Friday, December 19, 2008


Is why I get nothing done!

Aromatic Heating Wraps

These are fun to make and even better to have around.

Cut one 3" x 21" strip for the strap handle and one 7 1/2" WOF strip for the sack (WOF- Width of fabric. @ 42") Trim the selvedge edges.

Iron the strap fabric down the length in half and iron again 3/8" along each edge to fold this fabric into a long slender strap.

Here is a close-up of what it should look like.

Now take the strap over to the machine and sew a seam line down the length @ 3/8" from the edge to close up the strap. EASY!

Now for the sack. Turn the fabric right sides together and pin a few pins to hold it in place. Here you see I am making two bags at the same time

Sew 1/4" seam allowance on both long sides of the sack. Leave the top open. Turn the bag right-sides out and smooth it flat or give it a quick press with your iron.

Mark and sew two "channel" lines evenly spaced @ 2 1/4" apart from each other, leaving @ 3" for closing at the open (short) side. This leaves us room to to tuck the straps in later. Here is where the rice will go.

Have fun filling those channels now. Mix up about three cups of long-grain rice and any aromatic herb. I used tea leaves from Ceylon and really like the aroma. Try lavendar flowers. The fragrance is just heavenly. You can use a large spoon or a funnel if you have one. Please remember to leave @ 2-3" of space at the top of each channel. So in effect you will have an empty space of @ 5" before the last step. This is important so that the rice can flow freely within the channels and distribute the heat. Also it makes the bag more flexible for wrapping around the body.

Ok. Tuck the upper open end inside the bag, @ 3/4" worth of fabric should be tucked easily.

Take the strap and pin each end to the tucked in edges and secure with pins. CAREFULLY bring this filled sack to the machine and sew up the opening with two lines of thread, for extra security. I wrote CAREFULLY because I have managed to spill rice all over the carpet and sewing machine by being reckless.

Well that's it. If you intend to give these away, please write a tag explaining that it should NEVER be heated in the microwave longer than 2 minutes. Remove using the strap handle and test it to see how hot it gets before draping it across your neck. It shouldn't ever be too hot to handle. OBVIOUSLY don't get it wet. It is raw rice, after all. I really like mine. It is so soothing to tight or cold muscles after a workout. Toss it between the sheets before you go to bed and luxuriate in the warmth. Wonderful in the winter months.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Barbara's Better By the Dozen

Two years back, Bright Hopes Quilting had a BOM I signed up for in named Celebrations from the book, Better By the Dozen. You all know how BOMs work: you get a new pattern and preselected fabrics each month and by the end of the calendar year you SHOULD have assembled a pretty good-sized quilt. No excuses.
Well, I am an impatient stitcher and like to knock out each month as soon as I get my grubby paws on the kit. But the book had lots of inspiring designs made up with the 12 featured blocks. The layout was what made them all so different from each other.

There are 3 shops in Baton Rouge, where my daughter is enrolled in college at LSU and as we were getting her set up in the dorm that first year, post Katrina, I would pop into the shops to see what they had.

(Understand, BR is NOT that far from here, but going there to shop with frequency wasn't in my schedule in those years. I saved splurge-shopping for the GSQA seminar held there each spring. )
But now !!!! hrr hrrr hrrr hrrr! I had an excuse to just stop by for a few minutes and browse. And there I saw a gorgeous piece of fabric. No idea what I would make... but that's never an issue when I see something indescribably different. You just take it. Lots of it. Well ok, I take what I hopefully expect to see me through a quilt. In this case, I believe I walked out with 2 yards. Maybe 2.5.
And it sat on the shelf, taunting me.
Katrina did massive damage to St. Tammany Parish, where I live and a good friend was badly hit. They lost alot and what the storm didn't take , the contractors did. Things, furniture, time. You name it (and I hate to say, she wasn't an isolated incident.)

My friend loves all things italian and this fabric was decidely venetian and I hit on just what I'd make. Using Better by the Dozen as the springboard, I made this qulit for Babara:

I had bought just enough to squeak this out, adding batiks to give it that sparkle and fussy-cutting the focal fabric for all the squares. I think it came out swell (if I say so myself!)

Barbara likes it too! and the Supervisor approves.

Donation Quilt

This quilt was given to the Linnaes Of Texas, a Swedish-Texan club in Houston. It was raffled off in November 2008 and brought in over $500.00 that will go towards college scholarships to students who ennroll in swedish studies.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Most Recent Sample

This is the newest sample of a BOM we will be starting at Bright Hopes Quilting. It measures 65 x 65" and is made up of batiks with one small area in Winter that has Handspray. I'll be taking it down off display sometime in Feb to quilt it.
We saw a sample done up at Market in October and I thought it was lovely.
It isn't difficult and can be either machine appliqued as I have done or turned under in any convention applique technique.
There's a lot of Q's in quilting, huh?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Q in a Bag

I just love this little cat! No sooner did I complete this Charm Square tote than she decided to use it as a sleeping bag. I guess it has earned the Q Seal of Approval.

