Thursday, May 7, 2009

New Website and Blog Format - Come See!

I have finally updated our website and integrated my blog with it!

I am over here now!

This site has been set to re-direct you to the NEW site after 10 seconds --- come on over, we are waiting for you!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What's New?

I am writing again!! Ohhhh, I almost forgot how much I love it! 8 pages into a little project and I am on cloud nine :)

What are you up to? I am going blog surfing to find out but you can tell me here too if you want!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Margaret has a new table!

Here's her note to me:

"I had a table and used the Sam's table to extend my space. It is so great and spacious. I am marking a quilt now to begin stitching. I am so excited that this set-up will control a lot of problems I was having, i.e. the weight of the quilt pulling against the needle, jerky movement of the quilt.....well these and other difficulties are now in the past. I just can't thank you enough."
I talked her into sending me a pic - isn't it great!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Diannia made her first Crazy Shortcut Quilt!

It's queen size (do you believe that - she's new to quilting!) for her son Brad.

She and I have been emailing and chatting, sharing stories and ideas, and I think I am going to try and talk her into blogging.... (I am SO bad - I do that to *so many* quilters - -but when they blog I can keep up with them and their projects and their lives and I LOVE it!!!)

So, Diannia (prounounced Diana) lives in California, works for a University, has a son named Brad and she's learning to love quilting. Now, don't you want to know more? I do!

UPDATE!! - Diannia has a blog Let's go check it out!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

3 Steps to Sewing in Comfort

Do you ever get up from sewing and quilting and stretch, creak and groan, feeling uncomfortable and tired? It's very possible that it isn't from your project, it's your sewing table and chair!

Being comfortable while sewing and quilting is more important than your sewing machine, tools, fabrics or threads because you can have the best equipment in the world but if you are in pain or straining when using them you won't be able to sew or quilt for very long! Your body may be sending messages to your brain saying "no more sewing" because of that strain and yet you want to sew!

Ergonomic comfort is often completely overlooked, especially when we don't have a dedicated sewing area. I often hear or read about a quilter "taking over the dining room table" and it makes *my* back hurt just reading those words!

The important ergonomic factors of sewing in comfort are:

1. Height of your sewing table. A dining room table average height is 29-30 inches high, which by itself is too high for comfortable sewing, and when you add the base of the sewing machine, about another 3 inches (bringing the height up to 33") , the proportions are totally wrong. Just that small bit of difference can create strain and pain throughout your body. Here's what OSHA (US Gov't Occupational Safety & Health Administration) has to say about Sewing Stations.

2. Notice that number one on their list is height of the chair. I put it at number two because it can be easier to change than table height. An adjustable chair is a must for sewing! Here's what the Center for Disease Control has to say about chairs:

"Contrary to popular belief, sitting, which most people believe is relaxing, is hard on the back."
3. Position of the sewing machine. Many sewing cabinets (if your machine is in one) position the machine too close to the body, and the sewing head is "off center" to your body, putting shoulders and arm muscles in a strained and awkward position.

More about Ergonomics from Wiki ...


Table height: I do not advocate cutting the legs off your dining room table (unless you want to) but I do strongly advocate getting or using any other table than your dining room table for sewing. Some quilters turn a small bedroom closet into a sewing area, with a board or shelf inserted to serve as the sewing machine support. I use portable tables that have height adjustable legs ($42). Certainly an investment in your comfort is worth it! Make sure that when your machine is set up that you have a 90 degree or slightly greater angle at your elbow. You should not be "reaching up" to sew. My sewing machine bed is 27" high and I am 5'6" tall. Petite women are especially vulnerable to the agonies of mis-proportion for their sewing machines.

Your chair is your best friend when sewing! More than your seam ripper! Okay, a seam ripper is nobody's best friend but you know what I mean. A height adjustable chair is the best investment you can make (the kind for office work). Your feet should be flat on the floor but if you cannot manage this please put something on the floor for your feet and foot pedal to sit on. A strong cardboard box, a plastic bin, a small step stool or a crate, anything to take the pressure off the backs of your legs. I also like a square of gripper mat under the foot pedal to keep it from "creeping" away while I sew.

