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Civilized Eatin’

I have just released my latest pattern, Civilized Eatin’. You can create a custom travel kit (mess kit if you’re a former scout) for all the fisherman, boaters, hunters or anyone who travels. It truly is the eco-friendly eat-on-the-go solution. The best part? You can whip these up in no time! So, how did this …

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Winter Wonderland Mystery Sew-A-Long – Block 1

Have you been waiting to start the Winter Wonderland Mystery Sew-A-Long? Well, wait no more! I’m happy to say that I am the designer for block #1, Winter Selfie, and here it is: Meet Snowball Adams, second cousin twice removed on his father’s side to the well known photographer, Ansel Adams. Unlike his famous cousin, …

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Are you a Halloween fanatic?

I’m very excited to have been chosen as one of twelve designers for the upcoming Spellbound Mystery Sew-A-Long. Each designer will create a 9″ (finished) block with a Halloween theme and there will also be finishing instructions to put them all together. The block patterns will be FREE until 11-25-20. Each designer will also have …

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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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Show & Tell

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Would you like to really make a quilt pattern designers day? Send along a photo of what you made from their pattern! I know I speak for just about every pattern designer out there – we LOVE to see photos!!! I have been busy doing all the little nit-picky things that need doing before our big Virginia show next week. Not very glamorous or fun but necessary. My day was totally lifted by not one but two photo ops.

First up we have Kresti L. from Scandia MN

Kresti made our Once Upon A Bunny Hill pattern and she’s WAAYYY ahead for Easter 2013! At first I thought it was a chocolate bunny (aaawww) but then found out that it’s a velveteen rabbit. So much more classy and refined. I love what Kresti did with the carrot tops too. Nice details Kresti and good job on making it your own. I love it to pieces!

Next up is Kay A. from the United Kingdom

Kay used the Outside The Grid rulers invented by my friend Barbara Chojnacki of Six Gables Designs to make this top. If you’re not familiar with the rulers, they help you to make nine-patch based blocks in any size (think 7″ nine-patch…eww, icky math.) Kay said using the ruler was “foolproof. As long as you remember to use the correct side it is a doddle.” Since my British slang is a bit rusty I can only assume that’s good! Kay also remarked “You may be interested to know that the quilt was absolutely EXACT when I put the border on and needed no trimming.” The ruler helps Kay, but I’m sure your precise sewing skills were at play as well.

So thank you ladies from the bottom of my purple heart for taking a couple of minutes to brighten my day. I’m going to have some very hectic days ahead – anyone else care to send a photo and make me smile? Anyone?

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Country Living

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Last week was vacation week and we had some great family time. I did manage to sneak in some weeding in the flower beds and I found a friend. A baby snapping turtle. It’s pretty harmless at this stage but we still steered clear of the business end.

Here’s a photo of an adult that visited us a couple of years ago. You DEFINITLY want to steer clear of the business end of an adult! Note that he’s almost 2′ from tip to tail.

Now that we’re back to the regular school schedule I thought I would share what our neighborhood bus stop looks like most weekdays. The edge of the woods are littered with bikes and scooters. Patiently waiting for their riders to return home from school. How cool is that? It always makes me smile when I pass by. When we lived in the city, these would have disappeared before the bus left the stop!

Anyhoo…vacation is over and it’s back to the grind. YEAH! I love my job!

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Quilter’s Getaway

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I spent some time the last two weekends with the retreaters at Quilter’s Getaway Weekend held in Waterville Valley, NH. They hold retreats each spring and fall. Usually there are different attendees at each retreat, except for the organizers Carrie and Kathleen. At last weeks retreat Kathleen purchased my pattern Fish Frenzy. This week she had all the blocks done and hanging on the design wall. I just love her color choices – very evocative of sand and surf. Great job Kathleen, can’t wait to see it all completed.

The last few miles of the drive to the retreat follows along the Mad River. Normally at this time of year the river is raging with spring runoff. I stopped to take a picture. Where I was standing I should have been very wet and not able to see the rocks. It’s going to be a very dry summer…

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Ugly Fabric Challenge – Reveal

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A while back I told you of the ugly fabric challenge that my quild did. I already showed you what I received that was made from my ugly fabric. The person I was making something for, Wendy, and I have been taking turns missing meetings until today. I will finally get to show her what I made from her ugly fabric. Hopefully she won’t see this post before our meeting!

Just to give you a reminder, here is the fabric that Wendy chose as her ugly. I debated what to do with it at first because it looked totally different in different light. At times it looked red/white/blue and other lighting purple/teal. Quite by chance on the day we exchanged uglies, Wendy had given me some beads and yarns that she didn’t want anymore. They were all turquoise and teal. That settled it – I was going purple and teal. Here is what I made…

…a cute tote. I fussy cut some of the repeating elements in her fabric to make some flowers. I added a large chunk of the fabric as the bottom. I even incorporated some of the beads and yarns that she gave me. Here is a close-up of the flowers.

The tote is all lined and stands up nicely on it’s own. It has a velcro closure, long shoulder strap, 3D leaves and box bottom. I’m happy with the way it turned out. Hope Wendy likes it too!

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Glorious Spring!

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Spring has finally arrived in northern New England. YEAH!!! The garden is all ready to be bursting with veggies. I’ve already planted a few things but they’re not up yet. Last night we had our first bear visit to mark the official end of winter. He tromped right through the lower garden area. He took the lid off the compost bin but apparently didn’t find anything worthwhile because he didn’t even have the courtesy to fluff it up for me, he only looked inside. Can’t say that I blame him. Most of the stuff has been sitting there all winter – not very good eats!

So, how are things growing in your neck of the woods?

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Calling All Bread Lovers…

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Well, I did something a few weeks ago that I haven’t done in about one year. I bought a loaf of bread. Now before all my fellow carb lovers get too excited….it was about a year ago that I got my bread machine. I plugged that baby in and haven’t looked back. I make all our bread, hamburger rolls, pizza dough – everything. When I bought my machine I decided, on a whim, to throw a bread cookbook into my cart. That was the best decision I ever made.

If you own a bread machine, you need this book. All the recipes are already geared to bread machines. There is even a chapter in the beginning to help you figure out how your particular machine will best work with the recipes. The title is The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook (say that 3 times fast) by Beth Hensperger. It’s over 1.5″ thick and has over 600 pages. If it’s not in here, I doubt it can be made in a bread machine! I have no affiliation with the book, just a happy baker.

Moosette loves sandwiches with the plain white bread made into little individual loves (pg. 26). My favorite is Pagnotta with added rosemary (pg. 246) or maybe Maple Oatmeal Bread (pg. 436) or … well, you get the idea.

So, why was I buying a loaf of bread recently? I had a bad case of that nasty head cold that has been making the rounds. The thought of standing for 5 minutes to start a loaf of bread was too much to bear. It was easier to send hubby to buy one (and MUCH easier than having him make bread…) We all agreed it didn’t taste nearly as good as we remembered. The family did their very best to make sure I was better before the purchased bread ran out. They didn’t want to buy any more…

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