Playing with high contrast thread is just the “ticket” to take a person’s mind off a dreary overcast (but lovely ‘cool’!!!) Saturday morning………IMG_6865   Don’tcha agree????? Maybe you could try the same???? 15 minutes of play!!! For those who might somehow be interested in how our brain works with this “repetition thing”, see this link……..

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“Two-fer” now …..DONE!…………..

Wow! Were these fun!!! Totally hand-guided, fmq (free motion quilting) feathers!!!! How could they not???? First posted here, they will be on their way to the binding process shortly. IMG_6852


And a close-up front/back of one……..IMG_6850IMG_6851

Thread: (top) Sulky rayon, 40wt; (bobbin) Connecting Threads Essential Pro poly, 70wt. Batting: Hobbs Heirloom cotton/poly, 80/20.

Now, back to…………let me see………….

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One Word Wednesday…………….





(More info after gifting!!!)

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Two-fer Tuesday…………………

Yup…….not one…..IMG_6840     (fabric behind the topper is the backing)……………but two……………IMG_6842   This client is working on #3 yet, so “double the pleasure” will become “triple” shortly. One is a gift, the other will be kept…….not sure of the third! Thread choice is this perfect rayon…….IMG_6839     and the stitching will be along the lines of a previous client’s topper………see here………………

028   The feather stitching will be subtle but definitely enhance the piecing, hmmmmm?????

Now, on to the machine……………………

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Monday’s meeting…..on Sunday…….

Happens when the hostess resides 60 miles from the rest of the group. Not a deterrent, just an adjustment!!! Carpooling and sunshine made for a delightful commute!

  First up, Carol’s military quilt (first shown here) and, now, including the matching pillowcase.IMG_6814     Sheri’s pieced top was appealing to all………….IMG_6815   Anita’s “Broderie Pinwheels” and “Trip Around the World” were ones that I had quilted for her. IMG_6816 IMG_6818    Next up, JoAnn had some “in progress” pieces…… IMG_6819 IMG_6820





A Connecting Threads kit that she customized a tad.

















A sale panel made into a cute pillowcase for a possible youth class.










IMG_6823   And a (free download) darling pattern that would work equally well in a quilt…..don’tcha think??

Kathy’s rug hooking is always amazing! Another original pattern…………. IMG_6824     And a antique shop find that has the tiniest, most perfect applique stitches we’ve ever seen!!!!!!!!!!!! IMG_6825    We all agreed that the blue fabrics are an odd combo but the workmanship is gorgeous. From a Rochester (MN) estate sale that needs some detective work to find a bit of its history.

Joan continues her fabulous hand-quilting on this original quilt………IMG_6826     Ginny continues to be busy making her oh so cute bags and a “challenge” project for her Arizona group………… IMG_6827IMG_6828

That’s it for this month!!!

Now…….I think it’s time to stitch!!!!!!

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First steps……………….

In this next project (first shown at the end of this post), stabilizing the sandwich so that I can manipulate it under the needle of my Sweet 16 without the sandwich shifting or creating pleats/puckers somewhere in the initial process. I use “Essence” monofilament nylon ‘thread’ by Fil-Tec. I SID (Stitch in the Ditch) to define certain areas which serves to secure the layers, also.IMG_6758IMG_6760     There’s a couple of advantages with this product. First, it’s a fine thread that defines without becoming a visible shiny element and the other is the obvious advantage of being colorless so I can move from one area to another without reference to the piecing. The (slight) disadvantage is that these types of products are not heat tolerant and must be given a bit of care with heat/iron temps. I prefer the nylon over the poly as it seems to have a tad less shine.

To aid me in the straight SID stitching, I always turn to my “Line Tamer”………IMG_6765     This is a Plexiglas slotted ruler that is especially useful for anyone who does fmq quilting on a “sit-down” styled machine (mid-arm or DSM). You must have a ruler foot, however, to have the success desired and prevent possible major damage to the machine.

Now, off to do some “feather fun” on this one……………………………….

