Sunday, January 25, 2015

                                      My Quilt Top from Hell

  Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, the tale a fateful… and now you are welcome. While you are reading this rant of a blog, you will be humming the theme to Gilligan’s Island, one of the greatest shows to ever be on television. Remember when Kurt Russell was the jungle boy? I loved him even way back then- anywhoo-
  This past weekend I finally finished a quilt top that has been in progress for about 3 years. I think I heard angels sing at one point- but that was in between all of the cussing. It could have just been the other voices in my head- I am still not sure. The dogs’ ears did perk up at one point.
   
  This quilt began as a project with friends. We were all shopping one Saturday celebrating one of our birthdays, when we saw this quilt book. My cohorts are big fans of reproductions-me, not so much. Most times it is hard for me to picture a quilt in anything other than what is in the photo on the cover. Lame, I know. I am trying, people. Don’t judge me. We also had hit a quilt show recently where this quilt was displayed in something other than reproductions. It was beautiful. So, due to the fact I was getting a birthday discount that month I actually purchased yardage to start my anti-reproduction top.

 
   A few months later, after my fabric cured for a while (this has to be done-ask any quilter-some people call it fabric hoarding but they are just on crack) I took it to a quilt retreat to work on it. As luck would have it, my friend Lexie, master of drawing and quilting was done with her project and volunteered to trace all of my patterns for the applique onto fusible web. God love her. I got the middle block fused down and a few of the smaller ones done before I left the retreat. I brought it home to let it cure some more. Again, this must be done. Right Becky R.?
   I had quite a bit of time off this year around the holidays and decided now was the time for all good men- oh wait- that was typing class. I decided it was time to get the top done. I finished all of the machine applique and was finally ready to get this damn thing put together. I starched the center block and cut it to the correct size according the directions. Then it was time to piece the 4,000 flying geese that go around the center. After I got all of those little bastards done, I read the next step in the directions, which did not amuse me. It basically said that the math didn’t work out exactly for the geese to go around the center and you may have to fudge a bit. WTH?? If I fudged at all, I would lose the points on my geese, which did not amuse me. I plowed through, and by some miracle I did not have to fudge at all. Whewww. On to the 4,250,323 half square triangles.

 
  After I had all of them pieced, I had to trim them to 1-7/8”. Odd size- and let me tell you if you do not have one of these rulers go to the Bloc Loc website and buy the 2-1/2” and 6-1/2” square ruler. Do not pass go, do not collect $200- just do it! This ruler saved my life- or my husband's- not sure which at this point.

  I was finally ready to piece the borders. I looked at her diagram, and sewed all of my units to look just like hers. I got the borders ready to put on my design wall, and guess what? The damn drawing does not match the layout of half square triangles in the quilt piecing diagram or the picture of the quilt! If you all saw smoke or heard a sonic boom Saturday coming from Thornton it was me. Poor animals- I think I broke their eardrums. After a shot of whiskey, a 3 mile walk and a trip to Sprouts (they had clementines for $2 a bag- score!) I was ready to dive back in. I figured only the author of the book and I would ever know these borders were not facing the right way. These borders were not easy- directions were telling me to use a generous ¼” seam allowance at some points, and a scant seam allowance at others. This does not float my boat. I was so close to the end, however I just kept going. Darling hubby fed me, I popped a shit load of Motrin and kept sewing. Finally, at 7:30 I was done. Finis. Finito. (I have no idea if those are words- don’t stop me now, we are almost done here).
    Here it is in all of its glory-(Olwyn if you are reading this I was not sure about an apostrophe after its- input please?) I took it on my walk this morning and found this great bench at the lake/pond. In Pennsylvania, it would be a pond. In Denver, anything over a 2’ square is called a lake- go figure. Colorado is close to perfect but we aren’t quite there yet. We made great inroads with the whole pot thing but that is just getting us started. Haha.

