Archive for November, 2007

Giveaway Time!

November 30, 2007

geraniums.jpgIt’s so fun to give things away! Blogs come in handy for that 🙂

Ok, I have 3 of these – Prep-Tools, and I have to tell you, I LOVE THIS LITTLE TOOL! It works perfectly everytime and if you need something to accurately and easily mark 1/4″ seam – this is the best! The inventor/manufacturer gave me 3 of them to give away.

So, comment away! Comments from this post and on until  December 5, 2007  (comments prior to this post will not be counted) will qualify to  be entered into the drawing.  And, I might even stick a little handmade something in there 🙂

Good news, the magazine is finished 🙂 and off to be burned onto CD’s and then mailed out. And you all know what happens after that… FREE Cotton Spice! 

…and the limbs came tumbling down….

November 28, 2007

Remember our tree problem in the back yard? The ice broke it earlier this year and a big part of the tree was tangled up in the power lines going to the house next door.


This morning at 7:30am, the tree cutting guys showed up to fix our tree!


And now our backyard looks naked, but the lines are free from branches


and we are no longer worried about the branch falling on Sally (our beagle)


The tree cutting guys cleaned up all the branches and twigs, not one twig lying around. They did move some things in order to cut branches, which I thought was very considerate of them. But I didn’t really pay attention until after they were gone. I was out taking the above picture when I had quite a start as my eye caught this…


Now from the porch, about 10 feet away, it’s not easy to tell what that is, but the tree cutting guys must have found it while picking up twigs and put it up there. It wasn’t up there before! (it’s Jacks toy octopus) And you know, even when I saw that thing in the pool this last summer, it would give me a start. It’s an icky color and it has tentacles.

So, now our tree is pruned and we have the octopus. Life is good.

Happy Thanksgiving, the first snow and catching up in general…

November 24, 2007

geraniums.jpgHow was your Thanksgiving? We had a wonderful time. Ours was small – 5 people, and that was just the perfect amount. Quiet and peaceful, just enjoying each others company. I have to tell you how wonderful my husband is – he cooked the entire dinner. He sent me to the sewing room to play. The dinner was delicious and I was relaxed. He loves to cook, so I tried hard not to feel guilty for playing while he was slaving over the hot stove. I did do the dishes, although he still put the extra food away and cleaned up the rest of the kitchen. He gets the Best Husband award for this and so many other things.

So, what did I do with all that time in the sewing room? Well, I decided it was time we had a beautifully decorated table for our meal of Thanks. So, I made some napkins –


and some name cards –


and some chair-back decor –


for a beautiful table –


I added the ‘good’ silverware, my green glass goblets for ice water and of course the food, but by then, I’d forgotten to take more pictures.

I did take Wed, Thurs and Friday off. I started my GAAA…. no, I’m not choking… Great American Aran Afghan! Click on the thumbnail for a nice big picture! I’m so thrilled with this! In the front of the book it lists the 5 easiest and the 5 hardest. I started with the first one on the 5 easiest list. (this is the easiest!?!?!?!)


And we did wake up to a little bit of snow. I took the pictures from indoors, I wasn’t about to peek any part of myself OUT THERE where It’s COLD!!!! Here’s the backyard –


and the rambling rose bush on the side of the house –


And the front porch. All these pictures were taken from my sewing room windows. I do have lovely views!


Have a wonderful weekend? Did you venture out yesterday for the 4am sales? not me… I was snug in my warm bed snoozing away! 🙂

Big Mail Day Yesterday

November 20, 2007

Doncha just love it when the mailman brings all kinds of packages in the mail, and they are all for YOU!? 🙂 I do, and yesterday was such a day.

First, Fed Ex came by and left a package with this booklet inside it on the porch-


This will be my next big project and I’m a little intimidated by it. I looked through the directions and it’s not for the faint of heart. There are knit alongs for this afghan, which I may have to join just to figure out the directions. I’ve already got some of the yarn purchased as you can see. You also get a peek at my ironing board cover which needs to be changed! 🙂

The best part about this package? I didn’t have to pay for it. I swapped some yarn for it. Perfect!

