Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

Hi Everyone!

Well, we did back-to-back 2 day Antique Shows last month and the Flea Market last weekend so we are through with selling antiques for now! In between those we helped a friend do an Estate Sale.

You would not believe how much we have sold. We started out with a trailer and 3 car loads and when we packed up after the flea market last weekend we got everything into 4 plastic bins and a few odd pieces. Can you believe it? Now just to get the garage sale stuff and Mom's furniture out of the way and we'll be in good shape!

So you won't be surprised when I tell you we're taking the month of December off! I'm putting my eBay and Etsy stores on hold (they're mostly sold out anyway!) and the blog to rest for the remainder of the year. We need time to recoup and spend with friends and family.

So my wish for you is that you have a Blessed Christmas Season full of the magic and wonder of it all! May you experience the peace of Christ and hold the Savior near to your heart.

We'll see you in 2010!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Antique Show!

Hi Everyone! I've sure missed you!! I thought you might like to see what I've been working on the last month. I've have been through and handled more stuff than I'd like to think about. We sat up for the show in pouring rain. Thank goodness we were under a tent, but we still got soaked! The shows days were beautiful, though and the folks came out to buy. In fact, these pics are after selling tons of stuff on the 1st day, so you can only imagine how much we had! In fact, there's enough left to do another show this upcoming weekend. The rest will go online or in an Estate Sale. It feels great to be ridding myself of so much STUFF. I still have scads to put online, too!These pics will take you around the 20' x 20' tent.

This table is guy stuff and kid's things.
This is my "shabby chic" table.

This is kitchen glass and pottery.

This is wood stuff and finer china and glass.

More kitchen stuff.

McCoy Pottery an Akro Agate.

My beloved spool cabinet is gone!

And this is Mr. Bill smiling after counting his money.

So there you go! I may actually get back to feedsacks and fabric soon! Take care and I'll be in touch---


Monday, September 28, 2009

Back to Business

Hi Everyone!

It's been an interesting couple of weeks. Have you ever felt like your life was changing and even though it's not out of your control, it just seems like it's morphing into something completely different and unexpected? It's like that for me right now.

We have been wrestling with the best way to dispose of Mom's things. Thought about a garage sale and we will have to do that for sure, but it doesn't seem to be the best way to take care of nicer items. And the thought of hauling furniture and messing with the big stuff is not a pleasant thought. Over the last 10 years, we have moved my Mom's stuff SEVEN times! We had one Estate Sale when we moved her from the house and another garage sale when she went into Assisted Living. She still has an apartment full of furniture. And we moved Bill's Moms 3 times in addition to having an Estate Sale when she moved to the retirement community and a garage/estate sale when she passed away. So dealing with 'stuff' is getting kind of tiresome. Obviously, I can't and don't want to keep everything.

In addition to that, you've seen my own 'stuff'. We are feeling overburdened with 'stuff'! I still have closets full of antiques that I never got around to selling when we were in the antiques business, too. Not to mention the sewing collectibles that we offered when we actually had the time to set up at Festival and other quilt shows! Oh my goodness, did I mention we had 'STUFF'?? So.... What to do, what to do?

Well, here's where we have begun. A gal who has been in the antique business for many years here has had a wonderful Antique Show on her property in the Spring and Fall for the last several years. I visited with her last week and she has space for us in her show at the end of October. So that's where we'll start. In addition to that, we are so fortunate to have a wonderful weekly Flea Market in Tulsa that has been going on for over 30 years. I've been in contact with the gal who operates it to see if we can start setting up there in November. It may take several weeks to really clean things out. Some things will go to eBay and Etsy as well. Then what's left will be sold in a garage sale next Spring.

So you see? All of a sudden I'm back in the Antiques business! Needless to say, there will be very little quilt related things going on except what I'm selling so what you'll be seeing here are some interesting things that I come across as I'm getting things ready.

The items below are some of my favorites! I talked about these and had some pictures in my book, but the ones below are others I have found. The flour companies gave away as advertisements little pincushions made in exact replicas of their sacks of flour. You need to make sure that they are not new ones made as miniatures for doll house collectors. Two of these are from Polar Bear Flour and the other is Hunters Flyer Flour. Great names, huh? They typically sell in the range of $25-$50 depending upon condition. I got a great buy on these, so I will pass that along to my customers. Have you ever seen them before?

Another thing I found recently was this fabulous quilt. I actually found it in a Thrift store! It has some of the most beautiful applique and quilting that I've ever seen. It has a beautifully scalloped edge and is in beautiful condition.

