Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

There is only 6 hours left of 2009. I think time accelerates with each passing year. There was much to be thankful for in 2009. For me it will always be remembered as the year of Leah Grace's short little life. That makes it harder to leave this year behind but I do look forward to 2010 with all of it's unknowns. There will be quilts to finish, new ones to start, new quilting friends to meet -- it should be an exciting year. Here's wishing happy new year to everyone who reads this blog.

The photos are the quilt I made for my daughter-in-law for Christmas and my sister's table topper that I absolutely love.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Planning for the new year

I love the break between Christmas and the New Year. The busyness is basically over. Sure there's the clean up from Christmas but the pressure is off. So it's time to think about a new year. I like to plan, make goals, compile a few lists, etc. I have to see things checked off in order to feel the sense of accomplishment. My lists will be projects to complete, financial planning/goals for my business, family projects, personal goals and things I hope to accomplish around my home. This year is exciting because it looks the kitchen and dining room will get a mini-make over. It would be nice to do something major but finances won't permit that. New floors are going in and hopefully that will be followed by a little rearranging of the dining room and new countertops. That's very exciting to look forward to. The flooring already sits in boxes piled up downstairs. It helps to have a son-in-law in the flooring business. I'll post pictures as this starts to turn into reality.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Winners of the Give Away

There were three gifts given away through a drawing at my open house. The winners are (drum roll): Cindy, Marcia and Janice!!! Congratulations

Open House Event

Yesterday was so fun at my open house. About 25 came and visited, had coffee or tea, ate a bowl of soup, wandered around my house and just had a great relaxing time together. I enjoyed it so much. My two daughters and son-in-law worked the espresso machine. The coffees and chai teas were absolutely amazing. It really helps to have a daughter who works at Starbucks and also owns her own fabulous espresso maker. My granddaughter came over too and I was able to give her the Christmas quilt that I had finished for her. It had machine embroidered pictures of the nativity story in each block. I traded a customer work for the embroidered blocks. It was great to see lots of quilt customers and friends drop in and celebrate Christmas with me.

The open house turned out so well that I think it will become an annual event.

The photo is of my quilt studio tree -- all decked out with spools of thread, buttons and measuring tape for the garland.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Give Away at the Open House

I can't resist making Christmas things. Yesterday I decided to get into my Christmas fabric and have some fun. I made pillows, new bed shams, a covering for my cedar chest, a new Christmas wallhanging (from a panel), new pillowcases and the tops for 4 quilted pillows. One of the snowman pillows will be given away at my open house on Thursday. In order to win you must come! I know that's bribery but it's the easiest way and lots of fun to make things to give away. I'm also giving away a Christmas apron.

Particulars on the open house: Thursday, December 17 from 10:00 - 1:00. Callie will be our Starbucks barista and serving whatever kind of fancy coffee drink you want. My address is 20578 SW Colville Ct., Tualatin, OR

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


You are all invited to a Christmas Open House, Thursday, December 17 from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00. There will be tea and coffee (made by my own personal Starbucks Barista - Callie) and other goodies. Tour my home and quilt studio, view lots of quilts and enjoy a festive time with friends. Drop in for 15 minutes or a couple hours and celebrate this season with me.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Marathon Quilting

How many quilts can a quilter quilt in one day? That's almost a tongue twister and it certainly was a challenge. On Sunday I had 7 quilts still to do before a Christmas break from quilting. I decided Sunday night to try and do them all on Monday! Now granted none of them were big and in fact two were just table runners. The time it takes to pin on is always a sizeable chunk of time so trying to do 7 seemed almost impossible. But I was up for a challenge. I pinned the first quilt on Sunday evening (that probably is a little cheating)! I was up at 6:00 a.m. and in my studio by 6:30. By noon I was on my 4th quilt. I took an hour break for lunch and then a 2 hour break around dinner time. My last stitch was put in about 9:30 p.m. 7 quilts, one day, sore hands and back, but feeling great with this accomplishment.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A diversion from cooking and cleaning

Lots of relatives are arriving later tonight. Tomorrow there will be 20 people at our Thanksgiving meal. So that meant a lot of preparation today. I cleaned bathroom, bedrooms, kitchen, the studio and I baked. It would have seemed like one very long day of not the most pleasant tasks, except that I took time out this morning to arrange a Thanksgiving decoration on our mantel. It was fun and turned out better than I even imagined. I took my small pumpkins and gourds and coated them with glue and then sprinkled glitter on top. Lights were laid down on the mantel first, then moss, then the pumpkins. Next the letters were suspended from the edge and last rafia and rose hips that were recently cut from my garden were added. I love the way it looks. It is truly one of many things to give thanks for!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Last Quilts

