Thursday, December 3, 2009


I've finally checked some tasks off the list. You've been stressed about my list, I know. I hope you are all checking tasks off your list as well. Most of all, I hope this Christmas season will bring joy to you and yours. As you race about parking lots, malls, and Christmas programs, I hope moments of cup filling love and peace fill your hearts.

Merry Christmas from my full heart to yours.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Wait, wait, wait? Why didn't someone warn me about the holidays? You know, how they are coming up....What? I have had my little Noah's stocking cut out and ready to finish for 2 months now. Hmmmm, still have to do that hand embroidery for the front. Oh, yeah....maybe I should plan some neighbor gifts, and quick since we only have 2 weeks to get it all done. Holly Jolly....I also need to do the Christmas card, and since I have started designing my own cards, I can't just let Costco do it for me (even though costco rocks...seriously, rocks).

I guess this cruising along in survival mode isn't working out so well after all. I feel like I am barely getting the basics done like doing laundry, keeping up with the budget planning, taking care of my kids, and showering. I forgot all about planning for the holidays.

In the spirit of my realization, I thought I would give you my plan of attack. Here it goes.

Neighbor gifts......cookie dough, with a saying,..."everyone needs a little extra dough this Christmas" (or something like it). When? Sometime next week...I should think of packaging too.

Christmas cards....I have already started designing this. Think chocolate, red, and green. Pictures are to be taken bright and early on Friday morning. I have been playing around, I don't think I love it, but it will have to do.

I can do this...I can do this....

Stocking...Thanksgiving? In the down time, maybe my hubby can hold the cutie pie, and I can stitch away. Right?

Shopping/Wrapping: I got the kids done (hip hip hooray), but my hubby, that's another story. My parents? And, wrapping, can I hire that out?

What do you need to do?????

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Yes, yes, I have been invited to an ornament exchange. I have had about 7 minutes between each nursing session. So imagine my pleasure at actually having 40 minutes together last night. I quickly cut scraps of fabric and wool to make this little number. I absolutely love working with wool, yum. I got the wool from our local goodwill (100% wool skirt for $5, not a bad deal). The green, brown, and yellow....from my nice scrap bag. Maybe you want to pull a little something together, if so, here's the info. Merry Christmas.

Here's the scrap measurements:
wool: 3.5" squares
brown: 4.5"
greens: 3"
yellow: dime size circle

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fall Brings...

They tell me it's fall, and I guess I agree. The temperatures here have fallen to the 80's, that's cool...ish. I love baking, it is the only form of cooking that I actually enjoy. However, living in the desert means I only get to do this half the year. You know, when the thought of turning on the oven sounds bearable. When temperatures last week dipped all the way into the 70's, the baking began. There is nothing better than smelling something divine baking in the kitchen. I have a fabulous, and I mean it, recipe for banana bread. For those of you who want to make a little something to ring in this new season, give this recipe a shot, you will love it.

Banana Sour Cream Bread
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup butter
3 cups white sugar
3 eggs
6 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking soda
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional).

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease four 7x3 inch loaf pans. In a small bowl, stir together sugar and cinnamon. Dust pans lightly with cinnamon and sugar mixture.

In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar. Mix in eggs, mashed bananas, sour cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix
in salt, baking soda and flour. Stir in nuts. Divide into prepared pans.

Bake for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Here I am, tending to sick kids and a darling baby (should I say handsome?), and I keep thinking about fabric and quilt designs. I keep thinking about all the different styles there are in quilting. There are muted fabrics, bright fabrics, pastel fabrics, vintage fabrics, two tone fabrics, 70's fabrics, 40's fabrics, etc.....

We all have a certain style. There are those in the quilting world who love muted fabrics, and intricate designs.

quilt by Kim Deihl

Some like bright colors, complex prints, and simple and big blocks.

quilt by Amy Butler

I have tendency to love a lot of different styles. But, if I have to be completely honest, I love the modern fabrics, and I adore simple designs. I tend to gravitate towards simple blocks that let the fabric tell the story, or let the colors come out and play. I guess my love of simplicity goes beyond quilting to all facets of my life. I like to decorate my home simply, cook simply (one pot cooking, that's my style), and dress simply.

There are many who love more complexity. Isn't that great!!!! I love seeing what others come up with. I have seen some fabulous quilts in the world that go the other direction...and they are amazing (just not ME).

