Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Did Diana need it????

Well, it is after Christmas.  My family has all gone back to their far away places.  My nephew will be back for a few days then he also goes far far away.  I have done nothing .....I was and still am tired.   It was so wonderful having everyone home this year.  It had been 2 years since my son and his wife had been home and even longer for my nephew to be here to see him. But what did I do yesterday?????  I went to Wal-Mart to get stuff to do laundry and I casually "visited" the fabric department.  The long wall that held their fabric was GONE!!!!  It was reduced to one table!  There had been rumors of a restructuring that was to happen sometime after the first of the year. Well, a sale started the Monday before Christmas!!!   All fabric was 75% off!!  So what did I do???  I loaded up a cart and bought fabric!!  Did I need it?....probably not but I had to have it.  I missed out on a lot that I had been 'watching'  but was still able to get some.  I ended up leaving with 2 huge bags of fabric.  Now I get to find a place to store it until I can get to it to create something special.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Generous Friend

My friend and former neighbor gave me this mug:
(And, look, I'm wearing my new Christmas Scottie Dog pajamas!)  I have never seen a mug like this before.  It's called the Handwarmer Mug.  It has a flange handle so your hand is warmed by your coffee or tea or cocoa!  Visit http://www.clayinmotion.com/ for more info.  I love this mug!  My hands are always cold and this feels so good!

My friend is so generous.  She gave Tony a pig bell for his motorcycle.  (Tony was a hog farmer many years ago and still has a fondness for pigs!)  She even remembered our Scottie dogs and gave them some special treats in the shape of a Scottie dog! 
They were very tasty!  Yes, we tried them.  Chicken and cranberry.  If I'm in the mood for something crunchy and we have no potato chips, watch out, puppies! Visit http://www.gourmetpettreats.net/.  And, if that wasn't enough, she gave us some smoked salmon from the Northwest!  She does way too much!

Here's the legend of the motorcycle bell: 

Legend has it that Evil Road Spirits have been latching themselves on to motorcycles for as long as there have been bikes on the road. These Evil Road Spirits are responsible for mechanical problems and bad luck along a journey.

Legend goes on to say that by attaching a small bell onto your bike, the Evil Road Spirits will become trapped inside the bell where the constant ringing drives them insane, making them lose their grip until they fall to the ground. (Ever wonder where potholes come from?)

Legend also has it that the mystery of the Guardian™ Bell carries twice as much power when it is purchased by a friend or loved one and given as a gift.  Visit http://www.guardianbell.com/.

Thanks so much, my friend!  I miss you!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What a Treasure!

My big ol' gruff, rough and tough, soldier husband visits antique shops after work when he is out of town.  Can you imagine the looks on the little old ladies who run the shops when he pops in?! 

Here's how it usually happens:  My husband, in uniform, walks in their quaint shops.  He stops at the door, removes his beret, scans the areas, walks with a purpose to what he spied.  The little old ladies are usually speechless at first.  Then curiosity gets the better of them.  After recovering from her shock, she says, "May I help you?"  When he says, "I'm looking for antique quilts for my wife", their whole demeanor changes.  Now this intimidating soldier has become the most wonderful, big ol' teddy bear of a man!  With a beaming smile on her face, she helps him scour the booths until he finds the perfect one! 

Take a look at what he has bought for me on his last two trips:

You done good, Tony!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How To Make A Pillowcase

¾ yard for body of pillowcase for standard, 1 yard for king
¼ yard for hem for standard, 1/3 yard for king
1 to 2 inches by width of the fabric for decorative trim

Wash, dry, and press all fabrics. Straighten fabrics. (See Tutorial)

With right sides together, lay pillowcase body fabric (green in picture) on cutting mat. Lay hem fabric (red) with right sides together and trim fabric (white) with right sides together on top of body fabric, lining up fold edge.

Use a finger press if desired to get the fold edge flat.

With these fabrics, the red is the narrowest of widths. Using the red fabric as my guide, trim through all fabrics, making sure you are cutting off the selvage.

Pin across side and one end of body. Sew with a ¼ inch seam allowance and zigzag (or serge).

Pin short sides of hem. Sew with a ¼ inch seam allowance and zigzag (or serge). Pin short end of trim, if desired. Sew with a ¼ inch seam allowance. Zigzag.

Turn and press all pieces.

