Friday, April 30

OPAM finishes and a cup of tea...

First things first......I've done really well on my proposed "finishes" since I signed on to the OPAM challenge but...........this month I didn't quite get to it. That's right I thought I could get the binding done on my pink and green quilt but I didn't so that will have to wait til next week which means it will be a finish for May. :-) However, I did put a finish on a wool needlecase that I started in January. It was a wooly version of the cotton needlecase that I gave away during the One World One Heart Giveaway (click here to see it). I had some "issues" with my wool version and it became necessary to set it aside for a bit. :-) I was pleased when I finally got it done and it looked like I pictured it in my mind!

It opens like a book and can hold lots of packs of needles, scissors, a notepad, etc. The wool I used is the white wool that I ordered from Amana Woolens and then my grandson and I painted it with Soleil Fabric paints. Inside I used cotton fabrics. Maybe one day, I'll do a pattern or a tutorial on this. In the meantime, I just plan to put it to good use!

I also finished three tulip tea towels I started in March. The first finish was this pink woolfelt one on the left. The pink towel is much prettier than what it looks on my green cutting mat. It did something funny to the colors but I didn't have time to re-take. I finished it up at my Wooly Wednesday class a couple of weeks ago and wanted to leave it as a sample for the quilt shop - Firefly . Then this past Wednesday, I finished these two.........the one on the left is woolfelt and the one on the right is wool. When I finished the stitches on the white tulip, I decided I needed a cup of tea.....oh, and something sweet to eat. Just click here to visit Tea and Stitches where you will find the pattern for the pink tulips. Enjoy!

It's been a really busy week and it's not done yet! I have wonderful, colorful photos of more flowers that will surely inspire you to garden.... or make a quilt.... or paint a picture.... or something creative! I'll share them on Saturday so be sure to stop by. That's all for now.

Have a really great day!


Thursday, April 29

Winning a handbag, sharing the JOY!

