Saturday, September 6, 2014

camping, yard saling and quilting!

hi everyone!
i have been such a busy person of late. I'm not sure i'll get everything i want to say in. who says retirement is time for rest and reflection!!! the first thing i want to show you is my new purchases. I've decided i want to have a working treadle machine. thank you bonnie hunter for putting that idea in my head! i used to use my grandmother's waaaaay back in the day. i remember thinking nothing of plopping down and sewing away with whatever thread was in it. here's what I've found....
isn't she a beauty! the mister cleaned it up for me, i oiled it and then i took it down to our local quilt shop. neal, part owner/sewing guru put a new spring on it, a belt and straightened the wheel out. it sews beautifully! it is so heavy that I've named her annie (as in 2 ton annie). according to what I've learned from the Husqvarna site (they own white), my own research and neal we've all decided that its not a white sewing machine but a singer 15-91 that singer made for white. except for the decals there is no difference in the design. i got this beauty, with the table for $35 at the habitat for humanity yard sale! good deal wouldn't you say???                                                                                              

the next purchase was at the brimfield antique show in brimfield ma. i got this treadle base for $40 and this singer for $10! the sewing machine is already set up for a treadle and i love the decals on it. to my surprise there were quite a few treadle bases at the show (there were over 5,000 booths). the latest rage is to take the treadle base and make a table or lamp out of it. we saw many already made and these items were pulled apart to do just that. how sad!!!! i hope i can put her together to make her into a treadle. i haven't named her yet, i have to stare at her for a while and decide what she looks like. she's going to need some things (a belt to connect her with the treadle, a table to set on and something to hold the spool of thread! mechanically though she seems and sounds fine. we'll see!

when i was in Kansas at the quilt show in june i bought the martelli table. it took 8 weeks to get here but i think it was worth it. the table not only raises and lowers electronically but tilts on either side. it came with its own mat and cutting equipment and an ergonomic cutter. i also got a rotary mat cutter  that has a round unit that you just place on it to iron on. my sister and bil bargained him down to $25 for (a $100 value) and gave it to me as a gift. as a special for the show they also threw in all the templates they had. they're in that bag to the right of the table! I'm hoping this will help my back. i love the ergonomic cutter. it works wonderfully!

i made these pincushions off the Missouri star quilt company's tutorial. one for me and one for my sister. the one on the left was my first one and you would not believe the trouble i had! once i started to put it together wrong i just couldn't seem to stop. i had to unsew it and put it together 4 different times! i think the funniest one was when i put the tail in the front instead of in the back. it looked suspiciously male but everyone knows there no such thing as a male chicken! the mister looked at me while i pulled apart yet another seam and said, "there's only 4 sides to that. how many times can you do it wrong?" i didn't tell him how many.......the second one i was very careful with and it not only took me only 1/2 hour to make but no mistakes. whew!!!

this is a yard sale BARGAIN that i found last weekend. this is not even half of what i bought. she was selling 4 boxes and 3 gallon freezer bags STUFFED with material. i took it all for $26. all of it was (were?) name brand quilt quality material. there has to be about 500 6" squares. my favorite thing to make is I Spy quilts so i am in fabric heaven. i don't know what this girl does for a living but the strips were from 2-4 inches wide with most of them about 3-3.5 inches. there were hundreds of them. i also got an entire box of batik strips and an entire box of moda plain material strips. she said she was cleaning out her stash.... i still can't believe i got such a bargain. what a nice young girl she was too! she was in her late 20s to 30 years old. i was so excited i didn't even get her name and i should have. to top it all off she had a huge yard (fenced in) full of delightful chickens. my obsession with chickens continues to grow. the mister is worried that i'll start wanted live ones.....he should be worried!
 this is my new table setting. i bought this rooster at a flea market in Kansas. i love it on my table!
I'm going to end with the wonderful Wells state park campground we stayed at in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. it was peaceful and beautiful and the mister, nora jean and i loved it. today i am so thankful that our rv is fixed, that we've had a wonderful summer weather wise and that going to yard sales has been such fun and is becoming an obsession. we never bothered with them until we moved to the beautiful white mountains in NH. i am also thankful for nora jean's continued good health. she will be 13 on October 1st. mmmmmm what can i get or make her that she doesn't already have??? hugs, nancyb

