Tag Archives: Tu-Na Quilts

Tu-Na Quilts: Let’s Make Elephants

Here’s what my elephant quilt looked like when the project stalled in March.


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Here’s how it traveled to North Dakota with me so that it could be finished.


I labeled each block and each row and used lots of Clover clips to hold the labels in place. Then all the sewn rows and the ones needing sewing were put into a new gallon Ziploc bag.


The trip took three days and I didn’t want any pieces getting lost or mixed up.


I also clipped each row together and included my hand-drawn pattern. I had bought a package of 100 Clover clips when I was in Bismarck last summer (using a 50% off coupon from JoAnns) and took half of them to Arizona in the fall. Now they’ve come back to my ND home. I sure hope I remember to take them back to AZ with me or I’ll be buying more down there.


This quilt is for my best friend’s granddaughter. That baby just turned 6 months old and I might have to make it larger if I dawdle any longer.


I’ve already got 7 rows sewn. See how I labeled these rows. for transport? I sewed the paper label with the row number on the end of each finished row using a large stitch length. It only took a couple of minutes to do this and it is better than using pins.


My goal for this week is to move this project forward by:

  1. Finish sewing the chevron rows.
  2. Deciding whether to make the quilt a tad wider. I have most of the blocks made already if I decide to do so. Currently it measures 40″ x 56″. By adding two more blocks to each row (which completes the next peak in the chevron), it would be 48″ x 56″. What would you do?
  3. Sewing up those three elephants and their background strip.
  4. Sewing the top together.
  5. Sandwiching the layers.
  6. Free-motion quilting it. I already have a plan.

This list may be a bit ambitious (realistically I may only get thru number 3) as I also have to sew up and mail the three May Bee blocks this week. In addition, I am Queen for one Bee next month so I need to sew up a couple of test blocks and prepare a post.

To motivate me and keep me going, I thought I’d link with Em’s Scrapbag for Moving It Forward (love the tag line for her blog—”When life falls to pieces, make a quilt”).

And in case any of you are transporting quilt blocks, I’ll link with Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl for Tips and Tutorials Tuesday since I have some tips on keeping your blocks and rows organized. (Button is on the sidebar).

What I Learned Today:

  1. I need something or someone to get me motivated.
  2. Cold coffee tastes really good. I have a habit of pouring myself a cup and finding it three hours later.

Question: Would you make this quilt wider or not?

Other linky parties that I’m attending: Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication and Let’s Bee Social on Sew Fresh Quilts and Works in Progress at Silly Mama Quilts.

Tu-Na Quilts: April Bee Blocks are Done and Mailed

My husband asked me, “Why do you participate in those Bees and then mail away your hard work?” So I thought I’d give you a list of the reasons why I choose to do so. Feel free to add other reasons in the comments sections why you participate, if you do so.

  • It gives me a good opportunity to try out block patterns to see which ones I’d eventually like to include in a future quilt. I can honestly say that most of the blocks I’ve sewn so far are ones that I probably would not have thought to use but now I see that many would make a beautiful quilt.

    Sherry from Tennessee received this 16 1/2″ block. Those 40 little blue squares were not so little as they started out at 2 1/2″.  She asked us to use any shade of blue including navy and turquoise but limit the use of pastels. I had to ask my mom for some of her blue fabrics to get a nice variety. Sherry’s daughter is getting married and these quilt squares will be part of her wedding quilt.

    You can read more about this quilt here and get the pattern and tutorial here. This envelope cost me 70 cents to mail because it was overweight.

  • I learn new techniques (such as improv when I made Kate’s trees and gnomes block) that I probably would not have tried on my own. Yes, it puts me out of my comfort zone.
  • These Bee blocks allow me to use colors that I’d never put together on my own.

    Lis from Nebraska asked for Tic Tac Toe using orange, pink and white.  I probably would never have chosen to use those color combinations but it did look really nice when it was done. This block was 12 1/2″ unfinished.