You may have noticed that on my sidebar, there is a button that says "I won a handbag at April Cornell". I learned about April's blog and giveaway from Pat Sloan when she posted about it in her Quilt Mash Up group (go here for her blog). She posted the link to April's blog and said "wouldn't it be fun if someone in the group won!?!" Well, yes it would, and yes I did! I could hardly believe it when I received the e-mail titled....."April Cornell Handbag Giveaway Winner!" I replied with thanks to April's e-mail and then followed that up with thanks to Pat for sending me to April's blog. :-) Then I went to April's website and chose a bag. It was not easy as there were so many to chose from but I selected the Madeline bag that you see here............
I had to do some work to earn my chance for this bag. Yes, there was a question that April posed to entrants and it required thinking! She asked if we had a "Magic Purse, a bag where all of your life is stored?" As a matter of fact, like so many women, the answer is yes! :-) And then she asked, "Tell me what is in your magic purse that tells your tale?" Well, I was in luck because only days before I had cleaned my purse and had written down the entire contents of what was in it. I did it for "a purpose" which I'll tell you about in a minute...but is what I wrote in my answer to her questions........
"My purse isn't very large but I manage to fill it with everything I need and then some. :-) Here's what was in it last week. I cleaned my purse then because it was too full of stuff!! As I did it, I wrote down everything that was in it. That comes in handy for this little giveaway but I had reason for doing it that has to do with a volunteer project coming up in April. In the meantime, I am happy to share what was in my purse. :-) There were 2 tubes of lipstick, a toothbrush and toothpaste from an airline kit, chapstick, emergency earrings (I hate it if I forget to put in pierced earrings), a little bag with nailfile and clippers and cover stick with a mirror and another little case with dental floss and glasses cleaner. There is a watch necklace from my Grandma that needs a battery (been in my purse for a year) and 2 AA batteries (not sure why?). Next there were five ink pens, my favorite mechanical pencil and a fine line permanent marker, my personal checkbook, my business checkbook, business card holder (empty!), post-it pad, mini calculator, glue stick, tiny bottle of Tacky glue, a Magic rub eraser, and my petite Stanley tape measure (comes in very handy on trips to Menards for supplies). One of the purse pockets held a pile of receipts and out-of-date coupons at least an inch thick and another large pocket contained the last church bulletin, the women's guild program booklet, a brochure for donating to the food shelf, a brochure on a quilt appraiser, and an envelope with some of my poems and favorite hymns in case I forget them when doing a program or solo. At the bottom was a 1/2 pack of gum, 1/2 pack of cough drops, a tin of mints and a container of aspirin, Tylenol and Ibuprofen. Oh, and there was a comb, too. I got a headache just looking at all that stuff. So that is what WAS in my purse. I cleaned, sorted and tossed what wasn't needed and put back only 2/3rds of what I just listed. Feels so good when you have a clean purse. I kind of have a "thing" for purses and would love to win your handbag! "
April said that she enjoyed reading this list of what was in my purse and could see me as I unpacked it all. In our e-mail exchange, I told her about a purse donation project that I'd done in the past and that I wanted to share about again. I asked if she would mind if I combined winning her handbag with info on my volunteer project. No problem, plus she said she would send an additional bag to donate to the project. This is the Market bag she sent...........
Sooooooooo, what is the project? I call it "Bags with a Purpose". In 2004, with help from my friends (both quilters and non-quilters) we collected handbags and totebags to donate to the local women's shelter and that's where the idea for this project was born. Why do this? It's simple........think about it........if you had to leave your house in the middle of the night, for whatever reason, what is one of the most important things a woman needs? Her purse. It contains all the important "stuff" she wants to have at her disposal at a moment's notice. Her driver's license is there and money and credit cards and keys and more. Without it, you are lost. But what if you are separated from your purse? When you scramble out of the house due to fire or flood or crisis, sometimes you just go and don't worry about what was left behind. My husband and I lived in Biloxi, Mississippi when Hurricane Camille struck and I remember that we took just a few important items as we left our beachside apartment complex........and my purse was one of them! When watching the footage of Hurricane Katrina, I remember seeing a couple holding hands as they walked through waist-high water. Hanging around the woman's neck was her purse! I thought ..... "this shows how important a purse can be!" After a disaster, if you have your purse, you have identification and can prove who you are and where you live. Without it, things take so much longer. So, if you find yourself in a "must leave" situation, be sure to grab your purse!
Now, with all that said, here is where you can help. You may have a purse in your closet that you've never used. Take it out and then fill it with the things you wouldn't want to be without in an emergency. That list I made when I cleaned my purse, helped remind me what should go in the bags. The items in the photo below are examples of what one might put in a bag.........
Now, if there is no purse in your closet, look for a good buy on clearance the next time you are out shopping.....or stitch up a cute totebag with lots of pockets! Then take the purse or totebag to a nearby women's shelter, homeless shelter, etc. You will feel really good knowing that someone else will benefit from just a few moments of your time and a little expense. They say "actions speak louder than words" so ........ I started this post by telling you I had won that handbag at April's blog. It's a lovely handbag but after thinking on it a bit, I realized someone else might really enjoy it. I have a handbag, several, in fact, so I didn't want to be greedy. I asked April if it would be okay if I gave the Madeline bag to the shelter and I would keep the Market bag instead. She said whatever I chose to do would be just fine. Someone who is really in need will really love to recieve that bag and all the items that I have filled it with!
I have a definite purpose for that Market will be my bag that I'll be using to shop for items that will go in the purses/totebags that I'll donate. I've challenged myself and plan to donate a filled bag once a month (I have two locations where I will deliver my donations). The Market bag will remind me of April's generosity in her giveaway and that I must keep on........sharing the Joy!
I hope you will consider doing this project......even if you only do it once! Sometimes just one thing is all it takes to make a difference in someone else's life! Get your friends involved and you could deliver several purses to a shelter or relief center. If you want to share a purse and have no location nearby that will take your donations, you can send them to me as I have more than a couple of sites that will welcome them. Just send me an e-mail (click on the About Me on the Sidebar for my e-mail address). And for those who live near-by, just drop them off or give to me the next time we meet. :-) Edit: I've been asked if bags can be sent along with some cash to purchase items to fill them and, yes, that would be lovely. :-) Also, for privacy reasons, I did not name the two places that I will be taking the purses to but if you wish to know, e-mail me privately.
One last little note........In addition to cleaning my purse that day, I also decided to sort the purses that were on my closet shelf. I set a couple of them aside that I've never used and will donate those, too. But, there are some that I just can't part with because of sentimental value. I told myself no one would want them anyway. Then I realized that many of them are now what we call "vintage". LOL! This is my oldest purse that has that "sentimental value". My husband brought it to me after a trip to the Philippines (military) in 1970. I may never carry it again but I see it and I remember good times. We were fortunate when we left our apartment prior to Hurricane Camille. Not everyone is.
In 2008, several of my friends nearby and my blog readers overwhelmed me with their generosity when you all donated totebags and quilts and more for Iowa flood victims (go here to see a summary of all that was donated) . I hope you don't mind that I am again asking you to help a cause. I always believe that it never hurts to ask for help.
Here's hoping you all have a great day!
P.S. I chose to share about this project in April because it is Volunteer Appreciation Month. Don't you think that it's interesting that the purse I won that inspired this post was given to me by someone named April?!!! And not only that but I learned a couple of days ago, that it was April's birthday this week (she's celebrating here ). Happy Birthday, April!

