be too high in fat, salt, sugars and basically things that are bad for you. I also think a lot of it is pretty flat and tasteless. ( I love ethnic foods best.) This book is pretty much European in flavor and technique, but I do have to watch the salt and fat content of the recipes. I do consider it a GO TO BOOK for basic cooking, if I am stumped for what to bring to a gathering or party this and the sister book NEW CLASSICS are the books I read. I think they will save Thanksgiving this year. I reference it a lot. I consider it a great book to give to a new bride.

Yes I am using it for my THANKSGIVING TURKEY.

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The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The New ClassicsThe Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The New Classics by Martha Stewart Living
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This book and the ORIGINAL CLASSICS book are my GO TO COOKBOOK for basic American cooking. I often have to bring dishes to work potlucks and I usually pick a dish from these books and they are usually received well. I like this book a little better because the flavors are more ethnic and adventuresome. Many of the recipes are from Asian, Hispanic, African, Indian cultures along with other experimental American cuisine. The flavors are more experimental and exciting. Great gift to a new bride or a novice cook who wants to expand their pallet.

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More left over turkey recipes



HEAT  skillet with 2- 3 tbsp oil…… add chopped onions , raisins, 2 tablespoons curry powder, 1/2 tsp salt … saute till onions are tender… 5 to 7 minutes.Stir in chopped garlic ( four cloves) and 4 tsp fresh grated ginger root stir for a minute.

Stir in leftover roasted vegetables ( Any root vegetables work good,  I usually make extra just to have left overs …..  carrots, turnips, parsnips, onion, potatoes, jicama is great. ) Frozen  peas/ snap or sugar pea pods…. Heat through add water or broth to keep moist  (few tablespoons at a time, avoid adding extra calories. )

 Add turkey …. When heated through take off the heat add plain yogurt and cilantro or chopped parsley.

I do not have an exact calorie count for this recipe but turkey is about 40 cal per ounce, it is the other stuff we do to our food that adds calories.



BAKE A REFRIGERATOR BISCUITS …. According to instructions … or use leftover from Thanksgiving dinner.

Making sauce, in  a skillet …. Heat 2 TBSP BUTTER ( unsalted)  chopped onion, sliced celery, 1/4 tsp plus dried thyme, salt 1/2 tsp….  Add 1/4 cup flour in small amounts until incorporated.  ( This gets rid of the raw flour / pasty taste of uncooked flour)  (optional add 1/4 cup vermouth or dry white wine or broth) Slowly whisk in  2-1/2 cup broth and 1/2 cup of heavy cream ( I use milk )  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.

Add leftover roasted vegetables, I also add any left over other vegetables… broccoli, cauliflower, or casserole (rice)   When heated trough add  cooked turkey ( 2 cups /plus)  and left over frozen pea pods or peas.   I have been known to throw cheese on top …. Then  Top with  biscuits.  I put my skillet in the oven at 350 just long enough to set the table.  Serve immediately.


I may have to cook an extra turkey in order to have enough turkey to make all the leftovers.  I also frequently freeze some of the sliced turkey to thaw at a latter date… Hubby will only eat so much turkey  so many days in a row. 





THANKSGIVING RECIPES: Family favorite left overs….


SLICED cooked turkey one pound
1 one jar artichoke hearts
clove fine chopped garlic
2 tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoon all purpose flour
SEASON to taste with salt (1/2 tsp) dash pepper and dash of nutmeg
one cup milk
1/4 cup dry white wine ( Called for in the original recipe but I have omitted it substituting broth. Good but a different flavor.)

In a baking dish, layer turkey, artichokes.

In a pan over medium heat, saute garlic. Reduce heat. Add flour and seasoning, stir continuously till smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat add wine and milk. Bring back to slow simmer stirring. Remove from heat add cheese and brandy, stir till melted. POUR OVER TURKEY AND ARTICHOKES. Sprinkle with paprika.

BAKE AT 350 degrees x 20 to 30 minutes

330 calories per serving / 6 servings

from Lisa Burmann's Studio / Two Fabric Challenge ...

This quilt was made by LISA BURMANN of Lisa Burmann Studios. It was shown in the HADLEY FALL HARVEST QUILT SHOW, last September. She originally made it for the OAKLAND COUNTY QUILT GUILD CHALLENGE but she challenged our EVENING STAR QUILT GUILD to join in for a similar challenge. We will have the big reveal next meeting. NOVEMBER 30, 2011 AMI SIMMS: “LIVING WITH QUILTS: A SURVIVAL GUIDE” ……… Ami Simms

CAN new potatoes, drained and rinsed
Cubes of cooked turkey
Chunked cuts of vegetables: onion, celery, green and red pepper, mushrooms,zucchini… what ever you like!
cherry tomatoes or grapes for the top of the kabobs.

