Saturday, December 31, 2011

I got pretties

Santa...aka my mail lady...brought me pretties today from the North Pole...aka

Aren't those all yummy?  go there...get you some crazy quilt pretties, too.

She has very reasonable prices. of course, if you want fancier stuff for $$ per yard...she has that too.  there are many, many, many things to choose from. took me a long time to decide.

You know what i'll be doing tonight.


Twilight Stars in selvages

I am pushing to get my UFO selvage tops done so they can be quilted for a class i have in February. this one has been in the making for over a year. most of that time spent sitting in the cabinet.

The pattern is from Karen Griska's book  Quilts from the Selvage Edge.  it is one great book. although she only shows the pattern with the large white know i always have to change things up some. LOL 

I cut the triangles...hundreds and hundreds of them with my AccuQuilt machine. i dug out all the dark blue, purple, red and brown fabrics i had in the scrap boxes. a little tip....when you are cutting out parts...find a border at that time and put it with the pieces, too. then you don't have to scramble to find something for a border a year later once you have used up all the original fabrics. i wanted a dark purple border but didn't have enough of that. this border is a hand dyed piece that was sort of a is purple and brown...and didn't come out as i envisioned. but it seems to go alright with the stars.

Originally i just made 6 blocks but decided it wasn't the right i made 3 more. those 3 were the recent additions. and one block had to be a reverse with a white background. and, yes, the white one probably should have been in the middle...but i already had the other 6 together and was too lazy to take it back apart again.

Making all those selvage triangles took some time. the little middle star has 12; the large star has 36; the background is 84 triangles. then multiply all that by 9.  you do the math...i don't want to think about it any more. i have a top and am going to try and quilt this up in january. i need a prayer to the quilting gods.

Although i like this pattern i probably won't be making another one. it's a whole lot of pieces. but there is another one in that book i want to make.

Gotta go quilt.


How to set a quilt with 11 blocks

My friend Kay brings me embroidered blocks and i turn them into quilts for her. she has brought me 4 blocks, 5 blocks, 12 blocks, 9 blocks....all easy enough to set. this time she brought me 11 blocks. what do you do with 11 blocks????  i lost a LOT of brain cells over this one. but one tiny brain cell finally emerged and showed me what to do.

Ta Da!!

My first plan was just to use those 9 blocks and perhaps make pillowcases or something out of the other 2. i'm telling you....i wasn't seeing a plan. that middle part was together for weeks. as i played around with it in EQ i realized i could cut the other 2 blocks in half and use them that way. then i had another dilemma....would Kay want me to do that?

I almost called to ask...but then thought....what if she says no...LOL   THEN WHAT?  so, i just bit the bullet and did it. she always says she loves what i do. she calls me a miracle worker...this time i just might believe her. LOL  then it took another little while (couple months) before i could figure out the dimensions for those corners. wasn't there a formula somewhere?  who knows.

And i didn't have ANY fabric that would go with this and not be garish. so my friend, Marilea, came through for me with the background and sashing fabric.

And just for fun, i cut little circles of flowers out and put them in the middle of the flowers...are those daisies?

So, we are one step closer...we have a top. i hope to get it quilted in January. it's only been here for at least 6 months. and i have 2 more sets of blocks to work on, too. but, if one of those sets is 11 least i know how to set them.


Friday, December 30, 2011

Goals for 2012

Notice i didn't say resolutions....that sounds too permanent....and gives you bad self esteem if you don't 'keep' your resolutions.

Goals sounds better. it's a place to reach for. just far enough away.....but attainable. take little steps and reach your GOAL by the end of year. easy enough. well....not EASY....but do-able.

I can do it....i can do it...i can do it....i can do.........

Most people start on January 1...but those who know me know that i am definitely NOT most people. i started a few days ago. a few days ago i cleaned off the treadmill. what???? it IS TOO a start.

Today i actually got ON the treadmill and walked a mile. it took me 23 minutes which is not acceptable forever...but ok for today. i will improve. January's goal is 30 miles.

I am a member of on awesome site online...Machine Quilters Resources...MQR for short. i have joined the 50/50 club this year. the goal is to lose 50 pounds in 50 weeks. so, i am hoping having to report in every Friday morning will keep me on track. i tried this a couple years ago and fell off the bandwagon ..... but the idea is to keep trying until you succeed. i actually lost 30 pounds in i know i can do it. the losing is not the hard part for's the keeping it off that is tough. January's goal is 5 pounds.

