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Thursday, August 30, 2012

National Knife Day?

Who knew.  In celebration, here is an artsy picture of the knife Spud 1 (otherwise known as boy blacksmith) made for me.  It is over 12 inches long and mirror finished.  You can sort of see me with the camera in the reflection.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


My poor sewing machine is not doing very well today.  It had to go to the shop to get a checkup.  It is a good thing I have a number of hand sewing projects and a back up machine.  But my embroidery projects are on hold for the near term. 


As I am slowly tying up loose ends, re-grouping and looking for my sewing mojo I have been wandering aimlessly around the internet.  I decided to google mini art quilt.  I am amazed at the endless variety of projects to be found: Realistic fabric and thread paintings, abstract, geometric, cute, cynical, sassy, political, neat as a pin, raw edges, whimsy, technical perfection, embellished, mixed media.  I am some combination of stunned, overwhelmed and inspired.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Bohemiannie! asked me to tell more about the Race for the Rivers.  For the first time, I didn't even manage to take my camera.  I personally have no pictures other than a few I took on my phone.   I'll start by sharing a few that have been sent to me.  These were taken by M Garvey.  They are very low resolution but they will give you an impression of the day on the river.  He was on one of the support boats that went along with the paddlers. 

Maybe I should start at the beginning... at 9 am we launched paddlers in canoes, kayaks and stand up paddle boards from 20 miles out and from 41 miles out.  There were 97 boats registered.  We send support boats with them.  The image above was taken after one of the heart-stopping moments during the day.  Shortly after launch I looked out at the river and saw this barge going up river toward our paddlers.  I am in touch with the barge folks.  They didn't have this one on the roster.  Paddlers in small boats have to respect the barges.  The barge cannot react.  With the water as low as it is, there is less room for everyone to maneuver.  Our wonderful radio communications crew got word out as quickly as possible to the support boats to warn the paddlers.  Fortunately, there was only one close call and that was with a well trained crew who knew how to paddle through the wake. 

The paddlers go through some amazing scenery, natural and man-made as well as some naturally altered man-made... those are full size trees on the bridge support.  They are left from the extreme flooding of last summer.   

We track the paddlers all along the route.  We get reports of their progress.  They faced a stiff wind for much of the day.  We had it in the park.  It was problematic for the tents, but made the 90+ degree day tolerable. 

Eventually they cross under the last bridge and are within sight of the park and sound of the music. 

 That is where there were helpers to get them on shore.  Fans to cheer them on.  The sweet sound of the airhorn signalling their finish and documenting their time. 

Day two saw some of our intrepid adventurers off on another 24 mile stretch of the river.  

  The crew on one of the support boats along with the radio operator.  All smiles as they keep track of our paddlers.  What a great way to spend a morning!

Still smiling.

 These six guys in five boats completed 65 miles on the Big Muddy.  Awesome paddlers.  Awesome guys.  And a great day. 

As I collect more pictures and have more time to reflect, I will share some adventures at the Race for the Rivers.


This week is going to be all about getting caught up with my badge-making. I have orders to fill and Halloween to stock.  The badges I need to make are stitch intense.  I am very glad I have a lot of hand stitching to entertain me while the machine does its thing. 

Monday, August 27, 2012


Getting ready to launch the kayaks for day 2 of our big event.  I will be back on my feet and ready with more crafty and sewing goodness later this week.  Thanks for sticking with my wee blog through the big summer event. 

Friday, August 24, 2012


I always thought I was a list maker and list crosser-offer.  I always figured I relied on my lists and could find whatever was necessary from my lists.  I have also, always known that I am organizationally challenged.  Finding my list, filing my list, remembering which pad I wrote my list on was a challenge.  Heaven only knows how many clip boards that say C's STUFF have floated from booth to booth, table to table, finally found and retrieved by whichever spud is driving the golf cart this year.  It is truly a challenge.

Over the past few months I have been working hard to learn to delegate.  What I have learned is that the lists are all in my head.  Writing them is really just a means to cement them into my brain.  The paper is pretty much irrelevant to the final memory. 

Fortunately, or unfortunately as the case may be, the folks to whom I am delegating have discovered this as well.  That the paper lists aren't really the real list.  There is always more.  Some detail or relationship that needs to be attended to.

The long suffering Mr D has finally decided that he is going to extract all of the lists from my head and put them into electronic documents that can be sorted, prioritized and understood by any who access them. His lists are a thing of beauty.  No really,  there is nothing so beautiful (at least today) as an excel spreadsheet that has all the relevant information laid out in order.  No random notes.  No bizarre columns off to the side with weird shorthand and unidentified calculations.  Yes, I am trying my best to help him.  But it is infinitely clear to anyone who looks which ones are mine. 

