Friday, February 25, 2011

Movie Weekend

I'm starting a new quilt. In anticipation of a long, wonderful Sunday evening watching all the Oscar hoopla, I am getting lots and lots of applique ready to go. Every flat surface in the house is strewn with graph paper, rulers, pencils, scissors, fabric, and what not. It's a mess. To get an idea that's in my head, onto fabric, there is a long series of messes to make and clean up. It's just part of the package. I wish it wasn't, but it is. I would like to create in a serene and clean, and inspirational place (and sometimes it starts out that way) but, it never ends up that way. Some of my colleagues create in that atmosphere. Remember this photo from American Patchwork & Quilting of Anne Sutton's studio?
Or how about Joanna's lovely, cozy spot....Even Polly makes sure everything is in it's place.I turned around to take a picture of my cutting table. Here it is...
Oh well. My plan is to get my applique pieces cut out tonight and tomorrow and by Sunday night I hope to be clean and serene too.

Speaking of movies....... this was taped on my front door yesterday morning when Gibby and I went out for a walk.
A note from Universal Studios. Yes, THAT Universal studios. Here is the first sentence.Despite the unglamorous name of the Production company - kind of exciting news. Well, what follows is a shooting schedule of the street in front of our house. It starts next week and there are currently barrels out on the curb ready to block off the avenue. Last week there were lots of local news stories about George Clooney being here in town scouting areas for his upcoming movie. The other actors in George's movie.....are Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei, and Paul Giamatti. Alas, this isn't that movie. The big star attached to this film is Jason Segel from How I Met Your Mother. Not really the same, is it? Sigh. So, after I clean up my sewing mess, I will clean up Gibby's nose prints from the front window. I'll keep you posted.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Burning the Midnight Oil

We heard from American Patchwork & Quilting that a little quilt we did will be in the next issue. It will be the June issue, but that means it will start being mailed out at the beginning of April. (don't try to figure out the scheduling of magazine publishing dates - it will drive you mad) So, I am getting a few kits together. Like many of my quilts, even though it is small, it will have about 35 fabrics in it. Basically a little bit of everything - my favorite way to make a quilt. This is us, trying to get ahead of the game.
I think we will post it on our website the last week of March, so look for it then.

The strangest thing happened last weekend. On Friday it was a warm sunny day. Warm for February, anyway. On Saturday it was bright and sunny, but cool. All of our snow had melted and I'm afraid we had a bit of spring fever. Bill and I barbecued on Saturday. We put on a pork shoulder over indirect coals for 7 hours and had delectable North Carolina Pulled Pork The fragrant smoke bewitched our whole neighborhood. ALL DAY. So, you won't be surprised that on Sunday we had 10" of snow. Yep, it's all our fault. Sorry.

No, the weather gods don't like you rushing spring.

Today is the last day of the Pillow Talk Blog Hop and the last stop is over at Moda Lissa's place. Make sure to comment for a triple top-secret prize.

Thanks for all the emails and comments I received on the baby picture on our Blog Hop post. (Lissa even posted it today). I don't mind posting pictures that are actually flattering and/or cute. Our whole family is blessed with adorable baby pictures, each one cuter than the next. Here is our great nephew Mason from 2 years ago.
What did I tell you...

Unfortunately for me, the baby picture is the best one ever taken of me and it's been all downhill since then. Mason seems to be having better luck with the photogenic gene.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Day 18 and Odds and Ends

Happy Friday everyone! Make sure to stop over at Deb's blog today for Day 18 of the Pillow Talk Blog Hop. Deb is one of the grande dames of Moda. (Not the grande dame definition of being old. No. The definition of being experienced in their field. Yep.) She still looks like a co-ed, but just get her started about her grand babies!!! She is one proud grandma.

Click here for the cutest thing you will see on the internet today.

Polly and I just heard that our Mackinac Island Workshop on Mother's Day weekend is getting very popular. While there are still a few openings in the rug hooking classes, we are adding another session for the Chippewa Nine Patch quilt. Those few remaining places won't last long.I have one kit left over from a recent class. It is Patrick's Patchwork kit. All the fabrics for the top and binding, and the pattern are available for $110.00. If you are interested, email me here.
Oh, and Kathy H and MommaRock - I still haven't heard from you - email me here for you Blog Hop prizes.

