Monday, December 31, 2007

I'm back from my travels... partie I!

Such beautiful landscape!

I truly enjoy driving in Pennsylvania! It is so relaxing! Some areas can be quite stunning!

As you drive through the country or in a town, one must always be on the look out for buggies! They are really every where!

I was reading an article in the Amish Country News that the Amish people are perhaps the most photograph ethnic group. Interesting! I would never think of going up to one and saying "Hey, can I have my photograph taken with you?" lol I can certainly understand how difficult it would be for some people to comprehend the Amish lifestyle, perhaps even assuming that this was all part of tourism.

My first stop was at Sauder Fabric in Denver, PA.

Bonus for me, they were having a 10% off on all items in the store.

If that wasn't enough, they were having a Year End Warehouse sale. You could actually buy bolts of fabrics anywhere from $1.75 to $2.80 a yard. They mainly had B&P Textile, VIP and Kona cottons on bolts.

This is the entrance to Sauder Fabric.

Sauder's had a wide selection of fabrics from Modas, Kaufman to VIP etc. Lots of discounted fabrics.

Word of advice, when you look at their plain cotton fabrics, you must be careful to read the label on the bolt. They do have poly/cotton blends intermixed with their Kona cottons.
My next stop!

This is Zook's Dry Goods in Intercourse, PA.

Amazingly, Zook's had a bit of festive decorating on the outside. However, the inside is not decorated at all.

One thing about Amish fabric stores in PA, they are not cute or decorated with the latest fad. The shops I visited were all very plain, functional and clean. They do not have "displays". Everything they sell is neatly laid out.

Their fabrics are much cheaper then any of your "standard" quilts shops. I would say that they tend to price their fabrics approximately 25% less then other stores. This would also apply to notions.

I did not take any pictures of the inside of Sauder or Zook's Dry Goods because there wasn't anything to show. Both places have a huge inventory of fabrics neatly laid out.

In another post I will write more about Intercourse. It's a wonderful little town!
HAPPY NEW YEAR! May the New Year bring you all that your heart desires or better!
Thank you for stopping by!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I'm off again!

This time we are headed to Landenburg, PA.

Stephen's best friends live in Pennsylvania. I have always liked going there. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't mind moving there. The country side is beautiful and well, the Amish atmosphere is so relaxing. The horse and buggies are a reminded for me to slow down!

While Stephen will be jamming with the members of his band Interview, making lots of music, I'll be getting lost in Lancaster! Oh...... I cannot wait!

I have a couple of shops in Intercourse that I like to visit, The Old Country Store and Zook's Dry Goods. I was thinking of heading out to Denver and visit Sauders. I'll see how much time I have. I'm just thrilled to be able to get lost in Amish country!

After my expedition, it will be time to celebrate. They have planned a dinner for the spouses. Let me tell you, they know how to entertain! There is nothing more enjoyable than good food, good wine and good company. The guys are all great cooks. When they're together in the kitchen it's quite entertaining to watch them!

I will remember to bring my camera!

Have a great weekend everyone! Thank you for taking the time to stop by and see what I've been up to!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Secret Santa.... fooled you!

I must admit, Christmas is my favourite holiday! I am such a big fan of Santa. He's my all time favourite!

I would like to share with you some of the goodies I received in the mail. My Secret Santa present came in the beginning of December. It came as a total surprise. I must tell you a funny story regarding my secret Santa package.

I have a very good friend by the name of Cheryl who lives in Oz. She often sends me packages throughout the year. She is such a generous and kind soul. So, in the beginning of December, the postman delivers a large envelop from Oz. I can always tell an Oz parcel due the colour and design of the package.

Dd says to me "you've got a package from Cheryl! Can I open it?" I remembered Cheryl writing that she would be sending a package and not to let dd look at it because her Christmas gifts will be in there. So, I told DD no, I'll take care of it.

I look at the front of the envelop, hum..... strange it's not Cheryl's usual signature. Okay, I figure she probably had someone else go to the post office for her.

