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November 2009

A quilter's Christmas wish list!

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Welcome to our third annual post on things quilters need for Christmas! I've gone around the Cottage snapping pix of things I know I'd want ... leave this window open on your desk top and maybe your family will get the hint! Or better yet, stop in and pick up our wish list, fill it out and leave it in a conspicuous spot on the kitchen table ... or the bathroom vanity ... or tucked inside someone's billfold! While your family is in White Bear Lake enjoying the festivities each weekend, someone can sneak over to our place and buy everything on your list!

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Aurifil recently introduced thread art kits from a selected group of designers.  They range from 40 & 50 wt cotton thread to Lana wool thread ... beautiful colors ... packaged perfectly in attractive plastic boxes. Check out the variety on their website and then pre-order them from us in time for Christmas ... but don't wait, too long!

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Mighty Brite dual clip-on lights for books or sewing baskets.

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A year's worth of wool baskets from the month-by-month patterns by Crow River Mercantile.

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Fat quarters or yardage from the newest Riley Blake line Bloom and Grow ... but actually any fabric is perfect for a gift! We have jelly rolls and charm packs, too.

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Hand dyed wool sets from Mary Flanagan are wonderful for wool applique ... so are any of our fat 1/8ths ... we're trying to keep the cupboard stocked but wool goes fast!

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A membership in the Sweet Pickins' Club for fans of This and That patterns ... it'll be like giving a gift each month as everyone in the club gets exclusive patterns! We'll catch you up from the beginning so don't worry that you've missed anything.

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There are only a few autographed copies of Jinny Beyer's quilt block book left ... we can get more unautographed ones in time for gift giving when these are gone.

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Everyone wants one of the Moda sampler boxes ... there's a pattern tucked inside!

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And who can't use more OLFA products! A new ruler or mat or cutter are perfect gifts. So are other tools and gadgets that fit nicely in a Christmas sock!

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More Square Deal and Square Deal 2 kits are cut and waiting ... as well as a variety of pillowcase kits. You can give them as gifts or make them up quickly in an afternoon. We have some darling ornament kits as well if you need just a little something.

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Quilting books and magazines ... like this newest from Nancy Halvorson ... are always appreciated. So are the latest patterns and books from GE Designs, Terry Atkinson, This and That, Perkins Dry Goods ... and lots of other Minnesota designers ... not to mention the other designers we love from around the country!

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Our Christmas cupboard is plump full of darling add-ons. We've gotten in beautiful framed photos from Crossroads that any quilter or non-quilter would love!

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And of course ... there's the PERFECT gift ... a Rosebud's Cottage gift certificate ... one size fits all so-to-speak. No expiration date on these!

If you're downtown at night, stop by our window and look at our little village. Its from a collection I gave Bob the first years we were married. It reminds me of the scenes in the windows when we were kids.

Looking forward to seeing your loved ones at the Cottage for your holiday shopping!!

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Celebrate with taste!

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Well today marks the beginning of the holiday entertaining season ... Happy Thanksgiving btw ... but it's also the time of year when I enjoy my favorite grocery store the most! I've been shopping at Kowalski's since they took over the grocery space in White Bear Lake.  Since back in the old days when we all used to hang out at Reed's Fabrics at the other end of the strip. A long long time! My kids really don't know any other grocery store. Well ... except for Teddy ... he works at Cub in White Bear Township (also owned by Kowalski's) but even though it's closer, it just isn't 'my' store!

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When it comes to decking the halls, I always find some kind of inspiration just as I walk to the door. Right now there are spruce tops and these beautiful urns filled with greens and berries. Frankly, it's a struggle sometimes to keep focused because their gift area is the first thing you see. Even my friend Heidi from Iowa felt the pressure when she visited this Summer ... in fact, she's gone to Kowalski's several times since that first visit!  I just have to keep chanting ... milk juice milk juice ... until I get a few steps into the produce department.

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Look at these pomegranates ... they're the size of a man's fist ... and they're sooo beautiful ... and the price is good! I'm never sure what to do with them but this year there's a pamphlet with the fruit that tells you how to prepare them ... it's all about education! So maybe this year I'll buy one to eat and three to dry ... they'll look perfect in a bowl of greenery on my table.

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And I know the Ugli fruit is only for decoration but don't they have a great name? They dry up to be bumpy and are a terrific bowl filler.