So, now I am asking you, what is your style? What kinds of designs do you gravitate towards? Is it the classic quilts? Is it the modern quilts? Do you like curves or straight lines? Do you have a favorite shape, color, etc... in quilting?

Friday, October 16, 2009

I'm Alive

So, has anybody told you that babies take a lot of time and energy? Well, they do. They also take away your sleep. However, they reward you with snuggles, loves, and tender moments. This little guy is taking quite a bit of my time right now, but I promise, this blog will have something moderately interesting to read soon. Maybe not interesting, but it will have a new post!

I have been working on editing "the book" tonight. Each time I finish a phase of the publishing process, I get pretty excited about my designs coming to the world. How fun!!!!

My sweet mother and sisters gave me gobs of fabric for my birthday. I can hardly stand it. I want to dig in and start making more quilts. But, until my shoulders and shirts are spit-up free, I should probably stay away from the luscious fabric. Maybe not, spit-up washes out, right?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


The question came up....where should you buy great fabric??? I often buy things online because I am too lazy, too busy, or too something to make the 50 minute one way trip to my local "good" quilt store. So, what online sites do I visit?

If there is a particular fabric I am looking for (and I want a great deal), I google that fabric, and I can find the least expensive place to buy it. Good luck in all your purchases!!!

P.S. Good fabric matters...I am a big believer in buying quality fabric. Sometimes that means spending $9/yard. It's worth it!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

The Winner of the Diaper Clutch is...

(who's favorite movie is one of my own...Pride and Prejudice
with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle)

To get your diaper clutch, please contact me at

Monday, September 7, 2009


Happy to announce the arrival of

Noah Benjamin Bisel
11:08 p.m.

We are overcome with joy!!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Diaper Clutch Tutorial and Giveaway

For quite sometime I have been meaning to do this. Of course, I had a book to write, quilts to make, and Guilder to frame for it (name that movie). Finally, I have done it. I have made the diaper clutch, and taken pictures to make a tutorial.

The Giveaway

I have an extra one of these diaper clutches to give away. What do you have to do to win?
Leave a comment with your name, as well as your favorite movie. I will do a random drawing to determine the winner. The closing date will be September 9,09. If you would like 5 more entries into the drawing, put this on your blog (and let me know you did it, so I can visit your fun blog too!)

Here We GO!

Fabric Requirements:
I enjoy having different fabrics for the inside and outside of the diaper clutch. I have written the instructions to have different fabrics. You are perfectly welcome to use the same fabric throughout the project, to do a patchwork, to do all 4 different fabrics, etc..

Front and Pocket: 8 1/2"x 16" piece
8 1/2" x 11" piece
Inside and inside pocket: 8 1/2" x 16" piece
8 1/2" x 11" piece
Interfacing: 8 1/2"x 16" piece
8 1/2" x 11" piece
Velcro: 1 1/2" long strip

Step 1
Prepare all fabric, interfacing, and velcro pieces.

Iron on the interfacing to the wrong side of the front and pocket pieces.
For example, I ironed the interfacing onto both the tall and short brown damask pieces.

Step 2: Sew the pocket

1. Sew the two 8 1/2" x 11" pieces of fabric together, with right sides together.
2. Iron the seam
3. Sew the soft side of the velcro to the outside fabric of the pocket.
4. Fold at the seam, then top stitch 1/8" from the outside edge.

Step 3: Sewing Diaper Clutch together

1. Laying the inside and outside fabric pieces right sides together, trim the corners. You can choose to trim a curve, or a straight angle as I did. To trim equally, you can fold the fabric in half lengthwise, and cut both corners at the same time.
2. Sew the rough side of the velcro onto right side of the inside 8 1/2"x 16" piece of fabric.
3. Layer your fabric for sewing. (this might be the trickiest part, so pay attention).
The outside fabric of the pocket is on the bottom, right side facing up.
Next, lay the inside pocket right side facing down. I have the brown damask as my outside fabric, the two brown damask fabrics are touching at this point.
Place the other 8 1/2" x 11" piece, wrong side facing up.
4. Pin in place, and sew around the perimeter using a 1/4" seam. Leave a 4 - 5" area open (not sewn), to turn the diaper clutch right side out.

Step 4: Finish it Up!

1. Through the opening, grab the inside fabric, and start turning this baby so the right side is out. This can be slightly confusing, but keep going.
2. You now have a small opening that needs to be sewn closed. First, make sure all your corners are turned well, and then iron all the seams. For the opening, fold the fabric in towards the seam, and iron well (as shown below).

