This and That

This and That

I simply cannot believe it’s mid-December.  For one thing, we’ve had over a week of sunny (and cold) weather.  It’s probably going to rain over the weekend and then get nice again.  The Farmer’s Almanac calls for a cold and dry winter followed by a hot, wet summer.  Not our usual MO.  What I find interesting is the plant life that continues to survive.  The alyssum is still blooming a bit which makes the deck look a little less desolate.

 The hydrangea mostly looks like this picture on the left.  It also produced one little flower last week, on the right.

We are currently into week 6 of our 3-week house fix.  Yes, you read that right.

This is Maynard.  He’s boxed in behind the dining room table so that a chunk of wall could be replaced.  He screams so I don’t have to.  I do feel lucky that all the guys who’ve worked on this project have been really nice.  I decided to give up dusting until they’re finished.  Talk about your exercise in futility!  The dust will likely be measurable by the time this project is over, and right at the moment, I just can’t work myself up to caring.  I’d rather sew than dust anyway.  (Please don’t tell my mother.) (As if she doesn’t know.)

I’m working on the pattern for Frosty Days.  I’m also making another Frosty as I go along to make sure the instructions say what I think they do.  It’ll have a more controlled palette than the one below.  Apparently, not everyone wants all the colors all the time.

We’re starting to plan for the new year.  If you are, too, let us know what you might like to see in this space.  Also, sign up for our monthly newsletter.  We’ll be talking a lot about domestic machine quilting in the coming months.  The sign-up space is on the upper right side of this page.

Whatever you celebrate during these short, dark days we wish you all happiness.

 

Life and Quilts

Life and Quilts

As the clouds roll in and the nights get chilly, winter can’t be far away.  While winter is officially about six weeks out, sweaters and boots are already in the rotation.  Right now, some trees are still full of yellowing leaves, some are looking sparse and others are already bare.  It’s that weird in-between time when sun, rain, warmer temps and a cold wind can all happen on the same day.  So layer up kids, ’cause anything could happen.

I’m facing an interesting challenge right at the moment.  It seems that one wall of the house needs serious work due to some leakage and that includes one wall of the studio.  In order to get that done, everything in the studio had to be 4-5 feet from that wall.

What this means is that I’m now sewing in a seriously confined space.  It forces me to be tidier and (somewhat) cool with a less efficient set-up.

If the above picture makes you cringe, you’re in good company.

It also means that things must be folded and put away as I go, which is not my usual MO.  I tend to just toss things on a chair or the floor until a project is finished.  That habit is a no-go in the current situation.  It also is making me rethink how I want to change things up as I get the rest of my space back in three or four weeks.  There is also lots of pounding and sawing going on right outside my window.  Luckily, this doesn’t really bother me.  It’s just life happening.

I’m making a quilt for a dear friend who I worked with for 15 years.  I decided to go through my files of saved pictures and patterns from quilting magazines and found the perfect thing right away.  I already had some of the perfect fabrics and had to fill in a few colors.  I cut the pieces as noted in the directions and as I’m sewing the pieces together, I realize that the 34 cut pieces of blue really need to be 68 cut pieces of blue.  Luckily, I always buy a little more fabric than the pattern calls for so it’ll be okay.  The truth is that whatever magazine this came from probably published a correction the following month.  The other truth is that I tear stuff out and file it and maybe come back to it years later (in this case 12 years later).  So here’s the lesson:  Read through the pattern and cutting directions.  If the numbers or fabric amounts don’t seem right, refigure.  Also, a little extra fabric is cheaper than going back to the store or hunting down more online.  I understand that magazines are on deadlines and mistakes can slip through the cracks.  Our challenge is to figure out a way around the issues.

 

If I make 17 of these blocks, I need 68 blue pieces.  Got lucky this time.  Next time I’ll look closer at the numbers in the pattern.  The doggies in the center are from a Laurel Burch collection from some years ago.  I have learned over the years that if I find some really special fabric that I totally love but don’t know how I’ll use, buy a bunch!

Feeling a time crunch coming on before the holidays?  Try something smaller and non-anxiety inducing.  These patterns are on special this month for 20% off.

Setting an Autum Table

Setting an Autumn Table

 

 

 

Santa Says Hi

 

We’re bringing the newsletter back after a long vacation.  Sign up on our Home page to get more quilting information, book reviews and tips.  Also, we’d love to hear from you, so email us at  motheronabroomstick@gmail.com

Quilt for FUN!

