Leader Ender Modified! And Acrylic Pour Painting!

Two things about this post.  Originally the idea behind a leader ender quilt is to have pieces ready to be sewn next to your machine to prevent clipping/wasting extra thread, and to prevent the tangle of beginning sewing as you will always have something under presser foot preventing the birds nest (another thread/time waster and this may be a run on sentence ha).  I have scrapped the idea of leader ender for the Jewel Box Stars Flambe.  !

First of all,  logic behind this change, it is going so well that I am treating the play ball charm packs cut by the accuquilt as the leader ender, and am totally focused of Jewel Box Stars Flambé.  It is fast and furious and have come a long way since the 2nd when this was announced.

Secondly, I really liked the reds in the corner of the stars and thought what if I were to lay out the stars every other one with whites in the star points.  Perhaps I thought this would break up the pattern and you could actually see the star.  What do you think?

Every other star in this is white and red.  It looks nice on camera but in real life even squinting the stars get lost with all the colors and not so neutrals.  A lesson in value of fabric here.

So proceeding I will continue with every other star in white and then red.  I will be sashing these and am in search of ideas.  I would like to have randomness with the sashing but no so much piecing with the assembly.  I am also thinking of a wedge border, which would be beautiful, and I certainly have enough fabric.  We will see if I lose steam.  I have 24 sixteen inch block sewn, and will be making 5 more.

The true leader ender is now the fabric line called Play Ball.  I am working these like a row quilt, some will be like the ones pictured, some with be just hsts.  I really have no plan for this quilt just a lazy idea.  We will see where the lazy idea takes us.


Also above is another homemade jelly roll for a race one day.  It will go into the box ready for a flaming race one of these days.  You know I used to dread cutting and pressing fabric in the start of a project, but I am changing my mind on this.  It wasn’t the actual process that I dreaded it was the  lack of space.  I would iron, only to have to iron again and again.  Since my thrifty purchase of a wooden clothes dryer, I set a day aside to pull fabrics, starch and press them regardless of size.  Once perfectly crisp, I drape them over the rungs of the dryer, and that is where they stay until I pull them off to make cuts.  Strips are easily stored there as well, ready to be subcut.

I recently took a class on acrylic pouring.  What is acrylic pouring?  Google it, you will be amazed at the beautiful sedimentary designs this painting technique produces, and you could be 5 years old and have the same success as someone who is 100.  In other words, no skills required!  Click here to see a youtube video of this painting in action and directions/how to.

I snapped a photo indoors and though, geez, when I photograph a quilt, I take it outside so the color is true.

So here are photos of inside and outside.  I would be interested in selling or trading something for this painting if anyone is interested and totally smitten with it.  This painting will probably lead to another hobby.  Which is ok, as my dream is to create a canvas, and then create fabric from that most original design.


The funny thing about this painting, when you take a class, you are doing it somewhere else, so you have to make it home with it wet as wet can be.  They provided pizza boxes for transport.  As much paint was used in the making of this, it was puddled on top.  I did not pour it off the edges like some do, and so my flowers, taking a curve in the car, ran off the top edge.  My flowers turned to butterfly wings, which is not a bad thing at all.  (note all paint ran into the pizza box, so the car was fine, another note as old as my car is, it would have added something pretty to it I suppose).  I am still amazed gazing upon this painting at the little eddy currents that formed and then the sediments in the paints brought some to the surface as a lighter sediment.  Very earthlike, and very nature like too.

If you have any suggestions for sashing the Jewel Box Flambé drop me a note in the comments section.  And thank you for reading my blog!




Quilting on a featherweight

Some weeks bankrupt me of my sewing energy.  I have struggled with this week.  My quilting machine is in prison right now (safe in a cool place waiting to have FMQ demonstrated for a demo), I really wanted to quilt.  So I tried out the featherweight.  It worked!

New machines vs old machines.  For those of you lucky enough to have new sewing machine technology and old technology you can get vast differences, while quilting.  The reason?  Old machines did a regular stitch.  All the new machines produce an over lock regular stitch.  What is an over lock stitch?  It means the threads will stretch with the fabric when you stretch it.  With the invent of polyesters and jersey knit, most modern machines accomplish sewing these items perfectly.

These same newer machines, when free motion quilting with them, are electronic and try to over compensate with the over lock stitch which has given all us quilters problems of some type.

