Monday, August 31, 2009

About Jayne's Wedding Quilt

Jan (one of our jeans challenge gals) sent this email:

I enjoyed seeing Jayne's wedding quilt the gals made for her!! THATS what we're all about! For sharing, for having fun with our craft and for doing nice things for our friends with love!! Lovely picture of the two of you holding your flowers in front of your beautiful quilt -- what a treasure! May your marriage be sewn with all the love that is sewn with every stitch in that quilt!
Beautifully said, Jan. I couldn't agree more. Women who sew are the BEST.
Then, Jan's email went on with more trash talk about the jeans challenge -- AND a very interesting story about Bonne at a "hands-on" embroidery class at last year's

The three of us are working on our "four-letter-word" description of our jeans challenge. Also, this week, I might be able to post a few hints about what they're planning for their "Nooner" Sew Expo style show.

Jeans Challenge -- email from Bonne

Bonne wrote to tell me she WANTED THE SEWING MACHINE LAMP... and also, she loved the picture of Jayne's wedding quilt. That was a very touching story....thanks again, Jayne, for sharing!!

Bonne said: Jan may absolutely love HAND sewing, but in my book it's a four letter work. Last evening while I was doing the Four Letter Word, I was trying to think of something fun. I decided to try and imagine what each of your garments would look like, and I think I just may be starting to come up with a visual in my mind.

Rita: a wonderful, very sassy, creative pair of jeans with a possible zebra gusset :-)
Jan: an amazing, colorful, artistic jacket with just a hint of thread (not! -if I know Jan,more like miles of thread- LOL!)

Am I getting warm Ladies???
So -- Bonne. hummm....your email makes me think the three of us should come up with a FOUR LETTER WORD that would describe our finished jeans project. THAT's your next clue I'm thinkin'.....

Saturday's Usual Treasure Hunt, Part ONE

My friend Bert and I usually kick around on Saturday -- it's ALL ABOUT the treasure hunt. (well, to be honest -- there's also eating breakfast and/or lunch in a nice restaurant...)

My blogging assignment was to take pictures with my semi-new Blackberry (it's not that new -- I just haven't used any features since that day in May when Nancy Zieman showed me how to silence the incoming email sound..).

Then -- send the pictures to my email so I could blog them.

Bert is holding a hand-made quilt that looks like it was never washed. Embroidered blocks -- every block is a STATE flower. Amazing bargain at only $25. The really amazing thing is that neither one of us bought it. (So -- just imagine how many quilts we own between us!)

These four beautifully hand-embroidered bathroom hand towels were only $8. And I DID buy 'em. Don't you love the words? And I love the colors. I'm going to hang them all in a row in my bathroom..

Bert could NOT resist this complete set of 12 silverplate. It's the Friendship pattern -- which was her Mom's! Quite a good buy for $45, eh?

How could I resist this beautiful little child chiffarobe (is that a word?). It was only $40 and it broke my heart to leave it there...

In the next post -- I'll show you the most unusual "sewing" treasures of the day!!

Saturday's Treasure Hunt, Part 2

Our treasure-hunting-Saturdays are always educational. Like -- who knew there was a magazine in the 1950's called "Sexology"?? I could have bought this assortment for only $16.
(but, frankly, I already know way more than I actually need to know about this topic...)

This sweet little "Mother's" plaque made me think of my cousin Kim. Altho her collection "is complete" -- we have both lived the poem:
"Flowers a child may understand,
But the message they impart
Cannot bless like Mother's hand
Or the whisper of her heart".
The poem also reminded me of my new young mother-friend, Shaundra.

This cute little kitchy duck had a pincushion & spoolholders. Only $5.

If you can make it out -- this is a beautiful porceline tabletop that has been fastened on top of an OLD TREADLE SINGER BASE. Isn't it cool? I think it was $110. But -- as wonderful as this table is -- it was NOT the best sewing treasure of the day....

THIS WAS THE BEST!! Can you see it? In all my years of treasure hunting -- I've never run across something like this. Do you get it?

IT IS AN OLD SEWING MACHINE MADE INTO A LAMP!! Really, people -- I LOVE my life! The lamp had an oak wood base.

Ohhhhh, what heaven!!
Guess how much?

ONLY $45....

