Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Are You Ready?

 I'm just about there.....well, sort of.  I'm never really ready until Christmas Day and it's obvious I can't do any more.  But, the tree is up, presents are wrapped, and I actually took time to enjoy this pretty scene and read this morning.  I've been trying all year to keep my New Year's resolution - no, not the one about dieting, the one about not being in such a hurry all the time.

So I finished my shopping early, made some gifts and gave a wonderful gift to myself - time to take a class.  I spent last Friday and Saturday learning how to make a primitive doll from Stephanie at Sweet Lavender.  This was such a fun time and Stephanie is a great teacher with many hints and how-to's.

This was all new to me.  I've never needed paint brushes, wire cutters and a hair dryer in addition to my sewing kit.  As a little girl I never played with dolls, I didn't "get" it, just thought they were boring. I didn't like my mother-in-law's collection of porcelain dolls either.  Too realistic - creepy.

Then, there were the primitive dolls! Ugly!!!  But then I saw Aunt Bee at Sweet Lavender, a pattern from Veenas Merchantile that Stephanie had made.  I had been wanting a primitive doll for my husband's old high-chair and when I saw Aunt Bee I knew she was "it".

 There were six of us in class and Peggy could take a few minutes here and there to check in on us.  After stuffing the bodies and painting them black, it was time for sanding, coffee staining and painting the "blouse".

While the dolls were drying we made the skirt, pantaloons and wings from pretty fabrics then dipped them in coffee to make them look old and stained.

Don't they look like the ugly step-sisters waiting for an invitation to the ball?

I added an embellished wool flower to her bodice, and she has wings pinned to her back with rusty safety pins.  What about that hair and attenae?  Her nose is a rusty nail with another rusty safety pin for her mouth.
 My husband had never seen a primitive doll and thinks she is very ugly.  He is wondering if he should be insulted that I put her in his high-chair where, as he tells it, he sat as a very cute baby.  She is staying!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Door Buster Sale

Really, who has the energy to go shopping at midnight for a door buster sale?  I'm all tucked in under quilts, sound asleep at midnight. 

While you're busy getting everyone gifts, have you made your own list?  This year get something pretty without wondering if it will fit.  The Vera's Hollyhocks bag is pretty, fun to make, and holds threads, jewelry, or whatever else you would like.  It is about 10" tall x 12" wide with a nice square bottom and a zippered top.

Just drop the hint to order this in my Etsy Shop, or go ahead, order it yourself.  From now through December 15th I will include the pattern at no charge.

While everyone else is playing with their new toys on Christmas, you can stitch on a beautiful hollyhock garden.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Little Bit Different

I love applique!  Especially wool applique with embellishment.  But, I am fascinated by the Australian style of quilts.  I have practically worn out the pages of Quilt Mania magazine featuring the Australian quilt show.  So, it's really no surprise that while browsing the Material Obsession web site I signed up for the Urban Owls Block of the Month designed by Wendy Williams.

This is month 1 and 2 and let me tell you, I can't wait to receive month 3!  I am almost breathless when I rip open the envelope and see the beautiful colors awaiting me.  I struggle with piecing.  When I see the "experts" on TV their pieces always line up perfectly.  Not so much in my sewing room.  This quilt is going to be a challenge for me as there is a lot of piecing. 

I added a bit of embellishment to the flowers, leaves and owls just for fun. I didn't follow the pattern instructions to applique with pearl cotton in a running stitch.  I used my regular method of using wool thread and a whip stitch to applique down the pieces then embellished with cotton and silk threads.   I was surprised that wool felt, rather than felted wool (my favorite) was included in the kit.  But, I'm doing this to learn a new style so I used the felt.  I must say that it's not my favorite but still gives a nice, but different,  look.

This is what the finished quilt looks like. See what I mean about the piecing?

URBAN OWLS By Wendy Williams

Friday, November 23, 2012

Seasons of Home

 Several months ago I had an idea for a wool basket.  A square basket just called for depicting each of the four seasons on a side that is 6" high and 12" wide. Lambs running across a field of flowers with a blooming tree and spring showers announce Spring.

 The bright Summer sun shines down on "Home" with a dog chasing a rabbit in the front yard and fruit ripening on the tree.

 Autumn brings the falling leaves while an owl stands guard over a harvest of pumpkins.  Watch out for the spider hanging from his web!

A dusting of snow on the branches, snowflakes falling from the night sky and of course, a snowman and pine tree herald a winter scene.

Unlike my bucket patterns, this isn't a basket to carry a heavy load.  Rather, it's purpose is to be a beautiful accessory for your home.

