Our friend Janet Hansen taught Alex her great stitchery skills.
I especially look forward to this time of year
with back-to-school, and coming of the Autumn boutique season.
Always an extra joy to see Janet and her husband Doug at craft shows.
Each season, Janet shared fun new designs,
and news of her travels visiting family throughout the year.
I think Janet would be proud of Alex's latest work.
This notebook cover is for a special kindergarten friend.
Alex doesn't mind changing thread often to get lots of colors in her stitchery.
Alex stitched Hello Kitty from one of her old coloring books.
Then I quilted the gingham setting with flannel backing
to keep the notebook from slipping out.
I have no doubt....
Someday, Alex will teach someone stitchery too.
And she will tell them how she learned from Janet.

upcycle tools

Have you tried this?
My old music stand is always the right height for reading patterns :)
This is a silly sort post about repurposing vintage treasures.
What to do with the old ashtray stand?
We don't even have company that smokes anymore.
But it's still a lovely sturdy piece of furniture,
glass ashtray now a threadcatcher
 ideal for corralling my pincushion, seam ripper, and every necessary thing
to enjoy some quiet handwork time in my favorite chair.

Voting matters

I really do have a Liberty Tiara I wear on Election Days. What, you thought I was kidding?
Almost 100 years since we first received voting privileges in this country. Cause to celebrate!
Plus I can't wait to see all the Commemorative Quilts this centennial will inspire!!

Speaking of Commemorative Quilting (see what I did there), our table of coming commemorative events is out of date. Apologies! Another casualty of my self reflection time out. But I'm committed to catching up, if you'll help me?

What anniversaries interest you? Will you be quilting about them? I hope so. Commemoratives add an extra element of expression to our art, and keep alive the oldest traditions of our craft. Please share your news here or on Commemorative Quilting Facebook Page. Promise I will compile responses (and add my best Librarian research) in time for planning the New Year's UFOs :)

Here is Pearl with a sneak peek of my coming Commemorative Quilt:  Flora of our State

I'm waiting on budget considerations to resolve themselves before investing in the ideal border fabric (you know how that goes), then I'll be able to show you the whole finished flimsy. And you can advise me how to quilt it!
pressing strips for Saguaro Jelly
Thanks for your help:) Thanks for reading:)

Prickly Pear Saga

There it goes....
the prickly pear cactus I make jam from.
New neighbors from New England bought the cactus house across the street.
They really don't like stickers.
These guys sure work fast.
Only took them an hour to load their whole pickup with cacti.
Feng Shui says you must throw things out to make room for new blessings to arrive.
I'm looking forward to meeting the new neighbors.....
.....but they won't be getting jam for Christmas LOL

Cowboy Poet's Journal Cover

Super back-to-school project is also super easy! Makes a great teacher gift, or the ideal present for your Cowboy Poet.

Faux leather look is actually embossed polyester felt, made from recycled plastic water bottles. Easily available in the felt section of your favorite craft shop. The more it's handled, the more "leathery" it looks! So don't worry if the stuff you find in the store looks a little plain at first.

We are making a cover for a standard 9.5"x7" composition book. Adjust your project accordingly if you are covering a larger journal.

You'll need TWO standard 9"x12" sheets of embossed felt, plus TWO 10.5"x4" scraps of felt. [For illustration purposes, we've used a complementary chocolate brown.] Dark brown thread suitable for top-stitching. You will also find useful: pins, a glue stick, and fine point marking pencils or chalk.

Right sides up, overlap the two "leather" felt pieces by 3/4" and tack in place with glue stick. [This measure is the spine of the notebook plus 1/2".]

Stitch along both felt edges. Use a big stitch width for the look of top-stitching on leather.

Next, center notebook over stitching on wrong side of felts, 1/8" above bottom edge. Draw around notebook.

Align felt scraps at bottom edge of felt, overlapping drawn notebook ends. Pin in place. These are the inside flaps of your book cover. Redraw notebook so outline can be seen on the new pieces.

Stitch just to the right (outside) of drawn line. Stitch the entire notebook outline. [Hint:  It's easiest to follow the drawn line with pressure foot center, as you would for regular sewing. So move your needle position a tiny bit to the right and voila! you are stitching outside of the line.]

Check that your notebook fits inside cover. Adjust stitching line if necessary.

Trim close to stitching line.

 Congratulations! You are done:)
Happy Trails

Prickly Pears the Third

Prickly Pear cooking seems extra popular this summer. Same where you are? Seems everywhere suddenly has a cooking or canning class, all with advice on best methods for straining out the tiny stickers.
a good crop

In listening to the promo for one such local adventure series, we heard the advice "....but don't try making jam. Prickly Pear jam is too hard."
Now you tell me! Yes, I had to try it again for a third summer. Even experimented with some "gourmet" jam inventions.....more on that later.

Commercial juice press!
This year we added technology for getting ALL the juice from those little cactus fruits! Press is much easier/faster than hand pressing and straining. I still believe in peeling and cold pressing for best jam without stickers.

Also tried dying fabric again. Prickly Pear is such a lovely purple! It would be so yummy to quilt with. Turns out neither salt nor vinegar are suitable mordants for prickly pear. The next step will be to try alum. But not this summer.

So you know what is a bad idea? Prickly Pear Tequila jam. Hey, it sounded good right?
I'm not sure about this Prickly Pear Champagne jam. It is more orange color than our regular prickly pear jam. And more...robust? I'll send you some if you want to try it. Always glad for a second opinion :)
baby prickly pear cactus
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