Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Tasha, over at A Little Sweetness, is having a giveaway of some of her gorgeous, self designed fabric. You should go and have a look, her fabric is so sweet. She also has a shop so take a minute and visit there too. Tell her Mama Spark sent you!

I have a question, have any of you used a pattern only to find out that it isn't correct? I saw a block that I wanted to make. I saw a pattern for the block recently so I bought it. Last night I took the pattern out and read it. Templates, huh? Well, I guess I can try that. I read their directions on making the templates, translated the squares and rectangles into rotary cutting and made templates for the things I couldn't easily figure out how to rotary cut. Basically it is half of a lone star in a basket. Imagine my surprise when I went to read the "how to put the block together" section and it basically said, breaking this into units will make it easier, look at the graph lines and refer to the general instructions if you have any questions. Ok, I still had some questions, but the general instructions were basic sewing instructions, not really any info on how to put the diamonds together or do the MANY set in seams.

I've done set in seams so I will refresh myself and figure that out, but needed to tackle the 4 diamonds making up the big diamond of the star. Man o man, I have never ripped out so many seams in such a small project in my life!!! After a LOT of trial and error I managed to get the diamonds made into 4 bigger ones and those put together. Whew. It was only midnight at this point. I'll just lay out the block and take a look at how it will be when done, right? BIG mistake. All the setting pieces were not the correct sizes either. I could NOT deal with that at that time of night, so I went to bed. Tossed and turned until about 2:30am. UGH, got up at 5 and went to the gym and came home.

I'll just lay it out and take a photo to show you all what I am talking about. OMG!!! The basket pieces are not the right size either!!! I can't stand it. I was so disgusted I just went to work. So sorry, no photos for you today. I am going to have to play around with it to get it together. This is a block for charity and I just want to throw it in the garbage!!! BUT...I do like how the half of my star came out. I suppose I could just do another half of the star and forget the basket.
I promise I will take some pictures when I get home and share with you all.

Thanks, for listening. Oh and BTW, thanks for all the prayers too. BFF's daughter is doing ok, I don't have any more info than that but I suspect this is for the moment. Keep up the good work!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Need Prayers

I can't say too much at the moment but a really dear friend of mine is dealing with a life and death crisis that will, in all likelyhood, come to a head tomorrow. Please, if you have a minute offer up a prayer for her and her family for a positive outcome. Life and death are in God's hands and prayer is so powerful. I appreciate any prayers you can offer up!

Shipshewana Shop Hop Part 2

Now where was I? Oh yes, after lunch we headed into Shipshewana. First stop was E & S Sales. Have you ever been there? It's a great bulk food shop. There is this wonderful chicken stock (in granular form) that I would be LOST without! I use the heck out of it and Shipshewana is the only place I can find it. I think they must put some kind of drug in the stuff that keeps you coming back for more. It is seriously that good! I had a list from my DH of everything I needed to bring home. LTW and PTM picked up some bulk goodness too. Next stop was Yoder's meat and cheese shop. Came home with some bacon and this wonderful dried beef lunch meat and a package of cheese curds. Love Yoder's! We even brought coolers so we could bring home the perishables. Now that we had our foodstuffs it was time to hit the other quilt shops.

First we went to little bit of Lolly's. I actually bought a few things there. See the light green with the cream print on it? That's for a skirt.
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After we were done in there we headed upstairs to Lolly's.
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Here are the girls getting ready to shop!! Me?? I bought one yard of this, that's it!
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I did have a list with me but only found a few things that were on it. This was one of the things, so that made me happy. This quilt was hanging in Lolly's.
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It was spectacular but they did an overall stipple rather than more detailed quilting. I found that a little disappointing.
We headed up to Vintage Home (I love that shop too). Love all the Fiesta Ware.
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I was in Fiesta heaven, I tell ya!
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I just *had* to have these 2 heart shaped ones in aqua and red. Adorable! I also bought a few dish towels. Next stop Jo-Jo's pretzels, love em' and so did the girls.
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Just look at the smile on LTW!! It was awesome! The next to the last stop was Yoder's department store. I had to run into the general store to get some half gallon Ball jars for DH (he had a list too!). I ran those out to the car and then joined PTM and LTW in the fabric part of the store. This is inside the store.
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These are the things I bought.
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That nursery print was done up in an adorable pattern, which PTM bought so we can do one together. Then I found this fabric. It kind of reminds me of the Liberty of London fabric so I bought a little bit of some of the different ones they had.
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Last stop was the Bernina shop. I happened to find a foot I was looking for at half price! (Turns out it is the same foot my DH had bought me for Christmas!!). Anyone out there need a number 13 Bernina foot? I have one to sell.