    If you are interested in making some of these Tic Tac Toe Blocks, you can find the pattern here. The postal attendant brought out the slot to check for its size and it didn’t go through. Thus it cost me 98 cents to mail. If you’ve read about my other blocks I’ve mailed each month, you probably agree that there appears to be no rhyme or reason behind the postal rates.

  • I get to “meet” other quilters from all over the world. I’ve shipped blocks to Canada, England, Australia as well as many states in the U.S.

    Velda from Prince Edward Island in Canada asked for 4 crows for her block. She asked that we not sew them together so she could incorporate our crows along with hers in the quilt. Each little crow block was 6.5″ and really went together well. There were some improv parts such as the beaks. It was a good thing that I had already lifted the lid on my comfort zone box or these crows might have really been a stumbling block.


    Velda’s got some crazy crows living close by that have been causing her such consternation as they create such a cacophony and conundrum around her house that she decided to embrace the chaos and celebrate them by making an incredible crow quilt. But these are not just your typical crows; they are a colorful bunch.

    You can read Velda’s post here. Free downloadable patterns for birds or crows can be found here or here (this one is paper pieced but could be easily adapted to piecing).


    Velda graciously volunteered to take my Bee month for April so I thought I’d send her some extra crows. I don’t know what happened as I cut out enough for 8 but as you can count there were 9 when I finished. But I didn’t stop there, I had some fun with these crazy crows and let their personality shine as I named each one and sent Velda a letter introducing them. I will share more about my unruly crows in my next post.

    I put 4 crows in one envelope along with the letter and 5 in the other envelope. Evidently sending mail to Canada is expensive as each envelope was too thick to go through the 1/4″ slot (yes, they were checked), each was overweight (yes they were weighed), and each was leaving the country. Thereby, costing $2.50 to mail each envelope.

  • It allows me an opportunity to improve my sewing skills. I’ve become much better at matching seams and sewing an exact scant 1/4″ seam especially when it gets sent to someone else.
  • I get to participate in something bigger than just making a quilt for myself. I look forward to seeing those blocks I sent to others made into a quilt.
  • It’s fun!

What I Learned Today

  1. I miss those crazy crows. I will have to make some for myself.
  2. I need to sew up the May Bee Blocks early this week.
  3. I will be Queen for one of the Bees next month which means I have to decide on a block pattern, sew one or two blocks, and write a post.
  4. I do have a plan.

Question: What’s got you excited today?

Linking to:

Monday Making and Main Crush Monday. Buttons are on the sidebar, too.

I’m trying a new linky party this week. Show & Tell Monday with Bambi

Tu-Na Quilts: Catching up with the March Bee Blocks and the Continuing Postage Saga

I got a bit behind. Actually, I got a lot behind with making my Bee blocks. I had a family emergency earlier this spring which took me away from quilting and blogging. In fact, I was supposed to be the April Queen Bee for two of the Bees but I didn’t want to take the time to sew up a block and write a blog post. I asked for a volunteer in each of those Bees to take over my month. My hive mates were gracious and understanding. Two hive mates jumped right in and volunteered to post for April and I was assigned a month later this year. By the end of April, I was caught up with all the March and April (coming under a separate post) blocks.


This block is called Checker. It went to Sherry in New Jersey.

Because it was already two weeks into April and this was supposed to have been mailed by the end of March, I decided to make two blocks.  To save on postage, I used a suggestion from one of my readers and wrapped each block in Saran Wrap instead of using a Ziploc bag. I also decided to send each block in its own envelope. It must have worked as each envelope went for 49 cents.


Sherry chose orange and yellow half square triangles, gray rectangles with purple sashing. Yes these are purple. I think this block was 14.5″ square.

This was a fast block to sew. You can find the pattern for Checker here just in case you want to make some too. 


This 14.5″ square block went to Shauna in Texas.

