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January 7, 2014

it’s back…

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Just finished watching the last bit of Downton Abbey’s first episode of season 4. Won’t say too much specifically since some of you fans might not have seen it yet. Several interesting developments-planting seeds for new story lines obviously. I will say that the dowager was surprisingly nice-for her, I thought. Have you seen the fabric lines inspired by the ladies of Downton? When they began to appear in ads in magazines, I was not impressed at all. Too dull in color for my taste. But now that they are appearing in stores, and I’m seeing a few projects made with the fabric, I’m starting to change my mind. Here’s a link to the photos over at Andover fabrics, with free project plans. What do you think? The purples hint at the Pantone color of the year, just muted down a bit. (Radiant Orchid images) […]
January 5, 2014

resolutions

Hello all, Mary Ellen back. It is amazing when I say 2014 out loud. How can I be this old?! I was reminiscing with a friend about a football party when the Bills came back from behind to the great enjoyment of the crowd and the consternation of the dogs in the room. I ended up with a Doberman in my lap who was very upset by all the shouting! Twenty one years ago! How can that be?! Yikes! Anyway, back to resolutions. Are you like me, resolving every year to work on your UFO stash? (Don’t tell me that you’re one of those quilters who has no UFOs because you always finish a project before moving on to the next one!) I want to actually do something about some of my UFOs this year instead of my usual tactic of just shuffling them. A few days ago I was […]
December 23, 2013

2014 color of the year

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Well, it looks like I have to buy some fabric. Such a hardship, but I have nothing in this shade in my stash. Can’t have that! How about you-do you own any “Radiant Orchid”?  (click here) We’ll be seeing this everywhere–just watch. What will appear first at your house? A sweater, a tee-shirt, or some packaging, or towels, or nail polish, or … even a quilt! Or are you ahead of the curve and already have some of this color living at your house?
December 10, 2013

Christmas crafting

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. How have you been? I’ve been AWOL for a while-busy with Christmas preparations. I’m sure you all understand. One of the things I’ve been up to involves Mod Podge. Yes that goopy stuff from the old decoupage crafting craze is still around and going strong. It’s quite amazing what you can get to stick with it. Did you know there is a Mod Podge made especially for fabric? Me either. I found this review (click here) by accident at the site for Craft Test Dummies. After reading what it has to say about the improvement in the fabric texture, I think I will check out whether any of our local big box stores, with my 40% off coupon, have any of the fabric Mod Podge in stock. I do quite a bit of crafting with fabric–making fabric flowers and embellishments in particular—and if it performs […]
November 24, 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 […]
November 21, 2013

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, […]
November 20, 2013

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.
November 20, 2013

Tetra-what?

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 […]
November 17, 2013

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 […]
November 12, 2013

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 […]