Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

We wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

We hope the new year brings you much joy and happiness.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Car Knitting

I am in the car driving quite a bit.  Some of my driving is on the highway, other times it is in town, stop and go.  I generally like to keep a simple wash cloth knitting project as my companion on the road.  Stop lights are great opportunities to get a little knitting done and I've also found myself stopped in the mountains as they are working on the roads.  Might as well accomplish something.
While knitting a vanilla sock is easy I've found it not conducive to knitting on the road.  It's not as easy to put down and pick up as a wash cloth is as a wash cloth is knitted on larger needles.
 This year the yarn of choice has been Bernat Handicrafter Holidays in red.  It's a cotton yarn with a metallic filament. Yes, that means it sparkles!
I make these wash cloths to give as gifts.  They are great stocking stuffers for my children who like them and use them.
I knit the basic wash cloth pattern starting with 4 stitches and increasing to 60 stitches and then start the decreases. 
I can knit without looking at my work and keep my eyes on the road ready to move.
You will notice the bottom wash cloth is orange.  That was some cotton yarn I picked up at Tuesday Morning.  My son goes to the University of Texas in Austin.  Need I say more.
This week I am packing up the Christmas packages to be mailed and will be including these sparkly cloths. 
 And just an FYI:  I do not knit while my vehicle is moving. That would be akin to talking or texting.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Turkey Pot Pie

Today was one of those working days where you  have to step back and say "Really!!!!!!!!!"
And yes with all those explanation points and a few more.
And now that I got that off my chest let's talk about Turkey Pot Pie.
Jim and I did the Thanksgiving holiday together at home,  just the two of us.
 I cooked turkey dinner for us and all the trimmings but sadly no dessert as he is not a fan.
  We could have easily fed  a few more.
Okay maybe 10 more.
I bought a 14 pound turkey.  It's the smallest I could find.
I light dark meat  and Jim likes white so turkey breast does not cut it.
So needless to say we had turkey leftovers.
We take the paper and the Sunday Parade magazine had a recipe for Oh My! Turkey Pie
I decided this was a good way to use up some of our leftover turkey meat.
And of course I couldn't resist making a few changes to  the recipe.
The recipe is start forward and easy to follow.
You do need to remember to take your sheet of puff pastry dough out of the freezer about 1 hour ahead of time so it can thaw. 
I sautéed only the onions and added 2 cloves of fresh minced garlic.
I eliminated the carrots and celery and used 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables which included the peas.
I also increased the amount of turkey to 2 cups.
I  didn't have the right size ramekins so instead used mini loaf pans I already had.
The recipe serves 4.
The Oh My! Turkey Pie's were tasty and I can highly recommend making them.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

Take a moment to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Dear Small Business Owner

Dear Small Business Owner,
As a former owner of a small business I understand that your day has been a long one but please don't greet me at the door and say "We are closing in 15 minutes."
I do know what your hours are and was just popping in to buy a gift certificate, a $100 gift certificate.
Needless to say I did not buy that gift certificate and will be going elsewhere with my money.
As a store owner please realize that customers are how you make a living.  How you treat them is how you create repeat customers.
I recently was at a shop knowing it was probably close to closing time and ask " How late are you open?"  The reply "Until we don't have customers."  This is a shop I will gladly return to and spend my money.  Kudos to Adina at Cloth Carousel in Winters, California.  I just wish her shop was a little closer to home.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Minden, Nevada

Minden, Nevada is a two hour drive from where I live in California in the daylight.
Yesterday I had a couple of appointments in Minden so I headed out that way in the early morning.
Up and around and over..

I enjoyed the scenery from my mobile office.

I was headed home around five and had to stop to photograph the changing sky.
The drive home however took closer to two and a half hours.
It is not fun driving in the dark on those curvy roads.
Needless to say I'm not a big fan of the recent time change.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Howloween

We hope everyone has a fun and safe Howloween full of lots of treats and no tricks
Millie is looking forward to lots of doggie treats.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Quilt Market Envy

This time last year I was at quilt market in Houston, Texas.
I had just started my job as a quilt fabric rep and my training happened at quilt market.
Yes it is my one year anniversary..
A year in and I wish I could be there now knowing what I know.
Instead tonight I am home working on a quilt using Peppered Cotton, one of the lines I represent.
I have a large dose of quilt market envy for all those in Houston this weekend.
Maybe next year I can attend.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Happy Birthday Hagen!!

