Friday, September 30, 2011

Running Man to the Rescue

When you have too much sewing to get
done before the end of the week,
you have to call for help.

"The running man" to the rescue.

Tomato juice,
Salt Pork,
and Rice

Put it together and what have you got?

Cabbage Rolls!
A true sign of fall.

 And a saving grace for dinner, multiple times.

Have a great weekend,

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is the process of coming
up with a strategy to get something done.
There are all kinds of courses and flow charts
to teach you how
to successfully reach your goal.

My goal this week has been to get all three
store sample "quilting projects" done and over to the store before Saturday.

I didn't make a chart, 
contract a strategic planner,
or take a special training.

My strategy is:
1. sit down at the sewing machine,
2. put on an audio book, Smoking Seventeen by Janet Evanovich, and, 
3. as my friend Eileen says" Just run it through!"

And that's exactly what I've been doing.

The more I'm able to chain piece, the faster
it all goes together.

I work on all gazillion blocks at a time.
Actually, for this last project it's 32 blocks,
but it still seems like a lot. 

I do each step 32 times and then move on to the next.
Sew, trim, press and sew....

I'm working on a Schnibbles pattern,
by Miss Rosie's Quilt Co.
called "Oso", which is Spanish for bear,
using a new, yet unavailable line,
by Kate Spain called "Good Fortune".

I'll post a picture when I'm done,
which according to my strategic plan 
had better be soon.

Until Next Time-

Monday, September 26, 2011

Autumn Preparedness

What do animals do to get ready for the 

In the fall they eat more to build up a thick layer of fat,
their fur gets thicker,
and store away food for a cold winter's day.

What do I do to get ready for winter on
a beautiful autumn day?

1. I bake pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies
for energy,
( I don't like to refer to it as building a layer of fat)


2. Is it time to put the razor away and let nature take it's course?

3. Yesterday I went to Quilt-a-Fair, which is a venders/
quilt show put on by the Colorado Quilting Council.
It's held once a year and is loads of shopping fun.

Our booth from The Fig Leaf was selling kits
left and right.
I generally don't buy kits, but
I felt like I just needed a kit too

 One of my favorite venders, Bonnie Blue Quilts,
had one just for me!

I feel  better prepared already.
Until Next time-

Friday, September 23, 2011

Are We Having Fun Yet?

My "cute" brown and black quilt has been quite 
the challenge.

I think because I've been  working under
a time crunch.

When one of my quilt samples is hanging up at the store,
I try to be very exact.
Customers love to scrutinize other people's work,
usually in a positive manner, but not always.

I started machine quilting yesterday 
after Jack and I  got all my piecing corrected.

I appreciated everyone encouragement regarding that 
"little issue".

If you apply the 3 foot rule, it doesn't look too bad, even 
pretty good. 
The key for me is to use the same color thread as the fabric so
it hides all the flaws.
It just when there's a slight difference between fabric 
and thread that my wobbles become
more apparent.

Wait a minute. 
Quilting is suppose to be fun.

Time to  crank up some music, opened a Mountain Dew and 
say" Are we having fun yet?"

The answer: "You bet."

The good news is that my machine had no tension issues.
I figure it was sensing mine.
Until Next Time-

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Jack the Ripper

Jack the Ripper was a pretty ruthless
 unidentified serial killer in London in 1888.

Yesterday  I needed Jack and I needed him to be ruthless.

I'd been working on this store sample.
I thought it was going great.

Do you see what I saw as I got ready to baste it?

8 blocks out of order.
I had flipped that section.


I  desperately needed Jack the Ripper.

He needed to be merciless and even cruel.

It was like doing surgery to remove the infected area.

Finally I got it back in place in the right direction and
started to machine quilt.

But wait!
What's this?#?

I couldn't believe it, another block twisted.

By now it was too late for Jack to do anything.
Instead I needed his sister, Agatha the Appliquer.

So I appliqued a new block over the wrong one.

I think everything is ok now.

 I hate to look too closely.

Yesterday must have been a non sewing day.
But Jack was able to come to my rescue.
In defense, 
I probably was thinking about the humungous piece of 
space debris that could be fall right towards me and 
was slightly distracted.
Until Next Time-

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Stand Up Job

I was trying to think of jobs that are difficult 
to do standing up.

An airline pilot,
a manicurist,
a bobsled racer,
and a tennis ump.

But what about someone using a sewing machine?
Is it a sit down job or can it be done standing up?

My actual sewing area is pretty small and I don't have 
space for a design wall.
So when I get to the point where I need to start sewing
blocks together, I usually retreat to the dining room
table and use the floor as my design wall.

It does require more bending over to retrieve pieces,
but I figure that's good exercise.

This is a new pattern that I've been working on for the store.
It's by Primitive Gatherings and Lisa Bongean
and the fabric line is called "Little Gatherings".
The yummy chocolate browns, pie crust lights and
licorice black prints are truly charming.

