Inspired Layers – Linda's Blog

Linda's quilting adventures

It Takes a Village March 19, 2016

I belong to two villages….Thimble Pleasures Quilt Guild and Bose Speakers Toastmasters.

Last weekend a quilt that I made won a blue ribbon.  How did that happen?  It all started with a field trip with the Holliston Senior Center to Quilted Crow Store in Bolton, MA.  I saw this quilt, “Oriental Baltimore” pattern by Leesa Chandler Designs. I was intrigued by the three dimensional flowers and leaves.  Thank you to Sue, owner of the Qulited Crow for introducing me to this pattern. I changed the color palette. I used batik fabrics for the flowers. After many hours of using Sulky thread instead of DMC floss and “request” batting adhered to the back of each block, I embroidered as much as I could.  Then the project stopped.  I was stumped.  I have large hands and there was no way I could turn the tiny petals right side out. I was stuck!

Several months pass.  Then in September, I was at a get away with some members of our guild.  Rita had made this quilt before and she came over to me and helped me on the 5 blocks where I was stuck.  It all seemed so simple now.

I finished the quilt in my own unique way.  I put it in the Thimble Pleasures Quilt Show.  I guess a lot of my fellow Thimble Pleasures Guild members appreciated the time and creativity that went into this quilt, for they voted and gave me a Blue Ribbon.  That would have never happened without Sue, my seniors, Rita, Leesa, and the guild members. Thanks you all so much!  I love this village.


Two weeks ago I received a Triple Crown Award at the Bose Speakers Toastmasters meeting. If it weren’t for my husband, encouraging me to join a club, my mentor, Peter, always evaluating with encouraging words, the opportunity that presented itself to me through Toastmasters, Lori, my new mentor, and all the clubs I visited and learned new, exciting tips and techniques for public speaking, I would not have earned this award.


Both of these villages gave me opportunities to be active.  If you are looking for a village to join.  Be active.  The more you give, the more you learn. I’ve also met very creative people in both of these villages.

I do give talks to women’s groups and quilting guilds.  Thank you Toastmasters for listening to so many quilt-related talks. The courage and confidence I have gained over that past few years is nothing short of amazing.  I wish the same for you.  Look for a village to highlight your talents. You will be amazed.



This Week (10) I… March 11, 2014

Filed under: quilt shows,toastmasters,Uncategorized — inspiredlayerslinda @ 6:51 pm
Thimble Pleasures Quilt Guild 2014 Booklet

Thimble Pleasures Quilt Guild 2014 Booklet

…I helped set up the Vendor area for the Thimble Pleasures Quilt Show with two new friends from our guild.  This year we had some demonstrations in the center of the room.  It was nice form guests to sit down and learn about quilting tips and tools, portable ironing boards, applique techniques and more.

There were over 200 quilts in the show.  It was such an inspiring show!  I purchased some fabric, thread and beads from the vendors.  I am filled with inspiration and cannot wait to start some new projects!

Stay tuned!

Over 1000 guests came to see the show.  Nearly 800 voted on Saturday.  Awards were given for many categories.  There was even a name tag challenge during the show.  Awards were given for categories such as blingiest, funniest, most creative and more!  All in all there was lots of talent and fun!

If you missed the show this year, TPQG will hang another show in two years, 2016 with more inspiring quilts.




I also wrote a new, humorous talk, “Confessions of a Catholic Quilter”.  This was so much fun!  I will be giving this talk to Bose Speakers Toastmasters, St. Mary’s Catholic Women’s Guild in Holliston and Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Guild in Leominster this Lent.


Country Village Quilters Guild May 16, 2013




Country Valley Quilt Guild social

Yesterday I drove to Moultonborough, NH to share my quilting  journey with 75 ladies from two quilting guilds.  These two guilds are only two towns away from each other.  One makes hundreds of quilts for Veterans and the other makes hundreds of quilts for David’s Place, for children.  Every spring one guild invites the other to a luncheon with all kinds of homemade sandwiches, salads, and desserts.  In the fall, the other guild is the hostess and provides homemade soups and desserts.

I was the speaker yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many talented (even nationally award winning) quilters and judges.  I was thankful that they laughed at the right time! It was a day of sharing, fun, and sunshine.

