A New Day

A New Day

31 December 2019:

The year is almost over. The trees are bare; it’s cloudy and chilly. It’s the sleep before the morning that is early spring. This is not looking terribly exciting, but then neither are we when we’re sleeping. I seem to get more done during long spring and summer days. Dark winter days make me want to take a nap. Maybe I should just take one. We all need the down time that nature brings to her plants and animals.

1 January 2020:

My new year begins with a surprise of sunshine. I’m not much into omens and signs, but I’ll take this as the beginning of good things to come. It’s also showing me how much I need to wash windows. Not doing it today.

These little beauties are enjoying the sunshine in my front gardens. Apparently it hasn’t been cold enough to put them to sleep for the winter.

The “Wild Animals” quilt was safely delivered just before Christmas.

It will be a while before I sew black fabric with black thread. I love how it turned out and I hope our baby girl will love it, too.

I’m nearly finished quilting a top that I started a couple of years ago. I had some Laurel Burch Christmas fabric that made a really fun top. I abandoned it after the holidays last year as I was ready to move on from Christmas and now I want to just finish it. There are plenty of UFOs waiting. And they’ll wait a bit longer for the joy of a finished project.

I’m catching up on my Block of the Month project. In this project there are actually two blocks every month. I caught up with October (the purple flower), November (the green one) and the first December one. For the second December one I chose to appliqué with an Italian Knotted Edge Stitch. It’s not hard, but it is slow going. (Check the close-up.) The January stuff will be here soon so I want to get with the program.

We celebrated Billy’s first year with us on Sunday. He turned two the week before and while he’s officially an adult, there’s a lot of puppy in there. He made really good progress this year as he was pretty wild when we got him. There are still some challenges. We’ll be working through them as he continues to settle down. The good news is that he’s really sweet and a cuddler. Self control is our ongoing issue. He’s also kind of a goof.

Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!


Happy 2019!

Happy 2019!

Another new year begins and it gives most of us the feeling of starting over.  We want to do more or do less, start some new things or catch up on the undone.  I currently have 55 pounds of newness with more energy than sense.  His name is Billy and it’s a good thing for him that he’s so cute.  He looks so innocent in the picture, it’s hard to believe I’m calling him Wild Bill.

A one-year old, teenaged, bundle of energy wasn’t the original plan.  I called Toby’s breeder to get on a list for a puppy in the spring.  The breeder had recently decided to focus on miniature poodles, but Toby’s great, great nephew was for sale.  We took Ella to visit and Sweet Husband and I took a few days to think about it.  How could we not add him to our family?  We picked him up last Saturday.  Ella’s already taught him a few things and to be honest, she’s put up with a lot.  Billy will go anywhere Ella goes which is mostly handy.  We have some training to do and I think he’ll work out fine.

I’m currently (and slowly) putting away Christmas while organizing and thinning decorations.  The garland over the fireplace is officially crispy and went last night.  (Don’t worry, that chimney doesn’t draw worth 2 cents and we never have a fire there.)  It was supposed to make the house smell all woodsy and Christmasy, but it really didn’t do anything but look pretty.  Now I’m well on the way back to real life.

I have a few new things in my head and I’d like to finish a couple (ok, more than a couple) tops that were put on hold for various reasons.  Sometimes they were put aside for my skills to catch up with the quilting ideas in my head.  Other times, time-sensitive things just had to be finished first and I never went back.  A couple of times, tops didn’t please me enough to put more time into them.  That’s life.  My biggest problem is that I want to do it all, do it well and do a lot of it.  I think I’m going to have to get up earlier.

Sweet husband started work on the new (old Singer) sewing machine yesterday.  The wiring was pretty shot and he worked on that but it’s become apparent that there are some other issues.  I’ve been trying to research using the serial number of the machine and if the first two letters are correct, the machine was manufactured in 1928.  The problem is that I can’t match the rest of the numbers to the online data base.  I have a request in to Singer and we’ll see what happens.


My project of the week is to quilt a top that was a round robin in my small quilt group.  Our quilts will be shown at our guild quilt show in March and I’d like to be finished in plenty of time.



As always, this group did a fabulous job of making each addition an integral part of the quilt.

I keep reminding myself that each day is now longer than the last.  With that in mind, cozy up and quilt the winter away.  Just for fun.



Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

This year is starting out with a bang.  Sweet Husband and I have spent chunks of this week helping Barb move into her new house.  We got lucky with the weather – mostly dry and sunny. It’ll be great when she gets everything unpacked, sorted out and put away.  For now it’s a bit chaotic.  Whether you move next door or to another continent, it’s about the same amount of trouble.  Between that and the updating we’re doing on our own house, my quilting plans for this week pretty much got put back a week.  Such is real life.

I’m thinking about quilting goals for 2018, and this year I’m taking a shot at realistic plans.  If I can do more than I planned, that’s great.  I just don’t want to be annoyed with myself if (when) I fall short of goals that could only have been accomplished with the aid of a miracle.  I have enough good UFO’s and ideas for new things to keep me busy.  As always, I’ll make a list and then pare it down to be more realistic.  Quilting is kind of like going to a buffet where my eyes are always bigger than my stomach.  In this case, I like almost all the quilt ideas I see, and all the fabric, and all the notions.  I could use most of them if I didn’t have anything else in my life.  There are a LOT of other things in my life.  So the final plan is to be as efficient as possible and enjoy everyone in my life.

