Saturday, January 25, 2014

“Grow Your Blog” with a Tutorial

2 Bags Full

Hey Y’all!!  Welcome to this special edition of my blog this week.  I’m here as a part of Vicki’s “Grow Your Blog” blog hop over there @  There are almost 600 blogs taken part in this special party. From what I understand there is a wide variety of blogs taking part in this 2nd annual meet & greet.  How COOL is that?!!!  That is a lot of people to visit.  It may take me a month to visit them all, but what fun it will be.

In fact I was so excited that I decided to do something new just for this event. I’m going to do my very 1st tutorial!!!  Oh wow… now that I announced --- my nerves are a bit fluttery now.  Well here goes nothing-something-I don’t know yet.  LOL

I’m doing a “Gift-A-Month” challenge with a close friend as a way to stave off the “end of the year manic/panic swap sewing” and this month we decided on Wine/Gift bags. The goal was to get at least 3 bags done. We choose Christmas, Party & Spring as our themes.  Since I had to pack 99% of my quilty some up due to Holiday visitors, and ship it off to storage;  I pulled bits & pieces from here & yonder.  And here is what I found in about 5 minutes of looking. 

DSCN4057 Some Fat Quarters, some larger pieces of scrap fabric, a package of red, green & gold rickrack and an assortment of hand made and pre-made bindings from other projects.  I didn’t really hunt for long as I was more motivated in getting started then digging. I had looked at “bag” patterns per say and decided to “wing it” as the fabric was a big factor in how big the bag would be.  I do that sometimes… I think of it as a bit of mindless designing.  And while I was starting the Paisley bag,  I thought I could turn this into an improv tutorial.  So here we go.

With this bag I used two pieces of some fabric samples that I had in this pretty neutral paisley print.  I started by folding the two top edges down twice about 1/4”.  Then I ran 2 stitch lines across each of them separately.

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Before I stitched the two sides together,  I had cut two 6  1/2” pieces of lacey ribbon for the ties.  I eye-balled about 4” from the top of the newly sewn edge.  I pinned a piece of the edge of the sides, making sure that the ties are in between the right sides of the fabrics.  A hint: I pinned the loose ends to the center of one side to make sure they didn’t accidentally sewn into the seams.  Like so:


Now match up the two side with the “right” side of the prints facing each other.  Pin the edges for both sides and the bottom and head for the sewing machine.  Now I like to start the seam and backstitched the folded-over edges and where the ties are then head on like normal.  I found that this little trick can give those points extra strength to hold up to a lot of handling.  I also run double seams on all my stitching seams again for the same reason.  This one I was able to run my two stitches as one long run.

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At this point, you just turn it the right way out and run an iron around the piece to make it pretty.  And this is what this ended up looking like.  This little bag made from fabric samples and measured finished 6  1/4” X 15  1/4”  with it’s 6  1/2” ties on each side. 


It was prefect for sticking a bottle of wine  with room to take those slightly bigger bottles of Champaign. Along this one I made two more bags.  The Elf bag measured out @ 10  1/2” X  16  1/2”  and is holding a 1000 piece puzzle in it.  The Party Time bag is great for any party theme.  Birthday, New Year’s or even Weddings.  This one is a tad bigger as it measures 10” X  19”.   It was holding my son’s baseball glove, a softball, 3 DVD’s , and a large bag of Starburst candies. 

The Elf bag has a seam running down one side and the bottom, as I folded the fabric in half.  The Party Time bag I did a bit different, I gave this one a back seam.  I ran the seam like the others and shifted the seam so that it was in the middle of the back.  Before I sewn the bottom, I ironed opened the seam that was going on the back.  For their ties, I used the red, green and gold rickrack on the Elf bag and on the Balloon one I used a piece of purple binding that I made for another project.  I simply ran a stitch line down the open side before attaching it seams at the time of sewing.

The kicker is none of these took more than a Fat Quarter to make!!  You could make several sizes out of a yard of fabric. They are quick, easy, fun, and you can make them to customable to the person,

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The nicest thing about these is you can put several themes and sizes in a Ziploc bag and stash them in the glove box  of your vehicle for a fast gift wrapping on that last minute gift that you stop and buy on the way to that event with a card …viola…done.

