Wednesday, September 28, 2016

"Things I Like" Thursdays #3

1. Pumpkins
I love pumpkins. Have you seen all the varieties available now? White, yellow, speckled, and the very popular orange. What is it about orange? It's a happy color! Look at that little scarecrow girl with her ponytails standing straight up? So cute and perfect size to put in the window box outside the kitchen window.

1.1 Pumpkins to eat
Trader Joes is great for tempting me with specialty foods. On our last trip in, they had a large variety of pumpkin items!
I can testify for the cream cheese muffins. Dense, yummy not overly sweet, and creamy. mmmm

DH had the "O's" and in his usual one word comments stated they were "crunchy"
Looking forward myself to the oatmeal with pumpkin.

1.2 Golden pumpkins in store displays at Crate and Barrel

2. these wonderful socks...

I walk a lot. 2-3 miles twice a day and sometimes a little one at noon. (I thought I might lose weight but my body has other plans)

I like a low sock but so many slide down into a shoe as you walk.
These don't. Feetures! fit snug like a glove, and note the little "L" at the toe?? For left. Not for stupid walkers, but because of the arch support built in. Awesome! And I have very high dancer's arches that like support, so these running shoes,  Asics are working so far. The stopped making the Avia style that was perfect, high arch and flexible sole.
Should have hoarded them, but companies do not warn me they will discontinue my favorite brands. Grrr.

3.Really sharp needles.
Generally for the machine I like Schmetz.
I have discovered Superior Titanium topstitch.

I LOVE these really strong, sharp, long lasting coated needles that seem to work for all threads, seaming quilting and, well, topstitching.

I just bought the tulip hand sewing needles as I need, a very sharp thin needle to sew my hexies. These supposedly don't bend as much and last longer than others. We'll see, I'll tell you after I tried them.

4. The BBC sitcom Gavin and Stacey
This is so charming, so freshly funny that I laugh out loud. Guffaw. Remember the jokes later. (Written by James Cordon the British comedian with an American late night TV show,  who sings with guests while riding in cars??)
Set in Wales and England, a couple falls in love and the antics between their respective family and friends will have you laughing too. I love the accents and the different phrases as well. We got this from our library.

5. Petting Poodles in stores

Just a pinterest picture, because I didn't get a picture of the pair of poodles we met Sunday in Home Depot.

I called to the owner so he'd stop and let me have some poodle therapy.
These were two big strong 6 year olds, a blonde one named Cedar who was a therapy dog and a dark brown one named Woody who topped the scales at 100 lbs!!! (he's trying to lose a few pounds)

The brown one was a super lover, who leaned against my hip while I petted and petted him. I did poodle things, like play with his ears, talk to him, look deeply into his eyes while talking to the owner.

It was therapeutic in several ways. First poodle hair therapy. Then the lkind owner helped me feel better about our choice with Cole, reminding me of the necessity of our decision to say goodbye when we did.
Third, that night I decided to put in an application for a rescue poodle who's also 6. I had been reluctant, having always had puppies. But the thought of having one of these gentle giants come home with me gave me an emotional boost.
 Cole would have loved them.
I loved them.
I'd love the rescue poodle too.
Love is good.

As we've done before, let me know if you did a "Things I like" post in the comments. I'll set up a link party soon! 
visit miki too:

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Finding the Muse, kind of, in store displays

Not exactly a "finding the muse" post but this was too good to pass up.
We went for a walkabout to the mall last weekend and I spied some interesting and stimulating displays in Crate and Barrel.
This wall art is metal I think, didn't get too close but it's very modern quilt looking isn't it???
I think I might just try doing something along these "lines" pun intended.

And that color! And the glow!

There are lessons to be learned everywhere.

I have been hard at work finishing up my art quilt for a challenge by Alida at
 In fact working my fingers to the bone!

heh heh

(I have a tiny bit more meat on my bones)

My quilt is based on Matisse's papercut series and I "toted" it to a recent bee meeting in order to add some beads. What it lacks in size is made up for in embellishments!

