Friday, June 29, 2012

Christmas In July

In weather like this I look forward to having Fall and Winter arrive so we can snuggle under the heavy winter quilts.  I long for walks in the woods, picking up pinecones, wearing sweatshirts and sweaters, making snow men and snow angels, heavy socks and boots,  drinking hot chocolate and eating beef stew and chili.   

July 1st marks the prime quilting time for starting your winter/holiday projects.  Now is the time to make your list and begin buying everything you need.  There's a wonderful new tutorial on Missouri Star Quilt Company for jar quilts ~ how quick and cute are they!!  Adults and children alike would love one of these.  Holiday prints are appearing in the quilt shops and online and I can't wait to dig out my leftover holiday projects from last year and finish them. 

One of my favorite little projects is making Christmas stockings from cutter quilts ~ those beautiful old quilts that have been loved nearly to death.  I cut stockings from the useable part of the quilt and attach a small doily to act as the cuff.  I don't mind if the stocking looks a little tattered ~ to me this adds to the charm.  If you only have enough of the quilt for the front of the stocking, that's okay, too.  Just use a coordinating fabric on the back side.   These are always appreciated gifts for quilters or quilt lovers.  These stockings are a good place to use old buttons and trims.  Sometimes I use a loop of rick-rack for the hanger. 

I hope to make a new tree skirt this year and I need to make several stockings.  I see some mug rugs and placemats on my growing list also. 

While you endure the heat today, remember that cooler weather is just around the corner and the holidays will be here before we know it!

Wishing you a blessed day...Stay cool and safe....Barb

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Scotty Girls

Miss Molly at age 13

We are in the midst of a serious heatwave here in the midwest.  With July 4th just days away I'm concerned about those who might risk lighting fireworks and setting our fields on fire.  It certainly will not be a wise thing to do this year.  In light of the extreme heat we are spending more time indoors than usual.  Meals are still lighter than normal and I'm keeping the house darkened somewhat to keep the heat out. 

This afternoon I will make some primitive flags from the pattern on the blog at Missouri Star Quilt Company.  These are so easy and yet so cute!

Our Scotty dog, Miss Molly, has been feeling poorly all week.  She is 13 years old and has diabetes.  We are keeping her comfortable in her old age and dreading the day when we have to say good-bye to her. 

I have been the 'Mom' to Scotty dogs for more than 40 years.  My first Scotty, Brandy Sue, was with us for 17 years.  She was the only brindle Scotty, with our other two being classic black.  She was my daughter Christina's dog and made no bones about that.  After Tina moved to California to go to college and begin her life, Brandy accepted me as her caregiver.  She was a fearless and rugged individualist who loved to swim more than any dog I've ever known.  She was definitely a large dog in a small package!

Our second Scotty was Chloe Anne, who was with us only 11 years.  She was infatuated with large dog biscuits, which we showered on her nearly every day.  Rather than eat them she would hide them all over the house ~ in every corner, in closets, underneath beds, you get the picture.  Each morning Chloe would gather all her hidden cookies and put them in one large pile and then proceed to find new hiding places for them.  I lived in a two-story house and would hear her jump off the beds after hiding cookies under the pillows!   This activity took her hours each day and she never took a day off.  She was a sweetheart in every way and it nearly broke my heart to loose her.

Miss Molly has been with me for 13 years and has been the sweetest of the three Scotty girls who have shared their lives with us.  Molly has that stubborn Scottish streak in her and she has to think things through before she responds to my ideas.  She needs to think the ideas are hers!  I believe Molly will be my last Scotty girl.  Of the three girls, Molly is the best traveler and she's the one you can take anywhere and know she will be on her best behavior.  People who claim not to like dogs at all love Molly.  My husband's boss regularly asks about Molly and sends best wishes to her.  Oh the charm of a Scotty girl!!   

Although it breaks my heart to lose a beloved pet, our lives are so much richer for having them in our lives.  Thank you Boo-Boo, Chloebug and Miss will never be forgotten. 

Wishing you a day filled with Peace & Plenty....Barb

Monday, June 25, 2012


As a child I was always thrilled at the mere hint of the possibility of a picnic.  I would be extra good all week in hopes the picnic wouldn't be forgotten due to my antics.   Picnics opened up avenues of adventure for me and lots of time spent around the water ~ my favorite thing in the whole world!!! 