So, I proceed to open the envelop and pull out this cute little pouch with a bag of Koala caramellos and some papers underneath! Oh, no photos of the koala caramello, they're all gone! Yum, yum, they were delicious!

Hum.... by now I'm pretty puzzled! I can't seem to figure this one out!

I turn over to the papers to see what the heck Cheryl is up too!

So I glance at the picture sheet that was enclosed and say to myself "Gosh, Cheryl's garden is strange, so different from what she's been showing me. Hum...... okay read the letter for more clues.

Click it all falls into place. I started laughing!

The package was not from Cheryl but from my Secret Santa!

In the fabric pouch was this cute little ornament!

I love Santa! Okay, so I'm repeating myself! lol

And..... this beautiful table runner!

Gosh, I was so clueless! I never expected that my Secret Santa would be from Oz.

Thank you again Dale from Oz for the wonderful gifts. And thank you once more Donna for doing this!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

I'm back with lots of little goodies!

We made it back from Massachusetts! We drove back in fog that was as thick as Pea soup! Thankfully it subsided as we drove out of New Hampshire!

The Yankee swap was a blast! I have attached a link for those who would like a bit more information about the game.

I feel I made out like a bandit! I was number 10 (ten), out of 11 (eleven) people. Of course number 1 (one) is the best number but 10 (ten) isn't too shabby!

Here are my little goodies! Don't you just love that little guy?

He's technically called a USB HUB MAN. He's the cutest little guy and so functional! He gives me 4 (four) more USB ports! No more reaching in the back of my laptop.

The bright object on the left is an "Office Glitter Rocket", a sort of lava lamp that connects to your computer. It plugs into a USB port, so my little guy takes care of him.

The Glitter Rocket sort of reminds me of a disco ball but in miniature! lol It's actually relaxing to look at!

I also had an opportunity to go shopping at my favourite quilt shop, The quilted Crow.

I fell in love with these fabrics. They are so delicious!

The large print is from Purely Provence created by Renee Nanneman of Need'l of Love.

The picture really doesn't do it justice to the fabric's beauty. The colours are so rich! Oh, and so nice to fondle! ;o)

I do have a project in mind for these that I will share with you when I'm more organized. I feel the need to complete something before I tackle a new project! Perhaps this will be a great motivator! lol

I also bought these little goodies!

I purchased the charm pack Urban Indigo a fabric line from Fig Tree Quilts to use as a guide for a quilt that I would like to to make from a book by Acorn Quilt and Gift Company - Comfort & Joy. Darlene tempted me last summer! So many quilts I would like to make out of that book! I never get tired of looking at the pictures!

Yes, it's another hand embroidery pattern and I confess I'm hooked on embroidery!

Speaking of embroidery, I have finished one of the panels for French Cottage Garden quilt. I decided to leave my mum's embroidery stitches! I really had to tame the perfectionist in me! My mom even suggested that I rip them out and I said "no way, they're staying". I want to give historians something to ponder! ;o)

Wow, this turned out to be a long post! Thank you for stopping by! Have a great day!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I'm off to see the wizard!

It sounds much better than "I'm off to Massachusetts", don't you think?

Today, we are leaving for Littleton to celebrate an early holiday with Stephen's family. I'm sure many you can guess what the French benefits are to this visit! Yes mam, to The Quilted Crow I go!

Which reminds me, I do have my gift certificate to spend! Yahooooo! I cannot forget that, can I?

I will also plan a visit to Candelite Quilt Shop in Chelmsford. They have a great selection of odds and ends for gift giving. I have been informed by my quilting bee buddies that we quilters celebrate Christmas on January 25th. So, that means I have plenty of time to purchase my gifts.

Speaking of gifts, Stephen's family is having a Yankee Swap. So this is the label I made for the gift.

I would show you the gift however, I do not know if my in-laws stalk my blog. You just never know with family members. They always tend to sneak up on you when you least expect it! lol

I have also made the same gift for some dear friends of mine. Nothing works more efficiently than a production line! ;o) lol I do plan on mailing those out after the holiday rush. Besides, quilter's Christmas is January 25th, right?

