Sketching # 205


I gave myself permission to just draw a starfish. I gave myself permission not to put it into my little city vignettes. I looked on the web for inspiration and was inspired by this picture of a starfish.

You will notice that my rendition is very different from the picture. I had trouble with the symmetry and, as usual, would like to work it over again.

Susan wrote after I posted this on Twitter “Looks like a happy starfish with a red bathing suit ready for some sun or perhaps the moon?” which makes me smile.


Have your own fun by looking at the original prompt and creating your own response.

Post the direct URL (link) where your drawing, doodle, artwork is posted (e.g. your blog, Flickr) in the comments area of this post. I would really like to keep all the artwork together and provide a way for others to see your work and/or your blog.

We are also talking about this on Twitter. Use the hashtag #CPP

The Creative Prompt Project, also, has a Flickr group, which you can join to  post your responses. I created this spot so those of you without blogs and websites would have a place to post your responses.


Circa 1934 Journal Cover

Circa 1934 Journal Cover
Circa 1934 Journal Cover

Last week  I mentioned using the trimmings from the edges of journal covers. I even showed one that I had in process. Here it is finished. After getting the right size, I sewed it together in about 10 minutes.

Yes, the numbers are upside down. I wanted to see them as I carried the journal around so that is how they came out. I have to admit that I think I like the numbers the best out of all of these fabrics (the gold hand-dye is not part of the line). Perhaps that print is what attracted me to the line in the first place?

If you want to make a journal cover, check out my directions.

Book Review: Purses Bags & Totes

Quick peek: There are a few things that I like about this book without doing any in depth reading yet. I really like the Spicy Girl Messenger Bag, the author’s use of Wonderclips in her (their?) process and the fun designs.

Purses, Bags, & TotesPurses, Bags, & Totes by Moya Workshop

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have been thinking about Pam’s comment about the Petrillo bag being too large for her as a handbag. I don’t remember if she made this comment on her blog or podcast. Podcast, probably. Anyway, this comment has been on my mind, because of the way I use bags larger than a handbag – the ‘class’ of bags I would call totes.

I take public transportation a lot, and when I drive, I try to group my errands so that I can take the car out one time even if I make multiple stops. I don’t mind driving, but it isn’t very convenient (traffic, parking, my lack of patience) all the time. Also, it wouldn’t be my first choice of activities if I had my choice between sewing and driving (in my fantasy world, I would have a driver at my beck and call).

This practice means that I often have stuff (library books, forms I signed for school, letters and packages I need to mail) I need to drop off at one place, bring with me to another place, etc. Instead of dumping all the stuff in the trunk and then putting it in and taking it out of one bag, I put the stuff for different stops in different totes and grab the one I need at the appropriate stop.

This might seem like tote bag overkill, but it allows me to get everything sorted out in my house and gives me a justification** for making as many tote bags as I want. 😉 Further, making as many tote bags as I want gives me a reason to buy yards and yards of beautiful fabric (Philip Jacobs, I am looking at you!) to make more tote bags.

All of which brings me to Purses Bags Totes. I really like the Jane Market Tote which I would consider a classic shopping style bag. However, there are many, many fabulous tote bag patterns in this world and I intend to make as many of them as I can. The authors of Purses Bags Totes really have a fun sense of style. Fabric notwithstanding, the pleats, angled zippers and interesting cut out shapes really make the patterns contained in this book different and interesting.

The Cutie Backpack (and I don’t even really mind the name), pg.57, has a wonderful quarter circle pocket on the outside. Their bag, called, simply, Tote Bag, pg.73, would be great for shopping similar to the Jane Market Tote. It is a little different and would add some interest to the drudgery that shopping can be. Imagine people stopping you and asking you about your bag.

The Citrus Handbag, pg.11, reminds me of the Aeroplane bag by Sew Sweetness. It is a little smaller, but would make an excellent coordinating handbag with the Aeroplane Bag, if you made them with similar fabrics.

The weird part about this book is that there is barely any introduction. The General Instructions, pg.4, page is a few paragraphs long, then the authors launch into making pockets. I see that the header of the first pocket page also says “General Instructions,” which leads me to believe that is one big section. I would have liked a paragraph introducing the layout of the book that told me they were providing general instructions on pockets and the pockets could be interchanged with the different projects. I am assuming that is what they mean, but who knows?

The book comes with a CD and I have no idea what is on the CD. Yes, I can look at it and will later, but nowhere does it say that the patterns are on the CD. I would have liked to see a list or a note in each pattern saying “full sized patterns are on the CD; print using…”.

The pictures are really good, as far as I can tell without making one of the bags. Some of the handle and bias tape making techniques could be adapted and used for other bags because of the detailed photos enhanced by instructions.

I like the charts used to explain cutting and fusing directions. They are very clean.

All in all I like this book and see a few bags I would like to try to make. I am definitely putting Purses, Bags, & Totes on my Amazon wish list.