Grandma Nan would always fry two chickens for supper the night before a picnic.  One chicken would be our meal and the other would be wrapped in waxed paper the next day and put into the large hamper along with potato chips, fresh fruit and homemade cookies.  There would also be little bottles of Coke in a bucket with ice and a jug of lemonade.  Once in a while there would be watermelon as a special treat. 

Most of our picnics took place on a gravel bar in the Current River.  Grandpa Bob would hoist me atop his shoulders with admonitions to hang on tight so he could hold Grandma Nan's hand as they waded in the swift river water to the gravel bar.  After a near accident on one occasion he decided taking us separately was a better idea!  Once there I was free to run all over our little island and hunt for butterflies and pretty rocks for Grandma's collection.   Grandpa Bob taught me how to skip rocks across the surface of the water.  After a day of excitement at the river, Grandpa would carry me sound asleep in his arms across the water and back home.   

In recent years most of my picnics have been with my girlfriends at the city park in Houston.  We have traded sitting on the ground for folding chairs and our meals are eaten at the picnic table rather than on the quilt on the ground, but still with our quilt as a tablecloth!  The food is just as good as ever but very seldom do we have fried chicken like Grandma used to make!!

Is there a picnic in your future ~ or family reunion?  Food always tastes so much better eaten outdoors!

Wishing you a day filled with Peace & Plenty!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

An Old Standby

The extreme heat is still with us and the flowers are suffering as a result.  Even with regular watering they are droopy and the color is blanching from the petals. 

Trips outside are shorter than usual and our meals are lighter.  Iced tea is going by the gallons these days and the little hummingbirds are making themselves scarce at their feeder.  I make nectar for them and my recipe is one cup granulated sugar to three cups water.  Bring to a full boil for one minute, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.  Our hummers need one full recipe every other day. Toward the end of the summer just before they leave for their long flight south, they will eat a full feeder every day and sometimes two per day. 

This evening we will have baked chicken breasts, coleslaw and baked beans for dinner.  Nothing really special but old standby recipes.  My coleslaw is often requested at benefits and other functions and it's so easy to make.  Take one bag of coleslaw mix (cabbage, carrots and red cabbage (optional but it gives nice color).  Empty cabbage mix into a large mixing bowl and with kitchen shears cut into it to make the shreds smaller.  We like our slaw shredded very fine.  In a separate bowl combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup real mayonnaise (not MW), 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1 1/2 Tablespoon white vinegar, a small squeeze of fresh lemon juice (about a teaspoon), a rounded teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon back pepper.  Mix well with a whisk and pour over slaw mix.   Mix well and refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.  The nice thing about this slaw is that leftovers will last about three days in the fridge.  I think the lemon juice is what preserves the color.  Enjoy!  

Enjoy your Sunday with your family.  I wish you loads of Peace & Plenty!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Lunch or Dinner?

This week has been hotter than a firecracker in our area.  The humidity is very high and there hasn't even been a hint of a breeze.  Even the hummingbirds seem to be resting in the big maple tree where they can guard their feeder.

On days like this I keep the living room curtains closed to keep the heat out.  This gives our living room an eerie glow that's not pleasant.  My ambition and creativity are at a low point right now.

On days like this our meals are very light and are eaten later than usual.  Tonight's meal will be a chef salad and rolls.  We were fortunate to have good leftovers for dinner last night.  I have to smile when I call our late meal dinner.  In our family we refer to our meals as breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Forget all about brunch ~ Hubby thinks brunch is nothing more that a trick to cheat him out of one of his meals!  Around here the oldtimers eat breakfast, dinner and supper.  When we moved back to Missouri in 1991 I invited some new friends from church over for dinner on Saturday.  Much to my surprise they showed up at 11:00 am.  To them they showed up for dinner ~ but they really showed up for lunch!  Now whenever I invite someone for a meal I give them a timeframe just to be safe.  By the way, these friends stayed for lunch and dinner that day!  Friends are friends no matter the time of day.  This practice of these friends coming to spend entire days with us became a weekly event for a few years and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed my weekends because of their visits. 

I have been taking a Craftsy quilting class on Strip Paper Piecing.  It's absolutely fascinating and I can't wait to try making a few blocks.    It feels good to be learning something new about my favorite pursuit.

Another of my favorite pursuits is counted thread embroidery.  For a few years I did a huge amount of x-stitching on beautiful linen fabrics.  I had many of them framed and they hang in our home.  Now that my eyes are getting older it's a bit harder for me to count the tiny threads.  Here are a couple of pieces is completed in the late 80's and early 90's.

