Orphan Blocks and Happy Endings

FL Sister id tag

What to do with those random blocks? The practice block you made before cutting into the good fabric, the one created when you tried a new technique and said “Never again!” or the one left over after a block exchange. You know, the orphan blocks which are all alone in the cold, cruel world with no place to call their own.

Is there a happier ending to the story than putting them on the Free table at quilt guild?


That’s what the Orphan Block Trunk Show is all about — ideas for rescuing the Orphan Blocks in your life!

First the trunk show offers some hot tips for organizing the blocks that tend to accumulate and then, moving from least complicated to most time consuming, we share project examples for using them: 

tulip sm for web

on a canvas,

basket stamp smfor a centerpiece or pillow sham,

MM Picnic Basket Lidor a picnic basket lid,

web-dec-wrapor a pillow wrap,

TG place mator a placemat,

TG casserole carrieror a casserole holder, and even a journal cover.

 Next we try to inspire quilters to use these treasures for Hot Pot holders

Freedom mitt singleor oven mitts (there’s a FREE pattern on our web store),

Freedom Yard Flagor a yard flag like this one.

Mother's spool on wall

Maybe you’ll decide to use several of them to hold sewing tools like this.

MM Pansy Apron smOf course, they could always be used as a bib for an apron,

idea board for blogor on an idea board.

The Orphan Block trunk show ends with other ideas and grand finale give-aways. Some guilds choose to follow up the trunk show with a sewing party to put the ideas into use. (This Florida sister will host an Orphan Block Party at her house on April 26 for the Pensacola Quilters Guild.)

We love happy endings and we’d love to see photos of ways you put your orphan blocks to work, I mean, ways you give your orphan blocks a good life. If you’d like to have a Sisters At Heart, Miles Apart trunk show at your guild or class, contact us at SistersAtHeartMilesApart@gmail.com

PS – We found other ideas on some of our favorite quilting blogs, too. Check them out and let them know that you heard about them from Sisters at Heart, Miles Apart.

Patchwork Posse’s 52 UFO Quilt Block Pick Up:

a sunglass case

a key fob and card pouch

and a mug rug.

And #11 at ShopMartingale was an arm rest storage pocket.

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Love Those Lists

CO Sister id tagI love a good list!  I’m sitting here this afternoon working on the grocery list.  Not so much because I’m excited about going to the grocery store but because we have to eat something and I want it to be as quick a process as possible.

list Now I can check that little chore off my list. :)  One of the things that Sister and I did on our “anniversary meeting” was make a list of what this year would hold for each of us.  We were trying to work our business plan, as one of our advisers called it.  We started out with all that we hoped to accomplish and The List looked something like:

list 4

We did shorten it a little (reality check) and it now includes some web work, quilt shows in Colorado and in Alabama, new patterns, SEWING and at least one more in-person meeting this year! No where on the list are things like laundry, cleaning, etc.  But we are going to start at the top and work our way down.  If we get to the bottom of the list we might consider adding those (or not).list 2

Here is a little Sister trivia:  Who makes the list with titles going in columns and who makes the list with titles going in rows?  It really doesn’t matter, but I will guarantee that if one of us does it one way, the other sister will do it the other way.  We prefer to say that it is our method of cross-checking rather than the other sister did it wrong.

One more Sister confession:  This sister actually puts things on the list after they are finished, just so I can cross them off. So now I can check blogging off the list for today and go back to sewing.

list 6

I did make a list of projects that were in process in my studio.  It looked a lot like the above picture.  So I made a different list of things that I want to learn to do, or learn to do a little better.  What’s on your bucket (sewing) list for this year?

list 5

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Happy Anniversary and the Myth of “NORMAL”

FL Sister id tag

We’re singing “Happy Anniversary” to ourselves as we turn the calendar on January. If our four years of doing this sister stitching business together has taught us anything, it has taught us that there is no normal.

Normal is a myth.

(So, in a moment of genius, we invented our own definition of “normal.”)

A normal working day might begin with intentions to write some pattern instructions, plans to press fabric for cutting, iron smunwrapping an order of new thread or preparations to lead a workshop. Normal stitching stuff.

becky thread -sm


However, that normal day might end up being filled with baby calves needing attention,

wedding planning,

or an unexpected visit from a neighbor.

So, maybe that is the real normal instead.


A normal working week might be filled with a guild meeting,

a session to improve machine quilting skills,

and a “conversation” with the computer when it won’t upload photos to the web store.

Or, as we’ve experienced during this past year,

a “normal” week might be filled by time with a hospitalized grandchild,

or an airplane flight to help a convalescing sister following her trip to the hospital for double knee replacement (Colorado Sister),

or connecting with a realtor to have a buying-a-house-following-a-100-year-rain-storm-which-included-a-retention-pond-breaking-and-filling-your-house-with-flooding-muddy-water-so-you-have-to-salvage-your-belongings-(and studio contents)-and-move-twice-in-a-year conversation.

flood2 smflood1 smmoving truck sm(Florida Sister takes a deep breath.)


