by Emma Thomas-McGinnis, artist & quilter

Author Archives: Emma

Off Season Challenge Coincidence

April 25th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (0 Comments)

Project Quilting and my “Seams Sew Easy” small group have collided this month by issuing the same challenge!!!

So I’m thinking about color names and my initials…ELTM (project quilting doesn’t allow 5 initials, though I have them!) The only difference in the two challenges is that my small group specified I find the color names on paint chips! So I’m not using Lavender, I’m going to find something exotic like “Elite Wisteria” or “Little Pond.” (those are actual names I just found using’s ColorSmart tool! This is going to be fun.

Here’s the link to the Project Quilting Off-season Challenge if you’d like to join me. You never have to commit to the whole season to join Project Quilting, but this is even more low-key…so if you’ve been waiting to join in, now’s the time!!

p.s. I hope my Seams Sew Easy friends post their projects on the Project Quilting group!


Quilties on Display!

April 24th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Crafts | Quilting - (0 Comments)

Happy Easter!!!

For those who weren’t able to make it, I want to show you my Quilties booth at the Earth Day in the Junction event. It was a big success!! (The weather, not so much, but the display was my first ever and it turned out better even than I imagined!)

I have to thank my husband, Dave, for his handy help building my clothesline stand and setting up on the morning of the show. It was such a great day!

Let me tell you a little bit about the display…

I used a quilt for the table cloth. That was actually Dave’s idea; I was fretting about how to get a tablecloth and he just plainly asked “don’t you have a quilt you can use?” ….duh! I had the perfect one! It even matches my sign and business cards!

Then I raised up the back with some cat litter pans underneath the table cloth for a back level. I used baskets to hold all the little bears, bunnies and zip pouches. I just laid out some of the tote bags. I didn’t come up with a great display for them, but it worked fine. The green, plastic, floral box held quilties in sleeves with cardboard backings so visitors could page through them.

But the best part was the clothesline. The tent sort of obscured it in the harsh morning sun, but I think it drew people in. They were looking behind me at them all day! I knew if I laid quilties out on the table that I would quickly run out of space, so the clothesline was the perfect way to set out more so that those too timid to start leafing through the box would still get to see some of my work. I’m sure it’s not a new idea, but I think my husband did a great job of building it and I was really pleased with how it looked!

I hope I get to do another show or craft sale soon and I hope you can come to it!

Butterfly Beauty

April 18th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Inspiration | Quilting - (1 Comments)

I want to share a project that was made by my mom, Ginny Thomas, and featured on a blog recently! Congrats, Mom, for your mention. I am so proud of you and your beautiful quilts!

Paintstik butterflies by Ginny Thomas
Be sure to visit this link to read about the challenge that brought about this beautiful quilt! I love challenges for bringing out our creative thinking!!

She used wonderful, creative techniques to make this quilt really special, the words are thread calligraphy and the butterflies use Shiva Paintstiks and notice her beautiful free-motion quilting!!

Earth Day in the Junction

April 13th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All - (0 Comments)

Ooops, I forgot to tell you when the show is! Here’s an invitation to any of you who are in the area. I’d love to see some friends there, please come visit my booth! Click on the logo to get to their website for more info.

Sunday, April 17th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This celebration of Earth Day includes a 5K run/walk, a diverse group of exhibitors, children’s fun activities, demonstrations, live music and food.


Ready for a Spring Show

April 12th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All - (1 Comments)

I’m getting ready for a Spring Show! I’m going to have a booth at an event called “Earth Day in the Junction” in Valley Junction, West Des Moines, IA this Sunday. And this is the first show I’ve been in with Quilties, since when I was a kid selling hand-painted clay pots or painting faces on kids with my mom and dad!! :) (Those were the days!)

Anyway, I’m getting ready by making lots of spring projects and beefing up my inventory with anything I can think of.
Made quite a few zip pouches. I think they will go over well, who doesn’t need another bag or purse, right?!

My favorite item is my new bunny. I developed the pattern from a sketch I made last year, and then a couple trial runs. Now I’ve got it down to the essentials, they are quick and FUN to make at every step…and the finished bunnies are so fun, anyone who picks one up has to squeeze it a few times and doesn’t want to put it down. I hope they will be loved!!

Their ears flop over, so they’re not very photogenic. Also, they look a little lumpy and bunchy in the photos, but believe me, that’s what makes them so huggable in real life. The first two I made were perfectly smooth and rounded and looked amazing…but Conal said they felt like paper-weights! Then I had my neighbor-kid-friend, Alivia, help me stuff one and hers was so much more huggable…I knew they all had to be just the way Alivia did them! I’ll have to thank her!!

I’ve made about a dozen! Here’s just the first little “batch.” I’m going to need a bigger basket!!