The first thing I tried with my featherweight was removing the foot all together and going with nothing.  That did not work.  The hook and race did not catch the top thread at all.  So with feed dogs up, and 1/4 foot on, I managed regular sewing with a bunch of twist and turns through three pieces of batting, in some cases 8 layers of fabric plus the backing.  The featherweight did WONDERFUL!  No thread tension issues.  No PUCKERS!  Same weight of thread on the top and bottom.  I did try it on a small project, keep in mind the throat space of one of these machines is very small, so your project is going to have to be small.  There would be a learning curve for me to go so slow in stitch speed, but I am still amazed by the results!

So a pot holder happened!  I had all these squares left over from my spools toga quilt, that I laid them out in a bear paw.  The scrappiness of this is right up my alley.  I like how the bear paw in the middle formed by joining the blocks as I did.

I also installed the binding with no walking foot, again on my featherweight.  Again old technology is easier to use, no over lock of thread which means no tension issues, which translates to a good even stitch.

Have you ever tried to quilt something on your featherweight?  Leave a comment in the comment section, I would love to hear about your experience!

Thanks for reading my blog!  And I just posted a recipe on my other blog, check out Rhubarb Pudding Cake.  


Have a great weekend!

T.O.G.A. Quilt Top

If you are thinking you will see a Jim Belushi style sheet draped over a young body on this blog, think again!  T.O.G.A. stands for Treadle On Gathering Academy.  I attended 2018’s North East Texas T.O.G.A.  If you would like to read more about that experience, please click here.

We all made 6 patch quilt blocks and swapped for a wonderful scrappy future quilt.  I am not gonna lie to you but, I had almost all the blocks sewn together and then I just stopped.  So this weekend, I had a nice clear place for my design wall (a bed that was getting everything washed), and figured out the last step.  I was hung up on that last step not sure what direction I should go.

I put my big girl pants on and sewed.  I wanted the 2 inch smaller squares to be part of the border around the quilt, but that meant digging through my stash and re-cutting strips, lots of strips for scrappiness.  This is a huge effort and makes an even bigger mess.  So I used up what I had already made.  I kept it simple.

I also kept all the hst trimmings from using the Simple Folded Corners ruler and decided to corner stone opposite corners of the quilt block central with that motif.  Is this how I wanted it exactly?  Nope.  But I have moved this project half a dozen times because it was in my way, awaiting patiently the last step of assembly, a simple decision.  I can now say the top is complete.  This drapes nicely on a twin bed, perfect to use and abuse.

Some of these blocks are signed by swap participants.  Some of you would think, “how could you use this quilt?”  Well, my logic is, as I gaze upon it I remember the wonderful day I shared with complete strangers, but felt completely connected with them.  If I never use this quilt, and it becomes handed down after I pass, no one will ever know the story behind the quilt and the names and significance it was in my life, the quilt will have no respect.  Using it, will be a reminder everyday that there is kindness in this world.  I assume as I age that my noggin will have memory loss.  It is already happening a bit.  By the time I am elderly, I will not be able to tell the story of that day to my children and grandchildren.  So I want the memory….of my family to use it as much as possible in their younger years.  Before it wears out, I will put is away.  And when I pass, they will remember my stories I told about that day better than I will be able to remember in the later years.  They will remember safety, and warmth, and love from their momma’s sewing and finishing the project for them to use.  They will remember the the kindness of strangers, and what happens when people come together for a purpose.  The quilt will have already earned it’s respect.

All quilters respect quilts, but when you gift a quilt, there is a chance they will never understand the respect the quilt should get.  That quilt will probably never be discarded.  I new memory will be associated with it.  Something that stands for me, and if I am gone, will be more of a treasure with yet more memories attached to it.  More memories than the day of completion.

I still have some of the hst’s left over.  I am taking all of those and sewing a doll blanket to match somewhat.  So if the doll quilt is not taken care of and lost, when they get older, they will see the life size version and remember the doll quilt made with scraps.  Let’s face it, life is scrappy, sometimes without the s.  They will see that with all those scraps saved, that it does amount to something one day.

Here is the before I could decide what to do with the signed blocks.

And here is after I added some more blocks I sewed as well as those that were sewn for the T.O.G.A. swap.


The lighter prints in these blocks added a neat border on two edges.  Very unsymmetrical, and unbalanced, which is what life has been of late.


One large Hst sawtooth corner and one small


And because this was a sewing machine retreat, I modified the 6 patch block with a large hst and a small hst on opposite corners, which created the spool block.


