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Quilting Possibilities

Quilting Possibilities
one of NJ's finest quilt shops

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


For some reason it's been a very long time since I blogged.  Life is crazy here at the shore and I seem to have let the blog fall by the wayside.  My friend Kelly Ann, (aka KA) from Kelly Ann's Quilt Shop in VA, sortof, kindof made me realize that I hadn't updated this blog in quite awhile by admitting how long it's been since she updated hers.  That made me wonder when the last time I'd written . . . . whoa baby, it's been awhile!

I've been sewing - not a big surprise - watching grandbabies - not a big surprise either and traveling.  According to my staff, I'm rarely in the shop but I feel like I'm there all the time.  Someone is exaggerating and I think it's probably all of us!

Alaska was WONDERFUL.  If you get the chance to go, don't hesitate.

Our latest trip was to Gloucester last weekend.  A quick in and out trip - we arrived at lunch time on Saturday, crammed as much as we could into what remained of Saturday and all of Sunday, and then headed home on Monday.  I realized in August I hadn't been home since Mom's funeral, so I blocked out Columbus Day weekend then and there and Jim and I headed home.

My brother and sister-in-law are as crazy as we are so we get along really well - although my older brother is more of a curmudgeon than I am (I'm sure he says the same about me), we do enjoy hanging out.  

Fried dough like Nana used to make
I got to eat my favorite foods - linguicia at the Azorean Restaurant Sat night and fried dough at the Topsfield Fair on Sunday afternoon.  I closed my eyes, took my first bite and it was after church at Nana's any Sunday morning of my childhood.  She made the best fried dough and her Sunday kitchen was always full of cousins, aunts, uncles, great aunts and uncles with at least 10 people talking at once.

But first on Sunday, Laurel, Jim and I (the curmudgeon stayed home) spent three hours at an antique flea market enjoying ourselves immensely.  Laurel has a thing for glassware - seriously, her glassware addiction is about level with my fabric addiction! - so I had a wonderful time trying to tempt her with anything and everything glass.  

My bag was as full of hers as I found sewing treasures!  The box of thread is from the Marvel Thread company in Worcester, MA, a total guess at age is from the 30s or 40s.  The big wooden spool has been updated with new dowels for spools to stand on - I just thought it was cool.  The sewing basket is filled with vintage sewing notions and it's a cool shape to add to my collection!  How is it you look around and realize that you've acquired a pretty big collection of something????

I also bought two handfuls of wooden thread spools to put in my vintage store spool displays.  I have two and they're pretty cool but they need more thread to fill them.  Why I only bought two handfuls and not the whole box is a good question!

What have you started to collect without realizing it?  I'm thinking Jim needs to put up shelves around my sewing room so I can put all this stuff in one place.  But then again, do I really want to know how much I have??????

Until next time.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Too Many Things Going On & Most of them Secret!

Do you all work on one project at a time?  More than one, say two of them at the same time?  More?  Three? Four? FIVE?  I have to admit, I have more than three going on right now but less than five.  I think. Ok, maybe six.  They all tend to blend together after awhile!

I'm working on a lap sized quilt for the next Stash Attack, a secret until April 1st, and I've said it before, but this is my favorite!  Lots of pieces so I'm using it as a leader and ender project while working on the shop hop quilt, a secret until the end of March.  What's Leaders and Enders you ask?  Leaders and enders (L&Es) - not my term there is a book about it - are pieces that you put together and sew after the pieces you really want to sew are stitched.  That way you don't have to cut threads in between the pieces.  A lot of sewers use a scrap to sew off onto but that seems to be a waste to my "thrifty" New England soul - if I'm going to stitch on something, it's going to be used for something instead of just thrown away!

So I used the Stash Attack pieces as Leaders and Enders for doing the Shop Hop Quilt, now I'm using the next Strip Club quilt as L&Es for the Stash Attack project ( and I slipped three baby quilt tops into the rotation on my "Snew Day" Monday and used them for L&Es) and when the Stash Attack top is done, I'll slip another one into the rotation that's patiently waiting for a pieced border.  I won't admit to how many are in line to be worked on . . .

I know there are sewers out there who can only work on one thing at a time but I must have some type of ADD because I can't for some reason.  I like seeing all the different colors of the current projects on the sewing table, cutting table and ironing board.  I just wish my design wall was big enough to put two projects up on it at a time.

So what about you?  One project at a time or mulitples?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sew Days!

What is up with this weather?  Snow, rain, sleet, snow again, oh wait it's raining, now it's freezing, etc, etc, etc!  All I can say it's made perfect SEW DAYS!  

What have you been working on?

As usual, I'm still plugging away on cleaning, organizing and changing around my sewing room but in between doing that, I've been sewing like crazy.

I whipped up a sample of the Barnegat Light pattern that Debra at Zebra Patterns designed just for us!  Very cool!  A class is happening with this sample in March but we will have kits available this coming week too.

