Monday, January 28, 2013

Winter Decorations

I know that we usually decorate for Christmas, then endure winter, until we start yearning for Spring!  But winter is an awesomely beautiful time if you just look for the beauty.  Several of my blogger friends have done  posts with gorgeous photos of winter scenes!  (Better to be looking at the pictures than be out in the freezing cold, tee hee!) Anyway, I decided to encourage you to decorate for the winter season--just a little something to remind you daily that winter can be awesome, not just cold! something to remind you to get outside and take pictures!  Here's my simple snowflake decorated window:

Look wintry enough?  

Friday, January 25, 2013

Final Days--Huge Savings!!

As I said earlier in the month, I am closing one of my shops.  It will be closed by Valentines Day!  So if there is anything you would like, be sure to tell others--your hubby, boyfriend, daddy-- what is on your wish list!  I feature my own items today to help you choose! Remember all are 50% OFF--that's half price--if you use the coupon code in the shop announcement!  Tell him that he will be saving a bunch!!!

Trio Necklace

Hand embroidered coin purse

Plum wonderful!

Mini pouch for essentials

Lemon elegance
Only a couple of weeks left to this shop's life!  Take advantage of the savings!   

Thanks for Looking!!!! 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Food Choices

Hubby and I were sitting in a local fast food eatery previous to going to the grocery store. (Everyone knows that you should not shop when you are hungry!)  We were discussing some research I had been doing on eating clean. (My daughter-in-law has a site and facebook about eating clean.  Here.)

You know, canned veggies sometimes are packed in BPA lined cans; milk may have the A1, not the A2 protein; fresh veggies--farmers market style-- need to be organic (clean), etc.  Many of these tidbits are not something my hubby likes to discuss, but he was attentive and entered into the conversation.  He wondered how much information that is passed around these days is just faddish, or scare tactics. Well, I am not anywhere near an expert and I am not one to blanketly believe everything that I hear either. But it is important to be careful with our choices when we buy our food.  Healthy is better, and I do believe that.

Changing a lifetime of habits can be difficult.  From my meager experience, I believe it is important to change gradually.  Like cutting out one type of food at a time.  I know this will sound silly, (but it is a start and a commitment):  stop ordering fries with your meal if you have to go through the drive thru. And don't replace it with anything! I know, I know, I can just hear you---"But potatoes are not bad for you, and I love the saltiness "  Well, forgoing it lowers your caloric intake and reduces the amount of fat that you are putting in your body. BTW--I drink diet soda with my hamburger, but there are pros and cons with that too!
Whatcha gonna do?

P.S.  Next month is Heart Health Month! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Free Motion Quilting

I had a few questions, yesterday, about free motion quilting.  As I said yesterday, not all my readers are quilters, so I thought I might give a little illustration about the process.

Have your friend stand next to a table and hold your  pen straight up and down in one position so the tip is on the table.  Tell her not to move her hand nor the pen -- Except for a second so you can place paper under the tip. :) Now, you move the paper to make a drawing of something simple.  It's harder than you think!  Next, imagine moving a 45 by 74 inch quilt sandwich around under that pen until you have drawn on every inch of your "large 45 by 74 inch paper".  Oh . . . and you have to manipulate your large paper, all crumpled up, under your friends arm, between  her body and the pen!!

Sewing this way takes practice!  It is not like sewing a straight line.  You can "doodle"  all you want with free motion quilting.  Here are a couple of blog sites and books that have examples and other explanations if you are interested.

Book by  Don Linn
I have this book and use it, but there are a few others that I would like to have:
Dancing with Thread by Ann Fahl
Freemotion Quilting by Judy Woodworth 

and sites that I like: 

Have a great day!

Monday, January 21, 2013

In Progress!

Some time back, I started a scrap quilt and had wanted to finish in one weekend.  But, alas, life interrupts us, and the quilt went into the unfinished black hole. . . er . . . box!  I am now a guest in a friend's awesome studio, with lots of room for quilting.  I had wanted to quilt three already finished tops into finished quilts in the time that I will be here in this studio.

One block of the unfinished top

I started on the afore mentioned scrap quilt and was going along at a pretty good pace, when I ran out of the thread that I had brought.  You would think that my friend's studio would have some similar black thread that I could use and replace, but no!  I tried some thread that she did have, but I think it was a fine, silky machine embroidery thread, and it just would not work in the quilting machine!  When I put it in the bobbin case and tried to use it, it just made a mass of  loops on the bottom side of the quilt, no matter what I did!  I tried everything!  I finally gave up. (Remember, I am still learning.)  So here's what I have done so far and I will try  to finish it again today with some different thread that I bought.   BTW, this is free motion quilting, for those of you who are not quilters, as I know not all my readers are.

