Friday, May 30, 2008


A happy life is just a string of happy moments.
But most people don't allow the happy moment, because they're so busy trying to get a happy life.


Enjoy your weekend all, I'm off to the Convention!

A Week of Mondays: Mini-Quilt Week 14

Title: "Fold & Tuck"

Materials and Techniques: Dupioni Silk, Cotton, Batiks and Beads done in a pleat (unfortunately I haven't found a good tutorial for this and I didn't photograph my own foray into the world of pleats...but I can say that it's fairly easy!)

From Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, Sept. 2007 issue

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Week of Mondays: Mini-Quilt Week 13

Title: "Harvest"

Materials and Techniques: 4 Patch on Point (for a not quite but very similar how to, click here)

From American Patchwork & Quilting, June 2007 issue

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Week of Mondays: Mini-Quilt Week 12

Title: "Diamond in the Rough"

Materials and Techniques: stitch & flip (this is a super easy technique, it's just squares! Go here to learn how)

From Quiltmaker, Oct. 2007 issue

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Week of Mondays: Mini-Quilts Week 11

Title: "Yertle"

Materials and Techniques: papercut applique, fabric paint and fusible web.

found in Quilter's Newsletter, May 2007 issue

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Week of Mondays: Mini-Quilts Week 10

Welcome to another week of Mondays!

Yes, I'm still catching up on my mini quilts, but I'm only behind by two (whoo-hoo!!!)

As I've been playing catch up, I realized that they really aren't "mini" quilts so much as just quilt "blocks". They will be going into a larger quilted wallhanging...but technically, I guess they could stand alone as an individual quilt in small form...and since I've been calling them mini quilts all along, that's how they will stay.
Title: "Triangular Garden"

Materials and Techniques: made using fabric strips cut into triangles and stitched into a square.

"Roses for Mom" pattern from McCall's Quick Quilts, May 2007 issue


You may notice that I did some fairly traditional blocks this time around. That's because, well, I never really like traditional quilting - I liked looking at traditional quilts, but actually doing thanks, I'd rather do funky arty quilts. But something has changed. I'm not sure when it changed, but now when I look at quilts, I've begun to really notice the blocks themselves...the technique, how they are pieced, the use of color coordination and contrast, the use of thread as an embellishment rather than just a way to keep things together.

I started going through my quilt magazines (a good quilter NEVER tosses her mags, since they're such a handy reference). I marked the techniques that I wanted to try and this week you'll see the results. I was surprised at how easy many of these were and how gratifying it was to look at the final product and be able to say, "Wow, I made that and it actually looks right!"

I'm going to stick with trying out the traditional blocks for a while; I'll throw in an arty mini here and there, as the mood strikes, but for now, the traditional blocks are really striking a cord.

Enjoy another week of mondays! :^)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Stumble Upon

A great stumble upon book, found after it was mentioned in an article I read on organic I had to get it, right? Right!
I've only had it a few days and I've already found it useful, especially the section on companion planting. And like most books I tend to pick up these days, it was used and budget friendly!

Budget friendly is the way I think we're all going these days: alternative modes of transportation, growing our own food, reusing/recycling/precycling. I'm even getting a roommate...well, my brother is moving in with me, but we're sharing costs, which will help the budget GREATLY! We'll see how it works out. We haven't lived together in 17 years and have both grown accustomed to living'll be interesting to say the very least. But I'm looking on the positive side - when I get a major attack of the "girlies" and can't face spider central (my cellar), I'll make him go down there! :^)

Here's to a 3 day weekend of sheet rocking and trying to get that bedroom looking less like a pit, so my brother can move into it!

Monday, May 19, 2008


The plants sale was fantastic! I bought two daylilies (one is red, the other is a pale orange/yellow), french tarragon, horseradish, catnip and my fav of all the purchases...a flowering quince!!
And my day just got better...after brunch, we skipped over to JoAnn's Fabrics and in the sale bin, I found this little beauty! 2.75 yards of funky tapestry at $6 per yard. I brought it to the cutting table, told the girl I wanted it all and she filled out a slip for me (her electronic gun thingy wasn't my benefit) and when I checked out, my total came to $10.50. I was expecting around $17, but I thought "Oh, maybe they were taking a percentage off the sale stuff." When I got home, I noticed on my slip that the woman rang it up at 1.67 yards! BONUS!
I'm going to bind the edges and it will be a floor cloth in my living room. In this picture, it kinda looks like crap against the floor...but the couch didn't have it's slipcover. In person it looks much better (the colors of the slipcovers are within this fabric, blending them all together).
I need to pull one of the colors out of the hexagons for the binding, but I'm not sure which one yet. I was thinking yellow, then I thought black to really make it pop, but I don't like either. It'll come to me.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

That Time of Year Again – Yippee!!!

It’s a celebratory time here on Mt. Vernon St. Not only is it the annual Bowdoinham Library Plant Sale, it’s also Musings from Mt. Vernon St.’s anniversary! Two years ago this very day, I posted my first entry…a quick little thing with a picture taken at Popham Beach in Phippsburg, Maine and then went on to introduce you to critters, my friend’s chickens, my home and my first visit to the Bowdoinham Library Plant Sale.

