Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Thank you to everyone who were thinking of us during the storm. Amazingly we came through it totally unscathed. It hooked further west of us than originally predicted so we were spared the worst of its effects. Not one downed tree in our area, no loss of power, hubs was even home by 9:30 pm because all was quiet at the firehouse.

I'm excited that the Halloween festivities will go on as scheduled tomorrow. This afternoon we are going to redecorate outside and carve our pumpkins.

I hope that all of my readers in Sandy's path are okay. We are still expecting some rain and wind but we are very glad the worst of it is behind us.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The calm before the storm

Literally. All is fairly quiet at the moment but by this afternoon, the start of the effects of Sandy will be here. Tomorrow isn't going to be nice at all.

We spent Saturday outside undecorating for Halloween (oh how I hated that part) and taking in everything that was loose. The swings and the glider came off the swing set and the chairs came off the front porch. The bird feeders are inside until spring. It is very likely that Trick or Treating will be cancelled though I'm hoping the surrounding communities will chose to reschedule to the weekend. I hate to see the kids miss out on the fun.

We're already stocked up pretty good, there is already a batch of chili in the freezer and a big pot of turkey soup will be finished this afternoon. The empty spots of the freezer are crammed with ziploc bags full of water (now ice) to keep things cold as long as possible if when the power goes out. The new thing I learned yesterday while talking to my BFF (who is in south NJ and whom I am very worried for) is to turn up the settings on my refrigerator as high as they will go so that when the power does fail, everything inside will be as cold as possible from the start.

We are in no danger of flooding where we are but we do have clay soil so depending on how it goes, we could have a few leaks (though with a brand new house I sure hope not. We stayed dry last year with Irene). Our risk comes mostly with the wind and the possibility of trees falling, hopefully not into our house and the prolonged power outage.

Hubs is a fire fighter and will likely be out on calls the majority of the time like last year, and if things get bad at home the kids and I will pack up and go to the fire house, where at least there is a generator and a mostly underground space.
I'm hoping to machine sew the binding on Jammer's 100 Good Wishes Quilt this afternoon so that I'll have hand sewing to work on once we lose power. It is huge at 116" x 130" so that would keep me busy for quite a while. Plus keeping 2 kidlets entertained and from fighting as much as possible will be a challenge in itself.

Those of you also in the path of Sandy stay safe and I'll see you all on the other side.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Tribute to Danny-My Blogger's Quilt Festival Entry

Amy's Creative Side

I didn't realize that this is the week for the annual Blogger's Quilt Festival but I quickly wrote up this post so that I can join in too.

I have another quilt that I would love to enter but since it still is without the binding and hence not completely finished, I chose another instead.

This is my Tribute to Danny quilt.

I know this isn't the best picture, but since I was finishing the binding on the way to the event, I didn't get nice pictures in advance, I had to get some family members to hold it up for me just to get these, and the wind wasn't cooperating that day. Sorry.

This quilt has a very special story attached to it. For those that didn't see the original posts, I'll tell it again.

My nephew Danny was killed December 2004 in a car accident by a drunk and extremely reckless teen driver, one week after he turned 16 and one week before Christmas. To say that it was and still is a painful situation for my entire family is a huge understatement. Christmas for my family will never be without major mourning.

Anyway, my niece (his sister) suffered an almost equally horrible tragedy this past April when the house she and her young family lived in burned to the ground in the middle of the night. Thankfully they all got out safely but it was a close call.  Our angel Danny was most definitely looking over them that night.

While down in her town with the rest of my family that day, as we took breaks from the shock and helping them get immediate needs replaced, we got to discussing the annual memorial softball tournament held in Danny's honor and that funds the scholarship fund in his name that would be held in July.

During my long 3 hour drive home, I got to thinking about wanting to do something very special this year for the tournament. Danny has been gone 8 years this December and since his number was 8, it seemed very appropriate to make this year's tournament over the top.

Almost immediately the idea to make a quilt to be raffled at the event came to mind. But one huge problem loomed....I was in the midst of making not 1 but 3 full sized quilts for teacher end of year thank you gifts and there was no way I'd have time to make another full size quilt before the tournament. But then I thought about all my terrific blog readers and how quilters are always willing to help out each other. So I put out the help call all to my readers and they responded in droves, more than I could have ever expected.

