All posts by suebeesmemories

What good things come from the bad? Quilting during the quarantine.

These past couple of months have been crazy….somewhat quiet being in my own home 95% of the time….with only getting groceries and working outside in my garden or walking.

The coronovirus thing started while I was on a quilting retreat in mid March then I get home to a mandatory shutdown of work, stores, etc.  It felt like we were living in an apocolypse.  Thank God, I had enough toilet paper on hand and plenty of quilting projects to do without getting any additional supplies.

During April, my quilting business was super slow so I worked on my Cherrywood Challenge quilt and completed it by May.  It’s been submitted to Cherrywood….so I won’t hear anything until July 13….that’s when I’ll be sharing my pic with the world. I did stay busy with my part-time job at the National Children’s Advocacy Center working from home.  Seemed so weird not seeing my coworkers, other than zoom calls.

Good comes from something bad….we hear that all of the time and sometimes wonder WHAT could good could come from this virus?

  1. I discovered I’m definitely a homebody!  I love being at home, but I miss people!
  2. My trips got cancelled…what good comes from that?  My safety and health for sure, but read below:

Well my Prince quilt was supposed to be at Paisley Park in Minnesota and we were to fly to Minneapolis to visit family June 3 and then go to the Prince celebration the 4th.  With COVID-19 that festival got postponed and then we cancelled our trip 2 weeks prior because we didn’t feel safe.

Little did we know the city was going to be in an uproar because of what happened to George Floyd.  I honestly hope and pray that the good thing that comes out of this is that this WILL NEVER happen again and complete equality will be the norm and color won’t exist….we are all God’s children so let’s get along and play nicely together!!!.  It breaks my heart to see what happened in Minneapolis. It angers me to see a cop behave that way.  I keep thinking what if Prince was alive today, what would he be saying and doing right there in his own community.

Because of everything happening I received this email yesterday.  (My quilt was in their email header….bottom row second from the left. )

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I’m sad that it didn’t get to Prince’s home at Paisley Park, but I’m happy it’s coming back to MY home after two long years traveling!!

Here are the client projects I worked on the past few months.  Things picked up quickly in May.  Graduation dates were getting set so that helped my business pick up quickly.

So I got some big news that my rose quilt got accepted into an AQS show….but I had doubts the show would go on due to COVID-19.



Sure enough I got an email this week saying the show had been cancelled. There’s always next year! At least I know it’s possible now!

Update - 2020 AQS Quilt Contest_Page_1

I hope this time at home helps everyone reflect on world happenings and also gives you great quality time with your families and even with your quilting!

Here’s some personal things I worked on.  Made TONS of masks to give away!  A purse for my mom, redid my swing, some comfy quilts for donation and helped finish a quilt to give to a friend.

Happy Quilting!

Sue Bee



It’s a New Year…Looking Back on 2019

Happy New Year.  Looking back on 2019, I would say I was definitely busier than a bee!  During 2018, I doubled my quilt production but had to slow down in 2019 since I injured my neck and shoulder doing too many quilts.

The two most exciting things to happen for me this year was having my Prince Cherrywood Challenge Quilt travel around the US, and will end up near Prince’s hometown in April, and my Rose quilt won a second place at our guild’s quilt show this year.

Here are all of the 52 client quilts completed in 2019. Eight of them were vintage quilt tops that I finished for Christmas gifts for a friend.  Oh and almost forgot the new memory bears pattern I will be adding to my collection on my website.  I had to do 8 of them!


Personal Projects for 2019:


I also created a two store sample quilts and a Stonehenge block kit for our local shop to sell.

This year I taught two t-shirt quilt classes at Huntsville Sew Creative and one Hexagon Quilt class at a local church.

I attended two quilt shows: Spring Paducah and worked and attended the International Quilt Festival in Houston.  We had to make two garments for it.  Here are some pics of them and the Education team!


