Monday, December 30, 2013

I feel like this is a guest appearance!

Reluctant Quilter

Hazelnut Deux

My Little Nest

About a year ago, someone suggested that I get serious about blogging and only blog at one spot. I didn't want to give up "Reluctant Quilter" so I balked at the idea. Reviewing the idea several months later, I realize that I have done a miserable job keeping up with any of my 3 blogs. Keeping "Reluctant Quilter" has become less of an issue as most of the sewing I do at this point is for Hazelnut Deux. Occasionally I manage to make something for myself but that has become a rarity.

I have contacted the very talented Brandy Fishback to see what I need to do to consolidate and any suggestions she might have. What this all boils down to is that there will be some changes to my blog in 2014. It is time and I am ready!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

This is my favorite Christmas song. A very Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Monday, December 16, 2013

I made something!

I have actually made a lot of things in the past few months but those were to sell in my Etsy shop and at craft fairs and holiday boutiques. I made this for me!

It is pretty simple sewing and it didn't take me long but it is quilted and it is all mine. I love my "new to me" coffee mug that I picked up for 49 cents at the Goodwill. I like to pick up pretty mugs from thrift stores and then when I get tired of them I just give them back to the thrift store and get something new. I enjoy the fact that I am easily amused spending less than a dollar!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My favorite quilt shop

I know that at this time of year it is often difficult to make the determination to spend any money on ourselves. That being said, I am here today to tempt you with a coupon for a most excellent quilt shop in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I have often written about Burkholder Fabrics and how much I love the shop. Because it is close to my home, I find myself there way too frequently petting the pretty fabric and dreaming about makinq quilts that I KNOW in my heart I will never make. (Well, at least not until I can retire from my "day job"!)

If you do have a project that you are thinking about starting now or in the new year, here is a link to the Burkholder Facebook page and this one is directly to their on-line shop. If you send them an email, they will send you the coupon! The discount is running until the 23rd of December is 30%. The minimum cut for the discount is 1/2 a yard. The discount also can be used on pre-cuts. If you ever get to this neck of the woods, email me. I will meet you there!!

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Every time I think I will sit down and write a post I find something else that really has to be done. I have been in full blown sewing/quilting/craft mode for a couple of months but it has really hit a crescendo in the past two weeks. I did take some time for just me sewing and made two quilt tops. They will most likely be discovered in my studio after my demise along with about 20 other quilt tops that need to be quilted! Sound familiar to anyone else?!

Today is Thanksgiving and I do want to take just a minute to reflect on the things for which I am most thankful. I am very fortunate to be 61 years old and have both my parents still living in the house that my children think of as the "family home". I am thankful for my handsome and delightful sons. They are both wonderful fathers, good husbands and make a huge contribution to society through the lives they touch as teachers. I am blessed with beautiful, healthy grandchildren and daughters in law that are wonderful mothers and good companions to my boys. I am thankful for siblings that have loved and supported me though all the crazy ups and downs of my life. I am grateful that I have gainful employment at a company that appreciates my contributions and has allowed me the opportunity to grow. I am thankful for friends, old and new, that allow me to be part of their lives as I share mine with them. I know that I am blessed beyond measure by a loving and benevolent God.

Thank you, dear readers, for following along and reading my posts - especially through the "lean" and sporadic postings! From my home to yours, "Happy Thanksgiving"!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

For the Boys (Men)!

Welcome to The Reluctant Quiter and my turn on the blog hop! If this is your first visit to the blog, please take a moment and check out the tabs across the top.  If you are so inclined, I would love to have you follow me!

While I can always find some kind of quilt pattern and fabric to make a masculine quilt, trying to find other things that I can craft for a man is always a challenge. I came across a tutorial for something that I think will both appeal to a man and be very useful - a wood carrier.

(The full tutorial from Fiskars can be found here.)

I purchased a piece of heavy cotton duck and a piece of faux reptile skin at Joann's.

I had originally thought I would use a faux tooled leather but I liked this piece of fabric better. There was a decent discount on the reptile fabric so that was a really nice surprise.

While I followed most of the tutorial, I also made some changes that worked better for me. I tried using my Clover Wonder Clips to secure the edges but found that they were just in the way. Instead, I pinned INSIDE the seam allowance and pulled the pins as I sewed.

Do not pin into the body of faux leather fabric. (The pin holes will remain.) I also used my walking foot.