Position yourself with the needle lined up with the center of your body so that neither arm needs to strain to reach the sewing area you are using. Now push your machine away from you until your arms are at little more than a 90 degree angle, but your shoulders aren't straining to reach the needle.

I like a totally flat surface around my sewing machine and I've written more about that in my Cheap Sewing & Quilting Table posts and my videos on YouTube. Before I discovered the foam board, I was using a really strong cardboard to create a flat surface around the machine. There are also manufacturers of custom tables which accomplish this. Check your local sewing machine dealer for more information on them.

Be inventive! If you can afford custom cabinetry, have your sewing components made to fit you and don't be afraid to modify them until they do! (You should see how many cabinets I've taken a jigsaw to!) If you cannot afford custom cabinetry, make or adapt your own with materials you can afford like I did :) But either way, please make sure that you are comfortable when you are sewing and quilting and this goes for pressing and cutting too. When you are comfortable your sewing projects will really become your "Zen" haven of peace and happiness for your body and your creative soul.

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If you found this helpful, would you consider sharing the information with your sewing and quilting friends, in person and online? I am on a mission to make sewing comfortable for all - please join me and spread the word! You can share this Tiny URL:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Meet Judy

My friend Judy Wedemeyer is a quilt artist. She's also one of the nicest people I've ever met. I was a newbie to quilt pattern designing, about fifteen years ago, and she went out of her way to give me tips, business contacts, advice and encouragement when I thought I'd created "the next hot thing" in quilting. How nice is that!?

I want to be like her.

I also want to be a quilt artist someday and so I follow her around like a puppy, soaking up her art and her enthusiasm and pulling out my old attempts at quilt art and wondering if maybe I can do something really unique like she is.

Take a peek at her Art Cards, her studio, and her techniques on her blog and pull out your scraps and doo-dads and let's follow her inspiration!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Check out this adaptation of my "cheap table"

Barbara Fons used my foam insulation and clear vinyl ideas to make a "Faux Longarm" as she calls it - I might have to give this a try!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Would you consider teaching?

Today I went to my local library, after posting notices at the grocery stores, library bulletin board and on my local online newspaper, to teach anyone who showed up the basics of a sewing machine - for free.

I've given lectures about quilting before and was surprised at how many of the attendees had never threaded a sewing machine and were afraid to! Yikes! We can't let these gals be afraid of sewing!!

I set aside 2 hours, wrote up some notes (which I would be happy to share with you) and made arrangements to use the meeting room at the library (also free to non-profits!).

I had several people tell me that they were excited to attend, but who turned up was two young girls, sisters, who's mom had seen the posting and suggested that they attend. What a treat!! I LOVE teaching kids! We had the whole room to ourselves and they felt free to ask any question that they thought of - and boy did they!

I explained and then demonstrated: how a needle and bobbin work together to make a stitch; how to test bobbin tension; how to clean the bobbin and race area and what the parts are and how they are used; how to thread the machine and the major differences between the three machines that I carted down there.

They were enthralled! And then they got to sew! Straight stitch, decorative stitch and free motion! They had a great time. They enjoyed the quilts I brought along and the handled all the parts, checked out the machines with a flashlight and watched the gears in motion - - these two will never be afraid to change their bobbin tension!

I talked about threads (my favorite subject) and had them touch and then break many samples so that the understood how different threads can be. All in all, a great time was had by we three, and I am SO glad that I did this and that they patiently and then eagerly listened, learned and then tried for themselves.

Would you consider doing the same? For your local Girl Scout troup? Your after school program? Anyone who shows up for a Library gig? I can and will do all I can to help, you only have to ask - - and the reward of a new sewing enthusiast's smile is payment in full.

Friday, April 17, 2009


I love inspiration! I get it from quilt shows, group chats and PEOPLE! I meet a lot of people online and I love that so much - I *love* getting emails from new and old friends :)

I also read a lot of books (paper and and electronic). I've read Jack Canfield's books The Aladdin Factor, Goals, The Success Principles. They gave me great inspiration and I re-read them regularly, but on the recommendation of a friend, I bought Book Yourself Solid.

