Flip Flops

Quilting Possibilities

Quilting Possibilities
Our latest wool bundle - Sunflowers

Thursday, August 16, 2018

What's Debbie Been Up To?

It's been awhile since I blogged - funny how the last blog was in 2016 and all about dyeing wool for the shop!  Here we are two years later, the shop is closed and I'm still dyeing wool.

Once the shop closed on the 29th, the hard work started - clearing out the shop and finding somewhere at home to put all this stuff.  I knew it would take a few weeks but I had absolutely, positively NO CLUE how much work this would be.  Jim and I are exhausted, bone weary and moaning every time we have to get up after sitting down for more than three minutes.  It's not just the store that has to be dealt with, first you have to find/make room in the house, garage and sewing studio!  That means cleaning out a bedroom for the new "wool room" (who would of thought all my wool supplies would not fit in a 12' x 10' bedroom????), clear out closets (where did all this stuff come from???) shift things around in the pantry (exactly how old is some of this food?), it's even gotten to the point where I had to clean out my kitchen junk drawer!  Now I'm not only dealing with stuff from the shop, but also stuff from the house.  Ugh.  And the garage . . . . let's just say the car will not be going in the garage this winter.

So Saturday I had a mini meltdown and told Jim not one more thing comes home until we get a handle on all the stuff piled everywhere here.  We could absolutely star on that Hoarders TV program.  No pictures of this mess will ever exist so you won't find one here or anywhere!  My days this week have been moving/shifting stuff into permanent homes.  Except I keep changing those permanent homes . . . .  And two of those days the dyes pots were bubbling away in the middle of all this madness.

Here is an example of what my week is like - trying to get one thing accomplished and it leads to four other things.  I looked at the living room and thought, why are the flannel quilts still out?  Then thought why do I have EIGHT flannel lap quilts?  So I decided this I can do and get done now.  (HA!)  I gathered up the quilts and started towards the linen closet, while walking down the hall, I thought, when was the last time these were washed?  Detour to the laundry room.  While the washing machine is working on the first couple, I decide to check out the linen closest.  No way they are all going to fit in there, it needs to be cleaned out.  Two black garbage bags destined for Goodwill later, the closet is practically empty and ready for the flannel quilts, although I will probably regret the extent of my downsizing.  Of course I've now added two huge garbage bags to the front living room, which is already overflowing with stuff . . . .

My two oldest came home last weekend and tore down fabric shelves, moved van loads of stuff home, mumbled under their breath about just taking stuff to the dump and did in 24 hours what would have taken us five days.  Jeremy, Halla and Selma come home tomorrow (add baby proofing and washing the kitchen floor to today's to do list!) and hopefully, fingers crossed, everything will be out of the store when they leave Sat afternoon.

And sew it goes! 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Dyeing To Get Ready For Wooly Block Adventure!

What would you do without friends?  Friends are the ones who push you a little, tell you when you're a little TOO crazy, and they also give you an opportunity to stretch your wings.  A friend talked about wool, another talked about selling wool and another told me to blog about it.   Hmmmm, my friends are the best!

A little backstory - when I first opened the shop, I offered hand dyed and also marbled cottons.  I did all the dyeing myself and Jim helped with the marbleizing (I found it very hard to sell those, they were GORGEOUS!).  I did this for four or five years and then the store got bigger, Sara became a teenager and my free time to do things like this seemed non existent, so I put my dyeing supplies away.

An email came advertising a new Row By Row Experience™ program with wool—are you in Janet Lutz (head RXR Diva) asked?  Of course I said!  (When a friend says lets go, you go and then ask where when you’re in the car)  Wool I thought, ok I like wool, I like applique and we have a small wool department, time to beef it up.  I looked around for someone dyeing locally so we would have unique pieces and I couldn't find anything.  So out came the long unused dye books, pots, measuring spoons and all the other paraphernalia and back into the world of dyeing I went.  As Janet told me in October, I’ve fallen off the deep end . . . . right into a big dye pot.

Here’s an afternoon of dyeing needed colors for the wool display and kits we were getting ready for our Wooly Block Adventure.

The prep station—my mask is my most important tool, next is the papers that cover my kitchen counters.  Good measuring tools are a must.  

 I am sure the big orange store did not think their bucket would be used to  pre-soak wool for dyeing.  I like the “Let’s DO this.” motto.

First in the dye pot are  grays—I’m working on sand dollars and shells for a kit.  It’s looking a little purple and that’s making me nervous.

 The solid is a little purple right out of the dye pot.  Fingers crossed it’s gray enough, but not too gray, for my sand dollars.  Hoping both pieces tone down a little in the dryer.

Just what I wanted.  Happy as a clam—ok happy as a sand dollar!

