Monday, April 30, 2012

April NewFO

I didn't expect to have a NewFO for this month, but here it is --

The idea I had in my head of how a tumbler quilt is laid out doesn't match any of the tumbler quilts I just looked at on Pinterest. I'll lay the rows out the right way the next time I take a picture of this project. Which may be soon since I've cut what I hope is enough tumblers for the throw I want to make and I can't wait to see how it all comes together.

I'm on a cutting kick this week. In addition to the tumblers, I've cut enough drab squares to replace the ones I stole from that project for my Quilt Block Quilt Along Squares. And there's a bin of bright scraps for another project sitting right next to my Go! cutter, waiting for me to work on them later today.

This post is linked to Cat Patches and Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I've got a new project!

This one kind of ambushed me. I was sitting on the couch thinking about that coffin quilt from the antique mall and glanced over at Do Not Put Your Elbows on the Table. By the light of day, they're made from totally different shapes. Late at night, I managed to confuse myself just a bit. The shape I want is more like two tumblers sewn together.
I've got a tumbler die...I've got the fabrics for the quilt I have in mind....What I don't have right now is the patience that the coffin quilt I'm picturing would take, with every piece laid out on a design wall and assembled from there. I'm not tackling that today. Instead, I'm making myself a tumbler quilt, pulling dark prints from my favorite bin of scraps and guessing wildly at how many I'll need to get the quilt I want. I sewed together a couple of test pieces and then started cutting. Tomorrow, I'll get to start putting them together.
Weekly Stash Report Fabric Used this Week: 0 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 27.75 yards
Added this Week: 2 yards
Added Year to Date: 93.25 yards
Net Added for 2012: 65.5 yards
There was more fabric tossed, but I'm not weighing the bags to calculate yardage until they're full, so it won't go onto this week's report. I think it'll work out that slightly more fabric has left the house than has come home with me so far this year. To see more weekly stash reports, click over to Patchwork Times.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Yup, I'm still cleaning the sewing room. I'm also starting to run out of steam and taking some breaks to play on the computer.

Have you seen the quilting quizzes over at I did great on the Name the Quilt Design or Layout quiz, and absolutely dismally at and terrible at naming the quilt blocks.

That one patch quilt I was drooling over yesterday? I found a template and the shape really is called a coffin. I'm thinking that I could put two tumblers together and get the same shape...or maybe just make a tumbler quilt with a bunch of dark fabrics. I've got the tumbler dies...

Friday, April 27, 2012

21 years

Today is our 21st wedding anniversary. Or at least I'm pretty sure it is. For most of those twenty-one years, we've been debating whether we got married on the 21st or the 25th, or the 27th... Every birthday and special event in our household except one falls on a twenty-something date, so they're easy to confuse and hubby and I are both dead set that it's different dates. Which change from year to year.

I keep thinking I should stitch up a wedding sampler and put the marriage license or a wedding invitation on the back, but that would take the fun out of things.

This year, we celebrated by going out without the kids for SIX WHOLE HOURS, something we manage to pull of maybe once a year. We had lunch at the casino buffet, which is a whole different experience when you're not juggling more than one plate and herding small bodies. I discovered that in the fifteen years it's been since I last played a slot machine, they've gotten way too complicated for me. I miss the mechanical kind that you can play with loose change from the bottom of your purse.

And we went to a couple of antique malls. I don't know if I've ever been in antique mall without small bodies in tow -- at least not since I had children. The kids do fine in antique stores (nowhere else, but they've got the antique store and quilt shop rules of behavior down pat), but looking is completely different when you don't have to hold little hands or answer ten thousand questions.

And there were quilts!

I fell in love with the colors of this one, which was wool --

Loved the way the stars were set on point and the blue setting squares on this one --

And these coffin shaped pieces...I wish it hadn't been hidden under the display, so I could have seen the whole thing. I want one! In darker, more coffin-like colors, of course.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

review - Countryside Softies by Amy Adams

The little critters in Countryside Softies: 28 Handmade Wool Creatures to Stitch have such wonderful, quirky personalities -- just look at that cute little fox on the cover! They're made from felted sweaters and scraps of cotton print, and weighted so that they'll actually sit upright. The close up illustrations of blanket stitching and the fabric choices and little details provide so much eye-candy, I can't decide which project I want to tackle first. Probably the fox. Or the hedgehog, which has actual prickles. Sure, they're soft, but he's got actual texture. And the squirrel has an amazing fluffy tail!

