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Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Today I spent thrifting and got a few things but nothing picture worthy so instead here's my mother's Ginger Snap recipe.
Gramma B's Ginger Snaps
3 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups mixed butter and shortening (about half each)
3 eggs
1 cup molasses
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
5 to 6 cups flour

Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat well. Add molasses and mix well. Sift the dry ingredients with 3 cups of the flour. Mix in the flour and then add enough more to make a stiff dough. You can make into logs and freeze to cook later. I rolled them into balls, flattened a bit and dipped the top in white sugar. Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes. This is a very large recipe so I usually freeze about half of it.

Monday, June 29, 2009


I did a bit of work on this one that I call Out, in contrast to the Down one I worked on before. There is still lots of work to be done on it but it already looks pretty up and happy to me.
I wish now that I had inserted a few horizontal green lines before I fused the leaves on the right side section. I'm debating whether to do that part again with the green lines. Lesson learned, do not be too hasty with the iron when fusing.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Debra's Embroideries

Yesterday in the mail I got these cute little embroideries from Debra. Now I have to think of a project that is worthy of them. Maybe another bag...
Debra has an Etsy shop if you'd like to purchase some of her lovely work. There is a link on my sidebar that will lead you there.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Is It Done?

Today I quilted and backed the depression wall hanging. I'm not sure if it's done though. Right now I have one single teardrop shaped bead on it. I can't decide if that is enough or if I should embellish it to death like I usually do.

This is a closeup of the stitching in the middle over the colored bits.

Just to lighten up, I started a happy one to show what happens when you get to the end of the tunnel. I thought of having them as a set and calling the other one Down and this one Out.

Freshly Dyed Fabrics

Yesterday I dyed some fabrics with the new cloth I got. It was recommended by Judy Morningstar when I talked to her at her opening. It is a type of ticking that is often used to make feather duvets. It is very tightly woven. It was $7.99/metre but if I buy a bolt of 50 metres it's only $5.99. It's 90 inches wide so I think that's a pretty good deal. If I like the 5 metres that I bought, I'll probably go back and get a bolt.
I tried some that were pre-soaked in soda ash and some that had the soda ash added later. I thought the pre-soaked turned out a bit brighter. I didn't pre-wash this batch because I was too eager to try it out. Tomorrow I'll try one that is pre-washed to see if there is a signifigant difference. It has been raining hard ever since shortly after this picture was taken so I'm going to wait for dry weather so I can work outside.

This is a close up of one of my favorite pieces.

I love the avocado green one too. Some of them have too much white left so I'll either over-dye them or paint on them.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Gentleman Friend?

Or live-in-Lover?? This bird is very tipsy. He only stands reluctantly and for a short time before he topples over. Does he tipple before he topples? Probably. I tried to give him feathery legs like a rooster but they seem to be sadly sagging. Perhaps also as a result of his tipping or tippling.
He is slightly related to the other birds. If you look carefully you can see that the undersides of his wings are the same fabric as the other birds' wings. They are all family.

Here they are, all together having a good gossip session. I'm going to find a nice branch for them all to perch on.
And now on to something more serious like washing out some new hand dyes.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Wonderful Prize

Today when I went to the mailbox I found a package waiting for me and inside was the prize I won from Suebee's Blog awhile ago. She must be a mind reader because there were three of the cutest polkadot fabrics, and if you read my blog very often, you'll know I love dotty fabrics. She also included some bright zippers ( a person can never have too many zippers!) and some printer fabric for making labels. There goes my excuse for not labeling my work.

We had to go to Portage today (a couple of hours drive) and I know that they have a good thrift shop there. Here's what I scored. the rings with the stars attached were with the shower curtain clips but I don't know if that's what they originally were. I love putting stars on my wall hangings so they will probably be taken apart. The beads are in muted colors that really go well with a lot of what I do. I'm not sure about the roses but at 25 cents each, they were definitely worth picking up. There is also a black and silver bead that might go on the depression wall hanging. The tape is a bit Christmas, especially the green one, but they may come in handy some day. As for the wooden toggle buttons, they might make a cute bag fastening.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I built a better bird today. Nobody has beat a path to my door so I guess it's not the same as a better mousetrap. This one is a bit fatter and healthier looking. You can tell they are related by their wings. Actually, for the first one I made two wings for the same side so I thought I might as well not waste it. My biggest problem is the feet and legs. I can't seem to get them as nice as some of the ones I've seen. I need more practise I guess. Stay tuned. These things are addictive.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New Work

I picked up these three cute little wooden mice at the thrift shop today. I don't much like real mice but I couldn't pass these ones. They could even end up in a wall hanging.

