Let the New Year unfold!

FL Sister id tag

I’m not sure if I’m excited by the possibilities of the new year or if I’m unnerved by the possibilities. My state of conflictedness may have something to do with how Day #1 of 2017 started.

 

On New Year’s Day at about 7 o’clock in the morning I got a message from my neighbor with some pictures of our house attached. (We were driving home from the Georgia mountains.)

back-yard-sm

Dietz says the back yard is more important to me than the house. That is true. This was hard.

That’s right. At about 4 o’clock that morning they woke up to strange whistling in the air and lots of debris hitting their house so they had a family meeting in the bathtub. (That’s a safe place to ride out a storm, in case you haven’t experienced this kind of event in person.)

roof-sm

This and 9″ of rain in 3 days is not a good combination.

window-sm

Those little shards of glass can travel quite a distance from the blown out windows!

 

Let’s just say that the tornadic activity did not translate into good news for the old live oak trees in our yard. So the next several days have meant getting to know tree service people – and our home owners insurance people.

deck-sm

For some reason the storm left this branch on the deck and snatched the cover from our grill. Go figure!

 

Looking back, I should have known that the holidays would be anything but normal when I sent to the dentist right before we left on our Christmas trip and found my dentist in strange garb. Evidently his family loves the movie The Christmas Story and designated him to wear the Ralphy costume for a day this year. THAT should have been a forewarning that unusual things were coming our way.

dentist-sm

He really is a good dentist. I promise you. And his family has great humor. Obviously.

ralphy-2

Is there a striking resemblance? you decide.

Flash forward to our return home:

When we finally faced the chaos in person, it helped me to remember the fun of the previous week when we spent Christmas in Minnesota with our daughters, son-in-law, mostly grownup grandchildren and their – ummm – friends. Should I say boyfriend/girlfriend? Love interest? Significant other? I’m never sure. I include that category because we got to go on a triple date to the movies with these fun people – such good sports!

date-sm

They promised to cover my eyes if we came to a kissing part!

As we faced the tornado cleanup, we kept our smiles in place, in part, because of the great time we had celebrating:

amazing food, fun games, Christmas eve candlelight service & family pictures

hugs-sm

Why does Minnesota have to be SO far away?

the white elephant gift exchange (which included one poor soul who received his own video game which had been snatched from his room with great slyness) and other delightful gifts …

socks-sm

That leg happens to belong to my just-turned-eighteen-so-he-got-to-vote grandson!

decorating cookies

cookies-sm

She painted a VanGogh version! I barely did stripes!

and visiting my granddaughter’s favorite antique shop. I found this sweet set of hot pads which needed embroidered. That size project is great for airplane rides!

hot-pads-sm

The old stuffing had to come out before the stitching could start.

It’s probably safe to assume that the rest of the year will continue to unfold in much the same way as these last couple of weeks – hard and easy, laughter and chaos, excitement and disappointment, celebrations and surprises …. and stitching.

I’ll have to admit that I’m hoping for less of some and more of others. What are you hoping for in the coming year?

luedtke-sm

This daughter, our first child, is an amazing woman! (I know – that’s sappy and I’m okay with it.)

PS – Thank you, Ryan & Mandy and Joby for all your work to host this celebration! And nice to meet you, Tony!

joby-and-tony-sm

Happiness is seeing your children smile! (Even when they are grown ups!)

 

 

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Fight the Chaos Friday – January edition

The Colorado Sister has a natural bent toward organization and intentionality. And she has never backed down from a challenge to my knowledge. So, it’s only natural that she would set in motion a challenge to conquer the clutter of our studios during this next year. And since titles need to have some kind of alliteration, we are calling this challenge Fight the Chaos Fridays.

 

Here’s how it will work:

  • Take some BEFORE pictures of troublesome, chaotic corners of your sewing space. Okay, let’s be honest, I need to take a panoramic shot from the doorway to capture the whole thing.
cutting-table-sm

REALITY ALERT!!! This is the view of my cutting table from my ironing board. And I cropped out the really messy part.

  • Make a list of the areas that slow down your effectiveness the most. Those are Priority One places that impede your progress, clog your creativity and stifle your stitching. Conquer the Clutter!
work-table-sm

PRIORITY ONE!!! I need to find a safe landing spot for this Christmas present from Dietz. Make room for vintage drawers! (And the mess under the cutting table has my attention, too!)

