Patriotic Star

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July just wouldn’t be July without red, white and blue. And stars.

So, here’s a little something to celebrate. Click the link for a free pattern download:

Patriotic Star – complete

© 2017 Beverly Hicks Burch

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Free Pattern – Windmill

Today’s free pattern is a easy 6 inch block. I’ve presented it in bright colors, but you can use your own color scheme.

You’ll want to piece the interior windmill first by sewing the B pieces together. Finally, you’ll sew 2 A pieces together to form each corner and then attach to each corner.

Press seams toward dark fabric.

Windmill – Complete Pattern download here.

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Happy National Quilting Day

Today is National Quilting Day, so I thought I’d share the pattern for a cute little wall hanging to celebrate the day.

Easy, small and fun, you can whip it together in no time. Click on the link to open the PDF.

As always, I suggest 100% cotton fabric.

Jen’s Spools Complete

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© 2017 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

Experimenting with Color

When I first started quilting, very quickly I learned color can make or break a quilt. I spent some time learning the Color Wheel. I read a lot about color and how colors work together to create certain looks. I also learn it’s ok to take risks sometimes. They actually pay-off.

Here’s a resource that you might find interesting – a tutorial on how to use the Color Wheel when picking colors for your projects.

Let’s look now at a design I’ve been playing around with. I’ve combined two blocks – the Honey Bee and the Pinwheel Nine Patch. I played around with color and here’s the result on one such experiment:

Honey Bee Mystery Color edition

I know! Kind of wild, right? I have some other selections more subdued, but I thought this would be good to illustrate my point.

Now, I’ve had the opportunity to play with more colors to see which I prefer. I thought I’d give you the same opportunity with, what else, a quilter’s coloring sheet.

Honey Bee Coloring Sheet

Click on the link above and you should be able to open a PDF file that you can print out and try your hand at experimenting with color. Your download with look similar to this:

Honey Bee Coloring Sheet

Have fun playing with color – and don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone. If you do try it out, post some of your results in the comment section.

© 2017 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where is Liz Porter?

My Tall & Handsome and I have always enjoyed watching Fons and Porter on our local PBS station on Saturday afternoons. We usually would DVR the show and watch it later. We got a lot of good tips and inspiration from the show.

A few years ago we began to notice Liz Porter was missing from the show and wondered where she was.

Good news for Liz, but sad news for us – Liz has retired to Texas and from the sound of it is having a grand time. Catch up with Liz in this article from APQS: Up Close Quilting with Liz Porter.

Why quilting is ‘uniquely’ good for us | Daily Mail Online

I personally deal with several chronic and disabling autoimmune disorders and ailments. I’m a two times non-smoking lung cancer survivor. I’ve been quilting for 30 years or more now and I can tell you quilting has seen me through illness and a divorce. I have found comfort in quilting that is in nothing else.

The link to the article below is about a Glasgow University study that has found the beneficial quality quilting offers quilters.

A Glasgow University study found quilting improved well-being in ways physical and outdoor activities could not, offering a creativity that had been ‘stifled’ in the modern world.

See article here: Why quilting is ‘uniquely’ good for us | Daily Mail Online

How to Choose Quilt Batting: Tips to Keep in Mind

If you’re getting ready to quilt you latest quilt top, this article has some great info that will help pick the batting for your project.

From cotton batting to polyester blends, the batting choices available to quilters are vast. Learn more about your options for choosing quilt batting.

See Article:  How to Choose Quilt Batting: Tips to Keep in Mind

Oh, Those Hexies!

We’ve all had our own person experience with hexies – also know as hexagons. For the last several years they’ve been quite the rage.

I developed a fondness for hexies years ago as a young quilter when I was honing my English paper piecing skills. I’ve used them to make Grandmother’s Flower Garden blocks among other things.

Imagine my surprise to discover yet another technique for those lovable hexies. It’s a paperless hexie – that’s right, no template required. Take a look and see what you think.

 

© 2016 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 8 The BamaSteelMagnolia’s Diaries: Nobody Climbs Mountains for Scientific Reasons or Delectable Mountain

It’s been almost two years since I wrote my last chapter in The BamaSteelMagnolia’s Diaries. To say the least, during that time Tall & Handsome and I have seen our fair share of mountains and valleys. To borrow from Sir Edmund Hillary, “Nobody climbs mountains for scientific reasons.”

I can assure you T & H and I haven’t been on a long science project and we sure haven’t been on the giant whirly-gig of fun grabbing brass ring after brass ring. No, in fact, a time or two we’ve felt like Atlas, but instead of shouldering the universe on our back, we’ve been pushing it up Mount Everest with a teaspoon.

