Monthly Archives: November 2013

origami ornaments

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

What a surprise this morning when I checked the thermometer before heading out on our daily constitutional with the canine companion. 14 degrees!! He got his sweater put on him, and I got out my Nanook of the North hat! Thank Goodness the wind was calm, or we would not have gone far at all. As it was we only traveled around 3 blocks as my fingertips were protesting, even though they were encased in mittens rather than gloves. I think while I’m out and about doing some holiday shopping, I’m going to get some new outerwear for myself.

I’ve been looking for some nice fabric origami ornaments to make for this year. Found this great idea.  (click here) I’m going to test this out with paper first, but I love the look of her samples. Just replace her word “hexagon” with the correct word “pentagon” as you read her description. The video she links to is very good and clear. I’m not certain how ornery the fabric will be in all those folds.

This is a link (click here) to a different fabric origami ornament I have made in the past-very easy, particularly if you own a 60 degree triangle ruler to cut out your equilateral triangles. Honestly, very simple. Scroll down in the linked post to the directions using a fabric triangle rather than a hexagon. Very fast and surprisingly lovely for being so easy.

Today I plan to do some papercrafting, rather than sewing.  Got to get going on my Christmas cards and the small gifts for the hairdresser, cleaning lady, etc. What are you up to today?

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candy winners

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Finally awarded the 40,000 visitor blog candy prizes at last night’s guild meeting. Thanks so much to all of our readers, with special thanks to those who comment. Marija and I appreciate the support you show for this blog, whether you’re lurking or commenting. Here’s to many more visitors.

All of those who commented from the entry announcing the blog candy until yesterday’s entry had their names put in a random drawing. The more times an individual commented, the more times they were entered into the drawing. We drew 7 names for “basic prizes”–Roxanne, Karen G, Sue K, Mary D, Kathy T, JoAnne C, and Sue K (who won a 2nd time). All names were then returned to “the hat” and one name was drawn for the grand prize–Jane B. Hope you all will enjoy your prizes and keep those comments coming please. It’s more like a conversation, than a monologue when you comment.

Still thinking how I could celebrate my milestone of 200 posts here. Any ideas?

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Stitched snowflakes

Good morning all, Mary Ellen here.

Coffee in hand, cruising some blogs. My favorite morning routine. Soon to go up to the sewing room.

I’m still looking around for some easy handmade holiday gifts and fun. When I want classy rather than cutesy, I often will visit the Purl Bee site. I first found it as a knitting site, but they have lovely patchwork crafts too. Someday I’m going to go to NYC to visit the actual store; I think I’ll have to allot an entire day for browsing!

First off, I have a few of the Edyta Sitar snowflake silhouettes left after finishing another project. The pattern for that project includes an ornament idea in it that just doesn’t feel quite right. I’m going to adapt this idea from PurlBee (click here) and use up some felted wool scraps.  I’m think two layers of wool plus the fused silhouette, add some stitching and good to go. This is going to be an experiment, as I’m not certain that it will be firm enough to hang and not droop. If it does, I have an idea for firming it up. Will report back!

See you at the guild meeting tonight?!

Of course I looked around at other things while at PurlBee (virtually) and love, love, love this knitted stocking. I have a collection of Christmas stockings that I have made, that have been gifts, and one or two were purchased. I may have to add this one (click here). If I don’t make the stocking, I’ll still try out this stitch for a scarf or something. It is so simple looking, lovely and classic. Seems very Irish to me. Would require some beautiful (read pricey) yarn to maximize the loveliness!

Off to the sewing room–packaging the blog candy up and then sitting down to stitch.


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Oh, so cute!

Hello again, ME back.

Still cruising the blogs this morning over coffee and came across this adorable decoration idea. So, okay, it’s not sewing but I still think some of you are going to love these yarn covered letters. Click here.

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Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

I’m back at the sewing machine in earnest now. The yard work is done, and the machine is back from its tune up. I hate sending it away, but it does make a difference in its performance and sound. Working on a Christmas table runner from an Edyta Sitar pattern, and a springy wall hanging that is a sample for a class I will be teaching in April.

Was cruising some of my favorite sewing blogs this morning and came across these cool pattern weights. At least that’s what the designer had in mind for them, but I can see some other uses as well. I love their shape and when she used the correct mathematical term for them in her directions I was sold. Tetrahedrons–yep. You can take the girl out of the classroom but I still like to call things by their correct name. These make such a great arrangement in her photo. Great gift idea for a sewing friend. Click here.

I found those weights from links at the Sew, Mama, Sew annual Handmade Holidays blog entries. Every year in November at Sew, Mama, Sew there is a round-up of links to cool things to make. They categorize them nicely and I find them very inspiring for year round–not just holiday–projects. Definitely you should check them out if you are looking for some gift ideas. Most of the links are to free patterns, a few are reviews of patterns on the market. Even if you’re not going to make a lot of handmade gifts this Christmas season but  you enjoy “making stuff”, I think you’ll enjoy the visit.

