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Reverse Tweezers

One of my favorite “unsung hero tools” are the reverse tweezers. What are they you ask??? Well, regular tweezers you squeeze to close them. Reverse tweezers you squeeze to open them so they are closed when resting. So when does this come in handy? Just about anytime you need an extra hand or finger. Today […]

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Quilt Block Mania – June 2023

The theme for this months blocks is “Places”. What better place than our blue pearl floating along in the universe? I immediately thought of a family of aliens coming to visit Earth. The kids were whining “Are we there yet?” to which Mom excitedly responds “Only 2.5 million miles to go…almost there!” Ha! Pattern includes […]

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Quilt Block Mania – April 2023

I’m excited to be participating in Quilt Block Mania. The theme this month is “Neighborhood”. When I first saw this I thought of a street sign. I know, I’m just a little odd… It could be the sign for your street or perhaps a dream vacation spot or maybe a memory of a fun time […]

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Fabric Give Aways!

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At times we sell kits. Whenever I make up a batch of kits I save all the extra fabric until several months after the last kit is sold – just in case someone has a terrible rotary cutting accident and needs just a smidge more. Well, all the kits are gone and it’s time to move the extra fabric along to a new home. That home could be yours!

Each day for the next six days I will list a batch of fabric. Simply leave a comment on this blog and you will be earn a chance to win that days batch of fabric. You are free to comment on each day but you can only win one batch of fabric. Gotta spread the wealth around! All the batches vary as to how much fabric is there and the pieces are of various sizes. Some are small and some are large but they will all be FREE. The batches will all be coordinated with the exception of todays batch.

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Purple Moose Give Away – Day 1

Today we will actually have 4 winners. There is the blue on the left, the brown with large floral, the rust with smaller flowers on the right and the swatches in the center. I received a set of swatches the other day from Benartex from their current lines (Hero Dogs, Man Cave, Cabana II, Who’s On First, Frost, Ellie Ann, Catalina, Lilified and The Big Apple). There are dogs, power tools, baseball bats, watches, sailboats, sky scrapers and a few all-overs and florals. There are 10 swatches total and they are about 8″X10″.

So, would you like some of this FREE FABRIC??? Leave a comment and let me know which color you would prefer if you are chosen as the winner. I can’t guarantee that you’ll get your first choice but it never hurts to ask!

Don’t forget to come back for the next 5 days to leave another comment for the other fabrics. We will choose winners on March 1, 2013 at noon (EST).

Good Luck!

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Mayan Doomsday – A Quilters Perspective

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Friday December 21, 2012 is the end of the Mayan calendar. According to some experts this is supposed to mean the end of the world. As a quilter I have a different opinion. The Mayan people were very industrious and clever. They managed to achieve great things considering they didn’t have the modern advances that we all know and love (ok, sometimes not so much love for technology…) They were a brilliant people. I like to think that I have moments of brilliance as well which should give me some insight about how they may have operated. Much like the Mayans I have many things going on at any given time.  Granted I don’t have to forage for food as they did, carry water from the local watering hole or carve my way through the jungle to get to the temple but I still have to feed my family, water my garden and commute across the hallway to my studio. Sometimes that hallway can feel like trekking through a jungle but that’s another story…

As quilters we are all too familiar with the concept of a UFO (unfinished object). I think the Mayans were simply too busy with all their projects, got bored with the calendar project and simply set it aside to be finished later. I mean really, can you think of anything more boring than repeating, day after day after day, the same mathematical patterns? Then the mother ship arrived to take them back to their home planet. The calendar was left behind, unfinished, to be studied by our scholars. If any of those scholars were quilters then they would have understood the UFO mindset and simply determined that the calendar was yet to be completed and did not signal the end of the world.

Quilting Hottie Haven

So, what can we quilters learn from this? Don’t be a Mayan and leave behind UFOs when called to the home planet! Need a little help in this area? My friend Beth Helfter, the original Quilting Hottie, has a great program coming up in February that will whittle down your UFO pile. It’s called “Drop And Give Me 20”. You promise to devote 20 minutes to your UFOs every day during the month of February (the shortest month of the year). Beth has managed to collect all kinds of cool swag from various quilting designers and shops for prizes. Twenty short minutes each day can add up to some completed projects by the end of the month. We all manage to waste 20 minutes each day. It’s time to try and turn those small wasted blocks of time into something productive. You just might win some cool prizes for your efforts too. Even if you don’t win a prize, you will have a smaller UFO pile and completed projects to keep, gift or donate. You can’t lose!

So, don’t be a Mayan – head over to Beth’s right now for further info. You can find all the latest here at her blog, Quilting Hottie Haven.

And just to cover my bases – if the world does end tomorrow I would like to thank all of you for being a part of my Purple Moose family. I LOVE bringing you all the cool tools, threads and patterns. I hope to continue to do so when we reach the home planet!

