Saturday, December 31, 2011


Here are the last of the snowpeople.  Two of the gals in the swap already have their flimsies (quilt tops) put together!  They are all so cute (IMHO).  This has been a super swap.  Thanks Rosa for coming up with the idea and hostessing.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Two-color quilts are all the rage after that terrific red and white quilt exhibit in NYC last summer.  I think I really must make one in 2012.  What better way, than to follow along with Brenda Papadakis (Dear Jane) and Gay Bomers (Sentimental Stitches) as they do a mystery quilt-along starting January 1?
They will share two installments per month, one from each of them.  The block sizes vary  between 3", 6", 9", 12", and 15".  No boredom there!  There will be about 2,600 pieces in this quilt!  But who's counting?

Hop over here to check this out.

My only dilemma is which two colors.  Red and white?  Blue and white?  Black and white?  Tangerine and turquoise (not, but they are popular right now)?  Blue and cream?  Oh my head is spinning.  And once I settle on color, is that two fabrics or many fabrics in just those two colors?  Oh the choices.  Can't wait to see these quilts popping up all over the net and see what all those creative minds are coming up with.

The fun begins January 1, the same day my LQS has their annual 40% everything sale.  Coincidence?  I think not, LOL!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Jane is having a wonky houses swap.  Oh, I'm a sucker for wonky houses!  We made such fun ones on Block Lotto this year.  My clicking fingers just wouldn't be still!  I'm in!  Yeah!  Thanks for opening a new group, Jane.  Off to stash.  Oops, no, off to find sewing machine and get that room set up!  Hope over to read this post about the swap, and be sure to follow the links to see some great examples.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


I've collected nativity sets for a while now.  I have traditional, Jim Shore, olive-wood from Bethlehem, Fisher Price, etc.  But when I came across this one on Erin Russek's blog, I really thought wow!  Is this the sweetest nativity or what?  It's aptly named water bottle nativity, because that's the foundation for all the characters.  This project was made by Erin's pre-school Sunday-School class.

You may know Erin -- Floribunda or My Tweets?  One Piece at a Time Blog?  She's very talented and obviously knows how to share that talent with her little students.  From the hands of babes!

Hop on over to Erin's post about this activity here.

Can't wait to see what baby Jesus will look like in His manger.  Hope she posts about it again after he arrives tonight.

Have a blessed Christmas everyone.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Three more snow people arrived yesterday.  Doesn't this group look like a family?  You can sure tell the mama, papa, and child!  Love them all.  Thanks, swappers.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


All the furniture that I really wanted in my studio fits!  Yeah!  This little corner is the only one that's not still cluttered.  The treadle sewing machine was my great-grandmother's, on my father's side.  There is another stack of drawers for the right side that need attaching.  I haven't come across them yet.  The lovely quilt rack actually belongs to my dear friend Carol.  It was a homemade wedding gift to her son.  He has a tiny house and it didn't fit, so Carol got it.  But her studio, while huge, can't accommodate it either.  Hence I'm using it storing it for her.  Thank you, Carol.

My sewing machine cabinet (Koala) is fully opened out in another corner.  It can become half-size to save space, and then open up when you are quilting something large, but I like to leave it open all the time.

One of my goals was hopefully to have my cutting table fully open and be able to walk around it.  This is also a Koala cabinet and is very nice if you want to be able to close it up, like to make room for guests on an air bed or whatever.  But I like to leave it opened out, and if I had a do-over, I'd put together my own from Ikea parts, with drawers and shelves on the bottom.  On top my big cutting mat is spread out - trying to get it to flatten after a year and a half of being stored in a roll.  The quilt on top is from my friendship group, and will probably go on a wall in the room.

This view shows the wall (on the right) where I plan to put Expedit shelves from Ikea, some open, some with those pull-out drawer/basket things.  My goal for the closet is to have DH remove the doors and install shelves.  His honey-do list is kind of long at the moment, so I'll be patient.  This looks really tight in the picture.  Actually, while not spacious, there's plenty of room to walk around the table and for the shelves to fit.