Don't you wish you could visit me in Iowa? Really, I think our crop of junk stores is better than either our corn or soybeans...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sewing is the gift...

An email I received:

Quilting is a new adventure for me and I have become a part of the Busy Bee Quilting Guild of Snohomish County. I am sure you know of “smaller” groups within the larger ones. I have the pleasure of belonging to the most WONDERFUL (small)group!!! The “Frayed Edges” ladies have been quilting for “many moons” and are so willing to teach me all that they know. They encourage me with each new technique I try… me have patience with each new thing I try as well.

I recently got married…(June 27 2009) where as a wedding present, these ladies made the most BEAUTIFUL wedding quilt for my new husband and I. There is NO doubt of the Love and patience shown in this quilt. I cried excessively when we opened it at the wedding.

I have heard of the Sewing Expo from other “sewers” by have not had the pleasure of attending a show yet. I intend to change that in 2010!!! I receive the newsletter you write…(which is Great!!) and went to the sew expo website. I am only seeing info from 2009. Am I going to the wrong place for new info? I was curious about the classes offered, etc. for 2010.
THANKS so much for writing, Jayne -- and thanks, too, for giving me permission to put the picture of your beautiful quilt in this blog. I have always said WOMEN WHO SEW ARE THE BEST. Really. I believe women who sew are, as a group, the kindest, most thoughtful group of human beings on the planet. Your quilt is testimony to my theory...

The new website will be launched in September, Jayne. Although, there won't be actual class descriptions posted until after Christmas. At this moment in time, Ann Sagawa is buried under hundreds of class applications. Three women -- Joanne Ross, (Chair of the show), Janet York (Operations Manager) and Ann Sagawa (Education Director) jury the class apps -- and, as you can imagine, it's A BIG JOB...

THANKS for reading my blog, Jayne -- and we are looking forward to seeing YOUR ENTIRE GROUP OF BZB QUILTERS at the 2010 show!! (You DO know Eleanor Burns is our special guest for the Quilter's Night Out, right??)

P.S. can I just say that I do not think there is anything more beautiful than a hand-made quilt hanging outside on a clothesline. It makes me smile every single time...your wedding picture is awesome.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Jeans Challenge: Bonne's Clue

Bonne sent this email -- AND a photo -- with a few intriguing clues...hummm...

From Bonne:
My version of a 3-ring circus = 1 serger + 2 of my sewing machines LOL!!! Have to make the absolute most of the sewing time we get :-)

Here are some new clues:
-could the book be a clue?
-what is one of Rita's favorite fabrics doing in my serger? trying to influence or mingle with my denim?
-and those waistbands??

Enjoying this recycled jeans challenge way too much! Watch out Rita & Jan!!!! Bonne
So -- Bonne -- First of all -- your sewing room is AMAZING. I am green with envy!!
But -- hey -- WHAT BOOK IS ON YOUR COUNTER?? I can't quite make it out...I only WISH I had thought about using zebra stripes in my project. HEY -- it's not too late!! Maybe I can pass it off as my own original idea, eh? Wait -- I've got it!! Maybe I should use the zebra stripe for my butt gusset??

Project Runway Programming Note

Yesterday, I posted about Episode #2 of Project Runway (remember the pictures of the maternity challenge?)

WELL -- just in case you missed Project Runway on it's regular Thursday night -- Lifetime is repeating it several times during the week!! Yahoo!! Now you can ALL get caught up in the magic that is Project Runway -- people actually SEWING challenges.

Sunday morning, they are running Episode #1 and Episode #2, back to back. 10:00 EST (I think).

CHECK YOUR LOCAL LISTINGS.......most cable companies carry the "Lifetime" network. I've watched the first episode three times and I notice something different every single time.

C'mon -- GET ON BOARD. JOIN IN THE FUN...really....give it a shot -- I think you'll like it! And it'll give you something to do while you're waiting for the EXPO website to be updated. (that's coming in September -- thanks for your patience!)

Rita's Jeans Challenge

Emails from Bonne & Jan: (these two women are VERY, VERY COMPETITIVE)
From Bonne:

Hey Rita,
How about some clues from you??? Jan & I have shown you some bits and pieces of where we are going with ours, but what direction are you going with yours?

