Friday, October 11, 2013

What's Been Happening?

  It has been a couple of months since my last post as you can see - so what have I been up to you ask?  Well for starters a wedding shower, rehearsal dinner and wedding. which went beautifully.  The bride was beautiful and the groom looked very handsome - they both were smiling the whole day.   
  Now we have a daughter-in-law the newest family member AND a son-in-law both of which we love very much and are welcomed additions to our family.  So now both of our kids are happily married.

Above is a couple of pics from the rehearsal dinner.  This is the table setting at which the actual practice ceremony took place. The colors for the wedding were purple and grey - so I kept that theme for the dinner as well. I will have a tutorial for the table runner in a post later this month, so check back to see that.

Then the surprise birthday party - which was quite a feat trying to keep it a surprise! We succeeded in that endeavor as well - DH had no idea that this was all going on behind his back LOL.  With only 3 weeks to set everything up after the wedding we all were very busy indeed. He enjoyed himself very much and was totally surprised.  The trick is to just go about the normal everyday activities that one does AND get help from the kids to do some of the set up and preparation.  They did a great job setting up and everything looked fantastic.

Now it is time to think about the holidays which are fast approaching.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Update - Spray Starch

  In April of this year I posted about home made spray starch.  I am pleased to report that it works quite well.  There isn't any sticking or flaking, but I must admit that I usually am ironing with steam.  I find that I get a better result with steam, and ironing lines in just always come out just the way I want them.  By lines I mean what people used to do down the front of their slacks (I don't iron seams / lines down the front of my pants- they never even see an iron!)  

  The one drawback is that with all this HOT weather the nation seems to be having the starch may begin to smell a bit unpleasant and you do not want to iron in bad odors to something beautiful that you are making - so smell the starch first.  And yes I did add some borax to the solution to preserve it.  So now the starch is kept in the refrigerator with a nice label on it "STARCH".  It also washes out quite nicely without damage to your machine.  

  So give it a try - I'll bet that you have some corn starch in the kitchen cupboard - add some cold water to dissolve the corn starch - bring to a boil while stirring constantly to avoid lumps - allow to cool before funneling into a spray bottle.  You can use it  immediately, store any unused portion in the fridge and make sure that you label it.

  *Note you don't need much corn starch in the water - opt for less rather than more. A half teaspoon to a pint of water is a good start.  If you find that you require a heavier starching add only a quarter teaspoon more mixed with a tiny bit of water to the main solution.  Add the borax to a small bit of water - then mix into the boiled starch.

I hope that this was helpful, it certainly is economic. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Birthday America!

I love this country!  We have freedoms many other places in the world do not.  We can worship freely without persecution.  We can dress the way we want.  We can keep company with our friends with out fear of violence put upon us.  We can hold office, we can vote.  We can express our thoughts.  We can do anything we long as we are not hurting or harming others we have these freedoms. Enjoy all that you have and all that you will be.

It is because of the many patriotic Americans have fought and died to obtain and hold these freedoms - from the time our country was in it's infancy to this day.  It is because of this collective sacrifice that WE THE PEOPLE are able to freely celebrate another birthday in and of America. Thank you to all those who have given and to all those who have given ALL.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Nice Drive in the Country

With the economy being what it is a nice drive in the country would be lovely.  You could make a day of it, pack a nice picnic lunch and bring some cold homemade lemonade to quench your thirst. Hop in the car and off you go to the Norman Rockwell Museum.  It's a nice drive if you live in Massachusetts or one of the nearby states.  There are lots of antique shops along the way to stop at that you can meander around in and stretch your legs a bit while your at it.  The museum is located in Stockbridge, Massachusetts among rolling well manicured lawns, with surrounding beautiful views.  The studio is on the grounds as well and you can go through it and see where the artist sat and created many of his works of art.  The museum showcases an array of front page Saturday Evening Post artwork done by Norman Rockwell.  Pictured here is the studio and grounds, but to truly appreciate it a visit is a must.  The nearby town of Stockbridge is lovely as well and worth a visit if only to walk about.  It's just the cost of gas (which, yes could be considerable depending on what you are driving and how far) and a days worth of time well spent, and a picnic lunch.  Hope you will take the trip and have a great time.
The Studio

Not sure if memory serves me correctly - but I think this is the house.

The Museum

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Yellow Pop!