I am hoping to do some traveling and teaching in the future and this book is helping me in that goal as well as sparking some great ideas! (I'm also reading online A Brief Guide to World Domination.)

Alaskans in my area are keeping a weather eye on our erupting volcano, Mt. Redoubt. This is a webcam aimed at the building lava dome.

Redoubt is a pain in the neck. She's disrupting air travel and making everyone up here nervous about ash and winds and more ash. {I was very tempted to call her a pain in the ash!} But, I never argue with Mother Nature, she gives me the best inspiration of all! What inspires you? What do you read for inspiration?

Friday, April 10, 2009

My Sewing Studio

Right now my studio is a 9' x 11' bedroom and I share it with a very spoiled pet rabbit. The rabbit doesn't live in a cage, he goes wherever he wants in the house and he believes that the room belongs to him. He lets me in for a while but if I stay too long he nips at me. Then I lock him out :) {See that wire gate behind him?} After about half an hour, I let him back in again and he settles down and lays on the carpet by my feet. This wall has my pegboard with rulers, patterns and anything else I can get to stay on a hook. You can see my cutting table and the storage bins under it, my folding table and some old ironing boards. I used to use them to prop up big quilts before I "invented" my cheap sewing table :)

In this photo you see my lighting and tripod and backdrop for videotaping. Behind the quilt top {Sarahs} are the shelves we built into the closet, after taking the closet doors off. For lighting on the ceiling I have a couple of 4' long florescent fixtures with daylight rated bulbs and I love that. When lighting for video, I use the portable closet rack that you see here, with some clamp lamps that have daylight rated bulbs in them. The brown sewing desk is a recent purchase that houses a vintage Kenmore - and what a find it was! Fantastic stitching and cams that I can't wait to try out.

On this wall are my buckets of scraps, color sorted, and a couple of small tables with threads, bobbins, old Kenmore and bobbin winder among the clutter. In here we have stripped out the old carpet and I primed and painted the floor with a gorgeous milk-chocolate color floor paint. This room is eventually going to become a spare bedroom {Audrey's Room when she visits grandma?} with maybe some of the coloring and drawing supplies on the shelf. Then she will have to share it with Bunny. Won't that be fun?!

On the next wall I have a small design wall stapled to the drywall. I have a few small tops pinned to it, reminding me that they need to be quilted. The bins have my threads, sorted by color and by thread type, the rayons are in the top bins and the cottons in the small bottom bins and in the lowest bins are ribbons, interfacing and other miscellaneous sewing items. My cutting table is covered with stuff and the bins below it have unfinished projects or else fabrics (there are 4 bins total under there).

Next we make a trip upstairs, to the top of the garage, which has been unheated and partially insulated. I've stored rolls of batting up there and other miscellaneous odds and ends, and Tom used it for all of the boat soft gear (sleeping bags, raingear, etc.) as well as years of accumulated family clutter.

Now he's working hard on fixing some problems up there, adding walls, and I've been cleaning, sorting, moving stuff and painting. Here's what one wall looked like before we got started. We work on it between other tasks around the house. When this project is complete I hope to move all my sewing and quilting things up here!

So, there you have it! I invite you to check out some other sewing studios using the link at the top right of my blog and also at Quilt Videos.

If you see anything in the photos that you are curious about, just post a comment or email me and I'd be happy to tell you what it is or why it's there. Also, there are a few things missing - -my sewing table is in the living room right now, along with the machine that I use the most, my Bernina 180. Thank you very much for reading my blog :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Meet Susan

I met Susan through a Yahoo group that I belong to (Stashbusters) and I liked her from the first few lines of her post:

"I just wanted to share what I've been doing with some of the scraps members have been sending me. This Quilt of Valor has scraps from New York, Louisiana, Montana, Indiana and Ohio! How cool is that--put together for one Soldier."

If you follow the link to her blog you will see that she also loves (and made!) one of the Confetti Quilts and hers is gorgeous!