It took almost a full year to stitch the 1940's bride.  The fabric is bone color Jobelan.  I had piece of convex glass put over the stitching.  This type of glass was typical from this era.  There are over 50 shades of flesh in her face.

The bridesmaid above was an enjoyable piece to stitch.  Other than the flesh tones everything else is in shades of grey. 

One of the things I love about counted thread embroidery is its portability.  Also, when I am finished stitching for the day I can drop my work in a basket and it is neat and tidy the next time I pick it up.  This is in contrast to the major messes I make when I make quilts.  The newly organized sewing room is helping me greatly in this respect. 

I have a very large map of the USA that needs to be framed that I finished stitching about a year ago.  It will take a full day trip to Springfield to visit the frame shop and choose the molding. 

Wherever you are today keep cool.

I wish you a day filled with the blessings of Peace & Plenty...Barb


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

And Away I Mow!!

It's going to be a genuine Midwest scorcher today.  It's very humid and the temperatures will come close to the 100 degree mark.  Hubby gassed up the mower for me so I can get the front yard under control before it gets too hot.  Mowing is the 5th season in the Midwest and runs from April through mid October.  It's a happy day when we mow for the last time in the Fall!!!

For many years I lived in places without four seasons.  In California it was temperate all the time.  My years in Las Vegas were hot and hotter.  That's not to say it didn't cool down in the winter, but a hoodie was about all you needed to keep warm.  There is a certain rhythm to life when you have four seasons.  Spring is a time of renewal and everything springs to life.  I dream about planting flowers and gardens and Easter egg hunts for the kids ~ in the Summer we work in our gardens, grill, fish, drink gallons of iced tea and mow and mow some more ~ in the Fall we begin to slow down and make preparations for Winter, bringing in firewood and putting in the storm windows. This is the time the heavy quilts come out of the closet!  The final harvest is brought in and it's time to make applesauce and apple butter.  One of my favorite days of the year is applesauce making day.  The house smell of apples and cinnamon for several days after this production.   Winter is a delightful mixed bag of indoor and outdoor activities.  There is always the thrill of the first snow and the possibility of being stranded if we get an ice storm.  I love being snowed in for a few days!   

If all goes well today I will bake more zucchini bread this afternoon and find another quilting project to work on.  My stack of UFO's is getting shorter and before long I will be able to start some new projects!   

Wherever you are, enjoy this beautiful summer day.

Wishing you a blessed day ~ Barb

Monday, June 18, 2012

Alien Fabric

Father's Day was a pretty quiet affair this year.  Hubby got to watch his NASCAR race and his favorite driver, Dale Jr, won and Hubs was ecstatic!  The rest of the day the US Open has been on.  Like I said, a pretty quiet day!  I baked a nice batch of chocolate chip cookies and watered the garden.  Tomorrow I will make our first two loaves of zucchini bread for the year from our home-grown zucchinis.  I bake several loaves every summer and put them in the freezer for use in the winter.  I recall baking 12 loaves one day last summer.  I serve this with softened cream cheese with drained crushed pineapple stirred in...oh so good!  You can't beat this with a cup of hot tea.

Yesterday I finished binding the Luna Notte quilt I gave you a sneak peak of Saturday.  It's a romantic fabric line from Moda and worked up so well in the simple Framed Square pattern.

The blocks are 5" charm squares bordered by 2 1/2 strips from a jellyroll and are are fast and easy to make.  This is a large 93 inch square quilt, so I used two charm packs and two jellyrolls.  The black inner border is yardage from the Luna Notte line.  The red/beige toile outer border is yardage I bought at my local fabric shop.  Because this toile had a directional print, I had to piece and match the top and bottom borders to get them facing in the same direction.  Adding an 'alien' fabric to my quilts is something I do often.  I will buy precuts from a specific fabric line (in this case Luna Notte from Moda) and shop for a complimentary fabric to work along with the designer line in a few of the blocks, perhaps borders, binding of backing.  The outer border toile fabric was my alien for this quilt.  Shopping for alien fabric is really fun and it gives my quilts a different twist ~~  sometimes a real different twist.

Here's a closer look at the blocks.  My long-arm quilter stitched a rose in the center of each block ~ stippled around the center block and did lovely feather designs in the outer border.  She always does such a nice job!