Candy

 

 

Thinking Ahead

Thinking Ahead

After some cool and rainy weather, our usual fall is back.  We still have leaves on the trees (at least for a while) and the mums are about to bloom.  The tomatoes didn’t come up to expectations, but we’ll have some green ones to fry up.  If you’ve heard the old phrase about looking like (or feeling like) the last rose of summer, you likely have a good idea what my once lovely potted flowers look like.  In a couple of weeks, decorating for Halloween will be in full swing.  I have something new for the front yard that I’m dying to try out.

Toby and Ella are not really ready for cooler weather.  The problem is not the temperature outside on these chilly mornings, but having the door  closed so they can’t be both inside and out.  Here they are with cousin Finn, a young labradoodle,  who came for a visit with my son and daughter-in-law.  He’s such a cute little guy and everyone gets along.

Somebody mentioned on Facebook that there were only 92 days until Christmas.  And we wonder why people get stressed.  Barb tells me there are some Christmas trees up in the mall.  Seriously?  Internet gift shopping, here I come. So this is my one and only very early reminder.  Here are some pictures of our patterns that were designed with Christmas in mind.

“Santa Says Hi”

 

This is “Starshine Runner” in a different color combo than the one on the Shopping Page.  Just add or subtract blocks to fit your table. If you’re looking for a larger quilt, make the blocks bigger and go for a bigger project with same blocks.

Now, let’s get those imaginations in gear.  This is “Snapshots” suing some leftover Laurel Burch prints.  I’ll post again when it’s quilted .

And for a quick one, how about “Falling for Halloween” in Christmas fabrics.

Fall Into Halloween

This one would be REALLY easy if you have a Christmas or winter stripe.

 

Mother Goes Mod

How about “Mother Goes Mod” with a Holiday layer cake?

 

I just bet you have some Christmas, Holiday, or Winter fabrics that would work in these or other patterns.  Make them larger or smaller or out of snuggly flannel for the little ones.  We (especially Barb) often use patterns as just a jumping off place.  And don’t forget, we’d love to see what you make out of our patterns.

I’m also seeing some Thanksgiving themed fabrics.  There’s time for a runner or some placemats.

Don’t think that I’m giving Halloween short shrift this year.  It’s me, remember?  Those fabrics are about to go on sale!

For those of you in the Portland, OR area (sorry Portland, ME), the Quilting Expo is coming up this weekend and in a moment of shameless self-promotion, let me ask you to check out the quilts of Friends on the Edge.  It’s a collaboration between two small quilt groups and we had so much fun making our quilts.  I’m a huge fan of small quilt groups as we not only challenge each other and improve our skills and test our imaginations, but build the sweetest friendships.  The show is at the Portland Expo Center on September 28,29, and 30.  There will be lots of quilts and vendors.  Wear sensible shoes.

And don’t forget to quilt for fun!

Candy

 

When Life Gets in the Way

When Life Gets in the Way

The saying goes, “The best laid plans of mice and men . . .”  This is especially true when I think I have a few days in a row to quilt.  Then my sewing machine goes back to the shop.  Third time’s a charm.  (I’ve borrowed Barb’s machine, which is identical to mine, but it’s just not the same.)  Or when the pharmacy didn’t get the message and I have to go back.  There’s almost always a load to go in the washer or I forgot something at the grocery store or the dust is becoming measurable and I have to do something about it.  We spent a few days at my mom’s last week, taking care of old-house issues.  It’s the little things that throw our plans out of whack.

I have been working on a Be Colourful quilt, which as I surely have mentioned before, is going to take a while.  I’m all the way up to part B.

This project is taking some organizing tools I don’t generally use.  There are 24 bright batiks in the kit, so keeping them in order is actually a thing,

Look at the baskets, not the crazy in the background!  I’ve found that I can use a sharpie to put numbers on flower-head pins which helps me quite a lot.  And any help is good help.

I have a non-quilting question that I hope someone can answer.  My salsa garden is not as coordinated as one would hope.  The tomatoes aren’t ready yet, but the Anaheim Peppers, Banana Peppers and Jalapeños are going crazy.  What does one do with way more peppers than one needs?  I’ve chopped and frozen some, but they just keep coming!  Any help would be SO appreciated.

And speaking of crazy, the bumblebees are crazy about my California poppies.  They’re too busy to bother us and they’re fun to watch. If I could harness that energy . . .

We blew off Monday morning watching the eclipse.  We had only 98% totality.  Barb drove south a few miles to get the whole experience.  I must say that an eclipse is a little creepy, but very cool.  Apparently the worst part was the traffic afterwards that took on nightmare proportions.  Three hours for a drive that normally takes 20 minutes is more than frustrating.