Wednesday, April 28

May Basket Fun!!!

May Day is coming up this Saturday so last night, I was busy making a special May basket that I will deliver to a special someone! Did you make May baskets when you were a kid? I did and it was such a fun tradition. My mother would help us make our little baskets from paper cups trimmed in crepe paper and bits of lace and trims. Then they were filled with candy and we took them to our friends. The custom was to leave the basket hanging on the doorknob, then knock and run and hide. If the friend opened the door and saw you, they were to run after you and give you a kiss. I had a certain little boy that I always hoped would run after me, but it was his mother who would answer the door. Ah, young love. :-)
This is the special May basket that I made last night. It's easy to make and so I've added a tutorial for those of you who might want to give a special friend a little May Day treat! The tutorial follows but first let me show you some examples of similar baskets so that you can gather some ideas to make your own creation. I should tell you that I think I never grew up. I'm 60 years old and still enjoy the traditions that I knew as a child. I've always loved any holiday or occasion to celebrate and was always making projects with my kids and the neighbor kids. Glitter was a permanent fixture that was waxed into our kitchen floor! We covered all the holidays and crafts.........Valentines, puppets, rock painting, nature crafts, Halloween projects, Christmas ornaments, and May baskets! I might run out of bread and milk but I always had craft supplies on hand! When my own kids grew up, I started teaching kids classes in our community education program and at the library.

I taught the kids how to make simple May baskets like the cone shapes above. I cut a circle of construction paper then covered it with a doily and decorated it with a bit of glitter, a sticker and ribbons.

In the photo above I scalloped the edges of this basket by cutting around a white doily glued to construction paper, then added the purple flower doily, and glitter ....... of course!
Here again, it's just a paper doily glued to blue construction paper and then I glued a pretty angel sticker on the back.........and I really had fun with the glitter on this one!

If you double-click on the photo on the right, you can see a close-up of the angel. Here's how I did the border around her. I was using glitter glue that comes in a squeeze bottle. First, I placed a row of pink glitter around the angel. Then I added a wider blue rim of glitter and then the purple rim of glitter. Next, I took a toothpick and beginning with the pink rim, I pulled the toothpick out to the purple rim and beyond to get the points you see around the angel. I managed to do it fairly evenly and really liked the effect. :-)
Last year, I made a couple of cloth covered May baskets. I added a tiny heart and a special button to this lace trimmed creation.
And for this yellow one, I fussy cut some little blue flowers from fabric and then fused them to the yellow fabric circle and trimmed it with some pretty gold loop trim.

I keep these around just for decoration and as samples when I'm teaching a class. The old tradition of May baskets called for real flowers in the baskets but I don't have any growing in my yard so sweet candies are all you'll find in my May baskets. And every time I make one, I think of the little boy who never answered the door and so I never got that kiss! LOL!!
Now if you want to make one of your own for you or a friend, just read on and I'll tell you exactly how you can do it!

Making a May Basket - Part I

You may have many of these supplies on hand but here is what you will need to make a May Basket similar to the one in my previous post.
You will need:
One piece of construction paper
A pencil and/or pen for marking
A luncheon plate or bowl for making the circle
A ruler
Glue - I prefer Tacky
Rubber band and binder clips
Heat-n-Bond Lite
Pretty fabric
Pretty trims
And now you are ready to go.......but first......skim over the photos to see what you will be doing and then come back and begin the project. Read the directions carefully.

Begin by placing your bowl or plate on the construction paper. Trace around it to make a circle. With your ruler, mark two strips that are 3/4" wide and the width of the paper that will be used for the handle.

Cut out the circle and the handle strip as shown. At this time, do not cut the handle into two strips!
Place the strip and the circle on your chosen fabric and cut a section of fabric as shown in the photo below.
The next step will be to fuse the fabric to the paper pieces. Cut a piece of Heat-n-Bond Lite the same size as your fabric piece. See below.

Iron the fusible to the fabric per package directions.

In the photo above, the fabric has been fused. Do not remove the paper backing yet. You are ready to trace the handle strip and circle to the reverse side of the fused fabric piece.

