Saturday, March 29, 2014


When I was a small girl, yes about 55 years mother and father bought me this little Singer SewHandy Electric Sewing Machine for Christmas. 

 I remember running the neighborhood with a pillowcase full of my mother's scrap fabric, making Barbie Doll clothes and small quilts.  The memory is so vivid I could tell you what the air smelled like, what the sun felt like and how much fun I had with my friend Gabby from across the street.  

My mother was planting a seed, little did she know that it would grow to a life long love of sewing and a passion for quilting.  I have since graduated to bigger machines, but that basic joy of designing something out of bits of fabric has never left me.

They don't make children's toys like this any more.  Made in Great Britain, it is all metal, pretty hard for a child to destroy.  She is oiled up, dusted off and works like a champ!  Waiting for some new needles to arrive from  

My mom has passed but I still have her little childhood sewing machine, which also works like a champ.  It is operated by a small crank handle, the Little Betty was made by Straco in the 1920's.

I think it's fun to see them next to a standard machine, it gives you perspective on how tiny they were.

Tiny little machines, packed with fun and the ability to unleash a lifetime of creativity!  It's funny, I remember as a little child, looking at my machine and it seems enormous to me, it was very heavy to haul around and in my child's mind, it was every bit as grand as my mothers!

I hope, if you have daughters or sons, granddaughters or grandsons, neighbors or friends, that you will pass along your talents to the next generation.  They will be forever grateful to you for giving them not only a utilitarian skill but an opportunity to express themselves through a myriad of creative options that sewing can provide.  

Here is my son, at 40 with his second sewing machine...learning and creating.  We have enormous fun together.

Here he is putting a new lining into his coat!

And here is one of the 6 pillows that he made for his livingroom.

So Mom and Dad, wherever you's being carried on to the next generation, shared with my students and enjoyed on the web.  Little seeds, sewn by you.

Monday, March 24, 2014


Spring has arrived in the foothills!  We never really had a winter this year and that does not bode well for our fire season, but right now, Spring has put on her finery and is on full display!  Even the forest floor next to our mail box, could not help but sparkle with the beauty of these shooting stars.

It is a welcome event to me this year.  You may have noticed that I have not been blogging lately.  I have been recuperating from a horrible virus that got me along with everyone in our office, at the end of December.  I just could not shake this thing.  While the cough is gone in the last couple weeks, the exhaustion lingers on.  But I am starting to feel a bit better everyday and actually got some finishes in this weekend!

Our sewing group got together on Friday and since I was not inclined to teach a lesson, we just all enjoyed each other's company and stitched along!  Shirley was kind enough to bring some of her projects to share.  Thank you Shirley, they were enjoyed by everyone.  It was great to see Ramona getting around so well!  

So I worked on a Mystery Quilt that I started in January with a Face Book group called Just Us Quilters.  

This top is now finished and waiting for quilting.   Here is a close up of the blocks, love those bunnies!  This will definitely be an Easter quilt!

Well, I got so excited about that finish, that I finished up the other Mystery quilt...yes I started two of them at the same time!

The quilt pattern is called Cats Meow Mystery by Debbie Caffrey and is a free pattern that you can download at

It looks complex but it's really not, it goes quickly and is lots of fun, give it a try!

Well, yes, now I was in the groove!  Just a bit more stitching and I finished the baby quilt.  It will be off to that little sweet baby today!

The weekend before I worked on the orange and teal blocks of the mystery quilt and using the leader and ender approach of Bonnie Hunter, I actually finished all my blocks and this quilt top!

This is the finished top except the borders are not on yet...I am thinking I may make two more of the blocks and make this longer.  It is a square quilt and finishes up at 61 x 61 with the borders.  Problem is, my husband is 6'5"...a longer quilt will work better in our house.  This pattern is called Over and Under by Kim Brackett and is from her book titled Scrap-Basket Sensations.  The Fabrics are Belle by Amy Butler.

So quick and easy, great for a beginner, great for using up your scraps.  I think I will make this again soon, using scraps from my bin.  

I am now starting another Mystery Quilt and have selected and started to cut my fabrics.  My goal this year is to work from my stash and start depleting it.  Way too much fabric and if I don't get sewing I will never use it all up!  Anyway, I was inspired by the lovely purple in the photo at the top of this blog and so I pulled all my purples.  And since it's spring, I thought it appropriate to use a lovely Kaffe Fasset shot cotton in a yellow-green.

Have you ever had difficulty picking colors for your quilt?  Look to nature for inspiration.  When you find a color you like...use your color wheel or this nifty tool by Joen Wolfrom.  You select your main color...then flip the card over and she guides you effortlessly to obtain the effect you are desiring.

On each card, she tells you what other cards will play well.  If you look at the split-complementary you will see the purple colors that I pulled across from the yellow-green...I know my quilt will work.  So, more to be revealed as this Mystery Quilt progresses.  

Along with this I have two more baby quilts to work on.  One will be for a special little girl, whose Native American name means Turtle.  And one for a little boy.  I have lots of sewing to do!!!  I'll jump back on here with tips and posts more regularly now that I am starting to feel in the pink again!