Since his school colors were Red and Black and since his number was 8 and since he is the star in the sky that watches over us, I requested 8 pointed star blocks in Red, White and Black. 25 awesome ladies answered my call, some sending one wonderful block, a few sent 2 and one special blogging friend sent 6. I just layed them all out, adding the sashing and the border, had it quilted and finished the binding. They did all the hard work. It turned out simply stunning. Knowing all the love from all over the US, Canada and even England that went into this quilt up'd the sentimentality of this quilt ten fold.

I backed it in a great black with white dotty circle print and added one single simple embroidered white star in the center.

The tournament this year raised the most money ever. And that isn't the best part. My youngest sister won this quilt! She, my oldest sister and my mom bought tons of tickets to hopefully win it so that it could stay in the family. After all the raffle drawings were over, the youngest sister gave the quilt to the sister that is Danny's Mom. It still brings tears to my eyes to remember that moment.

Quilt Stats:

Finished size: 81" x 81"
Techniques used: Paper piecing, Applique, Embroidery
Pieced by: Me and quilters from around the world
Professionally Quilted by: Diane Podesva
Best Categories: Favorite Group Quilt, Favorite Bed Quilt, Viewer's Choice (of course)

In all I received 33 blocks, I made 2 more and therefore had enough blocks leftover from the larger quilt to make this smaller lap sized version, named Remembering Danny. I am not entering this quilt in the festival but I did want to share it too since it is filled with more of the wonderful blocks sent by my readers.
This quilt was also raffled off at the tournament and you'll never guess, but Danny's mom won this one and since our youngest sister gave her the bigger one, she gave this one to the youngest sister. So in the end, both quilts are staying in the family.

I am very proud of the Tribute to Danny quilt as it represents the best of the quilting world, wonderful people that are more than willing to help another and a terrific young man who had the best personality, was always willing to help others and who was taken from us way too early. He will forever be the empty place at our holiday tables.

As the side note and ending to this story, the additional money raised at this year's tournament went to purchase a new scoreboard for his high school....a lasting tribute at a place that meant so much to him.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Quilter's Public Service Announcement: Are you a No Reply Blogger?

This is a Quilter's Public Service Announcement!
 Are you a No Reply Blogger!
I've had a bunch of comments to my Wicked Blog Hop post from folks that are No Reply Bloggers and considering the fact that a blogging friend herself recently didn't realize that she too was in this same predicament, I thought I'd list here those of you that are NRBs so that you can correct it. You wouldn't want to miss out on the opportunity to win giveaways.

Nini in Germany
thepiececorps-Barbie in NC
Susie Johnson
Nellie Duclos
Carmen Nuland
Judy B
Rebecca Porter

To solve this problem, on your Blogger Dashboard, click on the arrow next to your name in the upper right of the screen.

Then click on "Blogger Profile".

Next click "Edit Profile",

Then check the box that says "share my email address". Make sure you have a valid email address showing in the box under "Identity".

Last scroll down to the bottom of the page and click "Save Profile".

That's all. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!

Now you won't have to worry about ever missing out on notification that you won a giveaway. From someone that has been lucky to win a few, it is great fun.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Oh How The Wicked Wind Blows + Giveaway

Welcome my pretties! Glad you could stop by for a wicked good time.
Wednesday...such a naturally creepy day ya know. Even this Wednesday had an inherent ghastliness about her.
The weather has been cooperating, keeping everything cold and damp and just a tad rainy. Perfect weather for a Wicked Blog Hop. It tends to put the ghouls in just the right mood.

The plan, upon learning of this Wicked adventure, was grand indeed. A special concoction of goodies that would brew up the perfect project. Another block from Quiltmakers 100 Blocks Volume 4 that got caught in this spider's web was the intention. Once the potion was boiling sufficiently, alterations would have been made to bring the desired results.

The first creature to emerge from the swirling vapors was this giant pumpkin who was dragging this Ghastlie block in his wake. The family portrait photo shoot was underway that day.
The ghost rose silently into the sky along with the Uncle Gunner Ghastlie, who was trying to escape notice. He's a sly one and all beady eyes need to be kept on him.
Ah Prudence. The child that is so misunderstood. She didn't mean to beat Sebastian's tail with that hammer. Really!
The sisters are deciding if I can join their coven. I have the perfect witch's hat already.
These blocks were going to be just the beginning to my Wicked little project. The right recipe was at hand, the perfect inspiration for the season, and the fabric was just waiting for the cobwebs to be dusted off and thrown in the pot.