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A “SAL”…

The gal who does whole-cloth/vintage pieces so she can “get right to the ‘good stuff’” quilting????!!!!! A “SAL” (Stitch-A-Long)????? ***sigh*** Yup, I succumbed to the temptation put forth on Lisa Bongean’s Primitive Gatherings blog post of a few days ago. Go ahead……hop over there and take a peek……….I’ll warn you, if you have a weakness for red & white anything, be careful or you, too, will be drawn  in to this unfolding, swirling red/white vortex!!!!!   IMG_6753     See that????IMG_6757 Lisa had the awesome forethought to include info needed if I was going to modify the pattern (ummmm……..make it larger??……eek!!!! MIS-CUT!!!!???? NO way maybe or………). IMG_6756  First block pattern downloaded….ready to go…….well, into a bit of a stack of “others first” projects. Stay tuned…….

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Guild Meeting Monday………

Began with a morning workshop that involved card making using handmade (by Doris and her DH) papers. Although I didn’t make it for that, these 2 gals were there and tried their hand at doing it. They were more than happy to share ………IMG_6719 IMG_6720 I would definitely term the activity a success! Now, on to the sharing of the past days creativity………….IMG_6721 IMG_6722  Lots of QOV/Quilts of Service/Honor…..IMG_6723 IMG_6724IMG_6725IMG_6726 IMG_6727 IMG_6745IMG_6746IMG_6747 IMG_6748IMG_6749IMG_6751 IMG_6750IMG_6728        The quilt (above) is made with folded vintage handkerchiefs…….so pretty!!!



This is the gal (Yvonne) who so wonderfully created the military quilt I just finished quilting here. Photo below…






















This little topper is made from 1 charm pack!!!!!!       

And our little gals return with the recent projects they have sewn themselves scarves, hats, table runner). Yes……we are mentoring here………… IMG_6738IMG_6740IMG_6739

Sew, have an awesome day…….and stay tuned for more of what’s goin’ on in my little corner of the globe……

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A military quilt finish……………

My larger guild group still does military quilts (not ‘QOV’) and this is the most recent, finished this morning before church. It’s an original piecing by Yvonne, using a shirt that was given her by a member of the family of the intended recipient. “Custom”was the only option for this one. A “full”view…IMG_6710   Really a wonderful pattern! And, no, Yvonne doesn’t write down any of her creations but puts them together as she goes!!!!! “Planning” with a HUGE amount of creativity!!! She deconstructed the shirt and found a spot for most all the important parts.  Now, for some details………………IMG_6712 IMG_6703 IMG_6704 IMG_6705  

IMG_6706IMG_6709IMG_6713IMG_6702      And photos from the back……………..IMG_6714IMG_6716

Thread: All– Connecting Threads Essential Pro poly, 70 wt.

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I am sharing this because there have been things written lately regarding the threatened (perceived??) future of the art of quilting. With the closing of an established NYC quilt shop and the sudden demise of AQS’s publishing arm (“Quilter’s Newsletter” magazine, among many other book publications), alarms are going off all over ‘quilt-dom’ as to what is its future and what part can we play in preventing its (near) extinction???!!!!! Is this an over-reaction??? Perhaps a ‘correction’ for a creative art that has gone corporate? Please, don’t get me wrong……I have great sympathy for those caught in this ‘adjustment’, whose livelihoods are threatened or have evaporated taking with it hopes, dreams and much $$ investment. But, just maybe, its a wake-up call to take a step back and really take a hard look at what it is that we’re passionate about. Creative artistry, in its various expressions, has been within our souls since the beginning of time and will continue to be expressed in the future. Many of us have a “stash” that will never end in our lifetime!!!! Is mentoring a young one in the sewing/quilting art something that is possible??? Yes! It will help (since such classes have been removed from our schools). It is a topic each of us may need to rethink. Are we on a quilting treadmill to produce or is it an expression of who we are?? Are we creating a beautiful art piece that will be our legacy??? Only you are able to give an answer to that. All I’m asking is that you take a moment to ask yourself the question…….and ponder………………….


Mom and her quilt

This is my Mom.  Dad is nearby, as always, watching over her.