3. Sew around the perimeter of the diaper clutch with a 1/8" seam allowance. Make sure to secure your stitches at the start and stop of your stitching.

You are DONE!
Super fast and super easy!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Baby Quilts

Fabric line: Arcadia

This quilt is similar to a quilt I just made for my friend. I had extra fabric and thought I would whip up one for Noah since I loved the fabric so much. No fabric line, just bunches of greens and blues.

There is another quilt made from the Arcadia fabric, which I am too lazy at this moment to take a picture of... but imagine a larger quilt in a totally different pattern, and a brown fuzzy back. Yum. The kids love that quilt, and are asking me to make them one (hmmm, probably not right now). I loved making these quilts, it is so fun to prepare for a little one! The fuzzy brown back was not my favorite, quilting on that minkee is not a blessing...and the fuzzies cover the house more than I would like. I worked like a dickens' at then end of the process just to rid myself of all the fuzz. Now it is bound and perfect, and there is nary a brown fuzz in my house.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

nesting 2

In the book there is a pattern for some super cute burp cloths. I made a ton, and then I sent them off to the publisher. Now, that I have a month to get ready for little Noah, and I want to do lots of quilts, and other fun homemade things, I decided to simplify my burp cloths, and make them sans fun wool applique. After I finished making all these burp rags, I think I counted 20+ burp cloths. Hmmm, slightly more than I think I might need. Bj laughed at me, and then we decided it would be a great idea to start a "baby gifts" pile, that I can draw from when needed.

I made two with fabric covering the whole front of the burp cloth, and one which covers the end of the front and back. For the two sided burp cloth I used this tutorial...

Yesterday I came down with a less than pleasant cold. I spent the day in bed (compliments of all my kiddos being in school). Can I tell you, this little baby spent the day moving, grooving, and kicking me all day. All his moving reminded me that he really is coming, and soon. As each day passes, I get more and more excited to meet him. To know him, to cuddle him, and to get my body back (yes, I miss being able to lay flat on my back). So, each of these fun nesting projects brings me one day closer to using them on my sweet little Noah.

Monday, August 3, 2009


After I got this little "book" done, I have been busily nesting. The plan is to give you a couple of my nesting ideas in the next few posts.

Today's is a boppy slipcover. I found the instructions here. I made the pattern differently, by putting the zipper in the seam, instead of making it on the top/bottom of the boppy (I thought it would be more comfortable that way). This pattern took me about 30 minutes to prepare, and then about 1 hour to actually sew. I love that I got to choose the fabric (from my happy stash of fabric), and that I didn't have to pay a billion dollars for the moderately cute boppy covers the manufacturer prepares.

Now I am off to work on these.....

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Can it BE?

Can it be true? Yes, that is my submission. All wrapped up special for the publisher. I got this special little package out the door last Wednesday at about 4:45 p.m. after busting my chops to finish up before I left on vacation. You wouldn't believe the joy I felt as I left the post office. I turned up my radio, danced the only way a pregnant lady can dance, and sang as loud as I could. The editing process now stands before me, but it is out of my hands for the moment, and I couldn't be more pleased. I keep hoping this book will actually help someone find a love for quilting. I hope the tips/tricks/patterns will inspire others to fall in love with fabric, design, and quilting. Or, at least I hope people can find some joy in making some more contemporary and fun quilts.

A great big special thanks to these two beautiful ladies, for helping me finish up the book. My mom came into town for a few days, and she took it upon herself to trim up, iron, and prepare my quilts for their pictures. Her help really gave me the extra push I needed to get this "baby" out the door. Thanks, Mom, for your hard work. And Nana Laura, what a Saint. Thanks to her I was able to have 1 child-free day each week, where I could work without being interrupted. I know this process would have been much harder if Nana Laura weren't so wonderful by taking my kids to countless swim lessons, and teaching them the joys of making chocolate cake in a sandwich maker. Thanks to the Mom's....I sure love ya!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Almost finished! What's left???? I know you are dying to know. Well, I have 2 more quilts to finish the binding on....not too shabby! Then, I get to take pictures of the quilts, and I am good to go. Of course, I am sure there will be another "read through," and I might find some more "odds and ends" things....but I am feeling lighter (okay, you know that has to be figurative, because each day I am growing larger and getting heavier, but I digress).