You know Jan, if we ever did do a Martha Pullen challenge it would be the perfect inspiration to use that pleater I just had to buy because you had one!!!! Then there are all those wing needles we could use..... you know there may be a future Expo challenge depending.... Rita you are aware of our challenges, but did you also realize we have a sewing -machine, tools, patterns, gadgets, embellishment- competition of sorts as well? I mean I certainly can't let Jan having a cool sewing item and not have my own :-) Bonne

From Jan:
Ya rita, some clues - we WANT clues!!! I mean we were generous with our pics - we NEVER see anything like that between between bonne and I on our challenges!! No patterns, no nothin'!!! And bonne, you would bring up the pleater! ha ha! I love heirloom stuff and have almost every book from martha............maybe?!!!! jan... trying to find some thread......could ya send me some blue.............or red, or bright green..............more zipper tho! I really need thread now that you mention it.......

Rita: Gheesh...pressure, looks to me like the two of you are actually SEWING something fabulous out of the recycled jeans. Whereas, I'm more of a "put three pair of old jeans together to make something new" kinda girl....
BUT -- HEY -- you two are doing the RIGHT THING when it comes to shopping for sewing innovations at the show. I LOVE a little competitive shopping, babe! Our vendors bring their newest, latest, hottest stuff -- and WE MUST BUY IT so they can come back next year with more bounty!!

Okay -- here's one of my first jeans-redo-project pics. I cut out the embellished areas of two different pair of Goodwill jeans. If you scroll down -- you'll see I've been "fraying" away the's a nice "television" activity.

Maybe I've taken it too far, eh? The fringe is about 2" long so far and I JUST CAN'T STOP...(can you see the cute little reverse applique peaking from the underside of the denim?) Hummm...what's my next step?
And right now, my biggest problem is that I can't actually ZIP the recycled pair of jeans I was gonna restyle....
Well -- I may have to insert a gusset for my butt...(it's not like THAT would be a new experience...)
I wonder if "butt gusset" is an actual sewing term??

Friday, August 28, 2009

Project Runway -- Week 2

I was DElighted to see a maternity challenge on Project Runway!! And I definitely thought they picked the right winner. I loved what Shirin did on week #1, her red carpet dress had a neat hood/shawl/bustle thing in the back -- and I didn't think she got much credit at all.

This week, she SMOKED the competition by making not only a stunning maternity dress -- but also a lined wool coat. ARE YOU KIDDING ME???


Altho they sent the odd-could-never-tell-if-it-was-a-guy-or-a-girl "Malvin" -- home for his (her?) hideous egg costume -- for my money -- the very WORST outfit of the night was from "Epperson". IT WAS A JUMPSUIT!! REALLY?? WITH A HALTER TOP?? SERIOUSLY??? Tell me, Epperson -- have you ever known a pregnant woman??? OR -- been standing in front of a ladie's room door as a pregnant woman was comin' at ya??

As if the impracticality of a maternity jumpsuit wasn't bad enough -- he chose some kind of cardboardy white fabric. Just what every pregnant woman wants -- a stiff fabric that makes her look like a gigantic Eskimo igloo. Puhleeeezzzzze. Apparently, Epperson's nightmare jumpsuit flew under the radar because Malvin's rotten egg outfit was just slightly more horrible than Michell's boring ill-fitting-beige-shorts-and t-shirt-that-looked-like-they-came-out-of-the-dumpster-behind-the-homeless-shelter. Neither Malvin or Michell could sew -- MUCH LESS DESIGN -- and I can hardly believe Michell will live for one more challenge...but I predict Week 3 will be his last. (hopefully).

Hey -- I didn't hate everybody! I loved what Minnesota Christopher did. And I was pleasantly surprised by Qristyl. (and yes, that's really how she spells her name...)

At this point, I'm rooting for Christopher AND Shirin. They've both had great outfits for two weeks in a row.

What did you think??

Deena's Baby Boom

My sister Deena has three children -- and her kids gave her a big jump on the "Grandma Gig". Even though she is MUCH younger than me -- she had two granddaughters before I got one. In November, she gets TWO MORE babies!!

Her daughter, Kelcy, is expecting in November. Way back on August 7, I posted a picture of Kelcy's hand-painted nursery and the Safari-themed bedding Deena made. It was beautiful...

