Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Where has the time gone?

This weekend is my 30th high school reunion.
Facebook certainly has made it easy to keep up with old schoolmates. I have been spending time looking everyone up on Facebook and flipping through the pages of my high school yearbooks. Looking back, there were not many high points, just average times for a shy gal from Kansas. As the joke goes, "But I got to Texas as soon as I could."
Still Crazy After All These Years
is a fitting headline for this fun bunch of gals!
I think we need to re-do this picture at the reunion
since we are all of drinking age now.

One thing that probably was a defining point in my teenage development was "drill team tryouts".
We were lined up in groups and were given a number to pin on the front of our shirt. I was accidentally given one of the other gals number. I turned and handed it to her and she did the same to me. This was a closed tryout where the judges "supposedly" did not know who we were. I knew who they were, so I did not have much faith in this concept.
We pranced our cute little selves into the gymnasium, ready to conquer the world.
Then it happened! 
My first high kick and I felt a large rip in my tights from the crotch to the knee.
I was horrified!!
I made it through the routine and quietly walked into the dressing room. Then, with tears in my eyes, I ran out of the gym, hopped into my brown station wagon and headed for home. (Hmmm!, another sign of my future - I drove a station wagon in high school -  I was destined to have a large family!)
For the rest of the year, I often thought what would have happened if I didn't trade numbers. Remember, the judges supposedly did not know who we were? The gal that I switched numbers with made drill team and went on to be captain or lieutenant or something like that. If only I was wearing her number?!
Defining Moment continues...The one thing I did learn about drill teams and cheerleaders is that they had some crazy custom know as "big sis" and "little sis". (Each week they gave gifts to each other.) This was a great opportunity to put my then, unknown talent, to work. I spent the next 2 years of high school making things for secret sis, big sis or little sis gifts.  My mom was thrilled with my artistic endeavors each week. My dad, not so much. I think he knew I was not actually making any money. Hey, it kept me out of trouble!?!

 My mom knew me all to well when she gave me this gift for my 17th birthday.
I remember her saying it was VERY EXPENSIVE. Really?!? A 17 yr old with a necklace of scissors and thimbles? At the time, I was not to impressed. I have come to love this necklace not only because of the sewing motifs but because of my mom's faith in me. Oh, I forgot to tell you she was one of the Temple Texas High Kickers team. From time to time she still likes to show us a high kick or two, just to impress the grand kids.  However, she didn't seem to care that I had failed as a high kicker but she was proud that I succeeded as an artist. Thanks Mom!

Don't tell anyone but..... Traci, Sherri and a few others are going to  put our artistic talents to work and shoe polish every one's car in the parking lot. Those were the days!! Where has the time gone?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Slice and Dice Nine Patch

Slice and Dice 9 Patch
and a few tips thrown in along the way.

This is a picture of a quilt was going to make. It features the Wee Woodland collection from Moda.
 I have always loved the Slice and Dice 9 patch technique. BUT once I was ready to sit and sew, I realized I had already used one of the layer cakes for another project. So I moved on to
PLAN B:  I also love the red cross block exchanges that are all over the world wide web. Once I  think about red, it makes me start thinking of aqua. Digging around in my stash I found the perfect reds, whites and aquas to make my own interputation of the slice and dice 9 patch. Variations of this pattern are all over the place, so the following info is not a complete tutorial. There is a pattern attached at the end for the complete instructions. I wanted to give you some time saving tips that work on this or any other quilt.
One more short story: Many years ago, a friend of mine (Hi Kara!) came by my house to drop something off.  I was not going to be there so I left the door open for her. Later, she called and couldn't believe that there was a project in the works at my machine. I think I had even left the pieces chain stitched laying on the throat plate of my sewing machine.  I had just up and left it just as it was. She told me she could never do that. She couldn't even start something unless she had a block of time set aside to work on it. This event has stuck with me for over 20 years.
Some of the suggestions listed below are things I have learned to be able to have mindless sewing time, whether it is 15 minutes or 3 hours.

Lay out 2 -10" squares right side up. Make 2 cuts using a variety of cuts divisible by 10.
 (see complete pattern for chart)
EXCERPT from moda's project sheet.
These whimsical Nine Patches are made by cutting 10" squares into strips following these guidelines:

– make 2 cuts resulting in 3 strips
– cut the strips at least 2"wide
– the total of the width of the 3 strips equals 10"
I do not what your "sewing time" is like but I have had to learn to sew with interruptions. Sitting down to sew a few seams while the rolls are cooking. This gives me 10 more minutes of stitching before dinner goes on the table. I do have a reputation for a wonderful dinner and sometimes burnt rolls. Sometimes sewing for just 10 minutes is tough and I can't STOP! The following tips help me keep my projects in order for when I do return to them.

