Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The past several months have been a blur on many fronts. Thought I would share a wee bit of what I've been busy with:

There were many more projects also completed between Sept and now; just can't seem to get my camera and computer to play nicely. sigh. But I think you get the idea that I have been very busy with needle and thread.

I wish everyone a Happy and Merry Christmas! See you next year!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Here comes Santa Claus

I strip pieced and hand quilted robe and then decided to decoupage hit hat. He is a good sitter, waiting patiently for accoutrements. I am thinking that since he is a scrappy santa, he may need a scrappy quilt to go along with him. And I think I have just the leftover squares to accomplish that.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Middle Monday of the Month

I don't know about you, but, I tend to get excited at this time of year. I am grooving on the cooler mornings and evenings. I mean open the windows up and pull up a light quilt excited! I mean, the leaves are going to be changing their clothes color soon excited! Sure, the days are still hot as blue blazes but Oh How I Love Fall! And Autumn! Whatever you call it, for me it also means getting some of my houseplants which have been enjoying the fresh air all spring and summer ready to come back inside. It also means that some of the rootings I have been working on will be put in new containers.

I am never quite ready for any season, except in my mind. You know me ~ I have the most productive mind ~ just don't always get the rest of me in gear. Well, this morning as I was cleaning the kitchen, I plucked the coffee can my hubs placed in the garbage can out. I decided I could use it as a holding planter for a rooting or two.

Now this has been done for years, so I am not as original as you may think. hehehe

Here's what I did:

Start with a coffee can

poke a few holes in the bottom. Can you tell I didn't use a hammer? I worked out all the caffeine buzz just whacking the heckfire shoot with a flat head screwdriver. Use a hammer unless you have had your coffee or spinach for the day

Here is the fun part. Purchase some shelf paper rolls (or book cover roll as it is called in some areas). Measure it out - so easy peasy because it already has a grid to mark and cut!

Now you are ready to roll! The backing peels off so nicely. If you take your time, you won't get air bubbles or wrinkles, either.

Isn't this just too cutesy?

Tada! By next spring this little pot will be overflowing with more growth.

Have a fun day!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Guess who's coming to town?

About this time of year I start getting requests for some Santa and Witchies. Thought I would share a sneak at one. The man in red will be arriving soon - he still needs his beauty sleep for now. More later . . .

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Welcome September

I think like most folks, I view September as a month of remembrances. Things that should not be forgotten.

I used to think of September as back to school time, but now that most traditional schools start back in August, I remember the days of a full summer ending after Labor Day. Aahh, Labor Day. Summer's last hurrah! Backyard celebrations, frisbee flying, and heralding shorter daylight hours.

I also remember at this time of year, that fall is on the way. Yes, it is still as hot as blue blazes during the day and cooler in the dark early morning hours. Have you ever noticed how many pretty webbies are being built during this time of year?
Now most of you know how absolutely petrified of spiders I am. I lived in Florida long enough to see some the size of garbage trucks. Enough said. However, I do marvel at their artwork. But they ALWAYS have a "trip wire" attached them, generally across the shrubs that line either side of my front walk. And then there is the huge oak that they can drop out of. I tend to carry a stick or broom with me when I venture out in the wee hours of the morning because I can't wait to destroy them before I walk into them. Just imagine me, slippers on, towel over my head (don't want nasty buggers in my hair! ), and a broom being swung wildly around me while I walk out my door. That's a piece of cake. Now, if my hubs has left the porch light on all night! then there could possibly be a big one hovering above the door threshold. Hey, it's happened! I am not being paranoid. Which leaves me with the problem of how do I go back in the house with that monster above my head. And notice if you will, that this is the time of year that you notice webs in the grass, INSIDE YOUR HOUSE around windows and - Oh My, I need to stop this line of thinking! I fear spiders more than the werewolves, vampires of my childhood imagination. Maybe because spiders are real and everywhere. I am sitting here shuddering.

