Monday, March 30, 2009


You know, if you whine long enough someone comes along to give you what you want, for no other reason than to shut you up. I have opined about my lack of photography skills since I started this blog. I long for good shots like Camille can put up and Anne has been showing. Oh well. A photography class is penciled in on my wish list right behind my Masters Tennis class and Advanced Cake Decorating. Sure. Carrie of Miss Rosie's sent these over. She was at the Kansas Troubles headquarters a year ago and dusted these off for us. Thanks Carrie.!!!!This first one is the same room where I took the bed photos. In this one you can see more of the room and get the idea of how many quilts are there. What you don't see is several floor to ceiling cabinets stacked with quilts too. The next picture shows the work room or gathering room. This is where we sat and stitched and talked at night. It is big enough to play rugby in. Okay, it is actually big enough to have a dozen different sewing stations positioned around the room. GENEROUS sewing stations. This room was once the ballroom I believe, of the local Elks lodge (maybe Moose) in earlier days. It is certainly big enough for a large gathering of dancers and a band. Both of these rooms are on the second floor, along with a huge kitchen, a storage room, and 3 bathrooms. There is that much square footage again in the ground floor. All filled with cool stuff and lots of quilts. Count your blessings that you don't get the heating bill for this place.

Despite the dusting of snow we had yesterday, spring is trying to creep in. The Ann Arbor Farmer's Market started up on Saturday. One of the early samplings was rhubarb. I have been on a 25 year quest to find a palatable rhubarb recipe. Most are too tart, or too sweet. If the yin-yang of sweetness is good - then the texture is slimy. Well, in the last issue of Country Home (Yes, the LAST ISSUE!!!) there is a recipe for Orange-Rhubarb quick bread. It's a winner. I baked this on Saturday and it is almost gone. Next time I think I will bake it in a bundt pan and put an orange glaze on it. It is much more delicate than a bread - more like a rich coffee cake.Orange-Rhubarb Quick Bread

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup yellow cornmeal

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups sugar

3/4 cups butter, melted

3 eggs

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel

2 tablespoons orange juice

2 cups finely chopped rhubarb

Streusel topping

Lightly coat two 8x4x2 inch baking pans with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl stir together sugar, butter, eggs, milk, orange peel, and orange juice until combined; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

Gently fold rhubarb into batter. Divide and spoon into prepared pans; sprinkle streusel topping evenly over tops. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 - 45 minutes. Cool in pans for 15 minutes and then turn out on wire racks.

Streusel Topping: Combine 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg. With a pastry blender, cut in 1/4 cup butter until mixture is crumbly. Stir in 2 tablespoons slivered almonds, if desired.


Saturday, March 28, 2009


I will post a few more pictures of last weekend in Kansas. It was a mighty fine get-together. These are some of the quilts - there were quilts as far as the eye could see. Good ones.Actually there was good stuff all over. Here is part of Lynne's laundry display off the main bathrooms. Can you believe how bad these pictures are? Lynne called me out for taking "unworthy" pictures. I don't know about that. There was tons there to photograph. I just take bad pictures. Unfortunately, your loss. Sorry folks.We had fun and we actually did some work. We all went out antique shopping one day and mostly we were looking for props to style our booths at Quilt Market. Here are Amy Bradley and Alma Allen perusing the stuff. Most of our time was spent talking and sharing ideas and information. Besides being fabric designers for Moda we are almost all self employed business women. It was a think tank of the quilting industry and we all walked away with more tools. Guess what the biggest topic was? Blogs. The couple of us there that have blogs shared our "wisdom". I think the others caught the blog bug. Barbara Brackman has already set up hers. Check it out. Lissa Alexander talked about all the kinds of blogs out there. Business type blogs, personal blogs, etc. I was asked what kind of blog I have and what do I write about. "Nonsense, mostly" I said. Anything that comes out of my head: quilt stuff, family news, and lots of nonsense.

Yesterday after the sad news about Tucker, Bill and I thought we should tell some family and friends. I decided just to post about it on the blog and we have heard from all of you. Thank you family and friends for sharing your stories about Tucker. Thank you to all my new friends out there - most of whom I have never met face to face - for saying kind things. It has meant a lot to us. So, goes to show you - Blogs: The new way to communicate. Look for more Moda talent getting blogs in the near future. I, of course, will keep you posted. Blurry photos and all.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Tucker Simpson

March 2000 - March 27th 2009

Goodbye Big Guy

4 Winners!

Thanks, everyone for commenting! It sure seems there are a lot of suspicious looking quilters and rug hookers skulking around airports. I can't really complain. Security does have a job to do and I WAS carrying "weapons." Thanks too for commenting on your treasures and the treasures I came back with from Kansas. Did I tell you about Susan's treasure. Susan works at Moda in Dallas and joined in on our fun. She brought her refurbished Featherweight. It is a non-working Featherweight that she had enamel painted - purple. Cool. It is now just for admiring. Very nice.