Remember the Snowpocalypse we had here a couple of weeks ago?? Gone. All gone. This weekend will be spent picking up the back yard to see what Gibby had buried in the snow this winter. Right now, looking out the dining room window I can see a Frisbee, a boomerang, and about a dozen bones.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Blog Hop Winner and Trouble At Home

Hey, wasn't that fun??!! The Pillow Talk Blog Hop is winding down, but there is still more to go.... Make sure to check out Sweetwater today.

We went to the random number generator and clicked on it seven times to get seven winners and here they are...

The winner of the pillow is
Kathy H

Mommarock gets the Charlevoix fat 1/8th pack

The winners of the pattern assortments are:
Joanne (who said "Love the pillow and all the fabrics"), Grandma Sewnsew, Kwiltsfl, Sue, and Betty.

Email me here and I'll get them out to you asap.

Besides all the comments (thanks!) on the blog, we get emails too. I got this one today....

I was the winner of the Charlevoix scraps from your blog at the time of Gibby's birthday. I was so excited to win and then when I received the box, I was jumping for joy and couldn't wait to tell my quilt group. What to do with them? Then all of a sudden the light bulb went off in my brain and I decided to make a string quilt. I have never made one, kind of knew how, and then googled it to gather more ideas. I made my foundation fabric 10" and thought if I made 48 blocks and then borders it would make a nice size quilt for "ME" and my dog, Murphy, of course. Out of all the scraps, I made 40 blocks, then got online and pre-ordered a few fat quarters and fabric for the borders, binding and backing. And the attachment to this email (drum roll please) is a picture of my beautiful quilt, called "Gibby's Charlevoix String Quilt". I love this quilt! I am taking it to my quilt group this week for show & tell.
All we can say is Wow!!! Thanks Nancyz - your quilt is beautiful. I mean, Gibby's quilt is beautiful. Way to go, Nancyz for getting me in trouble. I mean, a nice lady that Gibby has never even met makes a quilt and names it after him; and he lives with a person who makes quilts all the time and has never named a quilt after him. I am in so much trouble.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone. I am getting ready to head out for a lecture at a Michigan Quilt guild, but thought I would wish you a happy day. Make sure to head over to Sandy's blog today for day 14 of the Moda Pillow Talk Blog Hop.

Thanks for all the nice things you said about our pillow and such...... you are too kind. You have until midnight tomorrow night to comment on the post below for a chance to win.

I thought I would answer a few questions posed by the previous post...

First of all, Polly's bedroom (yes, it really is her bedroom) is indigo and white, not black and white. The picture I posted does make it seem that it is black, but remember, Polly is all about the blue.

The quilt on her bed is called Snowy Day and it is in our 2nd book - Everyday Folk Art. The book is now out of print and we are out of copies, but it is still available on Amazon and ebay. Good luck everyone.

The quilt that is on my bed was in our first book - Folk Art Friends. That book is also out of print and we are out of copies, but again, a few still exist on Amazon.

Thanks for asking about Gibby, he is just fine. The needle never did show up...... but he didn't get it and that's all that matters. At least, until one of us steps on it.

And finally, the car is stuffed to the ceiling with quilts. It's great to be able to take so many for my "lecture". The more quilts I can show, the less I have to talk. If you have a quilt guild that is within driving distance of Ann Arbor Michigan and want to hear my philosophy of life and quilts - you can email me here. I would be glad to schedule anyone within a few hours drive. As you know, flying with 7 suitcases (overweight suitcases!) is cost prohibitive now, but my SUV would be glad to do the job.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 12 - Moda Pillow Talk Blog Hop

Your in the right place!! Today is our day. I know you could hardly wait. You know the drill by now..... Lissa Alexander asked us to make a pillow to represent "Us". This is what we came up with.Our story as designers is represented in this pillow. First of all it is made with all Minick and Simpson fabric and is hand quilted (Me!) and features wool applique (Polly). The airplane is because we live so far apart and to work in the same room together requires somebody taking a plane trip. The dog (Annie the Airedale) is because both of our households are run by dogs and we often talk on the phone every morning while we are walking Annie or Gibby. The apple represents a computer, which we also use all day long. Neither one of use has an Apple computer, but as an icon - it works much more succinctly than a stitched PC. That said, Polly is now an owner of an ipad and I believe any new technology purchases will now be an Apple. Polly gives it a rave review. Oh, and the flag.... well, we are the Americana designers for Moda.

