Saturday, September 29, 2007


A fun session was had making purses out of old jeans at my Thursday sewing bee. The one on the left is the one I made in class. The little fabric flower is my own addition as the bags looked a bit plain. It is a great way to recycle old jeans! The middle purse (may have been blogged before, oops) is a crocheted bag I made a while back. It was made with wool yarn and then felted. For some odd reason, the bag felted up nicely, the handle not so much. I did stabilize the handle with a heavy decorator fabric lining (same fabric as the purse lining) and that has kept it from stretching out. I tend to "load up" my purses so that extra bit of security was definitely needed!!! The black jeans purse on the right is one I made yesterday at home. I went back to my old lining technique rather than the one our teacher used in the class. Also, she had us use Craft Fuse for the interfacing and I didn't care for the cardboard-y feel to it so I went back to good ole' fusible fleece for the black one. Also, the original purse used a magnetic closure, which I loved, but I had to use my fusible velcro on the black one since I was out of magnetic closures and didn't want to make a trip out!! And for my "at-home" purse, I added a bit of lightweight interfacing to the inside pockets so they wouldn't be so floppy. I always seem to have to change things from patterns!!!

These little fabric flowers were kind of the hit of the sewing bee (blush, blush). I have made many of these over the years to embellish all kinds of things. They are extremely quick and easy:

Take a rectangle of fabric about 13 inches X 3 inches. Iron the strip in half lengthwise with the wrong sides of the fabric together. Then open the strip back up and put the right sides together. Stitch a 1/4 inch seam across the short ends. Iron that seam open, then turn the fabric back to the outside (wrong sides together). With button craft thread doubled, take a running stitch about 1/4 inch from the raw edges. (You can do this with a long machine stitch if desired.) Gather up the fabric by pulling on the thread and knot it off. Sew a button in the center. You can add a pin back or just stitch it on to the item you are embellishing. So fun! If these directions are Clear As Mud, let me know and I'll make another one, photoing the steps as I go along and blog that.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

It Was Inevitable....

Eventually, if a person does applique long enough, she wants to be able to draw some of her own designs. However, I am extremely drawing-challenged. I managed to make it all the way through high school and college without ever taking a drawing/art class. Boy, do I regret that now. I decided to check out the drawing pencils at the local craft store and bought a few. Well, lo and behold, this little booklet Draw Now! was packed inside the box of pencils! I think what I REALLY need is one of those kids' books that shows you the step-by-step of turning basic shapes into something that actually LOOKS like something LOL. Maybe that will be my next purchase with a coupon. Any blogreaders have a suggestion? I have readied a little sketch book to practice in...

This just in: "Internet Is Fattening." This morning I baked the Peanut Blondies from a recipe I found on this blog. (Scroll down to the Sept. 17th post.) Haven't tasted them yet, but boy, was the batter de-lish!!! Mmmm...peanut butter, brown sugar, dryroasted peanuts, white chocolate chips..what's not to like????

And to return the calories to Blogland, I offer this recipe for DH's favorite fall dessert. I just call it Favorite Fall Dessert (clever, huh?)

Spray a 2 quart baking dish lightly w/ Pam. Cover the bottom of the dish generously with pared and thinly-sliced apples (about 5 large). Mix 3/4 cup sugar, 3 T. margarine, cubed, 1 t. baking powder, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup milk, 1 cup flour. Spread over fruit. Mix 1 cup sugar, 1 t. cinnamon, 1/2 t. ginger, 1/2 t. all spice. Sprinkle over top. Pour 2/3 cup boiling water over top. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. A hunk of vanilla ice cream on a serving doesn't hurt anything either.

Not much quilting yet this week, but tomorrow at my guild's sewing bee one of the members is teaching a darling jeans purse. So I've been gathering up all the supplies for that and will, hopefully, have a photo of a new purse to post soon!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Laurel Burch

I was so saddened to hear of the death of Laurel Burch recently. She has been a favorite of mine for decades. Starting with her jewelry pieces all the way up to her wonderful fabrics and embroidery machine designs. I loved the story of her starting her jewelry business in the Haight Asbury district of San Francisco (think hippies and flower children). I know the hippie era was quite controversial but I personally loved the sentiment (think Make Love not War) and always was a bit of a closet hippie myself LOL. Loved those long, long skirts and beads, the flowers in the hair and Birkenstocks and the organic food, the concern for the earth and the political questioning. Laurel Burch's art always represented to me the spirit of the 60s and 70s. This quote from one of her books is a favorite: "Share with the world from the heart of your heart." I was so excited when she branched out into fabric design and patterns. Karen over at sewprimitivequilter has a link to an article about Laurel Burch's life and death on her 9/20/2007 post.