 
Thank you for reading this novel- have any of you had a quilt top from hell? Other then you, Lexie :)

Friday, January 23, 2015

 
WE ARE FINALISTS!!!!
 
 
Chip and Dale Designs is a finalist in the Craftsy best blog contest!
 
Chip and Dale Designs is a FINALIST in the Craftsy Blogger Awards contest. THANK YOU to everyone who voted for us.

The next step is to vote for Courtenay as the best Instructor blogger. Please help us make Chip and Dale Designs the best blog in the Quilting Instructor category. The two little wiener dogs would be so happy if they won!
...
To vote, click on the link below and scroll down to the finalist in the Best Quilting Instructor blog. (Please share and encourage your friends to vote.) THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!

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HELP CHIP AND DALE WIN!!

PLEASE VOTE!!



Thursday, January 22, 2015

 
A NEW BLOG FEATURE
 
 
Well, it is not exactly a new feature but it is an expanded feature!
 
 
CRAFTSY ONLINE CLASSES
 
If you look on the right side of the blog page, you will find the links to a variety of Craftsy online classes. If you see a class that looks interesting, simply click on the picture and you will be directed to that class information page.
 
If you scroll down to the bottom of the blog page, you will find even more classes. And we will occasionally post special classes as blog articles.
 
YOU WILL RECEIVE DISCOUNTS ON MANY CLASSES IF YOU ORDER HERE USING THESE BLOG LINKS!!
 
Please share with other readers in a comment section if you have found a particularly good class!!!!
 
QUILTING * SEWING * KNITTING * BAKING AND COOKING * PHOTOGRAPHY* CROCHETING * HOME AND GARDEN * JEWELRY MAKING * CAKE DECORATING*
                                                    AND MUCH MORE!!
 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


                    I THINK I HAVE A PROBLEM-

   I have been having a terrible time making my damn tea in the mornings as of late.  The Saturday before last, I got up as usual and started to putter around the kitchen. As I heated up my water for my tea in the microwave, I added sweetener and milk to my mug. After adding the hot water to my lidded mug, I started cleaning, laundry, etc. After about a half hour I figured I better throw my tea bag out. I took off the lid and lo and behold no damn tea bag! I had been drinking hot water with sweetener and a splash of milk! And I did not notice! So, I dumped out the remaining water and proceeded to make a 2nd cup of tea- which I did with no problem.

 
   Last week, we had some terrible weather in the morning so darling hubby offered to drive me to work. As he was out warming up the car, I was gathering my work bag and making my cup of tea. As my water was heating up in the microwave, I grabbed the milk out of the fridge and proceeded to pour it into my cup- EXCEPT it was not milk- it was water from my pitcher in the fridge- WTH???? So, I dumped the water out, added more sweetener and waited for my water to heat up. Good God- Bob did get a good chuckle when I got out to the car because I of course fessed up.
    Now- on to this morning. I am sipping my tea on the way to work thinking it just doesn’t taste the same as it usually does. I just kept chugging it down, however because it was cold outside and the tea was hot. After I finished my tea at work and went into the kitchen to refill my mug, I noticed the bit of tea left in my mug that I made this morning was dark- I never put milk in it! Oh man- what the hell is going on?

 
    I am seriously thinking something is going on. There was a call from one of our customers this a.m. looking for his doors- I received an email from him last month to proceed with his order and never gave the email to my boss to order the doors. Thank goodness the customer was not totally pissed at us- guess I better start playing those games to make your mind better! I am not retaining anything!! At this rate I am hoping to find my way home after work every day!

 
  On a better note, I had a sew day with my buddy Terry this weekend to help her through a Sew Together bag- she bought the outside fabric in Japan. Isn’t it lovely?? She did a wonderful job- this was her first bag/zipper project ever!
 

 Happy Sewing everyone- here’s to hoping I can remember how to turn on my machine!!

Friday, January 2, 2015

START THE NEW YEAR OFF RIGHT!!