After that we headed home. I don't think we could have fit another thing in the car! We drove to LTW's farm, had some food (left over from our awesome lunch) and I drove PTM and myself home. I got home around 11pm. It was a LONG but wonderful trip. Thanks, ladies, I can't remember the last time I had so much fun!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Shipshewana Shop Hop Part 1

I have so much to share I just know it is going to take more than one post. I hope you are ready for the ride! Just know that only some of the pics will be blogged about and *many* more are over at my Flickr account (click on the sidebar link to view). Ok, with that disclaimer here goes.

I picked PTM up around 7am and we drove to the farm to get LTW, who was driving. Now you have to know about PTM, she is a wonderful friend and I love her to death. She always has the perfect little touches to everything she does. I feel blessed to have her as my friend. She brought each of us our own bag so as we got our *treasures* we could put them into our own bag and then when we got home we could pick up our own bag and have our stuff. Hers was pink with black polka dots, LTW's had chickens on it (of course it did) and mine, what else? Cats of course!
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Adorable,right? Ittook us quite some time ~2.5 hours) to arrive at our first shop and it happened to be the littlest one too. It was called Homespun Treasures. I was so excited I could barely stand it. Here are "the girls" before we went in. And a peek inside the shop too.
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I didn't buy anything here but LTW found some cute dinosaur fabric. Back to the car and now I was driving and LTW was navigating. Buckle up gals and let's hit the road! Next stop, Caroline's Cottage in Rome City. What a cute shop with very nice owners too. The drive to this shop took us by a beautiful lake (but I didn't get any photos as I was the driver)
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A very quaint shop. Here is LTW and me on their front porch. They had some really nice red and white fabric that had to come home with me.
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Ok ladies, pack it in and let;s go to Emmatown Fabrics. While this shop didn't have a lot of anything any of us found useful (I do think PTM got some blues for her snowman quilt though) there was a funny thing that happened when we pulled up to park.
As you can see from the photo the only parking is in the front of the shop.
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Of course on shop hop day it was full. So I waited for a spot to open up. *Finally* someone pulled out and we zipped in. The person right next to us was pulling out and someone was sitting in the spot we had just left, waiting to be able to pull into the spot that was vacating. Didn't quite happen the way they thought. The person pulled out and some little old lady zipped right in taking it from the people that had been patietntly stalking waiting for said spot! She was not even aware that she had taken anyone else's spot either. There seemed to be a lot of folks not paying attention to things that day. Several times we had to say "excuse me" to get someone to move that was blocking an entryway when if they were paying attention they would not have positioned themselves in the way in the first place. But I digress!

We loaded ourselves up and headed off to The Quilt Shop at Essenhaus next. This shop was inside a cute little gift shop. Just look at that adorable window dressing!
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We happened to see these adorable guys all over the place!
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This is what we saw as we walked up to the shop
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They had a really nice selection and variety of fabric with a few really different lines of patterns. Here is what I brought home with me
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I love that "Always Kiss Me Goodnight" but will probably use some more contemporary colors, and that aqua? I am going to try my hand at making the skirt I have listed in the tutorial on my side bar. I will use some other fabric the first time but don't you think this will be a cute skirt??
We decided to stop and eat lunch at this point and you will never guess what? PTM brought the most magnificent spread for us! We had decided to bring our food so that we could eat whenever we wanted to and no lines. PTM sure knows how to do it right!
You will not even believe it but there just happened to be a picnic table here so this is where we ate.
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It is difficult to see but here was our lunch:
Salmon, chicken and egg salads, cheese, deviled eggs, veggies, grapes, fresh pineapple, watermelon, pickles, condiments, chips and of course Diet Coke! What can I say? These 2 are the BEST!!