Okay, now that I am in a sweat which is NOT from the heat, let me continue with my remembrances. Ummm, I am blank. Just the thought of spiders and I am frozen in time. Why did I have to see that trip wire this morning? I remembered that September is spider month to me.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Hello Folksies

Well, I finally finished the pineapple blossom scrappy quilt that I began in July. The blocks were all machine stitched and then hand quilted. It is a nice size and I know someone who will be thrilled with a soft, fluffy quilt.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A New Week

Hello Folksies!
Last week was an interesting week of weather on the Eastern Seaboard.

First, there was the earthquake in Virginia. Oh Gracious! It will be one of those moments where those who felt it will remember what they were doing and where. I know that I was in my bedroom, laying out a quilt to see what else was needed before I added the binding. Sis was with me. The shaking started and lasted a good 30 seconds. It is amazing to think what can be said and thought in merely a few seconds.
The sound was as scarey as the earth moving. It sounded like an off balance washer on steroids. in other words, LOUD! My whole house literally was shaking. By the time it all ended, I realized, duh uh, it was a big tremor. After all, I lived in California at one time and somewhere in the dregs of my memory, the shaking movement and noise was still flickering. Top that with the news that Colorado had a quake earlier that morning. That's a whole lot of shaking going on!
To add insult to anxiety, here comes Irene.

You know how the media loves a good disaster. 24/7 coverage was everywhere. I am thankful that the media and government seemed to take this would be monster as seriously as they did. Some people around the world have complained that we (the USA) didn't cover Libya and Ghaddafi and the rest of the world news enough. Oh good grief! Tell that to those who didn't heed the warnings and lost their lives to Irene's waters, winds. Tell that to those who are still without power, but thankfully because of the dire warnings were prepared with provisions. Tell that to those who are flooded with water and sand. Then look for Ghaddafi in a spider hole like Hussein hunkered down.

We here fared very well through all of last week, regardless of the weather. We lost power for a short while due to a downed tree. It will be a good addition to our woodpile for this winter.

I found it fascinating when I read that the last big quake that shook Va in 1897 (and it wasn't a 5.9) was followed by a hurricane.

Okay folksies, I am rambling and deterriorating as I do. The sun is coming up, birds are at my feeders, it is a brand new week and I am finally going to be finishing up a few projects this week.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Paper Piecing

I started paper piecing out of desperation. I think I have shared with you that I was taught to quilt by my illiterate grandmother. I used cardboard cereal boxes as templates and looked at pictures. My blocks were not the most accurate and yet, I still love those old quilts. Since the invention of the internet (should I say a sarcastic thank you to Mr. Gore?), I have discovered that for all these years I have been doing everything WRONG! After hours of drooling, I am now the proud owner of a rotary cutter or two, a few cutting mats, and a quilt pattern library at my fingertips. Along the way I discovered paper piecing. Huzzah! I love to paper/foundation piece. It is a great for sharp points and accuracy. Lord knows I can use all the accuracy I can get. I love paper piecing. It is like coloring a picture with your fabric. If you can follow the numbers, you can certainly paper piece! Now generally speaking, most paper/foundation piecing patterns have a built in seam allowance for joining all your pieces together. However I have run into a few that require you to add the 1/4 inch yourself. Make certain you check this out before you jump in feet first. Ask me how I know. You may remember how enthusiastic I can be. Another thing to remember is to set your stitch gauge to a very short stitch. I like my setting at 1.6 or 1.8

Paper pattern ~ I like to print out my patterns using construction paper or scrap pads from the $ Stores - lightweight and tear off very easily
Assorted fabric scraps in various sizes
Straight pins
Jack the Ripper
Paper scissors
Rotary cutter

When you are ready to sit for a bit and give this a try, first off look for an easy beginner block to try. Quilters Cache has quite a few. The one I am using for this example is from Ula Lenz's drool worthy site:

Using your paper scissors, cut the blocks apart but keep the small picture of the finished block handy. This is important if you have a tendency to get lost in the pattern or get interrupted frequently and forget what you are doing.

Cut out enough fabric to make sure you are going to be able to catch some of it on the next piece of fabric. This will generally say 1 or A . You may want to use a straight pin to anchor it temporarily.
Place this piece right side up. In other words, wrong side of fabric to the back of the paper pattern.