Open trim and fold in half, wrong sides together. Press.

 Open hem. Along one raw edge of hem, turn up ½ inch and press.

Lay folded trim to right side of body, raw edges together. With edge of hem that you did not press, lay right side of hem on top of trim. Match seams and pressed side creases. Pin and sew through all layers with a ¼ inch seam allowance. Zigzag. Press seam allowance toward hem, being careful to keep trim down.

Fold pressed edge of hem just over stitching line and pin from the front.  Make sure you catch the hem evenly.

Stitch in the ditch from the front. Press hem.

Here’s the finished pillowcase!


Sunday, December 12, 2010

What Happened Today

I was upstairs on the computer in my sewing room this afternoon.  I was still in my pajamas because I had decided today was pajama day.  Tony had gone for a ride on his motorcycle.  The dogs were outside enjoying the beautiful weather.  All was quiet and peaceful until Maggie started barking at the patio door.  Our dogs have different sounds to their barks to mean different things.  There's the UPS man bark, the somebody's-walking-their-dog-on-our-sidewalk bark, the play-with-each-other bark, the there's-birds-in-our-yard, on-our-tree, on-our-fence bark.  But this bark was different.  I had never heard this bark before.  I run down the stairs, open the patio door and in runs Maggie.  Usually, Fergus comes in first.  (He lets Maggie bark at the door for the both of them.)  I poke my head out, expecting to see Fergus coming around the corner.  But there's no Fergus.  I poke my head back in the house, thinking did I miss him in the house?  Meanwhile, Maggie is running in and out the door.  Finally, the sense of urgency in her bark becomes all too clear.  I step out in the yard to check the gate and it is open!  Fergus is gone!  I call him repeatedly, but no Fergus! I close the gate, run back in the house, grab the phone, start calling Tony, check out the front door, and then change clothes as fast as I can.  Tony answers his phone.  Thankfully he is inside one of the stores on his errands.  I tell him to come home, Fergus is gone.  He can hear the panic in my voice.  I can't move fast enough.  I grab their leashes and my keys, leash up Maggie, and race out the back door.  I'm calling his name as I head down the alley behind our house.  There is no Fergus.  I get down to the end of the alley and around the corner comes two boys with Fergus on a leash!  "Ma'am, isn't this your dog?"  It is!  Maggie is so excited and is bouncing all around I can hardly get Fergus's leash on him. I get him leashed up, the boys make sure he is on his leash before they release their leash, and then the tears come.  I thank the boys, ask where did they find him, thank them again and head home.  In a few minutes, Tony is home.  I tell him what happened and the tears come again. Tony fixes the previously unknown problem with the gate while the dogs play around us. 

Of the two dogs, I would never have suspected my couch puppy Fergus, Eeyore Fergus, laid-back Fergus to be the one to leave the yard.  And I am pleasantly surprised that Maggie not only stayed in the yard, but let me know something was wrong! 

So then, as the tension subsides, we start coming up with titles and sayings to make us laugh about it.  Fergus's Day Off, Fergus's Big Adventure, there's going to be no living with him now, The Adventures of Fergus, The Hunt for Fergus.  The laughter helps, but I need a good cry.  So I do. 


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Straightening Fabric

You know how sometimes you can wear a piece of clothing and it just won’t hang straight? Or you are constantly adjusting it because it feels twisty? Or you lay out a piece of fabric with the selvages lined up and it won’t lay flat? That’s because the fabric hasn’t been straightened. Without going into the warp and weft and 90 degree angles, etc. (I’m not writing a thesis here!), here’s what I do to prepare my fabric for cutting:

Wash, dry, and press the fabric.

Hold the fabric by its selvage between your fingers and thumbs.

Look at how the fold of the fabric is hanging. Is it nice and straight on both sides?
Or is it hanging wonky?

Another way to check this is to hold your fabric by the selvages off the edge of your cutting table and pull it to the top of the table so that the edge of the table is smoothing out the fabric. When the fold comes up you will see if it is laying flat or if the fold wants to curl up on one side.

Hold the fabric again as in the first picture and move the fabric back and forth between your fingers and thumbs until you get the fold of the fabric hanging straight on both sides. Once you have it hanging straight, lay it on the table.  Using your ruler, line up your ruler with the fold edge or the selvage edge, cut off the long edge of the fabric to have a straight cut (In this example, I cut on both sides for the pillowcase hem). Sometimes you might have to cut off a lot, and sometimes you don’t have to cut off very much at all.