Any way... thought you might enjoy seeing a bit of what's out there in stores for Halloween.
The displays are awesome, and while I aspire to entertain using these items, I just don't have the storage.

Yep. That's why I don't buy them!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The magical balance

As I wrote before I am in the middle of a re-organization in my sewing space.
I am dragging out storage bins, and seeing what's there, adding in newer supplies.

I am deciding just how I can find that magical balance between storing supplies and using supplies.
I have discovered a lot of treasure that has been put away for years like a Time Capsule.

I find I need clear space to create, but when things are put away I forget about them.
That's a problem.
This rolling cart lives next to the cutting table and holds small templates, all my marking tools, some paper piecing patterns, and drawers of components.

These are small bits I sew and put away to be used later. Then forget about. Including the red blocks you see in the top picture.

The RSC     issues a challenge to make blocks in designated colors each month from scraps. This month is rose red and gold. Ewwww. That combo...ewww.

I am still not sewing much, as grief has sapped my creative side, hopefully temporarily. I feel I may be coming out of it a bit lately but have not continued to do the rainbow scrap challenge this year.

There's always tomorrow.

I happened onto these red blocks in my components drawer.

Apparently one year, I sewed some of those tiny scraps together, and liked them enough to put to the side til I decided on a setting for them.

If I don't write this stuff down, how will I ever remember??

Do you do that? Think you'll remember and then can't?

Anyway, because the challenge is red, and these are red, and there are tiny splashes of gold in the square blocks I'll share them.

The real meaning of this post is to ask:
1. Do you make blocks with no purpose in mind?
2. Where do you keep components that are simmering?
3. Is it true "out of sight is out of mind" ? If so, then how do you balance storage with using them?

My word of the year is a phrase, "use it" meaning use what I have be it supplies or talent. Recognize the possibilities and use what's in front of me.
What do you think???

Thursday, September 22, 2016

"I like" Thursdays #2

1. Noticing a pretty Autumn display while on a walk.  Mums are showing up...

2.aroma therapy oils
My friend Monika suggested essential oils might lift my sagging spirits. This blend is from Whole Foods.  When I catch myself bursting into tears yet again, I open the bottle and sniff. About three times. And I'm surprised that the tears stop, and I can resume life, already in progress. Thank you Monika... it seems to take the edge off. Better living through chemicals.

Image result for movie the magic of belle isle
2. the movie "The magic of Belle Isle" ( wikipedia)
with Morgan Freeman and Virginia Madsen. Well written, superbly acted, entirely charming. All that and a yellow lab. We watched on Netflicks. We both LOVED this film. You will too!

3. This cheese spread made with cream cheese and feta... so very good.This one has roasted red peppers.
4. beautiful drinking glasses. We got these at Sur la table on clearance. They said hand wash so I promptly put them in the dishwasher, as I do not enjoy doing dishes. They survived but your mileage may vary. I love pretty dishes and glasses, it makes drinking all that water a better experience.
 5. "Order"... I'm putting the studio in order, or trying to.
 The Studio is trying to remain in it's comfy zone of chaos.
This stuff is not new, it's just all been jumbled. I decided I needed to pull out some boxes and see what has been hiding in there. Lots of cool stuff.
Don't you find when you put things in tidy boxes on tidy shelves, you forget to use the supplies? I do.
When your life feels out of control, it's comforting to sort, organize, and pare down, right?

I looked at the old organization that no longer works.
This week, I am putting "like with like" meaning I start with laundry baskets, marked with categories such as "UFO"  "components" (little bits sewn but waiting for an idea to use them) "books and patterns" etc.
 As I sort, I toss items into their baskets to make decisions about later. The newer "un-put-away-stuff and the older forgotten stuff all go together in these baskets.  

You gotta know what you have to know how to store it.
Then I know how large a box I need for that stuff.
I also found a lot I'd like to work on.
To my credit I did not stop to work on it instead of doing the sorting, lol!