Well, Deena's son, Toby and his wife Brenda are ALSO EXPECTING in November. Since Deena made the "crib set" for her very first grandchild -- now it is a tradition she must maintain. And -- HER KIDS ARE KEEPING HER PRETTY BUSY, EH??

This is the set she made for Toby & Brenda's baby. Isn't it beautiful? I hope you can see the beautiful embroidered tractor scenes. Toby & Brenda already know they're having a boy. (Kelcy does not know -- or at least -- she's not telling!)

THE POWER OF SEWING, EH?? No matter how much money you had -- it would not be possible to buy such a perfect, individual, themed set of quality bedding for a new baby. I hope our kids know how lucky they are.

Well, actually, it's only DEENA's kids who are getting the handmade bedding sets...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Blog Page Look!!

This afternoon, I had a nice visit with my friend Debra Justice -- who is, of course, one of the most popular speakers at the Sewing & Stitchery Expo. You probably already know that. Maybe you didn't know that she also has an internet heirloom sewing supplies business. Labours of Love.
Which means -- she is actually experienced with HTML -- and this blogging thing comes very naturally to her.
And she always does everything in a lovely, very Canadian-Debra-sweet-delicate-tasteful way. As you can tell from her pincushion teacup picture (which I ripped off her blog).
Debra has a beautiful header on her blog -- my first header was really tacky. Isn't the new one a big improvement? Deb sent me the picture -- and THEN she cropped it so it would fit.

Blogger Help? Change dates on posts?

Okay -- any bloggers out there? Here's my problem. Clearly, I'm a self-involved maniac. I have soo much stuff I want to put on this blog, I often write a "post" and save it as a "draft". However -- days later, when I push "publish" -- it goes up on the blog, but ends up NOT being the first post on the page. Even when I try to change the "DATE" of the post -- it hangs on to the original date I WROTE the post.

So the new post gets buried...AND, if somebody comes to the blog every day, they would, of course, only read the top post...

Anybody have an answer for this blogging riddle?? Email me at:

Jan's Jeans Stash

Okay -- so the recycled jeans challenge is officially ON. And Jan sent this impressive picture of her sewing room and her beautiful Pfaff sewing machine...and her beautiful Viking sewing machine. How many machines do you two girls have, between you?

Wow. Very impressive 'sewing studio". (Ya'll would be very disappointed if I posted a picture of my sewing machine sitting on top of a folding table, stuck behind the pool's not so much a sewing studio as it is a corner of my crowded basement...)


From Jan:

and the flower stuff is..... - vogue DKNY pattern - no plain old blue stuff for me!! Bonne, I'm impressed with your volumn of jeans to work from - I will be OUT of jeans before this challenge is done - who's idea was this anyway? Oh right! Thanks Luveta for sigining up on this blog first!!! ha ha ha! Guess its better than if Martha Pullen had signed in - we'd be doing heirloom baby bonnets!

P.S. Hey -- Martha is a rock star -- and, as a new Grandma, there is something very sweet about an heirloom baby bonnet. That reminds me -- I have some GREAT pictures of Lillian Claire, wearing my husband's 65-year old Christening much to little time...

AND -- don't forget that tonight is the NEW episode of Project Runway! So -- Bonne & Jan, Debra, Mary, Linda, Sandy & #7 (you know who you are) -- be sure to TUNE IN. It's really fun to watch and think about how you might handle the challenge....It starts at 8:00 on Lifetime. If you missed last week's premiere -- they will be repeating it tonight. C'mon -- give it a shot!! Some of these designers really can sew!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Black & White Obsession

For about three years now (okay -- four or five) -- I have been obsessed with black and white. I can pack a big suitcase where everything is either black and/or white -- and I'm thinking I could stay away from home for six weeks and never have to wear the same thing twice.

If only the airlines would let me TAKE a 200 pound suitcase -- I'd be all set. The first picture is of Kate Spade's current collection. Isn't the black & white coat fabulous? I think it's very similar to Simplicity all I need is the right fabric. HEY -- Pacific Fabrics -- are you going shopping in the L.A. garment district any time soon? Sharon?? Let me know if you find THIS fabric!!

