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Broken Glass

I shared a sneak peek earlier of this yummy fabric. I can finally reveal what I did with it! We’ll have a free pattern for everyone and one lucky person will be able to win my project. Details are below. Broken Glass from Island Batik, designed for Kathy Engle for Swan Amity Sheridan of Swan …

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Lunch with Larry

Larry is our purple moose mascot. Actually, I have several Larrys! I purchased the original and all the others have been gifted to me over the years by friends and customers. They are all precious to me. Can you guess which is the original? I figured it was high time for all these Larrys to …

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My Week With Rob Appell

As a sales rep for Michael Miller Fabrics I must occasionally meet with my sales manager. In my case, my manager is Rob Appell, also the spokesperson for the company and a well known face. Rob decided to shadow me for a week in Utah. His goal was to listen to any concerns/ideas from shops, …

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Ugly Fabric Challenge – Reveal


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!


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…


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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Thimble Pleasures Quilt Show


I had the pleasure to vend at the Thimble Pleasures Quilt Show recently. A great bunch of quilters – friendly, excellent bakers (they fed us!) and very talented quilters. Here’s a little sampling of their show in no particular order. Enjoy…


The Murphy Family Portrait by Elisa Murphy. This was a row robin. Love the quilting detail on the sidewalk!

Happy 25th by Shari Cronin. Sorry but I couldn’t back up enough to get the whole quilt in the shot without knocking over quilts and making a big scene…

The Diamond Trees Quilt by Deb Hudgins. Hand quilted!

Sweet Dreams by Linda Bixby

Electric Fans by Glenda Jones. Hand appliqued.

Bloom Creek by Shirley Bangma

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Kickin’ Stash

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Today is National Quilting Day. What better way to celebrate than to tell you about a new pattern that just hit the shelves and share the details of a great deal! My friend Beth Helfter of EvaPaige Quilt Designs put the call out to friends and fans a few months ago asking to give the directions of her new project a try. This is the second time that I have been a part of one of Beth’s group projects and I’m sure it won’t be the last. This latest project is called Kickin’ Stash and boy does it ever. Here is the quilt that is on the pattern cover.

The purple block on the bottom row, right is one of the ones I made. Shocking, I know, that I did a purple block! Beth asked us to each make four blocks. You could either make them from the same fabrics or each a different color group. I chose to do four different color groups because it was too hard to choose just one. It’s like eating one potato chip – not possible. I did decide to make two blocks of each color group and keep one for myself. Beth will take all of the “extra” blocks that didn’t go into the sample and sort them to be returned to the participants. I can’t wait to get back the blocks made by the other ladies to see how they go with my set that I kept. Then I will decide if I want to make some more or make a baby quilt. Lord knows I have enough in my scrap bin to make enough blocks to cover the northern portion of New Hampshire, but we won’t discuss that now. Here is a look at a baby size that Beth made that has a less scrappy look.

These blocks go together really fast and simple. Beth has also kept to her mantra that “perfection is overrated” by only having one seam that needs to match (the center intersection). You could make this as a controlled color arrangement like the baby quilt or totally scrappy like the cover quilt. Both are equally beautiful. But don’t just take my word for it. Check out the other ladies that have blogged about the pattern during the kickoff:

Deb Donovan, Aspen Hill,

Kelli Fannon, That Looks Like It Needs Stitches,

Anna Dzik, West Third Street Designs,

Marianne Nowacki, Hillside Quiltworks,

Linda Pearl, The Patchwork Pearl,

Or you can check out Beth’s blog as well, Quilting Hottie Haven:

Beth Helfter, EvaPaige Quilt Designs,

So, that great deal that I mentioned earlier? Beth is offering a special price on the pattern during the kickoff – $7.50 instead of the regular $9.00 price. And you don’t even have to wait for it – you can download it right now. Go to and check out Kickin’ Stash. You could make a dent in your scrap bin by nightfall. How great is that? I would LOVE to see pictures of your Kickin’ Stash project.


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Cleaning tip #23


About a week ago the electric company stopped by and clear-cut the front of our property. After some rather colorful language we were resigned to the fact that they do have a right-of-way under the power lines. They were kind enough to cut all the trees at the snow level which was about one to one and a half feet at the time. Now the snow is almost gone and we are left with a sea of stumps. Moose Geek suggested we sharpen all the stumps to defend ourselves and ward off all the trespassers that plague us. I politely declined and reminded him that we don’t get trespassers and more than likely WE would be the ones to be impaled on his moat of spikes. We’ll have to pull all the stumps later this year. Yippee, another thing to add to the to-do list…

The nice folks from the electric company were so sweet that they took away all the tree trunks of the hardwood trees. They were also surely thinking of us when they left all the trunks of the less desirable pine and birch trees. Here is the pile we collected. At least we’ll have some mighty fine fire pits!

The pine trunks had been laying there for a good week oozing their pitch before we were able to pick them up. Try holding your end of a 10′ long tree at arms length while navigating a sea of stumps in the snow/mud. It doesn’t work. I now had a pile of three pairs of pants and three shirts covered with pine sap. Yuck.

