Favorite Things This Week

October has had many fun opportunities for my family.  Picking apples, selecting our pumpkins, family visiting, and a little getaway for fall break.  We have the house decorated for Halloween just as P would like it.

Fall Break

If you’re a follower on Instagram then you may have seen all the beer flight pictures.  We visited the Grand Rapids area for a few days with P and they do not have archaic alcohol laws saying kids can’t be in a brewery.  Indiana’s alcohol laws are ridiculous.  It was nice to be able to sample beers I can’t get near me.  If you get a chance, I recommend the New Holland Mocha Mint Dragon’s Milk.  Hubby was surprised when I said this was my favorite.  It’s like a Thin Mint, but better.

Meat, cheese, and beer. Yum yum. #craftbeer #newhollandbrewing #drinkmichigan #craftbeerlover

A post shared by tisha nagel (@quiltytherapy) on

While we visited many breweries, we did other things.  The John Ball Zoo exceeded my expectations.  It’s just the right size and has some interactive components.  P enjoyed the goats in the farm area.  He also spent way too much time in the with snakes and lizards.  Kid, I can’t have snakes in my house, I will loose her mind.

Yes, we took our kid to many breweries.  This was a huge part of our lives before P arrived and I think it’s important for him to see people drinking beer and not getting drunk.

P’s favorite part of the trip was the hotel pool.  He played in there until his lips were blue.  We are back home and back to normal.  It’s nice to get away for a few days.

Not my best picture, but my boys look good.


I’m working on a piece about failure as an upcoming post.  I would love your input on projects or ideas that didn’t turn out right.  A business that just didn’t work, a goal you had to completely revise, or anything that you feel wasn’t a success.  We all have failures or things we don’t succeed with.  Talking about it and reflecting on the lessons you walk away with, can help you succeed in your next endeavor.  You shouldn’t be afraid of failure, it’s natural and happens to everyone.  Yes, even in this era of over sharing, people fail.


Grab some tissues as you read this story of a kid from my high school.  He lost his parents at a young age and has overcome a number of obstacles.  This kid is pretty awesome, plus he’s a cross country runner.  There is a soft spot in my heart for those kids since I was one.

Fun Stuff

Those last two sections may feel heavier than what I normal write about.  So let’s finish up with some fun things I have seen.

Did you watch Supermarket Sweep in the 90’s?  Did you hear it’s coming back?  Bring on the terrible sweatshirts and grab your cart.  P.S., I’m totally going to apply as a contestant once it’s casting.

Speaking of the 90’s have you seen these gems?  Pretty sure I need one to keep my fabric money on.

Lisa Frank Debit Cards are Here to Turn Your Wallet into a Technicolor Dreamscape


My friend Bri is a talented poet.  She has helped create the Indianapolis Review about arts and poetry.  The second edition is available here.  

The Indianapolis Modern Quilt Guild does at least one charity quilt every year.  Last year, we submitted this quilt to QuiltCon.  As a group we had many conversations around the design and scale of this project.  It always amazes me what we can do creatively as a group.  We are working on another for 2018 QuiltCon submission.

Fill me in on good stuff going on out there.  I’m reading constantly from various sources, but feel like I miss so much.

I started the weekly favorites to share a little more about me.  Sewing and quilting may seem boring to most people.  There is so much more to my life that these posts are a glimpse into all the other things that encompass my weeks.  The post may contain affiliate links.  If you may a purchase from a link, I may receive a small compensation.  

Marmalade Irish Chain Baby Girl Quilt

marmalade fabric, baby girl quilt, modern baby quilt, improv pieced quilt, twin quilt idea

I truly appreciate when a customer asks me to make a quilt and gives me a general guideline.  For this quilt, the only guideline was girly, more traditional girly than bright.  I had an idea already in mind but not being as bright really made me re-think the design.  There were some scraps of Marmalade buried in my bins and I thought they just work.

Looking back, I made these quilts five years ago.  Goodness.

marmalade fabric, baby boy quilt, modern baby quilt, improv pieced quilt, twin quilt idea


marmalade fabric, baby girl quilt, modern baby quilt, improv pieced quilt, twin quilt
marmalade by moda fabrics

Five years these scraps have been hidden away in a green tub in my sewing room.  No more.  There were just enough to create a scrappy Irish Chain quilt.

marmalade fabric, baby girl quilt, modern baby quilt, improv pieced quilt, twin quilt idea

It was therapeutic to chain piece the blocks while binge watching something on Netflix.  It’s easy to get lost in a series when you blocks to piece.  This stack is lovely.

marmalade fabric, baby girl quilt, modern baby quilt, improv pieced quilt, twin quilt idea

If you haven’t made a scrappy Irish Chain quilt, add it to your list.  With 2″ scraps, your block finishes at 5″.  I tend to keep a stack of Kona White 5″ blocks around for just this situation.

marmalade fabric, baby girl quilt, modern baby quilt, improv pieced quilt, twin quilt idea

