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I am a wife, mama and grandmama getting through life by hanging on to a needle and thread.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Done Is Better Than Perfect

For all my guild sisters who are spending this holiday weekend frantically trying to finish their quilt exhibit entries remember...done is better than perfect!

*The song, Done Is Better Than Perfect, used in this video is performed by Cathy Miller, The Singing Quilter. Our guild was fortunate enough to have her perform for us last year...she puts on a very entertaining show!

**The quilts in the video are presented by members of the North Hastings Quilt Club to promote their upcoming "Festival of Quilts" show taking place on September 20th and 21st in Bancroft, Ontario Canada.

Friday, August 29, 2008

I Am Sewing...Really I Am!

I know I haven't had many project related posts this week, but I have been busy sewing...honest! The only "problem" about this project is that it's a secret, so I can't post too much about it. I just didn't want you all to think that I had abandoned my sewing room!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Happy Ironing!

Meryl Streep said "You can't get spoiled if you do your own ironing." I wonder if she has tried Mary Ellen's Best Press yet? Because this wonderful clear spray starch has certainly spoiled me when it come to ironing! Best Press comes in an environmentally friendly trigger spray bottle that and won't clog like ordinary cans of spray starch do, but the best part about this product is that it doesn't leave a white flaky residue on your fabric and it helps get out stubborn wrinkles...even those center creases from the bolt that seem to be permanently embedded into your fabric. Best press comes in several scents, Lavender Fields, Citrus Grove, Caribbean Beach, Cherry Blossoms or sent-free and costs around $8.00 a bottle, a bit more than regular spray starch, but worth every penny in my book!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut butter cookies remind me of school. It seems like they were always available in the cafeteria and my mom often had peanut butter cookies waiting for us when we got home from school. Yesterday I thought I would carry on the "tradition" and welcome the grandgirls home from their first day of school than with a plate of peanut butter cookies and a glass of milk.

Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup four
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar for rolling

Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda; set aside. Cream shortening, peanut butter, and sugars; beat in vanilla and egg. Stir in flour mixture, blending well. Shape mixture into 3/4-inch balls and roll in sugar; place baking sheets. Flatten each cookie with the tines of a fork in a criss-cross pattern. Bake cookies at 350° for about 10 to 12 minutes.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Back To School

School starts today and all of a sudden I find myself less two grandgirls. "Miss One" is going into 2nd grade and "Miss Two" is starting Kindergarten. That leaves "Miss Three" (who is fast approaching the "terrible twos") and me to entertain each other two days a week. Something tells me that I shouldn't plan on getting much stitching done on those days!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Kaye's Courtyard

Here's another Dear Jane block, I-2 Kaye's Courtyard. I rotary cut this one and it went together easily in just a few minutes.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

One Of My Favorite Quilts

I am fortunate to have several quilts that belonged to my maternal grandparents. The quilt shown in the photo is one of my favorites. Not because it is a beautiful example of a quilt, because it isn't. I'm not even sure it is technically a quilt! It is crib sized and simply squares of what I believe were probably upholstery samples pieced together with a solid red cotton backing. It does not have any batting and it isn't quilted or tied, so that probably eliminates it from the quilt category. It does however, have a very unique "binding" treatment that I would someday like to replicate on a quilt of my own. From what I can tell, the maker used a ruffle and then stitched (by hand) the top edge down to the bottom edge every inch all the way around the quilt creating a scalloped edging. The fancy edging isn't what makes this quilt my favorite though...it's the happy memories of the times spent at my grandparents farm that it holds that gives it such value.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Addicted To Fabric Baskets!

After making a fabric basket to give as a gift last week I decided that I needed one for myself. I found some cute Halloween fabrics and put this little basket together last night. Won't it be adorable filled with candy corn and other Halloween candies? The only problem is now I'm addicted to making these little baskets! I think I need one for every season and holiday. Can you picture a Christmas themed basket filled with goodies or an Easter basket to hold colored eggs? Those are just the obvious ideas...the possibilities are endless!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Granny Weaver

There hasn't been a whole lot of activity in my sewing room this week. I've been busy with my grandgirls...school clothes shopping, watching the little one while the older ones go to their school orientations and I even got to watch a soccer practice! It has been a fun week helping with all of the back to school preparations, but I have been missing my sewing machine, so last night I put together a quick Dear Jane block, J-6 Granny Weaver. I just love the blocks with the teeny nine patches! I rotary cut and strip pieced this block and it went together quickly and easily.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

MLQG Quilter's Gift Basket Raffle

I have finally finished putting together the quilter's gift baskets that we are going to raffle off for our guild's 10th anniversary! I took them to last night's guild meeting and gave everyone a preview of the baskets and their contents. I thought that I would spotlight them here as well for members who might have missed the meeting. Raffle tickets for the gift baskets will be sold during the month of the quilt exhibit at the Gmeiner Art and Cultural Center for 50 cents each or three for a dollar.

