A Dog and Roses

As mentioned before, one of the questions I get asked most often by those who visit is, “What are you working on?” I never have anything large to show off, but I can manage a small something every now and then. My latest small something is a mug rug with Wilson on it. Wilson is a real dog owned by the pattern designer, Cindy Staub. In a recent blog post she revealed that Wilson has gone blind. You can read about him here. I had already started working on Wilson when the post was published and was just waiting on a new bolt of fabric to come in that I wanted to use for the binding. Of course, it took me a week after it was delivered to get around to cutting it and sewing it into place. You know how that is…
If you would like to make a mug rug with Wilson on it, I’ve made up a few kits which include the already cut binding. All you have to add is your favorite fusible web and a little bit of batting. This is a quilt-as-you-go project so once you have the appliqué stitched in place all you have left to do is bind it. I use rayon thread matched to the colour of each fabric piece when doing my machine appliqué because I like the look I get. I’m not big into the heavy folk art look which is why I don’t use black thread or floss on everything. The bonus to using matching rayon thread is that it tends to hid any bloopers I might make along the way. If I used black, those bloopers would stick out like a sore thumb, and I’d have to re-do the offensive area which would add the expenditure of extra time and energy to my project. Given that I have little of either I don’t want to take a chance by using a contrasting thread. I use regular silk-finish in the bobbin to match my backing fabric.

If you like handwork, you can easily do this design by hand as well. All you have to do is decide whether or not you want to go through all three layers like Victoria does when she’s doing her embroidery work, or just through the top layer and quilt the project once the top is finished. I think it would look just as good done by hand as by machine to be quite honest with you. Plus, you’d have the added bonus of portability since it’s only about 7-1/2″x10-1/2″ overall.

I’ve really gotten kind of hooked on mug rugs. I think because I like small quilting projects to begin with. When you add the fact that mug rugs are useful as well as decorative it just turns in to a win-win situation. If you’re looking for a small project to give someone as a gift you can’t go too wrong with a mug rug, a great mug that fits the recipient’s personality (look at TJMaxx, Home Goods, or Marshall’s for these), and some coffee or tea (which you can find there as well) depending on their preference.

Speaking of handwork, if you enjoy it as much as we do you need to go to Jenny’s blog and sign up to get her newsletter right this minute. Starting Friday, and I think she’s a day ahead of us since she’s in Australia, she will have a set of 10 new designs called Rosedaisy Designs to release as a PDF download for $24.95. If you hurry, you can save $5 on these designs. I bought mine yesterday! Starting on June 20 she will share a free tutorial each month for a project that uses one of the 10 blocks. If you want to make the projects, and her projects are always super, you’re going to have to have the patterns. So, go here right this very second, even before you finish reading this post, and get your set of patterns. They’re the first ones on the left that show up. There’s even an 11th pattern that she gives you as a bonus. She’s a very generous and gifted lady. If you don’t already have an account on Craftsy you’ll need to register. Once registered, you can buy her patterns, e-magazine, and even enjoy several freebies in her store as well as others. Like I said though, you need to do it quickly. Come 10:00 a.m. Friday morning, Australian time, those patterns will cost you $5 more. Even so, there are 34 pages to this one pattern set so they’re well worth it!

My last bit of time-sensitive news is for those of us who also enjoy crochet, probably even knitting if I were to take a guess. Don’t ask me how I ended up at this site because I really can’t tell you. I think maybe the good Lord had His hand in guiding me to it, as happens quite often you know. Suffice it to say, I was amazed that this site has information on a need that those of us in this area can relate to. Kristi Simpson of RAKJ Patterns is hosting a chemo cap drive. Go here and scroll down a couple of posts to the one on May 23 (that was my birthday by the way) to read all about it. She wants to gather no less than 550 hats to be given to children who are enduring the painful process of chemo treatments. The drive appears to run from June 1 to July 31 with hats to be delivered at the end of each month to the St. Jude Clinic at Huntsville Hospital in Huntsville, AL. When you sign up to donate hats, you will be sent two patterns that can be used, but as I understand it you can use any pattern that you might already have that would work for children sizes six months to 12 years. The site specifically mentions crocheted hats, but as I said before, I don’t think they would turn down knitted ones if you have some on hand already or can make them quickly. If you live far, far away you can still sign up, get the patterns, make hats, and donate them to your local cancer center. All you have to do is take a photo of your creations and e-mail it to the address given on her site to be included in the count. I’ve already told Victoria to sign herself up as she’s getting pretty good at crocheting. You should see the great pair of slippers she made me. They’re soooo warm…

So get your needles out, and let’s start stitchin’!

