a project

I’ve been doing so many things, so I’m going to have to do a whole bunch of catching up. I thought I’d start small, with one of my favorite things that I’ve made lately, although I didn’t actually make it by myself.

Years ago, my mother-in-law gave me a stack of quilt tops that had been handed down to her. She didn’t know exactly who in her family made them, but they came from Arkansas and West Virginia and were made in the 30’s and 40’s. I don’t know if they were made by the same person, or several different people. The fabrics are pretty amazing, but the workmanship is not the best.


I started on this particular quilt top ages ago. I started to hand quilt it

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, but it wasn’t anything close to being flat, so I gave up on that idea, and it has just been languishing. I pulled it out again and decided to just tie it, and not worry about all the puckering and bunching.


I kind of tied the crap out of it, but I absolutely love it. The fabrics are so fun to look at, and there are lots that I wish I had larger pieces of for my stash. I backed it with a 30’s inspired rose print and bound it with another stripe-y 30’s-like print, and I think they are just perfect with the colorful top.


The maker of the quilt top may not have been the most skilled seamstress, but the whole thing is hand stitched, and I think she had a great eye for color. I hope she would be happy with what I did, and be pleased that it is being used and loved.


There’s a certain melancholy to an unfinished project, isn’t there? I think about all my half-finished things laying around, and wonder if years from now someone will find something I’ve started and value it enough to finish. Or maybe I should just get it together and finish what I start.



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Sometimes things just don't work out how I imagine them in my head. Flush from the success of my window patchwork and my corner office, I thought I'd teach myself how to do paper piecing. It was all going pretty well, and then I got to the second-to-last piece.

Paper piecing

Back to the drawing board. It seems that each piece can only have one seam, and I tried to do two. If any paper piecing experts are reading this, is that the case? I'm off to do a little more research. I just thought it would be good to share the failures along with the successes to keep me honest. 

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books books books!

I have a book to give away here on the blog this week, and you can give away 20 books if you hurry! I'll tell you about mine last, because it's not as important or exciting as World Book Night! Have you heard about this? I should have mentioned it sooner, but I signed up at what I thought was the last minute and then didn't think about it again until I got an email the other day that I had been accepted and would get the opportunity to share twenty copies of a favorite book. 


So, what is this World Book Night thing, you may be asking? It started last year in the UK and has expanded to include the US and Ireland this year! It's a charity for the promotion of literacy and reading, which is very dear to my heart. Anyone in these three countries can apply to recieve twenty copies of a favorite book (you choose from a list of 30 very good books-I had to really think about which I wanted to share) to be given away in a location of your choosing-preferably to non-readers, on April 23. I chose Peace Like a River, which is that rare kind of book that stays with you for years and years. Narrated by a young boy whose voice has been compared to Scout Finch or  Huck Finn, it is the story of a family and a tragedy and miracles and goodness. I can't wait to share it!

Go apply right now, the deadline is Monday, February 6th at midnight EST. You don't have to write long essays for each question, just give succinct but thoughtful answers and I think you'll have a good chance at being accepted. At least that's what I did. 

Now for a little blog giveaway. It's been awhile since I've done one, but I just received a copy of the new paperback edition of Creative Quilting with Beads, which I contributed to a few years ago.

image from www.flickr.com

It's got lots of fun projects, and even if you don't want to replicate them exactly, it's good for inspiration for everything from bags to wall hangings to fridge magnets (I think theses are super cute and would make great little brooches). I recently cleaned out my bead stash, so I might even include an assortment of seed beads and a little sewing kit along with the book.   


To enter, just leave a comment and tell us about a favorite quilting project or beading project (links to pictures are encouraged!) you've done or dream of doing. I'll leave the comments open until next weekend. 

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some things that will be finished soon

I'm having kind of a good time finishing some things that were started a long time ago. Here are just a few: 


A long ago thrift store find, this little display shelf was dusty, dark wood. I think it still needs one more coat of glossy paint, I just had some flat spray paint, but I love it so much more in white. It's nice to have a place to showcase some tiny treasures that I love. 


A simple appliquĂ© quilt I started long, long ago. I finished sewing the three big flowers and their stems, so now I just need to get some batting, figure out the backing, quilt, and bind the whole thing. I love the saturated colors of these batik fabrics. I know they're maybe not so modern and hip, but I don't care. I'll probably hand quilt it with lots more of the same bright colors. 

HemIt's nice and chilly in the evening, so I've picked up the knitting needles again! This is the Tea Leaves cardigan (Ravelry link) I started in March, and that is the bottom edge, just about ready to be cast off. Then I'll just have to do the sleeves and the button band, and I'll have a new sweater for this autumn!

There are a couple more projects in the works, and all this suits my ADD style just fine. I've also managed to hem my living room drapes, which have been hanging there un-hemmed for longer than I'd like to admit. There's also another porch project that I hope to finish this weekend that I think is going to be very cute. 


Luckily, Winston keeps me company in my little house studio as I work on all these projects. It really must be fall, his summer haircut is growing out quite nicely! 

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catch up

I had no intention of disappearing for three weeks, but I guess that's just what I did. I've been both busy and lazy. Well, not so much lazy, just worn out from the busy. And there was a bit of a cold somewhere in that time too. Last week I decided to enter a contest at Veer.com to win a MacBook Pro. I knew the competition was going to be tough, but I forced myself to try anyway. Veer is a stock photo/illustration/design site, so most users are professional graphic designers. So the contest was to step away from the computer and recreate their logo with real materials. Multiple entries were allowed, so I did three: a mini quilt, a papercut, and a candy mosaic. 


 Veer Papercut 

 Veer Candy 

The winner was pretty darn cool, and the ten runners-up were also really great. I'm still happy I went without sleep and ate too much orange candy in my attempts. I do love my papercut one, although that was my first attempt at papercutting, and it was not easy. I want to try it out with different kinds of paper, because everything looked terrible when I tried to use a blade. I ended up using paper scissors in the end. I think I'll remove the letters from the quilt and turn it into a little doll quilt, I love the bright, juicy oranges. 

I've been doing a little cooking as well, and had myself a little tea party one afternoon, while watching Howard's End. You don't really notice the food in that movie unless you watch it hungry. I speak from experience. So I was prepared this time. One of my favorite scones ever are the ginger scones I would get at Teaism, when I lived in Alexandria, Virginia. So I used a cream scone recipe and added finely chopped crystallized ginger and they may not have looked like much, but they were just perfect. I recommend that you try this sometime. 


My former boss is an avid fisherman, and brought back a whole lot of yellow fin tuna from a recent trip. So I decided to use some to make fish & chips, but with a little Asian twist. I cut the chunk of tuna into fat sticks, dipped them in beaten egg, and then coated them with panko crumbs. Then I fried them in a little oil (maybe a half inch deep), turning so that all the sides got nice and brown. I made two dipping sauces instead of tarter sauce. The first was my usual wasabi cream sauce and the other with a spicy mayonnaise, which was simply mayo with some srirachi chili sauce (also known as Rooster sauce), and a little squeeze of lemon. Yum! It was delicious and really easy. 


Now I'm hungry, and we are out of bacon, so I think I'm going to get myself dressed and head over to the local diner for breakfast. 



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