I set some goals this year with my quilting.  I have a list of 30 quilts I’d love to complete in my lifetime and this year I plan on doing the following:

  • Cherrywood Challenge Princess Diana
  • Applique of Costa Rica Mosaic Tile – this will probably not get done in a year….it’s pretty intense and I’d love to be able to show it someday.
  • Finish my Flower Applique Karen Kay Buckley class
  • Start Autumn Love by Lori Holt
  • Finish my Sizzle BOM
  • Create an Alaskan Quilt – Cynthia England kit
  • Finish a Poinsettia Quilt – Cynthia England kit

I’ve got other UFOs that I might get done but the ones above are my top priority. What’s your plans?  I’d love to hear them!

Happy Quilting ya’ll!

Staying busy as a bee,

Sue Bee

Prince Quilt, Wooden Quilt, and GORGEOUS Quilts!

Getting up at the crack of dawn and sleeping on a bus is worth it when the final destination is QUILTS, QUILTS, and MORE QUILTS!  We arrived in Paducah around 9am and hit the ground running with 30+ other quilters from the north Alabama area.

The first thing I wanted to see were the winners.  It is SO amazing what quilters do with fabric and other mixed media products.

The main reason I wanted to go was to see my Prince Challenge quilt!  It was really cool to see my own work at a quilt show as large as this!


Here are some winners and some of my favorites!


I also got to go the National Quilt Museum to see past Best of Shows and other exhibits!

And check this out…a quilt made of wood!


They allowed us to touch this piece!  AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!

We had a quick stop at Hancocks Paducah, ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant and had HUGE margaritas, then got back on the bus and headed home.  We arrived back into Huntsville around 11:30.

My guild puts this on every year and it’s a great way to see the show without getting a hotel room!

Well this has totally inspired me to get myself back into my art quilts.  It’s my passion and I must make time for it!  I hope you take time to do something for yourself even if it isn’t quilting!

Staying busy as a bee!



Adorable Dolls and Dollhouse

Working at Huntsville Sew Creative Store can be dangerous when all the new stuff arrives. HA HA! Best Friends Forever Playhouse by Stacy Iest Hsu for Moda Fabrics came in and I had to make it for my granddaughter, Eden for her 3rd birthday.

il_1588xN.1866428135_nz5wIt wasn’t too difficult, but I have a couple of suggestions!

  1. When you are cutting out the pieces, cut out the number and pin to each piece.  The pattern refers to each piece by numbers.
  2. The patterns doesn’t specify how much velcro you need but 1 yard is plenty.  I found pink to match at Hobby Lobby!
  3. I also quilted the bottom by sewing straight lines on it.  It kept it from bunching up.

Other than those few things, it was easy!  Eden loved it too!

Hope you have a fun weekend planned!

Happy Quilting!

Sue B.

Costa Rica – Day 3 & 4

Day 3

img_8583What a way to start the day!  This is the view from the back of the Mission House.  The yard is full of beautiful flowers, a lemon tree, and many banana trees.

Meet Roa…she is a sweetheart but a very good guard dog too!


Today was the beginning of Kairos.  The Mission House was stirring with busy bees preparing agape and food organizing supplies to take into Vilma Curling Women’s Prison.  We were unable to go to the bakery to bake cookies so we made some ourselves at the Mission House. We also had lunch made by the team and then headed to the prison.

Today was a short day inside the prison.  The 37 inmates (we like to call them princesses) came in about 3pm and left about 5pm.  Everyone introduced themselves and the team got organized.  We will probably have more princesses come since it was supposed to be 42.

We got back to the Mission House around 6:30pm and had dinner and then came back to our hotel to get ready for a very early morning tomorrow.

Day 4

The bus picked us up at 6:10 a.m. so we only had time for coffee and no breakfast.   We arrived at the women’s prison and had to get quickly organized for the morning refreshments, fruit and cookies.  This year, we have three princesses helping us prepare food. Numerous talks and presentations happened today.  Melissa sang “You Say” and our team sang “Sing Alleluia” and we never practiced it and it sounded beautiful! Karla said she felt like she was in heaven!