Here's a close-up of the 44 star blocks and
the 37 half square triangle blocks on my design floor.

The quilt is about a 55 inch square with borders.

I would define this quilt as more a slow cuisine quilt.
It took a lot more time, but is really a sweet quilt.

So back to my original question.
Can you do a "Stand Up Job" with your sewing machine?
 Why yes you can.
I do it all the time
Until Next Time-

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Recipe Recommendation

When my girls lived at home,
one of our favorite meals was macaroni and cheese.
Not the kind from the blue box,
But homemade.

I'd make a roux, add milk and plenty of cheddar cheese.
I was never allowed to deviate from the original recipe.

In the latest copy of Cooking Light there is a recipe

They squashed out half the calories and fats.
It was really cheesy and sneaks in some nutty
butternut squash.
It's a great replacement
for the rich cheddary original.  
I'd really recommend it.

The other wonderful recipe 
in the same issue was a layered brownie,
Photo from Cooking Light

Oh, my, they were delicious.
Just in case you need a little indulgence.
I love the taste of chocolate, a little salt and
the caramel,
a perfect trio.

If you need some dinner inspiration,
try these from Cooking Light, Sept, 2011.
It will help to make a perfect weekend.
Until Next Time-

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Grand Island, Nebraska

The top ten comments about
my weekend trip to Grand Island, Nebraska.

10. If you are coming from Colorado you loose an hour. 
It can be important.

9. I-80 is a trucker's pipeline.
Do not go over the speed limit to even pass a truck.
Don't ask me how I know.

8. Grand Island is not an island located in the
middle of the prairie.

7. You are in the middle of Big Red Territory.
Do not wear any other college logo.

6. Grand Island is the quintessential example of 
small town America- a porch on every house,
people on every porch, American made
pickups in the driveways,
and kids playing and riding bikes in the neighborhoods.
It was a pleasure to sit and enjoy.

5. If you go to a rehearsal dinner at the Lutheran Church
plan on something pink and fluffy for dessert.

4. The chain restaurants have completely invaded the dining options.
I ended up at Carlos O'Kelly's Mexican Restaurant.
I thought that was an unusual combination.
Sadly, I think it's a chain.

3. I did find some good prices on antique furniture at the antique malls.
They are part of the "Nebraska junk jaunt".

2.  If you stay at a Sleep Inn, remember
there are no secrets between rooms.

1. The number one reason I went to 
Grand Island was because Jessica was the wedding
photographer for a friend.

  She needed a travelling
companion who knew which direction was east and
which way would you turn to go home.
In other words, I was the GPS.

  Until Next Time-

Monday, September 12, 2011

September Quilts

The calendar says it's September,
and I'm ready to put on a pair of socks and a sweatshirt.
I certainly have added a quilt to the bed.

I looked through my quilt closet and 
decided September's weather is so diverse, hot or cold,
 I'd show you a little of my diversity as a quilter.

When I started quilting there were very few references available.
One of the first books I used was
The Mountain Artisans Quilting Book by
Alfred Allan Lewis.

It was published in 1973 as a contemporary twist on the
old "craft" of quilting.
Some of the suggestions were
making this or
making this.
Maybe the horse was just a prop and the quilt
wasn't really intended  as a horse blanket.
Let's hope.

"Appliqued Animals"
It was my first needle turn applique and
hand quilting project.
I quilted it in a half inch grid.

"a kangaroo"

At this time the fabric industry was more keen on
polyesters and cotton poly blends.
There were very few 100% cottons available, other
than bandanas!

My animals must have be made with poly blends.
They remain bright and weird.
While the sashing and backing which was a cotton
has changed dramatically. 

Look how fugitive the blue was.
The years have turned the front to a greenish gray
compared to the backing and that's turning as well.

The second quilt is from the book
Higdon Camp-1924
by Barb Adams and Alma Allen.

"A Furled Flag Plus 4 Friends"

This quilt was made during my "plaid period".
I still love it.
The best part of this project was the fact that I was making
it simultaneously with a couple of my friends.
I love collecting and choosing just the right fabrics in a scrappy quilt.

The more plaids the better.

This last quilt was
from the book
Be Cre8ive with Lizzie B
by Liz and BethHawkins.

I was stepping out of my normal comfort zone.

"Fleur Rug"
Yes, it's suppose to be a rug.

The fuzzy edges are done with raw edged applique 
and adds a soft touch.
I used batiks and they don't fray much, but
it was a fun project to try.

Isn't that what it's all about anyway,
trying new things, experimenting with 
new techniques and styles.

In just a few short years
I went from my applique animals made 
with poly cotton blends,
folk art flags and flowers made with woven flannel plaids 
to batik flower rugs.

And the best part is that
the journey keeps on going.

Until Next Time-