View all my reviews



** As if I really need justification for any kind of sewing. 😉

Thinking about Process

Earlier in the year, while working on the Star Sampler project, I wrote: “Still I didn’t want to work on any Sawtooth Stars at the moment, even the new patterns. I just left these on the design wall and pretended I wasn’t behind again. This is an interesting exercise in working on one project almost exclusively. It is difficult for me to dedicate so much time to one project, I am finding. This makes me think more about my process.”

I didn’t go back after the above musing and put pen to paper (or keyboard to blogsite as the case may be) about my thoughts on process. I do think that the Star Sampler has given me some insight into working on a semi-complex, long term project. Whether or not I have said it, I have been thinking about trying to mostly stick to one project at a time. And, whether or not I have realized it or planned it, the Star Sampler project was a test of that thought.

We were about two months into the Sawtooth Star project when I wrote the above.  I found my eyes wandering. The Star Sampler turned out to be a special project, because it required so many blocks,  and, in turn, so much dedication. The blocks weren’t all difficult and there were some similarities, such as dozens and dozens of Flying Geese, but there was figuring out and puzzling out to be done throughout the project. The small 4″ stars were especially challenging, but mostly because of the size and the quantities required. The quilt, and the exercise might not have been a good test, but it was a test.

I have spent time thinking about this and I found that, after a few months of no longer working on the Star Sampler, the project sticks in my head. I feel like I have a relationship with Sawtooth Stars and I think about how much work and time the project took.

I think I have learned something about process from this project. Working on a large project that requires dedication has value. Speeding through projects doesn’t allow them to lodge in my brain. The Star Sampler is in my brain. I keep thinking about it. I think I need to consider other projects with the difficulty and depth of projects in the future.

Do I want to work on all projects that take 4 months to piece? Probably not, but I also don’t want to churn through projects every weekend. I want to remember the projects that I have made. I feel really bad about Fresh Fruit. Fresh Fruit, as you know was a leaders and enders project. Because the pieces were so large, I had the major pieces for the quilt top done before I really realized it. It didn’t require much dedicated time on my part. I kind of slid it between whatever else I was working on. It is definitely not lodged in my brain.

I don’t think it is sheer time that makes a quilt top lodge in my brain. I think there has to be a little drama, like the green border for the T-Shirt quilt. Not a lot of drama, but a little. Perhaps drama isn’t the right word? Perhaps the right word is process. I have to work through the process in order to get the quilt to stick in my mind. If there is no process, no puzzling out piecing tricks, no quandries, then the quilt just doesn’t stick in my mind. It is kind of sad to make a quilt and then not even remember making it.

TFQ Star Sampler


I finally got a chance to see the blocks that TFQ made as part of our Star Sampler project. I hadn’t seen her blocks before, though I did see a few of them on Flickr. There weren’t enough hours in the day for me to photograph them all, so you just get an idea of what she did. I cajoled, but hadn’t sunk to bribing by the time I left, her to sew them together. She was afraid that if she didn’tget the project done by the time she left for vacation, she would lose momentum. She said that is what she is experiencing. Sigh.

Book Review: Soutache

Bead Embroidery with Soutache: 25 Gorgeous Jewelry Projects with Decorative BraidBead Embroidery with Soutache: 25 Gorgeous Jewelry Projects with Decorative Braid by Anneta Valious

I received another group of jewelry books from Lark Crafts. this one has a fabulous gallery in the back that includes a turquoise (color) and pink necklace (pg.136) that I find very appealing.

“Soutache is a flat, fiber braid with a groove down the center, comprised of two rows of piping or cording wrapped in viscose, cotton, or synthetic fibers.First developed in France in the 15th century, soutache embroidery has a made a decorative appearance throughout history in and on jewelry, clothing, military uniforms, and more.” One of the really appealing things for me aobut this book is the section called ‘Soutache Through Time.’ Soutache is a word that was unfamiliar to me, but after reading this section, I knew exactly what the author meant. the section has great examples of historical and modern garments using soutache.

As with other Lark Jewelry and Beading books this one has a section explain materials and tools as well as different projects. What is a little different is the section on techniques that includes stitching, finishing the ends and backing the work in addition to a variety of other topics. Looking at this section makes me think that some of what is shown could be adapted for art quilts.

I notice that the designs are more feminine looking. There are lots of rounded designs and few, if any angles.

As usual, the pictures are fantastic, the supply lists complete and the directions extensive. Even if you don’t regularly make jewelry, take a look at this book for the inspiration it offers.

Thanks to Lark Crafts for sending along this book

View all my reviews

Creative Prompt #218: Milkshake

A blended ice cream drink

Milkshake Music

free email featuring all that’s good

milkshake game

June 20, 2013 – National Vanilla Milkshake Day (I missed it, but will look for it next year)

Milkshake eBook

American Milkshake (2013 movie)

Ric Krispie Square milkshake recipe

JAWS Milkshake Limited Edition Blue Vinyl

Definition: “A milkshake is a sweet, cold beverage which is usually made from milk, ice cream or iced milk, and flavorings or sweeteners such as fruit syrup or chocolate sauce. Outside the United States, the drink is sometimes called a thickshake or a thick milkshake or in New England, a frappe, to differentiate it from other less-viscous forms of flavored milk.

