An Answer to a Question

I get asked lots of questions from those who visit us. One of the most often asked questions, second only to, “How old is this house?” and “Do you live upstairs?” by those who are new to the shop, is “What are you working on?”

More often than not I can’t really show what it is I’m working on because a lot of my work is done in my head. I spend a lot of time looking for ideas, patterns, books, notions, etc. to share with you which takes time away from my time to do actual hands on sewing. However, there are just some days that I have to get away from the computer and away from all the websites that I visit looking for “stuff” for you and do some sewing for myself. Of course, when I do sewing I still have to keep in mind that whatever I make has to be something that you too can make because if I take it downstairs to show it off more than likely someone, and hopefully several someones, will want to make the same thing.

This past Monday was one of those days. I’d been working on the newsletter for our local guild (yes, I’m the secretary and I have to put a newsletter out every month which usually takes at least a weeks worth of my time) when I decided that I needed a break. Since the shop was closed on Monday, and since Victoria had visitors of her own from school that she was entertaining which meant we couldn’t do what we’d planned on doing over the holiday, I decided to make a new pattern by Buttermilk Basin that I’d ordered. This is a monthly project that hangs on the new mini-version of Ackfeld’s table top stand.
Sew Simple - Jan
This little quilt measures 6” square and is a great way to use up little bits and pieces of fabric. The binding on this little quilt isn’t what I’d planned on using but was left over from a past project. Since it was long enough to go around the little quilt, I used it. In addition to making the little quilt you can make a 5-1/2” square pincushion if you’d prefer. Being the pincushion fanatic that I seem to be I’m soooooo very tempted to do just that with this pattern. I’m trying hard to tell myself to wait and do the one for February or one of the other months instead. Can I resist?! Only time will tell. If you see me put up a picture of pincushions in the future and one very much resembles this little quilt you’ll know I caved.

When I bought this pattern I had in mind that we would kit it up, but after having made it, and because it is so small, I really think that most folks will want to use up stash scraps. The strips are only 1-1/2” wide and who’s to say that you couldn’t even piece some of the longer sides if you needed to. I think if you kept the color the same, the print fairly similar, and pieced a strip no one would be any the wiser unless they looked really close, or until you pointed it out as we’re so often prone to do. Why do we do that I wonder…

So, there you have it. A small project that was completed in less than a day, used up several scraps without having to cut into a large solid piece, and one that I quilted as I went because I sandwiched the whole thing before I began. I even didSew Simple - Jan the appliqué on the machine right through all three layers. It saved having to use a stabilizer on the snowman which has a very tight stitch around it. I think I might do all of these little patterns the same way. The only thing I haven’t done yet is a little bit of handwork. The snowman needs two arms and three “X”s down his front, the star needs some lines (maybe), and the scarf is supposed to have some little lines to look like fringe. Will I add these? I’m thinking, I’m thinking… With the snowman positioned on the dark side of the log cabin block you can’t really see his arms. If I just happen to do the pincushion, I think I’ll put the snowman on the lighter side, making sure the lights aren’t so light that he gets lost on them, and then add the arms. They, and the scarf, would show up so much better if they were stitched on the light side of the log cabin block.

Another idea that just struck me is this. Since this is a BOM type offering, you could make each little block and then at the end of the year piece them into a small wall hanging doing three blocks across and four down. How about doing three blocks, one on top of each other, to mark a certain season? This would make a long, narrow hanging that would be perfect in those little places like beside a door facing or between windows. If you did that you could do three blocks for spring and then three blocks for summer and put spring on one side and summer on the other. That way it’s reversible and you only have to keep up with two hangings, one for spring/summer and a second one for fall/winter. I really like that idea!

What do you think? I also think this would be a great little gift idea for a secret sister or best friend who you want to do something special for. What about a new bride? Wouldn’t it be a nice gift to give her the frame and the little quilt that matched the month of her wedding as a wedding gift and then on the same day each month thereafter give her the quilt for the next month? Or, if the wedding was very late in the month you could give her the quilt for the upcoming month on her wedding day and save the one for the month of her wedding to give as a first anniversary gift. Who wouldn’t love getting a little gift like that each month!? I would have loved it had someone done that for me at my wedding. I’d still love it if someone were to do that for me. What treasures those 12 little quilts would be. If you could incorporate fabric from any past projects that had been made for her, or fabric from family member’s clothes it would make these little quilts all the more precious. See what I mean about creating in my head!? It’s a constant, never ending sickness I think.

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The Old Dog’s Still Learnin’!

Techno savvy I am not! You’d never guess that my minor in college was Computer Science given the problems I often have with this box of wires. Of course, that was umpteen years ago, and lots of things have changed since then. It was a challenge just to learn how to use my digital camera. I can honestly say that about all I know of how to work it is pushing the button to take the picture and zooming in when the mood strikes me. Oh yes, I do know how to take the photos off the camera once I take them. All those little squiggles, etc. never get used though because I don’t know what they’re supposed to do. Yes, I know I could read the manual, but I don’t know where it is now.