I tried one of Nellie's Birds this afternoon. I am looking on this one as a prototype. It needs to be stuffed better and I didn't have the right wire for the legs. After they were sewn in, I found the covered wire but by then I decided to just push on and finish it, saving the wire for the next one.

I got the bright idea this morning to make a wall hanging representing depression. The little colored cross in the middle represents the light at the end of the tunnel. It seemed too bright so I used one of my machine embroidery stitches to darken it. After a couple of hours I had to stop and make a bright bird because it was just too depressing working on this one. I will finish it though because I quite like the way it is going.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Go For Gold

This one is finished unless I see something else to change when it has hung for awhile. I changed the large gold button for a smaller one, partly because the bigger one was pulling the top of the piece down. I think the smaller one looks better anyway. The longer tail looks very blue on my computer screen but it's actually a dark gray. I see, when comparing pictures, that I didn't put the gold chain on the long tail. Does it look better on, or are there too many chains on the same side if it's there?
I decided to call it Go For Gold because the hanging pieces remind me of gold medals. Canada will be hosting the next Winter Olympics so I suppose, even though I'm not much of an Olympics fan, the theme is appropriate.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I have changed a few things on it and now I like it quite a lot better. We have to go to town this afternoon so I'll see if I feel the same when we get home.

Over Done? Or Done?

Is there too much going on here? I will remove the ring from the tail on the gold background to the left for sure. Is it too weighted to the right? Maybe it's the tail with the vertical stripes that is the problem...It's funny that when you look at a piece in a blog picture you see things that you don't see on the design wall.
It all seems a bit too busy for me, but which embellishments should I remove or change? Or does it look ready to sew together? This is one of those pieces that have to sit around and be digested I guess.
I'm off to dye some fabric while I try to decide what to do about this one.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Blogger's Visit

Today Brenda, from Scraps and Strings, dropped in to have a go at quilting on my mid-arm. I think she did a great job on a beautiful quilt that she made using 70s fabric from her mother's stash.

Here is the quilt, finished but not trimmed or bound.

Here is a close up of the quilting where she wrote the word LOVE. Very nice.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Planning Stage

I have started planning a new wall hanging using some of the tails that I didn't use on the last one. This time I am trying to make them an integral part of the piece instead of just hanging them on the bottom. This is just the very first stage. There will be a lot of changes I'm sure.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Dark Skies Finished Version

I finally decided that the tails just weren't working on this one so I went with just beads. I haven't put any beads on the body of the piece, although that is still an option.
Sometimes, less is more.

Stamping and Sun Dye Experiments

I put a leaf on the carving medium I got on our trip, drew around it and then carved a stamp from it. These are the first practise stamps. I may cut the stamp completely away from around the leaf. The pink blobs were on the fabric already. I just used the first scrap I put my hand on for this test. I also used acrylic paint for the test. On a real project I'd use fabric paint.

This is the first attempt at sun dyeing. Things I learned: Press the leaves first so they lay flat on the fabric. Thick paint works better than thin. Wet the cloth first.

Here is the second attempt. I could have spent more time or the arrangement but I can see these cut out and becoming the center of a block.
Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dark Skies

This morning I quilted Dark Skies and I'm now ready to put the envelope backing on. I am wondering about the tails hanging down. Are there too many? Do they have enough relationship to the piece or would it look better without them? I have lots of embellishments to put on the body of the piece too. When is it too much? I always have a problem knowing when it's done. By the way, this one is about 20 inches square.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Dark Skies

I have put a couple more rounds on Dark Skies and have started auditioning embellishments. I can already see that the darkest tail should move to the left to return the weight to that side.
I am also starting to contemplate how I will quilt it. That's always the hardest part for me. Will I use round lines to match the circles or straight lines to match the criss cross lines? Or will I go for something completely different? Time alone will tell.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Dark Skies

I started a new wall hanging today. It's working title is Dark Skies. I'm not sure where to take it from here, or maybe it's done? I'll let it sit for a day or two and see what happens.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I finished the little Cats wall hanging. It's only about 12x15 inches. I thought it needed another border after the purple one so I added one more of yellow. It's actually much straighter than it looks in the picture. I need to block it so that it doesn't stick out from the wall. The color is a bit off because the wall behind it is a sort of sage green.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Doll Book

Yesterday at the thrift shop while I was trying to talk myself out of buying the sewing machine (as you know, it didn't work) I found this doll book. I'm not a doll maker but I couldn't resist the large coffee table book.

