Thursday, November 28, 2013


Thankful doesn't even really describe how I feel today. My life is not always happy and blissful, and it would't be a real life if I didn't admit to having down times too. But today is about being thankful and grateful for the many blessings in my life. At the top of that list is my family. The little ones have grown a lot since this photo was taken last year.

I am grateful for my Mr. Romance and the love and devotion he has shown to me for 41 years.

I am grateful for my health and the continued good health of my family and friends.

I am grateful for this community of quilters and bloggers that I can truly call friends. It amazes me everyday to see the kindness of strangers toward one another. It cements my belief that all people are good and can be good if given the encouragement they need.

Today, as the United States celebrates the Thanksgiving holiday, two of our sons have to work. We will celebrate tomorrow with a family gathering. All twenty of us will gather for the first time in a very long time, and I will smile at my family and thank God for blessing me with all the gifts I have received in my life. 

This morning I awoke to three littles crawling into bed with me and singing and giggling and I was never more aware of how blessed I am. 

Wishing everyone a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving. 

And to my friends abroad, many good wishes to you, too.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Swirling Modern Maples, a Quilt Finish

After church, on this beautiful fall day, my official quilt holder, also known as Mr. Romance, and I went to the park to photograph my Modern Maples quilt. 

To say that I love this quilt is an understatement.

I love the fabrics I used for the leaves. I love the random layout of the leaves.

I love the bits of linen used in the background.

I love the low volume prints used in the background, too.

I even love the leaf made with ugly fabric from my batik days. It is actually a perfect fall red color.

The Canadian geese were having a jolly good time at the park, doing what geese do in California

eating bugs, swimming and pooping all over the park. What a life.

I really enjoyed making this quilt and I am so glad Debbie convinced me to make one. 

I really wanted a flannel backing for this quilt to add to the coziness and cuddle factor. So I searched several online shops and found this Marby print in Flannel Grey from Lotta Jansdotter Glimma line of fabrics. You notice it says "Flannel Grey" not "GREY FLANNEL". That goes to show you what a poor consumer I am. I only saw the word flannel and assumed it was flannel fabric not flannel in color description. Live and learn...but I do like the print so I am happy.

 The next thing I love about this quilt is the way I quilted it. I was inspired by Janice and her beautiful Geese in the Forest quilt.

I thought wavy lines in a free flowing pattern would make you think the leaves were swirling in the wind; and it sure is windy where I live, so it's very apropos.

It took me three days to quilt this quilt. I got a little bored toward the end so started making more swirls and I even machine embroidered one row with small leaves, just for fun.

The green binding was the perfect leaf green and frames the quilt without drawing attention away from the body of the quilt.

It seems the latest finish is always my favorite quilt that I have ever made. So I guess that means this quilt will have a short love life, because there are a lot more quilts in my future.

But for now, I am quite happy.

Quilt Stats:
Name: Swirling Modern Maples
Fabric used: prints from stash for the leaves by Julianna Horner, Bari J, Denyse Schmidt, Anna Maria Horner, Brigitte Heitland, a custom Spoonflower print, old ugly stash fabrics and more. Lots of low volume prints and linen for the background.
Backing: Marby in Flannel Grey by Lotta Jansdotter Glimma line.
Binding: Green print from DS line for Joann's Fabrics
Batting: Warm and White
Thread: Pieced with Aurifil 50wt. and quilted by me using Perma Core 40 wt. in Flesh color.
Final size after washing: 68-1/2"x 79-1/2"

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Family Ties

My cousin and his wife have been visiting . They are from the Pittsburgh area of Pennsylvania. We took a drive to Laguna Beach. It's too bad it was such an ugly day. I'm sure they would have rather been home in the cold and rain, Ha! Ha!.

We had a really nice couple of days relaxing and talking about family, growing up Polish, life, kids, our elderly moms and everything else in between.
We ate way too much, but enjoyed some really good meals. Instagrammers will recognize my cooking photos getting ready last weekend before they arrived.