Hard to believe but the man-child turns 21 tomorrow.
We love you Hagen!
Mom and Jim

Saturday, October 18, 2014


One thing I always have on the needles is socks.
One at a time, cuff down, some vanilla some not.
For myself or Jim I will splurge and buy yarn from an indie dyer.
Cold water wash and hang dry.
For the man-child and fiancée's I prefer to buy yarn I know can be thrown in the washing machine and abused.
There has been a recent kirfluffle about the Regia Flormania sock yarn bleeding.
This was yarn I made socks for myself.
This is yarn mass produced and I had thought to be colorfast.
  I also have made socks for the man-child using Plymouth Neon Now.
I listen to the podcast The Knitmoregirls on a regular basis  and recently they have been addressing the issue of sock yarn losing color.
One thing that has been shared is how to preserve the colorfastness of your yarn.
And so I have taken the steps to ensure that my socks and the man -childs will be preserved.

He might not notice but I will.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Embellished Tea Towels

I'm not sure if I mentioned it or not but the company I work for was bought out in July by a new company.
For those of you that don't know I am a fabric sales representative and have the honor of visiting quilt shops encouraging them to buy the fabric for the company I represent. 
Before the sale I represented one line of fabric and now I have three.
Along with the buyout came a President that is very much present and involved and there are now weekly conference calls.  Our main headquarters are in New York so these conference calls are rather early.
  7:00 a.m. for me on the west coast. 
I am not a morning person.
  Especially at 7:00 a.m. but I am a team player plus Jim gets up at 6:30 and can I also say naps are GOOD. 
Last week Scott, our president, shared the idea we should bring a little something at each appointment.  He liked the idea of coffee or doughnuts. 
One of the reps mentioned she embellished tea towels for her shops.
I do make mug rugs and leave at shops I don't have appointments at as a way to introduce myself which have my business card attached.
 And  I also have made a few shop samples of bags for some of my stores but I don't normally leave a little something at every shop I visit.
Today I focused on making tea towels.
I found this great tutorial by Lil Luna. 
And of course I might have done a little bit of tweeking. 
From three  1/8" cut of fabrics you are able to make two tea towels.
You can also use three fat quarters and make 4 tea towels.
I cut 4" the width of the fabric to make two tea towels.
Since each purchased tea towel is unique I waited to trim. I bought my tea towels at Tuesday Morning and TJMaxx and the cost per towel was about $2.00 each.
Once you sew your strips together you can trim them 1/2" from the edges before sewing.

I  turned in the top and bottom 1/2" and sewed rather then 1/4" twice.

I also stitched in the ditch down the center seam.

I made 14 embellished tea towels today.
I am ready to hit the road this upcoming week and start showing our fabric lines that are being shown at the October market in Houston..
Don't know of the sweatshop, ME, is going to be able to keep up with the pace of manufacturing.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

What's On Your Design Wall?

My design wall runneth over in projects.
In November 2013 I blogged about the Cheryl Anns design wall I bought at the Pacific International Quilt Festival held each October in Santa Clara, California. 
I like this design wall as it measures 72" x 72" so it holds a good size quilt. 
 The downside to this design wall because of its easel back system pretty much means it  needs a room of its own.
 I my case the living room which is not where I sew.
A few months back I was visiting one of my shops in Santa Cruz, California,  Judy's Sewing Center
and she had on display a design wall  that looked like a window treatment.
  The design wall is by Classy American Design Walls and I bought one.
While the design surface is smaller than my other design wall, only 54" x 60",  I was able to hang it in my sewing room.  And if I so desire I can roll it up like a blind and it will all disappear.
I happen to like looking at my work.
Currently I have some of the  blocks from my Dear Jane quilt, two of the center blocks from the Garden Medallion by Kim Diehl which I am making with Dru Ann (I'm doing the applique, she's doing the piecing) and basket quilt blocks of my own design I am making for my Jo Morton Basket Parade on display.
Life is very colorful.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Happy Birthday Rachel!!

Today is the birthday of my favorite oldest child.
We are proud to call this thoughtful, strong and tenderhearted woman our daughter.
Happy Birthday Rachel!!
We love you.
Mom and Jim

Monday, September 22, 2014

Happy Birthday Kelsey!!