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Where's Nora Jean? & the Common Threads Quilt Show

August 4, 2014


as you all must know by now we think a lot of our cat nora jean. we went to Kansas in june to visit my sister and brother in law. their house is VERY large and nora just loved it. i was at their kitchen table enjoying my tea when the mister came in. nancy.........come here quick.......see if you can find nora!!!!     can you find her?  i'll do a "reveal" at the end of this blog.

 here's my sister and me at the common threads quilt show. our guild "the prairie quilt guild" has this show every 2 years. it is a wonderful and large show. my sister and i were ready for it in our matching outfits (we love to do that. it reminds us of our younger days). we go for all 3 days.
 this year i entered my wall quilt titled "my red Mexican star". i was hoping for a ribbon and boy was i surprised to see a blue one!!!! honestly, i couldn't stop smiling! the mister found the quilt first and wouldn't let me see it until he had the camera ready. i knew when he did that i had won something but there are so many gorgeous quilts in this show i never expected first place. i remember thinking "ooh, maybe i got a 2nd place!" I've written before about having your quilts judged. if i hadn't won any ribbon i would have been okay with it and been able to get a helpful critique from the judge(s). i do have to say though, that it felt GREAT to win a blue ribbon!!! I've loved this quilt since i made it, but now i really love it! :>}
this is mayleen. i met her when she was on the membership committee and i first joined the guild. i think we immediately took a liking to each other. since i don't know too many members i was especially thrilled when i saw her quilt win the grand prize! it is absolutely stunning! there is a bit of every technique in this quilt and it is so exquisitely done. on top of that i was raving to my sister about the selvage edge items in the show. (there were two quilts and several pocketbooks made totally from selvage edges.) well, there was mayleen wearing her selvage edge skirt she made. she had also entered a quilt and a pocketbook made from selvedges! the skirt was really cool and she wore it because she gave a demonstration on making things with selvage edges. i knew that mayleen was a nice person but i didn't know she was this talented too! she is running for president this year and i can't think of a nicer person to lead this guild.                                                                           
 CONGRATULATIONS Mayleen, I'm honored to know you!


my sister is standing next to her "little fire cracker" wall hanging (its by her left shoulder) and my hand is on the table runner that i made. we donated them to the common threads auction. 100% of the money goes to the guilds projects. the main one is working with school children. last year they bought several sewing machines with the money raised from the auction. they have a real auctioneer who donates his time and it is so much fun to watch. they had over 90 items to auction off! we made patriotic things this year since it was so close to the 4th of july. my sister's little wall hanging went for $45 and my table runner went for $75! we were both happy that they sold, especially to a cause we heartily endorse.

at first, we couldn't figure out how nora got up there! we went upstairs to the balcony overlooking the living room and there she was. it was only a small hop through the banister and with her tail held high she calmly walked by us and disappeared into the master suite. she of course, being  nora jean, main coon cat extraordinaire, thought that was where she was supposed to sleep.

well, i have much, much more to say but will do it another day. today i am thankful for my sister and brother in law, who are really such wonderful hosts. we had a great time with them. i am also thankful that our garden is doing great - so far! and of course i love, love, love  nora jean and the mister. talk to you all soon, nancyb



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Nora's Vet, a book review & my problem quilt

May 28, 2014

i thought i would start off with a nora jean update and picture of our wonderful veterinarian and her assistant, adam. when we moved up here we didn't have a vet for our nora jean, so when she first got sick we put off taking her because we didn't know anyone or have anyone to give us a reference.  feeling like we couldn't put it off any longer, we finally picked dr brown because she was fairly close to our house. we are so lucky that we did! she is an all encompassing vet who is a small and large animal doctor. she also does house calls if needed! despite her busy practice, she actually emails or calls us to find out how our girl is doing! if we have a question, she always responds. since nora's cancer surgery dr brown has worked with the surgeon (which she found for us) to continue and modify her treatments.  nora is holding her own but our hearts are heavy some days. she's not her curious, energetic self but we hope she may get that back. dr brown's assistant, adam, is starting veterinarian school this fall. i am going to make sure we send him some nice care packages. he's going to make a really great vet. we didn't get a picture of the doctor's receptionist, regine, who is always so friendly and helpful. now if we could find these kinds of people to take care of us!!!!

