Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Update for Cherie

My friend Cherie e-mailed me this morning.
"Girl! I wish you'd update your blog! I'm sitting here at the knee doc with nothing new to read!!!

Your bored friend,

Of course, Cherie can write anywhere now as she has an iPhone. She's connected to say the least. Cherie is at home now and probably not bored anymore. Nevertheless,'s the update.

I've been getting kits ready for our weekend classes at Tomorrow's Heirlooms in Glen Ellyn, IL. It's wild around here to say the least. It takes about 3-4 weeks of work before we can hit the road for a teaching engagement. Now, I'm down to the final moments of putting it all together.

So Cherie....nothing is too cute here! Take a look at my work table.

I'm decorating some bags for the kits....found them at a shop a couple of years ago. The man who sold them to me said they were about 20 years old. He hadn't been able to sell them as they were yellowed with age. I told him they were perfect for me!

I'm using small portions of pages from an old cookbook that Barb gave me from her last estate sale. The pages are so old they fragment into pieces as I apply the glue. I imagine I'm sending people secret messages. "Cut your beans into small and uniform shapes." "sippits of toast" (What is a sippit anyway?)

I went out this morning and cut my white lavender and boxwood. A bit of floral whimsy completes the kit.

Hope you all have a wonderful rest of the week! Will report back to you on Monday.

Until later!


Friday, June 11, 2010

A Day With Friends

Working from home can make for a quiet day. Of course, I have two dogs and my oldest son's cat here to keep me company. But they don't have too much to say. Hobbs, the cat, is busy looking out the window hoping something exciting will happen. She doesn't like the dogs much and she lets them know exactly what she thinks of them.

Gracie and Belle, the dogs, hang around hoping I will tell them it's time for a walk. Their favorite time of the day! Nothing like a leash and a collar to get their tails wagging.

Yesterday was different. Early in the morning, I rushed out of the house heading for Panera's. The second Thursday of each month is saved for breakfast pastries, coffee and laughter. It's time to catch up with friends. Although, the Salt Box Sampler (a quilt and cross stitch shop) has been closed for many years...the former owners and staff still remain close to each other. The shop brought friendships and the love of needle art to many women in our community. Working at the shop was a needed break from the antics of my 4 children. One or two nights a week I was able to "work" in a shop with beautiful fabric, patterns and creative women. After my time out, I was ready to do the kids, cooking, laundry and housework again. Isn't that what we love about visiting or working in our local stitching shops? It's like a dose of creative time rejuvenates our spirit.

After breakfast, I drove to Liberty, MO on a floss run. I went to Old Mill Stitchery to visit the floss wall and look at patterns and linen. Edie McGinnis a friend and my editor met me for lunch at the Corbin Mill restaurant. After more laughter, great food and lots of pie I drove home thinking the day was like a mini-vacation.

The picture above shows more Garden Party basket blocks. I've been making one a day. I love working on scrap quilts. The fun is seeing how the same pattern looks so different with each color and print. I haven't decided what to do with the blocks yet....still enjoying the process of piecing each block.

Petra Dennis made the pincushion above and she writes:
"I looked at your blog yesterday morning, and fell in love with the little basket square you created, and so I created one of my own and made it into a pincushion with rick-rack in the outer edge; here is a picture of it. I am a beginning quilter, just taking a class called Quilting 101, but am enjoying it."

I have more show and tell....will try and post them this weekend.

Until later,


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

More June Show and Tell

Berit Bentson sent in these three pictures. The first ("Souvenir de France") and last picture ("Now I Know my ABC's") are free patterns from this blog site. The middle one is "Beneath the Sunlit Sky." It's an older Loose Feather pattern.

Berit writes: "I liked "Now I Know My ABC's" so much that I couldn't decide whether to finish it as a pin pillow or use it as the backing to this scissors "cabinet" with some stripe ticking (but should it be the red or the taupe!?). I pinned it in here haphazardly to think it over, and somehow it's still there. I may stitch it again!
Check out the links to view more pictures.

Catherine from l'atelier des dix doigts writes, "Here is a new project I have finished, a little purse for a friend's birthday. Keep creating, have a nice day !"

I've been looking for those coin purse handles....they are really hard to find. Catherine's purse highlights our "Bird in Hand" pattern.