But then my cauldron exploded! The block pattern was Ghastlie. It did not play nice even when tempted with sweets so my wand blew it to pieces. It's not nice to piss off this witch.

A finished project from these bits will be forthcoming, once the dust has settled and the bits of broken crockery has been swept into the corner. For now I'm off to Diagon Alley to procure a new cauldron from Potage's Cauldron Shop. The new self-stirring model will be the replacement for my old shattered one.

Much applause is given to the spooktacular Madame Samm and Wendy of Why Know Kwilt for brewing up such a hauntingly good time. Be sure you fly on your broomstick over to all the other inhabitants of the Wicked Blog Hop mystery mansion to see what tricks and treats they have brewed up for you.

Quilts From My Crayon Box (you are here)

In celebration of my favorite holiday, a ghastlie little giveaway is in order. Touching any of my Ghastlie stash by you would result in deadly consequences so instead I'll send to one of you this sweet Glorious Fall quilt kit.
It contains all the fabric needed to create the quilt, a charm pack of Grand Finale, the backing and binding fabric as well as the green rick rack.
How do you get a chance to win?
*Be a follower
*Leave a comment telling me your one favorite Halloween candy.

Once comment and one comment only per person. I suggest you follow this rule or risk bring on the wrath of this wild sorceress.
Entries are open through the bewitching hour of Midnight EST on All Hallows Eve, October 31st. Be sure that you are not a No Reply Blogger. Those of you that are will be thrown straight in the swamp.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Thrifting finds

At the quilt shop yesterday where I picked up Lucy, they have a bunch of vintage machines as decorations. I was checking out their antique treadle when the owner noticed. We chatted a little about what sorts of pieces I am looking for to adorn our new house. She told me about a cute consignment antique store down the road, which happened to be on the way home, so we stopped in to check it out.

Almost immediately upon entering, I found this great little trinket.
I've always wanted one and this one was priced at $2.50. No hesitation at all...it was definitely coming home with me. It is in near perfect condition. And as a side note, I found 2 other ones like this in the store but neither was in as good a shape and both were priced a lot higher.
I started to wonder the booths and shortly thereafter came across this lovely plate. I have a plate rack that hangs in the dining room and had always planned on displaying interesting vintage plates. The problem is that up until now I hadn't found any that I liked so I just used the sandwich plates from my "good" dishes. Now with this find, I have the start to a more appealing plate rack.
What I am on the hunt for is an interesting table/chest/cabinet with glass doors and possibly a drawer for my foyer and a not large glass door cabinet, similar to a small china hutch, for our bathroom to hold towels and such. While I didn't find anything that fit the bill (all that I liked were too big) I did see a great looking treadle machine with table that was difficult to resist. I didn't take a picture but it was a beauty. It was a Singer with the pharaoh pattern. The original price was $150 then marked down to $100 and now marked down to $85. Great price but I was guessing it didn't work and the entire thing would need some work to clean it up. If it did fit the space I have, it would have gotten loaded up and brought home but sadly it was left behind.
But this beauty wasn't left there. The pagodas caught my eye as a lot of Asian items do (something that didn't occur nearly as much before I became a Mom to children of Asian heritage).
It is cross stitched by hand. Look how lovely the work is. As someone who has cross stitched since I was a pre-teen, I really appreciate the work that went into this.
It measures at 63" x 70" and it will be the perfect size for our new kitchen table when it arrives. The best part? Although the original price on the tag wasn't bad at all, it was marked 40% off so this treasure became mine for a whopping $9.90. A bargain that can't be beat.
I had finished my scouring for great finds and was walking with my friend who was checking out the last 2 booths when I spotted this big and heavy book.
Now while books in general don't get my attention, this one did obviously because of the title. And once I glanced at the inside pages and saw that it was by National Geographic, I knew that it would be chock full of great info and gorgeous pictures. It definitely is. This is the paper inside the cover but the picture doesn't do it justice.
I know these pictures have the glare from the overhead light but outside pictures, with the rain and wind lately, has been pretty impossible, and I just couldn't wait to show these treasures off.
Original price? $20, too much for my blood. The already marked down price? $10, not bad but would take some consideration. The sale price? 50% off so a steal at $5 and yes it became mine too. It is way beyond Sunshine's interest at this point but I know that once she gets a bunch older and really starts getting interested in learning about her homeland, this book will be very valuable.

