Winter Sunshine

Winter Sunshine

Our little corner of the world is currently enjoying some winter sun.  And yes, it’s not officially winter for three more weeks.  Still, several days in a row of sunny weather anytime between the first of November and the end of March is a real thing here and I take advantage of it whenever I can.  This means I have more energy and there’s no excuse for not doing a couple of outdoor chores.  Yesterday it was mulching the hydrangeas that went in last spring.  The more mature ones are pretty hardy, but the first year plants don’t seem to care for a hard winter.  It will likely freeze overnight while we have sunny days, the price we pay for sunny winter days.

The last dahlia hangs in.

I’m working on two quilts for Christmas and while one will surely be finished on time, the one for Sweet Husband is giving me fits.  This never happens without a deadline.  The pattern was from a magazine and I cut the templates just right.  The only problem is that when the blocks go together, the lines don’t flow the way they’re shown in the pictures unless I take ½-inch seams.  This is why we get headaches. (Insert frustration scream here.)  The new plan is to finish the one I know I can get done, finish the blocks for the small quilt group that meets in two weeks and then hope to at least get the difficult top done before the big day.  This actually reminds me of my maternal grandmother who taught us to play gin rummy.  Grandma always reminded me that you have to be able to change your strategy in the middle of the game to win.  It turns out that Grandma was wiser than I used to think.  And yes, I should’ve started this earlier.

I’m sad to report that I sewed this many together before I realized the curved lines didn’t flow together!

I mentioned in my last blog that I had acquired something fun and here it is!

This machine was given to me by a friend who tells me that it belonged to her grandmother.  My friend no longer uses it and doesn’t really have room for it.  I wanted to buy it, but she was more concerned with the machine getting a good home.  All the cords need to be replaced and the cabinet needs a little love.  I haven’t had a chance to do any research on it and realistically, that might not happen until after the holidays.  The truth is that no matter what, I’m just tickled to own this older machine.

Ella is not above a photo bomb.

I’d love to see what others among you are sewing up this month.  You can respond on our Facebook page, Mother on a Broomstick or comment here.

Be sure to do some quilting for fun!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m not quite sure how it got to be almost Thanksgiving when it was just Halloween.  But here I am, wishing you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving.  Sweet Husband and I will be spending the holiday with my mom.  I have to admit that mostly what I made for Thanksgiving was a reservation.  I’m taking a pie (whose crust is currently cooling in the fridge) and a fruit salad for snacking and letting the pros worry about dinner.

 I’ll take some handwork to do while I’m visiting and having a relaxing couple of days.  I do not plan to leave the house on Friday except maybe for a walk if it’s not raining.  I learned my lesson about black Friday years ago:

One Thanksgiving weekend in the early ’80’s, my mom wanted to see what the mall was like on black Friday.  So the two of us left the kids with Sweet Husband and my dad (aka Ironhand Jack) and ventured out to watch the crazy people shop.  Sadly, we spent 20 minutes driving around the parking lot never finding an empty space, called it a good lesson and went home.  To this day, neither of us has bought more than a quart of milk on the day after Thanksgiving.

Portland area (and beyond) sewers and makers are currently dealing with the closure of Fabric Depot, our iconic giant fabric store of many years.  I’ve actually met people from Alaska who fly down to do a major shopping there.  I will certainly miss the “acre of fabric” that engendered so many ideas.  FD was a local family business that we were happy to support.

We are enjoying a lovely fall.  The pansies still look great.  And actually, if I keep deadheading and we don’t have a long freeze, they’ll survive until spring.  However, the marigold in the picture below is a surprise.  I had them in the window boxes in the summer and allowed some to go to seed just to see what would happen.  The weather’s been so mild, some have come up and bloomed.  They will not last through the winter, but I could easily get some volunteers in the spring.  The forecast calls for rain starting tomorrow and lasting through the weekend.  It’s a good thing since we haven’t had much, but I will miss the energy of the sun.


I’m in the middle of a couple of quilts that I want finished by Christmas.  This will take some dedication.   The last week has been filled with out-of-the-house commitments and December looks to be quieter.  My quilts can be done and the house ready for Christmas guests.