August Book Club, Part 2

So -- here are my other book clubbers. Linda P. is the "Kindle Girl". I'm sitting on the couch with the OTHER Linda...Linda K.

For our August book club meeting -- it was unseasonably cool and breezy on the porch. We ate chicken salad (with the grapes and walnuts -- yum) -- and you already know about Sandy's two homemade pies. Book Club is NOT about the diet food!!

Because I could not figure out how to
take a picture of the four of us at one time (yes, I know there's a feature on my camera -- but I'm just not there yet, people) -- I did the only thing I could think of. Here is a picture of OUR FEET.

The four of us are holding up the August Book -- which we all loved. Harlan Coben. In the Woods. He writes some barn burners...

Yes, that is a FABULOUS ZEBRA RUG you's all quite amazing!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bonne's Jeans Challenge Email

Email from Bonne -- the accountant/half of the Sewing Challenge DUO:
August 25, 2009
Hey There Rita,

Would you be okay with a Sept 8th deadline (2 weeks from today)? It's just not in my nature to start a project until the one I'm working on is complete, and I will be done with current project this evening - a little obsessive, but I never have an unfinished project LOL!!!!! Jan on the other hand can work on many projects at one time. You 2 have probably gotten a jump start on me :-)
Okay, now for the fun stuff. Since this is a challenge I'm assuming we can't see each other's final completed project until the end, but we will share bits and pieces along the way. Jan & I tend to throw in some good natured "trash talk" emails throughout the year with our Expo challenges - what do you think?

My first bit/clue to what I'm doing: Are you envious of my hoard of old jeans I've been saving for years? Actually I use them quite frequently for totes or throws. Being the literal type I'm going to make a jeans jacket using a McCall's/Palmer/Pletsch pattern. Oh, but watch out Jan & Rita, wait till you see what I do with it!!!

Well I'd best get back to work, Bonne
Okay, Bonne -- the September 8 deadline is perfect! I don't have much of a head start -- altho I did cut up two old pair of jeans. And, well, I did all that fun old-decorated-jeans-Goodwill shopping! But, apparently, with the stash you already have -- you didn't need to do that. The most surprising thing in your email was the part where you can't start a new project before you FINISH the one you're working on. I was dumbfounded. What a concept. I am telling you the truth, Bonne. In my whole life, I never once let an unfinished project get in my way....
Sometimes, you just need to let them know who's boss, babe!!
And -- hey -- TRASH TALK??? Are you kidding me?? THIS IS GOING TO BE SOOO MUCH FUN!!! I am really down with that, girls.

August Book Club

It is one of the joys of my life that, for many years I have belonged to a wonderful book club. We get together at least once a month (sometimes every-other-week, just to eat lunch).

Our August meeting was at my house -- our summer porch party. Please note that yes, indeed, I DO HAVE ZEBRA STRIPED BOWLS AS WELL AS ZEBRA PLACEMATS. I could have made them myself -- but, as it happens -- it was a happy shopping day in Canada, when I was visiting my friend Marion. More RitaLuck.
Here's Sandy -- she brought two homemade pies for our lunch. (that's right -- two pies for four women -- do the math!)

Because John keeps four hummingbird feeders going ALL SUMMER LONG (that's over 10 pounds of sugar each week). As we ate lunch, we were entertained by his flock of 50-80 little hummingbirds. They put on quite a show...

What book did we read?

next post...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Email from Jan...

As you know -- the jeans challenge is a definite GO. Bonne & Jan have accepted the mission. Here's a picture of Jan right before she & Bonne went on stage to reveal their "2009 challenge".

But we still need a deadline. Jan sent me this email: Jan's comments are in italics, mine are in RED INK...

"I can't believe I'm blogging now - isn't that a strange word?!! (I agree completely -- it makes no sense at all.)

I had to call Bonne to help me try to register but alas I couldn't figure it out - (don't worry -- I can't do that, either, Jan! -- just keep sending me emails -- we'll muddle through it together..)...

I do enjoy your "blog" tho - first one I've ever been to. I guess you have us figured out now - Bonne's the brains of us!! She keeps us on track, in line and always figures out how much we have to tip at restaurants! (I know what you mean -- when the Ya Ya Sisters travel, Mary is in charge of math...)