We served lunch and dinner and it was super delicious!  Pineapple was served as a snack and some of these women hadn’t had pineapple in a very long time…so we try to give them lots of wonderful food as agape! The agape team also worked on the agape bags filled with all kinds of items! A woman from Ford’s Chapel made each fabric bag.

We also had the group photos made as well.  Here’s our cocina group photo.


The day ended and we came back to a mini fiesta with awesome and upbeat music!

Now it’s time for me to go finish writing my letters to the princesses.  Tomorrow they get their agape bag and all the letters that everyone writes!  Keep praying for these woman!  The walls are beginning to come down!

Buenos noches,



Costa Rica-Day 2

Monday was a beautiful day full of blessings for us and for the inmates we saw today at APAC, a faith-based prison, and San Sebastian prison.  First we headed to San Rafael and toured APAC.  APAC is for men who are in their last two years of their sentence where they can come here and learn how to re-enter society, job skills, bible study, etc. There are currently 82 men with capacity for 90.

Before we even entered the prison, we had the chance to pray with a young woman, Greta.  She actually recognized us from a previous Kairos we attended at the women’s prison. She just got out 10 months ago and was visiting her husband at the San Rafael prison. Once inside, we toured housing, kitchen, library, computer lab, garden, butterfly garden and workshop area where we had the opportunity to purchase some of their homemade goods.  One new thing this year was a small store where they can purchase needed items and snacks.  Money made goes back into upgrading APAC and for inmates in need.  The butterfly garden and workshop area had been upgraded and is much larger from these funds.

We were able to spend their morning motivational time worshipping and giving testimonies to them.  Ruth introduced the team and sang “Supe (I Knew)”, Marlene shared her testimony, and Shelly shared hers as well. We met with Didier, Ana’s husband and talked with him a very, very long time.  He shared what was in his heart and what God has done already in his life.  We prayed with him and will continue to pray for reconciliation for their marriage.  We had a quick lunch in the library and then was able to purchase items at the workshop area.  Several of us met a non-believer, Otto and witnessed to him.  By the time we were finished talking with him, we knew the seed had been planted and he said that he had a lot to think about.  One interesting thing he does in prison is fix bibles and Marlene’s bible’s binding was broken and he was the one that was going to fix it.  There are so many sweet notes in her bible that are all in Spanish and who knows how they will impact him as he fixes her bible.

After we left APAC, Carlos said he had a surprise for us.  We stopped at a Starbucks and got coffee and drinks, then headed to San Sebastian prison.

Outside San Sebastian prison gate, a sweet elderly lady, Ruth. She was selling bags for people to carry food into the prison.  She shared her testimony with us about how a local ministry had helped her from being homeless to sufficiently supporting herself.  She gave God the glory!  AMEN!

In San Sebastian the other Voz de Libertad (VOL) volunteers and our team prayed before we entered.  These volunteers go in every Monday to help lead worship and minister to the inmates.  This prison was nothing like APAC, there was very little peace, lots of tension, and a feeling of evil as you walked through numerous gates to get to the cell where they held worship service.  We had to pass through their sleeping area and it was ROUGH!  Shoes and clothing were hanging from the bars and it just felt very dark and extremely noisy.  Ruth shared her testimony and sang a song. Shelly shared her testimony of forgiveness and a young man shared that he had a very similar experience. The inmates led two worship songs and Carlos prayed for them and we immediately had to leave.  Before we went out of the gate, we circled up and prayed over the VoL team and then they prayed for us.


We headed back to the Mission House for dinner and had a few hours of heartfelt sharing of what blessings we experienced that day.  Many eyes were leaking.  Karla shared about the travel to and from their youth camp. There were very narrow, curvy, and dangerous roads on the side of a cliff that led to the camp. The ironic thing that happened was they got lost and and then found the correct way which was even more dangerous getting up the mountain in a large school bus.  The name of the retreat was “No One Will Be Lost”. How ironic!  People had to get out of the bus to make sure the tires were not going off the road. Karla felt the most spiritual time was while they were on the bus maneuvering the dangerous road praying for safety. They had to totally rely on God to handle this scary situation.  We were so thankful coming back Sunday dancing and singing as they arrived back home.