I know, no quilt pics this week but next week I’ll show off something I was given last week that’s really pretty cool.


Happy Thanksgiving!!

Quilt when you can and enjoy the heck out of your weekend,


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.


On a Foggy Morning

On a Foggy Morning

We’re enjoying a rain-free, kinda sunny morning.  Any sunshine in late fall or winter is a big deal here.  I took this picture this morning outside my studio.

It was really foggy earlier, leaving little droplets everywhere.  We haven’t had many spiders this year so this web was a beautiful surprise.

In other news, we’ve restarted our monthly newsletter.  It will include reviews of quilting books that we’ve found inspirational and educational.  We’ll also include some practical information and photos for quilting on your home machine.  It’s actually really easy to sign up for the newsletter.  Just look to the right of this post for spaces for your name and email address.  If you have questions, just let us know at

This week I’ll be putting out and hanging up my Christmas quilts.  The newest addition to the Christmas collection is “Snapshots: Christmas.”  How quickly it gets quilted is dependent upon how much wall replacement happens in my studio.  Barb’s studio space will definitely be affected.  The guys who are working on it are great.  It’s the noise that I find really distracting and headache inducing.  There is one really loud and whiny power tool that has led me to understand where head bangers come from.

Are you making gifts this year?  If so, we’d love to see pictures and hear about  your projects.  You can email us or post on our Facebook page.  If you decorate with quilts, we love to see those, too.

This little wool project was from a pattern I bought some years ago at the Northwest Quilting Expo.  I just love it and it’s so me, especially when I’ve bought a bunch of fabric.  This is the perfect time of year to cozy up to the fire and do some relaxing handwork.

With winter fast approaching, I always think we need some color to offset the brown of sleeping trees and the grays of fog and storm clouds.  With that in mind, our next pattern will look very much like this:

I like it for a wall hanging or maybe a winter baby.  This pattern will be ready by mid-December so you can add some sparkle to your January.

Have a great week.  Give yourself a break and quilt for fun!



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!



Let the Quilting, Fusing, Dyeing Begin

Let the Quilting, Fusing, Dyeing Begin

Summer is here, the garden is in and my sewing machine is in the shop for its yearly checkup.  Apparently June is tune-up-your-sewing machine month as it’s been in the shop for two weeks and it’s just now ready to come home.  Since today is a Friday in the Summer, I’m not going to retrieve it until tomorrow.  I find that about 2 pm Friday afternoon, about half the population takes a stupid pill and hits the freeway.  It should be a lovely weekend so there will be lots of traveling to lakes and beaches.

Sunday, Barb and I head for the hills, (literally) when we drive up to Sisters, OR for a week of quilting topped off with the Outdoor Quilt Show on Saturday.  Sisters is located on the east side of the Cascades at the edge of Oregon’s high desert.  It’s a lovely setting for both Quilter’s Affair classes and the Outdoor Show.  I’ve been going since 1993 except for a year when we vacationed in Europe and the year my son got married.  This year I have four days of classes and a day to just hang around.  There’s a lot to be said for the relaxation of just hanging around.  In this day and age, people don’t do it so much and I think that’s a shame for both adults and kids.  Enjoying a day, taking it all in, is good for the soul.

On the left, the highway through town is closed on the day of the show.  On the right, quilts are hung on the outside of most of the buildings in town.  How can you not love this?  Also, being with friends and not cooking or cleaning is always good.

For the first year ever, all my quilting stuff is packed up and ready to for Sunday.  Clearly, that’s because the sewing machine is gone (although I could’ve borrowed Barb’s) and I found the need to clean the quilting studio.  Who saves tiny bits of fusible web?  Not to mention some weird junk that I have no idea what it does?  The good news is that it’ll be ready to roll when I get back.  This year I’m doing a fusing class, quilting with rulers and painting on fabric.  Barb will be dyeing fabric and making tote bags.  So much to learn, so little time.

         All packed up and ready to roll (left). Just a small mess in the background.       For me, this is neat.  Just a little more quilting to do on Submariner’s Compass.

I’m already thinking about fall.  I have a couple of ideas in my head and will get lots more inspiration this coming week.  Now I’ll go bake some cookies for my housemates.