Every month on the first Friday, Sisters will post four areas to focus on during that month. Some routine items will be repeated several times throughout the year for those of us who need to be reminded. A couple times a year there will be time for back up work but you can add that more often if you prefer. We wanted to give room to personalize the process based on your existing clutter (We all have it, dear. It’s okay to call it what it is. Breathe deep and think of where we will all be at the end of the year!) so every once in a while we will include time to address your personal Priority One list.

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This magazine rack is waaaay beyond capacity. Think of the hidden inspiration under this pile!

  • Print off the little monthly reminder we are giving you at the end of this post and check off your progress. We’ll tackle this challenge like we eat an elephant – one bite at a time. One checkmark on the list every week is plenty – we’ll have a whole year to work on this.

 

  • Take some AFTER pictures as you conquer each area. This will help you stay with it along about the first of May when the outside To Do list kicks into high gear too.

 

  • Every 1st Friday post the new Fight the Chaos  list that you’ll find posted here.

 

We’d love to hear from you if you think of things we have missed. And we’d love to see pictures of your progress!

Here’s the list for January:

jan-fight-the-choas-friday-jpg-post

You can get your FREE January printable checklist HERE.

Together we can Fight the Chaos!

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Fresh Start for the New Year

Yes, I know the new year of 2017 isn’t here yet.  Goodness, we haven’t even had Christmas!  But while you are finishing that last minute shopping, you might look ahead and see what’s coming.

happy-new-year-2017-wallpaper_16

It’s coming.

I’m going to make a fresh start of it… but not

  • diet
  • exercise
  • recycling
  • reading
  • closet cleaning

or anything harder that “changing my pillow wraps” every month.

This year, since I don’t have to pack them up for the shows, I can be on time, every time with a fresh monthly pillow wrap.  Seasons do change and winter will fade so I want to be ready.

December is on my chair as we speak…er, write.

dec-wrap-2

December pillow wrap

I’ll be ready for the “passing of time” with the January hourglass wrap.  All the wraps have the darling “deconstructed” patches in some way.

Dec. Pillow Wrap

January Pillow Wrap

And of course, the month of love has to have a heart somewhere!

????????????

February Pillow wrap

I’m on a roll but if you really are “pillow-less” on your couch you can turn your hand to the other projects from the same collection.  The Spring Window puts it all together by the season.  Great wall hanging and you don’t have to worry about changing it every month.

SPRING window Bedited(1)

Ready for March, April, May.

Last but not least, there are 3 different projects altogether which you can do individually or send to a friend as a post card.  Winter Post Cards come in sets of three.  Each set has a table mat, a towel, and a tea cozy.

winter-set-sm

3 in 1 post card patterns

Enjoy your holidays and the coming seasons in any and every room of the house.

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12 Days of Quilting Christmas

FL Sister id tagI’ve been inspired by the clever and creative adaptations of the 12 Days of Christmas that float around in gift shops and on social media.

This is our version:

 

12-days-of-quilting

Hope your Christmas celebration is filled with lots of reasons for joy!

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The Button Box: recommended therapy

FL Sister id tag

This has not been the most productive month of my quilting, stitching life due to some kind of lingering skjoxpeddlfkdjf-ITIS. And for much of the last 30 days my life has centered around this box:

kleenex-sm

So glad to have them but so ready to see them disappear!

You can imagine how quickly that got to be ENOUGH ALREADY!!!

Since a variety of medicines and medical approaches were not bringing relief very quickly, I knew for my sanity’s sake I needed to find some kind of therapeutic distraction. Something sewing related, not too strenuous, not requiring much focus. (Even 2 Tylenol can make me fuzzy)  hmmmmmm  I needed to trade the Kleenex box in for a different kind of box!

buttons-tag-sm

So much fun from such a simple thing!

The button box was in chaos! Okay, I admit – the buttons were not even in a specific box. There was a box, a couple of tins, some jars and some plastic bags.

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What treasures would I find?

The whole sorting by color and setting special ones aside goes back to the days when our great grandmother would keep us occupied with the button box.

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Grandma’s button box looked much like this. And so did our mother’s.

 

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Some of the vintage buttons were divided by color into old milk jugs

 

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The special vintage buttons still on their cards were tucked away in this special wooden box.

 

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I love the pearly sheen through this old canning jar.

I cannot explain it but I feel better already.

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Have you tried button box therapy?

What are your tips for keeping your buttons easy to access?

 

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Thanks for the Memories

CO Sister id tagOver and over I hear the best way to be happy is to be thankful.  Let’s just say I’m very happy this month as we take a specific look at what we are thankful for.  Sisters are VERY near the top.  Fabric is in the first paragraph.  And those two things brought me back to one of our first pattern lines that is still a best seller.  The Thank You, God series brings back so many memories.