The backing is a 108" backing fabric in black with a pewter gray floral design.  I think it looks good with the old look of the front. 

This is such a versatile quilt pattern.  I never stop being amazed how different it looks made in different fabrics.  It is easy enough for a brand new quilter.  The hardest part of making this quilt, other than the large size of the quilt, was the hand stitching of the binding.  I found the toile to be difficult to work with ~ slippery, raveling easily and thick.  I have to say it was worth the extra effort because I love the way the toile works with this fabric line!  DH tried to talk me out of using the toile, but now he's glad I didn't listen to him!!

I encourage you to get out some squares, or use a charm pack if you have one on hand, and sew strips around your squares to see how you like the Framed Square.  Here's a little tip:  When I sew the blocks into rows I align a short edge with a long edge so there is no matching of seams!  If you try this pattern you will see what I mean. 

Have a great day filled with Peace & Plenty!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Big Shoes

This is a special day for all the men who walk in the big shoes of being Dads, Step-Dads and Grandpas.  I am so grateful for the wonderful Dad and Grandpa I was blessed with.  They both had a profound influence on my life and loved me unconditionally.

I've written volumes about Grandpa Bob, after whom I named every doll, pet and stuffed animal I ever owned.  My Dad was equally awesome and there wasn't anything in the world he wouldn't do for his daughters if it was in his power.  Dad had the bluest eyes and a quick sense of humor.  He was basically a hardworking, quiet man, but in my eyes he was a giant. 

Dad was very much a patriot and joined the US Marine Corps at the age of 17.  He saw combat in WWII and the Korean War.  He was required to do things he could never talk about.  He was equally stoic as he battled cancer.

Thank you Dad for taking care of me and loving me til the end of your life.  I wish I could grill you a monster steak today and bake you a coconut cream pie ~~  our favorite!!

Blessings ~~  Barb

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sneak Peak

My Saturday had an early beginning with a 7:00 am meeting with a new tenant.  The nice thing is that I was home in time for breakfast before we left for the city for an oil change on our truck. 

While in the city we also visited Lowe's and I even got a few minutes in Kohl's.  After a great Mexican lunch we headed back for home.

I think I will spend the rest of the day in a chair working on the binding of my Luna Notte quilt.  I think my hand feels flexible enough today to do some hand sewing.  I'm giving you a sneak peek....
Luna Notte Quilt in progress

A closer look
Even with the A/C running it's still a bit warm to have such a heavy and large quilt on my lap.  I hope to have it done this weekend and I will post proper pictures then. 

I fell in love with the Luna Notte line from Moda.  I added the red/tan toile fabric in the outside border and also in two of my blocks.   This is one of my favorite tricks ~ adding an 'alien' fabric that works with another line for borders, blocks and sometimes even backing.   I love the old look of this quilt.  I still have some of the toile fabric left over and may make pillows or curtain panels for our bedroom.

I hope you are all enjoying the weekend.  I am off to work on my quilt.  I wish you a wonderful weekend and I'll meet you here again Monday.

Blessings and Peace & Plenty ~~  Barb

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Small Things

Have you ever thought about all the many small things you do each day without even thinking about them?  Since I got out of bed less than two hours ago I have changed the sheets on our bed ~ washed two loads of clothes and folded one load ~ started the dishwasher I forgot to start last night after dinner ~ packed Hubby's lunch and kissed and waved him off to work ~ fed Miss Molly ~ gave Molly her shot of insulin ~  made a grocery list ~ watered the flowers ~ picked zucchini ~ cleaned the hand prints off the storm door ~ swept the kitchen floor and wiped up the spots ~ took out the trash ~ wrote two checks to pay bills ~ ate a bowl of cereal ~ made a fresh batch of iced tea ~ swept the kitchen floor again because I spilled sugar ~ and stocked the fridge with bottled water and soda.  These are but a few of the little things that we all do that no one notices unless you don't do them!  Such is the rhythm of life.

I  am working on the binding on another king quilt.  Hand sewing the binding  on this quilt is a challenge due to the fabric being slippery and raveling quite a bit.  It will take a few days to get this job done.  This will be another UFO (unfinished object) I can mark of my list!   I have two more king quilts to make and then I may be done with making such large quilts.  They are much harder to handle during sewing and binding and the cost of having them quilted is relatively expensive.

My booth at the antique mall is coming along.  Yesterday I took a large load over there and displayed most of it.  We have two more furniture pieces to take there and then I can really get set up. I will post a photo when I remember to take the camera.