I will leave you mid way through the day so I can go and clean lettuce for the salad I am bringing to the baby shower I have to go to today. More on that later too. I am wanting to have a little sewing time before I go also, since I spent about 4 hours gardening yesterday and was too tired to do any sewing yesterday. More later!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Chenille Blanket

My good friend PTM, talked me into trying to make a chenille blanket for a gift. She even donated the fabric so I laid it out and promptly forgot about it until this Wed. So at quilting on Wed night she promised to help me with it. I ironed all the flannel, and then we layered it. First a cotton for the back, right side down, followed by 4 layers of flannel. Then the darned thing needs to be basted. Yeah, not so much. My hands just don't like doing all that work. (Sheesh, can't LTW just sew it on the big machine for me?) Anyway, being the good sport she always is PTW did the basting for me. We basted with the flannel side down but changed it later. Here she is, isn't she so cute??
Then came the marking and sewing. What?? I have to mark all the diagonal lines and then I can sew? You have got to be kidding me! Instead we put tape diagonally from one corner to the other one and I took that to the sewing machine and sewed along the edge. I used my walking foot with that weird little guide bar thingy. Ever used one? Well, it saved me having to mark the whole quilt!! Of course just before I am ready to sew my light bulb burned out. Good grief, what else is going to go wrong? Anyway, I lined up the bar on the last line I had sewn and then sewed like mad in a parallel diagonal line. I got a little over half way done in the time we had, not too bad. I am in a little bit of a time crunch so I had to decide what to do about that. This is what the diagonal line sewing looked like on the top and the bottom.
You can even see the orange basting thread if you look closely.

I decided to take half a day off work today and went over to PTM's to finish the blanket. I really didn't leave work until around 1:30 so not truly a half a day off but whatever. I dropped DD1 at home, packed my bag up, packed my gym bag too so we could go exercise after we were done and headed over to PTM's house. What got left at home you ask? Why my camera of course so no more pics today of the blanket. I did finish all the sewing. Then I had to cut through the top 3 layers of the flannel, down the center of the "channel" I made when sewing my half inch diagonal lines. I was sweating that a little, I didn't want to cut through the wrong layer. I did just fine. Then we had to square it up, not too bad, and make binding for it. I made the binding, PTM pressed it and sewed it to the "fluffy-ish" side. She is going to hand stitch it down for me too (my hands just can't take it)

Next it was off to the gym. We worked out for an hour and then went our separate ways to get ready for our road trip tomorrow. I am going on the Shipshewana Shop Hop with LTW and PTM. We thought 2 of our other friends might be joining us but one had her father pass away and the other one had something come up (she just called me). LTW is supplying the car and PTM is packing the food, I have the drinks, directions, and driving. Don't worry, we've got this! I have the BEST friends EVER!!!

One last thing before I go and finish getting my things together, I assume most of you know Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts? Well, she is going to be in Grand Rapids, MI at the end of July. Read about why she will be in GR here) I grew up in GR and that's where my dad and sister live, so guess who is going to GR at the end of the month? Yep, MEEEEE!!!!!Not only will I get to meet Amanda Jean, I will get to spend time with my dad on his 84th birthday. Life is GOOD to this quiltin' mama. I promise I will take lots of pictures to share the day of shop hop fun tomorrow, but I will probably post on Sat as I anticipate a very late return tomorrow night (3 hour drive both ways). So one more sleep and then the fun begins!!!

