Friday, December 28, 2007

Not Your Usual After Christmas Sale!

Some of my family rose early the day after Christmas to track down those markdown bargains, like coats, shoes, electronic goodies, wrapping paper, etc. Not me. I was hot on the trail of a sale at one of my favorite quilt shops, Prairie Point in Shawnee, Ks. Almost everything was at least 20% off, with a back room full of 40% off fabrics. about extending Christmas. I had been wanting this Fig Tree book after seeing the delicious quilt that Juliann made from it and posted on her Dec. 9th blog post.

I was also in search of some more of the Shangri-la fabrics to use for borders and backings and pillowcases for the Cotton Candy quilt. Before Christmas I finished all the blocks and am going to try to start sewing them together into rows today. I am wanting to pick up the blues as much as possible--DH says I never make a blue quilt!!!! Well, we'll see if this is blue enough for him when the borders have been added!!!

It seems that I have fewer UFOs to start the new year with than usual. Yay! I want to make a list of all the projects finished in 2007 and I am thinking I may be pleasantly surprised--for once. Right now, I am looking at finishing the Cotton Candy quilt, quilting the Chocolates & Cherries quilt, and working on a BOM quilt. I know I must be forgetting something LOL!! When these are all done done, I can start something new--maybe a Fig Tree quilt!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Holiday Wishes

May your holidays be spent with those you love. Wishing you and yours a safe and warm Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Most Wonderful Christmasy Evening

Kansas City opened a beautiful new complex in October--the Sprint Center. It will be host to sporting events, concerts, and other extravaganzas. It is a wonderful facility right in the heart of downtown KC. I lovingly refer to it as "the big squatty thing" LOL! But it is definitely a feat of futuristic architecture and mindful of Kansas City's efforts to revitalize downtown. I have so many memories from childhood of riding the bus downtown to see the fabulous window displays at Macy's, having a hotdog and chocolate malt at Kresge's, meeting girlfriends under the big clock at Jones, having lunch on the mezzanines of some of the big department stores lining the blocks. And the amazing decorations hung on street corners and across the avenues for the holidays made the trip even more exciting. All that came to an abrupt end with the advent of suburban malls in the 60s---enclosed shopping, free parking, what was not to like? But I do miss my downtown and am hopeful that the revitalization efforts will pay off.

My birthday present this year from "the guys" was tickets to the Mannheim Steamroller concert which was held last night at the Sprint Center. Could not have been a more perfect evening. Pleasant weather, a parking pass, $9 margaritas (well, the $9 part wasn't so great!!!) and fantastic seats. I have been a fan of Mannheim Steamroller for about 20 years, have most of their CDs which play pretty much nonstop in my car during December, and anticipate their PBS specials with great fervor! Well, let's just say, nothing can come close to hearing them live and in person. What a glorious show. What creativity. What soul-reaching music. Creativity is a subject that I love to explore and I have to wonder what creative driving force inspired Chip Davis to bring together all those unusual instruments to make his most harmonious sound. I am so glad I got to hear them in person. I understand that Chip Davis will be retiring soon. Hopefully the Steamrollers will continue on.

I had a request for a couple of the cookie recipes mentioned in my last post--the Cranberry Walnut Bars and the Orange Vanilla Wafer Balls. Well, for some reason I have not been able to put my finger on the Cranberry Walnut Bar recipe--grrrr. It was a recipe given to me several years ago by my hairdresser. It called for raisins and all I had on hand were the cranberry raisins. That made them even yummier!!! I will keep searching..... Here's the most yummy Orange Vanilla Wafer Balls recipe (and a bonus--it's a no-bake!)

Twelve-ounce box vanilla wafers, crushed fine (I use my food processor.)
One stick softened butter or margarine
One pound powdered sugar
One six-ounce can frozen orange juice
Small bag flaked coconut

Mix the crushed vanilla wafers, margarine, powdered sugar, and orange juice. Roll into small balls, then roll in the flaked coconut. Refrigerate for a couple of hours. These may be stored in a covered container in the fridge or freezer. Yummo!

