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February 2008

January 2008

Have you seen the sewing caddy?

Img_sewingcaddylg_1On the APQ club page in the April issue of American Patchwork and Quilting is my Sewing Caddy ... a very simple but also very cheerful little project. We needed a quick, last minute project for the Club page and I had this hanging up in the die cut room at the store.

Believe it or not, this is one of the first projects I made with wool ... it was a spin off of some wool pins I made for a bus tour that was featured in the April 2001 issue of APQ.  I got on a roll with that free form rose and  went to town creating purses, penny mats, pillows and other objects that had everything to do with roses. It was so fun and I still  have all of the projects.

I love working with wool. It makes everyone's work look like a professional. The stitches  melt into the texture of the wool. You can make a mistake and no one will notice! This project has buttonhole stitching around the flowers but now days, I love to  use a single strand of floss and a whip stitch. It's so much faster and not as heavy looking.

The hand dyed wools I carry at the Cottage are so colorful  ... almost like a paint palette!  Bolted wool is wonderful too ... it only needs to be washed and dried before it's used. I just pulled five yards of wonderful yellow out of my dryer so I can make kits for the sewing caddy. It's so soft and thick ... tempting to take a length of it and applique some wool flowers and leaves and vines on to it ... wouldn't that be a fabulous throw for the couch?

I need some time to play. {sigh}

{BTW ... happy birthday to my little brother Tim! You're not really fifty today ... are you??????}

Blue Monday

Imgp1500Did you know that according to psychologists, today ... the third Monday of January ... is considered Blue Monday? The holidays are gone and the bills have come in ... the days are short and dark and cold ... we have nothing to do but be depressed.

Well I don't know about that! This is a great time of year. The holidays are done, there's nothing pressing to do, it's cold so who wants to be outside doing anything? We all get to stay inside and putz around with the things that make us happy ... reading or drawing or quilting or knitting ... or staring into space. Cool, huh?

So hum that Jamaican song and don't be depressed. Don't worry. Be happy!!

A little peek at Spring when it's freezing outside!

Imgp1364When you walk through the warm blast of air at the doors in Kowalski's, it's like walking into a Spring garden. So necessary on a weekend like this! This past week they've been keeping that first step into the store filled with those wonderful flowers that remind me April is just around the corner. {How's that for projection into the future?}

With temps for the weekend predicted in the way far down negative numbers, I thought a glimpse of tulips and daffodils might help.

And if you're not on the email newsletter list, you might want to call the Cottage to find out about our first ever Wind Chill sale this weekend.

We live in Minnesota ... gotta celebrate it!

Keep warm.

I collect things ... but you knew that!

Paintbox2That painterly part of me loves paintboxes. Wish I still had some of mine from when I was a kid. Why oh why didn't mom save them? All. I found this one at 7th Ave Antiques in North St Paul on my way back from the post office today. {Don't tell the girls at the store ... I like to take little detours to the shops on the avenue while they think I'm waiting in line at the postage counter!}

One of my paint boxes hold a set of really small alphabet stamps. Another  one my friend Kathi from Out on a Whim sent me ... it holds little doodads of things I might want to use for altered art. They're fun to own. Throwbacks to when paintboxes were made of metal and not plastic.

So what's inside my new little cutie?  Take a look ... remnants of my trip to the No Coast show in December. They've been waiting for the perfect home.

Snowman Season!

ThreesnowmenMy friend Heidi  on her Hen and Chicks blog was talking about how she loves putting out her snowman collection once Christmas has been packed away. I totally agree with her!

Here in Minnesota ... and Iowa where she lives ... one way to get through Winter is to celebrate it. It's the time of year to bring out the blue and white quilts and the snowmen!

Back in the day when I taught classes at Reed's Fabric in White Bear Lake, we made so many snowmen. Everyone loved them so much that it wouldn't be uncommon to have a dozen on the schedule during the Winter. I knew I had a lot but not until one of the boys in a total state of boredom counted them all. That Winter, there were over 60 snowmen ... INSIDE the house. Only a few outside.

The snowmen that have always been dearest to my heart were those that were in trios ... I'd look at them and label them according to which of my three boys they resembled the most. I have over a dozen in groups of three ... each as different as the next. I love the one in the photo above ... Teddy is obviously the one in the middle being picked on by those brothers on either side with his scarf tied over his eyes.

At the end of the season, it's almost as hard to put the snowmen away as it is the holiday decorations in December. By March, though, I'm ready and yearning for pretty pastels and bunnies and tulips and all the bright promises of Spring in the air.

For now ... it's just time to enjoy good old Minnesnowta!

The Charm of Color


If you're into any type of creative hobby, you know it's all about color. It doesn't matter if you paint, bead knit or quilt ... color is the key that unlocks your imagination ... that sees you through to the end of the project.

So ... with that in mind, you need to rush right now to Mary Lou Weidman's  blog and scroll down to the Creativity Lesson #1 on January 7.  I can't quit looking at the photos. But when I do ... my eye strays to the content on the side. My favorite? The mouse and cheese pincushion!

My photo here is a scan of an advertising fan from Putnam Dyes. I found it at White Cow Antiques in Eau Claire when I snuck away from the retreat with Darlene and Sue. {They found great treasures, too!}