Now - I’m so caught up in the making of these cute little bags that I am going to give away 2 random print bags to some lucky person who leave me a comment. You don’t have to be a follower but you must leave me a way to contact you if you win. If you don’t have a blog – please leave an e-mail address in your reply.  I will let Mr. Random # Generator select a number on the Saturday , Feb 15th.  This will give everyone a chance to come by  & visit for a couple of weeks.

Thank You for stopping by this special edition of my blog.  Please be sure to check out the rest of the blogs taking part in this special blog party.  Just click on the link “Grow Your Blog” and off you go…. finding new friends, learning new crafts and may be you might be a lucky winner somewhere along the way. I’m list in #18 in the 50-100 followers section.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Trays, New storage, “Grow Your Blog” & More

In the white world that surrounds me at the moment outside my window, I glance about and all I see is the smallest and snowflakes drifting down.  They remind me on how my own thoughts are drifting about.  They seem to weigh nothing singularly but as they accumulate the weight is becoming unbearable. So I try to swift the thought process… to something more tangible…like a quilt.  I was really interested in the Merry Mayhem New Year’s Mystery but I wasn’t able to do it at that time.  So I kept it in the forethought and have been cutting it out of fabrics that where right here in the house.  I finally got there required 20 sets and additional 14 sets.  It’s a scrappy and here is what those stacks look like.


It took me a bit of time but I believe I will be able to double the top once it’s put together.  "I’m naming this one “Letting Go” for a variety of reasons.  I’m letting go some scraps, some emotional issues and some stress that is bothering me.  The more I thought about it, the more the phrase “Letting Go” was appropriate.  I’m looking at spending some daytime  time drawing those seam lines on all those HST’s.  But while I was cutting out all these pieces, I took the extra time to taming the remaining fabric into usable pieces.  I added those to my new storage container that I picked up at Jo-Ann's with some Christmas money and coupons.  Got to love those 25% total purchase coupons!! LOL.  The average price is $17.99 but is currently $8.99 according to this. Mine is the medium container and I soooo want more of these.  And I would love to try out the larger one too.  I have filled this one up with all the different sizes that I have cut out in the past week. 

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Okay so in the picture on the right we can see lots of slots of a variety of cuts.  Starting on left top, which is the top tray; we have 3” squares, a pair of stork scissors and 3.5” X 6.5” bricks. The center row is all 2” squares and the next row is just 1.5” squares.  Yes … that what I said … 1.5” squares.  On the bottom tray, have 3” X 2” bricks and 2 sections of 2.5” squares.  I have room to stick my box of pins, scissors, rotary cutter in two sizes (the little Olfa is standing on it’s side), and a pack of needles. One of the best features is the snap lock for the closure.  Think tackle boxes or toolboxes closures as seen in this next picture.


Nice thing is it will be very portable for when I go to quilt group on Wednesdays.  I just add a smaller ruler and some pencils for drawing those seam lines.  I figure the large bricks are for one project. The 2” & 2.5” will be for my nine patch block projects and the 1.5” might find themselves in a postage stamp quilt of some size.  I know that the 3” & 3” X 2” bricks will be in another project. So everything will find a scrappy home.  I do have some white/cream & black 2” squares that are going into another container (an up-cycled Danish container)  for the Bonnie Hunter’s “Bricks & Stepping Stones” pattern that will be next in the scrappy stable once I cut out the rest of the w&b’s squares for four patch blocks.  It’s nice to see I’m a little more organized and have a good stack of “tamed” scraps for future projects.

Just wanted to give a shout out to Pat over @ who left a wonderful comment last week on the subject of mine and Ms. D’s Round Robin Centers.  She has an album showing all of our progress.  You’ll find her button on the right. for both her blog and a direct link to the Round Robin Stitchin’ Sisters album

On Jan. 25th, I’m going to take part in Vicki’s “Grow Your Blog” even over there @  There will be over 500 blogs taking part.  Some will even have prizes!! Oh My!! There will a variety of blogs of different subjects.  It will prove to be interesting as we hope to add a few more “Friends” to our blog followers.  I can wait!!! You can learn more about the event my clicking on the button on the right hand sidebar.

