Thursday, January 31, 2008

Windchills have been below zero and I am Thinking of Gardening!

I got a Breck's email today for the usual $25 off a purchase of $50 or more. Usually I just delete them, but today I was in the mood and I ordered these:

Rembrandt Dahlia Mixture
I thought these would make nice bouquets. . .something different for me to try.
A breakthrough in dahlia cultivation! Unusual, colourful striped and dotted blooms appear week after week from summer through fall and are fabulous when combined with large perennials and annuals. Sturdy stems stand artistically at the back of the border and bouquets

Flame Flower
I've never seen this one before. I am not sure where I will plant it. At $12.99 for one bulb, it's pretty pricey so I would like to put it someplace where I can take good care of it. The colors fit in beautifully with my deck plantings so maybe I will let it grow up the deck lattice. My lattice is not the sunniest spot though, so I will have to think about this. I only bought one bulb so I doubt that I will get much impact this season. Does anybody grow it? What can you tell me about it?

Set trellises, fences and walls ablaze with colour! Old-fashioned climber grows 6-10' tall-striking as a living screen or ground cover. Vigorous plants are covered with 1 1/2" cup-shaped blooms of bold red and yellow from summer to frost. Prefers full sun. Lift in fall. Tropaeolum tuberosum #1 size bulbs.
Height: 6-10'
Of course, I had to get a couple more cannas. I hope I don't already own these! (I always forget the ones I have.)
Black Knight Canna


It's time now for a big bowl of hot turkey noodle soup from Sunday's turkey leftovers.

Can you see the newspaper headline? They weren't kidding about the cold temps returning!

I think I will go work on my hand quilting so I can stay toasty warm under the big blanket.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Will I Become a Thread Snob?

"What kind of thread should I use," I asked, knowing full well that the answer wouldn't be the kind I use.

"Oh, Guttermann, at least," the sales lady answered. "The thread is so very important! If I get downstate I always look for ..... (and then she named a couple of higher quality threads that I have never even hear of)."

She added, "We haven't had very good luck with Coats and Clark."

I wasn't happy to hear that last remark.

As you can see, I have a drawer full of 'Coats & Clark' in my sewing desk and another hang-on-the-wall thread holder full of it in the basement.

For the past week I have been using it and I don't see a thing wrong with my stitches. I still haven't tried anything but the straight stitch, so maybe the fancy stitches need a better quality thread.

I googled "thread quality" and found these microscopic views of four common threads (at

Very Cheap Thread - like the stuff you find in the 25 cent bin

Coats and Clark


Mettler Metrosene Plus 100% Polyester.
The object is not to have many of those loose fibers hanging all over. They can mess up the tension and break off inside the machine and cause all sorts of havoc.

From these microscopic views, I think the Coats and Clark looks just as good as the other two.

For those of you who sew, does it really make a difference? Toni, if you are around, do you use a higher quality thread? Toni told me she has the same machine.

I want to protect my investment, so I will do as they suggested and try Guttermann's.

I had a dentist appointment at 2:00 p.m. today and a nail appointment at 4:00 p.m. In between I ran to go to Joannes and bought some Gutterman's.

As you can see I bought a few other things, too--a couple of remnants, and a package of adorable hearts. I took the ribbon off the hearts and set one inside of each gold heart on the place setting.

There. That was just what it needed!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Valentine Tablescape


After I finished using the dining room table to mark my quilt, I decided to do a Valentine tablescape.

I ended up with a pink/burgundy/gold scheme with a crystal heart plate on top and another small tiara glass gold heart in the center of that. The gold heart really tied in the bottom layer, of the new beaded gold chargers.

I used all sorts of items that I had no idea I would be using. Like this mermaid in the glass

I found her in a drawer and since she was pink, she was fair game. :) She didn't end up staying in the glass.

I first tried my heart quilt for a tablecloth, but I decided not to use it since I can't bear to have food spilled all over it. I kept trying to think of a way to use it since the month of February only comes once a year and it's the only time I use this quilt.

I finally decided to lay it over the back of a chair. It can be easily removed when someone needs to sit--if anyone ever does. I have not decided yet if I will have a Valentine's dinner party or not.
I had a tough time coming up with a centerpiece. For the moment I've decided on this.