Why do I need to be taking photos? Because we have so many wonderful quilts that walk in our door, that’s why. I just have to have a photo of them! One, because they’re so gorgeous and two, because I want to be able to share them with you. Since I don’t always have my digital camera handy, and Miss Martha makes me have my cell phone tied around my neck at all times, I decided that I’d better learn how to take photos with the phone, but taking photos with my “new” phone, i.e. Victoria’s hand-me-down, has proven to be almost more than my tired old brain can handle. After many tries and many failures, I finally got the taking of the photos down, more or less, but the editing and figuring out how to get them from my camera to this blog was another journey. Holy cow!!!

Victoria had told me that she’d show me how to get the photos from my phone to the computer. So I waited…and waited…and waited…but because she’s been so busy with school it never happened. Then one day a lovely lady, Tina, came to the shop and showed me how to get the photos to my computer by e-mailing them to myself. Who’d of thought it!? Once I’d done that, I was able to edit the photos and can now share with you some of the more recent quilts that we’ve been privileged to see.

First I’ll show you Miss Phyllis’ quilt from our Basket Bounty BOM. Not only did she do a great job on the front of the quilt (left), but you’ve just got to see the back (right)! She designed the back of the quilt by enlarging the center star and one of the basket patterns. This is truly a reversible quilt. Outstanding!

Then there was this cute, cute, cute doggie wall hanging that Deborah brought in. You can’t see it, but there’s bling on that thar quilt! The dog on the upper right hand corner has on a “jeweled” collar. There are a couple of dogs with dog tags as well. I believe one of those tags had belonged to a beloved pet that is no longer with Deborah. What a wonderful way to remember that special little dog.

Last, but not least by any stretch of the imagination, are the two quilts that Sara brought in. Can you say WOW!? The blue quilt was gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. The HST in the border are leftovers that are pieced which means that the coloured section of the HST is made of two fabrics instead of just one. Love it, love it, love it!

As if that wasn’t enough, she also brought in a quilt that she’d made from Kaufman’s Holiday Flourish fabrics (I wasn’t supposed to show her in the photo so don’t tell her you can see her head!). Breathtaking would be a good adjective to use on this one. The photo absolutely does NOT do this quilt the justice it deserves. Can you tell which pattern she used? It’s a very simple pattern but one that allows you to really showcase larger prints. Give up? It’s the Turning Twenty pattern. Can’t believe it can you!? It’s always amazing how quilts from the same pattern but with different fabric choices look nothing alike. It’s for sure my red, white, and blue Turning Twenty top doesn’t look anything like this beauty. And you should have seen those mitered corners! The one on the other corner of the quilt was perfect, absolutely perfectly mitered. Amazing! The quilting on both of Sara’s quilts was done by Pam and she did a super, super job.

The temptation to start making one of my own with my stash of fabric gets greater each time I look at this photo. I might wait though until the new Holiday Flourish comes in…if it does that is. The new fabric group has purple in it. YES! I did say PURPLE! It’s to-die-for gorgeous. See…

So, from now on when you bring in a quilt to show us I will try to get a photo of it to share with those who weren’t fortunate enough to be here when you visited. Don’t be shy! Bring in those wonderful quilts, wallhangings, and even smaller projects. We love to see them ALL!

In case you need something to work on so you’ll have some show ‘n tell, or maybe you just some inspiration in general, we received the latest issue of Quilt Sampler today. You definitely want to get a copy of this bi-annual magazine. It allows you to travel to 10 of the best shops in the country without even leaving your most comfortable chair. Plus, you’ll get 11 great projects to make from your own stash of fabrics. The number of copies I have are limited so don’t delay!

Surprise Times 5!!!

Belle’s done it again! This time she surprised us with five little kittens that are adorable, just like all kittens are supposed to be. As Victoria was heading out the door Sunday afternoon around 4:00 to play at Bridge Street I heard her yell, “Belle has kittens!” She had five little kittens right outside and to the right (as you’re coming in) of the front door. At least she was laying down this time and didn’t have that shell shocked look on her face like she did back in the spring when she had her first batch.

As is par for the course, Victoria had to go on to her gig and Nathanael was left to find a box to put the kittens in and get Belle situated. He’s a good big brother so Belle was fortunate there. They stayed there yesterday, but the door tends to slam shut sometimes so I had the kids move the new family around the corner where they will have a little more peace and quiet. There are two gray kittens, one white and gray spotted one, one black and white, and one that appears to be solid black. I’ve not picked them up yet to check them out completely but at three days old they are so tiny and so cute.

Some of these babies will have to find a new home, Rick has already given the decree. I don’t think there is any amount of eyelash batting that Victoria can do to change his mind this time. She’s going to have to play a lot of gigs to make enough money to have all of her “children” operated on so this will be the last of the kittens…at least for a while anyhow.

The kittens aren’t the only new attraction at the shop, they’re just the sweetest one. Last week we received the latest issue of The Quilt Life, Mary Janes Farm, and the 2012 Patchwork Place Quilt Calendar which includes patterns for each of the quilts featured. Today we received the fall issue of the ever-popular Quilt Sampler magazine. Descriptions of these magazines will be added to the magazine page. If you need me to hold a copy for you just let me know.