Okay, now down to business. The winners are: Mimi; Kim H; Meghann Stephens; Tracy.

The winners were picked by the random generator at Email me here ladies and you will get a Moda Pre-cut and something special from the treasures. Thanks.

Just a reminder people......10 days until Opening Day. Be there or be square.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sharing The Wealth

This is the haul, the booty, the swag, all spread out on my drafting table. There are indeed, many treasures. Sewing notions, notebooks, stationary, fat quarters, and assorted "white elephants." Barb and Mary of "Me and My Sister" raided a Pottery Barn sale table and brought their things gift wrapped. This was deemed by the rest of us as "showy." Kidding aside - nobody does presentation like Me and My Sister. Here are some of the Moda pre-cuts included in the haul. There are charm packs from BlackBird Designs, Brannock and Patek, and April Cornell. There is a Honey Bun of Sandy Gervais' "Zippety Doo Dah".

Did I tell you about my flight home? It was fine, except for the extensive security check in Kansas City by TSA. I was patted down, asked questions and my carry-on was opened and examined. Was my number up? Did something in my demeanor say I was up to no good? Actually, I think it was the "weapons" given to me by Barb and Mary. Thanks ladies!!!!! Make a comment about your favorite treasure or share a security story and you will be in the running for the Honey Bun and the Charm Packs. I will draw from all comments made before midnight Thursday March 26th. Happy Trails.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Oh, The Things You Will See

I'm back. Exhausted, yet recharged and inspired. It was a fabulous time. We brainstormed and solved the world's problems and laughed so much, well........I won't elaborate. I will have several posts over the next few days, but as to the most important......Who won the treasures???? Here is the scene of the "game." This is the kitchen table at Lynne's. It seats 20 people. We all got ready with our pile of stuff and waited to play the game. Here is dear Alma of Blackbird Designs.This is Sandy Klop (American Jane) admiring the bluebird eggcup. I cropped out Sandy Gervais (You're Welcome, Sandy!!!!) because her part of the photo is less than chic. Sandy Gervais is of course, always chic. Photos do sometimes lie.Amy Bradley coveted those sunglasses.Barb, of "Me and My Sister" thought she would do better with the sunglasses.
But fate did not see it that way. We battled and the victor was............ ME!! There were 52 treasures in the kitty. The haul added 14 lbs. to my luggage. I checked. Come back tomorrow for more tales of adventure and humiliating photos.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring Adventure!

Tonight I am packing for a trip to Kansas. I have almost everything crossed off my list and I am excited to go! The destination is none other than the famous "Kansas Troubles" headquarters headed by quilter extraordinaire - Lynne Hagmeier. Lynne is hosting a Moda Fabric Designer Retreat weekend. What fun! I believe about a dozen of us will be able to make it. I am flying into Kansas City tomorrow and will meet up with "Me and My Sister" (Barb and Mary) and Sandy of "American Jane" fame. From there we will drive to our destination and meet up with everyone else. Not a lot is planned except having fun. There will be sitting and stitching, laughing, eating, laughing, shopping, laughing, and whatever else pops up. One of those elusive "Three Sisters" emailed us this week and said we were going to play a game. We are instructed to bring 9 things. "Please bring 9 things. It can be 9 fat quarters, it can be any combination of stuff.
Make it good though, you may go home with it all or go home with none. ( basically no white elephants)"
So I started gathering treasures. I think they are treasures, anyway. The more I gathered, the more I am thinking that they ARE white elephants. Oh well, I will bring 9 fat quarters as back ups. One of the treasures is the bird eggcup that is pictured at the top of this post. Another is a pair of vintage 1950 Italian sunglasses complete with rhinestones! (I would keep for my collection, but they keep slipping off my nose). Treasures? No?
I am taking my camera of course, but no computer. I probably won't have any updates or juicy gossip until next week. You never know, we may even get some good design ideas. Whatever happens, it won't be boring. Talk to you next week.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone! Consider yourself truly greeted by an Irishman - or two. Polly and I are all Irish. As far back as anyone can decipher. As much as we can trust, since our family is loaded with story tellers (i.e. full of blarney). I don't think any of those tall tales refer to our genetics in any way though. Our contribution to this day are some "Irish Chain" projects that we did a couple of years ago. They are one of our favorites. The instructions to these projects were published in our book - "Everyday Folk Art".