 50% OFF MY LUMINOUS LONESTAR ONLINE QUILTING CLASS!


www.craftsy.com/ext/CourtenayHughes_464_H
 
 
 

Thursday, January 1, 2015


                                                   HAPPY NEW YEAR!
   I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe New Year!  I have been lucky enough to get quite a bit of time off around the holidays this year, so I have been sewing some. I  downloaded Mr. Mercedes (by Stephen King) on my Nook and have been reading that. I also have discovered Sons of Anarchy on Netflix. I know, I know. Where the hell have I been? Well, I can only watch so many shows a week as we don’t have a DVR. But, boy I am glad I found it. The added bonus of watching 5 or 6 episodes a night is now I have been dreaming about it as well. I wake up and think- “when was Gemma driving a school bus in last night’s episode?” and “when did we get a pool table?”. I then realize that it was all a dream haha. I have really enjoyed it- wonderful acting, great characters and Charlie Hunnam’s naked butt now and then. What’s not to love? I highly recommend it if you have not seen it yet.



   Now back to sewing. Last weekend I sewed a new cover for my Nook and a matching bag to carry it in. My old cover wasn’t bad, but there was not anywhere in it to store the charger. The pattern is by Whistlepig, and patterns for both the cover and bag were included.

  Then I moved on to my latest BOM block from High Prairie quilts.


   Then I decided to sew a few bags with a pattern from Fig Tree. I had the canvas on hand- shocking, I know.  I also had a charm pack and yardage stashed and used a little bit of that up. I thought at first the pattern sucked, then I realized of course it was the dumbass reading the pattern that was the issue. I should have labeled all of the parts as I was cutting them, but NOOOO. I had to rip apart a few seams on the first bag, but the 2nd went a lot more smoothly. Must have been the ham hangover from Christmas day- yes, lets blame it on that. They were fun to do, and you don’t need interfacing as the canvas gives the bag plenty of body. Added bonus!

   That is about all I got done- that damn show has been taking up a lot of my free time. I hope to get more sewing done this weekend and will share pics for you!
   Hugs to you all! Thank you coming along with me on this blog ride! I hope to do some fun things next year with you!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


                                                                  GOOD TIDINGS!

  I hope all of you, my wonderful blog readers, have a most wonderful holiday season. I have many readers from all over the globe and there are too many celebrations to be named here! So, whichever holiday you are celebrating- or even if you are not celebrating anything- have a great rest of this year and I hope all your dreams come true next year!

  Please keep on coming back to see what I am up to. I have a few things planned for next year.  And I have many more STORIES!

 


   Hugs to you all, my friends!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014



                                 Finishing Up and Starting  More-

      This last weekend was a great weekend for getting a few little projects done. Saturday was spent with my good friend Lexie. We visited one of my favorite shops, then headed south to see our friends’ new home.  While at the quilt shop I was asked to teach a bag class, and even got put on the class schedule for February. It was so wonderful- made me smile even more that day! While visiting our friend, Eileen, even though we finished off a pitcher of margaritas for lunch we were able to visit another quilt shop. They had moved the shop  recently, and were having a customer appreciation event at their new location. I picked up this pattern-

 
And I even ended up making one of these on Sunday. Super fast, super easy.
 

 
  I also found some great pig fabric for a pillow case for someone for Christmas-is this not adorable fabric? If there was a baby somewhere in my future I would have bought the whole line- very cute faces on these critters-

 


   Sunday while I was waiting for Amber to come over to help me bake, I finished up a few of these cute bags-


   Now, when I started these little bags I had no idea they were made using templates. While not a total hater of templates, I would prefer not to work with them for the most part. After spending a damn hour and half screwing around with these f---ing raindrops I finally decided I could not figure out how to make them without the templates, so I traced the silly things off onto template plastic and proceeded to make these damn bags. They were fun to do- even with all the bitching and moaning coming out of my woman cave (see there is a reason I have a door on my room) and her directions, as always, were great.


 
I also made Dale a new collar- now she is styling-

 


I am looking forward to another sewing weekend!
Sew on my friends, sew on!