Mom's Cross-stitch

This is a quilt that took her two years of living life abroad in Lima, Peru to make, putting in one cross-stitch after another.  She sat in an upstairs window seat in our home there, overlooking a quiet suburban street — quiet, except for the time that someone missed a stop sign, careened into our yard, the car turning upside as it landed near our front window.  My dad said he thought the maid had thrown the vacuum cleaner down the stairs again.  Luckily the Clinica was a block away, so it turned out all right.


My mother didn’t really speak Spanish, although she tried her best to communicate with the household help she was expected to keep: a maid for the household, a maid for the laundry, a man to wash the cars, and a gardener.  She took Spanish…

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A new kitchen toy gets a “maiden voyage”…….

And it was a 5-star success!!!! Let’s give you a bit of a background……..the morning of July 12th I noticed that Amazon was doing a phenomenal sale (for Prime subscribers) on a product I’ve been researching for well over a year. It’s this little wonder………..IMG_6620    Just to give you a bit more background info……when the boys were little, I used a top-of-the-stove pressure cooker a lot. Then……they got busy and so did I and DH went long-haul trucking so major meals were history. The cooker was shelved (and still is!) but memories of great meals persisted. Enter a couple of bloggy friends who started a ‘buzz’ about these “Instant Pot” cookers. Hmmmmm. More info needed. Electric. All types of programmed times…..built in! And many safety features. Ok. The price, last month, was about 1/2 the normal. We aren’t Prime subscribers but we have friends who are and, now, I am the proud owner of this lovely gizmo. Ultimately, this cooker will travel with us to Texas. My kitchen there is very tiny and cooking can be a bit of a challenge. Now I’m thinking I just have to have another one for our MN home!!!!!!

Tonight, I finally had some time to try this cooker out. I had viewed a few YouTube videos and found a recipe  for Mongolian Beef on the “Pressure Cooking Today” site that looked good. Well, I did follow what was indicated and the results were awesome (DH really loved it…..I could have had a bit/lot more ‘heat’, but the flavor was “spot on”) and I can’t begin to tell you how easy and quick the process was. In 45 min, the 2 pound beef roast, broccoli, etc, went from refrigerator to plated!!!! All this with 1 pot clean-up!!!!! Yes!!!! IMG_6622IMG_6623    Perfectly accompanied by some fresh made French bread. Next up……a recipe (don’t know which one, yet, but something Mexican for sure!!!!) using chicken, tomatillos and “heat”!!!!

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A Monday vintage finish…………

Of this piece (one of two….the other will not be stitched but will be the “comparison” before/after). I continued filling in all that beautiful “negative space”/border with feathers and dense straight line stitching……..IMG_6613    Close tight work……nose to fabric, almost!!!! LOL! Then, I needed to trim/take care of those ragged edges……(the photo, above, is the cleaned-up version; the photo, below, is what needed attention)……….IMG_6607    I switched to my Bernina 440QE and threaded up with my beloved Glide poly thread IMG_6608(BOTH top and bobbin) and chose decorative stitch # 59……IMG_6604      and foot # 20……… IMG_6606.

I did one time around as programmed, then trimmed away the backing/batting closely and stitched another round in “mirror image”, encasing the raw edge. The result is very similar to the original!!! I’m pleased!!!!! IMG_6616. IMG_6611 This  photo is the same corner as the photo of the frayed corner back a bit!!! IMG_6614    The backing was a cute piece of “Timeless Treasures” fabric from my stash.   Below is a good comparison photo……..IMG_6617 

Thread: Connecting Threads Essential Pro poly (70 wt), Glide poly (40 wt), Coats & Clark All Purpose. Batting:Hobbs Tuscany silk (2 layers).

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Vintage + Ms Juki………..