I'm working on the shop hop quilt  too- kindof designing on the fly.  I know what I want it to look like, just having a hard time getting what's in my head to come out and down to my fingers to cut and sew.  I'm a little further along with it than this picture shows and it's getting there but I think there is more ripping in my future!  I started out with my squares too big and now have this long skinny thing.  Not good.  I need to rip and finagle.

I'm also working on the next Stash Attack Quilt, this will be number 6!  No pictures yet.  And I know I say this every time but I think this one just might be my favorite.  It's smaller blocks but they're so danged cute!  I'm using the pieces of these cutie blocks as leaders and enders while doing the shop hop quilt.  

Do you do that?  Work on more than one thing at a time?  I do.  I tend to get bored with something pretty easily and my mind wanders, then I make mistakes and I'm ripping out.  By having a couple of things going at the same time, I don't get bored, it keeps me "sharp".  I'm usually designing something in my head while stitching something else, or working out a problem with one project while working on another.  The shop hop quilt sat on the design wall for about a week until I figured out what was bothering me about it.  And I figured it out while machine quilting the Barnegat Light project.

I'm also working on two projects I started at Kaye's College last month.  Both are now sitting while I try to figure out what to do about borders.  One I know what I have to do, dang that Karen Montgomery for putting the idea of a pieced border in my head!, I just need time to sit down and do it.  It's on the list.  The other also needs borders and I need to hurry up with that one since we've cut the kits already!  Yikes.

Good thing I work best under pressure - how about you?

Till next time.

Friday, January 10, 2014

A Little of This, A Little of That . . .

As I get ready for the big move in the sewing room, most of it is trashed enough to make working in there impossible even for me.  While I admit, I am totally comfortable in a good amount of clutter and chaos, my sewing space has surpassed even my comfort zone.  And now with two grand babies sniffling and sick, the arrival of said strapping sons and son-in-law to move the furniture around is in jeopardy.  I'm not sure how much longer I can deal with the mess, so I've been staying out of the sewing room except to pack for my retreat.

Which all leads to me doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  

Austin Lights
We cut kits this past summer for this project and they, and the fully quilted sample, languished while waiting for me to update the pattern.  I orginially wrote the pattern in 2008.  It needed to be updated to my new format, so I did that.  Then we found a mistake in the test print for the sample.  So it came back to me to correct and went on the to do pile. For months. Whats really silly is the changes took me less than 15 minutes when I finally sat down & did them. 

What finally made me do it?  When I took down the Christmas samples in the shop, I ended up with a HUGE blank wall behind the cutting table.  While looking around for something to hang in that space, I saw the finished Austin Lights quilt folded on top of the kits.  I hung it, knowing it would force me to go home and actually finish the pattern.  It worked.

Big plans!

I'm lucky enough to be going to Kaye England's College for Shop Owners next week (in warm & sunny Florida baby!) and I've been busily cutting out projects to do while I'm there.  Kaye is coming to do an event for us in September and I want to have kits available.  So I've lined up six samples that need to be made.  I've pawned one off on Fern, err, Fern volunteered  to make one of them.  Three are projects I started at previous Kaye retreats and never finished - there's that procrastination again!  And I pre-cut  two so I could take them with me to work on, along with the three UFOs.  

I'm crazy enough to think I will finish at least three of the planned projects . . . .hmmm, might be time for a reality check here!  But the planning is so much fun!

Aubrey's Quilt Pattern
When I buy fabric for the shop, it could be 6-8 months before it actually arrives.  I write notes to myself on my order sheets of what plans I have for the fabric so I don't look at it blankly when it arrives & the staff asks me where to put it in the shop and does it need anything cut off it?  A pretty line arrived this week and Barb said to me, it says make a girly baby quilt with this.  What pattern are we using?  I think I need to write better notes because I looked that fabric and thought - huh?

So when one can't quilt in her messy sewing space, she moves to the computer and designs something.  This is one of my favorite blocks and what I used to design granddaughter Aubrey's quilt.  But of course that would have been too easy to just use that pattern as it was . . . . oh no, I wanted scrappy which means more blocks and less open space so the blocks needed to be bigger - back to the computer drawing board.

This is a computerized version of the latest version of my Aubrey's Quilt pattern.  Scrappy, more blocks, larger blocks and a new color palette.  I really like it.

Now to find someone to make it . . . 

Sewing room is still messy and if grand babies are still under the weather, it's going to be that way for a while longer.  Until then, it'll be me doing a little of this, and a little of that.  

Until next time.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Baby It's Cold Outside!

BRRRRRRR!  It's a balmy 14 degrees here this morning with about 8" of newly fallen snow.  That deserves another BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!  The best part about all this?  We can't go out!  Jim will be out doing his favorite thing - shoveling snow (the man is crazy but I guess shoveling as a sport is from growing up in Minnesnowta) or playing with his snowblower and clearing out the neighbors when he's done with our place.  Meanwhile back at the ranch, I'll be putzing around in my sewing room - my favorite snow day activity!