On another note:
I realized there are other parties kind of like the one I proposed so I need to think about how mine should work.
If you wrote an "I Like" Thursday post this week, please leave a link in comments so we will know to come look. I am still figuring out  how to do a party.
People writing I Like... posts are:
3poodles and a nana
mysewingroomsara   this is a pic of a 50 statue of a native woman and quilt, awesome!!

parties I'm linking to, among others: -favorite-things

What did you find to like this week??

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Giveaway and Book Review

Product Details
 The winner is Claudia! I drew names, and only wish I had one for each of you. I will be checking out your fave authors for my next books, and stay tuned for more giveaways coming soon from me!!

Thank you to Frances Dowell for the opportunity to discover your storytelling. I was sent this book to preview and enjoyed it very much.  My friend Mary who used to work for the Library of Congress, and after retirement worked as school librarian for her son's school, bought Ms Dowell's  books for young adults, was happy to hear she was writing for adults.
I'm not a professional critic, just a happy reader who knows what she likes.
Here goes...


 I woke up this morning missing the characters in Frances O'Roark Dowell's  new novel Birds in the air. 

I found this lighthearted book easy to read.
I love a "slice of life" book and I found myself immersed in this  modern day story.
 The characters  are so real and developed I began to think of them as friends and actually miss them today!  I want to know what they are doing now.

 I relate to the main character Emma. A writer who discovers the love of quilting and longs to belong in her new town. I have been in a similar situation.
 The dialogue and story line are real and engaging and quilters will love being reminded of their introduction to quilt making.

 I want to know more. Frances, please stop what you're doing and go write.
 Stop eating, sleeping, and watching tv, and go write another story for us to enjoy!

This is the author's response to my review... 

" ... the book comes out September 24th. Have we talked about doing a give away? If you want to hold off until the 24th and offer a give-away, I’ll mail a book directly to the winner"

So there you have it, a chance to win a copy of this novel. Hot off the presses. 

In order to win a copy simply leave a comment below. Entertain me... tell me about an author you enjoy so much you've read just about everything they've written. 
I keep a sort of account of books I've read since starting the blog on my book review page here 

I'll start... I've read all the books by: Maeve Binchy &  Rosamund Pilcher and a few others
I've read most books by:  Diana Gabaldon, Rhys Bowen, Sara Dunnant
I have read many books by  Laura Child, Nora Roberts, Jude Deveraux (Oh! a Knight in shining armor... ) 
I am reading as fast as I can several other series and love to read.... how about you? 

I'll choose a winner , probably a drawing to be fair, and the author, Frances Dowell will send you a new book to read. Closing date for entry will be Sept 26th. 
Make sure to leave an email address
Good luck and thank you for reading my words each week.  


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Watercolor Summer

"Watercolor Summer"   25" X 28"
I feel good about this. I am sewing again.
It may be the end of summer but the summer abstract is now done. It felt good to be sewing again. The quilting is a mix of straightline sewing with a walking foot, some programmed stitches like the spiral and the key design, and free motion, see...
The swing was a bit too subtle with just the couched ribbon, so I added the "seat" from scrapbook words.
Look at all those fun prints... note the stitching on the tree, the swirls of air...

The free motion feathers in the two bottom corners.
It's very subtle but I know it's there...

I have made four seasonal abstracts now... and will show those together later... for now to recap...
I started with these 2" cut squares
Then used this
And these
I like a mix of color and texture, but mostly did a lot with the madeira copper metallic twist, the madeira metallic variegated for the sky, and YLI metallic for specialty stitches.                              All behave well. I did a thick 30 weight black cotton along both sides of the inner border.                                                                            As I worked I listened to this book next in the series I've listened to before....                                                      
These are the ribbon floss colors I used for the swing. I used one next to the other, and couched over them with silver YLI metallic. It's subtle, and I quite like the effect in person.       Note the little flower buttons, and the adorable little mushroom glass beads!!! What a find! They sprouted up along the tree line...
 I didn't get a close up of the spiral stitch, which is one reason to keep that aging Bernina 1630, but I here's  the key stitch, straight stitch, then the spiral stitch all on the little inner turquoise border. I like the little word peace hanging there under the swing. I sewed again. That's a good thing. 
Linking to parties, including these
quiltstory tuesdays 
sew cute Tuesdays

