Friday, January 30, 2009

Here We Are

The Raggedy kids are finished and dancing their way across their background fabric. Now it is time to start the patchwork part of the quilt. They will next be outlined with a thin satin stitch.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Raggedy Andy on the Drawing Table

I have just a little time this morning before meeting with contractors about the log home. So, I though I would get started on tracing Raggedy Andy onto the paper side of Heat and Bond. If you are a machine applique enthusiast, you will have used a product like this faithfully. And for a project like Raggedy Ann and Andy, it is a necessity. I will iron these tracings onto the appropriate fabric for each part and then cut them out. Then the puzzle work begins....piecing them together so that they actually look like Raggedy Andy. Stay tuned.......

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Here she is...ready to be stitched in place. This was a whole morning's work. Now I am ready for a break. I will continue her tomorrow.

With the remaining afternoon I am going to bake some multigrain bread, walk the dogs, and get some supper, hearty beef stew seems like a good choice for such a cold day.

Raggedy Ann.....continued....

Making the applique will take a bit of time. Each little piece of Raggedy Ann is drawn, cut out and ironed in place. At that point, each piece will need to be stitched in place. That will take several hours. So far, I like how she is taking shape. Now, to cut out her dress and apron.

Inspiration For a New Project

Today I begin a new quilt. This one is special....a special quilt for a special little girl. I received a piece of wall paper from a friend to be used as inspiration for her daughter's quilt. Zoe is moving to a big girl bed and Raggedy Ann and Andy will be moving with her.

I took the wall paper to my local copy store, enlarged each figure, and will use it as a template to create an applique of each figure. A bit of embroidery will finish their features. I will use these appliques to make a panel that will serve as the focal point of a twin size quilt. Wish me luck....

Now for a little Raggedy history....Did you know???? Raggedy Ann had her beginnings in 1915 at the hands of author, Johnny Gruelle. She began as a ragdoll made by a family member for his daughter Marcella. It was this faceless ragdoll that served as the inspiration for this happy character in a series of children's books. Shortly after drawing a face on his daughter's doll, he decided to give her a name. Pulling a book of poetry off the shelf, he combined two titles..."The Raggedy Man" and "Little Orphan Annie" and came up with Raggedy Ann. In 1920 he gave Raggedy Ann a playmate known as Raggedy Andy. When Gruelle's daughter died at the age of 13 from a small pox vaccination, Raggedy Ann became the mascot of the anti-vaccination movement. Gruelle continued writing Raggedy stories in remembrance of Marcella.

Raggedy Ann and Andy are timeless and remain a tender memory from our childhood.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Finished and ready to hang on my sewing room wall!

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I pulled out all of my scraps that had red in the pattern and started to piece together a scrap quilt for my sewing room with my redwork patch in the center. I have no plan in mind....I am just adding as I go. The final result is still a mystery....but here is how it has progressed:

My, I have a lot of fabric scraps with cherries on them! Each of these scraps is left from an apron made over the past two years...all of which have found new homes across the country...and even one in Europe and one in Australia!

Frosty Beauty

This weekend's activities kept me out of my sewing room. Most of Friday, Saturday and Sunday was spent out of doors catching up on chores. This morning as I worked around the farm I was greeted first by our hungry animals, and then by the most magnificent sunrise. With eyes skyward, I could almost imagine the warmth with which this sun has enveloped me in days past. Not so today. No warmth is felt through this frosty blanket of frigid air that forms an impenetrable barrier between me and the sun. And so I will wait, for warmer days ahead....and today I will appreciate the beauty that winter brings.On the way to the duck pond, I stopped to look at the grass growing along a small stream that feeds the pond. This stream emanates from an underground spring that bubbles up beneath the 200+ year old log cabin on our property. The moisture has crystallized on the grass this frigid morning. And, the leaves are decorated with a sugar coating of frost.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sewing Room Quilt

The redwork embroidery square is finished. Now it is time to build a quilt from my scraps around this self-portrait.

Redwork Self Portrait

While visiting my friend, Steph's vintage ephemera blog, I came upon a picture of an old redwork pattern. How on earth did Steph find is actually a picture of ME! So I decided that my next quilt will be a self-portrait quilt for my sewing room. I will use all of the little scraps that I have left over from other projects and do a patchwork quilt around this piece of redwork embroidery that I have started.
I downloaded Steph's picture....took it into Photoshop and got rid of the pink background....printed it onto white fabric....and am embroidering it. Next I will begin piecing a quilt around it. Most likely it will be a wall hanging sized quilt to hang in my sewing room.
Thanks Steph!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Surprise

Today, I went to the mailbox like every other day...with no particular feeling of anticipation. I grabbed the bundle of envelopes, catalogs, and junk mail that daily graces my mailbox. I carried it into the house and set it on the desk and went about my business. If only I had known what awaited me, I would have torn through the pile and ripped open the plastic covered magazine with great excitement. As it was, I took my time and made my usual piles of papers to recycle vs. papers to keep. At the bottom of the pile I found a magazine, covered in plastic wrap with a plain piece of paper disguising the cover. Upon opening it my heart skipped a was my much anticipated (but almost forgotten) edition of "Apronology"...a special publication by Somerset Studio. It is this edition that showcases one of my aprons. I am so excited....what a wonderful surprise!