I’m finding it hard to deal with the fact that summer is almost over.  Feels like it just started.  Although it’s cool and cloudy today, it’s supposed to by 98 by Monday, so naturally, school starts on Tuesday.  I remember the feeling so well.  Who would my teacher be and who would be in my room.  My grade school class was fairly large and we were divided into two classrooms.  We didn’t find out until we got there on the first day of school who our teacher was.  It was a bit stressful.  By high school, I looked forward to all the activities and worried less about the teachers and more about what to wear and how much fun the football games would be.  Somehow, I survived it all.

The “Autumn Sunset” quilt pattern is on sale for a few more days.  The background block is easy so you can concentrate on the changing colors.  It was fun to do and we hope you’ll enjoy it, too.  You can get the pattern by going to our Shopping page.

Have you started your fall projects yet? Thinking of Christmas and other Holiday projects?  No pressure.

Here’s wishing you a happy and safe end-of-summer.

Quilt for fun!

Candy

 

 

Is It Dog Days Yet?

Is It Dog Days Yet?

It’s hard to believe that it’s already August.  Now that we’ve survived the great Northwest Heatwave, we are enjoying low 90’s and smoky  weather – warmer than average and cooler than last week   I’m not complaining, mostly because I whined all winter about how cold and snowy and rainy it was.  The only upside of the smoke is the colorful sunrises and sunsets it makes.

I’ve been dividing my hot afternoons between quilting “Snapshots,” piecing a Jacqueline de Jonge kit called “Enchanting Stars,” and painting a decoration for Halloween.

“Snapshots” won’t have fancy quilting as it would just disappear.  It just got kind of big so will take a bit of time to quilt.

I bought the “Enchanting Stars” kit when I went to the Quilt Show in Houston a couple (or was it three?) years ago.  When I got home and opened the kit and got a look at the instruction book, I kind of panicked and put it away.  Now that my calmer self is in charge (for the moment) I’m starting to cut and piece.  The trick is not to try to take it all in at once, but to go step by step and not hurry.  This is what I’ve done so far.

This is going to take a while, and I’m enjoying it.

Finally, I’ve spent time in my cool, cool basement working on this project.  It’s not quite finished, but you get the idea.

I’ve been doing decorative painting activities off and on for about 40 years and while I haven’t done original designs, I find it calming to work on projects like this.

Since the begonias live in the shade, they did pretty well in the heat.  One of them makes flowers that look like this.

I’d love to figure out how to piece a thing like this.  Maybe painting it on fabric would be the way to go.

The summer squashes, cucumbers and peppers are doing great.  The tomatoes are taking their sweet time.  Looks like the “farmette” will be active well into fall.  Naturally, the salsa garden ingredients ripen at different times.  The peppers will have to be chopped and frozen since I already have a bunch.

We’re only about ten days away from the solar eclipse.  Oregon is getting ready for a pretty big influx of sky watchers.  The total eclipse will be visible about 40 miles south of here for about two minutes.  Sweet Husband and I are probably going to sit on our front porch and make do with a not-quite-total eclipse.  I’ve only seen one before and it was a bit eerie and very cool.

I’m re-dedicating myself to a regular newsletter.  Among the things we’ll be talking about are tools ( I love gadgets and sometimes I actually use ’em), and the books, magazines, and techniques that I’m finding inspiring or helpful. Because the newsletter is emailed, you have to sign up for it.  Nobody wants unasked for email less than I.  It’s easy and free to sign up at the top right corner of this blog.

This quilt is one I just love for fall.  It’s actually easy to put together.  It’s on sale for the rest of August, so check it out on the shopping page.

And the dog days?  Apparently it has less to do with an actual dog, like Ella, peeking around the corner, below, than it does with the constellation Canis Major and the star Sirius, which marks his nose.  For our canines, late summer is more about laying around in air conditioning.  Also participating in the neighborhood twilight bark.  The dog friends are actually kind of a gossipy bunch.

 

Stay cool and keep quilting for fun!

Candy

 

Deeply Into Summer

Deeply Into Summer

I walked into one of my favorite fabric stores today and right up front and center, what should I see?  Christmas Fabric.  And lots of it.  I’m not ready!  I get it.  If one is going to create some fabulous projects for Christmas (and I mean for 2017), one should probably start now.  I know that Christmas in July is a thing; it’s just not mine.  It kind of reminds me of back-to-school supplies on July 6 in the variety stores.  It’s just too soon.  There’s a fine line between WAY too early and a day late and a dollar short.