Other goals for 2012 include:

Stashbusting...getting 300 more yards of  fabric out of my way or another. i busted over 500 yards in i know i can do this, too. in 2011 i used most of that number but some was donated or sold. i don't care HOW it goes....just so it goes. i have fabric on eBay right now. LOL whatever sells by the end of the Wednesday...will be counted as 2012's goal. yes i's my rules.

UFOs...i have joined the UFO challenge once again this year with JudyL over at  I met all of last year's challenges so wanted to do it again and get at least 12 more UFOs out of my studio. last year's goals were just tops that were done and only needed quilting. this year....i'm going for the projects half completed in the plastic tubs. sigh!!

Crazy Quilting...i have joined yet another group to make a crazy quilt block....fully embellished....every month. it is the crazy quilt journal project. there are, i think, 286 people from around the world in this one. or maybe..386....something like that. anyway, there are LOTS of us. i have started this project already. i have January's block done and am working on February. i don't count that as cheating. winter is a good time to surge ahead on projects that you know will bog down in the summer. i'm just sayin'....i know me. LOL

Hand Applique Quilts...i have at least 4 applique quilts that i want to make. i have gotten into doing hand work and want to stitch these applique quilts by hand rather than by machine. i have started this project already with my Home and Hearth wallhanging. i have half of the blocks finished. they got finished because i took them with me to the Duck and worked on them at night. right now they are in a box....better make more trips to the Duck.

Dear Jane Quilt...i would like to finish this quilt in 2012. i have rows A through E finished....most of F done....and several blocks from other rows. just need to squeeze in a block or two here and there. it is presently hanging on a 'design wall' (other quilt) in the kitchen area where i sew in the evenings. reminding me that i need to work on it.

House projects....sigh!!   don't we all have house projects?  some of mine have been on the 'list' for years. it's really sort of depressing how we can 'adjust' to live with things as they are. some of 2012's projects include:
 1. close in the garage area. currently the doorway has no door and the rolling garage door is gone.
 2. finish the concrete block wall in the corner. (i know what that means)
 3. finish caulking and painting the kitchen ceiling
 4. hang the curtains back in the plant porch. i's not a huge job...but i keep procrastinating on it. after all....i painted in all looks pretty. i hesitate to make holes in the woodwork to hang the rods to hang the curtains...pitiful.
 5. finish my flower beds at the studio...there are 2 of them.
I am thinking of making May project's not too cold or too hot. get some stuff done. i hope

OK....i am scaring myself. this sounds like a lot to accomplish. and that is ON TOP of all those customer quilts to do. and trips my sister and i like to make. i'm gonna have to give up naps in 2012.

Gotta go...things to do. LOL


Thursday, December 29, 2011

I'm in eBay

I'm in the eBay world these days. there is free listing for 3 days....and today is the last day....i have been taking advantage.

But I'm here to tell ya....eBay is HARD. it is tiring. it gives me a headache. but it is fun.

It takes hours to organize items, take pictures, download pictures, and then do the listing. in the first day i only got 10 items listed.

In 2 days so far i have listed 22 items. have sold one of them and have a bid on another. mostly people wait till the last day to bid so the bidding doesn't go up too high. i just start my bids usually with the price that i want for an item....then if it goes up more than is just gravy.

I am trying to clear quilts out of the studio. they are piling up rather badly. but people just don't want to pay good money for a handmade quilt...don't know why that is. but i do sell very reasonably i believe.

I am also offering scrap boxes of fabric. these go very well every time. i clear fabrics off my shelves that i no longer want or will never use and add bits and pieces that are in the scrap boxes. i stuff a medium size USPS flat rate box. people seem to like this. you get many different fabrics for applique and scrap quilts at a very reasonable price.

And more of the Aunt Sophie inheritance is finding its way onto eBay, too. i keep coming upon more boxes of fabric, tops, embroidery, etc. i usually put these things into lots with a very good price on it. i do sell a lot of her unfinished tops and many blocks. if you get enough of can take all the pieces apart and make your own scrap quilt. i have just sold a package that has thousands of 3 inch blocks.

In 2011 i stashbusted over 500 yards of fabric out of my studio and quilted many, many tops and either sold or donated them. this year i plan on doing more and finishing up all those many UFOs. after my death i don't want there to be truckloads of 'stuff' to find a new home like Aunt Sophie's stash. i do love that i got my AS inheritance but i don't know who would want mine. LOL

If you think you might be interested in looking at what is for sale....go to eBay and search for seller name is shimmymom

Gotta go...eBay is calling me


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

January's Crazy Quilt block

Back in November i told you that i joined the Crazy Quilt Journal Project with folks from around the world. you can see the info here  

I now have my January block done...i am trying to stay ahead on this project because i know next year will be very, very busy.