Full-service restaurants, soda fountains, and diners usually prepare and mix the shake “by hand” from scoops of ice cream and milk in a blender or drink mixer using a stainless steel cup. Many fast food outlets do not make shakes by hand with ice cream. Instead, they make shakes in automatic milkshake machines which freeze and serve a premade milkshake mixture consisting of milk, a sweetened flavoring agent, and a thickening agent. However, some fast food outlets still follow the traditional method, and some serve milkshakes which are prepared by blending soft-serve ice cream (or ice milk) with flavoring or syrups. A milkshake can also be made by adding powder into fresh milk, and stirring the powder into the milk. Milkshakes made in this way can come in a variety of flavors, including chocolate, strawberry and banana.”

Post the direct URL (link) where your drawing, doodle, artwork is posted (e.g. your blog, Flickr) in the comments area of this post. I would really like to keep all the artwork together and provide a way for others to see your work and/or your blog.

We are also talking about this on Twitter. Use the hashtag #CPP

The Creative Prompt Project, also, has a Flickr group, which you can join to  post your responses. I created this spot so those of you without blogs and websites would have a place to post your responses.

Kelis performing Mlkshake

Fabric Handbag

As you know, I will be First Lady of the NSGW in 2017. Sounds pretty fancy, I know, but I won’t have a paid staff or a clothing allowance and it will be a ton of work. DH and I have to plan the annual conference. There will be several ladies (about 12, I think) who will be helping me plan the events for the ladies. It is common practice in this group, as well as good manners, to give thank you gifts. Since there is no shortage of fabric at my house, I thought I would see about making gifts. I may not end up going this route, but it is a good, and fun, first step. Much better than shopping, I think.

I first thought of the Anna Maria Horner Multi-tasker tote, but wasn’t really happy with that choice (too much fabric, hard straps to turn). One AMH MTT once in a while is no problem, but 12 one after another? I might rip my hair out. I put it on the back burner and thought it would be my go to option. Truthfully, though I was still casting around for an idea that really floated my boat.

WSFC Handbag
WSFC Handbag

At the West Seattle Fabric Company, I saw a little tote bag, or fabric handbag, that made me take notice. I thought it would be a better option: smaller, more useful, no difficult straps to turn, good size, nice body (e.g. stands up). They didn’t have a pattern, so we we searched the web and TFQ found a tutorial that we thought would work.

My job, while TFQ went to work one day during my visit, was to figure out whether the tutorial, with the addition of handles, would work or if we would have to modify the tutorial further.

I figured that we would have to modify the size, definitely. Also, in my experience web tutorials aren’t tested as well as some other patterns (though I have used some patterns that were pretty terrible in the directions department), but the shape was right and the size was pretty good. Just to keep those of you off the edge of your chairs: this tutorial turned out to be pretty good in terms of directions.

Supplies and tools

  • Fabric for outside and lining
  • Wonderclips
  • Peltex
  • Sewing machine
  • thread
  • Iron
  • Ironing Board
  • graph paper
  • mechanical pencil
  • drafting ruler
  • rotary cutter
  • rotary ruler
  • Pins
  • Optional: fusible interfacing for handles

The tutorial from the Sometimes Crafter is also very helpful. Note that her basket is square and if you do not make your basket (handbag) square, you cannot use her folding trick for sewing.

When I make a bag, I like to get all the fiddly bits out of the way. When I am on a roll, I don’t want to stop to make handles or pockets or whatever. I want to grab them and add them, thus I changed around the order of how I made the bag from the way the tutorial arranges the steps.

I did, actually, make the pattern first, so you could do that before the fiddly bits.

Make the Handles

Cut two strips 4″x19″ or whatever length you want your handles. I wanted someone to be able to slip her hand under a handle, thus the length. Feel free to adjust the length to suit your needs. You may need to make one or two of these to figure out what works. They are fast so don’t roll your eyes. 😉

Optional: if you want added body for the handles, use some fusible interfacing. Cut the interfacing about 1/4″ smaller than the handles and center the interfacing before you press it to the wrong side of the handles. Choose whatever weight you think is appropriate for your use.

Fold the newly cut strips in half and press.

Open both handles.

Fold the raw edges towards the  center line. Press the new folds only. Press carefully so you don’t press out the center pressed line.


Fold along the center line and press the entire strap.

Fold to center line
Fold to center line

You should have a piece that is 1″ x 4 layers.

Top stitch the open end of the handles with matching thread.

Top stitch the closed end of the handles with matching thread.

Set aside until after you sew the body

Make the Pattern

Get your graph paper.


