December 26, 2008


I have been having a blast making napkins out of stash crumbs! They are so easy a beginning sewist could do them, although I will admit they take time. Time well spent and a product you can enjoy every day...considering most of us have thousands of dollars worth of fabric and how often do we really get to physically enjoy and use it? Click on the photo to see a larger view.

  • I cut my squares at 11" which finishes as a 10" napkin.
  • Press, starch, then cut your square or oblong. Starch because it will make the hem stitching go a thousand times better, giving the finished edge a professional touch you'll appreciate every time you use them.
  • On the back side of the square use your rotary ruler and a pencil to mark a 1/2 inch line. (lightest fabric on right)
  • Trim off just a smidgen more than 1/2 of the boxed penciled corner (like the lightest fabric shown in the photo.
  • Press over the edge to the back, to the pencil line.
  • Next, I lay a straight pin across the pencil line corner junction, making a kitty-corner fold then fold in a perfect mitered corner and pin (like the sage fabric on the right edge). This encourages the next step/fold.
  • Press the long edges over on itself, giving you a double fold 1/4 inch hem.
  • Then flip it over and press from the right side too so the creases are nice and sharp.
  • For the hem itself I experimented with a straight stitch, fine but dull..
  • Experimented with several of my machine's embroidery stitches
  • And fell in love with the mode 2 stitch 66 on my Janome 6600P sewing machine, left at the default width and length. With my F2 foot that 1/4 folded seam rides between the edges of the open toe foot perfectly, which is why I can sew from the top.

Friday Thankies
Our record snow accumulation is starting to melt
My 2 little lost doggies continued progress, 4 A+ days in a row
An abundance of fresh chicken eggs to share with the neighbors

December 23, 2008

Odd Tools 101

My eyes are bad, my patience is short, my coordination is iffy. If you are coordinated, have 20-20 vision and the patience of Job feel free to move along, otherwise come closer and listen. This little mirror was a bank give-away back in the 70's, it came in a little rubbery green sleeve and yes banks used to give us awards for banking with them rather than give us the Bronx cheer for being gullible enough to keep our money there. A really big deposit would sometimes garner you something as great as the little-old-lady fold away rain hats.

I've never had a sewing machine I could re-needle by feel so I put this little mirror under the foot and change out needles in a few seconds. Something else I do is keep a sticky note on top of the machine with the date needle was changed, what needle went in, and because I'm an info junkie, the project that needed the new needle. It is really surprising how time flies when sewing. Experts say depending on the fabric 4-8 hours is optimum needle life. How many years has it been since you've changed yours?

Today I'm hemming napkins made from quilt fabric culled from the recent reorganization of my stash. In the big bin of scraps (post below) I garnered 31 pieces of fabric big enough for an 11 inch square napkin. I can hardly wait to start using them, it seems nearly all my fabric holds memories...this quilt or that S.tash E.nhancement X.cursion or shared from a friends stash or a gift from a friend...a little fabric lagniappe I wasn't expecting when I started the project.
Tuesday Thankies
Car chains

December 21, 2008

Lazy Sunday

I've had no forward progress on any projects which makes me feel a little unfinished. I am a firm believer that even 15 minutes a day adds up to completed items in a surprisingly short time. I do have a thin excuse. I spent about 2 weeks incorporating inherited stash into my own, prewashing, refolding both theirs and mine, reorganizing, and reshelfing. Now, I don't consider my own stash large at all for someone who has been a passionate quilter since 1970 and in addition to that I've been on the fabric buying wagon since October 2001, or maybe it was 2000, anyway for a long time. This is my current stash, before. I am very fortunate to have two double door closets in my quilt room, my stash took up part of one door.
Here is the beginning progress with the additional stash. Eventually I had piles everywhere and it sort of made my stomach hurt, felt like the chaos I lived in pre-FlyLady.
When it came to reshelving I got a little bogged down. I've used those plastic bins for 20 years, knew where everything was, knew what was in them I've been through them so many times since going no-buy... But they just did not work with the additional influx. In the end I only reused two of them, one for the light neutrals, and one for my 1800's reproduction fabrics. I'm happy with the finished task, one because it is finished, and two because it looks so darn nice. I'm not sure how much work it will be to keep it least the bins sort of contained my disorder. Here is the finished view, now two doors wide:
Common sense tells me that anytime we have to move something to get to something we do not have efficiency. But because we live in an A-frame my shelves are narrow at the top and get exceeding deep the further down I go. Double stacking only makes sense. So I had a brain fart...takes awhile for the other shoe to drop some days...and made a map showing what was in each stack and section. Eureka, I have efficient and beautiful. And a lot of fabric to put to use.

Note; the bottom right hand side is pre-cut blocks in about 10 different sizes from the last time I had a big re-sort/pare-down frenzy. I use these for interesting backings. Which brings us to the last stage, photo 4.
Orphan fabric. Too small to reshelve, or I've used it in several quilts and have no interest in adding it to others except as pieced backing. So I now have a overflowing bin of bits. My first project today will be to pull out anything that will work and be enjoyed as a 10"ish napkin and make lots and lots of those. I love cloth napkins and with a big stack there would be no excuse whatsoever to not be green in that area. The rest I will add to my under-the-cutting-board strips bin, and my pre-cut blocks. I also donated 5 grocery sacks of nice but not my taste fabric. Merry Christmas to me, tackling and finishing this big project was my end of the year gift to myself.

Sunday Thankies
Washing Machines

December 18, 2008

Where Have I Been??? Not RAKing...

There is quite a move afoot this year for a special type of RAK or Random Act of Kindness. I'm a great believer in RAK's and love to do them because they are always anomonyous and they will always bring a smile to someone somewhere.

