Monday, November 29, 2010

a week of organizing and recuperation

Good morning peeps!

I apologize for being a bit behind the blogging lately - my only real excuse is illness - I've been struggling to appear 'normal' (whatever that is.... anyone who knows me knows I'm NOT normal!) while suffering from a nasty head cold that was trying - almost successfully - to become bronchitis.  I think I have successfully won this round - I slept through the night last night for the first time in.... weeks!

Last week, dd (Traci) came to visit for Thanksgiving week.  While she was here, she offered to 'sort out' my office... if you've been to my house, you know this was no small offer.  My office has been impassable for about a year.  I had a very narrow path to the printer, which was becoming more of an obstacle course than a path, and I was (and AM) extremely grateful for her help.  She is and always has been a good 'sorter' - she did sorting jobs for me since she was a wee little toddler, it has always come naturally to her.  So, my office is now close to beautiful.  I'm inspired to make new curtains and maybe even remodel the bulletin board.  I'd love to show you what a great job she did, but the memory chip for my camera is now travelling with her - safely tucked into her laptop - so I'll be picking up a new one while I'm out grocery shopping today.

Last year she helped me sort my yarn stash - a major accomplishment, too! 

this is the yarn stash which is now stored neat and tidy under the bed!

I'm a very fortunate mom, indeed!

Friday, November 26, 2010

a little under the weather, still sewing!

Good morning! 
I'm sitting in the dark waiting for the rest of the family to wake up - yesterday was Thanksgiving, after all, and so today is 'sleeping in' day.

I've been getting over a cold - still trying to get through the day without medication, but getting a bit better each day.  What I'm really looking forward to is a good night's sleep!

While I'm recuperating, I'm doing a little more of Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Quilt
172 units in Clue1

Clue 2 is posted this morning, so as soon as I can get upstairs, I'll be cutting into the pink & brown scraps to make 120 half square triangle units - but I know I don't have that many scraps of pink and brown, so I'll be using some yardage, too!

Now, I wonder .... if I made some toast and coffee, do you think the sleepy heads will notice me having breakfast without them?

see you soon - at least here on the blog!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


This is the time of year for baking cookies and there's a party going on next week - starting Monday!

check this out - and if you try any of these recipies, send me some!

click here:
there will be downloads and treats and prizes, too!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thanksgiving Blessings, Stash Busting and a Planner from Disney!

This is a beautiful planner for you from Disney - very helpful!

Disney has a LOT of great kid stuff - if you have grandchildren, you need to check out the Disney site - downloadable calendars, stickers, coloring pages, recipes, party ideas, and my personal favorite: crafts!   Just click on the link above the Planner to visit with Disney - but don't leave just yet!

As some of you are aware, I am a very fortunate person.  I really do appreciate this, and am always ready to admit that I have a very busy 'Guardian Angel'. 

Not that I try to press my luck - I'm fortunate, not lucky!   My primary abundance is fabric, of course!

But as the Thanksgiving season approaches, my thoughts tend to wander among my many blessings - and I count my blog readers as major blessings.  Their comments - sometimes during person-to-person conversations, but often at the end of my blogs - make me feel connected to the rest of the human world even if I'm not out and about.  This is important for a cranky old lady who spends a lot of her time in the basement (that's me!).  It helps keep me grounded, too. 

Blogspot has a 'Stats' tab, as any Blogspot blogger may have noticed, and occasionally I check to see how far my writings are reaching - I know many 'followers' are anonymous, but I can still find out very general information, such as how many 'views' I've had and where they come from by country, what search words they use to find me, what Internet software they used - and some of these I've never heard of, honestly, but it's all interesting.  Hello to any 'off shore' readers!  Wherever you are in the World - I'm glad you stopped in for a visit.

It is human nature to always want more than we have - and I have way more than I need already - especially in the sewing supplies department!  I was recently 'stash shopping' - meaning I was digging through my many drawers, bags and boxes of fabric and fiber goodies, and I came across a very full box of black and white fabrics!  It was stashed on the far end of a chorus line of boxes - most of these are the remnants of a lifetime of fiber collecting - and it was a box I had been looking for last spring, but I wasn't looking for B&W's this time, so of course it popped up!  Some of the boxes had remnants, scraps and ephemera that hopefully will find its way into something I create - not necessarily a quilt!

If I were desperate to find blacks - it would have stayed hidden - that's what I mean about 'fortunate' but not 'lucky'.  I know I'm fortunate to have so much fiber to play with, and I'm hoping I live long enough to make a big dent in it!