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I can't even get past the the veggies ... these bowls are darling! BTW ... in the produce department it's not unusual to see the farmer stocking the bins ... I love that they buy local from companies that I know. And ... that the guys in the department will go in the back and search for things for me ... like pears that are just at the perfect stage for eating ... not too soft not too hard. Yum!!

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Kowalski's has a ton of private label products but look what I spied back near the milk and cheese. These will be perfect for tucking into some gifts or maybe for the boys' Christmas socks. I haven't seen these pretty labels on their holiday stuff before ... its a sweet touch.

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Oh oh ... more Christmas ornaments!! Good grief ... I haven't even gotten to the milk and juice yet. But ... before I move on ... you know those cherry pincushions of mine on the cover of Quilts and More I searched everywhere for the perfect ramekin for the muffin top pincushion ... turns out the right size was waiting for me in Kowalski's housewares department ... you can get yours there when you're ready to do the project!

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I love how they bring the world to me in their imported cheese department. Dexa is sooo enthusiastic and has given me terrific ideas for food gifts. You want to be in the store on the days she works because she'll help you by offering samples or combinations of cheeses for a party platter that will impress everyone! There are things that I never would have tried without her encouragement.

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I want to buy every jar of honey in this display just for the pretty covers!

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My mom baked bread but never like this. And who knew that focaccia bread would become a staple in our home? The boys eat it as a snack ... it rarely makes it to being part of a meal! 

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It's fun to see the bakery tables overflowing with all kinds of goodies ... especially right now because they look fabulous! Bob likes to sneak in a couple packs of cookies when I'm not looking ... the date cornflake ones taste like they used Grandma Waldoch's recipe. They do small packaging too ... who needs a whole pie when most people only want a small slice? The half pies are the perfect size.

Right next to the bakery is the deli ... I get their soup almost everyday for lunch. I've been missing it these last few weeks because we haven't moved the microwave to our new location ... but next week I'll be back on track. It's nice having something warm now that the temps are actually turning cold. I've been tempted to run over for lunch seeing I'm back in White Bear Lake ... it's nice to sit at a table and look out at the lake ... especially if the fireplace is going!

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Here's my main reason for going to the store almost every day. They have a Starbucks! Laura and Diane are there most days and they know exactly how to fix my Perfect Oatmeal and we laugh about how they always stir a little bit of love into it. They don't do that at the other coffee bars. Oh ... and then last night I noticed all the holiday coffee mugs they had at Starbucks and decided to pick two so Bob and I could kick off the season this morning. Yike ... I was torn between two and with the help of the barista on duty, I chose the red oval embossed ones ... but I might go back for the glass etched ones with the Christmas verse on them. Decisions decisions.

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And it's encouraging to shop at a store where the owners shop, too! Here are Mary Anne and Chris shopping for their own Thanksgiving feast. When the boys were growing up, it was normal to see Jim in the store shopping for dinner. The boys knew who he was and I'll tell ya ... it was like having Santa Claus in my pocket.  If they would start to act up, I'd look at them with that stern mother face and ask "do you really think Mr. Kowalski wants you to behave like this in his store" ... it worked most of the time. That and the threat of not getting a cookie in the bakery. Combination of both, I think.

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Another reason I shop here is because of their commitment ... first off to their products. They stand behind anything they sell. They have great customer service and I'll tell you ... after eight weeks in physical therapy it's nice not to have to load my stuff in the car! But in addition, they're good neighbors. I can't tell you how many committees I've been on in White Bear Lake where someone will say "let's ask Kowalski's" and they always come through ... even now when times are tough for everyone. Ya ya ya ... I know this sounds like a commercial for them. Can't help it! I love that this store is in my neighborhood and I hope they'll still be there when the boys push me off into the nursing home. Of course, when they do that, the bus will come by on Wednesdays to take me shopping ... at Kowalski's! You really need to add them to your list next time you visit White Bear Lake.

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Winner winner chicken dinner!

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I don't know what that phrase means but I do know that we have winners in the Cross Country Christmas blog hop! Drum roll, please ...

First grand prize goes to Thea M ... second prize to Arlette from Costa Rica ... and third prize to What Comes Next. You need to email Gudrun ... gudrun@gedesigns.com ... to claim your prize and send her your address.

