Monday, December 24, 2012

Seeing Hearts



Windy stormy weather has been keeping me home and indoors.  Thank goodness my Christmas shopping and get togethers are all done.  I missed one party due to weather issues, but made it to see all my family and that’s what was most important.IMG_1154

While I was stuck indoors and actually had electricity I pulled out a cute pattern to make a runner for Valentines Day by Cherilyn of Farm Wife blog.  She called it Candy Heart so I made mine chocolate and cinnamon.  It went together so easily that I might actually have it quilted before New Years.  Next project?


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Catching up on my Rows


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I finished Rows 5 and 6 yesterday except for the edges at the top and bottom, they are cut and will just take a few minutes to add on.  Since I was almost out of bobbin thread I decided this was a good place to stop for the day  I can’t believe I made that many little flying geese!  Lori’s method really worked there was very little trimming to do and they were mostly perfect.  I can’t say they were all perfect but, definitely close enough to work.  I made an extra mug without knowing it and I put the handle on the wrong side of one so I am holding on to it for a future mug rug.  These all went so fast, I actually sewed together the geese in the morning, they were already made and trimmed the day before, then I went on a shopping trip to Walmart which was surprisingly empty, came home and planted about 100 bulbs, cut and sewed all the mugs and it wasn’t even 9:00 yet.  Since I live in outer Mongolia a trip to Walmart is no short jaunt and sometimes turns into an all day trip so I was surprised it wasn’t dark yet and that I still had time for planting bulbs when we got home…all thanks to the short lines at Walmart.

The next row is a row of leaves which seems so appropriate since this is the view from my cutting table right now.  I am trying not to think about the work that comes when they all fall, though I did discover that the blower we have in the garage is not as noisy as most and I might just find it quite useful and it vacuums too so that might make cleaning up those leaves a whole lot easier!  IMG_1086 

I just remembered that I need to make a Christmas runner for my buffet and finish quilting my Christmas table topper…guess those leaves will have to wait!

Keep sewing along!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Row Along Progress

IMG_1078 The weather outside is frightful here with wind whipping and cold rain falling so I got sent home from work yesterday.  I took advantage of the time though and stopped at the grocery store to get what I wanted for our little Thanksgiving dinner and whipped up some homemade rolls and squash soup, then I added 2 rows to my Bee in My Bonnet Row Along project.  I love this project but, had only gotten 2 rows done and was really wanting to get to the apples.  I was well disciplined though and did the wavy row first and got it added then I played with the apples.  I was having so much fun I almost forgot to eat my soup which turned out delicious and the aroma of homemade bread was in the air reminding me to eat, thank goodness.  My apple row is not attached yet, but that might be a project for tonight after work.  The next row is all flying geese and Lori has a new method for us to try that will make it quick and easy then I can move on to the current row IMG_1080of mugs that look like lots of fun and I will be caught up!  My favorite block in butterfly row and the apple row are both red…I have been told that there is red in every quilt I make…I had no idea I had a thing for red…   I am pulling fabrics from a box of 5” squares that has been hanging around for a while now, it feels good to put them to such good use.


 I love this project and am thankful that designers like Lori Holt share their talents with us!

Enjoy your Holidays!


Update:  She is now on Row 7 so I am 3 rows behind…guess I will be doing a little catching up this week!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Inspired by Anka’s Treasures


This was going to be a runner for the buffet and the pattern was inspiration from a book  by Heather Mulder Peterson called Favorite Quilts from Anka’s Treasures.  The name of the pattern was Candy Apple Blossoms and she had appliqu├ęd some flowers in the white section, but I am thinking I will leave it and quilt some feathers in there instead.There are several patterns in this book inspiring me right now, but I picked this one and spent yesterday working on it while it was hailing and raining out.  It didn’t look quite right as a runner, but moving blocks around led me to this design which fits nicely on my little table.  Now it is ready for quilting…deciding what to quilt takes me longer than the quilting so it might be a while, but hopefully it will be done for the holidays!

IMG_1076 Well, since I started this post last week I have gotten some of the quilting done on this piece, but got stuck on how to quilt the colored logs and the border.  I am thinking of either quilting in the ditch or cross hatching for the logs and I have a curlicue design in mind for the border.  Hopefully this will soon be bound in black and done in time to grace my table for displaying some Christmas baking!IMG_1071

The rainy weather has had me on quite a roll of finishing up old projects and I am loving that it is also giving me more practice on my quilting.  I finished up this piece that I started a few years ago intending to make a round pillow, but it changed into a table topper.  I finished the embroidery and quilted it and I really like how it all turned out.  It is reminding me that even though the weather is wintery Spring will be back before we know it.

