Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Free Thanksgiving Pattern

Giving thanks and giving back.

I have some exciting news.  My friends and family have been telling me I should do this for a long time.  I have made patterns for people in the past, but haven't charged for them.  I am taking a leap and have begun posting my patterns.  If you look in my blog shoppe, they will be added as I have opportunity to do so.  It takes a little time just to get them posted to the shoppe let alone to create them. 

As a little perk to you, I am giving you a sweet Thanksgiving design that could actually be used the entire autumn season.  I put mine on a table runner, but you can make a pillow, tea towel, pot-holder, wall hanging, or a number of other items with this design.  The best news is... it's free! 
I would like to ask a couple things: first, I would ask that you become a follower - it's not a requirement.  You can still get the pattern if you choose not to follow.  I am a believer in the honor system:), and second, would you like more free patterns or designs perhaps each season?  Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think.  That's where being a follower really kicks in.  You would get to see those free patterns, and of course, this is just a fun place to hang out.  (I hope you like the idea as I have a another one in mind and am hoping to get started on it.)

I have a couple other patterns in the works that are more along the quilting line.  It just takes a little longer to get those samples made.

This free pattern is in my blog shoppe as well.  Let me know if for any reason it isn't working.  You should be able to just click and print.
I am still a newby to blogging so I am learning by doing:)

Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches

PS: Blessings to you folks over on the east coast - be safe.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Vintage Photo & Wool Needle Book

My first one finished.
I have been playing, making things for me and haven't really been creating for the holiday shows yet.  I have done a few things, but I need to get crackin'.  I will be making a few more of these little needle books - a couple more with this image and a few with a little vintage angel image.  It took me longer to decide what embellishments I wanted than to actually put it together.  The others might have some slight variations, but will probably be extremely close in design.  Just had to share.  Have a beautiful weekend.
Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I Scored!

Yesterday, I had a little time to kill so mosied on into the local thrift store.  I found a couple pairs of work pants for Mr. LB as he goes through them pretty regularly.  Since I had time, I wandered up and down isles I wouldn't usually venture into.  Aaaaand, guess what I came upon.
Wrapped up in a little plastic bag with a sticker that said $2.99 were these two little darlings.  I snatched them up.  I didn't need to open the bag.  I knew what they were.  They are not super old, but they are sweet.  I refer to this era as 'The Bert & Ernie" era.

Hand stitched & I think I recognize some of those fabrics.  Wait, did I say that out loud?

And remember that pre-quilted polyester stuff?  Of course not - it hasn't been around in the last 29 years since we were all born:)  This one happens to be crazy quilted together so it has an appropriate home. 
Just had to share.  Have a beautiful Thursday.
Until next time,
Nimble Fingers & Even Stitches

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Harvest Party & Pumpkin Bread

On our mountain, we have a bit of a little mountain community.  We have a few little 'community' get togethers each year.  Today we had a harvest party.  We didn't have to take anything, but we could if we wanted to.  I love making this pumpkin bread/scones recipe.  It makes my kitchen smell delicious.  Since Mr. LB doesn't care for pumpkin (but likes the seeds:) I took the opportunity to make it.
It isn't a sweet bread, just flavorful with a little melted butter - are you drooling yet?
Oh, but wait.  It gets even better.
It actually makes two of these rounds.  The recipe says to make one large round, but the wedges are very large so I make two smaller rounds which are still good sized.  Tomorrow, we will go cut wood for Loretta up the river - an elderly lady whose husband passed away about 3 years ago.  Since then, we get together and split and stack her wood for her.  She makes yumiliscious goodies and tea and coffee for us while we work.  It's sooo worth it & besides, that's what neighbors are for.  We take care of one another. I'm adding the recipe for the pumpkin bread at the end of the post so your kitchen can smell delicious too.
Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches

Pumpkin Wedge Bread

2 cups self-rising flour,  2 tablespoons butter,  1/2 cup raisins,  1/3 cup sugar,  1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice,  1 cup canned pumpkin,  1 egg,  3 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 425*.  Place flour in large bowl.  Cut in butter with fingers till mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Stir in raisins, sugar, and spice.  Make well in center.  Add in pumpkin, egg, and 2 tablespoons milk.  Stir until a soft dough forms.  Turn dough out onto a floured surface.  Knead gently 10-12 times.  Place on a greased baking sheet and pat into a circle ( I made two circles about an inch thick.)  Cut completely through dough to make wedges.  Brush top with remaining milk (I forgot so you see my flour - oops)  Bake 20-23 minutes & serve with butter.
*From "Muffins, Scones & Coffee Cakes"

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Simpler Times

The other evening as my husband and I were sitting in the living room, I commented, "I so like our picture."  This was in reference to a large picture we purchased at a yard sale this summer that now hangs on our main wall in the living room.  It is from the 1700's and has sheep, a wagon, thatched roofs, etc.  His response was, "Me too.  It reminds me of a simpler time."  Those words have stayed with me.  Autumn is usually my favorite time of year and for some reason, this year my heart feels a little heavy.  There are always a multitude of factors of course, but I have been thinking about a simpler time.  I finished my Civil War table runner this morning.  I showed you the beginnings here a very long time ago.  Well, I sat this morning and finished it.  I hand quilted it with two strands of quilting thread.  This was the project I would tote around and more than once, my mom asked, "Do you always use two strands?"  "Nope."  I also made the stitches bigger, which was a bit of a task for me.  My natural gauge is much smaller.
Here is a little better shot of it.  I enjoyed making it even though I did several other projects while this one was in the works.  I have been in the 'finish it all up mode' for the past few days.  - Better take advantage of it as I'm sure it won't stick around long, and I will want to start something new.-  I will probably be putting it in my etsy shop.  Just finished it, so it may or may not get in there today.  The real question is, "Do you know what that is it's draped over?"

