Monday, December 31, 2012

Ringing in a New Year


I can't believe that 2012 is over already.  Honestly, it didn't feel like Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas until the day was upon me.  Perhaps it has a lot to do with the unseasonable weather we've had this fall.  I don't know....but, the months speed by.  My Gram used to say that the older you get, the faster time moves on, and she was so right.

As we bid 2012 a fond farewell, I have to say it has been a good year for me.  I've had several new and exciting adventures, and I look forward to 2013, and all it has to bring.

As each new year begins, I set goals for myself....things I want to accomplish or new challenges.  For 2013, I want to learn a lot more about social media tools and PhotoShop (which was on my list last year.  I learned a bit, but not as much as I'd like!).  I also want to learn to make a great pie crust, and bake delicious pies.  I love pie!  And soup...I love soup, but really don't have many good soup recipes.  Yes...soup and pie.

The other goal is more personal.  I'm making it a point to be more gracious.  I try to be kind and helpful, and now want to focus on being more gracious.  Kindness and graciousness go hand in hand, I think.  The world can always use more grace and kindness, don't you think?

Would you call all of those things resolutions?  Hhmmm.....I like calling them goals more than resolutions.  Resolving to do something just doesn't have the same positive spin.  I digress......

After we ring in the New Year, put the Christmas decorations away, and eat the last Christmas cookies, we can begin to take some time for ourselves.....to do something we enjoy as we settle into the winter months.  My next Pocket Patchwork Sew~Along will begin on Friday!  I'm so looking forward to it!  (Read my previous post to find out more about the Sew~Along and how to participate.)


I'd like to close the year with a Give-away! 
 
 
Leave me a comment about any goals,  wishes, or challenges you have for yourself in the coming year! 
Post your comment by midnight Wednesday for a chance to win a pair of these heirloom scissors!

  
Wishing each of you a very Happy & Healthy
 
New Year!!
 
And...thanks so much for taking the time to visit me here!
I truly appreciate it more than words can say.
 
Pam

 

Friday, December 28, 2012

It's Snowing!


It's been 307 days since it last snowed in the Chicago area...and today we're getting a bit of the white stuff!  It's a beautiful, lazy snowfall with giant flakes....so pretty!  I've lived here my entire life and I've never known a winter without snowfall so late in the season.  This one will give us a measly 1 inch, but I'm glad to see it anyway.  I know many other parts of the country would love for us to have some of their snow, and you're probably sick of it already, but we're all hoping for a bit of measurable snow.  It's just part of the rhythm of the seasons and it seems odd not to have it.

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Now that Christmas is over, we're enjoying a week of play and relaxation here.  It seems the week in between Christmas and the New Year is great for that.  We've been feasting from the leftovers, enjoying movies with our kids, and loving the easier pace of life.  You too?  What have you been enjoying this past week? 
 
In addition to all of that, I've been playing catch up with surfing Pinterest and reading blogs.  In case you enjoy Pinterest....you can now find me on Pinterest!  I'd love for you to look at my boards and follow me if you like what you see.  Slowly but surely, I'll be loading lots of Heartspun Quilts photos, with a lot of them taken in my home.  Pictures you usually don't see, but I thought Pinterest would be a good place to post them.
 
Many of the blogs I like to read allow me to "Follow by Email" which is a great way to keep up with them, and I thoroughly enjoyed Lisa Bongean's "12 Days of Chrismas" posts.  There were loads of good things to read about each day, but I have share her post from Day 8, where she told of the many virtues of sizing or starching your fabrics.  If you know me at all.....you know I've been preaching this for ten years now!  Many, many designers know the unbelievable benefits of sizing/starching your fabrics, and I was so jazzed to read Lisa's post.  Here's the link if you'd like to read it for yourself.  You can certainly go back from Day 1 and read them all...very enjoyable! 
 
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One week from today will be the first post of my next
 
Pocket Patchwork Sew~Along!!
 
If you're new to my blog, or would like a reminder of
what to expect, you can read all about it by clicking here.
 
Remember...the very best way to receive all of the sew~along
instructions is to get my posts via email.  To do this
simply enter your email address in the "Follow by Email"
icon, found on the right sidebar of my blog.
That way you can simply print the email and begin sewing!
 
In addition to the sew~along, be sure to visit me here in the next few weeks
for sneak peeks at my two upcoming fabric lines with Marcus Fabrics,
and travel along with Lynne and me to Camp Blanding near
Jacksonville, FL, hosted by the one and only
Gloria Parsons of Olde Green Cupboard! 
We'll be teaching a couple of classes and spending
the weekend with 200+ quilters.  Sounds like such fun, doesn't it?
 
