February 28, 2014

A Helpful Sewing Tip...

They say that "Necessity is the Mother of Invention." Well, yesterday was a
little frustrating while I was sewing my easy quilt top together. Every other
seam would get hung up on that little lip between the height of my sewing
machine and my plexiglass sewing table. Each time the seam allowance on
the underside faced toward the needle, it would hang up on that darn lip.
I had to stop every time to make sure that the seam didn't change direction
as my fabric was drawn toward the needle. It was driving me a bit buggy.
I remembered that I have some 2 1/2" wide vinyl Amazing Tape™ in my
drawer and I had an idea! This tape has no adhesive on it, and I already
have it for number of different uses. I put a strip around leftover tubes
of Christmas wrapping paper so it doesn't unroll itself. I use it on my 
twill tape rolls to keep them tidy in my storage drawer. It's great for
lots of other uses in the studio, too. Now I can add another use for it.
I cut a 3 1/2 inch length of the Amazing Tape™ from the roll and placed it on
the bed of my sewing machine starting over the middle of the bobbin case.
 Then I smoothed it down, bridging that pesky step to the sewing table. 
I ran my finger over the tape on the plexiglass side, which created a
nice, little ramp that my fabric could travel over as I sew. It's better to
use the wider version of this vinyl tape so the seam allowance doesn't catch
away from the area you're directly sewing. At least that's my preference.
See? No more step. Now it's just a smooth transition from the
sewing table to the machine. The best part is that my seam 
allowance won't get hung up anymore and I can just sew right on.
They just glide right up and over the hump, toward the needle!
Feel free to use this idea. (I'm not charging for it or anything! lol)
 I'm off to Coffee Club today. It's going to be busy. Sisters, Kathy and Nora 
have decided to close the shop. They sent out a broadcast email to our guild
 members, as well as to other local guilds, and their "Going Out of Business" 
sale starts today. It's bittersweet, but the girls want to enjoy retirement rather 
than run their shop anymore. We all completely understand, but we're still sad.

Change is always a little difficult, and for all of us, this will be a big change.
We'll be there to help Kathy and Nora close this chapter of their lives, and
then they can move forward together with new adventures ahead of them.
Looks like March really does come in like a lion!

February 27, 2014

The EZ-est Quilt Ever...

 Are you ready to see how to make a simple, fabulous quilt in about two hours? 
Well, make a cuppa tea and relax in your chair while I show you how it's done.
This quilt began when Susan shared the process with us at retreat.
(Warning: There are LOTS of pictures in today's post.)
 Step 1: Choose 10 fabrics and cut 5" strip x WOF (Width of fabric). Join
them with a 1/4" seam lengthwise until all fabrics are joined together. 
 **Press seams alternating in opposite directions for each strip. Once you 
have joined all the strips together, you need to sew one more seam. 
Join the first strip to the last, lengthwise. You have now formed a tube. 
Don't worry that the selvege ends are not all lined up. As Susan says, 
"You're gonna whack all those off anyway when you square up the tube."

Just be sure that you don't get a distortion in the fabrics when you sew
that last seam together. Don't try to line up the ends of the seam. You're
making sure that there won't be an odd drape in the fabic.
 Timeout! I have to run back up to Sarasota to pick up Tag at the vet's.
(Insert Jeopardy theme music here until we get back.)
 I'm back. Now. Where were we? Oh, yes... All the strips are
sewn together and the final seam is sewn so you have a tube.
Fabric tubes cut into 5" width
 Now, you need to cut off those uneven ends and while still in a tube,
lay the tube flat and cut 5" strips from the tube. You will have eight
tubes of fabric when you're finished with this step.
Decide which fabric you want to have in the upper left corner. Rotate
 the tube until you find that fabric and open up the seam at the top of
 the block. You don't even need a seam ripper for this step. Just hold it 
firmly on each side of the seam and pull. (Note: I'm holding this seam in
one hand to photograph for you. You should actually hold each block on
 either side of the seam which will make it easy to just pop them apart.)
 Lay your first strip out flat and then grab your second fabric tube.
Locate the fabric block that matches the first one, and then locate the 
SECOND fabric block and separate the seam at the top of that block. 
You will then have (in this photo) the flower block at the top of Row 1; and
the green leaf block at the top of Row 2. The blocks will form diagonals.
 See? This is what I'm talking about. Now, for Row 3, look at the next 
fabric tube and roll it until you find the third fabric in the first row. That 
will be the top fabric in the Third Row. Open the seam above the aqua 
fabric (in this case) and lay it open on your table next to the first two rows. 
Repeat this step through all the remaining strips.
 When you're finished, you'll see all the tubes are open, and the design
forms a repeating diagonal across all of the strips. Cool, huh?