I feel like I’ve learned so much from that first year of attending the sale, like the fact that you need to go an hour early to get a good parking spot and…

* you need to have a plan of attack (do you go inside first or outside?)
* you need to bring heavy duty bags with you if you plan to get a lot of stuff (remember your arms can only hold so much)
* always bring cash and tuck it into a pocket (a purse will only weigh you down)
* if you travel with more than one other person, bring a truck (you’ll need the space for all the finds)
* always bring a wagon to cart your plants back to your vehicle (‘cause it doesn’t seem like a long walk down that hill to the main road until you’ve got your arms full of small trees and potted plants)!

I’m really looking forward to this year’s plant sale finds – everything I get down there always grows well! But unlike the last two years where I planned what I needed, this year I’m whim purchasing…if I like it and I can think of a spot for it, I’m buying it! And since it’s such a short trek to Topsham, we may end up going to the Fairground CafĂ© at the Topsham Fair Mall (it’s only a little hole in the wall, but the food is good and the servings are generous).

Well, I have to skedaddle if I want a good parking spot for the plant sale. I’ll be sure to share my finds soon!

Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

In the Ground

Mt. Vernon St. is greening up, so be prepared for many posts dedicated to the green space outside my house (the backyard, the veggie garden, the flower gardens). I’ll throw in a few crafty posts too, here and there, but with the sun and warm weather we’re having, all the crafty stuff has been relegated to rainy days! I do owe you another “Week of Mondays”…as soon as I finish the mini-quilts. I have two done, but am still behind by 4. This may be on the agenda for the weekend…if it rains like the weatherman is predicting.

But I digress…last night saw me and my little helper (wish I’d grabbed my camera while she was out there rolling in the dirt, all glassy eyed and in 7th heaven…she's an indoor cat who is too fat to jump over the garden fence) planting the cucumbers…
the peas... (beans to the left)
and the pumpkins.
The rhubarb has popped. In another month it will be time for more of this, so I can make another few of these :^)
And...any day now, those lilacs will be bursting through (maybe even today!). I can't wait for that lovely lovely smell...mmmm.
Everything is so green,
I just don't want to be indoors! I want to be out, playing in the dirt and strolling amid the flowers (despite it being black fly season). Every moment I'm forced to be indoors, I feel like I'm missing what's growing!
I noticed just this morning that in one week, the clematis practically exploded! It's already a foot high!
Well, back to work - happy gardening!

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Garden that Tiff Built

It may not be as nice as the house that Jack built, but it'll keep the critters out!
I know it looks so empty...soon it will be a lush little jungle of veggies! I can't wait for cucumbers and lettuce, tomatoes and carrots, potatoes, onions, green beans and sweet little pea pods....yum!
On Saturday, I tilled and raked it twice, set the posts and wrapped the fence. The bean trellis is made from posts, a 2x4, cup hooks and bird netting (it'll be easier for the beans and peas to climb).
I even got the beans planted yesterday morning. I had to get them off the porch, they were already a foot tall and falling over! I wish I had had more time to plant the peas, as they're getting HUGE (maybe tonight)! The potatoes and pumpkins can go out anytime since they're rather hearty, but cukes and zucchini and...well...everything else, will have to wait until the ground starts to warm up and the frost potential is over (another month? I hope they can hold out on the porch that long!). As it is, the peas and beans will have to be covered any night when there is a frost warning. I'm thinking of starting the lettuce this weekend. Oh...and I need to get onions! I completely forgot!
I had to share my funky orange tulips...they look fake, I know. The funny thing is, they weren't there last year - do you think that the red and the yellow tulips cross bred? Is that even possible? I know irises can do it, but I'm not so sure about tulips.
The backyard will be an on-going project, but it's already halfway to being reclaimed, so I'm okay with not having it done - right now (which is what my immediate gratification side normally wants).

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Fabric Paint vs. Fabric Pens

The Mother's Day t-shirt is done - what do you think? I took a little creative license on the earth (I think I tucked in a few more continents than I should have - eh, it's close enough)
The tree tee below is one that I did strictly with fabric pens. I'm not as impressed compared to the fabric paint...which I have come to LOVE! The pens are great for outlining and small details (like the eyes of the woman on the red tee), but not as strong for filling in. The paint can take a few coats, but it blends PERFECTLY (and it goes a long way)! For the redhead's hair I did a coat of red, a coat of orange, a coat of yellow and then highlighted and tipped with each color here there and everywhere. Her face is white, orange and yellow blended. I'm just very impressed with this paint.
I have another tee ready to go - pink this time and for me - but I haven't figured out what to draw on it, yet. I've put it in a place that I have to walk past continuously, knowing that one of those passings will generate an idea. Until then, it's just a pink t-shirt taped to foam core board, looking silly.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

300 T-shirts

Okay, the title is a bit misleading. This is actually about two different things.