I did manage to round up the following for an upcoming Bonnie Hunter 'Mystery Quilt' in an effort to deplete my very abundant stash:
Notice there is not a black, white, or black & white in the bunch?   Maybe next time!  What do you think? Hmm, I think my stash is going to need more fuschia to go with those black & whites....  This is going to be a BIG quilt!  Bonnie Hunter doesn't do 'small' stuff!

and since I mentioned quilts, this is one is Virginia's - she is trusting me to quilt this for her, so now that it is on the frame, I'd better get busy!

Back to the basement!  See you again soon. Grateful hugs from GGS

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

QCE Block of the Month - Paper Piecing Tutorial

Your kit may make one of several different boy patterns, but I have selected the most difficult one for this tutorial.

Kit includes 4 yellow triangles and strips of background fabric
Please use your own scrap fabrics for face, shirt and pants

NOTE: Block is paper pieced to 5” x 7” (5 ½” x 7 1/2”) 2” wide strips of background fabric are to apply to each side to bring center blocks to 7 ½” before adding yellow triangles. Be sure to square up the center block to 7 ½” before attaching the yellow triangles.

Block will measure 10 ½” unfinished.

Many tutorials are available for paper piecing online. Youtube and Vimeo both have an abundance of options for brushing up on paper piecing…. Here is one I recommend:
Most of them will not help you with this block. The blocks vary somewhat – some are slightly more detailed than others. All of the paper pieced blocks are made in sections, and then the sections are joined to form the blocks. I use a glue stick for the first piece in each section. Always sew paper foundation piecing with a short stitch – 12-14 stitches per inch. and use a fine thread - I like a 60 weight cotton or polyester.

After numerous experiences with cutting my fabrics just a tiny bit too small, I know now to cut paper piecing fabrics approximately ½ again as big as I THINK they need to be…and keep my threads trimmed to less than 1/2”. If pressing, use a hot DRY iron – NO STEAM!   It blurs the ink from my ink jet printer!


1. Assemble materials – flesh tone (solid) at least 3” square for HEAD.

3”x 6” piece for SHIRT, and two strips 4” x 2” for PANTS

BACKGROUND pieces are included in kit – set aside long strips for sides.

2. Cut apart pattern sections – patterns differ somewhat, but all have at least 3 sections

3. Glue flesh tone fabric to unprinted side of head section, add background to first corner.

4. Sew with short stitches on line – sew all the way through the outside seam allowance, but not through the sections on the interior of the block.  It helps to have a lamp handy to check from the paper side.

5. Fold the next section on the line and use a ruler to trim seam allowance to ¼” for alignment of next fabric piece.

6. Build each section separately. Glue, sew, flip, trim, glue, sew, flip, trim, measure.
(this is one of the leg sections)

7. When all sections are complete – Trim exactly ON the dotted lines with rotary cutter and ruler AS YOU JOIN EACH SECTION TO ITS NEIGHBOR.

Save FINAL trimming of outside lines for after all sections are joined, as the seams always seem to take up more than I think they will…. quilting is NOT an exact science, remember?

8. Insert pins in adjoining corners to align sections. After joining two sections, remove paper in seam allowance before joining to next section.  (see pictures, which I hope will make this clearer)

9. I use glue stick to hold the sections together after matching the points/corners with pins

 ... remove paper from within the seam allowance to reduce bulk when joining sections.  This paper tears very cleanly if your stitches are small enough.

10. Sew all sections together – trim paper pieced section to 5 ½” x 7 ½”.


11. Sew long strips of background fabric to sides, then square up block to 7 ½” x 7 ½”.

12. Check seam allowance and stitch length…. you can switch back to a longer stitch length for the rest of the block... make sure to sew yellow triangles onto paper pieced square with ¼” seams!

13. Sew yellow triangles to opposite sides, press open, sew on remaining triangles, press open.

14. Check to make sure block measures 10 ½” square.

NOTE: your block may be different than those pictured.

NOTE to QCE Members:  Bring finished block to NOVEMBER 15 meeting in plastic baggy provided.
Remember to include your name on paper.  Thanks.
And, just so you know how devoted I am, I did this block (and the pics and tutorial) at a fiber art retreat!

This is an example of what I could have been making:
Owl Pincushion by Wanda (Needlewings)
isn't it precious?
see more of her work at:
along with some very beautiful pics from her recent trip....