Next,  a lady on one of my Ravelry groups offered up some 30’s fabric – whoever PM’d her first, she’d send it to. Well, I was 2nd! As an alternative she said she had ‘a few’ blocks laying around made from 30’s fabric and would I like those? I’m strangely attracted to these prints after years of not caring for them. Anyway, imagine my surprise when 2 very large envelopes were on the porch!!! (I’ve had to put a small table under my mailbox on the porch cause we do get a lot of mail and packages)




That’s what she calls ‘a few’ blocks lying around? Wow! A crib size quilt top, a partially finished Delectable Mountains top with blocks to finish it, 4 large (16″? 18″?) Dresden Plate blocks, embroidered tulip blocks, 9 patch blocks, many stacks of rectangles both large and small, pieces of blocks ready to sew together… my goodness! She didn’t want anything for the ‘few’ blocks, but I’ll be sending her a little something 🙂

And finally, this –


I’m in a Winter Wonderland Swap on and this is what my Santa sent me! Isn’t that yarn gorgeous? Reminds me of peacocks! I had put in my questionnaire that I was learning to knit lace, so she sent me this wonderful pattern for several lace scarves and that gorgeous yarn.

It was like Christmas around here yesterday, and I’m still oohing and ahing and petting fabric and yarn! 🙂

The HoHoHo quilt is nearly done, just putting on the edges – pretty different edge treatment for a quilt. I think you’ll like it! Tomorrow the weather is supposed to change into actual winter weather, so I’m trying to get it finished today so I can photograph it today, before it starts storming.

Have a great day! 🙂

So, what now?

November 19, 2007

geraniums.jpgGosh, now we’re back to my life, which isn’t the most exciting life in the world. No travels to tell about. No new inventions. Just me and my everyday life, which revolves around my husband, my home, kids, grandkids and Cotton Spice. So….just what have I been doing for the past 2 weeks?

Well, aside from a couple panicky days when we went out to get groceries and on the way I remembered I hadn’t posted the new project, it’s been mostly the same.

Write and work on the Dec issue of CS. Knit in my spare time. Laundry, cooking. Not much cleaning. Nothing seems to be skulking at me from any corners.

I am absolutely loving my time at It’s an amazing place. When it opens to the public you’ll see what I mean. They have hundreds of groups, covering just about any interest you could possibly name. I started a group called Frugal Homemakers. We are all trying to get out of debt, pinch the penny till it hurts, find ways to save money and generally support each other during what can be a stressful time. This is the shopping season. But we really aren’t going to shop. We’re going to make what gifts we can, maybe recycle some things into gifts, and in general try to be creative in what we give. There are no $9.99 perfume sets here! Aren’t those just the worst? It’s says, “I have no idea what to get you, so here. It was on the aisle on my way out of walmart/kmart/target and it was my last hope.” If you’re giving a gift, you should know them a little bit better!

I’m participating in a Winter Wonderland Swap at My person lives in England, and I’ve had such a good time visiting with her. After a few chatty emails, I came up with the perfect thing to give her. And since she doesn’t know who I am, I’m perfectly free to talk about it! There’s a new book out called ‘Cool Girls Quilt’ by Linda Lum DeBono and it has the neatest projects in it. The perfect yarn bag – and I’m making it for my little English girl. well, she’s 22… she’s little! 🙂 Maybe young is the proper word 🙂

I finished my Branching Out Scarf and my Booga Bag. I need to take pictures of them.

Saturday night we had some grandsons over to spend the night. We made pizza and I made some soda cracker candy. Mike took the last of the candy to work this morning 🙂

Today, I’m going to finish the Ho Ho Ho quilt and wrap up the magazine, hopefully by tomorrow.

have a great day!

Wrapping up The Last Minute Gift Countdown!!!!!

November 17, 2007

geraniums.jpgHave you enjoyed the last 2 weeks? I sure have. I’ve loved reading all your comments and picking the winners… I just sent out the winners email, so check your email! Once I hear from all of them, I’ll post a winners list.

So… WHAT is the ultimate Freebie I’ve been promising? Are you sitting down? 🙂

Sometime in December, the Cotton Spice Quilting Magazine will be FREE!!!!! once our subscribers receive their Dec issue CD, the website will no longer require a password to access the magazines. And… all the back issues are on the website, you’ll be able to read/view them all!

So.. what happened for the 14 winners who were supposed to win a free subscription? They are receiving website access immediately and a CD of the Cotton Spice Christmas Cookbook in their mailbox.

A big thank you to all the participating designers – weren’t they great? I hope you’ve all been to visit their sites and blogs.

Thank you again!


p.s. if you want to keep up on all the news, as it happens, sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter

Cotton Spice presents… Karyn Weir from Trail Mix Designs

November 16, 2007

Stitched Christmas Cards


Step 1: Gather your supplies.

