Friday, December 30, 2011


I absolutely cannot believe that December is almost gone and I have only posted once all month! I guess it was a pretty hectic month, but I had not realized how quickly it went by. Of course all the fun Christmas stuff does make that happen, but I also was working my little sewing and quilting tail off (if only...).

I finished this Dresden Plate Quilt and was happily surprised at how easy a King size quilt actually was to maneuver under the Juki's oversized throat. Yay - now I won't be afraid to attempt quilting the Wedding/Anniversary quilt that is in the works for my newlywed daughter and hubby. Will have to make sure to add that project to the projects for 2012 list! (Deadlines in March, so I'd better get started soon!)
The postal service was totally amazing and delivered this by priority mail in one weekend, getting it there in plenty of time for Christmas (whew).
I finished and mailed a 23 pound box of wonderful bags and journals and tags.... to my favorite lady Margie!

It is so much fun working with her - she has excellent taste in fabrics and is always so encouraging and sweet. I have met some wonderful friends through Etsy, and Margie is definitely tops in my list!

I also have hosted a Bunco Party in my home, helped but on a Christmas Luncheon for about 80 lovely ladies, did some hurry-up alterations, cleaned and decorated my home and traveled to the North Pole! (Via the Polar Express from Mount Hood Railroad) I've had fun with my family, and walked a few miles on the track with my husband - another one of those fitness goals!

We were supposed to have more family for this weekend, but unfortunately a stomach bug on their end stopped those plans, so I guess I get to do some sewing and maybe clean up my sewing room a bit. Should be a good way to end the old year and start the new one! I'll be making my list of goals for the year along the way, I have lots of quilts in the works that need to be finished and new ideas to try out. I'll put my list on a page so I can refer to it and see how I am getting along on all my various projects - I'll try to update regularly with progress reports!

Last but not least, my necktie quilt was featured on the Selvage Blog today - now I feel like a real celebrity! Thanks to Karen for sharing - I love your blog and am honored to find a place on it. Karen has an Etsy shop as well: KarenGriskaQuilts. I love her Amish inspired quilts, such lovely colors against black. This one is my favorite - wish I could touch it, I love silks!
Thanks for allowing me to share my life with all of you this year! I hope that I've been a little inspiring, and maybe entertaining along the way. I'm just blessed to be able to keep this little journal of my life and work as a quilter and seamstress, and I appreciate every one of you for following my little blog!

Blessings, Joy, and Peace to all!


Thursday, December 01, 2011

More Projects in the Works

I've been busy sewing up some special orders this week, I have a large quilt to get finished before Christmas, but I need to get these done before I can focus on that. This is a Personal Organizer. It holds a small notepad and has pockets for receipts and coupons.
This one (sorry the picture ended up sideways!) is an Organizer. It holds a larger notepad, and has a pocket for more stuff. It closes with a button and ribbon. I made it using a pair of small panels with encouraging words about Breast Cancer.
This is one of three clutch purses. I had to do a little drafting because the pattern called for a frame that was square. Sewing through all those little holes is a bit of a challenge, but I love the way it looks! If you look closely you can see the little pocket at the bottom - the little curve tab covers the snap that closes it. So cute!
This and That. This pattern wasn't a big hit with me. Sewing the binding around the bottom is a great big pain and looks sloppy on the bottom no matter what you do. Definitely not my favorite organizer. I'll be making one over the weekend that I will share with you that I absolutely love -
This is the Find It Fast organizer. Its absolutely awesome, and this one is done with laminate for the outside. I think it makes it even more awesome and you can take it out in the rain, or spill coffee on it without making a huge mess (not that you really want to, but you could...)
Happy stitching! Hope you are working on some fun projects, too!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

My First Quilt

My quilting journey has been a long one, I've had a needle and thread in my hand since I can remember. I started out sewing doll clothes, graduated to making most of my own clothing by the time I was in high school. My mom passed her love of sewing on to me, and taught me most of what I needed to know! I took home ec. in school, also, and was lucky enough to have teachers that were encouraging and pushed me to go further, and do quality work. In my teens I made myself a pieced comforter from scrap fabrics and pieces purchased from the sears catalog (there were lots of places that sold fabric in the 70's that don't anymore). It was made out of rectangles set like bricks with the seams alternating every other row. It was filled with a double layer of poly batting, then pillowcased with a sheet for the backing. No binding makes a quickie quilt! I used this on my bed through high school and took it with me when I got married. It was used as a bed quilt, as a couch quilt, and a kid quilt. Not sure what happened to it, but I would love to find it and look at all the fabrics again, it really was a sampler of my life.