I finished up my quilting this morning. Right now I only have two quilts in my studio that are customer quilts. They should get done sometime in December but I'm into working on lots of my own projects right now. Today after finishing the customer work and delivering the quilts (yes I do sometimes deliver), I worked on a wallhanging, made two pair of flannel pajamas for my son, and loaded a quilt for my daughter-in-law on the longarm. It felt good to be free of the pressure of having to get quilts for customers done. I can play this week. I also have to get ready for a whole lot of relatives to arrive on Wednesday, but they are some of the easiest people to have around so there's no stress. It's time for me to create a few new things, make some Christmas gifts and enjoy many of the other fine things of home. I'll post pictures of what I'm doing.
Here's a couple customer quilts that were just finished.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Last Minute Gift

Last night before I went to bed I thought I should bring a gift for two friends who I am meeting for lunch today. I decided to make two table runners. My machine was empty, I had a couple stacks of the 5 inch squares and the morning free. Up and in the studio by 7:30 I started. By 9:30 I had the table runners done and on the machine. They were quilted in about 45 minutes and then the binding was put on and stitched down by machine. I am done with 20 minutes to go until I have to leave for lunch. That's what I call a perfect last minute gift!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cats and Quilting

We lost one of our cats this summer. He probably was injured and disappeared, but we never found him. It was really hard for me because he was a favorite. Even though his name was Data, most often we just called him 'boy'. When I was working around the house he often found a place to sleep close by. He was always interested in what I was doing. So the loss of boy was really hard.

In January a new kitty adopted our family. I just found him in the garage one day and he decided to stay. He obviously had not been fed as he was skin and bones, but he seemed really friendly. We tried to find a new home for him but after several tries on Craig's List and asking around, it was decided that our home would be his new home. So we named him, New Kitty. It's interesting that since losing boy, new kitty has kind of taken his place. He now follows me around and often sleeps where I'm working. If I lay out a quilt on the floor, he immediately comes and sits in the middle of it (why do cats do that?). I'm glad to always have a cat around while quilting. I've renamed him Buster but the rest of the family still calls him new kitty.

Christmas Quilts

I've already completed a few Christmas quilts for customers. They are always some of my favorites to work on. I love Christmas so it's only natural to be drawn to Christmas quilts. I'm working on 3 Christmas wall hangings and have a pattern bought for a new Christmas quilt for our bed -- next years project. Here's a few photos.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Our World Traveler Returns

Charissa comes home today. Almost eight months of traveling, first to Hawaii (you could hardly call that a difficult place to be), then Panama, South Africa, last of all England and now today she flies home. We all can't wait to see her! There is so much excitement here today. I want to clean everything, bake 20 things, and get to the airport. The kids didn't want to go to school today or tomorrow (but I made them). We all plan to trek out to the airport just before midnight, coffee in hand and meet her plane. Who cares if we're a little sleep deprived tomorrow, Charissa will be home!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Four Feathered Friends

Just an update on how big my chickens have gotten. They are beauties! No eggs yet, but hopefully soon we'll celebrate our first brown egg.

Another beautiful quilt

There are some customer quilts that I say, "I really want to make that quilt". This is one of them. I love the color and the way it's blended in the blocks. The red backgroud fabric would be perfect in my home. When this quilt is picked up I must find out where the pattern came from. It definitely will go on that list that's rather long of quilts I hope to make someday!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Much Neater Studio

I finally finished reorganizing my studio this morning. Some things did get tossed out! The funest part was making a little antique vignette on top of my new shelves. The green singer sewing machine was purchased at a garage sale years ago for $5.00. It does work. The little pink child's sewing machine was one my girls spent hours stitching paper on! I've been collecting antique apron patterns so a newly covered bulletin board displays some of my finds. Someday I hope to have a comfortable chair in this corner for curling up with a magazine or book. I feel so blessed to have such a great studio. I'm hoping to have an open house for my studio sometime before the end of the year.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Mess I'm Working On

I worked for several hours yesterday on cleaning up and rearranging some things in my studio. Since I need to get back to quilting for customers by tomorrow I only have today to finish. There's really too much stuff to get it all put away orderly, but I'm doing my best to sort, put some in the shed, throw some out (but not much) and get it neatly on shelves. I bought a new shelf unit on clearance and got a great deal on it. That should help clear up a little clutter and since it's the same as the one I already own they can be stacked together. So my afternoon will be filled with work -- but a pleasant kind of work. Who knows, I may discover another unfinished project that had been totally forgotten!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Quilting Studio

