Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Stitch Out Book

The quilt shop where I work on occasion, asked me if I would make a stitch-out book for three of their top selling machines. I had no idea just how many hours this would end up taking me but I was really happy with the end result. I began with the Bernina 730 since that is the machine that I own personally.

In my last post I shared my thoughts on the Sulky 12 wt. thread that I frequently use on my machine or by hand, on the stitch-out books for the shop, I used a 50 wt. hand quilting thread. This thread made the stitches 'pop' even more than usual and by fusing some heavy weight stabilizer on the back of the fabric, one can clearly see the beauty of each stitch.

Here is the stitch-out book for the Artista 830. I machine embroidered a red number 8 on a black square of fabric for the front of the book. The pictures following the book are samples of the ton of pages that I did for that incredible machine.... and I didn't even stitch out all of them!

After completing the stitch outs, it made me realize what a valuable tool it is to have actual samples of the stitches your machine is capable of doing. You'd be amazed!!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

For The Love Of Thread

I really enjoy all types of thread. Since I not only quilt, have fun with machine embroidery, along with making children's clothing, I also enjoy the relaxation of handwork. When Pomegranate's was open, we carried a nice heavy 12 wt. premium cotton thread made by Sulky which was called Sulky Blendables. We found that it was a great thread to use if you were doing any hand embroidery... or machine embroidery for that matter. One strand of this thread was comparable to two strands of your regular embroidery floss. I love the fact that it is on a spool.... it's less likely to get tangled into a horrible knot. Toni and I were so impressed with this thread that we each ordered the entire collection of colors... including the variegated. I've never regretted it! Below is a picture of the solid collection of threads.

Below are a few examples, some you have already seen, of using this great 12 wt. thread. Click on image for a closer view.

This last picture is a sample of a tea towel that I made as a class sample using different threads and techniques to finish an applique. I marked the towel all over with a fine permanent black marking pen so that my students could actually see the difference in thread types and methods used on finishing the edges of an applique. It's too bad that you can't really see the stark differences of each method and thread that I used. But I do want to point out, using the 12 wt. thread, along with your blanket stitch (buttonhole stitch) on your machine, gives your applique piece a more handwork look. Make a sample for yourself and try the different threads available along with the many different stitches found on your machine, then determine which look you like best for each project. Now get sewing.... and have some fun!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Shopping in Israel

I thought that I would share one more post in regards to my trip to Israel and Turkey. As most of you know, I have never been out of the country before my trip to the Middle East. I mean... I've been to Mexico.... and to Canada once, but doesn't everyone who lives here in the United States go to Mexico and/or Canada?? Anyway.... everything was a new experience for me. Whether it was the people, the land, the different seas, the different foods, all of it was so new... and a little adventurous in a way.

For my final post in regards to my trip to Israel I wanted to share with you some of the pictures from my shopping experiences. Let's just say that I am a little naive in that particular area. I am quite certain that there was some kind of letter engraved on my forehead (unknown to me) that was evident to each and every shop owner as I walked onto their premises. I am quite sure that the letter I'm referring to was more than likely the letter 's' for sucker. I will not bore you with the ugly details... like I said, I will just share with you some of the pictures.

Lisa and I thought this guy looked quite friendly. What do you think? Let's just say... we did not make any transactions that would have involved this cheery guy.

I just had to share this picture with you. My dear cousin Lisa tried to talk me into buying a couple of these items. Do you see those lovely garments hanging up there? The yellow ones. She bugged me every time we went by a new group of them. She said Jim would thank her for it.. I said he would wonder where his wife had gone. (Please click image for closer view... it's a must see.)

Okay, okay... I was pretty tempted with all the candy and nut bars that were offered everywhere we went! Just the smell of it all was unbelievable. (I thought of you Becks.)

And then the trays of bread.... big time weakness!

But... I will have you know... I did not give into any of the temptations that I listed above... I just wish that I could say that for the nut bars that I came across! See that guy trying to talk my brother into buying those wonderful nut bars? Yeah... that guy certainly didn't need to worry, I was right behind John... I bought some.

There were also these wonderful fresh fruit stands everywhere we went where you could pick out any fruit that you wanted and they would make fresh juice right there. I caved... but only once. A tiny little paper cup of that fresh fruit was $2.00. It was soooooo good though!

Another place that I really enjoyed going to was the fresh spice shop. There were several of these shops and it was difficult for me to decide on which spices to get. Most I had never heard of before.

