Thursday, March 31, 2016

2016 Finish-a-long, first quarter

Trying to find time to sew these days let alone blog has been tough. But, one thing I have learned from having this new puppy is that I need to make the most of her nap times. She has helped me to better use my time.
That being said, I had high hopes of finishing six projects this quarter. I wrote about them in this blog post. I didn't finish six but I did finish three four projects.

The first project was this dress. It was a total disaster and looked horrible on me, 

so I took the dress apart and salvaged the fabric to make this Flared and Flirty Tee. I am counting that as a finish for sure! It is my own design. I am still working on drafting a pattern for it, hopefully coming soon.

Next up on my list were these socks for my friend, Karen. Done, shipped and received!

The final finish for this quarter is my Bee Sewcial quilt. I had so much fun quilting it. I haven't had time for a proper photo shoot, but here's a photo of the finished quilt hanging over a door. I need to take it on a field trip to get some really good photos of it and then I can write a blog post about it and give everyone credit who helped make this quilt.

Edited April 5, 2016
I finished one more quilt with a few days to spare.

Curves not curves quilt

So that's my finishes for the first quarter of 2016. I really don't know where the year has gone.

2016 FAL

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Fly Merel Fly

Once again, the generous and supporting quilting community, of which I am priveleged to be a member, has rallied around one of our own to make a quilt. Merel van Looi has lost the use of her legs due to bleeding around the spinal cord. Praying that this is temporary and while she is recouperating this quilt will give her comfort to know that we are all hoping for the best for Merel.
My friend, Hillary, has put together a plan to make Merel a quilt inspired by the little bird blocks made so popular by  Kajsa Wikman in her book Scandinavian Stitches.
These blocks are raw edge appliqued and couldn't be faster or more fun to make. Finishing at 8" square they are perfect for those little scraps of bright and fun prints that I can't seem to throw away. 
These are the blocks I have made and will be popping in the post this week.
Hillary has engaged the help of her friend Rachel Dorr to longarm quilt the project once she gets all the blocks sewn together.

Make 8 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch appliquéd blocks inspired by Kajsa’s birds and get them to Hillary by May 23rd (that gives 8 weeks for blocks to be made and delivered to my doorstep).  The hope is to assemble them and get them then to Rachael to quilt by June 1st.
-8 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch blocks (be sure to leave a quarter inch appliqué free around all sides to allow for seam allowance) The blocks will be 8 x 8 inches finished.
-White fabric background (Kona white if possible)
-Cheery prints to be used for the appliquéd birds (this is a perfect project for scraps).  I would love to have birds that are simple and FLYING like Kajsa’s but I am also happy for you to make them your own, and even add encouraging stitched words for Merel if you like.  An example of Kajsa’s birds is below and they also can be found at her flickr page (
-Use black thread for your appliqué and shorten your stitch length
-Use fusible webbing like steam a seam to initially attach your appliqué bits before stitching
-if you feel compelled to use stabilizer on the back, please use tear away or cut away so that it is only around the appliqué
-so as to prevent stray black threads from appearing in the back, please tie off and bury loose ends in the appliqué (see pic)
If you are interested in contributing, please email me at and I will send you my address and add you to the list.  Tag your pieces with the hashtag #flymerelfly on IG so everyone can see what you are up to
If you feel like you want to do more for this sweet girl, I am sure she would love cards or small gifts of encouragement.  The address at the rehab hospital she is at is:
Reade locatie Overtoom / Merel van Looi /113-B1 / Postbus 58271 /1040HG Amsterdam
Thank you so much everyone!!
“Fly Merel Fly”

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Meet Martha Stewart

"We are never getting another dog!" That's what we said when our Cujo died last March. Never say "never" really does have some truth to it, I guess.
You might remember that I was in Gig Harbor a few weeks ago. My friend, Mim, has a dog that I love. Her name is Annie. Each time I come home from my visit in Washington I tell Mr. Romance that if we ever get another dog I want one just like Annie. She's a Standard Cockapoo. She is so well behaved, smart and friendly.

The last several months have been rough for me. There is no particular reason, but I have been suffering through anxiety and I've had a couple of panic attacks. It's been really scary for me...the one who always feels like she's in control of things. I've seen a doctor and we are woking on getting it under control through medication, meditation and exercise. 
I have heard that animals can be a great comfort in instances like this so we decided to get a dog. The timing was right. I could finally have a dog like Annie.