In the photo above, the pieces have been traced and are ready to be cut out. Set the handle pieces aside. We will work on the basket shape first.

With your circle cut out, you can now peel away the paper backing and iron the fabric circle to the construction paper circle per directions on fusible package.

The next step is to glue the trim or rick rack around the edge of your circle. You can see that I placed a fine line of Tacky glue around the edge of the circle. I do this a small section at a time until it is...... finished!

Time to take a break while you let the glue dry on this a bit. You can also heat set it with your iron. Do so very carefully. You might want to cover with a piece of muslin when doing this. Fix yourself a cup of tea or coffee, have a soda or a cookie, then come back and continue making your basket!

Making a May Basket! - Part II

Hope you had a nice little break. Now we're ready to finish the basket/cone shape. I roll the shape first to see how I want it to look. You can adjust the shape of the basket/cone by rolling it tighter for a narrower look and loosely for a fuller look. I'm sort of "in-between" on this one.

Holding the cone in one hand, place glue on the inside flap as shown in the photo below.

Then place glue along the outer edge as shown in this photo...........

Use a rubber band to hold the point at the bottom of the basket/cone and use a small binder clip to secure the top part. You can use a hot glue gun on this part if you wish. I just happen to prefer Tacky glue.
Now it's time to make the handle. Press the fusible fabric strip to the strip of construction paper , making sure that the center line is visible so that you may cut the strip in half. Follow the package directions on the Heat-n-Bond when fusing the fabric to the paper.

When the fabric is fused to the paper strip, you can now cut the two strips on the center line.

Spread the Tacky glue on the paper side of one strip. Then press strips together so that you will see fabric on both sides of your handle. Pressing with a warm iron speeds the setting time.

Next, glue the rick rack or other trim along the handle edges. A narrow strip of Tacky is all that's needed to secure the rick rack. Let the handle dry for about 30 minutes before attaching to the basket/cone shape.

Apply a generous amount of Tacky glue to each end of the handle and glue in place. Use the binder clips to hold the handle in place while the glue dries. You can add a ribbon, buttons, any other embellishments that you wish that will make your little May basket festive. I added a cute little ladybug button and a pretty yellow bow to this one. The person who will receive this loves ladybugs!

It's all finished and ready for some candy or flowers. I'm thinking I'll put a little bit of both in this one. I may buy some flowers and then tuck in something sweet, too. Hope you enjoyed this and that you will make a pretty May basket for you or for someone special!!

Monday, April 26

"What's on the line?"

Well, it was just a bit windy when I took my little quilt out to the clothesline on Friday afternoon. It was to be a rainy weekend so I thought I better take my picture before the rain set in. I failed to take into account .......... that it was very windy out! I was prepared to wait until just the right moment when the wind died down and I would snap my picture. Unfortunately, the wind kept doing this.........
The little quilt practically wrapped itself around the clothesline and then slowly worked it's way down......almost a good shot.........and then.........
Up it would go, and then higher and it stayed straight out for several seconds!!!
Then finally, I could feel the wind calm a bit and the quilt began to settle and it was looking good.......
and this was the best I could do. I decided the wind was winning and this photo was good enough! I took the quilt off the line and layed it in the grass so you can see it.........
I call it "Spring Basket" and it's one of twelve small wall quilts that I made in 2000 to celebrate the Millennium. I designed and made one for each month of the year and taught the quilts as classes in our community education program. This was one of my favorites as I love tulips. It's just done with fusible and then I used a fine line of those acrylic puffy paints to outline the basket and tulips. Then I did some handquilting to outline the basket of flowers. I added the fluffy bow "just because I liked it". :-) The border fabric made me think of Turkish designs. I felt it was the perfect touch to a quilt that featured tulips as tulips are featured in so many Turkish designs!
If you want to see some photos of really lovely tulips in Turkey, then I recommend that you visit Nihal's blog where you will find five days of tulip photos........just click here and you'll be there! If you'd like to read a little history on tulips, you'll find this site "Tulips in Holland" is very interesting......just click here. And if you really want to read about tulips, here's a book that I have enjoyed reading......... TheTulip by Anna Pavord. It's everything you ever wanted to know about tulips!!!
Many of you probably have tulips growing in your own gardens. I used to have tulips at our previous home but we haven't done any plants yet at this house. Maybe next spring. And there will definitely be lots of tulips! Interestingly, I've been fortunate enough to see tulips in Holland and yet, I've never been to Pella, Iowa to see the tulips and I grew up in Iowa! I'm hoping to visit next spring but if you are nearby and want to know about their annual festival, just click here and you'll learn all about Pella's Tulip Time Festival.
So, don't worry about the laundry today........just think tulips.....plant some or read about them......or better yet find a garden and check some out in person!