You will need:

Assortment of patterned Christmas-themed scrapbooking paper

8½? X 11? sturdy cardstock

Buttons (or other embellishments)

Photo Squares (or other paper adhesive)

Tacky Glue (to glue on embellishments)

Paper trimmer, not mandatory, but it makes things easier!


Sewing machine and thread


Step 2: Cut your cardstock.

Cut the cardstock in half so that you have two 5½? X 8½? pieces.


Cut one of those pieces in half, so now you have 1 – 5½? X 8½? piece and 2 – 4¼? X 5½? pieces.

Fold the 5½? X 8½? in half for the actual note card.

Step 3: Cut your patterned paper.

Cut your background paper to 4¼? X 5½?.

Cut a triangle out of the other paper and a little square for the tree trunk.


Step 4: Assemble pieces.

Using the photo squares, attach the background paper (4¼? X 5½? scrapbooking paper) to the 4¼? X 5½? piece of cardstock. Assemble the tree and attach it to the card front.

These pieces are going to be sewn so at this point, we are simply tacking it down to prepare for the stitching.


Step 5: Stitching the tree

Stitch around the tree, starting and finishing at the top.

Trim the loose threads.

This will be covered by a button.


Step 6: Stitch the perimeter of the card

At this point I stitch around the border of the card.

Step 7: Attach stitched card to note card

Using the photo squares I permanently attach the card front to the note card.


Step 8: Embellish the card

I attach a button to the top of the tree, but you can embellish it at this point any way you like.


And you’re done!



Using this technique, you could make cards using any holiday shape, stars, snowmen, gingerbread men, candy canes, etc.


You can use fabric instead of paper by using Heat’N’Bond to attach the fabric to the card front.


You can use rick rack and other trims to embellish the cards.


You could trim the paper (or fabric) with pinking sheers to give the edges a “pinked? look.

You could use rubber stamps to further embellish the card.

NOTE: Make sure you change your sewing machine needle before sewing again on fabric, the needles get very dull when sewing on paper!

Visit Karyn Weir from

Be sure to visit tomorrow for the BIGGEST Freebie of all!

Cotton Spice presents… Quiltalicious, LLC – by TK Harrison

November 15, 2007





Tammy Harrison from and her website is

Cotton Spice presents… Nancy Flynn from Belle Epoque

November 14, 2007

Make a Travel Kit in a Hurry for Your Favorite Jetsetter!

by Nancy Flynn

I love the idea of embellishing store-bought items to make them more personal and special. But turning a $40 hemstitched linen napkin into a sachet? No thank you. I could buy something indie and awesome for the giftee on Etsy for $40. It seems to me that the original point of handmade gifts was not only to be special, but economical too. So I set myself the challenge of buying a few reasonable items readily available at the local drug store and combining them with supplies most crafty folk already have at home to make a gift that is not only unique and fun, but also quick and inexpensive.

To make an gift in a hurry for your favorite world traveler, you’ll need:

From the drug store (you shouldn’t spend more than $5-$10):

Foam Ear Plugs


A sleep mask

A pack of gum

A wash cloth or small dish towel

Chenille socks in a cute color

From the Craft Closet:

1 small piece felt

Embroidery thread to match or contrast your dish towel and felt, as you like

2 buttons

1 foot-long piece of ribbon

Embroidery needle

Make the Pouch:

Don’t have time for hemming and lining a pouch? Use a ready-made cloth to save time:

1. Fold up about 4.5 inches of the towel, making sure to leave at least an 1.5 inches above for a flap:

2. Blanket stitch the edges together from the fold to the beginning of the flap:

Repeat to stitch other side together too.

3. Find the center of the pouch and sew buttons on to the flap and pouch, leaving about 1/2 inch between them:

4. Tie the end of your length of ribbon in a knot around one of the buttons and wind the ribbon around the second button to keep the pouch flap closed:

Yay! Your pouch is done, now to give the things that go in it a little bit of pizazz

Snazzy Sleep Mask

If you’re in a hurry, you can buy a sleep mask and embellish it like I did. However, it is also very easy to make your own by drawing a mask shape on a piece of paper and using it as a pattern to cut layers of cotton, linen or silk to sew a sleep mask of your own, then including ribbons or an elastic band to keep the mask on snugly. If you choose to do this, embroider the eyelashes before sewing the mask together.

