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