Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hurry Up and Wait

It seems like my job is much like the Military. There seems to be a lot of "hurry up and wait" -ing involved. I worked like a mad woman all last week cranking out 3 quilt tops. There were late nights and too much caffeine. There were also some foggy, brain challenged emails sent back and forth between us quilting ladies in the wee hours of the morning. It seems, no matter how obscure my question was, or how late I was asking it, there was another sleep deprived quilter on the other end who answered. Thanks everyone!!!! My three tops are now with machine quilter extraordinaire - Kari Ruedisale. She will work her magic. The fourth top will be delivered to her tomorrow by Leigh Ann - my angel of mercy and the most perfect quilter this side of the Mississippi. Really. Anyone who knows Leigh Ann and her sewing will back me up on that. The 5th and final top will get to Kari, via Leigh Ann early next week. Things are going as planned. I was kind of at a standstill with my work once I had my 3 tops done. I was waiting on a box of stuff from Polly. It didn't get here until about an hour ago. That left me with last evening free. Wow. I got out the red hexagons and did a few more. Two more evenings watching Baseball and stitching will have my jar full of hexagons ready to be sewn together. (Jill - this picture is for you. Yes, I can do that many in one evening). Tomorrow will get me back to work making stuff for the booth and crossing things off my packing list. That's about it, people. Sewing and waiting for the UPS guy. Glamorous.

This next picture is for Polly.This is a photo of a magnolia tree in Ann Arbor. It is on the corner of Huron and Seventh, for all you locals. It is one of my favorite things this time of year. I drive by it several times a day. It has been there for as long as I can remember and Polly and I have had conversations about it. For the last few years it has looked kind of sad and some limbs have broken off. I told Polly last year that I thought it might be a goner. Surprise! It has come back with a vengeance this year. This picture was taken after a rainstorm and it had lost quite a bit of foliage - but the day before it was grand. Hurray for my favorite tree in Tree Town.

Let's see, what else is new. Jan Patek has a blog, if you don't know about it yet. The link is at the left. She blogged today about the awesome invitations mailed out by Moda for Spring Market and the accompanying party. We all wait anxiously every year for the Moda invitation. It was certainly worth the wait this year. Lissa, and all your staff - it's just adorable! Well, that about wraps up all that is fit to blog about. Later.


Monday, April 27, 2009

To The Victors!

Polly and I are happy. We are also a little humbled. 210 people who are not ashamed to ask for - what some would gladly just throw away. I knew it!! I knew I wasn't the only one who cannot throw away perfectly good scraps.

Congratulations to the 3 winners! Yes, we are going to fill not one, but 3 large USPS Priority boxes with scraps. I am touched that when I asked for help - you all came through for me. I can now go forward knowing that I still have a few months in front of me as a pack rat. I have made room for more stuff.


Nancy in MT


Thanks to all for playing. The winning names were drawn by the random number generator at


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Most Ridiculous Give-Away Ever

Yes, this will test how truly sad we ALL are. Minick and Simpson are having a give-away! Just comment on this post by Midnight, Monday April 27th and all this could be yours! Yep - the scraps from cutting out 3 quilts. This is our new Wiscasset collection that won't even be on your quilt shop shelves until this Fall. Actually, we will pack a large Priority Mail box chock full of this and other Minick and Simpson scraps for you to enjoy. I will even throw in some Minick and Simpson patterns to use it all up.

Some people might think this is petty or even tongue-in-cheek, but quilters know we cannot throw this away, and sadly, I certainly cannot keep anymore around here. Here is a 60 quart container full of nothing but Minick and Simpson scraps.I have 3 of these. The lids cannot accommodate any more. This does not take into account the 14 of these tubs I have in the basement of all my other fabric scraps that were in my collection before we started designing for Moda. This does not take into account the 9 of these tubs that I have given away in the last 2 years to other quilters and to the local quilt guild. This does not take into account the 2-3 scrap quilts I make every year that only use these scrap tubs. This does not take into account the yardage (not scraps) that I have stacked on shelves. You are starting to see my dilemma, aren't you?

I don't want to give it all away. I want to ALWAYS have scraps around to make quilts - but there is a limit.

You all have tubs and tubs of scraps too, don't you? It won't stop you from entering this contest though, will it? (Heavy sigh). Good luck to all!

Here is a picture of a quilt I finished this week. I started it about (mumble mumble) years ago. It is for my sister-in-law Margie. It is her turn to get a quilt. She picked out these fabrics and I worked on it in fits and starts over the years. In between projects and deadlines. So, Margie, you can pick up your quilt now. It was fun doing all of the hand quilting.

Back to work.....