Here is the cover

Here I 131.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Here are my birdhouse gourds. Each dried with a very interesting pattern. I decided not to paint them, but rather to leave them in their natural state. I had looked for stains that were non-toxic, but found none that I felt good about using. I think they will be much more enticing to birds if left natural. I will varnish each with a non-toxic, water-based varnish to protect them from the elements. Each has a perch beneath the front door hole, a small hole in the base for drainage and a dowel through the top that I will attach wire to for hanging. These will hang in the trees around the farmhouse. We have a wonderful population of birds that we regularly feed. They will be so happy to have new houses this Spring.

Snow Day

My world is a monochromatic postcard shades of white and grey. The morning started out foggy...then the fog froze on the trees and gave the world a frosted appearance. Now it is cold and snowy...a great day to stay indoors and play. The "girls" and I braved the snow and went for our daily walk. It was quite beautiful...austere and beautiful. I would be sewing now, if it weren't for the fact that my machine is in the hospital. I thought of paying it a visit today....but decided instead to just wait for its' recovery, when I can finally bring it back home.

I think today, instead, I will start to work on turning last summer's gourds into bird houses. They are finally all dry. The first step will be to scrub off the mold that has accumulated on the outside and then decide how I want to finish each. Once they are dry, I will get to play with power tools... and I love power tools!

I thought I would show you how those sprouts are coming along. I have just simply rinsed them and drained them....allowing them to stand in about a teaspoon of water...two or three times each day.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Working Towards Our Goal

Goal for 2009: To become as self-sufficient as possible. Moving to the farm is a major step towards attaining this goal. Little by little, I am trying to move away from the need for a supermarket. Making yogurt is another step in that direction. I tried making my first batch last very easy.....and it was a success!
What a simple process: milk heated to boiling, cooled to lukewarm, cultures added, jars place in yogurt maker. Four hours later: fresh homemade yogurt....ready to be flavored with whatever is on hand. I suppose we might add some of my homemade blueberry/lime preserves. By the time the year is over we will be growing and preserving our own fruits, vegetables, chicken, eggs, and honey. We are planning to grow lettuces year round under grow lights, bake our own bread, make yogurt, grow sprouts. Self-sufficiency is a bit of work...but highly rewarding, and so much more healthy!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Here she egg-laying Rhode Island Red....and no coop to clean!

Today was an extremely cold one! I ran a few errands and was so happy to once again be snuggly warm at home. I lost a good friend, nothing serious, but my embroidery machine went I had to run it to my favorite quilt store for service. Thank goodness for back-up machines!! Oh, and while I was at the quilt store, of course I found some yummy fabrics.

About Those Sprouts.......

I just rinsed my seeds again (they need to be rinsed at least twice daily) and low and behold the outer hull of each seed is cracked and a tiny white sprout is beginning to emerge...another day or two and small green leaves will appear. And once again I am reminded of the promise of Spring and all that it brings with it!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dreaming of Summer

We are heading into the coldest part of the Winter, and I am dreaming of Summer. Bonne of Bonne's Abode (fellow farmgal friend) got a few of us started on a dress sewing craze. I headed out yesterday to find a pattern and wound up with this sun dress pattern, black polka dot fabric and black and white flowered fabric. Three hours later.....a dress for summer. And the amazing thing fits!

Thanks, Bonne, for getting me started. Of course by the time she reads this post, she will have finished at least 10 dresses!

Longing for gardening and playing in the dirt prompted me to try my hand at growing sprouts. I had no idea how easy it is to grow these tasty, excessively nutritious little seedlings. I used organic broccoli seeds, soaked them in water for about 6 hours, rinsed, and then placed them in about a teaspoon of water in this jar. Across the jar's opening is a piece of mesh that will serve as a strainer for the twice daily rinsing that these will get over the next 4 days. In about 4 or 5 days I should have edible sprouts! I will let you know how they turn out. You may want to try this yourself!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Here is the start of today's project. I have arranged the different parts of this chicken onto chickenwire fabric. Next I will stitch around each part. Once this piece is finished I will add some border prints and finish it to be used as a quilted wall hanging in the kitchen of our log home (under construction). This chicken is a companion to the one that I made into a quilt a couple of months ago. This chicken reminds me of our Rhode Island Reds.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Green Challenge to YOU!!