How did I figure this out.  It was at the ironing board.  Some corners flipped under, and so I played with that idea.  And the spool block was then designed into the quilt.  I have always wanted a cheddar quilt.  And made all the spools with a fabric that was given to me by someone who no longer wanted it.  Using the simple folded corners ruler, made this easy.  Now I am not sure if I will send this to a longarmer to quilt or if I will do this myself.  I have thought of using the bar tack part on my machine for making the top and bottom of button holes.  This motif would keep the quilt very soft, but also comply with batting quilting requirements.  I am undecided, but want to get this done.

Have you ever participated in a block swap?  This is my second this year.  I am pleasantly surprised by this swap, everyone minded their 1/4 inch seams so it went together rather well.

If this quilt was under your sewing machine foot, how would you have done it?  Differently?  Sparsely?  Scrappy?  Not Scrappy?  Spools?  No Spools?  Different border?  When people look at blocks they all get a vision and know of their direction somewhat, what would be your direction with the block below?step5

Now, I have come into some Rhubarb brought to me from the mid-west and am going to figure out something to make with it.  Be looking for that post on my other blog, thecookbookproject.wordpress.com

I am linking up with a linky party Oh Scrap! 

I really appreciate the comments no matter how long or short.  A different perspective, is refreshing.  Please leave a comment in the comment section.  I enjoy hearing from you!

Thank you for reading my blog!

Whoa! What a workshop!

As July 7th, 2018 came to a close, I reflect of the do’s and don’ts with the small crowd of sewists I worked with on the iron caddy tote.  It was just a few people, managable for me.  I think we all had fun.  If it would have been a couple of people bigger, I would have struggled to show and help those who needed it.  I heard many thank you’s with “we learned a lot!”. In some cases we learned what did NOT work.  Things that did not work for one individual, worked flawlessly for the next.  Some completions with button sewing goodness, some preferred this step in the comfort of their own home.

Each of the bags I have made all had their own gremlins, perfections, and ordinaries.  So even though the bags are all the same, they are all a little different.  I will narry make another.  Four is enough!



This week, with the Fourth landing smack dab centered, marathon sewing happened. Lots of 4 patches and HSTs going on.  I have learned doing this blog that some quilts are not photogenic, even though they are beautiful in person.  My leader ender jewel box stars get washed out with the naked eye, but on camera, it looks ok.  So I will probably sash them with a neutral, it is not like I don’t have plenty.  I will be playing with ideas in the back of my head during every stitch.

This looks great, you can see the stars.  But in person, everything gets washed out and you loose the stars.
So yesterday while at the workshop, I laid this out on the floor.  The person who commented asked what the block was, and I had to point it out to her.  So for the naked eye, there is too much going on.  I see I have a block turned wrong too, can you see it?

Today will probably be a catch up the household day, with sewing squeezed in somewhere.  I am thinking about changing my sewing setup of over 5 years.  Now the children are older, and leave every day things in my sewing corner alone, back to the cabinet a sewing machine will go.  My feet will look forward to resting while I sit at the table instead of stand at the buffet.

I will do my best to get another recipe posted.  Did you catch my last recipe?  If not, click here to see how to make crockpot peppered beef tips.

Whew!  Where has the weekend gone?  Life has sped up so fast, I am afraid of the looming speed bump with no warning.  No mountain, probably a mole hill….just waiting for me to happen along!

And can you believe I just came to my second blog-aversary?  Gee wiz time flies.  I must be having lots of fun as the old saying goes!

Enjoy your weekend!  And thank you for reading my blog!

Challenge Accepted!

Not much has been going on in the quilting department at home.  In preparation for a workshop, and not wanting to start something I would not have time to finish, quilting flatlined.

The heartbeat has returned!  This weekend I made a decision on a motif for a baby boy quilt that is due in Dec.  I also found out I need to plan one for a girl in Nov.  These things come in threes, so I am certain I will learn of another quilt that will be needing designed, cut, sewn, sandwiched, quilted, and bound.

I have used my accuquilt system and chose charm packs to cut down into QSTs.  I will be sewing on these and have determined to make rows of different layouts of the same cuts of fabric.  So this is currently on my table.  The day after I cut this out and started going, Bonnie Hunter announced the leader ender challenge for 2018.  A very nicely compiled block based on an antique quilt she found.  I am really liking this pattern, I have plenty of fabric so why not?  If you are interested in challenging your stash to work for you, visit her post here for all the free pattern cutting details.

