Friday, July 31, 2009

One week until Quilts & Vines

One of the highlights of last summer was attending Quilts and Vines with my friend Sylvia. This is an annual outdoor quilt show held at the Strawbale Winery, near Renner, SD. There were hundreds of quilts hung outdoors IN THE VINYARD and on the winery buildings. It was such fun! There was music, food vendors, wine sampling, and quilts, quilts, quilts. We took lawnchairs and set them up in the shade of the big trees so we could relax and could come and go as we pleased. So the afternoon was spent listening to music, sampling wine made by the Strawbale Winery, and looking at all of the beautiful quilts.

This year I think several of us plan to attend on August 8. I'll let you know how much fun we had. In the meantime, here are a couple of pictures from last year.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Good Ole Summertime" mini quilt top

Here is the mini quilt top - ready for quilting. Thought I had the perfect stencil for handquilting "ocean waves" around the blue border. However, it was too narrow, so I'm searching through my stencils for a better choice.

Then it will mailed to _______ .

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Supper guest

We are very fortunate to have a beautiful back yard, full of trees and lush grass - and it ends at a shallow ravine. That all adds up to a bounty of wildlife coming through our yard. Wild turkeys, hawks (see my post a couple of weeks ago), and deer. Every day we have deer come through - in the morning and in the late afternoon or evening. And they usually stop to nibble at my bird feeders. Tonight we had a beautiful big doe spend about a half hour in our yard. I sat next to the window and shot several photos of her. Another smaller doe and a fawn came through just a little while later, but they didn't stop to eat. I never tire of watching these lovely creatures - even when they are cleaning out my bird feeders!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sneak peak at my Summertime swap mini quilt

Blue - like a summer sky - and bright colors! The hand applique is done on my Good Ole Summertime mini quilt. Next step is the hand quilting.

It's always fun to work on a project that you know has a home already. And I hope to have this one in the mail by the end of next week to the mystery recipient.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

ABC's of me

Taking a break from sewing and working on some wedding things for my daughter - and had to catch up on my favorite blogs. I saw this on Tonya's blog today and couldn't resist participating too. So here are my ABC's:

A - Age - the speed limit . . . 55

B - Bed size - queen, which is just right to share with a BIG cat and my hubbie

C - Chore you hate - yard work, and luckily my husband is willing to do it all

D - Dog's name - no current dog, but we used to have a border collie named Betty

E - Essential "start your day" item - coffee and an oatmeal bar

F - Favorite color - red

G - Gold or silver? Silver or white gold are my favorites, but I do love Black Hills gold and it is yellow, pink, and greenish.

H - Height - about 5' 3"

I - Instruments you play - I'm not musical in the least, unfortunately

J - Job title - education specialist (just a fancy way of saying I do staff development with teachers)

K - Kids - 2 grown daughters

L - Living arrangements - my husband Dave and a 19 pound cat named Sammy

M - Mom's name - Jane

N - Nicknames - never had one

O - Overnight hospital stays (except when giving birth) - getting my tonsils out, my appendix out, my gall bladder out, . . . and I know there are more.

P - Pet peeve - people who are narrow minded

Q - Quote from a movie - there are too many to list here, because I LOVE movies.

R - Right or left handed? Right

S - Siblings? none

T - Time you wake up - through the week 6:30 am, on the weekends 7:30 or 8:00

U - Underwear? of course - except in the shower!

V - Vegetable you dislike - stewed tomatoes

W - Workout style - are we supposed to workout? Does going down/up the stairs to and from the sewing room count?

X - X-rays you've had - broken toe and a couple of chest x-rays

Y - Yesterday's best moments - going to the movies with my husband

Z - Zoo favorites - I love going to the zoo, but my favorite exhibits have to be the big cats

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Reflections of home

I'm taking a "forced" break from sewing for 3 days. I say it's forced because I'm in Denver for some training and just didn't have any hand sewing to bring along that wouldn't have taken up my whole suitcase. I may go through withdrawal . . . I'll miss my evening routine of curling up with some handwork and my cat.