Here are our respective beds..... Polly's bed.

My bed.......
(photo courtesy of Habitually Chic)

Kidding!! But this is the quilt that is on my bed.
Old West Side quilt

Lissa asked us some questions..........
What is a little known fact about yourselves? Laurie - Yes, we both at one time were librarians (assistant librarians to be exact). I wish I could post a picture of the first Dexter Michigan Library where Polly worked. It was maybe, 200 square feet - total. It had a later reincarnation as the local Sheriff office and jail. Really.

How do you relax? Polly - Hooking a rug or planning a rug.

What do you sleep in? Laurie - I have a sad collection of t-shirts, sweat pants, and sweat shirts that get rotated, depending on the season. The more threadbare and holey, the better I like them.

What kind of pillow do you like? Polly - Feather! Soft!

When you were young did you sleep with a stuffed animal? Laurie - I don't have any memories of one - but there is this photographic evidence....
Do you sew in bed? Read? Watch tv? Eat? Polly - I Just crash, I'm usually working in the studio until very late - so just right to sleep.

How many nights have you or your spouse spent on the couch? Laurie - Too many to count. Not because we are fighting, but because one of us wakes the other one up. I snore. Bill kicks. You know, restless leg syndrome. Thankfully, we both take measures now to fix this.

Nighttime toddy? Polly - Nope!

Early to bed or all-nighter? Laurie - I am kind of a night owl, but it has been quite a few years since there were any all-nighters.

Who would you most like to have a pillow fight with? Polly - My grand kids!

So, that's what we have to share. Please make a comment below before midnight February 15th and you could win the pillow( shown above) or a fat eighth pack of Charlevoix fabricI will pick some more names for a total of 7 winners.... 1 pillow, 1 fat 8th pack, and 5 pattern assortments. Make sure to stop over at Oliver + S tomorrow!!

February 13th … Oliver + S

February 14th … Pieces From My Heart

February 15th … Laurie & Jessi Jung

February 16th … Sweetwater

February 17th...Barbara Brackman
February 18th … Deb Strain

February 19th … American Jane

February 20th … Primitive Gatherings


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day 9

Did you visit Kate Spain's and Kansas Troubles blogs the past couple of days? You know, when all the Moda designers are lucky enough to get together, we are just like anyone else - awed by our colleagues talent. We congratulate and encourage each other. But, I must say, when Kate Spain shared that she used to design the wares for Hello Kitty - we, as a group, gasped. Damn, that's some serious pop culture street cred.

What is going on in the frigid mid section? Stars, mostly. Lots of 'em.
I'm almost ready to start sewing them together.

Are you catching up on all the sleep habits of the Moda designers? Pretty scandalous - NOT. Make sure to come back on Saturday, for all our tales. Tales of things done.....

Or which one of us is the......

Here is the rest of the line-up for the Pillow Talk Blog Hop.

February 9th ... Kathy Schmitz

February 10th … Thimbleblossoms

February 11th … Me and My Sister Designs

February 12th … Minick & Simpson

February 13th … Oliver + S

February 14th … Pieces From My Heart

February 15th … Laurie & Jessi Jung

February 16th … Sweetwater

February 17th...Barbara Brackman
February 18th … Deb Strain

February 19th … American Jane

February 20th … Primitive Gatherings


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pillow Talk Blog Hop Day 6

Are you following along on the Pillow Talk Blog Hop? Today is Joanna's Day over at Fig Tree

Are you coveting the tiny, beautiful paintings that Sandy is making every day over at Pieces From My Heart? We are!

Our day isn't until next week end, but here is a small tease to what you'll see.....

Guess which pajamas Polly wears? Which ones do I wear?
Happy Blog Hopping!

