Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pretty and Pink

It's almost February 14. Pink is taking up space in my head again. Last week, I pulled out some of my favorite pink print scraps and fat quarters.

Then made a DJ block with one of my favorite pink prints.

These tiny pieces are killers.


Next, I brought out a small quilt I made awhile ago and started to quilt it. I'm enjoying taking in the pinks mixed with brown. I really love this little quilt. Why do I start these things and then put them down for so long? Don't ask me about the brown border print. Trust me, it's old and you can no longer find it anywhere. I'm hoarding a small strip left over from a larger quilt.


I changed my mind and decided to quilt it using a light brown thread instead of an off-white one.
I didn't always love pink. It sort of grew on me over the years. I'm thinking about making another little quilt and so far have one block finished but I'll see if I can make it work before I post a photo. And then who knows just how far I'll carry this pink thing.
                                                              Colonial Pink House, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok  All Rights Reserved
                                                                 a modern pink kitchen
                    I love this. Would be fun to do for a night out, I don't think I'm brave enough to actually color my hair pink. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Giveaway Winner

Here is the winner of the Quilted Heart book by Mona Hodgson -

                                    Mandy Currie

Congratulations, Mandy!  I will send your address to Mona as soon as you e-mail it to me.

Thanks to all of you for posting  a comment here. Your stories certainly touched my heart and I'm glad that quilting gets so many of you through life's difficult times. I know it does the same for me. It's a well documented fact that "the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight." For many of us, the creative process involved in quilting is also a healing technique that can not only relieve stress but bring us in touch with our emotions to generate greater feelings of well-being.
So if your problems (or the cold weather or winter blues) happen to be getting you down, try picking up a needle or sit  down at your sewing machine and see if making something lifts you up or changes your outlook a bit.
Valentine's day is coming soon and my mind is leaning toward making something small and cute with hearts or pink and red prints again this year. How about you?

Happy quilting!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Stories Stitched Together - Book Giveaway

Winter always means spending more time sewing but I also spend more time reading too. And reading books about quilting are always a favorite. You too? Today I have the opportunity to host a wonderful giveaway of a book by Mona Hodgson, popular author of several historical novels centered on women's lives and their quilting in the 1800s. The book is a compilation of three novels in one volume called The Quilted Heart.


Here's a little info about the book -

"Like a beautiful patchwork quilt, the three novellas in The Quilted Heart tell stories of lives stitched together with love and God’s unending grace.

"Once a week, Elsa Brantenberg hosts the Saint Charles Quilting Circle at her farmhouse on the outskirts of the riverside town of St. Charles, Missouri. The ladies who gather there have all experienced heartache related to the intense hardships of the Civil War and together they are facing their painful circumstances with friendship and prayer. Can the tattered pieces of their hearts be stitched together by God’s grace?"
When I think about quilters from the past I realize that ours lives are not so different from theirs. We too still struggle and celebrate as they did - There are weddings, births and funerals, challenges and conflicts, joys mingled with sorrows and failures turned into victories. Our lives are stories stitched together, just like quilts.
For a chance to win a signed copy of The Quilted Heart omnibus – all three novellas in one volume - just leave a comment on my blog telling me how quilting has gotten you through some tough times and how it has been a refuge for you. Comments will close on Saturday night and the winner will be announced sometime on Sunday.

See author Mona Hodgson's website and blog for more of her delightful books AND a free block pattern for a quilt that's in my book The Civil War Sewing Circle.  Best of  luck to the winner!

                                                Mona Hodgson Standing


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Cleaning Up in 2014

Two weeks ago I started cleaning out my son's vacant bedroom to make more room for another sewing/work/storage space for myself. My work/business stuff is taking over my creative/sewing space. I am on a mission to clear the clutter and organize my stuff! Throw out the old, make room for the new. It's beginning to look like I've taken on a huge task. But I know I need organization and a clean space to be creative.

Things I have to do: Make or buy some new curtains for the room, put up shelves, get a new table, finish purging whatever my son left behind. Clean the carpet. I need help moving things around in there and getting a bookcase and set of drawers brought up from the basement so I'm waiting for my husband to have some free time to help. He's busy and stressed so I can see it's going to take awhile for me to actually have that room set up without some help. In the meantime I can dream about organizing a new space, can't I?  The room is green and I'd love to paint it blue but that will have to wait until spring or summer, if at all. Maybe I'll learn to love the green. I saw this cute photo yesterday and think I need to get me some pegboard too : )  Never thought to paint it . . . .
I've spent time this past week pulling out my resources, getting ideas:

I've been saving this page I tore out of a magazine for a couple of years . . . . I know I could create some pretty things if I had this room : )  I'd keep it clean too, I promise.