I have to make a quick run to the grocery store so I can bake six dozen cupcakes for a benefit bake sale....until next time I wish you a day filled with Peace & Plenty!



Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Rain Has Come!!

I have been absent for a day or two.  I believe I have been experiencing writer's block.  I normally have so much to say (too much some would say!) but the well has been a bit dry.  I blame it on not feeling quite as well as usual.

At last the rain came yesterday.  We had an impressive electrical storm that took out our power and water for a few hours.  The glorious thing is that we got rain for about two hours ~~~ wonderful, reviving rain!
The weather today was perfect and everything in the garden looks so refreshed.

I am enjoying sewing in my newly organized room.  I have several projects to wind up before I go on to the next.  I work on several quilts at once.  I know other quilters who wouldn't dream of having more than one project in the works at a time.  Since we have no quilt police around here I work my way in my time.

When I was a young quilter I focused on making traditional quilts ~~ Double Wedding Ring, Log Cabin, Churn Dash, Nine Patch, Dresden Plate, Grandmother's Flower Garden, Crown of Thorns, etc.  I'm glad I began quilting on the tried and true patterns passed on from quilters over the generations.  There are so many new and exciting quilt patterns today that my mind can hardly keep them straight ~~  Disappearing Nine Patch, Jellyroll Race Quilt, Magic Square,  Double Slice, Wacky Web, Rag Quilts, etc.  The new techniques and tools to make these modern quilts are just as fantastic!

There is a wealth of online quilting tutorials for beginners or for those of us who want to learn the latest and greatest techniques.  While there are many terrific teachers, my favorite is Jenny Doan from Missouri Star Quilt Company.  Each tutorial is like a visit with an old friend.

For the past year I have taken my quilt tops to a local long-arm quilter.  I am no longer able to hand quilt everything as I once did since arthritis moved into my quilting finger.  At first not being able to hand quilt bothered me.  Then I realized how many more quilts I could get finished and actually begin using or give to others and I perked right up!  My wonderful quilter, Miss Reggie, has done a beautiful job on everything I've taken her.  She co-partners with me on every quilt and I'm happy to include her name on my labels.   

Whether you make traditional or modern quilts ~~  whether you piece them by hand or with your sewing machine ~~  whether you hand quilt them or send them out to be quilted  ~~  I applaud you for helping to keep the creative art of quilting alive.  God bless the long-arm quilters who help us achieve our dream in cloth.  

Until next time I wish you days filled with Peace & Plenty.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pinnies, Swaps and Valances

It's going to be a hot summer day with high humidity.  If only some of that humidity would convert to rain!  I've never seen such a dry year.  The farmers are really suffering.  Their fields yielded so little hay and there is little chance of a second cutting this year. 

This weekend got away from me.  I piddled at this and that and before I knew it the weekend was gone.  Today I will make valances ~ one for my sewing room and one for the booth.  Here are my fabrics.  The green is for the booth, but I'm undecided about which of the others to use in my sewing room.  I'm leaning toward the purple fabric at the bottom of the picture.

I belong to an online quilt forum and we're always swapping blocks or making items for others.  Sometimes we do swaps just for fun, as in the case of a pincushion (pinnie) swap that's currently taking place.  We were asked to make one pinnie and mail it away to the person in charge of the swap and wait for a pinnie to magically show up in the mail!  It sounded like fun, so here is what I will be sending off for some other quilter ~

This little confection is made on a salt shaker that's covered with a doily that's held in place by a piece of trim.  The bottle contains faux pearls and beads and there are three special beaded pins in the top.  Granted this is not a practical pinnie, but it's one I would like to have in my sewing room.  I hope the recipient will like it. 

Until next time I wish you a life filled with Peace & Plenty.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Checking In

I have a short break in my day and thought I would check in.  We planned this to be a stay-at-home day to catch up with a few chores.  Before lunch Hubby was called to work for an emergency so I mowed the yard.  Afterwards I worked on a block that will be sent to a sister quilter to make a quilt for her brother who just found out he's ill.  This was a labor of love for them.

Tomorrow I must make a valance for my booth at the mall and maybe tomorrow evening we will be able to put it up.  We are about 3 days away from setting things up for sale and see what happens.

It's roast beef, mashed potatoes, country green beans and homemade dinner rolls for dinner today.  Care to join us? 

Until tomorrow....may you be blessed with Peace & Plenty. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

What Am I Doing!