this is the problem quilt I've been working on for a couple of weeks now. i made it at first with out the appliqued flowers on it and it looked blah!!! i added the flowers and it was much improved. i used WASHABLE glue to stick the flowers on and also ran an iron over them. whatever i did, i cannot get the glue spots out. I've washed it twice and sprayed it with shout it out. now I've decided that I'm going to unsew all the flowers and put new ones on. I'm really not that fussy but the glue marks really show and spoil the quilt. when i finally get through with this problem quilt it should HOPEFULLY be a cute girlie quilt which was my intentions! i'll let you know how it turns out.                                  
my cousin, Barbara came up for a visit and stayed overnight. it was fun to take her around to see the beautiful mountains that surround us.

Barbara loves waterfalls so we took her to a few that were just a few miles from us. this one is sabbaday falls. barb's mother is from Germany and we walked by some people who were speaking german. Barbara went over and spoke to them in german. they were so surprised when she did. it was fun to listen to them chat. i took german in college but only remember a few phrases. the mister and i have always wished our fathers had spoken to us in French. they both spoke it fluently but never encouraged their children to! i don't think it was the thing to do then. anyway, we had a great visit and was able to catch up on family gossip. we also got our house really clean since she was staying over!
i received the book i won from the Canadian quilter. it's called Give & Take by daphne greig and susan purney mark. the book is really meant for beginners so i think i will give it to my sister who is just learning how to applique. its well written, clear and the diagrams are well marked. i wish i had it about 10 years ago! my sister will appreciate it.

i got these cribs last fall at various yard sales for very little money. I've washed them up and have been making them bedding. they'll be ready to donate next Christmas. i have a few dolls and stuffed animals that i'll add to each. I'm using all fabrics that i have on hand. it is fun to rummage through my stash and find something I've forgotten i have! its also fun to just make whatever i want just for the heck of it and know that some little child will be so happy to receive it.

my latest project are these bonnie hunter inspired stars. i have been loving her site ( it is so inspiring! i am a scrap quilter all the way and I've already found 2 quilts on her site that i made without knowing that she had! i used the same colors too! i don't know what I'm going to put around these stars but am using the scraps that i cut up when my mother was sick. i have literally hundreds of cut squares, triangles, strips, name it, I've cut it up! i'll let you know my progress on it! well, time to go and watch tv with the mister. today i am thankful that i have nice cousins like Barbara to visit with, the mister (of course!) and the people who have been caring for nora jean. i hope all of you have someone you can think about and smile too! see you in a few weeks. nancyb

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy Mother's Day, Nora Jean & The Mister