Grand Prize ~ Quilter’s Gift Basket

Debbie Mumm’s Quick Country Quilts
The New Year’s Quilt
by Jennifer Chiaverini
1000 Great Quilting Designs Book
A Stitch in Thyme ~ Favorite Recipes from the Mountain Laurel Quilt Guild

Star Spin Quilt or Wallhanging Pattern
Penny Sampler Wallhanging Pattern
Diamonds on the Prairie Sweat Shirt Pattern
Tall Pines Tree Skirt Pattern
Yellow Brick Road Quilt Pattern
North Bay Christmas Wallhanging Pattern

Bundle of 6 Red Print Fat Quarters
Bundle of 4 Green Print Fat Quarters
1 Yard Red Floral Print
½ Yard Red/Cheddar Floral Print
½ Yard Red/Cheddar Print

2 Fiskars Foundations Complete Stencil Sets
Quilter’s Scrapbook
Ruler Holder
Mini Iron Rest
Meadow Gems Quilt Block Pin
Bernina Mug w/ Hot Chocolate Mix
Needle Card
Flex Design Ruler
Embroidered Needle Case
Hand Beaded Thimble Bag w/ Thimble
1200 Yard Spool of Cotton Thread
Presencia Thread Assortment
Quilter’s Tape Measure
EZ View Multiplier
Chaco Liner
6 ½ inch Square Omnigrip Ruler
Chain Ripper
Doll Needles
Quilter’s Note Pad
Chenille Brush
Dritz Marking Pen
Dtitz Marking Pencil
Fiskars Rotary Cutter
Package of 5 Fiskars Rotary Cutter Replacement Blades
Craft Size Warm & White Cotton Batting

Second Prize ~ Small Quilter’s Gift Basket

An Amish Quilt in a Day
by Eleanor Burns
A Stitch in Thyme ~ Favorite Recipes from the Mountain Laurel Quilt Guild
Welcome Winter Little Quilt & Pillow Pattern
Bundle of 4 Fat Quarters
Fiskars 2 piece Quilting Set
Seam Ripper
5 inch Thread Clippers
Embroidered Needle Case
Fingertip Thimble
Disappearing Ink Marking Pens
Ruler holder
Patchwork Quilt Button Covers
Pop Top Sewing Kit
Nifty Notions Key Chain

Third Prize ~ Purse Kit

Handy Bag Pattern
1 Yard Kona Bay Black/Orange Floral Print
1 Yard Kona Bay Black/Gold Print
Velcro Closure
Decorative Button

A Stitch in Thyme ~ Favorite Recipes from the Mountain Laurel Quilt Guild

Monday, August 18, 2008

Teddy Bear Picnic

One of our favorite ways to spend hot summer evenings is to take the top off of our Jeep and ride around back roads through the state forest lands in our area. On these trips we often see assorted wildlife...rabbits, squirrels, grouse, pheasants, porcupines, deer and occasionally we catch a glimpse of a bear, but last night we hit the jackpot and saw these two guys! I'm not sure what was on the table that they were so interested in, but it must have been something delicious because they couldn't have cared less that we were watching them.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Too Cute Fabric Basket!

I hate going to a picnic or party empty handed, so last week when we were invited to a birthday picnic for a friend I started looking for something that I could make that would make a nice "no gifts please" gift. I found the perfect thing at the Pink Penguin blog with this fabric basket tutorial. This little fabric basket couldn't be easier to make and it went together in no time at all. Once it is filled with assorted fun size chocolate bars I think it will make the perfect "non-gift" for the birthday girl!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Another Use for Mr. Clean Magic Erasers

It seems like these little white wonders will clean just about anything! Did you know that you can clean your iron (hot or cold) with Mr. Clean Magic Erasers?

Thursday, August 14, 2008


As long as the grandgirls are away on vacation this week I thought that I would make my husband's all time favorite cookies...gingersnaps!


3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon soda
2 cups flour

(1/4 cup sugar for rolling)

In a large bowl, cream together shortening and sugar; mix in egg and molasses. Combine dry ingredients and blend into creamed mixture. Form dough into walnut or larger size balls. Roll in sugar to coat. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees 10-12 minutes or until tops are rounded and crackly.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Paddle Wheels

This Dear Jane block is E-3 Paddle Wheels. I rotary cut this block and it went together easily. I did notice when I printed the instructions from the software that the count was wrong for the number of squares to cut for the half square triangles. It said to cut four squares of each color when you only need to cut two...not a big deal, but it's probably something to check before cutting for other blocks.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Little Hand Quilting

I don't do a lot of hand quilting. I love to quilt by hand and I love the results, but I usually prefer a faster finish for my projects! For that reason, I usually reserve my hand quilting efforts for my smaller projects. It has been a long time since I've hand quilted anything, so I figured that the mariner's compass wall hanging that I made during the Carol Doak workshop would be the perfect project for a little hand quilting practice.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Some Really Cool Quilty Stuff!