It's a pie caddy.  I like to play with lumber and power tools as well as fabric and scissors:)  I made one for my mom, and she keeps part of her rolling pin collection in it until she needs it.  I made one for myself and love it.  Our neighbors have a pie party every December for the neighborhood.  It works great.  The handle makes it easy to hang onto - so no spills.  I put this one in my etsy shop, and it has had no views.  It may be that nobody is interested, or it may be that they just don't know what it is.  The only other one I have ever seen was an antique - for way back when they used to have pie socials - you know, a simpler time.  I also made a batch of apple butter.  The apples from one tree in particular are smaller, but are sooo delicious.  I watch that tree year around.  Does anybody think about things like that any more?  We were without power this morning, and I just relished in the peace.  Peace, a sound we don't hear much about.  I am finding myself reaching back in time and connecting with the past and with nature.  The leaves falling, the smell of apple butter simmering in the crock pot, and the quiet of needle and thread;  it touches my heart and lifts it up just a little.  The chipmunks are scampering to and fro and chattering up a storm, and it makes me smile.  I am surrounded by blessings and am thankful for each and every one from the caterpillar crawling up the tree to the roof over our heads, and especially for those who came before me and made apple butter, carried a pie caddy, and worked a needle.  They inspire me.

Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Boardman Quilt Show

Good day to everybody.  I hope you are all enjoying your weekend and loving autumn.  I was delighted to attend the Boardman Quilt Show for the first time.  I do believe this is their eighth show.  They began in a smaller facility and now have it at the River Front Center (or River View?)  It is a beautiful facility overlooking the Columbia River.  I dare say though, if it grows much more they might have to find a larger place yet:)  I wish them everything good.  This quilt above was a smaller quilt.  I thought it was just a hoot.  I think maybe from The Witches of Eastwick.  Wasn't that the name of that movie???  It had Bette Midler.  Anyways, it was just cute.
Looking at it from the quilters view as well as the entertainment view - that is some fun work.  Those leaves are placed on the quilt and the cats skinny little whiskers and tail!  Wow!

This one was a block of the month.  It was interesting in that it incorporated several techniques and was scrappy-ish (my own word:).  It had prairie points, applique, button embellishments, interesting quilting that enhanced the blocks, and it still looks cozy.

This quilt was fabulous.  My picture does not do it justice.  The one of the whole quilt turned out blurry:(  The maker is a machine quilter & uses different quilting designs and densities to create texture and depth to the quilt.  I love it.

 This was a fun quilt.  The quilting was superb.  The woman who quilts this (and did several at this show) is who quilts my moms quilts and does a fantastic job.  Look in the nosegay and the star.  She pays attention to detail and has 'an eye' for the artistic aspect of a piece.
This was a fun show.  And it was refreshing to see a small quilt show that was 'nice.'  It's like when you go to a restaurant and the service is above and beyond.  The ladies at this show were wonderful and kind. 
If you didn't make it this year, you should pencil in on your 2013 calender.
Until next time,
Nimble Fingers & Even Stitches

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Delectable Mountain Mini Quilt / Table Topper

They say the first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have one so here goes: "I can't get rid of scraps." Whew, that was tough.  So this little jewel is made from some of the scraps from my Cathedral Window quilt that is in process.  As I have been cutting the squares for it, this pile of scraps just grew up out of nowhere like a vicious weed.  This was the result.  I saw an antique quilt in a magazine.  I have always liked the Delectable Mountain pattern anyways so thought, "Great!"  I don't use patterns; I just sorta go with the flow.

This is a 4 1/2 inch square at this point.  Those small squares will be one inchers.  Then I put them in place on the wall.
I was hoping for it to be one more row long, but I ran out of these particular scraps.  Even my scrappy quilts have to 'work.'  I know, it's an illness I tell you.

Then started sewing the squares into sections.  I wasn't bright enough to think about starching in the beginning, knowing I would be working with bias cuts so I suffered the consequences.  All those itty-bitty points reminded me.