My studio still looks like this:

It will probably be like that for another month.  Just out of the picture to the right is a plastic wall that I have to sneak by to get to the cutting table.  The long and short of it is, it takes more time to find things, and I trip a lot.  Now to collect my perseverance and stubborn qualities to just go in there and get it done.

My son and daughter-in-law (aka Dan and the lovely Catherine) sent me these scissors for Christmas and they are wonderful.  They are Tim Holtz Non-stick Micro Serrated Scissors from Tonic Studios.  I love them because, not only are they sharp, they have big handles that don’t mess with arthritic fingers.  This pair is 7 inches long (2″ blades) and also come in 5-inch scissors and 9 ½ inch shears.  They are available on Amazon and Blitsy and probably lots of other places.

I used them to cut out the wool pieces for this cute project:

It’s not finished (big surprise), and I’m not putting it away until it is.  I will stitch the pieces down while I watch TV and it’ll be all ready for next year.  I love old pickups, so this project has a special place in my heart.

For those of you who are having a very wintry winter, stay warm.  For the rest of us, stay warm and do not gloat.  It’s not nice to tease Mother Nature.  The longer our snow shovel remains hanging in the garage, the better.

Keep quilting for fun!



Happy 2017!

Happy 2017!

Happy New Year to all!  It’s time for new calendars, a resolution or two and a deep calming breath.  We made it through another year.  Was yours a bit of a roller coaster ride?  Life is like that.  Hope you finished some projects and have more in mind for the coming year.  I have bunches of ideas to work on this year and will share as I get them going.

I finished this on Dec. 30.


It’s a kit I bought at a show 2 or 3 years ago.  This sort of project relaxes me.  It’ll get packed away in the next day or two, but did its job to bring a little serenity to a busy December.

About this time last year I posted about having a “Finished” list.  I actually hung in with it for a few months.  Then life got busy and I kind of forgot.  So, as with many good resolutions, I’m starting over.  I used to really beat myself up about not following through with resolutions.  Now I’m more into giving myself a little break.  The new plan is:  I didn’t mess up as much as I learned.  Now just do it a bit better.

This is a good time to go back and look at your first quilt.  Mine was made in 1976 from a pattern in a McCall’s Craft Magazine.  Some of the fabrics were cotton and others were blends. (In the mid 70’s 100% cotton fabric was a lot harder to find.)  It was machine appliquéd with a zig-zag satin stitch.  My little machine wasn’t really built for that and I had to stop regularly to let it cool down.  The quilting was done by hand, but there wasn’t much of it.  It was cute, not fabulous yet I was totally hooked.  How is yours?  Chances are that it’s not as good as your last one.  You didn’t quit; you learned a lot from that quilt and made the next one better (or different or more “you”).  You went on to learn new techniques, some of which you loved and some you decided were definitely not for you.  It’s how we work; it’s how life works.

So here’s a resolution that makes sense:  Take a risk, learn something new and have fun with it.  If it works, great!  If not, you learned something (even if it’s that you hate the new technique) and that’s great, too.

Here’s a picture of part of a quilt I finished earlier this year, apropos of nothing except that it’s very cheerful.


For those of us getting an unusual blast of cold weather, stay warm.  (It was 16 here last night.  Might be setting a record.)  For those of you in milder climates, your friends in the cold may not want to hear the 70 degree details.  For everyone – check out our Facebook page.  There will be more postings this year and we’d love to hear from you.

Quilt For Fun!

From under three quilts,


And We’re Back!

And We’re Back!

Happy New Year to All!

After a busy holiday season, we’re ready to start the year.  It’s nice to get back to the sewing machine even if it’s just to finish up leftovers from last year.  There are so many possibilities for the coming months that I hardly know where to start.  One challenge for the year is to work from my stash as much as possible.  I have given in to the siren’s song of new fabric quite a lot lately and I think I have enough to keep me occupied for a while.  I have lots of fat quarters and other smallish pieces as opposed to big hunks and I cannot promise to deny myself all the time.  Still, there should be plenty of inspiration already in the studio.

Speaking of inspiration, I took a class from Coleen Barnhardt last weekend.  Coleen does longarm quilting and painting on fabric.  She’s combined these to produce some really beautiful designs.  I’m just beginning to see the many ways this could be fun.  Coleen is teaching a class in the Portland area so if you’re interested in having more information, let me know.


As you can see, I’m just getting started, but it’s not hard to imagine how this technique could be very fun.  I’m looking forward to painting on unquilted fabric to create some one-of-a-kind pieces.  Look her up online at The Quilted Thistle.

Because the weather here (okay, everywhere) has been unusual this year, I have some confused tulips.


 I’ve never had them start to come up so early.  Sadly, so have the weeds so there’s a bit of work out there waiting for me.  Even the pansies are anxious for spring to be here.  They look a bit weatherbeaten and continue to bloom anyway.


My small quilt group took December off and I’m really looking forward to our meeting tonight.  It’s always fun to see what the girls have created and get some inspiration, but I have to admit that I love just coming together for a couple of hours to talk and laugh.  Having special friends who share you passion is just the best.

Finally, The Tea Party Runner (aka Santa Says Hi) is finished and on the kitchen table.  It’s great to have a pop of color in the newly de-Christmased house.  The pattern is available on our shopping page.


Stay warm,