My friend over at EveryThingQuilts did a post today on RAKing small ornaments. I don't know or care who started it, only that it is such a fun idea. Which got me to thinking about a post I did awhile back on all my wooden spools. Because I have such a crummy memory I made a quick unadorned project to remind me next November or early December to get a bunch of these made. I have a box of little Christmas picks with holly and tiny bells etc which would add a lot of charm and variety to the simple idea of ribbon through spool and a list for Santa. And we certainly can use plastic spools too...finally a way to repurpose those!

This idea doesn't have to be specific to Christmas either, Halloween ones, Easter ones, etc. would be super fun to hang on knobs and leave on benches around town!
Don't forget that instant Heirloom Quilt gift... still time to make one of those~
Thursday Thankies
Sewing Machine

December 17, 2008

Gingerbread Yogi's?

Dear Santa,
I have been a reasonably good girl in 2008.
May I please have a set of these yoga pose cookie cutters?
Or better yet, a consistant supply of my neighbors gingerbread cookies, made like this? All the best to you, Mrs. Claus, the elves, and the reindeer; will have Rob's favorite sugar cookies and milk for you, and grain with a pinch of molasses for the reindeer upon your arrival. Please don't scare the goats.

Wednesday Thankies
A good snow shovel
Good boots
good gloves

December 15, 2008

Has Anyone Noticed

Blogger's wiggly word you need to type in to prove you are semi-human when guest posting to other blogs is now easier? The randomly generated letters are never a word, but can be read as a word and quickly typed in instead of so easily mistyped. Small blessing and it may be in my head, but I like to leave comments about other blogger's posts. And I'm for anything common-sense that makes life easier. Including the new option in Settings so people don't get a popup when commenting.

Monday Thankies
Colder than a witches toe but no deep snow
authors and publishers
National flags waving in the breeze

December 12, 2008

Avoiding the Real World

I turn to my blog and the imaginary world where it would be much more comforting to live. Imagine how small your money needs would be in the perfect 24 inch by 48 inch comfort nest.
I got written permission from Sarajane to show this quilt shop, a group project of some very talented polymer clay enthusiasts. I hope you'll follow the link and see the progress, the creativity is knock yer socks off wonderful.
PS: re: my post below about the 5th Wheel working wall. Rob stopped by yesterday and he said all my blocks were laying on the floor. Back to the drawing board.

Friday Thankies

Invited as a guest for dinner and a play tonight
It is starting to look like snow tomorrow
Everyone's opinions count

December 10, 2008

Selvage Edges Anyone?

Meet my 2008 Christmas Cards; fun to make and easy as falling off a pile of fabric.
I layered 4 inch lengths of Warm and Natural cotton batting onto 4 inch strips of holiday fabric. On the reverse side I stitched down strips of selvage on the diagonal, diagonal just for added interest.
Once the long strips were made I trimmed the edges with a wavy edge rotary cutter, and then cut the individual ornament/cards according to the size of the image used. I tucked the twine behind the card image and stitched around that.

This idea could be easily translated to magnets and even glued to card stock for a more traditional feeling card. Since the holiday images are recycled from last year's cards and the batting and fabric all came from leftover bits I'm not sure these wouldn't take the prize for being the new catchword, Green.

If I were to do it over, I'd cut a little wider strip from the selvage edge, the sewing would go faster and would show all the different holiday fabrics to better advantage. I alternated sides when sewing down the images, couldn't decide which type was cuter.

Please visit the Selvage Blog in my Tidbits Drawer on the left...that's where I got the inspiration~ Amazing creations there.

Wednesday Thankies
Nice neighbors
Archaeologists and historians
Pampas Grass

December 9, 2008

Undefinable Unclassifiable O.D.D.B.A.L.L.S.

What do you do with your unorganizable fabric stash? I don't buy fabric like this anymore, it is certainly eye-candy on the bolt, but I've yet to find a way to incorporate into my stash or my quilts.

I bring up the question because I'm integrating inherited stash into re-folded re-stacked re-examined stash of my own. I'm also organizing with an eye to showing the house which will be up for sale the fabric cupboards need to look spacious and inviting to whatever type of stash the new owners will have. No matter what stack I lay these against they don't fit. Small matter, but inquiring minds would like to know.

I took some before photos and I have a few in-progress photos, but I'm not sure the after photos will be much different than the before photos :-)

Tuesday Thankie
Delicious Leftovers
I don't own any automaker stock
I'm not the incoming President

December 7, 2008

Small Space Quilting ~ Working Wall

Quilting well and happily in confined space can be a problem. As I promised earlier, this is what I've come up with for the working wall in my 5th wheel RV. The only plain wall-space available is the door that slides closed between the bed/bath and kitchen/living area. It had a long mirror on it which I promptly removed, leaving me a space about 24" X 72".

My original intention was to do just what I did for my home working wall, glue acoustical tile down for pinnability, followed with a topping of flannel for stickability. Trouble is I couldn't find acoustical tile at any of the do-it-yourself type stores! Apparently this type of ceiling material is out of favor.

Quilters are a resourceful group and someone is always thinking up a new gadget to make our lives easier. While browsing Fabric Depot in Portland Oregon (DO NOT miss if you are ever in the area...Valhalla for quilters, I kid you not) I discovered a product called BlockButler. It looks like very thin batting that is sticky on both sides, and the inventor believes enough in her project to offers a full refund if need be. She is also wise enough to enclose a small sample in each package so you can see if the BlockButler will work in your chosen application.

