Saturday, March 28, 2009

Felting in the Heartlands of Iowa

I'd like to introduce to you a talented felting artist. I wonder if there's a word for felt artist? Feltist?

Judy of JN Originals creates some of the nicest felted work I've seen, among other things. Judy hales from the Iowa Heartlands, aka DesMoines area.

A word from Judy:

"You'll seldom see me with empty hands. If I'm not crocheting or stitching, I'm hunched over
my sewing machine as I steer fabric over the feed dogs! I'm passionate about playing with color,
texture and pattern--and you'll see that love reflected in my shop as you browse through my
felted wool bags, crocheted scarves, coffee cup jackets, coasters, napkin rings and more."

If this recent winter storm has given you the burrrrry blues, feast your eyes on some "Spring" at JN Originals.

Take a look at some of Judy's artistry, ok, it's practical, too!

Some of Judy's other sites:
Word Walks -
Spark Lines -
The Fisherman's Net -

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

More than just trapunto...............

A few weeks ago I showed you a baby trapunto quilt, my first trapunto project. Pretty common compared to what first gave me the itch to try trapunto. I'd like to share with you the inspiration that first triggered my first attempt at trapunto. I should say what and who. The who is, Geta. Geta is from Romania and a self taught quilter. She designs her own trapunto quilts and let me tell you, they are unique and extraordinary. I'm guessing you may have already begun seeing some of her work on the internet. I first became aware of Geta and her shadow trapunto quilts thru The Quilt Show website. If you'd like to learn more about Geta and trapunto, visit her sites. Geta's blog: Geta's Quilting Studio at
and Romanian Quilt Studio at

First take a moment to read Geta's profile. It's well worth the time as Geta really opens up and shares her life with us. Probably one of the most interesting blogging profiles I've read. It's a joy getting to know Geta more.

Today, you might be interested to see her blog about her first give-away. It's really something sweet and I plan to enter my name for a chance to win this beauty.

Next check out her work. You'll see links to her quilts and her other site in her sidebar but take the time to look. Her work is just amazing.

For you EQ'ers out there, Geta designs with EQ software and plans tips and project sharing in the future. Geta is also planning to begin offering her patterns for sale. I hope soon!

So, visit with Geta awhile. She's an inspiration all by herself but when you see her quilts.....................Oh my!

Just one of Geta's beauties...........

Monday, March 23, 2009

How I celebrated National Quilting Day.............

I'm working on a special customer's quilt and completed most of the piecing this weekend. Still need to piece a border, I'm thinking prairie points or flying geese, possibly. The quilt is for a young gal who loves teals, peaches, oranges, yellows, ok, just about everything. She also wanted stars so I chose the Ohio Star block. She just painted her bedroom a beautiful shade of turquoise. I love it! And she loves what she calls "Island" decor. I love that, too. Soooooooooooo, she was amazed to find I already owned just about all the fabrics she was dreaming of and more in my stash already. We've been havin a chucled over the fact that two women at such differing ages might have the same taste in decor. Oh my, wonder what that sez about me!

Anyway, I thought you might like to see a few pictures of the blocks, they were such a blast to do. Now, I have to decide on a name for this quilt. Can I get some suggestions from anyone? Something funny and clever maybe?????????

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Fever in Iowa

I have Spring Fever and I'm ready for those springtime flowers to pop up. The grass here in Eastern Iowa is just now beginning to show signs of greening. So where are the flowers? Tulips, show your pretty colors, please!
Well, if you don't see them in your yard yet, check them out at FiveSparrow.etsy.

Colleen and Nancy are getting into the spirit of Spring with these adorable little stained glass tulips and BlueJays. I'm thinking these would be a great little gift for a friend to celebrate the end of Winter and the joy of Spring.

A little about FiveSparrows.............
Colleen lives in Iowa and does the fragile and sparkly side making stained glass. "I started out working with glass by learning and then teaching others how to do it. The last 10 years I have been making stained glass pieces in between raising three adorable children. I enjoy coming up with new patterns and ideas, and love to work with all the different colors of glass."