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Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie

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Several years ago when it was discovered that Moosette was lactose intolerant we started learning what she could and could not eat. When she found pumpkin pie on the absolute no-no list, she was heartbroken. We tried several different dairy free recipes and, quite frankly, they were disgusting. It was getting to the point that she was willing to endure painful stomach cramps a couple times a year just to have a slice of her favorite pie. Then we found the perfect recipe. I have served this pie to guests without telling them it was any different than regular pumpkin pie and they didn’t notice a thing. The texture is velvet creaminess and the taste is just like regular pie. It does dirty a few more dishes than making traditional pie but it’s not at all hard.

If you or anyone on your guest list has dairy issues please give it a try. Best part? It’s just as tasty to anyone who doesn’t have dairy issues so no need to make two kinds!

I know pictures would be awesome but that will have to wait until next week when I actually make one…

one 15oz can pumpkin

3/4 cup soft silken tofu

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup vanilla soy milk

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract (the original recipe called for 1/2 teaspoon, that tasted like lemon pie with pumpkin, YUCK!)

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

2 egg yolks

1 egg white (stiffly beaten)

1 deep dish pie crust

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

1: In a blender combine tofu and honey until smooth. Add small amounts of soy milk until mixture has the consistency of sweetened condensed milk.

2: Combine pumpkin, tofu mixture, sugar, salt, butter & spices in a saucepan. Stir over medium heat until butter has melted completely.

3: Add egg yolks to mixture and blend well.

4: Add lemon extract and blend well.

5: Gently fold in stiffened egg whites and let mixture cool a few minutes.

6: Pour into pie crust and bake at 500 degrees for 8 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes.

7: Let pie cool for 1 hour before serving.

 

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Hurricane Sandy Stinks!

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We had a little snow last week which was a wake-up call that the yard needed to be readied for winter. Since it was a lovely day today in the mid 60’s I decided to knock that off the to-do list. While pulling spent flowers in the front bed I was rudely reminded of my Hurricane Sandy story. I’m sure you’ve heard all manner of stories about how long the electricity was out and how much damage was done. I’m also sure you haven’t heard a story quite like mine…

We were all ready for the storm and it was fast approaching. The governor had issued a “no driving after 3pm unless you’re a first responder” edict. Hubby (a firefighter) was at the station waiting for the onslaught of calls. Moosette, the dog and I were at home and ready. About 2:30 it started getting very blustery outside so I decided it was time to take the dog out for one last potty trip. I decided to go with him and check to make sure we hadn’t missed any potential missiles in the yard. While he was milling around trying to find the perfect spot I saw movement out of the corner of my eye…a skunk was running across the lawn headed for the house. Oh crap, where’s the dog? He saw the skunk and decided to go and introduce himself. He loves to play with the neighborhood cats and probably figured this was one he hadn’t met yet. He is a retired police dog and is very well trained to obey his partner’s commands above and beyond anything he really wants to do. I am not that partner – he never listens to me unless he feels like it. He clearly did not feel like it. He went in for a closer look while I am yelling all manner of commands (some not fit to print and probably not part of his training…) trying to be heard above the howl of the storm. I was not successful and now had a very stinky dog and a hurricane that was just about here…what to do…

I made a frantic call to hubby to run to town and buy up all the tomato juice he could find. Someone at the firehouse told him to go to the pet store in town and see if he could get some Skunk-Off. He arrived at the pet store just as the owner was leaving then came home with the container of (hopefully) miracle medicine. By the time hubby arrived home the dog and I were both pretty stinky. The dog from the skunk and me from waiting in the garage with the dog. The garage was very odorous as well. By now the hurricane was getting very very close and it was REALLY windy. I’m sure the neighbors were wondering why we chose such a time to give the dog a bath in the driveway! One upside to the whole fiasco was being able to air out the garage in about 2 minutes flat by simply opening the doors.

All in all I must say, Skunk Off is a wonderful product. It’s easy to apply even in a hurricane and it works wonders. It didn’t take all the smell away. I don’t think there is any product that will completely remove that awful smell. At least the dog and I were allowed back into the house before the trees started coming down.

So today I was pulling up spent flowers and got a major whiff of what the skunk left behind last week. Yuck! Thankfully we have not seen the skunk since.

I would like to thank all of our customers who patiently waited for days after the storm until power returned so I could send their packages. My heart also goes out to all the folks in New York and New Jersey who have so much more to deal with than stinky skunks.

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I need needle help!

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I am updating my handout on sewing machine needles and need your help. What information about needles have you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask? Burning questions keeping you awake at night? Nagging rumors you want to know if they’re true or not? Now is your chance to find the answers! If you’re too shy to respond here, feel free to email me directly. I won’t tell…

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Bennington Quiltfest

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I’m so excited. I (along with my New England Quilt Designers compatriats) will be vending at the Bennington Quiltfest in Bennington VT this weekend. I was lucky to spend a little time in Bennington while on vacation this summer and, I must say, Ben

Grape Moose

They even have moose prints on the sidewalk!