How about a little yellow pop?  Aren't these yellow azaleas pretty?  They add just the right pop with their vibrant sunshine yellow.  Consider adding a little pop to one of your quilts, you won't need much as a little goes a long way.  Try it, you'll like it.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Christmas in May Quilt

  A few years back my mother-in-law decided to learn how to quilt and began to make quilts for some of her grandchildren and children.  She had always had some health issues but you wouldn't know it by her actions as they did not seem to slow her down.  She kept a clean house, cooked, went out to visit family and friends or on short jaunts to one store or another.  The family day was Sundays and throughout the day you could find one or more of her kids or grandchildren at the house.  Sometimes there would even be a quilt that she was working on laid out over the kitchen table.
  Her goal was to make a quilt for each one of her children before she opened the door to the quilting room in heaven.  She was mom to eight kids.  She pieced her quilts on the machine after painstakingly measuring and cutting each individual piece by hand.  Once the top was sewn together she would make the sandwich layers, baste them together and get started with the quilting.  Hand quilting I might add.
  When she was all done making the eight quilts she presented them at Christmas that year.  Everyone marveled at the accomplishment.  In true mom style, she put a number on each quilt and a corresponding number on a piece of paper in a paper bag and all eight kids drew a number from the bag.  Here is the quilt that corresponded with the number for our family of four.


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Au revoir Avril

 A couple of accomplishments this week and a nice way to end the month of April.  First the flannel lap quilt is completed and I am quite pleased with it.  I wanted a no fuss quick quilt to do up and have achieved just that.  To go along with it I have created a tutorial to share with my followers and viewers.  It is a simple quilt and easy for beginners.  Even the binding is super easy.  Anyone can do this.  See the pictures following.  I used a charm pack by Bonnie and Camille called Marmalade for Moda.  Nice and soft flannel, it would be great for a baby shower gift.  You can see it pictured in my post from Jan 6, 2013 in the box on the left hand side.  It is quite nice fabric.  The backing is a Riley Blake fabric by Carina Gardner, Dainty Blossoms pattern F2760. 

Material supply list:  1 - 5" charm pack with 42 pieces
                                  42 strips cut into 5" x 2" (strip A)
                                  42 strips cut into 6 1/2" x 2" (strip B)
                                  1 strip cut into 45 1/2" x 2" (strip C)
                                  1 strip cut into 51 1/2" x 2"  (strip D) 
                                  2 yards batting of your choice
                                  2 yards backing fabric
  Note that strips A thru D are all the same fabric, you will need about 1 1/2 yards of this fabric.
  I hope the pictures posted will help.
Charm squares with strip A along the top edge. (diagram 1)

  1.   Lay out your charm squares in a manner that appeals to you, on the top edge match strip A to each square (diagram 1 above). With right sides together stitch edges using a 1/4" seam allowance.  Press all seams toward the outside edge - be careful not to stretch your squares out of shape as you press (diagram 2(. Note do not cut your stitching between each set and this will keep them in the order you have selected - in other words chain piece.
    diagram 2
  2. Next place strip B to the right side of the strip/square set.  If you prefer the left side that is okay - but keep all of the B strips on that side (diagram 3).  Stitch 1/4" seam allowance using the chain piecing method.  Press all the seams toward the outside.
    diagram 3
  3. Now you should have 6 or 7 rows of  blocks.  You can number each row 1 thru 6 or 1 thru 7 to help keep them in order.  Take row 1 and 2 right  with sides facing and stitch together.  By now you know that all the seams are 1/4" wide.  Continue in this manner until all the rows are sewn together.
  4. Next take strip C and sew it along the shorter edge of the row that does NOT have a border.  I like to pin mine at the center and at each end as well as along the rest of the edge so that the seams are kept down in the direction they are pressed.  Also that allows me to make adjustments if needed.  Do the same with strip D.
  5. Your top is now completed.  Lay out your backing fabric right side down, place the batting on top of that.  Your pieced top will sit on top of the batting.  Baste your quilt sandwich together.  Then go have a sandwich yourself, take a break and stretch!
  6. If you have a walking foot on your sewing machine this would be a good time to use it.  Stitch in the ditch up and down each row.  Always start your stitching first in one direction then from the opposite direction - this will help keep your quilt from shifting.  
  7. Bind your quilt!
            Next, back to the homemade spray starch - big tip start with ONLY 1 teaspoon of corn starch!  I used three and have enough starch to last until 2020! (Well maybe not that long, but you get the idea.)  I did notice that once it was cooled down it became a bit lumpy, maybe this is because I used so much corn starch - it did need to be watered down quite a bit.  I separated some into a spray bottle (strained) and the rest I drained into a plastic bottle for later use.  I will be trying it out today - wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Something New