Debbie Wick from New York writes,
"I just started the Summer House pincushion and Bird In Hand pincushion. I love them!!
But most of all, I sewed my bottom on the Peacock Pinkeep last night. I couldn't believe how much wool I wrapped. But anyway, well worth it!! Here is the picture. I used ric-rac from Trimtex in Williamsport, PA. A great place loaded with all kinds of trims. You can call them (570) 322-4775 or e-mail them if you need anything."

Sadie writes: "Just a quick little note to share my latest efforts at framing with you. I stitched 'Their Song' last September, and I enjoyed every second :-)
When I had finished it went into my 'awaiting framing' pile, where it has been ever since.
Whilst in my local hardware shop yesterday I spied the perfect frame and set to work as soon as I got home.
I am really pleased with the result.
Thank you for such wonderful designs."

Jean wrote:
"Good morning, Alma. I thought you would enjoy this story about your sampler. A customer, Heather, stitched this to commemorate her in-laws' wedding anniversary. They were married in Walnut in 1960! Here's her sampler she brought in for framing:"
Jean Lea
Attic Needlework & Collectibles
Mesa, AZ

Katrina Devine writes, "Thought you'd like to see the completed pieces. Deb, the finisher I use, did a fantastic job :-) . Much better than I could have done, LOL. I also stitched and finished a scissor fob over one.

See you in June at Tomorrow's Heirlooms and in September at Shepherd's Bush!
Can't wait for both events."

(Katrina's piece is one I designed for the Dyeing to Stitch 2009 retreat in Virginia Beach.) This has not been published yet. Katrina ...your scissor fob is just too sweet. Wish I would have thought of it!!!

Lynn Wilder, designer, and an employee of In Between Stitches quilt shop in Livermore, California writes,

"Our store is one of the featured quilt shops in the soon to be released May issue of Quilt Sampler magazine.

I just finished a quilt that I designed, made and quilted using your Garden Party fabric line. The beautiful fabric spoke to me the moment I saw it. A friend of mine, Lisa Stone, brought back a tower of Garden Party from the Houston show last fall. She knows my "style" and knew I would love your new fabric.

I'm enclosing a picture of the quilt. Here is my blog site also: I've been posting my progress on the quilt for several months. The shop is offering the quilt as a block of the month.

Thank you so very much for your inspiring lines of fabric. You make our homes beautiful!"

Many thanks to all of you who take the time to write and send pictures. Barb and I are always amazed at your work and ideas of using our patterns. I still have more to post and hopefully will be able to get them all up this week.

Until later!


Monday, June 7, 2010

A Very Small Garden Party

I'm restless today. I just can't make myself sit and work on anything. I think it's because I have to sit down and write checks and sort mail. I would almost rather clean bathrooms!

I thought I might have a bit of fun before work. I decided to make this small block. Just one....It's a 4" square made from our Garden Party line of fabric. Ten minutes of fun and the results are so sweet.

Here's the recipe:

Cut 3 - 1 7/8" squares each from a light and dark print.
Draw a line down the diagonal of each light square. Sew a seam on both sides, 1/4" away from the diagonal line. Cut them apart on the drawn line.

Cut 1 - 2 1/2" square each from the dark and light print. Draw a diagonal line down the center of one square. Sew on the diagonal line.

Cut 1/4" away from the diagonal line....discard the small remaining triangles.

Open all the triangles and press. (By this time, I'm starting to feel a bit more focused and relaxed.)
Cut 1 - 1 1/2" square from the light print. Sew the units together as shown above.

Cut 2 rectangles 1 1/2" x 3 1/2". Sew the block together as illustrated.

The results! A very small Garden Party block.

Now what to do with the block?

Until later,


Friday, June 4, 2010

June's Show and Tell

I've been outside working as my weeds are taking over. I spent about 4 hours in the back yard working in the strawberry and lavender beds. At 2:00pm I took a lunch break and just couldn't make myself go back out. It's about 92 here today. Here in Kansas, we have to put sulfur powder all over ourselves to prevent chiggers while doing yard work.....I've never seen a chigger, but I've been a victim of their crimes against humanity. You can literally scrape your skin away scratching after one bites you. The itch is just that bad! Usually they are the worst about 3:00am in the morning. So, no perfume for me....just sulfur. I smell like rotten eggs....but it's worth it.

It's too hot to work outside so I thought I would write to all of you. (Not to worry...I've showered sulfur in the house.) Great day for show and tell. I love seeing your work. Many thanks to all who have sent pictures.

