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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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Early Autumn in New England

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Autumn in New England is one of my favorite things. People who don’t live here (or other places where the colors change) don’t realize that it’s a slow, gradual process. Prime leaf peeping season for my neighborhood is the first week of October (give or take a week) but we start seeing signs sometime in August. They are subtle signs but they’re there if you look. A stray colored leaf in a sea of green, the sudden disappearance of mosquitoes and the shortening days. The temperature is still usually warm during the day but you do get the occasional crisp evening. That’s when mushroom season really ramps up. I never knew mushrooms came in so many forms and colors. I took a walk around my property and snapped some photos. All these were taken on the same day. I left my toes in some of the photos for size reference. Lots of shrooms! Maybe their color or form will inspire a new quilt!

Of course, there is always the overachiever. That one tree that just HAS to finish before everyone else. I’m sure you’ve met the human version of this at a quilt class before…

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Moving Tips For Quilters

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Are you a quilter with a move in your future? Me too! Let me share some tips to make that move easier!

Many years ago when I moved from California to New Hampshire I had a serious problem. I knew if my hubby saw 20 boxes all labeled “fabric” there would be trouble. I had to come up with a plan. Getting rid of my stash was not one of the options! While I was out cornering the market on boxes, moving blankets, tape, sharpies and all the other moving supplies it hit me…why was I going to buy (at a premium price mind you!) a stack of paper to wrap fragile items in when I had scads of fabric at home? I already owned it…and I wouldn’t have to label one single solitary box with the dreaded “fabric”! I was determined to make it work.

Here we are in the “pink” section…

I dutifully wrapped every dish, bowl, knick-knack and tchotchke. Not a single thing was damaged during the cross country move. Unwrapping all that stuff was actually kind of fun. Ooh, I like this fabric (unroll, unroll…) Ooh, I remember this cool thing! The only downside was a lot of smoothing, ironing and folding of fabric when all was said and done. But what quilter doesn’t appreciate a little fabric petting time??

One yard pieces are the perfect size for most items. Half yards are great for smaller items. Larger pieces can either be for larger items or padding around larger items. Don’t forget fabric makes great filler to keep all those treasures from banging around in the box too.

If you’re a scrap collector…they make great filler. Here is a partially filled jar of vintage buttons with scraps to keep them from clattering around.

And let’s not forget other items as well. Remember that over sized purple sweatshirt with the special sleeves that you are someday going to turn into one of those one-of-a-kind quilted jackets? Just slip in your treasured artwork, wrap the sleeves in a hug and chuck it in the box. All safe and cozy. You’ll get around to that quilted jacket someday…when they come back in style…

If you have a sizable fabric stash…don’t forget to place a piece on the top of the box before closing. This will ensure you have no leftover fabric…err…I mean it will make sure everything in the box stays in place. Yup, that’s what I meant.

Invest in a brand new sharpie and a tape dispenser. A real dispenser, not those cheap ones that come with 3 yards of tape attached to them. A real one that takes full size rolls of packing tape and has a nice sharp set of teeth to cut the tape. You’ll thank me later. Unless you get too friendly with the sharp teeth…

Have a labeling system in place too. I mark each side of the box with a letter (K=kitchen, L=living room, T=Terri…). That way, no matter how they get loaded on the truck you will always see the letter. On the top of the box I note the important items within that box. Once you get to your new place, put all the like boxes together. All the K boxes go in the kitchen, all L boxes go in the living room, all T boxes go in my studio, etc. (see the first photo)

If you come up with your own labeling system make sure to write it down somewhere so you don’t forget. No need for those 3 boxes labeled “feminine products” to end up in the wrong hands where it’s discovered that’s just code for fabric. Not that I’ve ever done that…

Before ya know it, you’ll be all done packing, and there won’t be a single box labeled “fabric”. I’m still packing for our current move to Colorado but I haven’t run out of fabric yet so it’s all good.

When we were planning out our plan of attack for this move hubby and I were trying to decide how many boxes to get when he turns to me (in all seriousness) and says “Do we have enough fabric for this move?” Ummm….yes dear, we’re all good!

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A New Adventure!

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Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been a little quiet lately. That’s ’cause I’ve been working REALLY hard on our new adventure. Last month we started our 19th year in business. A lot has changed in that 19 years…and it’s about to change again. We’re moving to Colorado! Yup, this frugal yankee is heading west (again!) I’m sure you have questions so let’s get to answering them.

