Monday, December 28, 2020


 The past couple of weeks between Christmas baking and a creative slump in the sewing room left me with little time time spent on doing anything that really was accomplished.  I pulled several projects out, vetoed them and kicked stacks of fabric aside into messy piles in corners.  Finally I took some time to find something interesting to make and happened on to C & T Publishing that offers all sorts of free patterns.  And I found something that finally caught my interest.  

I have tons of scraps in several wire bins and I love appliqué.  This pattern checked all the boxes for a perfect project to make.  No need to shop either, so I felt it was a great solution to getting me back into the sewing/quilting mood.

For me there is great satisfaction in pulling out piles and piles of scraps and blending something together.  This background really ended up being a wonderful several hours of fun.  Cutting, choosing, and getting them all together was just a great adventure.  

Before I knew it I had the center done along with the first border and had laid out the second pieced border.  Now I am off to the appliqué preparations. 

Recently I discovered that when doing a lot of fabric cutting my thumb would ache and throb.  The Fiskars rotary cutter has been my tool of chose for many years.  I have been watching Alex Anderson on her weekly Utube programs and she mentioned the Quilters Select rotary cutter.  It is a good deal heavier than a normal cutter so not as much pressure required to cut through several layers of fabric. I figured I would give it a try.  It has been a real cure for my thumb issue.  I spent several hours over the last day or so cutting fabric and normally would have been headed to the Tylenol bottle for relief.  It really has worked for me.  It has greatly reduced the amount of pressure I have to apply when cutting through four layers of fabric.  A real plus for me.  

Over the week before Christmas I did a good deal of baking with my granddaughter.  These are two samples of baking goodies she gifted us with along with helping me make two large trays of Baklava.  The girl is gifted.  No she is not a professional baker, she teaches Advance Placement English at a local high school.  Just a hobby for her.  

For those of you that have asked about Snowball's recovery after her encounter with a coyote.  Yes, she has been returned to her rooster and sister hens' family.  My daughter spent a good three weeks with her in a cardboard box in the house treating her wounds.  Obviously, as you can see she was not a very appreciative patient.  Never the less she has recovered fully!


Monday, December 21, 2020


This week has been filled with construction of a fence in our yard and having our wood deck torn out and to be replaced.  Not the best time of year to be doing something like this.  But when the contractor says he is ready to do the job, there you are.  So not much sewing done this week, busy making decisions on what materials to use, and do some holiday baking instead.  

A month or so ago I purchased a couple more of the Garden Patch Cat patterns to do some wall/table toppers for one of my daughter's cat rescue group.  They were half price so I decided to buy these two and one more.  The first Pumpkin Cat I did was so much fun I decided to try a couple more for her.

 Of the three this one I decided to work on first.  They are just too cute.  

I have all the appliqué done.  Now just to spray baste it to the batting and back then quilt and bind.  I did try something different for the eyes this time.  My original Pumpkin Cat had the black part of the eyes appliquéd down with black fabric and for the white accent I used beads.  This time I decided on black two hole buttons and tiny white two hole buttons.  I just set the white ones on top of the black sewed through both with white thread.  I liked the results much better and easier than appliqué on such tiny pieces.

Saturday my granddaughter and I tackled the Baklava.  It is a two person job and takes two days.  We ended up with two large trays.  Sunday morning they had set overnight in their honey/sugar/lemon baths and got their whole clove decoration.  We finished cutting them and boxed them up for family and friends.  We tackled 3 dozen decorated sugar cookies most of which I sent home with my granddaughter Suren.  I still have another chilled sugar cookie dough in the refrigerator to get baked later this week.  

My daughter's cats have a fascination for the Hanukkah candles.  Now the worry is that they don't set their tails on fire or knocks them over.   




Monday, December 14, 2020


Not sure why but the sewing room has not been all that interesting this past week.  I have wandered in there now and again but really not produced much of anything.

I did catch a tutorial done by Emily Taylor on collage that sort of caught my interest.  I have a book Scrappy Bits Applique by Shannon Brinkley that also has some collage information in it and this pattern so thought I would see if that idea sparked some creative interest for me.  

I got it this far on parchment paper and realized that the fusible was sticking to the paper pretty good, in fact too good.  So I did some more reading in Shannon's book and pulled the pieces off and stuck them on non-woven stabilizer.  I did put a teflon sheet under the stabilizer, I didn't want the fusible to pass through the stabilizer and then have it stuck to my ironing board cover.  Some times quilting is full of all sorts of interesting lessons.  

I cut out the leaf.  I think it looks pretty nice.  Not sure what I plan to do with it.  It will need to be quilted heavily to hold down all the edges.  A nice heavy weight thread to add vines to the leaf would be nice too.  

The Morewood Mystery instruction were released on the 3rd.  This block requires 60 of these 4 1/2 inch blocks and will keep me busy for a bit.  They aren't hard to make, but trimming them is tedious.  