Lemon

We also received the remainder of Kaufman’s Urban Zoologie group as well as more of the Fizz group in Lemon, Ice, Chocolate, Raspberry, and Lime. These luscious colors compliment so many of your projects that you’ll want them all. And since I’ve not bought much of late in the black and red category I had to include a couple of selections from their Dress Up group. These would be great additions to your sewing room as curtains, pillows, chair covers, machine covers, you name it. Or, make a great purse and let everyone know that you love to sew, be it quilting or not.

Now, since you’ve been so good at sharing your opinion about the two blocks done in ’30s prints I have another task for you. I would like to know which of the two methods you prefer when it comes to keeping informed about the goings on at the shop between newsletters/updates. Would you prefer this blog, or would you prefer Facebook? I have never played on Facebook so learning how to do so would take a little time, but I have been reading reports that say it is a better method of reaching customers than regular blogs. Do you agree or disagree? If you have an alternative method(s) to these of keeping in the know, what would it be?

Based on the statistics that I’m given regarding this blog, I can see that it has gained readers but nowhere near as many as are on my e-mail listings. Of course, readership goes up after I send out an e-mail update but then falls back down again until the next update goes out. Do you think that’s because I do not post here daily? Would you prefer daily posts to this blog or do you think once a week or so would be sufficient? I ask because I have learned over the years not to assume anything. For example, just because I know what’s in the shop doesn’t mean my customers know what’s in the shop. It’s a rare week when someone doesn’t come in and say, “Oh, I didn’t know you had this!” I’ve had it happen even with items that have been included in the shop newsletters, and by folks who are on our e-mail list no less! I know my newsletters can get long, but are they so long sometimes that folks ignore them or don’t read through them completely? Do you think I need to send them more often so they don’t get so long. What do you think? Yes, I really want to know. I wouldn’t ask otherwise. I’m here to serve you and I will do a much better job of that if I know what your likes and dislikes are. Don’t you agree?

All Tied Up!

Well…I thought I knew which block everyone would like, but boy have I been surprised. The vote for Block A and Block B (see previous post) is all tied up. To untie us, I would have to cast the deciding vote which is counterproductive to the reason why I asked for your opinion in the first place. I don’t want to have to decide between the two blocks because I like them both for different reasons! That means I’m still interested in opinions…lots of them! So, if you’ve already voted then ask your friends and neighbors to throw in their two cents too.

While you’re pondering the blocks here are some new books from
Martingale to occupy your time as well. Make Your Bed by Leslee Evans gives you a great variety of coverings for your bed. They range from traditional to quite modern. Plus, several of the designs are reversible which is a definite plus in my book. Along with the bed runners you can make pillows and shams to match. You can even add pizzazz to your sheets! Best of all, there are styles that will work for the males in your life. Go to www.martingale-pub.com and view the gallery of projects. Then drop in and pick up a copy all your very own.

Then there’s Patchwork-Play Quilts by Lynn Roddy Brown. Those of us who hang on to all those “bonus” half-square triangles, among other parts, need this one. There are 17 designs to work with as well as a bonus design at the back of the book which was actually my favorite. There are no instructions to this one but you could figure it out with a little effort, or use it to come up with something similar but different based on what parts you have leftover from past projects. The more variety you have to work with the better your finished project will be.

Don’t forget that now through the end of September you can get two stamps for every Martingale book you purchase. Be sure to bring your Super Stitcher card with you because after nine stamps you can mail it in for a FREE book of your choice. If you don’t have a card we’ll gladly give you one to get you started on your way to earning that free book. As a hint for which book to choose, the one that I used for Block A and B is a Martingale book. If you want to follow along then you could order it as your freebie. The title is 501 Rotary Cut Blocks but you actually get over 3,000 blocks because each one has multiple sizes. Talk about value!

In addition to the new books we also received three new magazines today and one last Friday. Those have been listed, or will soon be listed, on the magazine page. Quantities are limited so if you see something you want give me a call and I’ll hold a copy for you.

Tomorrow is a big day for the Anderson household. Victoria and Nathanael will be going to UAH for their first day in college. I wish I could say they were excited, but I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I did. Neither of them seem to be looking forward to this new adventure at all. At least Victoria had a little guy who’s older and already been through three years send her an encouraging note. Still, I’m not sure she’s convinced. Times they are a changin’.

New Stuff!

My 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Hardy, would have my hide if she heard me using the word “stuff” to describe something. It was her pet peeve I guess and she used to jump all over us when we said it. You never realize how often you use some words until someone points it out to you. But, since she’s not here to fuss at me I’m going to use it to let you know that we have received more new stuff in the shop.

We have eight new bolts of ’30s prints from RJR’s Everything but the Kitchen Sink group. There are both conversational prints, i.e. Sunbonnet Sue, lions, bunnies, as well as leaves, vines, and flowers. These bolts added to the six we recieved a couple of weeks ago make for a nice new grouping. Saying no to a new 6″ block quilt just got harder when I opened that box.