Tuesday, April 21, 2009


My, my there were a lot of questions. I will try to answer some of them. First of all, Amy R - I like the cone thread and the stand. I got that at Quilt Market last fall and have been using it since about December. The vendor suggested that the stand go close to the machine and behind it. It works for me. I do love that thread. It is a grey DMC machine embroidery thread. Super fine. I use it for all my piecing. Oh, don't ask me where I got it because I can't remember. Sorry.

Kathy - How much fabric? Designers get 5 yards of each fabric they design. Co-designers get 2.5 yards each. Polly has generously ceded her cotton fabric to me. Polly gets the wool. This box was a little generous. Someone was playing it fast and loose with the yard stick and I am not complaining. It will all get used. Don't quote me on this, but...... some of us, I believe, would work just for that perk alone. After collecting fabric for eons - it never gets better than delivery day. You would think it would get old after awhile. It doesn't. It is usually the WHOLE line of fabric. I am still waiting on one print that was problematic. It finally got figured out and is being printed as I type this. Yeah, more fabric!

You asked about Carrie from "Miss Rosie's" because she gets lots of deliveries too. I don't believe it is contractual. It is basically just great business sense. Moda knows to get their fabric into the hands of great pattern designers. It benefits the pattern designer, the fabric designer (who sees their fabric turned into something marvelous that they never even dreamed of) and Moda. Good quilts are the best advertisement.

As for all the requests for more pictures of the inner sanctum.... How shall I say this?? Ummm.. NO. Not until all of this chaos settles down a bit and I can wade in there with a broom. Until then - how about pictures of the delivery? Here is "Wiscasset". Polly and I named it after a town on the coast of Maine that we have visited. Wiscasset is chock full of great antique shops. We see this collection as a grouping of collected antique textiles from many eras and styles - all coming together to make great quilts and home products. Besides, I like how Wiscasset sounds when you say it.Ooooooh, make sure to double click on the photo's to enlarge them!

Monday, April 20, 2009

D Day

Today is D day - Delivery day. I have been checking the shipping status of the fabric online and it is on a UPS truck as of 5am this morning on it's way to my front porch. I have my cutting table ready to go and the cutter has a new blade. How anxious am I for it to get here???? I'll tell you how anxious, I'm going to show you pictures of the inner sanctum - the sewing room. I'm sure you have all seen the fab pics of Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill's studio in the latest American Patchwork & Quilting, haven't you? Or you have seen Joanna's pics in there before, or Sandy's of American Jane fame? They all have studios to die for. They have studios that magazines want to photograph. Well, I have a room that is jammed packed and never gets thoroughly dusted. But, if it is tidied up a bit - it is quite functional. The sewing room is for machine piecing, ironing, and STORAGE. The rest of the house makes up the other parts of my studio. Cutting and Telecommunications is in the family room, as is my stitching area - the couch. Shipping and Receiving is in the dining room. Yes, I am spread out like an eight day wash. That's okay, because it is D day. The featherweight has a new needle and is rarin' to go. This is where the new fabric will live once it gets here.Once we get 4 quilts cut and the other "stuff" cut - the fabric can probably be squished into these 2 shelves.

So, it is a rainy Monday here, but that's okay because we have a covered porch. Bring it on, Mr. UPS man. I will be busy for the next week or so. Bill has been handed a folder with the menu's of all the take-out restaurants in Ann Arbor. He is on his own.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Playing Hooky

Bill and I took the day off today. I have quite a few long days in the near future and Bill is just starting up a new Spring Hockey team. It seemed like a good idea since the next day off will be.... well, I don't know when. We went to a Tiger Baseball game today. It is always fun and today was no different. We won. Big. The score was 9-0 and for an added bonus - whenever the Tigers score 9 runs or more at home - you get a free pizza. A baseball game and a free dinner. Yeah! Here is some of what you see when you go to Comerica Park. This is some of the great architecture there. It is sort of a combination of the great old styles of Detroit's more illustrious periods mixed in with baseball, whimsy, and pure fantasy. There are many huge tigers that prowl all around the park. The main entrance is framed by HUGE baseball bats. My favorite architectural details are the Pewabic pottery tiles that pop up everywhere. Pewabic Pottery is a National Historical Arts and Crafts studio that still makes pottery and tiles today. Everywhere you look there is something marvelous.Once inside and sitting at our seats (first row, upper deck behind first base) this is what you see - a gigantic scoreboard.I won't go on (and on) about the game, but I assure you it was swell. Despite the weather being overcast, cold and windy, we stayed dry and had a relaxing time. We did dress for it. We looked like the Michelin couple. Even more than we usually do. Taking a little stroll around the park - here are just a few more of the wonders.
A carousel that is everything Tiger. There is a Ferris wheel too, but I didn't get over to that today. Lady Liberty even took time to catch the game today.Everybody needs to play hooky once in awhile.

