Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Today is the last day of October. Many will celebrate Halloween, dress up, go trick or treating, and eat too much candy. To all of you - stay warm and safe. 

Today, for me, it is a day of memories and reflections as well as a day to look further down the path to what the rest of the year may have to offer. 

Today would have been my grandmother's birthday. We all called her 'Granny', which is why I am called 'Granny' by my grand children.  She played a special part in my life. I looked up to her. I admired her. I loved her. I still miss her.  

Yes, there were a couple of times I recall her making me upset, but most of the time it was fun to be around her.  She lived in New England (and we lived in PA) until I was about 14 or 15. Then her and Gramps build a house right across the road from us. 
She was always busy, always going places. And Christmas at her house was the best. Family gathered for gifts and dinner, to sit by the fireplace, and to eat some more. She was known for her Granny Cookies (and I'll make some again this year). Even having the recipe published in the local paper

Yes, I miss my Granny. I would have loved to have her live forever. (She'd be 114 today! ) And I wish she would have lived long enough to meet all of her great grand children. But she passed on when my daughter was only a few months old.

I reflect today on those family memories and wonder what your family memories are? Many of you can remember quilts being in your life. And that is part of why you make quilts now. Many will remember family traditions that you still honor today. Others may not have fond memories of family growing up

So many families don't live near each other any more and it is hard to make a close net connection with daily, weekly or even monthly contact. That makes it hard to form a lot of memory forming days or events. 

As quilters we have a special way to make a memory for family members as well as friends. We make quilts. Quilts of all sizes are given away. We spend hours picking out the perfect pattern, perfect fabrics, perfect colors they may like. We spend hours cutting, sewing, seam ripping, re sewing, and quilting these treasures. We then give them away.  How many put a label on their quilt? And what do you write on that label?  Let's think ahead when we make our quilts and write more than just our name and date on the label.  
Write the name of the person you are giving it to. Add why you are giving it, such as birthday, Christmas, wedding etc. Write how you are related to that person. Add the name of the quilt, the quilt pattern. And any other information you can think to add. That way years from now others will know how extra special your quilt is. 

With less than 2 months to go before Christmas may we all remember to take time to relax and enjoy family and friends as well as stay busy at our machines or with the needle and thread.  Let part of the memories we make for others be that we spent time with them, doing things with them. As I remember doing things with my Granny, more than what she gave me. (although I remember some of those gifts also, and it was the little things I remember.)  

Til next time - keep those needles stitching. 



Monday, October 29, 2012

And Winter Begins

And with winter comes the need for tissues to capture those runny noses that come with the cold temps, colds and flu. 
These pictured are easy to make, but I will also have them for sale on my web shop as well as other other fabric options. Great for stocking stuffers.

This year winter is coming upon us early with a hurricane name, "Sandy" and a nor-easter joining her. The people in the northeast as well as from NC to Ohio, and New England are being affected as well as us here in TN. 

We wish everyone a safe and warm few days ahead. We have cold and some wind and rain, but they say the snow is on it's way, especially for the higher elevations. We will see what tomorrow brings. 

As we all are pinned to the TV watching the news many quilters are gathering supplies so we have work to do while the snow keeps us in, and the power outages keep us unable to use the sewing machines. We tend to be a resourceful group of people. We hurry up with the piecing so we have only hand sewing to do. We pull out the treadle machines so we can sew without power. We pull out fabric and pattern so we have a quilt to start cutting the pieces for. Even power outages don't slow us down. 

O.k. so it slows some of us down. I just hope our power doesn't go out. I've been without it before for up to 7 days, and you can ask my husband..... I'm not a happy camper when that happens.  While he says he was born 100 years too late and enjoys the history of that time, I admit, I'm spoiled.  I can live without some things, but need my electricity and light. 

The days before Christmas keep getting fewer and fewer. As time gets closer and the bigger gifts are made or purchased we find time to make the little things. We make little things to decorate the house, and the tree. We find ideas for little stocking stuffers like the tissue holders pictured. We go to craft shows and see things for sale. We may buy what we see or we may study it for a while and figure we can go home and make the same thing. More often than not we go home and once we figure up all the supplies we need to make what we saw and the time involved....we should have just bought what the other crafter had for sale and helped support her or him

May you all continue to work on your goals for this season. Work together with other crafters, family members and friends to get it all done so you can sit back and enjoy the season and the approaching holidays. 