My next quilt was one for a double bed and it was made out of pre-cut squares from percale sheets. My mom and I bought a couple sets and swapped colors so we had our favorites. Mine was browns and blues. I pieced the top and tied it with the usual two layers of batting and a pillowcase edge again. We used this for many years, and still have it, it's so soft and lovely to snuggle in! Not a work of art, but it kept us cozy and warm!

My first real quilt was this one:
I made this in 1986 when I was pregnant with my fourth daughter. You can't tell from this view because the background is a small floral with a white background and blue flowers! Not the best pick color wise, but we were kind of hoping for a little boy! The pattern was from Woman's Day magazine, I believer. All the pieces were cut by hand with cardboard templates. I hand stitched it all - no thimble, using a hope and a stab-stitch. Didn't know about rocking my needle yet. The hearts are hand applique and padded. For the quilting I used two strands of regular sewing thread! The edges are prairie points instead of binding. My daughter still has her quilt and loves it, and I have made so many more since that I can't count them all. I think I learn something new with every one - and definitely have improved in knowledge and technique over the years. How fun it is to look back and remember when I first started out, and how much enjoyment I have had over the years with fabric, needle and thread - I wouldn't trade it all for anything!

Friday, November 25, 2011


I'm definitely feeling thankful this week. I've got the Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt finished - hurray! I've had this quilt for about a year now, and will be quite glad to send it on to it's owner now that it's finished. I'm sure she will enjoy it!

I cooked a nice Thanksgiving dinner and enjoyed time with my family here, though I do miss the daughters that don't live nearby. Maybe next year we'll have a big get-together. I also had a great visit with my mom on the phone (nearly 2 hours!). We are so much alike! We were debating whose sewing room is the messiest. I said we ought to exchange pictures and decide, but I am pretty sure I would win! (But my freezer is the cleanest, since I did a big clean out of that this week and threw out a garbage bag full of mystery meat and other assorted freezer burned yuckiness.)

My youngest daughter and I spent the day finishing up the Harry Potter movies. I feel a little guilty for not doing any sewing, but it was fun! Spent this evening watching one of our favorite movies with my husband - The Shawshank Redemption. Love the ending. Now I'm ready for bed, tomorrow will be a good sewing day, I think!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Almost done!

I suppose I should have guessed that I was getting pretty sick by that bit of a ramble last week. Never fear, I am well again and back in the saddle (so to speak) again!

A week of not feeling so well wasn't fun, no machine sewing for me, but I did get a good bit of hand quilting accomplished and have nearly finished the GFG (Grandmothers Flower Garden). Today I machine stitched the binding to the top and wanted to share my neat trick for keeping the binding from getting tangled and messy - at least I think it's a neat trick. If you've ever received one of those giant tins of popcorn, you know that they are great to use for various things, I have one that is a trash bin I keep by my sewing machine. When I do a really long binding, though, I dump it, give it a quick wipe and use it as my binding helper. It sits under the edge of my ironing board and as I press my binding I let it fall into the tin, keeping my binding nice and clean!
It keeps it from tangling up, too. When I finish pressing I just move the tin over to the sewing machine and use the end that was pressed last to start my binding, and it comes out of the tin just as easily as it dropped in! No twists, tangles, or stray threads to deal with.