The cupboards are empty and the boxes are piling up!

Are you closing?

Absolutely not! Just changing things up!

Will you still vend at quilt shows?

Short answer…no. I do have a couple of shows left to do and then that’s it. I have enjoyed the company of quilters at shows, loved talking with all of you and seeing what you’re working on…but the schlepping of boxes to and fro is getting really hard on my old knees. Moosette is an adult now with her own life and I can no longer ask her to take time away from her obligations to help me. So I’m taking the opportunity of our family move to go back to my roots of teaching, pattern designing and expanding on the retreats that I do. I’m excited about the changes coming!

Will you still have your website?

Absolutely! It will just change with the new direction. I will be eliminating most of the fabrics (sale!) and only carry a few that correlate to things I’m teaching. A lot of the notions/gadgets/fun stuff/patterns will slim down (sale!) Our products will also be going back to our roots and concentrating on the unique, hard-to-find quality items.

What happens to the retreats you run?

Not a darn thing! My autumn in New England retreat will not have any visible changes. I’ll just have further to go to get there! I have teachers already booked through 2020 so I know I’ll be coming back for my fall color fix. I still plan to continue the Quilt Professionals retreat as well. Once I get settled into Colorado I’ll be looking into expanding my retreats to other parts of the country.

How did this all come about?

When you fall in love and marry a California boy and you’re a frugal yankee, you end up being by-coastal! We knew when Moosette graduated from college that we would move to a warmer climate. She graduates next May so we figured we would spend the next year getting the house ready to sell (purging, fixing all the honey-do’s…) when it was time. An unexpected opportunity fell in our laps and we found ourselves with a sold house (no honey-do’s, no staging, no fuss) and no place to go. We had already decided on the Colorado Springs area so we hopped on a plane to go house hunting. We ended up with a new house but it won’t be finished being built until next spring. Quickly found a place to ride out the winter here and we now have a plan. Once our new house is ready we’ll head west. Once Moosette has graduated she and her boyfriend will head west as well.

This will be the view from our front porch and back yard…minus the construction equipment…maybe a road put in…and our house…beautiful Pike’s Peak.

Thank You!

I will miss my woods, the lake, living in a small town…but I will miss the people here most of all. Thank you to all of our customers over the past 13 years we’ve lived in New Hampshire. You have made our business grow. As I said earlier…I’m not closing, just changing things up. Who knows, maybe you’ll see me teaching at a New England quilt show in the future!

I’m really looking forward to our new family adventure and all the possibilities that await us. I hope you’ll stay in touch via our newsletter or social media outlets…we’ll still be there! I’ll also be sharing bits about our move. I know there is a post coming next week on how to move when you’re a quilter!

So, thank you for the past. I’m looking forward to a bright future!

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Maine Quilts!!

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EvaPaige - Oompah

I’m a busy little moose packing up for Maine Quilts. Thought I would take a break and tell you all about the great things we have planned for the show!

EvaPaige - Oompah

I’m very excited to have a guest in my booth on Thursday from 10-2. Beth Helfter of EvaPaige Quilt Designs will have her new book, Oompah! on hand for signing and she will be telling you all about her really fun way to make oodles of half square triangles. It will be a very entertaining time in the booth that day!

I’m also doing a demo everyday in the show’s demo area:

 Care & Feeding of Your Rotary Tools

Thursday – 3pm – Slotted Trimmer & Clearly Perfect Angles – want to know how to make half square triangles easily, accurately and with NO DRAWING OF THE LINES? Stop by and I’ll show ya!

Friday – 3pm – Care & Feeding Of Your Rotary Tools – I’ll be passing on tips and tricks to keep your rotary mats and cutters in tip-top working condition.

Saturday – 3pm – Housekeeping For Quilters – no…not that housekeeping (shudder…) I’ll be sharing tips on keeping all your expensive tools (machine, iron…) clean and ready for use. Okay…maybe I’ll throw in a great tip for doing the other kind of housekeeping.

Bargain Bin 

We will also have an enlarged Bargain Bin. We have lots of onsey-twosey stuff to get rid of. All fabrics will be 40% off too! Stock up while you can. Hope to see you at the show!

Maine Quilts

Augusta Civic Center, 76 Community Drive, Augusta Maine

Show hours: Wednesday 7/25 champagne preview 7pm-9pm, Thursday-Saturday 7/26-28 9am-5pm

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Totes & Bags – Adding Pizzazz!