For my first 'real' attempt at this...i think it turned out ok...not fabulous but i am happy with it. my friend, Marilea, tells me by the time i get to December i will be much improved....i hope she is right. the design on the the middle...was done on waste canvas with a mauve colored silk ribbon.

This corner has a butterfly and some embroidered flowers with silk ribbon leaves. the brown ribbon is a velvet ribbon that is tacked down with a buttonhole stitch. the trim to the right of the butterfly is a wide trim that i just stitched on...didn't add anything to it.

This lace corner looked like it need something so i added some beads...following the areas of the lace. there is a piece of black silk ribbon on the seam. the camera picks up more colors in the beads than they look in real life.

My friend Marilea showed us how to stitch on a covered button in class one day. i found this black covered button in my button box and made a simple flower on it. the top seam has a piece of black crocheted lace; the right seam has red velvet rickrack with french knots holding it down. i tacked down the black lace rose and added beads to the middle of it.

I like this piece a lot. it is a dark blue velvet. i added a small crocheted doily and then put a picture of a mother and child on top and added variegated ribbon around it. i put red french knots around the doily and added some black heart buttons. then added 4 buttons to the corner. there is a lot of rickrack on this can see some beige on the top seam...tacked down with dark brown embroidery thread.

This purple piece was the last one i did...i couldn't figure out what to do. i had already stitched the seam with purple embroidery threads. the middle had long ovals so i finally just stitched them across horizontally and vertically and put a french knot in the middle...using embrodiery thread.

This piece has silk ribbon flowers that were simply long and short lazy daisies with single long stitches around and french knots in the middle. the top seam has a piece of gold and black piping in the seam. the right seam is a blue and white rickrack with some gold threads in it. and the bottom seam is a continuation of the beige piece of rickrack that is tacked down with brown embroidery thread.

This took me several nights of work to finish. it is hard to decide what to do. and to find things that fit. i thought i had a large selection of embellishments but apparantly need more. LOL

My February block has blues and purples and i started it last night. this is fun but time consuming.

I better remember to take care of my quilting customers or i won't be able to buy any embellishments for crazy quilting. LOL


Monday, December 26, 2011

Egyptian Take 5

I have had these Egyptian fabrics for some time....marinating on the shelf. i got them from the Paducah quilt show several years ago. finally needed to do something with them. so i added some other pieces that i thought went together with it and got out the AccuQuilt machine and cut out pieces for a Take 5 pattern.

Here is the result.

It's mainly browns and tans.

For quilting i just did lines with the channel lock on the millie....turned the quilt and did lines going the other way. no measuring...just eyeballed it...some wider than others.

Just quilting lines is an easy way to get a utility quilt finished in a short period of time. this is bed will probably wind up on eBay.

I also pieced the backing...using up the rest of the Egyptian fabrics and some others thrown in.

It used up about 12 yards betwen the front and back...good stashbusting

The binding was also scraps pieced together after trimming the top. now i just have to tell myself not to buy any more novelty fabrics.

I need to load a customer quilt and get moving but i just have no desire to quilt today. must still be lazy from spending yesterday in my pjs all day. i worked a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle in about 7 hours. LOL  taking breaks to eat and check computer. it was a fun day yesterday.

I think i'll go back to the house and work on some hand stitching. is it too late to take a nap?


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas one and all

We are having a 2 day Christmas celebration this and tomorrow. hubby suggested i cook today so he could eat for 2 days instead of just one. it's all about the food here. LOL  Our usual Christmas dinner includes a Honey-Baked Ham and this year is no exception. i got it back about Monday when i was at the Duck and to make sure we didn't eat it up BEFORE Christmas (not that we have ever done that....hahahahahahaha)....i stuck it in the freezer.

When i was in the ham store i purchased some sides also. sweet potato souffle and cornbread dressing. you just pop them in the oven for 30 minutes and viola'....Christmas dinner. so i will be cooking this morning and we will be eating for 2 days. if it wasn't for all the salt i could eat a honey baked ham every week. they are soooo good....and so expensive.....which is mainly why we only get them at Christmas. the ham people send us a coupon for $5 off each year. this year when i went i was second in line. a couple of years ago....the line snaked out the door and onto the sidewalk. the store is a tiny little store in a tiny little shopping strip so parking is at a premium. there are so many free samples and other goodies like jams and jellies and candies that it is a real test of willpower to only get out with your ham.