I have met some great quilters and wonderful people on the internet and I'd like to introduce some of them to you too. I think you might like them :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Imaginary Friends

I just about peed my pants when I saw this! I need some imaginary friends - doesn't everyone?

Friend Feed is the "new" place to be, and if I can create imaginary friends there, well, why write another novel?

I find some interesting stuff on this internet - and I *love* the stuff that makes me laugh, makes me think and teaches me something new. I'll share a few favorites with you in the upcoming weeks.

Meanwhile, I'll be over on Friend Feed having some tea and scones with my imaginary friends :)

Come join us, won't you?

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Applique Quilt Book Winners!

Sarah Vanderburgh and Delys are the two lucky winners of Kay's Book Easy Applique Blocks. Don't give up if you didn't win, just hop over to Kay's blog and follow her Book Tour because today she's with quilter extraordinaire Gina Halliday and Gina is giving away a book too!

Thank you for signing up for this great book giveaway and stay tuned for more!

Spring Cleaning!

We are at it again! This is part of the ongoing saga of a small (poorly insulated) house in Alaska and my never ending love of changing things. It is only slightly quilting related because I *may* be moving my quilting stuff to another part of the house soon (as in: out of the living room, bedroom and garage :)

We started with a "sort out" of stuff that's been untouched since dinosaurs roamed Alaska, and have moved on to insulating. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate fiberglass insulation? I love the foamboard insulation (as you might have seen in my Cheap Sewing & Quilting Table Tutorial) but oh how I hate fiberglass! I start itching the minute I even *think* about fiberglass!

I've insulated before, helping friends, then insulated my two cabins that I bought (and sold) here in Seward, and slowly we've been insulating Tom's old house. See me covered head to toe when I was doing one of the cabins? LOL! A (former) friend had promised to come help me and never showed, so I did it all myself, from ceiling to walls, and vapor barrier too. The folks at the local home improvement store know me by name! I propped my little camera up on a stump and put the self timer on to take this pic - I was so proud of myself for getting that job done!

Have you gotten the spring cleaning bug?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Book Giveaway for Easy Applique Blocks

My pal Kay Mackenzie asked if I would like to be included in her internet Book Tour and I jumped at the chance!

What is so cool about going to Quilt Market and meeting other designers and authors is learning that they are just nice quilters, like every other quilter :)

Kay sent me a peek inside and an autographed book to give away! All you have to do to enter is [Contest ended April 4th - check back soon for the next one] I'll announce the winner here on April 4th and I will email the winner too :) {you won't be getting spam from me, I promise!}

Her book has the wonderful applique designs that you see here and also has a CD! As I flipped through her book the first thing that came to my mind was "homey". Her designs and her quilts have that comforting feel that just says "home". You'll love this book :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

You. Can. Do. It.

You. You know who you are!

Can. Able, capable, willing, knowledgeable.

Do. Accomplish, achieve, attain, succeed.

It. Everything, anything, exactly what you want.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring in Seward, Alaska

Yes, this is spring in Alaska. See the pretty flowers; the sunshine? Me neither! LOL Someone please remind me why I live here?

If you look closely you can see Tan Bunny just to the right of the feeder that Tom built. It sits across the alley from his house, on Barb's property. She loves rabbits too, so she said it was okay to put the feeder there. Bunnies love her big trees :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Machine Quilting - How to Stitch in the Ditch

Here they are! I went with the two-part format because I felt that there was just too much information that I had to cut in order to meet the 10 minute limit for YouTube (not criticizing, just explaining) so:

Part One - - -

Part Two - - -

I would love to know what you think!! So far I have only remembered one thing that I should have said - and that is "don't buy cheap pins". I did this once and totally regret it, it was a waste of time and money because I had to go BACK to the store and buy the good (expensive) ones just to get them to go through 2 layers of fabric and a needled batting. Better to just buy the good ones up front and avoid the frustration and waste of having a bag full of useless pins.

Please let me know what you think of the videos and of quilting a large quilt at home on your sewing machine. Do you stitch-in-the-ditch? Do you do things differently than me?

If you found this useful, please share it with your friends :)

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Funky Fuzzy Shortcut Quilt is DONE !