Fry bacon till cooked and limped not crisp. DRAIN WELL.

For each kabob skewer potatoes, vegetables of your choice, chunks of turkey. Wrap a piece of bacon around the turkey by skewering the bacon adding the cube of turkey then adding the bacon.
Brush with Ginger Wine Sauce … but I find it easier to marinate the ingredients in a plastic bag for a while before assembling the kabobs.

Broil on high ( 550 degrees) or grill x 5-10 minutes, brush with more sauce.

1/2 CUP dry white wine
2 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoon soy sauce
CLOVE crushed garlic
Tablespoon cornstarch

Cook all ingredients in a sauce pan, till it thickens, stir continuously. Calories: 270 per kabob.

Gathering Gals of Hadley MI and their raffle quilt

These ladies are in my quilting group and I have known and worked. We have met at Elaine’s Quilty Shop each Wednesday since 2005. Times have changed, our life has changed, we are disbanding the weekly meetings; but never fear we will now be meeting once a month for open sewing meeting the FIRST WEDNESDAY of the month at the town hall. 4:30 pm til 8:30 pm. (The building where our quilt shows have been hosted.) The sewing sessions will be open to anyone who wants to quilt or learn how to quilt. We have few rules or requirements, except you must bring a project to work on. The quilt behind the ladies is a raffle quilt they made for HABITAT OF LAPEER, MI; it will be raffled this December.


OKAY, it is not turkey but I like it with chicken better. BTW I cook by the seat of my pants, and improvise all the time. Recipes posted from the original source but I make notations about how I changed and improvise them.

6 chicken breast, flatten between plastic wrap or wax paper.

Make a herb butter by softening half cup butter ( I usually make double and use in other recipes) Chop chives and / or chopped green onion tops (tbsp each) to taste, garlic POWDER 1/4 TSP to taste. Shape into a log about 1 to 2 inches round. freeze, then cut into small slices about 1/4 inch thick.

Take the flatten chicken breast and put a slice of the herb butter in the center. Roll/ fold and secure with tooth pick or long skewer.

Mix 3 cups crushed corn flakes, Two tablespoons snipped parsley, 1/2 tablespoon paprika
butter milk or milk ( 1/2 cup) (Can add an egg, beaten in the dip.)

Dip the chicken roll in the butter milk then in the cereal mixture. Place rolls in a baking dish seamed side down. Cook uncovered at 425 degrees x 30-35 minutes.

265 calories per serving

I have substituted the corn flakes for other plain cereals when I did not have cornflakes. I have also used bread crumbs… my favorite was rye bread crumbs. For the dip I have substituted plain yogurt and or sour cream ( half and half) It usually depends upon what I have in my kitchen that day. I also increased the amount of seasonings, because I am Italian and love the flavors of garlic, chives and or green onions.

Happy Quilting,
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On point or Straight Set : Quatrefoil – 150

I made the this block exactly like the book, ( Modern Blocks: from your Favorite Designer) but I have been playing with it and have made some modifications to the block. I will be posting a picture of my favorite block and quilt modification.



Straight Set - 150 QUATREFOIL

BOOK REVIEWS: Setting Solutions

Setting SolutionsSetting Solutions by Sharyn Squier Craig

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This is my go to book when I have a problem quilt.

Defining the Norm… figuring out what went wrong.

Reconciling Size Difference

Color Corrections

Dare to be different


Alternating Possibilities

Organizing YOUR Orphan Blocks

Corner Cutters

Project Maps

Wrap it UP

The one problem with the book as it is old and the quilts are somewhat dated. I have seen quilts using these techniques and they are lovely, but right now I am looking for a new and different setting.

There are a lot of great technique in this book that will make quilts special.  All of Sharyn’s books are good for problem solving and great looking quilts.

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Book Review : Quick Quilts from Your Scrap Bag (For the Love of Quilting)

Quick Quilts from Your Scrap Bag (For the Love of Quilting)Quick Quilts from Your Scrap Bag by Patricia Wilens

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was one of the first quilt books I got. I got as a guild sales book, but I would buy it again. I frequently use the patterns for baby quilts. I particularly like the house quilt in which I embroider the names of family on the houses when I make a baby quilt with it.

This book uses your scraps to make quilts, frequently using some quick cut techniques. I love the STARS AND CROSSES quilt which was featured on Fons and Porter TV show as a quilt made by young Mary Fons. I loved and have used the quick sew technique of making BRAVE WORLD blocks. The book also included several applique patterns.