Sometimes it’s hard to recognize normal as life unfolds us.



And then we could talk about a normal business meeting for two sisters working together while they live 1,200 miles apart. (Here’s where we think our genius really kicked in.)

Usually normal involves SKYPE and our shared notebook on One Note. But not always. Our most recent invention for a “normal” business meeting looked like this …

Cindy and Becky by Epic cropped

JBDC Epic cruise 2015 sm

with a little of this … (See, we do have our laptops with us and plugged in!)

Epic cruise business meeting sm

and some of this … (Main dining room – the salmon, avocado tartar was FABULOUS!)

Epic cruise 2015 sm

and even this …

dessert2 smdessert1smdessert3 sm

(The sister in question will remain nameless. But here is her picture.)

Cindy dessets cropped


Now, much as we’d LOVE for normal to always be like this new version, most likely we’ll just need to start using a pencil when we write our normal To Do list during this 4th year. That way the plan will be easier to adjust when the REAL normal shows up.


SO, Happy Anniversary to us and we’ll keep stitching together as we find out what normal will be this year.


PS – Best Wishes to you as you stitch in the middle of your very own normal.

Categories: Sister isn't answering her phone, so I'm telling you ... | 1 Comment

Warm Winter Wishes

CO Sister id tagOne of the things I enjoy most about Colorado winters is “warmth”.  Or maybe I should say the need to stay warm.  I love that it gets truly cold in the winter (unlike Sister’s home in Florida, regardless of her claim that she wears “sweaters”).  One of the best things my DH has done for me was to put in a fireplace and antique mantel.fireNot really this one, but you’ve seen mine on the Starry Night Stockings photo.  I LOVE a fire going.  It adds light and warmth and just says: HOME.  The next best thing to a full fire is a candle.  candlewindow1600At this time of year they come out all over my house. Some are scented, some are not. Some are real, some are not.  I even put one on my sofa.  OK, so it is really the pillow wrap from the Seasons At My Window collection. Once I get the pillow wraps going I use them each month. Add a little warmth to your favorite chair with this one:

web-dec-wrapThen let the warmth continue into January with the “time sensitive” wrap of an hourglass:

web-jan-wrapFinally, for February, you can warm up with a cup of tea:


As you can see, I plan to stay warm all winter long.  I’m settling in for a long winter’s nap.  With Pa in his kerchief and I in my cap. Oh, wait, that’s back to Christmas.

So, wherever you are, snuggle in next to your kind of fire with a little hand work and enjoy the winter.


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The Stockings Were Hung…

CO Sister id tag

And STOCKINGS they are!  You may need to make only one or you could double your efforts and make a bunch.

SN stocking printable

The monochromatic star blocks make a perfect background for the Really Big Hat folk.  I think I’ll do a couple in dark green and maybe 2 more in blue.  We have 8 grandchildren (well 7.5 for another 2 weeks) so I’ll need some red ones, too.

I’m not looking for “coal” this year so I’d better have one for everybody.  (In-laws included!)  You can fill mine with Martelli tools! Hint!

FreeMotion%20Hoop%20Pair%20comp b

Next on the list – time to get the greeting cards out.  I think I’ll be sending some Post Card greetings from Sisters At Heart web store.  The projects on the post cards include a pattern for those snow days in January.  But, for today I’m signing off again to go enjoy a cup of Christmas Tea.

Christmas Tea:

1/2 cup of instant tea mix

2 cups sugar

2 1/2 cups orange drink mix (Tang)

1 1/2 teaspoons cloves

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Stir a cup of tablespoons of the mix in with a cup of HOT water.  Enjoy!

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Hark! The Ideas Keep Coming!

CO Sister id tag


I’ve been singing carols since I put my Starry Night Quilt on the bed. (You can get the pattern HERE.) The count down to Christmas marches on and I think I’m ready to start thinking about the tree.  We have options at our house because we always have more than one tree.  So what do you think?

ideas-to-decorate-christmas-tree-3Option #1  –  or maybe it is a bit much with the grand kids




Option #2?

tree 2



I’m thinking something in between – maybe with some more garland



and of course the ornaments in red work.  Love the picture story that anyone can tell with these.

Ornaments 3x4


The whole thing wouldn’t be complete without the tree skirt.  So toss out the old sheet you were using and use the Starry Night Tree Skirt.


It will be so pretty that no one will notice the gifts that are NOT there yet.

Yikes! Better get shoppin’.


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On the first day of …

CO Sister id tag



Since the count down has begun, so has the count up until the 12 Days of Christmas  PATTERNS.

Let’s begin before I start mixing the metaphors or carols or whatever!  This first day we are excited to bring you the Starry Night Quilt Pattern in our newest format: PDF. (Complete with colorful diagrams and links to quilting resources.)SN quilt photo printable In celebration of the Night of Nights this brings color and warmth to any room or wall.  The first room I’m decorating this year is the bedroom.  Along with the quilt, I’ll use the pillowcase (a free PS Pattern available on our web store HERE.) from the same collection.

