Blog Archive

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


First I want to thank all of you that participated in the blog tour. I know that Quilter's Newsletter is happy about the number of people who were reading the blogs. Remember, there are more blogs each day this week so be sure to go to them to get extra chances to have your name drawn.

I also want to thank those who signed up for my newsletter. They will be getting a copy of the most recent newsletter that went out. It includes free patterns of mine on the web and other neat stuff.

For those of you that wished me luck on my surgery, it went well. Of course I didn't watch it (it was done in the dr's office so there was just a local anesthetic given). I'm very squeemish about seeing my skin cut into! The wrapping has to stay on until Saturday and the stitches will come out on May 12.

Now to the winners! My husband had the honor of drawing names.

Cecilia said: "Your quilt is beautiful! I want to make a red and cream and a blue and white quilt, so this pattern would be perfect." She wins the fabric bundle from Quilter's Newsletter. I will be forwarding her information to them and they will contact her to get her mailing address.

The winner of my Cutting Corners template set is Kathy Stewart. She said "I would love to try this!" She did not leave her email address so if she doesn't respond by tomorrow and send that information to me, I will draw another name.

For everyone that participated, I am offering a $5.00 gift certificate to my website if you spend at least $20.00. All you have to do is put in the comment section that you participated in the blog tour and I will refund your account $5.00. There are lots of fabric that are only $8.00 a yard so you will be able to find some great bargains. I also have some kits on sale.

As far as my kittens go, their eyes are open today! I will post more photos in my next blog.

Again, congrats to the winners. Have to give my hand a rest, so as always, do what you love and love what you do. Toby

Monday, April 28, 2014


The day before I left for Paducah, my cat Caramel had a litter of kittens! I told her that she had to have them before I left so I could see them born. She had them so quickly that I never did get to see them born. But I did get to see all six kittens before I left. She is a great mother. Four of the kittens were born without a tail. We have a male cat without a tail so I guess he is the daddy to at least four of them!

Sunday I returned from Paducah, Kentucky. It is my favorite international quilt show. People come from all over the world to enter and see this show. I taught four wonderful workshops, gave a well received lecture and got a chance to demonstrate my newest template set "Cutting Corners". (See the last post for information on how to use it.)

One of the classes I taught was Yin and Yang. I love to have everyone put their blocks on the floor at the end of class and create a scrappy quilt with all the different fabrics. Doesn't it look neat!

I was lucky enough to have one of my quilt designs chosen to be featured in Quilter's Newsletter special Best Scrap 2014 edition. My quilt is called "Peppermint Patty". It is a red and white strip pieced block. Very simple design and easy to piece.

Quilter's Newsletter is having a scrap bag drawing for anyone participating in this blog tour. All you have to do is leave a comment below on what you think of my quilt and what colors you would like to do it in. You do have to post it before midnight tonight (April 29). I will draw a name tomorrow and send it to Quilter's Newsletter. Here is their blog Inside Quilter's Newsletter. There will be a couple different bloggers all week so be sure to enter each one for a better chance at winning.

I will also be having a drawing for my Cutting Corners template set. All you have to do is read my previous blog on how to use the set and leave a comment on that page (not this page) as to what you think you might use it for.

Please, please, please either check back in a couple days or leave your email address in your message. I will be announcing the winners and I won't be able to mail your prize if I can not contact you. (I can't tell you how many times this has happened.)

Well, tomorrow I will be having carpal tunnel surgery on my left hand. I have heard great things about my doctor so I'm looking forward to being able to use my left hand without it getting numb on me. (Well, not really looking forward to the surgery but how my hand will be afterwards.)

If you are interested in receiving my newsletter you can sign up here. A couple times a month I send out information on my free web patterns, new kits, patterns and fabrics.

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As always, do what you love and love what you do. 'Til next time. Toby

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spring is in the air

Spring is finally here! It sure has been a long hard winter. I have definitely been spoiled over the last few years because we have been having very mild winters. That was good in one respect because I didn't have to be confined to the house, but in other ways bad because a mild winter means more bugs in the summer. Every summer my husband Mike swears that we will be moving to North Dakota or Wyoming for cooler summers because he hates being hot and really hates bugs (they love him)!

I would like to introduce my newest tool today called Cutting Corners. I know we are all guilty of buying tools and templates that we think we will use and then they sit in a box or drawer never to be seen again. Well, I wanted to design a template set that can be a multi-purpose tool. One that can be used for a variety of projects and is not confined to one particular type or size of pattern.

I originally designed the template set because I got tired of drawing lines on the backs of squares for Snowball blocks, Flying Geese and other patches that called for triangles on the ends.


Look at all of the patches and sizes it can make! Half-square triangles from finished sizes 1-1/2" to 4", Quarter-square triangles from finished sizes 3" to 8", Flying Geese from finished sizes 1-1/2" x 3" to 4" x 8", and Square-in-a-Square finished sizes 3" to 8". And that is just some of the things it can do! It can also trim bias seams for bindings and borders, make Snowball blocks and Bowtie blocks, and the most important function is, it eliminates the need to draw diagonal lines on the backs of the square!