There were about 20 challenge quilts which the guest guild voted on various categories.  It was so nice to hear that every quilt got a vote for a category.  The challenge was: create a quilt based on a song and it had to have a heart somewhere on it and there was a size requirement.  Fabulous job!

It rained almost my entire ride home, but the sun was trying to peek out as I exited the highway.  Dinner was moments from the table (Still amazed) and the lawn edged in preparation of prom photos tomorrow night.

If your guild would like to hear a fun and hopefully entertaining talk on quilting, check out my website calendar at If I’m not already booked, fill out a contract and send it to me.  I enjoy tailoring my talk to the needs of your group.  I have sewn over 400 quilts to date, so I have lots of stories to share!



Meet the Artist Reception at Norfolk Library January 16, 2013

Filed under: A Quilter's Touch,toastmasters — inspiredlayerslinda @ 3:29 pm

This was another special tuesday. My friend, Cindy was visiting and we had a long list of activities to accomplish before my first speaking engagement of 2013.  We made a list and decided to divide and conquer!  I went to the grocery store to buy some cheese and crackers for the food trays and Cindy sliced the scones, drizzled them with icing, and arranged them in cupcake papers.  We enjoyed a cup of tea and a spinach salad and were off again.  A few more stops; the cleaners to invite a creative person that works there to the recption, and then to the nail salon.

We set up a special table in honor of my grandmother with a framed photo, teacup, and Grammie’s Scrabble quilt, which my mother designed on paper and I pieced, stenciled and quilted in 2000.

The reception started at 6:30p.m. and 50 people came to see the show.  I am so thankful to my friends and family who spread the word.  A few people came as a result of an article in the Holliston Reporter.

I shared my story and how my grandmother’s love and encouragement inspired me to start my quilting business, teach at the Holliston Senior Center and at local quilt shops and even produce a cable TV show, “A Quilter’s Touch.”

First Quilt 1990

I shared the first quilt I ever made….This quilt was created before I learned about a rotary cutter and mat.  Each piece was cut with Ginger shears and a template cut from a cereal box.  It’s the memories attached to this quilt and seeing my grown children look for this quilt when they want to cuddle on the sofa that makes this quilt so special.

My journey started with “show and tell” at Grammie’s house.  I ventured outside my box to take classes at quilt shops and quilt shows.  I even joined a couple of quilt guilds.  Every quilt is a learning exercise for me.  I joined Toastmasters to find my voice and train my thoughts. Now I share tips and techniques to make quilting easier and more fun on the cable TV show, “A Quilter’s Touch.” I hope viewers will try quilting and touch someone with a quilted item sometime soon.

Norfolk Cable taped a piece


Norfolk Cable stopped by to tape a piece.




Many of the quilts were group projects.  Quilting is a social activity.  I’ve made significant relationships and learned a lot of life lessons from my quilting friends.  I consider all the round robins, row robins, inchie, and block swaps rich gifts from friends. My hope for every quilter or “quilter want-to-be” is to join a class at a quilt shop or senior center or watch online via and try a new technique and share it with someone.

The quilts will be on display until Jan. 28th.  If you missed the reception, just stop in to see my experimentation. I hope you will be inspired to set your own creativity free.




Ice Breaker January 15, 2012

Filed under: toastmasters — inspiredlayerslinda @ 3:27 pm

I gave an “Ice Breaker” talk at Bose Speakers Toastmasters last week.  I entitled my talk “A Christmas Carol” because I used the theme of spirits of past, present and future to describe who I was and where I hoped to go.  It was like acting out photos from my past including 1972 on stage with the Boston Ballet performing “The Nutcracker Suite,” 1974 sitting in my junior high art class, 1985 graduating from Northeastern University with a BSME, 1997 going to my first quilt show, 2007 when my grandmother told me to share my quilting with the world before she died. The spirit of Christmas present found me as Program Chair for Thimble Pleasures Quilt Guild, President of the Board of Directors of Holliston Cable Access Television, creator and producer of  “A Quilter’s Touch”, teaching quilting at various shops and guilds.  What does the future hold?  I hope to write and give a humorous and educational talk to be enjoyed by quilters and non-quilters alike.  I hope to see my children and husband in the audience some day so they can see me lift the spirits of those in the room with my talk.