I have 3 book reviews for ya this week so far.  Now I know that I’m quite behind on these but I’m trying  LOL.  Now just a reminder:  I receive these books ARC Via NetGallery in exchange for my honest opinion. Having said that the thoughts are all mine and have NO reflection for those in the writing or publishing in each of these books.

First up is “Hard to Handle” by Jessica Lemmon from Forever(Grand Central Publishing)

Sadie Howard never dates a guy more than once-but Fate has other plans for her when it comes to Aiden Downey, the one that got away. Aiden loved her, left her, and broke her heart. Yet suddenly she's bumping into him at every turn, driven to distraction by his wicked grin and rock-hard body. Now she can't resist finishing what they started-as long as she doesn't let herself fall in love . . .
Aiden Downey threw away the best thing he ever had when he let Sadie go, and now he's determined to win back the woman he's always wanted. Sadie agrees to let him into her life-and her bed-as long as there are no strings attached. But Aiden's not about to make the same mistake again. Can he convince her to take a second chance on a once-in-a-lifetime love?
Hot-Steamy-Sexy and Realistic!!! This is one of the most believable piece of fiction that I have read in a long time. The characters make you feel like you have met them in your own life.  Their emotional turmoil will have you connecting them and the realistic sweetness is a prefect balance without feeling like you need an insulin shot afterwards.  I enjoyed the book enough that I actually read it TWICE!!!  Two thumbs up!! Worthy of the 5 stars I gave it.
Second up is “Redemption”  by C. J. Barry from Forever (Grand Central Publishing)


Reya Sinclair is the last person a man sees before he dies. As a Redeemer, she offers the soon-to-be-departed one last chance to atone for their sins. It's a painful job, but it's her only shot to secure her own salvation. She won't let anyone stand in her way-not even a ruggedly sexy cop hot on her trail. Bound by her duty, Reya must shake him before he ruins her . . . but her heart can't seem to let him go.
Detective Thane Driscoll has watched too many criminals get away. The man who murdered his father was no exception. Now Thane carries out his own brand of justice, even if it means compromising his soul. When a string of deaths leads him to a beautiful woman in black, he discovers there's more to his father's murder than meets the eye.
As fate brings them closer together, Thane discovers that only Reya's touch can calm his rage. Racing to uncover an evil plot, they must fight together to stop the coming storm. But when the time comes, can Reya sacrifice her own redemption to save Thane?

Ms. Barry has  a new follower in her "Soul" series!! I found it impossible to put my e-reader down after the 1st chapter.  The thought provoking has me thinking long after I finished the book about reincarnation & second changes. Without being overtly religious, I found it interesting how the battle for one's soul could be in a constant battle.  Well Done Ms. Barry!!
And finally, “Accidentally In Love w/A God” by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff from Forever (Grand Central Publishing)


Trapped for decades, a powerful god seeks freedom . . . and revenge. But the only thing that can save him is the passion of a woman's touch . . .
Emma Keane is your average city girl trying to get a date. There's just one thing holding her back: the disembodied male voice speaking to her through her mind. Sound kind of crazy? Maybe. But crazy turns downright deadly when the voice persuades her to travel to the wilds of the Mayan jungle. There she will free his body-his incredibly hot, muscled, naked body.
Humans are so frail, so undisciplined, so susceptible to love. And when this ancient being connects with Emma, the feelings she sparks drive him utterly mad. Protective, keep-her-close, never-let-her-go kind of mad. Which might not be such a bad thing because from the moment the beautiful, passionate Emma unshackles his body, they are hunted at every turn. Now he'll have to do everything in his power to keep her safe. But will it be enough?

What does snarky humor, witty banter, frustrated but interesting characters and a jaw-dropping cliffhanger equal up to? To me it is this 1st book in Mimi Jean Pamfiloff's "Accidental Yours" series. With me scratching my head with wonder & intrigue.  Now I'm on the hunt for the next.  