While prepping for this quilt, I pulled some strange neutrals.  Some you would not think of them as a neutral, but they must get used up.  Now is the time!  I did decide I would color coordinate mine with yellows, oranges, and reds.

Last summer I was in a 10 inch layer cake swap, where you cut up yardage and swap with others to get a very coordinated layer cake.  The theme was anything in the yellow, red, or orange family.  You can see all the swapped beauties here in this post.

I have left overs from On Ringo Lake which were oranges.  I started dedicating a dresser drawer to these  beautiful reds, yellows, and oranges colors.  The drawer became full.  Time to purge!

Within this past year, a coworker’s grandmother decided she would never sew all her good fabric intentions, so I graciously accepted a car load of fabric.  Beautiful fabrics from the 80s and 90s, all very usable, and different from my own stash.  I did not keep it all, but kept what I liked.

So my theme/scheme is jewel box flambe (pronounced flam bay)!  Such happy colored fabrics!  And I cut yards and yards of 2 1/2 inch strips with the goal of making the larger size version of this leader ender.  I will have enough of those strips to make a homemade jelly roll, perhaps this will be one of the baby quilts for Nov.  The future holds lots of fabric lint for me as I work through my heaping pile.

So I guess you can say Challenge Accepted in the leader ender concept.  I did sew enough to lay it out to see if I like my idea melded with Bonnie’s.  This idea and colorway are in agreement.  I look forward to showing you more.


I am linking up with freemotion by the river.  Want to see what other people are creating?  Click here.  And thank you for reading my blog


I have done p-didley squat!  Zilch, zero, zip.  Summer has started heating up, the humidity has zapped my energy.  Usually I can muster through, and manage to find pleasure at the sewing machine.  This year I have slowed down.

I hope to have a day today.  I hope to atleast touch fabric.  Perhaps the sight and feel of cloth in my hands will revive the flatline rhythm in the sewing dept.

On a positive note, I have been working on some new recipes, 3 in particular.  I experimented, and my next meals made with the recipe will be tweaked a bit more, and then posted on my other blog, thecookbookproject.wordpress.com .

I have watched a quilt cam involving Bonnie Hunter this week.  She dropped a hint about the leader ender challenge which starts in july.  So I have been scavaging 5 inch squares, cutting up small pieces or strips of fabrics, and making them a little smaller.  Having a double duty project going at the side of the machine is great, amazing how fast you can get a second quilt top finished with the leader ender concept.

And yesterday while at lunch, I had an interesting conversation/revelation.  With vintage machines, prior to WWII, you had ornate decals covering the machine.  After the war, the amount of decals became a whole lot less.  This is my thought, but why did it happen like that.

Ultimately, wouldn’t the woman of the house decided which machine she wanted?  Did the decals show up better in the catalogs, making more sales?  Did the decals go away because the woman had more buying power after WWII?  Lots of women did earn income at this time and after.  Were machines of the day so decorated with decals to add something pretty and ornate to your surroundings in your house?  Were the decals fighting for sales more pre-WWII, vs. after?  Were the decorative sewing machines a sign of status?  And then after the war, everyone had a machine, so they became less stately?

I saw the sales slip for an old singer before the war that cost the owner more than 100 bucks.  Back then, that was A LOT of money.  Perhaps the decals offered more of an incentive to purchase under the revolving debt plan.  Depression era machines are to highly decorated.  Perhaps the only people who could afford to buy, were the wealthy.  I have no idea how to search for this infomation, or if it is even documented out there.

At the turn of the century, the industrial revolution was really just starting to mass produce.  Were the decals a way of enticing someone who handsewed to take the plunge and own one of those beautifully decorated machines?  I know of no elderly person of 100 years of age to ask.  My parents have only seen post war goods with their baby boomer eyes.

What I think is true, the buying power of the woman completely changed after the war.  They had jobs.  They had money, and the husband would be less involved with the decision, therefore the work of decals was not a money maker.  Most people had these devices in their households after the war.  Before the war, the people who used them or needed them on a regular basis would have one.  Perhaps the sale of the machine was a much harder sale before the war, but economies flourished after, and the fight for your piece of pie was easier.

For thought, here is my machine pre war:


Here is the post war machine of 1947:


And the machines of the 60s only have the badge…..nothing ornate.  Most all machines bought today only have the logo on the machine, no decoration.  Perhaps this would be a money maker for the companies to ake the machines more beautiful to the eye, like fabric, as beauty has the power.  Us sewist know all about beautiful fabrics and how they call to us.  If the nicer machines made in japan started revisiting decals from the past, there might be a resurgence of sales.