We have six new Australian magazines as well. Most of these have been added to the Magazine page so you’ll want to take a look there for a brief description and photo of the cover. Choosing which one issue I like best would be a very difficult task, but if I had to do it for money I’d probalby pick the Homespun issue because it has so many great Christmas projects inside. If I could get all my other projects done and out of the way I might just begin on a couple. Knowing me though I doubt they will be ready for hanging this Christmas season. Even if they aren’t, I’ll still have a great time choosing fabrics and creating my own version of what the designer had in mind.

We also received some new Sulky stabilizers should you need them. Since the Homespun issue I just mentioned has redwork and stitchery in some of the projects I will probably be using the Fabri-Solvy stabilizer to run through the printer so I don’t have to draw off the designs. The drawing off part of an embroidery design is what tends to take the longest amount of time and quite frankly is the least fun part of the whole project. Fabri-Solvy takes care of that problem quite nicely.

Then again, I might use the Transfer-Eze since I already have a pack of it sitting beside the printer. It is a similar product and Miss Janice says it is wonderful to work with. After printing the design on either the Fabri-Solvy or Transfer-Eze you just peel off the backing and smooth the design onto your background with your hands, no iron needed. I love it when companies come up with products to make my life easier.

We have several new patterns including two new X-Block patterns that look like they’ll be lots of fun, and easy, to make. There’s a new flag pattern that has instructions for a table runner, placemats, and a wallhanging. These projects would make nice companions to the original flag pattern that we have as well.

The other new X-Block pattern is for a Santa tree skirt or table topper and stocking. This Santa is so cute! I would have never thought of using the X-Block tool to make a Santa. I guess that’s why Patricia is the designer and not me. She does such a great job!

While we’re in the Christmas mode I’ll tell you about a new-for-us book entitled Fa La La La Felt by Amanda Carestio. This book contains 45 holiday decorations from several different designers that can be made by hand, no machine needed. Many are easy enough that children can make them, with or without help depending on age and skill level. My favorite out of the whole book would have to be the pincushion that can be turned into ornaments. Then again, the little Matryoshka dolls call my name because of my Russian daughter. I’m so glad we have a nice selection of wool felt. It looks like I’m just going to have to go shopping in my own store.

Speaking of projects for children, the Doodle Stitching book by Aimee Ray is a perfect place to start a child, or even adult, in the art of embroidery. This edition contains over 400 easy designs as well as a CD with 17 projects. There are diagrams of stitches used, information on getting started, and lots of pictures for those who are visual learners. We have floss and we have hoops if you need them. A BIG thanks to Suzanne for bringing this book to our attention. If you go to www.larkcrafts.com and put “doodle” in the search box you will find a great little free project that will give you an idea of how doable these designs are.

Brooklyn’s Dress by Maw-Bell Designs is another new-for-us pattern that is just so sweet. It comes in sizes 1-3 and gives you three for the price of one. You can have a little puffy sleeved dress, a sleeveless jumper, or put the jumper over the dress and it becomes a pinafore. Too cute!

Another cute pattern for those little ones in your life is [The Little Flower] Pocket Top by Jackie Clark Designs. It fits newborn to 4T and includes a pattern for a cute little purse. Children love hiding things in pockets and dropping things into holes. (I know this because there’s still a drum stick in the base of the Little Tykes basketball goal that Nathanael couldn’t help but drop in there to see where it would go.) This little top uses wide ric-rac, which we have in various colors, for the flower stem but a chenille stem would be cute too. Always dare to make a change or two to any pattern so you can call it your own.

For the older child on your sewing list we have Kyoko by Patty Young for MODKID. With this size 2T-7 pattern you can make a shirt or dress with two sleeve lengths. There are no buttons or zippers to fool with as the obi-style sash holds the top in place. Creating unique designs from this pattern looks like an unending endeavour. I wish there was a pattern for my size. I also wish my size wasn’t so big but that discussion is best left for another day.

The last pattern I’ll tell you about (yes, there are more) is Gabby’s Sleepover Jammies by Izzy & Ivy. These don’t look like any jammies I ever slept in as a child. In fact, this little outfit could be worn any time, day or night. The designer says you could pair leggings with the top and have a perfectly fine outfit for cooler months. Sizes for this pattern are 2-10 so you will get a lot of mileage out of this one.

How’s that for something to keep you busy?! Even though I no longer have a little one to sew for I would love to make some of these cute little outfits. Some ladies have grandmother’s hope chests so if you too would like to make something different for a change why not start a hope chest and fill it with quilts, booties, and little outfits for the children to come. Actually, nothing says you have to know or be related to the person for whom you sew. You can sew just because you enjoy it and then find someone who could benefit from what gives you pleasure. Sharing that pleasure will make the project all the more special.

I know it isn’t inexpensive to buy quality fabrics to work with, and I had a lady tell me once that she wasn’t about to spend money making things for others that weren’t related to her. Personally, I feel that if you enjoy doing something, and have made more items than you’ll ever be able to use or display, why quit making things just because you’ve run out of room at your house. The joy is in the making for sure, but it could also be in the giving. Not everyone can create what you can create, either because they don’t know how or they don’t have the means. Sharing a part of yourself with someone else, regardless of the cost, is one way of leaving a legacy behind…leaving a part of you to continue on long after you are gone. What’s wrong with that?

