Springtime in the Rockies

CO Sister id tag

 

“When it’s Springtime in the Rockies” is a favorite golden oldie song of my dad’s.  But I’m not sure that the Rockies really have a spring season.  About a month ago my Florida sister sent pictures of the daffodils that were blooming in her area.  Now I finally have one lone tulip blooming in ColoradoTulip-web-2
and IT doesn’t seem to really believe that is is spring anywhere, possibly because it is still snowing.  The day after this tulip photo was taken we woke up to snow again.  We were trying to load for the show in Pueblo amidst the weather challenges of spring.snow-webAfter about 2″ of snow that day, we awoke to 70 degrees less than 48 hours later.  DH says that is his favorite kind of storm.  We also had about a dozen calves join our herd in that crazy climate change.

So we are loaded for the show (I’m taking patterns for the Tulip Trio from the Mother’s Medallion Collection) tulip sm for weband I just bought a bouquet of spring flowers to prove it really is springtime in the Rockies. 

I’m setting them right next to my Spring Window (pattern available HERE). SPRING window Bedited(1)

Categories: Inspire Me!, Seasonal Stitches, Shows and Workshops | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Great tools make life easier!

FL Sister id tagThe words The Dietz most dreads to hear are “Honey, you could totally make that!” And because my confidence in his many abilities comes to the surface so often, he has developed a sure fire, safe guard response. “I would LOVE to do that but I just don’t have the right tools. You need great tools to do something like that.”

However, I have noticed that he is really good at finding great tools for the projects that spring from his own priority list. Tools like:

tools1mowerchain saw

wheel barrow

Now, least you think I such got some random photos off the internet, I want to tell you that I am currently at the end of a two week trip west and while I’ve been traveling The Dietz has been sending me photos of his treasure hunting at garage sales (except for the lawn mover). He is accumulating quite a stash! I’m thinking I need to get home quickly.

However, the up side is that I have learned to use that same rationale in the quilting studio.

Great tools make great things happen!

Whenever some great tools come through our lives, we Sisters will pass along a recommendation on our Tools page.

45R-thumb $25Ergo Cutters

Martelli MinMiter SETMinute Miters

FMHoop%20pairTHMQuilting Hoops

Be sure to click on over to that TOOLS page to find some tools that will ease your stitching life!

(You can get these from us by sending an email  – SistersAtHeartMilesApart@gmail.com – to place an order.)

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Ferns & Flowers Vase Mat: PS Project MM

Just what you need to add a little more greenery to your fresh flowers and protect your table at the same time!  This additional Post Script project is from the Mother’s Medallion collection is a great flower vase mat.

AND, best of all, a kit is available through email contact which includes:  all fabric, printed freezer paper, tweezers, Martelli non-slip Dresden Plate template, and a pattern for “Mother’s Flower Basket Centerpiece”. (Fabric may vary from the sample shown here.)

vase cropped 2

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The Numbers Game

CO Sister id tagThe end of the calendar year is the beginning of the numbers season (taxes not yardages!). Ugh!  I sent it all to the accountant!

irs-logo.jpeg-web

This Sister loves numbers but I don’t like giving the money away to the Internal Revenue Service. Part of the success of any business is that you pay in one form or another.  So I wish the IRS would take their payments in fat quarters.  I have a few I could donate without pain (from unfinished projects).  Think how much more fabric you could buy if you told DH that you filed jointly and now owe the equivalent of one quilt to Uncle Sam! fat-quarters-web

But I am glad to say that at least all the numbers add up and we can subtract our payment so we aren’t in the “red”. The IRS usually prefers “green” instead of blue anyway. Enough punning and on to serious numbers.

I spent most of an afternoon trying to get the numbers for the angle cuts out of my head and onto the fabric.  I knew what I wanted to do SHOULD work but why didn’t it when I tried to put it into practice?  Even tried using that wonderful but frustrating program on my computer. ruler-web

EQ 7

 

 

 

It finally came to this… good old pencil & paper with a ruler.

I have much more experience with those than with computers.  I was re-sizing the border on a new quilt pattern to fit the adjustment I had made to the previous border.  (Do you remember the old “Plan Ahead” sign?)

PlanAhead

Something about scalene triangles with acute intersecting lines, but needed domain with a radius that was perpendicular to the isosceles minus the quadrilateral. Ok, I sure wished I had paid more attention in geometry class.  But it did eventually bring success.  The numbers all added up to a fantastic border on the next quilt pattern.

angle-web

I then promptly called Sister 1 and had to adjust the size of the font that we are using for embroidery.  Life lesson from all this:  If you change one number you probably will have to change the rest.  It’s all part of the numbers game.