Have fun with these, Susan!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Stars and Snowballs

Whew, are my fingers sore LOL! The bindings are done on my sons' quilts--in time for Christmas! Yay. These are not good photos and for that I apologize, but I was anxious to snap them before wrapping them up. Better photos can come on Christmas morning when the recipients hold them up and say cheese.

The stars quilt was started as a Jo Morton block of the month (actually three blocks of the month) at my local quilt shop a couple of years ago. The snowballs quilt was based on a pattern I saw in Great American Quilts Book Nine. It, too, has been in the works for over a year. I think it is pretty hard to find a quilt pattern that is masculine but won't bore me to death while working on it!!!
Snow fell again on Kansas City yesterday...a very dry light snow. That was a good thing--it kept me in the house, fingers to the needle. Friends are arriving in town from Arizona this week and we hope to spend a little time with them so it is good to have the quilts finished. Now to concentrate on the rest of the baking. This afternoon I'll attempt to clean out the freezer to make room for some more containers of yummies. I love to have lots of varieties of cookies in the freezer to pull from for trays---for neighbors, for friends, and for family get-togethers. The list so far: orange vanilla wafer balls, chocolate/caramel chippers, oatmeal molasses, chocolate brownie cookies, gingersnaps, drizzled white Oreos, peanut butter blossoms, frosted sugar cookies, cranberry walnut bars, and lemon bars. This list, of course, can change depending on supplies and aching backs!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Brought To You By the Letter Q

A little shiver ran down my spine. No, it was not caused by the latest round of Kansas City ice!!! I just got an email from my longarmer that my two quilts are ready. Ya Hooooo! These are Christmas presents for my sons. The marathon binding sessions will begin as soon as I pick them up after the guild meeting today. Stay tuned....

Pictures of the flimsies were on the computer--once. The Great Computer Crash of 2007 wiped them out so hopefully I can get decent shots of them soon.

During the "ice-in" I managed to get several more blocks for the Cotton Candy quilt stitched (no photo yet) , nine Hershey snowmen as favors for the mini-group next week made, and six more string strips for the guild's charity scrap quilt sewn.
I could sure use some Christmas elves.....

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Iced In

Kansas City is iced in today! Virtually every school district has cancelled classes and thousands of homes are without power. Even though it is stunning to look at, an ice storm's destructiveness is one of nature's cruel jokes. Fortunately I still have power, I am stocked up on baking supplies, several small sewing and knitting projects are at the ready, and the cats and I are in snuggle mode! It could be worse...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Quickie Little Gift Idea

This sweet snowman wrapper template was intended for a Hershey bar but I chose to use it for a box of matches. You can print off the template here:
First go to on the home page at the top you will find the words "community"click on this then the page opens and on the left side there is a box & at the bottom click on "message board"when this opens scroll down to the 5th bold area where it says "support & learning forum" then the 2nd one down is "Instruction junction" click on thisnow look for "bamboo pin snowman" click on this & it takes you to the message where you will find the template.
I got this idea from a yahoo group I belong to. The hats in the original were knitted but I had lots of wool scraps to use up, so I made little tube hats tied with a wool scrap. The scarves are scraps cut with scalloped pinking shears. These will go in gift bags for my three snowbird friends, along with kitchen towels I have machine-embroidered saguaros on, crocheted dishcloths, and saguaro glass ornaments. I wanted them to take at least one thing snow-related to the sunbelt to think of me here in cold, cold Missouri this winter!!! These would make cute favors or small remembrance gifts (postman, favorite librarian, etc.) or fun little January "sit-arounds".

Monday, December 03, 2007

Quilting, What's That?

My poor ole' Bernina looks so forlorn there in the sewing room. If Bernie could talk, I'm sure he'd say, "What did I do wrong? Why won't she sew on me? When will I be king again???" The only time Bernie has been turned on lately has been to do a couple more blocks for the Cotton Candy quilt (see November 4th post) and to make a few burp cloths out of cloth diapers for arriving babies. I know, how rude to treat Bernie that way. Of course, there will be an onslaught of machine stitching binding as soon as the two quilts come back from the longarmer--and yes, they are Christmas gifts. I'm getting a little panicky, well, okay, a lot panicky. I was so sure they'd be ready for pickup by now as I "handed them over" about three months ago. I'm not the fastest at doing bindings!