It's another wall pocket vase shaped like a heart. I have a pearl necklace, a lady's glove and a boutineer from my wedding inside. It all sits atop a cake plate with a few pink/gold flower candles and some "ice cubes" scattered about.

All in all, I'm happy with it.

I expect my new red wine glasses to arrive in the next day or so. I think they will be too red, but if, by chance, they are more burgundy colored, I will switch out the white ribbed crystal I am using now.

Oh, the mermaid ended up here:

I think she looks so cute hanging on the knob. She has holes in her back to hang on a wall, so she worked perfectly.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

What's a Good Girl like Me, doing in a Place like This?

Early this morning, I was up on a ladder cleaning the lights in the kitchen. I thought I'd have a little fun with this picture. :)

Somehow this minor task led to a full day of heavy cleaning. I was up and down the ladder for a couple of hours washing cookie jars and the tops of the cupboards. Then I was on my hands/knees washing floors. Is there no end to a woman's work?

I removed all these cookbooks and gave the shelf a good cleaning. There. Doesn't that look nice and tidy?

I pulled out the desk drawer and just did a quick wipe of one of the cubbies to remove dust.
It always looks this clean because I NEVER use it. Way in the back there is a box of staples with the office store name of the town I lived in 24 years ago. LOL. Guess I don't staple much.

Yesterday I mentioned watching tapes of HGTV. A few days ago Dianne was trying to find a place to put her tapes so I thought I'd show you where I keep some of mine. It requires a bit of thinking outside the box, or should I say "vase".

I have two large vases and I have filled each one with tapes.
I stick an old dish towel over the top to keep the dust out.
Nobody would ever guess those big vases are full of taped episodes from HGTV!

I'm really tired of cooking & cleaning. I didn't get my pink/black double star quilt blocks finished because I spent too much time up on the ladder hunting dust bunnies.

Now I am too pooped to even sew.

I can't wait to fall into my bed with the freshly cleaned sheets so I can get all refreshed to go to work tomorrow.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Good Busy Day

It's 4:30 p.m. and I have been busy every second since 5:30 a.m.

It's been a nice kind of busy, mostly fun sewing with a little cooking and just a tad bit of cleaning thrown in.

Every weekend I make a mental note to work on my hand quilting for a minimum of two hours. It takes about 100 hours for me to hand quilt every king-size quilt I make. So far this weekend I have at least doubled that goal.

I used my dining room table to lay out the quilt so that I could mark my scalloped design.

I use a stencil & a water soluble pen to do this.

Marking all these lines is my second least favorite part of the quilting process (crawling around on the floor adding the batting and backing is my least favorite).

This is what it looks like when I get the pattern transferred. Now I just sew on the blue lines.

The lines will disappear when I wipe a wet cloth over them.

While hand quilting, I watched old 'Simply Quilts', 'Gardener's Journal' and 'Kitty B." episodes I had taped from five years ago.

It was a great way to pass a winter afternoon.

While waiting for the meatloaf and baked potatoes to get done,I decided to open a bottle of wine that a friend gifted me with.

It's a White Zin from a local winery.

It's not very good. My first clue that it would not be was the color red on the cork. White Zinfandel is usually not so dark.

Oh, well, maybe the second glass will taste better. :)

Framed Quilt Blocks

Before my sewing machine died, I was working on some small quilts to frame for wall art.

This morning I finished them. I must say that I'm getting warm fuzzies from the one with the purple stripes. I am glad I like it because it took a while with all those tiny little pieces.

Here they are on the wall.

Now I am going to work on a few more blocks for the sofa throw. I made one already this morning, but I need three more.

This is going to be another stay at home weekend filled with cooking and sewing. DH wants meatloaf tonight and tomorrow I am cooking a 14 lb. turkey. It's been in the freezer since November so I thought I'd better get it cooked before it gets freezer burn. I also have a pumpkin pie in the freezer so I'll cook that, too. It will be just like Thanksgiving. I even have a can of cranberry sauce in the refrigerator.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Handmade items in my Living Room

Last summer DH came home with this little table thinking I may have a use for it on the deck. He knows that I get a kick out of finding a use for other people's junk.