The relationship to the sewing table is shown here.  At the bottom-left you can see my serger cabinet.  It fits under the cutting table.  I almost never use my serger because she doesn't like me, and the feeling is mutual.  I hear they make friendlier versions now (mine is almost 20 years old - when they first came out and were popular), but we've had this mutual hate relationship going so long, I think I'll keep her.  But she is NOT getting her own permanent, opened-out place in the studio.  She may hide under the cutting table until called into action (which won't be very often), and be grateful that I haven't put her on Craig's List.  I can just picture the ad.  "Grumpy old serger, barely used............"

In the top-left there's the blank wall that will become my design wall, whenever I find it, packed away in boxes somewhere.  My ironing board is behind the door to the room.  I rarely use it because I keep a pressing mat (large enough for blocks and small projects) on my cutting table, or on the fold out part of my sewing cabinet.

It's going to be cozy but wonderful, I think.  I'm pretty sure the trick is to only bring in the stuff that comfortably and neatly fits.  How many projects do we really work on at once anyway?  Well, if you're like me, quite a few, but more would get done with greater focus, LOL!  I don't hand sew in my studio, so there's no need for a comfy chair.  I hand stitch on the lanai or in the great-room while watching television in the evening sometimes.

There probably won't be more progress to report until next year.  That's not far off, and I have a whole house to unpack.  But do look for more updates later.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


This is how my studio looks today.  That large cabinet actually will go in my den, not sewing room.  It's full of pictures and scrapbooking stuff.  We couldn't figure out how to fit it in the den while the hefty movers were here, but as soon as they left, we had a eureka moment of course.

The closet is full but that will have to all come out to put in shelves.  The majority of my 'stuff' is in the garage.  Bins, tubs, UFO's, etc.  And there it will stay until it can nicely be accommodated in the room.  We have a 3-car garage and only one car here, so even with lots stored there we still had room to park inside last night.  The goal is to have it all gone thru and sorted by summer.

My favorite room, the lanai, is pretty much set up.  Still need to put accents on the walls and bring in a plant stand/rack, but this is how it looks this morning.  This will be the most used room in the entire house, for sure.

Today is DD's 37th B'day.  Off to celebrate with her.  Not sure how it's possible our little girl is that age, but.................

Monday, December 19, 2011


Most of you know that DH and I have recently moved into our new down-sized Florida residence.  Well, I say moved in loosely.  We've been living kind of early-college style - the way we did when we were first married 42 years ago.  That means boxes for end tables, no kitchen table, two chairs, and a bed.

It's was by necessity then.  Now it's by choice as we painted almost all the walls, before getting the rest of our stuff out of storage.  Today is the big move-in day, when all the furniture and boxes are due to arrive any time now.

While waiting I decided to take pictures of my new sewing studio.  It's intended purpose is a bedroom.  The builder's flat paint in a tan just didn't do it for me, so DH painted it Jersey Cream in a semi-gloss.  I love the walls - neutral but warm - a color that won't interfere with quilt colors.  That's about all there is to love so far, but my Koala cabinets arrive today.  Follow my progress as I set it up over the next couple months.  I know just how it looks in my mind.  We'll see if that happens!

Friday, December 16, 2011


Just in case my last post made you hungry for melted snowperson cookies (?), there's lots of them flying around the net.  There are many ways to make them.  Here's a link to these, and here's a link to an easier version.

Looks like a fun project to do with the grands this winter.

Monday, December 12, 2011


The first 5 snow people from Rosa's swap on DJ Alternate have made their way to Florida.

This very self-confident one knows it's a star!

But this one looks a bit concerned about the Florida sunshine!

And this poor melty one didn't have a chance.  He was made in Florida and sent to Florida.

Here's a cheery one, all happy in its machine-embroidery.

Canadians know how to do snowpeople.  This one came all bundled up in a jacket!

There's still quite a few more that should be coming.  I think this will be a fun quilt to put together this winter.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Tamarack, West Virginia

One of my favorite places to stop during our travels between MI and FL, is Tamarack, West Virginia.  Tamarack is filled with wonderful things made by the artisans of West Virginia.  Of course I first head to see what quilts are on display.

I'm not usually into art quilts, but this folk art one called to me.
Here are some of the details up close.  Super creative work!

I was also attracted to this house quilt.  So simple, so effective.