I don't thrift/antique store hunt much but now knowing that my friend enjoys it too, I have some more fun to look forward to. There are loads of places in the area that are begging to be investigated.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Halloween See Saw Swap-The Reveals!

Spooks and Goblins have been haunting the postal system since May and the wicked packages have finally arrived at their haunted abodes to stay.....forever.  A screaming good time has been had by all the bewitched participants.

During the wee hours of darkness this very day, we are revealing to you the ghastly creations that have been been brewing and whirling these many months gone by.

With a mixture Mandrake Root, Wiggentree Bark and Eye of Newt I concocted this creepy beginning to my spell. 
Then it flew on a broomstick back and forth to Edy (sorry, no blog) where she also worked her magic to help create this eerily wonderful masterpiece.
"The Ghastlie Gals"

Destined to be a wall hanging this is to be. If the skeletons don't abscond with it, the quilting and binding will be completed all in good time, my pretty, all in good time.
A 2nd batch of potion was needed, as strong and powerful as the first one, but this time the brew required Porcupine Quill, Dragon Blood and Starthistle. From the tendrils of vapors wafting from the cauldron, this creation appeared.
The journeys to the west coast and back this time was by the Transylvania Express. Julianna added many waves of her wand full of Pacific Ocean whispering winds with my own to create this charmed brew of color and patterns..
"All Hallows Eve"
The catacombs are waiting for you....wonder through their dark and damp mazes to find the other Halloween See Saw Swap participants and view their own haunted creations.

The mansion is now closed and the creatures are resting in their coffins and tombs until this time next year. It was a howling good time! Next time, won't you join us?

Jolly Kitty - Edy's Halloween See Saw Quilt

What fun I had on the Halloween See Saw with Michele! My little quilt started out with a center block of a jolly Kitty ~ hand embroidered by me.
I added a starry orange/purple/green border around the starter block and sent it over to my partner! From there it just grew and grew into the little beauty you see in the pic.

I love each border that Michele added ~ every one more cute than the next. It pops with colors that I love for Halloween. It has cats, and spiders and spooky webs ~ just lots of fun fabrics. I’m enjoying looking at it for now ~ just as it is in a state of flimsy! Later on (surely before Halloween 2013) I may add another border or three and finish it up with fun quilting and a wild and crazy backing, too.

Thanks to our Swap Mama ~ Michele ~ for guiding us along the Halloween path. Thanks, Michele, for being my partner in all the fun!
And of course ~ it’s on display for everyone to enjoy this spooky season…. Happy Haunting everyone!


Sunday, October 21, 2012


In just over 2 1/2 hours, the bewitching time will be upon us. The reveal day for the Halloween See Saw Swap is nearly upon us.

The ghosts and goblins are circling the mansion, the spiders are spinning their webs to entrap you and the coven is brewing a cauldron full of potion refreshments. 

These enchantresses will be your hauntingly horror hostesses .

Mathilda (Edy) - posting here
Prudence (Me)

We'll be waiting for you.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Look what is back!
Lucy came home today. I got the call first thing this morning and headed right out to pick her up.

I can't wait to plug her in and check her out. After almost 5 months now since I purchased her, I finally feel like I have the opportunity to really put her through her paces.

So what did her problems turn out to be? She did have a nasty bad spot on her bobbin case that was really difficult to see with the naked eye and her tension was off, probably from whatever happened when the bobbin case problem occurred.  She was cleaned, oiled, tested and given a clean bill of health.

How much did it cost me? Nada. Zilch. Zero. It was covered under warranty. Surprise, surprise...I was right about that all along.

I was really nervous about dealing with the owner again. Getting into a fight with her about the warranty wasn't a pleasant thing to look forward to. I actually took a friend along, partially for company on the drive and partially just in case I blew my top. But this time the owner was sweet as pie. Never said a peep about the warranty, never said she was wrong for insisting the machine wouldn't be covered and never bothered to apologize for being so nasty in the first place.

Well she'll never have to worry about Lucy's warranty status again. She'll never again see her and any future servicing will be done elsewhere. Adios nasty shop owner.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Introducing Abby

Am I talking about an IPhone APP? An Android APP? No nothing so modern and high tech as those. This APP is much more basic, sturdy and classic.