Equals an afternoon of fmq fun!!!! This is the first of 2 matching vintage pieces, measuring 7”x 10.5”.IMG_6602 Relatively small but with ample space for some stitching……..The first stitching, to stabilize/anchor the piece, was done either side of the embroidery and just inside the (factory?) stitched edge. I decided on a daisy-styled flower in the center and…..well, there just HAD to be feathers somewhere! IMG_6596IMG_6597    Finishing the feathered areas, I needed to fill that emptiness with——pebbles!!! Yes!!! Lots of little, itsy, bitsy pebbles!!!!!IMG_6599IMG_6600     How “itsy, bitsy” you may ask????? Maybe this will help put things in perspective…………IMG_6603IMG_6601   Just a couple more little spots in the inside area and…… what shall I do to fill that outside the embroidery “border”??? Stay tuned……………….

Thread: (top) Connecting Threads Essential Pro poly; (bobbin) Coates & Clark All-Purpose. Batting: Hobbs Tuscany Silk (2 layers)

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A “finish” and a “start”…………..

The ‘start’ of this “finish” may be found here. This lap (57”x 74”) sized quilt was another relaxing one to stitch. On to the photos…………..IMG_6592      And, since the above snapshot really doesn’t show the stitching………….IMG_6575IMG_6576IMG_6579       I just love the movement that was produced! IMG_6578   Here’s a better shot of the backing. Am ‘luving’ that grey with the off-white! IMG_6577 

Thread: (top) Glide, 40 wt; (bobbin) Connecting Threads Essential Pro poly, 70 wt. All the fmq was done hand-guided (no stitch regulator) on my Sweet 16 (sit-down).

And the “start” is this super sweet piecing/applique………IMG_6590    It’s round!!!! Yup, it is!!!! And just look at this sweet face………………..IMG_6591   Oooooo…. the ideas are swirling……

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but not in one of my sketchbooks but on a new Wacom drawing tablet. I’ve wanted to find something that will allow me to work through ideas for fmq motifs without using a plexiglass/dry erase marker or photographing a block and pencil sketching or taking a photo and slipping it in a vinyl sleeve and using a dry erase marker. Am still working out the “kinks”, but this is the set-up….IMG_6595. There’s a stylus that I use to ‘draw’  on the tablet that’s connected to a USB port. My frustration level has been a bit up and down, as has the learning curve. Some major issues with the software has somewhat delayed the comfortable(?) use of this add-on!  This little cutie Mell's angel  is a sneak peak at tomorrow’s post. The yellow ‘sketchings’ are possibilities for the fmq. Still learning, but getting easier!!!! Yay!!!!

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Tuesday’s loose ends……….

Whew! I’m not sure what happened to Monday(!), but Tuesday is well launched! Houston Hoedown (link) is a “wrap”. A perfect weather weekend and no real extraordinary “skirmishes” during the (definitely) raucous event. As I said previously, our little sleepy town of 995 ppl swells to several thousand but, this year, the congestion didn’t seem to impact the flow of things too adversely. Sunday’s parade was awesome as always, lasting well over an hour (always!!!!!) with 94+ registered entrants from all over the area. Beginning with the presentation of the “colors”…………..IMG_6477 to the traditional horse/rider group at the end………IMG_6550 the various area celebrations were well represented and the music entertained us all. A few photos to give you the flavor of this activity…..IMG_6482IMG_6484IMG_6485 of course there MUST be clowns…….. IMG_6490 IMG_6491 IMG_6495 and the squeaky clean/mirror bright (many) fire trucks …………. IMG_6496 The class of ‘66 distinguished itself years ago by “personalizing” this old school bus and “tweaking” it each year. Given its originating era, the concept is not surprising, hmmmmm??????  IMG_6501 IMG_6503 IMG_6507      Future grads getting in on the action!!!!

IMG_6531 IMG_6544 IMG_6546    Many floats…..and, of course, politicians!!!!!……………………IMG_6542 IMG_6543

And what would such a showing be without the tractors………..IMG_6519 

A car show…….IMG_6556   with our #1 son’s latest ‘build”!! (below)………IMG_6558   Not only does he work with metal but he had this log that he cut to boards, finished…..and, now, it’s the bed of the truck!!!!!! IMG_6559 ‘Detail’ is his middle name!!!! IMG_6560 

The city park was filled with vendors of all descriptions……..IMG_6551IMG_6552       With lovely shade areas for long overdue visiting.IMG_6561    The “Music Jamboree” commenced following the parade and gave a wonderful “old tyme” feel to the area. “Blue Grass” music could be heard for blocks.