So that's it for now. I'll be in touch as I come across other fun stuff. Can't wait to get sewing again! Blessings~

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I'mmmm Baaaack!!

Hi Everyone!

Thank you so much for your visits and notes over the last few weeks. Mom's service was a joyful celebration of a life well lived. I had no idea how many people would be there since she had outlived so many of her friends, but all of the things she was involved in were well represented. I'm sure she was pleased to see them there! We are progressing with getting her estate tied up and will have a garage sale this month to finish up that part. No point in just having everything in storage. So things are going fine. We miss her terribly and it's still very odd not to go see her every day, but we are adjusting OK. Thanks so much for all your well wishes and prayers!

I've actually had a bit of time to list a few things on eBay and Etsy. And you won't believe this, but I even spent a day sewing this week! A small group of friends have decided that we will sew every other Thursday and see what we can get done. I really need to be more intentional about it. Do you realize I haven't made a quilt since my book and last fabric collection were released almost a year ago!!!! Oh my!!

So obviously, I have nothing to show you, but thanks to my friends, I have some pictures of their work! It seems that there have been some darling aprons made from my fabrics and here are a couple of them. The first one is from Chris Eilts who made this for her sister as a gift using the Rise N Shine fabrics. She used a pattern called "Delicious 4 Corners" by Vanilla House Designs. I think it is just darling!

Patrice Heisler is an online friend who has a fabulous blog AND website! She also handcrafts items to sell at wonderful venues such as Brimfield. Here are a couple of aprons that she has made using one of the Sugar N Spice fabrics. I think she has used a vintage tablecloth with the first one. They are both wonderful!

Thanks to both Chris and Patrice for sharing! What would I do without my friends??

So that's it for me. Thanks again for being such wonderful friends and keeping in touch.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Quick Update

Just a note to tell you that my Mom joyfully finished her marathon yesterday at 97 years of age. She died very peacefully, never in any pain or distress and for that I am very thankful.

THANK YOU SO MUCH for your ongoing prayers and good thoughts during this time. You all are the BEST!

I'll be in touch soon~

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tidbits and Update on Mom

Hi Everyone--

It's been a long week. We thought we were going to lose Mom on Saturday, but by Monday she had stabilized slightly. I guess she's just not ready to go yet. I nearly did myself in spending so much time at the Nursing Home. I don't ever remember being as tired as I was on Monday night. On Tuesday, I asked her if she knew who I was and she shook her head no. I'm OK with that. If she doesn't know it's me that's there, I don't feel so inclined to stay and wear myself out. It's a gift. As of yesterday, not much change except that the Hospice Nurse said she's beginning to hear a bit of fluid in the lungs and her bowels sounded "airy". So who knows how long. I'm just patiently waiting, knowing that God's timing is perfect......

You don't know (you probably do) how much it means to me that you have left such wonderful notes of caring and encouragement. Thank you so much. I am constantly amazed at how a group of people, most of whom you've never met face-to-face can be so much support! I know I haven't responded to everyone yet, but I will. Thanks again.

On to happier and more interesting things! I got an email from Jody at American Patchwork and Quilting to say that an article in the Summer issue of Quilts and More had a project using Rise N Shine! Here's a pic:

Isn't it cute? What a great idea! For more info, visit Jody's blog. She also told me that the Oct. 09 issue of APQ has a review online of my book. I haven't read it since the link isn't active yet, so I hope it's good!

I have to tell you what happened yesterday. They say jokingly in this business that you know you have it made when one of your quilts get reproduced by the Chinese! Well, believe me I haven't "made it" by any stretch, but here's what I saw in an "Antique Mall" yesterday.

And here's one of the quilts in my book called "Strippin' in the Garden". Sorry it's not a better picture. After being sued too many times, I guess they've learned to change it just enough to say it's not a repro. What do you think?

They've changed the background from red to yellow and they changed the flower. Instead of outlining the curve on the stripped piece with rickrack, they just put a circle around the flower. They put blue in the 4 corners. Also, they added that little outside white border and did an envelope turn to finish the edge. Pretty funny, huh? It's actually pretty cute! And a LOT cheaper than I'd sell one for!!

That's it for me right now. My eBay and Etsy stores pretty well sold out while I was gone so I'm trying to get some new things listed. I'll keep you posted on how things go.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Back Home & Sad News

Well, here we are in Tulsa again! Kim, Jack and Cameron came to Santa Fe at the end of our vacation to spend a long weekend. They enjoyed lots of New Mexican cuisine and spending time at the shops and restaurants around the Plaza. A real Santa Fe experience!