Today my favorite middle child turned 25.
  When I called to wish her a happy birthday today Kelsey informed me she felt old.  I ask her if she's old what does that make me?
Oh,  the things I would do if I were 25 again.
 Live life a little slower and enjoy the moments.
I am proud to say she has become a woman I am very honored to call my daughter.  She is a strong, kind, loving, thoughtful, artistic and a self supporting woman, beautiful inside and out.
I look forward to the future and the changes that will be happening.
Happy, Happy Birthday Kelsey.
We love you. 
Mom and Jim

Saturday, September 20, 2014

To Prewash or Not

There are two schools of thought about whether to wash your quilt fabric before you start piecing your next quilt top masterpiece.
A really compelling reason for prewashing was pointed out to me recently by a vendor at a quilt show.
  Most quilt fabric is printed in foreign factories which don't have the same levels of sanitation that we do in the United States.  This fabric is then shipped in containers on boats with rat, mice and bugs and then sprayed with pesticides before being released to be trucked to warehouses in the US and then shipped to your local quilt shops.
  This really does give me the creeps so I have decided to put my head in the sand and am not going to think about it.
Another reason for prewashing is to prevent the possibility of the dyes bleeding when a quilt is washed.
  The introduction of color catchers used in the laundry has helped to prevent this from happening.
Fabric also does shrink when washed and can distort the finished quilt.
  And sizing and chemicals used when the fabric is being printed is also removed when your fabric is prewashed.
Then you those of us, that would include me, that do not prewash.
Remember I am keeping my head in the sand.
I make my quilts to be used and like how the quilt looks after it has been washed and draws up.
I also like to work with unwashed fabric that still has it's sizing.
Today not prewashing came back to bit me. 
Fortunately it's just a block.
Last year when I attended the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, California I bought some hand dyed fabric to use in my Dear Jane quilt.
I am using purple batiks and batik looking purples which is the category these hand dyed fabrics fell into. 
Didn't think about the fact they are hand dyed and purple. 
There are lots of stories out there about people washing a red garment with their other clothes and turning all their whites pink accidentally.
Purple is the other color notorious for bleeding.
I sprayed this block with a water bottle today.
The fabric is now sitting on the washing machine along with three other pieces of hand dyed fabric.
I'm also going to wash the block but I think I will be doing this one over.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Years ago when I was growing up my mother taught my two sisters and myself how to embroider.
We would iron the designs from transfer patterns to pillowcases and the tops of bed sheets and then we would follow the lines and embroider.
I found this example of a transfer pattern online.
Recently I found myself in Benicia, California in between appointments and needing to walk to feed my fitbit habit.  Benicia is on the water and considered part of the San Francisco bay area.  It has that small-town historic charm and their main street is a wonderful enclave of small antique and boutique shops which I wandered through.

In one of the antique shops I found these lovely hand towels.
They are all done by different individuals from some past time.
I couldn't resist their beauty.

I am not a saver of handwork.
    I believe it is meant to be seen and used and enjoyed so I now have some lovely "new" hand towels in our guest bathroom.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Red Hot Socks

I listen to books and podcasts when I am home walking, quilting and knitting.  I also listen to them when I'm on the road.
One podcast I enjoy listening to is Tapgurl On the Go
Carmen was a customer of our former yarn shop and she makes me feel happy that we were a small part in creating a knitter.  Listening to her makes me miss Texas.
She recently had a KAL called the Summer of Socks where she encouraged her listeners to knit from their stash, socks or other projects using sock yarn which ran from May 26 through midnight September 1. 
This is my stack of socks.  Two pairs are birthday socks, one pair is for Christmas and the top pair I just finished for me.
Just under the wire.

My sock drawer has been missing a pair of red socks.
Please notice that one is a left sock and one is a right sock.
The yarn is Tough Love Sock from Sweet Georgia in the color way Cherry.
I also made the Global Nomad Cowl using Fishknits Warm Heart 2-ply in the color way Jelly on Toast.

The purpose of Summer of Socks was to knit up some of the sock yarn in my stash.
That I did accomplish but I also added more to my stash.
It really is hard for me to resist sock yarn.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Oregon Coast

This past week I used my new Rand McNally atlas and headed up the coast of California and Oregon for work.
 It really is hard to call something work when you get to play with fabric during the day and in the evening you walk the beach.
I made my home base in Bandon, Oregon for two nights.

The sunsets were spectacular!

The stairs down to the beach were a little daunting.
Next time I head up highway 101 I hope to drag Jim along.
I might be working but it would be even more fun to have him along to enjoy the experience.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Grandmother's Flower Garden

I have been working on a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt for 20+ years.
Two of my children were born after I started this quilt.
Yes this makes me feel VERY old.
I finally decided to say UNCLE.
This quilt is done using the English paper piecing method.
I started this quilt before precut paper piecing templates were on the market and so I found the cardstock flyers you receive in the mail to be a great resource and the perfect weight to use for paper piecing.  
My finished hexagons are 3/4".

Currently the quilt measures 76 x 95.
I would like to use it on the guest bed which is a queen so I need to add a border.
My plan is to applique the sides down to muslin because I don't want to lose the shape of the hexagons.
And just to prolong the project I think I need to hand quilt this one.
I do hope I live long enough to finish and enjoy this quilt.