I got on the internet and found several places that all recommended the same thing – hand sanitizer. No, really – stop laughing. I decided it couldn’t hurt to try. I squirted a liberal amount on the sappy areas and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Very little scrubbing, just enough to spread it around. Washed in the hottest setting on the washer and VIOLA – no sap and no stains! And the clothes are sanitized to boot! Moose Geek thought that sounded too funky so he did his clothes with Gojo with pumice. He did a lot of scrubbing too. Then he did some more scrubbing. His clothes came out the same as mine and Moosette’s only he worked harder.

So, if my electric company should happen to travel to your property and you end up covered with sap – you’ll know how to get it out of your clothes!

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Change of seasons!


It’s always a welcome sign to see the sap buckets come out. That means winter is finally winding down. Of course, I took this picture yesterday and then we got 2″ of new snow last night…sigh…

If you ever get the chance to visit a sugar farm that still uses these old metal buckets – it’s a feast for the ears. Each new drop of sap plops into the bucket making a sound. The sound varies depending on the level of liquid in the bucket. When there are numerous buckets out it’s surprisingly noisy, a symphony of sap. The newer farms use plastic tubing snaking through the woods to central collection barrels. More efficient but decidedly less interesting. Hope you have signs of spring in your neck of the woods!

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Ugly Fabric Reveal


The other day I told you about my guild’s ugly fabric challenge. Yesterday was reveal day. Everyone did a fantastic job turning their sow’s ears into silk purses. Here is the fabric that I turned in. It’s not ugly just a really putrid shade of yellow. The photo makes it look rather pleasant. Trust me, it’s not!

Libby was the unfortunate soul who had to make an effort to turn it into something presentable. And boy did she ever! I’ll back up a little bit to the day we offered up our uglies. Libby shared a tote bag that she had made for her daughter. She told us that her daughter was an art major and Libby just couldn’t get over the fact that her daughter chose such horrible fabrics for the bag her Mom was going to make for her. Libby ended up only using some of the fabrics her daughter had selected. Then she received my ugly fabric. Wouldn’t ya know it – one of her daughter’s fabrics coordinated perfectly! Here’s what Libby crafted just for little ole me. Isn’t it awesome?


There are all sorts of little pockets on the inside, two zippered pockets on the outside and the whole thing has stiffener in it so it stands up nice and perky. There are even handles to carry it around once I fill it with my goodies. While I’m still not sure how I feel about coordinating so well with what Libby thought was so atrocious from her daughter, I could not be more pleased with my pressie. Thank you from the bottom of my new tool caddy Libby. Great job!

So, ya wondering what I did with my part of the challenge? Well, you’ll have to wait a little longer to find out. The recipient of my challenge was out of town. I don’t want to air her uglies on the internet until she’s had a chance to see it for herself. Stay tuned…

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Ugly Fabric Challenge


My guild is in the midst of an ugly fabric challenge. Each person brought in 1/2 yard of an ugly or hard-to-work-with fabric. We traded uglies with each other and our challenge is to make something with the fabric that we were given and give that item to the original ugly owner (fabric that is, nothing personal!) So here is the ugly that I received…

I can’t really say that it’s “ugly”, probably falls more into the difficult to work with category. At times it seems to have a red-white-blue feel but then in other light it really has a purple and teal thing going on. It’s a very confused fabric. I must admit that paisley is really not my thing either. So, what to do with it?

After staring at it for quite awhile I finally decided what to do. The eventual owner has her home decorated with a patriotic flair but her clothing style has a definite tilt to purple. Which should I play up? Well, you’ll just have to wait. I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag just yet.

What does your guild do for fun and games?

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Have you discovered Square-agonals®?


OK, so I am trying desperately to convince myself that I’m not getting the nasty head cold that hubby just got rid of. I’m not being very convincing though… So we’re going to have a guest blogger this week instead of my ramblings. Take it away Sandi…

“Square-agonals®; A New Angle on Quilting”
A new quilt book – a new technique
by: Sandi Blackwell


Square-agonals® is my easy technique for creating diagonal set/on point quilts without the extra work of cutting corner and setting triangles or doing math calculations.

How is it done? Your quilt top design is pieced together in rows of squares (these squares can be pieced, appliqued, directional or plain depending on your final design). The quilt top is then starched, marked with two specific cutting lines and then cut into three sections. Prior to cutting, the three sections are marked with numbered arrows and cutting guide tape. The three sections are then reassembled in a new configuration. The result is your finished design in a diagonal setting. Just add borders to complete your quilt top. All sizes of blocks and quilts can use this new technique. The secret of the finished quilt is the sewing and cutting layouts for each design.

My book “Square-agonals®; A New Angle on Quilting“, by Landauer Publishing, explains in detail the Square-agonals® process through a variety of fourteen projects. The projects range from table runners to full size quilts, with or without sashing. They are simple basic projects, but they will give you the opportunity to create a variety of exciting new designs that will look far more complicated. I have also released a new line of Square-agonals® Patterns, all new and based on my technique. Each pattern gives you three size options. I am also working on two new Square-agonals® books.

Come visit my website, for complete instructions of a free new Square-agonals® pattern, “Simply Square-agonals™”. It is a table mat/topper design with instructions for two sizes and is an easy pattern to teach you the Square-agonals® technique.

Sandi Blackwell
March 2012
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