We finally got a chance to walk Canyon Road. As you probably know, Santa Fe has always been a magnet for artists. Canyon Road has long been where they hang, and is lined with one gallery after another. Saw some great stuff and didn't spend a dime! The thing I enjoyed most was the flowers planted along the way. Here are a couple of pics:

But my most favorite is the hollyhocks! That's the flower I remember growing in abundance during my childhood. Hence the name, Hollyhock Quilts! Here's a sample:

Now for the sad news. We were scheduled to leave for home on Monday. I received a call on Friday eve that Mom had taken a little fall and bloodied her nose. She seemed fine, knew where she was and what was going on. By Sunday morning she was mostly unresponsive and we headed home, arriving Monday afternoon. She is still pretty much the same, responding only occassionally. The hospice nurse says that if things don't change dramatically, she will probably last 1-2 weeks. I think that little trauma was all she needed to say "I'm done!"

So I'm spending quite a bit of time with her. She sometimes knows I'm there. She is in no pain and resting comfortably. That's all I care about. My prayer is that she remains pain free and doesn't linger. I know she is so anxious to see my Dad and her family members already there. Not to mention getting to see her Savior face-to-face! What a JOY for her! I'm so grateful to have had these three weeks to relax and enjoy. I'm much more able to handle this now than I would have before we left. It was a real gift.

I'll keep you posted as things progress. Thanks for all your good thoughts and prayers. Hope you're having a great summer!


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Santa Fe and My Favorite Thing!

It doesn't seem possible, but we've been in Santa Fe for a week! I have done NOTHING but veg! It's been hotter here than normal, but still better than the 100+ that it's been in Tulsa. I have a couple of pics for you. We're in our Motor Home at a nice park pretty close in. It's Old Santa Fe. Here's where I sit every morning to read the paper and drink my coffee. You see the laundry building in back of the pic and the clothes lines to hang out your sheets to dry. Nothing like fresh sheets dried on the line in Santa Fe air! More about the quilt you see later. We've seen some old friends and found new ones here in the RV park. That's always the best part!

We seldom do the tourista thing in Santa Fe, but decided to take a trip to the Plaza. It looks just like it did 40 years ago.

For those of you who have never been here, the Indians sit on the portal at the old Palace of the Governors and sell their wares. I tried to take some closer pics for you, but they wanted me to buy something for the privilege!

Enough about Santa Fe. Let me tell you about this old quilt I'm working on.......

When I decided to make a business out of old quilty things, I was drawn to rescuing old tops, blocks, etc. that were not usable in their present condition and remaking them into something that could be used and enjoyed. Now I know that many of you are choking on your tongues right now, but I have to tell you I'm a bit of a rebel in the "old quilt" mindset. After buying 100s of tops and other items, I have learned that there is usually a reason that these things were not finished. They are either in horrible condition with stains or holes, terribly put together and unquiltable or just plain ugly. You know, if it was too ugly to quilt 100 years ago, it's probably still too ugly today!

I also see absolutely no reason to fold an ugly old thing up and stick it in an acid-free box and put it under the bed! So my answer is do something with it! In fact, I built a whole lecture around this called "What in the Heck Do I Do With This?" Can you actually tell me you've never bought an old thing and then got it home and said that to yourself?

I only have one rule, and that it is that the integrity of the piece must be maintained. That means no Bunnies or Bears or Jackets! I limit my artistic license to Wall or Small Quilts as well as Tablerunners or Table Toppers.

So.... I usually start by taking the thing apart. For many years my friends did not think I knew how to quilt because all I did was take things apart! And you should see the junk that people threw my way to make themselves feel better for not tossing their old ugly purchases! They soothed their consciences by giving it to me. Little did they know!!!

Here's a pic of a fabulous old top that I picked up recently. I guess I thought any of the 100s I already had just weren't as interesting! I believe that whoever made this top used up all her previously started projects and put them together. It's been very interesting to study how she segued from one piece to another. There are even single blocks unlike any others in there. I am in the process of taking them down to the largest possible pieces, mostly blocks. I will have to repiece some blocks to replace fabric that has disappeared as you'll see in the pictures.

Here are a few of the problems. In the pic below, the fabric between the stripes in one block has just evaporated!