These totes are by Quilts Illustrated: Charm Party Tote and are fast and easy and make really super gifts. If you haven't bought charm packs because you don't know what to make with them, may I recommend trying a tote?
And when you finish a quilt project with a themed fabric, cut your leftovers into 5" squares for your own charm pack. They come in very handy for secondary projects. This bag was made up of leftovers from Kyle's Market, a three part fruit and veggie line that came out years ago. I made two quilts (BQ for those who care) for my daughters and had enough to make that tote for me. Well for Q apparently.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Last Few Weeks Til Christmas

I hope everyone reading this had a lovely Thanksgiving. If you are unfamiliar with this American holiday,

it is traditionally a day when families come together and eat a meal that centers around a turkey and the farm harvest from this time of year: potatoes, greens, root veg and of course pies. The pereniel favorites include pumpkin, pecan and apple pies. Some even say words of gratitude to whatever they believe got them thru the year..... hard work, God's blessings..... family and friends. Giving Thanks.

Unfortunately, like a lot of traditions here in America, this day when in the past we reflected on all we had to be thankful for, has morphed into something more commercial. I don't blame this phenomenom on any one source but scatter it across the board!

Stores that sell merchandise targeted at disposable income have four final weeks to make up for lost revenue and compete with each other for OUR money. That is capitalism and I am okay with that.

But in the past decade a real focus has been on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving Day when shops (and I'm talking mostly about the huge chain know what I'm saying) open at a ridiculous hour of 4:00am and have these crowds of people lined up since they ate the last crumbs off the plate and just waiting to get their hands on some toy (and by that I mean big people toys as well as those for tots). Great discounts on a few selected items that are big on the lists of wants.

And then the media with the camera crews and newspapers who just HAVE to cover this..... year after year like it's ............. news or something, show up and interview these people. Jamming in the faces with lens and asking questions "What time did you get here yesterday?" !!!!!!!!! I'm still thinking about a second piece of pie and these people are standing in front of a store for hours waiting to bumrush a building and the media is there to cover it all.

So you mix these three stupid elements together: Marketeers, Herds of People and Journalists. What could possibly go wrong?

Police said about 2,000 people were gathered outside the Wal-Mart doors before its 5 a.m. opening at a mall about 20 miles east of Manhattan. The impatient crowd knocked the employee, identified by police as Jdimytai Damour, to the ground as he opened the doors, leaving a metal portion of the frame crumpled like an accordion.
"This crowd was out of control," Fleming said. He described the scene as "utter chaos," and said the store didn't have enough security.
Dozens of store employees trying to fight their way out to help Damour were also getting trampled by the crowd, Fleming said. Shoppers stepped over the man on the ground and streamed into the store.
Damour, 34, of Queens, was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead around 6 a.m., police said. The exact cause of death has not been determined.
A 28-year-old pregnant woman was taken to a hospital, where she and the baby were reported to be OK, said police Sgt. Anthony Repalone.
Kimberly Cribbs, who witnessed the stampede, said shoppers were acting like "savages."
"When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling 'I've been on line since yesterday morning,'" she said. "They kept shopping."
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (
WMT), based in Bentonville, Ark., called the incident a "tragic situation" and said the employee came from a temporary agency and was doing maintenance work at the store. It said it tried to prepare for the crowd by adding staffers and outside security workers, putting up barricades and consulting police.
"Despite all of our precautions, this unfortunate event occurred," senior Vice President Hank Mullany said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those impacted."

A woman reported being trampled by overeager customers at a Wal-Mart opening Friday in Farmingdale, about 15 miles east of Valley Stream, Suffolk County police said. She suffered minor injuries, but finished shopping before filling the report, police said.

Shoppers around the country line up early outside stores on the day after Thanksgiving in the annual bargain-hunting ritual known as Black Friday. It got that name because it has historically been the day when stores broke into profitability for the full year.

Items on sale at the Valley Stream Wal-Mart included a Samsung 50-inch Plasma HDTV for $798, a Bissel Compact Upright Vacuum for $28, a Samsung 10.2 megapixel digital camera for $69 and DVDs such as "The Incredible Hulk" for $9.
AP retail writers Anne D'Innocenzio and Mae Anderson contributed to this report.

Let's review: A mob of shoppers pushed open and knocked off it's hinges a sliding door an employee was attempting to open. They trampled this unfortunate soul and left him there to die while they went shopping.

In another store a woman was trampled and injured but finished shopping and THEN filed a report????

And finally the two credited reporters manage to squeeze in at the end an ad for the store.

well done.

May God have mercy on us. Not that we deserve it.