And if you feel the true need to, you are allowed to say, "No"  when you find yourself pushed beyond your limit to do any more than you already are.  You need to take care of you and give yourself time to relax and enjoy. 

Til next time -- keeps those needles stitching. 


Friday, October 26, 2012


October is on it's way out and November will be upon us in less than a week. Most of us will change our clocks back an hour. The trees will be all but bare of the glorious colors we enjoyed this fall. 
The temps here will be changing from the 80's we've enjoyed these last few days to highs only in the 40's. They are even calling for some snow. 
And further to our North they are calling for "Frankenstorm" - with bad winds, rain and snow in some areas. 

Most of us are able to just roll with the change. Others have a hard time when things change. We don't  understand the time change. We miss the day light hours. We miss the warm temps. We miss the beauty of the colors of fall. This after we made the adjustments of missing summer with the green leaves, beautiful flowers, trips to the mountains or the beach. 

Life is all about change. Each day we awake to the unknown. Oh, we have our day planned with places to go, things to do, obligations we need to take care or, work to perform and family to share the day with. Yet, when the day is done we sit back and absorb the reality of the day. The detours we had to take, time delays, change in our routine, emergency that happened, minor bump in the day. Hopefully we sit back and are able to smile despite all that happened to change our plans. We made it through the day. 

I've been sharing some ideas of how to be organized and plan out all the things we need to be doing at this time of year to get ready for the holidays. We can get ourselves organized down to the minute, but we also must allow for those delays, interruptions, unexpected events that creep into our lives. If we have our life planned to the minute and can't deal with those little bumps in our road we will  become frustrated and loose our focus and loose our joy. 

When a bump in the road throws you off course learn to accept it for what it is and go on. Sometimes getting back on course may take a while. Sometimes it is truly a little bump and you can get back on course easily.

I had my summer planned and all my quilts and projects planned to be done by the beginning of October this year. I had planned to take some time off work at that time to help my daughter and son in law with their new born.  All my plans came to a halt when she delivered him 9 weeks early (August 10).  Like I said, some bumps may take a little while before you can get back to what you have planned. 

Over the next month we will be entertaining family with Thanksgiving dinner, more football, and changing the decorations in our home over the Christmas. We will continue to work on Christmas gifts and quilting projects. Many will be working extra hours at your jobs. Unexpected company may arrive. We will feel rushed, sometimes overwhelmed. However - the key phrase to less stress "share the work load".  I'll be sharing more tips for easing holiday stress over the next week. In the mean time....  Breath, share the work load, take it easy, eat well and get enough rest.

If you have any tips you would like to share feel free to leave comments so everyone can benefit.  I'd love to hear your thoughts, ideas, suggestions etc.

Til next time - keep the needles stitching. 


Saturday, October 13, 2012


Now that you have all your quilting projects organized and your lists made up of what you are making for whom and all the products that you need are organized and ready for you to work on them it's time to organize all the events coming up in your life for the next few months. 

Set up an area to keep track of these. Hang up a calendar with all three months showing at one time. This will help you see the over all picture of what is going on and when.  If you don't have room for this just display one month at a time, but make it easily visible. Hang it on the wall, on a bulletin board, the refrigerator - any place you pass each day at least once. 

If you have a family and the kids have events and activities as well as the family events that everyone will be attending you may want to use different color pens or markers assigned to each person. 

So what are you doing for the next three months? 
Work, church, work outs, shopping, cooking, baking, parties/gatherings..... etc .

Kids have Halloween parties and trick or treat nights. School parties. As well as school projects to complete. 

Spouses may have parties that are work related. Parties or gatherings with your churches. Gatherings with the family.  Party for your quilt guild or other hobby club. 

Find out the dates for each event that each family member will be attending. Choose a color for the whole family as well as each individual and write the events on the date along with the time and location. 

Which event require a gift either for exchange or a hostess gift to be taken.  What are the criteria for these gifts (price range, theme, homemade or purchased etc) 

Will you need a baby sitter for any of these events that you will not be taking the little ones to? Make sure to contact your baby sitter(s) and let them know as soon as possible what dates you will need them.  If they are teenagers they may have things going on as well and you may need to find a substitute baby sitter. Make sure you have an emergency list of phone numbers, contact numbers and write down where you will be for the babysitter, even the regular sitter. If there is an emergency or the sitter needs to get in touch with you it will make it easier for them if they have that list handy.

As your calendar starts to fill  up be sure to give yourself time to have a day off.  Don't over book yourself. Learn to say, "No" to some things if you need to. Don't schedule yourself to the point that you have to write down, ' Sleep', and 'eat'.  It is easy to suddenly have too much on your plate and wind up tired or sick.