Very systematically, I cut the sections and layer them in one stack. The above pieces are cut from 10" squares so I placed the cut pieces on a layer cake cardboard. This makes the stack easy to move as needed.
I sew on an old school teachers desk so I have these great pull outs on 2 sides to hold my fabrics. And a diet cherry limeade from sonic is a must.
I start chain sewing working in the following order:
 Join row 1, piece 1 to row 1, piece 2.
Then row 2, piece 1 to row 2, piece2.
Then row 3, piece 1 to row 3, piece 2.
This basically gives you the first 2 vertical rows chain sewn together. Do not cut the threads between the rows. The threads are what help keep the rows in order.

The above picture is what the stack looks like as I worked my way done the rows. It is easy to come back and pick up right where I left off.............. if I have to turn off the smoke alarm
 from the burning rolls!

Repeat this process until all of the first 2 sections of the nine patches are done. You will be left with a nice tidy stack in the correct order to add to the other sections.

Then repeat the process with the third row pieces. Starting at the beginning section of your chain, add the 3rd piece to each of the pieces as shown below. Notice how the threads are not cut and the chain sewing keeps feeding the next section?

See how the thread or "chain" keeps the pieces in order if you have to tend to other things.
Chain pieced sections are tough to press and keep the blocks joined by the threads. When sewing the sections together I "force" the seams allowances in the direction I want them to go. When keeping the sections chain sewn together like this, I rarely ever have to pin the pieces together. I wait to press
until the block is completed.

This looks like a big mess but it is actually all the rows in order.

The chain can be cut after every 3rd section. This keeps each block together and ready to sew together.

No pinning! Just SEW!

 Each set of 2 squares makes a positive / negative block.
Arrange the blocks in a pleasing order and join into rows. I made 2 baby quilt tops
 4 rows by 5 rows long. (36" x 45")
Have I told you how many people I know are expecting babies in November and December? A LOT!!No twins boys that I know of  but I have the quilt tops ready just in case.

What are some of your time saving sewing tips?

For a print out of the complete Wee Woodland pattern, Click here:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall TV Season

Let The Fun Begin!!
I am so excited to have the new line up of television shows including
Dancing with the Stars and Glee! I am a bit tired of my husbands
reruns of SWORDS.
Good television also gives me a chance to catch up on my periodicals!
Periodical, is a published work that appears in a new edition on a regular schedule,
in other words, magazines.

I also have a very special book in my stack.

I am the proud owner of my own autographed copy of
Camille's book,
run to your favorite store and get one.(October)
(STASH books was kind enough to air in books for Camille to have during her classes
at The Creative Connection last week.)

The new issue of Quiltmania (I love this magazine!) has an article about my (our) illustrious
leader, Mark Dunn. He is such a fascinating man.
I must confess I have learned everything from my mom, my dad
and my boss. Is there a t-shirt that says,
"All I know, I learned from my Boss?".

Let me know if you see one anywhere,
I should probably buy it.

Yes, that is him tucked between his
collection of vintage quilts.

Quilting Arts, STITCH magazine has a great
article about Liesl Gibson of Oliver + S

And magically, look at the ad on the back cover. Boy, that marketing person over at MODA is a genius.
She must have learned it all from her boss.

And of course, one of my all time favorite ads popped up.  I think some of the MODA designers are "scared" to go to market because every time I MAKE them do some silly picture. 
Don't you think this ad is great
 as a Brady Bunch tribute? 
(perfect timing, how did the marketing person know?)
After all, Florence Henderson is a shoe in to win DWTS
in the senior division. Thank you to Camille for the great photography!

I am conjuring up the next ad concept for
Fall Quilt Market. Any ideas?

Hmmm, Just thinking...
Dancing with the Quilters??

Sunday, September 19, 2010


 The word "junk" is a funny word. It is relative. My husband likes to call all our stuff junk, I call it treasures. The Junk Bonanza had many artisans that have taken found things and have created works of art. Jewelry, yard art, reclaimed furniture were just a few of the things that could be found here. The feast for the junk senses made it hard to take pictures and "shop" at the same time.

I was glad to see the familiar face of Amy Barickman from Indygo Junction. She was signing her newest book.

