Friday, September 30, 2011

A different addiction

Well ... I know that quilting is an addiction, but when I started frame/longarm quilting, no one told me I would be prone to another addiction ... this one almost as costly as the fabric part of quilting ...

thread!  I have probably ... oh wait, let me run and go count how many I have ... 35 cones of thread.  These cost anywhere from $10.00 wholesale to about $20 retail!  Do you need insurance for your stash????  I love threads ... now this is hilarious because I am a pretty simple quilter, so most of my machine quilting are colors that don't stand out very much.  Do you know there are loads and loads of taupe/beige/brown colors????  Ha, ha, ha ....  When I went to take my longarm classes, I bought a bunch of really pretty colored threads ... aquamarine, red, bright green, hot pink ... I just thought the colors were so pretty that I had to jump out of my box.  Now I have to jump out of my fabric box and piece a quilt that will go with those colors ... it's always something!

Today took the second part of my wool project class at the store.  Here is my almost completed pocketful of posies ...
Isn't it cute?  I have to remove the basting lines, sew down the top casing, and insert my rulers so it will snap shut.  It is really fun, but very time consuming ... we decided we needed a third class, so we talked Kathy into adding a third class in a couple of weeks that we will pay her for.  Now, when we talk about addictions .... let's talk about wool ...............................ahhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Traveling Thursday!

Happy Thursday!  I'm happy because I made it through the day!  After being sick for two days, I didn't have a lot of energy today, but I weathered through ... hurray!  There are several blogs that I read religiously ... one of the great things about blogging is the projects that people do and start, encouraging others to join along.  I think it's amazing ... what we can all do together ... so inspiring to see all these creative people!  Usually I don't join along because I have enough going on with my sewing, teaching, longarming and the work I do for the store.  But I saw a post on Pat Sloan's blog the other day that interested me ... on the 25th of every month, a different blogger/designer will post their block, and you join in.  Here is the link to the first designer's block ...
This looks like loads of fun, and I was totally hooked by Pat Sloan's block ... check out her blog at

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I'm still here

Hi friends ... I have been sick for the last two days which is why I haven't posted anything.  The last thing I did was Monday ... I sewed a bunch of nine patch blocks I am making for the Christmas quilt I mentioned.  I pressed those and got them all set to be joined together, and then started feeling poorly in the stomach area.  Then Tues. I woke up not feeling great, and then with a huge headache.  Then the body aches started ... usually this only lasts about a day, but I woke up today and that headache just would not budge.  How can three tylenol not make a dent in a headache?  I HATE being sick ... I don't have time.  Although my family tries to help out, it's just not the same ... no one empties and loads the dishwasher, wipes the counters, does the laundry, etc.  Okay ... so I have done next to nothing for two whole days now.  I figured the best way to get better was to listen to my body.  I'm going to work tomorrow so I am willing myself to be better!  On the plus side, my daughter's dog, Sophie, layed with me all day yesterday and today.  My dog, Charlie, is usually right by my side, but because Sophie is small and allowed on the sofa, I think she was letting me know that she was here for me!  So cute!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wool project homework

No binding tutorial today.  I promise it will be on the blog tomorrow ... just did not have time to write it out today.  I spent my day working on a new wool project that I took with friends in a class on Friday.  We have a great teacher at the store, Kathy Cardiff.  She has three patterns for wool totes ... small, medium and large.  The one I'm making is called Pocketful of Posies (it's the medium tote) ... inside the tote is a pin cushion and needle case that is all attached by a long ribbon so you don't lose them.  They are so cute!  I have a TON of wool, and I haven't worked with it for so long, I decided it would be great fun to take a class with my friends, and use up some of this wool!
I hand sewed all the posies, stems and leaves onto the front today.  I love hand sewing ... it gives me a great excuse to watch t.v.!  Whenever I work with perle cotton using a whipstitch, it takes me a while to get my stitch even and looking the way I want it to.  The tote is going to fold in half so the posies will be on each side of the bag.  This is the entire outside of the tote without the gussets or top.  I love this piece of wool!  I bought it a few months ago in the store and I didn't know what I would use it for, but then came this perfect project! We have our second part of the class next Friday.  The rest of my homework is to cut out the needle case and pin cushion.

So I didn't get to my new quilt project today, but I will have to start that tomorrow after the second part of my very beginning quilting class.  Enjoy the rest of your Sunday ... I am going to finish watching all the new shows that I DVR'd last week ... NCIS, the Mentalist ... when does the new House start?  I'll have to find that out ... don't want to miss it!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Friends and networking

