Plan Ahead!

CO Sister id tag

The best intentions pave the way to …  well in my case they lead to panic!  I know I’m not the only one who does it (because even my sister does).  I’m not alone in my procrastination.  They even make a sign to tell you to plan ahead.  It didn’t really print so well but gets the idea across.  I’m putting away the unfinished 4th of July project (until June of 2017) and I AM planning ahead for fall.  Maybe because it reminds me of cooler temps!

tempI got out fabrics for the whole color palette and just feel cooler touching fabric of the yellow-orange-gold to brown color family.  OK, so they really aren’t in the same color family but it all says fall to me.  If you are looking for inspiration to begin  a project, check out our Etsy store here.  I’m going to start with the smaller items first (casserole cover and bread wrap) and work toward dressing up the table.

TG bread wrap

Don’t you love those pilgrim figures?  They are the cutest!  I just wanna put on that hat and buckles on my shoes.  Guess I’ll settle for the apron.  I’m not sure I’m ready for the whole primitive life style thing.  final TG apron photo for printing

If I’m ready and the bread is ready to eat, let’s take a look at the table.  The cutest combo would be a runner in the middle and mats along the edge.  Oh wait, we have that too.TG table runner

TG place mat

The thermometer isn’t going the direction I recommend yet but I’m feeling “thankful” that it is coming soon and I’ll be better prepared.  Besides I heard that this heat wave should be treated like a blizzard.  You just bury yourself in the sewing room and don’t come out.  While you’re in there, you might want to start on a wool project that won’t make you overheat-like this fall runner.  Use those vintage orphan blocks or make a new one on your own.  Blooming Fall runner for printing

Last but not least, if you only have a moment between swim lessons and mowing, then check out the free coaster pattern under the brag book tab in our PS Projects.  Happy Fall, Ya’ll.


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Extended Contracts & Cigar Box Treasures

FL Sister id tag

I’ve decided to extend his contract indefinitely. The list of reasons for the contract extension is very long. And this summer the list has just grown longer and longer.

You may already know about Dietz and his amazing feats making and setting up quilt racks

quilt rack Jim

He can make it happen – and he smiles while he does it!

and the old sewing machine he turned into a vanity

vanity m

He does amazing things to bring concepts into reality!

and the blue bird bath he found at an estate sale.

bird bath sm

He offered to paint it any color I wanted but somehow the blue was just right!

And now this summer he raised the bar way high with a road trip through the Smokey Mountains

which took us through Pidgeon Forge,

pidgeon forge

Look closely in the lower left corner. Yes, outside our restaurant that is a pigeon at Pidgeon Forge.

the Biltmore,

biltmore library sm

They didn’t have a sewing room so the library was my favorite room.

zip line adventures …

zip line sm

Yes, I did close my eyes the first time and after that I did scream.

and a lake boat ride.

boat ride sm

And the day ended with ice cold watermelon!

And I brought home a hummingbird for my back door.

humming bird bell sm

The perfect souvenir!

I need to mention the quilt shop stops along the way, too.

quilt shop sm

They had wool on sale!


quilt shop1 sm

This one was right next door to a quilt retreat venue!

And now in the middle of summer’s heat, he caps it all off with a cigar box.

box sm

I couldn’t wait to open it!

I know nothing about cigar boxes, Cuban or otherwise. But this box is valued because Dietz found it for me (of course!) – and because of what is inside.

box full sm

These are a few of my favorite things!

This treasure box is filled with hankies of all kinds! He knows what warms my heart!

hankie sm

Bouquets of flowers!

puppy sm

A cuddly puppy!

mono sm

Delicate simplicity!

What will I do with more hankies? Oh, the possibilities are endless. And the Colorado sister is giving me inspiration as she works on a quilt for her smallest granddaughter. It looks like a dress-up fashion show to me!


Photo cannot be viewed at this time by order of the Colorado sister. Check back in a couple of weeks.

I plan to sign myself up for a hankie project as soon as I finish the Sisters round robin and the August class I’m signed up for and the To Do list for the fall show …

But most important, I’m signing up for 41 more years with this guy!

jim small

I think he’s saying, “What is she going to get me mixed up in next?”

You can see more inspiring ideas on our Pinterest Old Linens board.

