Flip Flops

Quilting Possibilities

Quilting Possibilities
one of NJ's finest quilt shops

Thursday, December 31, 2009

I'm worth 26 cents!

As I was working on the shop hop sample the other morning, I decided that I really need to bring home new pins. The ones I have in my pincushion, well let's just say they're a ragtag assortment that have seen better days. Then I spent more than a few minutes trying to find my seam ripper, I still haven't found it. That made me look around at my sewing supplies and I discovered that I really have a ragtag assortment of everything. I need new rotary blades, in all three rotary cutters, my cutting mat is probably why I need new blades & one of my rulers is missing half it's lines.

Since I own a quilt shop, working with sub-par supplies is ridiculous and can be directly related to a few things - one I'm cheap, two I forget to bring the stuff home and three, I'm like practically every other sewer out there, I'd rather spend the money on fabric.
Mentally lecturing myself that good basic supplies is not a luxury but a necessity to the ease of the sewing process, I wondered just how much it would cost to restock the basics. $20? $50? $75? $100?

Pins $5.50 - I like the glass head pins since they're easier to grab & these have a good sized ball on the head - not too large but not too small for these no longer quite nimble fingers. Plus, these are very find & I can sew over them if I have to. Yes, I know, I know, you're not supposed to sew over pins but sometimes a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.



A new rotary mat - $45. I have a large cutting surface so I like the large Olfa or Omnigid mats. They last the longest.



Seam Ripper $4.25. This is my absolute favorite seam ripper! There are cheaper ones, but none better. It has a sharp point that's not too fat and a handle that is easy to grip and won't roll off your sewing table.
New blades - $8. I admit I buy the 5 pack at $32. It drives me crazy to not have a new one on hand & have those evenly spaced little threads still attached after every cut. With three rotary cutters all doing that, you would think I'd have brought home a new pack!






Ruler - $12.99 - I like the Cut For A Cure rulers and the 7x14" is one of my favorites. The pink and green lines are a little freaky until you put the ruler onto fabric & you can actually see the lines! I also like that they read left to right & right to left.
I need a small pair of scissors too. Mine have disapeared & I think they followed the same path as the last pair - somehow they fell into the trash unnoticed and took that one way road to the dump. We have pretty floral ones for $4.99.
So how much do I have to spend to make my sewing life easier? $80.73 + tax, $106.73 if I go hole hog & get the 5 pack of blades. I sew about 8 hours a week x 52 weeks a year = 416 hours per year. (I'm sure it's more than that but we'll go with the average.) $106.72 divided by 416 = .26 cents.
I'm worth .26 cents. My New Year's Resolution is to bring all this stuff home today so I can celebrate the New Year's Day sewing & enjoy every minute of it!

Monday, December 21, 2009

SNOW!

I pooh poohed the idea of snow all day Friday - the ocean is too warm, we're going to get a mess of rain/sleet/ice, the usual for the Jersey Shore. Wrong. This is why we were closed Sat and Sunday.








This was Saturday morning about 10am














This was Sunday morning about 6am.


The photo doesn't show it but it was still snowing.












We're shoveled out this morning - necessary parts, the back deck door isn't necessary so this is the result. It will look like this till it melts!

And we're thanking our lucky stars we bought a snowblower a few years ago!

It's definitely going to be a white Christmas.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The dreaded MALL

It's the week before Christmas & what is every sane person doing who celebrates Christmas? Christmas stuff right? Of course that's not what I'm doing. That doesn't mean I'm ready for Christmas mind you, oh no - not even close to ready! But yesterday I'm at the MALL, the MALL,a week before Christmas! You have to be crazy or desperate to go to the MALL the week before Christmas. Yes, that certifies my craziness. And I'm not at the MALL to just Christmas shop - on no, I'm at the mall looking for the dreaded mother of the bride (MOB) dress. Shoot me now please.