Work was really busy today.  We had great sales, and we were sure hopping trying to keep up with the rush!  The class produced some really beautiful blocks today and I wished I was sewing with them!  After work we had plans to go out to dinner with a couple of my husband's friends.  My husband grew up in the same area for about 25 years.  He is still really good friends with lots of people that he grew up with ... he is also great about keeping in touch with people.  Even before email, he would just pick up the phone and call someone he hadn't talked to in years.  I really admire that about him, because I am not like that.  So tonight we had dinner with two of his friends that he went to middle and high school with.  Isn't that incredible?  The funny thing is they were all friends, and now the two of them are dating, and living near each other after being apart for a long time.  Isn't life funny?  Colleen and Bruce are their names, and Bruce has family that lives here.  In fact, most of his family lives here ... so we have now seen them twice in the last year because they come to visit Bruce's family.  I believe they all reconnected through Facebook ... modern technology can be an amazing thing!  What amazed me about Colleen was we both have the same name, are the same age, love quilts, love coffee, were both legal secretaries.  It was really funny our similarities.  They are both nice people and it was enjoyable just hanging out and sharing stories.  I am looking forward to relaxing tomorrow ... doing some quilting.  Starting a new quilt that I will use as a sample for the store, but only for as long as they need it to sell the fabric.  I will also be watching the Charger game and hoping they look a lot better than last week!  I have a tutorial for binding that I took pictures for yesterday, so I'll post that tomorrow.  Now go call or email someone that you haven't talked to in a while and celebrate the beauty of friends!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Quilts and birthdays

Well here it is finally finished .... the apron strings quilt!
I think it really came out great.  I'm going to wash it and I look forward to seeing it pucker up and look old!  I was running short on time today so I put the binding on totally by machine.  Usually I sew the binding to the quilt with the machine, but then hand sew the back of it.  But I really didn't have a couple of hours to spend on the hand sewing, so I sewed it on by machine.  I sure understand why people like this method.  It's a little tricky getting it sewn really close to the edge so it looks nice, and I still am not quite sure the best way to do the corners without having to go back and put a hand stitch or two in, but it cut the time at least in half.  More like 1/4 of the time!

Today was my husband's birthday ...

Can you guess how old he turned?
Since my son has been away at college, every time we have a birthday, either for me, my husband, or our daughter, we always call our son, put him on speakerphone, and that way he gets to chime in on the celebration.  Our dog, Charlie, always likes to chime in too ... whenever we sing the happy birthday song, he'll start barking.  It's really funny ... even if I'm just sitting here on the couch and start singing happy birthday, he barks.  He doesn't do that when I sing anything else, so I know it's not my voice!
I get to work tomorrow with my buddy, Mindy, so it should be quite an adventure.  We have a big class tomorrow at the store.  I love days like that at work ... it really changes the feel of the store to have a class going on.  There is such energy in the store when a class is in full swing.  We love to have classes ... everyone is having a great time, sewing, chatting and letting everyone know "hey, at the Country Loft it is a fun place to be!"  Hope you find a fun place to be this weekend!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Traveling Thursday

I decided Thursday's are going to be "Traveling Thursday," because Thursday is the day that I'm going to give you a link to a blog that I like.  But before I tell you about that, here's a picture of Kathy's quilt.  I need to take pictures during the day because my flash isn't doing these quilts justice.  This is the flannel quilt, and the back of this quilt is amazing ... it is soft and yummy!
Now here's a blog I really like.  This lady is amazing.  Her blog is about making quilts ... not unusual, but she and a group of her friends from church make quilts for people ... I cannot believe how much she quilts, and all for others!  What an inspiration ... go check out Sarah's blog ...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Undone plans

Sometimes it doesn't matter how organized I am, whatever it is I am trying to do just won't happen.  Today was one of those days.  I got the back pieced for my apron strings quilt ... I usually like to have several fabrics on hand to use for backs.  I love to piece my backs, using up all the scraps from the quilt I've made, but if I'm in a hurry, I need to have 3 or 4 yards of something available to use as a back.  Thanks to my friend, Kim, I had about 3 yards of a fabric that was perfect for the back of this quilt!  Then I put it all on the longarm ... I pinned my backing on to my takeup leader and realized I forgot to wrap it under one of the poles so I had to take the whole thing off.  Then I pinned the top to its leader, and realized I had it turned sideways, so I had to take those pins out ... ugh!!  I have this one cone of thread that I have used a lot.  It's a great taupey-brown color and goes with a lot of quilts.  Unfortunately I have had a problem with the thread breaking on this one cone.  So one day I decided to put a few lines of silicone on it to help with that, and accidentally put on a line of fray check!  Ahhh .... fray check is meant to be put on stuff that you don't want to ravel out, so that is not a good thing for a cone of thread.  I pulled a bunch of the thread off that got fray check on it, but I still have problems with this thread breaking.  So I loaded it up with silicone and made sure I ran my tension pretty loose.  I also made sure to slow down.  I did have it break on me about 5 times, but I was willing to put up with this because it was the best color for my top.  I need to just take the thread in to the store and get another cone and toss that one.  Sheesh, the things I do to save a few bucks!  I finally got the quilt done and just had enough time before I had to go to the eye doctor.  Then my plan was to GO TO THE GYM, come home and get dinner started and then bind the quilt so I can hang it tomorrow in the store.  Well, I did get to the gym (hurray for me), got dinner started, and then went to bind the quilt.  I realized I don't have anything that will work for binding.  Darn it, I wanted this quilt done!  Not to mention I didn't get the other quilt on the longarm that I wanted to do.  Grrr ... ah well.  You'll have to wait a little longer to see the finished picture!