These two really appealed to me. I love their clothing.

This Japanese doll is exquisite.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Thrift Score Again!

This is what I found at the thrift store today! I have long been wishing for a Featherweight and I couldn't believe it when I saw one there. On top of everything, all sewing machines were 10% off this week. The case is in very good condition and doesn't smell of mildew. The only condition issue it has is that the clasps are broken off and have been replaced with a new one in the middle. It has the manual and most of the attachments. It sews like a dream. Do I need another sewing machine? About as much as I need some more bags. But what has need got to do with it? Unfortunately, the person who priced it was aware of the value of Featherweights so I did end up paying almost $300 for it. They must have checked on Ebay because that seems to be about the going price.
When I put it back in the box to take it to the checkout, I didn't get it in quite right and the lid wasn't closed properly. The guy at the checkout took his fist and hit the top of the lid to try to close it. I almost screamed! He was about to hit it again when I stopped him and said I'd take it like that and fix it at home. Luckily, there seems to have been no damage to it.

Waste Not

I couldn't waste the cats that were on the scraps left over from my Laurel Burch bag so they ended up on this wall hanging. I'm still working on it, but not sure where to take it from here. Stay tuned.

I also took the big beads off Stormy Weather and am debating on whether to use this strip of crystals or to sew random crystal beads on it. I am leaning toward the strip right now.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Too Many Bags????

Here are most of my bags piled on the kitchen table with no sort of organization. Some are used, most are unused. I have given many away, and sold some. Maybe it's time to open a shop.

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Number 14 was :

klaudia said...

Thats a pretty bag!
Thank you for the giveaway!
It was nice too look round you have a great blog!!

As soon as I get Klaudia's address, the bag will be off to her. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Burch Bag

I made the bag reversible with a hidden snap. I put red piping around the top to give it a finished look. I thought it also needed the buttons, which are purely decorative.

The blue part on this side is an outside pocket. I would have made it a bit deeper if I had more fabric. I got the strap material at M&J Trimmings in NYC when we were there last month.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Do I Need Another Bag?

There was a quarter inch of ice on the water in a pail on the deck this morning. To cheer myself up I thought I'd make a bag from one of the Laurel Burch fat quarters that I bought on our trip. Now I have decisions to make. Which side is the front? I stitched around all the cats with gold thread on the side shown above. If that is the front should I make a red tab? Or use hidden snaps? It seems to need something to make it look more finished on this side. Maybe red piping?

Or should this be the front. I only had a fat quarter of the fabric so I had to piece it.
The other option is to use a hidden snap and then either side can be the front.

Give Away

There is a new sewing website opening on Monday called SEWN. I have decided to sponsor a giveaway in celebration of their opening. Leave a comment on this post and you could be in line to win this shopping bag. The draw will take place on Monday, June 8. Sorry about the short notice, but I just heard about it myself.
To go to their website, just click on the button on my sidebar.

Friday, June 05, 2009

And Three More!

Today I finished three more UFOs. The one above is rather faded in the picture. The browns are much richer looking in real life. The wall that it is hanging on is actually yellow.

This is an exercise from the Art Quilt Workbook. I tried a lily but it ended up looking a bit flat. I probably should have chosen something in colors rather than white.

I'm not sure this one is finished. I'm thinking that the beads on the green strip are too big. I might cut them off and use small clear crystal beads. What do you think?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Done, Done and Done

I've spent the last couple of days finishing things. I quilted the pear that I made from a pattern in my Art Quilt Workbook. It's quite small and may end up being a hot pad for the table.

This one is also quite small, only 10" x 17".

I put triangles on all the corners so it can be hung either way.

I also quilted and backed the second rose one that I did quite some time ago.

I sewed rings on this one instead of a hanging sleeve. It's also small, 10" x 13".

I also have one more that I have sewn the binding on but it's not stitched down yet so I can't call it finished.