That just scratches the surface! The other thing I find so interesting is how she used coping tools to go from one size to another. Obviously they did not have the accurate tools available that we have now, so alot of what I will do is resizing. Notice how she cut the row of squares in the middle to join them to the pinwheels. She must have thought that 1/2" would have made a lot of difference!

Then in the case below, she just used strips and wedges to get the size she needed. Very creative!

Well, I could go on and on. In any case, it's a wonderful piece that deserves to be saved. The fabrics range from the 1850s-1870s and up until about the turn of the century in the double pinks that are in the pic below. I'll keep you posted on it's progress.

I have to say that although I love designing fabric and publishing patterns for my wonderful customers, this is the type of thing that feeds my soul. I seem to really connect with the woman who made these unfinished projects and picture her smiling in approval when I am finally able to make something that others can appreciate. I'll post pics of some of the other things I've done sometime.

Have a wonderful week and stay cool!


Thursday, July 2, 2009


Hi Everyone!

Well, I certainly didn't expect to be so long in posting this, but my intentions never seem to work out with my actuality! We are finally on a road trip! Mom seemed to be stable enough so that we felt OK about leaving knowing that if we need to, we'll just go home. I call to check on her every few days and let her know where we are and what we're doing. Seems to keep her satisfied.

Right now, we're at Ghost Ranch in Northern New Mexico. It's a Presbyterian Camp/Conference Center and several folks from our church come out here once a year. We're doing a Bible Study on Genesis and the First Family and it's very interesting and thought provoking! Here is our Pastor, Rick who is getting ready to slap a big bug on his leg! Who does he look like?
This is the area that Georgia O'Keefe lived and worked in for about 50 years. It is in a very remote area, so no cell coverage unless you go to the top of the mountain, but they do have irregular wireless in the Library on Campus. So that's where I am writing you from!

We're in the High Desert, about 6500 feet above sea level. I'm just about to get acclimated to the altitude! Had a wonderful massage today and I am so relaxed. Bear with me if I fall asleep on you.............

OK, I'm awake now! Thought you'd like to see some pics. Since we're in the motorhome, we opted to fix our own food instead of eating in the Dining Hall, which I understand can be real iffy. Here's Bill at our first evening meal eating left overs! Don't know what he thought was so funny!

The desert is in bloom this time of year. Here are the flowers outside our RV:

Did you always think cactus was ugly? Think again-----

How about some wild asters?

We are surrounded by red rock formations. Here is Chimney Rock:

So that gives you an idea of what we're experiencing right now. I desperately need some Spiritual Rejuvination after the last few months with Mom. After we leave here on Sunday we'll go to Santa Fe for a couple of weeks (I hope). That's my home. Born and raised there and it's always a treat to visit with friends and family. I'm hoping to actually work on a couple of quilt related things while I'm away. I'll show some pics next time of my project.

So, that's it for me! Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer and that you get that needed rest and rejuvination, too!


Saturday, June 13, 2009

My Other Collections

We've kind of been thinking about whether we'd like to sell the house and move to smaller quarters. It appeals to me a lot. But I sure have a lot of stuff I'd have to shed. You've seen my feedsacks and vintage stuff. Unfortunately that's not my only addiction. Here are a few pics of other stuff I have collected. EBay may get even busier when I get this stuff going!

Here's my collection of Fire King and other Jadite:

Here's more Jadite and other Fire King stuff. Sad to say I actually have more than is shown in these pictures!
Here's some of my McCoy Pottery. Love the colors!
And here's some of my vintage Fiesta and Lipton Teapots. Love these colors, too!
So you see, I have a LOT of STUFF! And this doesn't even count all the Sewing Collectibles and other items packed away in closets that need to be sold! But it will be fun and it'll take years, I'm sure. Fortunately, we're not in any hurry to leave! Could you tell I used to be an antiques dealer? There's still nothing I enjoy more than shopping for this stuff and I still can't pass up a bargain!  Have a great week~ 

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Care and Keeping of Feedsacks!

Hi Everyone! As you probably know, I'm still selling feedsacks and rickrack like a mad woman! And I remembered that I'd talk to you a bit about caring for feedsacks, so here I go!

First of all, if you ever find feedsacks that are "perfect", it'll be few and far between. I seldom find one that doesn't have at least some staining and a few peck or pull holes. What are those you say?

Remember that many of these sacks were taken to the coop or the barn and possibly thrown on the floor where the chickens could get to them and peck at them to get a nibble! Hence, you have a "peck hole". Or when the strings were being removed, they might be pulled a little too hard and you'll get a "pull hole". So there you are!