Hubbs and I are trying to be as "Green" as possible and reducing our carbon footprint as much as we can. One of the things we have challenged ourselves to do is to eliminate paper towels from our house. We have replaced them with surgical towels. These are absorbant, lint-free, re-usable and would otherwise end up in a landfill. And to top it off, they are FREE! We have asked a few friends who are OR nurses to save them for us. We have been using them for all types of chores all over the farm and in the house. They make terrific cleaning rags. They leave streak free windows and mirrors and are lint free, so Hubbs uses them to dry his hands when putting his contacts in his eyes. The uses are limitless. Photobucket

The challenge is this......Join us in making the switch from paper to cloth. I can supply you with blue towels for the price of shipping only if you will promise to stop buying paper towels.

Reasons to switch:
  1. Paper towels contain formaldehyde and dioxin...both of which are a health hazard both to you and the environment (when you burn or throw them away).
  2. Help to reduce paper bulk in landfills.
  3. Reduce amount of harvested trees for use in paper products. (If we don't buy, They won't produce as much)
  4. Reduce medical waste (OR towels) that ends up in landfill....Recycle! I must add...these towels were never used...they were extra and if they don't get used, they get thrown away.

I feel so passionately about each of us assuming responsibility for our environment. Years and years of carelessness has brought our earth to a crisis point. Only a dedicated change in our behavior can restore the health of our planet. Please join me in doing this one little thing that can have far-reaching effects. I will continue to collect these towels and make them available to you if you will commit to buying no more paper towels.

If you are interested (and I hope that you all are)...please email me and I can send you some towels. I ask only that you help me with the shipping cost....and of course that you refuse to buy any more paper towels.

e-mail me here

Friday, January 9, 2009

Journaling Fun

Over Christmas, one of my girls (home from college) asked me to make a journal for her friend's birthday. She e-mailed me a picture and I printed it onto fabric. From there I made a small crazy quilt incorporating the picture and some cheery fabric. A little rick rack and buttons were the final embellishment for this quickie gift. Now, I am off to the post office to mail it.

Oh, and I almost's teatime offering is Peppermint Hot Chocolate and dark chocolate dipped pretzels. We have a snowstorm predicted here in Central PA, so I thought that hot chocolate would be warm and yummy. Perhaps we will build a snowman!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tea Cozy

Oh good, you have come back for this afternoon's tea...and just in time, the lemon poppyseed muffins are ready. And...I have brewed a pot of Ginger Green Tea.

Yesterday while visiting with some old friends at MaryJane's Farm, I happened to overhear a discussion about tea cozies. It seems that a few of the gals are getting together for a swap. Since I did not join in on the fun in time, I decided to try my hand at making a tea cozy from scratch. I used the little bits of fabric that I had left from yesterday's tea time quilt and fashioned an appliqued, quilted little bag to keep my favorite teapot warm. Here is the finished cozy...

If you would like to make a tea cozy like mine, here are some instructions......

I took one fat quarter and folded the long sides in to the middle (making a rectangle that measured 9" by 22". I then cut a piece of quilt batting that measured 9" by 18" and placed it in the middle of the fat quarter.

I folded the sides over and pressed everything in place.
Applique desired shape onto front of 1st rectangle. Take a second fat quarter and fold (without the quilt batting) to form a lining for your first piece.
Fold each rectangle in half right sides together and stitch across the two corners on the fold as shown. Place lining rectangle inside of outer rectangle....wrong sides together to form a pouch with open sides.
Stitch a seam about 1 inch from each end and another seam about 1 3/4 inches from each end to form a channel for a draw string. Finish sides of your cozy by stitching a seam close to the edge to hold lining to front. Add drawstring.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Would You Like Some Tea?

I am so glad you stopped in to chat. It is time for tea. I have fresh scones in the oven and the water is in the kettle. I thought we could sit for a spell and chat about the weather....we are in the middle of an ice storm. Hot tea is the best on such a cold and dreary day. I had a chance to finish my mini tea quilt, so we can use it for serving our tea time today....
I used the decorative stitches of my Embroidery machine as part of the quilting of this project. Then I filled up the white spaces with a wandering stitch on my quilting machine. A coordinating quilt tape around the edge finished it off and it is ready for our tea time.
Enjoy your tea and scone....and please stop by door is always open!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tea Time

Tea is my beverage of choice...always has been. Somehow I never acquired the desire to try coffee. I am not even wild about the smell of coffee. I suppose when I was growing up, most adults smoked and drank coffee. Perhaps it was this awful combination that turned me against the idea of coffee. So, ever since I was a child I have been attracted to teas. As it turns out there are many health benefits to drinking tea. And...there are so many teas to try! I have quite a collection of teas and tea pots and using them gives me great pleasure. Years ago I found an antique wooden box with a beautiful dark patina that serves as my tea box. In it are many types and flavors...each with their own mysterious benefits.
To celebrate my love of teas my next project is going to be a mini quilt that I will use on my table when serving tea. It will consist of 4 main appliqued squares set on point...the sashing and trim in coordinating fabrics (yet to be planned). Here is the start of the four blocks....