But, it got better, I promise – and I plan on it continuing in that direction.

In a nutshell in 2014 within five month T & H had an accident at work and broke his leg at his ankle. I had a car accident (no health insurance) and the vehicle was totaled and T & H had triple bypass surgery. He went from being a man who had always been as healthy as an ox to a man who missed death by a hair when we discovered his widow maker artery was blocked 100% and two others were blocked 95% and 97%. He was a dead man walking. There’s like a cholesterol problem in his family – RIGHT?! There was definitely Divine Intervention working in his favor during that time. I developed serious shoulder problems and bad plantar fasciitis.  In the era of mobility I became frustratingly immobile.

Yep, mountains…and mountains…and mountains, oh, yeah and more mountains…

I’ve never seen mountains as obstacles. In fact, I’m a mountain (and cooler weather) person verses beach person any day of the week, any time of the year. Being in the mountains make my heart sing and my spirits soar. I’ve always attributed my love of the mountains to the fact I was born in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee. Yep, I’m a mountain girl from good strong, and sometime stubborn mountain stock. And, I take pride in that.

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My Daddy was born in Townsend – the quiet side of the Smokies. And, that’s saying a lot, because the Smoky Mountains of my childhood aren’t the Smoky Mountains of today.

For instance, take Gatlinburg. T & H recently showed me a very 1950s-ish looking picture. It looked like a scene that had just jumped out of an old 1950s black and white TV set – only someone had added color.

I took one look at it and said, “That’s Gatlinburg! That’s the Gatlinburg of my childhood!” Remember, my T & H is a native New Mexican so that’s why I was being a little emphatic.

Here is a similar picture to the one he showed me. (I would love it if the photographer would contact me so I could get more details and add an attribution to the photo.)

Gatlinburg of the 1950s

This is what Gatlinburg looked like when I was a child. There was no Titanic floating downtown, no Rebel’s corner, no neon light – nothing to make it look like a misplaced Las Vegas hiding out next to a UN protected biosphere. And, half of it certainly had not being bought up by Arabic investors changing the face of a good solid Southern mountain town. This town was quiet, peaceful and beautiful. It was natural. It had been settled by people who were from my Momma’s side of the family and many of the business were owned by those families. It was kind of like Mayberry.

We would drive up to visit my Daddy’s parents and take drives through the mountains. Go on wonderful little hikes, wade in ice cold mountain streams and picnic under stately old trees that offered shade in the summer and a kaleidoscope of color in the fall.

We would drive over to Kinzel Springs where my great Aunt Ruthie lived to visit her. She lived in a big green house that was perched on the side of a mountain. We had to cross a little foot bridge over one of those cold mountain streams to get to her door. One thing I’ll always remember about Aunt Ruthie’s house was how cool it was in the summer time. Was it because of all the shade of those lovely trees, the side of the mountain and the cool mountain stream coursing its way a few feet from her door?

I don’t know. I just know Aunt Ruthie’s deserved a place in a C. S Lewis tale. A tale where an Aslan like mountain character takes sisters from the `burbs on an adventure dodging creepy mountain haints, saving the forest, learning a good morality lesson,  guided and nurtured by a tall, thin, loving great-aunt’s wise mountain ways.

If you’re Southern mountain folk you pretty much know you’re Scots – Irish. Since I’m a genealogist I knew I was Scots – Irish with a good smattering of English and German thrown in. During the past two years a fun thing I participated in was a DNA testing. Included was an ethnicity breakdown. It confirmed a lot I knew or suspected, but, my oh, my did I also get some surprises!

Check – Scots, Irish, English and West European (which includes Germany). Surprises – 12% Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal), 9% Scandinavia – (seriously?!), 7% East European; 1% Finland/Russia and traces of south Asia (this may account for my secret guilty pleasure of Bollywood) and traces of the Middle East.

Lawdy, lawdy – I’m a one person melting pot!

But, when I look at all these location I realized something  – they’re all marked by wondrous mountain ranges. The Alps in Germany, the fjords of Scandinavia, the Pyrenees that separate the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of Europe, the Himalayas of India. It seems mountains have marked my ancestry for generations and centuries.

My love of mountain truly is in my DNA…

So, for a little girl who grew up in the suburbs, those visits to Gatlinburg and the Smokies of days gone by was like visiting a magical, mystical place. You could almost expect to see Bonnie Prince Charles step out of the Smoky mist…

And, now you know why Delectable Mountains had to be one of the blocks in my diary quilt.

This block is a 6 inch pieced block. Use a quarter inch seam allowance when piecing. Below you’ll find directions for rotary cutting and placement for piecing.

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Delectable Mountain – Pieced

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© 2016 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.