Ready, Set, Sew!

Now that Farmer’s Wife is over with, for the most part, I have been looking at the fabrics in the shop and pondering just what to do with all of them. On the one hand, I love them all and hate it when they leave me completely. On the other hand, I’m getting a little tired of looking at the same fabrics in some areas and the same samples. Now that we have a little, very little actually, time on our hands we are making up new quilt kits for you so you can quickly and easily make up a new quilt for yourself or someone special in your life.

Dizzy Dino


After having worked with Civil War repros, Thimbleberries, and other relatively dark fabrics for the past thirteen months I decided to go in the opposite direction and start with something bright and fun. Dizzy Dino was the result! What you see here is a small version of the full quilt. Why? Because there is just so much room in any shop for displaying quilt projects. Our quilt is done in a 3×4 arrangement. The actual pattern for the quilt that you can purchase a kit for is done in a 5×7 layout. There is enough fabric in the kit to make the larger quilt, or you can make two smaller quilts like ours and have 11 blocks left over. That means that with just a little more fabric you could make three small quilts from one kit. You might have to buy extra for the border(s) but it won’t be much more out of pocket expense for you. The pattern is included along with our own cheat sheet with instructions for a little variation that will make your quilt stand out in a crowd of other quilts. The cost: $50. This purchase alone will qualify you for your FREE monthly charm. How’s that for a deal?! Check back at the end of next week for our next new offering.

Strip Friendly!


Speaking of new offerings, I am pleased to say that we have the latest releases from Martingale now in the shop. Deciding which book to tell you about first is always a difficult task. I think this time I will start with the smallest book which has the smallest person on your “to sew for” list covered. Jelly Babies contains 14 adorable baby quilts designed by the staff at That Patchwork Place. The quilts are made primarily from 2-1/2″ strips. In addition to the quilts there are sweet photos of babies who grew up to work at Martingale. I bet if they’d known what a great job was in their future they would have grown up quicker. One big plus about this book is that it has a full alphabet, in reverse, that can be used as shown in the quilt project or in any manner you choose. We’re often asked for books with alphabets so here you go. I can see these letters used to put the name of a precious little one, and maybe a little bigger one, in the center of or diagonally across a quilt. That would be one quilt that could be taken off to college without the worry of it growing legs and walking off.

Borders with Pizzazz!


The next book, by Sheila Sinclair Snyder, gives you lots of ideas on pieced borders. And not just any pieced borders mind you, but Perfect-Fit Pieced Borders to be exact. There are 12 projects in this book. Each project is sure to stretch your imagination but not your abilities. In truth, the borders on some of these projects don’t look like borders at all, at least not in the sense that we have learned to add borders to our quilts. These borders become a part of the quilt so that by the time you add the binding it might look as though you don’t have borders on your quilt at all. Slick! As an added bonus, there are close-up photos of some of the quilting designs used which will take the guesswork out of how to quilt your finished product.

Country Never Looked so Good


Last, but definitely not least, is Farm Girl Quilts by Tammy Johnson and Avis Shirer. I’ve been waiting impatiently for this book and wish I had time to make several of the 12 projects contained within. There is a nice variety of projects including a table runner that uses ric-rac and several projects with applique. I think Midnight Goldenrod just might be my first choice of must-dos in this book. Their blocks are 9-1/8″ square, but I’m thinking about doing the design in my favorite 6″ finished squares. Thanks to Farmer’s Wife Sampler I know how to make both the blocks used in the quilt. Can I do it? I’ll let you know when, or if, I do.

If you haven’t already, go over to Bonnie Hunter’s blog, www.quiltville.blogspot.com, and see what she has for you today. In addition to her blog you will find links to the blogs of four other talented quilters for your enjoyment. I won’t tell you who they are. Suffice it to say you’ll be pleasantly pleased, and who knows just how much, or what, you might learn. I will give you a hint about Bonnie’s blog. You might want to pull out some floral fabric and some yellow fabric before you go there. It never hurts to be prepared.

Busy as Bees

The past couple of weeks have been hectic, quite hectic to be exact. Not so much from an over abundance of visitors but from finishing up our Farmer’s Wife Sampler project. Yes, all 111 blocks have now been completed. Some of our ladies are in the process of sewing their last blocks while others have yet to receive theirs. It should be most interesting to see just how each quilt differs since I know some used different fabrics than the ones I gave them. We also offered three different colors for the sashing and border – red, blue, and brown. Then there were a couple of duplicate blocks where the ladies were encouraged to substitute their favorite block(s) instead. So while everyone got the same fabrics not everyone’s quilt will look the same. I’ve still not decided which color I want to use for the sashing and border on mine. Plus, I’ve actually been pondering making two lap quilts instead of one queen. I could easily do this without having to make any more blocks. Here we go with the decisions again…

In the midst of drafting and sewing the blocks as well as cutting the kits, we had a visit from Bonnie Hunter who was in the area doing workshops and lectures for some of the guilds. She and Diane stopped in one afternoon to visit. Miss Bonnie was very much taken with our kittens and even put photos of them on her blog, www.quiltville.blogspot.com. You’ll have to find the older post of May 26 to see them. I know I said I would put photos of the kittens up but haven’t gotten there yet. It helps to put new batteries in the camera when you want to take photos. Anyhow, if you visit Miss Bonnie’s blog in addition to seeing the kitties you’ll see some very familiar faces from her workshops as you scroll through her posts.