Some of you have inquired regarding that little Santa quilt under the pin cushions. I made that in 1998! The pattern is from a Debbie Mumm booklet called The Magic of Santa. Unfortunately, it is no longer in print. I had forgotten about that one! I have made another project from that booklet! I guess you can see it's been a good investment! lol

For inquiring minds, the black and white picture was taken in 1991 in a park on Gouin boulevard in Montreal. I used infrared film. I have worked tremendously with that film and just love the effect it gives. That's my little sister! We had gone for a walk in the park! Of course, it was in the days when I never left home without my camera. Gosh I miss it!

Thank you for stopping by! I just love reading what you all have to say! Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pincushion invasion!

I thought I would finally "jump in" and make pincushions as holiday gifts. I have seen some really sweet one's on Wendy's blog and thought I would be a copy cat and make some myself.

I used my Bernina Embroidery software to design these little gems.

I took the opportunity to experiment with the software. It was fun to try and come up with various embroidery designs that would be suitable for this project. Lots of learning was going on today!

DD fell in love with the lady bug one!

I decided to forgo the yoyos and use some buttons from my collection. I have never made yoyos and with all the learning going on today, I didn't need another challenge! lol

The stuffing used is either recycled wool or cotton batting. There's nothing like creating with the environment in mind! ;o)

For this pincushion I used walnut shells as the filling, or as the pet store calls it "Bird Litter". lol

Darlene had recommended this product a while back. This is what she uses in her pincushions. The oil from the shells conditions the needles.

I did not like how it looked with the wrapped thread. I had a difficult time obtaining a firm cushion. The lack of filling was probably the cause of funky look! So I settled for just buttons as embellishment!

Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are always a joy to read!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Lack of mojo!

Hello, remember me? I'm the one that's been neglecting my blog. I just cannot seem to get back in the groove of things. This morning, after I read an e-mail from Pam, it dawned on me what one of my problems might be.

She said "I have so many things I'd like to do but everything seems to be so disorganized right now that when I go into my sewing room I just look around in awe at what a hodge podge it is and then do nothing! Maybe I need to get that Mark Lipinski magazine and get myself sorted out - LOL!! " You and me both girlfriend!

So, after reading Pam's e-mail I walked into my sewing room and this is what greeted me!

What a disorganized mess!

Sadly, I cannot even blame it on being creative!

If that wasn't messy enough for you, to avoid any embarrassment, I took the picture after I folded the two (2) loads of laundry, one was on my cutting table (if you can believe it) and the other on the dryer (not pictured).

Here's another picture from the opposite corner of the room!

Messy, messy!

So guess what I'll be doing today? I'm on a mission of major cleaning and organizing! I've got to get my creative mojo up and running again! So many projects I want to finish!

I mean, the Winter Sentry is not even finished yet! I ran out of thread and could not find it at my LQS. Prior to making an order on-line, I always look at my supply to see what else needs re-stocking and guess what? Yes, another spool of yellow 961, the one I needed, was found in the disorganized thread box! Need I say more?

So I think I'll take Darlene's suggestion and buy my copy of Quilter's Home Magazine. It doesn't appear that my subscription will start in December!

Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

No reply - comment asking for information!

Many of my friends on blog land have written about the frustration of "no reply" comments, especially when some ask for pertinent information. It is so easy to open a generic e-mail address, please consider this option.

I would really like to help this person out. Her comment was:

Tammy has left a new comment on your post "Who says there's no Santa?":

Hi!I LOVE that story. I am a filmmaker interested in tracking down the author of that lovely Christmas story . You mentioned that you first read it in the Country Register in 2005. Which Country Register was that? I know they're published in different parts of the US and Canada. Any help would be SO greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Tammy, could you please contact me with an e-mail address and I will be happy to help you out with this project.

Have a great day everyone!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

I have been inspired!

I have been waiting patiently for a machine quilting design for Winter Sentry! Alas, it has come!

I treated myself to this book, Machine Quilting Solutions, Techniques for Fast & Simple to Award-Winning Designs by Christine Maraccini.

