Small Wonders Wednesday: Totes Awesome Quilt Blocks

posted in: Small Wonders 1
Hotcakes. Photo: Me, in a hotcake second.
Hotcakes. Photo: A mysterious hotcake hanging around the booth.

Sorry about yesterday. I was found not guilty of being a witch, but I can’t say the same about my friend Goody. She’s… Well, she really is a witch, so I guess justice was done.

Back to the fun. See those totebags up there? They exist only in my memory and in the hands of the few who grabbed one at Fall Quilt Market a few months ago. What you see above is a limited edition item, like a 45” of an early Beatles record only released in Kuala Lumpur. I’m telling you, I had to scrounge to find one to offer as this week’s prize.

The Heart Plus. Cute World Piece icons. Feminine, but masculine with the canvas and all. Sexy stuff, even though my name is on it. You could cross that out and write your name. It’s your bag, baby. For a price.

If you’re familiar with my quilts, you know I love quilt blocks. Scroll down 4-5 pictures on my Facebook page and you’ll see a quilt top I recently finished that proves it. (I’m planning to do 9,000 more kaleidoscope quilts in the future because good heavens, so gorgeous. The next one will be with — wait for it — the Small Wonders line, India specifically.)

You don’t have to make a kaleidoscope quilt to win the tote, don’t worry. You don’t even have to make a kaleidoscope block, which would be four quadrants or more, by the way. But make a quilt block using Small Wonders — France, China, South America, USA, Netherlands, or India — and email me a picture. I’ll pick a winner, and you’ll be the envy of your guild when you walk in all fancy with your tote. “Oh, this totebag?” you’ll say, nonchalant. “I almost forgot which one I grabbed. Where are the cookie bars?”

**Important! I never use a single group when I make quilts. I mix. That’s why I have all this pre-washed fabric! So you don’t have to use only Small Wonders. But at least one of the fabrics needs to be SM, okay? It’s gotta highlight the fabric or you might be shooting yourself in the pincushion. Ouch!

Email me a picture of your block at smallwonderswednesday @ Winner picked in two weeks, and I’ll post your block on my Facebook page and your totebag will be delivered via Pajamagram. The cool thing about this contest is that you might really, really love that block and you’re already one block down.

*Actual prize may or may not be delivered via Pajamagram.

I Fell Through The Ice.

posted in: Story 2
I'm interested in the guy in the background who looks like he's about to mow down his livestock with a wood-chopping axe. 1820's illustration courtesy Wikipedia.
I’m interested in the guy in the background who looks like he’s about to mow down his livestock with a wood-chopping axe. 1820’s illustration courtesy Wikipedia.

I’m in Door County and will stay for about a week. There are many fun things to see and do up here. The last time I was at our family’s lake house there was a wedding taking place. There are no weddings going on right now because a) no one is engaged and b) hypothermia is real.

Washington Island is cold this time of year. Right now it’s five degrees outside. The Island has a year-round population of 660, which means 660 people don’t think a winter this cold and snowy is that big of a deal, though I think the number is misleading: there have to be some folks who take off for Daytona Beach for, say, the months of January and February. They’d still count as year-round, probably.

But cold and the ice make beautiful air and beautiful pictures, and that I’m here at all proves I like that air and those pictures a lot. When a bright sun shines off a subzero Lake Michigan and you’re on the puffy couch, with tea, counting swans, you don’t mind that you have to wear two coats later and pull on actual long underwear if you want to go on a walk.

Today, I fell through the ice on the lake and that was not great. When I say I “fell through the ice,” I mean that I fell through the ice. And when I say I fell through the ice, I meant that I took one step, then another step, then fell through the ice. I was not submerged. But I went down and I felt water. I was walking on the table rocks at the shore and, like an idiot, pranced over to look at a plant completely encased in ice that looked like glass and did not picture in my mind what the ground is like when it is not covered in ice, itself: big rocks with lots of spaces between them. In the summer, water is flowing around these rocks. Ergo, in winter, ice around the rocks. Ice that will surely be varying levels of thickness.

I’m okay. No blood, just sputtering. And don’t worry, I wasn’t alone. Claus was with me. When he heard the crash-splash, he ran to make sure I was okay but he didn’t come too far out on the ice. He could see I was going to make it. And I did; I made it back into the house and then I made minestrone and everything was fine.

But, for the record, I fell through the ice!

Doorknob, Meet Pantloop: A True Tale

posted in: Day In The Life, Story 3
Pants. Or trap? Photo: Wikipedia
Pants. Or trap? Photo: Wikipedia

I come this night with a true tale of a dinner party, a doorknob, pants, and great distress. I got permission from my friend to tell this story.

