Thursday, April 28, 2011

ready for spring

A few shoots of green are gracing our landscape--I especially like the deeply textured and colorful rhubarb plant. I have already pulled out my rhubarb cookbook, the better to plan for the upcoming harvest of this wonderful plant. I am so lucky to live in a part of the world that grows rhubarb!

Last spring I was all about this 'Big Twister' plant that I found at a local nursery. I actually found 3 of them, and they were a fun addition to the patio. They grew well there, and the biggest one earned a spot inside the house for the winter. It must be a very resilient plant, because it has survived my benign neglect to live another summeron the patio!
Much more sparse than it looked last summer, but still clinging to life and hopefully ready to flourish once again over the next few months. We have had about 1 day where it was decent enough to leave it outdoors, but surely by the 4th of July it will be warm enough to leave it outside for an extended period of time!

I have developed a new (to me) quilting design, an adaptation of the usual medium sized meander with some curly-q's thrown in for good measure. Here's the front and back of a quilt sporting this style:
I am christening it the Funky Monkey, since the curls remind me of a monkey tail!

Getting ready to celebrate The Wedding with The Royals in my spare time. This is the look I am going for--
I am amazed that this woman has such a good reproduction of the hat I will be wearing! I hope we don't both show up at the same parties!

Ta-ta for now!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

a laundry lesson

I had one of those 'I can't believe this happened' moments recently after I washed this quilt.
It had been on our bed for awhile and was due for some cleaning. I don't wash my quilts very much, and I don't often pre-wash the fabrics before cutting and sewing. It was made of good quality fabrics that came from Bear Patch, designed by Kaye England and used for a class I taught. I should have taken a close-up picture of it after that first wash so you could understand my dismay. There were reddish dye splotches all over the light colored areas. Horrors! I was so disgusted that I just folded it up and put it out of sight.

Last time I was out running errands, I stopped at a WalMart to look for Shout Color Catcher sheets (our local grocery store, Soderquist's, doesn't stock them).
That purplish blob in front of the box is what happened to the plain white color catcher sheet after it went through another wash with my poor quilt. I also threw in that cloth just to the left which is another 'dye magnet' cloth that had been sort of off-white before it went in this load. It is a re-useable cloth, as opposed to the Shout product that is intended as one-time use. The Shout sheet is more like a paper towel/softener sheet.

Well, I couldn't be happier with the result--
No trace of excess dyes running where they aren't supposed to be! I really had not expected this to work as well as it did, but I am now a True Believer! If you want to give it a try, I even found this offer for a free sample. I have no idea how these products work, especially since the dye magnet cloth seems just like a piece of ordinary terry cloth, so maybe that's really all it is and I could just save a few cents and toss in a wash cloth. I was pretty amazed at the dark color that showed up on the Shout sheet, so I think that probably makes the expense justifiable!

Monday, April 25, 2011

the good and the bad

First, the good news--
I had fun with this cute big star, quilting it up in a bright thread color, with one of my favorite freehand designs. Curly-q's and plumes, loops and circles. I remember when I was first learning how to use my longarm machine, it took awhile for me to even be able to freehand a simple loopy meander design. I wondered if I would ever be able to do something more artful. So now having the ability to pull off this type of freehand design is very rewarding.

And what's the bad news? I am lamenting the elimination of my cowboys from the Amazing Race. I think I have been watching too much TV! Really, how did I get so invested in this simple reality show??

Friday, April 15, 2011

old and new

I am sharing a picture of another older favorite quilt that I have made--

This is called Pinwheels and Posies and is from a book by Liberty Homestead. The book title is Farmhouse Quilts--All the Stars Above. The pinwheel blocks are each 2" x 2" and I made them from a lot of assorted fabrics from my stash. The other blocks are hand embroidered with applique wool flowers. Instead of quilting it as usual, I decided to go for a more old-fashioned look with ties in the pinwheels and a big running stitch around the flower blocks.

In 2008, the Posse took a road trip to the Kansas City area and were lucky to be able to visit the Liberty Homestead Mercantile and Retreat center. Leisl is a big fan of quilt kits, and Liberty does up some good ones. She was looking gleeful about this kit--

We had a tour through the back room and upstairs, the areas used for retreats. It was very nicely done, and I was very impressed with this antique yo-yo quilt there--

Today I am finishing up quilting this great batik quilt. Aren't those colors of blue, grey and green just wonderful together? It reminds me of sea glass.