In picture #2 you can see BlockButler stuck to the slider door with one side of the protective plastic still in place. One package gave me enough material to cover as high as I can reach, 2 would have covered the whole door. When I get some pennies saved up I'll buy some more to finish the slider door, and I'm thinking it might possibly work on the wall behind the slider to double my space. I'll have to try that out, see if the door will slide with blocks and sticky fabric behind. If not, at least I have a workable solution for playing with designs and thinking out loud creatively, when I'm at the farm in our RV.

The blocks on working wall currently are the very first of my One Block Wonder quilt made from my beautiful Hydrangea fabric.

Edited one month later: All the blocks were on the floor a week later. :-( I've removed the block butler and am working on a new plan...stay tuned. I do think the Block Butler would be a good solution on a closet door. It is possible that the lower temperature the 5th wheel maintains when we are not there might be the problem.

Sunday Thankies
Good humored Goats
Homemade Stew
Neatly stacked stash

December 4, 2008

Small Space Quilting ~ Sewing Central

You know that stuff you hang on to, it's too good to use, it might get ruined? So it sits and gathers dust and no one loves it and what kind of life is that, even if it is just 'stuff'? Well I have a Featherweight table, it has been gathering dust for about four years. I have a spot in my RV that needed a sewing table. I decided the twain must meet so I, the sewing space, and the table could have a joyous union.

I had a brain fart a few weeks ago and asked a woodworking friend if he would remodel my Featherweight table to accommodate my Janome 9000MC, in return for pet-sitting in January. Eureka!!! Kalama, we have lift off!!

This table is so perfect for the space and I'm so glad I got brave enough to cut into the table. Now it can continue to be useful and loved for many years to come. My Pomeranian Pembroke is modeling the latest in easy chair wear on the left...

Last night and this morning I stitched happily on my one block wonder... next post will be on how I've incorporated a working wall into RV living. It will never match up to the working wall in the quilt room but it sure serves its purpose in small space quilting.

Thursday Thankies

Frosty morning, sunny afternoon, my favorite weather
Frail friend survived a new pacemaker/defibrillator and the flu in the same week
Stephen King's endless imagination

December 3, 2008

Draped in Buttons

I love buttons a lot. In a way I consider them a sort of Totem like good luck socks, or invisible shield, and often wear button jewelry for just that reason. Probably the only thing I could say falls in the superstition category for me. I can jump up and down on cracks all day, when my nose itches I just blow it, ladders and black cats...bring 'em on. But buttons are special.

The grey and brown ones are crochet, and the blue and green ones are just stitched offset, the necklace on side view is like brickwork.

One of these days I'll photograph the vest that always gets comments at quilt shows and other places where stitchers hang out.

Wednesday Thankies
Several A+ days for unsocialized dogs in training
Les Schwab and free tire repairs
Friends who help when called upon

December 1, 2008

Ahhh, December!

We are really low key in regards to the Christmas season, we stopped the gift buying binge many years ago which gives us opportunity to savor the fun of the season, and think about the reason for the season.

As a quilter one of the joys for me is getting out December's quilt and putting it on the bed for the month. This was another one of my 'designing by the seat of my pants' quilts, I never know how they'll come out until they are bound and finished.

The baskets are adapted from a picture I saw in an Australian magazine. It was only after I'd used it for a few years and then put it in a local show that I realized I'd not put the vine in top border! Proof I'll never be perfect.

I used 1800's reproductions in reds and greens, they are subdued and don't shout ho-ho-ho but rather peace and serenity. Always a good thing this time of year. I hand lettered my favorite carols between the basket blocks, and 'Twas the night before Christmas is written in the bottom white border. Seasons best to you and yours, thanks for stopping by!

Monday Thankies
All the wonderful variety of fabrics we have today
All the great blogs out there
Employment for Rob

November 29, 2008


I need to think of something clever to do with my dozens and dozens of vintage ladies handkerchiefs. My mind is blank other than quilts, been there done that. Small projects that will fit in an envelope or small box. I've been scouring the web and don't see anything that rings my bells. 'Kerchief in the vase idea was a bust :-)

Saturday Thankies
That I even have a nice hanky collection
That I recognize I don't need a hanky collection
That eventually the web will turn up something wonderful

November 28, 2008

Sayonara OPS

I've been at it since 5 AM this morning but look at the progress I've made! My incentive is knowing what a beautiful yoga studio this space will make when other people's stuff is gone, gone, gone. (see post below)

Funny how things work out, I asked my little sister if she wanted any of my stuff to speak up and it turns out she needs a double bed for her son and is going by here this weekend. She Never gets down this way, serendipity. We've been hanging on to a beautiful antique frame that we used to have in the guest bedroom. Beings its family I don't care if Nick paints it orange and purple, I'm just pleased to give it.

There were some funny/interesting late 1800's books my brother will enjoy, and took the opportunity to share out 4 boxes of books to any of the family that might enjoy them, prewashed and dried about 200 yards of fabric (be-u-tee-ful fabric!) that one of the owners said I could have, so that will be transfered to the quilt room. Not technically a fling, but better purposed than laying in here on shelves. I feel good that everything in this floor pile will be donated or given by late tomorrow. Ye-haw!

Friday Thankies
Strong back
Clean spots

November 26, 2008

Of Stuff and Millstones

For seven wonderful years I made about half my income selling on Ebay as kalamaquilts. I cleaned my own home out and then began parting out personal estates for others. It was a special responsibility that I took seriously, taking possession of the collections of people who had died. Sorting, photographing, shelving, pricing, packaging, and sending with a wing and a prayer on to the stewardship of the next owner.

Sadly rising Ebay fees and bizarre policies have put that business out of business, but I still have 2 four shelf units with OPS (Other People's Stuff) in my office. We are getting ready to put this home on the market and I need to shift these last remnants back to the families or donate them.