 Orange is one of my favorite colors and we seem to sell a lot of orange wool.  I was on a dye diet until I saw the name Pumpkin Spice—how could I resist???  I can just  picture this as lilies or pumpkins . . . .
I’m in love . . . . I love the three different shades out of the same dye pot, I love the textures, the colors.  A lily applique is SO in my future!  Fingers crossed it dries as gorgeous as it is wet.

It did!  It did!  Love, love, love it!  An FQ of each somehow made it into my stash.  

This is a picture of our Wooly Block Adventure block called "Home Is Where You Make It".  I dyed the wool for the hermit crab and the seaweed and after what seemed to be 100 drawings, came up with something that resembled what was in my head.  I totally envy anyone with drawing ability!   You can find info about the Wooly Block Adventure by clicking here and check out their Facebook page also.  

I've gone on to dye more and more and we have quite the nice selection of hand dyed wools and kits at the shop - even if I do say so myself!  It's not as primitive as Fern would like, though I do dye colors that make her swoon and yesterday I challenged her to do something more primitive.  I like the bright, clear colors but I dye the more muted ones to keep Fern and other primitive lovers happy.  I just mailed these off to another friend . . . it was hard to let some of them go!

So that's what is happening at QP lately.  What have you been up to?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Tourists are starting to arrive at the Jersey Shore as we are unofficially into summer here. School isn't out yet, graduations are happening (my sweet Nathan had his "moving on" ceremony this week from pre-school. Can't believe he'll start kindergarten in September!), and the ocean is still a bit cool - but we're ready for the BEACH!

Speaking of the beach, we've been working like crazy to get samples done for our summer display called Beach Glamping. It will go up the 23rd and you'll have to come see it! My friend Kelly Ann who has a shop in Virginia and I have been egging each other on with our glamping display plans (glamping is a glamorous/vintagy form of camping). I think she's gone a little crazier than I have but we did both draw the line at renting a vintage camper or even making up a fake front of one! I have a few hints about what will be in the display further in the newsletter but I will say, I'm having a blast collecting things for my camping at the beach display.

The Row By Row Experience™ starts for 50 states and 9 Canadian provinces and territories on June 21st. 2700+ stores will be participating this summer and every one of them will be handing out a free row. We'll be unveiling our sample on the 23rd since we will be closed to celebrate Father's Day on the 21st and we're always closed on Mondays anyway. So we'll be a few days later than the official kick off but plan to come see our row and our display too! And to plan your trip, here is a map showing ALL of the participating shops - click here. Keep clicking on the plus sign on the right to make the map more detailed and you can unclick the areas you don't want to see on the left. Have fun!

New classes are up on the website. Click here to see. There is still room in Pat Sloan's workshops the first week in October, call the shop for details or click here.

Don't forget to check our Facebook page every Monday night to see what our weekly special is as we celebrate turning TWENTY all month. This week all machine feet and accessories are 25% off! Sorry, we are not allowed to mail feet or accessories.

Also remember that every $10 you spend in the shop or online gets you a ticket for our Sample Auction (with TWENTY samples up for auction!). Click here for details.

The ConKerr Cancer gang will be here this month on Saturday the 27th. Come sew, press, cut or all three - they love to have help! Fabric or finished pillowcase donations are greatly appreciated also.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

We had a great event at the shop last Saturday - Aunt Reen came up from VI to speak at our 13 Months of Jane Open House and wowed the crowd!  Doreen gave a wonderful presentation - complete with two quilts! - on the history of the Dear Jane quilt and also on the program we will be running for our Dear Jane Club.  

I cracked open my EQ Dear Jane software today, printed off the first 13 patterns and cut out my blocks.  I've started my own Dear Jane journey!  I alternated between thinking I was out of my mind with all these blocks and being excited get make the quilt.  The jury is still out on whether I'm crazy or not, but I'm hoping next March I'll be posting a picture of my completed Dear Jane quilt!

The blocks aren't intimidating me but I admit - those triangles, hmmmm.

23 Janiacs signed up to take this journey with me and there is still time for you to join us.  Click here for more information!

Month 1 is all cut out.

Until next time.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


A comment by a friend on Facebook this morning about copper cookie cutters sent me sliding down the time warp hole of Pinterest this morning.  I've been thinking about how to display my cookie cutters for a couple of years but have never come up with anything so they stay in the big tin on top of the china closet and in the drawer of the hutch.  Two pictures on Pinterest caught my eye - one display them artfully in an old mixing bowl and the other on an antique scale.  I liked both and thought I have both those things!