I just love that word - DONE! Whoooo Hoooo! This will be another donation quilt, even though I love it with all my heart, the thought that it might make a person happy and benefit a child is also one of the reasons I love it.

BUT, until the CASA auction it is going to hang in Seams Like Home Quilt Shoppe in Anchorage! Yay!!

I can't wait to make another one! LOL :)

BTW, I had a really cool webcam chat with Linda last night. She was working on her binding and we chatted a bit about technique. Tonight, as I was working on one of the corners of this quilt's binding, I took a short video on how I like to make the corners. It is uploading to YouTube now. It says it's for Linda but you can peek too if you want :)

Great Stash Quilt and Tutorial

I want to make this quilt! Made by Liz Harvatine, she calls it "Confetti" and I *love* it! Here's her tutorial, which I found very understandable and I have TONS of scraps. This is right up my alley! Thank you Liz for my next project :)

Today I am putting the sashing on my funky, fuzzy quilt. I hope to have it finished by tonight.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Stitch in the Ditch Video Dilema

I started quilting a 90" x 90"quilt on my home sewing machine, and doing a "tutorial documentary" on it. Now I am stuck!

I am a long winded teacher (and writer - you have probably noticed) and YouTube, my host of choice for now, allows 10 minute video length. You would think I could get the basics down into 10 minutes.... but no .......... I yap on too long and personally, I don't like to watch videos (or TV shows) where the speaker talks too fast - -it frustrates me - and I am a naturally slow talker.

So, do I break the video into two parts? Or cut out stuff that I think needs to be said? Meh!! I don't really know what to do. I think that people don't really like watching videos in two parts - -but then again, on my "build a cheap sewing or quilting table" I was playing around and made it in two parts and each one has about 7,000 views now. So maybe it's okay?

I was really hoping to get this all on one 10 minute video! I edited it hard (more than I wanted to) and still have 14 minutes. What do you think? Take more out or make it "part 1" and "part 2"? Oh, here's the quilt - isn't it wild? I just love it!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

My little writing secret

I wrote a quilt book (with my daughter as co-author). That's not the secret :) I have also written a novel, and after letting it sit for several months and re-reading, I realize it's crappy. BUT! I can do better! This summer, if all goes well (knock on a fat quarter) I will write a second novel (and try to write better). I already have the outline. But that's not the secret either.

The secret is: I have always wanted to write a screenplay. I figured that writing a non-fiction book, like a quilt book, would be a good start to writing (it was) and I read a lot about the process of writing and the discipline it takes but I know almost zip about writing a screenplay, so I don't feel like I am ready for it yet- -I put myself in the "I am still learning how" category.

So, here's one way I am trying to learn. I make videos on YouTube. Now, I used to think that people just stood in front of their cameras, yapped a bit, uploaded and *boom* they are YouTube stars. Not so - at least not the good videos (and I am not talking about vloggers here - - the whole point of vlogging is to be spontaneous).

For a loooooooong time I have wanted to teach a few things and I would like to reach a wide audience, so I chose YouTube. I have a few vids up and have learned quite a bit along the way and gotten some good feedback from great people who take the time to tell me what they think would make my videos better - - and I listen very closely to every one who emails me. I learn as I go.

For weeks I've been planning a video just on doing Stitch in the Ditch quilting. It sounds easy - -but it is quite a challenge!! Writing the script! There is *so much* to remember!! Yikes! If you watch my videos, I hope that you will consider giving me your impression and telling me what I should have done differently. I really, really appreciate every single person who emails me and listen closely to what they have to say. Now I am off to work on that SID script some more :)

Let me know if you want the "behind the scenes details" or if you just want to see the film version when it's released - - LOL :) {I want to know - - are you a writer with a secret dream?}

Friday, March 6, 2009

Robbed by Skype

Stolen: half a month's bandwidth at $65/month!!

Sarah, Audrey and I keep trying to find easier ways to stay in touch. We bought webcams and have tried Yahoo!, Google Talk and then Skype. Then Tom got the monthly cable bill and we were charged for a humungous amount of usage. We went looking and found that the day I downloaded Skype, our bandwidth was maxed out. Not by the download or usage, but because they routed their traffic through our router & computers!!