  Today I am trying something new - home made spray starch.  "Why?" you ask.  Mostly because I am too lazy to go out to buy some and partly because I don't want to spend the money.  So yes, lazy and cheap.  I have found that I am not the only one making my own spray starch though, as there are recipes that are around to make it.  I'll let you know how I make out in a little while....

and actually,  next week is sewing week for me I can't wait and am preparing this week so that all the projects are set up and ready to go under the needle!  Having this starch is just part of the preparation process.

I made maybe too much of it (I think) as I put 3 teaspoons in cold water to dissolve and then heated it, adding more water to make it thinner as  needed - during the week I will be using it on fabric 

Friday, April 19, 2013


The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I Wonder Wednesday

  Today my thoughts are on thread and whether or not I should use a variegated thread on the back side of the quilt shown in the previous post.  The top will have a solid color thread but the back is a solid color so to add interest maybe the color should be from the multicolor thread design that the quilting will make.  Any thought on this from readers?  Has anyone done this?  What were your results and were you pleased with them? 

This is just my wooden spool collection some of which were my mother in laws, thanks Ida.  One time in the not too distant past all thread came on wooden spools, now I don't think that there are any that do.  Do you have a wooden spool collection?   


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Saturday Stitches

  This is today's progress, not really a lot but I am "sketching" out my stitch layout for this next small quilt that I am working on.  Not sure if you can make it out very well.  Here is what you are looking at a large piece of clear vinyl overlay with the pattern drawn on with erasable marker over the quilt top.  This gives me an idea of how the stitching can be done on the machine.  It helps a great deal, when the quilt is rolled up on the bars, I don't always remember exactly what I wanted to stitch in a particular area.  This way it's all there for me as a reference once the final decision is made as to pattern.
  You can buy the vinyl in most fabric stores or hardware stores.  There are different thicknesses as well, choose what works best for you.  Any erasable marker will work, just make sure that when you are finished with the design that it is well wiped off so that the next quilt isn't soiled.  
  Take a look.
The black lines are drawn onto the clear vinyl.  This gives you the idea of  what the stitch pattern may be, of course at this point you have the option of change and experimentation without ripping out stitches.

Here are some of the experimental ideas that I am playing with.  These are from my sketch journal.  Click on the pictures to have a closer look.


Monday, April 1, 2013


   In Italy the day after Easter Sunday is celebrated as Pasquetta or Little Easter. So in honor of this official Italian holiday Buona Pasqua!  Enjoy.
Warm and delicious home made by Erran, Pecan Cinnamon Rolls, nice and sticky and then...

Little Peeps Chic and Bunny with eggs basket...

and their friend the Easter Chicbunny. Created by the very talented Miss Sarah.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Brown eggs, hand painted by me.

and now another one

and then another one.  Click to see a close up.
1, 2, 3 look what the Easter Bunny left me 
and in a nest of fabric scraps!  
Thanks Easter Bunny.
Seriously though, Easter is a time of re-birth, the day Jesus is resurrected from the dead as promised by God the Father.
Happy Easter Everyone!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Better Pictures ... maybe

quilt front
Quilt front

showing a section of the back
close up of half square triangle strip
mitered corner binding

   These pictures show a more accurate representation of the colors of the fabrics used in this serendipitous lap quilt. (See previous post and you will see what I mean.) I love the "bird footprints" on the blue and the little dots of color on the other blue fabric.  I just kind of threw them together with out thinking and they worked.  The red pieces are there because I need extra length and the half square triangles were to match the front of the quilt that this piece was originally made for.  That particular quilt is just waiting to have a binding sewn on.  Then I will show it on this blog.  The quilting was done on the idea of the lines that form the square pattern of the binding and matching fabric in the body of the quilt.  Hope you like it.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Unexpected Quilt


  The original quilt that I was working on has a half square triangle center bordered by a white back ground and an inch wide secondary border with yet a third wider border in white.  Right now I am in the middle of quilting it... and unfortunately rippng out  stitches, first in the beginning at each corner (mostly just because I did not like the design of the quilting) and then in the center where all of the half square triangles are, again the stitching design isn't what I am looking for.  So I am going a little bug eyed looking at all those stitches!  When that one is finally finished I will post a couple of pic's of it - if I can still see when it is done, lol.