If this post has issues, please know that I couldn’t preview it and hope to have the problem solved quickly.  I love the internet, but it’s always something.

Have a wonderfully fun and safe Independence Day weekend.

Keep quilting for Fun!



They’re here!  It’s “the Holidays” and they include everything from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.  All in all, that’s about six weeks of fun, stress, and stress to make it fun.  I love the idea of it all and am planning to relax and enjoy as much as possible.  If it could just look like a Christmas card of a cozy cottage with snow all around, gingerbread men waiting for Santa and a warm fire in the fireplace as opposed to chains on the tires, and a cancelled flight.  So here’s the new plan:  don’t go for perfection, go for fun.  Don’t do it all, do the parts you love.  Sound familiar?

So this happened yesterday.




The forecast said a bit of snow in the morning.  It actually snowed on and off most of the day.  It didn’t stick and this is what it looked like this morning.


 It did leave some serious snow in the mountains and ski season promises to be good this year.

I put the Christmas quilts up and Sweet Husband assembled and decorated the tree.  While I have some thoughts about a new Christmas quilt, it will wait until after the holidays.  I have a couple of projects with deadlines that need to be dealt with first.  With time running short, I recommend a table runner like our “Santa Says Hi” runner that can realistically be finished before the end of December.


Depending on the colors of your fussy-cut centers, you could go anywhere from traditional colors, to coral and olive green to apple green and purple.  What’s in your stash?

This is also the time of year when we start thinking about resolutions.  This year I’m going more realistic.  I want to get some new patterns out there and have them be available in a timely manner.  A Christmas pattern that comes out at Thanksgiving isn’t going to cut it.  The best way to accomplish this is to put in on the calendar, put it on the list and write it in ink in my planner.  We have some fun ideas and are looking forward to sharing them with you.  In the meantime, see what we have on our shopping page!

To all our quilting friends, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Quilty New Year!

Candy and Barb








A Note From the Soggy Northwest

A Note From the Soggy Northwest

Just so you know, it’s not currently raining here.  Also, the guy who hit the news floating atop his keg is not related to me.  I  consider it completely possible that my back yard could be declared a National Swampland.  If there were such a thing.  Which I’m pretty sure there’s not.  Basically the back yard is a soggy mess.  On the bright side, there is likely ski-able snow in the mountains.


Last Thursday I came home from a visit with my mom on this.


It was a bit like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.  Luckily, it was a pretty short flight.  Later, we had thunder hail.  There was a lightning strike a few blocks from here that blew out windows of the house next to the tree that was struck.  It shook our house like an earthquake.  Then it hailed and hailed.  Never a dull moment.


What kind of gift are you hoping for this season?  I have quite enough “stuff”  to last me.  What I would really treasure is extra time at the cutting table or sewing machine.  Like a really big hunk of time when I don’t have to go to the store, run a load of laundry, fix dinner or let the dogs in or out or in or out.  (Toby and Ella excel at wanting to be somewhere they’re not.)  But here’s the big question:  how well would I use it?  And secondarily, would I really want to find out?  Now that I think about it, maybe it’s better that I don’t know.  Still, a girl can dream.


“It doesn’t matter where I am.  I just want to be someplace else.”

I’m making a new “Santa Says Hi” runner for after the holidays.  January here is pretty bleak and some bright colors and hot tea are just what a person needs.  It’ll be perfect for when the holiday decorations come down and the house looks kind of dull.


 Since there’s not really a hard deadline on this, I can do it in spurts when I need some quiet time.  It’s actually a sanity maintenance kind of project.  I can only make so many cookies, clean up so many spaces for guests and organize so many presents before my brain needs a break.  It’s easy to get to the point where you never take a deep breath and relax throughout the whole month of December.  I have to put those time-out moments on the schedule and stick to it and I heartily recommend doing it.  Just like quilting, the holidays are supposed to be fun.

So enjoy this holiday season and get a little extra sleep.

Quilt for Fun!


Perfectly Fall

Perfectly Fall

We’re having a beautiful fall day.  I’m surprised there are any leaves left on the trees after the storm we had last weekend.  It was a bummer for the trick or treaters as it was rainy and windy.  We had the fewest kids ever and now there is candy in my freezer.  I’ve eaten my favorites out so it doesn’t call to me.