We had some GREAT prizes ... see the photo below ... and here's yet another way to win some more ... sort of a last chance. As you sew up our projects over this long, Thanksgiving weekend, post your pix on our Flickr page ... you will be entered in to win one more big prize. You will have until December 1 to load up your photos. So after you sleep off your turkey hangover, head to your sewing room and get started! I have a stack of Essence layer cakes at the Cottage if you don't want to wade through your stash. Stop by on your way home from work tonight ... you'll be cutting and sewing before Grandma has made it home from dinner!  

Thanks again for hopping with us ... come back often because you never know what will happen here. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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More crumb catcher pix!

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I gave the Cookie Plate Crumb Catcher pattern as a freebie for my retreat the weekend before last. Usually, a lot of the quilters will make the project we give them but this year they were busy working on other holiday surprises. Or maybe they decided to wait to see my finished project first? Ya ... it wasn't done. But here are a few brave souls who did an excellent job of putting together their own version of the crumb catcher! First up is Chris ... she used a charm pack to make her's.

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Deb used fat quarters and scraps for this softer version.

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Kelly used this cute snowman fabric.

And Jan pieced her's by HAND in the time it took the others to piece by MACHINE! The woman's a machine all of her own. Big sigh. She got her's done even before me. By hand. Another big sigh.

So have you made one yet? A bunch of people are showing their completed projects from the blog hop on our Flickr photo group. It's easy to register if you don't have an account yet and it's free! Let's see what you've done.

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Prizes for a few lucky quilters!

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Ok ... check your ticket stubs to see if you're a winner. I've grabbed four from those who commented on my blog day. You'll be getting a Gerber Daisy rotary cutter and a Frosted Advantage ruler from OLFA and a copy of the Winter 2009 Quilts and More magazine ... the one with my cherry pincushions in it!

The following people need to email me with their mailing address!

Badlands Quilts ... Gail ... Liz A ... and Sew Cindy.

It was so cool to read everyone's comments ... I had been keeping up with them but then when I went back to pull winners, I realized there were a bunch that I hadn't read. Over 500 comments! Holy cow.

It cracks me up that so many of you liked the 'crumb catcher' name ... I was wracking my brain trying to think of something other than table topper or candle mat. Looks like I hit on a winner! Maybe I should do a series???

Your comments really mean a lot to me ... with blogging it's hard to know how you affect people ... is anyone listening? Now that you've found my blog, I'd love it if you'd keep on making comments ... it's fun to know what people think.

Oh ... and let me tell you how the project came about. I'm taking part in the Twin Cities shop hop on April 29 and we each had to come to the meeting in September with a 9" block and directions. They had to have a cooking theme ... hint hint on the shop hop theme!! My block ... as cute as it was ... just didn't fit with the look of the blocks the other shop owners had made. So back to the drawing board for me ... with an equally cute replacement block ... but my original darling block was left hanging on my wall ... begging me to use it. I tried to ignore it's call as best I could.

Fast forward to needing to come up with a project for the blog hop. I had this cool idea ... it was drawn out and stuck to my wall ... I even did a few practice rows to make sure the idea worked ... fabric cut in a little pile waiting for me ... and then I opened Gudrun's blog that kicked off the blog hop. Holy cow ... did she sneak in and peek at my idea? We couldn't have two Christmas trees that resembled each other ... plus hers was so stinkin' cute with it's prairie points around the corners. 

And then my abandoned block started jumping and shouting ... pick me pick me! And as I looked at it some more, I realized that I could pull those little frosted bars from triangles into squares by extending them into the border. Woo hoo ... I was saved and half the work was done! I had already chosen the name Cookie Plate and by making it into a small table topper it would fit perfectly under a plate of Christmas cookies.  So that's the way my twisted little mind works. Aren't you glad you asked?

Don't you love the needled felted crow in my photo? My friend Lenore made it for me ... thanks Lenore! She is terrific at needle felting 3D objects ... she put the crow on a cork from her neice's wedding and then embellished a paper mache box to set it on. It has a glittery R ornament hanging off its beak. I see it every time I come into the workshop ... it's sitting on a big table in the middle room ... it makes me smile and I think of her and the gift she made for me. I love handmade!

The Noel mat was in the American Patchwork and Quilting calendar a few years ago ... appropriately on the December page. Flip back through your calendars for the directions ... it would be a fun piece to have on your table this holiday!

Remember ... you can keep adding comments to my blog from the 19th ... and the blogs of each of the designers on their project day ... to be entered into the gigantic cool and fabulous grand prize drawings. Read and comment all weekend long ... on Monday morning Gudrun will pick the winners ... the rest of us will verify that they commented on our blogs and then the winners will be announced. Good luck!