I did, however, take a picture of my dinner ... chicken enchiladas. 

If you know me, you know I don't like to cook.  Some of my friends (Jayne!), don't think I ever cook ... so I had to take a picture to prove I do, sometimes!  I also made a small peach cobbler ... I made it "light" so it wouldn't be too heavy on calories. 

Well the enchiladas were okay, but the peach cobbler was outstanding!  I didn't like the enchilada sauce I used.  Anyone have a good recipe for enchilada sauce?  And how come mine doesn't taste as yummy as what we get in our local mexican restaurant?  What am I missing???

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


The third Tuesday of every month we have a sewing get together at the store.  It started out as a friendship group to do the Dear Jane quilt ... but only a couple people are still working on Dear Jane.  It is definitely a friendship group, and most of us work on some kind of applique project if we're not doing Dear Jane.  I have completed about 17 of those one hundred and some odd blocks.  It's a beautiful quilt, but definitely a long term goal.
This is what the finished quilt looks like!  Isn't it amazing?  These are 5" blocks ... that is small!  So the quilt is one thing, but then look at those amazing borders.  I'm hoping to have it done when I'm 75!  Hand sewed on my last BOM block ... so close to being done with that.  Got the borders on my Apron Strings quilt ... it doesn't look like I expected it to.  Because the border is a civil war print, it really changed the look of the quilt (I think) ... I was looking for something that made it a little more fun, but frankly I just want the quilt done and I was tired of searching for the perfect border print.  It will still look amazing.

One of the best parts of my day was visiting with my friend Christine.  She is such an awesome person.  She is always so positive and upbeat, and just a really wonderful, generous person.  Everyone needs to have a friend like Christine.  She just makes you happy to be around!  That's why I go to Dear Jane every month ... I have met some very talented, nice ladies in that group.  And today I picked a great day to go because someone had made a blueberry pie!  Glad I WENT TO THE GYM today (remember I said I was going to start reporting on that!) ... so I had a small piece.  It was delicious!  Hope to get my quilt quilted tomorrow, and then I will show you a picture it.  I'd like to get it to the store since the class is being taught in November.  Funny thing about people ... they don't want to sign up for a class without a sample to look at!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ribbit, ribbit

Do you know what that sound is?  No, it is not the sound of a frog, it's the sound of my seam ripper!  I finished the borders on the apron strings quilt last night and as soon as I saw it done, I hated it.  Hated the outside border ... it was gold and just way too boring for the quilt.  So I ripped it off and was left with just the inner, black print border.
I taught a class today at the store, and took the quilt in to pick a border fabric.  I really was trying to go right out of my stash, but I just didn't have a big enough piece of something that had a nice print to it to give some interest.  Here's a small picture of the fabric I found ... it's a civil war print ...

Every time  I took a picture of it, the lines in the fabric made a design in the picture, so you'll just have to wait until I sew it onto the quilt tomorrow to see a better picture.

I have this quilt and one for Kathy that I need to get on the longarm.  The plan is to put my quilt on there tomorrow, and then do Kathy's.  It's been a couple of weeks since I did anything on the longarm, so I'll put my quilt on first so I can warm up on it, before doing her's.

Here is the BOM block that I am furiously hand sewing to finish.  I hate these dang leaves.  I did a terrible job on the applique with them, and I'm having to correct it as I stitch.

And finally ... I leave you this evening with a picture of Sophie ... the brat dog ... the only way to get her to sit long enough in one spot is to bribe her with a cookie.  She kept running through the picture when I was trying to take one of my quilt, so I think she was trying to say "take a picture of me!'

WOOF!  Aren't I cute???

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Checked and done

This is going to be a short post tonight.  I'm exhausted.  Today was my mom's birthday and it is always up to me as the only daughter to make it wonderful.  Of course I had left cake making, shopping, etc. all for today.  Here was my list for the day, and it all got done ...

1.  Go to grocery store and buy supplies for pineapple upside down cake
2.  Go and get presents
3.  Sew borders on apron strings quilt
4.  Make cake
5.  Wrap presents
6.  Write pattern for beginning quilting class tomorrow

11:30 at night and all is done.  The pattern needs some drawings, but I'm going to have to save that for tomorrow morning because my brain is just done!  We took my mom out to dinner with a friend of her's.  Imagine a 74 year old and an 82 year old ... now as far as I'm concerned, age is a state of mind, but my mom was old about 20 years ago.  I was going crazy with the two of them.  My mom's friend is a real go getter (she's the 82 year old), but she has issues with walking, so between the two of them I was afraid someone was going to trip and fall.  I'm so exhausted.  Glad this day is over with.  Everyone that takes my class tomorrow is going to have pineapple upside down cake ... it is yummy.  I have a picture, but my darling daughter put it on the other computer, and I'm too lazy to transfer it over here!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Time and a missing block