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Orphan Blocks and Happy Endings

FL Sister id tag

What to do with those random blocks? The practice block you made before cutting into the good fabric, the one created when you tried a new technique and said “Never again!” or the one left over after a block exchange. You know, the orphan blocks which are all alone in the cold, cruel world with no place to call their own.

Is there a happier ending to the story than putting them on the Free table at quilt guild?

YES!

That’s what the Orphan Block Trunk Show is all about — ideas for rescuing the Orphan Blocks in your life!

First the trunk show offers some hot tips for organizing the blocks that tend to accumulate and then, moving from least complicated to most time consuming, we share project examples for using them: 

tulip sm for web

on a canvas,

basket stamp smfor a centerpiece or pillow sham,

MM Picnic Basket Lidor a picnic basket lid,

web-dec-wrapor a pillow wrap,

TG place mator a placemat,

TG casserole carrieror a casserole holder, and even a journal cover.

 Next we try to inspire quilters to use these treasures for Hot Pot holders

Freedom mitt singleor oven mitts (there’s a FREE pattern on our blog),

Freedom Yard Flagor a yard flag like this one.

Mother's spool on wall

Maybe you’ll decide to use several of them to hold sewing tools like this.

MM Pansy Apron smOf course, they could always be used as a bib for an apron,

idea board for blogor on an idea board.

The Orphan Block trunk show ends with other ideas and grand finale give-aways. Some guilds choose to follow up the trunk show with a sewing party to put the ideas into use. (This Florida sister will host an Orphan Block Party at her house on April 26 for the Pensacola Quilters Guild.)

We love happy endings and we’d love to see photos of ways you put your orphan blocks to work, I mean, ways you give your orphan blocks a good life. If you’d like to have a Sisters At Heart, Miles Apart trunk show at your guild or class, contact us at SistersAtHeartMilesApart@gmail.com

PS – We found other ideas on some of our favorite quilting blogs, too. Check them out and let them know that you heard about them from Sisters at Heart, Miles Apart.

Patchwork Posse’s 52 UFO Quilt Block Pick Up:

a sunglass case

a key fob and card pouch

and a mug rug.

And #11 at ShopMartingale was an arm rest storage pocket.

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Love Those Lists

CO Sister id tagI love a good list!  I’m sitting here this afternoon working on the grocery list.  Not so much because I’m excited about going to the grocery store but because we have to eat something and I want it to be as quick a process as possible.

list Now I can check that little chore off my list. :)  One of the things that Sister and I did on our “anniversary meeting” was make a list of what this year would hold for each of us.  We were trying to work our business plan, as one of our advisers called it.  We started out with all that we hoped to accomplish and The List looked something like:

list 4

We did shorten it a little (reality check) and it now includes some web work, quilt shows in Colorado and in Alabama, new patterns, SEWING and at least one more in-person meeting this year! No where on the list are things like laundry, cleaning, etc.  But we are going to start at the top and work our way down.  If we get to the bottom of the list we might consider adding those (or not).list 2

Here is a little Sister trivia:  Who makes the list with titles going in columns and who makes the list with titles going in rows?  It really doesn’t matter, but I will guarantee that if one of us does it one way, the other sister will do it the other way.  We prefer to say that it is our method of cross-checking rather than the other sister did it wrong.

One more Sister confession:  This sister actually puts things on the list after they are finished, just so I can cross them off. So now I can check blogging off the list for today and go back to sewing.

list 6

I did make a list of projects that were in process in my studio.  It looked a lot like the above picture.  So I made a different list of things that I want to learn to do, or learn to do a little better.  What’s on your bucket (sewing) list for this year?

list 5

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Happy Anniversary and the Myth of “NORMAL”

FL Sister id tag

We’re singing “Happy Anniversary” to ourselves as we turn the calendar on January. If our four years of doing this sister stitching business together has taught us anything, it has taught us that there is no normal.

Normal is a myth.

(So, in a moment of genius, we invented our own definition of “normal.”)

A normal working day might begin with intentions to write some pattern instructions, plans to press fabric for cutting, iron smunwrapping an order of new thread or preparations to lead a workshop. Normal stitching stuff.

becky thread -sm

 

However, that normal day might end up being filled with baby calves needing attention,

wedding planning,

or an unexpected visit from a neighbor.

So, maybe that is the real normal instead.

.

A normal working week might be filled with a guild meeting,

a session to improve machine quilting skills,

and a “conversation” with the computer when it won’t upload photos to the web store.

Or, as we’ve experienced during this past year,

a “normal” week might be filled by time with a hospitalized grandchild,

or an airplane flight to help a convalescing sister following her trip to the hospital for double knee replacement (Colorado Sister),

or connecting with a realtor to have a buying-a-house-following-a-100-year-rain-storm-which-included-a-retention-pond-breaking-and-filling-your-house-with-flooding-muddy-water-so-you-have-to-salvage-your-belongings-(and studio contents)-and-move-twice-in-a-year conversation.

flood2 smflood1 smmoving truck sm(Florida Sister takes a deep breath.)