When I turned the carrier right side out, I used my finger as a pressing tool against the inside seams to help them lie flat. Do not iron the faux leather. The design will melt! When I topstitched I just wiggled the seam to make sure the duck fabric was rolled to the back as I stitched and used the inside edge of my walking foot as a guide. I decided not to cover the handles with the faux leather fabric and simply used the webbing. I used a chalk marker to draw the placement lines, secured the webbing with pins and then edge stitched.

(If I had chosen a different color of faux leather I would probably have covered the webbing but the plain black looked fine against the outer fabric.)

If I had a fireplace (or some logs) I could have styled my photo of the finished product. Hanging it from the fence doesn't have quite the same look!

I took this in the rain and the weird reflections are from raindrops on my lens!

I love the way it turned out and I will be giving it as a gift. I even have my eye on some different fabric to make a few more. I think the next ones will be for two men I know that have cabins in the mountains. I think duck on the interior and a nice "woodsy" fabric for the outer would be really nice and also "manly"!

Please be sure to hop on over and check out the blogs below.

November 8th

The Reluctant Quilter (you are here!)

Monday, November 4, 2013

For the Boys Blog Hop Schedule

The line up of contributing participants for a new blog hop, "For the Boys" has been finalized. The blog hop starts on Wednesday, November 6th. I am up on Friday, Nov. 8th.  Here is a link to the list!

I think this is going to be a great hop. It is pretty easy for me to decide on things to make for girls and women. Boys and men? Not so much! I hope to glean a lot of good male oriented ideas from the participants.

I hope you will follow along!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

New to me!

I was looking for some clear plastic boxes to use for storage in my studio. I stopped at Big Lots yesterday and wandered back to the area where they keep all the storage items. I found really nice 6 quart clear shoe boxes.

I think you can see in the photo that the box is larger than a standard shoe box. They are manufactured by Bella Storage Solution and they are made in Massachusetts. Plastic shoe boxes at Dollar Tree are made in China. I prefer to buy American when I can. Here's what is really interesting. These shoe boxes are exactly the same price as those made in China...just one dollar!  If you don't live near a Big Lots I know they carry this particular brand at Kmart. I don't know that the price is the same but it is worth investigating if you are interested in supporting jobs in the US.

I put a fresh tape in my label maker. I am ready to organize!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Guilty Quilting

Sounds really naughty, doesn't it? It really just means that I am making something on a whim when I really should be doing other sewing!

The mailman brought me a package today from Green Fairy Quilts. In it were two packs of "Vin du Jour". I think the fabrics are lovely and very subdued.

I googled "what can I make with two charm packs". I found a Moda pattern that looks crazy fast so I am going to piece it this weekend...after I take my parents to the Poconos to leaf peek and after I finish making the crib skirt and baby bumpers for my great nephew's nursery.

If I get everything else done, maybe it won't be "guilty quilting" after all!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Missouri Star Quilt Company

Have you signed up for daily specials from Missouri Star Quilt Company?

I did and it is the most brilliant marketing I have encountered in a long time. They run fabulous specials every day in addition to weekly specials with items like charm packs for (roughly) $2, layer cakes around $22, etc. Even with shipping on top, the prices are most often less than I can find at Burkholder's (in Lancaster County) using a coupon. However, you don't want to get just a charm pack and call it a day. No, you take a peek at the rest of the weekly specials and throw something else into your virtual shopping basket. Next thing you know, you are shopping there two or three times a week.

Or is it just me?!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Thread sale!!

For one week only, Connecting Threads has select cotton spools, cotton cones and poly cones on sale. I love their thread! The colors in the sale are limited. If you have a cone holder for your domestic machine, you will love the 5000 yard cones priced now at just $5.99.  (My favorite for general piecing is "Sandstone".) Here is a link to the sale. I just snatched up a bunch!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Simple sewing

While I sew nearly every day, I also like to crochet in the evenings. I have a ridiculous number of crochet hooks in a variety of sizes. I have been keeping them in a ziploc bag. It occurred to me this morning that a drawstring pouch might be a better (and much prettier) way to keep them.


Sometimes simple sewing is the best sewing!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

One more time!!

Never heard back from "The Stylish Home" so I pulled up the random number generator again and this time the number is

Sandy!  Thankfully Sandy has an email address listed so that I can contact her which I am going to do right now.  Thanks to everyone for leaving such nice comments. It was a great blog hop!