I am always on the look out for a new and better way of doing things. This book was a great buy! I like the way the author approaches the subject of designs. She offers methods of analyzing a quilt as well as techniques for creating your design. There are lots of pictures, always a bonus, that are a source of inspiration!

As I perused the pages of this book, while waiting for dd to finish her figure skating lesson, the inspiration came. The star border on Winter Sentry was giving me such a difficult time! I now know how I shall approach this little gem! Stay tune for pictures!

I shall now leave you to draw my idea on graph paper and onward to the machine quilting! I do hope to be able to finish this quilt today!

Thank you so much for your support. I love reading your comments! Have a great day everyone!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Who says there's no Santa?

Since I do not have anything quilty to blog about, being the holidays and all I thought I would share with you one of my favourite Santa story. For the record, I am one of Santa's biggest fan! I love anything having to do with Santa.

So, allow me to share a story that I hope you will enjoy as much as I do. It was published in The Country Register, Nov.-Dec., 2005 issue (page 27). I do not know the author. It is a story that no matter how often I re-read it, it always warms my heart.

I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: “There is no Santa Claus,” she jeered. “Even dummies know that!”

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her “world-famous” cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. “No Santa Claus?” she snorted. “Ridiculous! Don’t believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad. Now, put on your coat, and let’s go.”

Off we went to Kerby’s General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days.

“Take this money,” she said, “and buy something for someone who needs it. I’ll wait for you in the car.” Then she turned and walked out of Kerby’s.

I was only eight years old. I’d often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.

For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me and Mrs. Pollock’s grade-two class.

Bobby Decker didn’t have a coat I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn’t have a cough; he had no coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat! I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.

“Is this a Christmas present for someone?” the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. “Yes, ma’am,” I replied shyly. “It’s for Bobby.”

The nice lady smiled at me. I didn’t get any change, but she put the coat in a bag and wished me Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons. A little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible. She helped me write “To Bobby From Santa Claus” on a tag.

Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me to Bobby Decker’s house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa’s helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobby’s house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk.

Than Grandma gave me a nudge. “All right, Santa Claus,” she whispered, “get going.”

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his doorbell and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma.

Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby. Fifty years haven’t dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker’s bushes.

That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.

I still have Grandma’s Bible, with the coat’s tag tucked inside: $19.95.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Snow Day!

Isn't it gorgeous!

Yea yea, I know the barn is sweet but I meant the beautiful blanket of snow! lol Unfortunately, you cannot see the red tin roof on the barn but it would look sweet against the snow!

We have lots of mature trees in our backyard. I'm thinking that the oak tree (the one on the right of the barn) must be at least 150 years old. That's where our fairies live! ;o) There's also a swing hanging from that majestic tree! It's a great place to sit and be with oneself!

It is barely freezing outside, so the snow is wet and sticky. Perfect for a snow ball fight! Catch......... That's dd and her friend attempting to make a humongous snow person.

Inside I have a nice roaring fire going! A perfect day wouldn't you say!

Today will be a quilting day for me. I do hope to finish a present for someone and perhaps even tackle my UFO pile.

Have a wonderful day everyone and thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Wow, I've been quilting!

Firstly, I do want to apologize for not paying a visit with my friends on blog land. There has been so much to do in the past few weeks. I am happy to report that I had my last class for the semester. I have but 2 (two) papers to write and school will be over for a bit. Yey! My brain will be free to create with fabrics!

Gosh, it felt so good to turn on my machine Wednesday!

This is what I decided to make, a small winter wall hanging. The pattern is from the book Classic Country Christmas by Lynette Jensen of Thimbleberries.

The quilt is machine appliqued, pieced and quilted. It doesn't have a label yet. I've been thinking of Winter Wonderland as an appropriate name.

There is something rewarding about completing a quilt. A quick project is the sure thing to get me back in the quilting groove again. I now feel all fired up and ready to tackle some of my UFOS.

Which reminds me, I am getting up there on the Stashbuster queen list. Perhaps I ought to finish the Winter Sentry quilt today. I just cannot seem to come up with a machine quilting design for the border. Perhaps I'll get inspired!

Have a great day everyone and thank you for stopping by!
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