In reflection, post war machines were starting to be made in Japan, perhaps this is a clue.  If any of you can comment and add to this debate, I would love to hear your point of view.  Please comment below!

A point to ponder….in the meantime, have a great weekend!

What our Stash Represents

Us sewists accumulate beautiful fabrics filling our nest, gathering as we were designed to do.  And let’s face it, the fabric designers do an amazing job for us, and before we know it, we have amassed a huge stash of fabric.  If you quilt, you have quilting fabrics.  If you are a garment maker, you gather those fabrics.  No matter what craft you do with fabric, the result is the same.  The stash represents you, the maker, the gatherer.

Yesterday, while in my LAQS, a bunch of women all arrived at the same time.  These women all knew one another.  They were enjoying themselves, cackling, ooo-ing, and awe-ing, and touching all the loveliness the shop had to offer.  I kept hearing one of these women saying “I am NOT buying fabric, but oh my would you just look at this?  Isn’t it gorgeous!”  I did not stick around long enough to find out if she did or did not leave with anything.  But I can relate.  You are traveling with your friends, you don’t NEED fabric.  You are going into the shop to just look and to be social.  And then there are all these beautiful temptations.

Even though most of us women are all different, we are somewhat the same.  We like pretty things.  Pretty things are defined differently between us, but we all admire pretty things.

When we accumulate fabrics we gravitate towards what we deem as pretty.  And when we buy the pretty, we have good intentions for it.   We may buy a whole bunch of fabric to make a large quilt.  We get home and place the sack of good intention on the sewing table, and then see something is not so pretty in the house.  Perhaps last night’s dishes need to be washed.  Perhaps the man of the house is hungry or will be hungry within the hour and that is just not pretty.  So our dream gets interrupted briefly.  We do our chores, and then realize we are out of steam and must replentish with a night’s rest.  The next day comes and goes, and that sack of fabric is still where it was left.  The woman is the center of the whole household.  Clean faces, folding laundry, buying groceries, working 40 hours all take time away from what we want to do, verses what we need to do.  In that regard, our stash represents our fantasy.

A fantasy filled with more time that we know what do to with.  Time filled with no interruptions.  Time that allows our good intentions to flourish into quilts, shirts, suits, and any other crafty fabric project.  I think this is why Pinterest is sew popular.  Us women fantasize about what we could be doing if life was not in the way.  Pinterest is fantasy.  Women pin diamond rings (which take money which equals time), they pin beautiful hairstyles (time consuming hairstyles).  They pin beautiful fantasy kitchens, ones they could never afford, and if they could afford it would probably never cook in it anyway.  They pin groupings of pretty things all color coordinated.  Perhaps they pin everything they like that is red, whether it is a shade of lipstick, a cardinal, a sports car, an apple, or red hots candy.  Because they are on the computer and do not have those things at the moment, they are fantasizing about being in the moment.

Looking through my large accumulation of fabrics, I look and see my fantasy of time and good intentions.  I must just be bursting with good intentions!  Every drawer, box, nook, and crannie, is overflowing.  I am working it down, bit by bit.

The sheet box is now emptier than before.  These toothbrush rugs that I have been making really use up that yardage.  And I guess the type of rug I am making also is a representation of my self.  The rug represents, the amalgamation of all my sheet accumulation pieced together much like the time I use to make the rug happen.  Twenty minutes of blue here, 10 minutes of pink there, an hour of white, nothing running on time or together, but me making it work.  None of the pinks all run together, nothing segregated, everything kind of all over.  Sounds like the chaos of life.  Who knew that rug making was a good representation of life.  I have just amazed myself!


Here is yet another toothbrush rug.  A very soothing tranquility with this one.  Funny that vintage sheets which you would sleep on, can be turned into a tranquil, soft, peaceful rug.  Perhaps that is fantasy as well.

I probably need to do better in the goal dept.  When I am in a sew along, or mystery quilt, I am so driven by the competition that it gets done so fast.  But when I am not driven, there is no one driving me, but myself.  I need to start making a goal each month.  Not for finishes, but for hours.  I need to start allocating time specifically for my fantasy so it becomes reality.  Reality would be better for it.  So, how do I commit to time?  Do I say every Sunday is my day to stitch all day between chores?  Or do I let go of dirty hands and faces?  Letting those around me not be so pretty?  As you can tell I have not mastered my plan, but it is trying to unfold.  I think I need to make of list of my projects that are half done, and just pick one and proceed until it is finished, regardless of interruption.  I will be taking the dream and fantasy and running with it!  (NOTE:  Do not run with scissors).