SN pillow case for pdf and blog sm

I’ll be set for vision of sugarplums and all that.


Maybe I’ll add some garland to the curtain rod.


Ok, so I’m getting carried away with more than one idea per day.  This will count as three days and hope that makes the time go by quickly until family comes, cooking begins, snow falls.  Check back in a couple days to see if I got anything checked off the Holiday To Do list.


Categories: Patterns and Projects, PS Projects | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Love the old … and loving the new …

It’s pretty easy to tell that we like vintage things – classic things – okay, we like old things:

old scissors

old scissors,

old machine

and old machines


and old spools

old buttons

and old buttons

old pattern

and, yes, even old patterns.

But we know that there are advantages to new things, too. Advantages to being in the current century.

So we are launching our patterns in a new format – PDF downloadable patterns.

available as PDF tag

We’ve talked about it for quite a while and agreed about it and thought about the process and now the concept is becoming reality. The idea behind making our patterns available in PDF form, as well as in paper, is that it would give you quicker access to the patterns and allow you to skip the shipping charges.

Now, after a few extra hours at the computer, we are ready to launch our first PDF collection -

Thank you, God, for Everything.

TG folks

Seems appropriate for a lot of reasons.

This first PDF collection includes the patterns for:

final TG apron photo for printing

Pilgrim Apron

TG bread wrap

Bread Wrap

TG casserole carrier

Casserole Carrier

TG place mat

Place Mats and Napkins

TG table runner

and the Table Runner.

papoose1 for printing

Oh, wait! I almost forgot — the Papoose Cuddle Quilt is available, too.

This collection features three of our Really Big Hat folks and a timeless poem:

(Yes, we love old poetry, too.)

Thank you for the world so sweet

Thank you for the food we eat

Thank you for the birds that sing

Thank you, God, for everything!

You can get these PDF patterns for your very own HERE on our web store and HERE on our etsy store.

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Mother’s Medallion e-book is ready for you!

FL Sister id tag

We are still reveling in the fun of one of our favorite weeks of the whole year!

Every fall, the last weekend of September means our annual “Company Business Meeting”  (a flight from Florida for so we can work and play together during Quilt A Fair at the Boulder County Fairgrounds.) Key to that is celebrating the patterns that have grown from concept to reality in the past year.

This year we are celebrating the unveiling of our first book: Mother’s Medallion Quilt!

Mother's Medallion Quilt instructions 9 sm

An e-book with instructions, templates and diagrams, we put it in the PDF downloadable pattern format so that we can give you live links to YouTube “how-to” videos and connections to other helpful sites. You can purchase it HERE.

Mother’s Medallion is filled with a variety of techniques and blocks that span a wide range of difficulty.

Cindy's quilt for cover sm

Stained Glass

tulip stamp sm

Paper Piecing

pansh stamp sm

Log Cabin

rose stamp sm

English Paper Piecing

basket stamp sm

Dimensional Flowers

folded flower2 stamp sm

Crazy Quilting and Ribbon Embroidery

bouquet stamp sm

The Mother’s Medallion collection also includes simpler projects drawn from each of the different rows of the quilt. You can find them on our store site HERE.

Now we promise: as soon as we are finished reveling we will be back at work on the new To Do list to get ready for next fall’s “Company Business Meeting”.


PS – We will be making a special effort to connect with shop owners and guild program committees regarding wholesale pricing so that Mother’s Medallion can be used as a teaching quilt.


Categories: Patterns and Projects, Shows and Workshops | Leave a comment

It’s a wrap…on summer!

CO Sister id tagMy favorite time of year is fast approaching.  FALL! I love everything about it.  Colors, sights, sounds, temperatures, smells and of course FAMILY.  We celebrate four birthdays in the month of September alone and then six more in October and yes, even three more in November!  (None of them are mine, thank goodness.)


Speaking of sights & smells brought to mind the bounty that fall brings.  My little apple tree in the back yard has gone from this






to this…. apple-tree-2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 to this…Apple_pie




Dear DIL and I will be making applesauce tomorrow as well as Grandma Evelyn’s apple butter for muffins this winter.  It only gets better as you can see by the produce DH brought home (sorry, no garden here as I’m too busy quilting).


I’m not trying to make your mouth water but if you are feeling like I am, it is time to wrap up summer and get out the fall decor. We recommend that you begin with the Sisters At Heart Miles Apart pillow wraps for fall. Get ready to cozy up with a cup of cider and quilt on the last of the 4 seasonal segments of the Seasons at My Window collection.

The patterns are individual wraps so you’ll have time to do one before the month is ready to change.    Seasons-autumn-wrap-


Or stitch them all together in the Seasons at My Window wall hanging.Seasons-autumn-window-







You probably got the hint that I’m so ready to wrap up summer and ready to get into fall –

ready to work with wool (as in the text of the wall hanging)

ready to do some handwork

ready to do a show in Colorado at the end of September ( Hope to see you at Quilt-a-Fair in Longmont in September.)

AND I’m really ready for some birthday cake.  (Did I mention that sister’s birthday is in the fall?)

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