Did I ever mention I hate to shop? Unless it's for fabric or something quilt related, I'm the shopper that retailers hate. I go in, find what I want, pay for it & leave (they like the paying for it part!). Jim, James M, Sara & even Jeremy to some extent LOVE to shop. They like to look at everything, touch most of it & for some unknown reason, like the whole experience. I am the misfit of my family. Shopping is just not an enjoyable experience for me, I'm hot, can't find what I want, the bags are heavy, there's no room in the store aisle to move, there's too many people . . . . . I admit, I tend to whine in a MALL.

So on Wednesday when I told my loving husband we had to go to the MALL, he reached over & felt my forehead. Funny man - NOT. The rehab my Mom is in now is cooler than the one in Salem and since she's spent the last 10 winters in Florida with my brother, she doesn't have many warmer clothes. So, proving the depth of my love for my Mom - who also hates to shop mind you - off we went yesterday to look for warmer clothes for Mom AND a MOB's dress for me.

First off all - who makes these MOB dresses???? They all go from teenagerish to matronly with no stops in between. And BTW? I don't want to wear a gown that rustles when I walk or clings like SaranWrap, has a beaded jacket that weights 40 pounds, is stiff as a board or requires midevil armor for me to fit into. I will admit to frantically searching the internet for something that could be mailed & did order a jacket & camisole. Very nice but somehow I think I need a bottom of some sort to go with it.

In the midst of all that internet shopping, I decided that I was going to be comfortable at Sara's wedding & wear the sort of pants that look like a long skirt when you're standing still. That brought about quite a bit of eye rolling from the bride . . . I was willing to change my mind if I found a gown that met the comfortable requirements and didn't show more cleavage than I was used to. Sara's colors are burgundy & black, she can't dictate what I wear but she can dictate the colors, so the top I bought is burgundy and how hard could it be to find black, dressy, looks like a skirt when you're standing still pants be???? Five stores & SIX HOURS later I had them, clothes for my Mom, presents for the kids and we were out of there.

I'm not going back, I don't care what anyone says. My outfit covers me in all the right places, is the required colors and I'll accessorize with pearls.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Carol Doak!



Carol Doak was here for two days of classes & celebrated her birthday with us.










During lunch Carol had show & tell from her books. Amazing!













Everyone had a great time! Thanks Carol!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Flag Pole Christmas Tree


Here's a picture of our flagpole Christmas tree. We went energy effecient last year with the new LED lights but I really miss those huge Christmas light bulbs that we used for the previous 25 years!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Holiday Traditions




As usual, the holiday season has not crept slowly upon me, it's exploded into the almost here panic stage. This year I've at least THOUGHT about gifts and been picking little things up during the year but I am NO WHERE NEAR being ready, or even near close to ready. Sigh.




This year I've been going back & forth to Massachusetts to see my Mom who has had a couple of strokes since Oct . Six hour trips in the car give me quite a bit of thinking time (in between being astounded and ticked off at the driving of others! How can you be speeding 10 miles over the limit and have cars passing you like you're standing still?????) I've spent some of the driving time thinking about all the traditions I brought to NJ with me from Gloucester.
One tradition is lights strung up our flagpole in the shape of a Christmas tree. When I was growing up, Mr Hatch, our next door neighbor did this with his 40' flagpole & you could see it all over Smith's Cove. Our 20' "tree" can only be seen from our street but the kids across the street are already wondering when it will go up. Our kids, who thought it looked like a space ship when they were small, would be disapointed to come home for Christmas & find that we hadn't done it - so Jim and I will be freezing our fingers off Thurs. stringing lights & putting real evergreen roping across the porch (which I then spoil the natural effect of by hanging lighted pepperments & candy canes from it - my traditional side warring with my love of bright shiny things).