The surrounding fire departments sent representatives to do ‘battle’ in the “water wars”…which offered spectators opportunities for a light ‘shower’!!!!!! IMG_6562 IMG_6564 

While, at the Fest Grounds, a traditional horse pull competition was viewed by many, followed that night by a local rock band.

About 4:00, DH and I escaped to LaCrosse for a quiet supper at Piggy’s Restaurant and a walk in Riverside Park, where the replicas of the Nina and Pinta had tied up.   IMG_6573                          IMG_6568 IMG_6570 A perfect evening for a saunter IMG_6571 IMG_6572


And the perfect way to end a very busy weekend!!!!!








Note: click on any photo to enlarge.

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Design “Wall” (kinda) Monday………..

Well, technically not but I thought I would keep with the ‘theme’ for Mondays! This is a client quilt and is going to be so much fun to quilt. The pattern is a free download from Lecien and was featured in some posts from last year……cuz I had pieced it back then as a cozy “heirloom” appearing pattern and went feather crazy with the stitching. My version………. IMG_1036   and the one up next (client’s)…….IMG_6471      Several (many?) ideas are floating around in my brain, so we’ll see what comes out!!!!! Definitely…to be continued!!!!!

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My weekend thus far………

Has been one that provided the opportunity to acquire the perfect set of…………”dish-pan”hands!!! Yup! For the last few years, I’ve been washing pizza pans and miscellaneous baking items at our son/DILs business while the guys serve up fab food outside.  It’s our little town’s annual 3 day event……”Houston(MN) Hoedown”….that attracts 7,000+ (possibly) people to this sleepy bedroom community. Tractor pulls, vendors in the park, various ‘tag’ sales going on, etc, etc, etc. Hopefully, I’ll post a few photos tomorrow but, for now, just some photos of what was going on in the parking area of our son/DILs convenience store/gas station……….IMG_6463IMG_6465IMG_6462    The smokers……yup, 2 of ‘em……were going full blast, cooking up chicken and pork. The smokers were custom built by son, Brady, and definitely got a work out!!!! IMG_6464  This was probably the only “quiet” moment Brady had in the last 48 hours!!!!! Oh my…the aroma of applewood and meat cooking had lines of people forming early. Normally we have served for all 3 days of the event but this year is one for the record………we sold out by 6:00 pm Saturday!!!! Wow!!!! 280 pounds of meat——gone!!!! That’s quite a few pulled pork sandwiches and 1/4 chickens served, don’tcha think???? All this means that, for DH and I, we have a (possibly) free Sunday to watch the parade, get a world famous (!!!!) “Hoedown Brat” and wander the park……..and take a few photos for ya’ll…………

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Sometimes simpler is better…………..

Machine quilting……a subject that didn’t even exist years ago has been taken to levels that almost defy what could ever have been imagined! The artistry, complexity and creative skill level seen at today’s quilt events, at times, evokes such amazement as to just how it was achieved. Having said all that, there is still a place for the simple, under-stated designs that remind us that these lovely creations were meant to be used…and loved. Such is this blue and white piecing that came to me for final stitching. First of all, I must state that this color combo is my all-time fave and stitching on it has been so calming and thoroughly enjoyable in its simplicity. IMG_6456     Once again, there was a definite “voice heard” indicating what was needed on this one. Looking at the piecing pattern (“Trip Around the World”), I observed that it’s a basic pieced pattern with fabrics that had a lot going on for prints. Keeping it simple, for the stitching, was a definite ‘yes’. IMG_6458    Once this is washed, there will be massive texture, I’m sure!! IMG_6457   I switched to a ruler foot to do a bit of SID (stitch in the ditch)IMG_6459 to set off a blue border which will be left unquilted to give the eye a resting place. I continued with the center pattern on the wide outer border. IMG_6461    Just a bit more stitching and final trimming and this one will be ready to find its home. A final thought. The critical ‘issue’ on this one turned out to be achieving a perfect thread tension between the top & bobbin threads. I used a provincial blue on top and a pale silver gray in the bobbin. I did try a similar blue on the bobbin but it really spoiled the look of the backing.