I love the author's attitude towards the difficulty of the projects. She says that the more complicated projects aren't harder, that they just have more parts and will take longer to complete.

If you want a sample of the author's other work, she offers free patterns on her blog, LucyKate Crafts. And she sells softies at her etsy store.

Note -- a PDF review copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


During my root canal yesterday, I thought I heard the dentist asking for more chloroform. I've been watching episode after episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents on Netflix while I work on those cross-stitch bookmarks, so I was sure I hadn't hear him right, or that my mind was drifting into strange places, courtesy of the medication.

But, no, they do use chloroform in root canals. I asked about it when they were done (and looked it up later in the day because I was sure I couldn't have remembered him right. Now I'm wishing I hadn't looked that up, because I found a bunch of sites about the dangers of root canals and why you shouldn't have them. Things I won't be reading right now because what's done is done.

I'll be back in the sewing room later today, trying to distract myself from the temporary filling.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

guess where I've been!

I didn't watch the clock yesterday, so I'm not sure how much time I spent sorting through my messy stash. I was out there for a couple of hours while the boys were playing in the yard and then again for a couple of hours after dinner, before it got too dark to work. I'm loving these longer days!

I'm working in circles now, shifting things back into that corner that I cleared out yesterday and digging out the space under the built in table. Several UFOs have surfaced. Not the two baby quilt tops that I've been looking for since 2010, but I'll take what I can find. And those baby quilts have to be in there somewhere. I'll find them.

I'm still playing with the cross stitch bookmarks. It's the perfect project right now, since I can pick it up and work for a few minutes at a time.
Weekly Stash Report
Fabric Used this Week: 0 yards
 Fabric Used year to Date: 27.75 yards
 Added this Week: 4.5 yards Added Year to Date: 91.25 yards
Net Added for 2012: 63.5 yards

I still haven't decided how to fit it into the weekly report, but this week I've tossed fifty yards of stuff that can't even pretend to be cotton.

To see more stash reports, visit Patchwork Times.

Friday, April 20, 2012

today's sewing room update

What is it about April? Is this the month the Mayan calender ran out, or something? The log-in screen I use for my email is vanishing -- and the new one rarely works on the first or second try... Blogger has a new interface that's giving me fits... Google Analytics has changed... And I am not in the mood to figure out new things right now!

Dinner -- a pot of something loosely based on Short Attention Span Girl's Chicken Jambalaya recipe -- is simmering on the stove and I've done today's hour in the sewing room. Two hours, because I'm without a car and didn't get to, have to, or want to run any errands today.

The corner where the steamer trunk sits is clean. Of course, now I'm piling things in it while I work my way through the rest of the room...but at least I know what's there now. Once I get done with the sorting and flinging, I'll decide where things actually belong. After today's progress, I'm feeling so much better about the sewing room that I'd still be up there now, if I didn't have to keep an eye on dinner.

I've been doing the kind of flinging you're not supposed to do, tossing out hand knits. But I made 'em, I don't like 'em, and there are others I'm keeping.

This one, I'm debating about --

Until I found it in a box, I didn't even remember that I'd stitched it for my little girl who stained it the first time she wore it. I will never, ever be one of those moms who re-sells her children's clothing on ebay for more than she originally paid for them. I was going to toss it, then I decided to hang it in the steamer trunk for a while before I decide whether or not to take another crack at that spot.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Can I take a nap now?

I've been out in the sewing room again this afternoon, moving and sorting and tossing, following my own version of the schedule that Jane suggested. Can it be bedtime yet? Not for the kids -- just for me.

I tossed 25 yards of not-suitable-for-quilting fabric today, threw out a large box of junk, and broke down and tossed a bunch of other old boxes... That bag of green fabric that I knew I'd find as soon as I finished Quinn's green quilt? Found it!

Mary and Bea both asked me to post pictures of my sewing room cleanup. This is as brave as I can get --

The L-shaped built in table under all of the stuff was installed by the last owner of the house. It's an awkward shape and takes up a lot of the room, so I've started to wonder if I should ask hubby to rip it out at some point. But I've got a lot of work to do in there before that decision gets made.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

it's never going to look like this again

And, to be honest, I don't think I'd want it to. Where's the fabric? The yarn? (It must've been hiding behind my back when I took the picture, but that does not look like a sewing room. And when I took this, it'd been my sewing room for almost a year.)

I'm not brave enough to show you a picture of what it looks like right now, but it's better than it was before I spent an hour this morning sorting through the mess.