It smells like fall outside this afternoon.  The damp and leaves and just a hint of smoke which surprises me as it’s been illegal to burn leaves for years.  Someone must have a fireplace going.


These mums and some volunteer lobelia are all the non-green colors in the vegetable garden.  Most of the greenery is California Poppies.  It’ll probably be too cold for this bunch to bloom, but I like the fluffy leaves.



I love these leaves even though they only have color on one side.  I suspect we’ll have some clogged storm sewers in our future.


Some cool light and shadow stuff going on here.  This is what fall looks like in many parts of the west.

I started my “Finished List” the same day I blogged about it and I’m really getting into this idea.  It’s perfect for me as I’m a great starter and an intermittent finisher.  As in , “I started Christmas shopping,” because I ordered one thing.  Sweet Husband’s goal is to be finished by Thanksgiving.  My goal is to not buy anyone anything stupid.  The list sort of goads me into finishing something, no matter how small and that feels so good.

A week ago Wednesday I took a class from Pat Pauly.  She spoke at our guild Tuesday night, which was very entertaining.  The class was on her New Leaf pattern. I like the idea of this more than I like what I did.  I have never brought all the right fabrics to a class.   I finished the top by the weekend and while I’m not crazy about some of my fabric choices, I will quilt and bind it before starting a leaf of my very own.

IMG_0812         DSC_0372


But first, I will quilt this Christmasy runner and get the pattern up on the Shopping Page.



 This is the perfect time to finish last year’s projects that didn’t quite make it.  And yes, the runner was pieced last year.  A couple of weeks ago I took it out and found a mistake, fixed it and now I’m ready to quilt it.  Thankfully, I had the foresight to cut the binding and pin it to the top.  I have many regrets about not thinking to do that in the past.

If you finished last year’s projects (and I would be very impressed by that) and you haven’t gotten fabric for a new project, you’d better get on it sooner than later.  It’s such a downer to find the perfect fabric but there’s not enough on the bolt and the shop isn’t getting any more.  I really hate that.

Quilt for fun, because it would be silly not to.

Holiday Time

Holiday Time

I walked in Target this morning, feeling really good about how I was ready to get into the Christmas spirit.  I get a little grinchy when Christmas starts on the 15th of October, but now I’m ready to jump in.  And just beyond the carts was . . .  two racks of bikinis.  Back in my bikini days, I started shopping for them in February because that’s when the best ones were available.  But early December? Really?  Just needed to get that out there.

We put up a new pattern this week – Starshine Runner.  It’s a two-block quilt and is easy to make bigger, if necessary.  It also comes in two block sizes.  It’s great with, but not limited to, the fun Christmas fabrics that are out there now.  Time is getting short before the holidays, and this project can be done in a weekend.  Also, the pattern is on sale and available digitally.

Starshine Runner

Starshine Runner


Here’s one I’m working on right now:


I always said I’d never get into hand appliqué.  My grandmother used to say, “Never say never and always avoid always.”  She was really right about that one.  I used the pattern from “The New Appliqué Sampler” by Becky Goldsmith & Linda Jenkins for the quilt in the picture.   It started out to be just for practice and I learned a lot as I went along.  There are a few rough spots but all in all, I just like the bright colors and funkiness of it.  The top’s been finished for a couple of years, and now I’m in the mood to quilt it.  I decided early on to use all batiks for a couple of reasons.  The first is that I like the look of them and the second is that because they’re so tightly woven, there’s less raveling.  For a beginner (and, I suspect, the veteran) it’s more fun when you don’t have to fight the fabric.  I’ve also learned not to do appliqué on a deadline.  Sometimes the fingers just say no.

We’ve started a newsletter that comes out about once a month.  We’ll talk about some different quilting subjects, including some creativity research I’ve done.  We invite you to sign up on the website homepage ( and we’ll even send you a little treat.  We’d also like to hear from other quilters, from beginners to experts as we believe that the more we know, the more interesting quilting becomes.

Barb and I wish you all the fun and blessings the holiday season brings.

Quilt for fun!