Moose Prints

The Quiltfest will be held at the Mt. Anthony Union Middle School, 747 East Road and will run 9-5 on Saturday and 9-4 on Sunday. I will be manning the booth along with Beth Helfter of EvaPaige Quilt Designs, the original Quilting Hottie. We have the extra special treat of having her hubby, Mr. Hottie, joining us. Beth says he’s there for added eye candy. If you’re in the area be sure and stop in to say Howdy!

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Lots of wildlife this week!

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Movement caught my eye out the window the other day. Four adorable juvenile raccoons. I snapped this photo but didn’t want to get too much closer because I didn’t know where Mom was. They’ve been hanging around for several days. Aren’t they just the cutest?

Night before last we had one of the largest bears I’ve ever seen come and dine at the compost bin. He plunked his rather sizable tush right down on the last of the peas that I hadn’t picked yet. I’ve had no takers on eating said peas… something about eau-de-bear-butt. It was dark out so we couldn’t get a picture but we did get to watch him (from the safe indoors) for about 20 minutes.

In my travels yesterday I saw two fox and a mink that didn’t win the animal vs. car challenge. If I had any skinning or tanning skills I could have whipped up a cute stole for winter!

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Challenge = Conquered

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Oops, my bad…did you feel the earth’s spin brake to an almost screeching halt today? That’s because I finished my challenge quilt and turned it in – A WHOLE DAY EARLY! I must be coming down with something…

One of our local museums is celebrating its 100 year anniversary and they decided to have a quilt challenge as part of their hoopla. We were given a fat quarter that had to be used in a recognizable size, the quilt had to be 30″X30″ and it had to showcase the flora and fauna of New Hampshire and the Lakes region. The quilts will be judged and the top three winners will receive a cash award, artwork by a local artist and a pewter piece.

Here is a photo of the label with the provided fabric used as the frame.

Since it’s a printed fabric I decided to further challenge myself and not use any batiks for my additional fabrics and only use stuff from my stash. For me, batiks readily lend themselves to landscape quilts. I don’t get to do challenges like this too often so might as well go for the brass ring! I did pretty good. I did end up using a hand-dyed piece for the grass because that was the only thing that was the right color. But, shhh, don’t tell anyone. It wasn’t a requirement, only my self-imposed rule and I don’t mind.

The vision in my head was a stylized version of the view in my front yard of several birch trees. Trouble was, no fabric in my stash read “birch bark.” Then I got the idea of using ACTUAL birch bark. The birch trees occasionally shed their bark and I pick up the prettier pieces and save them for….something – I don’t know, they’re just pretty. Anyway, some testing with fused bark turned out pretty good and off I went.

There are hidden tree trunks in the woods, 3D leaves, a camouflaged moose and a couple of other hidden surprises. Here is the final result.

And a close-up of one of the leaf sections.

My only regret is that the smaller birch trees looked a little more like birch trees and a little less like palm trees. I also regret doing the final trimming at O-dark-thirty. If I had been just a smidge more awake I would have thought to double check my mitred border to make sure the miters came out exactly in the corners. Next time, more caffeine!

If you are local to the lakes region, you can check out all the quilts entered at The Libby Museum in Wolfeboro NH. They will be on display the entire month of August.  Here is a link to their website for hours or further info. http://wolfeboronh.us/Pages/WolfeboroNH_Museum/index

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Misty Fuse To The Rescue

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So, I’m working on a challenge project for the 100 year anniversary for a local museum (The Libby Museum). It has to be a certain measurement and include a piece of fabric that was provided. The quilt must also pay homage to the local flora and fauna since that’s a big part of the museum’s focus. I wanted to do something with birch trees but was having no luck with any of the fabrics in my stash for the birch bark. The deadline is looming and the thought of driving around looking for that elusive birch bark fabric sounded about as much fun as waiting for the dentist. I was staring at the trees outside hoping that some other idea would come to mind…that darn birch bark…if only I had the perfect fabric because my quilt idea was awesome…what to do…that @*#$(%* birch bark…totally messed up my whole idea…wait a minute…could I use ACTUAL birch bark instead of fabric? I had several pieces of bark that I’ve picked up when the trees shed them. Could I somehow sew that into the quilt? Misty Fuse to the rescue – birch bark can be fused! Now we’re back on track. Woo Hoo!

Here’s a shot of the test piece that I fused. There is a cash prize for the challenge so you’ll just have to wait to see the final results…and I must finish it (minor detail). Don’t want to be giving too much info to my competition. Wonder if I can Misty Fuse some rocks in there too…

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Cocheco Quilters Guild

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I had the pleasure a couple of weeks ago to spend an evening with the folks from the Cocheco Quilters Guild in Dover NH. I shared a little sewing machine history with them and they shared their hospitality with me. Here are a few of the folks that I could fit into the picture.

Thanks for having me and I look forward to seeing you guys again at either Maine Quilts or The Gathering…or wherever quilters gather!

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