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Purged and Prepped – Story of a Stash

CO Sister id tag

We have all seen it.  The sign that promises total organization for your crafting area / sewing studio.


Great ideas

I’m all for it.  I have tried several methods, several times.  I just can’t seem to get past the purge your stash steps.  How small is too small?  How big is big enough?  Which pieces do I pile and which pieces do I fold?   Do you put your pieces aside that “might” work for a project? And heavens-to-Betsy, “only keep what you’re working on right now” was the worst idea ever!  Has no one ever heard of a fabric “stash”?  The very word suggests a controlled type of hoarding.  I can’t give up the stash!


No, it won’t fall. It is crammed in too tight.

I would consider myself an organized person.  Not really over the top OCD, but I do like to know where something is once it is put away.  My spices are alphabetized in the cupboard, my shoes are separated by season and style, and the medicines are in color coordinated containers.  But the fabric….well, there is no real way to describe it.


Not mine, but she is creative!

I have a pinterest board for helpful ideas for storing fabric.  I have a friend willing to give most of it a good home.  I have little boards to fold the remainder onto.  But no success story here.  I’m still waiting for the perfect solution.  Creativity can be VERY messy.

My daughter folded hers onto neatly hidden hanging files.  If I did that it would look like an old fashioned file room at the IRS office.  Not that many file drawers let in America.


File folded fabric.

I saw a cute color coordinated system that fit on one shelf.   LOL



The only one I thought might work suggested you empty everything out and only put back what you love.  I actually opened the cupboard doors to start that and realized I would never be able to get out of the room until it was put back.  That would take days!


No creativity here.

I tried the “take one out when you put one in” method.  But when I put in a 2 yard piece of fabric, I was only taking out a fat quarter.  It didn’t seem to make much difference.  Go figure.

So I start to justify the importance, nay, the necessity of having a fully stocked stash.  Where else would I come up with setting fabric for the 3 odd blocks I got at the guild rummage sale?  Only in my stash.


Who knew?

Or where else would I get just 2 tiny squares of batiks in order to finish the baby quilt for grandchild number ten?!  Only in my stash.


It could be the signature block.

I have come to grips with the fact that my sewing area will always look like I’m in the midst of moving in (or out). And as long as I can find the latest project pieces it will pass the organized test.  (There have been times when it couldn’t!) I’ve come to love the security of having a stash to choose from and it feels like a warm, comfy blanket…er, quilt.

Sister wants to know your best organization tips in an effort to help halt the hoarding.



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Singer Featherweight Class

Tutorial Tuesdays header


Learn to fix a featherweight? Well ….


Featherweights have an interesting history and have not diminished in popularity.

I freely confess that I am not the mechanically inclined sister. Matter of fact I’m not sure either of us would be classified as a master mechanic. But we both do have a very robust “Can Do!” gene that sits alongside a hearty “Why Not Try It!” gene. So, when I heard that Nancy Troyer of Long Arm Machine Quilting was coming to Pensacola to teach a class on maintaining your Singer featherweight machine, I thought that even if I didn’t master the process I would at least be better off than if I didn’t even go. (low expectations for myself)


Nancy is a wonderful teacher – she goes step by step and gives clear instructions so that everyone in the class feels like conquering  the challenge is possible. Even her class supply list is eye opening:

  • A towel – spreading it under the machine while you work means that if you drop a screw or other small piece it won’t go bouncing along the floor.
  • A magnetic pin holder – a great place to stash screws or bolts or other small pieces so they don’t get misplaced.
  • Paper towels – these are a must have since the gunk that accumulates inside a machine is surprising.
  • Old toothbrush – for cleaning gears with kerosene
  • Tweezers – for reaching small pieces of lint and grime
  • Screwdriver – for removing various plates and covers
  • etc.
lint brush - straw and pipecleaner sm

Hot tip for making a lint brush: straw and pipe cleaner

We started the cleaning and rejuvenating process by removing the bottom panel, cleaning the inside and replacing the pad. Then we opened every nook and cranny, cleaning and lubricating as we went. Nancy stressed the difference between oils and lubricants – lubricate gears and put oil in the oil ports.

hook assembly

The hook assembly – especially the tiny, minute screw – is to be treated with care. Expensive to replace and absolutely vital!