Saturday, December 13, 2014



                                                LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW

 
  We have not had much snow here in Colorado- at least in the Denver area- this year yet.  Although I am not a big fan of driving in it, I sure love looking at it. I love the way the snow makes the trees sparkle and makes everything look so clean.
  My hometown got a pounding of snow this week which took me back to when I was a kid and still living there. Oh how I loved those snow storms!  My friends and I would get all bundled up, and, looking just like the kid in A Christmas Story, head out for some fun. Then, when we got wet all the way through our 400 layers, we would head indoors for hot chocolate and popcorn while our clothes dried on the heat vent. Once that happened, we could go back out again and play some more!

 

  We had a big hill behind my house-it was called Bloody Lane. The older kids could start up high on the hill, and when you got close to the bottom there was a cluster of trees you had to swerve to miss before you went down the last leg of the hill. Some did not have the skills to miss those trees, hence the name Bloody Lane. Then, if you got to the bottom and could not stop you were screwed, as there was a shit crick- yes crick, not creek- at the bottom and it was NOT fun to go into that!  I am really not sure why it was called a shit crick- I cannot ever remember seeing anything bad in it but I was always told don’t play in it, so who knows. It was probably full of radiation from 3 Mile Island or something. Shit is easier to explain to a kid than radiation.



  I remember one time I got to go sledding with my brother. I could not believe he was taking me- and his friends were going to be there! We get to the hill, and what do they have? A hood of a car, upside down, ready for us all to get in and come down the hill. Too flipping cool! Now, I really cannot remember what happened, but I do remember leaving there crying. Such a nerd.  I will have to ask my brother if he remembers what happened. Someone probably made fun of me, or maybe I chickened out at the last minute. I will go with possibility #2.

 
  My friend Pen and her sisters had these giant silver, round saucers that had handles on them. Boy, were those things awesome to use! I just had an old crappy sled- pretty shot from usage by my siblings but by golly it still flew!  I loved that feeling of flying coupled with the terrifying feeling of holy crap- what if I couldn’t stop? The one thing I hated is that I had glasses- try keeping those bastards on and clear when sledding or doing anything else in the snow! It was a pain in the ass- but I was totally blind without them so I had to suck it up and wear them. Oh well- as you see I survived. I am such a whiner!
 

  I also remember building big igloo looking forts on the corners where the snow plow would pile all of the snow. We had some kick ass ones!
 

  As I got older, I used to love to walk in the snow at night. It was so quiet and peaceful. My footprints would be the first ones in the newly fallen snow. I could walk and walk and no one would be around. Everyone was inside- no traffic at all. I wish I could experience that again. Maybe someday I will be able to that again. Out here I am afraid I will get mugged or hit by a car. Not exactly a relaxing experience.

 
  I think I will go now and wish for snow- rumor has it we may see a little here this weekend- whoo hoo! Added bonus- I won’t have to drive to work in it!
Keep warm, my friends!

Thursday, December 11, 2014


CARTOONS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME

Everyone with kids knows the joys of long trips with kids in a car. To a kid, anything over 10 blocks is a long trip. Out of town car rides are long dark adventures. The constant cries of Are we there yet, I gotta pee, or Sean is touching me, make traveling such a delight.

 
                                                     
When our kids were infants, we could double wrap them in diapers, strap them into car seats, give them a sippy cup and we were off. Once they outgrew the car seats, pet taxis worked well but then they outgrew those crates as well. Of course we did get some stares when we would stop at rest areas and took the kids out of their crates for walks on their leashes.  But hey, other parents did it too!! 
 
                                                  

Now we have tried to make traveling as entertaining as possible for our kids. We would play educational games such as the alphabet game, license plates and state capitals, road kill bingo and so on. My husband would regale the kids with stories about the historical significance of areas or about local  crimes and monsters or some other such trivia.