 I know with all the blogs out there and the busy lives we all are living these days our time is valuable I just wan to say thanks to all of you who stop by and visit my blog,

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Neighborhood Pictures - WS Nemo

Evening blue

Ginkgo tree

Our cars are under there!

Budlong pool

Up the snowy hill

I loved how this snow covered tree looked

When I awoke and looked out the window I couldn't see a thing ... this is why - all of our windows were blanketed with a layer of wind blown snow.  It almost looks as if the house was sprayed with water that froze.

My rhododendron outside my front window.  I had to look down to take this picture.  In the spring when it blooms it is halfway up the window, now it is nearly laying on the ground with all the weight of the snow on it.

...and today is bright and sunny, clear blue skies and freezing cold.  Good day for a walk!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Smaller UFO Pile

  Smaller UFO pile?  Is that possible?  Isn't a pile sort of a large thing usually? 
 Anyhow, with the completion of two more quilts my UFO pile has been made a tad smaller. Finally finished is a quilt that I started more than twenty years ago...yes I said twenty.  (My face is red from embarrassment.) It was an anniversary quilt that was under construction for my tenth anniversary - another twenty four years have passed and we will be celebrating 34 years married.  But alas it is completed, maybe a party is in order, lol.  No pictures yet, sorry, as the last stitches were guided through the binding just moments ago.  The fabrics have a batik feel to them, you may recognize some of them in fact.  I'm not sure who the manufacturer of them is.  The colors are pretty blues, teals and greens.  I kept the pieces large and sewed them together using a closely stitched edging stitch of turquoise blue.  The biding is a green monotone stripe with a much smaller gold stripe in it.  Right now it is in the dryer getting a fluff after being washed in the machine.  I like to wash my quilts to make sure that they can withstand being used, after all that is the point.  Why have things if you aren't going to used them or show them off some way?  Washing and drying gives a nice soft texture and feel.  If the snow falls nicely I will try to take some pictures of the two quilts with the snow as a back ground on Saturday.
  The other quilt is the one pictured in the previous post only the biding was not turned on it in that picture.  The binding on that one is a purple and white stripe and goes along quite nicely with the pink, red, and darker pink gingham check fabric.  Now it is and it is tumbling around with the anniversary quilt.  So I hope to have a better picture of it also on Saturday
 In the meantime enjoy this picture from our visit to Nashville last August.  This is a view of the man-made waterfall at the Gaylord Hotel and Resort.  Can't you just picture this as a small quiltwork?
Now onto the next item in the UFO pile. . . wish me luck!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sewing Seminar - One Day Extension!

  A one day extension is gift to myself!  I have been sewing up a storm.  There were a couple of unexpected delays over the weekend, but they were overcome and I was able to head right to the sewing machine.  I did accomplish my goal of finishing two quilts, now they need to be bound.  That will be the goal of the weekdays and both bindings should be sewn on after work each day.  It's a very gloomy day outside so here is my attempt at taking some photos of my progress posted below.  This was the best one.  The back of this quilt is a cute little pig print pieced with a strip of yellow suns print.  The binding is a striped purple and white.  The front is a purchased pieced cotton fabric.  

 The selvage sections have taken a turn to another direction and I like this advance much better than the original plan.  I am excited to complete this and can't wait to show you all. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Sewing Seminar!

  So this weekend, starting tomorrow morning, is my own sewing seminar!  I will be taking out a couple of quilt tops that are in my UFO pile to finally complete.  They are feeling a bit neglected and this will make each of them feel a bit better.  I am going to attempt to complete two - that is a reasonable goal.
  Also I need to get the camera out and take some pictures to post to fulfill my promise of showing the  finished selvage project from a couple of weeks ago. 
  All I have thought about this week is getting to my machine, anticipating the weekend to have free time to sew.  The projects are all in my head and now they need to escape as it is getting crowed in there!
   In the meantime here is pic of a piece of silk that I dyed a couple of years ago.  Using the fold and clamp method this is the result.  I like how it looks like windows in a building.  Hope you like it.  Have a great day!
The Silk City  Building


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