GARDEN TOUR

July flew by and I guess I have spent the whole month in the garden and at the cabin.  I did work on some fun stitching projects for Ella and Taylor’s rooms that should be ready to share with you next time.

I have little to show you from my sewing room, but did take snapshots of my yard last week. July is the peak for most of the plants in my garden. Some early blooming plants are lingering and the late summer blooms have arrived. Take a few minutes and “stroll” through my garden (more…)

LONG GONE

I think the category of “out-of-print patterns and books”, most specifically, past Block of the Month patterns is the most requested information I receive.    Next is the category of “out-of-print fabrics”. In many cases, consumers are looking for items from ten to fifteen years ago and I just do not have resources for those items any longer.  I understand many of you are (more…)

CATCHING UP

I can tell summer activities have consumed me.  Between yard work here at the house and the cabin as well as kitchen duty, the summer is flying by and I haven’t kept up on my blogging.   In my last post I think I included a picture of one of my pots that I was planting.  Well, here it is a month later.  It has survived 4 hail storms, some high winds and some unseasonal cold temps but is thriving.  I like having the pictures…it comes in handy when deciding what to plant next spring.  Above is the pot the end of May, and here it is now. 

This is one of my favorite views of my back yard.   (more…)

IT IS TIME….

This week found me outside everyday.  We had one of those weeks of weather that makes a gardener go crazy.  We call it Minnesota beautiful.  That means sunny, no wind, a high of 70° and no humidity.  It was perfect for everything…work and leisure.  I have learned over the years that I generally need two to three trips to the nursery. (more…)

Spring Spruce Up

Each season always brings a renewed effort to spruce up the house and garden.  It is always fun to change things up a bit without major investments.  The first thing I turn to is moving my accessories from room to room and changing up the combination of items. This exercise always makes things look fresh again and each time I do it I think I have found the right combination. But soon, it will change again. The space above my china cupboard in my dining room is always the first place I start and is the most fun to do.  I know have shared  this view a number of times, but items are a new combination.

I have been dabbling a bit painting with acrylics and this past month did two new paintings for spots in my house that needed a change of pace.   (more…)

SEWING ROOM INSPIRATION

One rainy day spent in my sewing room always turns into either mending and ironing or rearranging fabric, sorting supplies and generally putting things back in order.  Usually, the process results in finishing a project and perhaps getting inspired to use up “stash” items to create something from “nothing”. It is always a good day when new, finished projects are the result.

If you remember the hearts I stitched for Ella’s holiday tree in her room….they needed to be replaced with bunnies and eggs for Easter.  She announced she would like decorations for the tree for every holiday throughout the year.  It sure is fun having someone who loves my little wool felt stitchery.  Here are the new spring decorations for her tree.  Luckily, I have a stash of wool felt, embroidery floss and pearl cotton that I can always dig into to make these small treasures.  There is no pattern.  I sketched a shape within a 2-3″ size and cut two pieces of felt for each ornament and stitched the edges together with a blanket or buttonhole stitch.  Just before I finished stitching around the shape, I tucked a very small amount of polyester fiberfil in to give a little dimension to the ornament.  Cookie cutters make great patterns for simple shapes if you do not want to free hand the shapes.

I think the next thing I need to do is come up with a special box to store all the ornaments in that can be tucked on a shelf in her closet so that as they accumulate they can all be stored in one place and retrieved easily for the years to come.

As I was looking for thread to use for these ornaments, it seemed like a good time to gather and organize all of the embroidery floss and pearl cotton that I have.  It is always frightening to discover the amount I have accumulated.  Over the years I have amassed quite a collection including threads from my grandmother, my aunt, my mother and everything from the Thimbleberries Studio.  They are now all in one antique picnic basket along with my embroidery hoops.  It is always a good thing to get every like item in one spot.

While sorting through, I thought of an idea that might use up a good amount of the embroidery thread stash.  I collected a group of threads of coordinating colors and stitched the strands onto a base to make a new pillow.  I found a neutral scrap of upholstery weight fabric that I had once used as a base for a group of appliquéd runners back in the eighties.  It was one of those pieces that I just kept over the years, knowing I would use it someday.  Well, that someday finally arrived and it was perfect for this project.  It is now a pillow and not a scrap of fabric.

I used a spool of variegated thread, and a huge variety of flosses, a wide zig zag stitch, a medium length stitch and stitched the floss onto the base in a diagonal pattern about an inch apart in both directions. I used the embroidery thread as it comes in the skein…6 single strands in a group.  This made a nice thick cluster to zig zag over.   As I stitched, I would slightly twist the 6 strands to make it easier to catch all the individual strands within the wide zig zag.

For the pillow back, I used the same zig zag stitch in the same diagonal pattern, eliminating the embroidery floss and used my usual envelop closer technique.  (Directions can be found in all of my books that have pillow projects.)

I love the finished pillow and also love knowing I made a little dent in my embroidery floss stash. The best part of the finished pillow is that I have found many places to use it in my house. Because I used so many colors, it seems to blend with all of my other pillow groupings in many rooms.

SCRAP QUILTS

I think most quilters have a soft spot in their heart for scrap quilts.  They were the first antique quilts that I responded to long ago.  I now know why.  Even then, I loved quilts that had large variety of prints in them and I think they reminded me of the resourcefulness of women that made very functional items from ordinary scraps.  We since have moved into an era of some pretty wonderful collections of beautiful fabrics and have many choices of “scraps” to use for scrap quilts.

Scrap Ease, found in my new book, Quilts with a New Attitude, is now my very favorite scrap quilt.  The book shows it in a queen size made from Thimbleberries fabrics and a throw size made in a coordinated collection from Cotton+Steel.  The piecing is easy, the cuts are big and the overall design very pleasing.  It has no border so it is to adjust the size if you need something other than the two sizes included in the book.  I just keep wanting to make more of this quilt design.  It would be so fun made in baby or kid prints….and Christmas prints and Halloween prints and the list goes on. A simple machine quilting design works well on this quilt.

Here is another version of the Scrap Ease made in another, rather wild collection of scraps.

When piecing the units for one portion of the quilt, you will get pairs of triangles that are trimmed off and technically waste.  I used my leftover triangles to make this narrow, long runner….I love it.

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