Obviously, scraps or small pieces of fabric that come in kits can’t be straightened by this method and rarely need it anyway. I look at the threads and try to line them up with my ruler and get it as close as I can. For the big pieces of yardage, I just do my arms length at a time and straighten as I go.

So, why go to all this? Well, we want our quilts to hang straight, we want our pillowcases to not twist up, we want our tablecloths and napkins to lay nice and flat and then, when it’s time to put away, fold up nicely. Straightening the fabric helps all that.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

I'm working on another "commissioned project which can't be shown".  So, no pictures.  Bummer.  But, trust me, it's turning out nicely.  Unfortunately, part of what I did today was unsewing.  Fortunately, I'm an expert at unsewing, or would that be unfortunately?!  Anyway, I'm trying to break the threads, every third or fourth stitch (a technique taught to me years ago by the grandmother of a good friend of mine...you cut every third or fourth stitch along the line of mis-stitching and then, from the other side, pull out the intact thread) and I notice that I'm having a hard time.  I mean, I'm having to work at this. Gosh, I think to myself, this thread is really strong.  I continue on for quite a bit, really working at unsewing when it dawns on me....it's not the thread, nitwit, you need a new seam ripper!  Just how long have I been using this same seam ripper?!  I dig out a new one from my drawer and, wow, what a difference!  It really wasn't the thread at all!  Man, do I feel stupid!


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Stubborn Dogs!

Fergus and Maggie are 3 years old. Every morning we go for a walk. I think they must have a love/hate relationship with our walks. They want to go; they love being outside, walking the neighborhood and smelling all the smells. It would be just so much better without leashes! Sorry, puppies!

They wait patiently beside me while I’m on the computer. As soon as I move from the computer, they jump up and wait on the landing.

When I go down the stairs, it’s a race between Maggie and me to get to the bottom. Meanwhile, Fergus waits at the top.

I get the leashes out, poo bags ready, and then the battle begins. Maggie immediately runs behind the loveseat and peeks out from behind. I can go from one end of the loveseat to the other trying to reach her and it’s like we’re playing tag, back and forth we go! Sometimes she comes out on her own, and sometimes, when she’s feeling especially stubborn, I have to move the loveseat! Once she’s out and leashed up, then I have to get Fergus down the stairs. He’s so stubborn, even though he wants to go, has been whimpering to go, he won’t budge!
I usually have to go up the stairs, leash him up and then get him down. Now you have to know, he and Maggie run up and down the stairs for what seems like a hundred times a day, playing chase, sounding like a herd of horses, they’re going so fast, but when it’s time to go down the stairs with the leash on, those feet dig in. He acts like I’m taking him to his death! Every day when I put the Halti collar on, this is the face I see:
Despite all this, they become different dogs once we are out the door. Tails up, head proud, walking fast and strong! You’d think they would know by now that I am always going to win, but I guess it’s that stubborn Scottie dog personality that keeps them trying!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Well the sewing room did not get organized.  The house needs cleaning and fumigating and it is too cold to open the windows to air out the house!!  My entire family including me have been sick and are recovering....even my husband who NEVER gets sick has been to the doctor and is actually taking medicine.  Today is the first day that I have been able to talk much less feel  like doing  anything.  But of course the grandchildren have been bouncing off the walls and climbing the furniture...again!  I can barely keep up...I could hardly wait for nap time today!!

plans changed.... again!!

Today I was going to try and make the dust ruffle for my granddaughter's bed ( that I have been wanting to do for awhile).  I finally found and bought the fitted sheet that I needed..... had it all washed and ready to go....tried to put it on her bed so I could get it marked ...and IT WOULD NOT FIT!!  Even though all of the packaging SAID that it was a queen size...it was not!  Talk about frustration and aggravation!!!  Now it is going to have to wait longer. Oh well, guess I'll try to clean and organize my sewing room to get it ready for Christmas so people can sleep in there...everyday I have tried to get in there for longer than 5 minutes and it just doesn't seem to be working out.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


It’s that time of year again. Our neighbors have put up their Christmas decorations. You see the big blow-up snowballs, snowmen, Santa, and of course all the lights. Then I see this:
Awww, how nice, reindeer pulling a wagon!