"Life is like a mirror. Smile at it and it smiles back at you." --Peace Pilgrim

Thursday, April 14, 2011


That was a lot of binding! This quilt binding seemed to go on and on and on, must have been at least a mile. But here's the final result, and I am liking it--

Soon to be found on display at Bear Patch Quilting Co. and available as a series of classes. This pattern is Civil War March by Yellow Creek Quilt Designs.

In my quest for leading a less meaty diet, with the hope that I will in turn become less meaty, I tried a recipe today for Black Bean patties. This came from the Angry Chicken blog, which seems an odd name for a place to find vegetarian recipes! But the result was quite tasty, and oh so much better than the frozen black bean patties I have purchased at the grocery store. Now I have my own supply of delicious patties in the freezer. In the making of this recipe, I needed to use some oatmeal. The recipe did not specify what type of oatmeal, and this always leaves me in a quandary. I have regular old-fashioned oatmeal on hand for my granola, and I have quick oats for the days when I only have 1 minute and 10 seconds to make breakfast. Don't let that 1-minute claim fool you, oh no, you have to allow at least an extra 10 seconds to get the right consistency. Anyway, I finally learned everything you ever wanted to know about oatmeal so now I know what to use in my recipes. I'm sure you are just as relieved to know the details as I am!

Monday, April 11, 2011

weekend update

Well, I accomplished 3 of the 4 things that I wanted to do over the weekend. Finished quilting this--

and this.

Sewing room was occupied part of the time while putting together this--

and binding this.

The spring cleaning of the car yielded this--
Sunglasses which were missing since September and presumed forever lost. The car is all spiffed up inside but revealed a leakage problem on the garage floor over the weekend, so will go to the car clinic tomorrow for a checkup. The puddle is green, which means it is bile, so must be a gall bladder problem, don'tcha think?

After an interminable 2 weeks since the last Amazing Race, my patience was rewarded with another spellbinding episode last night! Those crazy goths are getting on my nerves, and my cowboys were flirting with danger by taking the wrong flight and ending up at the tail end of the pack. But due to their superior intellect and the ability to leap over tall buildings, they avoided elimination. Crabby dad and his sweet daughter got the boot instead. Oh well.

I watched this short and sweet video that I wanted to share with you. I enjoy my alone time (mostly) and I love the quiet. If being alone seems awkward to you, this might help--

No doubt about it, solitude is improved by being voluntary. --Barbara Holland

Friday, April 8, 2011

a good day

I spent my day working at the store, enjoying the positive and upbeat mood there. After all, what's not to like?! Plenty of folks in and out, enjoying a little shopping and a nice sunny day. We had the doors open wide without having to wear our jackets! New fabric to unpack, projects to inspire, people to meet. The day was done before I knew it!

Then home to a delicious stir-fry dinner prepared by Bob, our first venture into the Land of Tofu! I have been on a meatless kick lately, just to see what the life of a vegetarian is like. Bob joins me in my meatless meals most of the time, but I'm pretty sure he sneaks in some bacon when my back is turned! Doesn't this look tasty?
I had not prepared tofu at home before, but feel I am needing some additional sources of protein, so this was a good start and it turned out well. I already don't eat dairy, being the lactose intolerant that I am, so I don't even have to think about cutting that out of my diet! Eggs are still fair game to me, thank goodness for that!

Anyone watching those eagles? Three (3) little fluff balls in the nest now! Yay!

Quilted up this fun little quilt, made with Riley Blake fabrics. Patterns and kits soon available at Bear Patch. With the peace signs and daisies and dots, I thought I was having a flashback to the 60's!

During some browsing around this morning, I found this amazing egg embroidery. Yes, embroidery on eggs! How about that for an easter basket!

Looking forward to a weekend of sewing, quilting, walking the neighborhood, and cleaning out my car! What are you doing?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

quite a little about not a lot

I have an affinity for words, have all my life, I loved spelling tests and spelling bees--yes, call me a dork! I also love to look at maps, but that's another story! I would be perfectly happy to sit down with a dictionary and an atlas and nothing else to do.

I like to find word conundrums, like this recent example I found on another blog. Some great examples of the idiosyncrasies of our language. And yes, that is how idiosyncrasies is spelled because spellchecker told me so. I wonder if other languages have such puzzles over words and meanings and pronunciations? I was fluent in Swedish at one point in my life, but I do not recall any similar word puzzles in that language.

I like rhymes, but I have never written a poem. I have incorporated rhyming into my business name, Emmaline Design, and pattern titles (Hocus Pocus, Aisle Style, Going Sewing, Flour Power, etc.). Sometimes I just run words through my head trying to think up the next great title! I do make use of a little online rhyming help sometimes to get the ball rolling. Also palindromes are good for pondering. You know--bob, noon, dad, did, gig, racecar, and my favorite, kayak.