I loved the process of designing the basket and the challenge of putting it together with a handle that stands up in a nice curve.  I'm working on a pattern that I hope to have finished soon, but considering this busy time of year, no date is promised.

Monday, November 12, 2012

You go, girl!

 Last year I taught my Bucket class at The Gathering Place and Kathy Bowen was one of my students.  Kathy interpreted my blocks and design with wonderful fabric and stitches - adding her own creativity to make a one-of-a-kind project.  The Gathering Place is 3 hours from my home, the perfect stopover place for lunch/shopping on my way to Hailey/Sun Valley last month.  I was so excited to see that Kathy was teaching a stitching class at the store! 

Kathy used a Kim Diehl pattern to create this colorful wallhanging.  I only wish I had taken close-up photos of her embellishment on each berry, leaf and flower.  Most of the background fabrics are cotton with wool applique.  Kathy has learned to love wool applique and embellishment and is treating others to share her inspiration and skills.

I'm so happy to think that maybe I played a small part in her creative genius.

Monday, November 5, 2012

I'm 6 years old today!

Today is scheduled to be busy.  I'm helping my husband out with some errands, want to finish a few yard projects (snow predicted for this weekend), make a treat for the carving club tonight, and get everything packed for my class tomorrow.  But first - get some exercise.  My husband and I try to get out every day for a walk in the neighborhood with our dogs, Mickey the springer spaniel and Juno the border collie.  I try to keep up for about 40 minutes and then hubby and the dogs take off for some "real" exercise.

While walking alone, I was magically 6 years old again, kicking my way through a pile of leaves, amazed at the variety of shapes and colors.  Then I came upon this oak leaf with "dots".

 Isn't this just perfect for applique?  My husband said the dots are probably poisonous spores but that's because he worked in a hospital. Me, I'm just thinking applique!

Tomorrow I'm going to teach my Take A Note pattern at the Beaver Quilt Guild.  Beaver is about a 3 hour drive from my house so I'm packing the car tonight for tomorrow's early start.

 Yesterday I made kits - don't they look yummy?
Speaking of yummy, time to frost the cupcakes for tonight's group.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I want to stitch!

Yes, I want to stitch, said with a very whiney voice, like Lydia in Pride and Prejudice when she said, "I want to go to Brighton!".  I want to stitch all day, every day, but it never works out.  There is the cooking, laundry, shopping, walking the dogs, more cooking, more cooking.  Can you tell I'm tired of cooking?

Where did August go?  Not to mention September and now October.  I have several unfinished projects that were scheduled to be finished a few months ago along with new patterns.  I usually just work on one project, start to finish, but something happened this year - I fell off the wagon.  Now there are projects and blocks of the month calling my name from the sewing room.  Two were finished last week and I have great plans for this coming week.

I'm usually quite organized so it just kills me not to meet my goals.  For example, the Christmas project that is still just in the sketchbook phase.  OK, I'm going to get off the computer and get working on the most fabulous Block of the Month.  I'll have a photo soon - when the first block is finished!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Class in Hailey, Id.

 I was in Hailey, ID, near Sun Valley, last weekend the teach my Vera's Hollyhocks pattern for the 5 Bee's Quilt Guild.  This was a fun group of quilting friends and I had a good time with them.  The guild ordered kits in advance and were ready to start on the applique and embellishment.

The morning was dedicated to preparing the hollyhocks and getting them appliqued down.  After a tasty pot luck lunch we worked on learning the embellishment stitches - always the favorite part of class.

It has been many years since I visited this area and after class my friend, Berylene, and I drove to Sun Valley, about 15 miles away.  The fall colors were still showing and it was beautiful.  Many thanks to the 5 Bee's guild for a good time.

The Vera's Hollyhocks kits are now back in my Etsy Shop along with patterns and thread kits.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Where have I been?

It seems like forever since I last posted....and it has been over a month!  Don't worry, I wasn't just sitting around relaxing - my husband and I have been traveling.  We spent a few days with out-of-state friends at our mountain home before leaving to see the giant redwood trees in northern California (amazing), a few days at Shelter Cove (don't bother), then to Sacramento for a wood carving event.  Back home for just a few days before leaving for Oklahoma to visit friends and another wood carving class.  Whew! We have been home for about a week, just enough time to get the yard ready for winter and swamp out the house. 

Did I mention I'm packing up again?  I'm excited to be teaching at the 5 Bee's Quilt Guild in Hailey, Idaho this Saturday.  Here's just the beginning of the pile of what I will be taking - it's growing by the minute.