 

Sometimes it’s hard to recognize normal as life unfolds us.

 

 

And then we could talk about a normal business meeting for two sisters working together while they live 1,200 miles apart. (Here’s where we think our genius really kicked in.)

Usually normal involves SKYPE and our shared notebook on One Note. But not always. Our most recent invention for a “normal” business meeting looked like this …

Cindy and Becky by Epic cropped

JBDC Epic cruise 2015 sm

with a little of this … (See, we do have our laptops with us and plugged in!)

Epic cruise business meeting sm

and some of this … (Main dining room – the salmon, avocado tartar was FABULOUS!)

Epic cruise 2015 sm

and even this …

dessert2 smdessert1smdessert3 sm

(The sister in question will remain nameless. But here is her picture.)

Cindy dessets cropped

 

Now, much as we’d LOVE for normal to always be like this new version, most likely we’ll just need to start using a pencil when we write our normal To Do list during this 4th year. That way the plan will be easier to adjust when the REAL normal shows up.

 

SO, Happy Anniversary to us and we’ll keep stitching together as we find out what normal will be this year.

 

PS – Best Wishes to you as you stitch in the middle of your very own normal.

Categories: Sister isn't answering her phone, so I'm telling you ... | Tags: | 1 Comment

Warm Winter Wishes

CO Sister id tagOne of the things I enjoy most about Colorado winters is “warmth”.  Or maybe I should say the need to stay warm.  I love that it gets truly cold in the winter (unlike Sister’s home in Florida, regardless of her claim that she wears “sweaters”).  One of the best things my DH has done for me was to put in a fireplace and antique mantel.fireNot really this one, but you’ve seen mine on the Starry Night Stockings photo.  I LOVE a fire going.  It adds light and warmth and just says: HOME.  The next best thing to a full fire is a candle.  candlewindow1600At this time of year they come out all over my house. Some are scented, some are not. Some are real, some are not.  I even put one on my sofa.  OK, so it is really the pillow wrap from the Seasons At My Window collection. Once I get the pillow wraps going I use them each month. Add a little warmth to your favorite chair with this one:

web-dec-wrapThen let the warmth continue into January with the “time sensitive” wrap of an hourglass:

web-jan-wrapFinally, for February, you can warm up with a cup of tea:

web-feb-wrap

As you can see, I plan to stay warm all winter long.  I’m settling in for a long winter’s nap.  With Pa in his kerchief and I in my cap. Oh, wait, that’s back to Christmas.

So, wherever you are, snuggle in next to your kind of fire with a little hand work and enjoy the winter.

 

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The Stockings Were Hung…

CO Sister id tag

And STOCKINGS they are!  You may need to make only one or you could double your efforts and make a bunch.

SN stocking printable

The monochromatic star blocks make a perfect background for the Really Big Hat folk.  I think I’ll do a couple in dark green and maybe 2 more in blue.  We have 8 grandchildren (well 7.5 for another 2 weeks) so I’ll need some red ones, too.

I’m not looking for “coal” this year so I’d better have one for everybody.  (In-laws included!)  You can fill mine with Martelli tools! Hint!

FreeMotion%20Hoop%20Pair%20comp b

Next on the list – time to get the greeting cards out.  I think I’ll be sending some Post Card greetings from Sisters At Heart Etsy store.  The projects on the post cards include a pattern for those snow days in January.  But, for today I’m signing off again to go enjoy a cup of Christmas Tea.

Christmas Tea:

1/2 cup of instant tea mix

2 cups sugar

2 1/2 cups orange drink mix (Tang)

1 1/2 teaspoons cloves

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Stir a cup of tablespoons of the mix in with a cup of HOT water.  Enjoy!

Categories: Patterns and Projects, Post Card Projects | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Hark! The Ideas Keep Coming!

CO Sister id tag

 

I’ve been singing carols since I put my Starry Night Quilt on the bed. (You can get the pattern HERE.) The count down to Christmas marches on and I think I’m ready to start thinking about the tree.  We have options at our house because we always have more than one tree.  So what do you think?

ideas-to-decorate-christmas-tree-3Option #1  –  or maybe it is a bit much with the grand kids

 

 

 

Option #2?

tree 2

 

 

I’m thinking something in between – maybe with some more garland

018

 

and of course the ornaments in red work.  Love the picture story that anyone can tell with these.

Ornaments 3x4

 

The whole thing wouldn’t be complete without the tree skirt.  So toss out the old sheet you were using and use the Starry Night Tree Skirt.

tree-skirt

It will be so pretty that no one will notice the gifts that are NOT there yet.

Yikes! Better get shoppin’.

 

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