In the above photo, I just used plain paper and a rotary ruler, because I didn’t have graph paper handy. I would DEFINITELY use graph paper. I used it in the second version and it made the process of pattern making faster and easier.

Your pattern will end up as the shape of a cross. You may have to tape your pattern together, like I did. Here are the sizes to draw out or use the sizes listed in the tutorial :

Basic size of bag is 8″x4″

  • Sides: 4.5″x6.25″
  • Bottom: 4.5″x 8.5″
  • Front: 4.25″ x 8.5″
  • Back: 4.25″ x 8.5″

Seam allowances are 1/4″

The above sizes are from the second version, because I liked the proportions better. Before I commit to 12, I will tweak the dimensions further. Don’t worry! I’ll keep you in the loop. 😉

20130715_115808_wm-1Get your ruler, paper and pencil and draw the rectangles described above.


Cut out your pieces and lay them out.


Layout your pattern so you can get an idea of the size. Carefully tape the pieces together and find fabric that works both in size and design. Nota bene: you may want to hold back the front and back pieces. Read the section below on cutting fabric and decide.

Cut the Fabric
20130715_132332_wm-1I tried to keep the pattern to a size where I could use 1/2 yard of fabric. It was difficult with the size I was trying to make. I have a lot of half yards, so I really wanted that size to work. Some of my seam allowances are a little scant, but it will work if you can work with pieces that are slightly small. This takes practice and careful sewing.

If you don’t want to worry about this, then hold the front and back pieces aside (e.g. don’t tape them to make a cross shaped pattern). Cut out the the long strip that comprises the two sides and bottom.

Now cut out the front and back separately, then sew them to the side/bottom strip to make the cross.

Pin the pattern to the fabric to keep it in place while you cut.

20130715_140802_wm-1Instead of cutting around the pattern, I used a rotary cutter and ruler to cut the same size.  I took out some of the pins to move the pattern aside. I kept some pins in the pattern and fabric so that I could reposition the pattern easily to make the other cuts.

20130715_140744_wm-1Move around the whole cross, trims the corners away per the pattern until you have a cross made out of the fabric. Do the same thing using the lining fabric and the Peltex.

Sew the Body

20130715_151654_wm-1Lay the cross of fabric in front of you right side up. Fold the top of the cross towards the right leg of the cross, lining up the right side of the top leg with the top of the right leg. The angle along the fold will be on the diagonal. Sew 1/4″ seam from the diagonal fold to the raw edge.


Do the same for all four corners (eight edges) until you have a fabric box with the top open.


Pin the lining to the Peltex.

20130715_144927_wmI used Wonderclips and they worked like a charm.

20130715_145119_wm-1Closest to you, near the Wonderclip is the edge of the fabric. Note that the Peltex wasn’t wide enough to cut it out the width of the pattern, but I added a little sliver later and that worked fine.

20130715_150005_wm-1 20130715_150011_wm-1Once the lining and Peltex are sewn you will start to see the shape of the handbag.


After sewing the body together fold the front and back of the bag in halves and then quarters and finger press. Pin the end of each handle, making sure there are no twists, to the quarter finger pressed mark. One handle goes on the front and one on the back.

Put the outside of the bag into the lining with the right sides together. Tuck the handles out of the way and pin in such a way that you leave an opening at least 3″ wide to turn the bag right side out.

The thing will be hard to turn. Don’t yank too much, just poke and pull gently.

After you have turned the bag, pull out the straps and press carefully. Press especially carefully the section that isn’t sewn.

After pressing, sew a double line of stitching to secure the lining to the outside and close up the open edge or use a decorative stitch.


Cute little finished bag. TFQ kept this one  and will use it for knitting projects. The Bonnie and Camille bag is more of a square bag.


The pink diamond bag is the second one I made. It is a little skinnier and longer, e.g. the side is bigger.

Stay tuned for updates to this tutorial.

T-shirt Quilt Update

I am finally back in the T-shirt Quilt saddle. I am determined to get this baby off my design wall and move on. That whole sincere, earnest discussion about small projects?


That means that the T-shirt quilt has be OFF the design wall. I am not folding it up and putting back in the UFO area. It has to be ready to go to the quilter. And THAT means that I have to work on it.

Thin borders take forever to build
Thin borders take forever to build

So, I am working on the border. The green border is made up of 1″ wide strips, alternating green and black, of varying lengths.  which is very thin.

Thin=tricky. Tricky because when chain piecing or sewing using the leaders/enders technique, there isn’t enough thread between the pieces to help keep them from unravelling. At 1″ wide, there are only a few stitches to hold the black and green pieces together. Not chain piecing feels awkward and wasteful. Thus, the strips are very fragile. I pulled several apart as I was sewing them to the larger quilt. Of course, I fixed them, but what a pain. I could have solved the problem by back stitching at the beginning and the end of each border piece, but that would have been tedious, too.


Why put up the with drama, you ask?