Next you will begin to add your next piece. You will place this piece right side down. Your fabrics will now be right sides together. Sew on the line that says 2. once completed, flip over press and trim close to the seam. Be sure you sew until you reach the seam allowance line.

A word of caution . . . Notice how much larger the scrap piece I am using is compared to the actual size on the template? I have learned to err on the side of caution when it comes to making sure the small scrap I am using will be enough to cover with plenty of seam allowance once it is flipped, pressed and trimmed.

Continue around your block, adding your fabrics.

One little puzzle block done and now I am on another one.

Here is where I show you where to trim: Can you see the seam where I have sewn? Fold back your paper
And this is where you would trim.

Once you have have all your little blocks sewn, it is time to get out the rotary cutter and mat

Trim them neatly with your spiffy rotary cutter on the outside seam line. I know your stitches don't reach that, but you will see why that matters in a minute

Now is the time it is a good idea to have your master block picture available for scrutiny. Almost like a jigsaw puzzle, right? Start matching your blocks and right sides together, sew them on the 1/4 inch seam. It may help to have a pin hold in place until you get started on the stitch.

Continue matching seams and soon you will have a gorgeous block with accurate points!

Bring back to your mat and finish cleaning those edges up. Voila!

Once you have completed the block, if you have used the type of paper I do and a really short stitch, the paper should peel off very easily. Please don't use regular printer paper. It is tough to remove and you may find your stitches undone!
A few things I would like to add here. First off, you may think you are going to have loads of wasted fabric. Once you get the hang of it, you really truly don't. I would suggest using dedicated scraps or really ugly fabric that you have stashed away to practice with. A really easy block to start with is:
The Economy Block
It is very helpful to press with a hot iron. I keep my iron at sitting level so I can swivel around and press those puppies.
I am certain I could have taken a real step by step of each step. But there was no one to take pictures while I sewed the paper, and pressed the blocks. Just me. However, just get in your mind the visual image of me swivelling. That should make you smile enough to want to try your hand at paper piecing. It really is easy, addictive and makes your work look like you really know what you are doing.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Summertime Blues

Ah summer! Time is flying soooo fast these days, I don’t even have to wait until August for the dog days – Wee Dawgies, it’s been hot, hot, hot. It’s also been muggy. When it gets like this sometimes my knee gets to hurting. My own personal barometer. Which reminds me ~

Mike Pasquel never liked me. He always told me he was gonna throw me in the river. I don’t know why he didn’t like me. Perhaps it was because I was a safety patrol crossing guard and looked real spiffy with my white belt. Perhaps it was because I made him wait until I stood in the middle of the road with arms and legs stretched out, shielding him and the rest of my peers.

Maybe he didn’t like me because sometimes I used my skates while wearing the patrol belt – a definite no-no – but I enjoyed showing off my skill of stopping on a dime. At the end of the 5th grade, when school was released for summer vacation, Mike actually did push me down the ravine into the river.

How I loved summer when I was a kid. We didn’t have air conditioning, heckfire shoot, not even a color tv. My NY Granny made sure we stayed outside all day long. We found shade trees to sit under and play board games in the hot afternoon sun. Early mornings and evenings were made for riding my bicycle or skating with my excellent pair of hand me down metal skates. They even had their own key! Huzzah!

The day that Mike Pasquel pushed me down that grassy slope, I was wearing my skates. I rolled, I tumbled and my right knee hit a stump, which in turn caused my skate to get hung up on it’s root. No one was around to hear my cry. I remembered every bad word I had ever heard in my life. Trust me, he was called every color of dirty dog there was. I even invented a few which I forgot totally about until I was married to my first husband.
Funny how the memory works.

A kid back then with these magic skates always had their skate key. Mine was tied on a shoelace and wore around my neck. My fat 11 year old fingers nimbly loosened the skate so I could free my foot. You should have seen my knee. It would take a whole bottle of mercurochrome to keep me from certain impetigo. I limped home, skates in hand, PF Flyers no longer clean. My soiled patrol belt would never be pristine again. My NY Granny saw me limping. She came with switch in hand, just knowing I had been up to no good. On closer inspection, Grandma knew I had come out on the losing end of this battle.