IMG_1073 I also pulled out this  table topper that I bought as a kit at the Quilt Market in Des Moines last October.  I had so much fun quilting it with wintery designs that I made up as I went I played with threads too.  I made a chain of mittens and quilted earmuffs on the snowmen  I still have to tack that binding down, but that should be finished in an evening of hand sewing.  I prefer to use double thick fabric cut on the bias ifIMG_1075 possible for binding and sew it on at 3/8” then I fold it over and hand sew it on to the back of the quilt.  This is the method that has worked out the best for me.  I cut my bindings at 2-1/4” wide.  (I am posting this here as a reminder to myself).  I have 3 little quilts sitting right now waiting for me to hand stitch the bindings down and it feels so good to have gotten this far with them all.  I am very glad that I have learned to free motion quilt because it is helping me to finish all the projects that I started a few years ago and now I can look for new projects to start!

Looking forward to new beginnings!


Friday, November 09, 2012

Zippety Do Dah!


About 3 years ago I won a jelly roll of Zippety Do Dah by Sandy Gervais and went right to work piecing this quilt then we bought this house and moved and life just got busy and it got put in a box.  Recently though I have been doing a lot more free motion quilting and trying to get all my pieced tops quilted.  I had never made a back for this, but had put all my scraps and extra blocks in a bag with the top so I went to work making a back which I now like even more than the top.  I ran out of that beige fabric though and had to try to match it as close as I could at my local quilt shop.  I love the scrappy look of it.  I had planned to donate this quilt to a cause IMG_1062and might still do it, except that my cat as fallen in love with this quilt and has been sitting on it as I move it from pile to pile while I am working on it.  He likes quilts, but I have never seen him get as attached to one as he has this one.  I am surprised he wasn’t on it in any of these pictures.  I put a navy binding on it and still have to do the hand stitching on it. 

IMG_1058It feels good to be getting all these things finished up.  I have even started and finished a few new small projects thanks to feeling more confident with my quilting abilities.  I have wanted to make this sunflower runner for a few years and recently I just went for it.  The pattern is from the book Skinny Quilts & Table Runners from today’s top designers by Eleanor Levie in 2008.  I had it pieced in a just a few night IMG_1059time sessions and quilted it in a just about an hour.  It is taking me longer to hand sew the binding on than anything else, but I love the process of doing that last finishing touch.  This will go on my buffet that recently got refinished.  The sunflower runner will be for fall and next I will work up something to take it through Christmas.  Runners are a nice size project to work on and actually finish up.  I love doll blankets for the same reason and follow Kathy Tracy’s Small Quilts Yahoo group.  That is a very active group and lots of info and blocks are shared there.  They do exchanges and Kathy posts free patterns on a monthly basis.  It is a great place to learn and develop friendships. 

And this is why I love to quilt!


Saturday, October 06, 2012

A Big Ironing Board

IMG_1005I am about ready to start quilting a big quilt and I like to iron the backing and front before I start, but it’s always a challenge with my ironing board.  I was IMG_1007inspired by several bloggers who had created large ironing surfaces and on my last trip to Home Depot a light went on when I saw an MDF board that measured 2’X4’ for only $10.  A while back I bought a small plastic folding table to put behind my sewing table when I am quilting large quilts to give me more sewing space and support the weight of the quilt, this MDF fits on top of the table perfectly.  I covered it with insulbrite and a nice piece of fabric I had that matches my sewing machine perfectly.  I sewed them together and IMG_1008pinned the corners to the backside, I might use velcro later so that I can take it off and wash it when I inevitably get something on it.   What I love the most is that when I am piecing I can use a small area and still keep  my supplies close at hand and then move them when I need more space.    Then when I get to the big quilting projects I can pull out my machine and move the whole table behind my table and it serves double duty.  I can also fit my fabric storage underneath so everything I need is close at hand.  I IMG_1010have all this set up in the little area behind my couch in my living room and it is working out quite well. 

Recently I acquired an old buffet that needed some refinishing and we got that job done, moved it in the house and I wasted no time filling it up with more of my sewing supplies which meant that I had to go through everything and sort and organize.  Now I am feeling really ready for some snow days spend sewing and I think being so organized will really be conducive to finishing up some of the big projects that have been on hold.

IMG_1012This is the buffet that lead me to get organized.  I bought it about 30 years ago and lost possession of it for several years, but so glad to have it back and looking beautiful.  Next I need to make a nice quilted topper to protect the top and wrap it in love.  It is now loaded with fabric and quilt projects.