I enjoyed the book and looking forward to reading more from this author. I give it 4 stars out of 5.
Oh my but what a long entry this week. I thought I would leave you with an idea of what I’m going to doing this week.  Monday, Tuesday, & Thursday is doing some super deep house cleaning for a friend & neighbor.  Wednesday we are going to see if it’s possible to leave the house via vehicle for quilt group in the village.  With this deep freeze we are having in Mid-Michigan, my little private road is solid ice.  The 6 pm news just announced that our HIGH will be 12*F.   Burrrrr… what an understated word.  If I don’t get out, I have a plan that has me drawing seam lines for all those wonderful HST’s in my Merry Mayhem New Year Mystery.  I have 168 blocks that need those lines.  From there I’m hoping to put a finish on Ms. D’s dragonfly baby quilt for her nephew.   Friday & the weekend is for whatever quilt work that I haven’t finished, relaxing, reading & watching TV.  
As for what is on the Reading Shelf for this week, I am finishing “A Prairie Christmas Collection” . This book has 9 Historical Christmas Romances by authors like Tracy Peterson, Tracey Bateman and more. I’m part way through “Path of Freedom” by Jennifer Hudson Taylor and just finished “A Healing Heart” Angela Breidenbach.  And if that was enough I just received a new book to review from Bethany House Publishing this week and downloaded 2 more ARC books to the e-reader. LOL. Can you tell I suffer from insomnia? (Rolling eyes here). Well it’s time for Guy’s Grocery Games here shortly… so off to the presses!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

What Life Can Bring You

When life sends you heartache there is nothing more that you can do but try to teach the Child what may be the hardest lesson for them to learn. For the Mother; it’s was a lesson you learned in the same fashion as the Child is doing now. But that doesn’t mean that YOU don’t LOVE said child; but sometimes it’s hardest for Mom to stand back and let the Child fall to rock bottom before  the lesson is learned.  That is something I’m dealing with in the last couple of days.  The emotional toll is grueling. That need  to fix everything is strong. You watch & have seen the pattern repeat it’s self without changes.  And “NO!” becomes the hardest word in the English language.

I know this and so I turned my attention to my quilting.  I’m taking part in my 1st Round Robin.  Ms.P. over at Life in the Scrapatches is also blogging about the Stitchin’ Sisters Round Robin and has pictures of some of the other medallions and such here. So I got my medallion done… finally!!  I had to scrap the first course of plan but I’m very happy with the results that I brainstormed with Ms. D about using the fabric that she sent me for my birthday.  Once I mauled over the concept, the more I thought about a whole bird theme. Think of all those blocks with bird names! Hovering Hawk, Birds in the Air, Flying Geese, etc. etc. Think about it the possibilities are endless!! 

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Then I’ve moved on to doing my first added border to Ms.D’s center.  I managed to come up with a plan and have set it into motion. It will be interesting to see how everyone will react to it. I decide to add the extra color to the palette expressed by Ms.D and pulled the orange color in.  Tell me what you think.  The 1st two are close ups of what I added on.

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I have been doing a lot of reading of late and I wanted to share with you a new publisher that I have come to enjoy.  I started to read the “Quilts to Love” series by Abingdon Press.  These are all quilt with a little bit of faith  for good measure.  Each book can stand alone and even have discussion questions in the back.They are written by a large number of authors who appear to do some research into the plots they have chosen. They spread of timelines, and a variety of settings. I have read many of them (#1-5& 11 with 6&7 sitting here waiting their turn) and have recommended them to the library—where that don’t stay on the shelf very long and have a waiting list for each new one.  It appears the just the right mix of a good inspirational plot line with the ability for the characters to be “real” and a story of a quilt that brings it all together.  The newest books seem to be coming out on the average of once a month. The newest being “Scraps of Evidence” as seen here.   I hope that  you will check out  these books as I found be to wonderful reads.  Many thanks to Abingdon for their wonderful books as I look forward to read many more!! As I look around on the link, there appears to be plans for 2 more years of books to come and according to page 2 under books & quilting clubs: “COMING SOON: We are working to provide them as free downloads on the coordinating book pages of”. OH MY!!!   So will be watching for this!!