If you will be making any food to take to any of these events have as many of the ingredients in your pantry ahead of time. Write down what you are taking to each event so you don't forget or confuse them. 

Baking cookies or other sweets? Get with friends and do a cookie exchange. That way everyone gets a wide variety without having to make every kind yourself.  If possible make things ahead of time and freeze them. 

Are you hosting a party? Include house cleaning and decorating time into your schedule, or hire someone to come in and clean and decorate for  you. Have other family members help you out so you are not overwhelmed with all it takes to host a party. Make it a pot luck or covered dish with everyone bringing their specialty.

Remember during this time of year to eat right and drink plenty of water. We all tend to put on a few pounds at this time of year as we are eating more especially sweets, and we are exercising less. 

With all that said - so far.... I have two (DH) work related dinners this month. Thanksgiving dinner with family, work, (including Black Friday), quilts for customers to finish in time for Christmas (Still have openings for those who need this done), a house to clean and decorate for Christmas (in Nov). Cookies to make in Dec.  Not too bad.  Oh, wait..... for those who really know me, I'd better add, "Sleep" and "Eat" to my calendars. LOL 

Til next time keep those needles stitching.....


Thursday, October 11, 2012


I for one can not function well when my space is cluttered. I also know it is easy to get your sewing area cluttered.  We have the sewing machine, cutting area, tools, ironing board and iron, fabric of all colors, shapes and prints, and we always need more space for storage. 

Taking a little space as this one pictured above works fine. This was my area until I started the business and added the longarm machine. Then I moved everything downstairs and now use this area as my office for the business. 

Make the most of what you have or can find. You don't have to spend a lot of money to get the best and biggest. Turn your closet into storage space. Hang finished quilts on hangers in the closet as well as UFOs (Un-Finished Objects). Use an old dresser for storing your tools, and small FQ's, or smaller pieces. Label each drawer with what is inside. 

Use a book case or other shelving unit to store larger cuts of fabric. Larger tools, pin cushions, sewing baskets etc. 

Transform a wall into your space to display wall hangings, notes, patterns you want to do, hang your rulers on push pins on the wall or a bulletin board. 

Add shelves along the top of the walls to add you collections and personal items that bring you joy. 

Add an area for all your projects. Label them according to person they are for, time frame you need them done, pattern and the project itself as you take a break from it. By keeping everything for each project together you save time when you have that precious time to work on it. 

Make a list of the gifts you want to make for whom. As you get each one done check it off and write on there where you have put it so when it comes time to wrap it up and give it you know where it is.  Nothing worse than having spent all that time on something and then not be able to find it when you need it. 

If you are beyond the point of being able to start fresh and new in a sewing area and you look around at what you have and see a cluttered mess, don't fret. Take one step at a time and organize one thing at a time. Or make it an all day project.  If you don't think you have the time for that AND to get all the projects done, don't stress over it. The most important thing is to work on those projects and at least keep them organized.

I do know some people work well with a cluttered mess and if you are one of them - skip this whole thought process and just get to sewing. 

Which ever way you work best it's time to get started or finished with those projects for Christmas.  Do you have your list? Have you checked it twice? Have you been able to check off a few recipients because their gifts are done? GREAT! Where did you put the gifts? 

A great way to be a step ahead for next year is to start this whole process in January!  One or two gifts per month. For that larger gift of a quilt work on it a little bit at a time instead of trying to rush it.  

If you will be wanting to send it out to be longarmed the sooner you can get the tops done and sent out to be done the easier it will be on the longarmers. We tend to get busier this time of year and the waiting times can be longer than normal.  (We love the extra work that comes our way Jan - April when times tend to be slower).

Maybe I'll do some write ups next year on organizing and staying clutter free..... huummmm.....thinking ......

O.K. so for today the stress free thoughts
1) De-clutter if you want to,  or need to. 
 2)Make your lists of recipients and their gift(s) and check them twice. 
3)Make a list of supplies you will need for each project. 
4)Check off the items you already have. 
5)Separate each project into boxes, or drawers or other containers. 
      a)this includes pattern, 
      b)fabrics and 
      c)item as you work on it.
6)Set up a time schedule to work on the projects.
7) Start(continue) sewing and have fun. 

Til next time ------- keep those needles stitching. 


Next write up - dealing with everything else during the holiday season. Well, maybe not everything.... but we'll get started.