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Solid Oak Online

Are you a tote or bag maker? Today I’m gonna show you some quick tips for adding some pizzazz to your finished totes. What we’re sharing can also work on any purchased bags you have, not just ones you crafted! Ready to start? Let’s go! Adding a zipper pull is probably the easiest way to jazz up a bag. What can you use as a pull? Oh…we’ll get to that! Be sure and check out my nails…they look awesome! I usually break one just before taking photos…or smash my finger…

Tools & Supplies:

You don’t really need anything, tool-wise, different from what you probably already own. I made jewelry in a past life so I still have tools (and beads, more beads, maybe some more…I might have a problem…) that are basically smaller versions of household tools. You can use household tools they’re just a bit large and clunky. If you’re just going to bling up a bag or two, no need to buy tools. If you find you like how easy, inexpensive and sooo simple it is to do that you want to jazz up lots of bags then maybe spring for a small pair or two of jewelers pliers. You can get them at just about any big-box craft store that sells jewelry findings (that’s what they call the parts and pieces). Two pair would be ideal.

jewelry findings
Jewelry Findings!

You might need some special parts – jewelry findings. There are various ways you can attach zipper pulls but I find that rings are generally the best. Rings come in two versions – split rings and jump rings. Split rings are tiny versions of key rings, generally two circles of wire and you “scoot” whatever you are attaching along the wire circle. Jump rings are one circle of wire which you open, attach your items and close. Two pair of pliers are handy for this task! I prefer split rings for attaching zipper pulls because they hold up better as you tug and pull during usage.

jewelry findings

Split Rings vs. Jump Rings

Here’s a little tip for opening/closing jump rings…open them side to side, not along the circle. If you bend them open side to side you can easily reclose them to retain their circle shape. If you open them along the circle you can never get them back to a circle shape!

Opening Jump Rings
Opening Jump Rings-don’t do the left, do the right!

two pliers
2 Pliers Are Better Than 1!

Whatever findings you choose to use, you can pick up a variety pack of sizes/colors for a couple of dollars. So…now we know how to attach…let’s learn what to attach!

Adding On:

If you can stick a hole in it to attach, you can make it into a zipper pull! I love to use charms and other “found” items as pulls. There’s a great company online that has all kinds of really cool charms and doo-dads. Solid Oak Online.  Click on their name to check ’em out. In full disclosure, they did send me some stuff for free to try out. I can assure you that I will be ordering from them again in the future. Moosette also wandered by when I was checking out their website. She pushed me out of the way and started her own list…sigh… Poke around and you can find some really cool things. Here’s what I started with…

Solid Oak Online
Choices…

I found some neat sewing charms and arrows with pearls in the Steampunk section, variegated silk ribbon with metal label charms in the Brianna section and a really cool sugar skull (that’s two sided!) in the Thaneeya section.  If sparkly stuff is more your style, they have plenty of that…seriously, poke around.

First up, a tote make-over…

tote makeovertote makeover

These two totes have lace zippers on the pockets. These zippers come with a decent zipper pull but it just seems a little small to me for this size bag. We don’t need any findings for these two. I simply (and oh so gently…) pried open the zipper just enough to remove the existing pull and replace with a new one. Gently cinch it back up and all done. I can keep the old pulls for another project too. The green bag got the arrow with pearl and the purple bag got some scissors. You can find the pattern for this bag right here.

  

Next up is a little bag that my friend Judy made for me. I had this button pull attached which came with it’s own hook type of attachment. The hook is a little wide for the small opening in the zipper tab so it’s always getting stuck and twisted. I could replace the hook with a split ring but I think this thimble charm goes much better with the fabric on the bag.

Here’s the cute sugar skulls on another bag. This charm is two sided which makes it perfect for a zipper pull. It also comes with a lobster claw attachment so it’s really easy to install! Seriously, it took less than a minute.

 

This is a purchased leather bag that I use as my briefcase. It has a leather tab on the zipper. Nice but boring. I cut off the tab and there was a wide loop which allowed me to attach all kinds of stuff! Oops…looks like I need to mend a seam there too…

 

I put two arrows, one on each side and a spool in the middle. The spool sits on top and is super handy to grab and zip. The arrows dangle down for some zing. Oh look, that seam got fixed!

