Tuesday, May 29, 2007


For the past few months my two friends and I have been getting together almost once a week. The exception being when one of us is out of town. We have had a great time visiting and eating and working on our Home Sweet Home quilts. None of us live close to another, so we travel roughly 40 minutes to one house or the other. Consequently, we spend the whole day together, until someones husband comes home and we reluctantly break until the next week. It is good to have friends! I don't know how I got so lucky, but these two are the best! Tomorrow they are getting together without me! (Blink back tears). Well, I am the one
leaving town, so it can't be helped. How did I come to meet such good friends when they live so far away? Well, at the quilt shop of course! Don't their house blocks look great?!

So tomorrow I am off to Minnesota! My oldest granddaughter is graduating from high school. I didn't even make her a quilt! She wants something puffy and will probably be happier with one from the store. Some day she will be more interested in a quilt from me. So why force it? Right? Besides, I have been rather self indulgent lately, making quilts that I like!

The little Plumpkin has turned two years old, and is the cutest child in the world! (We all have the right to say that about our own, don't you think?) My daughter, her mom, said to her recently, "Are you my sunshine?" Plumpkin replied, "I your only sunshine. I make you happy when skies are gray!" You know it, baby!

So, for the next two weeks I will be in Minnesota with family and mosquitoes (that's a given). I will be checking in on blogs when I am able.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Have you seen Cheri Saffiote's new Christmas book? It has tons of the cutest little primitive folkart blocks! (Notice all the bookmarks). I decided I wanted to prepare a bunch to take with me to Minnesota next week so I have some hand work to play with. So I started preparing the blocks, then in the evening I sat down and stitched them, totally defeating the purpose, but I couldn't stop myself! I don't have any idea how I am going to arrange them in a quilt. At this point I am just making a few of them for fun and I can figure the rest out later. There are so many patterns in this book that in order to print them all, they are printed small and you have to enlarge them 200% on a copy machine. I did that to a few, and some I decided to make smaller, so enlarged them at 175%. Some are so simple that you can just sketch them out in the size you want. They are all odd ball sizes, so they will need strips, etc. to pull it all together. But for now, I just laid them all on the floor for a photo. I have to tell you, the directions in this book puzzle me. It isn't very clear what the finished size of the blocks are supposed to be. When I add up the measurements for the pieced blocks they don't compute. I finally decided I would just determine the cutting sizes on my own so I was sure of what I would get. It would be really confusing for a beginner, but I am used to winging it, so it is OK. That funny little tree in the picture will have buttons sewn on, but not until after the quilting is done. Wow, do we know how to have fun or what?

Monday, May 21, 2007


I showed you my 9-patch stars previously, and I have had some snatches of time to work on that quilt. I know that every time I show a project I tell you how much I love it. I hope you don't think that I am bragging. I just get enthused about creating stuff, and whatever project I am working on is my new favorite! As I go around the blogs I am always so impressed with the amount of talent out there. The stuff I do is always quite simple, by comparison. Well, those Home Sweet Home houses were more complicated, but I just followed the directions and was inspired by the wonderful designers. Anyway...

These stars are actually called Dolley Madison Stars. I love anything with 9-patches, so they were a natural for me. I said before that I had lots of no-brainer 9-patches to make and that is just what I did. See photo example above. I actually did this no-brainer version several times. I think I fell asleep and went on auto pilot. I am trying to come up with a good excuse. Anyway, I am really swift with the seam ripper, so no harm done.

I would love to have been in a 9-patch swap, but I wasn't, so I had to make a big variety of blocks. It takes longer, as you know. But it is done. I found myself counting and recounting to see how many were completed. Then I decided to count them into piles of 10 and safety pin each group together. Lots easier to know how many I had completed.

I have all the stars joined together with sashing for the body of the quilt. I found the sashing at 50% off at the LQS. It is Moda Christmas fabric, if you can believe it. It is a pretty tan with a cable design on it. Now I am working on the border. And so it goes.

Today is another fabulous day in Virginia Beach, so I need to get out and run errands and work in the yard! Big smiley face :D

Friday, May 18, 2007


For whatever reason, blogger didn't put a "comment" spot on my last post. I just saw that another blog had that happens, so maybe it is just a momentary fluke. Let's hope!