We were learning to write (and read) each others directions like in the Pilgrim apron pattern, which I still tie on wrong.

final TG apron photo for printing

Can you see the back in the mirror?

We were learning to “blend” our color choices and terms, like in the bread wrap pattern. What did you really mean as reddish-brown?  Which green is leaf green?  Yellow or Gold?

TG bread wrap

Love that this idea is double sided.

We were learning to photograph, like on the table runner.  How many times did we go to this table and still not have any food there?!  Ok, so we are still learning this one, but we are quilters not photographers.

TG table runner

Thankfully, this is not the photo we ended up using!

We were learning to use our computers & technology, like posting these table mats to our etsy store.

TG place mat

Almost too cute to use.

We were learning how to do two for one sizes, like the casserole carrier, and get both in the same pattern (later this was the concept for our topsy-turvey patterns that have two in one from the Linens and Old Lace collection).

TG casserole carrier

Both 9 x 13 and 8 x 8

We were learning which ideas to keep, like enlarging the figure for a papoose cuddle quilt, and which ideas to let go, like making a whole pilgrim village!

papoose1 for FB

Cuddle up cozy in flannel.

So, sister, not just this month but all year long.  Thanks for the memories that we have and those that we are making during this business process and life in general.

What quilting memories are you thankful for?

Categories: Patterns and Projects, Seasonal Stitches | Tags: | 1 Comment

I’m a “Prepper”–Are You?

I’m a “prepper” but with no bunker or ammo or supply stock (other than fabric).  I’m not prepping for the end of the world but I am prepping for the first winter blizzard. Here in Colorado it is very hard to believe that it is even fall let alone winter. But a dear friend (I think she is still a friend even though she totally destroyed the order I had just put into the sewing studio. :/) has given me BAGS of fabric and “stuff” to go through.  I don’t mean little grocery bags, I mean trash bags! Six of them!

bags-web

Bags of friendship!

There were yardages, starts and stops of projects, kits, scraps, books and one whole bag of Christmas fabric.  It is enough to keep me busy all winter.  I’m ready for a little snow on the ground to keep me in the house. If you know me at all, you know I have never met a shade of green that I didn’t like but would you believe that in all those piles there was only ONE piece of green.  Guess I’ll be OK working with the bag of fall colors. 🙂

green-web

Lonely Green

All of us have projects that we start and then put away for a while (Tell me I’m not alone in this).  A couple of these were put away for good reason (not working out as planned), but some I’m sure were just not on a deadline.  So I’m thinking about imposing a deadline on myself to finish these up.  I can’t let my sister in on the decision because she knows my procrastination skills are excellent. The first special treat to work on are the squares of embroidery that are completely finished. They await a special setting that will of course use some of the bag fabrics.

embroid-web

Embroidery blocks

I know a little girl that is REALLY in need of a new quilt for her big-girl bed.  She might like the mouse, or the bear, or the A-B-Cs.  I know that she would like some fabric out of the purple bag.

girl-web

Girl without a quilt.

Other pieces are not my favorites. As my mom would tell me, “Don’t say “Ugh!”  until you’ve tried it.” But I’m prepping for winter not for a character building session, so I’ll pass them on to be used as backs for a charity quilt or book bags for the kids.

charity-web

Ugly fabric. Ummm, backing pieces.

There was even a challenge inside the bags and Sister knows I can’t resist a challenge.  I’ve seen the block in magazines but never attempted it before.  Someone made an excellent start on the 3″ nine-patch blocks set into hexagons and even sent along the extra pieces.  I can just see this finished with maybe some very large wool applique on it.  Back to the design board after I finish this little start up.

9-patch-web

Fun in a bag.

I do have one last confession to make.  I’m keeping something just because.  I have no plan for these blocks.  I have no purpose for them.  They don’t match anything in my house.  But who wouldn’t want to look at butterflies in the middle of the winter and that’s what I’m preparing for.

hanky-web

Wouldn’t they look great with black sashing?!

I’ve got extra needles, now if I can just find a sale on thread before the snow flies I’ll be prepped and ready to be house-bound for a few days.  How are you prepping for winter?