Thanks so much for stopping by today!
 
Pam


Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas To All!


It's been too long since my last post, and I've thought of you every day since, but the hustle and bustle of the season left my good intentions unfulfilled.  It's been a crazy week with last minute gift shopping, grocery shopping, wrapping, Christmas cards, and well.....all the finishing touches.  I started cooking on Friday and it's been a non-stop marathon cooking and baking session.  We finally finished today about noon.  Ah....at long last, we're ready.

In about an hour my family will pack the car to head over to my cousins home.  For my entire life, Christmas Eve has been spend, for the first 50 years at my Aunt Betty's house, and now at her daughter's home.  For all of us, Christmas begins when we pack the car and make the trip there, to spend the evening with "that side" of the family.  Christmas music will be playing as we drive, with anticipation riding high as we await the visit with family members we don't often get to see.  Great food and laughter will be had by all. 

Now that our kids are grown, we will no doubt reminisce about how it was when they were younger, leaving reindeer food on the driveway, cookies for Santa, and their church Christmas programs.  Of course there will be the memories of early morning surprises when they discovered the things Santa left under the tree. 

Christmas Day will be celebrated at our home with "the other side" of the family.  This has been our tradition for the past 28 years, since our daughter was born.  We will again enjoy yummy food, great conversation and the opportunity to create new memories as we also remember the reason for the season!

I hope you all enjoy the traditions your family has created over the years as we celebrate Christmas, and keep in your heart those people who have lost so much in recent events, and all of the men and women in our armed forces who are away from their homes and families in service to our country.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!
 
Pam

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Like a Little Competition?

Do you like a little competition?  How about one using Judie Rothermel fabrics?  Oh...yes....that picqued your interest, huh!! 



Well, my fellow Marcus Fabrics designer, Judie R is celebrating her 25th Anniversary with Marcus.  Judie was the very first designer to bring us 1930 and Civil War reproduction fabrics, and we've been loving them ever since. 

Did you know there is a fabric collection honoring Judie's 25th Anniversary?
Click here to see the entire line.
 


Contest Fabric Pack 8 x 8 sqaures of all the Anniversary prints!
 
In honor of this remarkable achievement, Marcus Fabrics is sponsoring a quilt competition
called......Just Judie
 
To be eligible, create an original quilt design using at least
ten prints from the Judie Rothermel 25th Anniversary Collection.
 
There's even a special contest packet of fabric (shown above) you can
purchase at your local quilt shop that contains an 8" x 8" square
of the entire Anniversary collection!
 
The contest runs from January through July 2013, so you have
plenty of time to buy the packet, and start designing and sewing!
 
Click here to get all of the competition rules and read about the prizes.
 
If I were able, I would participate myself! I've long been a Judie fan and have
been collecting her fabrics since I began quilting.  That would only be fourteen
of the last twenty five years.  I do have heartache over the collections I missed
the previous eleven years, and envy those who have them in their stash!!
I'm betting there's a whole lot of great prints I missed out on.
 
And there's always those favorite Judie prints in my stash that I love so much 
I hate to use them and wish I had bought more.  Ahhh well.....
I console myself with all of the lovely fabrics that are produced each year.
Yes, yes....we are very lucky to live at a time when beautiful cotton
prints are so plentiful!
 
Anyway....click on the links above to check out
Judie's 25th Anniversary collection,
the competition rules, and start planning your
quilt today! 
 
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On a side note.....I just wanted to share that big changes are about to
happen to the look of my blog.  I just wanted to mention it so you
wouldn't think you've landed in the wrong place.
It will still be me, I'm just giving the blog a make-over,
a face lift....something new for a new year!
 
Hope you're enjoying the merriment of the season.....
 
Pam
 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Loving Those Strings!


Several days this week, my friend Deb has been coming to help me with piecing a new quilt.  The project will have thousands of little, tiny pieces.  We have both made a big mess with loads of scraps spread out all over several tables.  We're watching Christmas movies, listening to Christmas music and otherwise having a great time while we work to make several hundred of these little cuties........



This will not be a quilt you can make quickly...and that is so OK with me.  In the end, it will be worth it.  We all have those projects that take their sweet 'ol time being made, and others that are done in a jiff.  It's nice to have both.  As I dig in my scrap bin, I'm finding fabrics that I haven't seen in years.  They remind me of projects made long ago, or the store where I bought them, or the friends I was with at a particular quilt shop.  So...this quilt is already full of memories....and while we're sewing, I'm making more!