Not so long ago, I attended a get-together at my friend Nathan’s* house. Dinner was served, there was plenty of wine. Everyone around the table had interesting jobs, so we talked about those. We discussed books. I often look around and can’t believe I’m an adult. I get bills in my mailbox and I think, “I get bills. And I pay them. I have kitchen utensils. I can get myself showered and to the airport on time.” I can’t believe I do these things on my own. At this dinner party, I had that feeling. I was listening intently to someone discussing their recent trip to Bangkok, took a sip of red wine, and thought, “Fons, you are pulling this off.”

Between dinner and dessert, my friend excused herself to go to the ladies’ room upstairs. Keeping tabs on how long people spend in the bathroom is weird, so I didn’t do that exactly, but it did cross my mind at one point that my friend had been upstairs longer than a typical bathroom visit takes. But before I was officially considering it, she came down and everyone had fruit.

I stuck around after the other guests left to help with dishes, and that was when Nathan and I learned what had happened up there. “Did you notice how long I was gone?” Sally asked. I told her that I kinda noticed, but it wasn’t weird or anything.

“Oh, it was weird, all right,” she said. “As I was leaving the bathroom, the door swung closed behind me and my pantloop got caught on the doorknob. Have you seen that thing? It’s this weird curlique doorknob. I twisted around to free myself, but I guess I went the wrong way somehow, because I made it worse. Like, the twist got twisted and I was stuck. I was stuck on door to the bathroom.”

I brought a dish towel to my chest. “Sally no.”

“Yes,” she said, and our eyes got big and mirth began to well up in us and Nathan stopped loading the dishwasher. “I was twisting this way and that way, just trying to get free. I was up there the whole time, stuck on the door! I could hear you all downstairs, laughing and clinking glasses. I’m telling you: I was really stuck. I was moving back and forth and the door was banging… I thought the only thing I was going to be able to do would be try to take my pants off but I couldn’t do that, either — I mean, how was that gonna happen?” We were weak with laughter. Sally squeaked, “Could you hear me? Could you hear me like, rustling?”

I shook my head and wiped tears from my eyes. Poor, poor Sally, dangling like a fish on a hook, only feet above the civilized dinner party, thrashing silently, trying not to curse, Sally — a woman of faith — prayed for divine intervention. We imagined her sweating, pulling, pushing, all in shame, desperate to solve a very strange, very immediate problem.

“Just when I was about to call down, ‘Hey, Mary, can you come up here for just a sec?’ and make it sound real casual, like I wanted to show you a new dress I bought or something, just that moment, I untangled it. I kind of fell forward, but I caught myself.”

I haven’t known Sally too long, but I foresee good things. And as getting one’s pant loop hooked to a doorknob is something that does not happen to grownups very often, I may be able to avoid these “I am an adult” realizations if I hang out with her more. Done.

*Names have been changed.

Small Wonders Wednesday: Giveaway No. 1

posted in: Small Wonders 0
That's not Small Wonders fabric! What can it mean?
That’s not Small Wonders fabric! What can it mean?

As many of you know, my fabric line, Small Wonders, launched in October. Small Wonders focuses on small-scale prints, which every quilter needs in her stash for a number of reasons. You can see the story on Small Wonders in this pretty video.

On this inaugural Small Wonders Wednesday (this will be a “thing” for the next seven weeks), I present to you the first of many giveaways! But I’m not giving away Small Wonders fabric. What?!

I have twelve (12) bundles of fabric like the ones above and one (1) kit from my days as a magazine editor. I got free stuff from time to time; not for the show itself, but goodies for various promotional reasons, plus freebies I picked up at Quilt Market, too. Very cool, but I’m out of room now that I have so much of my own line.


For the first thirteen (13) people who contact me with a scan, phone picture, or attachment of a receipt showing they spent at least $20.00 on Small Wonders fabric get one of these fat bundles of fabric! It’s all brand new, it’s all complete, and these babies are from the fabric companies you know and love. Basically, you’re getting more than double your money for Small Wonders plus the free fabric, all of which you will adore. You can scan a receipt from your local quilt shop (!!) or show something from an online shop like Missouri Star or

Send your name and receipt to as quick like a bunny and you’ll get one of the prizes! This giveaway will last for 24 hours, so you’ve got till 3pm CST to go shopping.

I’ll snap a screenshot of the email box so I have proof of the winners. I play no favorites. Good luck, friends!