We had great moments of laughter while singing songs from Frozen and just being silly.  We headed back to the Hotel Francos and enjoyed our “ice cream” ministry with Javier….we’ve known him for a very long time.  He is the nighttime guard and works there.IMG_8578.JPG

Oh and I got to meet a man sewing in prison.  He fixes clothing and has been a tailor on the outside!


Have a blessed day!

Sue B

Costa Rica-Day 1

IMG_8482.JPGI’ve been coming to Costa Rica since 2005. When I get here it feels like home!  I love this place!  It reminds me of the island of Hawaii, the Big Island with the lush tropical foliage and volcanoes.

We stay at Hotel Casa Franco which is like a B&B but the beds are more like nicer hostel beds.  Food is great, especially Franco’s delicious homemade secret recipe jelly!  And the coffee is AMAZING!

Yesterday, we started our day off with worship at Carlos’ church, known as the Purple Church to many since it used to be painted purple. Now it’s white and beige with a white ceramic tile floor.  The worship band was fantastic!  It wasn’t going to be an ordinary church service though.  The 40 youth were on a weekend retreat too.  We all got into groups and walked the neighborhood handing out devotional calendars.  It was so cool!  At first, I noticed that nobody was walking the neighborhood so I wondered if we were going door-to-door instead.  As we started, people just appeared on the streets!  Thank you God for providing people who needed this devotional calendar. We prayed with one group of people and we handed out all calendars from our group!!  We asked if they had prayer requests and also invited them to Carlos’ church.

We ended church service with one of our team members, Kerry, giving a sermon, “Do you love Jesus enough to be Radical?” to everyone.  Ruth sang “Mighty to Save” and then we walked to the Musanni Bakery for some delicious, fresh-baked pastries. For lunch we had homemade empanadas. WOW…they were amazing! As some of us stayed behind to help decorate for the youth returning from camp, some of us headed to WalMart.


At 3pm we had a special back to school children’s program for families of the church, ex-inmates, and current inmates. We had a very large group of people, approximately 40.  They families chose a value that represents their family and drew a poster and presented it.  Each family presented their core family value: communication, kindness, respect, love, sharing, honesty, faith, obedience, and family.  We had a beautiful moment of prayer time with the families and prayed with one women who just found out her 24 year old nephew had just passed away from toxic fumes at work.  There was a women named Ana who we prayed for.  Her husband Didier is in APAC.  We told her we were going to APAC on Monday and would pray with him.

We had cake and refreshments for them afterwards and also handed out a large package of school supplies. One major highlight was seeing Maria, an ex-inmate that was on a Kairos that we helped with!


For supper we had fried chicken and fries and stayed at the church for the next event of welcoming the 50 people returning from youth camp.  Some youth gave testimonies, there was a dance presentation and lots of fun as they ended a camp that really impacted their lives. The theme was “No one will be lost”. Ruth also sang “Broken Vessels/Amazing Grace”.


We came back to Hotel Franco and crashed.  What a blessing of a day!  One of my teammates actually has major details of our day, but I just wanted to give an overview.

Missing my quilting, but maybe someday I can share how to make memory quilts with people here so they can provide an income for their family!

Happy Quilting! More to come later!



Christmas Came Too Fast!

There are weeks of planning, shopping, baking, and making fun family memories that brings us to December 25, Christmas Day and the celebration of Jesus’ birth.  Sometimes it comes so quickly when we are so busy preparing which happened to me this year trying to finish over 30 projects for clients and a few of my homemade gifts. Actually we are STILL in the Christmas season until January 6, so leave those decorations up to enjoy them longer!  I love sitting here in the evening with my tree all lit up!