I'm sure you're kidding (or crazy!) at the 2-week deadline - (HEY -- if this deal takes longer than two weeks, I might have to buy bigger jeans. How much time do you need, girls?)

we can start figuring out what we're doing and start taking pics as we go along - believe it or not, just this morning I was checking out my old jeans that I keep forever and voila! strangely, I have some that will work for me!! This may peak some bigtime interest in Expo since you'll be creating for the challenge, too. (I'm only in for the BLOG challenge, babe -- you're on your own with that challenge program at the show!)

Ok, I'm heading for the studio and Bonne's off to church.............see?!!

Thanks for the fun, jan

(You're welcome!! Now -- GET BUSY...Love, Rita...)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Project Runway

I AM SO EXCITED! PROJECT RUNWAY IS BACK!! Thursday night at 10:00 EST. on LIFETIME.yes, yes, yes...

Of course, I already watch WAY TOO MUCH television. But, just as I was really missing my "So You Think You Can Dance" -- Lifetime finally came along with the new season of Project Runway.

I AM SAVED!! (for a minute there, I thought I was going to have to watch the History Channel with John...)

Did you watch the first five seasons on BRAVO? Season one with Jay McCarroll was my absolute favorite. And guess what? Jay is one of my "Facebook Friends". He makes a lot of interesting comments, and it's fun to follow his designing career.

Last year -- Brother Sewing Machines brought Jillian Lewis to our Go RED Style Show. Do you remember the fabulous dress she made for our event? I loved that she was such a good sport about taking off the "bottom" of her shirt -- and then she walked down again, in the "short" dress.

I get all the seasons confused...but I think Jillian was on Season 4 -- when "fierce" Christian won. Right?

Anyway -- I'm glad Project Runway back. I don't know the names of the designers yet -- but I thought they picked the right winner AND the right loser.

Christopher was the winner -- and I like him a lot. He doesn't have any formal designer training -- but he seems to have mad sewing skills. AND he's from Minnesota -- so I'm thinking maybe Mary Mulari knows his people...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Remember Expo Slide Show

The lesson here is to see if I can add a few words of text right before the Slide Show comes up in the window...we'll see...


THEY'RE IN....As a test, to see if anybody was REALLY READING THIS BLOG -- I threw out a sewing challenge the other day.

AND I AM DELIGHTED to report that both Jan Potter (left of Linda McGehee) and her sewing sister Bonne Swett (in the blue jacket, on the right) have both sent me emails saying THEY ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE...

Pressure. I'm tellin' ya -- it was pretty easy for me to take a picture of two pair of old cut-up jeans. NOW I'VE ACTUALLY GOTTA PUT IT ALL TOGETHER...and turn it all into something I could actually wear. (and what did I do with that third pair of jeans that almost fit me??...humm...)

Do we have a deadline, girls? Whataya say -- how about two weeks?? Feel free to send me digital photos of your in-progress-jeans-recycle. (I'll post them so people can see what' we're working on!) I'm sure Luveta is reading this blog EVERY SINGLE DAY -- and she'll want to see if we've learned anything from taking ALL THOSE CLASSES FROM HER OVER THE YEARS...
And, of course, Linda McGehee will be relieved to know that the two of you are STILL GOIN' AT THE SEWING THING.
Hey -- if our jeans projects are cute enough -- you can include them in your new Nooner program for 2010 -- right??


This has been an EXTRAORDINARY year for hummingbird watching. John has, for many years, been the #1 hummingbird guy in our county. Possibly the entire State of Iowa. We have 40, maybe 60 or 100 little hummingbirds flitting around our four QUART SIZE feeders all day long.
John goes through 20 pounds of sugar every week. IT IS QUITE A SIGHT. The best thing is that he hung the feeders right outside the porch screen -- so when we're eating a meal -- the birds are only about 2 feet from where we're sitting.

One afternoon, my cousin Kim & I were sitting on the porch, visiting -- and she said, "those little birds are making so much noise, I can't hear myself think."