Once completed, the border is very effective. The border is intended to “float” in larger borders on either side. You can see the floating effect in the photo above. In this case, the two thin green & black borders will “float” in the grey. Such a border adds interest to the quilt as well

It is, however, really a pain to make. Did I mention that the strips are 1″ wide?

I am pretty sure you will sincerely dislike me when I say this, but I am going to say it anyway. Thin borders need tightly woven fabric.

Yes, thin borders need tightly woven fabric.


Some fabrics tend to unravel and some of the fabrics I am using seem to be unraveling more than others. The Modas are particularly bad in this area. You may love the Moda designs, pre-cuts and designers, but their fabrics are somewhat loosely woven, which means that they tend to ravel.

If you have a 6″ square and one thread frays off the edge, who cares? It won’t matter, because you can easily account for it. With a 1″ strip one thread fraying can make a difference in how straight the border is. I could have used Fray Check, but didn’t think of it.

Tightly woven fabric tends to fray less and, thus, be easier to use when working with thin pieces. Kona cottons seem to be tightly woven as do a lot of hand dyed fabrics. It is pretty easy to tell tightly woven fabric, because it isn’t as easy to see through.


I have only a bit to go to finish the top, then on to the label and the giant border. Wish me luck.

New Journal Cover

I have been lamenting about the edge trimmings of quilted quilts. My quilter trims the quilts for me and then gives me back all of the extra fabric and batting. Sometimes the edges are only an inch or two wide, but 80″ long. Always the fabric is fabulous. All of these factors make me not want to use the fabrics, not waste the extra fabric.

It occurred to me that the fabric trimmings plus the batting that is often part of the trimmings, might be great journal covers.


I pulled the fabric trimmings from the Stepping Stones quilt and began sewing them together. I really like the Circa 1934 designs.
This will be the front. I really like the number fabric. I tried to orient the fabric so that I will be able to see the number fabric when I use the journal. I might have put it on the back, though. We’ll see.


I am going to zigzag the small pieces of batting together to make it wide enough. I am also going try something new with the batting. I am only going to put batting on the cover, not the pockets that keep the cover on the journal. The batting will be only in the middle of the journal cover. Lining up the fabrics is backwards, so I can’t always wrap my head around where things will end up in the end. We’ll see if it works.


I used some of the fabric for the the part that will be the inside as well. I used these particular fabrics, because they aren’t as interesting to me as the other fabrics I picked for the front. AND they are leftover and I want to use them.

There is enough to make another journal cover at least. Sty tuned, I may get to those small projects yet.

Russian Rubix

The other night, I had the pleasure of a trip to the quilt shop and a meal with Susan from the History Quilter podcast. We had enough time, so I gave her the nickel tour the western part of the City, which is nearest the ocean before we went to dinner. I totally scored, because she had never seen the part of Golden Gate Park we drove around.

Russian Rubix
Russian Rubix

Before the tour, though, we visited the quilt store. It is really the only one near enough for me to actually visit without making a day trip. I thought Susan might enjoy a new quilt store and I want to encourage her to get going full force on her quiltmaking. I am dangerous to know in that way. ;-)We had fun walking around the store and looking at the books and fabric. I gave her a mini-lesson on how to select colors, because of a chance comment about how it wasn’t easy to pick out colors.

One of the things I skimmed over at the quilt store, but Susan keyed right into was a pattern called Russian Rubix. The pattern is by April Rosenthal and she has a shop called Prairie Grass Patterns. The quilt shop we visited had made up a sample and it was great.

What is different about the quilt is that the pieces (shown in color in the photo above) are octagons. Big deal, you say? Octagons not hexagons. I love hexagons, especially the Flower Sugar Hexagon on which I have been working. However, everyone creates with hexagons, but you don’t see octagons that often. The parts of the blocks have the octagons arranged in such a way that they look like wreaths. I was intrigued.

Susan, as I said, saw the uniqueness in the pattern originally. She decided to the buy the pattern and we looked at it during dinner. The more I saw of it, the more intrigued I became.

I think that the way the directions are described are not the only way to make the octagons. One can cut squares that will end up as octagons, sew smaller squares to the corners, eh voila! You have an octagon. The only problem is that the pattern doesn’t need squares. If I made squares, I wouldn’t be able to make the wreath shape.

One of the things I love about quiltmaking is the puzzle part of the process. I know I will make some test blocks and figure out the size and the construction method for this piece. I do that as a general practice. I will buy the pattern, but I don’t really need the pattern, because I can figure it out myself. However, I do think that the pattern designer deserves something for her efforts. I’ll get a copy when I go to the quilt shop next time.

Ms. Rosenthal has Rubix Too, a follow-up, quilt pattern in her shop.

Summer in Seattle

I hadn’t been to Seattle in a long time. As I found out, it had been much too long. My love for Seattle was rekindled on my recent trip and I am resolved not to stay away so long again.

Coneflowers in Seattle

The coneflowers above were growing in what Seattle-ites call a parking strip. It is the space between the sidewalk and the street. When I was a kid we had one of these as did most of the  streets I frequented. We do not have them in the Bay Area that I know of. Definitely not in the City or my neighborhood.