I didn't have a use for it at the time, so I stuck it in the basement. I forgot about it until I was rummaging around down there trying to find something to hold my magazine basket.'s pretty beat up....but I took it upstairs anyway.

I covered it with this beautiful crocheted tablecloth my mother made.

Then I covered most of that with this wool table runner. The wool was made from sheep on my sister-in-law's farm.
Then I added another layer with one of my recent pink/black table runner projects.

Here it is now layered in handmade cloths (made by three different people's hands). I think it works just fine.

This evening I was puttering around with the pink/black star blocks that I was going to make pillows out of. I stuck them on the back to see if I may want to make a quilted throw instead (click on it to get a size you can see).

I am still not sure. I think the white background may be a little harsh...too bad I didn't use a very pale yellow. I will leave them there until morning when I can look with fresh eyes.

While cleaning out one of the china cabinets last week, I came across this wooden clock my father-in-law made.
Look at all those intricate saw cuts! We treasure it because my FIL had a few strokes and can no longer do such work. He used to be down in the basement working with wood all the time. He even made me a full-sized quilting frame--the kind women used in the 1800's.

Here is another handmade item I remembered while reading Dianne's blog. She mentioned Barbie dolls. This is my childhood Barbie. She resides in the china cabinet in the living room.
She is wearing a wedding dress that I made for her. I love this doll!

While doing this post, I realized that I have quite a few handmade items in my home. So I changed the title of this post from the original "Garage Sale Table".

Do you find it difficult to come up with inspiring titles? After over 1400 posts, I think I have about run out of titles!
Take care,

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I Seem to be on a Bit of a Buying Spree

I thought these red wine glasses etched with flowers were gorgeous.

I ordered two sets of them.

Can't you just imagine these on a pink/red Valentine's table? If you can't, you can be sure I will show you one just as soon as these beauties arrive! :)

Last weekend I made a carrot cake that my blogging friend, Patti, from Osagebluffquilter was kind enough to post the recipe for. I thought it sounded interesting since it made a smaller cake (8-inch square pan) The recipe called for carrot baby food, but I didn't have any and didn't feel like cooking and mashing carrots, so I used pineapple instead. I put the remainder of the can of crushed pineapple on top of the cake.

The cake was very good and we enjoyed it for three days.

Thanks, Patti, for taking the time to post the recipe for me.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

HUSQVARNA VIKING® Introduces New Top-of-the-Line SAPPHIRE™ Sewing Machine with Quilting Innovations

and I am now a proud owner!

Yes, after spending the past few days reading reviews and making two trips to the local dealer's shop, I decided to forget about fixing the old machine. I went there after work today and I came home with this.


After years of happily sewing with just one straight stitch, I now have 137 different stitches and 4 alphabets. I can write my name by programming it in to this computerized machine. I will be spending many hours learning how to use this one.

I found it very interesting that this machine is marketed directly to quilters, yet there are no special quilting accessories included. Not a one. You need to purchase the "quilter's kit" which includes 3 or 4 feet needed for quilting and a table extension that adds on at the front to give you more support for large pieces of fabric. This kit is in the $300 range. If you order it on the day you buy the machine, you get 20% off. Of course I had to order it. It's the reason I want the machine.

I hope I find that all the bells and whistles are worth the price.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I Was Having a Good Today

When this box was brought to my desk at work, my day became even better!

This box contains my winning loot from Jean's recent give-a-way. I can't believe it arrived so quickly. It was all I could do not to open it right then.

But I waited until I got home. I was barely in the door before I cut the box open...

to reveal all of these snowman goodies!

Snowman plaques, a snowman pin, a candle, a lovely little box, ornaments, (I adore the dough one in my hand that Jean and her daughter Laurie made this year!). There is even a wonderfully-smelling 'Country Spice' sachet which is full of aroma beads. I love the smell. Jean, I am wondering if once these beads release all of their fragrance, I could use them for the snowman's buttons/eyes if I make some next year?

I hung it in my china cabinet display in the living room.

Now whenever I walk by I can get a gentle whiff of 'Country Spice'.

Jean, thank you so much. I just love it all!
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