Loving my comfy sewing space…


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hot Sewing Going on

I haven’t had much time for sewing lately, but what little bit I have done has been pretty hot.  Hot pads that is.  I have a basket full of single blocks that I sometimes make just for fun with nothing in particular in mind so I pulled one 8” block from it and layered it with a backing, 2 layers of batting and 1 layer of Insulbrite.  I quilted and bond it and voila a hot pad is made that will not let any heat through from the pan to my hand.IMG_0999One of my favorite pattern designers is Laurraine from Patchwork Pottery.  I have enjoyed her blog for a few years so when she started making patterns for sale I was thrilled.  Her patterns are downloadable so you can buy them Image of House Tape Measureand start working on them right away.  I didn’t realize this however so I was waiting for them to come in the mail, but she sent me a personal email to remind me to download them.  Funny thing how the internet has changed the way we do things.  I bought the cute butterfly hot pad pattern and wasted no time making not one, but 2 hot pads.  I find it faster and easier to do 2 of something at once and going through each step all at the same time.   This patter was really easy to follow with Laurraine’s concise diagrams and instructions.  I did omit the antennae because I was afraid that they would get in the way and there were some buttons I didn’t add either because I was sure I would probably melt them, but I can’t wait to put these guys to good use with some baking I have in mind for my next day off when I am going to tackle the perfect pie one more time (or till I get it right).  I also bought the pattern for the house tape measure for my next little project.

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IMG_1000I have a close friend who is a little house bound and wanting to learn quilting so I have loaned her my older Janome DC3050 and given her lots of books and tools to get her started.  Recently I was doing a little reorganizing of my sewing supplies and found the pattern for my Fig Tree pin cushion that I love so I whipped on up for her with some scraps that I thought she would like.  This pattern is nice and simple that I had it stitched and stuffed in about an hour.  I like to make an insert for my pin cushions with some ground walnut hulls and lavender then I stuff some bamboo stuffing in and I love the way it smells every time I poke a pin in it or if I get a little stressed I just have to squeeze it a few times and I am instantly relaxed.  I had also made  myself a sewing wallet from a Crab-apple Hill pattern a few years ago and found it very useful for IMG_1002organizing all the needles I need for all the different sewing applications.  I looked through that basket of stray blocks and used some to make a sewing wallet for my friend, too.  I hope she will find these as useful as I have and that I have helped to inspire her love for sewing in a new direction.  She had done a lot of sewing years ago and I think she is really excited to get back into it again and I am glad to have helped her out.

Now that my sewing area is more organized and I have dug through some old things that were packed away I am feeling ready for fall and some good indoor time spent working on some old and new projects.  Quilting on these little projects has got me wanting to get to some of the quilts that have been waiting to be finished up.  Yep I’m ready for fall and apple pie, leaves on the ground and a cold nip in the air…just a few more weeks of temps in the 90’s here and maybe it will be time!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pieces of Glass

IMG_0868Well, I haven’t been doing much piecing on the sewing machine, but I did do a fun project yesterday with my Dad.  We had boards in our patio that were rotting and creating enough space to actually trip you or catch the hose so it was time to tackle this project.  My Dad worked with concrete for many years and is now retired, but came out of retirement for a day to help me with this project.  After we dug out all the rotting wood which was really easy since it was rotten and cleaned all the crevices real well, we mixed small batches of mortar in the wheel barrel IMG_0869and added some colorant to it.  Then he filled the cracks with the mortar and leveled them out and I followed close behind with a tray of beach glass that we had collected on a few trips to Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, California.  I also added a few of my favorite broken dishes.  It sure brought back some good memories and now instead of sitting in a box in the garage we can look at them every day as we make our way to the garden or the garage.  It was a fun project and I will also have the added memory of having worked on this project with my Dad. IMG_0853

  We had some other really fun company the week before…my one year old grandson came up with his Dad and spent a few days with me while my son was doing some painting for me and some fishing with his brother.  I had not had much time in the past to spend with Eli so we made up for lost time by digging potatoes,IMG_0850 picking strawberries and cooling him off in a wagon full of water.  I’m not sure who had a better time him or me.  Eli is quite the helper and he loves the Swiffer, so all my plants got a good cleaning, too.   The weather was a bit on the hot side so I mostly let him run around in just a diaper and we spent a lot of time playing with water.  Eli surprised me when he showed me the IMG_0860best way to cool off was to just douse yourself over the head with the hose.   Such a fun few days!  I’m not sure who had the most fun, him or me.  And boy do I miss our fun conversations, he is quite a talker.

Oogle-oogle Eli!  I think it means  ”Love you!” and he said it a lot.

Life is good~sewing time will make it even better soon!