I have a beautiful studio to work in. There are five windows that face east and north. It's wonderful to look out into our secluded backyard and see my garden, the chicken coop (with my 4 feathered friends pecking around in there) and the deck and patio. The lighting is perfect most days and having a space almost the size of a double garage is a dream. My longarm is not the only occupant but there is my sewing center and then 3 cabinets for storage of sewing paraphenilia. One corner has a bookcase filled with books on quilting and sewing. Even with all that space I have a storage problem. Right now one corner is filled with bins, bolts of fabric and batting leftovers. The room has a large walk-in closet but at present it's filled with my daughter's things. Just today my husband cleaned out another area in my old studio and brought in 3 more bags of stuff! What am I to do? He says throw it out! Some things I can part with easily but sewing/quilting stuff is not one of them. A person never knows when they'll need a certain button, a little bit of a certain color of fabric, a pattern from an old magazine, etc. I have about 10 days until my oldest daughter arrives home and will need to access her closet (in my studio). So I have until then to get this figured out.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Latest Project

Feathers are beautiful on quilts and I just learned a new way of doing feathers. I have two other methods to make feathers but this is probably the most beautiful. So the last customer quilt had feathers (the white embroidered quilt in the photos) and now my red days of the week quilt is filled with feathers. I think it's good to know lots of ways to make designs. It's important to be so familiar with each design that you can execute it from any direction and without hardly even thinking. Skill in anything takes time, but I find that because I've been at this for almost 10 years now it easier to execute difficult designs without so much practice. The learning curve for these feathers was really short. I spent about 5 minutes with them on paper and then proceeded to stitch them on quilts. This days of the week quilt will be a favorite. I've always liked this verse, though rarely followed it's advice. My best days according to this plan will always be Wednesday (though Sundays are great too -- if I can find time to rest).

"Wash on Monday, Iron on Tuesday, Sew on Wednesday, Shop on Thursday, Clean on Friday, Bake on Saturday and Rest on Sunday."

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Basket Quilt

These basket blocks took me about a year to applique. I love applique work but never have alot of time to do it. So finishing these blocks was a major accomplishment. I actually finished them about a year ago and when I was looking for projects to take on my quilt retreat, discovered them in a projects bin. What a delightful find! The fabric was all there too, for borders and sashing. So before I left for retreat I got everything cut and then it took quite a few hours to get this quilt top put together. The colors are some of my favorites. When this quilt gets done it will go into the rotation of quilts that I hang behind my sofa in the living room.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Quilt Retreats

The days of the week project and the basic food groups for quilt retreat!

I'm back from 6 glorious days of quilting!! To say it was great is an understatement. I brought my laptop with me but due to the way my sister's internet is set up and being out in the country I did not have access to my blog. My desire was to update and post pictures all through this adventure but you'll have to settle for a summary and a handful of pictures. Two quilt tops were completed on this trip, a table runner got it's binding done and another quilt had almost all the blocks pieced. That was pretty amazing accomplishment. We watched a 8 hour BBC movie, Bleak House, and visited the Spokane Quilt Show. The quilt show was wonderful. I don't think I have ever seen so many beautiful appliqued quilts all in one building. The Buggy Barn (a quilt shop) put on a class on applique which I attended. I also watched a video on a new technique for doing feathers (new to me). This morning I practiced on paper for a little while and then proceeded to do an entire border with the new way of doing feathers -- I liked it. I'll post pictures of that quilt as it gets further along. I could wish that quilt retreats came along more often, but maybe having them only once a year makes it extra special.

Monday, October 12, 2009


The last of my garden produce is in. It was the carrots. I planted three short rows of carrots and then let some tomato plants grow up around them. The tomatoes looked like they had smothered the carrots. When the tomatoes were pulled out last weekend I could see lots of carrot tops. So today I got them all out of the garden. It was a pleasant surprise to see how well they had grown. Of course, there's always the mutant carrots. Those that seem to take on some alien shape or often remind me of some body part! I washed them all up, dried them on the counter and then put them in plastic bags in the garage refrigerator. They should last for months in the cool temperature. Some will probably be canned next week. I love to can just about anything so I can't resist canning a few of them. If nothing else the beauty of orange carrots in jars adds to the colors already on my pantry shelves.

I have enjoyed gardening more this year than any year. Hours were spent planning, cultivating, pulling weeds and harvesting more than ever before. The best part was that almost nothing went to waste. I canned over 200 different jars of produce. Come winter there will be much satisfaction from opening what has been home grown.