Friday, August 21, 2009

ON WEEK ONLY -- Vintage Pattern Link

People, people -- this is soo much fun!!
Carol (who was in the picture of the GO RED show, with her Mom -- see earlier post) -- sent me this email
Hi Rita,
Just thought you might be interested in passing along this link to the URI library for patterns that have been archived. It goes back to 1854. They have opened up access, for one week, in which people can view and download patterns and images. It's an excellent site for those who enjoy vintage patterns and designs. This was originally posted on the 19th, so that's when the week of viewing started. The user name to access the account is "guest" and the password is "pattern". I am in pattern heaven! :) I thought your readers might be interested. :)

Happy viewing,

I just spent a blissful hour on that website, searching vintage patterns -- the illustrations are incredible. It is SO MUCH FUN...but you've gotta be quick. I think it's only open to the public for a few more days. THANKS, CAROL!!

Carol, Sister & Mom at GO RED

I LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT. This picture was #8 in the "Go Red Style Show" slide show that I put up on
THEN -- I received a comment from a woman who was sitting in the front row. Of course, she didn't even know the picture existed -- it's her at the show with her Mom. Here's Carol's email:
Hi, Rita!

Wow, that would be wonderful. The picture is #8, in your file of pictures and has the caption, Audience 2. We are the three in the front who look somewhat a like. I am the natural red head while my mum and sister are wannabes. :) We all look so serious, I wonder what we were all thinking at that point in time. Must have been one of those 'touching' moments. It was great to have my mum come to the show....I am incredibly blessed to be able to attend Expo, Rita. I am a mum of 6 children, and getting away from home, to attend the show, is not an easy task. Thank you for all you and the crew do to make it an excellent show, it's a highlight of my year!

Blessings to you,


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Gardening, Sewing & Golf

Many people struggle with retirement. Without the daily schedule of a job -- the tyranny of an 8-hour work shift -- they are lost. I think it's much harder for men because they are usually defined by their jobs. Whereas, women are more likely to have ongoing hobbies they enjoy -- like SEWING. Retired men have long days with nowhere to go and nothing to do. Whereas retired women are delighted to have more time to SEW, grandbabies to cuddle, (Expo trips to plan, classes to look forward to, fabric to I believe the key to a happy retirement is HOBBIES. And, as you well know, I'm a woman CONSUMED with her hobbies...

When my husband retired -- John was looking forward to having the luxury of TIME to spend doing the hobbies he loves. (as opposed to all those years he never missed a day of going into a job he HATED). John enjoys golfing, fishing, hunting, Civil War history, baking Italian bread, being an avid baseball fan, making maple syrup -- and he loves mowing his very large yard AND he is a lifelong avid gardener. As you can imagine -- HE COULD HARDLY WAIT TO RETIRE...and I was very hopeful.

This year, John joined a beautiful public golf course only 20 minutes from the house. You know how it works -- the more often you go golfing, the "cheaper" every round is -- right? He was welcomed into a very interesting group of early-morning-golfers.

The good news is with the moderate summer weather we've had in Iowa -- John's frequent golf schedule means he's amortized a round of golf down to about $3.00. The bad news is here's what the garden looks like... As it turns out -- John's gardening could easily be compared to my housecleaning. He loves to golf. I love to sew. Hey -- we ALL MAKE CHOICES!!.

LOL...The only thing that matters is that HE HAS NEVER BEEN HAPPPIER. And -- hey -- even with all the weeds, we're still getting plenty of garden vegetables. Of course, the #1 sandwich this time of year is a good old-fashioned BLT. And we love 'em! But the unique sandwich we look forward to every year is the Jay Ohland special:

Spread one slice of fresh bread with chunky peanut butter. Spread the other slice of bread with mayonnaise. Put a thick slice of tomato right in the middle (i need salt).

UNBELIEVABLY will get so hungry for this sandwich you'll start dreaming about it next winter...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rita's Jeans Recycle...

Bonne (of the Bonne & Jan crazy sewing duo fame) reads this blog every day. So -- challenge girls -- here's YOUR SEWING CHALLENGE. How about it?
Luveta Nickels was my very first guest blogger -- and TO HONOR HER ENCOURAGEMENT -- I'm going to recycle three pair of jeans into something I can WEAR TO THE SHOW.

In my manic thrift-store-shopping-sprees (which you ALL know about) -- I buy embellished jeans (no matter WHAT size they are) -- thinking, of course, I'll cut up the interesting parts and use them to create something new in MY SIZE.