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End of an Era…New Beginnings

CO Sister id tag

The end of an era is approaching.  I’m not talking about the political scene.  (Ugh!) I’m talking the quilt show scene.  For most of my life I’ve done trade shows of one kind or another.  I started packing boxes with my husband the first year we were married and it has continued with my sister since the beginning of our business.  Sometimes we did both kinds shows at the same time.

dan-web

Antiques in the front, patterns in the back

When we started Sisters At Heart, Miles Apart it was a necessity to do shows to get our name and product out there, so we did shows.  We met vendors, distributors, and wonderful customers.  The technology of today has made that less vital. So we are behind a keyboard more often than in a show booth.

Epic cruise business meeting sm

Sisters at work a LONG distance from either home.

Back then I only had one grandchild, now I have 10 and another one due in February. I want to spend more time with the kids than I do at the shows. I want to take the laptop with me when I go to visit and not take a box of samples or product to hang.

kids-seated-web

We have added two since this but can’t get them all together.

 

So I’m ready to close the curtain on shows. But not on sewing with my sister!

I’m ready for new beginnings….The Linens and Old Lace patterns have set our brains a buzzin’.

sneak-1-web

Needs a couple more rows ASAP

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This pattern is ready for sale on the Etsy store.

We are deep in designs for bags, pillows, quilts, and projects to use vintage lace and woven linen.

cuffs-web

Can never have too many cuffs.

bag-web

Lace & Bag Idea

 

The Lullaby Line needs to expand with special items for the new baby in February.

ducks

Quilt & bag & changing pad & & &

The Really Big Hat People like our Cowboy & Cowgirl have over populated our brains and need to get onto the fabric with a farmer, quilter, fisherman, sportsman, etc.

New beginnings are just a project away.  So good-by to the show era (still doing classes) and ibuprofen from unpacking boxes. On to the new sewing projects and patterns.  What do you say, Sister?

FL Sister id tag

When we were kids at the end of the school year we used to chant: No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks. There was no regret in that chant – only anticipation. Now we will chant: No more boxes, no more stacking, no more toting, no more packing!

Well, who could argue with that?!?!

All through life we have learned to rearrange depending on what needed to be done or if a change of seasons had come. Add a leaf in the table when our families were together, take a different vacation route if there were flooded roads, change the living room furniture to make room for the Christmas tree, replace the hot chocolate bar with an ice cream bar, move the wooden snowman to make room for the Easter egg basket…

I see that we are doing that once again.

Rearranging to make room for what needs to be done. Exchanging one thing for something better. It’s time for a new era – a new season. And we have enough shared history to have learned that different seasons of life bring different opportunities and different things need to be given attention.

sister-photo-sm

Thanks for letting me wear the bonnet for the picture.

My feet thank you, my raspy voice thanks you, and my aching back thanks you for having the wisdom to ask: Isn’t it time to acknowledge the change in eras?

It’s a win-win that we can keep doing what we love – stitching together – and get rid of what isn’t fitting well with this new chapter of life – shows. Especially since this change makes room in our days for things most important – like grandchildren.

whats-important-sign-sm

A good reminder every day.

I can imagine that we will still hatch new projects during Jacuzzi brainstorming sessions and still find reasons to celebrate at Texas Roadhouse and still find inspiration and stitching treasures in unlikely places.

And our patterns will still be available. They will be available on our Etsy store, at Sisters’ classes and in select quilt shops. And that is a good thing that we have those outlets because the idea board is full to overflowing.

Doodle birds and

doodle-sm

There are so many just waiting to fly onto a pattern page!

one more seasonal tea cozy and

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The summer mat has been patiently waiting for its companion tea cozy!

ooooh, my the vintage lace and linens!

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Piles of potentiality!

And I’m sure there will be more …

t-shirt-sm

Enduring sister wisdom.

 

 

 

 

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Check it off: Pamper Yourself!

FL Sister id tag

We love making lists and checking them off!

And we accumulated lots of check marks because we got so much done during this year’s September trip to Colorado to do the CQC  quilt show!

 

  • Finished putting lace on our Legacy of Lace quilt.
  • Put together patterns for our Linens and Old Lace Collection.
  • Planned two presentations for the show’s classroom: Care and Use of Vintage Linens and Mother’s Medallion projects.
becky-class

Quilters did actually sit in the chairs a little bit later.

cindy-class

Lots of good ideas and, also, coupons added to the fun of the class.

  •  Packed for the show, unpacked at the show, repacked at the end of the show and unpacked when we got back to the ranch after the show.
empty-booth

We still had some work to do after this point.

We got it put together in time.

