Saturday, February 17, 2018


I've owned a Decorating Den Interiors franchise since 1984 and have been a very successful, award winning interior designer for 34 years.  Back in 1984 I was a Captain in the US Air Force Reserve and I had a part time job managing the reserve office at Eglin AFB.  My job was being upgraded to a full time position for an NCO and as an Officer, I wasn't eligible to apply for it.  It was at that time that I read an article in a WOMAN'S DAY  magazine about a woman who owned a Decorating Den Franchise.  I showed it to my husband and said, "I think I could do this."  I sent off for information and then proceeded to consult with some local business owners for advice. 

There was a well known woman realtor in town so I asked her what she thought about buying a franchise.  I'll never forget it.  Her name was Betty and she said to me, "if you don't take risks, you never get anywhere!"  

Quilting is like taking a risk.  You need to venture out of your comfort zone at times and try new things.  In 2010, when the economy was soured and my business was struggling, I saw an ad in the newspaper for a beginning quilting class at a local quilt shop.  I was an accomplished seamstress growing up.  I made all of my own clothing and sewed for others.  I dabbled in quilting a pillow and reading magazines but when I purchased my business in 1984, sewing for myself ceased to happen  I never sewed draperies for my clients but knowing how to sew certainly helped me along the way.  And I was always good with colors and fabrics. 

So in 2010, with a bit of time on my hands, I signed up for that quilting class and never looked back.  It reawakened my sewing skills that had been buried for many years.  Each week, we would go home with two blocks to make for a sampler quilt.  I would complete those blocks immediately and then couldn't wait for the next weeks class.  I loved playing with all the fabrics in the shop and I soon learned that quilting is also an expensive habit.  That beginning quilt must have cost me $300 with all the supplies I had to buy for it.  I was set on a journey of love for the rest of my life! 

When you become a quilter you take a huge risk!  You accumulate a large stash of fabrics and continually buy more.  You buy expensive sewing machines and quilting machines and your house becomes a disaster area with quilts and fabrics thrown everywhere.  The end result of completed quilts and stockings and pillows and pin cushions is so rewarding! 

So I'm asking, have you taken a risk?  Are you stuck in a comfort zone of always using a simple pattern or the same colors over and over?  Do you have stacks of fabric in your stash that you are afraid to cut into for fear you will ruin it?  Is your UFO pile of completed tops stacking up because you are afraid to learn how to quilt them?  I encourage you to step out of that comfort zone and try something new!  Taking risks will get you somewhere! 

Thanks for reading!  Carol

Saturday, February 3, 2018


There are many ways for a quilting round robin.  You can see many options here on pinterest.  When I was guild president several years ago, our guild had a lot of 12.5" blocks that had been made for some such contest or donation.  So I took the blocks, distributed them to guild members, and then embarked on a round robin where every month, I would add a different row to the block so at the end of about 6 months, every one had a charity quilt to donate.  I learned a lot that year about adding rows to blocks.  When I wound up with an unusual size, I then had to add a coping strip.  You can find out about coping strips here.   In addition to using the odd squares, I made everyone trade their block each month so you had to come up with fabrics coordinating with someone else's idea.  Since then, I've taught a round robin at guild about 5 years running.

At the first of the year, I start looking for ideas on how to do the next round robin for the Silver Threads Quilt Guild.  If I can find a pattern in a magazine or free online, I often use that pattern and adapt it, giving credit to the designer at the end.  I wont share my source of the 2018 Round Robin but I will say that I am very excited to share my blocks with you!

This quilt is going to be a great stash buster!   Every row will be made using 5" squares or leftover charms plus a couple of yards of  neutral scraps or yardage.  The minimum size is around 50 to 60", great for a charity or lap quilt.  If you are a collector of batiks, assorted 5" batik squares is perfect for this quilt.  I don't have a lot of batiks so I'm using cottons in blues/whites and yellow with some yardage I've had a while.  The center block was so easy and looks so pretty, I might even make two!  Who doesn't have a pile of 5" squares hanging around in the stash?

Here are the directions for the center block for Round Robin 2018. We will be using all 5" charms and trimming to size. For the center block you will need: 
4 dark 5" squares 
4 med 5" squares 
4 light 5" squares, 
4 light 4.5" squares for corner blocks. 

Pair a dark square with a medium square, right sides together. mark a diagonal line and sew 1/4" on either side of the line. Cut apart in the middle and you will have 2 HST. Make one more set for a total of 4 dark/med HST. Trim to 4.5" . 

Pair a dark square with a light square and repeat process to make 4 HST, trimmed to 4.5" 

Pair a light square with a medium square and repeat process to make 4 HST trimmed to 4.5". 
Arrange the blocks as shown to make a star. Wasn't that easy? 

And here it is:  

Happy Sewing!  Carol