Since my last post (I’m so impressed that Miss Bonnie can post every day. I’m going to have to learn her secret.) we’ve gotten in four new books from Martingale and four new Australian magazines. We’ve also gotten in a few new bolts of fabric including four ’30s Hints of Prints for those who like the repros. I’ve managed to put out a few more of the bolts that have been hiding in the kitchen while I decided whether or not to include them in the Farmer’s Wife blocks. I still have several more bolts to go I’m afraid. It seems like time goes by quicker and quicker these days and the amount of work I get done seems to never be enough. What’s up with that!?

Oh yes, I’ve put Moda’s Dragonfly Summer group and the Lilac Hill group out now for sale. You just want to stand and stroke these fabrics. We only have three spots left in our Basket Bounty BOM so if you’re interested you need to jump on it because in addition to the limitation on kits there’s the sashing and borders to be bought before all the better choices are gone.

We had hoped to redo the room to the right of the hall over Memorial Day so we could offer small classes, but it didn’t happen . Yes, I spent the whole day on finishing up Farmer’s Wife. Do you get a recurring theme here? While I have truly loved doing this project it took over my life for the last two weeks of every month for the last thirteen months. Actually, it took over my life…period. When I wasn’t working on the blocks I was thinking about working on the blocks and looking for fabrics to use in the blocks. I can’t begin to tell you the overwhelming feeling of relief I now have since the last of the kits were packed. Well, not exactly the last because I do have four ladies to catch up from the first couple of months but that just entails cutting kits, not making blocks, writing instructions, etc. In fact, that’s a job I can even deligate. Oh, Kathy…

I’m ready to move on and do some different things, but first I have several things I need to get caught up on. Like the two BOMs that I was doing for a lady out of state that kind of got put on hold, the crazy quilt blocks that are the birthday gift for those in my sewing circle, the swap blocks that are also for my sewing circle, the nine-patch blocks that I initiated for Stitchin’ Camp as a mystery project. Then there are the articles that I need to write, one for a Pulaski paper, one for Irish Quilting, and one for the Country Register. Needless to say, I actually sat down and made myself a list last night because I knew if I didn’t I would forget something. I rarely ever make lists of things to do for myself because I just end up losing the list so it seems more of a waste of time to me than a help. Keep in mind that all those tasks I just mentioned have to be intertwined with everything else that’s going on in the shop including making decisions about how to celebrate our upcoming seventh anniversary. Yes, that does mean that you’ll need to really pay attention to my e-mail(s) and the blog because even I don’t know what all we’ll be doing starting next week.

One thing I definitely do want to try and do is blog more often. There’s just so much going on that I know you’ll want to know about. It runs around in my head all the time but that doesn’t help you any if I don’t stop long enough to put it down in type somewhere somehow. Maybe I need someone to hold me accountable like I did with FWS. Hmmm…I wonder who that could be…hmmmm…

Busy Hands are Happy Hands

Where has the time gone!? I started this missive last week but didn’t get it finished. Here it is a week later and I am just now getting around to trying again to let you know of some of the new things that have come into the shop. Of course, since I told you about getting a few new patterns several other things have arrived that I thought you might like to know about. It’s never ending…

18 Stitch Sampler

So many of our ladies like redwork. It’s easy, it keeps their hands busy while they watch TV, it’s portable, etc., etc. One of the two new ones I’ll tell you about (the second one has already come and gone so I’ll have to order more) is A Redwork Stitch Sampler by Bird Brain Designs. Once you stitch this sampler you will have a handy reference of 18 of the most popular stitches used in embroidery work. The finished wall hanging measures 13″x20″, that includes the borders. There’s also a pattern for a 7″ square pincushion included.

Beautiful Baskets

Then there’s Picnic Baskets by Jan Patek and Jenny Doan. This 80″x80″ quilt uses a Turnover pack from the Lilac Hill fabrics but would also make a good scrap quilt. The design includes both piecing and applique work. The blocks are big, almost 30″ square, and the half-square triangles are about 4″ square. If you wanted to use up some of those half-square triangles that you have been so frugally making this would be a good time to do so (Pam), provided you have any that large. I would classify this at an intermediate level because the instructions are pretty short and sweet.

While I hate rain, I know I’ve told you that before, I love umbrellas for some reason and just fell in love with this pattern from Joined at the Hip. Rainy Day Welcome measures 18″x38″ and will brighten any day, especially the rainy ones. Whether you pull bright scraps from your stash or purchase new fabrics you will have fun making this project. Looking for a great gift for a new couple? This banner would be a most welcomed gift.

Gear up for Christmas!

Now for the new book by Art to Heart, Jingle all the Way. This is the latest in a host of wonderful books by Nancy Halvorsen. Projects include a “candy” garland for your mantel, a fireplace screen, several pillows, gift bags, a stitched banner, and more. It uses her new line of fabric from Benartex. I’ve not seen it up close and in person yet but will try to do so soon.

