Saturday, January 23, 2010

No Sew Rainy Day Projects


  There was actually snow on the ground when I got up at 8:00 this morning, but by 10 the rain had pretty much washed it away.  I have had a bit of a longing for Spring and wanting to grow something so I dove into some fun plant related projects today.  I have been known to watch Martha Stewart and am sometimes inspired by her creations.  Yesterday I watched her turn the jar I used at Christmas IMG_1739for a cookie scene into a terrarium and I really wanted to make one, but going to the nursery in the snow was not on my agenda so I went searching my yard for mosses to put in my terrarium.  I had so much fun walking around my own yard in the rain!  I mean really, I should do this a lot more often.  Then I wandered off to the mailbox which is a little more than 1/4 mile away.  I found more moss and lots of little mushrooms.  What fun!  I am really amazed by how much moss is growing everywhere and how many different kinds and colors there are.   IMG_1742

I also found treasures in the mailbox that were quilting related.  I had joined ‘Inner Circle - Online Quilters Club’ through American Patchwork & Quilting and the subscription included a really great book, magazine, a pin and Jo-Ann’s 10% off VIP card.  There are lots of videos and patterns that you can access on their site too.  Well worth the $39.99 for a one year membership, the book alone is $34.99 and the online videos are great to watch at your convenience.  You can find out about it at the All People Quilt website if you are interested.

IMG_1736To make my terrarium I started by adding about an inch of small rock mixed with sand in the bottom of the jar then about 2 inches of soil.  I found some nice pieces of moss on the ground with soil attached and  mossy branches that I added also.  I put my little black frog in there too, though he doesn’t really show in the picture, along with some rocks that I IMG_1735 have collected on fishing trips. 

I have been starting seeds  and have them growing on heating mats in our greenhouse.  I transplanted a little Basil called ‘Pistou’ into a pot for my kitchen window and also an Italian parsley and a chervil.  I cut some branches from different plants in the yard for forcing.  Just bringing the outdoors in until it warm enough for me to go out.   IMG_1743

So much fun without even sewing…who knew?


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rainy Day Quilting

The weather in Northern California has been windy, foggy, rainy and just plain blustery.  It is so cold right now it will probably snow.  We have had electricity so what do you think I’ve been up to?  Quilting, of course. 

IMG_1732 I taught myself some new things using some information from the internet and some from books I have.  I need some quilty things to hang on the walls here so I used one block from the quilt on the cover of Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting July/August 2009 issue.  Then I added a little appliqué from Barbara Brandeburg’s book Tried & True Cabbage Rose favorites (I would love to make every quilt in this book).  IMG_1733 The technique I used to applique was from Edyta Sitar’s book Hop to It, she has some really clear instructions on machine applique with invisible thread.  Well, I have had a spool for years and never used it so I gave it a try and love how it works.  She uses a zig zag stitch set on 1 for width, 1 for length with the tension on 1 so that most of the clear thread goes to the back and you don’t see any bobbin thread on the front.  I used bobbin thread to match my background and the invisible thread is only on the front.

IMG_1730 There are a lot of string projects going on in quilty blogland and some great tutorials so I had to test out the idea.  I needed to make a new table runner to replace my Christmas one so I got to work and made some string blocks.  I have also been wanting to make a house block with a quilt block in it.  So I got to work playing and this is what I came up with.  I am also trying IMG_1729 something I saw somewhere else in quilty blogland and can’t remember where…I cut the batting and backing 1/4th inch wider than the front then attached the binding sewing 1/2 inch from the edge of the batting.  I made my binding 2 1/2 inches wide.  The end result is that when you fold the binding to the back there is more material in the binding making it feel fuller.  Really nice and it is not too much, so sewing it down is not hard at all.  The only other thing I did was to cut the batting corners off so the corners would fold nice and smooth.

IMG_1720 I am really enjoying my rainy day quilting, but I do hope it doesn’t continue for a whole lot longer because my new heating mats came in IMG_1725 and I really want to get out and work on my new garden.   All this rain is making some really pretty little mushrooms pop up every where though and the manzanitas are blooming, too.

Learn something new!


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Eleanor Burns Free Videos

I am an Eleanor Burns fan so when I found free videos available on her website yesterday I was so excited.  There is absolutely nothing on TV and with several winter storms making their way to our neck of the woods I was glad to find something to watch during my sewing breaks.  Now I just hope the power doesn’t go out.  So if you are a fan of Eleanor I just want to share my find go to the Quilt in a Day home page and on the right side toward the bottom you will find the link to the videos.  She has some really recent videos that go a long with a new book that she is having published with a really fun block of the month quilt that has a barn theme.   These barns remind me of my summers spent on my Grandmothers farm in Iowa as a young girl so I know I will have to have this book and attempt to make this quilt.  She has also started a blog and I think I left the first comment, that’s how new it is so check that out also here, at

IMG_1726 I did finish the baby quilts for my sisters twins.  Two quilts in one month during the holidays was quite an accomplishment for me.  I am very happy with the way they turned out.  the patterns I used for these are from a Moda Bakeshop pattern called the Pinwheel Baby Quilt designed by Jodie at Pleasant Home and Monica at Happy Zombie’s Two Happy patternBoth patterns were offered free and were a breeze to follow.  It is so nice for these ladies to share their talents over the internet.   Today is her shower and I was hoping to be there, but with storms on their way I decided that I should stay home and not drive the mountain roads in them.  I can’t wait to see the pictures and hear about all the wonderful things she received.   She has some really special friends and they are arranging a lot of special things for this shower.

If you love Eleanor and quilting and barns, be sure to check out the free videos!

Enjoy the show!


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

A New Year = New Projects

I am welcoming the new decade with open arms and an open mind.  So much has changed in my life the last 6 months that will surely effect my life in the new decade, but as I know I must take each day one day at a time and savor all that it has to offer me. 

IMG_1694 We have been spending a lot of time inside fixing up our new home, but this week the weather turned from wintery to almost spring like which brought us outside to work on refreshing our yard.  What fun we had digging and pruning and planting.  Most of what we planted is dormant so the pictures don’t look like much unless like us you are a gardener then you see what will be.  This bed will have some ceanothus, sage and even a pretty little rose bush, kind of hard to imagine so more pictures will come later and this will just be a before picture.  It feels like you are planting hope and faith when you plant a twiggy little plant and because we know what they will be we felt we had found some gems.  If you are at all interested in gardening you might want to check out our gardening blog Growing Thymes.  I have been having fun posting about the plants we are IMG_1697 planting though the pictures are lifted from the internet because mine look like sticks at the moment.  We got roses planted in gopher cages and a double flowering pomegranate tree and many more fun things.  Next we will be building up our vegetable garden.  We are dealing with deer and gophers here so will be writing about our solutions (hopefully) on dealing with them.  We need ideas on grass alternatives, I never knew Bermuda grass would grow in the mountains, but it does very well here…yuck!

IMG_1702 I haven’t just been gardening though I have been very busy quilting and planning for some future projects, but the most important even coming up in the near future had me making 2 little quilts and they are almost finished.  I will show them in full in the next couple of weeks, but for now it is just a sneak peak because I knowIMG_1700 my sister reads my blog.  She is due to give birth to her twin boys in March.  I made the quilts using the same fabrics with different patterns and I love them both, guess that is just a sign of things to come!

Make great things happen in your life, one day at a time!