Next we took off the throat plate to clean by the hook assembly. Special care has to be given to the hook assembly which houses the bobbin case. It’s better to use a wooden cuticle stick instead of a screwdriver if you need to remove it. Even the smallest scratch can cause the thread to snag and break when the machine begins to stitch. The vital piece of information about cleaning this part of the machine is that the positioning finger must be in place before you replace and tighten the throat plate. The timing of the machine will be fine as long as the hook assembly and positioning finger is placed correctly.

And here’s a hot tip about vintage bobbin cases: they are stamped with SIMANCO. New replacement bobbin cases often do not fit well so guard your vintage case as if it were gold.

When we got to the place that the motor needed to be cared for, we learned that carbon brushes are what makes the motor run. There needs to be at least ¼” of carbon on the brush or the machine motor will not work.

checking motor carbon2 sm

In fact running it without adequate carbon can ruin the motor. Checking the carbon brushes should be done with great caution and care. Success depends on the pressure you use to remove the screw as the carbon brush is on a spring. And the screw is brittle, aged plastic which can break easily.

checking motor carbon3 sm

Remove the screw carefully as it is under pressure from the attached screw.

We did not open the housing around the motor but we did lubricate it using the techniques she taught us.

motor lub sm


A belt in good condition makes a difference in the efficiency of the machine. We learned some great tricks including the use of vinyl tubing over screwdrivers when changing the belt to allow for leverage without scratching the machine. The motor can be raised a bit if the belt needs to be loosened.

checking belt3 sm

Note the vinyl around the screwdriver!


Last but not least, the front panel needs to be removed so that the parts there can be cleaned and oiled.

front panel sm

Singer machine manuals are a great resource.


The five hour class was filled with valuable information and expertise. So, this is just a summary to let you know that it can be done. Remember Singer originally advertised that the machine was constructed so that “the average housewife” would be capable of caring for it and maintaining it.

If a class is offered close to where you are, I recommend that you take advantage of it. Or contact Nancy and see if she is available to travel to your area to give the class. It is worth every penny!


Nancy Troyer sm

For class information, you can get in touch with Nancy HERE.

PS – Just a couple of weeks after the class Dietz and I were on a vacation/business trip in Tennessee and we stopped at Pickers Paradise where I saw a small black case stashed under a table behind some other things. I knew without looking inside that it was going home with me when I saw the price tag. When I opened the lid the first thing I saw was a tray holding a box of attachments! And the 1934 featherweight will give me a great chance to practice all I’ve learned.  

new case sm

Now I need to apply what I learned from Nancy to this little prize!

Come on, Sister, we can do this!

(NOTE: This is not a comprehensive guide to maintaining your machine, but rather a summary. Contact Nancy for expert advice or research the process via YouTube videos.)

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To Recombobulate or Not: that is the question

FL Sister id tagI’ve been accused of inventing words. Like I would DO that!  Like there aren’t enough words in the dictionary already. Or like I would try to improve on Mr. Webster! Really! The very idea!

Okay, put away the truth serum, I will reverse that denial. I hereby plead guilty! But the title of this post is not evidence of that creative word quirkiness. I have proof that REcombobulation is a real word and I found it in an airport – St. Louis, I believe.

REcombobulation area sm

OOOOPS! Sorry about that. Let me REcombobulate …


REcombobulation cropped sm

Yep! There it is in plain English …

The huge sign was there just after the part where I had to unpack the carry-on of all “hazardous, explosive and noxious materials” as well explain the seam ripper and needle threader to the TSA man as I stood there in my bare feet holding my scarf, my sweater and my laptop while trying not to drop my watch, my bracelet and the zip lock baggie of 3oz grooming supplies. I desperately NEEDED to be REcombobulated!

Becky with RE sign sm

See, I even have my scarf on straight!

Now, the DIScombobulated verbage – and status thereof – is not unfamiliar to me but this RE sign was a new encounter. Never having seen such a sign, I had to investigate its origins. So as I sat waiting in the gate area I googled “combobulate” and here’s what I found:

(Verb) To put together in a somewhat mysterious manner. To manufacture by some unusual or novel means.