The good news is that I believe that they must have used steel in the manufacturing of these things! Not really, but they are VERY durable! I wash all my vintage fabric when it comes into my house for a couple of reasons. First, you never know what you're bringing in with it! And secondly, since I sell so much, I want to make sure that the fabrics are stable, both in color and strength. My stain remover of choice is OXYCLEAN. This stuff is fabulous! It takes those stains away and doesn't fade the color. I love it!

For feedsacks, I usually use a 5 gallon paint bucket. I fill it up with hot water and put 1 heaping big scoop full of Oxyclean in and swish it around till it's dissolved. Then I add 12-14 feedsacks. I let them soak 24 hours!! The biggest problem I find is when folks don't use enough product or they don't soak long enough. So don't be stingy with your Oxyclean OR time!!

When that's done, take out the sacks and wash them in your washer with your favorite detergent. No, don't put them on gentle, or be afraid to agitate them! I'm telling you, they are made with steel!! Run them through the full cycles and throw them in the dryer! Yes, the dryer! You will be amazed at how beautifully they come out. If, by chance, after all that, they still have some light staining, then soak 1 or 2 at a time in a plastic dishpan with a couple of heaping tablespoons of Oxyclean for another 24 hours. If the stain is still not out, you'll have to live with it. But hey, if you're cutting them up, no big deal, right??

I generally store them without ironing them because I'd just have to do it again later. You've seen my sewing room so you know that I keep my stuff on open shelves. That's partly because I don't have much natural light in there. I don't think feedsacks fade easily, but if I had lots of light coming in, I might consider covering my shelves. Not just for those, but all my fabrics.

So there you have it! The one thing I always stress to the audience when speaking about feedsacks is to USE them! I inevitably hear someone say "I have a whole stack of these, but I just can't cut them!" My response is "Well, then, sell them to me!" I'm just a believer in using what you have, but if you just want to look at them and fondle them, I guess that's OK, too. In any case, enjoy!


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Fusing Rickrack Tutorial

Hi Everyone!

As most of you know, I put rickrack on almost EVERYTHING and really needed a faster and more accurate way to do it. Here's what I came up with and I want to share with you a tutorial on my technique of fusing it..

First of all, let's talk about fusible web. I have found that the best fusible web for any project is Vilene, now known as Soft Fuse. It's a Japanese product and not easy to find. I am planning to carry it in my web store soon. It is so light weight that you cannot even tell it's there.

You really need to use a teflon applique sheet for this. I cut my fusible in 1/4" pieces by the length I need. If I need a long piece of rickrack, as in a border, I still cut the fusible pieces fairly short (10"-12") and place them next to each other. It's much easier to handle and won't matter if you leave a little gap. Then I press the fusible web strip to the rickrack as shown in the picture below.
Then I peel off the paper strip and place the rickrack on my block where needed. This is where you really need the Soft Fuse. You'll notice in the picture above that you can see the fusible in the dips on the rickrack. When you iron on the rickrack with Soft Fuse, it simply melts into the fabric and disappears. I have tried it with Heat n Bond light and other brands and you can actually see the fusible sitting on top of the fabric. This is so much nicer!
Here's a picture of longer pieces for a border. One thing I really like to do is change colors under a flower!

I have to stress that fusing is simply a basting technique for me. It allows me to be more accurate than I can be with pins and is less of a hassle. It is not permanent and the rickrack still needs to be sewn down. I have 2 techniques that I especially like for doing this. I NEVER sew down the middle of the rickrack. That just leaves the edges to curl. Yuk! My most preferred method is to tack the rickrack at the inner and outer points by hand with a matching thread. I'm not talking fine hand applique here! I'm talking tacking! It really makes the rickrack smooth and has a fine finished look. I tend to use this method when I am hand finishing my applique pieces. This is how it looks:

The other technique I like is to sew it by machine following the curves of the rickrack. This elimates the curling that you get by sewing it down the middle. I tend to use this method when I'm finishing my applique by machine. I should tell you that this is particularly why I bought my new Pfaff! It has a way of automatically lifting the presser foot when you stop sewing so I can have both hands free to turn the fabric. If you had to do it by hand or knee lift, you'd be goofy by the time you're done on a long piece!! It's kind of hard to see here,but I think you get the idea.
So that's it for fusing rickrack! If you have any questions, just put them in the comment section or email me. Let me know how it works for you!
Have a great weekend! Blessings~