Join all of them together with a 1/4" seam, matching up the intersections.
Take your time and you won't even have to bother using pins. Just hold
the intersections until you've stitched them and then move on to the next
one down the seam. Take your time and it will be easy to do.
 Look! Aren't those intersections fabulous?
 7:04 pm and I've finished the quilt top! It was that easy. I know I'll
be making more to give away and sell. If you don't quilt and are
interested in purchasing a quilt, email your favorite colors to me
and I can create a special order just for you! I can also add more
borders to make the quilt even larger. I'm also going to add applique'.
 What? Don't be surprised. I told you it was simple!

Come back tomorrow and I'll share a little trick I thought of
today while I was sewing. I took photos and can't believe I
hadn't thought of it earlier! I'll show you pictures tomorrow.

Happy Friday, all y'all!

February 26, 2014

Oh, It's So Nice To Be With You...

dangoldog on Etsy
 Yesterday afternoon and evening were spent in Naples, FL with 
friends. We visited the sun away and then shared a meal together
before Handsome and I thanked our hosts and turned for home.

Tag spent the entire time with his pal, Stout and was ready to come home 
with us when we got back to North Port. It was a well-spent day for 
everyone involved, and we look forward to a repeat in the near future.
Web Image
 Tag and I will head to Sarasota early today for his annual dental appointment 
with his favorite vet, Dr. Lantry. He'll be in top form to schmooze all his 
girlfriends in Dr. Lantry's office. They have a mutual love fest going on.

Me? I'll be a "Nervous Nellie" until he's back home with me. I get 
nervous whenever my Corgi goes under sedation. It's a residual thing
from my last sad experience with Fezzik, but I'll be fine as long as I
keep busy and don't sit around fretting about things. I'll be alright, tho'.

I'll return home after dropping him off so I can play in the studio. That will
 help a lot. I have pictures to take so that I can show you what I learned at
retreat, but I'll head to Sarasota as soon as they call to tell me he's ready.

Be sure to come back tomorrow so I can share my project with you.
(And a little prayer for Tag would be appreciated, too.)

February 25, 2014


I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.

~Edna St. Vincent Millay

"Afternoon on a Hill"
In spite of all the pine pollen Tag told you about, our star jasmine bushes
 are happily blooming and enjoying the warmer weather. Their scent is 
heavenly and the small, white blossoms always bring a smile to my face.

Rain is in the forecast for today, and I'm actually looking forward to it.
The sound of the rain on our metal roof is so soothing and we can
sit inside, dry and cozy, while the outside world is washed clean.

I've only been in the studio long enough to look around lately. 
Otherwise, I've been cleaning house or relaxing. Maybe tomorrow I'll 
be able to show you a simple, fun project I learned while away on retreat.

See you tomorrow!

February 24, 2014

Tuesdays With Tag - AaaaaChoooo...

Hi, Everybody!
I know many of my girlfriends live where there is so much snow it would
even bury the BIG dogs. Here, in south Florida, we're up to my belly with
another kind of driftin'. I'm hopin' the darn stuff doesn't give me allergies!
We are surrounded by slash pines in our neighborhood, and on my
property, the trees make for little forests all around our house. It's
great for privacy, but this time of year I can't walk outside without
traipsin' through piles of this lime-green, sticky, powdery pollen.
It's everywhere! Look what I found yesterday.
 Pollen tracks on my front screen door! Oh, great.
It even sticks to little lizard feet, and I can see where they've
been runnin' and makin' a mess. More pollen for Mom to clean up.
When Mom and I walked out to my pool today, there was green on everythin'! 

There was pollen on the bricks and pollen on the chairs.
We had pollen on our little grill and even the pool stairs...
and when I tried to lie down, there was pollen in my hair!

Hee hee. I'm a poet and didn't even know it.
(Sorry. There I go again!)
Good thing Miss Stacey is comin' over today. She and Mr. Rich take
care of our pool and they'll make sure the pollen gets cleaned up.

Mom and Dad don't like havin' a green scum line in our water, and 
they're the pros at makin' sure our pool is the best lookin' one in the county.
If you really want to see Mom flip out. Just see the look on her
face when she walks past the table in our lanai! Whooooeeeeeee!
She started growlin' and complainin' all over again.
Do you get stuff like this where you live? All I know is, we're prayin' for
lots of rain these days. It's the only thing that will wash away all the pollen
 on the ground - and wash it out of the trees - so it doesn't cover our cars again.