Same block  with finish quilting
I sure would like to finish this soon, so I can go on to the next one!  I hope to show you the finished quilt later this week!  Wish me luck!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Inspiration from a Friday Finds Post

Last week I did a "Friday Finds" post on yellow and pink color combinations--well, fuchsia and lemon, to be exact!  Anyway, it inspired me to do a quilt block in those colors.  I showed you the block in that post.

So, what did I do with it?  Take a look!

I appliqued some Mexican Hat flowers to it, then quilted the top, added a backing and, voila! I have a new pillow cover for Spring!

I keep a little twelve inch accent pillow on my couch and change out the covers for each season. I did a pillow cover tutorial, back in December, about my holiday pillow cover.  Remember that little snowman one?  Sew. . . .
 What do you think of this one?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Book Review!

I rarely do book reviews, but I found this little book by Aimee Ray called Doodle-Stitching and I just knew I had to recommend it if you like hand embroidery as much as I do! The sub title is "Fresh & Fun Embroidery for Beginners".  If you've not tried embroidery, this is the starting point for you!

I do hand embroidery in the evenings when I am sitting in my easy chair catching the news or my favorite TV show.  I have a basket beside my chair with my latest project in it.  I also keep a plastic container with all my embroidery threads and my embroidery scissors handy on the end table.   It only takes a few minutes time to sew a cute little design when you are set and ready!

Samples by Aimee Ray from her blog 

The reason I like Aimee's book is that it is simple!  It shows you how to start, using your own doodling designs.  She has a neat stitch library and shows you the stitches in the plainest way that I have ever seen!  Some books can make their stitch descriptions and illustrations soooooo confusing, but not this book! She explains  the split stitch, back stitch, stem stitch, chain stitch and many more! If you just knew these few, you would be well on your way to pretty embroidery!

Another reason I like and recommend this book is that it is contemporary and not stuffy!  It allows for current design--your design! If you are a doodler or like to design, you will love taking your images to the next level of creativity!

my own work available in my Etsy shop
The third reason that I recommend this book is that Aimee is a fellow Etsyian!!  Yay!  Be sure to visit Aimee's Etsy shop here.

Doodle-Stitching was published in 2007 by Lark Crafts, An imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. of New York.  I am sure you could obtain a copy on Amazon or another online site.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Who Am I?

It's January and I am still in the self and creative evaluation process! January is really a reflective month for me.  Exploring my love of quilts in this post.

Exhibit at Tillamook Creamery in Tillamook, Oregon

I love to look at quilt magazines and books; sewing TV "How to Do it" shows; as well as go to quilt exhibits. I love quilts where ever I find them--on my bed, in flea markets, or as backdrops for commercial fabric vendors.  I recently bought a new sewing machine that is more conducive to quilting, with drop feed dogs and a darning foot attachment!  Much better than my old basic machine!  Love it!  But . . . I am getting sidetracked!

An early tablerunner project that I quilted

I have found that when I quilt, I am better at getting smaller projects finished than I am at finishing a large bed-sized quilt.  (Previously I sent bed and lap quilts out to another studio, Janice Jenney Studio. She's done a nice job for me on the quilting, after my patchwork was done.) This may be just that I am not as accomplished at quilting as I would like to be, and afraid that the satisfaction of a "Job well done!" will not be there at the end, if I do it!  So I have dug a little deeper into my psyche to find out about a few peculiarities about myself.

1.  I am not a "purest" quilter!  I really don't care if the corners match up with precision!   I've seen on TV:  "Always press to the dark side of the fabric!" and "Trim the little corners, so it will lie flat!" and "Always have the presser foot in the down position."  These are all good instructions, but I find that I enjoy doing it my way! I like to finish my projects satisfying my own desires to be creative.  I march to the beat of my own clock!  I don't quilt to be judged by others nor by their standards!   Call me a rebel! (And I will never win any honors by traditional quilt judges, but that's OK with me.)

2.  I love the exploring process.  Learning to complete the process, start to finish!  Learning to do free motion quilting on my own machine!  Coming up with my own designs!  Exploring color combinations!  This quilt was done because I loved the block's center pieces of pansy fabric.--I designed around those pieces and their colors.  You can see the finished quilt here, when it was actually shared in a quilt show!

Exploring fabric colors to match 
3.  I don't like using someone else's patterns!  I love the creating process!  Thinking it through, planning and finishing!

4. I love using materials that I have on hand--I personally, do not like leftovers!  I like to "Use it up!" as the old adage goes. I like using materials that are not considered the "proper" materials! I guess that stems from the artist in me! This quilt was made for a friend, who had already cut out dozens of squares of fabric that was a bit  too loosely woven and stiff for a "normal" quilter, but I didn't want to waste her work!  It came out fine as the black and white border of this bed quilt (and the girls liked it!)