So while sitting in my hotel room this evening curled up with my laptop, I thought I would share another photo of my furry little helper from home. My 19 pound cat Sammy loves to be involved in my quilting process. If I'm in my sewing room, he lays on my ironing board so he can look over my shoulder while I sew. His other favorite locations are on my cutting board or right behind my sewing machine. If I lay blocks out on the floor to decide a layout - he gets right in the middle. He'll actually burrow right under the blocks and rolls around in them. Sometimes he'll even steal a block and run off.
If I'm handquilting using my lap hoops, he'll lay on top of whatever section he can find room. So the picture below is Sammy, burrowed under some blocks of a quilt. There is an obvious path of destruction behind him, with blocks rolled up and out of place. (Judging by the furniture and stacks of books in the background this was the last quilt I made before we moved to our new house about 3 years ago.)

Friday, July 17, 2009


Imagine my surprise when I was contacted by Ailsa at to say I had won her giveaway! She lives in Cheshire - in the United Kingdom. I found her blog as I was checking out the participants in the recent Spring Blooms Mini Quilt Swap.

My package arrived in the mail yesterday and I couldn't wait to open it. She sent 2 lovely fat quarters of Laurel Burch fabric and this fabulous counted cross stitch pin cushion. I needed a new pincusion and I love counted cross stitch. And I'm a big fan of the late Laurel Burch's designs.

So - - - I'm definitely a winner!! Thank you Ailsa!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Not enough time

It has been a crazy week and quilting wasn't very high on my priority list this week. I still have the binding to put on my daughter's bunny table runner, and I have LOTS of xblocks left to make for that quilt. I did get together on Monday night with friends Sylvia and Marilyn to make some bags. I had made 2 of the grommet bags already, and so they used my pattern and each made a bag for themselves. I just guided them through the process while they cut, pressed, and sewed. I saw Sylvia's bag today and she added a small ruffle and some buttons - so cute!

Since I don't have any new projects to show you, I thought I would post of picture of a WIP that I just finished up at the beginning of the summer.
The Pincushion Quilt Shop here in Mitchell has been doing a block of the month program for years, called Saturday Sampler. We did these basket and flower blocks during 2008-09. We could choose from 2 color ways: a batik or 1930's fabrics. I chose the batik and changed the background from a light fabric to black. The appliqued flower blocks were optional.
This was one of those projects that definitely grew on me after it was finished. When I looked at the blocks as we finished them, I just couldn't see how they would look good together. But once I laid them all out - suddenly the quilt took on a whole different look. And I definitely like it.
I quilted it on Sylvia's Qbot machine with a large stipple and bound it with the same lavendar/blue batik I used on the back.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A UFO becomes a WIP

I made a promise to myself that I would complete some UFO's that I have sitting in my sewing room. I haven't done as well as I had hoped this summer on that task.

However - this little bunny table topper has now changed it's status from a UFO to a WIP. Last Easter I made the aqua/brown/pink one for myself. My daughter saw it and said she would love one too. So, I started working on it for her with the idea that it would be a nice little birthday (JULY) present. Well - I had the bunny face all cut out and had the yellow/lavendar/pink fabrics all cut and ready to sew. But then decided my pink was too light, so I set it aside and worked on other things. Yesterday I went to The Pin Cushion and bought some darker pink Fairy Frost fabric and spent the afternoon actually putting the topper together. I even got the fuzzy white face all appliqued and embroidered. There are little black buttons for eyes.

Now it needs to be hand quilted with love and bound in more pink Fairy Frost - and then I can give her this very late birthday gift. I may need to offer the pick of which one she wants.

Today is the last day of my vacation time and I haven't made very good use of it. We didn't go anywhere and I've worked a couple of hours most every day, which is mostly my fault unfortunately. Dave has also worked a few hours each day, but he has also played A LOT of golf during these 2 weeks. I haven't even played much golf. I did go to Sioux Falls on Tuesday with some friends for a fun girls day - shopping, lunch, shopping, supper. It was a terrific day for us all!