I even did a little tuck on all those inside corners to make them lie nicely - I'll try to remember to get a picture of that later. I'm ready for a nice long weekend to finish up the binding - once I get this finished, I'll be getting started on the DWR (Double Wedding Ring) that's been waiting for it's turn!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

When I can't talk....I start thinking

I think there is really not much that will make you stop and take a good look at your life like being sick. Luckily, for me, it's just a minor cold with laryngitis, but it has forced me to slow down a bit for the last few days and really see what my daily life looks like. And to think a little about the things that are important, and the things that are urgent, and how the two aren't necessarily the same thing. I think I've spent too much time on the urgent and not enough on the important lately, and if you don't take care of the important, then the urgent starts looming more and more. Does that make much sense, or is it the germs taking over?

I just know that I spend more time daily putting out small fires that if I planned better wouldn't exist. For example, every week we go through at least two packages of bagels and two containers of cream cheese. If I were to buy all of these at the same time, I wouldn't have to run to the store twice - or more because we are out of one of these items. (I know, I'm a little old to just now be figuring this out, but give me a break - raising 5 kids has left me in survival mode more than I realized!)

I read this blog post today and it really hit home. I think often that I lack the contentment that my life once held. I look around my home and feel discouraged by the clutter and unfinished projects. I keep myself occupied with what I feel like I have to do, and ignore what I want to do, then whine about it. I plan my time poorly then stay up too late to finish something that should have been done earlier, but was neglected because I was busy doing something irrelevant. We hear a lot of talk today about being "purposeful" and leading an "authentic" life. I think sometimes we set those things up as ideals, then beat ourselves up because we are falling short.

Maybe what we need to do is just breath. To look at the leaves on the trees and listen to the music of the wind. To know that who we are and what we do is enough. To appreciate what we have and to know that all of this window dressing is just temporary and enjoy it for what it is. Today is a new day, and a new opportunity to go beyond the daily grind and into a day that holds joy and promise that we can share with others.

In Joy!


Saturday, November 05, 2011

Too many deadlines...

It's been a pretty good week, but I am feeling quite stressed by all the deadlines hovering over my head right now. I have three dresses that need to be altered this week, vests for the lions club and some bags and other small things to make. Not to mention a quilt to finish hand quilting. I think it's all pretty doable, but right now I'm having trouble seeing how it's all going to work. Plus I think I'm getting a cold. Or at least laryngitis. Fun.

Out of all the sewing I did this week, this was my favorite finish! It is a Travel Bag / Carry on bag by Candy Corner Quilting on Etsy. This pattern was different in that it has a little contrast flange in the seams. Not sure exactly why this isn't actual cording which wouldn't be much different to apply, but I followed the pattern directions, and it came out really cute! I added extra pockets to the inside. This is a nice size weekend type bag, no pattern pieces to worry about blowing up, and easy to make with good results.

I found a new supplier for hardware that is only 100 miles from me, so my order for the rest of the bags came in less than 2 days from the time I ordered! Very nice! I also ordered a free (with shipping) scrap bag of webbing and was thrilled with a nice quantity of webbing in several colors that I have for future projects. I see some fun quilted bags in my future! At least after I get past all of these deadlines.

I suppose I need to learn to say no, but I really need the work right now. Seems like the bills have piled up lately. I suppose I shouldn't complain, it's good work that I enjoy. Enough rambling, I suppose I should get to the rest of tonights hand quilting. Can't wait to finish up this Grandmothers Flower Garden. Then I get to start the Double Wedding Ring!

Remember to turn back your clocks!


Monday, October 31, 2011

31 Days - 3

Not too bad for me, I managed to make it through 31 days of blogging and only missed three times. The perfectionist in me wanted to post-date for those missing days, but I wouldn't let her. No excuses, no covering up - I just didn't do it!

I have been busy stitching, though!I finished 6 Notebook sized journal covers with Paris themed fabrics. They came out super cute and fun.
A reversible luggage handle pad. I don't know whether I like the blue polka dots or the yellow floral the best. Both are fun and bright!

A folder holder with the white print. It is lined with the blue polka dot and has binding in the yellow print.
And last, but not least the Travel Duffle by StudioCherie patterns. Another hit! This is a great pattern, I did have a little difficulty understanding a couple parts, but when I just followed the directions step by step it all came together.