Next came the silk ribbon and this metal label charm. You simply slide the metal label onto the ribbon. What to do with this one…

maybe…

I thought about attaching it to the outer pocket of this bag with a half bow on either side. That would show off this beautiful silk ribbon but it didn’t really excite me.

I ended up just tying a pretty bow on the handle and attaching the label to one leg of the bow. A knot on each end of the legs keeps the label on and keeps the ribbon from fraying. Perfect.

Your Turn:

As you can see it is really easy to add a little something extra to the totes and bags you make…or the ones you purchase! Each of these took just a couple of minutes to do. It actually took much longer to photograph and write this than to do the actual jazzing up! The examples I’ve shared today would not cost a lot either. If you wanted to up your game a bit and go for some fancier bling that is certainly possible…but it still won’t cost a whole lot!

Something spooky this way comes…

Thanks to Solid Oak Online for letting me play with some of their products. They were all solidly made (guess that should have been obvious from their name…) no cheap junk at this shop. I know they will last for quite some time. There was one more piece in my package. I have a plan for this spider web but that will have to wait for a future post about adding some bling to my quilts! So…how do you dress up your totes and bags?

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Quilt Pro Retreat

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Purple Moose Retreats

Our first Quilt Pro Retreat was last weekend and I’m calling it a success!

Purple Moose Retreats

Purple Moose Retreat - Quilt Pro June 2018

We had a great mix of quilt shop owners (brick & mortar and online), pattern designers, long armers, fabric reps, furniture designers, retreat organizers, product manufacturer…all aspects of our business. This was a great plus when we had our business discussions as we each got the perspective of another arm of our industry. We held several formal round-table discussions and tackled Social Media, Marketing and Time Management. That’s a lot of heavy stuff to tackle! Of course we left lots of time to sew on either personal projects or store samples. There was plenty of informal discussions during sewing time as well. Once you let all that info marinate for a bit then you think of a new solution/idea/option for whatever was discussed.

Purple Moose Retreats - Waterville Valley NH Purple Moose Retreats - shopping! Game Loser!

The weather was absolutely perfect in Waterville Valley NH. We did get out several times to enjoy the views and do a little shopping in the town square. I spied these super cute ski poles for quilters! We also played some games. I lost a round of Giant Jenga and had to take an awful selfie and post it…it wasn’t pretty…

Purple Moose Retreats - Discussion Table

We all made new friends or were able to touch base with friends we hadn’t seen in awhile. The comments from the guests were mostly positive. Just a few minor bumps that we can work on for next time. Ya can’t expect me to be perfect right out of the gate!! Some of the comments…

Favorite Parts: “collaborating with other business owners”, “Time dedicated to our business/craft”, “Feedback & ideas from participants”, “Contacts! Meeting professionals and learning from and with them”

Least Favorite Parts: “Not enough exercise (my own fault)”, “broken foot” (she came with it, no excitement during the weekend), “Sometimes the discussions focused too long on one issue”

We are going to be doing our Quilt Pro Retreat again this fall, September 27-30, 2018. It is open to anyone who is in the business (shop owners, long armers, designers, retreat organizers…) If you’re interested, just holler! Space is limited…

Special thank you to all the participants for joining in the fun and to the Snowy Owl Inn for providing an inviting place to be for the weekend!

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Moose Musings – Jeans Shopping

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Have I mentioned that I really don’t like shopping for jeans? There comes a time though when I must…like now. All my jeans are no longer fit for public display, only yard work and home maintenance. So off I go to the mall…

I’m a Mom, I just want a pair of Mom Jeans. I don’t think it’s a difficult request. My legs are too long for petite sizes and way too short for normal sizes so I have issues.

All those zippers on the abdomen (I’m looking at you J-Lo!) and the pizzazz on the behind? No thanks, I have enough going on in those areas and don’t need to call attention there.

Rips should happen after heavy usage, not at the time of purchase. And the acid wash on the thighs? Really? It looks like I have used my pants for napkins. Sheesh.

I won’t even start in on the disparity of sizes between brands, or the prices! I did manage to find two pairs. They are the same brand but two different sizes. The larger size is snug and the smaller size if roomy. I don’t understand. I thought a trip to the “unmentionables” department might lift my spirits. Oh Boy! Big mistake. My favorite skivvies were $10 each…ON SALE!! I might just have to go commando until I can save up…

So we’re having a fabric sale. 25% off all in stock fabric. Use the coupon code spring25 at checkout for your discount. It’s good until 5/11/18. Please buy fabric…Mama needs some skivvies…

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What should I pack for my quilting retreat?