The fabric in this quilt ran the gamete ….. brights, repros, 30s, traditional, home spun. I would like to see some of the quilts in some contemporary fabrics.


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BOOK REVIEW: Creative Scraps: Quilting with Bits and Pieces.

Creative Scraps; Quilting with Bits and Pieces; 67 Beautiful Quilts to EnjoyCreative Scraps; Quilting with Bits and Pieces; 67 Beautiful Quilts to Enjoy by Various

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


This is a collection of traditional quilting patterns. Machine quilting done on these quilts are minimalistic mostly hand quilting and stitch in the ditch. I liked several of the quilts especially TURNING LEAVES-140 and the swirling star block in STARS AND STRIPES-164.  I am wondering why every time a book says they are making quilts from scraps the quilts look like they are totally coordinated.


Many of the blocks were large composed of four quadrants and mirror images made from smaller patches.

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I am playing with EQ7 this time I am looking for blocks made with HALF SQUARE (2-1/2 inch) TRIANGLES. This block was made in an unconventional way with some waste but I love it’s versatility. There are so many different setting for it. I would love to see this in navy and cream scrappy blocks. What do you think?? So many ideas, so little time to bring them to fruition.







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Second Version of Amy Ellis’ block Stonehenge-183

I started playing with the colors of this block to see what would happen to the secondary pattern. The quilt took on a whole new look. I have some great red, blue and shirting(s) in my stash I want to use up. I know this is a modern block but I think the traditional fabrics will look good in quilt. AND I AM LIVING OUT OF MY STASH.

BLOCK A- Stonehenge-183

Block B--Stonehenge-183


Stonehenge-183 version one

Stonehedge-183- version two

I twisted every other block in this quilt to change to look, just to see.

HOPE YOU like my EQ efforts and will consider purchasing this book. I think it is well worth the money.


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Can Not Sew—but I can dream!

I have not had time or energy to sew this week… getting some painting done on the nights my three year old grandson is not home. Slow but sure works this turtle. I might be done in a year. I am working on my kitchen / sewing area so I can get it up and running. I set up a small sewing area up in the corner of a bedroom. At night I have been sewing two and half inch triangles using three methods. I will be posting pictures and simple tutorials in the future.

On other nights I have been playing with my EQ, which brings me to the topic of today’s blog. I have been playing with Amy Ellis’ Stonehenge –183 block for several nights. She has just blogged about …… Amy’s blocks in MODERN BLOCKS. I am posting the original version of the block and hopefully this weekend the another block where I played with color.

One thing I have noted about the book, most of the directions are based on straight piecing of small patches. That is great for scrappy quilts (controlled or uncontrolled) where you sew cut patches together. For two color quilts I prefer strip sets. I am going to have to figure it out for myself. Another problem with the book is the lack of yardage for quilts, but having reviewed other block books they never include yardage for quilts either. I guess I am getting lazy in my old age and want everything handed to me. Maybe, it is because I hate math.

block B- 183 Stonehenge

block A-183

Amy Ellis -182- Modern Block


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Playing with EQ – Learning to draw Curves

lemon lime -v2-102

Lemon and Lime 102-v2

Lemon Lime Quilt -102 v2-mod

This was my first block I drew and worked on for two hours.


Lemon and Limes Block- 102

Lemon and Lime Quilt on Point

Lemon and Limes Quilt -102- original

I am once again playing in EQ but this time I am trying to learn how to use the EASY DRAW feature with the curved line patch draw. This is harder than I thought because I often do not get the snaps closed which results in excessive coloring when I apply the fabric colors from the stash. All the contrast between the different segments in the block. I have tried multiple times and finally I got he block I wanted, but it took several hours.

The block I played with was LEMONS AND LIMES-102, from my current favorite book…. MODERN BLOCKS, from your Favorite Designers. The block is made of a combination of traditional DRUNKARDS PATH patches and plain colored patches. I found I really liked the block set on point. I have only made one on point quilt, but I think I am willing to try another one.

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Surprise from EQ play and sewing anywhere and no where…..



Well the house is still being painted and I still do not have a sewing area. Furniture and stuff (junk) is being shifted from room to room while the painting is going on. I might never get the house back together. Painting can only be done on the weekend my grandson is not at home. During the weeks in between I run around getting supplies and cleaning and just trying to survive. I have been de-cluttering and downsizing, planning for the future trying to make the house more liveable for now and the future

I have not had a place to sew for a while but I have come up with a substitute area by getting rid of a dresser I have been able to set up my new sew-ezi portable table against a wall in a bedroom. I have also been able to sew in the living room when no one else is at home. I cannot work on big projects but I can piece. I am currently working on half square triangles. I am participating in an exchange at two local quilt shops. One shop is limiting their half square triangles to civil war/ 1800 reproductions or batik fabrics. The other shop just wants darks and lights mostly neutrals. My project will be very scrappy as I have been sewing for both groups. We are using triangle papers to help people maintain correct size… One store sells THANGELS, the other store uses Edyta Sitar’s triangle papers, either papers can be used at either store. Several ladies are also printing out their own triangle papers using a software program. I plan to review all the products on a future blog / podcast.