It did remind me, however, that it’s time to start Fall and Halloween projects.  The new fabric’s been out for weeks and I still have about a million yards from years gone by.  As I’ve said before, (at least I think so; okay, I’m pretty sure) the biggest problem with Fall and Halloween fabrics is that the prints are so cute, one (me) doesn’t want to cut them up into tiny pieces.  I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.  So, how about this?

The picture blocks finish at 5 X 7 inches, so it’s possible to use up some  smallish scraps of fun fabric.  It’s also layer cake friendly.  I’ve done some repeats on the quilt above, but if you stay in a somewhat limited palette, you could make all the pictures different.

And yes, it would be great with Christmas prints for the make-way-ahead crowd.

The plan is to have the pattern posted by Tuesday, August 1.

Today, I’ll pick my first tomatoes of the year.  The Sweet Million plant is really going to town.  There’s nothing like meaty, sweet tomatoes from your own yard.  Or Farmer’s Market tomatoes, fresh from someone else’s farm.

 

This is one of the top reasons I love summer.  Also, warm evenings, bare legs, the smell of newly cut hay, and fresh fruit.

So what’s on your quilting list for the week or the month?  Comment on the post, send us an email, include a picture.  We’d love to know what others are working on.  Share us with your quilting friends.  And, of course, keep quilting for fun.

Candy

 

A November Getaway

A November Getaway

Thanksgiving is just a week away and I’m finding I have a lot to be thankful for.  Right now it’s sunny out and around here in November, that’s a big deal.  I have family, friends, a warm house, room to sew and a fat stash.  Having the freedom (if not aways enough time) to create is a gift and for that, I’m very thankful.

Sweet Husband and I took a few days last week to visit Charleston, SC.  We’d never been but heard such great things.  We weren’t disappointed.  The weather was mild, our B and B was delightful and we did touristy things for three fun days.  We also just enjoyed some sun.  It was delightful to just sit and be on this love piazza.

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How can you not love this?

It’s fun to go somewhere that has different history and architecture.  Also, the food was great!

Charleston has some cool fountains and this one was my favorite:

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We took a tour in a carriage pulled by this guy:

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If he could talk, we wouldn’t have needed the driver.  He knew exactly where to go and when to stop.  His name is Gibbs and he wasn’t against being told he’s cute, sniffing me out or getting a nose scratch.  The picture below was taken from the tour.

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I looked to see if there were any quilt shops within walking distance of our apartment.  The only one was supposed to be right across the street.  Sadly, my info was old and the space is occupied by  a local magazine.  I was so bummed.  I do like to see what’s going on with quilting in other places.

My small quilt group made quilts from Tula Pink blocks over the last year.  My top is finished, and I’m just beginning to quilt.  Within the Tula blocks, I’m just stitching some lines in the ditch.

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 The solid black background will be something else, but I think fairly simple as the colored blocks are busy.  I have plenty of time as the deadline isn’t until the end of February.  I do, however, want to get it finished way before the deadline as I find managing to the deadline really stressful.

For any of you gardeners out there, I have a question.  I had a couple of nasturtiums in window boxes last summer, which never really did much.  Now they’ve come back, big time.

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I’ve never had any get this big in the summer!  Do they actually like it cool and damp?  Who knew?

Barb and I wish all of you a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

Keep quilting for fun.

Candy

 

Happy Hallowe’en

Happy Hallowe’en

This is what goes on around here at Hallowe’en.

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The “tombstone” at upper left fell over when we had some wind.  Naturally, the mums had been planted about three days before.  As you may have guessed, the center mum was never the same.

The very unfinished quilt top is all from the Hallowe’en stash.  When this is finished, I plan to go right to spring so I have some new things to show.

The little tree is decorated with fall ornaments I found at a quilt show some years ago.

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This picture is not all I’d hoped.  I took it panorama style and had to limit pixels to upload it.  It’s kind of cool, but it bends everything a little.  The table is actually a regular rectangle.  Mona and Maynard spend October having their moment at my dining room table.  The rest of the year they hang out in my office.

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And yes, this actually is in my yard.  The witch has been a Hallowe’en staple for some hard years, but she survives.

The sock is from a wool class I took years ago.  It just pleases me.

I think the last one is self explanatory.

 

Sadly, it’s slated to rain on the Trick or Treaters on Monday, but the weatherman has been wrong before and I can only hope the kids get a break.

Next time I’ll talk about actual quilting.  I have lots of new ideas to try out soon.