We have little presents under a little tree on a coffee table. and i have successfully left them alone all week. and haven't even whined or pouted about opening them. but, now i am thinking....since we are having Christmas DINNER today....then it is unofficially Christmas here now....and we should open presents now. at least some of them. we'll see how that idea works on the hubs.

The weather is snow, thank goodness....temps in the 40s and 50s predicted for the next few days. i'm lovin' that. i shut down the studio for a couple days and plan to not go out there till monday. but if i get really bored i might have to wander across the road. LOL  but i have lots of handwork to keep me occupied and a star selvage quilt top that i am working on......the last large need to get that together. i am thinking i might break out a jigsaw puzzle this afternoon. and there might be a nap or 2 involved....all that ham, you know. hahahah

So, whatever your traditions or inclinations....have a wonderful safe and warm.

Merry Christmas one and all!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Home and Harvest border blocks

Back on December 4 i showed you the center block for this wallhanging.

Since then, i have finished 5 of the border blocks. i have taken them with me when i go to work on the Duck and work on them in the evenings. i find i am liking the hand work...who knew?  LOL

I bought wool felt online from   they have an incredible assortment of 252 colors.

This is Bloomin' Plant

This is Aster Vase

Then we have Potted Mums

This one is Veggie Soup

And this is Mild Salsa

The blocks are 8.5" some of the pieces are quite small. but i am getting the hang of this and enjoying my quiet nightime hand stitching.

More to come soon.


Happy Anniversary to the Duck

One year ago today i signed the paperwork and got the keys to the Duck. much has happened since then. First off, my sister and I immediately went over and tore down the ugly fence...

And we hauled out all the trash that was stuck in a cubby hole.

Over the next 12 months.....I and several workers took plaster and slats off all the walls...down to the studs; tore out many, many layers of paneling, linoleum, tile, and wallpaper. took down decrepit ceiling fans and lots of ugly ceiling tiles. Demolition is 99% finished. there is still about 4 square feet of plaster to come down from a hall wall. and about 3 square feet to come down on a corner kitchen the top.

The furnace and duct work was hauled out of the basement....along with the hot water heater. both were old and rusty.

All the wiring was pulled out...they still had screw in fuses in this house. and all plumbing was removed.

On July 10 the first dumpster was filled. there will be a second dumpster about March. the garage is full of 'stuff' ready to fill it.

The Duck so far has gotten 6 new windows (16 more to go); and, 4 new doors (4 more to go).

And she has a new bathroom that makes it about twice the size that it was. I moved the wall on one side out about 30" and another wall out another 30"....took over a small hall area. and a new floor was laid.

And a few months ago the ugly bushes in front of the house were removed. and a yard maintenance guy hired to keep the grass cut.

I also managed to pay extra on the mortgage and it is half paid off now. i believe in another 2 years it will be free and clear.

All in all...a good year.

Plans for 2012 include: February/March. 

throughout the year....finish up the little knitpicky things yet to be done: the bajillion staples to come off the 1x4s on the ceilings that held the ugly ceiling tiles.
..scrape the wood siding on front and back enclosed porches
..paint the doors and outside trim a bit more yardwork

OK...enough....i'm making myself tired. you get the idea.

Happy Anniversary Duck

May we have a grand 2012


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Kitchen tearout; new steps

Another weekend of renovation at the Duck.

My carpenter was scheduled to arrive Saturday morning to begin more i went down on Friday to prepare. my job was to remove the doors and drawers from the kitchen cabinets so they would be easier to remove.

I did get the doors and drawers all removed.

That wasn't too hard. dirty and messy....but not hard. i carted them all out to the garage. i'm hoping i can re-use these cabinets somewhere. the top part is in better shape than the ones on the floor. the back and bottom of the sink section are rotted from water leaking and the side part is rotted from the bathroom leaking. but i can easily replace the 2x4s on the bottom that create the kickplate and the back is just a sheet of plywood.

These cabinets were built into the kitchen all in one piece. in the days when carpenters came to your house and built them there....versus today's cabinets that are built in a factory and mounted onto the wall.

Friday night the carpenter called to say he couldn't make it on Saturday because he was still stuck on the previous day's job and would have to put me behind schedule a day and come on Sunday. that was a bit disappointing but couldn't be helped. problem.

Since i had planned on working on Saturday....i went ahead and went to the Duck myself to see what kind of trouble i could get into myself. LOL...not always a good thing.

I did take out the woodwork around 3 into the pantry...where there won't be a door hung....and 2 where doorways will be closed up and become part of a wall. that was easy enough.

