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