Of course the cats are such divas as they sleep their day away.  It never seems surprise me that they almost always end up on my lap blankets.  The little buggers sure have a hard life since they joined the household just over a year ago.  They even have a Redneck Kitty Condo  complete with duct tape.  LOL!! It is surprising how much even the littlest one will run you.  The girls have been playing it the  boxes from Sam’s Club so out comes the tape to put them together until a “real” one can be gotten.  So …yes …feel free to laugh at it.  But at the time of the picture Nosy was enjoy the view from the Penthouse. 

Nosy In RNKC Penthouse    Red Neck Kitty Condo

With that I’m off to put a pork loin roast  rubbed in unsweetened applesauce and Chinese 5 Spice  into the oven for supper.  Thanks Debbieann for your kind comment last time.  We’ll see about getting some more photos of  me in the future.






Monday, January 6, 2014

3…2…1….. Happy New Year!

We  quietly rung in the New Year last Wednesday night by watching the New York  ball drop  in Time Square  via the TV.  After a rowdy good time of UNO  playing it was nice to have some quiet time.  I spent some time thinking on how happy I was for the holidays to be over. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with the family; but I also love the quiet time of my normal day.  I think it was one of the better ones as one of my daughters was able to join us this year.  We focused on giving the Boy Child a few gifts  but empathizing more on the point of spending time together as a family.  We only had him for a week of his break so we tried to plan accordingly.  I think we did okay on that standard.  I think fun was had by all in the week’s time.

We started by going to Boy Child’s house on the 24th, where me, him, dad, & Ms. M. spent our evening making stroganoff for dinner, hanging out, making Chex’s “Puppy Chow” and watching videos until it was time to go. Of course Christmas was the next day, so there was the typical tree thing to do. As I have placed the turkey in the oven for Christmas dinner.   

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This is a good time to have a cup of coffee made from a gift from the ex-in-laws gave to me.  A two pound bag of Chocolate Caramel Brownie whole bean coffee.  Yummmmm …… got to love the gift of coffee.  I sit and watch all the activity as I check the schedule for Christmas Dinner.  We will have a full table of 5 as a neighbor will be joining us.   Here a shot of the pre-dinner table and then the table that is buried under the weight of the meal. 

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After dinner was a night of enjoying each others company while we watched TV.   Of course that doesn’t actually mean it was “quiet” . LOL.  The siblings haven’t seen each other in a few years …. boy they sure made up for it. The hiding of Mr. C’s ugly dolls was all it took. 

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On Friday, we decided it was a good after noon to do our traditional gift of a movie & Pizza Hut.  We went to Mt. Pleasant and saw 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves in it.  It was a decent movie and we had a great time.  Saturday was Boy Scout  Holiday Dinner & Honor Council.  Nice turkey dinner with all the fixings.  I am happy to report that Mr. C. made his 1st rank that night.  He now is a Tenderfoot. YEAH!!!!   Family Night  was on Sunday.  On Monday we had cookie day.  We made many cut out sugar cookies.  It was found to frost & decorate them as we did it assembly line style. Well the kids did the sprinklings as I moved on to putting the Gingerbread Tree.  I spent several hours placing the candy balls on each point and artfully going through the process of building out the dripping icing icicles.  It even has sugar candy presents to be placed under the tree.  If you want to keep Mom occupied for half a day, hand her  a gingerbread kit.  It feeds both the art and the ocd side of her.  LOL.  It might be the only way you see her on the front of the camera too!!  As my daughter has proven with the pictures she took while Mom was unaware & distracted.

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The next two nights involved  several UNO marathons around the dinner table  after dinner while eating the bounty of candy and cookies.  On the 2nd, we head towards Boy Child’s home.  But we did stop along the way to visit Grandma L’s house with pizzas in hand while Mr.  S. has a dental appt. after returning BC to dad’s we head back home after a long day.

Now I have so much to catch up with on blogging so be prepared to see more than one post this week or two.  Between talking  about what happened during swap season, upcoming challenges to book reviews; most definitely need to break them up in multiply postings.  So having said that, I have been having some internet issues (maybe due to the weather) I’ll post as I can.  But as always, I love comments.