Happy Mother's Day to all of you out there. The mister brought me some really lovely flowers. they look great with this table runner i made a few years ago. he's a thoughtful and quite romantic guy and i do appreciate it! Speaking of the mister......he got the tractor running! it is a 1953 ford jubilee and it hasn't run for years. it sounded great! Honestly, i agreed to buying this because i knew he would get it running. he's always been a whiz at mechanics.
the mister has had an even busier week than i have. besides working on his tractor, he's been working on my sewing studio and it is looking so awesome! he put two more outlets in so that i don't have to use long extension cords and then he finished the ceiling. what a difference! it is fun to finally be able to hang my wall decorations and make this my room my own. i have 3 design walls. one for current projects, one for something i need to finish or am stuck on and one of them is exclusively for my machine quilting samples that I've done whenever I've taken a class or two or three. i want to add and update my machine quilting wall. i actually use this wall regularly as a reference whenever I'm ready to quilt something. when I take a quilting class i use plain muslin. when i quilt a design i write right on the muslin things like where to start a design, the name of it and what it might be especially good to be used for. also, the kind of thread i might use for a certain design and any other tidbits the quilting teacher gives out. my favorite class was a two day class with harriet hargraves. she was so good! the most important piece of information that i learned was that when you want to make a sharp corner (say to make a square), hesitate for a second before you turn the corner. by doing that you don't round your corner but make a nice sharp angle. such a simple thing, but i didn't know it and have used it a million times since then! i rarely come away from a class without learning some little thing that proves invaluable to my quilt making and quilting. i think that's why i love to take classes. that and hanging around other quilters for a day! i have signed up for 3 of leah day's machine quilting classes on craftsy. i like her and think i can learn some new things from her. I've decided that I'm going to try to set aside at least one morning a week that will be dedicated to one of the classes I've signed up for on the craftsy site. while listening to my podcasts, I've noticed that I'm not the only one who keeps signing up for classes and then not taking them! one of my 2014 goals is to take the classes I've paid for! craftsy has done an amazing job with their site and their business. I've noticed that online classes are popping up everywhere now but so far craftsy's classes and Missouri star quilt company's tutorials have been my number one choices.
my niece abby, will be celebrating her 11th birthday next month and i made her a little purse and money holder. i'll put a few girlie things in the purse and tuck some money in the holder. she takes horse back riding lessons and i found this scrap of material in my I Spy stash. it was perfect! not babyish (after all she is in double digits now) but i think still cute. i think she'll like it!
i made two little welcome mats for our newest 4 legged family members. the mats are made from fleece and 2' X 2'. they should be a perfect size for the little yorkies. Sandra has named them milo and baby bear. i can't wait to get a picture of them!
because the mister was working on my ceiling all week i didn't get a chance to work that much on my modern style quilt back. the courthouse steps will be going across the top and the friendship stars will be going along one side of the backing. honestly, i think when I'm done i might end up liking the back more than the front! my thoughts are that i can make this reversible so that i can "change up" the room every once in a while by simply flipping the quilt over. we'll see how that turns out! this week i hope to finally get that back done and with the mister's help i can sandwich it and then quilt it on my wonderful hq16. I've had that machine for 6 or 7 years now and i still love it! when i get this done i'll only have one more large ufo to complete. of course i have 2 smaller 1930s quilts i need to do but after these giants they will seem like a baby quilts!

i think I've mentioned how much i love my dump! it sounds funny but I'm serious. we have to do some serious recycling in our town and everything is marked so that you know where to put things. its always neat and clean and the men that work there are watchful and very helpful. at this dump there is a set of shelves set up out of the way that people can put good useable things that they just don't want anymore and don't want to throw away. today i went down there to fill my buckets up with the rich loam that they compost (its free for the taking) and lo and behold someone had left a box of material on the shelves! it looked like the real thing and not replicas and as i went through the box i found a half made quilt. it was cut out and stitched by hand. it has some stains on it but i think i can clean it up and for my camping project, i will work on it. there was also a 1934 singer sewing machine book, with a quarter inch foot and a light bulb! these 1930 or 40s prints were on the top of the pile! it also had some of the cocheco mill girls prints. I'm sure they are the original because i have the set of the replicas. this mill is in my hometown and my neighbors and their parents worked there making this material! I feel sure that this material is the real deal. it was made between 1881-85. i am having fun just going through this box and deciding what I'm going to do with it! thanks to whoever left it there! 
here is our wonderful nora jean helping me out like she always does.i was working on the things in this box and she decided to remind me that it was time to take a break and give her a nice "brushy". we had VERY good news from her doctor.           her blood work came out NORMAL. what a nice mother's day gift she gave me! you can tell she's feeling better and she's gained back the 3.5 pounds she lost. she looks great! she'll be on her          medication and b12 shots for a while but it sure has been worth it. we weren't ready to lose our helper cat!                                                                                                                                                         
 a new podcast has appeared and its awesome! its called and you can find it on iTunes. laura is interesting, funny and she loves quilting and sewing. she has 6 kids of her own and is caring for two young foster kids. I've listened to and enjoyed all of her episodes and hope she'll podcast for a long time. maybe i'll start a podcast. I've been thinking about it for quite a while. I'm not sure I'm technologically ready!                                                                                                               
today I'm grateful for chip's mom who is healthy and happy at the age of 93. our grandchildren lost 3 great grandmothers in the past year so we especially cherish my mil. I'm also grateful for our sons who will , I'm sure, buy me nice presents! actually, i'll get to spend the day with them and that in itself is a great present and one I'm so looking forward to!                                                                
. happy mother's day.  nancyb                                                                                  

Sunday, April 27, 2014

I WON!!! Twitter Laptop and SNOW (really?????)