We were able to have the family (including my mom, sister and brother-in-law) over on Sunday so that Jim and Rene could see everyone in one place. Work schedules prevented everyone from being able to come over at once, but they got to hang out with all the boys and their families except #1son, who lives out of state. They even got a private tour of the restaurant where Evan works. Every time I go there I am so glad he landed that job. He's really in a good place.
Family visits are not over yet. #1 son and his family will be arriving in a few days for the Thanksgiving holiday. I can't wait to see them!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

In The Pink

It seems I have been too busy to blog. I think about it every day and then I get busy and forget. We have had lots of family visiting in the last 5-6 weeks and in between visitors I have been busy sewing, knitting and cooking...and don't forget panicking about Christmas.
I've also been searching for bits and pieces of fall in our little corner of California. It seems if I look hard enough I can find a lovely change of colors in our very own backyard. I just love this color palette.
The pink socks look great hanging on my new sock blockers amongst the leaves. This is my third pair of knit socks finished in as many months. I really love knitting socks in the evening or on the go. 

For this pair of socks I found a pattern on Ravelry but changed it a bit. I don't know how to start socks from the top down. I learned from the toe up and you just can't teach an old dog new tricks. So I adjusted the pattern to be toe up and incorporated the lace pattern repeat as described in the pattern I bought.
I used this yarn that I bought while in Utah for Sewing Summit. It's nice a squishy.

I also tried a new heel pattern. It's the slip stitch heel and I really like how well it fits and how nice it looks.

One sock down, one to go.

You can see the pattern and heel really well in this photo.

These will be put aside for a gift, although I would love to keep them for myself.

This last photo is a little teaser of a quilt I just finished. Now to find time to blog about it, too.

 Sock Stats:
Pattern: Hermione's EveryDay Socks (with adjustments by me) by Erica Lueder
Yarn: Austermann Step 75% wool/25%nylon with Jojoba Oil and Aloe Vera Color 0008
needles: 2.5mm 40" circular needle

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Work In Progress Wednesday

I am working on finishing up some projucts and this week it is quilting my Modern Maples quilt.

I'm using wavy lines and swirls here and there to imitate the leaves blowong in the wind. I hope to have a finish to show next week.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November Bee Blocks

November bee blocks are finished and need to be mailed.
This month Modern Stitching Bee Jennie asked for scrappy stars using low volume backgrounds. She was very specific as to her colors and posted a photo to Flickr for our group to choose from. I chose red and green and my siggie block ended up looking like an Italian flag.
These pops of color are going to look so good once they are all sewn together.

Next up was Ange in the Stitch Tease Bee. She asked for house blocks and I got a little confused. I made the first one (pink) just my own version of a photo Ange posted on Flickr. Then I realized she actually gave us links with patterns to follow. The blue one turned out much better. It's from Lynne and Kerri's new book 500 Quilt Blocks. Ange wanted a fussy character in the door or window. I added a cute wheelbarrow on the pink one, too.

Now I have 4 weeks to finish my blocks in the 4x5 bee. That is definitely doable.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Holiday Gift Must Make: Framed Clutch Purse

Have you started thinking about what holiday gifts you are going to make this year? How about making a framed clutch using my pattern sold on Craftsy. You can make one in an hour and it makes a very impressive gift.
I had a pile of scraps left over after making Val's bee block so I thought I'd sew them together and make a clutch using my pattern.

Stitch Tease Block for Val

I sewed all the scraps from the flying geese into half-square triangles and then fused them to some light weight interfacing.

This makes a super easy way to sew small squares together. After fusing, you just fold and sew the horizontal seams. After slicing the interfacing you iron your seams in opposite directions and then sew the vertical seams and Voila! You have a quick pieced unit to cut your pattern pieces.

This photo shows the back all pressed and ready to go.

I needed a little more width so I added the pink to the outside of the rectangular pieced unit.

I continued following the pattern's instructions and ended up with a really cute clutch. Now I need to decide who will be the recipient of this clutch.

There's a little zipper pocket on the inside.

You can see how the added fabric makes a nice addition to the side of the clutch.

Still searching for fall photo opportunities, this clutch looked pretty sitting on the bougainvillea bush.

A dried hydrangea was another piece of fall from our backyard.

Visit diane stanley's Craftsy Pattern Store »

As a little extra bonus Craftsy is giving away this free Handmade label download. Just go to this website to download the labels. You can even print them on printable fabric!

Now get busy making your gifts and don't forget to include a framed clutch purse or two. I order my frames and glue from this etsy shop.