I think I might have to make more of these! (They would make awesome gifts for my family, I think!) I love the jute handles - the fabric on them really dresses them up and makes them nice for carrying. That side pocket has pleats so will expand to hold lots of goodies.

I've enjoyed doing this 31 days (well, lets just call it 28). I don't think I'll be blogging every day for the rest of the year, but hopefully I will be blogging more often and sharing what I'm working on. Thanks for reading, and commenting! See ya in November!

Friday, October 28, 2011


Yesterday I finished this beauty and sent it home to a very happy owner! We have been working on this top for over a year now. It is absolutely beautiful and I really enjoyed all the quilting that I put into it. All of the blue backgrounds are stippled, and most of the rest is a variation of echoing.The hearts have echoed hearts in a rayon thread - I was pretty surprised that I didn't have a lot of trouble with this thread breaking. I will definitely use it again, I like the subtle shine it has!
The doves were echoed in the different sections, and I really liked the way it brought out the shape of them.
But my very favorite was the hills and sky in the center panel. I'd love to do more landscape type work and this helped me visualize how to quilt this kind of a piece.

Today I worked on a block for my Crazy Jane quilt and blogged about it here.

I organized some projects that I'll be working on next week and made a shopping list for JoAnn's. I have a 30% discount card that I need to use tomorrow, so I want to get everything I need while I can! Now it's off to the recliner for some more hand stitching on that Flower Garden. I'll really celebrate when I get that done!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Congratulations to Sam who wins the banner of 7 Halloween flags! Sam, if you will contact me, I will send them ASAP - you might not get to hang them for this year, but they will be great for the future!

Patti, I'll bring the sewing kit to our meeting today!

Have a happy fall day, everyone, hope you get to do some fun stitching today - I am going to go embellish the stained glass quilt I've been working on, then off to have coffee with my lovely group of local Etsy gals.



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sooo tired

Ah, tonight I am so tired. I worked at the quilt shop until mid-afternoon. Then I had errands to run, and quickly because I had to go to the post office and the bank and the credit union before they all closed. Then I needed to go buy milk. When I got home, I had to change and go to the track to walk 2 miles with my husband. This is our first week of walking together and I don't want to be the spoil-sport and be too tired. After walking I had to go home, start laundry, and the dishwasher and make dinner (next Wednesday we are having something in the crock-pot for sure!).

So now I am cozy in my recliner, reading blogs and catching up on my e-mail. In a few minutes I'll put the lap-top aside and pull this lovely thing onto my lap and do some stitching. And I will be relaxed and refreshed and happy. Aaah.

Don't forget, my giveaway ends tomorrow! Only two people have commented, so you might want to throw your comment in, since you have a good chance (please, please!)

I feel like a lonely blogger that no one loves....

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Quilted Journal Covers for Notebooks

Today I've been working on an order for a set of quilted journal covers for regular size spiral notebooks.This is one of them, so pretty in pink!

Love these fun fabrics, I'll have to make sure I get a picture of the finished set, for now...
back to the sewing room!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

It's All in the Details

For me one of the most enjoyable parts of sewing is all the details - I just love the small things that make each project something special! Even when I was sewing shirts and things for my daughters to wear to school, I loved the finicky little details that made the outfits look so sweet!Finishing up this duffle today, I definitely was grooving on the wonderful details! Found the eyelets which were the awesome antique tone that goes so well with the colors of the bag, and I got to use some of my stash of twill tape that has Moda printed on it! So wonderful! The cording and the little cord stop also were floating my boat today!

Then I finished this sweet bag off with a giant black button and loop closure. So great!!!
Isn't the inside so pretty, too?
One more look - I just love it

Then I finished up this Suzi purse insert - large size. It came out so sweet, what a fun afternoon in the sewing room. I missed out on working on my Dear Jane blocks today, but I'll do those over the week (cross my heart!)

Hope you had a happy day of stitching, or whatever you love, too!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bucket Bags!

Today was a good day for stitching! I headed for the sewing room right after breakfast and got out the pattern and fabrics for this cute number (pun intended!).

This was my first time working with laminate. It was interesting. I had difficulty with my tension. My teflon foot didn't help with that, and I really didn't have any issues with my regular foot, so put that back on to finish up. I added a zipper pocket and two patch pockets to this pattern.