Theft is what I call it, plain and simple and stupid me for letting it happen. I knew Skype's reputation (bad) but had been reading about all those free calls (free because Tom is paying for our bandwidth - which they steal and give away!)

I had no idea that their business operation was funded on stolen bandwidth! The jerks! I don't support P2P, pirating music, copyright theft and now I don't support bandwidth theft either.
Link to research #1 Link to article #2 Link to article #3

Monday, March 2, 2009

Do you Play Pool or Billiards?

We decided, on the spur of the moment, to go to Anchorage for the weekend so that Tom could play in the Fur Rondy Pool Tournament. First, for anyone not in Alaska, Fur Rondy has its traditions in the old fur trade (furs are still traded today) and as a break in the monotony of the tremendously long arctic winters.

When Sarah and her cousins were growing up, it was the highlight of our winters. I'd bundle up the kids and we would go to the carnivals (outdoors rides like ferris wheel, tilt-a-whirl) then go see the snow sculptures, maybe stay late enough for the fireworks. Then we would do the indoor stuff. Craft fairs, face painting for the kids, whatever sounded interesting :)

That kind of stuff waned as they became teenagers, so I haven't really participated in any of the Rondy events in years. In the past I had visited one of the local pool halls, in the basement of a popular bar, just to see what it looked like, but you could cut the cigarrette smoke with a knife and I can't stand the smell of it, so I quickly left (besides it was intimidating with all the guys concentrating on their shots and games).

Anchorage banned smoking in restaurants and bars a few years ago and the pool hall moved to a new location so I was in for quite the surprise.

Anchorage Billiard Palace was an exceptional treat. So much so that I gave up the chance to shop for fabric, poke around for a few antiques and all the other errands that I put on my list when I heard "two whole days in Anchorage".

Tom taught me to play pool and he's very, very good at both playing and teaching. He placed on both Saturday and Sunday, in 8 Ball and 9 Ball, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching him and the other players in the tourney. Most of all, the staff at the Billiard Palace was outstanding. Polite, friendly, warmly meeting the needs of all the players and spectators, allowing me to take video of the room, they are the reason I'd go again. I am shy by nature and a hermit in my old age, so it takes a *lot* to get me out of the house, but I'm thinking about putting in the practice hours on the table so that I don't embarrass myself if I ever play at the Billiard Palace. I put up a poll on the right hand side of the blog, at the top, because I am curious - do you play?

Some of the things I loved the best: 12 nine foot tables, good lighting, great staff, dress code for men and women, no children allowed, central location in Anchorage and the nicest, most interesting people I've chatted with since I came back from Quilt Market.

I did get to see Sarah and Audrey for breakfast and some fabric shopping, but afterward I couldn't wait to get back to the games! If you have never been inside, here's what it looked like for most of Saturday and Sunday:

Friday, February 27, 2009

Quilt Block Layout

Okay, this is just silly! I have been switching these squares around for an hour or more! I am giving up :) It's just that the fabrics are so funky that no matter how I move the squares around, it's always going to make some goofy match-ups. It is going to be a wild quilt! Tell me if you see any areas of "too strong" a concentration of fabrics, or too many of the same thing clumped together. I am open to all suggestions!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Making Breakfast Burritos in Bulk

I found this blog, The Simple Dollar, which I now *love*. In this post, Trent talks about pre-making batches of breakfast burritos and freezing them for later. I have been thinking about doing this for a year!

Anchorage has the very best breakfast burritos I've ever eaten. They are wonderful and you can make so many choices!! I love the black bean, potato, egg, sour cream, mmmmm.

I read the recipe that the Trent posted to his blog, and then made my plan. We eat burritos all the time for dinner, with the same wraps, using refried beans, rice, salsa, cheese, onions and anything else leftover too. We love them! So, I am going to follow his recipe but add potatoes and rice, for more protein and carbs. I want to get good at making them so that I can send them out on the boat this summer for Tom and his fishing crew. Did you know that the combination of rice and beans creates as valuable a protein for the body as meat? And it's a lot more digestible too! Here's the wiki ...