I started sewing this afternoon at about 1:00, and before I knew it it was 7:00.  Where does time go?  I put the apron strings quilt together, but it needs borders.  Then I started on my BOM ... I got several blocks put together, and then realized I needed to go backwards in my order so I could get it together properly.  So I'm cruising along, and realize I can't find the biggest block ... it's about 24" x 24".  I know I did it ... I remember putting it together, and I found the instructions, so I know I've done it.  After a lot of cursing, and some more digging, I found it downstairs in a little stack of sewing that needs to be done.  So I still have hand sewing on that block ... oh well, at least I found it!  It would have been a bear to redo because it is the biggest block and therefore, has the post pieces on it!  Here's a picture of some of my progress on the BOM today ...
Sorry for the picture, it was taken on my cell phone.
While I was at work on Thursday, I got myself into some trouble ...
These are a stack of flannels made by Moda ... they are beautiful and feel so great!  I'm going to make a quilt for my darling son for Christmas.  Neither of our kids have quilts ... if you saw their rooms, you would know why!  I decided after seeing what Kathy did with my Gumdrops and Licorice Sticks quilt, I was going to do it out of flannel.  And of course I had to buy it now because it might not be around for very long.  I almost had a fit when it was all rung up ... the backing alone was $70.00 (well at least before my discount!)!!!!!  Ugh!!!  The flannels are $11.80 a yard; that's the most expensive fabric we carry.  It's just a shame how much everything is going up in price.  But it doesn't matter when I work in a quilt store or not, I will still buy fabric.  Fabric and sewing to me is like eating ... a necessity!  Am I right??
This is what the entire line of flannels looks like ... they are beautiful.  And here is a look at Kathy's quilt ...

Kathy on the left, Tina, Jayne and the other Kathy
You can see some of the quilt ... isn't it beautiful?  Perfect for a man!  Kathy gave it to me to quilt for her.  It's going to be perfect with just a simple stipple on it.  You can be sure I'll post a picture. Okay, I'm off now to finish the hand sewing on my block so I can put the rest of the quilt together.

Friday, September 16, 2011

My sewing room

What does your sewing room look like?  Are you lucky enough to have one, or do you sew at the dining room table, living room, etc?  I used to use the dining room table, and got so tired of having to put everything away.  I am so very lucky to have my own little sewing nook ... it used to be my daughter's room, believe it or not, it is so small!  I think the room is about 9' x 12 ' ... I am not complaining, I am just so very happy to have this space!  It is a little bit of  a challenge, because I have to keep up on keeping it clear or I just can't work.  I am constantly reordering things, I love to organize! 

See why I had to reorganize my strips the other day?  I just can't stand having a mess.  Now this apron strings project is one messy project.  There is just no way to do it without making a small mess!
The amazing thing is I can actually sew in this little space.
Now here's what they looked like after they were sewn ... still kind of messy.
And then, they made this ...

Isn't it lovely?  This is just the first layout ... I need to do some tweaking because I want to mix the colors up a little and even it out.  Here's a tip ... after I lay my blocks out before I sew the rows together, I always take a picture on my digital camera.  I can really see much easier what needs to be adjusted.  Usually I just look at it on my screen on the camera, but if I'm really having trouble seeing it, then I'll upload it to my computer.

Here's the second part of my Across the Wide Missouri quilt ... more wahoos!!!  It's coming along great!

Yesterday I was talking about my binding class ... and Amy wrote "ahem ... when are you going to share the tips with us?"  Well thank you for asking ... I'll try to get that together in the next couple days and post it for you!  It's much easier to explain with pics, so I'll get my daughter to help me out maybe, or just do it myself.  Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blogs and such

Work was quite interesting today.  We had three different free demonstrations that were free.  Usually we do these things on a Saturday, but we decided to schedule them throughout the day.  I was the last one to go at 2:30 and I was demoing binding tricks.  The first two demos didn't generate very much interest, but there were about 6 people lined up at 2:00 p.m. waiting for my demo!  I'd like to think it was me and my sparkling personality, but it was the demonstration on binding that people were really waiting to see.  I love passing tips onto people, and the binding I do has a join of the beginning and ending so that it is just one seam, without any overlap.  It is genius, and makes your binding lay so flat!  Everytime I show it to someone, they say they are amazed at how great it is.  I wish I could take credit for developing the idea, but it isn't mine.  But it is mine to share!  That was fun.  I think it's great fun to talk to quilters and find out how they quilt.  What they like to do, whether they just like the piecing part, or the actual machine quilting, etc.  Today I met several ladies I did not know.  What I found so interesting is that one of the ladies was probably in her 60's, and had just made her first quilt.  She sent it out to be quilted, and was talking about how difficult it was to do her binding.  It was nice to be able to help clarify that part for her.  Another lady had just sent her first quilt out to be quilted, and was just getting ready to do her binding, so she was anxious to go home and try out this method.  I'm really finding a trend lately ... people that just really enjoy the piecing in their quilting, but don't like machine quilting at all.  When I started about 12 years ago, I would have never thought of sending my quilt out to be pieced.  Part of it was an issue of, I'm making this myself, and so I'm going to make the whole thing.  I wonder if this is something that's new because of how many people own longarm machines now?  That is certainly my impression, what do you think?  And do you quilt your own quilts, or do you send them out to be quilted?  All the time, or just a larger quilt?
Last week I mentioned that I was going to turn you on to a new blog I follow every week.  So Thursday seems like a good day to do that ... I love this blog because this lady searches antique stores and finds items.  Then she posts the item and shows what she does with it.  Her blog is so fun!  Check it out ...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Block of the month