 So you are probably asking how does it do all of these things! There are two templates in this set. A triangle that can be used to "cut corners" and make half-square triangles. This is the triangle template. It has marks on it for the different size half-square triangles. The marks are the finished size. The strips are cut 1/2" larger than the finished size.

 This is the square template. It is used for making quarter-square triangles, like for the center of the Flying Geese unit. The strips again are cut 1/2" larger than the finished size.

It can also be used for the center square in a Square-in-a-Square block.

The corresponding half-square triangles are cut to fit around the center square using the same markings as the square. See how nice the triangles fit the square. No more matching centers before sewing.


 Don't want to draw that line on the backs of the squares for Flying Geese units? Cut the rectangle and squares as indicated in the pattern.

Place the squares on the ends of the rectangles and trim the corner with the triangle template, lining up the template as shown.

Sew, then repeat with the other side of the rectangle. Perfect Flying Geese each time!

The possibilities are endless! You can do the same thing with Snowball blocks as you did with the squares on the Flying Geese blocks.

Pretty cool huh? Well the are available on my website. All of the measurements and instructions for use are included in the set. Check them out: Cutting Corners

Got to get this out. Please share with your quilting friends. As always, do what you love and love what you do. Toby





Monday, February 17, 2014

The end of a good effort

On February 10, I had to sadly close the St. Louis Star Inn. I gave it a good try for 3 years and although I had groups that returned every year, I just could not get new groups to come. I tried everything to get people to come. Even offered a free weekend to quilt guild presidents if they could organize 4 other people to come with them. Was it the economy? Was it my location? Was it the size of my retreat center? There are a lot of unanswered questions. The one thing I did know was, that the groups who were lucky enough to come, had a wonderful time, felt a home, enjoyed the comradeship of being with their quilting friends, ate fantastic food, and got to work on their projects in a relaxing and serene environment. (At least that is what everyone told me who came here.) It was a matter of economics. The monthly insurance payment was more than the number of groups who came, so it became financially difficult for me to maintain.

The last group I had was a fantastic group of 6 women who came from Rolla, Missouri. The had been here last year in February when the winter weather was very mild. This year there was snow on the ground and more snow came before they left. Two of the women were only planning on staying two nights, but since it snowed on Sunday, (and because they were having such a good time) they decided to spend the extra night with the other three ladies who were staying. My husband and I really enjoyed their company and he even said that he was glad that THEY were the last group. (Not glad that they were the LAST group! Well... maybe.)

Here we all are at the dinner table for the final brunch (minus one who left early).

This is a quilt that Cindy was working on during the weekend. I can't believe she made all of those nine-patches and one inch squares! It sure is a beautiful quilt.

It's okay, don't be shy, you can show your face!

I don't know who was sadder. The fact that I wouldn't enjoy the company of other quilters in my home anymore or that the groups who did come were not able to come anymore. Either way it was a sad day for all of us.

I have to give my husband Mike credit. I don't know of too many husbands who would open up their homes to a group of ladies who would be staying overnight, eating at his dinner table and somewhat disrupting his daily routine. He is very routine oriented (must have been that Marine Corps training)! Plus, he had the responsibility for cleaning out our eco toilet since we had no running water in the quilt studio! I know this was not a pleasant task for him, but he did it because he knew running the retreat center was something that I enjoyed doing. There were plenty of times that he wanted to say that he didn't want to run it anymore, but he was willing to give up his privacy so that I could give it a good try. He does have to admit, for as much as he might have complained, he did enjoy entertaining the women!

One group of ladies from Farmington, Missouri, who had been to my retreat center 4 times, presented Mike with a wonderful patriotic quilt for his military service the last time they were here. It was something that he never expected and told them that they needed to give it to someone more deserving. Even though he is an extravert and loves being the center of attention, he is very modest about his accomplishments and does not like to be recognized for what he has done. I had to pull him aside to tell him that they made it for HIM and that he needed to accept it graciously which he did.

I feel like I have an empty house, like when my children all moved on and I had empty nest syndrome. (Though I think I was sadder to see the quilters go than my own children!) I have all of these beds with quilts on them that will go uninhabited. I don't know what I will do with all the beds. Maybe keep them just in case I want to try it again? Do bed turning demos?

For all of those wonderful ladies who did spend the night, I have to say thank you for great memories. I made some new quilting friends and will always think of them as family because that is the way they were treated when they were here. I will still be running my shop and hopefully have day retreats/workshops so that people will still come and visit. The Rolla ladies did schedule a workshop for my Yin and Yang quilt on July 28, 2014. Contact me if you are interested in enrolling in the class an to get more information.

Lastly, I want to mention that my schedule is updated on my website, listing all of the workshops and trips that I will be taking. If you are in the same area as I will be, please stop by to see me, especially in Paducah, KY, Columbus, OH, and Springfield, IL where there will be large quilt shows and lots of quilts to inspire you.
Time to move on. Life is always changing! As always, do what you love and love what you do. Toby

About Me

I am a quilt designer/teacher and award winner. I have been quilting since 1985 and I love sharing my ideas and designs with others. Quilting is my passion and I feel it is contagious! My motto "Always do what you love and love what you do."

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