Thursday, September 15, 2016

" I Like" Thursdays #1

A few of my favorite things... the title of this quilt made early in my quilting career, about 1995.
It was a sampler of  dogs,stars, hearts, trees, architecture, angels and flowers. As time went by I attached ornaments too... a beaded star, angels, moon, mermaid, cows, flamingos, poodles and a bookmark with the phrase
"Never give up, this may be your moment for a miracle" by Greg Anderson.

It was my first sampler just figuring out how to set different sized blocks. It hangs in the studio as one of my favorite quilts.

I was tagged by my friend Easy who's Mama  blogs at EasyBlog  about her life with a weimaraner in France. We are to list 5 things we really like.

Well, I made a list, and realized there are lots of fun posts here!! So I thank her for tagging me!

I've decided to replace the Muse series on Thursdays with the "I Like Thursday" series, and plan to start a link party for all who want to write a post of their favorite things. Stay tuned!!

So let's start with a general list, shall we?

1. My husband must go on the top of the list. He and I share so much in life and he's my best friend.
2. Standard Poodles.
 Well, I should say dogs since I also loved my labradaughter Chelsea. I am currently trying to recover from   the passing of my son Cole, my standard poodle of 14 years, one third of our wee family of three.

    Well, maybe I should say pets since I'm currently in love with some guinea pigs and cats too. Or...
     maybe I should admit I like all baby animals especially elephants.
      And I love it when one species adopts another, and love youtube videos like this one. chimp adopts dog

3.  Art in general. Drawing, painting, sewing, beading, pottery, weaving, crafting... I love it all! I do it all!
4. Books! Love reading and handling and collecting books...
Just my art books, and not all of those!
Heaven help me organize these!
I love a book.
I like to read fiction, and have fave authors of course. I began listing most books I read on my book page.
Once I read an article on what books you'd have on your special shelf. That will be another post.

Right now I'm reading a tea shop mystery, a book on lettering, a book on how to cope with grief of loss Never letting go by Mark Anthony.

books take me to other places, they inform me, and they open my eyes to new thoughts.

5. Entertainment. Oh how I love music, TV, movies, theater especially musical theater.
    Have I ever told you I was in musical theater?
    I was. I love singing and dancing, maybe not auditioning but it's part of it.
    As a young 20 something I admit to claiming to be a singer/dancer on Broadway when meeting strangers at a party. A slight embellishment since the closest I got to performing on Broadway was Tampa. Still... it was an ice breaker and harmless fantasy to become someone else when meeting a bunch of strangers lol.
 I buy CD's of musicians I really like. All time faves are Carol King Tapestry, Steely Dan's AJA, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Dianna Krall, and so very many others. My very favorite music is Brazilian and BossaNOva, sung so well by Astrud Gilberto. I am also partial to songs from the 1940's  like
This song makes me laugh and laugh  Istanbul not Constantinople
I grew up playing piano, maybe about 9 years. Then my marching/concert band clarinet playing took over through high school. Now I am trying to learn Ukelele.

I make up silly songs about the ordinary moments of my day. I'll make up a song about putting away dishes for instance.

I made a quick list of some specific things that make me happy... I will go into specifics later
Humor (comedies, jokes, funny sayings, whimsical pictures)
Puzzles and board games
Christmas ornaments
talking to people
shopping and merchandise displays
new sheets, towels, magazines, books, etc
italian food
Art Museums and History
Iced tea
Comfort in general... clean air, soft rugs, soft but firm mattresses. You get the idea

I'm not going to tag anyone... you all know who you are and I have a page of fave blogs
Keep in mind, I'll be starting a link party on Thursdays so concoct fun posts that showcase some thing that makes you really happy!
I'll come read them, Love, LeeAnna

Friday, September 9, 2016

Finding the Muse while finding your stuff

my quilt Imagine hanging in the entry to the studio

I forced myself to go into the studio this week, and realized you can find the Muse while finding your stuff. 
 Is anyone out there as messy as I am??? We are in the Pilot program, pile it here, pile it there.
I had created an archeological dig in the studio. Just keep throwing bags in, PIGS (projects in Grocery sacks), new fabric and beads, books, etc. I was barely able to find a path in.