Monday, January 5, 2009

Kitchen Creativity

Today was a busy day....many errands completed.
This, unfortunately left me no time to sew,
so I used my creative energies in the kitchen instead,
making a scrumptious dinner for Hubbs.
I thought I would concoct my own recipes tonight. Here is what I came up with.....

Grilled Chicken with Mango/Pomegranate Salsa

1/2 cup chopped,fresh pineapple

1/4 cup chopped,fresh mango

1/4 cup fresh pomegranate

1/4 C. chopped fresh cilantro

3 Tablespoons chopped red onion

2 tablespoons chopped serrano pepper

salt and pepper

juice of 1/2 lime

Combine above ingredients and serve on top of grilled chicken. I marinade my chicken first in a local Greek Dressing and then cook on my Cuisinart griddle/grill (works like a George Forman grill....locks in the juices). I served this with a spinache salad with avocado slices, pomegranate, almond slices and dressed with sesame seeds and a fresh French Herb Vinaigrette. Paired with Simi Russian River Chardonnay....this dinner was fabulous!

French Herb Vinaigrette

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 T. fresh lemon juice

1 t. sugar

salt and pepper

2 cloves of garlic....minced

1 tsp. fresh thyme

1 tsp. fresh parsley

1 tsp. fresh chopped rosemary leaves

Enjoy......this meal is so fresh and bursting with flavor and anti-oxidants....yummy and healthy, too.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

And The Winner Is....

Well, since I had enough extra fabric to make two sets of canning jars, I have decided to have 2 winners. Hubbs pulled two names from the hat (drumroll please.......)



Please email me (<--click there) and I will pack these sets up and ship them to you tomorrow morning.
Happy quilting!! will need black fabric for the background, a fabric for your shelves and grey or gold for your lids (a very small amount of fabric is needed for the lids).
Happy let's get sewing!! I still need to quilt mine and add the bias binding. Then it is off to the next project! Hmmmmm....what shall I plan for February's quilt?

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Years Fabric Giveaway

If you are interested in making this quilt....leave me a comment and I will have a drawing for a set of pre-cut rectangles of all these fruits and veggies.

Drawing: Sunday Evening....I will post the winner here on my blog.

If you win the fabric, you will need 1 1/2 yards of black fabric and 1/2 yard of "wood" fabric to complete the quilt top. Directions are below in another post.

Have a great weekend!
PS: In order to leave a comment, click on "comments" at the bottom of this post...when the comment box on either anonymous or name if you do not have a blogger account. This will allow you to post your comment. Please let me know who you are though, so I can post your "name" if you win!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

An Alternative to Football...

Well, I started watching the Penn State vs. USC game (Rose Bowl) and gave up at half oh my, Penn State looks terrible (apparently things got a bit better in the second half). So, I moved myself up to my sewing room and assembled my mason jars....

I thought I would add a quick tutorial at this point.

I drew a template for my mason jars on a piece of graph paper. You can do the same and make your jars any size or shape that you like. I will give you the measurements that I used, in case you would like to copy.

There are so many ideas for this jar quilt. I have seen it done up adorably using all sorts of insect bugs in cute! You could use fabric with sewing notions to make a quilt for your sewing room....oh there are so many possibilities!Here are the measurements for my template:

A (veggie fabric) 6 " by 8 1/2"rectangle.

B (black) 1 3/4" squares

C (black) 1 1/4" squares

D (grey or gold) 1 1/4 by 4" rectangle

E (black) 1 1/2 by 4" rectangle

F (black) 2 1/4 by 2 1/2 " rectangles

G (black) 1 1/2 by 8" rectangles

Sashing (wood print or brown) 1 1/2 inch strips of 44" wide fabric

Start by sewing squares B onto A in the top corners (right sides facing) diagonally across square. Fold corner to outside and press. Repeat the same with squares C onto lower 2 corners of A. With right sides together, sew G to each side of A.

Assemble top rectangles by sewing D to E (right sides together) and then add F to right and left side.

Attach your jar lid piece to your jar piece to complete block.

Assemble blocks in a row and add sashing between rows.

Finish by adding sashing across top of top row and down each side.

You can then add a border around the whole thing and complete by quilting and adding bias binding.

All seams are 1/4 inch.

If you have any questions feel free to email me!

PS: The secret to accurate quilt piecing is accurate cutting....nothing beats a cutting wheel, and a 1/4 inch presser foot. These presser feet have a little straight edge on them that guarantees a perfect seam every time!
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