  • Worked the show together in our double booth – one with demonstrator duties and the other with the cashier duties. We really liked the opportunity to display patterns with the antique sewing accoutrements on one side and then, on the other side, embellish the pattern displays with vintage fabrics and linens.
  • Enjoyed the Jacuzzi time and renewed friendships
margaret

Long time friend, Margaret, and her daughter, also a Cindy

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The special gals from Hands All Around Charity booth who let us keep a running tab as we continuously raid their stash

 

  • Treasured watching football and lunch out with our dad
lunch-with-dad

How does one take a selfie and avoid the triple chin look?

  • Delighted in a spontaneous stop at a little museum festooned with flowers
library

The flowers drew us in and there were treasures inside galore!

  • Appreciated a morning of stitching encouragement with the Calico Quilters club
  • Sorted through treasurers which had accumulated in the sister’s joint stash.
boxes

Confession: this is only half of the boxes

AND the Colorado sister brainstormed with me as I was preparing to speak at a Ladies’ Day on the topic Pamper Your Soul. She helped me tie it up with a bow with her ideas about God’s Personal Touch every day. We brainstormed about cultivating a “What’s RIGHT with this picture?” mentality. We believe that because of God’s great love for us, His touch on our days is very personal. You know, how He orchestrates a variety of people, places, and things unique to our individual needs. And that means there is a lot right in the picture, we just need to watch for it.

We quilters might see His touch in giving us …

 

the soft nap of flannel,

the vivid colors of natural dyes,

the hum of a sewing machine

sharp cutters, plenty of pins, and fat quarters

 

Others might think of …

humming birds, hot coffee, pleasant cashiers

soft perfume, kind words, thoughtful cards

sleeping babies, laughing children, understanding friends

kitten

soft kittens …

 

Or maybe you would say …

things we hear, things we smell, things we see

things we remember, things we anticipate, things we enjoy

things that are soft, things that are scarlet, things that are sturdy

 

We could sum it up as …

the creativity of God touching our lives;

the power of God touching our lives,

the love of God touching our lives.

 

I’m thinking that if we make it part of our daily checklist to really see His personal touches, our spirits will be massaged, our hearts will be refreshed and our perspectives will be filled with hope. Our souls will be pampered.

 

Pampering yourself – and stitching! Be sure and check those things off your list every day!

to-do-list

Anticipate the pampering!

 

PS – I have to add that one undeniable way I have known soul pampering is the quality sister time that is inextricably woven through being in business together with Cindy. And the best part is knowing that the sister connection started long before our business did and it will last long after our last business day.

sister-shirts

Sisters at Heart – something right in this picture!

 

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What’s the Point?

Tutorial Tuesdays headerI’m not trying to be “snippy” or sound uncaring with this title but my least favorite thing to do on a quilt is the binding.  I get so BORED!  You cut and sew and cut and sew and don’t really change the look of the whole thing.   It is like the last blank page of a book.

Ok, sister I hear you saying it has to be done or the batting falls out.  Well, if is has to be done, at least make it pretty.  So I started looking into the trick of using prairie points as a binding.  I had seen it a time or two on old quilts and that it certainly adds interest. Boy! was I in for a surprise.  Prairie points aren’t just for binding and there are a ton of tools and ideas out there.  I started with prairie points at the center of my “Vintage with a Twist” quilt and it began it work its way out from there.

center-web

Traditional with a twist

This Tuesday Tutorial isn’t full of diagrams about how to make those decorative points, but it is a beginning step on where to find the best help about prairie points.

Let’s start with the definition of Prairie Point:  Folded square of fabric (no size limits, color restrictions, or even fold location). Some with center fold, others will side fold. Craftsy gives a clear distinction between the two types, overlapping or side by side.  Each give a unique look for a specific purpose.

Next think about where to use Prairie Points: Of course, I would recommend our Let Freedom Ring patterns that use them.  Even the free pattern for the BBQ mitt has added style with patriotic points. Check out the PS patterns under the Brag Book tab.

Freedom mitt single

PS Pattern BBQ mitt

Back to quilts and points:  Don’t leave them on the outside edge.  Try using them in the sashing as well.

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Prairie Point sashing

My personal favorite is the dimensional use in a block like these:

triangles-web

Inner block points

But don’t stop with quilts, add them to the pillows too.  I remember making one with ombre shades net! (Yes, it was green even back then.)

pillow-web

Pillow points

Cute as a hot pad as well. Our guild used the same steps to cover Styrofoam balls for ornaments.

hot-pad-web

Padded points

Another Ornament Idea

ornament-web

Ornamental points

So many ideas and so little time so use the following links to find the:

Complete pdf

Formula

Video of continuous points

The point is….go out and enjoy the prairie!

 

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