This week, after coming to acceptance... I decided to be brave.

AMAZING!  I found things I thought were lost forever, or accidentally thrown away.
(AS IF I would throw something away lol)

I found this bag, this magical bag full of finished and nearly finished beaded projects and tons of beads! Yea!

I found supplies I've looked for for months!
The shiny packets are some iron on baguettes (beads), some piping, some labels.

I found scraps given by friends, and made some items as medically necessary sewing

These were from some scraps given me, some odd strip sets. I cut them into 9-patch size, and resewed them. It might become a table runner with some sewing room fabric borders. Or a valance.

The point is, it got me sewing.
Sewing is calming.

It's a good thing. 

I also sewed together some floral scraps given me... these things are good to do when you need to sew but your brain isn't firing on all cylinders. I'm making a tote bag with it, stay tuned as it's turning out so cute!

This is September's calendar page

It says, "the world is not going to come to you.
The sooner you realize that, the more time you'll have to pack"


We have had changes befall us recently, and there are some changes we need to make. There are even some changes we WANT to make.

Better get going...

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

critical mass

Gratuitous Flamingos made of spoons... seen in an artisan's booth at First Sunday Arts Fest. Annapolis

In response to my post on fabric hoarding shelving, a comment by Sue at sewingmagpie 
I  wrote this answer to her comment  that she feared she might buy more than she uses:

"Sue, sorry to say, you will not, NOT come out ahead. You will leave countless yards behind because we need a critical mass of fabric in which to nest.

That's all there is to it.
That's what we do, we "collect"  fabric.

 We are in pretty good company tho...

Enjoy these videos of my new shelving units seeing their new digs for the first time lol
( in case the video won't load, here's the link   (warning, this is really stupid lol!)

As a follow up post to my excitement at buying more storage shelves...Uh Oh
Uh, guess in all my measurements I didn't stoop down to notice the cross bars... which means the two shelving units WON"T fit side by side under the table.


Back to the drawing board... now how to fit more fabric into the studio??

With me in there too???

keep reading, or skip to the shelf buying post HERE

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Shopping for shelves

We went to market yesterday.
From the number of languages being spoken, it was an international market. The great leveler. The big common ground.
I like to see it all. While there for one thing, I happened into the children's section, and saw this "POODLE" toy. At least that's how I saw it, and there were children running into the poodle toys. I said to dh, "that's a great Poodle house!"
An English speaker stopped to show us pictures of her 5 poodles, lol! We shared poodle talk for a bit, discussing things like breeders, hair, lumps and bumps.
Eventually we got to the reason we went there...
Antonius shelves. Four sliding baskets to hold fabric.

More Fabric.

My studio is full of Fabric.
And I always want more. I even dithered over the $4.99/yd IKEA fabric, at 50" wide, with big graphics. Cotton.

I admitted to having more fabric than can fit into my existing shelves. Three choices:
 Give it away. (blink, blink) BWAAAA HAHAHA
Use it (er, maybe...)
Buy new shelving units, Ding Ding Ding!
They are to hold this

In high rise tenements that are overcrowded like this
After DH puts the units together of course. 
I also scored this find... I do love Halloween. I thought this might be fun to stencil some images onto fabric for some gifts. I found it at the Paper Source store. 
And a big purchase at Bed Bath and Beyond, a new water sprayer for the studio. I don't put water in an iron, I keep a sprayer instead. Mine broke after about 8 years, and I was sorry because I liked it.
So there you have it. Studio purchases. I hope to return to creating soon. 
Isn't a studio like a playhouse? Mine is... and there's no adult around to tell me to clean my room.