At times I would rather have taken a switching than to listen to my Grand parents. My Grandpop was from Denmark. He was like King Solomon, with his wisdom and Jewish wit. My Grandmother was neither Jew or witty. And she was never, bless her heart, politically correct. She knew that rotten Mike P. was in for it. Grabbing my arm, she dragged me to his house, confronted him, graphically questioned his father and mother’s heritage in no uncertain terms and in the end, I received a new pair of skates and a slimy handshake from my sworn enemy.
That summer I never once used those skates. I wonder what ever happened to them. Probably in my mother’s attic. She never throws away anything.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Hi Folksies
Another month has passed by. Summer has been very enthusiastic in her charms this year. After everyone, including myself, complaining about the long, cold winter, Summer has decided to show off all her glory. I enjoy the beauty of Summer. I sing sweet songs to her all Autumn, Winter and Spring. When Summer enters, I continue to sing of her beauty - after all, I love to garden. I do keep reminding her year after year to just skip August and beckon nature to bring me a sweet Fall. Sakes alive, August arrived early this year. Those dog days of summer, sweltering heat that only okra and peppers thrive in. My poor tomatoes are not doing as well as earlier. My squash has pretty much played out, cukes are finally saying adios. I have canned right much, the rest thrown in the deep freeze until I get cooled down enough to get the kitchen like a furnace again.

Summer isn't the only thing that can be enthusiastic. Take me for example. What I lack in excellence, I make up for in enthusiasm. I start each and every project from cleaning the house (did I just say that?), raising children, caring for my parents, sewing, quilting, gardening, with great gusto! Sure I make plenty of mistakes along the way. Always have, always will. I have a dear friend that never gets much accomplished because she wants everything perfect. Uh oh. She is the first to tell me when she sees one of my creations, "Well, you could have done it this way, or I would've done that or, or, or . . ." But she never will because the fear of imperfection is like that little cloud that followed the kid in the Peanuts cartoons. I love to learn and that means making mistakes here and there.
My stitches aren't even, but heckfire shoot, I AM a Folk Artist. (I reaffirm this to myself regularly because it sounds official). Oopsy, getting off track again! Let me continue . . .

So, Summer ~ continue to sing your song. You have not been the perfect summer,
missed the mark a few days here and there, been stingy with the rain once again, but your joy in keeping the heat of the sun focused on us, has been full of

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!

God Bless America! Thank God for Independence and Freedom!

Who doesn't love a holiday? Time off from work for most folks and in the summer it is always a great excuse to get together with friends and family to celebrate. We generally always have a big cook out at our place. We get a couple of charcoal grills going - love the smell of lighter fluid and charcoal - I know, don't write me that it is a carcenogenic; I am not worried about that stuff. We grilled out yesterday and after Luscious gets home from work, we will grill out again today!

I love not having to do more in a hot kitchen than I have to! I have already been busy canning and freezing what needs to be done. Our garden has been fairly productive this year. Lots of squash, tomatoes, peppers, beans, cukes, okra, corn are among the most prominent veggies. We have been fastidious about saving our heirloom seeds each year and I declare, each year the veggie patch gets better.

This past weekend Luscious and I had our hands full with trying to pick more of those yummy blackberries. We picked 2 gallons all total with more on the vines!

Our guests will be picking their own blackberries with an invitation to come back in another week to start on the blueberries that are just now starting to get sweetly ripe. Oh the delish mixed berry yummies I can make!

When I am not getting sweaty in the garden, I am busy working on more projects for gifting. One of the current quilty projects is called Pineapple Blossom. I am putting four squares together then hand quilting them. When completed it will go to one of the kids as a Christmas pressie.

Lots of hand stitching; nothing fancy at all but loads of fun. I am using various colors of DMC number 8 thread in plain old irregular running stitch to go with the scrappy look. I am grooving on this one, folksies.

Enjoy your holiday, give thanks for our brave men and women over the years and currently keeping us free. God Bless America!