One confusing pair of phrases that always amuses me is "quite a little" and "quite a lot". They basically can be used to describe the same thing in a vague measuring sort of way, but the word 'little' does not have the same meaning as 'lot' when used alone. And when you put 'quite' on the front of it, it seems like the whole idea changes. What's up with that?

I know there are lots of word games out there to be played on my computer, but I am not a computer-game-playing-person (yet). But I did find a fun thing called Wordle that I am experimenting with, thinking of ways to blend it into my other interests. Stand by for more on that one!

checking off the list

I have enjoyed getting some sewing time lately, and havebeen able to finish up some things languishing on the "To Do" pile. I haven't been watching eagles nesting all day long! I started this one in January on my escape to Door Co.
I was able to get the majority of the blocks constructed there, but it has taken me quite awhile to get the setting triangles sewn into the rows and the rows sewn into a whole top. It's pretty big, this only shows part of it because my display apparatus (aka Bob) was pushed to his limit even while standing on a chair. This is a good example of a quilt that has gone through several levels on my like-o-meter. I picked out fabrics from the Kinkame shelves at Bear Patch, I have lusted after these soft Asian-inspired fabrics for quite awhile so I was happy to have decided on a class project that would make good use of them. Looking at my pile of fabric was a good feeling. Then came all the cutting and sewing of the blocks, which was medium on the scale. Then I had to sew all the triangles in-between, and I was not sure it was going to turn out at all like I had hoped, it just seemed too mixed up and disjointed. But then the rows started coming together, and finally the outer border pulled it all into shape and now I like it again! Whew! I have the backing ready and will start quilting it today probably.

I finished quilting Nancy's rustic applique quilt, it was fun to work on all the little sections. The little chocolate bunny was looking good enough to eat! But what is with those weird veggies? Are those supposed to be artichokes or something? They look like they came from another planet! I get the carrots and turnips, but I think Nancy was smoking something when she put those other ones on!

I have no pictures to show of the 2 little baby quilts that went off in the mail yesterday. Two more members of the Hansen family were born in March--Jaxson Motley in Phoenix, AZ, and Bode Bulfer in Northfield, MN. Welcome to the world, little guys! I hope they get much enjoyment from them.

I finished quilting this last night--
I never tire of batiks, they are a delight to work with. This is a customer's quilt, and the pattern is Popsicle Sticks by Atkinson Designs.

So that's what I have been up to, what about you?

We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are. --Anais Nin

Saturday, April 2, 2011

it's a bird!

I have been tuning in lately to the eagle cam located up in a tree in Decorah, IA. This eagle pair have been keeping 3 eggs warm for weeks and today the first one hatched! If you are lucky you will get a glimpse of the little fluff ball. You will also notice a dead rabbit on the edge of the nest, they must be keeping it handy for a snack on those long days and nights with the younguns. It is interesting that the behavior of the adult eagle on the nest has changed dramatically with the first hatching, before they always just sat still like a statue, now they are fluffing and moving around much more. It is a rare chance to see these huge and regal birds up close and personal!

Live Broadcasting by Ustream

Friday, April 1, 2011

Brita sews!

See Brita sew. Sew, Brita, sew!
All kidding aside, didn't this pillow cover turn out great? Brita is learning how to run her sewing machine, and helped me stitch up a couple spots of color for her couch. To spark up the oatmeal for Ben!
This fabric was a remnant that I nabbed at a shop in Colorado last fall, and is designed by Anna Maria Horner for Free Spirit. It's always a good feeling when something that I like is also something that my daughter likes! A nice change from some of the teen years when it was more of the opposite. This is from an older fabric line so I think she is looking online to buy some more.

These cute little zip bags are from a pattern called Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo.
It is made with the Double Diamond Ruler to make that interesting little cutout on the front. The ruler helps you cut little V slits that are then folded back onto each other, laid on top of a backing fabric, and result in a new design element.

Although I don't own an e-reader, I am ready for one with this cover and tote that I have made for an upcoming class at Bear Patch.
The fabric gives me a happy feeling. It comes from Adornit, a fairly new fabric design company with a scrapbooker influence. The pattern is E-Cozy from Whistlepig Creek. They also have a pattern for the Ipad cover, do you suppose if I make the cover, the Ipad will come?

I have spent the morning cleaning and doing laundry, so now I am rewarding myself with some sewing time. All is right with the world!
Rabbit to you, Jan.