Have you ever done something spur of the moment you should have your head examined for?  I did that very thing this past week and rented a small booth in a new antiques mall here in town.  It's a lovely place and I hope I will  be able to thin out a few of my collections there.

Yesterday we painted the booth a cheery yellow and put a piece of wall paneling on the floor that looks like hardwood.  Since my booth is only 4x8 ft, the paneling was a perfect fit.  Today we will be touching up the paint, which was on raw particle board, and putting up a chair rail.  My Hubby Jeff  is doing most of the work and with a smile on his face!  He supports me in everything I do....he's a keeper!!!

Here are just a few of the items I want to thin out of my collections.  I have just scratched the surface of what needs to go to new homes.  I also have vintage linens and a few store-bought quilts to sell.  My one big ticket item is a 1955 Chevy convertible pedal car (new). 

We are painting some old furniture pieces to hold our displays and also making and painting shelves.  Jeff painted an old table pistachio the color.  On the center bottom is an old glass doorknob.

Next week I should be able to get my head back into quilts and quilting. 

Until Monday, take care and enjoy the weekend!

Peace & Blessings,  Barb

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pre-Cut Movement

It's a lovely cool morning with promises of it being a scorcher later on today and the next few days.  This is good tomato and zucchini growing weather.  Today I will actually sit down and sew a little in my new sewing space. 

How many of you have ventured into the delicious world of pre-cut quilting fabric?  Pre-cuts carry yummy sounding names like jellyroll, layercake, turnovers, dessert rolls and charms.  These names are actually copyrights of the Moda company.  Just as I refer to all tissues as Kleenex and  all gelatin as Jello, I will continue to refer to pre-cuts by Moda's creative names.  Since I use primarily Moda fabrics I hope they will forgive me.

I resisted the pre-cut movement for a while, thinking they were far too costly.  Once I tried one I was hooked and I haven't looked back! What can you say about taking one colorful jellyroll and one hour later having a nice quilt top to show for your efforts!  Here is the first Jellyroll Race quilt I made.  It took me 45 minutes.

I don't use pre-cuts exclusively, but they are a wonderful way to try a designer's full line of fabric.  I used 5" charm squares to make a Disappearing Nine Patch (D9P) quilt.  I added some unrelated fabric for borders and into a few of the blocks.

The flag banner was made from jellyroll strips with white stars appliqued in the blue field.

If you haven't tried pre-cuts give yourself a treat and see if you can't turn back!!

May you have a day filled with Peace & Plenty.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New Sewing Space

I's a bright and beautiful morning.  Hubby is off to work and my day is going to be slow and steady. 

The fabric storage section of my sewing room is pretty much together and I have a few pictures to share with you  ~~

The three cabinets are actually wardrobes that were purchased at Lowe's and Hubby and I assembled them together, although Hubby did far more of the work than I.  My sewing space is 10x12 feet and these cabinets pretty much fill up the whole 10 ft wall.  For added safety they were bolted to wall studs to prevent tipping.  Since my room is carpeted (I would prefer hardwood) we put plywood under the cabinets to further stabilize them.  A few old quilts, baskets and a doll and wooden thread box are on the top.

I wrapped 1-4 yards of fabric on comic book boards and sorted them by color or type.  Each color or type has its own shelf.  This cabinet houses black, brown, blue, green, pink/purple and orange fabrics.  The wrapped boards stand in the back of each shelf and the FQ's are folded and placed in plastic shoe boxes in front of the wraps.  You might notice a few works in progress also, as well as a drawer that holds miscellaneous notions.

Cabinet #2 holds whites/creams, red, yellow/gold, Christmas prints, batiks and Asian prints.  There is also a bobbin winder on the red shelf and a jar of hexagon paper foundations on the yellow shelf.  The bottom of the cabinet houses batting and bags of 2 1/2" strips.  The old canning jar holds stuffed chenille hearts.  There is also a stack of small quilts on the third shelf on the right. 

The drawers are so nice and roomy.  The top one holds thread and needles; the middle drawer houses rotary cutters (stored in eyeglass cases) and the bottom one hold templates and small rulers.

The last cabinet houses solids, 1930's reproduction fabrics, works in progress, pre-cuts, quilt backings, large cuts of fabric on the bottom shelf, assorted yarn and a sewing machine.  The drawers hold quilt blocks waiting to be sewn together and 2 1/2 strips.