Friday, July 13, 2012

Body Double

IMG_0792 Tomato season has begun!  I really have been busy in the garden and at the make a dress form of your body with duct tape...gotta have one!nursery and I have a tan to prove it.  Not much in the way of sewing though.  I could really use two of me right now just to do all the things I would like to get done.  I am working on sewing a summer dress, but it might be winter before I am done.  I always want to change the pattern and then it involves a lot of extra work in figuring out how to make my changes work, but I think that is where I learn the most.  I was thinking that a mannequin of my body would be so helpful and thanks to Pinterest I found a website that tells you great directions for making one using duct tape, I think I might have to give this a try!  The directions are on the Threads magazine websiteBeautiful Dresses made from vintage sheets  Great idea!Now if I could just create another me that easily I’d be in business!

I also found a blog by a girl that is going by the blog name of ‘naughty shorts!’ She is making some lovely dresses out of vintage sheets…another idea I am loving, now to find some sheets and some time.  I can’t help but think how soft and comfortable a dress like this would be, maybe better than an old pair of jeans.

Working in a nursery has brought me in contact with lots of people growing lots of different things and the wealth of information we can bring each other has been very rewarding.  Unfortunately the nursery I am currently working at is about to close, the owner does own another wonderful nursery and that might be my future job location, but for now I am focusing on closing this one and enjoying the company of the many customers I have gotten to know along with the companionship of my fellow employees that have become good friends and confidants. It will be hard to say good-bye to both, but I will hope to see them all in the future and share some more tips and just ‘life’ with them all.

Life is good!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I’m Out in the Garden

IMG_0646 Not much sewing going on here and not much blogging either.  Between working extra hours and playing around in the garden I don’t have much time or energy for anything else.  But, I am thoroughly enjoying myself!  My tomatoes are growing better than any I have ever grown before and so it most everything else.  It has been said many times around here that is because of spending close to $1000 on organic fertilizers and soils, I think that would be an exaggeration, but I am not looking into it because I’m sure the dollar amount is high.  At any rate I might be missing in action here, but can always be found here…


and sometimes I am swearing at the little critters that are causing this…


thank goodness all my raised beds are now lined with gopher wire.

Yes, I am getting lots of gratification from my little Potager and hopefully soon I can start eating the fruits of my labor.  Right now we have sugar snap peas and fava beans with strawberries on the way any day!

I may not be sewing, but am finding inspiration for future projects all around me!


Now you know where I can be found!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Walk Through My Garden

IMG_0524After days and maybe even weeks of wind and rain and hail the sun was shining and we got out and about in the garden.  I was very surprised at how well the plants had survived the weather.  Other than putting a binding on the Summer Sampler quilt not much sewing has been done lately, but out in the yard weeds are being pulled and plants feed, trimmed up and admired!  I have loved grape hyacinths ever since I can remember, they seem like magical little fairy flowers and they bloom quite a long time.  As soon as they appear the daffodils are right there too (maybe it is the other way around). 


We have lots of varieties of daffodils here since gophers and deer seem to leave them alone and they come back tenfold reliably.  They really are the perfect sign of Spring!  Even the cats love them.

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Another little flower that is blooming away right now is Phlox.  This is the moss phlox that makes a perfect little groundcover.  I have transplanted it several places and it is happy everywhere here.  The pink is my favorite!

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IMG_0533Ceanothus is just the most wonderful shade of blue don’t you think?  It is so hard to describe and harder yet to reproduce.  This variety is called Black Knight, it has very tiny leaves and is about 4 feet tall.  It is hiding an ugly pipe in this spot and doing a great job at that.

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Kerria is wonderful little shrubby plant with a flower like a mini rose, in fact it is in the rose family and native to Korea, China and Japan.  It doesn’t have a fragrance, but it is loaded with blooms.  I split a clump of this last fall and transplanted it all along a fence and it is looking like they all took.  Yay!

IMG_0547 Ribes have become a new favorite flower of mine.  Even more than the flowers though are the berries that look like jewels hanging on a bush.  The birds like them as much as I do.  I actually picked berries off another shrub I have last year and made one jar of jelly from it.  It was a beautiful little jar of clear red jelly.  Hoping to get lots more this year.  We planted several different varieties of ribes last fall and they are all just starting to bloom.  Some make berries and some do not, but I love the flowers and the leaves on these beautiful, easy to grow plants.

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Another plant that is blooming now that I have several varieties of is euphorbia.  I love the funny looking flowers and all the different colored leaves that the many varieties have.  What a versatile plant.  They seem to do as well in shade as sun here and with very little care.

The rain is making a come back today so maybe there will be some more sewing done…or a painting project that I have been contemplating for a headboard in my room.  I am working on a plan to paint a Frank Lloyd Wright type design on my wall as a faux headboard.  There may be pictures to come if it works out.

IMG_0543 Last by not least, the smell of this little Daphne flower is so intense you can only imagine.  When you walk by and smell it you look everywhere for the big flower that it must be coming from but, no, just little ole me here!


Lovin’ Spring!