Seriously, what a relief.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fabric-The RULE!


I have tried to explain to friends and family the importance of mixing up your fabrics a bit. It has been so nice having Jelly Rolls, Charm Packs, Layer Cakes, Honey Buns, etc... on the market. However, quilts need a little dash of something to make them sing.

I was reading this blog today, and it was defined much better. The 80/20 rule. If you are using a fabric line, use 80% of one line, but throw in at least 20% of something else that matches, but will certainly have a deeper or lighter...more importantly a different value than what is included in the designers line. I love to use a "line" of fabric, but I always like to throw in a little something different and fun to make the quilt interesting and to make it pop.
In happy book writing news...I think I am almost done. The list keeps getting shorter, and the manuscript is finally all written. Can you believe it?

So here's the to do:

_____I need to actually finish all the quilts...still working on hand sewing 9 quilts bindings...only 4 more quilts to go.
_____Make sample blocks of for three more quilts
_____Take pictures and print 2 copies of each quilt/project
_____Get photo labels ready
_____Photoshop the author picture
_____Dedication and Acknowledgments
_____I am sure there is something else???? Maybe not

The list doesn't make me cry! Isn't that great? I have been so blessed to have such a supportive family through all of this. My mother in law has helped so much by taking the kids once a week so I can work my fanny until it is certainly glued to my office chair. My husband has supported me so much, I love his guts more I can express. And, sweet Mitchell brags about me to anyone he can, he encourages me every day to finish up, and he prays I will do a great job.

I really hope I have done a good job on the book. I still don't know if I am the best technical writer in the world, and I am so grateful I will have editors screening my manuscript. I just pray this book can help some soul fall in love with quilting, just like I did.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lovin' the mess

This is my life lately.  Messy.  My desk is stacked with papers, rulers, tape measures, pens, peanut m&m's, dove chocolate, checks I should have cashed already, cups of water (half full, of course), templates, and little tokens of love from the kids.  Cleaning day at our house is every Friday, but this little corner of our home is ignored.  This is organized chaos.  I wouldn't want to lose my place, or a small template piece.  I certainly have tried to stay organized, and be Martha perfect.  Alas, I am not Martha.  I do the best I can, I write portions of the book whenever I have a free moment, and then I am pulled away to cure cuts, kiss cheeks, clean up spills, fix lunches, do laundry, make dinner,  and to tear apart fighting little munchkins.   

My favorite part is that I have about 5 different spiral notebooks filled with random thoughts, measurements, and directions.  Hmmm, I must really love sifting through all my writings.  But, we're getting closer.  I just finished my 11th pattern.  One more pattern to go!!!!!!!!  After that, there is still tons of work to do, but I am on the path.  At the start of this journey I could barely see how in the world I could accomplish all the tasks that lay at my feet.  I am so grateful for everyone who has prayed for me (my sweet kids pray for me and my book almost every night), or has babysat for me, or who has happily been neglected by me....  I might actually accomplish this goal!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ode to Fabric

Hello Fabric.  I just wanted to let you know how much I love you.  I love stroking you, imagining what you might become.  I dream of ways to make you dance and play with the stacks of other fabrics beside you.  I dream of one day having not only one huge shelf of fabric, but two, or maybe three, why quit there, maybe four.  I have my favorites of course, I lean towards loving those Moda's, there are so many fabulous Moda fabrics, and the weave is fabulous.  AHHH, silky, beautiful, soft, and PERFECT.  But, then, how can I forget Freespirit...with Joel Dewberry, and who doesn't love Amy Butler.  Okay, so I just love fabric.  I imagine a time (maybe in heaven), where time is not an issue, and I can accomplish all my fabric dreams without having to do laundry,  or make dinner, or do my church callings, or even sleep.  Until then, I shall love the sight of you, and I'll pull you off the shelves to stroke you.  Someday,  I will have a little more time to give you the attention you truly deserve.  Until then, sleep tight.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Just so you know.  Eating these beauties is much easier than writing directions.   Luckily, I have a fabulous mother-in-law who has taken my kids for the day so I could slave away writing instructions.  I thought I might get so much done.  But, alas, writing instructions for batting, backs, basting, marking, quit labels, and hard.  Who knew?  So, now I am taking a break from writing "basics" instructions, and I am going to go ahead with an actual pattern.  Seriously, can't I just stick with the peanut m&m's?