Nancy lives in Wisconsin and does the soft and cuddly side of things making bears and dogs. "My bears are still in the planning and creation stages, but I hope to have some available soon, along with descriptions and details."

If you still have the winter blues, visit to brighten your day.

Friday, March 20, 2009

National Quilting Day!

While slurping down my morning coffee and going thru my morning "puter" routine, it came to my attention that Saturday is National Quilting Day. Since this "holiday" comes around every year, I'd heard of it before and only thought it was for a good excuse to ignore the daily housekeeping and cooking for more fun activities, like quilting of course. Ok, that's part of what it's all about.

But I got to wondering, who thought this great event up? How long has National Quilting Day been around? What do other quilters do on this special day? Soooooooo, I googled National Quiltng Day and was I ever in for an eye opener. The first result in my search offered this: The National Quilting Association,Inc. for which I'd never heard of before and I admit to spending a lot of my life websurfing for quilty relalated websites of all kinds.

If you're like me and never visited this site, check it out, you'll find some very insteresting articles, photo galleries for inspiration, quarterly newsletter, contests, well, here's a little excerpt on what NQD is all about.

"The National Quilting Association, Inc., a nonprofit organization run by quilters for quilters,
was founded in 1970 by seven women in the Washington, D.C., area.
The organization was established to create, stimulate, maintain,
and record an interest in all matters pertaining to the making,
collecting, and preserving of quilts, and to establish and promote
educational and philanthropic endeavors through quilts.
Membership in the organization is open to all interested individuals.
The NQA was chartered in 1972. Local NQA Chapters were also begun
during these early years."

Also, just a few things for members: Grant and Scholarship Program - funds awarded annually to promote and recognize quilting and quilt makers.
Quilt Teacher Certification Program - certifies a person's ability to teach basic quiltmaking.
Quilt Judge Certification Program - certifies a person's ability to judge quilts.
Master Quilt Program - awards formal recognition to quilts which have been constructed reflecting a high degree of excellence.
Short Course on Quilt Judging - a program of instruction to train individuals to serve as fair, responsible evaluators at quilt competitions.

I spent a very enjoyable time here and I think you will too. You might even get a few ideas on how to spend your National Quilting Day this Saturday.

How will you be celebrating? I feel compelled to quilt. All day!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Gotta love computers...............

Have you ever just had one of those days? or two? I have put aside my quilting the past 24 hours and spent the time saving my computer's life. My virus program caught and removed a trojan yesterday. Only not quick enough before doing a good deal of damage. So, when no other remedy worked, I tried my last ditch idea, a complete system recovery. Thank the Lord I made those recovery disks when I first got this computer several years ago. I'd forgotten about them actually, and was in great despair yesterday trying to figure out what else I could try to save this baby. (I don't have a name for it because mostly I swear at it). Anyway, I really had not much hope of the recovery actually working, nothing else worked. But! it did. I can hardly believe it yet. Here's a picture of my baby. No, not the dog, my computer baby. This adorable dog is a picture of my son's Golden Retreiver that I get to gaze at everyday. She's my Granddoggy, Grace. Now you'll see why I really can't swear at it to much, who could swear at this face.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Not just for fly-fishing.............

We talk occasionally about recyling and re-using all sorts of things in our world but here's something I stumbled upon at etsy this morning that I'd like to share.

These tiny beauties have a natural beauty all their own but Mountain Man Creations has taken nature one step further. His fine feathery jewelry is simply and naturally lovely.

A little about Mountain Man-" Born and raised in Bermuda. Transplanted to Canada's west coast. Fly tying has been a hobby of mine for years. I have had one world record taken on one of my flys. The earings and brooches are a new endevour and have proven popular here on Gabriola. My brooches are unique and I have not seen any like them. My nickname for them are Gabriola Whimsies figments of my imagination.
I also create decorated Jewlery boxes and stick pin decorations.