The parking strips in Seattle are filled to overflowing with flowers, trees, vegetable gardens, anything you can think of. It is hard to get out of the car, but beautiful in summer.


We walked down to downtown Ballard where the locals were celebrating summer with a Farmer’s Market and a Street Fair. TFQ shopped for vegees while I looked at things that might inspire my quiltmaking. I love the blue with the leaded and beveled glass that is expands the light that can get into buildings. Did you know that my first, and probably best loved, job was in a stained glass store?

Making leaded and stained (when you paint on glass) glass panels is very much like quiltmaking. I gave up making leaded glass when I went to college. I was thrilled when I found quiltmaking, because of the similar techniques.  Quiltmaking has its hazards and sharp points, but working with glass is 100 times worse in the pain department and very hard on the hands. Very beautiful outcomes, though.


I thought these vegees looked very sculptural. I liked the mostly smooth texture and the two colors together. They might be Kohlrabi. I saw the sign, but was so entranced by the look that I don’t remember.


There is something about abundance in art that is very appealing. Another example of repetition?


The light is very good on this plant. I am constantly looking at TFQ’s plants and considering them for my garden. Her garden is beautiful; my “garden” is sad, neglected and pathetic. I think about it a lot. I hope that counts for something.

This is a Borage plant. TFQ has it in her garden and I think it might have been a volunteer. I think my other most recent interaction with Borage was in one of the Lady Julia novels. I love the flowers.

Borage hand cream
Borage hand cream

And the green tube is what some marketer thought would sell Borage hand cream. If I were buying on packaging alone, I wouldn’t buy this hand cream. What a waste. The real Borage plant is so beautiful and this packaging is so uninspired. Really, it has nothing to do with the plant at all. Do you think that green on the tube is the same as the stem of the plants?

One of the things -one of the many – I love about going to Seattle is the fabric. I was very restrained at the fabric shops, partially because TFQ lets me paw through her fabric to my heart’s content.

Above is a picture of The Great Unwashed, TFQ edition. She let me look through it and it was difficult not to stuff bits into my suitcase to take home. She is buying a lot of what we are calling ‘fruit salad’ colors- pinks, peaches, soft greens, etc. The new fabrics were, simply, wonderful.

Looking through them got me in the mood to pick out colors for a new project. Hhhm…..

Working in TFQ’s workroom is fabulous. I never want for a piece of fabric. There was an Art Gallery turquoise I was lusting after. I should have just taken it. I told her I loved it, though, so she probably would have noticed…


I really wish I had the means and time to come to Seattle once a month Working just really gets in the way of everything.








**Nota bene: I am still creating posts off of my phone, so pardon the weird, uncropped photos and any typos. We’ll get back to regularly scheduled programming soon.

Various & Sundry #10 2013

31 email subscribers! Isn’t that exciting? You may not care, but I am thrilled. Thanks for subscribing!

Plot Twist
Plot Twist

The above photo has been making its way around social media. For good reason, I think. it is a great way to think about a lot of things in life. In quiltmaking, we could yell DESIGN TWIST and move on.

This blog post explains another way of thinking about fabric for projects: no stash. Huh?

Adrianne at Little Bluebell has made a version of Sparkle Punch, an Oh Fransson design.

As you know, I often listen to audiobooks while I sew. As an aside, I have, lately been devouring print and eBooks as well as audiobooks. Thus I pay attention when I hear about deals that involve downloading a free audiobook from Audible. You often have to use a certain URL. You may have heard about such offers on podcasts such as The History Chicks. Openculture has a list of free audiobooks including those from Audible.

Quilt in Print: I went to visit TFQ last week and borrowed one of her books, Henry’s Sisters by Cathy Lamb. Isabelle mentions quilters in passing on page 85, “The card playing ladies came in on Tuesday night and the quilters came in on Thursday.” I started a page (find it under About, in the navigation bar above) with quotes and references to quilts and quiltmaking in fiction.

I also read, in eBook form, Whispers Under Ground, the newest book by Ben Aronovitch. I checked this book out from the Library and was able to easily download it. I was actually amazed at how easy it was to download it. I am in the process of reading The School of Essential Ingredients.

Quiltmakers in the News
Mary Ellen Hopkins died recently. She was the author of It’s Okay If You Sit on My Quilt.  and many other titles. Most of her books were slim volumes. I loved her personal style and always wanted to take a class from her, but never did. I attended at least two of her lectures and they were a hoot! There is a tribute on the AQS site.

A memorial service is being planned for later this summer with the time and place to be announced. Thoughts and sympathy cards for Mary Ellen Hopkins can be sent to her son at this address:

David Hopkins
946 Woodgrove Drive
Cardiff by the Sea, CA 92007

Jeffrey Gutcheon died as well. He was big news when I started quilting, because he and his wife owned a fabric company, designed fabric and wrote books. I believe they were some of the first fabric designers to put their name on the selvedge. They had a very public divorce that involved important, at the time, quilt properties/brands. I remember hearing others talking about “the scandal” in my first quilt class.