Readers, I would love to hear about your stash, your fantasy and what it says about you.  Please leave a comment in the comment section.  I enjoy hearing from you!  And thank you for reading my blog!

Puss in Boots and Button Bin Digging

So yesterday I was kitting up all kits for the workshop I am getting ready for.  I am helping a group of ladies make an iron caddy tote.  I have made many of these.  Number four is in the works.

The difference between the bags before and the bag now, I actually drew out the pattern on paper vs drawing my lines on the fabric.  My latest iron caddy tote, will now be called a purse or my lunch bag.

It has been more than a year since I made my last few bags.  I wanted to refresh and get re-acquainted in making this for a smoother teaching experience.  I also wanted to make sure the clean newsprint I used would not tear with the walking foot, and would tear off easily when you need to remove it.

I did learn that I had to make my bag sandwich with another layer.  I had to use tissue paper because I am using oil cloth.  For those of you who do not know what oil cloth is, it is an older technology that made cotton fabric water resistant.  Can water penetrate the cloth, you bet.  Many of you will think back to a family member who had a table cloth on their table that would wipe clean.  It had a shiny surface, and may have had a fuzzy back.  This also protected the table from rings from sweaty glasses and any messes made.

When sewing oil cloth, if you use a metal foot, it will stick to the cloth, grab it something fierce and not allow movement.  My walking foot is part plastic and part metal.  My base plate of my machine is metal.  So adding this layer of tissue prevented it from sticking.  I had a hard time cutting this fabric with my rotary cutter and ruler.  I could not just scoot the ruler on top as normal fabric, it would stick!

So I can now pass on even more info in case someone makes a lunch sack instead of the iron caddy tote.  I am re-familiarized,  Yesterday was a good sewing day.

I am to the point of installing the buttons.  On my previous caddy totes I opted for hook and eye closure so I will not have to iron over a large button under my pressing surface.  So yesterday me and the girls got out my 6 gallons of buttons.  Six gallons?  Yup that is right, six!  One can never have too many buttons.  I have not bought a button at the store in years.  I am amazed at the things I find in there.  One of my button bins was my Grandmothers.  Her being from the depression era she saved everything.  If a garment wore out, the buttons were cut off and then the garment was used as a rag or trashed.  It is possible the button bin that was hers came from another estate.  My Grandparents frequented auctions to snatch up unwanted items for dirt cheap. My Grandmother went to these sales because Grandpa went.  She would complain about going all the time.  And the stuff she brought home usually was a rug for the floor or other utilitarian items (I suppose I am like her in that regard).

So we were digging around in the bins, and I had my ipad handy and decided to look up buttons on the internet by searching a simple description of the button.  I found a very important button.  Is it hers or one from another estate?   That is the question.

My grandfather was in the Navy.  Shortly after WWII my father came into this world.  My grandmother took my grandfathers navy woolen coat and made a coat for my father.  I am now on the search for this photograph and will enjoy digging through old photos.  I will be in search of that particular photo.  I am looking for visual proof that beyond a reasonable doubt the button I found was once on my grandfathers jacket, and on my fathers jacket.  I hope I find my proof.  Regardless, this button will go onto my lunch bag.


Above is a navy pea-coat button made from Bakelite.  The red button is going on the opposite side.  I could not find a second black button that would match.  So scrappy and mismatched it will be!


I did find a GAR civil war button.  I cannot make out what the button says on the back.  I will be taking that to work and looking at it under a microscope to see if it is a reproduction or the real thing.  Either way it is probably worth the same.  When I read it was a civil war button, I thought I had struck it rich.  I only have one.  If I had many, perhaps, but right now the going price for this is $2.  To me, priceless, as many generations have handled this button.  Oh the stories it could tell, even if it is a reproduction.

And then I came across this button:


This button is heavy and untarnished.  Most buttons if brass is present will get dirty.  This one has not.  I looked up this in an internet search and came up with nothing.  I think it is a coronation button from the 50s.  I think it is a brittish commonwealth symbol.  Australia kept coming up in my searches, but no other button pictured was anything like it.  Perhaps it is my retirement.  Perhaps it is a conversation piece.  Perhaps it will rest in the tin for the rest of my life.  Perhaps someone will inherit my tin, and other generations will fondle my buttons.  Hmmmm that rather sounds perverse!  If you have any information on this button please leave a note in the comments section.