Then i decided to see if i could take the countertop off the kitchen Rick some time since he couldn't work on Saturday. couldn't be that hard...right?  So, i started on one end with my pry bar and a hammer and went to work. i wasn't saving the countertop so wasn't worried about hurting it.

See....i got this part off ok. the skinny part around the sink area was rotted, so it broke easily.

Then i tackled the other end and managed to get it off, too. that section was separate from the middle that made it easier.

Now...that middle section....yikes!   i managed to pry it up all the way around except for 1 nail that was holding it back in the corner. i couldn't push it up high enough because of the top cabinets and my long crow bar just wasn't long enough to give enough leverage to pop it up. so, i thought about it for a bit and then got an idea. i remembered seeing Rick last weekend use a long 2x4 for leverage when the crow bar wouldn't work. so i went out to the garage and selected a nice long 2x4...stuck it in there as far as i could get it.....and sort of leaned on it and gave it a few bounces....POP....that last nail came on out. pays to watch the learn things.

So, i win!  last corner piece of countertop is off...

And the bottom is all ready to be removed.

I couldn't go any farther because even though the cabinet was not nailed to the walls and i could pull it away a bit....there were pipes sticking up from the basement on the sink side. so that was as far as i could go that day.

I spent about 5 hours on Saturday tackling all this and carting the trash out to the garage.

Sunday morning bright and early Rick came to finish the job. in no time they had the corner section with the lazy susan cut away from the sides. i didn't want that i trashed that. under the lazy susan i found a really cool flashlight that worked once i put in new batteries. and also found 2 packages of some kind of tuna mix stuff, a can of chili beans, a can of tomato sauce, and a can of tomato paste....all expired in 2004. LOL  i won't even tell you all the rest of the stuff that was under there. suffice it to say i filled a very large trash bag.

It took 2 guys all of about 30 minutes to get the bottom and top cabinets out of the kitchen and into the garage. i hope to use the top cabinets again, too.

Then they began building my steps from the kitchen to the garage. what was there before was 3 steps...that were about 12 inches tall. i had much trouble going up and down...they were killers. we though we needed 4 steps but actually needed 5 steps. that put the new steps all the way to the garage door but i am ok with that. they only go from the kitchen to the garage. i love my new steps.

Now...i'll tell you a secret.....but you have to promise not to tell. you promise?.....ok. and also....promise not to laugh.....well, i guess you don't have to promise on that part. LOL

While Rick was building the steps.....i was taking the plaster off the kitchen wall that butts up to the bathroom. and the wallboard and insulation off the kitchen wall that had the sink. i had this whole pile of plaster, wallboard, and insulation in the kitchen....waiting for them to finish the steps so i could pick it all up and haul it to the garage.

Then i got a brilliant idea. UNDER the steps was an empty space.....all concrete..floor and walls. why cover that empty space up?  so, i had Rick stop before adding the top 2 steps and i shoveled all that plaster, wallboard and insulation into that hole. it filled it up just right. LOL  saved myself some work and some trash bags. the guys sort of just looked at me....but, hey....the customer is always right. LOL

See how nicely that all fit in there? Brilliant...even if i do say so myself. Thomas said he didn't see anything and he wasn't telling anyone. Rick said he would be talking about that for 20 years. LOL

Then he went and rebuilt my wall between the kitchen and dining room. i took out a bar/pass through area and made a wider doorway....and closed off the doorway that was at the end of the wall.

And he also pulled plywood off the walls and floor of an enclosed front porch for me and pulled the indoor/outdoor carpet off the floor that was underneath the plywood. i didn't have enough muscle to handle that myself. but Rick is tough and he got it all fixed up.

All in all...Sunday was a great day. 8 hours of work and everything done that i wanted done. I had been hauling trash out all day while they were working but at the end of the day that was still a lot more. so i just gave it up and went back to the Beast at 4 when they quit work and came back Monday morning and spent 3 hours cleaning up the rest of it.

So, now the next project is re-wiring the whole house. although cold doesn't seem to bother Rick....i don't work well in the cold. so, that project will wait until end of February after the snow and cold temperatures are gone.

For next year i plan wiring...insulation...and some more windows and doors.


Thursday, December 15, 2011


I just finished quilting the cutest baby quilt. my friend Judy makes these frog quilts....they just make you laugh when you see them.

I quilted a dragonfly on his nose but you have to look to spot it. freeform feathers all around him.

A lot of SID and some ruler work in the squares.

Wiggly piano keys in the green border. the threads matched so well it is hard to see any quilting. and the back is a giant 4 patch. she will use the orange polka dot for binding.

This quilt will make baby (and parents) smile.

Everyone needs a Froggy


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