Just another example of how I feed my soul with the stitches I sew.

Wishing you many happy stitches, too!   Pam

Sunday, December 9, 2012

I Shouldn't Be Multi-tasking!

For those of you who know how Blogger works...it's really great, but uploading lots of photos seemingly takes forever.  When I created the show-n-tell posts last week, I confess that I was multi-tasking, taking care of other things while the photos loaded.  It made good use of my time, but in doing so....I omitted one photo from a dear quilter, Sylke, from Norway.  Sylke was the very first person to send me a photo of her completed quilt top, and I feel very badly that her photo was omitted.  Let's take care of that problem right now!!

Sylke from Norway
My apologies, Sylke!  Also...I received another entry just this morning......

Mary Ann from IL
Thanks, again, everyone, for participating in the sew-along.  Loved every moment and I'm looking forward to the next one, starting January 4th! 

Yesterday, I spent the day teaching the 6th Gathering of the Prairie Women's Sewing Circle club at The Quilt Merchant.  It is one of my favorite ways to spend the day.  I've made preliminary progress on Journey Five, but haven't really begun working on it in earnest as other priorities have needed my attention.  Right after the first of the year, I'll get to work. 

Next week, my friend Deb will be coming over to sew with me several days to help piece a new quilt that has several thousand pieces!!  Yes...thousand!!  I'll try to give you a little teaser....but can't reveal too much right now.  We'll sew, and sew and then I'll set my sewing machine aside to concentrate on preparations for the holiday.  I know we're all busy doing much the same things....juggling many tasks while humming along to White Christmas, or Jingle Bells. 

Still waiting for the white stuff to fall.....
 
Pam

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Forget Me Not Show-n-Tell Part Three

Are you ready for Christmas yet?  Not me!  The house is decorated, but I still have about a third of my shopping left to do.  Presents are being wrapped slowly but surely.  My daughter, Nicki, has begun making Christmas cookies.  I used to love to bake them,  usually making 15-17 different kinds of cookies, but I no longer have the time, and she wanted to carry on the tradition.  Win, win!!  It's been very warm here in Chicagoland.  Last week, on December 4th, it was 70 degrees!   It's nice, but my body clock says it's time for chilly, snowy weather.  Christmas just isn't the same without snow!  I hope your holiday preparations are coming along nicely for you. 

Let's take a peek at the last of the Forget Me Not quilts.......

Marilyn from Idaho
Martha from Minnesota

Mary from North Carolina

Nancy from Indiana

Patti from Texas

Patty from Illinois

Sara from Italy


Sheri from Illinois

Sue from Michigan

My heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated in my Forget Me Not Sew~Along!  Isn't it much more fun to sew with friends?!!  I hope you enjoyed all the quilts as much as I did.  My next sew along begins in just a few short weeks.  And.....I'm already planning one for spring time that will be a bit different from the others!  More fun in the works!!

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I know many of you are addressing your Christmas cards right about now and I wanted to encourage you to remember our "Wounded Warriors" recovering from their injuries in the VA hospital.  I'm sure they would love to receive a card of well wishes and holiday greetings from your family.   If you'd like to, you can send a card here:
 
A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue
NW Washington, DC  20307-5001
 
Thanks so much for visiting with me today!
 
Pam

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Forget Me Not Show-n-Tell Part Two

This week, I'm immersed in creating two new fabric lines.  I tell ya...it's exciting and I'm already wishing I had the fabric to sew with.  It will be many months in production, but well worth the wait!  Coming much sooner will be two fabric lines already well into production.  One is a new wovens line and the other all cotton.  Did you know that wovens and/or homespuns are becoming very popular again?  I wanted to do a wovens line because they are prominent in so many early American quilts.
I'll be blogging about that very soon, with a bit of show-n-tell from my pile of antique quilts!

Speaking of show-n-tell......let's get started on the next batch of beauties from the Forget Me Not Sew~Along.....

Jan from Utah

Joyce from IL
Joyce S.

Judi from Illinois
Karen S. from Illinois

Kathy from Indiana

Kerry from Australia

Leanne B.
Lesley from Canada
Louise from Washington
Lynn from New York
 The next few photos are all from Jennifer G from Texas.  Jennifer sent me this photo of her Forget Me Not quilt....

Jennifer G from Texas
She added some fun things to her quilt, like this.....
 