My Vera's Hollyhocks bag is the class project and kits are ready to go along with threads, patterns and hand-dyed wool.

There will be about 20 guild members in the class and it should be a lot of fun.  The Hailey/Sun Valley area is about a 6 hour drive from my house but I've planned stops at Sweet Lavender in Roy, Ut.  and The Gathering Place in Rupert, Id. for a "rest".

I'm taking my camera and hopefully will remember to take photos!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My New Valdani Collection - Garden Party

I've been working with Valdani threads to create my own collection.  When you look at the 100's of beautiful Valdani colors, you will understand that it isn't easy to choose just 12.  I wanted to have a range of colors and include my favorites.  Of course, I needed colors for stitching a honeybee into each project too.

After hours of gazing at the computer screen and all the Valdani colors, I included colors I use most often, those in recent projects, and new projects you haven't seen yet. 

The Garden Party collection is available in my Etsy Shop where it is offered at a lower price than if you purchase individual colors.  Of course, if you want just 1 color, I carry a small inventory, so just contact me and I'll try to help you out.  I only carry size 8 because that's my favorite, but your local quilt shop can order the collection in size 8 or size 12 directly from Valdani.

The Valdani threads are colorfast, hand-dyed 100% cotton.  They are wonderful to work with and add that special touch to all types of embellishment.

Unfinished Projects

I've posted before that I don't have a stash because I get all stressed out thinking I need to do something with all that fabric.  Well, I also hate unfinished projects for the same reason!  I usually just work on one thing at a time, start to finish.  When I'm close to the finish I start my next project so I don't have "empty" time.

Unfortunately, I broke my own rules the past few months.  I bought fabric I didn't need and started multiple projects.  I'm frantic because there are new ones I want to start and will not allow myself until a few are finished.

I finished this notebook cover that was started a year ago.  Now, this is a simple project but when it was time to slip the notebook inside guess what - I made the cover too big!  Unpicked, cut and sewn back together - it's ready for my friend that is visiting this week.

This little zippered pouch was an easy project.  It is just the right size for pencils, rulers, threads, whatever.  I stitched a design to mimic the printed cotton fabric with the Portuguese knotted stem stitch for the stem, chain stitch leaves, and gathered ribbon flowers.  This one was sent off as a gift too.

We have 2 road trips scheduled in the coming weeks and I have my hexies (yes, I got in on that craze too) basted and ready to sew into blocks.  I bought a wall hanging kit a few months ago and that one will be finished in about an hour.  There is also my new wool project that just needs some finishing touches.

Don't be too proud of me....... did I mention the BOMS? 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Fiber Arts Fair

My sister, Lynda, and I will have a booth at  the Great Basin Fiber Arts Fair in South Jordan, Utah, on Saturday, August 25th. We will have hand-dyed wool, patterns, threads and small finished items for sale.  Other vendors will have wool yarns, roving, spinning wheels, looms, sheep, alpacas, and more.

I'm really excited to see all the vendors and take part in the Fair. We are going to be indoors - can you cheer for shade - in the equestrian center.  Use the link above to get more details about location, hours, etc.

Lynda and I hope you stop in to see us!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Debra's Masterpiece

My good friend, Debra Hale, has been working on her tree wallhanging for about a year.  I was so excited when she told me it was finished and that she would bring it to Girl Gang for show and tell.  I asked Debra if I could share it as it is too beautiful to keep secret.

Debra used a combination of cotton and wool to piece the background block.  Four seasons are represented, beginning with spring in the lower left quadrant.  Notice the grass just beginning to grow and the blossoms on the tree branches.  Don't miss the little robin or the bees flying above the spring blooms.
Summer and fall top off the tree with another robin, an owl and beautifully embellished leaves.
The lower right quadrant represents winter with light snow laying on the bare branches above an embellished snowman. 
Debra has created a masterpiece with her design, applique and embellishment which includes stitching in a wide variety of threads and the addition of small beads.  I hope you enjoy looking at all the little details as much as I have.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Quilt Club Cookies

I can't believe how long it's been since I posted.  I've been trying out some new projects, thinking about finishing others, and keeping busy with stitching.

I spent yesterday at Sweet Lavender with a fun group that is making the Yoko Mystery Quilt.  Well, sort of.  Vicky and Melinda were working on the mystery blocks, Suzie was embroidering an alphabet quilt block, Larae had a reverse applique project, Stephanie is making thousands of tiny french knots on a miniature, Sandy was doing punch needle, Carrie embellished a wool notebook cover, I didn't see what Rhonda brought, I was stitching on hexagons and Kay just came for lunch.