Also -- I walk 3 miles every day on my treadmill. OH MY GOD. IT IS SOOO BORING. And every single day, I think I will die from the effort. So, I take"sewing breaks". I walk for one mile, then I get to sew something. Last week, during my treadmill breaks, I made two baby blankets and a crib sheet. When Nancy Zieman wrote "10-20-30-Minutes to Sew" -- she probably didn't realize it would become part of a weight loss program! Maybe that could be a new class for Expo, eh?
SO -- THIS WEEK -- BLUE JEANS. Hey -- if it works out, I'll put up a picture of me wearin' em!!
The last picture are the bits I've cut out...some reverse applique flowers from one pair (size 6) -- and the great layered fringed leg bottoms from the second pair.

If you keep coming back to the blog -- you just might see a picture of me in the FINISHED PROJECT...My hope is that my new jeans will be done by the time I walk 3 treadmill miles...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Happy Birthday SUE

If you're lucky (and I am a VERY lucky person) -- you have at least one good friend who goes waaaay back. For me -- that friend is Sue. We became friends in high school, and have never lost touch. She married Kim, and they lived back East when he was in the Navy. John and I were married in Pennsylvania in 1970. Sue and I both ended up raising our two kids in Iowa. Go figure.

I'm happy to report that ALL FOUR of our children long ago moved out of our respective homes -- they have jobs, and EVEN MORE IMPORTANT -- they're having babies!

Recently, we spent our customary "day" together to celebrate Sue's birthday. I took a blanket for Sue's new grandson. Because Kara (Sue's daughter) and her husband both work at John Deere -- I made a baby blanket for new-baby Ian. Here's Sue, holding Ian's new tractor blanket.

Sue took me into the cozy bedroom under the eaves of her beautiful remodeled farmhouse. There, on a little bed, was the blanket I made for Kara when she was born. (30+ years ago!) WHERE DID THE TIME GO?? How is it possible that we are grandmothers? It pains me to tell you that I had no memory at all of making Kara's blanket. That was a lifetime ago.

Apparently, Kara was born during my 'cross-stitch phase". lol. I honestly cannot remember EVER having that much TIME ON MY HANDS. Yikes! The funny thing is -- when I saw the little Snoopy fabric pillowcase on the bed -- THAT I remembered!

Sue assures me that her grandchildren love the little bed with the 30-year-old embroidered bunny quilt. Everything about our day made me think how lucky I am to have a friend like Sue. And what beautiful care she takes of everything. Her home, her family, grandchildren, quilts, friends...

Happy Birthday, Sue!! (too bad you don't do computers or have email...)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Too much treasure, too little time

I hope you enjoyed the slide show of yesterday's auction. WHAT A TREASURE TROVE, EH?

Here's the really big news. I DID NOT BUY A THING. Yes, amazing. I know. This is my new world. Thanks to my confession on this blog -- and the embarrassing picture of the back seat of my car -- I was able to RESIST bidding on anything. But it wasn't easy! These pillowcases were in unused condition -- absolutely PERFECT. And they went for $2.50 a pair. I had to literally sit on my hands to keep from bidding. But, as my friends can attest -- I already own over 100 pairs of similar beautifully embroidered pillowcases -- even though I give them as gifts every time somebody gets married, has a birthday, visits me, I visit them, etc. I JUST CAN'T USE THEM UP FAST ENOUGH. . And there was lots of other fabulous treasure. Did you see the carved wooden totem pole? And -- oh yeah -- a framed embroidered picture? In the past, I would have been bidding on at least 20 items.
Not to mention there was a fabulous collection of "ugly lamps". That's a private joke between me and Bert. She tells everybody "if the lamp is ugly enough, Rita will bid on it."
But the REAL treasure at yesterday's auction -- did you see it in the slide show? Can you guess what it is? YES -- IT'S THE Kenmore sewing machine, circa 1970 -- THE EXACT MODEL I OWNED THE YEAR I GOT MARRIED. And I loved, loved, loved that sewing machine. I have always been sorry that I got rid of it. Looking back, I can't imagine what I was thinking....
And, at yesterday's auction, I'm pretty sure it was going to be sold for $20 or so....
Yes, My name is Rita -- and I own way too much stuff...