When I started this blog, I was hoping to do a couple of things.  Inspire other people who like to quilt by sharing what I work on, making a journal of what I do, and keeping myself on task as I tend to get sidetracked on my quilting.  Well, it is definitely working out the way I had hoped for!  When I start out my day, I think about what my post is going to be on my blog.  Now if only I would have to be responsible for blogging about my workout routine and the time I spend at the gym!!!  Today I worked more on my apron strings quilt.  I have 9 blocks done, just 3 to go ... yay!  I have to work tomorrow, so hopefully I will get those blocks done on Friday (do you see what I'm doing here?  Because I told you I'm going to get them done, then I have someone to be held accountable to!).  I put together the first piece of my Across the Wide Missouri block ... there are maybe about 10 more sections, but if I do a little bit at a time, I'll be done by the end of the year.  The worst part is there is a big border and lots of applique, but the applique is big pieces, so that helps.
It reads really plain right now because these borders don't have much color, but it will be great!  Yay!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Strings and strips

I sewed more blocks on my apron strings quilt today.  Then I started running out of strips ... the small ones, so I decided it was time to organize and restrip the bigger pieces into smaller pieces.  A few months ago I decided that instead of keeping these random size scraps of fabric, when I'm finished cutting for whatever quilt I'm making, I cut the remaining fabric into strips.  I have strips ranging from 1/2", 1", 2", 2 1/2" and 3" strips.  In this project I'm making, I'm using a lot of the smaller strips and not the 2 1/2" and 3".  I brought it all downstairs to spread out.
I needed to iron the strips and then cut them into smaller sizes.  Wow, this was taking hours!

It must be looking worse before it gets better, but this doesn't even show how much work I did ... but here is the final result --

I had to stop ironing and cutting because I was just burnt out!  So I have bins with all the different size strips, and then I made a bin with 4" wide strips and 6" wide strips.  These are bigger pieces of fabric that I don't want to take down into little strips.  I'm thinking they might be useful for putting into backs or something.  At some point I'll get to the rest of that bin, but it's not going to happen anytime soon!

I decided to get my entire Across the Wide Missouri block of the month out and realized I have all the blocks done ... yahoo!!!!  The only thing left to do is the last month which is some applique, and filler strips and then put the whole things together complete with borders.  It looks like I am actually going to get to cross something else off my list of 10 ... now who would have thought?!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Strings and Missouri

I made great progress today on two different projects.  One of my students on Saturday, Judy, said she can't believe how fast time goes when she is sewing.  Her husband will say "hey, when are we having dinner?"  I feel the same way about my time when I sew ... I sat down at about 10:30 a.m. today and started sewing on my apron strings quilt ... I looked at the clock and it was 12:30 p.m.  This is a sampling of one of the blocks ...
Isn't this coming out cute?  It's a totally scrappy quilt, but I can control the scrappiness.  It will be interesting what it looks like when it's all together ... I have about half of it done.  The second thing I was working on was one of my projects that is on my "list of ten" things that I want to finish this year.  It is the Across the Wide Missouri block of the month from last year ... I got another month done!  I am so close to putting the whole thing together.

I don't do a lot of applique anymore, and I always have a hard time turning those little curvy tree edges ... even using the freezer paper and spray starch method, I cannot figure out how to get my edges without little fraying parts ... grrr!  But I'm totally happy with what I got done today.

So what do you love to do, and so much so that you lose track of the time when you're doing it?????

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering ...

It seems disrespectful today to mention anything else besides remembering 10 years ago ... I was getting the kids ready for school and had the radio on as I usually did.  What I heard was just not making sense, so I went into the living room and turned on the television.  The footage was awful.  The twin towers had fallen, and it was a terrorist attack.  The shock, the fear ... how did I send the kids to school that day?  They were 7 and 11 ... I had to send them to keep everything normal.  Never would this day be normal for us again.

So 10 years later, I will spend my day remembering, praying, and celebrating the amazing United States of America that we live in ... proud to be an American, a wife, a mother, and supporter of our military.  Grateful to all the people that became regular, everyday heros on that day 10 years ago, and never forgetting that freedom is not free.  God Bless America!