There really is no point to this post except to say that I hope I treated OPS in the same manner I would like to see my own stuff treated when I'm gone. And that I'm feeling kind of melancholy because I'm going to be shifting some of my own well loved things to family and friends if they want them. I left the need for having a lot of things around me or collecting anything behind me some years ago, but some of that stuff still sticks to me like butter to the hips. Or like a millstone... Just thought I'd come here and talk about it for a little while.

Wednesday Thankies
Gorgeous fall day
Haircut day!! Double Thankies for ViVi
I love my bookcases

November 20, 2008

Simple Child That I Am

It doesn't take much to please me. How about a fresh cover for my ironing board, with cheerful Yoga Monkey fabric?

I've been busy away from my quilt room for awhile, this afternoon it's back to the working wall and the Kudzu quilt .

Thursday Thankies
dunker donuts
Paid in Full stamps

November 18, 2008

Cooking Without Looking?

I think I owned about 3 cookbooks in the first 15 years of my cooking life.
~A 1940's Betty Crocker handed down from my mum, splattered and stained, lots of her notations.
~A community cookbook my dad got me for Christmas one year,with a handwritten inscription. The recipes aren't that great, but I grew up around the knees of lots of the women who submitted the recipes so it is a very special book.
~A slim soft cover that was a wedding shower gift from Grama Pearl, along with her own gravy ladle. She indicated that if I would learn to make good gravy Rob would never stray. I never make gravy and he is still here, my talents must lie in other directions.

Then in the early 80's I quit smoking and suddenly food tasted wonderful..imagine the concept! So I took more interest in cooking and started picking up cookbooks, both new and used. I generally had one or two cookbooks for my bedside reading, so many are fun to just thumb through. I've been working toward downsizing for a number of years now so just have a short shelf of specials left rather than an entire bookcase full. The following are a few of my favorites, some just for reading, some for really using.

Anita Stewart's Country Inn Cookbook - Truly Authentic Canadian Recipes. I purchased this book on a trip to Victoria, BC and it's a favorite for several reasons. #1, if I were to write a cookbook this is the format I would like to see the publisher use. On the right of the recipe ingredients are the US weights and measures, in the center are the ingredients and on the left are the metric measurements. Very clean and easy to read. #2, the recipes all come from the Innkeepers at Bed and Breakfasts. This is a fairly common concept now, but Anita did a great job of creating clear and interesting visual images of the Inns and their owners. And the recipes are good too!

Another Canadian entry and favorite is one Rob picked up when working in Canada, Vicki Gabereau's Cooking Without Looking. This has become the key description of my cooking, usually followed by the words, "well, if it's smokin' it's cooking, if it's black it's done".

A fun read is The White House Family Cookbook by White House Executive Chef Henry Haller. Chef Haller served at the White House through the administration of 5 presidents, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan. Could there be 5 more different families in the world? Lots of photos and each presidency is written in 5 parts, the first 4 are actual family meal recipes and the 5th part consists of Meals of State.

A beautiful little book and reflection of my love of tea pots and all things tea is Having Tea, by Catherine Calvert. The photos are exquisite and the recipes are well written; using this book always makes me feel like I'm being good to myself. A well used recipe is Mrs. Foley's Shortbread Squares, although I mess with the recipe and add vanilla and almond.

A cookbook that contains my favorite cornbread recipe is A Thousand Ways To Please A Husband with Bettina's Best Recipes, by Weaver and LeCron. This is a 1932 book and follows the courtship and marriage of Bettina and Bob...absolutely charming period piece.

Some other carefully read favorites are from the 1800's. An American Family Cook Book by "a Boston Housekeeper" published 1865 gives this recipe:
Fried Toasts--cut the crumb of a twopenny loaf into round or oblong pieces, nearly one inch thick, and soak them for four or five hours in a pint of cream, mixed with three well-beaten eggs, half a pint of white wine, a little grated nutmeg, and sweetened with pounded loaf sugar. Fry them in butter, till of a light brown color, and serve with wine and sugar sauce. Now doesn't that sound better than boring old French Toast? Antique cookbooks often exhort us to 'build a strong fire'; and 'boil the carrots for four hours until tender'.

Scanners and printers
White cats with big blue eyes
zippers and elastic

November 15, 2008

Baggy Eyes Eye Bags

Feel like sewing but don't want to tackle the current big project? These are fun to make and hardly take any time at always choosing the fabric is the problem!

I have one I use for yoga practice, one I keep in the car for a client who is plagued by headaches and one by my bed. Plus a couple for our RV.

They are falling off a log easy I promise, by hand or by machine. I cut two pieces of fabric 5 inchs by 9 inches, put right sides together and stitch with a fairly short stitch. Start 1/2 way down a short side, continue all the way around the 4th corner until you are about 2 inches from where you started. Lock stitch start and stop points. Turn bag right side out and use a knitting needle or pencil to poke out the corners nicely.

For fill I use flax and clean sand, about 1/2 and 1/2 and include dried lavender or tiny rose buds from my yard. You could add dried mint, crushed cinnamon sticks, bee balm, any essential oil you favor...doesn't take much. A funnel helps keep the filling mess tidier, but plan on a quick vacuum job when you are finished. Stitch opening closed and...

Lie down, apply bag, relax, breathe slowly and deeply. Life is good.

Weekend Thankies
Birthday Parties and getting to see friends from out of town
Crisp Apples and fresh applesauce
Stunning sunrise

November 12, 2008

Turning Collars

Anyone remember that? My mother always turned my dad's work-shirt collars, and sometimes even his good shirt collar...note the singular. It is a frugal skill and not to be scoffed at considering a nice shirt is $20-40.00 dollars these days. My husband loves the 8.5 ounce flannel shirts that Carhartt puts out, real quality, and a small is a small and a medium is a medium. I'm not sure there is any kind of sizing guideline anymore anywhere.