Today’s post I am just going to discuss the blocks/ quilt I am planning to put my triangle patches into. I found this block in MODERN BLOCKS from your Favorite Designers. I plugged it into EQ and was totally taken back by the final quilt top. I did not foresee how the blocks would look in a quilt. I was totally and pleasantly surprised. Originally I was not excited about the triangle exchange and was just participating because my friends were. Now that I have selected this pattern I can look forward participating in the exchange. I will be posting on this project while it is in progress.


BOOK REVIEW: Perfect Blocks in Minutes-The Make It Simpler Way

Perfect Blocks in Minutes-The Make It Simpler Way: Revolutionary Technique, One-Piece Paper Foundations to Fold and Sew, 60 Traditional BlocksPerfect Blocks in Minutes-The Make It Simpler Way: Revolutionary Technique, One-Piece Paper Foundations to Fold and Sew, 60 Traditional Blocks by Anita Grossman Solomon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Ms Solomon developed her own method of paper piecing. I think this book was the primer / workbook for her classes. She has lots of pictures explaining her technique. She presents over 20 different blocks but has multiple colorways for all the blocks making the look like different blocks by shifting the values and color placements. I think this technique is something I would like to investigate further… Foundation, glue patches sew and fold the seams for accurate paper piecing. ( 6 inch blocks, finished …. 6-1/2 inch squared up)

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BOOK REVIEW: Stitch-opedia: The only embroidery reference you’ll ever need.

Stitch-opedia: The Only Embroidery Reference You'll Ever NeedStitch-opedia: The Only Embroidery Reference You’ll Ever Need by Helen Winthorpe Kendrick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This book was reviewed by Sandy at QUILTING FOR THE REST OF US, podcast. The illustrations of the stitchery alone is worth the price of the book. I am very happy I purchased this book. I am with Sandy when she says she wanted more historical information about the needlework. I too wanted more information about the source of the embroidery.

I remember doing this type of needlework for my daughter on the heirloom dresses I made. THEN SHE GREW UP and wanted STORE BOUGHT clothes like the rest of her friends.

Back in the early 1980s I took a series of classes from Shay Pendray (Hostess of THE NEEDLE WORKSHOP on PBS.) She specialized in Japanese embroidery and needlework in her shop but she taught all type of needle-works. I also took a class in Colonial embroidery through Henry Ford Museum in Detroit. This book is a good review of those classes.

What I found surprising about this book was how much things have changed and how things stayed the same. Notions, threads, fabrics evolve and improve while the stitches are the same but applied in new ways. I just might get back into stitchery again as I always found it enjoyable and relaxing.

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Book Review: Complete Encyclopedia of Needlework… book worth finding…

The Complete Encyclopedia of NeedleworkThe Complete Encyclopedia of Needlework by Therese De Dillmont
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have two copies of Complete Encyclopedia of Needle-works. One copy was purchased in the 1970 in a used book store. I recently purchased the updated version from 1987 at a quilt show sale table. Although, not all inclusive of all needlework techniques this book tries to include every one of them.

The text is a little dry but the illustrations are sufficient enough to allow a person to learn how to do some of the techniques. I have used many of them over the years. Several detailed patterns are included.

Each edition I have seen has been expanded upon. The earlier edition included knitting and crochet but later editions concentrated only on stitching, sewing, embroidery in all it’s forms. My only complaint is that the pictures are in black and white and the book is thick and squat, I would prefer a book 8 x 10 so it would fit on my book shelf better.

Techniques in the book:




Multiple Embroidery Techniques



Open work

Needle made laces
Linen embroidery

White work / Black work

Silk and Velvet Embroidery

Embroidery Lace

English Work / Venetian embroidery

If I come across another copy of this book I will probably buy it … I need a copy for the cabin up north. I also own several copies of I have two copies of Encyclopedia of Needle-works. One copy was purchased in the 1970 in a used book store. I recently purchased the updated version from 1987 at a quilt show sale table.


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Encyclopedia of Needlework (with chapter navigation)Encyclopedia of Needlework by Thérèse de Dillmont
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


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