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Today I taught a class at the Country Loft.  I knew it was going to be small, but that's okay.  Especially when I'm teaching a beginning class, if people are really beginners, then it's nice to not have so many people and be able to really give one on one atttention.  Kathy (the store manager) took the class, Judy who was an earlier student came to finish a project, and then I had a new student, Katie who had made one quilt before.  I knew I had a high school student who was coming.  She had never sewn or used a sewing machine before, but for her senior project, she picked to learn how to make a quilt.  I was very excited about being able to teach a teenager how to quilt! She was coming late because she had to take the SAT in the morning.  Here's a picture of the three ladies ...
Sorry the picture's not very good ... I was shooting into the sunlight.  The class was the quilt that is hanging on the wall behind Katie in the far back on the right.  We had a good time and everyone made great progress on their quilt.  My high school student got there a little before 1, and by the time she left she had 9 blocks already done.    Here is her first block ...

Isn't it cute, and isn't she adorable?  I could not believe how fast she picked it all up and how well she worked.  You have to know how to sew on the machine before you can take classes, but I made an exception for her, and I'm so glad I did!  Because she didn't get a chance to finish, and because she has a minimum amount of hours she has to spend on this project for her assignment, she's going to come into the store for several afternoons until she can finish.  So exciting!  Her quilt colors were really cute too!

For everyone that lives in the San Diego area, our store is doing something really fun this week ... Thursday through Saturday this week, we are having demo days.  It kicks off on Thursday where we will be demoing different things througout the day.  If you check the store's website, we should have a schedule listed.  Here is the Country Loft's phone number in case you want to call and see what is on the agenda (619) 466-5411.  The website is  By the way, there is no charge for the demonstrations ... free!

What a fun day it was, and now we have a new, young quilter ... I hope she loves it as much as we all do!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Exciting day

Well, yesterday was a little exciting!  I started my day off with jury duty which was really easy.  I was out of there by 10:30 a.m.  There just wasn't a lot going on.  Then I stopped on my way home and picked up my little sewing machine ... I'm calling him Bert because there is a name and phone number on the machine.  I assume from a previous owner, but I thought that was a good name for him!  It was about 97 degrees by the time I got home, which is super hot for us here.  I set myself up downstairs in my bedroom (which is the only area in the house with air conditioning because it was remodeled a few years ago and we added central air to the whole section); I had a nice table in there, my cute little sewing machine, and my new project I'm working on.  While I started sewing I was so excited to be working, and then I had a great idea for this project that I'm working on.  It's a class I'm going to teach, and I don't want to give anything away yet, so I won't tell you what my idea is ... just yet. 

But do you know how exciting it is when you're working on something and you just have a vision for it?  I was so happy ... then the power went out!  I figured it was just a brown out because we get those all the time in our area when it's super hot.  No big deal because we had to go to darling daughter's tennis match.  Then I found out on the way to the match that the power in all of San Diego county was out!  Wow ... there were several good lessons to be learned here ... I was oh so happy I had filled up with gas the day before, so now I totally see the value in not letting your car run down to empty.  I also have a gas stove, so was not worried about what we were going to eat for dinner or the next day or so.  The lines were knocked out by operator error from the east and from the south, so this was an outage that was going to last several hours if not for a day or so.  I lots of times let our food run down to almost nothing because my husband likes to eat out (and I don't particularly like to cook).  Well, now I see why I should have an earthquake preparedness kit.  Lots of water, some batteries, non perishable food, and a radio that operates either on batteries or the crank kind I have seen in the L.L. Bean catalog.  I kept trying to put batteries in one of the clock radios and run it that way, but they wouldn't work.  So we would go out to the car and run the radio for 10 or 15 minutes listening to updates every couple of hours.  I gathered all my candles together before dark, and boy am I ever happy that I love candles ... what a great ambience it gave us! 

So we dined by candlelight and then moved into the living room and just sat and talked for a couple of hours.  It was really nice.  My daughter who is 17 said "wow, now we have to sit around and talk because there's nothing else to do."  I thought that was really funny because we always talk.  But she was right in that we all are usually off on the computer, watching t.v., or whatever, so it was nice to just be together.  So I felt very lucky ... our power came on at about midnight.  I can't imagine it being out for days like I know people have had happen recently with the hurricanes.  It is weird though to look around and not see any lights ... everyone's power in San Diego County was out ... they said this morning that that was about 5 million people.  Wow!!  So today I am very grateful for my electricity ... to dry my hair, to operate my computer and to sew!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


If you asked my family, I'm quite sure they would describe my quilting as an obsession.  In fact, I think there was a comment today in my house about the waste of electricity ... and I think they were talking about my quilting ... aaccckkk!!  Well I think I am passionate about quilting.  I might not get the opportunity to quilt every day, but I do think about it everyday.  It's like when you can't afford to shop, you window shop.  Well,when you don't have time to quilt, you dream quilt!  I think about quilts that I like, or quilts that I have in my stash.  I think about the list of projects I made in January that I would like to finish by the end of the year ... my list of 10.  I think I've finished three.  A very good effort!  I didn't get a chance to sew today.  Had a hair appointment (one of my favorite things to do!), ran some errands, and then by that time it was too hot to go upstairs and sew.  When I can't sew, during the day when I read my email, I'll jump over to a blog or two and just feed my passion by looking at someone else's quilting.  Today I found a great site where a lady has posted detailed pictures of her quilting.  It is amazing ... I follow it in my mind and try to figure out how she makes such designs.  True artistry!  I don't see myself getting a chance to quilt tomorrow either ... I have jury duty ... the first time in 21 years since my kids were born.  So tomorrow when I'm at the courthouse, maybe I'll see a jacket that will remind me of a quilt, or I'll think about the quilting that I wish I was doing at home.  It makes me happy to think of what I enjoy doing.  One of my friends made a pact with herself to quilt 365 days a year, even if it's just for 20 minutes.  Well, I don't need to do that because I'm aways quilting ... in my mind!