Teresa over at Fabric Therapy has done a series of four posts about how she keeps her amazing sewing room organized. THIS is the kind of sewing room I drool over.

And there's a great discussion on the stashbusters list right now about how to tackle sewing rooms. It's got me feeling motivated enough to tackle my own. The timing couldn't be better -- Between my abscessed tooth and those stupid bees, I'm already so cranky that the mess can't make me feel any worse.

I proved that this morning when I looked up and saw that the ceiling has a water stain. I can't tell you how glad I am that I found the problem before anything got wet. It can be fixed. Or things can be moved.

Maybe after a couple more hours, I'll be able to post a picture or two.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

We've had so much fun this week I can barely stand it!

A year later, I'm still grateful to an acquaintance who described coping with bad luck as "finding new ways to have fun." That makes me feel so much better than hearing that things could be worse. I know they could be and I'm very grateful that they aren't.

But I've had so much fun this week I can barely stand it!

After we got the new bees installed, we discovered that there's a reason they look and act different than last year's bees. They're not the type we paid for. And they're already in our hives, so there's not much we can do about it at this point except hope they settle down.

Did you know that if you get multiple honeybee stings it can make you feel like you've got a mild case of the flu? That's according to the bee forums and explains exactly how my husband and I have both felt for the past two days. But that's not the REALLY fun part...

With stings to the scalp, the fluid has to drain somewhere...and the path of least resistance is the skin above the eyes. Which makes me look like I've got prosthetic alien makeup on. I'm not posting a picture of this, but trust me -- it looks freakish.

I can't tell you how glad I am to be a stay at home mom right now and not have any obligations to go out in public where I'd have to try and explain this!

I think the nice, very knowledgable lady at poison control said this was normal and it might take a week for the swelling to go down. I'm hoping I remember that part wrong because when I called and talked to her last night I was more concerned about whether or not I needed to call my husband to come home from work and drive me to the emergency room.

No stash report this week because I've been having too much fun to buy fabric or quilt! I am linking this post to Finding the Funny over at My Life and Kids, because all I can do at this point is laugh at the situation.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Today is Bee Day. Last year, Bee Day went very smoothly and we got our package of bees installed with no stings.

I had a post all written in my head about how transferring the bees from their boxes into the hives isn't nearly as scary at it sounds. But this year's bees aren't nearly as friendly as the bees we got last year. In hindsight, that sting I got two weeks ago was nothing.

I think hubby got stung three times. I'm not sure about myself, since all of my stings are under my hair and fairly close together. I'm guessing at least four, maybe five or six.

I'm definitely getting my own bee suit. And I may just wear it every time I go out to the yard.

So... what's your favorite bee sting remedy that can be used through long hair?

This post is linked to Farm Girl Friday at Deborah Jean's Dandelion House.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Happiness is a place between too little and too much ... That's the quote on the bookmark that I started cross stitching this afternoon. I couldn't agree with it more. As long as I get to decide for myself how much is too much.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

just like in the books

My childhood was full of books, and the books I read when I was little were full of children who found cocoons and waited for the butterflies to emerge...or chased fireflies...or kept tadpoles in a jar to watch them turn into frogs.

I didn't get to do those things as a child.

There aren't any fireflies in Oregon. I did find a monarch caterpillar once as a kid, on the weeds between our house and the neighbor's, but I don't think I've seen one since. I never got to keep tadpoles in a jar.

Which is probably why I'm a little giddy about this --

See that clear bulgy thing in the middle? Hubby, who knows these things, tells me it's a frog mass. And it's in my very own yard!

The pond is full of frogs, which we hear but rarely see. (The only thing I liked about the old washing machine was that when it beeped that the load was done, a frog would sometimes answer it.)

I'm trying to decide whether to leave the frog mass where it is, or see if Alex wants to clean out her old aquarium and bring them inside. I'd like to let them be, but they're in a part of the yard that isn't supposed to have water, so if things start to dry out too much we'll probably move them or bring them in.

I love living in the country.

This post is linked to Works for me Wednesday at We are THAT family.

Monday, April 09, 2012

What's on YOUR bed?

Bonnie is hosting a spur of the moment What's on YOUR Bed? linky party.

Grandma's Donuts has been on my bed since the last time the power went out and took the heat with it. It's not big enough to cover the whole bed, because that was never its purpose. But it layers nicely over our regular down comforter.

I absolutely love having this quilt on our bed. The flannel backing (which started life as a thrift store sheet) is extra snuggly. And, as an added bonus, having it in our room protects it from my boys.