Win a Quiltie Bear

March 30th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All - (0 Comments)

I donated this week’s public prize for Project Quilting and YOU COULD WIN!!!  All you have to do is go to Kim’s Crafty Apple’s Project Quilting Page and vote for your favorite Round 6 entry, then scroll to the bottom of the post and make a comment. Any comment will do, then you’ll be entered to win this cute little teddy bear made by me!

Hope you win!!

Hurry, voting closes at 7pm CST on Friday, April 1st.

Kim's Crafty Apple

Project Quilting 2:5

March 27th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (3 Comments)

Flying Geese Challenge

So, very sadly, I missed Challenge 5 because we had to go out of town on Thursday and I just couldn’t get this project done in time. But I had started it on the Sunday of the challenge and tried really hard to get it done in time, so I decided I just had to finish it as soon as I finished Challenge 6. Besides, I promised this one to Brennan, so I couldn’t leave it unfinished forever.

The challenge was to use the traditional flying geese quilt block in some way AND to use a complementary color scheme.

So, instead of just using the block, I decided that “Flying Geese” would be the WHOLE story behind my project. I took those flying geese triangles and turned them into REAL little flying birds in a mobile!!

Each triangle was given a beak and stuffed lightly to be a stylized goose.

For the top of the mobile,  I made a quilted circle of flying geese using paper-piecing. (I think it’s the same pattern that Dashasel used in the winning piece, although I didn’t know that at the time I was making it!!)

So, I made that circle of flying geese, sandwiched it like a real quilt, with peltex stiff interfacing to make it stiff. Then I wrapped a wooden embroidery hoop with blue satin ribbon, to really reinforce the circle and ensure it stayed stiff. I hot glued the quilted circle to the hoop. Here you can see the hanging. It was a windy day this morning, so you can’t tell, but it really hangs straight!

This photo shows how much Brennan really loves it!! I think we’ll hang it down in the play room in the basement…but he wants in the living room so we can see it “ALL THE TIME”, isn’t that sweet?!

I’m sad that I didn’t get to enter the Project Quilting contest for this round, but at least I got this great project done because of it!! Project Quilting is so great!!

Project Quilting 2:6

March 26th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (1 Comments)

Large Scale Fabrics Challenge

Finally, I have a project to tell you about!!! I have had a rough March as far as getting things done, but I’ve had lots of things in the works. I’ll tell you about more of them later, first I have to show you this challenge project, I love it!

The challenge was to use a large scale fabric. Here’s mine. I loved that white mum in the center and the very elegant leaves.

So I came up with a plan to make a three-dimensional version of the mum. I had socked away this “Snow Mum” pattern from Amy Butler a while ago, so I had to go search it out. I also had this paper-piecing pattern for a circle of flying geese I made for another project. (I’ll show you that whole project later!)

I modified it to have more background and eliminated the geese to make this background.

Here you can also see that I quilted around the designs in the background fabric, since they were so subtle in contrast, but the real story behind the quilt, so I had to make them stand out more. I think it really worked. Even white leaves on cream are visible when quilted around!

Here’s the mum placed on the background! It’s made from two layers of wool blend felt fused together, then the individual petals cut out, sewn down the centers a little to give them curve and then sewn to a circle one by one. My sewing machine couldn’t stitch through all those layers of felt without skipping a lot of stitches, so I ended up stitching them all on by hand. The center has some stained brown wooden beads, because the fabric design had those brown seedy centers, too.

I loved it! It fit perfectly to make just those spinning orange star points pop, but still shows plenty of the background fabric! Then I thought it was getting a little too symmetrical and circular, so I added a little interest with a blue leaf branch. I made those out of felt with a real nice blue/green cotton coordinate fused on, then cut out and sewn to florist wire, so I could make them pose just perfectly!

The last finishing touch was part of the challenge, it required a stripe or plaid to be used somewhere in the piece. Perfect, I love stripe bindings and this pretty peach/orange subtle stripe coordinated perfectly and added a little more spin yet. I cut it on the bias, so the stripes slant like a candy cane AND it wrapped around the circle perfectly smooth without any tucks!!

I’m so proud!

And it looks really beautiful in my studio.

Treasury: Wonderful Textile World

March 25th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All - (2 Comments)

Thought you might like to see a beautiful treasury of textiles.

Thank you to diohej for including my teddy in her treasury. Go see her shop, she has some beautiful textiles there too!

Public Vote Winner

March 5th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (0 Comments)

A big thank you…

to all my friends who voted for my quilt in the Project Quilting public vote!!! I was so pleased to be the winner!

My “Palettes” quilt also won third place in the Judges choice contest.

Here are the first and second place quilts.

Second Place: “After the Rain” by Pam Geisel of For Quilts Sake
Yellow Springs, Ohio



First Place: “Connectivity Quilt” by Marcia Wachuta – Marcia’s Crafty Sewing and Quilting
Boscobel, Wisconsin

Congratulations to the winners! Make sure to click on the photos above to find out the stories behind the quilts.