This organizing has carried over to the rest of my home now. I've started to de-clutter that too. I just cannot be creative or productive if my home is cluttered or not clean. Messes really mess up my mind and make me cranky and less productive. I bought this nifty Electrolux cordless vacuum (with a detachable dustbuster!) to help me keep up with the dust and dirt on all my hardwood floors. It's not a replacement for the big vacuum but it's easy to take out for a quick sweep every day if I need to. It even works on some of our low-pile area rugs. Karen commented on my Facebook page that I probably liked it so much because it's blue. Yep, it works for me if I have pretty cleaning tools.

Funny, when my house is clean I often find that I am in a better mood and then have more energy and time to be creative. After I cleaned I even went to the gym to exercise. And hey, I also made that pincushion, LOL. Okay, it's not a quilt, but until I get more organized and clear my head a little, that may be all I'm able to do . . . .
Let's hope I can keep this up. Maybe an organized space + an organized mind  =   a healthier, happier, more productive me in 2014.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Pincushion Fun

My Yahoo group is making pincushions for a swap. Some in the group were hesitant to join in because they had never made a pincushion. Imagine! Pincushions can be so simple to make. Marian gave everyone the idea to make some simple pincushions from orphan or leftover blocks and shows how she did hers on her blog. Aren't they just lovely? She makes it all look so easy. And, with pincushions, it really is.
Five little scrappy pincushions
I've been so busy with family and other things lately to do much sewing, pincushions or otherwise, but today I think I may have a few minutes and, if I do, I will take out my numerous leftover or reject blocks from other projects -
Pick one,  and make a simple pincushion.

I think it's going to be this star block. Maybe I'll get on a roll and be like Marian and make five  . . .
(Doll pillow pincushions are in my book The Civil War Sewing Circle. Striped pincushion - cut 1" x 3 3/4"strips and sew them together. Use some pretty decorative machine stitches at the seams.)
How about you? Even just a little something can get those creative vibes flowing. Make a little pincushion from a leftover block. Keep it for yourself or perhaps put a smile on someone's face and give it away.



Monday, January 6, 2014

Arctic Blast

 I really don't like complaining about the weather. I usually roll with it. But this is pretty ridiculous. Chicago hit a record low for this date this morning, as temperatures plummeted to minus 16 at O'Hare International Airport at 8 a.m. The previous record was minus 14 set in 1988. I don't remember that freeze at all since I was in baby heaven daze - my son had just been born and I had other things to think about I guess. Right now the temperature near me is -14 F. But it's pretty sunny and it's supposed to go all the way up to -9 degress F.  Imagine!

Those of you with dogs will love this. My little pup was afraid to go out in the backyard because of all the snow, which was over a foot. She yearned to go out there - I could tell - but she stayed close to me, near the door. We were both getting a little bit of cabin fever. I try not to walk her on the streets where there's so much salt to irritate her paws and the sidewalks are just too full of snow now for us to manuever well (okay, I'm really afraid of falling). When our other dog was alive he would blaze the trail in the back and she would follow behind in his paw prints.
Last week, my husband was kind enough to shovel a path for me to get to the bird feeders. On Saturday, when it hadn't gotten quite so cold yet, I went out and shoveled a series of paths in the back yard so she could run around a little. She had the best time and didn't have to venture into the far reaches of the yard, the paths were close to the house and just long enough for her to run around like a crazy puppy at least 5-6 times then come inside, dry off and rest - then whine to go out and do it again in 1/2 an hour. Today it was too cold - she went out for about 1 minute to pee then she turned around and ran inside. FYI - when she comes inside I always dry off her paws with a soft towel and later apply lotion to the pads. Cesar said to do this a couple of times a day, just as we rub lotion on our hands to keep them from drying and cracking.

Gopher tunnels? No, puppy tunnels!

If the temps stay cold at least she'll have someplace to run around for awhile.

I just peeked outside and even though I have errands to do I decided to stay in today. If you placed an order for a book or pattern on my website over the weekend, sorry, it will not go out today or tomorrow and may take a little longer to arrive.
Maybe I'll work on some blocks.

This one, titled Cabin Fever, perhaps?

But I'm leaning toward this one because it looks like it would be more fun.
Stay warm and safe if you're also in the middle of a freeze.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Winter Means Snow

Winter in Chicago means snow. It's been snowing non-stop for 2 days. Happy New Year!

Roads are slick but at least the main streets are plowed.


My street wasn't plowed until very early this morning. And then it snowed even more.

It's still coming down.

My pup and I had cabin fever from staying inside yesterday so we drove over to the park this morning, which surprisingly was also plowed in parts.

She hates it when I make her stop for pictures. "Ok, mom, enough  - next time I'm going alone!"
They say we'll be getting even more. Can't say I'm not prepared . . . .
It's a Winter Wonderland out there. I love it.