Thank you for visiting me at my blog. And even more thanks if you make a comment! When I wrote that last post I wasn't sure if I should publish it. I was afraid you all might think I was an unhappy, mean spirited woman. Apparently I struck a nerve! At least with some of you. Let me just make a little addendum and say that I could not get through life without a sense of humor. There are a few other necessities, such as faith in God, good friends, Diet Coke and chocolate, but really, if you can't laugh, and mostly if you can't laugh at yourself, well, how would one survive?
I do have a sarcastic streak in me as well, and that sometimes gets me into trouble. Over the years I have tried to bridle my tongue. I tell myself, "If I just keep my mouth shut, I won't say anything stupid"! Sometimes it even works. I come from a family of five children and parents who were extroverts. We had to be loud to be heard! There was a lot of competition for attention. To this day my 83 year old father is the life of any party and a joy to be around. He still tells stupid jokes and I still think he is funny!
Again, I do appreciate your comments. It is fun to have "imaginary friends" out there!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


You enter into the ranks of motherhood with such blossoming and optimistic innocence. A few months of sleep deprivation cures that. You always looked with disdain at those parents who didn't keep their children controlled. Your children would behave much better because you would teach them manners. Ha! Funny, you never knew about strong willed children until you had them! Now you think there is something wrong with them: they must be hyperactive or something! No Honey, they are normal. You must adapt to a new reality: Children rule. You have no life of your own. Somehow you get through their childhood. You even have moments of great pride and pleasure.
Then they become teenagers. Oddly, you retained enough of your former innocence that you never saw it coming. Another evil truth reveals itself. Teenagers are possessed. Why is your daughter crying again? Why is your son punching holes in the walls? Why is their father working late again? And where is my Prozac???
And then came Mother's Day. I used to HATE Mother's Day. What a crock! We would go to church and listen to all the MEN talk about how wonderful we mothers are. They would hand us each a petunia, and send us home; each of us feeling like we aren't THAT mother. Sometimes when the kids were little we would get a homemade gift from school. By the time they were teenagers there was nary a mumble about Mother's Day. You would not catch them giving any kind thoughts away. My husband was no better. "You aren't MY mother," he would say. Yes, most mothers end up raising their husbands also.
Well , finally Mother's Day means something! My husband has grown up and realizes that he could have been more helpful. My children have grown up and wonder how I did it all? My daughter and daughter-in-law are re-living my life, bless their hearts! They work hard to take care of their family in ways that their husbands just can't fathom. Yes, I love my son and my son-in-law, but they are men and they have a way of making things more difficult than necessary. Need I say more?
All four of my grown children called to give me love and good wishes. Really, they are great kids and I am so proud of them! Those with children look at life differently now. Funny how that happens. Both my sons have apologized to me for the trouble they gave me through the years. My youngest son, trying to add a little humor to his humility, said to me, "Mom I really love you and you are a great mom, in spite of what I may have said when I yelled at you." My reply: "I know I'm a good mother, son, I am just glad that you know it!"
Really, it wasn't as bad as the picture I painted. Really, there was lots more joy than pain. Really, it was a lot harder than I ever thought it would be. Really, I wouldn't trade any of them. And really, I love being a grandmother!

Friday, May 11, 2007


I have been stitching away on another eagle project. The first project was God Bless America, which you can see by clicking on that link. I decided I wanted to make the same eagle in wool and see how it turned out. I reduced the size and changed it a little, and I love it! In fact, I love it so much that I decided to offer you a little tutorial, as well as the pattern, in case you would like to make one for your own. Make a pillow, or frame it, or whatever you like.
I use Heat n Bond Lite to trace the eagle and the stars. This is optional, but it holds the edges so they don't fray. Don't use too much heat or you will get crispy fried wool, which I have done. The eagle needs his head reversed if you trace it on the paper side of the HnB. (You can use a Sharpie pen and trace on the fusible side, then re-trace to the front for cutting, thus reversing the image). Leave the paper on the back of the cut out eagle, remove paper from the back of the stars and fuse the stars in place. Now remove the paper from the eagle and, using matching gold thread, stitch the stars to the eagle. Embroider U-S-A on the stars in black floss. Do this free hand, or see the directions below for transferring the lettering. Center the eagle on an 11" x 13" piece of black wool. Use your printed pattern to adjust the placement. Fuse and stitch down in red thread. I just use a little whip stitch. To transfer the embroidery design you will need: a Sharpie permanent marker, a chalk pencil, and tulle, or netting, -not the really fine stuff.
Cut an 8" square of tulle. Lay it on the pattern, and with the Sharpie, trace the lettering and the embroidery design. Lay the tulle on the black wool and position the embroidery in place. Trace over the tulle pattern with a chalk marker to transfer the design and lettering onto the wool. The chalk brushes off easily, so transfer a little at a time, embroider over the chalk design, then chalk on more of the pattern. etc.
The chalk doesn't show up too well in the photo, but you get the idea. Don't worry about getting the embroidery or lettering too exact. This is folk art, just have fun with it!
I decided to add fringe to mine. First I sewed a backing fabric on it, and turned the pillow inside out. Leave an opening and stuff it, then stitch it closed. I then hand stitched the fringe around the outside. I have been thinking of other ways I could finish the edge, possibly making wool fringe, or just sew a colored binding on as you would a quilt. Finish yours however you would like! Follow this link for the pattern: SWEET LAND OF LIBERTY

Monday, May 07, 2007


I think I am done! At least I am done with the houses. I have them all assembled and now I have the border to do, but I am putting that off for a while so my friends can catch up with me. At least that is my excuse. I really just need to take a break and work on other stuff for a while.