Friday, April 23

Sharing my quilting legacy.......

That's me in the photo below. You probably already knew that. :-) The photo was taken last Thursday evening before I presented my program on my quilts to the Home Study Group which is a County Extension program. I loved doing the quilt program that night. It was especially enjoyable because I was in 4-H and County Extension was synomous to County Fair when I was growing up and it still is. The quilts, stories and poems that I shared just seemed to fit together nicely and the women who attended the banquet - oh, and one guy, the Sibley County Extension Educator, Tim Dolan - seemed to really enjoy it all.
We had a really good meal but the angel food desserts were the best. :-) Sue Bentz from the Extension office and Mary Ann Harder had decorated the tables with table runners made by group members. Then Sylvia added a special touch to the bedding plants by making feedsack fabric covers for all the centerpieces that became doorprizes. I won pansies and they are still alive (I don't have a green thumb). Everything looked so "Springy" and it was just a very enjoyable, relaxing evening!
The quilts that I shared are some of the same ones that I've shared here on my blog and some that I will be sharing on "What's on the line?" for Washday Mondays. What I have come to realize is that my stories, poems and quilts are unique because they tell my story and the story of women and friends in my family. I'm reminded of the movie "I Remember Mama" and the young girl who wants so badly to write and sell a popular novel. She works hard at writing but it's not until a well-known author passes along the advice to "write what you know" that the young girl finally succeeds in selling a novel. When you write "what you know", it's your story and it just comes naturally. It's that way with my blog. When I write what I know, it just comes naturally. And when I share my quilts, the stories "just come naturally". I love being able to do this and am enjoying so much this time in my life. Thanks, Sue, for inviting me and also to all the ladies who made me feel so welcome!
So, do I have a quilt ready for Monday's post? You bet I do! It was interesting, though, as I tried to take the pictures earlier today and it was soooooo windy. I think I got one that will do. It's raining outside now and is supposed to rain most of the day tomorrow and possibly on Sunday, too, so I knew I had to get that picture taken or else!
That's all for tonight. Looking forward to a relaxing weekend. Hope you all are, too!

Thursday, April 22

Tiptoeing through the tulips!

I love tulips. They are so vivid in color and and spring just isn't spring without them. They might be at their peak right now so I thought I'd better get some photos of them while I could. I took these photos in the gardens of the Stans House which is next door to the Stans Museum, home of the Scott County Historical Society.

Notice in this photo above, that it is also the season for dandelions. LOL!
I think that next to tulips in spring, I love crapapple trees next best. :-) I remember that there were several trees on the hillside in our backyard when I was a kid and I loved to go up and pick a bouquet. I came home after seeing these and told my husband we need to plant a flowering crabapple in our yard. This one in the photo above is huge and sits near the front of the Stans House.

Just a little background on the's the boyhood home of Maurice Stans who was former President Richard Nixon's Secretary of Commerce. The Stans Foundation was instrumental in establishing the museum and preserving the home.
Back to tiptoeing through the tulips.....

Have you ever noticed that tulips often "pop up" where they aren't supposed right in the middle of this hosta plant!

A whole flock of yellow tulips!............ My favorite were these pink tulips!

And then again, I really liked these red ones....

I loved the way the sun was shining on them.....

More yellow tulips, more sun......

Let's face it......

I just plain liked them all!! I'm hoping by next spring there will finally be some tulips that will bloom in our yard and I won't have to go far at all to tiptoe through the tulips!
Time to get out of the garden and talk quilting......tonight was our Scott County Crazy Quilter's meeting at the Stans Museum. There were only five of us there but we enjoyed chatting and stitching. Darlene, a new member brought a bit of "show 'n tell". She shared this cross-stitch quilt that she began several years ago (she's thinking sometime in the 70's). It is beautiful and is completely handquilted. She shared the quilt with us so we could give her some advice on how to bind it. She is determined to get the quilt finished. :-) There are a lot of hours in this quilt. I have a "thing for pink" and so I could see this in my pink bedroom. :-)
That's all for tonight. On Friday evening, I am finally going to post about the program I did last Thursday night for the County Extension Banquet. See you then!

"Peace can be found in the piecing of a quilt."
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