1. Draw closed eyes with eyelashes with chalk pencil on the sleep mask

2. Using running stitch or split stitch, embroider over the eyes you drew in a light colored embroidery thread

Yay! On to the ear plugs

Shhhh… Ear Plug Cozy

1. Cut a rectangle of felt that is 3.5 inches by 1.5 inch.

2. Fold the rectangle in half and on one half write Shhh… across the diagonal.

3. Unfold the fabric and embroider over the letters and periods using two strands of floss. Small split stitch is great for the letters and French knots work well for the punctuation.

4. Fold the embroidered felt piece in half again and use a blanket stitch or whip stitch to close up the long sides, leaving the top open for putting in the plugs.

5. Pop in the ear plugs.

Assemble your pouch, tucking in the folded face mask, ear plugs in their cozy, gum, chapstick and fluffy socks. You could also include drugstore and travel favorites like a mini pack of tissues, cough drops, a contact lens case, cuticle butter (Burt’s Bees makes a tiny tin that is solid and will not hold the traveler up in security!), a pen and tiny pad of paper, or a tube of homeopathic anti-germ fizzy tablets, whatever your particular traveler likes.

While the materials used in this example are obviously rather girly, this gift can easily be made to suit the manly man in your life — use a darker-colored washcloth, embroider his initials in floss on the pouch itself (and forgo the eyelashes on the sleep mask), and continue the rest as written. Next time you’re at the drugstore, the dollar store, or even the grocery store, just use your imagination, and you’ll surely come up with even more fun and economical handmade holiday gift ideas! And when you do, please share over at the belleepoque tutorials Flickr group.

Visit Nancy Flynn from

Cotton Spice presents… Karen Gass from Cotton Spice!

November 13, 2007


Knitted Headband

This is a great way to use up scrap yarn and learn some new stitches, on a small project, before embarking on a larger one. You’ll need –

  • scrap yarn
  • stitch dictionary
  • scrap fabric – 1 which is 4″ x 17″ and 1 which is 2″ x 6″
  • 6″ piece of 1/2″ elastic

Use your stitch dictionary to choose a stitch. I found it was easiest to use a stitch pattern that needed approximately 15-17 stitches. Anything wider proved to be a bit unwieldy as a headband. Whatever pattern you decide to use, do a garter stitch (knit every row) on the first and last 3 stitches of each row. This will provide stability to the piece.

Measure around your head, where a headband would go. Write this down, this is your Head Measurement. Mine was 21 1/2″. The knit piece doesn’t need to be this long, mine was 14″. This is your Knit Measurement.

To use the stitch pattern in my picture, here are the directions:

Row 1: k5, p1, k4, p1, k5

Row 2: k3, p2, k1, p4, k1, p2, k3

Row 3: k5, p1, k4, p1, k5

Row 4: k3, p2, k1, p4, k1, p2, k3

Row 5: k5, p1, k4, p1, k5

Row 6: k3, p2, k1, slip 2 st onto cable needle and hold in back, p2, p2 from cable needle, k1, p2, k3

Repeat Rows 1-6 until piece reaches your Knit Measurement. Bind off.

Use the 17″ long piece of fabric, fold it right sides together and sew a 1/4″ seam. The width for my fabric was 4″, but you will have to determine your width based on the width of your knit piece. Turn inside out. Press.

Use the 6″ long piece of fabric, fold it right sides together and sew a 1/4″ seam. Turn inside out. Press. Use a safety pin to thread the elastic through. Stitch across one end to secure elastic.


Place the elastic on the headband base and fold the edges around it, as shown, and stitch across. Remove pin and pull elastic piece out, so the unfinished edges are inside the headband.

At this point, you should try on your headband, to get the correct placement for the other end of the elastic. Mark with a pin.

On the other end of the headband, fold under 1/4″ around edge of fabric, press. Insert unfinished elastic end inside, fold edges around like you did before, and stitch across.


This is how it should look.

Pin the knit piece to the headband, matching centers.


Use a matching thread, and sew along the inside edge of the garter stitch. This will be practically invisible. It helps if you can raise your presser foot while sewing. Tuck yarn ends under the knit piece and sew around the end.

If you don’t have a stitch dictionary, there are some online. Try these –

Knit Headband tutorial provided by Karen Gass, your hostess for The Last Minute Gift Countdown and Editor of Cotton Spice Quilting Magazine.