Monday, September 30, 2013

And the winner is

Unfortunately, lucky #57 is a no reply blogger.  Her blog is called TheStylishHome. SO...she has until 9am tomorrow to contact me with her name and address.  If I don't hear from her by that time, I will draw another number.

A reminder - please make sure you are not a "no reply" blogger before you enter a contest unless you provide your email information in the body of your reply.  Thanks!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Welcome Wool Lovers!

When Denise first sent out the request for bloggers who would be interested in participating in this blog hop, I was a little hesitant. I have sewn garments with wool but have never done any handwork or quilting with wool. While I appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into penny rugs, they would not look appropriate in my decor and that was the only thing that came to mind when I thought about working with wool.  I was delighted to see a wool project in one of my favorite magazines, September/October 2012, page 35
 so I decided to jump in!

I used the patterns that were supplied in the article but did a few things differently. I used freezer paper to copy the patterns and ironed them onto the wool.

I used a fusible interfacing from Pellon (987F) since I always have plenty of that on hand.  I fused the interfacing to the wrong side of one of the wool leaf pieces and sewed right sides together

after inserting the jute stem pieces.

Another diversion from the pattern was that I used my open toe free motion foot to do the thread painting on the leaves. My design for the veins on the leaves is a bit more "stylized" than indicated in the pattern and is a whole lot more "me".

I think they turned out pretty cute.

If you are looking for beautiful wool pieces, I highly recommend Prairie Point Junction. They have gorgeous colors in 12"x18" that are very reasonably priced.

If you would like a chance to win a set of these coasters, please leave a comment.  I will pick a winner next Monday (September 30). I would love for you to follow my blog but it isn't a requirement!

Here is a list of other blog hop participants today. Please be sure to check out each of them.

Monday, September 23

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Quick quilt!

The past two weeks have been a little stressful. When I am feeling stressed I tend to sew more. It really does help me to relax. This weekend the company that I work for was sold. I haven't been sleeping well but I have been very productive. In the past two weeks I have made a sweet girly baby quilt top, pieced a table runner, made a canvas pillow cover, sewed a tote bag for a friend headed to Jamaica and have almost finished crocheting a shawl to keep at the office. (By the way - I still have my job and things at the office are supposed to remain status quo for at least a year.)

Last week I purchased one of the daily specials from Missouri Star Quilt Company - a layer cake from Windham Fabrics called "12 Days of Christmas" designed by Kate McRostie. I wanted to try one of Jenny's tutorials for a layer cake. It is "Double Slice". It is fast and really easy.  I cut the fabrics on Saturday night and put this together today.

It still needs a couple of borders. I am going to use Kona Snow for the small inner border and then the green scroll fabric for the outer border. I had to order the outer border fabric since none of the nearby LQS have it in their stores. I was a little disappointed by the layer cake in that there are only 11 fabrics in the collection. That meant a lot of repetition. I will certainly make this quilt again but will use a Moda layer cake which usually have significantly more variety their collections.

If you need a quick quilt, check out the YouTube video. Jenny does great tutorials!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Working with wool

Did you notice the new button in my sidebar "Crazy for Wool"? I am participating in a blog hop. This is my very first time working with wool. Happily when I picked up my copy of "" there were patterns for wool coasters. I was delighted because I had no idea what I was going to do with wool!

"" Issue 6

These are the pieces I ordered from Prairie Point Junction. They have over 100 colors from which to choose. These are the ones that I chose.

So pretty!

Please be sure to visit my blog on Monday, 9/23 and see how my project turned out. By the way, I will be giving away the coasters I make!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Pinwheels in progress

I took advantage of the charm square special pricing at Green Fairy Quilts last week. (10 packages of charm squares for $69 and no shipping). That is significantly lower than I pay even with a 25% discount at Burkholder's so I had to do it! I ordered several Christmas collections and a gorgeous new collection from Sandy Gervais called Soho Chic.

I am using a technique for making pinwheels that I saw on a You Tube video from Missouri Star Quilt Company. You place two squares right sides together and then stitch around all four sides with a quarter inch allowance. You then cut the squares twice diagonally from corner to corner ending up with 4 half square triangle blocks.

A pack like this

ends up looking like a pile of these

Hopefully in a couple of days the pile will turn into a table runner!
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