Did some Christmas baking Saturday.  A good friend has given us a loaf of her Christmas Nut Bread every year.  This year I asked for the recipe and was graciously given it.  Mine are not as pretty as hers, there is a learning curve for these, but they taste great.  I am sure after making them once my skills will improve.  I did learn a few tricks too.  My Kitchen Aid mixer has a dough hook, and it kneads the bread for you, and our Kitchen Aid oven has a Proof setting.  Both work great!  Oh, the marvels of modern kitchen equipment!

My daughter's peacocks have been standing guard out in front of her home this last week or so.  One of her chickens was attacked by a coyote.  Fortunately Snowball was rescued by my daughter, and is being treated for her wound and recovering well.  The peacocks are the ones that alerted her that something was going on outside.  She says they do have a tendency to be watch dogs for the property and obviously are taking the job more seriously now.  





Monday, December 7, 2020


 I got busy this week and decorated for Christmas.  Always such fun to hang up my very special Christmas wall hangings.  

My VBF Brooke made this wall hanging for me in 2001.  It by far is one of my very favorites.

This one I made.  I must admit I am very negligent in putting labels on my quilts.  It must be at least 10 or more years old.  It is also one one of my very first machine appliquéd pieces.

In a bit of a rush I realized I needed a Christmas runner for a gift.  I have made this pattern before and frankly it is somewhat of a piecing jumble.  

I did manage to figure out where and what fabric to use to go where and finished the quilting yesterday with just the binding to sew on and do the handwork.  

You know that Covid has had you home bound for way too long when you decide to make yeast bread from scratch, and you have never done it before.

It is also never too late to teach an old dog a new trick.  The bread came out perfect, tasted wonderful and the process was much easier than one would believe it could be.  


Monday, November 30, 2020


After weeks of starts and stops I finally fished off this past week with three completed projects.  My quilter finished the quilting on two of them and I finished up the last one myself.  

Pumpkin Cat is finished and picked up by my daughter to submit for a future fundraiser.  I had such a great time doing this one I ran out to the quilt stop and bought three more patterns in this line, their Black Friday sale at 50% off help. 

The baby/child quilt is finished.  I decided to stitch the binding down by machine rather than by hand.  I have mastered a really good technique for doing this and for quilts that get washed and dried lots it seems a sturdier way of handling that job.

I really liked the quilting Hollie my quilter did on it.  She does a wonderful job.  I never choose thread or patterns with her.  I just let her go at it and she never fails to do a great job of it.

And the basket quilt is finished as well.  I matched the binding with the basket handles.  

My daughter's chicken Snowball is in sickbay.  Poor little thing was out free roaming on their property and was snatched up by a coyote.  My daughter heard her peacocks making a terrible commotion so she ran out and after the coyote and it dropped her and took off.  She did get a few good punctures.  My daughter works in the medical field so she cleaned up the wounds, disinfected them and treated them with some antibiotic paste they use at the hospital.  Hopefully she will recover from the ordeal and possible infection.  No more free roaming on the property for the chickens.  I guess the coyotes have decided chicken tastes better than ground squirrel. 


Monday, November 23, 2020


 One of my daughters is involved in feral cat trapping, neutering, and returning them to their feral colonies.  Several vets in the area do the neutering for free or very low cost, but sometimes cats are not feral.  Usually they are kittens people dump, and often they are sick.  These babies the group fosters, seek vet treatment and neutering, and eventually are adopted out to good homes.  This takes funds to pay for these services.  Adoption fees do help, but the group often does fundraisers.  As a quilter, my daughter often asks me to do some sort of a pieces to auction off.  She says the runners and wall hangings I have made over the last several years have brought good funds for the group.  I am alway looking out for a good pattern.

On a recent trip to a local quilt store I saw this pattern.  Note this copy of the front page with my border notes.

I dug through my scrap bins and was able to pull out some fall fabrics that I thought worked well.  As you can see I had a plan for keeping myself straight.  
Things were going pretty well with the project, well minus the face.  I did end up at JoAnn's for the brown background and the two prints for the body and paws from Hobby Lobby.
I have finished off the appliqué pieces for the face.  The appliqués are held down with a small blanket stitch.  On to quilting it, which includes whiskers.  The little white highlights in the eyes were pearl beads.  Hope to have it done by next week's post.
The herons are back at my daughter's country home.  She spied them on a large tree in their back yard this week.  Earlier this year a breeding pair dropped by and enjoyed a romantic dinner at her fish pond.  They dined on every single one of the 50 or more feeder gold fish that had grown over about two years into 3 and 4 inches long.  Grandson Ben, age 12, along with older brother Noah had dug and constructed the pond and Ben became the keeper of the pond and he was not very happy about the situation.  His immediate reaction was to find his BB gun and take care of the matter for good.  Of course, mother was not going to allow that.  I imagine they have restocked the pond, but I am sure it has a net over it now.  I guess the herons will have to find a new dining establishment. 



Monday, November 16, 2020


 I have been really lazy this week and somewhat in a creative slump.  I did finally just for a lark decided to participate in Alex Anderson's Face project.  She is available on Utube with a number of free projects and classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays.  I think I need to do some more work on this, but it was fun to do something really different.