The thing is, I am greatly afraid that once Mr D extracts the last little bit of information from my brain, categorizes, sorts it and commits it to electrons the vacuum left behind will cause my head to implode. 

Well, we'll see next week.  Pray for good weather and safe passage for all of our racers and riders and festival attendees.  And perhaps a wee one for my poor head, soon to be empty of all but the most trivial of details. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Just Because

This is a handmade canoe.  It is even more gorgeous in real life than it is in the picture.  One of the Race for the Rivers participants makes these as well as hand-carved paddles. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Look Who Came to Quilting

Spud 1 got tired of waiting for his quilt.  So he dragged the pieces out and helped put the sections together.  We had it spread out all over the floor with the completed blocks pretty much suitably arranged.  He cut fabric to fill in the holes and I stitched away.  Things were going along quite well until some one else showed up in the middle. 

Eons ago I saw this tutorial  from the blog Tried and True.  I pieced it together using one inch squares.  The whole thing is pieced including the vast tracts of white space.  I have been slowly collecting black, white and red fabrics to make the rest of the quilt... if only I could figure out what the rest of the quilt is supposed to look like.  Spud 1 claimed it. 

Now the silly thing seems to want to be in the middle of my completely disorderly improvisation quilt. Fortunately (unfortunately!) he is headed back to school so I have time to put it back in the box and think about it more.

What do you think?  Does the little robot belong, no need to be, no insist that he be inserted into this quilt? 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Full Speed Ahead

The Race for the Rivers is just over one week away. Sewing and blogging will be light over the next while as we head into the home stretch.   Come on by if you are in the neighborhood.  Stop in at the Greenway Network booth and say hi. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Craft Gossip

I get a daily email from the folks at Craft Gossip.  Their editors cover the waterfront when it comes to the crafting world.  They showcase completed projects, tutorials, techniques, products, giveaways and opportunities.    I have pursued some of the opportunities and have had some fun while doing it.

Last year they posted an opportunity to get your crafts placed in a craft vending machine at the Fluvog shoe company.  My little badges didn't make the final cut, but I was pretty excited that they were interested and they did send me a gift certificate toward some shoes!

Earlier this year, there was a call for sewers (Gee I hate that word... looks and awful lot like sewers and stinky pipes we are not!) for a research project.   I spent a delightful half an hour google chatting with the researcher.  For my time, they sent a small check and a gift.  The gift was this box of Coats and Clark thread.  There are 25 assorted colors of all purpose thread inside, along with a color sheet and a funky zipper lanyard.

I was reminded to post about it today when I pulled out the box to find a thread that matches the pillow cover I am making.  Sure enough, with 25 non-standard colors, I found one that, while it doesn't match perfectly, blends in well enough to avoid a trip to the store.

So thank you Craft Gossip!  

The pillow cover is a commission piece.  It is machine embroidered on what I believe to be silk and piece with a different raw silk.  (OK, I can't remember exactly. I was buying fabric to make ren faire clothes at a going out of business sale.  To the best of my knowledge, I only bought remnants that were labelled silk or linen.  The labels are long gone from these pieces so I really don't know for sure.  I do know they aren't linen.  Whatever.  It is from my stash and the prices were AMAZING.) 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

We All Live...

 The St Louis Modern Quilting Guild issued a summer challenge in May.  The rules were simple.  Use one of the four inspiration themes provided and make a quilt.  It had to be at least 24 inches on a side.  There was a Matisse painting, a picture of a volkswagon beetle in a field of lavender, the book Alice in Wonderland and the song Yellow Submarine. 

I spent the ENTIRE summer trying to figure out how to make an Alice in Wonderland quilt. I LOVE Alice.  I had Alice curtains when I was small.  I have some snippets of Alice fabric.  I have several different Alice embroidery patterns.  I knew that I was going to make an Alice quilt.

And yet... nothing ever gelled.  I pulled out my Alice fabrics. I pulled scraps that matched.  I found new Alice fabric in the store.  I bought the rest of the Alice embroidery designs.... nothing.   Not a thing.  No inspiration anywhere.  

In desperation, I stopped in the local quilt shop near my Mother-in-Law's house last Saturday.  I saw some great Alice fabric.  But it didn't speak to me.  No beautiful Alice quilt image formed in my head.  While looking around, I saw a sea weedy blue fabric.  I liked the colors.  I didn't buy anything. 
For the rest of the weekend I kept seeing that sea weedy fabric surrounded by a yellow porthole. 