The picture above is from our friend Maria from Italy. Visit her blog to see how she finished this piece. She put it on the cover of a box. Click on her name and scroll down her blog for her May 20th. posting.
Maria writes, "This is my new thread's box... i love this chart and this book in all page...
thanks for your work!!!
an italian fan ^__^ hugs Maria

"I just posted on my blog today the picture of my interpretation of your freebie "Now I Know My ABC's"... I thought you may like to see it, so I attach the picture to this mail, I stitched it on a 32 ct brown linen with two threads I've dyed myself, I hope you'll like my finish.

The fabric on the back of the pinkeep is the same as the fabric on the table.
Thanks again for the gorgeous freebie." Best regards, Gen
(Click on Gen's name for a visit to her blog!)

The next pictures are from Peg and Janis. Peg writes, "Just wanted to share with you a few photos of my friend Janis Beagle's Summer House Pincushion. We followed your instructions, with a few design modifications and are very pleased with the finished product. Love the design, fabulous. Also, is the Sweet Heart Pincushion that I made for Kindred Spirits Sampler Guild, for our fund raiser in March. I added antique lace and button that were my Grandmas.

We both thank you for all your inspirations and creativity."

Catherine from France writes, :I used your Bluebird pattern, that I have colored !!! I added : "Mercerie d'Antan" Oldd Thread Shopp ! (or nearly !!)
I have added : porcelaine buttons, because we have a Summer House near Limoges, an old needles case,
and some old laces."

Catherine also made these cute notebooks from Niki's strawberry pattern in Joyeux Noel.
Aren't they sweet?

Nancy LaCaze and her sister Laura Denson live in Arkansas. They each make the same quilt and show the other their progress on web cam. This is their Patriotic Summer Quilt. The panel across the surface of their quilt is from "Summer Holiday" from the book Summer Weekend.

This quilt was based on "Red Sky at Morning" from Higdon Camp- 1924. The stripped fabric is from the line Higdon Camp too. The design is from a hooked rug pattern we did. (Nancy and how you made this into a quilt!)

They used a block from Birds of A Feather to embellish this tote.

Paola writes,

"Hi Alma!
First of all, I want to thank you for the beautiful projects you create for us... They are so charming.... I love all of your works! I stitched a heart for a friend of mine, I used "Sweet Heart" chart from the beautiful "Joyeaux Noel"... I'm so proud of it and I want to show it to you...
It's not the first Blackbird Design that have I stitchd, and when I finish one, I always feel proud of my work.. it's because your projects are heartwarming!!
Thank you :-)" Click on Paola's name to go to her blog.

I have to continue this tomorrow! I just looked at the clock...YIKES!!! Dave and I are going to a movie tonight.

Until later!


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Our Next Class

Barb and I will hit the road again soon. Saturday, June 19, 2010 and Sunday, June 20, 2010 we will be at Tomorrow’s Heirlooms in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Above is a part of Saturday's class. There will be a stitched piece to go inside the sewing box too. Sunday's class is a small piece inspired by an antique sampler.

I've visited this shop during one of my trips to Chicago and can hardly wait for this return visit. This wonderful shop might be small but it certainly has everything. I was floored by the number of charts available at this shop! Click on the shop name for their web-site and information.

Over the weekend Dave and I did "fun" yard work. Nothing like a bit of hard physical work to make a weekend pass quickly! Things have been a bit neglected around here and my gardens need giant weeds removed. Our spring rain has certainly gotten plants growing....weeds as well as flowers.

Mostly though, we are struck by the quiet of our house. I told my husband I need some more kids to fill this place up again. He rolled his eyes and didn't seem too thrilled with the idea....but it seems like everything was more exciting with the noise and activity of lots of youth. There were times I could have pulled my hair out...but the fun times made it all worthwhile. I'm suffering from the loss of my youngest. Even though he's been gone for the past 4 years at just seems more final now. He's moved to Washington, D.C. and having the time of his life.

So Dave and I are spending some of our excess time watching this new arrival to our neighborhood. I recognize lots of birds, but this one was new to me. It has a slate gray body. It's in the flycatcher family and likes roadsides and open areas.

White detailing on the tail feathers.

White throat and yellow breast. It's a Western Kingbird. Isn't he or she just too wonderful? Hopefully we will get more in this area.

Show and tell next time!

Until later,