The eyes still need a bit of work, and it was fun to use the broderie perse flowers I had cut out a while ago with no real purpose for them.
A slump requires a trip to the quilt store.  I saw this fabric and thought of a my daughter with all the chickens and a table runner seemed like a nice idea.  I decided to cut 2 1/2 inch strips to use the outside print for binding on the runner.  I have enough to also make placemats, but I think I need another trip back for border fabrics to go around each of the rooster prints.  
I have the runner cut out and think this week to get going on it.
Last week I showed a partial picture of my Sew Steady Grid Glider and had a couple of comments asking to see it on the machine.  I have an acrylic table on my Bernina 480 and it just sticks right on that table firmly.  It can be removed and leaves no residue.  You can also trim it to fit.  To change the needle plate I just slide the acrylic table off a ways and back on.  You line up the center line in front of the middle area of the needle position and you have quarter dashed lines 1/4 inch on each side.  That really helps when sewing seams that do not drift off at the ends.


Monday, November 9, 2020


 In the last couple of weeks I have been working on a small wall hanging project of approximately 36 by 36 inches.  Now we all know that when doing various sized blocks that one should follow the rule of making them in divisions of 2", 3" or 5".  this makes them easy to fit together.  Well, that did not happen with my project. 

This is the pattern I selected and if I had stuck to it there would not have been an issue.  But I didn't want it that big and I just thought it would be more fun to experiment a bit.  Following the pattern would have been way to easy!

Here is my top finished.  None of these baskets followed that rule.  The first one or two fairly closely followed the pattern, but after that I just went right off the deep end and made baskets, any size and measurement was just fine.  However, eventually one has to fill in the empty spots.  That's when things got dicey.  The sides of the baskets are cut at 60 degrees, which increases the math issues.  Do I love it, YES and it was a bit of a nightmare once or twice.    

The first Thursday of each month is the next installment of the Morewood Mystery Quilt.  So I have a nice start of this months instructions.  So finishing the 30 each of the two blocks should keep me out of trouble for a few days.
I recently purchased this Grid Glider for my Bernina 480.  It has an acrylic extension table and it sticks right on to it.  It is not a permanent stick and can be pulled off it one wanted to without damage to the table.  I really like it and found that it sure has helped when sewing seams and you drift off the quarter inch at the end of a seam.  The grid lines are lined up perfectly with the needle center on the machine and the quarter inch lines too.  

This is Colonel Sanders and his one and only lady hen.  My daughter thought that he seemed lonely as her other rooster Orby had a whole flock of ladies so she decided to do some matchmaking for him and purchase him a couple new friends at the feed store.  
And here they are.  They are getting along just fine and have moved right in with him and the other hen.

Monday, November 2, 2020


 I finished the Mastiff table runner.  Yes, it was a bit of a challenge.  The eyes in particular.  I do appliqués all the time, but for some reason these were a bit of an issue.  Thank goodness I increased the appliqué pattern to 165%. I cannot imagine doing eyes smaller as it was.  

This is  Lisa my oldest daughter's adorable pup that put in motion this runner.

I moved on to some very simple placemats for our dinner table.  I have two done and two more to go, but these two are already on the table.  It had been a very long time since I made placemats for myself.  Super simple and fast.

My youngest daughter has a peeking Tom.  The peacocks keep wondering around the house and peeking in the windows.  I think they are looking for treats.

Monday, October 26, 2020


This has not been much of a productive week.  Husband and I got out in the garden and spent time getting the winter garden started.  We have mild winter months, rarely weather with temps in the 30's.  The soil needed some enrichment with compost and fertilizers.  So lettuce is a great crop for us, plus we got in some snap and snow peas and  even some Brussel sprouts.  All that activity cut into my sewing time.

I try to keep a couple completed baby quilts at all times stashed away for emergency gifts.  Every once and a while one of my daughters have a request for one.  I recently sent one off so needed to replace it for future gifting.  I had this cute fabric in the closet and it was quick to put together.  Now just to get it off to the quilter and then a binding on it.

I got the eyes on the Mastiff appliqué.  They were a challenge  stitching on those little eyes.  Now on to getting the second appliqué at the other end of the runner done.

I did get into some of my Fassett scraps over the last couple weeks.  I  had cut multiple 4 inch squares when I did my Fassett quilt and ended up with lots left over.  My guild will have, hopefully a quilt show in February or March of 2022 with a boutique.  Guild members get together and make all sorts of quilted items to sell.  So I figured to use up some of those scraps and make runners to sell.  I still have three more to finish off.  They were a nice relief from sewing Mastiff eyes. 

My 14 year old grandson Noah.  Yes, he is sitting in the engine compartment of a 1960 Cadillac that he and dad are rebuilding.  They have a large shop on their country property with several old cars in the process of being rebuilt.  This young man is particularly talented at auto rebuilding and carpentry.  He is the one that also constructs all my his mother's chicken and duck coops.  Keeps them busy and productive at home.