Very helpful. Especially the part that gave me an example of usage: Usage: We must think out-of-the-box in order to combobulate a solution to overcome all these seemingly impossible challenges.

After reading that, I realized that much of my life has been spent combobulating! I am a combobulator! I have combobulationary gifts! And now, after going through the St. Louis airport, I had taken it to a new level – I had achieved REcombobulationary success!

I felt validated and affirmed beyond what any sign maker might have imagined!


Dictionaries can be a wonderful tool for establishing self worth!

As far as I’m concerned, the DIScombobulated part is so much easier to achieve! It comes without any effort whatsoever. I think it has something to do with the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics – that part about everything falling apart instead of improving.

You, too, may have encountered “discombobulation” in conversation before. Or maybe in your sewing studio. (that word sounds so much more productive and efficient and organized than “sewing room” – know what I’m sayin’? I mean, “studio” sounds like a step away from DIS and toward RE – combobulation, I think.)

So I carried my new identifying word home with me. I would now not only be a master combobulator but I would also pursue REcombobulation in multiple areas of life! Here’s my thinking: however quirky my original combobulation might appear to be, if it can be REcombobulated after life causes it to be DIScombobulated then it becomes a pillar in the stabilization of my arena of life and it is therefore to be considered valid and real and wonderful – and not quirky at all!



This is NOT my studio. I just keep the picture to feel better about how my studio gets when “creativity” is at high levels.

My first challenge to the REcombobulation Transformation was, not surprisingly, my STUDIO. It had fallen out of combobulation in a major way. Fortunately I could consult Pinterest where I found the following advice from

Now I warn you, this is some hard core stuff. This writer surrounds her organizing posts with layers of other organizing posts. Like: 11 Things you need to throw away. Which is right next to: 100+ Cleaning and Organizing Hacks. 100? 100+? I feel like I should put a big red D on the front of my shirt. (For DIScombobulated, of course! And DISmayed! And also for DISaster!)

But, the ideas I found could be a giant step toward studio REcombobulation!

Questions to Declutter Your Studio:

  1. Have I used it in the last year? (Tools)
  2. If I were shopping right now, would I buy it? (this one brand)
  3. Is the only reason I’m keeping it because I don’t want to waste money? (you already did if you aren’t using it)
  4. Am I holding on to it for sentimental reasons? Someone gave it to me?
  5. Do I have a similar item that serves the same purpose? That I like better?
  6. Do I have a realistic plan for using it? Bag it as a kit
  7. Does it really fit me or my living space? (brights and I only use homespun)
  8. Is it broken and I plan to repair? Sharpen? Mend?
  9. Is the project FINISHED that I used it in? (backed, bound, labeled, etc.)
  10. Can it be cut into a pre-cut scrap? 2 1/2″ strip, square, charm, layer cake

Does all of that help you at all? I surely do hope so because I feel better just thinking and writing about getting my studio REcombobulated. Even though now, after all this talking and writing, I need to go make supper and I don’t have any time left today to actually get REcombobulated.

But at least now I have a partial plan for it. Kind of. Starting soon. Maybe.

orderly studio

This is NOT my studio either. It’s just my inspiration, motivation photo. Can that count as REcombobulation Step1?

Wait – didn’t someone once say “DIScombobulation is the mother of creative genius” ???

I was sure I saw that embroidered on a pillow somewhere. Or on a cool pallet board sign in a cool font with a cool decorative flourish in the corner.

No? You could be right. I think that was “Begun is half done.”

Does talking about REcombobulation with blog friends count as having begun? No?

Would you mind leaving your best REcombobulation tip here while I go combobulate something for supper?

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The Language of Quilts

Tutorial Tuesdays header

Cecilia is continuing the business her mother started, Pat’s Sacks.  Her booth is filled with vintage fabric, sugar sacks, and all things 30’s – including great music playing.   I enjoyed time in her booth very much and loved this handwritten memo she had hanging.

cajun quilt language

Cajun Quilt Language


Cecilia’s memo reads:

Before telephones, Cajuns spread news by hanging quilts over the balustrades of their houses.

Each quilt had a special meaning.