Well, That's enough self-evaluation, you get the point!  Be creative and don't worry about what others think. Decide who you are and go from there to find your greatest achievements!
 Enjoy the journey and keep on learning! 
Are you enjoying the journey?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Finds in Pink and Yellow

I have been looking at color combinations that I don't normally use, and came across one today that I love!  I was looking to see what a supplier had new to offer and I ran across these, that I love:

Dangle Charm Drop by bountyofbeads

So here are some more items from Etsy shops with the same color combination--fuchsia & lemon!

Pink Lemonade Chocolate cookies by SweetToothSweetie

Cosmos Photo by AmyTylerPhotography

Amy has several other photos in her shop with this color combination!  Hope you will visit!

Scallop Bunting by RedElephantCreative

Quill card by PaperDaisyCardDesign

Crochet Flowers by AnnieDesign

Lovely!  Ya think that I may be secretly yearning for Spring, already?????

And . . .
It inspired me to do a quilt block! Inspiration comes from many places . . . . .so, make sure to

come back next week and see what I do with this block!  

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cannon Beach Trip

Recently, hubby and I spent a few days at the beach on the Oregon coast.  We had the most awesome restful time taking loads of pictures and just relaxing.  One day we just leaned up against a big log for some recreational reading to the sound of the surf and the seagulls.

We sat on the beach and took in the sights and sounds on a crisp sunshiny day in January--an odd thing for January!  I thought you might like to enjoy the trip with us.  These are just a few pictures, as we took dozens and dozens of pictures!

Viewpoint in Ecola State Park

This guy was guarding his "catch"!

Sea foam

I'll leave you with the flavor and feel of our stroll down the beach . . . .

 . . . oops, sorry,  use your imagination as to the "flavor" and "feel" part!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Year in Review

As part of my reevaluating process, that usually takes most of January for me, I have been reviewing my blog posts for last year.  I find that I have a few favorites and from looking at the stats, I see that they might have been your favorites too!  I have chosen one from each month for review!  Enjoy! (And keep going--there is something extremely cute at the end!)


Studio Guest!
I often house sit for a friend who has a huge sewing studio!  Lots of space with three machines, a light table, cutting table etc.  If you love studios, you will love all the pictures here!  I love it, and will be house sitting again for her in a few days!


At the urging of a blogger friend, I decided to tell the story behind my shop avatar. It got lots of views!


March was  a big blogging month if your views were any indication!  It was hard to choose since many of my posts were popular--the BBA challenge Part 1 and Part 2, the Goodbye Winter post about our local river stroll, and the Shamrock Charity Run, but I chose one post about my Sew Expo Perspective, since I did several posts on this subject and all had lots of views and comments!

Sew Expo in Puyallup Washington


With the start of spring and an April Easter Sunday, I had the urge to make something new.  Sew . . . I made a new Crayon Roll-up from some fabric that is still my favorite!  Oh . . . and there was a cute post about my future crafter granddaughter Vivienne: Vivi's Pins

Favorite fabric for a roll-up!

May is for Mother, right? I did a post of an old vintage picture that I found of what I think is my own mother!
I also celebrated my 500th post!  Yay!  But my pick for this month was about hand embroidery, since I love and appreciate the handmade quality of it over machine embroidery.

Embroidery enhanced Cell phone case


In June, there were graduations, birthdays, softball, fun runs, and Father's Day!
I did a series of posts, four in all, on "Got Creativity?" Actually started them the 29th of May, but finished the series in June. Links can be found on one of the home page tabs at the top of my homepage. 

Trying something new-- get creative!

Summer hit and I was out doing a summer craft fair with my granddaughter! I was also involved with creating a new line of aprons for a local merchant with a relationship that started back in May. It kept me busy for the remainder of the year.


Not much bloggin' in August--to HOT and had vacation fever!!  But I did introduce a new line of products! Children's tote bags

Kid Sized!


Still had a little vacation fever, and went on a little trip to visit a local volcano: Mt Saint Helens.  Posted pictures of our trip.  I blogged about National Sewing Month, my patio garden, and my broken sewing machine

Trail head sign on Mt Saint Helens

In October I became a grandmother--again, with the birth of our 26th grandchild!  Yay!  Most of the month was taken up with that, and not much blogging.  Here's a current picture of Gideon!

Doesn't that smile just melt ya?

November - December  

November was full, with the start of the holiday season, with craft shows, Thanksgiving and family  celebrations, and a yo yo tutorial.  Right after Thanksgiving, I started a "30 days of Christmas Fun" Series with lots of ideas.  Here's one that got lots of raves!  My cute little scrappy snowman pillow!

Hope you enjoyed my review and will visit some of the year's posts that interest you! 
On to a New Year of Fun and Creativity!