Anyway, my point, and I do have one is this old denim jacket. It's raggedy enough to probably be worth several hundred dollars in some countries, but I'm unimpressed. Every time he wears it I always say "enjoy your coat, it won't be here tomorrow" or some such threat...of course it's his coat and not my place to get rid of it. But it's fun to pull his chain.

Saturday was his 60th birthday and he was kind of under the weather and we are watching our pennies with magnifying glass as he has been out of work more or less since September. So I looked at his coat, and his pitiful little face there in bed and thought "I can do something to bring a smile, surely I can".

So I sewed a great patch on the front, then worked on the collar for awhile. Rather than turn the collar in this case I carefully separated the threads and laid Steam-A-Seam in the worn fold, smoothed the threads down, pressed well, and then with a pale blue thread zig-zagged over the threadbare collar fold. It came out so soft and nice! Then to top it off I restitched the underarm seams. It should last another 10-20 years, then I'll see what's required. Who said romance is dead? There are so many ways to say I love you...

Tuesday Blessings
Yoga night!
Jessie, Ike, Conway
Pembroke, Xing-xing, Xavier
Indiana, Trinity, Freckles, all my four footed companions

November 10, 2008

Manly Man with Womanly Twist

Saw this great idea for storing all those tiny bits that we need so often but are such little boogers to store in a practical way. Every man I know with a workshop uses this 'lid nailed or screwed to a wood shelf' idea for their nuts and bolts and little nails, we should have glommed onto this idea a long time ago. They would also be beautiful for a smaller button collection, thimbles, and so much more.

Because we live in an A-frame house my walls are angled and create all kinds of storage conundrums. To the left is part of my button collection. All the jars on the double row right and back row on the left are half-gallon, the others are quarts. That's a lot of buttons! Plus I have 3 more half-gallons on the table below this image for coat buttons, real collectibles, and belt buckles. What we did for exposed shelving in the quilt room was take the ready-made wire racks found at do-it-yourself stores and install them upside down. Works beautifully...where there is a will (and a need) there is a way.

My quilt room is the upper extension to the right in the photo below.

Monday Blessings:
The weekend wind blew most of the leaves into the garden, great mulch, no raking
Interesting rocks and fossils
Extra work this week for extra $$$'s

November 9, 2008

Washington Anyone?

I think each state of our union is uniquely beautiful, but Washington tops them all, not that I am prejudiced but whatever climate you prefer, you can get here! Take a stroll though Webshots Washington album and get yourself some gorgeous wallpaper.

This is a peek of our place during a winter snow storm a few years ago. Perfect stay-in and quilt day.

Sunday blessings:
Hot showers
Hot coffee
central heating

November 6, 2008

Yellow Books

Who knows why, I woke up in the night thinking about that standby on the bottom shelf of a lot of bookcases, National Geographic. I think it is one of the few magazines in the world that folk save and save. My little brother would usually have a stack about knee high by his bed and probably learned most of what he knows about the world from his 'yellowbooks' or as he would say when he was really little, lallow books.

I have about 15 issues from the 20's, 30's and 40's, they are a fascinating visual look at the times. We had a wonderful piece of furniture my mother referred to as the Map Case. About the size of a night stand, it had sliding doors on the front and was stuffed with National Geographic maps..I'd love to have that case today, it had beautiful inlaid veneer and soft curved lines. I wonder what it's original purpose was? I don't think Mother would have bought a nice piece of furniture to hold maps, we lived much too close to the bone for that.

There were also two newspapers in the Map Case.. I don't remember anything about them except they were old and had 4 full pages of comics. Several times a year my big brother and I would get them out and reread them with great pleasure. Television, computers, and video games being unheard of we took our entertainment where we could find it.

Midweek gratitudes
National Geographic, still inspiring people to care about the planet
Odd memories that bubble to the top

November 3, 2008

One Block Wonder, Apply Brakes Now

What I've discovered that doesn't seem to be covered in the encore!/book two edition.

Trim the selvages off the fabric before you start cutting sections. Selvage is a tighter weave than most quilter's cottons; if it is left on, the two selvage ends of the cut strips have a tendency to curve or cup which can throw off the alignment of the 6 stacked strips.

What every book tells us and I forgot: Remove the aligning straight pins before rotary cutting that spot. Duh. Five blades @ $30.00, you'd think it would be paramount in my mind.

The encore!/book two edition doesn't give any indication about cutting sections after you've gotten your first set of 6 cut. Does the author expect sewists to continue to cut more sets of 6? She doesn't say. Does author expect sewists to use a different registration mark so our next sets of stacked 6's form a different hexagon?

Author could have been a little clearer about what size of top you get from how much yardage, she has obviously used everything from 3" to 24" drop fabrics. The pieces for the hexagons are all cut 3-3/4" so regardless of what drop your fabric has, X number of hexes will equal Y times Z square footage. I will add that info here when I get a section made. There is a chart on page 9 but it isn't very clear to me.

So far I know that my hydrangea fabric has a 12" drop, I cut my strips at 11-3/4" and from that made three 3-3/4" strips from which I cut my triangles. Six original 12" strips is 2 yards of fabric. I'll stop there or this will be as confusing as the book

Because we make this whole quilt out of triangles, 2 sides of every triangle will be on the bias. The book doesn't say but you'll save yourself a lot of grief of you stick a pin in the top/straight of grain side of every stack. Yes you can pull the triangle on 3 sides and you'd know what is top...but do we really want to pull on the bias to find that information?

I am having fun cutting out this quilt. Normally cutting is my least favorite part and probably why I 'only' have 14 UFOs...