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One of the more enjoyable hats I wear for my job is Retreat Hostess. One question I get a lot is “What should I bring?”. Since I’m in the midst of final preparations for an upcoming retreat I thought it was a good time to share some tips for packing. Over the years I have seen people load up the luggage cart at the Inn like they just binge watched all the Beverly Hillbillies episodes…and then go back to the car for more…sometimes they even bring their own chair! Other people come with their machine, an extra pair of unmentionables and little else. Usually the correct answer is somewhere in the middle.

First you should consult any documentation you receive from your retreat hostess. If there is a class involved then there should be a supply list. If there are any special amenities at the venue they should tell you about those too (I always remind guests to bring a swimsuit for the pool and walking shoes for a stroll through the woods). It’s usually a good idea to bring a sweater in case you get the “cool spot” in the room. My retreats are all about relaxation (no cooking, no chores!) but others are pot-luck style when it comes to meals. Your hostess should have it spelled out what you are expected to bring for food. Don’t get all fancy though…you’re there to quilt not spend hours in the kitchen. Think up a good crock-pot dish or a make-ahead dish you can bring to heat up.

Sewing supplies should be pretty basic (machine, scissors, seam ripper, thread…) Grab whatever is within one foot of your machine at home and you should be good. Some venues have a pressing and cutting area for everyone to use. I provide those but a lot of people also like to have a small mat and travel iron at their station and use my stuff for the larger pressing and cutting jobs. A small portable light is good too. If you have a class, consult the supply list for any unusual items and tools you may need. Make sure you have everything you need for your machine. It’s not uncommon for folks to grab their machine and leave the cord or pedal at home! That’s a big bummer…

Don’t forget me!!

Think about what projects you want to work on. I see this one all the time…do you really think you’ll finish all 27 projects you brought? Really? In one weekend? Be realistic about what you can accomplish during your stay…then bring only one more…just in case…

The most important tip I can pass along is…if you’re not sure about something…ASK! Preferably before you leave home. Some retreats are run by volunteers (such as a guild retreat) but there should still be someone in charge to ask questions of. If your event is run by a coordinator like me (not a volunteer) then please don’t hesitate to ask questions, that’s why we get paid the big bucks. If the coordinator is worth their salt then they should be giving you the information before you think about it! Of course we can’t cover EVERYTHING in our handouts so ask away. Don’t forget your medications! Also let your coordinator know of any special requirements you have regarding food issues, allergies or anything that may impact your fun weekend.

It says on page 42 of the Official Quilter’s Handbook that every quilter should attend a retreat at least once every couple of years. What…you don’t have the handbook? Trust me, that’s what it says… If it’s been a while for you or (gasp…) you’ve never been, please check out what we have to offer. We would love to meet you and it will be loads of fun! I don’t want to brag but I’ve been told I’m pretty good at creating fun retreats! We usually sell out about a year ahead and have to start a waiting list. You can see what we have coming up here on our website.

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Blue Moon Blog Hop – Day 5

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It’s the final day of the Blue Moon blog hop. Simply visit the following two blogs to see what Colourwerx and Marie have done with Jackies’s new fabric line.

Here is the full schedule. Feel free to go back and see the previous posts.

Monday, Feb 5

Tuesday, Feb 6

Wednesday, Feb 7

Thursday, Feb 8

Friday, Feb 9

#bluemoonfabriccollection. Additional hashtags to consider using (add/edit your own!): #thepromisegirls #islandbatik #aurfil #debtucker #studio180design #jackiekunkel #cantonvillagequiltworks #cvquiltworks #seamslikeadreamquilting #purplemoosedesigns #cabininthewoodsquilters #onpointquilter #colourwerx #mariebostwick #quilting #quiltersofinstagram #quilts #quiltsofinstagram

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Blue Moon Blog Hop – Day 4

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Today is day 4 of the Blue Moon blog hop. Simply visit the following two blogs to see what Penni and Kari have done with Jackies’s new fabric line.

Here is the full schedule. Feel free to go back and see the previous posts. Make sure to visit the other sites in the coming days.

Monday, Feb 5

Tuesday, Feb 6

Wednesday, Feb 7

Thursday, Feb 8

Friday, Feb 9

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