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Crafting for Christmas!

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Crafting and Christmas are one and the same to me. Maybe it started as a little kid making paper chains and then expanded into a way of life. Glitter and sequins and paper and fabric are just what happens when December rolls around. Secretly? I think about Christmas projects all year long!

Now, before you do anything else, run over to Linda's blog to see what she has going on for our last project. I met her four years ago when we were seat mates on a bus to Des Moines to American Patchwork's Creative Circle event for designers. I knew who she was before then from her magazine work and her books through Leisure Arts and could. not. believe. I was sitting next to her! Pinch me. She likes all kinds of creative work and we both have boys. Instant bond!

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You've probably guessed that I'm big into memories. What better way to enjoy them than to journal all the things that mean so much to me during the holidays! I few years ago, I took an online class from Shimelle that focused on just that ... recording Christmas memories. I loved making this altered art book because I could just junk it up with all kinds of stuff I'd collected. I can't even close the thing there's so much weird stuff in it. Ok ... but the memory of putting it together is a memory all its own! I did it in my hotel room at the Country Inn and Suites in Ankeny, Iowa. At that point in time, I was driving down from Minnesota each week to Des Moines to write web content for American Patchwork. Being in their offices all day was so interesting and then having this project waiting for me in my room was exciting. It was a great time in my life. Take a peek at some of the other pages.

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I tried to record things that we did that December ... we went to the Ordway to see White Christmas ... loved it when they made it snow on the audience ... and this was the first holiday season after Macy's took over all the Dayton's stores ... I was so upset I refused to spend the $10 gift card they sent me. (Still haven't gotten over it just in case you wanted to know. ) And don't you love that Bob has a line of candy canes?

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Sometimes I'll pull out the felting needles and make something with wool roving ... like these jingle bells!

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Other times it's paper and fibers or wool and floss that attract my attention.

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Oooooh ... and I love to paint! We're moving all of my acrylics into the hideout this weekend and I'm itching to bring out the brushes.

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Both of these were ribbon winners at the Minnesota State Fair!

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When I'm overwhelmed by it all, it feels great to sit down and pick up a needle. What's that phrase? "My soul is fed by needle and thread."

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Sometimes it's fun to craft with others ... yes ... gingerbread houses are crafting. The first Christmas after we were married, Bob and I decided to make a gingerbread house. One of those romantic newlywed ideas. We get into fits of laughter when ever we bring it up. You need an engineering degree and six extra sets of hands to pull it off. Now we get our kicks from looking at them in Grandma's Bakery. But every now and then I see Bob glancing wistfully at the house kits.

I love sharing crafting times with others ... I think it fun to share what you know ... and the people you do it with give you so much back in return! I'll never forget the good times Bryn and I had last year at the hideout making gifts for her family. Crafting with kids ... especially when they're making something extra special ... adds a new dimension to your life.

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And when I'm not making something for the holidays, I'm thumbing through magazines to look for new ideas ... or reading an interesting Christmas novel someone else has crafted.

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Well ... this is the end of the road for the Cross Country Christmas blog hop. Hasn't it been fantastic? So I'm guessing you want to know what happens next. We've decided to leave the comments open through the weekend ... that will give everyone time to catch up on the reading and leave their thoughts. On Monday we'll draw names of winners, then we'll check our lists to see if there's a winner who posted on every blog on the bloggers day. On Tuesday Gudrun (and the rest of us) will announce the winner. Good luck to each of you ... and have a very merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!!

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It's Rosebud's Cottage on the Cross Country Christmas!

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Well how about that ... the blog hop is nearing the end.  It seemed so far away when we first began on November 9th but here we are and now it's my turn. So let me introduce myself ... I'm Roseann Meehan Kermes and I'm the owner of Rosebud's Cottage in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

Unlike the other bloggers, I'm the only one who has a storefront. It's been so fun hearing what all of my customers have to say about the blog hop. Quilters have come into the store with their patterns printed looking for supplies.  It makes me smile to think there are hundreds out there doing the same thing!

While the others design for their own companies, my designs are often used in the store, or sent off to various publications. I have had a long history with Better Homes & Gardens, contributing to their painting and crafting magazines before coming to American Patchwork and Quilting about eight years ago. You've probably seen my projects in APQ or Quilts and More. Last Spring, I was even a cover girl! Beginning in 2010, you'll also be able to see my work in Scrapbooks, Etc.

