Isabella's Whimsy

handmade with love

and the Winner Is ___


The winner of the first ever Isabella’s Whimsy contest is

*Drum Roll*

Sharon Andersen

(and the crowd roars with triumph!)

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I asked that people leave a comment guessing how many copies of the Millennium Falcon Mug Rug Pattern I will sell, and Sharon has guessed 8.

Sharon’s prize is a 40% off coupon code for any 1 item from IsabellasWhimsy.

Sharon and her sister Susan have an Etsy shop that sells their original-design patterns; some of the patterns are applique and some are paper pieced-they are all so cute and fun!  Plus they offer their own complete quilt patterns and bundles.  It would be great if you could pop in to see their shop at MsPDesignsUSA.   I purchased their caribou (or is it a reindeer, they ask) pattern.  It is a very good product with clear pattern pieces, instructions and suggestions for projects.

Thank you all!



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Just Under 2 More Hours…

IsabellasWhimsy baby camo

New Dad Gift Baby Camo

The Contest

There is still time to enter the Contest, but hurry!


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As the Phoenix Rises from the Ashes…response to disappointment

In thinking about quilt patterns to make  for the reopening of Isabella’s Whimsy on Etsy my memory kept returning to the mid-1990s when I had made an amazing quilt design.  I was so proud of it – my first original design.  I couldn’t quite recall the exact pattern, but I was fully confident that if I could only see one of my quilts made with the pattern I could analyze it and write it up as a pattern. I kept this idea simmering in the back of my head when what do you know,  I stumbled across a quilt from that long-ago time that I had not finished (not too surprising).  My hands nearly trembled in anticipation as I unfolded that gem-of-potential only to drop in confusion when I saw the pattern was a simple tweak of a typical patchwork, not the amazing quilt design I remembered.

Oh well.


But I did not give up.  I talked to my understanding big sister who said she still has the throw I made for her husband and that she would take a picture and send it by email.  Ah, the gladness in my heart! Now I could write up the amazing quilt design and use it to make new quilts and to make a pattern to offer people, either in Isabella’s Whimsy on Etsy or as a freebie!  Then the picture arrived.  I was confused. dismayed. baffled. How could my memory be so wrong? so very wrong? This was indeed the design, but with only two colors, not the three colors I vividly remembered, so it really wasn’t all that amazing. ooohh.Jack's throwAs a last attempt I contacted my friend to ask for a picture of the baby I blanket I had made for her daughter who is now in college.  She was able to send a couple of pics, and again I was confused and even mildly shocked.  This was not my amazing design either!  She said she hoped I wasn’t disappointed, but I was and a little worried about my brain.

IMG_2686 But then just as the phoenix rose from the ashes full of life and strength, I rose from my despair, determined and motivated to re-create what I had apparently never created in the first place, my amazing quilt design!

So I set to work and used a sweet butterfly fabric with purples and other lovely little girl colors, some pink and purple, some old-fashioned delicate white print, and for a pop some lime green with white dots.  I measured and cut and sewed up a storm.  Of course in my “original” (mental) design I had only used three fabrics, but if three is good, four must be better.  So I improvised my way to a finished quilt top.  I started to write out the pattern and got to the part where I change things up…kind of tricky to explain improvisation.  So after more measuring and scribbling, I decided this is not going to be my amazing first original design, this is going to be a cute and happy quilt that I put in the shop, but that’s all. This time. For now, here is a sneak peak.




Would you like to read the folktale about the Phoenix Rising from the Ashes? click here

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An Honor and Some Progress

I was just checking email and was surprised and delighted to see that I am featured as most viewed on The Quilting Room with Mel for this week! How very nice!  Because of that I get to use this…

The Quilting Room with Mel

What was viewed? you may ask. Well, a Lap Quilt for My Uncle. When I posted I had one block left to make, so the progress I want to show is where I am with that last block.
Idaho Mountains for Uncle HarveyIt’s not quite finished; needs clouds and buildings, and stitching then it will be ready to sash for his lap quilt.  I used a photo that he took and sold to tourists as the inspiration for this block.  Maybe this week…



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The Very, Very, Very, Very First Whimsy Quilt

The very, very, very, very first Whimsy Quilt, aka The Monkey Blanket, is about 34 years old, two years younger than my son.  It was the forerunner of all Whimsy-Quilts-to-come and didn’t even know it.

Back in the day, sewists (modern term for seamstresses than do more than sew clothing) could purchase printed panels of animals or dolls, then cut, sew, and stuff them into toys – such was the intended use of the monkey, but whimsyism was lying latent deep within Isabella’s heart and manifested itself in the idea of using the monkey to make a quilt.