The quilt top came together easily.  I struggled to pick the right backing for this project.  As I started this quilt I envision using Kona Robin’s Egg blue on the back.  While digging around for another project’s scraps, I found a pink and green stripe that complimented the front.  What to do?  Thanks to Instagram and Facebook, my original idea won.

marmalade fabric, baby girl quilt, modern baby quilt, improv pieced quilt, twin quilt idea

Kona Pomegranate was also found while digging around.  It was perfect dark pink to coordinate with all the other colors.

solid binding, kona solid

Let me ask again, “Why did I wait so long to try free motion quilting?”  Being able to quilt something in just a couple of hours is liberating.  It’s not perfect and that is okay.


marmalade fabric, baby girl quilt, modern baby quilt, improv pieced quilt, twin quilt idea

marmalade fabric, baby girl quilt, modern baby quilt, improv pieced quilt, twin quilt idea

My original vision came together into this lovely quilt.  Girly, colorful, and scrappy.  There are now just tiny pieces left of Marmalade in my scrap tubs.

Links to other Marmalade quilts

Marmalade boy quilt 

Marmalade girl quilt

Link ups

Needle and Thread Thursday

Finish It Up Friday with Crazy Mom Quilts

Fall Product Photography Troubles

Fall hit a couple of weeks ago.  This time  of year is perfect for nature photography.  You have trees changing colors, leaves drifting to the ground, and nature putting on a stunning color show.  For those of us that take photos of products, it’s challenging to get the right light.  It feels like immediately after Fall started, the sun stopped cooperating for decent blog photos.  Sun, I have quilts and wonderful creations to photograph.  Can we find a compromise?

Trial and Error

That answer is yes, but it is not what I thought.  My original thought was just grab some poster board and shoot photos with items on there.  It didn’t turn out quite like I expected.  Picture taken around 5pm on my deck with the poster board underneath.

The photo above is edited to adjust and add more light.  Notice all of that gray?  Ugh!  I was okay with it.  During my run last night it was really bothering me.  I know my photos can be better.  Let’s try that again.  I had taken this photo and loved how it turned out instead of the one above.

Natural Background

The wood in the photo above absorbs some of the warmer light from the fall sunlight.  The colors seem more true to what they really are and don’t feel distorted.  After my run I grabbed my stack of potholders and shot the photos again.  This time with my deck as the background.

The color looks better and so does the overall effect.  This photo was taken around 6:45pm.  The sun had started setting and wasn’t breaking through the trees.

Bigger Projects

Not sure how I will adjust my quilt photography.  At the right time of the evening the front yard is delivering the perfect opportunity and lighting.  Photo below was taken in the front yard in the evening.

marmalade fabric, baby girl quilt, modern baby quilt, improv pieced quilt, twin quilt idea

Look at it below on the fence in my backyard.  It’s roughly the same time of day, but the trees in the back allow more sunlight to peek through.

The color looks off and it appears to be more night time.   Even with filters I can’t get this one to look right.  More photos coming tomorrow with it.


There are many great sources for improving your product photography online.  What I can’t find is truly adjusting to the fall light for outdoor photo shoots.

Tips for great outdoor photography, click here.

Using natural lighting, click here.

For quilts and projects over the next few weeks, I will probably use the deck or other natural surfaces to adjust for the fall sunlight.

Has anyone else had this issue or noticed it?  I would love feedback and ideas that others have tried.

Leave your ideas in the comments.


Halloween: Spooky Ghost Pumpkin Quilt is Finished

halloween quilt, tic tac toe block, blossom heart quilts blocks, modern quilt, bee quilt, bee blocks, halloween, spooky

So spooky.  P is enjoying his Halloween quilt.  The spooky ghost pumpkin creation is finished.  Did you see my post a while a back about the quilt?


In the post above I had everything laid out and ready to piece the top.  Someone had another thought.  P wanted the quilt top to be in his mess up track.  Yeah, I don’t know what that is either.  His monster trucks had fun running all over the blocks.

This became the final layout.



I had high aspirations for this quilt and wanted to do a large spider web across the entire top.  After watching a number of free motion quilting videos, I thought I could totally do it.  Well, those videos were of quilting on a long arm.  Quilting a spider web would be better if the machine moved instead of the fabric.  There was quite a bit of cussing, ripping out stitches, and trying again.  At about four tries I was done.  Instead, I went for overall loops in FMQ.  This was the biggest quilt I have quilted with my new skill.  Overall I’m happy with it.  P doesn’t care that it’s not perfect, he’s so excited to use the quilt.  He was using it before I even washed it.

When it came to photos for this quilt, I wanted to do something different.  A cemetery?  A spooky park?  No where was really decorated yet for Halloween and obviously I couldn’t keep the quilt away from P.  There is a gothic chapel in a nearby cemetery.

halloween quilt, tic tac toe block, blossom heart quilts blocks, modern quilt, bee quilt, bee blocks, halloween, spooky

It was the perfect spot for a photoshoot.  Thanks hubby for being my helper.  P was directing from the car.

halloween quilt, tic tac toe block, blossom heart quilts blocks, modern quilt, bee quilt, bee blocks, halloween, spooky

The backing was pieced together with some larger Halloween prints I had been collecting.  Using blue polka dot binding is my favorite detail.