Thread: (top) Isacord (bobbin) Connecting Threads Essential Pro poly. Batting: Hobbs Heirloom, cotton/poly (80/20)

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“Awesome” Alert!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s been a while since I’ve done any type of ‘food’ post BUT here goes….. First, the “back story”. Growing up in St. Paul, Mom/Grandmom and I would take the bus downtown to shop. One must-do stop was Dayton’s department store (now Macy’s) and their bakery. Yup, they had a bakery!!! And the most out-of-this-world bran muffins! Now, you may ask…..What could possibly be that great about a bran muffin?”!!!!!???? The muffin itself was moist and filled with plump raisins and, here’s the lusciousness……., they had an outside chewy layer of caramel and, on the bottom (top??, as they were actually inverted!) a slice of a wonderfully soft date. Heaven!!!! Fast-forward to a day ago when the site “Mennonite Girls Can Cook” posted a recipe for……….. “Sticky Bran Muffins”. IMG_6454          Yup…..that recipe is a  keeper!!!!!!! Oh dear! 12 of these beauties!!!!…..Well, maybe not at this very moment……………….IMG_6455  Closer to ten and a half setting there  right now….DH agree these are pretty good (understatement!!!)! The link is here-Mennonite Girls Can Cook. I’ve made many of their recipes and they are all fantastic!

        I do think their photo (above) is staged a tad better than mine but the date piece on the bottom is an absolute MUST to be authentic “Dayton’s Bran Muffin” (IMHO, you understand!) I leave you now…ummmm…..I think I hear a piece of sweet loveliness beckoning………………………….

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An original……………….

Last Monday was the monthly gathering of my smaller, local quilt group. It was perfect weather (the major heat of the previous days had somewhat abated) and the rural location gave ample opportunity for some deer watching. There were many things shared that night… are just a sampling. Gwen has another graduation coming up, so another quilt is definitely needed! She had spent some 3 days getting this stack of blocks put together….30 in all and, I believe, she said they were around 14” square…….IMG_6453 The larger center area is made up of 4 blocks, actually and she used batik charms for a “jump start” on the piecing. Carol hosted a gal-friend’s overnight stay and received this lovely appliqued wool covered journal “Thank you” (ummmm, shall we say that a bit of camera shyness is going on????)……… IMG_6450 At our previous meeting, I presented the “Paint Chip Challenge/Gift Exchange” for Christmas and Ann needed to do her drawing………..IMG_6452    The “rules”/challenge is to make an item (anything) that utilized the 3 colors drawn + 1 color of your choice. I included 3 “free” colors that could be used (black, white and tan/beige) as neutral background, or whatever. The color combos definitely were interesting and, as shown by the above example, will be a challenge. The finished item will be wrapped,  the little baggie (w/ the paint chips) attached and given at our Christmas get-together. Some of the gals have either completed or are well underway with their projects!!!!  The last photo is of Joan’s (pronounced “Jo-ann”) very original quilt for one of her grandsons. (note: click to enlarge!)……IMG_6449 The background is machine pieced but all the applique work is needle-turned!!!!!! Gorgeous!!!! She drafted the appliques from either coloring books or totally original! AND she is hand quilting this one (her preferred quilting process).                                           Til next time………how is your ‘stitchin’ summer’ going???? As always, I so luv it when you come to visit! Sending cozy hugs to you all……………

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Monday Design…….table????

Another client quilt. Who doesn’t just LUV a blue & white piecing?? A pristeen, simple “Trip Around the World” setting. IMG_6441     All prepped to be basted (Sharon Schamber’s method). IMG_6447    Do you see those gorgeous paisleys??? Yup, another fave!!!!IMG_6443    This will be an e2e (edge to edge) stitching and, I’m just sure, it will have some of these lovely swirl figures somewhere. Stay tuned……….        Note: the bridal gown alteration is complete. A tiny take-in at the very top of the bodice, 7 hem layers and 4 bustle loops and buttons.

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