Awarding blog candy at tomorrow night’s guild meeting celebrating our 40,000 visitor milestone. I, personally, have reached a blog milestone too. This is my 200th entry at this blog. Boy I do run on, don’t I? I’m thinking up a way to celebrate that too, so stay tuned.

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Got a nickel?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

I thought after working outdoors almost all day yesterday that my yard work was finished for this season. Nope. When I opened the shades this morning, more leaves have appeared. While most of the trees in the neighborhood are bare, apparently a few are still holding on. I knew about the willow in the yard behind me which holds its leaves through the winter even. But where did these maple leaves come from? Maybe the winds today and tonight will take them away for me. I can only hope.

If you’ve been a quilter for awhile, you’ll remember the nickel quilt rage. Before Moda grabbed the concept and started putting out precut charm packs, we used to cut our own 5 inch squares. (Five inch : 5 cents, hence nickel… for the newbies) Pat Speth put out several books that were ever so popular around this concept of using 5 inch squares. I own 2 of them I think. Our Linda Hunter did classes on ideas for 5 inch squares. Once the pre-cuts became available the idea became a mainstream thing. Pat Speth is back, quilters. She is now blogging and giving some new ideas for using your 5 inch squares. I love this idea of “Deli Geese”. Watch this video (click here) for an introduction. I’m going to subscribe to her blog so I can see her 365 block ideas that she refer to in this clip. Love to see an oldie but goodies idea get freshened up. I think this is one of those “why didn’t I think of that?” ideas.


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yoogly fabric

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

We all have some. Yoogly fabric I mean.What is it? Say it out loud a couple of times and I think you’ll get it. I have quite a bit of it actually–yoogly by other people’s standards especially. For a while after I retired I made custom eye spy quilts. They each had pictures to correspond to every letter in the alphabet. In order to do that, and be able to make “boy” eye spies and “girl” eye spies, I collected novelty fabrics galore. Some of which, when standing alone, are darn yoogly. But I think “yoogly” is in the eye of the beholder. Most of them I prefer to call quirky. This post  (click here) from Quiltmaker talks about a yoogly fabric swap. That might be a fun thing to do if the limits were kind of free and easy. There is a quilt made by one of our former seminar instructors, Anita Grossman Solomon, featured in the post. Her quilt made of  yooglies isn’t very yoogly at all.

Let me share an anecdote from very early in my membership in the guild. A workshop was to be presented by the folks of The Quilt Bus on how to use your ugly fabrics. I signed up and very busily went about gathered the supplies required. This was going to be my very first workshop given by the guild and I wanted to be well prepared. We were to bring a supply of ugly fabrics and I definitely fulfilled the requirements. I had cow fabric, flamingo fabric and some god-awful plaids. On the day of the workshop I was astounded. I was the only one who brought ugly fabric I thought. I began to wonder how I could have misunderstood the directions so badly. Well as the day went on, and I listened in on conversations among the other members of the class, I discovered they thought they had brought ugly fabric too, but our definitions were very different. The definition that most of them were working from was that ugly means fabric out of your usual palette—like pink floral when you usually buy Civil War repros, or Jinny Beyer fabrics when you really prefer Kaffe Fassett. I thought ugly meant UGLY! I wish the instructor had held an informal contest for the absolute ugliest fabrics in the room. I know mine would have won the grand prize by anyone’s standard. It’s too bad those blocks made that day are long gone, or I would share a photo or two just for the fun.

What’s the ugliest fabric you own?

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Christmas crafting and whatnot

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Ever since I was a girl the approach of the holidays has meant crafting. I mean crafting in high gear, not the relaxed now and then crafting that goes on year round. I’m talking assembly line, 10 or 12 at a time kind of crafting. We would make ornaments for the tree, wreaths for the doors, and gifts for everybody-neighbors, friends, teachers, the mailman, etc., etc., etc. I still approach the holidays with the same crafty spirit. It’s part of the fun for me-the making of the craft as much as the giving. Right now I’m looking for pre-made muslin bags for some homemade lavender sachet. I’ll have to decorate the bags in some way…I suppose I could make my own bags as well, but there is a limit!

I like to make my own Christmas cards too.  Here’s a clever idea for using some of your scraps to make retro looking (which makes it modern these days) holiday trees on your cards. Great for your quilty buddies. click here. It certainly would be easy enough to change the outline to other simple shapes like bells, holly, ornaments so that you could have some variety in your cards. I think this would be a fun project for the kids to help with.

Karen G., a member of our guild, has had one of her landscape quilts posted on the website of Karen Eckmeier. Check it out here.

What are you up to in your holiday craft room?