Tea for Tuesday

In addition to loving and being addicted to fabric, I have become somewhat addicted to tea as well. It all began when a friend of a friend visited us from England and brought with her a box of PG Tips tea. Up until that point I didn’t care for tea at all and would opt for hot chocolate when we had Sunday afternoon tea with the kids. Maybe it was because the tea we were using was a well-known brand from the grocery store as opposed to a tea of better quality from abroad. Once I tasted the difference, it was ‘Katie bar the door’ from that point on.

My tea stash has grown to the point that I’ve run out of room. Kinda like needing to live another 200 years at least in order to use up all my fabric, I’d have to drink tea all day long to even begin to put a dent in my stash. I’ve discovered certain teas that I really enjoy and others about which I don’t get excited. Sounds just like fabric shopping doesn’t it. There’s always fabrics that you love and others that you can live without.

The thing that often grabs me when it comes to buying tea though is the tins. I used to collect tins once upon a time for the artwork more than the contents, assuming there was anything inside. Sometimes I’d actually put something in the tins after consuming the cookies or chocolate, but more often than not I’d just sit them on the counter or on a shelf and enjoy looking at them. When collecting tins, all that mattered was whether or not I liked the artwork or color. I was not really concerned with its ability to be useful and earn its keep.

So the other day when I actually got to go to Huntsville and had a few minutes to myself in the Home Goods store, I couldn’t help but buy a tin of tea very similar, but still different, than several others that I have. This tin is of an elephant and contains tea by Williamson. The graphics are what caught my attention more than what was inside the tin. That’s because I already have some of the same flavor of tea already in another elephant tin that I couldn’t resist around Christmas time. The draw for me again is the artwork on the tin more so than the contents.
Pink Love Elephant
This particular tin is a limited edition one that was created for a worthy cause, the Breast Cancer Campaign. I found it interesting that on the elephant’s right leg are written the words, “Love conquers all!” You can tell I’ve watched too many movies with the kids when they were younger because the Disney Robin Hood movie came to mind when I saw that. I remembered the chicken saying those very words when Robin and Maid Marion got together. Anyhow, there are other tidbits on this tin, like the words from a Beatles’ song, “all you need is love,” that made this tin one I couldn’t pass up.
Williamson Elephant-Dusk Lilac-Solo
What tea did I have today? I had Duchess Grey from Williamson’s Dusk Lilac elephant tin. You know how much I love the color purple in all shades so finding this tea in a purple elephant meant that it too had to come live with me. Even though I’ve had this tea since Christmas today was the first time I had tried it. The aroma was lovely and the tea was perfect for late afternoon. I drank it from a Wedgwood Romantic England cup with matching saucer and sweetened it just a bit with some of Suzanne’s local honey. Sheer bliss!

There are several tea blogs online and some of them link up with each other to show off lovely table settings, beautiful china, and luscious food. If you’re interested in reading about more tea related things you can start with Rose Chintz Cottage. Miss Sandi is showing off some beautiful china and has several links at the bottom of today’s post that you can visit. I have one of the Royal Albert “Old Country Roses” cup and saucer sets myself and hope to have a whole setting of this china one of these days. I especially NEED the teapot for sure.

If you’re not a tea drinker but would like to give it a try, please feel free to give me a call for my recommendations. Like fabric, I can talk tea probably longer than you want me to so also feel free to tell me to stop if I wear your ears out.
Tea Fix
I’d like to end with this sign I borrowed from the Williamson website. I think it says it all. Agreed?

NOTE: Photos of tins borrowed from the Williamson website because my camera is on the blink.

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