The materials demonstrate what I had learned growing up: use what you have. I used a twin-sized sheet, a piece of an old blanket and, of course, the monkey.

oct 22 013 oct 22 014

Baby steps of artistry selected the threads and  the built-in decorative machine stitches to highlight The Monkey Blanket.

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We all start somewhere…



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Rowing Completed!

It took four outings, but at last I’m done collecting row patterns from the 2015 Row by Row Experience.  Except for one that my sister in California may send me.  And some I may receive from a fellow-Texas-quilter.  Oh my, the experience continues!

I made my last “big” rowing trip earlier this week, to three shops in San Antonio.

Memories By the Yard

San Antonio, Tx Memories by the Yard

Las Colchas

San Antonio, TX Las Colchas

Mesquite Bean Fabrics

San Antonio TX Mesquite Bean FabricsAs my aunt said, I’m going to have a fun winter!



p.s. All pictures borrowed from Texas Row by Row Experience 2015 page on Facebook.

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Still Rowing with the 2015 Row by Row Experience

I rowed in Texas.  I rowed in Oregon – 3 times! And now I’m rowing in Texas again.

The first little outings in Texas were to Sew Special in San Antonio,

SanAntonio TX Sew Special Quilts_

the Scrappy Quilter in Schertz,

Schertz, TX Scrappy Quilterand the Quilt Haus in New Braunfels.

New Braunfels TX Quilt Hauspg

Then when my Ladies Bible Class had a retreat/hang-out the weekend of August 7-9 in Fredericksburg I took the long way so I could visit some quilt shops that are a little out-of-the-way.

First stop was Sew It Fabulous in Boerne.

Boerne, TX Sew It Fabulous

Next, Gone Quiltin’ in Bandera where I had a lovely visit and picked up the Bluebonnet Row pattern. The shop lady was very nice in Bandera.  She sent me off with several free patterns from the store and was just so sweet.

Bandera, TX Gone Quiltin' in Bandera

Then came Medina’s Little Cottage Quilt Shop. This stop turned into a treat.  The shop owner took some time to show me the vintage quilts adorning the classroom wall and to tell me about the quilter who made them.  She also showed me her twister quilt that she will be using to teach a class soon.  It is a very nice shop, light, bright and welcoming.  She has an amazing selection of fabrics and supplies, well worth the visit.


Stages of Drought

I’ve just had a little bit to look at her blog, but it looks very nice, and you might enjoy it. Little Cottage Quilt Shop blog.

Even though I hadn’t planned to stop in Kerrville, I decided I was too close to miss it.  So with a couple of sets of helpful directions I found the easy-to-find shop and enjoyed looking all around and picking up the watermelon row pattern.

Kerrville, TXHere is a pic from our retreat


I arrived too late to stop in One Quilt Place in Fredericksburg and was too busy on Saturday, so I missed that one, but 4 shops in one day is pretty good!

Now I just need to finish up San Antonio…



p.s. All the row pics are borrowed from the Texas Row by Row Experience 2015 page on Facebook.


Row by Row on Vacation in Oregon

You may have heard about the amazing quilting extravaganza that is sweeping the US and Canada, the 2015 Row by Row Experience, and experience it is! This is my first year to participate and I look forward to the years to come. Even if this is the first time for you hear of it you are not too late…well, maybe too late to win a prize, but not too late to pick up some free row patterns and/or purchase kits and make your own quilt.  I am not competing for a prize (I’m very slow), but after starting my pattern collection in Texas I determined to pick up some rows while on vacation in Oregon.  My sister (hostess) is a quilter herself and my biggest supporter, so although she wouldn’t have gone out searching for rows on her own, she graciously said, Let’s go!

Our first outing was into Eugene and Springfield where we visited Something to Crow About,

The shop made their row into a table runner using Row by Row fabric for the borders; for the display only, not for the kit.

STCA shop made their row into a table runner using Row by Row fabric for the borders; for the display only, not for the kit.

Piece by Piece Fabrics,

Piece by Piece, Eugene Row of Rain 1

and The Quilt Patch.

The Quilt Patch, Eugene, Waterwheel

I spent one Saturday in Portland and made a quick trip to the Fabric Depot.  They were having a big sale going on!  I decided to purchase the kit for The Cascades and Lake row,

Fabric Depot, Portland, Cascades and Lake

but to just pick up the pattern for Sailboats on the Oregon Trail.

Fabric Depot, Portland, Sailboats on the Oregon Trail

I found another row pattern there for the Fremont Bridge.  I hadn’t seen this pattern associated with Fabric Depot, but I had seen it with A Common Thread, also in Portland. This is the picture from A Common Thread for the Fremont Bridge.