I'm teaching a begining quilting class on Saturday at the store.  It's funny, even though people know how to quilt "beginning quilting" class draws people because they just want to quilt and have fun ... they don't want to have to think!  Here's a picture of my version of the quilt I'm teaching on Saturday ... I call it Licorice and Gumdrops.  But it is available on the internet as a free pattern.  I think it was called Bonnie Huntsman quilt.  It was easy and quick ... a great pattern I thought.  So what do you do when you can't quilt?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A little honesty

It was a long day today.  Not my regular work day, but I traded and worked today because I have jury duty on Thursday.  I started thinking at work about what different kind of quilters there are.  What kind of a quilter are you?  Are you the type that it just happy to have your project done?  You see whatever imperfections in your quilt as just a part of the quilt?  There is no perfection in life, so why should your quilt be perfect?  Are you the type that agonizes over fabric choices and rips seams out because they don't match perfectly?  When you're doing the quilting, does it have to just be perfect, or do you accept human?  Hmm ... if you know me, then you know what kind of a quilter I am.  But for those of you that don't ... well ... when I piece, I am very precise, but I know that no matter how hard I work at it, something is going to be off.  If I get the whole top put together and there is a block out of place ... so be it, it's going to stay like that.  So while I work really hard at doing it all just so, I realize that things are going to happen.  I think I'm getting better at that.  Here is my latest challenge ... my machine quilting is just something I am agonizing over.  If it is not perfect, I am just down on myself.  Now like I mentioned in another post, someone made a comment to me that made a lot of sense.  There is no "one" right way to quilt any quilt ... possibly 400 different things would look right on it.   I will struggle with what to put on a quilt, then finally come up with something, quilt it and think ... oh, I wish it wasn't such a pain because I would rip it out!  I constantly doubt myself .. there are so many wonderful and creative, talented quilters out there.  I find myself comparing my work to their work.  Not a good thing to do ... you are always going to find work better than your's ... someone prettier than you are, richer than you ... you get my point.

So I am trying to learn to be kinder to myself.  I'm reading a book right now called "The Secret," and it has some very good life lessons in there.  What you throw out into the universe you get back.  Hmm ... what happens when you constantly criticize what you do and think you aren't good enough?  So I'm trying to practice throwing positive thoughts out there.  I must admit that when it comes to quilting for others, I am much harder on myself than when I am just quilting for myself.  But that probably makes sense, right?

Alright, so that's my honesty for the day!  Now along a totally different note ... I'm going to throw a blog out there once a week that I think you might enjoy.  I love surfing the web and have found lots of wonderful blogs that people recommend.  I love the computer world and what it has given quilters ... it is so fun to see what everyone does.  My blog for you this week is .........................  I love this lady's blog.  She's just a regular person (mom) like me, and she has great ideas.  Tutorials for different things, and she has just redone her sewing room.  I loved to see the pictures of her rooms.

And now because you can't have a blog post without a picture .... here is me and my family in Australia last summer ... now that makes me smile!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hometown quilted!

My friend's quilt is done!  It took a really long time, but I think it came out great!  Once the borders were redone, it went onto the frame with no problems.  Amazing how easy a square quilt is to quilt!  Part of the reason it took a long time is because when you quilt a quilt on a frame that does not have an all over pattern, like if you're stippling the whole thing, or doing a pantograph, you have to stitch in the ditch.  It helps to stabilize the quilt, but also to show off the quilting.  I never used to do this.  I could see the benefit with a quilt that had a lot of blocks, but why in a quilt that is fairly simple?  Well when I took my longarm training, they showed us a quilt that was quilted the same as the one next to it ... one was stitched in the ditch and one was not.  The one that wasn't just looked like something was missing from it!  Now I always take the time to SID.  Here's a close up of the quilting.

You can see in the muslin colored space I have an all over flower pattern.  In the patterned strip, I have a swirl pattern.  I also put a flower pattern in the border.  I wanted to keep it pretty simple.  This picture below doesn't even do it justice, but this is the finished quilt.  If you click on any of the pictures, you can get a closer up view.
And on another subject all together ... do you know what this is supposed to be?

Well it was my nightguard!  Sophie (my daughter's dog), jumped up on top of my bed and then onto my nightstand.  I'm going to disinfect the darn thing, and see if I can still wear it!  It's several hundred dollars.  Now you know why the dog is referred to as "the brat dog!"