Here’s a few more client projects I finished for Christmas:


I did 8 pillows for a man that lost his father-in-law in October.  Him and his wife had me make photo pillows for each of the kids and grandkids.  The backside was his clothing.


I also made 2 pillows with my sister’s clothing and our family photo this year.  Since Faye went to Auburn I gave that pillow to my daughter and son-in-law since they are both Auburn graduates.  The other pillow I gave to my mom with one of Faye’s flannel shirts she wore during her last months on this earth.  I haven’t made mine yet but will soon!

As I sit here on a quiet Sunday afternoon, I am thinking about what I acccomplished this year and plans to accomplish next year with my sewing and quilting.  I counted 80 memory quilts, 20 pillows, and then my personal projects!  WOW!  I was one busy bee this year!  


Sizzle WarmStarting in January, I am going to be doing a block of the month with Barbara Black learning foundation piecing.  This is what it’ll look like when it’s all done.

I am also making a list of what I want to accomplish which will be my next blog post.  It’s great to publish your list so you can be accountable!  What are you planning for 2019?


Have a Happy and Safe New Year!

Sue B



The End is in Sight!

This Christmas is my first time to really work my business closer to full-time.  Back in May, I went part-time at the National Children’s Advocacy Center (NCAC).  I knew I needed to go part-time because my business was increasing.  I got a job offer from another non-profit for a part-time marketing/design job, but when I went back to my current employer they said they could work something out and keep me on board.  I LOVE the NCAC.  It is the best place to work and everyone is so awesome there!

So back to quilting.  This year I took on 30 projects just for the holiday season…8 of those were memory pillows, but still I had to complete 22 quilts from beginning to end.  I am down to my last 3 and there’s still a good week left for me to finish.  I probably shouldn’t have taken on that many, because my neck, shoulders, and back are feeling it.  Yesterday I treated myself to a deep tissue massage and that helped.  So here’s the ones I finished since my last post.

I even had some time to enjoy with my grandkids over the last 2 weeks! I kept Eden last Friday all day and then they kids spent the night and hung out with us all day Saturday!  We made a gingerbread house and watched movies since it was so cold and rainy out.

Well I hope you have a great weekend!  I’ve got to get back to the last few quilts!  The end is definitely in sight!

Staying busy as a bee!

Sue Bartlow

Cancer Really Sucks!

I really don’t like using the word “sucks” but cancer really does suck. Why does it have to exist? It seems like everytime we turn around someone is diagnosed with cancer!

2013 was a year that would change my life forever.  It started off great with both of my daughters graduating from school.  One from high school and one from college.  The one from college had been married for a couple of years and was 7 months pregnant.  My first grandchild, Ezra, arrived in July, and brought so much joy in our lives.  But then September comes and we get the worse news we could ever imagine….CANCER. My younger sister was diagnosed with brain cancer….a glioblastoma….a very aggressive tumor.  She lived with that tumor with the help of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy for a little more than 3 years but lost the battle in April 2017.  I miss her so much!  She left behind her son who is 9 years old being raised by my parents. It’s really hard losing someone you love so much which leads me to a quilt that I just finished.


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A mom asked me to create this quilt which represented her daughter’s life. Kelsey’s short life was represented with her newborn hospital shirt and baby booties to a denim skirt and shirts she wore as a young women. Kelsey was diagnosed with lymphoma twice and lost her battle the second time around at age 24.  She loved Idaho State, the color purple and horses as you can see in this quilt! There’s also her tattered quilt she had as a little girl and a cute blue dress she wore.  I ALWAYS encourage people to save items…not to the point of being a pack rat, but you never know when the items may be used!

Now it’s time for me to get back to the long arm and sewing machine to finish 10 more quilts for clients.  20 memory quilts and 7 memory pillows for Christmas this year and this week I’ve shipped 6 to their homes. These are the ones I’ve done for this holiday season so far.

Staying busy as a bee! Have a great week!

Sue Bartlow