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Thursday, September 30, 2010

We Have a Winner!

Thanks to all who entered my Blogiversary Giveaway.  Its been fun "meeting" new bloggers online.  There were 16 entrants, and the lucky winner is Joanne at:

Joanne is one of my earliest followers.  She has provided much encouragement and (when needed) good advice over the one year I've been blogging.  Thanks Joanne!  :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wednesday Weigh In - Exercise and Immunity

It's almost cold and flu season again.  Folks are lining up for their flu shots - as they should.  What else can we do to boost our immunity?  How about staying active?  In addition to the strength, coordination and feeling of accomplishment gained through exercise and conditioning, people who maintain a regular exercise program have fewer respiratory infections than those who remain sedentary. Interesting, huh?  For more info, see:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Playing Outside

Remember these?  Birds or no birds, I had to cut them down!
But I didn't want the seeds to go to waste.  Armed with my trusty kitchen shears, I harvested the heads.  It was such a beautiful day I was just happy to have an excuse to play outside.
Got a whole quart!  Shook the rest out onto the grass.  
As you can see, Dottie helped.  See how glossy her coat is?  The vet says that comes from her eating the bird seed that falls to the ground.  Its loaded with Omega 3's.

Once these seeds are dry, I hope to put them in the bird feeder.  Worst case: I toss them out on top of the snow this winter.  Either way, they won't go to waste.  :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Only Four Days Left...

...until my Blogiversary drawing.  See that shnazzy tote bag on the right side of the screen?  Click on it, and get your name in the hat!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Nancy's Notions, Beaver Dam, WI

Visited Nancy's Notions in Beaver Dam, WI.  Should have taken a picture of the bright pink awning over the outer door, and the lifesized cardboard Nancy that greets you when you step inside.  The first thing I noticed was these wonderful little carts.  You can use them with a basket or without.  No need to lug around multiple bolts of fabric.
Staff were friendly and helpful.  They provided me with Nancy's catalog and class schedule.  The explained that the shop is there to support the catalog business, and to provide lessons.  There were countless sample quilts.  This crane quilt was one of my favorites.
 Nancy stocks everything under the sun, including endangered species quilts.

These placemats are far too pretty to eat on!  Much better to hang them on a wall or use as a table runner.  Notice the garment and scarf to the right.  There are a lot of clothing patterns, many of which are quilted or embroidered.
 Here's the long arm machine.  I wasn't brave enough to try it.  Maybe next time!
I liked this purse with the Japanese ladies.  You can see the quilt bundles of fabric.  I've never seen so many kinds of bundles in one place. 
The jacket on the left really says "WOW!" Would also be pretty in spring time or holiday colors.  I'd probably make it in blues and purples.
I learned to embroider by hand as a kid.  Never tried it with any success on a sewing machine.  May have to take a class to see how its done.  Nancy has tons of embroidery patterns.

This is the bargain room.  There's so much space!  
If you needed to use a wheel chair or walker, you'd have no problem maneuvering.  Nancy even carries a pattern for outfitting a walker in style!

These sewing cabinets are gorgeous.  Would have loved to take one of these home with me.
 Here are more projects including stained glass patterns...
 ...and seasonal goodies.  I love the turkeys in the last picture.

Even Nancy's web page is a cut above the rest - including gifts to sew for men, women, babies and grandkids, and a Halloween mantle kit.

For more info, visit: 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Star Chain Top Complete

The top and bottom borders are in place, but the bottom right corner has two blue strips.  It bugs me just enough that I MAY have to modify it.  OR I could leave it place - you know, to give it "character." 

Another decision: To starch or not to starch?  Some quilters swear you have to starch the top and back prior to making your quilt sandwich.  I was cautioned by an instructor that the starch attracts silverfish, so I've never used it. 

This quilt is being made at the request of my friend and coworker, Bob.  His daughter will have a baby girl in November.  Bob's mom, Emma, will give this quilt to the new baby.  As I've been working on the quilt, I've been sending pictures with Bob to share with his mom at the nursing home.  When I was unsure about one brightly colored square, Bob's mom - and the nursing staff all gave me feedback - via Bob.  This has really been a lot of fun.  And its a little like blogging - friends can share insights and ideas - even if they are friends you've never met.  :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

In the Home Stretch!