Our spooky ghost pumpkin quilt is now in use and being loved.  I’m snuggled under it as I write.

Now I just need to make some pillows with the new Halloween fabric I added last month.

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts – Finish It Up Friday

Confessions Of A Fabric Addict


Barn Quilts are Awesome

What the heck is a barn quilt?  Well, it’s a piece of art on a barn.  Honestly, it’s a quilt design hand-painted onto a piece of wood.  The maker then suckers someone into getting on a tall ladder to put up the lovely piece of work.  Afterward, everyone that drives by can see the artwork from the road.  See the bottom of the post for more information.

Somewhere in West Virginia

If you’re riding in a car with me and I see a barn quilt I yell, “BARN QUILT!”  Everyone flinches and wonders what the heck I’m yelling about and pointing to frantically.  It’s a fun game in the car for me.

Over the summer I decided my garage needed some artwork.  P and I went to JoAnn’s to grab the supplies.  He got to pick out the colors.  Surprisingly, he did not pick orange or neon green.  The kid loves orange.  You can use scrap wood or purchase the pre-cut versions at JoAnn’s.  Lowe’s has pre-cut squares available as well.

My version

My inspiration comes from this block on Pinterest.

I marked up my wood square as best I could.

Don’t look too close

I started painting within the lines the best I could.  It took a number of coats to cover up the pencil lines and get everything to look correct.

I swear I can paint within the lines.  Ha!  There were lots of touch ups throughout the painting process.

P’s version

I wanted P to make a version as well.  His square was painted with gray as a background since he loves to paint with racecars and monster trucks.  Who needs paintbrushes when you have cars?  We went outside for P to paint.  I squirted paint onto wax paper and P ran his car or truck through the colors he wanted.  Once the wheels were nice and coated, he moved over to his square.  He created a race track with his painting style.

The cars and P got a good bath after painting.  Once the paintings dried I sprayed them a number of times, front and back, with a clear matte top coat.  To create a way to hang these, holes were drilled in the top corners and twine ran through the holes.  For this next part, splurge on the outdoor Command hooks.  Not just the regular ones, they don’t hold up as well.  Minutes after taking these photos, my barn quilt had fallen into the garden.

I love having these outside and that P created something with me.

Have you made a barn quilt?  You can find inspiration and tutorials on Pinterest to help you create your own.

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish It Up Friday and 

Confessions Of A Fabric Addict


What Are Barn Quilts?



Favorite Things This Week

Fall is here!  Fall is here!  Seriously, I’m so giddy about fall.  September has been an amazing month.  Time with family and friends, but mostly full of laughter.  More memories to come as we enjoy the fall weather and festivities.

Girl’s Weekend

A couple of weekends ago my friends and I snuck off to Madison, Indiana for the weekend.  We stopped at wineries and shopped.  More importantly we had time together.  At a bar on Friday night we met two adorable Kentucky girls complete with accents.  They noted they were 22 and thought we were 27.  Can they just follow us around for a while?  Too sweet, just like their tea.  They are towards the back of this picture.

We roamed around a new city and learned a few things along the way.  Canaan, Indiana hosted their Fall Festival while we where there.  They host a special Pony Express run of the mail.  You guys, I love the mail so when I overheard someone talking about a special postcard, I knew I needed more information.  At the post office we got all the details.  The Pony Express will be in Madison by 1ish if we wanted to see the ride.  Done!

We anxiously waited to see a man on a horse deliver these postcards.  It was much later than we were told, but I had beer, so things were good.  I shared the thrilling event on InstaStories.  People in town were not nearly excited as I was.  “It’s just a guy on a horse.”  Well those party poopers did not deter me.  So glad we got to see it.

Then we noticed the building we had been waiting by.  It looks like a castle.  It’s an old Knights of Pythia lodge.  Interesting. Now it’s just apartments.  Imagine all the social events that happened there?

This was the view from our hotel room.  We stayed in the second night and enjoyed some of the wine we had purchased.  We laughed more, ate cookies, and wore sheet masks to make our skin look glorious.  I won’t share those pictures, but they still make me giggle.

Having a getaway was refreshing.  P had a boy’s weekend and loved the time with Rob.  If you haven’t one in a while, make the time with your friends.

Sewing & Quilting

Blogger’s Quilt Festival is currently happening.  Pop over and see the amazing work in this collection.

Since people know I sew, they ask if I can hem their pants.  My typical answer is, “Yes, but terribly.”  Pay someone else to do it.  I bookmarked this article for future reference if I want to tackle hemming my own pants.  Oh, I hope I can stop laughing at that thought.

Speaking of sewing clothes, Rachel talks about her garment sewing baggage here.  She is braver than I am.  Sewing clothes for myself is a to do, but it’s scary.  What if I fail?  With quilting failures can usually be ripped out or covered up in some way.


That’s it for now.  I have a few things I’m working on for next week to share.  New posts and possibly a video.