Fortunately, the shop was open on Monday for a few hours.  Unfortunately, they didn't have any other fish/seaweed/ocean fabric.  No more bright colors.  No star fish.  Nothing.  But there were a couple of coordinating prints.  One that looked like waves and one that looked kind of like bubbles.  I grabbed them and a bright yellow polka dot figuring it would work out some how.

Unfortunately, I was in Michigan without any of my quilting tools but a few hand sewing items.  Even more unfortunately, I had to spend a couple days, packing, driving and then unpacking.  It was Thursday before I could get started on my little project.

My little project that was due on Saturday.  I was going to do raw edge applique.  Well, actually, I did raw edge applique.  But I didn't have enough fusible web of the appropriate size.  So I tried spray glue.  Remember my post of a few days ago?  It would have been better to go to the store and get some fusible web!  Either that, or use a LOT more spray glue than I did.  Things.  Slipped and slopped and then stuck tight just when I needed to try and separate them enough to trim them.  Ugh. 

The worst thing was, that as time was running out the silly quilt kept needing more.  It needed the blanket stitching.  It needed the pieced ends.  It absolutely did not want the periscope/tower part of the submarine.   And worst of all it needed tedious machine quilting that had to stop and start at the portholes.  Fortunately the rounded corners it needed made it easier to stitch the binding.  Unfortunately, the 18 inch width for the table runner, didn't quite meet the 24 inch requirement.  (Which I didn't discover until I checked the challenge rules again at midnight after I finished.)  Fortunately no one was there with a tape measure and some had projects that were even smaller. 

So here it is.  The We All Live quilt.  

The Details:  Made of quilter's cotton.  Machine pieced and quilted.  Binding hand sewn.  Raw edge applique.  Muslin backing.  approximately 18 x 50 inches long. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

More of the Same

We've had some fun picking fabrics to make some gifts.  I liked the 6 inch squares on the Charming Kaffe quilt enough that I did the same thing again.  
 We started with some pretty crazy mix of teal, orange and brown. 

It cried out for hand quilting.  I used a bit of pearl 3 and finished with pearl 5.  It turned out to be easier using the thinner thread with the larger needle.  The stitching is finished.  Now it just needs the binding. 

Posting in the Hand Made Parade!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I'm Just Sayin'

It would have been a better choice to run to the store and get some fusible web rather than tack it down with spray adhesive. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Monday, August 6, 2012


You give a bored spud the camera on a road trip.

*Summer 2010 trip to St Joseph, MO

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Quilting to Go

I carry around a bag of Teesha Moore style 'pillows' in my work bag.  They are the perfect project for waiting rooms and car rides.  I started with some fabric selected by my mother-in-law.  She was supposed to pick out lake fabrics that were mostly blue so I could make her a quilt for her lake cottage.  She chose lots of colors.  Not just blue. 

I am working on some more blocks... it will have to be a surprise.  The idea is a fresh start.  But now I have lots of blocks that probably are not going to fit with the original ones I have done.  I am not at all sure how I am going to resolve this issue.  Stay tuned. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Matching Colors

For the past two years, I have been looking for the perfect set of fabrics to implement an idea I have floating around in my brain.  I am starting with a small piece of scraps from a quilt I made 16 years ago.  It always amazes me to see how color palettes change over time.  You would think that a wall of green fabric would include lime green and yellow green, and jade green and true green and kelly green and forest green and the lovely blue greens that were readily available in 1996.  But that is just not the case.  Perhaps if I keep looking I will finally reach the necessary critical mass of close enough fabrics to start this project. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What Happened Here?

We throw a lot of parties around here and have the snack prep and post party clean up down to a science.  But after the guests left last night we were left with a different kind of carnage.  The floor was covered in shreds of blue and white t-shirts.

The table around which everyone sat looked like this.  Sharp objects and one lone caramel zucchini cupcake.  (Totally awesome cupcakes baked by one of the guests.  I'll see if I can get her to share the recipe.)

The result of 3 hours of cutting and snipping and pulling and tying?  Two bags of worms!

Actually it is two bags of wrist bands for the Race for the Rivers bike rides.  We decided to go green and skip buying the plastic wrist bands to identify our riders.  These upcycled bands are more comfortable and will come in handy for wiping sweat!  Even better they are washable and re-usable so our riders can take them home and proudly wear them in the future. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Charming Kaffe

  Just pictures of this one now that it is finished.

My birthday treat of  a pack of Kaffe Fasset charm squares with the intention of deliberately making one project using only fabrics from one designer.

Didn't happen.

The little bit of yardage I bought for filler and binding... on the Kaffe shelf.  Not Kaffe.

The details.  Made from 6 inch charm squares.  Machine pieced.  Hand quilted with number 5 perle cotton.  The backing is muslin.  It is about 34 inches square.

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