This is the UFO that I am working on. I have had these blocks made for a while and need many more 9-patches to finish the quilt. I love 9-patches. They are totally mindless and always look so cute. I am using scraps and drawing on my stash to build the blocks. If I can weasel in any little homeless piece, I do! I will show more on this as I progress. I am also working up my little eagle in wool, so we shall see how that goes. I am a hands on designer. If I could only create it in my mind and then reproduce it! But no! I have to make part of a design and then let it stew to see what will come next. It is a slow and painful birth! The good news, and the bad news, is that I have no deadline, if you get my drift.
By the way, I just thought I should take a minute to mention that I haven't ever added any blogs that I read on my sidebar. The reason is that I read so many blogs (though not every day) that I am afraid I would leave someone out and I don't want anyone to feel bad. I really enjoy and appreciate all of you! I am a member of the Stash ring, and am connected to all of those quilters through clicking on that. I also have an extensive list on Bloglines that I go to. If you like to cruise blogs and haven't connected to Bloglines, just click on the icon on my sidebar and you can sign up. It is easy! This enables you to list all the blogs that you like to visit. It shows which blogs have updated entries. You can go there and click on your favorite blogs anytime.
Did you get a laugh out of my dog and cat diary post yesterday? Someone sent it to me I got a kick out of it. It really fits those animals, doesn't it? Have a happy day!

Sunday, May 06, 2007


8:00 am- Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am- A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am- A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am- Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 pm- Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm- Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm- Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm- Milk bones! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm- Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm- Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm- Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

Day 983 of my captivity.
My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.
They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed Hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.
The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.
Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am.
There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.
Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs.
I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded.
The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now...

Friday, May 04, 2007


I am a Yankee transplated on southern soil. We have lived here in Virginia for almost seven years. I find the history in this area to be quite facinating. For example, less than a mile down the beach from where we live is the site where the first English ships landed in 1607. This spot is located at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. There are two lighthouses that mark the spot now. The old one is brick and visitors can climb up the narrow stairway to the top and look out. The second is the "new" lighthouse. It was built in around 1887, I believe. I don't think it is operational any more. GPS technology has taken over. But to recall this local history:

Four hundred years ago three ships set sail from London. Four months later they landed here on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. Captain John Smith, of the Pocahontas story, was on one of them. Bet you thought that was at Plymouth Rock, didn't you? I know I did, until we moved here. In April of 1607 these ships came in and planted a wooden cross and named the spot Cape Henry, in honor of Henry, the Prince of Wales, elder son of King James I.
The expedition moved on up the bay and found what is now the James River, which took them farther inland. They settled at a spot which they named Jamestown, and it became the first permanent English colony in the new world. That is the history in a nutshell.
Lots more information available at http://www.jamestown1607.org/
This is a year of big celebrations in this area. On April 29th there was a reenactment of the cross being erected at Cape Henry. Jamestown has been rebuilt and preparing for lots of visitors also. In fact, yesterday Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip arrived here in Virginia! They have come to visit Jamestown and see what the big fuss is all about. At 81 years of age, the Queen is so gracious and energetic. I wish the weather was a little more pleasant for her visit. It has been cool and overcast the past two days. She probably gets enough of that back home. I wonder if she was hoping to go to the beach?
Also of historical note is this really cool quilt book, Quilts of Virginia 1607-1899. Not only does it contain lots of historical information about the history in this state, but it has lots of pictures of wonderful old quilts. I love traditional old quilts and could happily work on any number of the quilts that this book contains. For me, all roads lead back to quilts!

Thursday, May 03, 2007


I am happy to report that the last two houses of my Home Sweet Home quilt are completed! I have enjoyed every minute of it--now comes the border, which, I am afraid, will be long and boring. But I digress...

This block is on the bottom row in the middle. I changed it from the original Blackbird Design's Home Sweet Home pattern. (Click the link and scroll down to see what their actual original quilt looks like). I moved the year to the right side and added a flag. The two blocks are sewn together and the the flag overlaps from one block into the next. As you can see, there are lots of vines and stems in the quilt and they have been made using the Clover Bias Tape Maker. I have come to love this little gizmo. It tucks the edges of the tape under so nicely. I mentioned before that I spray it with starch and press it as it comes out of the tape maker. This gives it a nice sharp edge. I used the bias tape to form my initials and the year and it worked very well. They need to be smaller than the original design. I should have sewn the flag on first and then adapted the tulip and made it bushier, but I am just going to be happy with it the way it is. Once it is quilted I think it will be fine.

This second block may well be my favorite in the whole quilt. I love the design of it with the pieced stars and flowers. In this block I added a bit more yellow to brighten up the quilt. This is actually the center block of the quilt. Aren't those Blackbird ladies great designers?!