A red quilt – political victory

A yellow quilt – quarantine

A blue quilt with a big white star – wedding in the making

A patchwork quilt – a big celebration – Mardi Gras, New Years, July 4th

One quilt hung out with the wash – a child has eaten too much watermelon.


It reminded me of the book I enjoyed reading a few years ago —  Hidden in Plain View, written in 1999 by Raymond Dobard, Jr., an art historian, and Jacqueline Tobin, a college instructor in Colorado. I found their assertion fascinating that quilts may have been used to send coded messages to run away slaves.

Reading that book, and again when I saw Cecilia’s memo, I stopped to ponder – if I used quilts to send messages, which quilts would I use on different occasions?

During the NCAA basketball tournament –


Kansas Troubles

When I just happen to look at the calendar and remember a commitment at the last minute –


My Lucky Stars

When I back the van out of the garage and forget the Jeep is parked in the driveway. (#fenderbendermyself)



When I get to the end of back to back traveling commitments –


No Place Like Home

When I proudly make a grocery list – and stick to it –


Frugal Patch


When The Sister and I pass our 5th year in business Anniversary mark-



When something gets checked off the UFO list.


Shining Hour

What quilt message would you use most often?

Thanks to the Quilter’s Cache for their line drawings.

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Sweet Memories

FL Sister id tag

Memory is priceless. Never is that more clear than when a loved one begins to loose hold of the memories that weave your lives together. This last month when we got to be together to celebrate my sister’s landmark birthday we made some new memories and we “rememberated” together about other landmark days. I know that isn’t a real word but I like to think I invent things.

So when I got back home and started to work on a workshop I’m hosting on embellishing quilts, I pulled out the Memories quilt top that we did together long before we were officially Sisters at Heart, Miles Apart.

When we started this shared project, we reviewed life by decades, recaptured milestone moments and divided them between us. We used the high-tech method to accomplish this: writing on little squares of paper and taking turns drawing them out of a bag.

planning sm

For unknown reasons the mailing paperwork is still in the folders with all the graph paper plans and fabric swatches. I may be a bit over sentimental.

After graphing the layout to plan the size of each block and setting the design parameters (I’ll put those down later in the post in case you want to try this project with someone else.) we specified which blocks would be pieced and which would be appliqued. And we planned to put a row of Friendship Stars across the pillow fold – for obvious reasons.

Both of us began life in Colorado so we put the Colorado block in the upper left hand corner.

colrado sm

We added some mountains to the right and some farmland at the bottom of the Colorado block.


Cindy chose baby buggies and baby blocks for the early childhood blocks.

baby buggy sm

She embellished with buttons on the baby buggies.

Childhood fun for us included tobogganing and snowmen, Fourth of July picnics, reading, cooking and Christmas celebrations including church Nativity programs and a dilapidated wind-up Santa that rang a little bell even though he only had one surviving arm.

little memories sm

Favorite book titles are included: Five Little Peppers, Green Leaf in Drought Time, Pilgrims Progress, Nancy Drew, Dr Suess …

As older kids our lives were impacted by time at church camp in the mountains of southern Colorado near Monument Lake.


Pine cone fights, the pillow pole and Bible sword drills will forever bring smiles to our faces. And the homemade noodles and bread. Oh, my, the home cooking!

Later there were weddings for both of us. Cindy in her hooded cape with a blown glass bouquet and I in our mother’s wedding dress.


We stitched this long before we introduced our Wedding Wishes line of patterns.


wedding ring sm

And the pieced block to commemorate that significant life event was, of course, a double wedding ring.

In the middle part of life we both invested much to teach our children at home. We shared ideas and curriculum and encouragement and accumulated many sweet memories along the way. Hence the schoolhouse block. The other building with “Fire Sale” in the window reminds us of an unforgettable time when we found treasures because the store next door to a fabric shop had experienced a fire. All the fabric needed was a thorough washing to bring it back to life.

school and fire sale sm

Did we go back 3 or 4 times to get fabric? My memory is not good on that point.

Some things span more than one decade of life – coffee and tea …

sister love

Constant Comment has been a life-long favorite. Maybe there is a deep significance in that even!

… and Our Favorite Things …

favorite things sm

One sister collected Noah’s Ark and one collected chickens. We both loved baskets and fat quarters – and the telephone!