April 27, 2014

Good morning everyone! i haven't written because, although I'd been busy quilting and sewing, i hadn't finished anything. i wrote a funny story to the Canadian Quilter Podcast and she put it on the show! i won an applique book written by her guest speaker Daphne Greig. she is a Canadian quilter who makes her living at it. being a person who rarely wins anything i was excited! i haven't received my book yet but when i do i'll review it for you. btw, if you're not listening to brandi lynn of the Canadian quilter podcast, you should. its a good show and i love her Canadian slant on things.
can you see the snowflakes in this picture people??? this was april 21st!!!! enough already! we still have a patch of snow in our front yard. i suppose i should remember that 2 or 3 weeks ago we had 3 feet of snow in the front yard and 5 feet of snow in our backyard. the mister was so desperate to start playing with his new tractor, he bundled up and went out and did some motor fixing things to it anyway. he's been waiting for the weather to warm up as much as i have. we don't usually mind whatever the weather is, but this winter has been a beast. i can only think that next winter couldn't possibly be as bad. i have a feeling i'll be in a really big whine mode next winter if it is!
i finished the table runner i made for the common threads quilt show auction that will be held the end of june. they have real auctioneers run the auction (the auction company donates their time). its one of my favorite parts of the show. my sister and i get something to drink and sit down in the chairs and just watch with fascination as the auctioneers run this. its so cool. 100% of the money made from this goes to the guild's charity projects. the prairie quilt guild has their show every other year and 2 years ago my sister and i made clock wall hangings (with real working clock parts) and donated them. my sister's made $75 and mine made $50!. this year we're doing a 4th of july theme. I'm donating the table runner and she made the cutest little wall hanging  of a fire cracker exploding. i can't wait to see them auctioned off.
you wouldn't think that I'd still be using my swear jar, but we got a new laptop last week and unfortunately, while it's really great, it didn't come with many directions. each day the mister and i work on it a little bit and figure something out and its getting easier. now that I've been able to download my email & craftsy classes in it I'm feeling a little bit calmer about it. the "manual" (this is in quotes because I'm not sure it deserves the title of manual) has about 1 page worth of useless stuff on it. this is a dell inspiron that got good reviews so we've been surprised at the lack of written help that's available for this thing. my poor swear jar is just stuffed to the gills. son, Andrew is in Europe for another week but I'm sure he'll give us a hand if we haven't figured everything out by the time he gets back.

another thing I've done this week is to join twitter. i have yet to write anything yet but I'm all signed up and following most of the podcasters i listen to. i joined so that i can enter the contest that lazy daisy is having. its a simple one......if you started a quilt before this year and finished it starting January 1st 2014, then your name goes in a drawing to win a quilt that lazy daisy made! I've finished Andrew's huge quilt in January. the pictures above are of a kid's quilt that i started last summer. i used my accuquilt go cutter for these blocks. it was so easy using that thing! i didn't put the half square triangles, 4 patches and blocks in any particular order. i just watched the color pattern and would add a square with black in it or a light color if the quilt was looking dark. i used some red material that i had on hand and i stipple quilted it in black. i figured it was way too busy for any fancy quilting. i like the I Spy look to it and i think I'm going to put this in my etsy shop. i need to get my shop up and running again.

the other thing that i completed this week was two memory match games. my boys and their friends always loved to play this game so, with all of my I SPY material sitting in bins, i decided to make 2 sets of fabric memory match games. they are 4" square and the backing is all the same. I'm going to put these in my etsy shoppe also. i can think of a few little kids who will enjoy them if they don't sell!