I heard from Dallas today (Moda Headquarters) that we could expect our new fabric line as early as this weekend. Once here, I will be knee deep in fabric and thread until all of our new creations are finished. For the next few weeks it only be baseball on t.v. and not in person. Today was a nice treat.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter

This is a photo of Lynne Hagmeier's decorating at her Kansas Troubles headquarters. So sweet. She had lots and lots of bunnies and egg type decorating there. I don't have much here. I used to have a collection of vintage deviled egg plates. I don't have them anymore. You know what? Vintage deviled egg plates are hard to display. I only have so many walls (which are usually covered in quilts) and flat surfaces. A couple of years ago I put the whole shebang up on ebay and now someone in Virginia has an extensive deviled egg plate collection. I did keep one.
So, this guy get dusted off and used once a year as are these two.
That's about the extent of the decorating around here. There will be a big meal tomorrow and then back to proofreading future quilt patterns and making quilts. No complaints. The menu tomorrow will be:

Deviled eggs

Baby lettuce salad with vinaigrette

Spiral sliced Ham

Roasted asparagus

Baby redskins, roasted with fresh herbs

and for a nostalgic homage to our childhood - Jello. Confess....does anyone make those Jello dishes that our Mother's and Grandmothers used to make?

And for dessert..... Coconut Cupcakes

Hope all of you have a nice holiday with your loved ones


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Postscript: Sewing Kit

Polly uses a lunchbox too for her tool box too. Hers is an antique one. This is what it looks like inside. Rug hooking is handwork too, it's just that her tools are just a bit different.
Here's what she has to say about them: "Here is mine, an antique of course. They were made to encourage people to buy the biscuits that were inside at turn of century (why don't they do that now???) As I do not sew, I just need wool, scissors and my hook - and my business cards. I carry a sample of our ticking and twill tape to show rug hookers how they can bind rugs with these great products."

So there you have it.....great minds think alike.

It has been fun hearing all about your sewing kits and "pending" sewing kits.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Have Kit, Will Travel

Have you had a look at Blackbird Designs new blog? It's as lovely as everything else they do. Alma has been taking great pictures of her handwork; knitting, samplers, and hexagons. Susan Stiff from Moda gifted us all at the recent Designer's Retreat with a little kit to make a hexagon pincushion. I haven't started mine yet as I had my own hexagon project in the works there. Which brings me to today's post - sewing kits, baskets, boxes or bags. Whatever you need to carry the essentials with you when you want to do some handwork. This is what I have been using the last couple of years. It's a Moda Lunchbox that came out with the fabric collection Chocolat by 3 Sisters. I modified it a bit by installing a pincushion in the lid. I wrapped some wool batting around a piece of cardboard and covered it all with Chocolat fabric. I then hot glued it inside the lid.It carries all that I need for a project; needles, pins, thread, scissors, etc.. Here are some of my favorite tools: a needle book and needle case, pincushion, a scissor fob, an emory bag, my thimble and it's case. All but the thimble are handmade and all were gifts. I love my tools. When in Kansas we actually had one evening where we sat and did handwork while we talked. I need to keep my hands busy and I wasn't the only one. There was a discussion about zen, handwork, and relaxed breathing. It's true - studies prove that people who do needlework have similar brainwaves than those who practice zen meditation.

This is what I worked on in Kansas. I started a hexagon project. I did over 100 sitting there chatting. That's the thing about handwork - it adds up quickly. Any stitching done in spare moments adds up to, well ..... quilts! My project will become a purse I hope. I will use my red scraps and these handles.It's fun to stock your sewing kit. I highly recommend everyone have one - just in case. You never know when you would like to sit and stitch with friends.


Monday, April 6, 2009

"To Do" List

1. Do laundry

2. Finish piecing quilt top.

3. Go to Knight's Market and buy hot dogs and buns.

4. Make popcorn.

5. Watch Tigers in Opening Day Baseball game tonight.

6. Shovel snow.What the.....???????


Saturday, April 4, 2009


Last weekend here in Ann Arbor we had a treat. The University of Michigan Museum of Art reopened after a long hiatus. The new addition and several new collections were unveiled. Bill and I, along with lots of other arty people in the area took it all in. If you are ever in the area, stop by. It is quite the place, if I do say so myself. It is in the league of other large, cosmopolitan museums I have visited. For more, and better photos, go to Red Shoes blog. We must have missed each other in the crowd. She took a photo of my favorite painting there - the Picasso Portrait of a Girl. Here is another favorite - Monet's The Break-up of the Ice.
They had a fascinating exhibit of late 20th century and 21st century architectural models of museums and museum additions. You know, Art housing Art. There was a scale model of the Getty and several in Japan that I was not familiar with. There was also a scale model of UMMA's new addition.

Bill has some work in the museum ; ) Yes, he and several other University cabinet makers did the new reception desk and the conference rooms. It is lovely.