I’ve learned a lot through my Toastmasters experience.  I continue to work on vocal variety.


What’s in My Toolbox? February 10, 2011

Filed under: toastmasters — inspiredlayerslinda @ 2:11 pm

I brought my toolbox (I actually brought one of my husband’s toolboxes) today.  I want to share 3 of my tools for success.  (I open the tool box and take out a piece of paper.)  This is my motorhome packing list.  Since I live in New England and it get very cold in the winter months, we need to remove all the fluids, food and medicines from our motorhome.  It use to take me a good two days to pack and still I had doubts about the job I had done.  The motorhome packing list has saved me so much time.  When we unloaded the motorhome, I entered everything into my laptop so when it was time to stock up before our Memorial Day excursion, it only takes me 2 hours to pack.  It’s so much more efficient and sets my mind free from undue stress.

(Then I took our magnetic family grocery list from the toolbox.) My next tool is a family grocery list.  It has a magnet on the back and resides on the refrigerator.  Whoever used the last egg, finished the box of ceral, granola bar or yogurt of choice, writes the item on the list.  Did you notice I said our “family” grocery list?  It’s not “my” list.  Anyone with a valid drivers license may tear off the sheets and go shopping.  One day not too long ago, my daughter went to the freezer to get a popsicle.  There weren’t any.  She said, “Mom did you just go shopping?  There are no popsicles.”  I replied, “Yes, I just went.”  Before I took another breath, she says, “It’s my fault.  I had the last one last night and forgot to put it on the list.”  There was stunned silence in the Ramrath household.  A teenager took responsibility and did not blame dear old mom.  That’s what I call success.

The third success tool I removed fromt he tool box was my dream list.  It is a small book.  I explained that it hasn’t always been in that form.  I’ve always been a dreamer.  I use to keep a mental list.  The problem with that is I forget.  I get busy doing (sewing) too many things and forget some of my dreams.  One day in the early 1980’s I started to write down my dreams on little peices of lined paper.  I would slip them into a folder in my desk at home.  The problem with this is that I only opened that folder once a year.  Usually the first week in December when I was looking for inspiration to write a Christmas letter to my family and friends.  I realized that I had accomplished some of the items on the list, and there was the content for the letter.  In 1993 I started keeping a dream list in this book.  I keep the book in my bedroom headboard.

One item on that list is Toastmasters.  In 1983 I was a coop student at Avco.  There was a Toastmasters meeting in the cafeteria.  I asked my mentor what Toastmasters was.  She explained that employees were selected to join to improve their speaking skills.  I thought, “How cool is that!”  The employee builds comfidence and learns to give great presentations.  The employee’s boss has something really positive to write on his/her review.  The customer is happy with the presentation and bids on more jobs.  The employer gets more business.  It makes so much sense!

Secretly, I wanted to be selected to grow in confidence.  My mistakes were….I kept that secret to myself.  It was only on my mental list. I didn’t even tell my boyfirend (now husband.)

Flash forward 23 years.  I read, Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly.  In that book one of the messages is to keep a dream list.  People who keep dream list have happier mariages, are happier on their jobs and attain and dream more dreams.

The very first thing on my mental list that came back to mind was Toastmasters.  I immediately wrote it down.

Then I took a walk with my hubby and our adopted dog, Rocky.  I asked Rob, “Does Toastmasters still exist?”  He said he didn’t know.  I told him I really hope it is.  I would like to participate if I’m allowed. That was it. I shared my dream with someone.

The next day as I’m eating lunch in front of my laptop, an email flys in from Rob.  He shared a toastmasters website.  He said it must be alive and well.  He told me to check it out, find a meeting that fits my crazy schedule, and go for it.

The ball was now in my court.  I sent an email to the President of Bose Speakers Toastmaster.  Within a month I attend a couple of meetings and joined.

17 months ago I joined Toastmasters and now I’m delivering my 10th talk in the Compentent Communicator Manual.  You’ve learned about my passion for quilting, my family, our adopted dog, Rocky, my volunteer efforts and now three tools for success.  I hope you will adopt one of these tool, a packing list, a family grocery list, or a dream list.

( Then I turn to the Toastmaster of the meeting )  Ms. Toastmaster