This one was easier with regular quilting cottons. I also added an additional zipper pocket and inside pockets to this one. Love the fun fabric in it! I also started another bag, but it's not ready for a photo op quite yet - I'll finish it up tomorrow.

Bags made using Keyka Lou's Bucket Bag Pattern. I made the bags wider and added extra pockets to the lining.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ella and the Art Caddy

I woke up today with a sore and stiff back, so I'm feeling a little slow and off-kilter. Despite that I headed into the sewing room this afternoon and accomplished a couple of projects. The first one was The Ella Carry-All. Aren't the fabrics cute?
I've never made an actual duffle bag like this, so I was curious to see how it would go, and it went great! The pattern is very well written and quite easy to make. The trickiest part was the round bottom and the tips in the instructions made it a breeze! Instead of using the pattern, I put my handy circle ruler to work, the ruler made cutting the circle shape a breeze.
Sorry, no picture of the final product - I dropped my camera :( and it keeps shutting off. I'll get new batteries tomorrow, and hopefully it will work again. For more projects by the designer go here to see some great ideas and downloadable patterns!
After that I worked on making the Art Caddy - super cute! I'm getting pretty practiced at making this pattern. There's a lot of layers and fusing, but it comes out nice every time!
One of these days I'll have to make one for myself! Now, it's off to bed for me, hope my back feels better tomorrow, I have more projects to work on. Make sure you make a few minutes to go enter my Give Away before next Thursday!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Quilting With a Friend

Today I helped a friend to work on her rag quilt. Technically I didn't do any of the stitching, but I did pin all the squares for her. Two hours went by really fast with chatting, pinning and stitching! I think that we might be able to finish getting the top together next week, but she is on her own with the snipping!

Time for a Give Away!

Ok, I found what I was looking for in my disaster area of a sewing room, took some quick pictures and am ready for action! I decided to have three prizes, and I will be running this giveaway for a whole week. Simply post a comment here telling me which prize you would like and I will put your name in the pot for that item. Would you like an extra opportunity? Follow my blog and leave me a comment telling me you did. And for a third chance, give me a shout-out somewhere (blog, facebook, twitter...) and leave me a comment about that! Ready to see what you could win?

Here goes:
One pattern for a Travel Sewing Kit and Knitting Caddy by Valori Wells. I used it to make a shop sample for the quilt shop and loved the results! I loved it so much I made two, so I have an extra one to give to a lucky person! It is made out of gorgeous batiks and a pansy print. It's got a nifty pocket with a flap and felt pages for your needles and pins.
And last, but not least, a string of 7 fall flags to hang on your porch or over your mantel for Halloween! (Also for sale in my Etsy shop, if you don't want to take your chances on winning it!)

I will ship to anyone, so no restrictions on entering, but you only get three chances!

Good luck! I'll choose three winners next Thursday at 8:00 am pacific time!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Trying Something New

Don't laugh, but I'm a bit vegetable challenged - growing up we ate potatoes at almost every meal, and usually had green beans or corn as a vegetable. I like a larger variety of vegetables now, but feel rather intimidated by cooking things that I've never eaten before. Today my boss gave me a cute little round spaghetti squash, and even though I'd never tried one before I decided to go ahead and serve it. My friend google found me some instructions for cooking it and I decided to go with baking it, then sauteing in butter and garlic. It was delicious, and now I've added a new vegie to my repetoire! Yay for trying something new!
And now for another something new - my sampler project. This is the first time I have ever made anything quilty with gray! I really like it and am excited to add the borders, I think it will be lovely! I am thrilled to be one step closer to finishing this big project, I've really enjoyed it and am looking forward to seeing what the completed project will look like.

Do you like to try new things, or do you stick with what's comfortable? I'm often guilty of sticking with the tried and true, but I do love to experiment sometimes and try a different approach.

I'm getting some goodies together and will post about my celebratory giveaway in the morning - I have some fun goodies that I want to share, so be sure to check in and see what I've got, I think you'll like it!