Monday, October 8, 2012


Good morning. It's a brand new day and a brand new week. We all survived the weekend. Many may have spent at least part of it quilting or working on other craft projects getting them ready for gift giving. Others may have had to work but have today off. 

Taking the 'off work' time to quilt is great! But also take some of your 'off work' time to enjoy family and friends. Sit back, enjoy a cup of coffee, enjoy the ever changing seasonal colors and temperatures. Enjoy a good book. 

If all we do is work and craft/quilt and don't take time to relax our 'fun time' of quilting will become a chore and we will begin to dread it.  Relax. 

And that is what I did yesterday. I relaxed with good friends we only get to see about once a year. Of course I also go to show off my quilts and quilting studio and pictures of my new grandson! 

A tip in helping to decide what gift to give - when you are talking with your friends and family members pay attention to what they may say about favorite colors, things they collect, things they like to do. If you are really stumped with what to make for someone, come right out and ask leading questions or have a mutual friend ask direct questions.   There may be times when your gift will end up not being a surprise to them as far as the object, but the work you put into it, the color, design, and details will be. 

So, for today, decide what your friends or family like, what they use and what they need.  
Make a list of who you are making gifts for and what you are planning to make for them.  By this time I hope we all at least have some ideas and have started making things, but we still have time even if we are just beginning. 

And remember --- sit back and relax at least a little bit. Enjoy that cup of coffee or tea or whatever you enjoy drinking while you relax. 

Til next time, keep those needles stitching. 


Saturday, October 6, 2012


As we get closer and closer to the holiday season we tend to stress more and more.  Here I am going to be posting ways to ease that stress for you (and me, too). 

It is also that time of year when extra blankets and quilts come out to keep us warm at night, or while we sit by the fire in the fireplace. Or even sit by the fire pit outside as we gather with friends and family to enjoy the cool fall evenings. Then there are those football games. A lap quilt or a fleece tie blanket is perfect when you attend them and cheer on your favorite school team. 

Hopefully your family has started to give you their list of "All I want for Christmas is..." . Or you have started to make gifts for them, your co- workers, special friends, guild members, and other Christmas party event where you take a hostess gift or exchange gifts. 
I know, now that I've mentioned all those 'Extra" gifts you look at the calendar and gasp as there is only a short time to make enough for everyone. 

Well, take a deep breath. There are ways to take care of all those and not loose any sleep. Think smaller and think Multi-usage.  Make a lap quilt instead of a large bed quilt. Make a table runner instead of a lap quilt. Make a wall hanging instead of a lap quilt. (Often that table runner can do double work and be used as a table runner or a wall hanging. Add the hanging sleeve or corner tabs and give the recipient the option to use it how they want. 

Then, there are easier things to make. Make a single large block and use it as a small table cover or wall hanging. Often the person who, 'has everything' still has a small space on their wall to hang a small quilt.  Make that block even smaller and add a hanger to be used as a tree ornament.  That ornament may be just the right size to be used as a coaster in you don't put the hanger on it. 

Other gift ideas - 
For fellow quilters -- pin cushions, totes to carry their supplies to a class. A hot iron carrier.  An apron with pockets to hold small quilting tools. 

For the cook -- A casserole dish carrier, an apron. Matching aprons for all the family members. Pot holders/hot pads. A set of coasters. Covers for the toaster, blender, mixer etc. 

For the toddler -- Pillow case and small lap quilt. 

For the baby -- Small quilt, taggie blanket,  stuffed toys, bibs, receiving blankets, crib sheets etc.

For the co-worker -- find out what they like, colors, etc.  Make an ornament, hot pads, book or e-reader cover, table runner, book mark. 

For anyone --- pick from any of the above and make for that age. 

Now, not everyone will appreciate a homemade gift. For those you can still go buy something. (This will also be useful if you run out of time to make everything. Another idea for that special someone you are making something for, but run out of time for is to gift them an IOU.  I know that doesn't sound so wonderful, but it will work.  (I did it last year with my own daughter). 

And that is it for now...... got to run, but I'll be back with more ideas and maybe a tutorial or two to help you out.  Plus you can always check out my web site shop or my etsy shop to see what I have for sale that you can purchase. They are all homemade!  This will give your recipient that homemade gift, but you didn't have to make it. Doing this is a great idea to help save you time. Especially if you don't know how to make everything you would like to....yet.  WE are always learning to make and do more! 

Til next time - keep those needles stitching.