Next up were some star blocks. I made one in pink and the other in purple. Falling behind with making the Bee blocks was so easy to do. However, these star blocks were so fun to make that I made another one as payment for being late (more quilting interest). I packaged each in a separate envelope and they shipped for 49 cents each. Evidently they fit through a 1/4″ slot at the post office allowing them to ship at the regular first class rate.


Shauna asked that we use either a bright pink or a bright purple for the star. I think this quilt is going to look great!


You can find the patterns for these star blocks here or here. I bet you can’t stop with making just two.

The last blocks for March went to Kate in England. I have to admit I was a bit scared to tackle these improv blocks. When I bake, I follow recipes very closely. When I sew, I follow the pattern instructions closely. However, improv blocks allow for creativity and freely cutting without exact dimensions. Eek!! My brain doesn’t do improv.

Kate, who blogs at Smiles from Kate, started her tutorial post with this:  “If you haven’t done any (improv blocks) before you don’t know what you have been missing and the great thing about a Bee is it takes you out of your comfort zone and you never know you may just find your perfect quilting technique.” It did take me out of my comfort zone. I think they came out very nice. I think this quilt is going to look smashing.


These blocks were 15 1/2″ square.


You can find the pattern for these trees and gnomes on Kate’s blog post here or in the original post where she discovered them here.


Kate asked that we make any number of gnomes and trees as long as there were one of each for a total of 6 per block. She says all the bee members made the same number: 4 trees and 2 gnomes (except for my extra block). My original plan was to make one block with 1 gnome and 5 trees and make the other block with 5 gnomes and 1 tree. Well, something happened as I made 7 trees instead of 6. Not wanting to have an orphan block, I adjusted the number of gnomes I needed and came up with this layout. Only after viewing the pictures, did I notice that I had put the gnomes and trees in the same positions in each block leaving the plain blocks in the same location. Talk about my not being able to think outside the box.


I carefully packaged each block and put them in separate envelopes. My husband and I discussed that they might be too thick to fit through the 1/4″ slot if the post office attendant brought it out to test them. In an effort to flatten them, we put a pile of heavy books on top. In the morning, they seemed even thicker than the night before. Sure enough, the envelopes were too thick and it would cost $3.23 per envelope. Upon further questioning we found out that we could save money if they were bundled together. So my husband, who had taken tape along with him to the post office, whipped out the tape and taped the envelopes together. This package now cost $4.16 saving us $2.30.

What I Learned Today:

  1. Sewing an improv block is hard for me to do. Now that I have tried it, I might make more.
  2. The end of the month comes very quickly.
  3. Going to the post office to mail the Bee blocks can be entertaining.
  4. Sometimes, I can’t think outside of the box.

Question: What blocks would you like to try but haven’t yet?

Linking to Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? and Finished or Not Friday. Buttons are on the sidebar.

I’ll be back in a few days with pics and info about the April Bee blocks, You’ll agree that the post is really for the birds.


Tu-Na Quilts

Tu-Na Travels: The Annual Migration North

We knew that it was time for us to head north because:

  1. Our “baby” would be graduating soon from the university at the end of the week and it would be time to celebrate. He’s got a double degree: electrical engineering and computer science. I hope he’s found a job.
  2. The outside temp on Friday of last week reached 109°F. I didn’t think it was so bad but my husband disagreed.
  3. There was no more cold water coming from the tap (only warm or hot).
  4. I needed to add ice cubes to the water to rinse my salad greens. 4a

As we left for our trip northward, we had to stop and get one last look at this beauty a few houses up the street which had just opened more blossoms.


We would be driving through desert country and I was hoping for a glimpse at more Saguaro blooms. I was not disappointed.



Another amazing discovery along our route was finding the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook. Sometime we will have to stop here for the night.



Check out the license plate.



I just had to find out which came first: the movie or the motel.



We weren’t able to peek inside but were reassured that each 21 foot wide teepee was a fully equipped motel room.  A regular motel in the back of the property contained rooms for those  less adventurous spirits. The motel opened in 1950 and I suspect that someone from the first Cars movie stopped by here.

