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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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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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Thimble Pleasures Quilt Show

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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, www.aspenhill.wordpress.com

Kelli Fannon, That Looks Like It Needs Stitches, www.thatlookslikeitneedsstitches.blogspot.com

Anna Dzik, West Third Street Designs, www.westthirdstreetdesigns.blogspot.com

Marianne Nowacki, Hillside Quiltworks, www.hillsidequiltworks.com

Linda Pearl, The Patchwork Pearl, www.thepatchworkpearl.blogspot.com

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

Beth Helfter, EvaPaige Quilt Designs, www.evapaigequiltdesigns.blogspot.com

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 http://patternspot.com/products/2070 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.

HAPPY QUILTING DAY!!

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Cleaning tip #23

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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!

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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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