Monday, February 23, 2009

My Super Sunday

Granny's Closet, Jodi, Judy W, Desertsky & Garnet Rose, I *did* go out for a wonderful walk yesterday, after everyone's urging and it was GREAT! I walked on the beach in the salt water, listening to it splash onshore (bundled up in my parka and ExtraTuffs!) Still, the sun was out and it was great!

Rannyjean, Becky and Karen in MN, and Karol, you gals really made me laugh and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!! :)

Tina - -take me with you!!!

Snoodles, you are a genius! I have a pic of a warm looking ocean, but never thought of looking at webcams! And I have one!

Tessahjake, I have been converting friends into bloggers (abracadabra, you are now a *blogger*) and that's been really fun. Good idea to get in touch with old friends.

Both Sues in Australia, I almost want to trade houses with you gals but I *die* at temps over 75 degrees (23-24 C) - - let's meet in the middle - - say, Hawaii?

Jackie - -I used to live in Indian Rocks Beach as a kid - -Gulf coast, south of Tampa/St.Pete. I've often thought of going back to see all the changes, but then again, I like remembering just how it was when I was growing up there :)

Here's a view of the harbor, I walked to about where the coal terminal starts (the blue thing in the center of the photo) and here's a coal tanker coming in as I was out for my walk.

Okay quilters: Rannyjean was the first name pulled, so she gets first choice of the bundles of fabric in the photo below and Jodi was the second name so she gets the bundle that Rannyjean doesn't pick! Karen in MN, you made me laugh the hardest (and it was your wading pool in the living room that made me think of putting sun tan lotion on just to smell it!). I need your addresses all three and I'm going to find something to put a smile on Karen in MN's face!

I feel so cheered up by everything that you all said. I did some blog hopping and found a few blogs where the gals are keeping track of their exercise goals and weight loss and that was a great motivator too! I am really happy that even though I am stuck in the back of beyond physically, I get to visit with wonderful people from all over the world. Thank you!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Comet Lulin

Have you heard about this comet? It's supposed to be visible to both hemispheres, visible to the naked eye, and fascinating to watch!

From this page: "Feb. 24th: Closest approach! On this special morning, Lulin will lie just a few degrees from Saturn in the constellation Leo. Saturn is obvious to the unaided eye, and Lulin could be as well. If this doesn't draw you out of bed, nothing will. [sky map]"

I don't know the declination, but my guess is that it is lower than the mountains surrounding Seward to the southwest. I'll try to see it anyway :)

Cabin Fever fabric give away!

Yikes, I have cabin fever *B*A*D*! Do you get this? How do you deal with it? This is one of the worst years ever! Can the "hormonal" issues of being age 50 have something to do with it? (yes, the "M" word). I am going to go clean up my stash (again). When I am done I think I might have 1 fat quarter left! LOL :)

I want to hear some cabin fever solutions and I'm going to draw names and send fabric to for creative solutions posted in the comments here! I'll have a bonus for what ever post makes me laugh the hardest :)

Drawing on 2/22 Let's have some fun!

Quilt as you go with Amy, Pat and Suzzett!

Amy, (here's her blog post), Pat (link to Pat's blog) and Suzzett's daughter Lindsey (here is Suzzett's blog) all posted about their Crazy Shortcut Quilts - -with photos!! I am so happy to see them all :)

Thank you for showing us your quilts and if I missed someone, please let me know at marguerita.mcmanus[@]

Saturday, February 21, 2009

New Fabric!

Oh what a great trip to Anchorage! To visit my favorite quilt shop (Seams Like Home Quilt Shoppe) and see the familiar faces and the new, gorgeous fabrics. Heaven!! Then Sarah arrived with granddaughter Audrey and the *real* fun began :)

Confession: I do not shop for fabric. I have asked (that being the polite way of saying 'forced') Sarah to pick my fabrics for me for years. Last time I went to Quilt Market I just gave her the cash and said "buy what you wanted but didn't get". She always picks the best stuff :)

When I buy fabrics and show my choices to people, they politely force a tight smile and whisper "oh, how nice .." and turn away quickly. It's true. Honest. I am a total loser at picking fabrics. That's why I buy the fat quarter bundles or have someone do it for me. I relied upon Doris, my all time best quilt shop friend, and now Sarah. Hopefully Audrey will take after her mom and have a good eye for color too :)

So anyway, Audrey and I played with the shop toys while Sarah selected my sashing fabrics for the two projects I have in the works now.