Wait a minute. What?...Is that?..........Yes, it is.
The reindeer are deer archery targets!
Complete with Rudolph's red nose!

The Potato Bag

The hot item these days is the potato bag. What is it? A cloth bag to microwave your potatoes. Why a potato bag? The bag allows the moisture to stay in the potato, so you get fluffy potatoes with no hard spots, no tough skin. It’s also great for sweet potatoes, carrots, corn on the cob, warming tortillas, biscuits, and rolls. And it’s super easy to use.

For best results, use the Warm Tater batting. Here’s what The Warm Company has to say about their new product:

Potato bags are all the rage and The Warm Company has the right batting for all your microwave and kitchen projects! Warm Tater is 100% natural cotton that hasn’t been chemically treated making it ideal for cooking potatoes, corn, rolls and warming tortillas in the microwave. Warm Tater is heavy weight 100% natural cotton that acts as an insulator keeping the moisture inside for fresh, hot steamy potatoes & so much more!

 Warning: Warm Tater is not intended to be microwaved alone. It is not fire retardant or flame proof and The Warm Company (or the authors of this blog!) does not make this claim.


So, how to make one? There are several ways, all good. Instructions come with the batting. However, this is my personal favorite way.

You will need: 
11” by width of Warm Tater cotton batting (the width is about 23 ½”)

Two pieces of fabric 11” by half the width of fabric (One will be the lining of the bag and the other will be the pretty outside of the bag. It is not necessary to prewash the fabrics or the batting, but ironing the fabric is helpful. I cut 11” across the width of two fabrics and then cut at the fold.)

Cotton thread

***It is very important for everything to be cotton. You will be cooking with it! We don’t want dots of melted synthetic thread!

All the usual sewing/quilting items

This makes a bag for up to 4 potatoes, depending on size of potato.


• Place your fabrics right sides together, one right on top of the other, on top of the batting, lining up the edges neatly.

Friday, November 26, 2010

the day after....

Talked to the family yesterday and last night.  Thankfully everyone was doing okay.  My  mom said that she and Dad were doing okay.  My son said that he and his wife were STUFFED!    He said that they had had to turn on the heat since it had turned 'cold'...they were having some hot chocolate! One very important blessing this Thanksgiving is  that my grandson was able to come home from the hospital Thanksgiving morning!  He suddenly developed croup!!  I have some experience with a variety of illnesses but NOT croup!!  I had always heard that it was scary and it was!  We took him to the doctor on Wednesday morning and by 3pm he was in the hospital having all manner of tests and treatments.  By last night he was almost back to normal. (yes he was climbing again!) with just a slight cough.  Today we are all exhausted. 

As I was talking to my sister yesterday, I was telling her about our yucky rainy weather that was supposed to turn into a winter mix ( and it did....the deck had white on it and the roofline is dripping this morning), she told me that she wouldn't tell me how nice it was there.  Let me guess...shorts, t-shirts, air conditioning! 

Nearly everytime I talk to LaDonna, my husband says.."What do you have to talk about?...you JUST talked to her!"  I  tell him that he just doesn't "get" it.  My sister and I have always been close.  She was MY baby when she was born.  I even remember jumping up and down in our grandparents'  living room when GrandDaddy came home and told me that I had a baby sister.  Some people do not have a relationship with their siblings.  My husband doesn't.  I consider myself very fortunate that I am blessed with such a sister and our  relationship .  Even though we are separated by miles, I know that she is always there.  and I love her very much.

Well I guess I'd better go check the laundry...I do have a few things to do today.  My husband asked me this morning before he went to work what my plans were....I don't plan much anymore...I get done what I can.  Though it would be nice if I was able to get in my sewing room for more that 5 minutes!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

It's Thanksgiving!

It’s Thanksgiving! Just the two of us this year. No pressure, no time schedule, just a relaxing day. When we were discussing what we wanted for Thanksgiving, it was a no-brainer that Tony would fry the turkey. Always so good! What to go with it? It’s just the two of us. We would get sick of all the leftovers if we did our big traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Tony suggested fried cabbage. I said we have to have some form of sweet potato, so how about the sweet potato fries we have in the freezer? We looked at each other and I said, “I guess we are celebrating our Southernness this year, everything fried!” Why not!?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Update blog!!????