So for my last day off, today I'm going to sew and then we have a 4:16 tee time at Lakeview Golf Course with another couple to be followed by a cold beverage of some kind.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Happy Birthday Jerilyn!

Just want to wish my oldest daughter a very happy birthday! We love her lots and are very proud of the lovely young woman she grew up to be. She is hard-working, independent, adventurous, and beautiful.

We got together last week and played golf in the morning, went to lunch, and then got pedicures. We don't get to spend quality mother-daughter time together often enough. That is true with both of my girls - we all get too busy. So I'm glad we MADE the time last week.

Happy Birthday Jerilyn!

I won a great giveaway!

A few days ago I got a message from Nedra at Cactus Needle Quilts to tell me I had won one of her giveaways. I've been reading her blog for quite awhile, and so this was especially exciting. Well, today the mailman rang my doorbell and delivered a box from Nedra. Inside, it was like Christmas in July - or maybe a birthday. Love the pink ribbon!

There were several fun things in that box, and I can't wait to put them to use. The Halloween block with the witches legs and feet - the bobbin tree - the darling covered buttons - the fabric featuring ways to hide my stash.

Thank you Nedra and I look forward to continuing to read your blog. I promise to post some pictures when I decide how to best use my gifts.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Birds of all kinds

I have 2 bird feeders right outside of my family room windows and they provide a lot of entertainment. Some for me and my husband, and some for my cat. For the most part we have house finches, a few goldfinches, an occasional cardinal, and some downy woodpeckers. I think I would attract more of the colorful birds, but I just fill the feeders with safflower seeds. Any other combination of seeds and the blackbirds come by the dozens and chase everything else away. And - we have to bring them in every night about dusk because the deer come up and clean them out. We quite often have deer looking in the windows at us - probably wondering where their snack has gone. We also get whole flocks of wild turkeys come through the yard quite often.

But Sunday afternoon we had a completely new visitor - a young hawk. He was lovely, but also deadly. We saw him swoop down on the feeder and he had a small finch trapped under his foot when I took this photo. He was evidently trying to figure out how to fly off and keep a hold of his prize. A couple of minutes later he flew off without the finch, which we found under the feeders later. Wonder if he will show up again?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Happy July 4

I finished the hand quilting on this table runner just in time for the 4th of July holiday. I used a clamshell design from end to end on this runner. It shows up great on the red especially. The fabrics were fat quarters I picked up a Fat Quarter Frenzy at the Pincushion here in Mitchell. I loved the little children in the print.

This runner is made from a Pieced Tree pattern called Sassy Strips. Those are the little laminated cards with fun table runner patterns called "Tiny Ones" on their website. My dining table is long but this one can be adapted to a smaller table by just leaving out some of the sections in the pattern. I have about a dozen of these little cards for different shapes and sizes and designs of table runners. Some have lots of small pieces, but most are definitely easy enough for beginners, but produce such fun results that anyone will be happy with them. I've had some fun making these with seasonal fabrics.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Isn't it pretty?

I guess this proves the old cliche about a "watched pot never boils". After anxiously checking our mail every day for the past 2 weeks, we took an overnight trip and when we got home last night - there was a soft little package in the mailbox. All the way from Kent, England - Karen Stephens. Isn't it pretty? My picture doesn't do it justice because the light wasn't the best, but the colors are so cool and clean. Very spring-like. I think it is going to look great on the center of my kitchen pub table - until I find a better (more permanent) location. Thank you so much, Karen!
I checked out Karen's blog. and found her posting about the mini quilt. The pattern is called a "Disappearing Nine Patch". She has a link to a tutorial on how to make the block. It is so simple to do and can have pretty dramatic results. What a great way to showcase some beautiful fabrics. Since I'm currently working on a 9 patch project of my own, I was particularly intrigued. I think I'm going to have to try this pattern on a future project.
Thank you Karen.
This swap was so much fun. Just knowing that someone, somewhere in the world, was creating something just for me - that was fun. I've already signed up for the summer swap and am looking forward to getting my partner info. I've been running some ideas around in my head, but don't want to start until I know if my partner has any preferences.