I lost a few of them and it definitely has its flaws, but over all, it turned out pretty well.  And so here we are right back at the beginning.  I will probably just put a little brown binding on it as I don't think I want a boarder - but then you never know.  I might change my mind.  I will hand quilt it, but I have to finish up the one I am hand quilting now.  It's so close to finished it's ridiculous.  I don't know what officially makes a mini quilt a mini, this might just be a small quilt.  If you know, I would love it if you could inform me:)  This one reminds me of autumn, which I love.  Even with it's imperfections, I do believe I will enjoy quilting it and seeing it on my table.
Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches

PS - This didn't use up all the scraps:( I will have to come up with something else to do with the rest of them:)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fabric Morsels

Would you like to guess?  Or should I just tell you?
I made this a few years ago before the rotten scoundrel of a mink killed my chickens.  Did you know that mink are vampires?  No really, they suck the blood from the bird and leave it.  I had to 'finish the job.'  I grew up on a ranch so butchering and such doesn't bother me much, but I don't like to see critters suffer.  And I definitely don't like to go out in the morning to find such a site.  The chicken coop at that time was old, a bit of an eye-sore, and in an inconvenient place.  So at that point, I tore it down and will be building a new one in a better spot and will be making it critter-proof.  I use 'critter,' because we have other things like raccoons, vermin, owls (yes, owls will kill chickens,) as well as the normal dogs and cats lurking about. 
Okay, have I kept you in suspense long enough?
It's the liner to my egg basket.  This basket was given to me a long time ago, and it was just the right size, but the wires were a little too far apart.  As a quilter, I thought, "No, problem."  I had these little morsels of fabric that weren't really big enough for a 'real' project.  I sewed this little darling right up.

   Uuuuuh, neglecting to first make sure that the fabrics were colorfast.  You can see the result.  I am glad it happened on this and not on a precious bed quilt given as a gift.  I would have been heart broken.  (Lesson learned!)  With this, it is not a big deal.  I still like it well enough, and it still serves the purpose it was meant for.  I have a larger basket that is similar that I would like to make a liner for.  You can make them for wicker baskets as well.  It isn't difficult: just measure the bottom, draw out a simple sketch if you like, then measure how deep the sides and ends are.  Add those to the four sides of your bottom sketch and make your blocks to fit.  For this one, I made my center block then filled the remaining space.  It didn't matter to me that you don't get the whole view of the bottom.  I viewed it as an opportunity to have a little fun, & it was perfectly okay if it wasn't perfect.  I could just as easily have thrown an old hand towel in there.  We need those silly things in our life.  Don't you think so? Go ahead, have a little fun and do something silly.
Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches

Friday, October 5, 2012

Cathedral Window Progress

I was able to go to quilt group yesterday, so I took along my Cathedral Window quilt to work on.  I posted some time back when I was still collecting the fabrics - see here.
I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but of the background fabric (dark browns,) I needed 25 yards to make 396 9.5" blocks.
I have here my blocks cut.  I need a few more and have the fabric, but didn't want to drag along the cutting mat, ruler, and cutter in addition to my own iron and travel board.  There is one there, but I didn't want to hog it.  Once these large blocks are cut, they get folded (using an iron) into a 4 inch block.  It's like origami with fabric.
My mother-in-law gave me this cute little can, so I put all 594 of the 2.5" windows in it so they won't fray, get lost, or collect dust while I am working on the background.

They all fit - barely.

Then I got my picnic basket - yes, you read that correctly.
It all fits in there so it isn't just sitting around in piles.  As of yesterday, I have 200 of the 396 large blocks folded/ironed.  Over half way there:)  I did start sewing the centers together one evening just so I could sit down stairs and actually see my hubby, but I won't let myself start sewing them together until I get them all folded and pressed.  There are several fabrics so I want them mixed up - not a cluster of all one fabric in one corner etc.  If you don't like to iron, I wouldn't recommend this pattern.  I can hardly wait to do the real stitching on it.  I am doing it all by hand so it isn't exactly a quilt in a day sort of quilt.  I will keep you posted.
Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Trim the Tree & Deck the Halls

What? No Halloween Tree? Gasp!
This weekend, I dug into the autumn time bin and did a little decorating.  Each year, we decorate the tree with all kinds of ornaments, some homemade & some store bought, orange and purple candy canes, & black and orange glass balls.  We string the orange lights on the beautiful black branches and take a breath as we plug them in and see it illuminated against the night.  I am working on a quilted tree skirt so it won't always look quite so bare about the bottom.
A few years back, I found a set of Halloween ornaments & nabbed them as it's not something easy to find.

My daughter made this little purple spider years ago  - you know, before she was cool:-)  Actually, she would probably make it all over again today.

I made several owl in the moon (above) and the little hat (below) ornaments.

When the kids were reeeally little, they loved making chenille candy canes so of course, those will always have a place on the tree.
Oh, but we don't stop there - un uh.
There are signs of the season here.

And here.

Grampa's clock has some company.  Looks a little out of place, but so be it.
Made her many, many full moons ago.
Sweet Otis Ryan always makes me smile.

This year I have a special treat to hang above the wine rack.  If you missed that one, you can click here

I love autumn.  I don't so much care about being scary, but I love the nostalgia of the season - the games and traditions of long ago come to surface within my heart, and the crisp breeze blows everyday worries away if only for a little while. Everything is pleasant and good.  Our blessings are abundant, and we are genuinely thankful.
Until next time,
Nimble Fingers & Even Stitches