There are no
celebrations scheduled for today. We are both way past the green beer thing. Here is a picture of our brother that our niece emailed to us a couple of days ago. This is our brother Jeff who has his grandson Mason with him at the Pinckney Michigan St. Patrick's Day parade. How can you tell if he is our brother? The first clue is - check out his hair. The second clue is the cool eyeglasses. Yes, he is our brother. Kiss an Irishman today for luck!


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Catching Up

I have been getting quite a bit done recently. That is certainly nice for a change. I have designed 2 quilts this week and things are falling into place, getting ready for Spring Quilt Market in Pittsburgh. I finished up a quilt design today going through yards of graph paper, several pencils and one eraser. All were sacrificed for a good cause. I'm pretty happy with the design. Maybe it is all this sunshine we have been getting here in Michigan. THAT is certainly nice. Oh, it is still pretty cold, but it is blindingly bright today. Did you know that this area of Michigan gets more cloudy days than Seattle Washington? Seattle gets more rain, but we get more of the "dreary." So, the last few days have been wonderful. Now the hand drawn designs get sent to Lisa in Florida who does our pattern graphics and improves on my directions. I tell her how I made a quilt and she cuts out about 5 or 6 steps and makes it super easy. *Smack* (that is the sound of me slapping my forehead after I read how she edits my directions). She is a GENIUS.
Polly has already made the rug to go with this quilt. She is not just a genius - she is freaky fast. Let's just say that Polly is prolific. She has made a ton of rugs and has many more in her head waiting to be made. You will have to wait to see the quilt as it exists just on paper. Polly is taking orders on kits for the rug above- "Wiscasset". If you are interested - you can email her HERE.


Monday, March 9, 2009

You missed it by this much.......

How close were you people? Not very close at all, actually. Someone not as polite as Minick and Simpson would say "you people couldn't hit the broad side of a barn." Or, "You couldn't hit water if you fell out of a boat." I would never say that. Polly would never say that. I will say that Susan K came the closest with her guess of 750. I guess I should really apologize for my photo. It must have been very misleading. The total # of half-square triangles is 806. So, "I'm sorry for the horrible photo." Because of the bad photo and because you folks are so nice - we will have 2 winners!! Susan K, of course and all the rest of you - we put your names in a hat (actually a Fiestaware bowl) and the 2nd winner is.....Barbara. Both of you will get a Flag Day Farm Jelly Cake. Yeah! Here is what I have done with my obscene number of half square triangles.I can't show you any more than that right now. Obviously my tolerance for half square triangles is a bit higher than the general public. I would never question 100, or 200, or even 400 half square triangles, but when I got to 800, even I had to admit that maybe it was more than most people would want to make. Sigh. Rest assured that the "quilt idea" I had is being edited. Susan K. and Barbara - please email me HERE with your address and the goodies will go out asap. Thanks everyone!


Saturday, March 7, 2009

While You Were Out

While you were out I have been busy. I have a quilt idea. Bill says it is scary when I have ideas. He has left to go to a hockey game. This is going to be a future quilt pattern. Oh, there will have to be lots of changes. Lots. I have been making half-square triangle blocks that will be a large portion of this quilt. I have just finished trimming them.These are the snippets that I cut off. This is the pile of half-square triangles ready to be pieced into the quilt.I left my rotary cutter there so you can get some perspective. It took all day to press and trim these - much longer than it did to sew them. I am going back to the drawing board - literally - to do some sketches and change the math a bit. I love the look of all of these blocks, but the pattern will have to be a bit more practical. You can be assured that the final pattern will not be quite so daunting. So, now for a bit of fun. How many half-square triangles do you think are there? Really? Let's make it interesting, shall we? Guess how many blocks are there in the pile and make your guess by midnight Monday night March 9th and the person who is closest without going over will win a "Charming Jelly Cake" of Flag Day Farm. That is a Jelly Roll, a Layer Cake, and a Charm pack. I will tell you that "Too Damn Many" and "Infinity" have already been guessed by family members. All other real numbers are game. Good Luck.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pillow Panache!

If you like the cheater cloth quilt, you might like these pillow cases that are featured in the new "bookazine" issue called Bags, Pillows, and Pincushions from American Patchwork and Quilting.
These are easy to make and can be done in an hour. There are lots of quick and easy gifts to make in this lovely new edition. It is now available at new stands and quilt shops. This is the cover.
Make sure to look at the back cover of this! It features a photo of lots of Moda Fabric designers. Even those who try not to have their photo taken. It might become a collector's item!


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