February 1st … Aneela Hoey

February 2nd … Blackbird Designs

February 3rd … Brannock and Patek

February 4th … Bunny Hill

February 5th … Cotton Way

February 6th … Fig Tree

February 7th … Kansas Troubles

February 8th … Kate Spain

February 9th … Kathy Schmitz Studios

February 10th … Thimbleblossoms

February 11th … Me and My Sister Designs

February 12th … Minick & Simpson

February 13th … Oliver + S

February 14th … Pieces From My Heart

February 15th … Laurie & Jessi Jung

February 16th … Sweetwater

February 17th...Barbara Brackman
February 18th … Deb Strain

February 19th … American Jane

February 20th … Primitive Gatherings


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Needle in a Haystack

Isn't he precious. Yes, that is what I think now. Earlier today I vacillated between heartsick and furious when I looked at him. When I woke up this morning I found out he had been busy during the wee hours of the morning. One of my pincushions was in shreds. I had a small lap desk sitting on the coffee table (or antique red wagon if you want to be specific). I have been hand piecing LeMoyne stars. Everything on the lap desk was in place, the way I left it the night before, except for this pincushion. Here is the pincushion in question, on the bottom left of this picture - the cute little stitched mushroom.This picture is of my sewing tools I posted last year. This morning the mushroom pincushion was a mushed mess of wool felt, stuffing, and the bottle cap that made up the base. After a frantic search of the living room I found the pins that were in it, but where was the needle?? Oy! Gibby wouldn't say.

He seemed fine. I wasn't. It was a very long day waiting for an opening at our vet. He pranced in for his exam and kissed all the techs. I told the vet I wouldn't be able to sleep without knowing, so she did a complete set of x-rays. He is hale and hearty and needle free. Thank heavens. The search for the missing needle continues......

It's my fault of course. I left it right at eye and mouth level for him and it looks remarkable like several of his "babies." So as a warning to all of my stitching friends..... hide the pincushions up high.

Remember to follow the Pillow Talk Blog Hop. Today is Jan's day!

February 3rd - Jan Patek

February 4th - Bunny Hill Designs

February 5th - Cotton Way

February 6h - Fig Tree

February 7th - Kansas Troubles

February 8th - Kate Spain

February 9th - Kathy Schmitz

February 10 - Camille Roskelley

February 11th - Me and My Sister

February 12th - Right here at Minick and Simpson

February 13th - Oliver + S

February 14th - Sandy Gervais is everyone's sweetheart

February 15th - Lauren and Jessi Jung
February 16th - Sweetwater

February 17th - Barbara Brackman

February 18th - Deb Strain
February 19th - American Jane

February 20th - Primitive Gatherings


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hand Piecing Part 2

Here is how the LeMoyne Star block progressed. After I sewed 2 diamond pairs together, I inset a square piece. Here are two of these larger units ready to be pieced together.
I sew these together, starting at the right side of the block, taking another stitch on top of my last stitch at the center of the star. I then move the needle through to the other side of the star and stitch the star from the center to the left edge. Once these two main pieces are sewn together, I inset a square into the two remaining empty corners. Now, on to the ironing board. Up until now, I haven't pressed anything yet. I start pressing the seams in one direction (either clockwise or counter-clockwise). It makes no difference as long as you are consistent. This is the back of the block pressed.
Notice how the seams of the star all spiral in one direction. Here is a close-up of the center of the star (sorry, I should have used fabrics with more contrast). The center will spiral too.Here is the front of the block.

It's all ready to be pieced into the top - I will set them all together by machine.

I'll try to answer some of the questions posed. I know some hand piecers try not to stop and start sewing on a block. What I mean is, they try to use one length of thread on a needle without stopping and knotting. I understand the theory behind it - less time used knotting and supposedly a stronger seam without knots - but I don't work this way. For one thing, it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks and I have never had a problem with my blocks coming apart. So, I sew small units together and knot and then start another unit. So, I would not be concerned with weaving the thread along a seam line to pick up another piece. Just stop and start - much easier.

The needles I like to use vary. What I want is a long, thin needle. This allows for putting on a lot of stitches when using the running stitch. The long thin needles I like best are either a milliner or a straw needle. A thin applique needle works too. A traditional "all-purpose" hand sewing needle is too fat to allow loading a lot of stitches. I think putting a lot of stitches on the needle helps to keep your stitches small, even and straight.

Remember this is the first day of the Pillow Talk Blog Hop and Comfortstitching is the first stop!

And I hope your cupboards and fridges are stocked as we are going to get a Groundhog Day for the ages - if you believe the forecasters. Bring it on, as long as we don't lose power!


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