Jennifer G from Texas


She played with several design elements and this is how her quilt turned out.......

Jennifer G from Texas
Just lovely....don't you agree??  Well....a little while later, I received another email from Jennifer that she just wasn't satisfied with the way the quilt looked....saying it needed a little something more.  So, using the scraps from her kit, she added a touch of applique, and sent me another photo......

Jennifer G from Texas
Jennifer...I think you were right!  You're intuition was spot on and your Forget Me Not quilt is lovely and unique....and you!!  Everyone did a great job and I've enjoyed each and every photo.  I hope you did, too.  More quilts in my next post. 

Enjoy your day.....
 
 Pam

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Forget Me Not Show-n-Tell Part One

It's finally time to begin posting the Show-n-Tell photos from my last Sew~Along....

Forget Me Not
 
I have tell you all how I thoroughly enjoyed hosting and sewing along with each of you.  My heartfelt thanks to all whom participated, sent me comments, and to each person who took the time to email me the photos you're about to enjoy.

It makes me crazy happy to know that not only did we sew along with quilters from all over the United States, we had quilters sewing along from around the world!  How cool is that?

As you scroll thru the photos, not only did we have a nice variety of fabric palettes, but many quilters chose to set their blocks differently, added borders, and some added applique! 
I L O V E that!!

The show-n-tell will take place over three posts, and these wonderful photos don't need any commentary from me as they speak very nicely for themselves.  


 
Betsy from Illinois
Beatrice from France

Carol from Nebraska

Celtic Rose from Arizona

Christi Jo from Indiana
Dale from California
Deb from South Carolina

Debbie (on the left) from New York

Diane from Illinois


Doniene from Texas

Thanks for stopping by today!
 
Pam
 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Very Old UFO


A few weeks ago when we were antiquing, this sweet little sampler was one of the things I purchased and I wanted to share it with you.  It's a Schoolgirl's sampler, and obviously she was still working on it.  It was still in the hoop when I bought it.  Notice that the hoop doesn't have any screw or other device to tighten it.  While the sampler itself is a treasure (I adore and collect old samplers when I find them), it was when I turned it over that it stole my heart, and I instantly knew I just had to have it.


In order to create the needed tension between the two hoops, several pieces of beige cloth have been wrapped around the inside hoop, then stitched in place.  What a wonderful make-do find!  The top hoop really isn't all that tight against the inside hoop.  It barely gives a bit of tension to the linen.  I wonder how many pieces of linen have been in between these hoops?  Perhaps a mother and her daughters all used it?  The hoop itself has a lovely feel and the patina is glorious from wear.  I suppose most people would pick it up and put it down without a thought.  But, as you know, my mind and heart live in the prairie most days, and this unfinished sampler in its old hoop instantly transported me back to the 1800's. 

Truth is, I could go on and on as to why this speaks to my heart, but I won't.  I'm thinking that for many of you, you know exactly what I mean.  Do you have any items from the past that touch your heart?

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
1800's Trivia
 


The Prairie Diamond
 
 
Sherry K., who is one of the ladies in my Prairie Women's Sewing Circle club, brought me this "Prairie Diamond" ring.  She told me that, in the 19th century, especially when immigrants were headed west to homestead the prairie, sometimes when they became engaged to marry, the young man would fashion an engagement ring from a nail, bending the nail into a ring for his beloved to wear.
 
Now that's really making-do!!
 
Enjoy your day and thanks for stopping by.....Pam

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Announcing My Next Pocket Patchwork Sew~Along!!

As promised, I'm ready to announce the next Pocket Patchwork Sew~Along!!  I was thinking about this even before the last one was over!!  Before I get into the details, I'd like to tell the many new folks reading my blog what this is all about.

First, this is a freebie pattern in the form of a Sew~Along.  Each Friday for 5 weeks (they vary in length depending on the project) you'll receive the instructions for one block.  It's a mystery what you'll be creating, and you get your "clues" every Friday. 


Lucy's Prairie Pocket pattern by Heartspun Quilts

The term "Pocket Patchwork" refers to the pocket (like the one pictured above) that 18th & 19th century women wore under their clothes as they didn't have inset pockets in their garments as we do now.  They kept all kinds of needful things in them, including bits of patchwork to sew when they had idle moments (although knowing how much work there was to do everyday, I don't know when their hands would have been idle!!)  I'd like to think if I wore a pocket, I'd have patchwork in mine.  Hence, all of my Sew~Alongs are Pocket Patchwork!!