The highlight of my trip northward was veering slightly off course to visit a new friend. We first met in person at the Tucson Quilt Festival in February. She graciously invited us to stop and we had a short but wonderful visit. There were many miles still to drive and rainstorms threatening overhead.


Yes, that’s Melva who blogs at Melva Loves Scraps. She stopped her sewing and gave me a tour of her sewing room. I saw some really quilting goodness on her design wall and got an up-close look at her Quilter’s Laundry Day mini quilt. It truly is gorgeous. She explained that those mountains in her quilt could really be seen by driving to the top of the hill on the road beside their house. We did that after we left and agree that they are beautiful, as beautiful as they could be on a gloomy, rainy day. The only ray of sunshine on Tuesday was found in Melva’s sewing room. I suspect from her smile that the sun shines often in her house.

What I Learned Today:

  1. Quilter’s make the best friends.
  2. 1,597 miles is a long time to sit.
  3. It’s nice to be home again. Although I call my other place home too.
  4. Once a baby, always a baby (or at least mine).
  5. Don’t say it. Don’t even think it (pertaining to road construction). We saw a lot of it. Not at first but after I thought about it and then said, “I guess road construction season hasn’t started yet.”

Question: Do you like road trips or do you prefer to fly to places far away? I prefer road trips but I may be rethinking that come next year when we make our annual migration.

Tu-Na Eats: Angel Food Cake for Breakfast

Yes, you read the title correctly. While I pared down the grocery shopping so that I didn’t have much food left over to throw away before we closed up our house and migrated north, meals were getting rather interesting.

Two weeks before we left, we ran out of coffee creamer. No matter how much or loudly I pleaded that we needed to buy some, my husband insisted that we’d have to make do. I figured someone surely has been in that same position and must have posted recipes on the internet. The internet did not disappoint. There were tons of recipes but all were calling for sweetened condensed milk. I had none but I did have a can of evaporated milk and some sugar and about a tablespoon of vanilla extract. In the end, I created a really good substitute which actually improved with age. This homemade creamer lasted for the duration of our stay and I only threw about 2 tablespoons away.

However, we ran out of milk 3 days before we left our Arizona home which meant I’d have to eat my morning cereal dry or finish off the eggs and toast for breakfast.

I did convince my husband to buy a quart of strawberries so that the last few pieces of angel food cake could be eaten in style. Earlier in the season strawberries were 3 quarts for one dollar so I was surprised he splurged for the last one since it cost a whopping 77 cents!


And that brings me to breakfast on the morning that we left our winter home earlier this week. There was no milk, no eggs, and no bread in the house. The only thing left to eat was the Angel food cake with strawberries and the remaining ice cream. I think I planned it all quite well.

What I Learned Today:

  1. Closing up a house takes much longer than one thinks or plans.
  2. Saying goodbye to the sun, friends, and cheap fruits and vegetables is hard to do.
  3. Saying goodbye to one fabric stash is almost impossible (which is why I am sneaking a few pieces home) but I am excited to say hello to the other one waiting for me.
  4. Home seems so far away.

Question: Do you make an angel food cake from scratch, buy it already made, or purchase a good box mix? I’ve come to the conclusion that angel food cake must be a regional item. Finding any brand of angel food cake mix in the Phoenix area is practically impossible. After looking for two winters for my favorite brand (Food Club—no affiliation) and not finding it, I bought and carted down several boxes of the mix with us last fall.

Tu-Na Quilts: Welcome to the Fourth and Final Week of the 2017 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop

We’ve come to the last week for this year’s New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop.


That means one final week to visit some new blogs and one final week to enter to win some wonderful prizes from our sponsors.


This week’s line-up of Blooming Quilters hosted by Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl are:

Raylee at Sunflower Stitcheries and Quilting  Meet this busy mom of 4 boys who also shares her Australian home with a dog, cat, chickens and a fish. She’s a longarm quilter and in a sewing/design business with her mum. Stop by here to see for yourself how fantastic Raylee’s quilting stitches really are.