Down in the lower right hand corner the memories conclude with a Tree of Life complete with significant charm ornaments.

tree of life sm

You might be familiar with other blocks called Tree of Life. This was our version.


tol close up2 sm

a diaper pen, music notes, tea-pot and cup, an old car ….


tol close up sm

sewing shears, a pencil & an apple for the teacher, a diploma, wedding rings …

WELCOME HOME at the top of the tree reminds us of what is important here and, also, that at the end of life we will get to go HOME in the best sense of the word.

welcome home

p.s. HOME is my favorite word of all

Now, I really, really need to make a quilting plan! Any ideas?

memory quilt sm

can you find: church window, hopscotch, checker board, sisters choice, windmill …

The fabric of shared history is irreplaceable.


Here is our design plan which kept us on the same page. (Our choices are in parentheses.) Maybe you will want to make your own memory quilt to preserve seasons and moments that have made life good.

  • color parameters (no primary colors, pastels or white-white)
  • range of tone for backgrounds (light to medium)
  • setting plan (no sashing between blocks, set block to block)
  • main color (use green in all blocks)
  • trading plan (send a 6 1/2″ block of fabric with each completed block for use in future blocks)
  • journaling option (journal throughout the project)
  • solo work (each do our own letter blocks)
  • scheduling (finish 2 blocks per month, 1 month for bottom row, 1 month for letter blocks)
  • embellishing parameters (dimensional is good and embellish at will)
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Sisters’ Challenge

Let’s be very clear about the title of this post.  I’m saying that my sister and I are doingCO Sister id tag

a challenge together.  I’m NOT saying that my sister is “challenging”.

I want to state that before I being to talk about the problems involved. So hear me,  my sister is offering to do this quilt challenge with me. I’m not forcing myself upon her.  We have established a few ground rules to guide us.  But before we got through the first round we had a misunderstanding.  (about the wording of the guidelines, not with words).

The design focus this year has been old linens and lace and we are only at the beginning stages but you can get a glimpse of a runner from old blocks here or a display scarf from vintage linens here.  We took it a step further and started a round robin exchange between the two of us using old linens and lace in our quilts.


Center with pieced blocks

The rules: (that was the beginning of the “issues”-one of us likes rules and one doesn’t)

I’m not telling which sister made which “challenge” but here are the facts as they stand.

  1. Make a center 15 1/2″ unfinished — one ended up 20 1/2″
  2. Deadline was April 15th — one of us wanted to wait until May 2nd so we could open them together
  3. First round of borders would be 5 1/2″ unfinished — one ended up 5 1/2 inches “divided between two sides”
  4. One was designed with a verbal description– one changed her mind
  5. The borders would include the following in any order:

    Old linen

    Pieced block

    Old lace




    — one now says that one of those is included in her center

  6. Each sister would design and complete a border and then exchange — one designed the entire quilt!

    Center with old linen

    None of that is the challenge! 


The real challenge is that now I want HER quilt instead of mine!  How do I break the news to her that I might not give hers back?  She really stepped out of her box and designed her own center with MY favorite color scheme.

red floral

Red and brown floral

Don’t you LOVE this combination?!  It will really shows off the old lace doilies and trims.  I’m more excited about working on hers than on mine.  Well, I need to go tell her that I’m facing a moral challenge of trying not to covet but have excused myself with just whining a little to you all.

A word to the wise…be careful when you accept a challenge it may be more challenging that you think!


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Candles, Cake & Catch Up


CO Sister id tagIt all started about a month ago, and no one should party for that long!  I somehow manage to have an anniversary, a birthday and Mother’s Day within a few short days of each other.  This year is a big one for the birthday part so we decided to celebrate for a looooong time.   It all started with a drive to the snow-capped mountains for coffee with hubby and dinner out.


Coffee in the snow of Estes

A few days later, Sister arrived to visit our dad.  (That’s what we tell him.)  He’s our 93 year old Marine of our own. So proud of him and his years as a pastor of rural churches.  He shared Mother’s Day lunch with us and the family as mom has been gone a while.  That day we shared a birthday cake for my granddaughter. You could say I lost my New Year’s resolution this week!