nora jean is still hanging in there. she'll be having blood work done this week to see how things are going. i am still giving her prednisone and her chemo plus an antacid. the doctor is giving her weekly b12 shots. she's had a few good days that we can really see that she's feeling pretty good. she's gaining her weight back which is a good sign. she still likes to sew with me and I'm so glad she does! her doctor reminded me that she's not "cured" yet and will likely have some bad days along with the good ones. i appreciated her talking me off the ledge. we do love our nora jean and really hate seeing her go through this.
this week i am so grateful for our wonderful vet, dr brown. her kindness and thoroughness has helped us probably more than she realizes. I'm also grateful for my sister and brother, who call regularly to see how our "patient" is doing and finally, i am REALLY jealous of my brother who just bought his longtime girlfriend, not ONE but TWO little yorkie pups. i have a friend who had one for many years called Elizabeth and i thought she was the sweetest thing. i love those dogs! i suppose if they can't live here then I'm glad they will be living with sandy and my brother. they couldn't be going to a nicer home! i'll have to make them some little puppy mats as a welcome gift! see you in a week or so and have a wonderful day. nancyb

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Fool's Day NOT!!!!! Kendall's Birthday and Nora Jean

i took this picture of our back yard about an hour ago. I'd love to say APRIL FOOL'S but I'm afraid it's the real thing. This has been one heck of a winter and our front yard has just as much snow as our back yard. if you can enlarge the picture you'll see all of the animal foot prints. we've got quite a busy back yard! that being said, we had to take down our feeders and suets. we love watching and feeding our small birds and woodpeckers but we've seen too many bear in our backyard to keep the feeders up. they've been reporting all over town that the bears are waking up, snow or no snow and they are hungry! the mister and i were coming back from our walk recently and a wolf (yes i said a wolf!) was walking out of our yard to cross the street. it stopped and looked at us and quickly continued on his way. we've also caught 3 raccoons, a coyote, fox and of course deer quite regularly on our game is fun to watch them pass through.

i made these for kendall's birthday and we filled them with stuff she likes and of course some money. we can't believe she is 13 years old already. i got the pattern for the red and blue bags from the new Sew It magazine that is only $3.99. The mister got me a subscription to it and to the sister magazine Quilt It. they're great magazines for the money and there is always something i want to make that's in it. the lacrosse bag i made by adjusting the size of the bag patterns. very easy to make! the little gift envelope i got off the allpeoplequilt website. it literally takes minutes to make and fits a gift card or cash in it nicely.
for some reason i didn't get a picture of kendi with her cake but her brother will do! they're both so sweet i could just squeeze them to death! (i think I've tried but their father interfered :>} )


 this is the backing I've been working on for my next big quilt. (the top is all finished) it's turning out to look like a modern quilt! i have tried several times to make a modern quilt but i end up switching things up and when I'm done it goes back to looking like a traditional quilt. i am taking my time with this because it is as big as Andrew's quilt is. it's going on our bed and i want it to look nice.....front and back. if i manage to do this right i'll be able to use both sides. fun!



this is a ufo that I finished. i bought the material when i worked at joann's and it is a cheater cloth. i machine tied it because that's what it seemed to need. it came out great and will go in my pile of kiddie quilts to be donated or given to family and friends. i found the perfect binding for it in my stash. do you know how long its been since I've bought material???? it is backed in flannel and is nice and soft. i have enough to make another one and may do that this coming week.
now for our nora jean news. finally we have a diagnosis. she has lymphoma. we took her to the animal hospital about 80 miles from here and she had two hours of surgery and 15 staples in her little belly. she had the staples taken out yesterday by our vet and we will be starting her on chemo and prednisone tomorrow. she'll also be getting a b12 shot once a week for a while. while this type of cancer is not curable, it is very treatable and most cats respond to the treatment very well (so we've been told). she has been a brave little girl and we're hoping and praying for many more years to spend with her. this is the mister giving her a nice "brushy" while she rests.
i took this picture yesterday because, as we all know, she is the best helper cat there is. she is not allowed to jump or climb for a while so she gave me a sweet bliiiip when i put her in her "spot". after checking out the doves and squirrels outside she settled down to listen to my audiobook and the hum of my sewing machine with me. we were both calmer and happier for it. keep good and healing thoughts in your hearts for out nora jean. i'll write again soon. nancyb