And last, but definitely not least... there was jewelry for everyone! I'm not going to tell you what I came home with... I will admit that I fell prey to the temptation of purchasing a nice piece of jewelry. 'S' But who knows if I will ever be able to return.... at least that is what I keep telling myself.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sons & Fire

It's that time of year again when the fires begin to ravage the land and my boys begin to more than earn their pay as a firefighter. There are times when they are sent outside the state if the fires there are out of control and the state needs more help than what is available. There are huge fires raging right now in Arizona and Texas. The Texas fire has been burning since January with over a million acres lost so far. The Arizona fire is huge as well. Many have been evacuated and much has been destroyed as the fire moves relentlessly across the land. Fire brings so much destruction with it. If you have never experienced a fire like that... praise God. When a fire moves it moves very quickly. You can't outrun it. And the sound is deafening. It's similar to the sound of a fast approaching locomotive.... but worse. If the sound weren't bad enough, dealing with the smell, the ashes and the heat on top of wearing heavy gear and carrying all of your equipment is even worse. Not that any of these firefighters would ever complain... it's their job... and most love it.

The reason for this post.... one of my sons just got called and he has left with his crew for Texas... possibly stopping by to help fight the Arizona fire either on the way.... or on the way back. It's unsure as to when he will return because when you leave for one of these fires you have no idea as to how long you will be gone.... two weeks to three months, it's all about the need. Leaving his wive and small children behind, I know, is even harder for him. (It seems to be similar to one who has left for war... in a way. So dangerous.) Sooo... those of you who smoke, please don't throw your cigarette butt out the window of your car.. and for you campers out there, make sure that your campfires are completely extinguished. But most importantly, please pray for all those who work so hard to keep us safe.... our military, our police, those in the medical field, and our firefighter/paramedics. Many thanks to all of you. And big hugs!

Me and my boys.... and yes they are identical twins.

With other firefighters:

Michael in action:

And John:

Waiting for the relief of precious water.

Come home safe.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Third May Birthday

Wow... May just seemed to fly by didn't it? Like I said before, May was always the month where I didn't have to remember anything... except for Mother's Day of course! But there were no anniversaries, no birthdays, no anything... ahhhhhh. Then three of my children blessed me with four grandchildren (three of which are girls) in the month of May... that changed everything. I no longer have a free month available where a celebration of some sort is not to be found. So much for sleeping through May!

For my three angels (the girls) born in May, I decided to sew something special. For my sweet Keira and my little charmer miss T, I decided to make them each a summer dress. I'll show them to you again.... just in case you forgot. ;-)

My sweet Keira's dress:

My precious little charmer Miss T's sundress:

However, for my little miss add-E-tude (Addysen) I decided that she needed two new summer outfits. The patterns for these two outfits came from Kari Mecca's new book, "More Sewing With Whimsey". Thanks so much Kari!

FYI...... I used the three groove pintuck foot, the #10 edge foot, the ruffler foot, the #57 quarter inch foot, and the straight stitch foot to make stitching out these four outfits above easier for me. Try them out...... you won't believe the difference.

P.S. Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, June 3, 2011


"Train up a child in the way he should go (and in keeping with his individual gift or bent), and when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

My youngest daughter is pregnant with her first child. To me, it is always a miraculous thing to watch your children grow up and then become parents themselves. This will be my 12th grandchild.... and I know there is more to come. ;-)

I included the above verse in my post for today as a little side note. Some might misinterpret this verse to mean something other than what it truly says. We are to bring up our children not only in the Word of God, but also in their natural bent or gifting that God blessed them with. This can be rather tricky without seeking God's help and/or guidance to achieve the right goal. Having raised seven children of my own and observing their distinct, different personalities, this verse still catches my attention even today. Was I faithful to train up each one according to their own bent... their own giftings that God gave to them. I pray so. Now it is their turn to train up their own children. May I have left deep footprints in God's precious Word, that they are able to see and follow..... right to Him... dragging their own children behind.

Here's the quilt that I made for this new little one.. another boy. Isn't God good??

(click on image to enlarge)
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A New You

Every once in awhile, I get the wonderful privilege of speaking to a group of women, whether at a church retreat or else where, and I will sometimes bring some of my quilts along with me. One of my favorite quilts to bring is one that I disliked immensely when I first completed it. I wondered if I had had a brain freeze somewhere in the quilt making process, or if my color values had run amuck at some point. I thought that the quilt that I had just completed was by far, the ugliest quilt that I had ever made. I almost didn't even have it quilted...... why bother?? I reluctantly gave it to my quilting friend and told her to do whatever she wanted to do with it. I really didn't care how she quilted it and I obviously didn't care as to when she even gave it back.

Melinda took me at my word and with her free creative style, she quilted a bouquet of flowers in a pot on the front of my quilt. I was so pleased and surprised with her work that I set to work adding crystals and pearls in various places on the quilt. I then made a label for the back and Toni hung it up in the shop. That quilt had more comments, I think, than any other quilt that Toni hung. It was beautiful.

It made me think of how God does the exact same thing with each one of us. He takes us right where we are and changes us into something pretty miraculous. How precious and wonderful that is. I thought there was no hope for my quilt and look at it now. Sometimes we think that there is no hope for us.... not so!! Given God's creative style, along with His great love and you'll be amazed at what He can do with a surrendered life. Simply amazing!!