 Many of you know that I have a love of the quirky, unusual and unique. (I think I just described my husband and kids!)I am under going counseling for this sickness but you sometimes have to bear with me on my pics.

How cool is this? They had made corsages from old baseballs and softballs along with a cluster of antique buttons in the center. I can't begin to tell you hany many baseballs I have gone through having 4 boys playing ball! If I had only thought of this I would be rich OR have alot of corsages!

Feed Sack pillows stacked as high as you could see. The soft aged color on these pillows take on a life of their own.

 Rows and rows of crocks, vintage dishes, jars of buttons, dominios, and dice. Bingo Cards, optical lenses, glasses, iron work, wool blankets, license plates, typewriter keys, bed spring coils, bowling pins,
 Living in Texas our seasons are often very short. Halloween is my favorite season. Do you not call Halloween a season? It isthe official beginning of THE EATING SEASON. It all begins with halloween candy, carmel apples, and carmel popcorn. The season does not end until after Christmas! THE DIET SEASON begins January 1st, but more on that later.
 Bins of Maps. I love the color and feel of these maps.

I also found a gift for my friend, Ducky.

Becasue I did more shopping than taking pics, here is a list of the 100 vendors for you to roam off and kill a couple hours of time.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Handmade Market

There were so many delightful artists that were teaching classes at The Creative Connection. Many of them also had a booth selling their wares. The following pics are just a few of the vendors. Remember I am a textile junkie, so my choice of pictures may be skewed to what I love. Sorry?!
 Tinsel Trading's booth was full of trinkets and treasures. Their whole booth "glittered".

 Earth Angels featured several artists making their booth hard to ever leave. I sat by her at breakfast one morning and she is a "hoot." Read her blog and I think you will agree.
More Earth Angels booth...

Oops, more Earth Angels. Aren't these cool wool rings?

 More... Who could resist this little pumpkin guy?
 Tiffany from Fancy Farm Girl is adorable.  Please go her site just to see the prettiest chicken coop ever!! Yes, I know "pretty" and "chicken coop" are words that should NOT be used in the same sentence, but trust me...
She will also be part of Ruffles and Rust show. (What a great name for a show!)
When: October 22 and 23, 2010
Where: Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe Washington-The Display Hall
Some of the best vendors from around the Pacific Northwest

Another cool artist was Sparrow Reed Gallery.

This makes me smile. How cute are those guys in the fabulously retro suitcase?
Pillows everywhere!

Wool pins and jewelry!
I meet two cute sisters from Anthology in Chicago. They both were wearing
patched skirts that were so cute. There booth and products were just as
cute as they were.

And honey, if you are reading this post I would take any jewelry from Bittersweet Designs.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Creative Connection- Day 1

I have squeezed in a few minutes to make a blog post about this event. The day so far, classes, shopping the booths at THE HANDMADE MARKET and a nice intimate lunch with Ree Drummond of Pioneer Woman fame and 500 other people.  Each meal is sponsored by a different company. This was the place setting for Ree's luncheon. A wonderful notepad tied with ribbon and a silver fork from CAKE vintage table & home. We each had a mustache on a stick. If you are a follower of The Pioneer Woman you know she calls her husband the Marlboro Man, hence the mustache on a stick. Also we were allowed to east dessert first- (did I tempt you also with the snippet of the yummy red velvet cake sitting in the corner of this pic?)
 Here is a pic of Ree with her own Marlboro Man mustache drawn on the pic!

Jo Packman introduced Ree as the key note speaker for the luncheon. Ree spoke and entertained us with her light hearted humor.  The luncheon also served Ree's own Asian Chicken Salad. Delicious! As if this was not enough, Jo and Ree set down on "cozy couch like chairs" on the stage and opened the floor for questions. People were tongue tied to stand up and talk. You have got to understand Jo said you could ask anything you want. I could think of a hundred questions but did not stand up either. One by one the questions started pouring out. We talked about everything from the difference between a hefer and a hereford. We talked about SPANX. We talked about Ethel Merman and Brittany Spears. We laughed and I was amazed at the "realness" of Ree.
The afternoon was full of more classes from jewelry making to wool ornaments and more shopping.
I caught up with Kaari Meng from French General doing a make it and take it project. (her class was sold out so I didn't do that) My fav Connie and Mary from Country Threads are here with a booth full of pumpkins and all kinds of goodies.
I've got to run get ready for dinner with Amy Butler and Mary Jane Butters. I hope to share pictures soon. This is tough work!
Look for the premiere issue (December) of Where Women Cook with the Pioneer Woman on the cover.


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