Down to the basement to dig out the Fairbanks #1 scale that my grandmother let me have out of her basement when I was 12.  She could not imagine why I wanted it and neither could I, I just knew I did.  Grammy Lint told me it was from her father's general store in Nova Scotia so I hauled it home and my father promptly claimed it, or tried to anyway.  He thought it would be great for down the wharf to weigh lobsters and my mom said no, it would rust.  So it sat under her china closet until I cleaned out the house three summers ago and took it home.  Then it went into my basement!

This morning it came up, was cleaned up a bit and put on the vintage school desk in my kitchen.  I happily dug out my Christmas cookie cutters and after seeing them all in one place, I have more than I thought . . . can you say addiction????   I brought out a vintage mixing bowl and put special cookie cutters into it with red, glass Christmas balls.   I put my two blooming Christmas cactus back on the table and had my cookie cutter display.  Not as artful as the pinterest ones, but I like it.

I remember making butter cookies with my mom and her letting us decorate them, the table, ourselves and some of the kitchen floor.  I did it with my kids, my kids did it with my Mom and now I'm doing it with the grandbabies.  Traditions - love them.  

Looking at the scale reminds me of Grammy Lint.  And Grampy Lint as he wrapped everything in newspaper and there is still newspaper stuck to the bottom of the scale (and I'm leaving it there).  The cookie cutters remind me of mom and the bowl has memories in it too.  Biscuit cutters from Nana Sawyer.  Two cookie cutters - a lobster and a lobster boat - I had made to make my brother Sooky cookies for Christmas.  And if he sees this, he'll probably call and ask why he hasn't gotten any in years . . . .  A loon one from Minnesota.

Traditions - love them.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

It's Past Time For A Christmas Projects Display

Yesterday I decided that I needed to be realistic and move our display of Christmas projects if I wanted anyone to have time to make them.  So I did my usual wandering around my house, garage and attic wishing I had time to go antiquing for all the neat stuff that I'd like to use in this display, and finally decided the display needed to be put together with what I had already and to just get on with it.

Into my car went a round table my grandmother had started to strip to put her usual white paint on but felt "faint of heart" (this coming from a nurse who worked until she was 70 something delivering babies in Salem, Mass) and it sat in her cellar until I claimed it for my first apartment.  It's still unfinished . . .
Anyway, I love the height and shape of the table for displays so I grabbed a rectangular green table cloth to throw over it, a mason, jar, some silverware and set off for the shop.  The inspiration for this display is all Terry Atkinson - she posted that picture of the napkins and silverware in a Mason jar last week.

I unloaded my goodies and proceeded to make a mess of the front of the store shifting Fall out of the way and combining the two current Christmas displays into one.

I put the table out, covered it with the green tablecloth - ugh - and thought to myself, this is a fabric store with beautiful fabrics, sewing machines and sergers - just make one!  Ok, I remember something a fabric rep had said to me - use wide backings for home dec.  So I wander over to our extra wide backing section and find a perfect green.  (Now if I were planning this blog ahead of time, I'd have taken a picture of our selection of wide backings!)

I impress and confuse Fern and Ellen as I measure the table, figure out the simple math and rip (oh the horrors!) the wide backing to get it on grain.  The only way square fabric that wide without a HUGE table to lay it out, is to rip it - plus its easier!  I cut my circle, gather up my supplies, decide it will be faster with a serger and a gathering foot, and head to the classroom.  

Thirty minutes later - with a few mishaps - out comes this:

The bolt of fabric is to the right.

I added the ruffle at the bottom to give it a little flair.  Easy, simple to serge or sew and the display looks pretty good too.

Fern wants a class - anyone else?

Till next time.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I collect vintage mason jars.  I love them and I have no idea why.  I've been looking for the green ones that came out this year but haven't managed to snag any yet.  And this is the first year that I canned in a long time, so I hauled out my trusty, newer mason jars out of the garage and canned tomatoes and made butter pickles.  The old ones, I just love to look at and have a pinterest 

I started collecting mason jars in my grandmother's cellar when I was about 12 - the same time I asked her if I could have the Hoosier cabinet and Elias Howe treadle sewing machine!  Cheeky little thing but she remembered and when I moved into my first apartment - that Hoosier cabinet and treadle came out of her cellar and into my kitchen, along with all the mason jars!  

I have more but with the grands, not all are out.  The grands know this is a NO TOUCH zone.  (I told them I'd cry if they broke anything and that seems to be working!)

Terry Atkinson posted this on her Facebook page this morning - this is just too danged cute!  The napkins were a project from her Groovy Girls Sewing Club we ran about four years ago, so if you belonged to that, you have the pattern already.  If you didn't belong, Terry has turned it into a pattern and I just put in an order for some!  We'll be using this as part of our Christmas display that will go up in the next week or so and we'll have the patterns for you.

Do you collect vintage mason jars?  I'll bet you do!

Till next time.