Design Wall Monday -- a tiny peek

I can't show this one off until it's done, which is kind of a shame because I'd love to tell you all about it. I'm using Jelly Roll strips that I cut in half lengthwise, which is a whole new experience. They're very narrow, and they've got that pinked edge...but it's all working out just fine.

There's a lot of not-quilting stuff going on around here. We had to switch the layers of the bee hive yesterday, moving the bottom box to the top to keep them from swarming. Or something like that -- I'm not the bee expert. (The bugs are still kind of cranky, so I didn't get too close.)

"Bee Day" -- when we go pick up three new packages of bees -- is on Friday. Cross your fingers for nice weather!

To check out more design walls, visit Judy at Patchwork Times.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

more die cut shapes

I really like playing with die cuts and for a while now I've been trying to justify the purchase of a Sizzix. Go check out what Connie has been doing with hers over at Quilting by the River and you'll see why. If I didn't already own the Go! I wouldn't have to justify it -- but if I didn't have the Go! I wouldn't know how much I love playing with these things. It's a vicious cycle.

The Sizzix has smaller dies that are much less expensive, and -- unlike the Go! dies -- can be bought with 40% off coupons at Joanns. Which makes them about twelve bucks a piece. They've also got dies to cut gears and keys and locks and a bunch of other things that make my heart to pitty pat. I've got a sudden need to make a whole quilt covered in applique gears.

I got some money for my birthday, which was very quickly converted into a Sizzix Big Shot and four dies.

I spent two days trying to work up the nerve to take it out of the packaging and assemble it. After just about destroying a pair of my sons' craft scissors trying to get through the heavy plastic, I found the neat perforated hatch on the bottom of the packaging. It peels right off.

Putting the handle on was no problem at all. Have I mentioned that I hate hate hate assembling things? There's one screw, and they include the little wrenchie thing.

This intimidating thing is a multipurpose platform? I don't need it for the dies I bought. But I will need to figure it out, because now I want to emboss things.

The Sizzix uses two clear plastic cutting pads. One goes under the die, then you stack the die, the fabric, and the second cutting pad.

In addition to the cute little shapes, Sizzix has some quilting dies that I'm drooling over. Look at the bottle shape. I saw a bottle quilt in a book several years ago and it's been on my quilty bucket list ever since. There's also a 4 1/4" Robbing Peter to Pay Paul.

So far, I'm absolutely in love.

Weekly Stash Report

I still can't decide how I want to to count sheets. I added five to my stash this week, to be used for sashings and bindings. So I guess that means I've got to count it as yardage in, right?

Fabric Used this Week: 1/4 yard
Fabric Used year to Date: 27.75 yards
Added this Week: 20 yards (sheets)
Added Year to Date: 86.75 yards
Net Added for 2012: 39 yards

To see more weekly stash reports, click over to Patchwork Times.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

estate sales

After reading American Pickers Guide to Picking this week, I totally want to be a picker when my kids grow up.

I've mentioned that I love estate sales, right? Especially the ones that fill the entire house, the ones where someone took a roll of masking tape and slapped prices on everything that didn't actually move out of the way.

Does anyone actually buy spices and groceries from estate sales? I'm not talking old vintage boxes -- I'm talking about the stuff they just pulled out of the kitchen cupboards. More often than that, I see half used cleaning supplies.

The kids and I found two estate sales on Friday. At the first one, which was in a newer mobile home, I drooled over Bakelite radios and old advertising calenders and a 1957 map of Disneyland. I just did a Swag Bucks search to get an idea if it was as overpriced as I think it was and couldn't fine another one like it -- but I did find a You Tube video of Disneyland taken in 1957. It's worth watching just for the strollers near the end.

I really want to take the kiddos to Disneyland, or at least spend an afternoon watching old videos on You Tube. Which I might like better, since some of my favorite rides aren't actually there anymore.

At the second sale, I found a treasure I didn't know I needed --

I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with them, but for a buck, I couldn't leave without at least a few of them. If I'd realized that one had an ad for a casino on the back, I'd have looked at the rest more carefully.

All I brought home were the keys and a handful of vintage pillowcases, but we had plenty of fun just looking at old stuff.

This post is linked to Time Travel Thursday, Ivy & Elephants & Vintage Thingie Thursday.

Friday, April 06, 2012

my first mug rug

I think I must be the last quilter out there to jump on the mug rug bandwagon -- kinda silly, since I've been setting my drinks on a folded piece of baby flannel for the past few months.

It was a quick project. I pulled some strips from my box of 1 1/2" neutrals and sewed them together for the background, then added a die cut leaf.