See why I usually make up my own patterns? Can't gripe about anything but my own actions then. But really...Any book author who takes pride in their work should have their basic instruction beta tested by a beginning quilter to see if it makes sense and where they might have additional questions. Thus endeth the sermon for the day, I now return you to your regular programming.

November Gratitudes
An interesting invitation
Christmas parties to look forward to
3 goats who love pumpkin harvest time

November 2, 2008

Quilting Hydrangea's

This is the gorgeous fabric I'm using for my foray into One-Block Wonderdom, a gift from my Rob a couple of years ago. He thinks I'm too tough on myself as far as being on the fabric wagon for the last 6-7 years. What he doesn't realize is how much creative juice goes into working strictly from stash which makes for lot more interesting quilts. But bless his heart for this fabric because there are patterns that require a lot of yardage, something I've never bought even when I was buying like there wasn't going to be any fabric tomorrow.

The book says no more than three colors makes the most striking end product. I read this as yellow pink green so hope I don't end up with a broken up mess. the selvage shows 17 color dots :-). This is Lakehouse LH03007 'Hydrangeas and Raspberries w/scroll', the background is overprinted with delicate gilt scroll effects, really lovely. Going by their website, all their designs are outstanding!

One reason I chose this rather than the 1 Fabric Quilts option is because upon reading her directions closely I realized, and I say this without apology, her directions stink. I can only guess by her images you need to do the basic stack and whack procedure but I can find no where to indicate this or if you cut all your yardage out piece by piece. I'm not cutting up my lovely Beyer border fabrics and get in a muddle.

So that's where I am today, standing at the cutting table fondling this stunning fabric. This evening I'll get back to appliquéing baskets for Kudzu. Because now I'm really going to want that working wall cleaned off!

Sunday Appreciations
Elena Brower and Element, my at home DVD yoga teacher
Mrs. Ollie E. Camp, my 1st grade teacher
Mrs. Alice Bingham, my high school journalism teacher

October 31, 2008

Halloweenie Quilting

Humm, where have I been? Not quilt blogging apparently, probably because there has been no forward movement to show on either the candlewicking blocks or the Kudzu quilt. I haven't found the perfect thread for the outer border leaves in the candlewick project but I do have about 14 blocks finished except for that so 1/2 way along! I'm really enjoying the change of pace and think I must have gotten really lucky to find the block kit on Ebay, I've not seen a single one since. I have about 5 more blocks to appliqué before I can finish the borders on Kudzu so that one is getting really close to calling finished.

I have narrowed down what I intend to make for the reverse side of Kudzu though. I inherited a LOT of Jinny Beyer stripe fabrics, and my husband bought me some stunning hydrangea yardage a few years ago so I think either one of these books would have something different yet quick which is always what I'm looking for as a change of pace after a complicated top is finished. This will also be my first full size quilt to be machine quilted on my home machine but I know my Janome 6600P will be up to the job. My back...I'm not so sure. But I am woman hear me roar, right?

Another oddball project that I both dread and relish is related to something I see on many blogs, an official UFO list. They are usually on a side bar, some make me so tired just to look at and others, even though the blogger is a perfect stranger I give a cheer because they are marking their progress and making head way. Good for them and more power to those quilters!! I always thought I only had 3 projects in progress at any one time, but we got new carpet in the quilt room year before last so in the process of moving everything in and out I organized my UFO's. Ouch. There were 14 quilts in progress. We can make ourselves believe anything can't we?

Anyway, I have another blog set up, unused as of yet, that I'm going to use as my yardstick of progress. I'm going to photograph every single project and date it, and then I can add photos of my progress. I doubt I make it a public blog, but it will be a nice journal. There were also a couple that I dumped, like the blooming 9 patch I started for my nephew, cute kids fabrics all around...and he graduates this year. Blush. Anyway, that's all the news that's fit to print as they say.

Halloween memories~
The medic I met at Halloween horror movies in 1967 who later died in 'Nam.
The year we were much too old to trick or treat and went with pillowcases anyway.
My former neighbor Betty who loved to costume up for the evening and got more pleasure from the trick or treaters than most people get from Christmas, now gone too but not forgotten.

October 26, 2008

Seen Any Good Faery's Lately?

Trust me, I'm not a fairy and angel person, all that sugar pretty much gives me a toothache in the brain. But I'm entranced with the idea of Fairy Doors. This is a little naturescape on the dresser top by my office computer that seems to have a life of it's own. See the wings just slipping out of sight? (click on the image to see a larger view) Do you have a fairy door? I think perhaps these Fae are a lot more interesting and a lot less sticky sweet...

Sunday Thanksmas:
Home made pizza
Carpet cleaner
Our boys and girls in service, doing the jobs of men and women around the world. Bring 'em home please

October 22, 2008

Antique machines

A few days ago I was blog hopping and found some great ones sharing vintage sewing images, do you think I can remember where I was? So many great blogs so little time. This is a pretty one I just saw on my own computer when I was downloading images of our new little Doxie companions.

I have a New Home Treadle in my front entry, I keep saying on a snow day (everything stops here when we get snow, people freak out) I'll clean it up and sew with it. In the 19 years since I bought it that hasn't happened, but I'm not dead yet so there is always the anticipation to look forward to.

My Grandma Ruth had a treadle in the corner window of her big dining room. I can't remember ever seeing her sewing on it but when I'd get bored I'd go over and see how fast I could get the foot dealie going. I don't remember getting in trouble for it so it must not hurt the machine? But then that Grandma had 13 children plus an endless (sad) parade of foster children so one grandchild being quiet in the corner was probably beneath her radar.