In contrast the far side of the room still needs work.  I bought a new 8 foot table and 6 foot table and placed them against each other in an 'L'.  Until I make my mind up about a new sewing machine (or not) I'm happy to sew on folding tables.  I currently sew on a Memory Craft 4000 (Janome) and love it.  I've had it almost 20 years and it's been a workhorse and has never been in the shop.  The other machine in the photo is a Baby Lock Sashiko machine.  It makes only one stitch but that stitch looks like quality hand quilting (except on the back side). The tub under the table is full of scraps and the basket on the left holds batting pieces for table runners and small projects.  There is room for me to press and trim blocks to the right of the machine.  Now I have extra space to the left of the machine to support the fabric.  I don't machine quilt large items, so this arrangement will work fine for me. 

The blue quilt will be hung on the wall and I need to make a window valance.  Like any new project it needs fine tuning which will happen in time.   I'm very happy with my new space and grateful for my wonderful Hubby who made this happen for me.

Until tomorrow I wish you a day filled to overflowing with Peace & Plenty  ~~  Barb

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Simple Things

We have a small but thriving Amish community in our area.  It's not unusual to see them in their horse drawn buggies on the roads and in town.  While the adults are not very sociable (due to their religious training I suppose) their children are adorable and often make eye contact with you and flash big smiles.  Kids are kids are kids!  Their lifestyle would feel like hardship to me....I hope they are finding peace and joy in their beliefs and chosen way of life.....the simple life.  Our Amish neighbors add charm and diversity to our community and they are very welcome here.

Have you ever noticed that the simple things in life are often the most enjoyable and memorable....sleeping in on the weekend ~ an unexpected hug ~ friendly pets ~ butterflies ~ a rainbow ~ fireflies in the dark ~ a new magazine ~ ice cold watermelon ~ laughter ~ a hot bath ~ music ~ a handwritten letter ~ old friends ~ blowing bubbles ~ fireworks ~ ~ ~ I could go on and on.

Speaking of simple, the quilt I'm sharing with you today is nothing if not simple.  It's a twin size 4-point star made of feed sacks.  In places you can see black stamping on the underside of the white fabric.  Each block has blue floral sashing and there are no outside borders.  It is hand quilted and the back side and binding are solid white sack material.  It must have been used as a summer quilt because it's quilt light.  This was made by Grammy Rose.

Wherever you are I wish you a day filled with Peace & Plenty and an abundance of the simple things.

Blessings, Barb

Monday, June 4, 2012

My Ben Franklin Angel

Sundays have everything to do with going slow at our house.  Being creatures of habit, we wake up at the same time on weekends as during the work week.  A big pot of coffee for my Hubby is the first thing on the agenda.   Sunday breakfast is usually bacon, eggs and biscuits or something similar.  Hubby is the bacon and egg king and I'm biscuit queen. 

Last weekend the new public aquatic center (how's that for fancy!) opened in our little town.  It's quite a nice facility with something for every age group.  There is the requisite pool with diving boards, a water slide, a lazy river current section and bouncing seats for infants to diddle their little toes in the water and bounce around if they are so inclined.   I look forward to the day the center offers water aerobics classes.  Our town could also use a walking trail around the city park.  I see so many walking on the edges of the roads where there are no sidewalks.  Since most of our roads have only two lanes, this makes walking for your health a risky endeavor. 

Work on my sewing room is almost done.  I believe I've dealt with all the fabric I squirreled away in nearly every corner of our house.  It will soon be time to hang a quilt on the wall and plug in my old machine and sew a valance.  I haven't done any sewing for about two weeks and I'm in serious withdrawal.   Hubby tells me I've been a little edgy lately!  Thank goodness I have this blog and the wonderful forum at Missouri Star where I can at least talk about quilts!

Today I would like to show you a quilt I made completely by hand when I was 14-15 years old.  It is an embroidered project done on stamped quilt blocks from the local Ben Franklin store.  The lovely lady who worked in the fabric department, Miss Evelyn, encouraged me to sew and allowed me to buy one stamped block per week until I made all I needed (5).  She pretended to be splitting a pack of blocks with me!  Miss Evelyn was very kind to me and figured out creative ways to help me buy fabric or yarn on several occasions.  She attended my high school graduation, my wedding and my baby shower for my daughter.  We maintained a wonderful friendship  until her passing in 1969.  I remember her fondly as my sewing angel and loving friend every time I look at this quilt.


