Thursday, December 30, 2010

Latest Book Read

I can't remember where I heard about this book.  I really enjoyed it and thought it would be a good book club selection.

It's about a young girl who "tastes" the food makers feelings.  There are many other quirky family members that have different gifts.  It's well written, not too long and ends well.  Check out your public library for a copy.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Another Cool Tote Bag

This is another cool tote bag I made using the fabulous pattern I bought in Kansas City.  I have probably made 15-20 of these bags and taught my quilt friends how to make them, too.  I think the braided handles and the rick rack are super cute.  This was for my sister-in-law.

The fabrics are so yummy, love all the color.  I added a pocket inside, the pattern doesn't have one but I thought it could be handy.

The browns are beautiful.  The pattern is available at

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

This is another favorite Christmas item, we've had it for 22 years.  I took the picture earlier this month so all the items aren't out of their pockets yet.  This always hangs on a wall near our kitchen and the items come out early each morning as we count down to Christmas.  This is one of our family's traditions.  We'll go to church tonight, then over to my mom's with all the family.  Christmas brunch is at our house Christmas morning and then we'll relax and enjoy the day.  Merry Christmas to each of you!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Another Christmas Favorite

I can't even remember how many years ago I made this primitive little wall hanging.  All the edges are unfinished, the snowmen are made from Warm and Natural and there's lots of linen string and buttons.  It's getting old and worn out but I still get happy when I take it out of the Christmas decoration boxes.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Surprise

My good friend, Loretta showers me with handmade gifts.  Many have been posted here on my blog.  This Christmas brought another new treasure for me.  The package arrived with instructions to open this now so it could be enjoyed.  She said she found the panel at a quilt shop in Illinois and did the quilting with a beautiful metallic gold thread.  I really love religious Christmas items too.

This is definitely a new favorite of mine.  I'm truly blessing to receive such a lovely gift.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Some Favorite Christmas Papers

A few years ago Anthropolgie used reproduction vintage like card baskets to hold all their small holiday items -- ornaments, hooks, knobs, etc.  I just loved them but couldn't buy them as they weren't for sale.  So my wonderful sister (queen of shabby chic) set out on a quest to find some for me.  I put them out at Christmas and this is one of my favorites.

I don't put anything in mine since they are fragile and the real deal.  Here's a couple views of my favorite outer pieces.

I would really love to find a pattern for these and make some myself.  I don't crochet but could tie yarn in the holes.  Does anyone know how to find a pattern?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

December Craft Night

It was my turn for craft night this month but my sister had a picture of a stocking she wanted us to make.  So she brought the project and I made dinner.  We made some adorable burlap stockings with a picture to guide us.

We traced and modified a stocking pattern from some stockings I had around the house.  My sister found the sage burlap at Walmart of all places.   My mom made the yo yos from muslin.  The ruffles were very time consuming as making ruffles usually is. 

This stocking has three yo yos but it takes too long to make a lot of stockings with three.  This project was tougher to finish in an evening but they are lovely and look so sweet hanging up around the house.  Next project will be mine -- I think I'll find a fun Valentine idea.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

December Book Club

Our December Book Club selection is Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Facones.  It's a novel about the construction of the cathedral of Sana Maria de la Mar during the fourteenth century (the Inquisition) in Barcelona.  There's a family feud and the historical novel centers around two brothers.  It's long and I hope not too similar to The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.  
In fact, the back cover boasts, "A new Ken Follett is born!".

Just a note about last month's book, Little Bee.  It was absolutely beautifully written and an incredible tale, though sad I must say.  It was a fabulous choice and I would highly recommend the book.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November UFO finish

My November UFO finish is sqeaking in under the wire.  With two trips this month my sewing time has been limited.  Yesterday was our group's sew day and we made this adorable (and very functional) Abbey Bag.

The bag was made from the scraps I used to make two tote bags during the past year.  This is meant to sit next to your sewing machine.  The flower is a pin cushion and then there's a bag to catch thread, scraps etc. with a sweet pocket tucked inside.

Above is the flower, below is the outside of the bag.

I'm very happy with this project.  Some of the directions were tricky but with a group effort we figured it all out.  My friends made their own coordinating covered buttons for theirs and it looked fabulous.  The pattern can be found at  It's #113.  I know it's been popular this year and many local quilt shops have taught this as a class.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Martha's Shimmering Stacked Tree

It's been a little longer between.  We traveled to Salt Lake City and Philadelphia during th epast couple of weeks. So no time for projects or posts.

A couple of weeks ago we made paper trees during our craft night.  I posted there were some modifications we needed to make to get them to work.  Well, my mom was never really happy with the end product.  So she did some searching and found Martha Stewart's Shimmering Stacked Tree directions. Then she sat down and cut out 540 stars for this tree and surprised me with it yesterday at Thanksgiving dinner.