I'm betting, like me, you have lots of orphan units and loads of scraps lying about.  Well, we're gonna make good use of these in the Sew~Along!  Don't worry if you don't have orphan Flying Geese or Half & Quarter Square Triangles 'cause I'll give you directions on what to make.  Here's some things you will want to know to help you prepare for the Sew~ Along I'm calling..........

 
Pocket Patchwork ~ Orphans & Scraps

* I won't be able to give you any yardage because...we're using nothing but scraps.  Even if you want to make your project "controlled scrappy", it's best to use a wide variety of fabrics. 

* I used a wide variety of colors for my project, and it will look great made from a specific color palette.  Two colors, three colors....whatever is your whim.  Honestly, I used all of the scraps I had in a bag leftover from a scrappy quilt I made, along with the orphan blocks.  I didn't spend too much time choosing the fabrics.  The point is....use your scraps!!

* The units are on the small side, (nothing terribly small!) so choosing small prints will be key.

* The Sew~Along will take place over 5 weeks.

* The start date is Friday, January 4, 2013.  (When the holidays are over, and you'd like to do something just for you!!)

*Click here to review my instructions on making Half Square Triangles and Flying Geese units. It's just ordinary, basic stuff, and I won't be giving these instructions during the Sew~Along.

I think that's about all you need to know in advance.  Please pass the word along on Facebook, your own blogs, and tell your friends!!  The more, the merrier!!  If you've never participated in a Sew~ Along before, please join me...it's lots of fun. 

The best way to receive the Sew~Along instructions are via email....that way you can print them.  To do this, enter your email address in the "Follow by Email" icon found in the right-hand column of my blog.  You may have to scroll down to find it.  All of my blog posts will be sent to you as an email from then on.  Easy, breezy.

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This is also my LAST CALL for photos of the
 
Forget Me Not
 
Sew-Along quilts.  Please email your photos to me
by Friday, November 30th. I'll be posting the photos next week!
 
Remember, your quilt does NOT have to be quilted and bound.
Please include your name and where you live, i.e., state or country.
 
I'm very jazzed to have another Sew-Along with all of you!
Great fun!!
 
Enjoy your day.....Pam
 


 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Antiquing with Girlfriends

Left to right: Lynne Hagmeier of Kansas Troubles, Docia Fuller-owner of The Quilt Merchant,
and Tara Darr of Sew Unique Creations

Several weeks ago, three of my dearest friends and I headed down state to shop the antique fairs.  Lynne Hagmeier (Kansas Troubles Quilters) drove in from Kansas, and we spent several days gabbing, eating and literally shopping until we dropped every day.  What a blast!

For those of us who love the gems of the past, this was a wonderful experience.  There's something to be said, so hard to put into words, about being around old, old things.  If only they could talk....what stories they would tell.   Wouldn't we love to ask quesitons like....  Who made you?  Where did you live?  What are you, exactly??  Who has cared for you until I got the chance to see you today?  How did you get those scrapes and gouges?  What a fine patina you have!  I know...I'm weird!


Sometimes you round the corner and find your heart skipping a beat over a treasure you've only seen in magazines.....like this Sparking Lamp.  (See my post from a week or so ago.)  Yes...the price tag is $335.00....which also makes my heart skip...not the same way, if you catch my drift.  Or...the burled wood hand carved treen bowl, over $1000.  A thing of beauty I'll just have to admire from afar.  Did you know the term "treen" or "treenware" basically refers to an object like a bowl, spoon, platter, pedistle, etc, that has been hand carved from wood?  Burled wood is from the knot in a tree....making it a  very, very hard wood.  The knot doesn't have the straight line grain you normally see in wood, instead it's mushed and blotched together giving it a truly lovely look.  How big the knot of that tree had to be in order to carve a large bowl from it!  Remarkable.


Textiles were also well represented as with this coverlet signed and dated 1836.  Only $2850!  Isn't it a treasure?  Nope...this didn't make it home with me either, but I sure did linger, and touch, and wish, it too, could tell me its story!

 
 

 We found a few antique sewing items here and there, like the handmade pin cushion with clamp that Tara is holding.  How sweet it is!


Loved the clothes and this worn and loved Log Cabin quilt.  Sure does look like it once lived on the open prairie, doesn't it? 


I guess you could say we found some treasures to take home with us.  Best part was getting to hang out with each other, share the weekend, and do a whole lot of laughing.  Can't wait to do it all over again!

 
I will have news about my next
 
Pocket Patchwork Sew~Along
 
in my next post....so stay tuned!!