My parents supported me and spared no expense on anything I wanted to do academically ~ math camp, spelling bees, science fairs,   field trips, microscopes, telescopes, etc.  What they did not support was my creative side, which has always run strongly through my veins.  I think  Dad had a mortal fear that I might want to go to a liberal arts college, so in an effort to help keep my feet on the ground, he made me do math drills every evening after dinner rather than watch TV.  Dad was a math whiz and was determined that I could do the same.  To him sewing was nonsense (mending was okay) and spending money on fabric or other sewing supplies was wasteful.   I'm sure he felt that sewing and crafting would lead me down the road of ruination.  To acquire the money for the supplies to make this quilt I saved my quarters and dimes from babysitting ~ I would watch three children for 25 cents an hour! 

After the blocks were embroidered I had to decide on what color to set everything together with....why pink and white, of course!  For the background I chose a mix of white and unbleached muslin ~ I thought this was a pretty groovy style statement.  White AND off-white in the same quilt ~ on the cutting edge!   There was no money in my meager budget for batting  so I used flannel yardage.  I didn't like binding in the early years so I opted for prairie points.  Everything on this quilt was hand sewn and it's the first I quilted all by myself.  I even went a step further and made a bed ruffle for my bed.  Over the years the bed ruffle disappeared but the quilt remains in very good condition in my collection.  Thank you Miss Evelyn for making this quilt and many other projects possible and for talking me out of making bell bottom pants from baby flannel!! 

Thank you for letting me run a little long today ~ you never know what you will get here on Monday!! 

I wish you all a wonderful day filled with Peace & Plenty  ~  Barb

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sunglasses Required

It's going to be another beautiful day in the Ozarks.  The sun is just peeking through the pines. 

The work continues on my sewing room.  It's incredible how many things and the quantity of fabric I had squirreled away in that small room.  It's a bit like going on vacation ~ everything fits nicely in your suitcase at home but for the return trip you need to leave some things behind.  I have a few bags of fabric and miscellany to donate to the quilt guild and the community center. 

This is a work day for us.  Hubby is in the shower and Miss Molly, our Scotty dog, just had her breakfast and is munching on a few doggie biscuits. 

I will leave you this morning with a picture of a quilt I made in the winter of 2010 and 2011.  It's made entirely of batiks and the pattern is a variation on the Monkey Wrench.   It's the most colorful quilt I've ever made.  You might want to put on your sunglasses for looking at this one!

Have a great day!!    Peace & Plenty ~~ Barb

Friday, June 1, 2012


I belong to a wonderful forum at the Missouri Star Quilt Company and have enjoyed getting to know several of the members over the past year.  If you are looking for a place to share your quilts or learn to quilt, MSQC is the place to be.  One very special friend at the forum, Blondie, has started a pin cushion (pinnie) exchange recently, so I've been pondering the role of pinnies in my life. 

Normally I have one 'working' pincushion at my sewing machine and another at the ironing board.  Blondie says she has pinnies in every room of her home.  After looking at a few of the gorgeous pinnie creations on the Internet I can see why they would be considered accessories for the sewing room and home.  I've seen them made on crystal candle holders, wine glasses, bone china cups, tin cans and styrofoam cups!

I have two very special pinnies that belonged to Grammy Rose and Grandma Nan.   The lovely cushion below was crocheted by Grammy Rose.  Originally it was laced together with white ribbon in a fancy arrangement I've never been able to duplicate.  I think it must have been pulled through with a crochet hook and twisted in some manner.  A few years back I had to take this pinnie apart and make it a new inner cushion.  Since I couldn't do the ribbon work that held it together originally, I crocheted it together and wove ribbon through the openings on top.   It's lovely but it pales in comparison to what it was in its youth!


The Kewpie Doll pinnie below belonged to my Grandma Nan.  I think this one is too cute for words!  Could you stick pins in this little darling ~ I can't.

The lovely pinnie below is my working pinnie that I keep at the sewing machine.  It was a gift from a dear friend.  The tiny needle case on the top is a work of art in itself.  It measures 1 1/2 inches square!  I pinned this little gem to the top of my pinnie so I wouldn't lose it.  This beauty came with the pinnie.

The patriotic pinnie below is the one I keep at the ironing board.  It's filled with steel wool to keep my pins sharp.  This was also a gift from a special friend. 

Pinnies seem to have been elevated to accessory status....and rightfully so!!

Wishing you a wonderful day!