It is absolutely exquisite!  She made one for my sister and I and is working on another one right now.  They put our other trees to shame.  Mine won't be displayed in the same room.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Book Club

Our November selection is Little Bee by Chris Cleave.    It was a #1 New York Times Bestseller.  I haven't started it yet, still have a week to read it.  The story is sad I've heard.  The book jacket doesn't give much away, just says it's about two women that have to make a terrible choice one day when their lives collide.  Then they meet again in two years and the story starts.  I'm looking forward to reading this, will tuck it in my carry on bag on my trip to Philadelphia.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

November craft night

This craft night was a little trickier than the last couple.  There was lots of trial and error and we learned a lot about proceeding with making our "forest of trees".  Sometimes the pictures and directions don't tell the whole story.  Here's my "little forest".

We used skewers, wood blocks, circles cut from old music sheets and sewing books, green paint, walnut stain, glue, felt and glitter.  It was lots of fun and everyone who has seen these think they are as cute as ever.

Here is my smallest tree.  It has white glitter on it and doesn't seem to show well in this picture.

This one is my favorite.  It's made from the pages of a sewing book.  And I LOVE the silver glitter.  I plan to make more and hope we perfected the process.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Older Quilt #3

This is a really bright, whimsical quilt.  It was started in a class using a magazine article for the pattern.  It's designed by Becky Goldsmith and Linda Jenkins from Piece O Cake Designs.  I own several of their books and truly love their designs and style.  I call this "Just Dotty".

EVERYTHING about this quilt makes me happy.  It is paper pieced (which I love) and the fabrics are all polka dots (an all time favorite of mine) and stripes.

Two of my quilting friends made this with me.  We had great fun trading dots and stripes.  I love it when I have other quilters' fabrics in my quilts.  This makes them even better.  It's funny how after so many years (this was finished in 2004) I can still remember where most of the fabrics are from.  Here's the dotty backing.

I hope you've enjoyed some of my older creations.  They are so dear to me.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Great Book!

I just finished this book and it was great! 

When I was in Monterrey this summer, we kept teasing one our friends about this book.  She was reading it on her Kindle and we heard the clicking of her turning pages all the time.  So I decided to get it from the library, which took some time, since it is a very popular selection.  It's science fiction for sure.  But definitely with a big human element.  I don't read science fiction very often.  It's long but easy reading because you can't wait to turn that page.  My husband read the book jacket and thought the plot line would make a great movie.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Craft Night at my Sister's

My mom, sister and I started a monthly craft night in September.  It all started because I love to make cards -- I've shown many of them on this blog.  I bought Mother's Day cards this year and was shocked at the cost -- $4-5 for simple cards.  So I started telling them we needed to get together one night and make a card stash.  Well, you all know how easy it is to let life get in the way!  So then I started nagging them about scheduling a night.  We had so much fun in September, it's now on our calendar each month.  Last night it was at my sister's.  She came up with a fabulous project for us.  She found the inspiration in the April/May/June issue of Somerset Life magazine.  Here is my finished project.

She bought old pictures at Goodwill Thrift Store for the frames.  The flowers are made from muslin -- this was the most labor intensive of the evening.  Not difficult, just took some time.  She found the chicken wire in the garden section of Lowe's.  The red polka dot bird is from Michael's.  The tags, crystals, and tags are from her stash around the house.

Here's a closer look of one of the corners.

Here's another look at it.  I love it.  We made these in about four hours.  We are choosing projects we can finish in an evening.  This in going in my sewing room!  We have next month's project chosen -- it will beginning to look like Christmas!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Fun

I've been busy making some fun Halloween coasters to give or send to friends and family with their Halloween cards.  This coaster was the inspiration -- sent to me years ago in a Valentine card exchange.  I use it for my water or soda in my sewing room.  You can see it is worn and faded.

I made 40 of these the other night while watching one of my favorite movies.

So, you can see these go really fast after the prep work (cutting and pressing) are done.

I learned to do them on a tutorial at  If that link isn't just right, I found it by "googling" coasters.

I just mixed and matched fun Halloween fabrics.  Here are the stacks.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Another Older Quilt

This is the second of my beloved, older quilts, made in 2003.  It's called "Aunt Betty's Attic".  I made it in a class that used a magazine article for the pattern and I don't have it anymore.

This quilt was made with some fabrics used to redecorate our bedroom all those years ago.  Some of the fabrics were decorator fabrics with some Aunt Grace prints added. 

This is one of the decorator fabrics I used for the backing.  Isn't it sweet?

This is a close up of one of the blocks.  This was another of the decorator fabrics.

This is a close up of the scrappy border (with a ruler sticking out from under).

The really special thing about making this quilt was the people in the class.  I discovered two of my dear friends there.  One I knew before but we didn't know we were quilters.  She was there with one of her best friends.  We now sew monthly and take quilting travel adventures.  That was a great class for me!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

New "Listen"

This is my latest book on CD:

It sounds like a fun, easy listen.  There's a little mystery and romance thrown in, a great combination for me.  Easy to listen to and sew.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

An Older Quilt

I decided to focus on a few of my older (but much loved) quilts.  They are now folded up and put on a shelf in our bedroom as my decor has changed.  But they are a few of my favorites.  The first of them is shown here.