Going back & forth to Gloucester has given me time in my old hometown. I've watched with interest the building of the lobsterpot tree. Gloucester started doing this about 10 years ago and has a competition of sorts going with Rockport Maine as to who has the biggest & the best tree made from lobsterpots. Gloucester's went up over the weekend - I KNOW Jim will balk at having our own lobsterpot tree & it will be the final piece of evidence for my kids that Mom has finally lost it, but I kindof like the idea. (My Dad was a lobsterman)






A kissing ball was in the trunk when I left Gloucester yesterday morning. Kissing balls have been around since Victorian times - usually made out of mistletoe - but the kissing balls of my childhood were made from evergreens, red velvet bows & streamers and hung outside. When I first moved to NJ, I searched locally for kissing balls & couldn't find a one, so I hauled them home at Thanksgiving. Now I can find them, but I still brought one home yesterday & hung it outside my backdoor.

And I'm pretty puritan in my decoration likes and dislikes. Yesterday, I waited while the garden center made me up a grave basket of just greens, winterberries, pinecones and a red bow. Mind you, the guy had 40 grave baskets out front - all with fake poinsettias, carnations & other unidentified flowers in them. The one I put out for my dad was classic New England, just like he was.



I love the look of houses with all white candles and Christmas trees with all white lights but in my house chaos reins with blasts of colored lights all over the tree, just like when I was growing up. My children, as much as they swore they'd do things different when they had their own houses, all do the same. Little bits of childhood traditions work their way into their lives. You should have seen Sara explaining the Dollar Dance, done at all her Minnesota cousins weddings, to the DJ who will be doing her wedding next month. Jim's family will expect it, my family & Brian's will be perplexed.

This how we get the melting pot of America - blending our regional and family traditions into something we call our own.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Monthly Deliveries

You see a quilt, love the quilt but can't imagine doing it all at once, you love to get packages in the mail that aren't ads, you want to learn a new technique, you love to quilt but dislike choosing fabrics . . . any of these descriptions apply to you? If so, you would love our block of the month programs!

Each month we mail out quite a few packages to quilters all over the US & beyond. (Mailing days are a little crazier than usual at QP!) These are our Block of the Month programs you can participate in:

APRONS!
A 1930's treat! 15 apron blocks, borders and binding will be included in this 12 month block of the month. Included in this block of the month will be the pattern & all the fabrics to complete the top + ric rac for details & pre-made bias binding for the binding! $25 for the first month and $15.95 for the next 11 months + shipping.












CRAZY QUILT!
Indulge your passion for gorgeous fabrics - velvets, silks, gorgeous cottons - and for embellishing - beads, crystals, fancy threads! Join us for a 12 month journey into fancy stitches, threads, fabrics and more! Learn new techniques like puffing, pintucks, bobbin work - all on your sewing machine. Choose from two colorways - jewel tones in blues, greens & purples or pastels in greens, creams, pinks & blues.


BACK TO NATURE

A new block of the month from A Wing & A Prayer! 96" x 106". You have your choice of TWO fabric ways - regular or batik! There are some color changes between the two block of the months but they are from the same pattern. The regular fabric will start in January of 2010 and the batik will start in February. $24.95 for the regular fabric and $26.95 for the batik. 12 months - includes patterns & all fabrics for the top, binding AND backing!



MAGICAL MINIS
starts March 2010
62" X 70" A scrappy mini! Each month you will receeve fabrics for eight 4" blocks and fabrics for the border. Included in this block of the month will be the patterns & all fabrics for the quilt top & binding. First month is $25 and then $14.95 per month for the next 11 months. $3 shipping per month in the US, actual shipping the last month when the fabric will be sent for the setting triangles.




BIRDS
64" x 76"
Twelve months.
Hand or machine applique. Info coming soon.
See one you like? Click here!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

To Massachusetts


I've been back & forth to Gloucester a couple of times this last month for a family emergency. Just when you have everything all planned out, life throws you some curves. I took the digital camera along and wished I'd taken the 35mm. A professional photographer I am not, but here are some pictures that remind me how absolutely stunningly beautiful Gloucester can be.




Friday - a storm is coming.