Beautiful new fabric

I ordered some fabric from Sew Dearly Loved and it arrived the other day. It is so adorable. I am in love! Without further ado here is the fabric.
Here are some close ups:

Ok how do you keep all that cuteness contained? You can't. Enjoy the adorableness of this!! I know I am. Oh and if you *need* some of this cuteness too, go here and order some for yourself!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Be Jammin'

I told you I got some other goodies from LTW's farm but I didn't say what. It was strawberries...LOTS of strawberries. She needs to clear out the freezer for the incoming chickens this weekend. I had strawberries coming out my ears, er I mean my freezer. Too many to even all fit in my little chest freezer. So what's a gal to do? When LTW gives you berries get busy and make some jam, of course. The berries were from her folks berry patch last year so luckily they were all cleaned and ready for me to work with. Ever try mashing thawed strawberries? It is not for the faint of heart, let me tell you. I decided to take out my trusty food processor and that was the BEST decision I made! I had stopped on the way home and bought some Sure Gel and and 24 of the 16oz jars. That should be enough right? Here are the humble beginnings
Next is the cooking stage. Very precise! Mr. Mama Spark was NO help at all! Men, sheesh!! As I was cooking the jam I was boiling water in the canning bath and boiling water to put the lids in too. Face facts I was "boiling" hot too, even with the A/C turned on!
I got one batch finished, yeah!!
Now I can finish using all those berries!
Sorry in advance for the "messy" pic but I was exhausted! Here are all 24 jars (yes I said 24) filled with delish strawberry jam. They are all processed and need to rest overnight. The whole thing only took 4 hours of constant work!!!
I'm not complaining though. I love me some strawberry jam!! I even tried the sugar free version so will have to let you know how that turned out. Guess what? I still have enough berries to make at least 8 more jars with. I don't have any more jars though so maybe I will start making smoothies with some of them who knows!

I received some fabric in the mail and will share that tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by!!

Oh and BTW did you notice I added a new list on the left side bar? I am going to start listing tutorials that I like when I find them so I don't have to keep trying to remember where they were and I can tidy up my bookmark list too. Feel free to use them too! If you do let me know what you think.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sunday's Farm Visit

On Sunday I went with my DH and DD1 to visit LTW's farm. We had a nice visit and came away with lots of "stuff". First you need to see how well my leaf lettuce is growing. The original plants were about 2" tall when I handed them over, now look at them!
And we have banana peppers already too! Plus have you ever seen an eggplant flower? I had not so here is a shot of that too.
And of course you know how much I love me some kitties and this one became my new BFF. His name is Rusty (DH thought it should be Cracker) and he followed me all around the farm. Even the Barn Swallows dive bombing him didn't deter his love for me. Right back at ya Rusty!!
We got to visit with the Polish chickens we brought the first time and they are doing well. The red rooster is such a ham!
He loves his lady hen too and here she is in all her om pom splendor.
Here is our old pal Megatron, the first chick we hatched. Look how big she is!
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You can see Megatron and Fox (I think) in the pen with the Aracana mix chicks we got at another bird swap. Hopefully the mix birds will have some hens and lay colorful eggs. Anywhere from blue to greens. Easter Egg chickens they sometimes call them. They are adorable!
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Two of the horses, minus the big black one.
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DD1 with her peacock, Malik

The 2 Alpacas, Sam and Cole
Becky and Sunny

Now in this one you can see the back of LTW with the BIG dog, Sasha. This is actually looking out of the room where her long arm machine goes.

Here are the 2 goats together, Sunny and Oreo. They are so funny to watch together!!
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There are more pics of our first hatchlings on my Flickr account so if you are interested, click the link on the side and you can see how they have grown too.
We took home 3 "heads" of leaf lettuce, 4 or 5 Banana peppers, some green onions and more frozen strawberries than I actually had room for in my freezer, but THAT is another story for another day!

I have a few photos of the inside of the farm, but need to run and actually get a little work done at my real job today, LOL!! Thank goodness they don't actually care what I do as long as my work gets done!