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Wednesday’s Wanderings…to Market again!

Hi everyone,

as I wonder around cyber-space and blogosphere, everything still buzzes about the recent Quilt Market in Houston – what was most popular, what was fun, eye-candy…anything. So I thought you would want to know too!

Here is one from Moda fabric, they talk about how it all comes together for the big show – see it HERE . But keep scrolling down, there is more in previous posts!

One of the leading modern quilters, Victoria Findley-Wolfe gives a simple slide show from the Festival (eye-candy!) HERE

Speaking of eye-candy, I was so taken by this wonderful video, made by Alex Anderson, about the special exhibit of Libby Lehman’s quilts. Many of you know Libby’s work and hopefully you even took a class with Libby when she was our Seminar teacher (that was my second time and loved it all!). She is an amazing artist and a very good teacher and unfortunately, she suffered a very severe stroke recently, but is recovering well. This exhibit was a way to honor and support Libby and it is breathtaking! You can see it HERE

Another artist I love and follow is long-arm quilter and fabric designer, Angela Walters>

Angelas quiltIsn’t this a very unusual quilt? Wholecloth? Applique? All of the above? Or as Angela calls it “quilt it up, cut it up” ! Like it or not, you will love reading abouth it, trust me! I think I want to try something like that… See it HERE

If you follow and like new, modern designers and fabrics, you likely know about Hawthorne Threads site. They too have amazing re-cap of Quilt Market, even devided by designers…So see what’s new from Anna Maria Horner   Amy Butler  Denyse Schmidt or one and only, Tula Pink

What are your feelings on all the modern design, fabric and style? Like it, not, so-so? Are you intrigued? Please chat with us here – leave a comment!

I am so very intrigued and actually very inspired! I can’t say that ALL of it speaks to me, and just because it is “modern” or “in” right now doesn’t mean it is ALL good, but it IS the future of our beloved art of quilting and the mere fact that there is so many new, young designers, quilters and makers out there is pure joy to me! How about you?

Speaking of joy – I had a moment of it, just yesterday morning! You know how one gets into a routine, get up, go to work, hurry..hurry… I do the same lots of times but also lately, I try to pay attention. Pay attention to beauty around me, colors, sounds, little things…Of course when autumn colors are ablaze, sun is shining, (even if it is chilly), and sky is amazingly blue, it is not difficult to do that. But yesterday morning – I really stopped, right as I was walking from the parking lot to my work building – I stopped to look a bit closely and even take photos! It didn’t take a long time, I wasn’t late nor did I miss anything because I didn’t hurry, hurry…I just got a moment of joy.

So here is is my friends, sharing my photos with you:


This combination of golds, bright sky-blue and almost black tree bark is just beautiful…

???????????????????????????????Sometimes fall greens are even more bright than spring ones!

???????????????????????????????This is not an evergreen that is dying, it is one that looses needles every winter – isn’t this color amazing?

???????????????????????????????Even my work building looks amazing! 🙂 An abstract quilt, right there…

???????????????????????????????Love the yule bush and its fruit!

???????????????????????????????Hmmm….another great looking botanical structure… 🙂

???????????????????????????????And just look at the texture of this grass – how can you not smile at all this beauty! SMILE! 🙂

Wishing you lots of small moment of joy,



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What’s Up with Me…

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Been playing catch up lately. First, do you remember that I announced a run for some blog candy after we hit out 40,000 visitor milestone? I bet some of you thought I forgot all about it. I didn’t forget, but I did put it on the back burner for a while. I have since counted up how many comments have been made since I threw down the gauntlet and will shortly be announcing the winners. I plan to award the prizes at our November guild meeting. Thanks to all who have commented; please keep it up. It’s an incentive to me to keep posting when I know some one is reading.

I keep a little notebook of quilting ideas for “out of the ditch” quilting done with a walking foot. I love the chevron quilting on the quilt here. I’ll be adding this one to the notebook. If you’ve taken my class or we’ve talked about this idea, maybe you’ll want to add this one to your idea file too. I’m looking forward to seeing this quilter’s upcoming book. Seems like she has some fresh designs for precuts that might be fun to try.

Over at our Marija’s snowman attic window quilt is featured today. They’re calling it the top HOT quilt for winter! I didn’t know it was hers until I clicked on the pattern link to see the method used for the attic windows. If you haven’t seen this done before, this is a great way to use some of your collection of panel prints. I’m always tempted by the lovely panel prints that seem to come out in droves around this time of year. Probably because they can be the basis for easy gifts for the holidays. Go have a look at Marija’s idea. Click here.

And what else have I been doing? Leaves, leaves, and more leaves. They’re lovely in the spring and summer but now that my Snyder neighborhood is shedding it’s green canopy, they’re everywhere in large quantities. The silver maples are still holding on, so it won’t be over for some time yet!


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