This September marks the Mountain Laurel Quilt Guild's 10th anniversary. To help celebrate that anniversary we thought that it would be fun to put together a quilter's gift basket to be raffled at the end of our month long quilt exhibit. Guild members were asked to donate a new item "that a quilter would enjoy" for the gift basket in exchange for a free chance to win. There have been some wonderful items donated...rotary cutters, rulers, books, patterns, a beautiful hand beaded thimble holder, thread, embroidered needle cases, the list goes on and on! In fact there was enough donated for two baskets as well as a very nice third prize! Raffle tickets for the gift basket will be sold during the month of the quilt exhibit at the Gmeiner Art and Cultural Center for 50 cents each or three for a dollar.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Star Struck

This Dear Jane block, F-7 Star Struck, did leave me star struck...what a wonderful little block! I paper pieced this block and as you can see every point is perfect.

One thing that I am learning from this Dear Jane project is that I really love the basic blocks. I may rethink this project and focus more on making the blocks that I love and not worry about completing a quilt that is exactly like Jane's.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Baby Blue At Last!

After making countless pink baby quilts, socks, hats, blankets and other baby girl items for three granddaughters, I finally get to make some of those same things in blue for our grandson who is due in December. Right now I'm working on a pair of light blue baby socks and matching hat, but notice that there is a skein of pink behind the blue for the new granddaughter who is also due in December. I'm going to be very busy knitting blue and pink over the next few months!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Mountain Laurel Quilt Guild

I am pleased to announce that our local guild, The Mountain Laurel Quilt Guild, now has its own website! This website comes to us by way of Anya's very talented son, Nick, who has volunteered to design and maintain the site over the next two years as part of his senior project. The site is still under construction and more information will be added as time goes on, but there is much to see already! On the home page is all the information about our upcoming quilt exhibit to be held September 5-28 at the Gmeiner Art and Cultural Center in Wellsboro. If you live in the area you don't want to miss seeing this exhibit! Also shown on the home page is our 2008 raffle quilt. It is made of beautiful batik fabrics, is hand-appliqued and machine-quilted...the photo just doesn't do it justice. Tickets will be available at the Gmeiner Art and Cultural Center throughout the month of September ($1 each or a book of 6 for $5). The lucky winner will be drawn at our October guild meeting. Along with all of the exhibit information you will find links to the guild calendar, a gallery of photos, a history of the guild, descriptions of our smaller groups and charity work, so be sure to look around and check back often for updates!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Batchelor Buttons

Ever since seeing all of the beautiful needle turned applique at the Quit Odyssey quilt show I have been thinking that I should at least give it a try. This Dear Jane block, B-1 Batchelor Buttons, is my first attempt at needle turn applique. I don't think it came out too bad, except for that one circle that is a little flat on one side, but as the saying goes...finished is better than perfect!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

To The Beach And Back!

We had an absolutely wonderful visit in North Carolina with our son and daughter-in-law! I believe that we saw and did it all in just the few days while we were there. The first day there we toured Cherry Point, saw all the sights on base and got to meet our son's explosives dog as well as the other dogs in the K-9 unit. The next day we took a trip to Atlantic Beach, the North Carolina Aquarium and finished the day with a stop at the Crab Shack for some amazing fresh seafood! (Eating seafood in Pennsylvania will never be the same.) Our last day there took us to Beaufort, a wonderful little town that just happens to be the third oldest town in the United States. We took a walking tour through the historic district, visited the Old Burying Ground, toured the North Carolina Maritime Museum, shopped the boardwalk, took a boat ride around Carrot Island to see the wild horses and finished out the day eating dinner on the waterfront deck of a very nice restaurant (that I can't remember the name of...darn!) while watching the sun set. It was a fantastic trip and I was sad to leave, but in the same respect it is good to be home and back into my regular routine too.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Sugar Cookies

This is a super easy sugar cookie recipe because they don't have to be rolled and cut out. The cookies are crisp on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside...perfect just topped with sugar or leave the sugar off and add frosting after they have cooled.

Sugar Cookies

2/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening and sugar. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt, stir into the creamed mixture until dough comes together. Roll dough into walnut sized balls and roll in sugar. Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake cookies 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until bottom is light brown. Remove from baking sheets and cool completely.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Quilting Makes The Quilt!

The quilting really does make the quilt, doesn't it? I loved how the quilting inside the log cabin block makes the block look a little wonky even though it's a basic straight forward log cabin block.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Hand Quilting

You can probably tell by the photographs that I took at the show that I really admire and appreciate hand quilting! This quilt, "Angel's Trumpet", by Barbara Clem was a beautiful example of hand quilting at it's finest and you can see by the ribbon that the judges agreed!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Applique And More Applique

I think it's safe to say that the majority of the quilts shown at the Quilt Odyssey quilt show this year had at least some needle turn applique on them somewhere. I'm not sure if that's the current trend or if it was just coincidence, but there was applique everywhere you looked...beautiful applique!

This quilt, "Red Green, Red Green, Fantasy Flowers Are a Dream" (That's a great name for a quilt isn't it?), was hand appliqued and hand quilted by Fay and Merl Pritts.

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