I saw something in the gift shop that caught my eye. Pantone color # 337 captured forever in porcelain in a coffee mug. The tag on the mug says Pantone 337 c is known by several names - duck egg, powder, butterfly, and retro. If you are not familiar with Pantone - basically it is a color system/guide/language so craftspeople and artists can communicate better with each other. You tell your printer you need Pantone 337 on your brochure instead of describing it sort of like.... "soft blue green like a robins egg, but not so green as teal", etc., etc. Shorthand for color artists. I have a catalog of over 24000 color swatches than for no other reason than I like to look at it.

This also reminds me of a favorite scene in an old Cary Grant movie - Mr. Blanding Builds His Dream House. Myrna Loy is describing paint colors to her house painter. Classic. Rent it. Click HERE to see it.

So, my head full of art and other lofty aspirations, we walked to Borders from the museum. This is what we came across.
It is a car metamorphosed into a tree, or is it the other way around? Notice it is parked in a no parking zone. That is SO Ann Arbor.

What does this all mean? I don't know - but have a nice weekend.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I'm It!

Joanna from Fig Tree Quilts has tagged me. Oy! This is a game ( i.e. dastardly scheme) where a blog tags you and you must tell 6 honest things about yourself - and then pass the game along to other unsuspecting bloggers (suckers!). Seriously, Joanna is a sweetie and I will try to "join in" as she says. So, here are 6 randomly honest things about me in no particular order (or importance).

1. Many moons ago I was once an Anthropology major in college.

2. Up until 8 years ago I did not own a sewing machine. My only sewing machine now is a Singer Featherweight. I initially bought the machine to assist in putting on the bindings - a tough job by hand. I now piece some tops on this machine. So in effect, I made hundreds of quilts - literally - "by hand" for over 25 years.

3. I owe my first job ever and my current job to my sister Polly. Polly was once the Librarian in our small hometown. The job eventually was passed on to our Mother. At the age of 14 I became the Library Assistant. The original library that Polly worked in was about 140 square feet, total. Yes, a freestanding 12' x 12' building. It later became the town jail. Polly of course, is responsible for my current job of "quilter". It was at her suggestion that I make a job out of my hobby.

4. I am not proud to say that my favorite t.v. show is Friends. I know when all of the reruns are on, on all of the channels on our cable service. I can watch them over and over again every day.
I still laugh. I can repeat the dialogue verbatim. I am very ashamed.

5. A couple of years ago, on a dare from Bill, I auditioned for the t.v. show Jeopardy. I took the written test and was invited to travel to Chicago to meet with the producers. They were in Chicago auditioning many of us from the Midwest. I spent the day on Navy Pier with many other geeks taking tests and playing Jeopardy games. I didn't get on the show. Family members told everyone they saw that I was going to be on Jeopardy. Oy! So I say to people who ask about it now that I passed the written test, but failed "poise and personality."

6. My husband drove me crazy even before we met. Let me explain. Years ago, when I was single and living in an apartment in the Old West Side of Ann Arbor, I would be awakened on Sunday mornings by a manic church bell. My brothers,who were alter boys in our small home town once had the bell ringing job when they were kids. The bell rang in our small Catholic church 6 times at 6am; 12 times at noon; and 6 more times at 6pm. It was our brothers job to take care of this since we lived about 2 blocks away. This manic bell ringing, in Ann Arbor, did not follow this direct and sensible route. This bell ringing took place at 10 minutes before the hour, or 5 minutes after. Sometimes it rang 8 times, sometimes 22. Also, my apartment was in somewhat of a acoustical Bermuda triangle. It was at the bottom of a hill and the windows faced a hollowed out bowl of a backyard. Sounds came here to die. I could hear the Michigan Marching Band on Saturday mornings during their practices. It sounded like they were playing in my bathroom. They were over 2 miles away. The bell on Sunday mornings sounded like it was ringing at the foot of my bed. I cursed that bell ringer. Yes, you guessed it, years later when Bill and I were planning the wedding it came out that he rang the bell on Sunday mornings. He was an elder at that church at the time. The fact that this was not a deal breaker must prove we were meant to be.

So, that's it. You know every trivial thing about me. Now it is time to pass this along. I tag Carrie, Pam, Nancy, Anne. That's it. Joanna said I could change the rules, so I only pick 4 instead of 7. If you ladies have already been tagged - in the famous words of Emily Latella - never mind.

P.S. Regarding the question of the irregular bell ringing times.... The bell was rung between services and Sunday School. Some sermons were longer than others I guess. There was also a coffee klatch during this time and Bill got around to ringing the bell - when he got around to it. I asked later why the odd number of rings. He was astounded that anyone would count them. Aaaarrrrghhhhh.


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