First: 300 posts! Wow - can you believe it? Who'd have thought that I had so much to share? And to think, I nearly stopped blogging at the beginning of this year. I felt like I was running out of interesting things to say...but I realized that blogging was helping me get things out of my head and share pictures, drawings, ideas, adventures in sewing, quilting, stenciling, painting, constructing and deconstructing. After periods of not blogging, I'd start missing it and would compose posts in my head on my drives home from work...that's when I would know that it was time to get back to the blog.

And with this 300th post, I have a new project to share (which is the second of the two different things this post is about): I've come to realize that my stock of funky (and clean) t-shirts has dwindled over the past few years. I love t-shirts, but I tend to wear them to death, then use them to paint, garden, sheet rock and do any other dirty jobs in them...till they fall apart.

I was looking into replenishing this stock until I figured that, paying anywhere from $20 to $30 each for new t-shirts, was going to add up and quickly. So working from Angry Chicken & Soule Mama's examples, I started making my own funky t-shirts...first, using freezer paper stencils, then using stencils and freehand drawing with fabric pens and finally this:drawn completely freehand with a black fabric pen and filled in with fabric paint.
I found an image online that really spoke to me, and used it as inspiration. I'm going to paint the earth in the void of hair near her nose and use this quote: "those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts" from Rachel Carson. I just really love it.

This is actually my mother's t-shirt. She already knows about it, but she won't see the finished product until Mother's Day.

Well, I'm off to iron for the coming week and maybe pop over to see my sister on this rain soaked day. Enjoy the last of the weekend and I hope the sun is shining wherever you are!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Rag Ruggin'

About 2 years ago at the quilt show, I saw a woman sitting before a wooden frame, weaving a rug out of strips of scrap quilting fabric and it was fascinating! It looked so easy and when she was done, she had this heavy duty, beautiful rug. Right then and there, I wanted to know how it was done. But the crowd around her got bigger and I drifted on with my mother to other vendor’s booths and though I never forgot about it, I never really looked to see where I could learn how to do this. Then in a recent newsletter from a local quilt store, I saw they had rag rug classes but those classes filled up quickly.

Ever the undaunted woman, I hit the internet and Googled till I was blue in the face and my tappity tapping little fingers ached…and you know what I found? Nothing…nada, zip, zero, zilchoid! Not one thing that was remotely close to the way that that woman wove her rug. It was depressing! But then, by sheer luck (and I think a little divine intervention), I stumbled upon the quilting blog,
Quilting Adventures and there, in full color, were pictures of a rug frame with an in-process rag rug on it...and it was exactly what I was looking for! I was thrilled! I devoured that post and bless Carole's heart (Carole is the blog's author), she posted the title of the book and a link to the Country Threads site, where you could order it. Seriously, I was doing the happy happy dance of joy!

The book came in the mail Thursday and I couldn't get over how simple the instructions were...and it had pictures! Not drawings, but real pictures to show how it was done.

And then today, I found this video on youtube - how flippin' cool!

Could. Not. Be. Happier!

Friday, May 02, 2008

A Week of Mondays: Mini-Quilts Week 9

Title: "L7" (slang: a derivative term for square; also a reference to the band, who had that killer song I love)
Materials and Techniques: blocks, blocks and blocks on blocks and satin stitch (can you tell it's my favorite to use? It just makes everything look so clean!)
An alternate title for this was, "Would you could you in a block?" I'll have to think of another way to pay homage to Dr. Suess.

Well, that does it for a week of Mondays. I'm still about 5 mini-quilts behind (as of this coming weekend). If I can bust them out on Saturday or Sunday, you may see another week of Mondays next week...don't count on it though! :^)

Happy all!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Pupperoo...

I had to take Sadie to the emergency animal clinic the other night. She was whining and pacing and couldn't sit properly. I was so nervous that something was drastically wrong and she would have to be hospitalized or have surgery or something - yes, I was overreacting, but this is a dog that has never had anything seriously wrong...she's always been very healthy! Thank god for my best friend Juli, who (in a heartbeat) said she would come with me and then proceeded to keep me occupied, talking, for the entire 45 minute drive, keeping my mind off from all the horrible diagnoses that were going through my head before!

Come to find out, poor Sadie's anal glands were impacted. The ER Vet "expressed" them and sent us on our way and my Vet ordered a prescription of antibiotics and a pain reliever, because my poor babe was sooooo sore! She couldn't sit and even laying down wasn't comfortable. She just wasn't herself and she kept coming to me with that look of "Mumma, make it go away!" I wanted nothing more than to do just that...take that pain away.

She was starting to feel better last night...just a little and this morning, she was rushing me to get up and take her for a walk (just like she normally does) and she even tried a couple of times to put her tail up to wag while we walked, but it was still sore, you could tell.

My poor babe - it's almost time to head for home now, to see how she feels and to give her another dose of antibiotics and pain relievers.

A Week of Mondays: Mini-Quilts Week 8

Title: "Don't You Know I'm Loco?" (hats off to Cypress Hill for the name) Materials and Technique: made with leftover scraps from Squeaky Squeaky toys and varigated threads in a crazy quilt pattern (can you believe that I've never tried to do crazy quilting before?)