This quilt is called "Pumpkin Seed".  I used the Quiltsmart printed interfacing to make each "seed".  Then the seeds were machine appliqued using a blind hem stitch and clear monofilament thread.  The fabrics are all the Aunt Grace prints and solids.  I just love those fabrics and have made too many quilts using them.  We used this quilt on our bed for a couple of years.  It was finished in 2003. 

Here's a close up of some seeds.  The blue floral is one of my favorite fabrics of all time.  I used this to make my daughter an adorable dress when she was four!  I've bought many more yards of it over the years.

In fact, here it is as a border in another of my quilts.

This is part of the scrappy backing.  Another of my favorite Aunt Grace prints.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

October Book Club

This is our October selection:

It's a good story so far, kind of a cross between When Harry met Sally and Same Time, Next Year.  It's about a young couple that are great friends and seem like star crossed almost lovers at times -- don't know what happens yet as I'm about half way done.  I still have a week to finish and should get it done in time for our meeting. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

October Finished UFO

My pace is picking up to get these 19 UFO projects finished.  This quilt pattern was called Tic Tac Toe and I think it's cute.  I used scraps for the background and blocks, bought the sashing and border fabrics.  It's been hanging out for about a year waiting to be quilted.  I finished the binding last night, had to wash it to get the marking lines out.  It's a little puffy and it seems something went wrong.  This will definitely be a charity quilt.  It makes me happy to think it will keep someone warm at night -- someone that doesn't have a nice warm blanket.

This really was an easy quilt to sew together.  Might have to make another one -- I certainly have enough scraps!  Here's a better picture of a block:

Happy sewing to you.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Wedding Wishes

Some  friends just got married and requested no gifts at their reception.  Theirs was a "destination wedding" and they are having a cocktail reception with no gifts specified.  Well, we have to give them something so I found a scrappy quilt in my stash for them.  They are big campers so it will go in their RV just fine.  Here's a picture of the quilt:

It's a French Braid quilt -- I LOVE this pattern.  It's made with 2 1/2" strips with alternating light and dark rows and is totally random.  I sort my strips into light and dark piles and just grab the next one as I sew.  I've made several of these quilts over the years and will continue to make them.  They are the best scrap quilt I've ever done and I make lots of scrap quilts. 

I added another treat to their package:

This is a fun embroidery project, quick and easy as the look is primitive.  The pattern is by the same designer (Two Blonde Mice) as my baby prince and princess finishes and the Christmas family piece.  It fits in a document sized frame which limits your choices.  I try to buy gold or silver when I can find them. 

This is all wrapped up in a pretty package and my husband will give it to the new wife tomorrow.  We want to honor their no gifts request at the reception but just had to honor them and their new life.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Book Club -- September

Our book club selections are eclectic by design.  We're trying to find books the group hasn't read yet.  Sometimes this is hard because that's the best way to make a recommendation -- by reading it.  This was our September selection.

This is another great book.  My copy is paperback so it wasn't too expensive.  And your local library is always a good place to find a great book. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

September UFO

My quilt guild has a 12-4-12 program for finishing up those UFO's we all have stashed around the house.  This is my second year of participating.  You sign up, send a picture and description of your finished UFO during 12 of 12 months.  If you keep up, you get a $25 gift certificate to the quilt shop of your choice.  It has been a fabulous motivator for me.  Some months I'm just barely making it but I've kept on top of it and won my gift certificate.  It's a great treat and helps by another backing or binding fabric.

This month's finish was a French Roses quilt.  It's made entirely from scraps leftover from a kit for the Charming Log Cabin quilt.  I also made a French Rose Buds quilt from the same scraps. 

My plan was to donate the quilt to charity.  But my daughter saw it and fell in love with it.  So it will be added to her stash.  I'm building a stash of scrap quilts for both of my girls.

Here's a close up of one of the lovely roses.

I did the machine quilting myself.  I have to practice, practice, practice.  It is a challenge for me but I know I will only improve.

These patterns are both fabulous.  Heather French is the designer.  They've been very popular at quilt shops everywhere the past few years.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Some more paper

The tower of paper I showed you was new paper, never been cut.  This is where I keep all those scraps, that could easily take over the entire room.

The scrap paper is on the left of the second shelf.  Some of my many boxes of photos are above and lots of scrapbooking supplies are on the bottom shelf and right second shelf.  This isn't all of it, either.  It is getting better organized so I can use these wonderful things more often.  I'm so much more efficient when I'm organized.  I've been going through about 18 years of collected supplies.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Scrapbook Organizing

I am fortunate enough to have a room for my crafts.  Sewing and quilting monopolizes my time and space in there.  But I am re-energized to scrap some more.  I have a few new toys to make it more fun that I'll be showing soon.  The paper was all a mess and I was actually horrified to see how much I had when it was all sorted out.  The better part of my time over Labor Day weekend was spent on this project (along with some great time in the pool).  Here is the bulk of the paper now:

I think there should be enough paper there to make hundreds of cards and scrapbook pages.  It seemed like it was mass producing before my eyes.  It was stashed in so many places.

The cubes and drawer were bought at Michael's, on sale of course.  It looks great in my room and the white is the right color for it. 

Soon there should be lots of pretty new things to show you made from all my paper!