Three down, one to go.  Looks like I'll be basting it soon.  :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wednesday Weigh In - Health Benefits of Exercise

Exercise.  The word alone conjures up memories of P.E. class, doing boring (and sometimes painful) calisthenics on the cold, hard (and sometimes dirty) gymnasium floor.  Or military boot camp, marching for miles before a 5 A.M. breakfast. 

But it doesn't have to be that way.  Exercise geared to your own personal strengths can be rewarding physically and mentally.  Find something you enjoy, and keep doing it to the best of your ability (with your physician's consent, of course).  Be it running or walking, swimming, ballroom dancing, zoomba, hula hooping or chair exercise, the Mayo Clinic tells us we can benefit from regular exercise in SEVEN different ways.  See:

As a dietitian, I often see patients with limited mobility.  This may be due to age, arthritis, even amputation.  Many of them have given up on exercise, not realizing they still have options for staying physically and mentally fit. There are warm water exercises, chair exercises coupled with good dance music, or gentle yoga done from a seated position.  Here is just one example:

And the most important health tip of all: Grab a friend and have fun!

Star Chain Outer Border

Here's a funny thing: The directions for the border say to cut all your strips into 4 1/2" rectangular pieces and then piece them together one by one.  I thought the whole idea was to sew long strips together and then cut it sideways into rows.  I did the latter and came up with almost enough to complete the entire border. 

Another funny thing: Last night the doorbell rang four times, the phone rang countless times and I was dog-sitting, so the two beasts were racing through the house like holy terrors.  Put them outside and they lay down in the grass.  Let them back in and they start zooming around again!  Each time the doorbell rang they went bonkers.  Its a wonder I got any sewing done at all.  :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Star Chain with Inner Border

Here's the block I reworked, using a tone-on-tone remnant from my stash.  It ties together the other blues in the quilt - and the hearts are a nice feminine touch.
I'm quite happy with this inner border - my sole (quilt-related) accomplishment today.  I'm at a good place to start the week.  It should be fun to start sewing the strips together to make the border.  That's something I can do a little at a time during the work week.  

Gotta think about how to label this quilt.  I wonder if I pasted a photo of it into Word, how would it look?  May have to experiment a bit! 

Brown Eyed Susan Seeds

Here is the tail end of my Brown Eyed Susans for this year.  Although they look rather scraggly, goldfinches have been feeding on the seed heads, so I'm reluctant to cut them down.  All the birds need to build up their body stores to tolerate cooler weather and to migrate.  One day this week I had about 30 robins in my yard.  They were even feeding below the birdfeeder.  I've never seen a robin at or near a feeder before.

Did a little research about Brown Eyed Susans:

"If you let the last flowers of the season form seeds, you will soon be visited by small birds who love to make a feast of the oily black seeds.  Rudbeckia seeds are a favorite treat of goldfinches and pine siskins. Other seed eating birds such as chickadees, cardinals and tufted titmice will also dine on Black Eyed Susan seeds."

So far I've only seen the goldfinches, but I'll be keeping an eye out for the other birds!  For more info on Brown Eyed Susans, see:

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Star Chain Interior Complete

All the blocks are complete and joined!  Hooray!

Contemplating an inner border.  Reason number one: this little quilt is busy, with a capital B!  A soft pink inner border would give the eye a place to rest.  Reason number two: After lining up all the squares and points, I don't want to go through the same process all the way around the quilt.  With an inner border, minor deviations won't be noticable. 

I think I just talked myself into it!  :)

Still MORE Quilt Expo Stuff

The pattern pictured here is called "Glow."  I saw it at the quilt show and knew I had to have it.  The pattern arrived in the mail today.  It comes from All Hands Around Quilt Shop in Waukesha, WI.  I like their nickname - AHA!  Once again, I'm pleasantly surprised to learn of another quilt shop in southern WI.  See

The green coupon is from Stitcher's Crossing.  This shop I know well!  See

Also learned that Nancy Zieman has a shop called Nancy's Notions in Beaver Dam, WI.  I'd heard of it, but didn't realize it was just a short drive away.  See

Got info about the Madison-based quilt guild, which I may join.  See

Lastly (not pictured) I saw Easy Quilter 3.1 in use, and was pretty impressed.  It converts your home machine to a long arm quilter.  Its much smaller than a typical quilt frame, and allows you to sit - rather than stand while working.  I think the vendor should have set up two, one for demonstration and one for customers to test drive.  See

Have a great weekend!  :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

And Now for Something Completely Different...