Quilt Retreats

I leave on a quilt retreat in two days! I'm so excited! This will be the 12th year of my doing this quilt retreat. This year the retreat is in Spokane at my sister's home. There is a quilt show going on in Spokane this weekend so we will be enjoying that too. Retreats are such a great time to get marathon quilting done. We sew all day, stay up late, get up early and hopefully accomplish a lot. Some years I've put together a couple quilts. I always have hopes of doing a lot and bring way more than is feasible to get done in a few days. But one never knows when one project will get boring and there will be a need to start something new. Isn't that why we end up with dozens of unfinished projects?

When I went looking for projects to do on this retreat last week, I came across a couple projects that I had totally forgotten about. They are projects that are almost complete. Both involved massive amounts of handwork and that part is done. They just need sashing and borders added. I'm very excited to finish these, so that will be my first items on the agenda. Then if there is still time I will start a new jelly roll quilt. I will take along hand work too. We always plan movie time where we sit and do handwork. I have a table runner that needs a binding handstitched down and I have my brown and tan quilt that still has lots of leaves to applique on the border. Hopefully I can post pictures on the laptop while I'm on the retreat.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Recent Customer Quilts

I usually do 1 - 3 quilts a week, depending on the size and time involved. When I first began my business (almost 10 years ago) I took pictures of every quilt. Then as the pictures started to pile up, I only took pictures of those quilts that were unique in some way. This last year I've started taking pictures again of almost all quilting done for customers. It's easy when it's all digital now and they can be downloaded and sorted online. So here's a few photos of recent quilts.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Update on the Tomato Experiment

It's now been over a week since I started the tomato experiment. There are about 40 ripe tomatoes sitting on my counter or window ledge. I have had to throw about 5 or 6 away that were too rotten to use. So what's been the best way to get them ripe? By a wide margin it's the paper bags with two apples in each. The bin with no apples and just left open is where most of the rotten tomatoes have come from. The box with the tomatoes individually wrapped in newspaper still have not produced a red tomato. I have no idea why a paper bag with an apple or two in it is working. If anyone knows, please leave a comment. I'm just happy to get ripe tomatoes. Tomorrow I will make spaghetti sauce and can it.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Science Experiment

I have about 100 green tomatoes that I got out of my garden a couple days ago. It's turning much colder here and I didn't want them to rot or split from the rain. So I went out and picked them all. Then I went online to figure out how to best ripen them. Unfortunately I should have read before I picked them, since I found out that one of the best ways to get vine ripe tomatoes after the season turns cool, it to pull up the whole plant, roots and all and hang it upside down in your garage. The tomatoes will ripen right on the plants. For me, though, that may have caused a bit of a problem since I was collecting tomatoes from 8 plants and my husband may not have been too appreciative about the jungle that would have created in the garage!

Two other methods could be tried. Wrapping the tomatoes individually in newspaper and then placing them in a box (only two layers deep) with an apple placed with them. The other is to place the tomaotes in a paper bag with an apple and then fold down the bag and let them ripen. So my scientific mind (and that's a joke) wanted to see what the better method would be. I've placed tomatoes in a bag and in boxes, both wrapped and unwrapped with apples. I have one bag of tomatoes without the apple. Some are just on the window ledge and another dozen or so are in a bin with no apple and not covered. I'll check them every day and see the results. So stay posted!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Favorite Season

Fall is my favorite season. I love the cool crisp days yet still plenty of sunshine. The colors are also my favorite -- reds, golds, oranges. I love fall activities. Most of my canning is done in late summer and through the fall. There's football, raking leaves, cleaning out the garden. It's moving from outdoors to indoors, from hot weather to cool weather, from picnics to Thanksgiving. Speaking of Thanksgiving, it's also my favorite holiday. That may be partly due to the house full of relatives we usually have here but again, it's the colors and food that also make it a great occasion. Some of my favorite quilts are also my fall quilts so I look forward to getting those up on my walls. I'm posting a few photos of what is currently up in my living room as well as some of my other fall decorations.

Another fun part of fall is changing the valances over my windows. I don't remember where I got the idea of hanging three 20" squares on rods over my windows but it's been one of the best decorating ideas. A 20" square is about the size of a cloth napkin so you don't even have to sew these. I have many of these so that I can change the look of what is over my window frequently. These are my fall valances. I have valances for Christmas (red and green), valances for January (with snowflakes on them), valances for February (with hearts) and then several others for whatever mood my living room seems to be in! But fall is definitely my favorite.