When I came home from Mim's I started researching Cockapoos and could not find a single one for sale. My daughter-in-law suggested a Labradoodle. After searching and writing to several breeders, I remembered that my friend just got a Labradoodle a few weeks ago. So I contacted her and she got me in touch with her breeder and the timing just worked out that the breeder had a few females available and would have a few more in a few weeks. 

Me being the "I want it now" person only considered the two dogs that were available this week. I fell in love with dog #582. Look at that ball of fluff, those blue eyes and that nose! What's not to love? And she will be just the size that I wanted, around 25-28 pounds.

I wanted her to have the perfect name. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a huge fan of Frank Sinatra music.If I ever got a boy dog I would name him Frank Sinatra. But I've always had girl dogs so I didn't want to try something new at this stage in my life. So thinking on those same lines I started considering old Hollywood names like Rosemary Clooney, Ginger Rogers and Brigitte Bardot. I also liked Lola, Phoebe and Mabel. I put out a request for suggestions on Instagram and ended up with over 75 suggestions! Mr. Romance suggested Martha. That was like a slap to forehead moment for me. Why didn't I think of that? I wanted her to have a celebrity name, so Martha Stewart it had to be. I 've always regretted not naming my blog "Martha Stewart Wanna Be".  People are always complimenting me and saying I'm just like Martha Stewart (only without the money, Ha! Ha!)
This name suits her. She already answers to it and she even looks a little like Martha Stewart with her blonde hair and blue eyes.

My son and his wife have a bulldog whom they love to dress up. She even has her own Instagram account @butterballbulldog. So they gave Martha a little gift from Butterball. It's her Easter dress. 
I can tell we are going to have a long and happy life together. She is just a sweetheart, with a calm, easy going temperament. Now if I can just make it through these first few months of puppyhood with ease, my life will be perfect.
I am sure there will be more posts about life with Martha Stewart.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Annual Gig Harbor Holiday

And just like that one of my favorite weeks of the entire year is over! For the last 12 years, I look forward to my annual trip to Gig Harbor, Washington, to scrapbook and visit with my friends, Monika and Mim. Monika and I go every year, choosing to go in the colder months, so we can enjoy a break from the California sun and warmer temperatures of our winter. We really got our wish this time, because we had rain and cold weather every day.
This year we were real hermits, only leaving the neighborhood once, to go to the grocery store. The rest of the time was spent making scrapbook pages, cooking, talking, taking walks through the beautiful neighborhood where Mim lives, and sleeping in late and just relaxing. 
This year I made all my pages with the Project Life App on my iPad. I worked on making pages with the photos from our Panama Canal cruise of 2011. It feels good to get a start on those photos but I still have a lot more to work with to complete that photo album. before I share any here. The nice thing about this app is you can take a digital photo and immediately make it into a scrapbook page. These two pages are made with photos from the week in Gig Harbor.

I love making pictures of the trees and flowers of the area. There are some that we rarely see, living in Southern California, like the flowering plum and cherry trees, although they were not in full regalia, they were beautiful.  The rhododendron and grape hyacinth are some of my favorites, too.

We usually go together and buy Mim a hostess gift, but the last several years I have been making her gifts. This year she requested pot holders and a framed clutch. I made her a pot mitt, just by tracing one I already had. I've had this fabric for a while and it was the perfect colors for Mim's kitchen. For the pot holder I used Amy's tutorial and copied an apple I saw on Pinterest.

For her clutch, I had this black and white fabric in my stash and used my pattern, available on Craftsy, The inside is really cute. Mim likes words, so this word search fabric made a fun lining. I added a red zipper pocket and a patch pocket. It really is the perfect sized clutch for an evening out. 

Mim seemed pretty pleased with her gifts and the colors and fabrics used. I made it clear that they are to be used. I know people are trying to be nice when they say, "they are too pretty to be used", but I really do hope that the gifts I make are used and not just put on display or worse yet, thrown in a drawer or closet. 


A trip to the Seattle area is not complete without a dinner by the water. The last several years we have been eating at Salty's in Redondo Beach and it never disappoints. Mim and Steve were supposed to let Monika and I treat them, but Steve grabbed the check before we did. That just means we will need to go back next year and we'll have to get better at grabbing the check!

These are just a few of the 40+ pages I made last week.