After what seems like forever, I'm finally getting ready to move my sewing space around.  In the planning stages for years, I'm FINALLY ready for the strapping sons and son-in-law to help move everything out and then bring just the furniture back in.  I'm sure there will be hoarding comments mumbled many times during this adventure but I will rise above it all and ignore them - they just don't understand a fabric stash.

The big day is the 12th, kids are coming home to have the annual family picture done and they've been given instructions to come with junky clothes and at least an hour to spare.  With five of us helping, it's entirely possible to empty the space and then just bring the furniture back in & put it in it's new configuration.  Right?  I'm going to move all the stuff I can before they arrive to move the project along and most importantly, cut down on the hoarder mumbling.

I just want everything out and all the big stuff Jim and I can't move ourselves back in.  Then I want everyone to go away and so I can putz and arrange everything else myself.  Of course I leave for the Kaye England retreat on the 16th so I will only have a few days of putzing.  Nope, not going to get that all done before I leave!  

I wonder if Jim has realized that all this stuff is going to be moved into his workshop?  I doubt it and I know he hasn't figured out that it won't be all out before I leave for a week either!

Till next time.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Busy, busy, busy!  Holy smokes, where does time vanish?  I think it has something to do with running around like a chicken with your head cut off (who came up with that awful scenario?) and not noticing that life is happening all around you.  STOP!  SMELL THE ROSES!  Ha!

We've had grandbaby birthdays - Nathan turned 3 (how did that happen????), Colin turned 2 and Aubrey turned 1.  I made mention that next year we would not have grandchildren aged 4, 3, 2 and 1 and not one of my children paid any attention to me.  :0)

I've been quilting up a storm and putting on the dreaded bindings - three this week.  I really think that must be a record!  If I'd get off the computer, it would be 4!  Here's pictures of a couple that I've completed this week.
Holiday Doorway

Strip Club - Candy Corn

Four Patch Fancies - Christmas
And the big time sucker has been moving everything out of the storage unit and into the garage.  When we decided to move the shop last year, we only had about 6 weeks to do it.  That sounds like a lot of time but look around your house, imagine it's 5800 square feet stuffed with stuff, how long would it take you to pack it all up NEATLY?  See that was the sticker, packing it so we could find things again.  The staff did a Herculean job but it was still boxes and boxes and more boxes that needed to be sorted through.  

After moving, I didn't want to ever look at all those boxes again so they sat in the storage unit waiting.  Well the time finally came as we've sifted, sorted, pitched and stored things until we didn't need that big of a storage unit anymore, so we decided to downsize.  A "slight" change of a quoted price of a smaller unit decided that we wouldn't use ANY storage unit but would put it all in the garage.  

If I ever decided to do something like that again, would someone please put me out of my misery BEFORE it happens?

Two strapping sons, moved it all in about three hours.  Piles of stuff all over the garage.  Ugh.  Shelves were set up, bunches and bunches of clear storage boxes were purchased and almost everything is now in bins, on shelves, neatly labeled in the garage.  

And the car might actually fit in there!

Until next time.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Trip "Home"

Home again, home again!  We spent last weekend in Gloucester for Courtney and Brian's wedding and seeing family.  It was kind of strange staying at a motel when you go home but with Mom's house sold and Sooky's house overflowing, a hotel it was.

The marshes, Good Harbor Beach and Salt Island
We stayed at the Vista hotel overlooking Good Harbor Beach.  This was the view from our balcony - not too hard to wake up to!  This is one of the most popular beaches in Gloucester and it was PACKED all weekend.

Good Harbor Beach
Jim and I took a walk on Sunday night around sunset to escape the heat.  We used to do that when our oldest son was small and it was so hot.  All the natives head to the beach after supper to cool off.  We didn't have air conditioning back then and my Mom's house and my brother's don't have it either so it was REALLY nice to go back to the air-conditioned hotel room!

My Mom has a line up of pictures in her room.  So we decided that the six of us - my two brothers, sister in laws, Jim and I - needed to take a picture since we were all dressed up, so she could have one of the six of us gussied up.

I went around taking pictures of lobster buoys and pots for a pattern that's rattling around in my head.  My older brother thinks I've lost my mind every time I tell him I'm looking for something.  One year I was looking for portholes I knew were around my mom's somewhere.  When I asked him, the look he gave me was priceless.  I did find them but haven't done anything with that idea yet.  This time I was looking for old buoys, wooden ones.  He had a couple stashed here and there that I took pictures of.   He did tell me where I could find a couple of walls of buoys around town, so I played tourist and held up traffic to take some pictures.  The natives just love when tourists do that . . .

And then of course it was the wedding.  My niece Courtney married her Brian in a gorgeous, simple ceremony on a pretty Saturday afternoon where the weather cooperated and it wasn't 100 degrees in the shade.  It was fun to see them start their lives together, mortify my nephews by singing along with the songs from the 70s the DJ was playing, watch my nieces and nephew be great parents to my great nieces and nephews and dance with Jim to an oldie but goodie.

It was nice to see cousins, brothers, sister in laws, nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews and my Mom.  It's true that you don't realize how much you miss home, until you go home and then you have to leave.  Gloucester will always be "home".