Lastly, there is puss in boots.  All of the kittens from this batch all have four white feet with some white on their bellies.  One is black and white, one is tabby, and three are mackrel tabby.  A hodge podge group.  Three of the kittens have a perfect M on their forehead which means they are tabby cats.  The one that is a true tabby has the prettiest facial markings, with lights and darks, mask, and whiskers.  This cat is very branded.  This is the first cat I have named in over 10 years….most just end up being called kitty.  So when you say kitty kitty at my house at feeding time, they all show up.  🙂

I thought long and hard on the name.  I used to watch the Simpsons on TV.  I grew up with them.  They have been on air for almost 30 years.  They epitomize the American way.  For those of you who watch, you are familiar with Cletus.  He is the slack jawed yokel.  Basically he is a hillbilly.  Thinking of his voice, it makes me smile.  Hank Azaria sounding like a hillbilly, he does an outstanding job.  Cletus is not married, but has a girlfriend who is the mother to all 16 of his kids.  Her name……BRANDEAN.

So I know this kitten will have many babies and never be married.  She will live up to this name nicely!  Say hi to Brandean.  This is her internet debut.


I am glad she does not have an “L” on her forehead, that would be messed up!

Happy Father’s Day!

The use of vintage sheets

I have been in a few vintage sheet swaps.  Scouring thrift stores and estate sales for beautiful sheets is an adventure.  Sometimes you score big and other times you leave with nothing.

The trouble with vintage sheets, they take up much space!  I used to keep these in a drawer with the rest of my fabrics.  Then it grew to taking the whole drawer, and then I had to take them out of the drawer, they are overflowing.  They now reside in a box.  It is great to be able to take one sheet, cut it into fat quarters, and then swap it for variety with others.  But then you are left with half a vintage sheet, that you can no longer swap with those same people.

Fat quarters are perfectly managable in their variety and I highly recommend buying them that way if you can afford it.  I refuse to pay an over inflated price for fat quarter sheets, knowing that one sheet probably only cost the seller $5 or less.  And they are making very good return on their investment, with people like me, who work all the time, and do not get to frequent estate sales, so they pick the sales clean, to pass on the cost of the whole sheet, plus a large finders fee.  Again I refuse, I would rather put that money towards something else.

So what do you do with the left over pieces?  May quilts can be made from them.  It would take me years to acheive that feat, and by then I will have acquired more.  So the other day while making a toothbrush rug from my stash, I realized it takes oodles of fabric for this project.  Why not use this same technique on the vintage sheets?  Same with grain rips, same amish knots, same modified toothbrush, different media of fabric.

I must say after working with fabric that had sizing in it vs working with vintage sheets, I opt for vintage sheet rug making hands down.  The sheets, even though most of them are 50/50 in fiber content, they have been washed many times and have a softness which is passed through every weaving stitch in the rug I made.  I will make more, but decided to make this one with some of my yellows.  My next one may be green, and then I will make a blue one, and my box will be then ready for the next thrift store find.

So instead of a rug costing $75 dollars to make with bargain fabrics (and quality cottons that would be better suited for a quilt), I can now weave a large rug, and my logic…..it will cost me less than $10 no matter what size I make it.  Logic equals cents!  HAHA


So a week ago, this was the start.


And this is at its full sized destiny!  Out of all the rugs I have made, this is a favorite, so soft.  The color also adds to the softness if that makes any sense.

If you would like to learn how to make a toothbrush rug, I have included the instructions and video tutorials I have come across on the world wide web.  Lots of great helps and aids out there on this.  Please visit my previous blog post for all those details if you are interested.

I would like to also talk about the jelly roll rug that I made, just briefly.  You know social media is a wonderful thing.  Ladies purchase the pattern and then talk about it, giving away all the hints in the pattern to make the rug easily done without the purchase of the pattern.  I came across a video that can help you make a rug like this.


The way she talks about it, it will be a tedious project that she finished in two days, or a weekend.  So perhaps I will make another one, with her tips that she left out of the bag.  If you are interested in the video I am talking about, click here.  I fathom that video may be taken down…..we shall see.  Here are some of my tips for jelly roll rug making.

Now it will be another weekend prepping for the workshop I am giving in July.  I worked all weekend drawing patterns by hand, and cutting insulbrite and aluminized cotton.  Today I will be cutting batting and it should not take long.  It will be an iron caddy workshop.  If you are interested in how to make one of these:


You can click here for more details and links to get you started.