My dear sweet favorite daughter-in-law, I too have been ...uh...uh....busy.  However, for not nearly the enjoyable happenings of  my sister.  I have been trying to catch up on the laundry...the washer has been fixed.  The repairman had to put in a new motor, new brake and new clutch. I didn't even realize that a washer HAD a brake and clutch!  Anyway it has been going strong.

And this past weekend was supposed to be a time for Husband and me to get away and finish up Christmas shopping.  Well, what do they say about the best laid plans????  Daughter developed pneumonia with high fever (and had lots of stuff to do for school), granddaughter had sinus infection with low grade fever, grandson had sinus and ear infection with a not-so-low fever. I got to be nurse and babysitter while Daughter attempted school stuff.  It was not the weekend that was planned.  A few things did end up getting accomplished. However on  Monday everyone went back to the doctor...changed medicines and had to get xrays which meant a trip to the hospital.  Granddaughter is better; daughter is somewhat better; grandson ( still running a temp) is still in the wait and see mode. And it looks like it will be just us for Thanksgiving...between being sick here, and Mom and Dad not doing too well, they won't be coming so some of the items bought this weekend will get to wait until Christmas.

So all of the fun enjoyable "stuff" is going to have to wait even though my sewing/quilting room is pleading for me to come visit!


Excuses, excuses!

My sweet niece-in-law has told me I need to update the blog!  She's right.  But, but .... I've been busy!  I've been quilting!  I've been shopping!  I"ve been planning more quilts!  I've become addicted to the cheesy holiday movies on Hallmark!  I think about adding more pictures of my quilts to the blog and then I get distracted by all the TSA stories, the bring-a-tear-to-your-eye of the wonderful homecoming soldier stories, the researching of possible places after my husband's military retirement, the funny forwards, the list goes on and on!  Do I have a focus problem?!  Anyway, consider my wrists slapped, dear niece! 

On to posting and another excuse!  Other blogs I'm following have posted a pledge to show the steps they take in making a quilt.  Follow the progress, not just the finished quilt.  I'm all for that.  Unfortunately, everything I'm working on is meant to be gifts, surprises.  And I didn't think to take pictures along the way.  I need to change my mindset now that I have a blog!  I'll do better in the future! 

My local quilt shop, which I love, love, love is having a SALE! (A wonderful excuse, can't you hear it?!) Now, I work there on an as needed basis, just enough to maintain my employee discount!  But this sale was even better!  Lots of bolts at only $2.50 a yard!  Normally $8 to $10 a yard!  So, even though I don't need more fabric, I bought some.  To be fair, I will need it later on!  It takes a lot of yardage for the back of a quilt so I couldn't pass this up!  I bought Christmas backing so when I get enough Christmas blocks made I will already have the backing and binding.  I bought some fabric that I think will be great for a backing for my grandmother's dress scraps someday quilt.  I bought some other odds and ends fabrics because there was an additional discount if you bought all that was on the bolt! 

I could have bought more except for the.. well, umm... money thing and the my-stash-is-going-to-outlive-me-and-scares-the-movers-thing.  But with the price of cotton going higher and higher, my stash could be quite the investment!  At least that's what I tell my husband!  

After all this, now I have a great excuse for still being in my sweaty dog walking clothes when my husband comes home for lunch.  It's all my niece's fault! 


Friday, November 12, 2010

Be Careful What You Ask For!

The phone rings. Yeah, it’s my son! “So Mom, I’ve been checking out your blog. You’ve got more about the dogs than you do me!” This is sort of true, maybe. Probably will be true in the future! Be careful what you ask for, my son!

When my son was 12, I decided it was time for us to make a quilt together. I wanted to teach him how to sew, have basic sewing skills, and become familiar with the sewing machine. We worked on all of it together, the selection of fabrics, cutting, sewing, and quilting it by tying. He did a great job and later continued his sewing skills by making sleep shorts and small cross-stitch projects. Nowadays, his friends bring their mending jobs to him! He hasn’t made another quilt, but he understands and appreciates the work and time spent on the ones I make.
Here he is at the sewing machine.

Press as you go! With a slight distraction from what’s on TV! He also took breaks by playing Nintendo; see the controller on the ironing board?! He learned unsewing as well; there's a seam ripper on the ironing board.

One finished row!

The completed quilt! I still have the quilt. It is a treasure!


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