The quilt shop owner, Maret, found a minute between class sessions to say "Hi" (she is a total sweetheart) and take a look at my projects and THEN I spied, hidden at the bottom of a rack, my most favorite thing of all - -scrap bags!! Yay! I *love* buying scrap bags! At the counter Sarah spied a bit of left over ribbon with bunnies on it so of course we had to have it. What a wonderful day!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Going shopping for fabric - yay!

I'll be in Anchorage for a short period over the weekend and I get to go to my quilt shop! I *love* it there! I always bump into someone I know and I get to look at all the great new fabrics and get inspired by the projects on the walls. Since it is a 5 hour round trip (driving) it's a big deal to make this trip and a rare treat to have enough time to visit the quilt shop :)

I finished my Funky, Fuzzy squares and I need some sashing for them and I need sashing for another project (photos and video coming soon!). If I fall in love with a stiletto, I may even treat myself to one! Right now I use my seam ripper or a long, strong hat pin but I've always admired Eleanor Burn's stiletto and it sure would have helped when I was couching down that fuzzy yarn. Since I really liked that project and want to do more like it, I just think I *need* a stilletto, don't you? Do you have one? How do you use yours?

Monday, February 16, 2009


I've been chatting with Amy, who has been making her first Crazy Shortcut Quilt. She had a bit of a problem with the sashing and we've been emailing back and forth about that and the fact that her husband made her a quilting table, just like mine but hers is *PINK*! Hop on over to Amy's blog and check out her quilts, table and her success! Hurray Amy!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Best Cutting Video Ever

Debbie Caffrey, from her book Power Cutting. Even if you've been cutting strips for years, watch this video, it's really, really cool.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Updated demo video

I updated the video that shows the Crazy Shortcut Quilts demo. I finally got Sarah to film some footage (talk about pulling teeth!) and so I re-did the whole thing.

Originally, all the videos were supposed to be "just for fun" and I had planned on taking a few comments and then re-doing them. Well, 5,000 views later (on some of them!!) I am just getting there. I had no idea that YouTube was so popular!

So, if you want to see Sarah in action, go take a look at the newly uploaded demo and if you look carefully, you can see that I also uploaded an "out takes" video too. We do have some laughs while we are making the vids.

Do you have vids? Or favorites on YouTube? I'd love to see them! Post a comment and share ....

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Funky Fuzzy Shortcut Quilt

I took a video of me doing the stitching - - couching down the yarn:

Monday, January 19, 2009

StyleList Interview!

We made it to the big time! Writer Mallory Whitfield wrote about our book, webs and Etsy shop for StyleList Magazine Blog. When I first found this site I spent hours there!

Here's our interview...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Great Homemade Table

I was browsing the creations at Instructables and I found this great table. If you have space in your sewing room for a free standing table (or even if it were pushed into a corner) this looks like a wonderful table for cutting and (with a pressing mat) maybe even pressing yardage. I want one!

Best of all, all the instructions for building it are right on the site! If you have not visited Instructables yet click on over and get inspired and if you have a woodworker or carpenter in your house, send the link to this table and get busy making room for it!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Fabric Withdrawal

How long can you go without sewing or quilting? I have not sewn or quilted since mid October! I was starting to think that I was cured. Then it hit. Two days of not sleeping well, feeling out of sorts and then *fabric attack*! It's worse than an allergy attack :)

I want to touch it, wash it, iron it, spray it with starch and cut it and then mix it all up and sew it! So, tell me, how long can you go? The Stashbusters Group on Yahoo! has a saying, "find 15 minutes to sew each day". Do I listen? No, I let it build up like swollen river at a dam! Okay, gotta go, projects and UFO's are calling!