We received three new magazines this week. First, there was Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 3 from today’s top designers. In addition to 100 great blocks, there’s a contest for you to enter. You could be one of 25 to win four of the blocks shown in the magazine. There is a good mix of block styles from which to choose. If you prefer traditional blocks, they’re in there. If you like applique, they’re in there too. If you like easy blocks or if you’re ready for more challenging ones you’ll find something that’s just right for your next project.

Our second new magazine was McCall’s America Quilts for the Home. This magazine contains 23 quilts which includes a sampler quilt that would be great for a guild project or sewing circle. Along with patterns there are several decorating ideas for living with quilts. So far, the favorite quilt has been the one with appliqued chickens, three of them, and one rooster.

Lastly, we received Quilts for Kids by Fon’s & Porter. There are 19 quilts that should fit any need you might have for a special child’s quilt. Not only are there options for young children, but there are quilts that would work for the older child on your quilt making list.

Last fall I bought a pattern by Bloomin’ Minds. Then I got a new fabric catalog from Moda with their Trick or Treat fabric. Once I saw the fabric I knew I had to buy it to make that pattern for my sister. Now all I have to do is decide if I want to use the black background or the green background. Which one do you think I should use?

I’ll leave it at that for the time being. If I don’t it might be another week before I get this posted for you. What will next week bring? Wait and see…

Out of the Box!

Boxes, boxes, boxes…we’re always getting boxes. Some are very big and some are very small, but almost all have something wonderful and oftentimes mysterious inside. Why mysterious? Because I often order fabric, for example, months ahead of time. By the time it arrives I’ve forgotten what I ordered because in the interim I have ordered even more fabric that I won’t remember when it arrives. I can kind of go by the name of the shipper to get clues about what’s in the boxes, but more often than not I’m just guessing. We shop owners have to get our kicks somehow…
When the newest box arrived from Martingale Tuesday I thought I knew what was in it, but boy, was I wrong. Instead of getting the new books for April I got the new books for February. Surprise! It was a pleasant surprise though because all of the books are great, of course, and one has my all-time favorite little girl, Sunbonnet Sue as the subject.

Sweet Sue

A Year in the Life of Sunbonnet Sue by Christine Porter and Darra Williamson will give you 12 little quilts with which to entertain yourself as well as make for your favorite people. Each quilt represents a different month. Right now I’m leaning toward the one for August which has a beach theme. Yes, I’m longing for the beach. In this little quilt Sue even has her toenails painted. How different, and cute, is that?!

9 Great Projects!


We also received Scrap Quilts Go Country by Deanne Eisenman which is a follow up to her previous book Country Fresh. There are nine patterns in this selection that will help you use up those fat quarters and 2-1/2″ strips you’ve been collecting. These projects are of a generous lap quilt nature and there are a couple of table toppers as well. The addition of applique to the pieced tops adds so much appeal to many of the designs.

Great modern designs!


Then there is Modern Basics by Amy Ellis. The book is designed to be easy for new quilters, but the 14 designs are so unique that experienced quilters looking for more modern designs will flip for it as well. There are a couple of quilts in this book that look like modern art and are just begging to be made. One in particular is Tumbling Cubes. The quilting on this quilt is also part of what makes it unique and an eye-catcher. You definitely need to go to http://www.martingale-pub.com and view the gallery of projects in this book. If you’re looking for something different you’re going to want this book.

Pick a Flower - Any Flower!


While I was putting together the verbage for this posting the UPS man came. Guess what he brought…another box of books. Yep, we now have the new April releases from Martingale as well. The first one I looked at was Fast, Fusible Flower Quilts by Nancy Mahoney. It has some really lovely floral offerings, and choosing which one to begin with will not be an easy task. I was drawn to one near the end of the book called Pinwheel Flowers because it was made from ’30s prints but also because it used ric-rac all around the border. Too cute! Then there was Orange Marmalade. For some reason I am drawn to orange when the weather starts warming up. I think it’s because I often bought those orange sherbet push-ups from the ice cream man. I love those things! This quilt definitely got my attention and will be marked as a one to do in the future.

18 Great Quilts!


From having done Farmer’s Wife for a year now I have lots of scraps. The new All-Time Favorite Scrap Quilts from That Patchwork Place book will definitely come in handy when I start sorting through them in a month or two. There are 18 quits in this book and I love every one of them. The plus about this book is it gives you designs from several different quilters including Kim Diehl, Pat Speth, Mimi Dietrich (from an out of print book), and Evelyn Sloppy to name just a few. Instead of getting a book with just one person’s style you have a book with several different styles which makes it all the more useful.

Then I came to the last book and I looked through it with mixed emotions. I knew it was on the way, and I also knew that the author, Judy Hopkins, had passed away on March 9 at the age of 69. Her contributions to the world of quilting will be a lasting legacy to a very talented woman. She will be greatly missed by those who knew her well and even by those of us who did not know her directly but only through her work.