Speaking of lunch...... it was my turn and I made a chicken pasta salad and the very best cookies.  Everyone asked me for the recipe so here it is.  The cookies started out with a different name but I'm calling them Quilt Club Cookies because that is where I first tasted them.  Believe me, everyone loves them.

3/4 cup soft butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cut water
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups uncooked regular oats (not quick oats)
1/2 cup each Craisins, coconut, dried fruit (I like to use dried pineapple and dried mango, diced) golden raisins, regular raisins
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup nuts - I use slivered almonds or whatever is in the cupboard

I'm going to confess that you won't find everything measured into pretty little bowls before mixing in my kitchen.  I'm usually doing about 10 different things at once so this is how I make them and they turn out great.
 Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cream butter and sugars together.  Turn the mixer to "low" and just start adding everything else until its all in the bowl and mixed together.
Spray a cookie sheet lightly, then use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop dough onto sheet, flattening slightly.   Leave plenty of room between the cookies as they spread out while cooking.  Bake 10-12 minutes, baking just until they are slightly browned on the outside edge.  Remove from oven and quickly push the edges in with the back of a spoon towards the center.  They may look a bit doughy in the center but as they cool they will firm up.  Leave on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes until firm. 

I guarantee they will go fast so hide a few in the freezer just for you.

I had a wonderful time yesterday and am so grateful these talented women have so graciously adopted me into their group.  I enjoy seeing all their projects and learning from each of them.  Maybe next time I will be organized enough to take their pictures.

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Finished Project!

My friend, Norma Whaley, of Geoff's Mom Patterns, designed this cute project.  I don't usually drop everything to start something new but this one was an exception.  I love robins and had just the right place to hang this in my front hall.

I did "tweak" a few things - the black part of the eye was punched from black wool with a 1/4" hole punch and appliqued onto white wool.  Then I carefully cut around the black to leave a narrow white border.  I find this method is much easier than trying to cut the white circle and placing the black dot right in the middle.  I stitched a little "highlight" in the eye with a white thread.

Bullion stitches in varying lengths cover the beak and a vein was stitched in each leaf using a fly stitch.  I appliqued ric-rac over the seam line, and cut the leaves and berries larger than the pattern. This was a quick project and it looks lovely just inside my front door. 

Check out all the other patterns that Joyce and Norma have designed over at Geoff's Mom.  They are very creative and have a huge assortment of pieced and appliqued quilts to tempt you.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

I'm Baaaack

We went to Chicago to help our son, Jarod, and his girlfriend, Jenna, move back to Salt Lake City.  They were able to arrange transfers with their employer and we are thrilled to have them back "home".  We took one day for sight-seeing and Navy Pier before loading up the big moving truck.

Then, the long drive through Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming!  Oh, how I wanted to make some stops in Iowa at the Amana Colonies and Winterset but was quickly told we were on a schedule.

Just as we arrived back home and packed up lots of groceries to enjoy the cool weather at our cabin, we were notified that Scofield had been evacuated due to wildfire.  This has been a stressful week but latest news is that the fire is still about 5 miles away.  We are very fortunate that over 600 firefighters are working to control the fire that is over 44,000 acres.

Today it is raining for this first time in 7 weeks and only 66 degrees here. 

I've had a lot of time to get caught up on projects and hope to have my newest ready to show you soon.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Last week Lavinia sent me an email to let me know that she made my Acorn's Promise pattern into a stained glass panel and was now going to make the quilt.  Of course, I had to see the glass and asked her to share some photos.  The photo below shows how the light comes through the glass.
She also shared another glass art project inspired by quilt blocks.  The light coming through the glass just brings them to life.

From a tree, to a quilt, to glass art - that's inspiration!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Kits for Vera's Hollyhocks

I went out of town for a few days but before leaving, I gave my sister an assignment - make up some kits for Vera's Hollyhocks.  She was a good girl and got them ready.

The Vera's Hollyhocks Kit includes hand-dyed wool for the bag and applique, ric-rac, roving balls for zipper pull, zipper, fusible fleece and a cute cotton lining.  The Vera's Hollyhocks Thread Kit has 3 full skeins (20 yds each) of hand-dyed Silken Pearl thread and 1 ball (63 meters) of hand-dyed Pearl Cotton.  I will add a sufficient amount of thread to stitch the bees. 

The bag is about 12" wide x 9" high with a 2" square bottom.  It is the perfect little clutch, sewing project bag, or even a classy way to carry lunch.

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