Monday, January 31, 2011

Hand Piecing

I am working on a quilt right now that has some LeMoyne Stars in it. While most of the quilt is machine pieced - I am hand piecing the LeMoyne stars. I could machine piece it of course, but all that stopping and starting and making sure to be exactly on the "dot"..... well, it sort of assumes that I know what I'm doing on the sewing machine. That assumes a lot. But hand piecing, no problem. Actually it is quite fun. I haven't hand pieced in awhile; my hand work lately has been appliqueing and hand quilting.

I cut out all of my pieces with a rotary cutter with the seam allowances added - just like you do for machine piecing. What I also cut out was a plastic template for each shape of the block (3 shapes - diamond, square, and triangle). On this template I punched a 1/16" hole at the seam allowance intersections.Using this template I marked a dot on every fabric piece - at the seam allowance intersection. This is where I will be stopping and starting my hand piecing. When I start at a dot, I back stitch on top of the dot again - instead of a knot. This is what the stitches look like as I sew.Soon I will have several units that look like this.
I'll show more tomorrow - this post is getting a bit long......

Make sure to stop by Aneela Hoey's blog today (and tomorrow Feb 1st. Aneela is about 8 hours ahead of us in the United Kingdom) she is the first stop on the Pillow Talk Blog Hop.The rest of the line-up is as follows:

February 2nd - Blackbird Designs

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



Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pillow Talk Blog Hop

Starting February 1st, Polly and I, and many other Moda Fabric designers are taking part in the Pillow Talk Blog Hop. Make sure to stop by. There will be secrets revealed and other stuff too.
Trust me when I say no exciting bedtime tales will be told here. Sorry, but that's the truth. But, to make up for that - there will be give-aways. That's all we really care about anyway, isn't it? We are at that practical age now, aren't we. Here is the roster for the hop.

See you then!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Start Of It All

Polly and I were asked to tell a little bit about how we became "Minick and Simpson".

Well, first of all, we have the same parents (but completely different childhoods) and that gives us that initial, important link. The "different childhoods" is because there is a 16 year difference in our ages. What that meant to me was, while I had a sister and 3 brothers, I spent a good deal of my childhood as an "only child." Best of both worlds, so to speak. In my solitude, I sought out needlework. By the age of 6 I was stitching and embroidering linens and Christmas ornaments. By the time I was 14 I had dabbled in many, many things. It was at this time that I saw an antique quilt in a magazine and lightening struck. I wanted a quilt. No one in our family made quilts or even had one, that I knew of. I tried to figure it out. (and I will say, I am still trying to figure it out)

These were the days before the internet, before quilts shops, before quilting magazines, and before 100% cotton fabric was widely available. It was the era of polyester double-knits. I purchased my fabric at the local 5 and dime one 1/8th of a yard at a time. This was the result.As you can see, it was also before acrylic rulers and rotary cutters. I cut out each patch, by eye, with scissors. This quilt survived High School, College, roommates, a husband, and several pets. It now lives out it's destiny in the bottom of Bill's closet - as a bed for cats. The batting is a thick polyester that will survive a millennium and it was tied with yarn, as this was the general consensus among the quilt savvy of our town. It will not fall apart, to my great dismay. We all have to start somewhere.

I kept keeping on. I have been a quilt maker since that day. As my skills grew, so did the resources available to me.

Airedale Quilt from Folk Art Friends by Minick and Simpson
Wool Wheels by Laurie Simpson
Pieceful Journey by Laurie Simpson
We quilters today are blessed with an abundance of wonderful patterned fabric in 100% cotton and a plethora of tools. Several hundred quilts later, I can't wait to start my next quilt. I will never make all the quilts that I want to make, but I can try.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Oscar Nominations

As expected, The King's Speech leads the pack with 12 nominations. We here at M & S think it's quite deserving. But, what's that?? No nomination for best supporting paisley fabric in a feature film??
Nope, no best costume nominations for Secretariat. We were robbed, I tell ya!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

While I Was Out.....

I have a big quilting project spread out all over my dining room table. There are fabric pieces, sewing tools, a sewing machine and this spool holder and a large spool of thread.I went out this morning to run some errands and this was how I found Roscoe the cat when I got back - hiding under a dining room chair. Why???Well, for one thing, the spool was a bit larger when I left, and when I came home I tripped over a grey line of thread across the hallway. Hmmmm. I tugged at the grey line of thread and started to reel it in. The thread went from the dining room table, two times around the table, down the hall, into the guest room, under the bed, around the desk, back out into the hall, into my sewing room, around the ironing board 3 times, down the hall again, into the kitchen, down the basement steps, and finally finishing up by the kitty litter box. Someone had a very exciting morning.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011


We are all back from Chicago and it was grand. Frigid, but grand. It was a pretty severe shock to Polly's system and she is nursing a cold from the adventure. Two of Polly's granddaughters - Shelby and Rachel accompanied me on the train. Later, we met up with more family members in Chitown. There were several reasons for the trip, but the main one was Rachel's birthday.One of the things we did was to redeem a gift certificate the girls received for Christmas. A gift certificate for Tiffany's. Both girls used it to to get silver post earrings. I had never been inside Tiffany's before. I'm not really a jewelry kind of gal, but Tiffany's could make me change my ways. Not only a beautiful store with beautiful wares, the merchandising was fabulous. I wanted to take pictures of it, but because of security reasons, no pictures allowed. Too bad, as the theme in the store was stitchery. Each showcase had needles, vintage spools of thread and embroidery hoops all to display the jewels. The juxtaposition of two facets of femininity was effective. Here are Shelby and Rachel outside the landmark Michigan Avenue store.That's Polly taking their picture.