The Coast Guard is riding anchor in the outer harbor.

The white dots are gulls on the sheltered side of the rocks.



It drives natives crazy to ride around the backshore & have tourists pulled over to the side of the road . . . . that's why I took these shots out the window of the car!




Sunday - my sister-in-law Laurel and I went to breakfast & called my brother to see where he was - 16 minutes off the breakwater. Since the waves were breaking OVER the breakwater, I thought he was crazy. We headed up to Stage Fort Park to watch the Miss Carla head in. The tiny little dot off the end of the breakwater is my brother heading home.
Support commerical fisherman - eat fish!
Almost home - the lighthouse on the lefthand side is Ten Pound Island where Kathy Tobey & I used to row out to for picnic lunches & exploring.
Monday was a gorgeous day - blue skies, heavy surf. And more pictures taken by a used to be native in a car with NJ license plates driving the natives crazy!
Boston viewed from Niles Beach.
There were five of us constantly together in high school and our habit was to drive the backshore before heading home after a night out. Didn't matter what the weather was - we still drove that couple miles of road. We couldn't see the water, but you can feel it and I still drive it at least a couple times when I'm home.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

SPOOKTACULAR!

A few last minute words from Debbie (see the sunrise behind her??? IT WAS EARLY!) and then they were off!


















The QP Spooktacular Bus Tour was off and running early Friday morning Oct 30th. Three states, five shops, two hotels, lots of miles, a comfortable bus, good company - what more could you ask for????

So they shopped . . . .

and they shopped some more.













This is Mary, Jim's sister. Yes, her hubby plays golf and yes she shops!



And they ate . . .












They watched demos.
And they somehow ended up at Chocolate World (where Aleta brought me home a present!).




















They stopped to stretch their legs every couple of hours.









And the third day they were home again - still smiling & ready to go again they told me!
A good time was had by all.




Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Smoky Mountains Trip - Not

Sunday was Jim's 60th birthday so early Thursday morning we flew to Nashville for a four day Smoky Mountains trip - with some Dollywood thrown in! We found out my Mom had a stroke as we were walking to get the rental car, so we turned around and headed back to the Continental counter to see if we could get to Boston. Much thanks to the two counter attendants & supervisor on duty at the Continental counter in Nashville last Thursday! After hearing our problem, they switched us onto the next flight to Boston, which went back through Newark. Yes, you can fly to Nashville and back in about 5 hours!



Good Harbor Beach from the backshore in Gloucester.










My Mom is now in rehab in Salem undergoing speech therapy. The stoke has affected her ability to say what she wants and needless to say, frustrated is not a thorough enough word to describe how she feels! In two weeks or so, she'll come here to stay for a bit. I wished I had had the camera to take a picture of the tourists having their picture taken in front of the Witches House in Salem Sunday afternoon! The whole way up there from Gloucester, my brother kept mumbling about going to Salem the week before Halloween (Halloween is an absolute ZOO in Salem!) Traffic wasn't bad and we didn't see anyone dressed up except for the woman hurrying to work in her pilgrim outfit - complete with the hat!


Just when you think life is sailing along and - oh, I'll go on vacation . . . . life throws you a curve.

So, Jim celebrated his birthday in Massachusetts instead of Pigeon Forge. He didn't get the train ride in Bryce City but did spend alot of time in the car going back and forth to the hospital and also on the ride home yesterday! We did get to do some fun things in between hospital visits.

Russo's Orchard in Ispwich has long been a fall trip for us. We took the kids there when they were small & Jim & I try to get there if we are home in the fall.



















Home made cider made on an antique press, and cider donuts made in front of your eyes, fall colors, GORGEOUS trees in full fall beauty, apples, pumpkins and a crisp, fall day . . . . heavenly!
And even though I can't get this mailbox picture to go where I want it to - here's another mailbox that cracks me up. It's out in front of the Evinrude dealer on the Essex Causeway.
Till next next time.