 

On this particular trip, we were traveling along Interstate 70 through the mountains of Colorado. I was driving and hubby was taking in the scenery.  Mountain driving in Colorado is always tricky, what with other careless drivers, critters such as elk, long horn sheep, deer and bears, plus the numerous falling rocks and landslides and the occasional avalanche in the winter.

Amber was sleeping soundly in the back seat, the drugs having finally kicked in. Sean was stirring restlessly, so I suggested we play a version of the alphabet game, using the name of a cartoon character for each letter of the alphabet. A- Adam Ant, B- Bugs Bunny, C-Casper the Ghost, etc. etc. etc.

Things were going fine. We were winging through the alphabet and the miles were whizzing by. Cartoon characters were reviving childhood memories of hours in front of the television. Then it was Sean’s turn. His letter was Y.

 The letter is Y. I got one yelled Sean. “YOSODOMY SAM!”
 
 

Like I said, driving through the mountains is hard enough. Now I am laughing so hard I am crying. Tears are streaming down my face as I hurtled down the interstate at 70, okay 85 miles an hours. I can’t even see the road. My husband has his head sticking out the window and he is gasping for breath. His ears are flopping in the breeze.

Sean is sitting innocently in the back seat asking “What? What? What is so funny?”

I finally regain control of myself. A quick glance in the rearview mirror showed that I only ran a few cars off the road. Hubby pulls his head back in the car and regains his breath. He looks over at me and congratulates me on not wrecking the car.

I am thinking I will never be able to watch a Bugs Bunny cartoon again, especially one with poor old Sam in it.

Then hubby says he would really, really like to see that cartoon. And the laughter started all over again.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


                                                A Thanksgiving Day Blog
  I hope all of my US friends are having a good Turkey day filled with food and fun. And to those of you that don’t celebrate it, I hope you are having a most wonderful day as well.
  Thanksgiving at my home in Pennsylvania was a big deal. There was the yearly argument between my mother and my grandmother about the turkey. We always got our turkey from a Turkey Farm. And yes, I even had a t shirt with their logo on it. My grandmother ( we called her Mamam) would get a turkey from the restaurant where she worked. My mother refused to make Mamam’s turkey. She may have been stubborn as I think that trait runs in my family- hahahahaha. One year, she told Mamam she made her turkey- and Mamam went on and on about how much moister the turkey was, etc. Guess what? My mother cooked the same old damn bird she bought every year- Mamam’s turkey was still in the freezer. 
 

    We also always had Mamams’ sister over for the day. She lived in a cool apartment above a hotel in the neighboring town. She was a school teacher back in the day. Now, this woman could not have been sweeter to me. I loved her-but according to some of my friends she was NOT the nicest teacher. And that is the nicest way I can say that.  Funny how that all works- but who knows what my little friends acted like in school- but I am sure they were all angels like me. (You can laugh now- that was supposed to be funny as I lived in the corner in kindergarten).
  It also meant that mom would get creative with the food. One year my dad gave her a ton of grief when he caught her putting an ice cream pie in the oven. “What the hell, Arlene- too many bloody marys?” Anyway, she had the last laugh as her Baked  Alaska turned out beautifully- and there was not a bite left. If I tried to bake one there would be a huge mess in the bottom of the oven. I suck at cooking- just ask my poor kids.
  Sometimes one of my siblings would be able to come- which was a giant treat for me. All of my siblings are quite a bit older than I and most of the time lived far away. It was like Elvis was arriving.

 
  My favorite part of dinner was my mom’s filling- yes, in my neck of the woods in PA it is called filling, not stuffing as most normal people call it. The base is bread and potatoes and it was seasoned with poultry seasoning, a ton of sage, and one other spice I cannot think of at the moment.  I have found out not everyone likes this wonderful concoction! As my family is not a fan, I do not make it. For years I tried to shove it down their throats but it just got sad. (They like good ole Stove Top- for crying out loud it kills me to make that crap) Plus, I cannot figure out how to make this filling in a small batch. My mother’s recipe starts with 10 pounds of potatoes and goes from there.  (well,  prob not 10 pounds but her worst fear was to not have enough food for everyone- and believe me that NEVER happened).
  Anyhoo, I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday- or not!