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Back to quilting

I came back on Friday, and had promised a customer that I would finish her quilt that day.  She is someone that I met at the quilt store, and she took a class from me.  This quilt is not the one she did in my class, but it is the first quilt I have ever quilted for her.  When I do a quilt for the first time for someone, I like to turn it around right away.  I don't want them thinking it takes me forever to get a quilt done.  Well because I had done so many Sew for the Cure quilts, and I was trying to finish up samples, I had not gotten her quilt done as soon as I liked.  So I got it quilted yesterday.  It's so cute ... she picked a simple, all over stipple. 
I must say, with all the fancy quilting out there and all the wonderful things you could have probably done to this quilt, I just love stippling.  It is a simple pattern, but I love simple.  It looked really great in a nice taupe colored thread. 

Today I need to stop playing around on the computer and get back to the other quilt that I had to rip the stitching out of and take the borders off.  It's made out of a jelly roll and then the strips are cut at an angle ... talk about some biased edges ... well my friend said they had measured and added borders the way I told her to.  But when I took the borders off, I discovered the quilt was not even.  I had to measure in several different spots, and trim about 3 times before I got it straight ... or as straight as I can.  I am not criticizing my friend's piecing skills .. this is the first quilt I've ever had a problem with from her.  There are so many angles, and I think when you added the other strips, and sewed everything together, it was just going to be really difficult for it to be straight.  There's just not way to keep it straight.  I'll take a picture when I'm done, and you'll understand then how it could have been off by an inch or so.  Now I need to sew the borders back on and then get it back to the frame.  If worse comes to worse, I'll spray it with a bunch of starch, and block it before it goes on the frame.  Wish me luck!  Have a safe and wonderful labor day weekend!

End of summer

It's nice to be home after my camping trip, but I must admit it was a perfect way to end the summer.  I never go away without my husband or family, but I have a group of friends that go camping every year at a wonderful beach called Carpinteria near Santa Barbara.  So this year I decided to go.  It was so relaxing ... I am just revitalized!  There is something about just being around a group of women ... everyone seems to just know what to do and you never have to ask.  I was the first person up so I got the coffee going, when we were done with dinner, four of us went and washed the dishes, when we needed firewood, someone volunteered to buy it, and someone else walked over to get it.  It is just terrific ... you never have to ask and you never have to yell!  So I had a great time just walking, sunning, shopping and enjoying doing nothing.  I got a lot of reading done ... I had brought three books to read, but only read one.  Have you read "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson?  It is hilarious, and was quite appropriate being that I was camping.
Product DetailsThis is a book about his decision to hike the entire 2,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail ... it is full of funny things that happen, interspersed with information and it is just a delight to read.  We had read it in my book group a few years ago and I decided it was so good to read it again.

One of the funnest parts of camping was exploring the shopping.  Sadly because of the economy, a lot of the stores have closed, but we found several antique stores open.  Two were too pricey, but our friends happened on one on their way out of town and they had to call us to tell us how great it was and that everything was 50% off.  Well instead of walking, my friend Mary and I drove over there ... of course we needed a car to bring back our finds!  At first I wasn't very impressed, but after looking for a while, I discovered what looked to be a sewing machine!  My friend Deby had met us over there and she helped me unearth it.  It was in a case in the section where there was a lot of video and camera equipment stuff, so I think it had just been overlooked. The lady in the store said it had been there for two years.  I was super excited when I saw it because I have been looking for a featherweight ... this looked like a featherweight, but was not light.
It's in great shape, except the part where you wind the bobbin is made out of ceramic and it is cracked and someone tried to glue it.  So when you wind a bobbin, it doesn't wind easily.  That's okay, because there are ways to get around that.  I can wind the bobbin on another machine or buy prewound bobbins.  I looked online when I got home and the machine was made in 1958.  It has a little instruction booklet, and when I took the tension assembly apart, it looks like there is a tiny spring missing.  It sews, but the tension on the top is way too tight.  So I dropped it off at the sewing machine repair shop yesterday.  Hopefully that's the only thing wrong with it.  It was hard to buy and not know whether I could use it ... whether it would work.  It is really cute, isn't it?  But I didn't just want it to be a piece of art!  I want it to take to classes so I don't have to take my Bernina.  It probably weighs as much as my Bernina, but the last time I book my B to class, I managed to break the lightbar on it when I was loading it in my car to go home.  That light bar I'm sure will cost more than I paid for this little machine!  The lady in the store when she found out we were interested in sewing directed us to a chest that had about 3 or 4 drawers full of buttons, sewing notions, an antique pin cushion, etc.  I bought a few more things, and my other great find was an adorable silver plated box that looks like a bible, with an antique rosary in there.  The box is about 3" x 2", and the crucifix on the rosary is about 1" long.  I bought it for my daughter ... it is just lovely, and she loves it!

On my way home I stopped in Santa Barbara (a mere 5 miles or so away) to visit my cousin. They had just moved into new digs and their new home is lovely!  It was fun to see my cousin ... it's been about a year.  She is the closest to me in age and we grew up a lot together, so I am closer to her than my other cousins.  She's almost like a sister. 
That's me on the right.  Looking a little tired from camping but had a great time visiting with my cousin!