Once a Marine, always a Marine

From there Sister and I went shopping.  Don’t know why “they” feel like we need a chaperon/driver now.  Was the birthday really THAT big of a deal?!  But even after all these years, I learned something from my big sister.  How to fold your tank tops for the drawer so you can still see them.  You really can teach an old dog a new trick.


Tri-fold hot dog way; quarter-fold hamburger way

Then the gifts and cards started arriving.  If you knew how far out we lived, you would never expect to see a floral delivery truck out here.  But there they were waiting for me when we got home.  Thank you, dear daughter.


Twelve different kinds of blooms!

Sister unloaded her suitcase and found these wonderful pillows for the guestroom. Gifts galore!  The quilt is my guestbook and she signs it each time she comes.


The REAL 30’s fabrics

Once we got our beauty rest, it was off to high tea with all the girls.  Some drove and some flew in but we got a few short hours together.  So blessed to be with these fine young women and call them family. Thanks, girls.


Can you pick out the sisters?

My dear mother-in-law and a family friend from childhood also joined our table and we were a merry party dining on cucumber sandwiches and scones! (I go straight for the Devon-shire crème and lemon curd.)


Life-long friends in both

We hurried home so sister and I could do a little bit of sewing on the next project we had hatched.  Since we are working on the Linens and Old Lace patterns we set ourselves a challenge of our own.


Sister’s center; open spots for more lace

Start with a vintage linen (of course) and then pass it to sister for the next round.  Add a border and send back to owner for the next round.  Somehow, we switched our usual color pallets and have finished the first exchange.


Which one? Both?


Background chosen

I’m auditioning some blocks & fabrics for the next round. We have decided to leave our options open and there are only suggestions of what to use but not when to use it.  Some borders will be pieced, some applique, some dimensional and of course, some with old lace.  So as you follow our progress, see if you can tell who has used which border and what is to come.


Fabric options


Next row?

So after all the cake and candles, it is now time to catch up:  bills, housework, laundry, sleep and deadlines.  Thanks everyone for the celebrating and for the memories made in my life quilt.


Categories: Sister isn't answering her phone, so I'm telling you ... | Tags: | Leave a comment

Pincushions: We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

A series of Sister Challenges is driving the FL Sister id tagdesign process for our Linens and Old Lace Collection. The next item on this year’s Sisters Challenge list for that collection is a pin cushion – a category which left us with lots of options. Your first mental image of a pin cushion may be something like this:


tomAto? tomato?

But we have come a loooooong way from that point, baby and it only takes a couple of minutes on Pinterest to find out how far.


LOVE the soft wool! And the old spools!



Don’t you love these happy fabrics?



Up-cycling an old silver sugar bowl!


See what I mean?

My personal collection includes the magnetic disc and a vintage beaded heart and these two from my sister and my sister-in-law (especially reserved for needles.)


Chickens creep into every room in my house.



SLAW Susan can keep those tiny stitches in order in ways I never could!

And when we look at pin cushions from the vintage past we see that creativity and variety has long been present in this category of stitching.


Did your grandma have one of these?


I have to say that makes my feet hurt.


See what I mean? We’ve come a very, very long way.

So to narrow the options a bit for the challenge and make sure our designs had a few things in common, we set some parameters for ourselves:

  • common element: old lace which we choose together
  • required: include wool
  • size: make one big version that can be used for a pin cushion and a small one for a sachet
  • any shape, color, genre
  • old embroidery linens and fabric are optional

That left us with lots of room to make our versions different, too.

  • What shape?
  • How big?
  • Stuffing: with steel wool or wool roving to keep the pins and needles sharp?
  • What about something to weight the pin cushions with: sand or crushed walnut shells or Epsom salt?
  • And how would we put fragrance in the sachet versions: essential oils into the Epsom salt or fresh lavender or maybe perfumed cotton batting?
essential oils

Just a few drops goes a long, long way. Add it to the pin cushion and the sachet.

We’ve had lots of fun in the process and now we are ready to unveil our different yet the same creations.

Can you look at the parts and guess which sister designed which pieces?


The “crazy” sister made this one.


vintage fabric, wool, rickrack, old lace, a vintage buckle and embroidery

(Patterns will follow soon.)

Cover shots for Option #1 & #2:cover-web cover-2-web

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