I do behind-the-scenes work for a number of companies in the quilting industry, too. Several years ago, I was asked to help write the web site content for All People Quilt. That was fun! I worked with OLFA as their education coordinator until I became a job-loss statistic last year. There are lots of interesting opportunities in the industry and I've been lucky to be invited to take part in so many of them.

My interests aren't just in quilting ... I love working with paints and brushes ... as well as altered art ... needle felting ... doll making ... photography ... anything and everything. You've probably heard me refer to the 'hideout' ... it's around the corner from the store and it's where I have all of my  creative stuff. Some people would call it a studio but the word workshop works better for me. I love being there.

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The hideout and it's proximity to my home was the reason I chose to move my store back to White Bear Lake  last month.  WBL is one of those pretty towns ... the kind women choose to go to for a day out or lunch with a friend.  Lots of hands-on businesses in town ... most owned by women. I do miss North St Paul and all the people there. It was where we were photographed when we were a Quilt Sampler shop in 2004 ... the town I grew up shopping at. It has special memories for me. 

But now, you need to get busy making my project! First, go down load the directions for my  Cookie Plate Crumb Catcher.

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I used a Moda layer cake for my project ... Essence by Sandy Gervais. The trick to working with precuts is not to be fussy about colors or designs matching. For the  'cookies and bars' I chose pieces that looked like gingersnaps or fudge bars. I used two reds for the corner flips that make up the 'frosted bars'. Ya ... I take this all literally! For my borders I picked two with the same design even though their colors were different. Three different reds are the binding and have a scrappy look. For the back I just sewed up four that looked interesting to me. You can do the same thing by working from your stash. On the pdf you'll find supply information so look there for more information.

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One basic sewing skill you'll need to make this project is how to do a corner flip. Kari has her Clearly Perfect tool on her blog and if you have one, use it ... it's such a time saver! If you don't here, are the step to making them.

  1. Draw a diagonal line on the back of each small square and then pin it in the corner like the first photo. Stitch on the line.
  2. Use a rotary cutter to trim exactly 1/4" beyond the seam line.
  3. Press the corner flips away from the center. That's it! One tip ... because I was piecing together so many of the corner flips, I watched which way they were going together and then pressed the seams that were joining in opposite directions.

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Here's how the center of the crumb catcher will look. Notice that the bars in the top and bottom rows are going up and down and the one in the center is going across. You'll piece and sew the borders on after you get this part completed. One helpful product for these projects with a ton of seams ... I use Mary Ellen's Best Press before I square it. It makes everything lie flat.

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I am horrible at machine quilting and even worse at stitching in the ditch. So to overcome that, I quilt small projects this way. I use the left side of my presser foot and guide it along a seam on the top of the quilt. It gives me a stitching line that's a little deeper than a 1/4". I always use my needle-down feature so that I can pivot at intersections. I back stitch one stitch at the end. For this project, I went inside the gold cookies and then on the outside of the points in the border.  

The Cookie Plate Crumb Catcher measures 13" square and is perfect for setting under a tray of Christmas cookies! What will yours look like? I'd love it if you would post a photo on our Flickr page.

Don't forget you need to post a comment on my blog today ... and on the project days of each of the others, too, in order to be put into the drawing for the grand prizes!

And there are prizes for some lucky individuals from me today, too! My pals at OLFA have given me some cutters and rulers to give away.  I'm including a copy of the Winter2009 Quilts and More ... where you'll be able to see my delightful cherry pincushions inside and on the cover as well! On Friday, I'll pull four names from those who commented.

To get to all of the other designers, click right here!

Thanks for coming to my blog today and for taking part in the blog hop. Happy holidays!!

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We interrupt this blog hop for an important message ... Friday November 20 is the Creative Craft Crawl!

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This Friday it's time for our Creative Craft Crawl! The Crawl is from 10am to 3pm and will take place in our new store on Third Street. Other participants are Truly, Bear Patch Quilting, Nesting Inc,  and Sheepy Yarn Shop. Each of us has a project for you to make for a fee. Take time to go to each store and learn something new! Have lunch downtown while you're here.

Our project is a vintage holiday trivet.  We'll use a decoupage medium to attach a beautiful Christmas image from Heritage Makers . After it is dry, we'll sand the edges for a time-worn look and then age the edges with chalk ink. We have four designs to choose from. The price is $7.75 each ... $6.75 if you do three or more. Great for Christmas presents and available while supplies last. 

See you soon!

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