Chip and Dale Designs!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


                                                        Fun Weekend

 This past Saturday, B Right On, a quilt shop in Brighton, Colorado had a make and take event. We had 5 stations set up, and customers could sit down and make any or all of the 5 items offered, for only $5 each! They also had the option of purchasing additional kits to take home. We were so pleased with the turnout- our weather had been very cold and it started to snow late that morning. But you know quilters- that doesn’t stop them!
   Here is Elaine with sweet Harriet getting her ready to sew!
 
  First up was a Ten Minute Table Runner- taught by Dawn, an awesome teacher of our quilting 101, 102 and many other classes!  The runner the customers were making was smaller than the one in the top picture, but one of our savvy customers (Jan) pointed out that the smaller one fits perfectly on top of a toilet tank! What a quick way to spruce up the bathroom! She is pictured below with her little ten minute runner and her mug mat.

 

Next up was a sewing machine applique mug mat, taught by Kathy. She is our Accu Quilt goddess, and was using the Accu Cut to cut all of the little sewing machines out of fabric. Such a great project!


  The next project was a wonderful little magnetic pin ring, and for some awful reason I did not get any pics of these. Our wonderful Jazz Cat instructor Irene had kits ready to go- no machines were needed for this project. Everyone seemed to enjoy these! She had plenty of kits ready to go!
  Next on the to do list was Elaine’s pin cushion chickens. She had many many kits ready to go to make these little cuties. Judy had a great idea and turned hers into turkey! Elaine is the most patient teacher, and everyone enjoyed her directions while making their new little friends. Elaine is going to make some even smaller- she is amazing! (or insane- we aren't sure which)



 

Susan, a wonderful teacher and talented long-armer. For those of you that are not quilt savvy, this does not mean she has long arms. She has a machine that is called a long arm and quilts for people:).  Susan was demonstrating how to use the Bloc Loc rulers while welcoming everyone into the event. You can find her here if you need your quilt quilted-
 If you are not familiar with these rulers, get familiar with them now! In my opinion, it is the only way to trim up half square triangles! Bloc Loc also makes flying geese rulers and now have drunkards’ path rulers as well! Go here for more info-fast!
Below is a pic of our youngest make and taker, Zoey, and our instructor, Susan.  Zoey had a great time, and really knew how to run the sewing machine. I am sure her sweet grandma Judy has been an inspiration to her!

 

Last , but hopefully not least,  I was manning  (notice the Broncos reference-haha) the tissue holder station. There are several versions out there. I enjoy  making this version- it has a little bit of accent showing on each side- theses make great stocking stuffers and really go together quickly!

 
  I also got a little bit of my own sewing done this weekend.  I had been stitching on these little pin cushions at night while curled up with the dogs.  I can get 2 of these little embroideries done in one evening. Remember, Sunday is marathon tv night. Of course I don’t get much done during The Walking Dead- I have to watch to keep track of Darryl-ooh la la. They better get Beth out of that looney bin of a hospital- the season is almost over- yikes! And holy cow Homeland!  Get Saul the hell out of there! And the chick on The Affair is a drug dealer??? I did not see that coming. But I digress. Oh look, a squirrel-
 
   I love Gail Pan designs, and her Christmas book is on my wish list. The pattern for these little beauties is out of her book Patchwork Loves Embroidery. You can ask for it at your local quilt shop.  Check out her other patterns and her blog-
 
 
  I put a layer of walnut shells in the pin cushions before I started to stuff it. I noticed the date on the walnut shell package- 07.  And they came from a quilt shop that has been closed for years. Once again it pays to be a hoarder!  I even knew where the shells were when I was ready for them. That was an early Christmas miracle!
 I hope this blog finds you all well, my friends.
Court