I have been doing other Christmas things, oh yes I have. After a day of angst over my Christmas card list being lost in the great hard drive crash of '07, I remembered that when I bought the computer a year and a half ago, I had transferred all the files (via Detto) onto a CD. Yay, the list was there. All I had to do was update it. Pictured are the cards I have sent out over the last 20 years or so. I try to remember to keep one for myself. Do you see a theme here? I do adore primitive and vintage Santas. Today's task will be to write messages inside the cards that will go out this year.

And I have pretty much completed decorating my gingerbread kitchen. This little tree looks so happy in there. Each year I just cover it with plastic and store it in the basement as-is. Then next year I bring it up and tweak it and add to it just a bit. Sure saves a lot of time.

Here is the first completed knitting loom project--a neckroll pillow. Boy, did it go fast!! A girl could get addicted to those little looms. I have completed a hat also but want to make a big fluffy pompon for the top. It will most likely be a donation hat.

I think it's time to get busy on more Christmas-y stuff now...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Deja Vu All Over Again

Remember these handy-dandy little looms? When I was about 8, I got one of these and spent countless hours making potholders on it. In fact, I think every relative got a potholder for Christmas that year!!! I found this loom several years ago at an antique mall and just had to have it. Sad to say, those loopy, stretchy things you weave with are still as awful as they were 56 years ago!!! But the enjoyment of weaving was as fine as ever. In fact, this craft may have been the one that lit the fire....

Well, I kept seeing these little loomy things at the craft stores and they were tugging at my heart big time. Didn't really know what the heck they were used for, but that 50% off coupon at JoAnn's was "burning a hole in my pocket", as Mom used to say. I knew they had something to do with knitting and since I have a humongous yarn stash, I bought one. Got it home and tried to figure out how to use it from the enclosed directions. Let's just say, that wasn't going to happen! Thank goodness for the internet. I found all kinds of help there! Since I make charity hats--both knit and crochet--and am remarkably slow at knitting and crocheting, I think this will be a faster way to go. Great mindless handwork for TV time.

This is the underside of the knitting. Apparently these little knitting looms date back at least as far as the 1700s when they were known as "Knitting Jennies". The womenfolk would card and spin the wool and the menfolk would knit lightweight blankets and sheets. From the info I have been able to gather, you can make almost anything you can knit on regular needles!!! I'll probably stick to hats for the time being.

However, for my first project I am doing this cute little neckroll pillow from a free project sheet. I think it will be cute.

Went to the post office this morning to mail off my personal property and real estate taxes (ugh, why do they have to come so close to Christmas???) and found these great knitty-looking Christmas stamps. Are they not cute as the dickens????


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Woohoo Mizzou!!!

Love those Tigers!!!!
This blog will return to quilty content soon! Really.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Not Sew Much

Been a busy week so not a lot of quilting has happened here at KC Quilter-land! Some binding of wallhangings, some knitting, some Christmas decorating... Yesterday was my mini-group get-together and one of our members is in charge of this year's scrap quilt for our guild. I should explain, my guild makes an opportunity quilt to raffle off to the public at the annual quilt show. We also make a scrap quilt that is just for membership to purchase chances on. This year's scrap quilt will be a string quilt---yay! Members are given rectangles of a light-weight
muslin and are to sew strings of Christmas fabrics and Christmas colors onto this muslin foundation. The "in-charge" gal will set them into a quilt using this configuration. The colors are not as pretty in the photo as I had to use my camera phone. I just love, love, love this and will purchase many chances! The drawing will not be until next fall so I may have to start one of my own LOL to use up those gazillion bits of Christmas fabrics I just HAD to have.

On the design wall are these blocks for the Farmers Market quilt we are doing over on Pat Sloan's Yahoo group. Each month brings a new surprise from Pat! They are so fun, quick and easy that I can hardly wait each month for the new one.

On the shopping front I found this luscious doublefaced quilted fabric at Joann's the other day--on sale. Just right for a new bag, doncha think? And they sell those wonderful magnetic snaps for bags for 6 sets/$2.99!!! I have been paying $3.00 for one set! They also carry those newfangled bobbin sidewinders but were out of them the day I was in there, of course. But I was thinking they would be a steal with a 40% off coupon!