I have the pattern for this neat swirl table runner.  This beautiful interpretation was selling for well over $100.  Wow!  It's nice to see that they can get just reward for their creations.
Here's the studio where you can watch the textile artists work.  None were there when I was.  But there were potters and wood-workers in their areas.

These pictures show more displays.

Did you know Fiestaware is made in West Virginia?  This display featured my favorite Fiesta colors, scarlet and ivory.  They really complement the Christmas pieces.

No visit to Tamarack would be complete without a yummy meal, featuring regional fare, made by the chefs from the Greenbrier.  Didn't get any pictures of that though.  Too busy drooling, I guess.

If you can't get to Tamarack, West Virginia, you can visit on-line here.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 5, 2011


The Moda Designer Blog Hop starts today.  Hop on over here to check out several blog each day.  There are free patterns, recipes, prizes, etc.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

WOW = Working On Wednesday

Today, and every day lately, I'm working on moving into our new home in Florida.   While lining my kitchen cupboards and drawers, the only measuring instrument I had resurrected from packages (beside my DH's pull out tape measure) was my large quilt ruler.  It worked great to measure the shelf liner.  But then I thought, why not get out the roller cutter too.  I was already using the mat to protect the counter top, and it was taking forever to draw a line and scissors cut it.  Wow!  It made quick work of it, and my measures and cuts were much more accurate too!  Just like cutting fabric, which I'm sooo familiar with doing.  The blade was getting dull anyway.

If you'd like to see what gals all over the world are working on today, link to Esther's WOW link here.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Pin Tangle is offering her Take A Stitch Tuesday again.  I just heard about it.  If you like hand embroidery, like I do, and you'd like to take it up a notch, like I would, this just might be for you. All levels of experience are welcome, beginners to advanced.  Get the details here.  TAST starts Jan. 3rd.  Will you be joining in?

Clarity here:  The work shown is NOT mine.  It is from the post Pin Tangle made about TAST.  She asked that we share the news about TAST.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Safe travels to those traveling, and to all, have a wonderful weekend with family and friends.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Did you know that Bonnie Hunter is starting a new Quiltville Mystery this week?  Part one of Orca Bay is now up.  You can link to it here.  This quilt will only be free on-line for a few months, as it will be published in Bonnie's next book.  She is posting the next steps every Friday.  You'll also find a link on my sidebar.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I'm cleaning up my sewing room today, and thinking about scraps.  It's amazing how that word means different things to different quilters.  I once took a class with a gal who was throwing out strips 4 and 5 inches wide by WOF.  I was shocked, and quickly grabbed them.  To me a throwaway is something pretty tiny!

This is what my trash looks like generally.  These are small waste baskets and the throwaways are very itty-bitty.

Anything too small to bother refolding goes into my scrap basket which lives right next to my sewing machine. These pieces are maybe 1" by 2" at the smallest -- anything I might make a crumb block with, or use to try out a stitch, etc.  -- anything that might be just perfect for an applique piece.  You never know.

I also keep my selvages.  I usually cut them 1.5".  Here's my basket of those.

And then there's my shoe box full of left over strips -- you know, those narrow strips left over from squaring up fabrics.  I use them as ribbons on gifts.  Or to tie FQs together for a gift.  They come in very handy.

I'm just curious, what to you consider too big to throw out -- too precious, because, after all, you paid the same price per square inch for the scraps as you did for the big fabric cuts?

I know applique enthusiasts save tinier pieces than most gals.  You just never know when what will be the perfect piece!

Maybe I should start a TV show on fabric scrap hoarders!  I bet I could find lots of sewing rooms to film my episodes!  In fact I know quite a few already, LOL!

Click on over to Esther's blog to see what gals all over the world are working on.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


My last seven snow people are in the mail.  They remind me of Casper the Ghost dressed up as a snowman for some reason.  They just look so young and innocent.  It's funny how snow people can take on a life of their own.  They all are made using basically the same fabrics and pattern, but the free-form shapes, the embroidered noses with no pattern, the differences in their eyes (snaps and buttons), all work to make each unique.  These blocks are 12", so I should be able to put together a nice sized throw to snuggle under in the winter.  There are 13 of us in the swap total, an odd number to work with, but I'll come up with something fun, I'm sure.