Wicked was great and we were so impressed with all the talent involved.

We are now back home, back to earth, and back to work. There are a few new projects on the horizon, a pending blog-hop with give-aways, and much more. Keep warm.


Friday, January 14, 2011

7:48 Wolverine

Well, I guess Minick and Simpson aren't the only people who appreciate Mr. Colin Firth. Good to know. That movie is everything you have heard it to be - and more. Make sure to see it! Polly and Tom saw it yesterday and they loved it as much as Bill and I did. Superbly done and fascinating. And, if you obsess about movie sets and costumes like I do - it's worth it for that alone. And don't forget the wallpaper!! Oh, the British and their obsession with over-the-top wallpaper. It makes me very happy to see such attention to detail in the sets.I had a jam packed day yesterday and today, for that matter. After unpacking the car of 6 suitcases of quilts, I get to repack an overnight bag because at 7:48 tomorrow morning, myself and several Minicks will be going here.Polly, myself, and 2 of her granddaughters are going to Chicago on the train. The train is a great way to get to, and to get around in Chicago. It will be a short, fun filled trip. Shopping, dining and especially this.An all girls weekend in the Windy City. We are making sure to have sweaters, hats, scarves, and lip balm.

We'll be back to our regular scheduled programming of quilts and rugs next week. Bye!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

We Interrupt This Blog.....

I am stopped in several projects right now. I am waiting on a half yard of fabric to arrive in the mail to continue my sewing and cutting of this.I am also at a standstill for a bunch of other chores. I won't bore you with the details. (hasn't stopped me before though, has it?) The taxes are half done. My calendar and scheduling is half done. What to do???? I hereby cancel this quilt and rug blog for one day and therefore appoint this day as the official Colin Firth Appreciation Day.

I know I have told you that Love Actually is both Minick and Simpsons favorite holiday movie. Mr. Colin Firth contributes greatly to this feat.
You also might have picked up on this blog that I am a Janite (Jane Austen, that is) and Mr. Firth DEFINED what a Mr. Darcy should be in the classic Pride and Prejudice.(I don't just have one copy of this dvd - I have the original and the digitally enhanced version!)

Let's not forget he has a sense of humor and both reprised and satirized this beloved role in Bridget Jones Diary as Mr. Mark Darcy.Today, on this cold and snowy day (with no imminent pressing chores) we are going to go see The King's Speech starring none other than Colin Firth. As the Brits would say - "Brilliant!"

Ta Ta


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Big Starts

Since we were schlepping through airports and such on New Year's Eve, I wasn't prepared to cook on New Year's Day. Also, being in airports and such on NYE, I kept seeing news stories about black eyed peas being the food of choice for the next day. It isn't our custom to cook or eat black eyed peas on New Year's Day, probably because we are not from the south. The only custom relating to New Year's Day pertains to football. But, black eyed peas reminded me of something - of this recipe that I hadn't cooked in a few years. Yesterday I remedied that and made it. Not only is it yummy, it makes you feel a bit virtuous when you indulge. It's pretty healthy.

Vegetable Jambalaya

3 tablespoons canola or olive oil
1 cup diced onion
2 large cloves or garlic, minced
3/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup diced carrots
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili pepper
1 bay leaf
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 cup black eyed peas, cooked (I started with 1 cup dried and cooked according to directions on the bag)
1 can 28 oz. plum tomatoes, chopped
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth if not strictly vegetarian)
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 1/2 cup uncooked long grain rice
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

Heat oil in large dutch oven. Add onion and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Add garlic, celery, and carrots. Cook 5 minutes longer. Mix in spices and herbs. Add the bell peppers, black eyed peas, tomatoes, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cook, partially covered, for 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings and add zucchini and bring mixture to a boil. Stir in rice, cover, and reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes. Stir in parsley and serve.

I have another good start going on...... I have strips of fabric lined up and hanging all over the house.
Lots of 'em. Some of them are even sewn together and cut. These are the scraps left over. I haven't tossed them yet because I think there must be another use for them. There is enough there that I could cut 2 1/4" strips for binding, but I have never used binding with so many seams. I'm thinking it would be courting trouble as one of those seams would have to come in contact with a corner at some point. Has anyone tried it?


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