Okay, now it is time to be a grown-up and start spending my money on presents for OTHER people......

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Orange Is the Word

At guild meeting Thursday our speaker was a quilt shop owner whose program was a brief overview of what's new in quilting, gleaned from her recent trip to Houston market. She saw lots of orange tones in the new fabric lines! Well, I do find myself drawn to the gorgeous shades of corals and pumpkins. She said the large florals seem to be on the wane. She also stated that she thought DMC floss would soon be a thing of the past, due to some color-running issues. I've never had a problem with DMC floss running but apparently some have. She was pushing the Prescencia flosses. I have used it and do love the yummy color selection. She said it was colorfast and she is seeing lots of conversion charts for DMC to Prescencia. Another big trend she noted was the use of embroidery in quilts--both hand and machine. (Maybe I'll finally get my money's worth out of that embroidery module!) Thirties prints will be back with a vengeance. In addition to the extremely popular jelly rolls and charm squares, fabric will be sold in "cake layers" which are 10" x 10" charms. She showed a few new products--the extra-large yoyo maker and colored tape for acrylic rulers and some rotary cutter gadgetry, to name a few. I purchased Judy Laquidara's wonderful book (Hi, Judy!) from her:

And look at these two amazing quilts inside!!! Hourglass Surrounded--wow, does that pop right off the page. Yep, orange IS the word. Love the graphic repeat quality and the secondary patterns of this quilt. Keep In Touch is so-o-o sweet and the adorable ribbon-y border is so eyecatching.
She immediately sold out of a new pattern by the lady who is famous for the Yellow Brick Road pattern. (Sorry, I'm having a senior moment here and can't remember if her name is Terry Adkins, Atkins, Adkinson.....) It is a four-hour beauty and I added my name to the list of folks to be called when it comes in!!!!
Today's lunch: Potato Soup in the Crock Pot
Put in the crock pot 6 potatoes--peeled and cubed, a small onion--diced, a stalk of celery--diced, 2 14 1/2 oz. cans chicken broth plus enough water to make 5 cups total, 1/3 cup margarine--cubed, salt, pepper, celery salt to taste. Cover and cook for 10 - 12 hours on low. During the last hour of cooking add a 13 oz. can of evaporated milk, 1 cup cubed Velveeta, and 4 slices bacon that have been fried crisp & crumbled. Mmmm...serve with a topping of chives or chopped green onion. Also, there will be a cheesy herb bread from the bread machine.
Can't get enough hot soup in November!

Sunday, November 04, 2007


After stitching up the first sixteen blocks for Cotton Candy, I decided to set those aside to finish up two little Christmas wallhangings. The components for 7 more blocks are patiently waiting right next to my sewing machine. I cut an extra five to enlarge the quilt for my queen-sized bed. And I am itching to design some kind of appliqued border to jazz it up a bit. Hmmm...any ideas for the applique?

The first Christmas wallhanging is a Thimbleberries panel called Snow Birds. Just fell in love with it on an impromptu trip to the quilt shop the other day. I am nuts over vintage children's prints. I am doing some very simple quilting on it--just enough to hold the layers together LOL! I want to get it up on the wall this week. Yep, I am one of those people who starts putting up Christmas right after Halloween! Since my sister always hosts the family Thanksgiving dinner and I host the family Christmas, my house doesn't get much of a Thanksgiving twist. The second wallhanging is the twelve days of Christmas folk art piece I worked on this past summer. I am calling it My True Love Gave to Me. It is all pin-basted and waiting in queue. Most of the blocks are from the Cheri Saffiote book, 301 Country Christmas Quilt Blocks. I adore this book and will make some pillows for my rustic bench using some of the other block patterns. So prim, so folk art!!!