In the meantime, here’s Toby –

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“Only two more days until all the kids come to tell me how cute I am!”

Quilt for Fun and Happy Hallowe’en!

Candy

 

Halloween – Quilt for Fun

Halloween – Quilt for Fun

Yesterday was a nearly perfect example of a gorgeous fall day:  calm winds, cloudless blue sky and temperatures in the low 60’s.  It was the kind of day that I could’ve lived sixty times in a row.  Today is still warm and the morning was sunny.  Now high clouds are thickening up and we’re looking at a week of rain.  Swell.  The good news is that I will quilt more because I won’t be tempted to wander outside.

I made good use of lovely yesterday.  This is what 99 planted tulip and hibiscus bulbs look like.

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I’m actually kind of a fan of instant gratification, so next spring seems a long way off.  There are another 99 on the other side of the brick walk.  When they’re colorful and smell like spring, I’ll be glad I took the time to plant them.

About the only things left in the garden that are blooming are the dahlias.  They might be the showiest low-maintenance flower ever.

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I spent last weekend at my quilt guild’s fall retreat.  It’s a good way to get to know other quilters that you see every month, but never really get to talk to.  The retreat center has good food, nice people and a huge, well lit room to sew in.  Out the windows we see things like this:

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And this:

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Also, I didn’t have to let the dogs out, start dinner, or throw a load in the washer.  Always a fun weekend.  Did I finish anything?  Actually, no.  But I made some serious inroads.

Halloween has come to my house.  I used to do a lot of decorative painting.  I still do a little, but there is just not enough time to do it all.  I painted this from a pattern about 20 years ago.

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I have some postcards with similar images that are dated from the early 20th century.  They show lots of witches and jack-o-lanterns and black cats and tend to be more sweet than scary.  I love this holiday for lots of reasons, but mostly because it appeals to my inner eight-year-old.  This is the same child-woman who read Harry Potter books in record time.  The possibility of some magic is a feeling I hope I never lose.  We can all use a little magic in our lives.

If you’ve been living in a cave, you might not know that I have a pretty large stash of Halloween fabric.  In the spirit of denting it, just a little, I’ve started a quilt that I found in the Quilty Easy Modern Quilts magazine (Winter, 2016).  On page 66 a quilt called Giddy Gridlock is featured which told me it needed to be a Halloween quilt.  I have lots of cute prints that I don’t want to cut into tiny pieces and this looks like just the thing.  So here’s my start.

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Here’s to all of us who love out hats and boots and brooms!

Quilt for fun!

Candy

October Color

October Color

It rained here last night.  The kind of rain that actually gets down to the roots.  It’s cool and cloudy and that fall smell is in the air.  It’s a mixture of wet leaves, wet dirt and not enough sun.  In the “olden days,” there would also be burning leaves mixed in and although I totally support the idea of clean air, I do miss that smell in the fall.  There are still lots of leaves on the trees . . . well, some trees.IMG_1221   IMG_1220

Same parking lot, same day, two directions from where I was parked.  Apparently, not everyone is on the same schedule.

 

There is still color in the yard.  The dahlias are going strong and probably will for a few more weeks.  Love those guys.  The hydrangeas are doing their fall thing . . .

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Except for the one below that’s still the color that most of them were throughout the summer.

 

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I’ve never owned any hydrangeas until about two years ago.  Now I’d like a yard full.

And then there is alyssum and one little geranium (the tiny pink thing at the top) that’s trying to hang in.  I just put the ornamental peppers in as they add some much needed bright color.

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I finally got the binding finished on Autumn Sunset.  The pattern is ready and actually pretty easy.  The video on painting highlights and shadows is still on the to do list.  That project will be a learning experience for me.

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The painting part is completely optional.  I just like messing around with it.  The pattern is available over on the Shop page.

I went to the Quilting Expo in Portland last weekend.  There were lots of really great quilts and I took a bunch of pictures.  Sadly, none of them is very focused.  Usually my phone takes great pictures, but I suspect I did snapped and went so quickly that it didn’t have a chance to focus.  Here are a couple that aren’t too bad.

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I enjoyed how the spiral, above, is escaping the edges of the quilt.

Now that it’s October, I’m all about Halloween.  This week most of the decorations will go up.  The outdoor stuff will wait a couple of weeks.

 I dove into the Halloween stash and made this cutie.

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What no home should be without.  The perfect size for my rocking chair.

Drink some cider, eat a pumpkin scones and enjoy this colorful season.

Quilt for Fun!

Candy