Songbird Mug Rug Embroidery Design Giveaway

This is the cute little songbird mug rug that I made on Saturday. I see these cute little paisley birds on all sorts of graphic designs including fabric and just had to create my own take on the little paisley songbird. I used an Accuquilt GO feather for the body and the rest is machine embroidery. The single design will fit a 5 x 7″ embroidery hoop and the mug rug will fit a  6 x 8″ embroidery hoop.

My next project is to create more of these mug rug designs that you can give as Christmas gifts.

If you’d like to have the mug rug design and the individual bird design, just send me an email at busbyquilts at gmail dot com or click on the link below and save the file to your computer. Once you have downloaded the file, you will have to unzip it. I will keep the link active through Sunday, September 16.

 Download Songbird Mug Rug

If you’d like to win one of these mug rugs already made, please head on over to Gene Black’s blog – as he is giving away a completed mug rug to a lucky reader this week.

I’d love to hear from you and see your photos if you make one of these.


Wesley’s Quilt Finished

This quilt has been finished more than a week, but the photos are just now ready. It seems forever that I’ve been working on this one, but I am pleased with it. I think it’s sturdy enough for a very active 4-year old to have on his bed. He should be able to jump and play with this quilt and it will not suffer any ill effects. Function is always a #1 priority when I’m quilting. The Accuquilt zoo animals die was not available when I started this quilt, so I ended up using a different machine embroidery set.

And I’m ready to start blogging again – the stars are aligning. School starts (UNC) tomorrow and the public schools start in the next two weeks. My Mom seems to be getting better after a tumble in her wheelchair a couple of weeks ago. She always wants to be independent and sometimes that stubborn independence has consequences. My embroidery machine is back from the shop and as good as new – I picked it up Saturday. The grandchildren have passed along their summer cold to me – but I am only a couple of days away from feeling great again. We had a great trip to the zoo last Friday with the grandchildren. My six month dental saga is almost at an end. Last week I had lunch with my good friends who are also quilters, and it was so good to see them. I am feeling refreshed and ready to go quilting again.

Here’s Wesley’s quilt:



 And here’s Juma, the baby giraffe at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro. She’s adorable.

And a zebra – aren’t the patterns on the giraffes and the zebras wonderful?


Finding a home for your Orphan Blocks

I don’t know about you, but I have a whole bin full of orphan blocks. But it wasn’t those blocks that inspired me. It was not finding a potholder when I needed it. But that should never be a problem for a quilter. And is there one of us who has no leftover blocks or extra binding strips or small pieces of batting? Here’s what I did with some of my orphan blocks–and everything I used was a leftover or recycle item:


Some of my Orphan blocks

The first step was to take a clean but stained old wash cloth. You can use old or new wash cloths or towels. I got the idea from thinking about the fact that when you can’t find a potholder, you use a towel. My husband plays softball so I buy white wash cloths by the dozen. After a couple of trips to the ball field, even Clorox won’t get the red dirt stains out of them. They’re clean, but stained.

An old wash cloth


The next step is to choose a block and layer it onto the top of the wash cloth and cut the wash cloth the same size as the block.

Trim washcloth to fit block


Take an old scrap of batting and layer it beneath the block and washcloth. Using an air erasable pen, draw a square around the block and washcloth that is 1-1/2 inches larger. Then cut around the marked lines.

Mark and cut batting square


The next step is to cut border strips for the block. Leftover binding strips are used that are 2-1/2 inches wide. Cut two strips the length of the block and two strips that are the length of the batting.

Cut border strips


The next step is to machine stitch the border strips to the block. The sew and flip method is used and it is stitched through all four layers: border-block-washcloth-batting.

Sew and Flip


This is how it looks after adding the sew and flip strips and pressing. You can see that it needs to be squared up. Using a ruler, square up the block evenly all the way around. It really doesn’t matter how much you trim. What you want is for it to be square and to have a nice size border and to be about the right size for a potholder.


Next, cut a backing that is the exact same size as the potholder front. Then you will layer the backing and potholder with right sides together and stitch around with a 1/2 inch seam allowance, leaving an opening to turn. The 1/2 inch seam allowance is important if you don’t want to do any hand stitching. Before turning, be sure to trim the corners so you will have nice sharp corners.

The photo below shows the stitch and flip seam lines as well as the final stitching.

Underside of potholder showing stitches after everything has been sewn together


The only thing left to do is to turn it right side out, press, and top stitch. You can use seam glue or Elmer’s School glue to close the opening and then top stitch 1/4 inch away from the finished edge so that all seam allowances are included in the top stitching. That means there is no hand stitching required. And your potholder is finished.

Finished pot holder

Ta Da! Sunbonnet Sue Makes an Appearance

August was busy around here with visitors and a couple of day trips of our own. And, in the meantime, my embroidery machine and I were working on my new Sunbonnet Sue designs. I haven’t finished all of the thread charts and other documentation, but have posted them in my store as “coming soon” and hope to have them ready for sale by the weekend.

Here are some preview pictures of three of the designs. The set also includes Sunbonnets with applique stitch, raw edge applique with a zigzag stitch, and others. I have also designed a nice little quilt with these Sunbonnets and will have instructions for it included with the set.  I’ll tell you more about the quilt tomorrow.

SBS #1


SBS #2


SBS #3


A visit to Stash Manicure and Annie who makes awesome fabric postcards

Blog visiting is addictive isn’t it? I was visiting SewCalGal the other day, and she talked about guest blogging on Stash Manicure. I decided to drop in on SewCalGal via Madame Samm over at Stash Manicure. While I was there I found another post that was really fun by Annie: Stash Manicure: Meet Annie, a postcard ARTiste( she says she’s not..U B the judge lol). She makes these awesome fabric postcards. I love these postcards. They have bound edges and wonderful designs. I’ve seen a lot of fabric postcards, but haven’t been inspired to make them until I saw these.  Now, I have this great link and am going to get back to this one day soon.

Not much quilting going on here this week. I went to a Slap Happy Quilters’ retreat last weekend and am a little burned out on quilting. But I will get back to it today. The retreat was wonderful–I used my Accuquilt to cut a lot of kits for other quilters to make comfort quilts for the Alamance Regional Cancer Center patients. It also gave me an opportunity to re-examine my priorities in charity quilting. Sometimes I try to do everything – make the patterns, cut, make and quilt the quilts and then I’m really spread too thin. I made the decision to focus on making the patterns and my friend, Sherry who is a fantastic quiltmaker, will help by testing the patterns and adding her touch to the instructions. In this way, perhaps even more quilts will be made and my efforts will actually be more efficient. Thank you Sherry for helping me think this through 🙂 

Are you ready for Christmas?

I was just going through my Google Reader blogs and thought I’d pass on a few small projects and fun things that you can still make for gifts – if you haven’t finished yet. Over at AURIFIL BUZZ there’s a  Little Red Reindeer Pillow. The EQ Blog has a nice post about a wonderful free download pattern for a table runner at the EQ Blog by Linda Poole. The table runner is Your Heart’s Desire “Your Heart’s Desire” in American Quilter!and is really gorgeous. Vicki Welsh has some wonderful projects including some very quick to make placemats over at Field Trips in Fiber. If you’re really ambitious, you could make some felted wool ornaments — or save this one for next year with a tutorial by Judy Coates Perez over at Painted Threads. SewCalGal has some wonderful Machine Embroidery for tea towels. This looks like a great project and so quick to do.

And if it’s something from your kitchen you’d like to make, Leah Day has some wonderful Cajun Crunch over at 365 days of free motion quilting.

Enjoy your day – and stay warm!