Mid-week Beatitudes:
Autumn color
The sun on my face as I run with my dogs
The laughter on my dogs faces as they run with me

October 17, 2008

Quilter's Shorthand Acronyms

In the olden days, pre-computer, texting, and short-speak, the only Acronyms we might meet in a day would probably be in the newspaper; NATO, USPS, or USA and USSR...but the internet has spawned a whole host of short-write. The following are often seen when quilters are doing the writing. I'm quite sure fishermen and dog handlers and any other speciality group have an equally long list.

BOM Block Of the Month
DSM Domestic Sewing Machine as in home sewing machine, not longarm
EQ Electric Quilt, marvelous software (also seen as EQ5 or EQ6)
FART Fabric Acquisition Road Trip
FLIMSY Finished top, not quilted
LA LongArmer, professional machine quilter
LQS Local Quilt Shop
PIG Project In a Grocery Sack
SABLE Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy
SEX Stash Enhancing eXperience
STASH Special Treasure, All Secretly Hidden
TGIF Thank Goodness It’s Finished
UFO UnFinished Object
WHIMM Work Hidden In My Mind
WIP Work In Progress
WOMBAT Waste Of Material, Batting, And Time

HST Half-Square Triangle
QST Quarter Square Triangle
DWR Double Wedding Ring (quilt pattern)
GFG--Grandmother's Flower Garden
MAM Mile-A-Minute, modern version of crazy quilt block
SBS--Sunbonnet Sue

The following are general short-write seen everywhere, plus the ones that start with D, as in DH dear husband, DD dear daughter, and so on.
HTH Hope That Helps
IMHO In My Humble Opinion
IMO In My Opinion
LOL Lots Of Laughter, Laugh Out Loud
OTOH On The Other Hand
ROFL Rolling On the Floor Laughing
ROFLOL Roll On the Floor Laughing Out Loud
TY Thank You

Friday Gratitudes:
Little Lost Dogs, will work for food
Once again, the kindness of strangers
My Rob, and his kindness and generousity

October 14, 2008

Small Space Quilting ~ A Begining

We have a 38 foot 5th Wheel parked at my in-laws, for those days or weeks I need to be there to assist them. My father-in-law is 90, mother-in-law is 87 and I kid them about the RV being parked there so they can take care of me... for the most part they are very active, he still maintains a fully functioning farm, she walks 2-7 miles most days. That is where my chickens are who have now started laying little pullet sized eggs. My F-I-L and I are arguing the point about garlic. I say my giving garlic cloves to the ladies is why they started laying, he says garlic cloves will make the eggs taste like garlic. :-) Anyway, the ladies loved it!

Knowing there will eventually be times when I am there at length I've been working out a system for accommodating my passion for quilts and quilting. The first hurdle was making a space for machine sewing. I slung one of the easy chairs to the donation center and currently have a Featherweight table set up in that corner with lots of natural light and a nice view. I use the starch and press method of appliqué preparation and this is where a lot of the handles for my Kudzu quilt were prepared. I'm on the lookout now for a student type desk that I can convert into a drop in sewing machine table for my Janome MC9000 which I want to move up there.
This weekend I'm going to put my working wall ideas into action...Stay tuned. That one is tricky in a small space where everything is designed for utility.

Mixed Blessings:
Christopher Columbus
Halloween Candy
Internet shopping

Note the little footstool under the table...I looked all over, new and old for a reasonable footstool and came up empty handed. So I bought a 12 pack of cheap sale soda, covered it with batt and fabric and there is sits in splendor. Nice and heavy, a perfect solution.

October 10, 2008

Kudzu Basket Progress

I'm out to working on the border ideas, have tried and discarded at least 8 different options so far. The usual story with me and the working wall and then the right combination hits and things fly together. I keep looking at the viney stripe and it keeps reminding me of the plague on the South, Kudzu. I certainly had no plan of putting something that strong into this quilt when I was appliquéing all those basket blocks, and here it is in the end practically the focus fabric. So I've rechristened this Kudzu Quilt. I'm close enough to the end to be thinking on what kind of pieced back I might put on this.

I'm also thinking about using this batt made from recycled plastic bottles. One queen batt is 20 bottles not in a landfill. That has to be a good thing!

Friday Joys:
Gorgeous crisp fall weather
Butternut and Pumpkins awaiting harvest
The dog's bark was not much worse than it's bite

October 8, 2008

Useless Gadget or Cool New Tool?

Other than to replace a ruler, mat, or rotary blade I don't think I've bought a tool, useless or otherwise in seven years. (Thank you FlyLady). But my small Rowenta Latitude iron is now residing in our 5th wheel and as I've been making the quilt behind this little jewel I've missed it terribly. It is also the iron I use for my starch and press method of appliqué.

So...there I was standing in front of the iron display at Fabric Depot (danger danger) and here were these little bitty things. Humm, what to do what to do. Spend $40+ dollars on the proven tool or spend $15.00 on the Bohin? I absolutely love Bohin appliqué needles. I'm about to find out if this little slice of memory from my childhood gets hot enough to do the job I want it to do. Looks just like my toy iron from this Christmas...

Midweek Gratitudes:
Nice memories

edited after use: Ok if it is the only iron you have, perhaps traveling. It has a smooth plate, no steam holes to catch the end of a piece and wrinkle it, and it does get warm enough to press a seam and dry the starch on appliqué pieces. But, the cord is the major problem, Way too short, it was the loser in the overall design. The handle folds flat so the cord can't come out the end, it comes out the left hand side and combined with it's shortness it is Always in the way. I'll box it up, take it back and fork over the $$ for the Latitude...the only Rowenta on the planet that doesn't leak.