Then, while putting some books away in my quilt library, I noticed this Debbie Mumm book that I bought several years ago at my school's book fair. I don't use Debbie Mumm patterns much at all, but this book seemed to have some darling ideas for my partridge-in-a-pear-tree dining room. What I like about it is that she incorporates other crafts with the quilting--centerpieces, aprons, recipes, etc. Now I think I need to go back through some of my other older books!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Start of Something Big

I love the Start of a new project, be it a quilt, a piece of jewelry, a crocheted or knitted project, or something in embroidery. The Start is so magical. What design? What colors? What materials? How will it be used? Who is it for? In other words, the planning. I love that part of it--sometimes to a fault LOL! I think that may be why I have so many UFOs. I am overcome with the pre-project feelings and rush headlong. This easy quick quilt, Cotton Candy, uses the
2 1/2" jellyroll strips, some 5" charm squares, and a bit of yardage. It won't be anything fancy but should work out nicely as a spring bed topping. The last couple of days I have gotten all the parts for the blocks and the setting and corner triangles cut out and have sewn the 72 HSTs. I also sewed up four blocks to see if all would fit together as it should. Now I can just sit at the machine and sew myself into "zen-ness". (See previous post for a photo of the quilt.)

On a different note, thanks to so many of you for your encouraging words about my nephew's ordeal. We are coping. However, to add insult to injury, one of the suspects was released from custody due to a clerical error on the part of the police. We are all trying to contain our rage but at the same time, worry so much for my nephew's safety. The crime occurred on university property in a house he and three friends rent from the school. The school officials are insisting on counseling--at the university's expense--for the students involved. Thank God for that. In the meantime my nephew's parents decided to seek media involvement to see if that would create enough pressure to get something done about the released suspect. Meanwhile we try to be strong for him. I am so glad I have quilting in my life to get my thoughts onto something positive.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Bad Week

Sometimes it seems that the world is "out to get you", doesn't it? Sunday afternoon my hard drive crashed. And, of course, not every single file was backed up, though most pictures had been put on CDs. The computer is only 1 1/2 years old--fortunately, we had purchased the 4-year extended warranty. So it was not as horrible as it could have been. However....big however....dealing with the tech support people at Nameless Computer Company was indescribably frustrating and maddening. After many hours on the phone with them--to no resolution--we finally brought in a dear friend who does tech support for a living. He finally demanded to speak to a supervisor who reluctantly agreed to send us a new hard drive. Sometimes I think warranties are best used to line a bird cage. Anyhoo, computer is back up and running. Of course, I am minus some applications that were preloaded on the computer and Nameless Computer Company only sent some of the install disks (grrrrr.....) but eventually that will be worked out. My computer woes became totally irrelevant Monday night. My nephew was the victim of a violent crime. He is okay physically, but he and his two friends who were held at gunpoint and robbed will live with the mental images for a long, long time. I won't go in to detail (you never know who lurks in Blogland) but suffice it to say, we are grateful he is alive and we're not the least bit upset about the computer anymore. The perpetrators were caught, thank God, but what lies ahead will be nightmarish, I'm sure.

On to quilty things.... I had purchased the Shangri-la jellyroll on my trip and was anxious to put it to use! I ordered some 5" plaid squares and some luscious border yardage from in the Shangri-la coordinates. I already had the book, On A Roll, and really liked the cover quilt called "Cotton Candy". Got all the 5" squares trimmed back to 4 3/4" and was ready to dive in. Or so I thought. It seems one needs the Easy Angle tool for cutting some of the pieces!!!! After looking through my gazillion rulers, I learned that I do not have that particular one.
A trip to the quilt shop will be in order for this afternoon. I need some cream fabric for block backgrounds and setting triangles anyway....sigh.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

On Being Prudent

I thought it would be a good idea to actually stitch something from all my purchases on the trip (see previous post). You know, I do want DH to think I really do use some of the stuff I buy in quilt shops!!! Since he was in all the ones we stopped at along the way, he saw all that loot, for Pete's sake. I made the little candle mat from the Bareroots pattern yesterday. Not that he'll notice it sitting RIGHT ON THE TABLE BY THE COUCH WHERE HE SITS EACH AND EVERY DAY!!! But, I'm prepared should he ask, "What are you going to do with all that stuff???" Just being prudent.