To see more of Mountain Man Creations, visit his etsy shop here:

Henry aka Mountain Man

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Bags, Bags and more bags........

I love bags, all sorts of bags. Here's an adorable but practicle bag I stumbled upon at etsy this morning. I'm always tossing little trash on the floor of my car, saying to myself, I'll clean that up when I get home. Or I keep a few plastic shopping type bags in the car for cleaning up and they look atrocious. Here's a great solution from The Mod Mobile-Modern Accessories for your Automobile by Allyson Hill.

I like the looks of her straps. You can customize them to fit your car and where you want the bag to hang. You might want a couple of these, front seat, back seat. Check them out at

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Not your usual history lessons...........

Do you love history, specifically quilting history? I'm always curious about traditional quilt patterns. Sometimes I'm concerned with copyrights and if a particular pattern is public domain but that's not the fun part. I'm always wondering who the woman was and what her life was like that thought up a particular design. Was she an artist at heart of was her design a happy accident? Did she make quilts because she loved the process or was it a necessity to keep her family warm? Did she make a business out of her quilting? Some did, you know, just like today.
Well, I stumbled upon the most interesting sites the other day. Actually, several sites chalk full of quilty history for us to soak up. Judy Anne Breneman has done all the work for us and compiled the most interesting articles from crazy quilts to quilts made with tobacco premiums (cigarette silk, cigar ribbon and tobacco flannel quilts) and everything in between.

About Judy: "I love quilts, quilting and most of all learning about the history of quilts.
The purpose of this site is to bring you short, informative articles on these topics.
Care has been given to be sure the history information is as accurate as possible and links are provided so that you can learn more on any given topic.
~Judy Anne"

If you haven't discovered Judy's websites and blog, I'd like to introduce them to you. Even if you're not a history buff, you'll love the wonderfully informative articles and discover some interesting facts about your favorite old patterns and how they've continued to be favorites thru the ages. You'll be offered a look into the past lives of our ancestors and why they quilted, what their everyday lives might be like, what types of fabrics could they afford to buy or the garments they had to recycle to make their "necessary quilts".

Judy can tell you from what era particular patterns originated and how things may or may not have changed in our world today. And if that's not enough, Judy offers some free patterns that she's re-designed using Electric Quilt. (I love Electric Quilt, also).

Do something for yourself today and take a few moments whenever you can and learn a bit about your beloved craft from Judy's easy reading articles. You'll be glad you did. I haven't scratched the surface of all her articles yet but they are on my daily reading list now.

Thank you, Judy for all you're sharing with us!
Quilting History Quilt Patterns News & Highlights Newsletter
Scraps of Textile, Needlework & Quilt History

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Old is new again.............

Pam and I went on a little shopping trip a few days ago to a second hand shop. We bought sweaters. Lots and lots of sweaters. Wool sweaters to be exact. I bet you can guess what we're doing with them. Right! We're trying our hand at felting and upcycling. With some experimentation, it's turning out to be a fun project. It's amazing to see how the yarn changes as it's washed and dryed.

Pam tried one in her washer and dryer first while I was trying a technique I read somewhere, sorry, I can't remember where. But it was suggested washing by hand in a bucket or container, using a potato masher or other object to knead the sweater. Well, let me tell you, that's a lot of work, not to mention, it's HOT water you're using. So, my results at first try were something to be desired for all the time and effort. It was felting but not nearly enough. So into the washer it went. First wash, ok but I wanted more so I ran it thru the washer and dryer twice. I can't believe how much it shrank. lol But it looks great.

Here's a picture of my final product from the sweater. A very pretty and sturdy purse. I didn't think to take a picture before or during my journey. I'll remember on the next one. I can't wait to do more. I think this could be addictive.

We'll be selling some of our bags in our etsy shop here,