October 6, 2008

Traveling with nice machines

That's an exciting is the photo, almost up to par with the exciting foot pedal holder below! I was trying to explain what I use when I transport my sewing machine and decided a photo was worth a 1000 words, as always.

I appreciate how lovely the Tutto case is but I have no desire to spend my $$ on that when fabric calls my name! This is a $20.00 luggage carrier I've used for 20 years or more. I cut a board 19.5 inch X 10 inch. drilled 2 holes in it over each bottom support and used plastic zip ties to lash it to the bottom of the carrier securely. The bungees are already part of the carrier, it has a second shelf and I can load an incredible amount of stuff on top of my machine and get in and out of any building I've been to easily. Just a thought for a cost effective solution to traveling with our machines.

Monday Blessings:
Seeing old friends at Fran's Memorial Service
Pickle and Cheese Samiches
Stewart Kaplan, President of US Games Systems

October 1, 2008

Tweak Tweak

I've been using my quilt room for 19 years this September and it's had a lot of tweaking over those years. But sometimes you just have to wonder "why didn't I think of this sooner?". I've been machine sewing since I was 14, and have been chasing my power foot around the floor for all those years. Gulp, nearly half a century... The other day I saw a FOURTEEN DOLLAR widget to hold the foot stationary. Ding! Well duh, in less than 5 minutes I had my own power foot holder creation.

In this incredibly bland photo you see before you a freebie Glad sandwich meat holder with one side trimmed out and two nails holding it to the floor. Hokey Smokes it works great!
What will I wake up and notice on the morrow?

Daily Gratitudes:
The little doe fawn that seems to live in our goat paddock
Fresh ground coffee
Lint rollers

September 30, 2008

Hung, Redux

Numismatically Speaking said: Do you always keep a quilt hanging from the loft banister?I do complicated quilts so am amazed when someone says they finished 10 quilts this week or whatever :). If I were in a hurry Wal-Mart has blankets for $10.00...
I have quilts hanging all over. Most of my smallish wall quilts were exercises in learning or refining a technique. These are the quilts on display on the loft rail currently (badly combined into one image). The two on the ends are a folded technique involving a base plus 2-5 additional layers. The one in the center is out of ladies hankies with a folded technique much like the paper things we used to put on our fingers that opened and closed with our fortune.

Books*Electricity*Fresh air

September 29, 2008


I'm on two yahoo quilt lists with very busy quilters. As opposed to the lists with quilters who aren't busy, except for reading lists... Anyway one thing I've noticed in the many wonderful project photos is the problem of where to hang a quilt for photography? So I thought I'd show you my system, it might trigger some ideas for you. I've mentioned before that we live in an A-Frame which creates a lot of decor problems, but for this idea it was perfect. We have an open loft in the upstairs which overlooks the living/dining area. In photo one I'm in the living room looking up at the loft overhang. Photo 2 is also from the living room looking up and back at the overhang. I bought long length of clothes closet wooden rod and cut it to 8.5 foot, figuring 102" is more than enough width to hang any quilt I might make. It just sits up there quietly minding it's own business until needed and has made quilt photography a very easy task. No more hands, feet, and foreheads holding up a sagging piece of art.

I know not too many people have a hidey-hole like mine but a nice drapery rod could achieve the same purpose, or like Pat here, who has used one of those wood clamp hanger on a kitchen wall. Great place for ever changing wall quilts, and then just pop in the one you need a photo of, easy peasy. Something to think about...

Monday Gratitudes: Hope*Love*Kindness

September 27, 2008


Progress... I've got to stop and make a wad more 9 patch feet now. Great forward movement today and another design refinement. Normally I use all mixed neutrals, and I did with the basket handle backgrounds, but I had this big length of neutral I was going to use for sashing, and then I had to double the sashing amounts in order to incorporate the 9 patches for basket feet. Errm...I haven't got enough of the sashing neutral to do the whole queen size quilt so I'm going for the size of the mattress top and then I'll use something else for the four drop areas.

Designing by the seat of my pants always lands me in these situations, but my quilts always end up all the more interesting...or peculiar...considering everything comes from stash.
Edited Sunday...A name for this top came to me this morning when I was telling Rob all the different design changes I've had to come up with to make this quilt. Gigolo: Because it just lays there and lets me do all the work. That will change when it is on the bed~ so no more 1800's Repro Thingie Quilt. I christen thee Gigolo.

Saturday Gratitude's:
Flags in the wind
How computer heal themselves; would that we could reboot ever couple of days
The richness yoga has brought to my life this year

September 24, 2008

Jessie James and Ike Clanton

We've had Jessie and Ike for about 14 years I think, we got them when they were just six weeks old, so it seems like these 2 brothers have been with us forever. Siamese are a unique breed as far as their behavior and habits go. I often worry that they are much smarter than I. But like all cats, they love to be in the middle of quilting projects. Regardless of the size as you can see below them in the first photo. That little quilt was some leftover pieces from an experiment to see what Flat Biscuits would look like in a Cathedral Window sorta technique. Obviously I didn't think much of the idea, this ended up in the bottom of their cat carrier.
All I have to do is leave the room for a few minutes and they'll take over whatever project I'm working on. This was 6-7 years ago.
The photo below was just a few days ago. The quilt they are on in these two photos is a utility twinish sized quilt that is on its third top. The bottom is getting pretty thin so it's next stop will probably be in the doggy basket.
This is Jessie in the hoop when I was quilting my Dear Jane reversible quilt Two Sides of Jane.
Jessie and Ike are a lot of fun and excellent company, but some days I wonder what it would be like to not have cat hair in my quilts. Probably not nearly as nice...

Wednesday gratitudes:
Strike benefits and no one getting hurt so far
Healthy clients so I can play in my jammies today
Sunshine through the window warming cat belly's