I know that a big part of her appeal to me, besides the wonderful colors and the mixing of media, is the importance she placed on living things. another quote from one of her books sums that up: "As an artist my life is deeply connected to the purpose and joy of creating for so many kindred spirits. We share similar passions and dreams about the importance of magic in our every day lives and the kinship between all living things." I think I'll machine embroider one of her glorious giraffe designs this weekend. She'll be missed.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Little Quiltyness

Thursday's guild meeting was amazing. Our speaker was Lora Rocke out of Lincoln, Nebraska. Her work was phenomenal. In addition to her beautiful quilts she does thread painting that is amazing. I hope the photo of the man holding the fish on her business card reflects the beautiful imagery she is able to achieve. The Princess Feather quilt was a crowd-pleaser too. Several guild members commented that she was the best speaker we'd ever had--and we've had some dandies!

Later that afternoon I ventured to a neighboring town to check out a new quilt shop that had just opened. Though the owner didn't have a lot of inventory yet, it sure looks to be promising. I found this adorable Moda cowgirl fabric and the wonderful chocolate fabric. (Click for big.)

I have been called the Queen of Chocolate around these parts--and the title is richly deserved LOL!

Any great ideas what to do with these luscious fabrics? Maybe a tote bag from the cowgirl fabric?

This evening DH and I attended a local outdoor art fair. Perfect weather for it. Lots of jewelry, lots of photography, and lots of painting. I escaped without injury (to my wallet)!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

A Little Diversion

Stepping away from the sewing room this morning, I took a bracelet-making class at Urban Arts & Crafts here in KC. It was a simple, mindless activity but loads of fun! Stringing beads is as Zen-like as chain-piecing, I do believe! I love beads almost as much as fabric and thread. Mostly I stitch them on fabric but occasionally like to make a piece of jewelry.

Here are some redwork blocks I have been working on at "TV Time". I was a MAJOR fan of paperdolls when I was a li'l girl. I could spend hours and hours changing their outfits and making up stories for them to live out! I don't think little girls play with paperdolls anymore. Sad. Such a fun way to stretch creativity.

And last, the third block of the Farmer's Market BOM over at Pat Sloan's Yahoo group, Blue Ribbon Pies. I love pumpkin and DH loves strawberry--so there you have it!
It was so sad to hear of Pavarotti's death. That is one of those names I've heard all my life. Such a talent. Though I'm not an opera buff, hearing his amazing voice could bring tears to my eyes and chills down my spine. You always wonder who will take the place of a legend such as Pavarotti.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Just needed that short break! Thanks to Libby, Tazzie, Juliann, Gail, Karen and Mrs. Goodneedle for those sweet, sweet comments--they were very appreciated! I love my life, but as most people do, I sometimes have to take a step back and remind myself of that!!! You know, make a new plan, Stan!

I have managed to get some sewing done--yay me! My Birds of a Feather FINALLY flew back to the nest from the longarmer! It had been away from home for six months. The pattern was a KC Star block of the month in 2006. It is from Blackbird Designs and there is also a book out with all the block patterns plus lots of other goodies to sew. Wish I could get a better photo.

Also finished up a table runner from a Nancy Halvorsen pattern, Swirling Acorns, and my own little Punkins For Sale. Lots of binding going on around here LOL! I have been anxious to get fall decorating going on!

Fall is my absolutely favorite time of the year. The colors, the smells, the gorgeous leaves, back to school, football games (go Chiefs!), pumpkins and bittersweet, jackets, cooler temperatures....aah, what's not to like?

And, a big hooray--Simply Quilts reruns are back on HGTV! (7 AM in the KC area) Even though I've seen each episode several times, I still manage to pick up a tip or two each time I see one. Plus, how fun is it to watch Alex's changing hairstyles???

In the New-Fangled Department, I found this iron-on Velcro while strolling the aisles at JoAnn's the other day. It promises to get an even stronger hold after washings. It is so handy to be able to attach it at the end of a project instead of trying to accurately place it during construction. Think bags, bibs, eyeglass cases, etc. I never did like how the stitching looked when I tried to sew Velcro on to things.

This week's projects? I am stitching the redwork paperdoll blocks for an adorable wallhanging. I'll post some progress photos next time around.
Heard this amazing quote on a commercial, of all places: "The creative process is always looking for a way to come out and play." Hold that thought...