I hope I will get to sew.  The last time I sewed was the jelly roll rug, which was two weeks ago.  I am finding kitting things up for a workshop, not only is a time succubus, but a space one as well.

Have a great weekend!


The Legendary Toothbrush Rug

Working with textiles as long as I have, the toothbrush rug is no stranger to many.  I recall these things being around when I was young, but did not know them by anything other than a rug.  This is a very easy concept that can use a huge range of supplies instead of cloth, although cloth is my go to (as I have so much of it!)

I have seen these made from bread wrappers and plastic shopping bags.  This is a great way to keep those out of the landfill.  For those you would make your strips from the plastic and that is called plarn (a play on words with plastic and yarn).

You can make this with rope, clothesline comes to mind.  Old tshirts or sheets upcycled to pretty your floor and pad your feet.

I have made one from the fabric balls you see at the header of every blog.  I finally used them!  I had made my strips for this before I started my blog with the intention that this would become a rug.  And finally that has happened.

There are some good notes out on the world wide web for direction on this.  I had made one of these about 5 years ago.  The cat had kittens and this 5 year old rug was used in the box.  I loosely wove this one and was afraid it would bite the dust after it had its first washing.  To my surprise, it did marvelously!

Toothbrush Rug

This one is. made from fabric that I had had in my stash and moved many times.  I was tired of looking at it, had no plans slated for the cloth so I tore them with the grain.  When showing a picture of this 5 year old rug to my coworker, she said it looked like I purposely put a foot print in the middle of it.  That was very unintentional, and now that image/idea is burned into my noggin, every time I look at the rug, I think of the footprint.  There is more than 10 yards of fabric in this one and was glad to put the fabric to use.

If you are interested in making your own toothbrush rug, there are great instructions how to make the toothbrush tool as well as the rug.  Here is the link for both.

If you would like to learn how to make quick fabric strips for a rug as well as tying the amish knot, check this video tutorial out.

Now she tells you in the video to press your strips.  I refuse to do that.  In fact, I think the rug has more variety if you don’t.  It is a rug for pete’s sake, why iron 10 yards of fabric right?

Here is my second attempt at toothbrush rugging.  My stitches are tighter, I wanted a very dense rug.  There is more than 10 yards in this one, and this one is small.  Ooops, here it is again in the wee hours of Saturday morning and I failed to measure.  I think this turned out around 30 inches round give or take.


There are the three inner fabrics, all taken from fabric balls made too long ago.  Two more fabrics were used after the pink.  I like the scrappy look to this, and got to thinking, perhaps I should put my vintage sheet box in work, and make a rug.  I pulled a bunch of the sheets that were not very pretty and started tearing them.  This will certainly be scrappy, and I get to deplete part of that project box.  Here is the start of that one.  Since I have snapped this photo I have come a good ways on it and will probably come close to finishing sometime this weekend.


This week I had the dreaded jury duty.  I did my civic duty and showed up.  Was there 10 minutes.  The guy did not show up for court (it was a traffic ticket of some kind), collected my 10 bucks and left.  This was pretty good money….one dollar a minute.  This  left me a whole day to do as I wish.

So I went to the local SNAP Center to hang out.  SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  It helps those on a very tight budget to eat a a meal at no cost to them.  It might help an elderly person, or a homeless person.  This program in our area also helps with Meals On Wheels.

Our SNAP Center has hand quilters set up with their proddy frame and they stitch to benefit the snap center.  This group has a long list of people signed up for hand quilting services (me included).  The quilt I am about to show you is about queen size.  The ladies have been working on this one for three weeks, which is longer than usual.  This quilt, because of it’s size and stitch pattern is taking longer.  They will be charging less than $200 for hand quilting this, HOLY COW!  My pictures and the lighting do not do this quilt justice.


Each block is framed by quilting, as well as quilting around all the embroidery.  I think there was straight line quilting in the sashing too.  What a bargain!


Won’t this be beautiful when finished?!  If you are interested in contact information, leave a comment.  I will get you a phone number (which you can only call in the mornings) and you to can be put on the list for hand quilting services, all benefiting a good cause.  Once I put the comment up, I will only leave it up for so long and then it will come down.  There are too many BOTS out there that will spam the heck out of this number.  For subscribers, I have your email on file and can always email that info to you.  Just drop me a line!

I am off for the weekend, and hope to vegetate much, melding to the couch, binge watching Amazon Prime and Bonekickers.

Have a great weekend!