A Definite Must Have Book


The Big Book of Patchwork contains 50 “fabulous” traditional style quilts that were gathered from many makers. There are projects of every size represented from table runners to full-sized bed quilts. The instructions are not in-depth, but there are enough easy quilts with which a beginner could start and then work their way up to the more challenging ones, which won’t seem challenging at all by the time they get there. You definitely need this book in your library.

Super Summer Quilt!

I did get one new pattern this week that I want to mention and that’s because 1) it’s a great quilt, and 2) no other quilt shop has it! The Summer Fun Row Quilt pattern is from a local designer, Hailstorm Creek Press, and is soooooo cute. We have a sample of the quilt made up and it is adorable. The appliques on the pattern can even be changed as there are alternatives given. You will have so much fun making this quilt with all those bright colors that you just couldn’t live without but hadn’t a clue what to do with.

OK, it’s time for me to get back to my other job…Farmer’s Wife. I have the fabrics chosen and know what I need to do to get the seventh of ten blocks pieced. Then there will be scanning the block, cutting the kits, writing the instructions, and packing the kits. We’re very close to the end though and we’re getting very excited about putting our 111 blocks together.

Oh yes, our kittens are growing and have the fattest little tummies. I’ll try to get a photo of them soon to share with you. It’s amazing just how big they’ve gotten in less than two weeks. Belle’s leg is getting better and she has been a very good mother. Victoria is in seventh-heaven of course and all’s right with the world when there are kittens around.

Now About Those Cookbooks…

When last we got together I mentioned that we had five new cookbooks in the shop and promised to give you a review of each.  Being a person of my word, and having finished with Farmer’s Wife for a while, I will now proceed to tempt you with some flavorful morsels from these new offerings.

Let the Party Begin!

Let us begin with Fast & Fabulous Party Foods and Appetizers.  After all, that is where a party of friends usually begins.  True to its name, this book offers 400+ quick recipes for every occasion.  Some recipes have as few as three ingredients while others have as many as eight, that includes “pepper or salt to taste” by the way.  In addition to the recipes, there are 24 party menus that offer you a variety of possibilities.  Throw in helpful hints and suggestions and you have a very serviceable, not to mention indispensible, cookbook.  There are 14 chapters with recipes that run the gambit from “Wet Your Whistle” and “Crunchy Munchies” to “Heavy Hors D’Oeuvres” and “Delightful Desserts.”  Of course, yours truly went straight for the desserts section.  Go figure…

Next!

Next we have Soups, Salads, and Sandwiches.  This book also has over 400 recipes for your enjoyment.  There are 112 soups, 107 salads, 105 sandwiches, 6 seasoning mixes, and 60 salad dressing recipes.  With a mixture like this you’ll be covered no matter if you need something as a first course or a hearty main meal.  The book also contains helpful hints, historical facts, and some fun trivia to help you pass the time between cooking and eating.  Now honestly, wouldn’t that be more fun than cleaning up while your delishious dish is cooking?
If you know you’ll really be in a hurry you might want to grab More Fast & Fabulous Five-Star 5-Ingredient (or less) Recipes.  This is a sequal to the original and very popular 500 Fast & Fabulous Five-Star 5-Ingredient Recipes, which I do not have by the way.  This encore cookbook will give you 500 recipes that require no more than five ingredients but result in very tasty dishes.  With recipes like Jimmy’s Bacon-Wrapped Spuds, Cheezy Bones Pizza, Red Velvet Moon Pies, and Pecan Pie Cookies you know your table will never lack someone’s feet under it.  Also included in the book are additional preparation tips, substitutions, and garnishes as well as amusing sidebars and interesting facts related to “fast” that the editors, Gwen McKee and Barbara Moseley, thought you might like to read.  Just think how empowered and enlightened you will be by reading through this one book alone!

Tennessee's Finest!

Of course, we couldn’t pass up the Best of the Best from Tennessee now could we.  After all, I’ve eaten a lot of cooking from Tennessee ladies, and I can’t say that I’ve ever had anything I wouldn’t eat a second, or third, time around if the offer were made.  This cookbook contains more than 400 recipes gleened from 54 favorite cookbooks throughout the state, from Johnson City (my old stompin’ grounds) to Memphis, Chattanooga (lived there too) to Clarksville.   Mammy’s Cracklin’ Corn Bread, Chuck Wagon Pepper Steak, Skillet Fried Chicken, Garlic Cheese Grits, Country Ham and Red-Eye Gravy, Chattanooga Chew Chews, and Crisp Crust Apple Pie gives you just a glimpse of what wonderful dishes will be at your fingertips. According to the editors, “The things these Tennesseans do with vegetables is worth the price of the book.”

Smokin'!

Lastly, good barbecue is a southern staple, much like grits and gravy.  The chef, Kent Whitaker, includes over 300 recipes sure to make your next cookout a hit.  In addition to great recipes, you will learn what wood to use for just the right flavor, the difference between barbecue, grilling, smoking, pit cooking, etc., the right tools for the job, and safety tips.  Mr. Whitaker, alias The Deck Chef, covers barbecue in the Appalachia area with great zeal.  Father’s Day is getting closer and closer every day.  Forget the tie and get that man this great cookbook!  He’ll love you for it and might even take over the cookin’.  You can’t beat that with a stick now can ya!

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