You can see both of their obituaries on the QN blog.

Libby Update: From the TQS Blog “Libby is progressing slowly. She still sleeps most of the time. Recently they played a TQS DVD of a show with her good friend Katie Pasquini. Libby watch carefully and even laughed at the right time when Alex and Katie messed up.”

Ways to help:

  • Caring Bridge – Follow Libby’s progress and donate at
  • Send a check: Please make checks, money orders, and cashier’s checks in US Dollars payable to “Libby Lehman Medical Fund” and send them directly to Libby’s sister: Cathy Arnold, 2220 Stanmore, Houston, TX 77019
  • Bank Account: A bank account has been set up at JPMorgan Chase Bank. The name of the account is the “Libby Lehman Medical Fund.” Checks, money orders, or cashier’s checks (U.S. dollars only) should be made out to “Libby Lehman Medical Fund” and mailed to her sister, Cathy Arnold, 2220 Stanmore, Houston, TX 77019.  Please include your name and address if it is not on the check. If you wish to use an online secure transfer method from any bank (called Chase Quick Pay), please email Cathy’s husband, Bill Arnold, at, and he will provide you with proper instructions.
  • PayPal-Libby’s family has set up a PayPal account for Libby’s Medical Fund. If you would like to contribute directly via PayPal, click on the HELP LIBBY tab below and follow the steps outlined there. One hundred percent of your contribution goes to the Libby Lehman Medical Fund.
    1. Visit
    2. Login or set up a new account.
    3. Select the “Send Money” tab.
    4. In the “send to” field, put:
    5. Select the total you wish to contribute, it will be billed to your credit card and foreign currency is converted to US dollars on the receiving end.
  • Donate for chances to win a quilt – There is a Help Libby tab on the TQS website. go there to enter the quilt giveaway
  • Send cards and letters to: Libby Lehman c/o Cathy Arnold, 2220 Stanmore, Houston, TX 77019 – If you cannot afford a donation, a card or letter to Libby is very welcome. They cannot respond to all letters.

Remember that even $5 helps.

Nota bene: has no direct affiliation with Libby Lehman. I am just a satisfied student.


Sarah Ann Smith, thread queen, came to town and Julie and I got to have dinner with her and her family.

Road Show
Marie Bostwick will be on the road this summer! If you are near, you can see her at the following locations:

July 12
Sisters Outdoor Quilt Festival
4pm (Reading & Signing) Paulina Spring Bookstore
Sisters, OR

July 13
Sisters Outdoor Quilt Festival
Various hours (Signing only)
Paulina Springs Bookstore
Sisters, OR

July 17
RWA “Literacy for Life” Autographing
Marriot Marquis, Atrium Ballroom
Atlanta, GA

July 27
12pm “A Literary Luncheon” Seward Civic Center
$10 ticket includes lunch, purchase in advance at the Seward Library
Seward, NE

July 27
Quilt Nebraska 2013
6pm Banquet Speaker Concordia University
Seward, NE

August 4
Denver Library Quilt Show Opening Reception
2pm Speech and signing Central Library
Denver, CO

August 28
Milford Valley Quilters
7pm Speech and signing Delaware Valley Middle School
Milford, PA

You can find more calendar dates on the Appearances page of the website. If you are able to attend, tell Marie hi for me and send me a nice long email recounting the adventure.

Shows and other News

SAQA has a calendar of events that you can find at their site under Art News. The Kaleidoscope of Quilts XVI Show and Competition will take place July 19-20 in Sylvania, Ohio.  This well-respected regional quilt show will feature bed quilts, wall hangings, art quilts, and quilted garments.  A variety of classes and lectures will be offered over a five day period, by local and nationally recognized instructors, beginning on Tuesday, July 16th.  Enjoy special displays, quilting challenges, and vendors with the latest in quilting supplies and machines.  For more information go to

Creative Prompt #217: Pen

Fountain pen

Flashlight pen

Pen & Ink


Insulin pen


Pen pal

Livescribe SmartPen

The Nourishing Cuticle Pen moisturizes cuticles effectively

Pilot Pen

poisoned pen

PEN USA- A non-profit membership organization made up of writers that work west of the Mississippi


Anastasia Brow Pen glides on easily, clinging to both skin and hair, for a lush and natural look.

Tensing Pen is a relaxing destination Jamaican resort located in Negril,

Definition: A pen (Latin penna, feather) is a writing implement used to apply ink to a surface, usually paper, for writing or drawing. Historically, reed pens, quill pens, and dip pens were used, with a nib dipped in the ink. Ruling pens allow precise adjustment of line width, and still find a few specialized uses, but technical pens such as the Rapidograph are more commonly used. Modern types also include ballpoint, rollerball, fountain, and felt or ceramic tip pens.[1]

pen a tome

Post the direct URL (link) where your drawing, doodle, artwork is posted (e.g. your blog, Flickr) in the comments area of this post. I would really like to keep all the artwork together and provide a way for others to see your work and/or your blog.