One of the neatest places we stopped at on the trip was the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan--along with the adjacent Greenfield Village. I highly recommend it. DH and I had watched a 20-year-old mini-series (I guess I'm liking hyphens today) on a cable channel. It did a great job of depicting both his genius in making autos affordable for Everyman through assembly line manufacture and his dark side of prejudice and a longstanding extramarital affair. He had many inventor types as friends and seemed to relish in all that could spring from the human mind. His museum and village are a real testament to that. He (or his foundation, I should say) have had so many unique pieces moved to the site. It was amazing to see Thomas Edison's lab, the Wright Brothers bicycle shop, Robert Frost's home, Harvey Firestone's home, and so much more. We spent many hours there and could have spent even more. I was deeply touched by getting to see the bus that Rosa Parks was riding on the day she decided not to give up her seat for a white person and was subsequently arrested. A young man named Martin Luther King Jr. heard about it and helped to organize a yearlong boycott by blacks of riding the public buses. I used to teach second graders about this amazing woman and this event and to get to see the actual bus really affected me. I sat in the seat where Rosa sat that day. (Ignore the "vacation hair" please.) It brought back a lot of memories of the strife that was going on in the Sixties and how far we have come as a people. We do have "miles to go before we sleep" however.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Just Click Your Heels Together.....

....there's no place like home! We're back from a wonderful trip, but, as always, it's great to be back home. To sleep in one's own bed, to be adored by one's pets, to settle back into routine...priceless. We saw some amazing things on our trip: Lincoln Museum in Springfield, Illinois; the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan; Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada; Bennington, Vermont; Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY; and Hershey, Pennsylvania. Whew! A lot of ground was covered!

I did have wi-fi in the motels we stayed in, but didn't really have too much time for blog-surfing. Those I missed, I'll catch up on in the next few days.
I will have to admit, a highlight of the whole trip was getting to see the Dear Jane quilt at the Bennington Museum! I had tried a couple of years ago but failed! We were on a Fall Foliage tour and went right through the town of Bennington and I knew the quilt was on display at that time. Tour Director, however, couldn't stop. I understood--we women want to stop at every little neat shop along the way!!! I knew it was on display again but couldn't remember the exact dates. Luck was on my side. And, lo and behold, photos were allowed--as long as you didn't use flash. I tried to lighten it up a bit in my photo-editing program but it just looked too whitish. So I left it as-is. The Jane Stickle quilt is even more amazing in person than in the book and in photos on the internet. The smallness of the individual blocks really hits home. Even my husband was impressed!
And, of course, a bit of quilt shop touring was in line, too! I found the wonderful Sue Spargo Pin Keepers book--and I want to make every single one LOL! A little piece of wool felt and a darling Bareroots Pumpkin Candle Mat pattern jumped into my hands. Some cute, cute, cute coffee cup fabric, those sweet Thimbleberries stitchery-looking panels (which have become very hard to come by around these parts), and a jellyroll of Moda Shangri-la are in the first photo. Next pic is of some fun Halloween fabrics to add to the stash.

To add to my ever-growing Dick-and-Jane collection, I found these beauties in Pennsylvania. "Oh, look. See Vera buy. Buy, buy, buy." I am such a fan of all things Dick-and-Jane, I doubt I'll ever be able to cut into them.
An adorable Halloween panel with just the right vintage look will, hopefully, get finished off soon.
Over the next few posts, I'll upload a picture here and a picture there of some of the sights we saw--don't want to bore you all at once, I want to spread the boredom out!! Perhaps the most touching thing I saw was the Rosa Parks bus at the Henry Ford. The bus was restored (to the tune of over $300,000) and I was able to sit in the seat where Rosa sat when she decided to stand up to prejudice and inequality. Will show a photo of that soon. Onto laundry and grocery-shopping...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Eye Candy

Yesterday my mini-group hit a small quilt show here in KC and then had yummy gyros at a Greek stand. Here are a few of the quilts that tickled my fancy:

In a few days DH and I will be embarking on a roadtrip: Henry Ford Museum in Michigan, Niagara Falls, both Canadian and American views, Hershey, PA for chocolate overdoses, and various and other stops along the way. I am so-o-o ready for a trip, and especially, one without airplanes involved! Probably won't get time to post till I return. Enjoy these precious fall days!