Danette at Lucky Quilts Visit Danette’s blog post to find out how she came up with her blog name. This self-taught quilter uses quilting as a stress reliever and admits to being a magazine and pattern addict. Her tip involves how to find those patterns when you want.

Olivia at Pumpkin Hollow Quilting This mom of two comes from Oregon and reveals that Halloween is her favorite thing. Come here to see some fun Halloween projects as well as other quilts that she’s completed. Don’t leave until you’ve discovered who taught her everything she knows.

Debbie at Quilt Knowlogy Auntie D started her quilting career at the age of 8 or 9 by hand stitching quilts for her dolls. Wow! What a way to start! Find out other interesting facts about Auntie D and see some of her quilts including her masterpiece which is also hand pieced and hand quilted.

Also check out the other hosts for the 2017 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop, Leanne at she can quilt and Beth at Cooking Up Quiltsto meet even more new quilt bloggers.

Remember to enter the giveaway at one of our host blogs. Don’t delay as it remains open only for a few days.

What I Learned Today:

  1. 75°F feels cold after experiencing 109°F on Friday. I can see why the locals all wear winter coats in Phoenix in January when the outside daytime temperature plummets to 55°F.
  2. There was a time when I felt warm once the temp reached 40°F.
  3. My skin must be getting thin.

Question: Do you like it hot or do you like it cold? I prefer hot.



Tu-Na Travels: Ahhh! Springtime in the Desert

 I didn’t have to travel far to find this beautiful blooming cactus. It lives across the street from me.


My life’s been a bit hectic lately. When my husband suggested we take a day and go explore the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, I jumped at the chance. For you see, I like springtime in the desert.


Three Chihuly glass sculptures greet us as we enter the Desert Botanical Garden. I do like Chihuly, too.

#4. I Like Springtime in the Desert.

I mean—I really like—springtime in the desert. I knew that most of the real showy prickly pear cactus flowers had already come and gone but I was hoping there would be at least a few other blooms that would be open. The garden did not disappoint.


I didn’t think to look at the name of this cactus and have forgotten the names of most of these pictured here. However, it does resemble the Argentine Giant that I posted a pic of earlier in the week and as a featured pic of this post.


There were lots of Saguaro blooms.



And a Prickly Pear bloom that was late to the party.



I am not sure what’s happening to this Saguaro but it does allow us to get a closer look at the flowers.



his crested Saguaro (see my post link below for more info on this phenomenon) is going to bloom but we arrived too early for it’s party. Does anyone know why it is sprouting blooms down the arm? I thought Saguaros were supposed to get buds only around the tops of the arms.



I am thankful that these blooms were late to their party. I bet this prickly pear was beautiful when they were all blooming. I saw them last year and it was a beautiful display.




The Yuccas were in full bloom.




The purple prickly pear looks pretty even without flowers.



Look but don’t touch. These flowers had stickers.





I hope you enjoyed my blooming tour this week. Speaking of blooming, the final group of Blooming Quilters from the 2017 New Quilt Blogger’s Hop are getting ready for you to stop by next week. I will post their addresses late Sunday night. However, you still have time to enter this week’s giveaways. See my post here for details.

What I Learned Today:

  1. Constructing a post mostly with pictures takes longer than writing one consisting mostly of words.
  2. Going through 300 pictures of blooming cacti takes a long time.
  3. However, choosing only a few of the pics to show here takes a longer time.
  4. Cactus blooms come in all sizes, shapes, and colors—kind of like people.
  5. Some cactus blooms are soft and beautiful and others are beautiful but have stickers—kind of like people.

Question: What season of the year do you like? Now you know my answer, what’s yours?

Linking to LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color for her I Like Thursday party.

Catch my other “I Like” posts here.

#3 Tu-Na Eats: Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice

#2. Tu-Na Quilts: I Like to Shop at Thrift Stores 

#1. Tu-Na Travels: I Like the Saguaro Cactus Discover some interesting facts about the Saguaro and the crested Saguaro.