After the rain comes, Mom and I will have to spend a couple of days washin' 
floors and cleanin' up all the lawn furniture again. It's a real bummer, I tell ya!

That's all the news in my neck of the (poopy green) woods. I'll see what other
interestin' adventures I can dig up for next week (and dig I will!). 'til then...
"Wag Like Ya Mean It!"

February 23, 2014

They Liked Me...

 Before I start a new week, I want to show you the ribbons I earned
at our 2014 Disconnected Piecers Quilt Guild Show. I was truly grateful
for the recognition for quilts I created over the past two years. Only one
was actually created to be a competition piece, and I was thrilled to have
it awarded for my efforts. So without further ado, let's get to it, shall we?
 "Over The River - My Way" earned a First Place ribbon in the
Collaborative - Bed Quilt - Small - Mixed Technique category.
You'll notice two blue ribbons. One is for me and the other will
go to Pat Alderman for her stellar longarm work. She made my
handwork and piecing look even better! (Thanks, Pat!) 

The third ribbon (in the first photograph), was awarded to the quilt
for "Viewers Choice".  After people viewed the show, they chose 
their favorite quilt and left their vote in a ballot box on their way
out. They liked me! I'm honored and humbled to have received this
ribbon, because it was given by a vote of my peers. (squeeeeeee!)
"Princeton Plates" received a Second Place ribbon in the Collaborative - 
Bed Quilt - Large - Mixed Technique category.  Pat Alderman
also did the longarm work on this quilt, so the second red ribbon is hers,
too. The large ribbon on this quilt is for "Best Track-Mounted Machine
Quilting". That ribbon will also make its way to Pat, as it was specifically
awarded for the work she did to enhance this quilt. She really deserved it!
 You can just imagine how pleased Handsome was to hear that "his"
quilt received this recognition. The quilt now resides on the guest room
bed, and it's perfect and soft for afternoon naps. He's got braggin' rights!
 "Martinique Plates" competed against "Princeton Plates" in the same category. 
It earned a Third Place ribbon. The judge later told me the difference between 
Second and Third was her assesment of the quality of fabrics used in one over 
the other. ("Moda™ Martinique vs Northcott™ Princeton.) Northcott™ won.

Susan Slaton did the machine quilting on this quilt and we stood next to 
each other during the judging. She was disappointed that her work didn't win 
the category, but I assured her that I adore this quilt and will cherish it always. 
 "Princeton Plates" earned a Third Place ribbon so Susan and I will each have a
ribbon to place on our wall for this quilt. (Thanks, Susan for your fine work!)

 I'm so glad that I was able to take photos of these quilts as they hung in the 
Exhibition Hall. The lighting really helped to show off all the beautiful 
longarm work, and we can see the entire quilt to its best advantage. It's back
 home in our master bedroom now, and I'm glad it's where it belongs again.
 You may remember that I made this small quilt as a model for a 
hand-applique' class  at Crazy Quilters last fall. When I finished
the quilt top, I asked Pam Wyka (who works there) to do the longarm
work. She did such a nice job. This quilt also earned a Second Place
ribbon for me, but this time in the Collaborative - Wall Quilt category.

One ribbon is mine and the other will go to Pam. (Thanks, Pammy!)
 This quilt now sits on our dining room table and looks right at
home against the same soft, muted colors in our area rug in the room.
 Last, but not least, is an Honorable Mention ribbon for The Pink Panther.
It competed in the Wall Quilt - Small - Applique' category.
 This quilt was a fun exercise in generating a realistic reproduction of 
an image - a well-known image at that! - in fabric and fiber. I had a 
great time creating it, and appreciate the recognition for my effort.

This show proved to be so much more than I ever dreamed or expected. 
By the time we got to returning quilts to our members, I was so tired.
Susan Slaton's "Dots & Jots" received a First Place ribbon.
 I had just received the Viewers' Choice Award and Susan and I were
folding and stacking our own quilts to take home with us. She said 
that she could have sold this quilt about 18 times over the weekend,
and I told her, "19. I love that quilt! It's so darn happy looking!"
l-r: me, Susan Slaton
As we continued to talk, Susan folded, placed it on my pile and gave it to
me as a gift. I asked her if she was serious and she assured me that she was.
I started to cry as I thanked her. She hugged me, told me to stop bawling 
and I whispered in her ear, "I think I need a nap."