I came across this news story and immediately thought of all my friends who sew.  Diane von Furstenburg meets hospital gown:,0,2339856.story?track=rss

Sure hope these catch on!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Star Chain & Corner Stones

This has been fun to put together, even if the stars were a little tricky.  The blue star on the left may need modification...and two of the green stars are a bit wimpy.  Not enough contrast between the stars and the background.  Hmmmm...what Judy Martin do?   

She says "Scrap quilts are the best way I know to grow in your art and your use of color.  If you allow yourself to employ some randomness, even controlled randomness (where you have veto power) in your scrap placement, you will stretch yourself.  You may find a whole new direction for your fabric combinations."

Hmmmm..maybe I should raid my stash?  I think I gotta think on that!  :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

More Quilty Products & Info

Here is the last of my haul from the WI Quilt Expo.  This print on a black T-shirt was way too cool to pass up.

Also got some hexagon papers, and one fat quarter to go in my current project.  Buying a lone fat quarter, whilst surrounded by a sea of fabric temptation took supreme self control!

The last thing I got at the Expo was information!  Found out about LQSs I've yet to visit, and a museum devoted to quilts and fiber arts.  I grew up in the Milwaukee area, yet never knew such a gem existed.

Saving Thyme, in Stoughton, WI

Village Creek, in Lodi, WI

Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts, in Cedarburg, WI

Am looking forward to blogging about these in the future.  :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Star Chain, With Stars

The star blocks aren't coming together easily as the chain blocks.  There has to be some trick for working with triangles I've yet to discover.  One that would keep the fabric from stretching and distorting when sewing.  I've cheated in the past by cutting pieces larger than necessary.  Then trimming them down.  But this was to be an "easy" jelly roll project, so I cut my pieces accordingly. 

My LQS offers a class called "No Fear Triangles,"  I think I'm gonna take that class!  :)

Quilt Expo 2010 Art Quilts

This series of art quilts was made by a Milwaukee-based organization.  All of the quilts used red yarn in one way or another.  The quilts are all linked together with red yarn.  I snapped some pics of my favorites, though there were many more to be seen.

Such talent and creativity!  :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Star Chain on Design Wall

All these squares are starting to look like something!  Now to get started on the star blocks.  My only star block is out on loan, pending approval by Emma - the matriarch of this fine family. 

Emma is so fired up about her future great-grandbaby, she crocheted a beautiful hat, bootie and sweater set.  In fact, she made two sweaters.  Same pattern, in two sizes.  She's now crocheting a baby blanket.  What a dynamo! :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Quilt Expo 2010 Quilts

Spent the day at the Wisconsin Public Television-Nancy Zieman Productions Quilt Expo ( I even saw Nancy Zieman, up close and personal.  Here are some of the quilts I liked.  The show still goes from 9 am to 6 pm on its not too late, if you can get to Madison, WI.  Maybe I'll see you there!

Diamond Flowers
This is one of several Log Cabins embellished with beautiful embroidery, rather than traditional feathers or straight line quilting.
Floral Fantasy
Love Always - I like how each block is framed by triangles.  A nice twist on plain old sashing.
Ode to a Mason Jar - I was recently given this pattern.  I've also seen it done with butterflies, lady bugs, and insects in each jar.  I love how this quilter added the kitchen curtain.
Peaky and Spike Visit the Angels - Seriously, I couldn't have made up that title!  I've seen people make wonky stars, but was never quite sure what I'd do with them if I made some.  Here they make a bright and cheery night sky.
Rosella's Flower Garden - named for the quilter's husband's aunt, who always wears a fresh flower in her hair.
Southern Star with Yo Yos - I love the scrappy element to this quilt. And who can resist yo-yos?  I voted for this one for Viewer's Choice.
Spring's Greeting - aptly named.  I'm glad to see the judges also liked this quilt.
Summer Sanctuary.  The quilting detail here is breathtaking.

The quilts I was drawn to have bright, vibrant colors.  But many shops (and vendors at the show) feature darker, Civil War era tones.  I guess it depends on what "look" you are striving for.  Me, I'm always looking to brighten things up with my quilts. :)