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Best Hubby

Just because I have the best hubby in the world, I actually finished quilting the 9 quilts I needed to quilt.  It has been a long road, and fun at the same time.   I am amazed what a little fire under your belly will help you accomplish.  I have had some of these quilt tops done for many months...but it took a book deal for me to get in gear to get it done.  One of these quilts I actually made from start to finish yesterday (okay, I have made 3 like it already, I just gave them I had to do it again).  Here is a "sneak peak" of the quilts.  There are muted colors, brights, wild patterns, more traditional ones, and some completely crazy stuff.   You might think I should be done now... well, I just have quilt labels and binding to do before they are done.  Luckily, I love those parts, so hopefully I won't put it off like I did with the quilting.  I have spent part of today writing instructions and patterns.  I would like to thank the makers of peanut m&m's for making my day a little sweeter.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pre-wound Bobbins

After going through a dozen of the evergreen color in just 2 days, I thought I might write a little tribute to the prewound bobbin.  Oh, how I love them.  Why????  Who knew that bobbins could inspire thoughts of love and admiration.  Well, the first and most obvious reason is that I don't have to wind the bobbin myself.  This, in and of itself, saves me a few precious minutes.  Second, and most importantly, more thread is wound on these babies, and that means more time sewing, less time changing those pesky little "beauties."  Seriously, when you are doing quilting on a big project (like I am right now), who wants to deal with moving that big quilt on and off the machine more than you have too.    I was hesitant to use prewound bobbins, thinking they might cause my fabulous machine some issues.  Ahhh, no way.  I use these babies from Superior Threads (100% cotton), with the cardboard (instead of plastic).  Love it.  Just peal the card board off, throw the bobbin (bare) into the case, and I am ready to go.   So, if you are a sewing fanatic (or you just sew sometimes) try these out, you may fall in love.  

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


After the perfect Mothers Days weekend (Bj took the kids while I stayed home and finished quilting 2 more quilts), we have realized that maybe we should have spent the weekend home snuggled in our beds.  Our little ones, were recovering from being sick...but after this weekend, they experienced a full relapse.  I spent last evening in Urgent Care with miss Liz with croup treatments, and my Maddie and Mitchell have missed more school in the last 2 weeks than they have all year.  They are all home with me right now, and the fun never ends.  Yesterday I had many dreams of getting one more quilt quilted as well as one chapter written.  Alas, I spent the day with a nebulizer, coughing kids, and a contracting belly.  For some reason, after the kids were all tucked in their beds and finally asleep I was too exhausted to do anything useful with myself.  Ah well, these little "bumps" in my road will definitely come, but I am hoping the experience will make the book even better.  I can dream right?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Getting it DONE!

After working for months and months designing and piecing together my patterns, let's just say I got tired.  Well, honestly, I got pregnant...and then I got REALLY tired.  So, I took a couple months off.  Now, with the book's deadline coming up, pictures, due, etc... I really need to have these quilts QUILTED!    So, I have put the foot to the machine pedal and worked until my thread is almost gone (as you can see in the picture above).   I have seriously felt the Tender Mercies as I have quilted.  Two times I have finished quilting a quilt with only inches of thread left in my bobbin.  For those quilters out know what kind of blessing that is.  I am having a great time working with such a deadline (plus, it is nice to have an excuse to neglect housecleaning, dinners, makeup, laundry, etc.).  So, off to get some more stuff done!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

This could be the Start...

I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Let's hope so!  It is official, I got the contract in the mail today.  I am writing a quilting book, (gasp) and I am so excited, as well as slightly intimidated.   I have been thinking about doing something for ages, and I have either been too busy, or too scared to try anything.  That was, until last year, I finally got the itch, and I went for it.  I have spent the last year, drawing, playing, cutting, shopping, writing, hoping, etc...  It has been an interesting journey, and one that I have definitely learned from.    So, I have a long journey ahead of me in writing this manuscript (due in August)...but maybe not long enough.  However, with this little guy arriving in September, it will be perfect to get this done, and not have it hanging over me.  Of course, there is that pesky "editing" process.     I truly am so excited to do this project.  I know it is going to be labor intensive, I know my time will not be my own, I know there will be sacrifices my family will have to make, and at the end of it I will have a completed book to show for it.   

So, in all my excitement, I am hoping to share with you my journey.  I would also love to share tutorials, inspiration, etc.  Hopefully, I will have the time to share it as it comes.  Wish me luck.