When Lucy went into the shop, I finally understood the reason many quilters have a back up machine. Not being able to sew anything at all was driving me insane, saying nothing about the fact that I hate missing deadlines.  Since my older Brother Sissy is being borrowed by a friend I don't have her to use either.

But then I remembered....I do have another sewing machine, my mom's old Singer! The problem? I had no idea when the last time was that she was actually used and I didn't know if she even ran at all.

This grand old girl was created in 1969. She is a Singer Stylist 457. She is pretty basic and is only able to straight stitch, blind hem and zig zag but boy did I think she was pretty cool when I was a little girl. I begged my mom to give me this machine for years and years and years and she finally relented a few years back. I used to think cabinets like hers were valuable antiques but seeing so many similar ones for sale all over, now I know that they were very common back then.  No matter, it just feels right to keep her in the family.
I took her in to the shop (not the same one that has Lucy) for a good checkup and complete once over. It cost me $120 to put her to rights but now she is ready for duty. She needed a lot of adjustments, a few new minor parts, a bit of cleaning and now she looks much better.
Since she came to live with me, I only used her as a closed accent table, just as my mom had done for the past 30+ years. Before I caught the quilting bug I wasn't really interested in sewing much. Of course I had no idea what cool things modern machines could do these days and how much easier they work.    

I brought her home, reinstalled her in her cabinet and was able to a small amount of piecing. I managed to do decent 1/4" seams but using her is so much slower than I am used to. She has one speed...fast and fast, and of course fast sewing isn't conducive to accurate seams with this sort of vintage machines. Controlling her is a challenge but at least I can sew again and that is heavenly.

The only thing missing was a proper name for my newly working machine. But what name would be right? My mom's name is Pat so I considered calling her Patty. But that one didn't feel right. I told mom about this little issue and while she thinks that I'm off my rocker for even insisting that I name my machines, she did tell me that some of her co-workers call her Pattycakes. At first I thought that would be a good choice but as I mulled over for the next few days, it didn't sing to me.

So what name did I settle on? I finally came up with Abby, or more formally Abigail Patricia Percival. She is a classic of sorts and gets to have a fancy schmancy formal name like the pure breed dogs do. The Percival surname? It is from my mom's side of the family, is very British and I've always thought of as unique and classy.

I actually feel good for putting her to rights and making her usable again. I hope to teach my kids to sew on her and then they can be upstairs in my studio with me creating right by my side. Once Lucy is back, I don't know how much use she will get by me at least but I will always know that should Lucy have to go in for a checkup again, I will still have Abby here to fill in.

Hey Google Reader

Update: I didn't get to get totally caught up on the blog reading so there should have been easily 100+ in my Google Reader this morning. But when I logged in this morning, only 44 were showing. URG! I know there are many more but I don't remember who all of the blog were. I need to find a new better reader quickly or I'm going to go ballastic on someone soon. Anyone have a good suggestion, I'm all ears!

What gives? You are making me crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You see, I check in at my Google Reader account every single day, at least once, most days more. I love being able to streamline my blog reading. And I love to know that I've gotten caught up when things get hectic.

So what did I find today (yet again) when I logged in? 275 unread posts! Yup, you read that right. And I was just catching up last night, went to bed with only less than 20 left. How in the world do hundreds of new posts magically appear literally overnight?

They don't. Obviously there is something seriously wrong with Google Reader in the way that new posts show up. And this is really pissing me off. I'm missing giveaway opportunities here people! I'm missing exciting announcements. I'm missing out on fantastic sales. And I'm missing out on a whole lot of fun. Finding out about missed goodies weeks late really sucks. This has happened before and I'm just fed up with it, enough so that I'm writing this post.

Do any of you have any clue as to what is going on? I log out of Google Reader daily, I log out of the Internet entirely daily, we reboot the computer frequently enough. There is just no rhyme or reason that I can find for this to continue happening. Somebody please help if you know the cure.

That is my rant for the day. More happy stuff to come. Promise. And now at least you know....if I'm not commenting on your blog post, it may just be because I didn't know you wrote it in the first place.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


What might I be up to lately?
Perhaps something just a bit wicked?
You'll just have to come back on the 24th to find out.