A Common Thread and Fabric Depot, Portland, Freemont Bridge

After all these hops, my sister and I headed south from her home and visited the Fabric Farm in Drain to pick up the salmon row. (Shown in two colorways)

Fabric Farm, Drain

We continued south to two shops in Myrtle Creek, Sew _____ Nice

Everything Sew Nice, Myrtle Creek

and the Rustic Rooster.

Rustic Rooster, Myrtle Creek

We headed back home but made a little side trip to Dillard to visit the _____ and get their Sea Turtles row.

Sew Cute Quilting & Fabric, Dillard

I don’t know what other people think about this experience and marketing opportunity, but I am enjoying it.

I showed my aunt all the patterns; she said, “You are going to have a fun winter!” And that I am!

Well, I have 10 Oregon Rows…I better head back home pretty soon; I only have 3 Texas rows…so far!



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Reading and Quilting

You already know I’m into quilting, but I am also an addicted reader. I read pretty much every night after I work a Sudoku puzzle, to help me go to sleep (too much quilt-thinking and scheming).  While visiting an Oregon library I came across an author whose books were in the quilting section but they are far from your usual quilting books.  Lisa Boyer is a columnist who has written two collections of quilt stories.  They are quite humorous and I gladly recommend them.

Lisa Boyer

Her first book is That Dorky Homemade Look: Quilting Lessons from a Parallel Universe.  She shares The 9 Principles of Dorky Quiltmaking. Number 1, “Pretty fabric is not acceptable. go right back to the quilt shop and exchange it for something you feel sorry for.” A couple of chapter titles are Oh, Well, No One Will Notice and The Zen of Seam Ripping.

Her second book is Stash Envy: And Other Quilting Confessions and Adventures. In the chapter titled An Open Letter to the Worldwide Quilt Judging Organization Lisa suggests criteria for judges to use for Dorky Homemade Quilts.

So, when you need a break and a shot of fun, try out Lisa Boyer’s books.



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Portland, Oregon

I’m having my annual vacation in Oregon and loving it!  One special event occurred Saturday, July 18 – I met up with a young friend from Texas A&M, in Portland. My heart always catches a little when I think of Portland, place of my birth.  My family moved to California when I was part-way through Kindergarten, but I have many memories of living in Portland.

So my young Aggie friend and I spent the day wandering through Portland taking in many fun sights.  First we rode the Max over Steele Bridge and found our way to VooDoo Doughnuts.

DSCF1270  VooDoo donuts shop DSCF1273



They were yummy, especially the Official Portland Cream – and I don’t usually go for cream-filled.


After VooDoo we strolled over to the Saturday Market which is also open on Sunday. There were many fun stalls with lots of different wares. Even a stall for hats.


And a fountain.


And great old architecture.



We went to Chinatown to look around a bit.


Next we strolled along the Waterfront and took a selfie with an interesting background.


Strolled back through the Saturday Market, picked up smoothies and worked on the remaining VooDoo fare.


We did some more walking while looking for the Portlandia statue, but we didn’t really know where to look… We didn’t find it, but we found (in the park where we thought it was) a pioneer statue and a tall redwood tree. I love how in the statue, the boy is holding a Bible, and even though it doesn’t show here, the mother is wearing a necklace with a cross pendant. Having spent most of my childhood in the San Jose/Santa Cruz areas and having an outdoorsy dad, I am very attached to Redwood trees; this one made me happy.



We saw some Portland city buildings.

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While waiting for the train back to his car I snapped a pic of the drinking fountain.


We then picked up his car and drove out to the Fabric Depot – he’s a good friend, right? To take an old lady to a fabric shop to pick up row patterns and some fabric on his one day in Portland!

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Fabric Depot, Portland, Cascades and Lake Fabric Depot, Portland, Sailboats on the Oregon Trail A Common Thread and Fabric Depot, Portland, Freemont Bridge

Fabric Depot is an acre and a half fabric store! The Row patterns are called: The Cascades and Lake, Sailboats on the Oregon Trail, and The Fremont Bridge.  I hadn’t seen the Bridge associated with the Fabric Depot, just with A Common Thread also in Portland, but there it was.

After the Fabric Depot we picked up some take out Mahi Mahi plates from L&L Hawaiian BarBQue for a picnic.

Then back into the car to find a beach along the river. What a happy park we found! Families were enjoying themselves in so many activities: wading, swimming, paddle boarding, playing with their dogs (none on leashes despite the many signs, oh well – very laid back), laughing, and just plain old having a good time.  Then as we climbed back up to the park from the beach you will not believe what we saw…


After the riverside fun we headed back to pick up my car and head home.  It wasn’t late, but he had to drive back to Seattle and I drove back to my sister’s, a bit south of Eugene. We had tons of fun and are making plans for next year. Maybe we’ll find Portlandia and ride the aerial tram!



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