We are also talking about this on Twitter. Use the hashtag #CPP

The Creative Prompt Project, also, has a Flickr group, which you can join to  post your responses. I created this spot so those of you without blogs and websites would have a place to post your responses.

Parents Education Network


The hottest spot in town isn’t in Belltown or Ballard. It’s The ‘Pen at Safeco Field, right next to the Mariners bullpen in centerfield.

Brush pen

Bleach pen

Uzi Tactical Defender PenPen with a DNA catcher AND a handcuff key

Pigma Micron

Pen World Magazine


26 Projects – July 2013 Update

I just noticed that I have only 8 projects on my WIPs list. EIGHT!!! I have really made progress.

Finished 2013 Projects:

  1. Corner Store: Finished on 1/1/2013 YAY!
  2. The Garden. Finished on 1/5/2013 YAY!
  3. Stepping Stones: Finished on 2/14/2013 YAY!
  4. Fabric of the Year 2011: Finished on 2/27/2013 YAY
  5. Calm: Finished on 3/14/2013 YAY!
  6. A-B-C Challenge: Finished on 3/31/2013 YAY!
  7. Petrillo Bag*: Finished on May 5, 2013 YAY!
  8. Super Secret Project #1: Finished on June 13, 2013
  9. Super Secret Project #2: Finished on June 23, 2013

Other non-quilt Projects finished

-5 donation Pillowcases

2 fabric handbags/project bags

Still WIPs

  1. Aqua-Red SamplerFrances  is working diligently, though I know she feels frustrated with the foundation pieced block. I think part of that is because she is left handed and I am right handed. I finished the foundation piecing tutorial, along with my block for this part of the class. I am not giving up on her.
  2. The Tarts Come to Tea: I still haven’t worked on this since April 2011, though I did think about working on it. I hope that counts for something. I really do need to get back to the quilting. I am still a little mad at myself for making such good progress and then getting sidetracked. I thought quilting the Whole Cloth quilt would get me back in the swing of quilting, but apparently not.
  3. Pointillist Palette #4: Fourth is a series of 6 quilts; needs tiny square patches sewn together. Mrs. K. gave me more PP fabric and I won some from a giveaway. I still think it is a sign that I need to work on this. Leaders and enders.
  4. See: needs satin stitching. Small, also a possibility for finishing. I really have the feeling I came so close to working on this project this month.
  5. Self Portrait: started in 2006 at a class at Quilting Adventures in Richmond, Virginia. I like the piece, but don’t know where to go from where I am. Mouth? Hair? The attitude I need to have is that I can’t ruin it; there is always more fabric.
  6. Under the Sea: class project; like the design, but not the colors much.
  7. Flower Sugar Hexagon: I thought about sewing more hexagons together. Although not difficult, sewing Y seams is a bit of a chore, so I get tired of doing it after awhile. I could, perhaps, use leaders and enders to get this piece moving?
  8. Young Man’s t-shirt quilt: Center is done and I am working on the borders. Need to make a back, a label and binding.

Ready for Quilting

  1. Original Bullseye: At the quilter
  2. New:* Wonky 9 Patch: needs basting, quilting and binding. Not on original list
  3. Infinity blocks: blocks sewn together into a quilt top, borders on. Back and binding made; ready to be quilted.
  4. New:* Sparkle Pink – At the quilter.  (not on original list)
  5. New:* Swoon – At the quilter.
  6. Spiderweb: Top is together, binding is made. This is at the quilter.
  7. New:* FOTY 2012: top, finished, though I can’t decide if I need a quilting border. Back and binding are complete; I am waiting to take it to the quilter.
  8. New:*Star Sampler: Top finished, back and binding finished. Ready to go to the quilter (not on original list)
  9. New:*Fresh Fruit: Top finished, back and binding finished. Ready to go to the quilter (not on original list)

Please note that even if you combine the two lists above, I do not have 26 projects on this list anymore. I have made progress!!!

In the Finishing Process

None at this time


Nothing so far for 2013

Hunting and Gathering

  • Spin Wheel: really not started, but supplies gathered. I probably have enough fabrics and just need to decide to start.
  • Windmill quilt: Still hunting and gathering.
  • Stepping Stones #2 using Bonnie & Camille fabrics Bliss, Ruby, Vintage Modern: made two test blocks, but still in the thinking stage while I decide on the background colors. I want the contrast to be good.

Last update for the 26 Projects List. Read it. There’s some interesting stuff there.

I thought you might want to take a look at the first list I made, the one with the 26 Projects. I started the list in October 2011. I have made progress. I plan to stop this post when I have no more projects from the original list to write about. I wonder when that will be?

*New – Project started after I started working on the 26 Projects list