I'm not loving the binding, which was left over from my February Quilt Along Square. It was narrower than I usually use, because that's what the quilt square pattern called for. Next time I'll use 2 1/2" binding and see if I like the results better.

This post is linked to finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

a trip to the thrift store

Sure, I can drive 200 miles to go pick up new hives for the bees! Doing that takes me close to some of my favorite thrift stores.

Mom and Grandma and I have been going to this one for at least thirty years. It's where we found our interesting hunk of lava last summer -- when we stopped on the way back from getting wax frames for the bees.

Even when I was a little girl, it's always felt like the roof of this place was going to fall in on us. But we've found some really neat stuff there. This time, the prices were stupidly high ($6.00 for a bag with half a dozen empty wooden spools?!) All I brought home was a handful of old children's books and two sheets for quilt backs. But it was still fun to revisit one of our favorite old haunts and prowl around the building looking for treasure.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Quilt Square Quilt Along

If I want to order the next pattern for the quilt along, I've got to finish my squares on time. That's my deal with myself. And even though Jo was nice enough to give us four extra days, I stuck with my own rules..

There are only fifteen different fabrics in this one. Compared to last month, this was EASY. Laying out the stars is easy enough, but sewing the rows together right is a bit of a puzzle, and probably not something to do when a teenage girl is gushing about the cool Disney pictures she just found on Pinterest. They were really neat Disney princess picture, but's a miracle I don't sew my own finger more often!

This post is linked to the Quilt Square Quilt Along linky party at

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Quilt Blocks Around the World

C&T Publishing provided me with a PDF review copy of Debra Gabel's new book Quilt Blocks Around the World: 50 Applique Patterns for International Cities & More: Mix & Match to Create Lasting Memories.

The more I browse through this book, the more I like it. The fifty blocks depict a wide variety of destinations and the author includes suggestions for mixing and matching elements to customize your quilted travels. The gallery section shows the blocks incorporated into quilts, wall hangings, and tote bags. There's a lot that can be done with these patterns.

The six inch patterns can be used as-is or enlarged from the book on a color copy machine or with the enclosed CD. (The author strongly suggests enlarging them to at least eight inches.)

Although my own world travel has been limited, I'd love to enlarge one of the blocks for a tote bag or the center of a medallion quilt.

All pictures in this post were provided by Debra Gabel.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Design Wall Monday - Extra Scrappy Pinwheels

I gave away the first Extra Scrappy Pinwheels quilt after reading this post, by Diane at Dew Quilting. There wasn't enough time right then to make a second quilt, and I had plenty of red triangles, so I told myself that I'd make my own quilt later.

And I did get all of the red and white triangles assembled into pinwheels and borders before I realized that I hadn't set aside enough white border strips and had probably used up the rest of that white fabric in other projects.

Last week, I found what was left of the white mystery thing. When I bought it at an estate sale, I thought it was folded white muslin. When I got it home, the white muslin turned out to be an unfinished garment. I'm guessing it was a baptism robe (and I don't feel sacrilegious for using it, because is was obviously never finished and used).

There was more than enough for the border strips I needed, but now that I've got the top done, I have no clue where I put my backing fabric. Otherwise the whole quilt would be done by now. And thank goodness it isn't, because I just proofread this post and saw that one of my borders is going the wrong way!

There's a free tutorial for Extra Scrappy Pinwheels. I did a slightly different outer border for the second one, but it uses the same number of triangles. To check out more design walls, visit Judy at Patchwork Times.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

I got stung

The stream is rising again, so we (meaning my husband) had to move the bee hive to higher ground. Then we had to get some sugar water into the feeder because, I'm told, winter is over and the poor darling little bugs are hungry by now...

The poor darling little bugs are also extremely ticked off that their hive was moved. My husband and I both got stung. Only once each, but DANG that hurts! It's my first sting since we got the bees last year and I'm being an incredible baby about it. I'm also slightly rethinking my offer to go pick up the three boxes of new bees if he has to work on Bee Day. Or would be if he wasn't currently figuring out how to install our new garbage disposal.

Weekly Stash Report

I'm counting the fabric I used on the pastel hearts baby quilt, and reporting the nine yards I got for my birthday.

Fabric Used this Week: 1.75 yard
Fabric Used year to Date: 27.5 yards
Added this Week: 9 yards
Added Year to Date: 66.75 yards
Net Added for 2012: 39.25 yards

To see more weekly stash reports, click over to Patchwork Times.


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