Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

This is as close as I came to taking a picture of my beautiful Thanksgiving table. My good "Coaching Scenes" china, Aunt Rozella's silver, "Spring Glory", cobalt blue glasses, and special holiday napkins...

Lillian's FIRST THANKSGIVING!! She's 8 1/2 months old now, sitting in a high chair, just starting to eat...sweet potatoes were a semi-big hit...

My favorite picture. I had to change clothes so my sweater with leopard print collars and buttons would match Lilly's leopard print shirt and shoes...maybe I'm moving into another animal print realm...could it be the zebra stripes are over??


Lilly and her beautiful mommy...

I hope you ALL had a great Thanksgiving!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Faux-Grandma Day

Life is about those big stunning moments. Getting married, having a baby, elaborate holiday celebrations. But if you're doing it right -- it's also about the ordinary, everyday moments. My niece, Nicole, gave birth to Parker 12 years ago. Wow. It just doesn't seem possible Parker is in the 6th grade already. Nicole and her sister Amy (these are my sister Ronda's girls) gave birth to seven children. WHAT BLESSINGS, EH?

When Parker was born, I volunteered to babysit "one day a week"...and I've been doing it ever since. My rule is "one kid at a time -- one day a week." Right now, when I'm home -- the little guy who comes here is 3-year old Cash.(who you've met before) His two older brothers, Cale and Garrett have both spent their time at Aunt Rita's house. We play games, do puzzles, have conversations, go birdwatching, occasionally we sew and we ALWAYS cook. They especially like to cook. On this special day, they invited me to their school for "Grandparents Day". We made a turkey craft. I'm a lucky, lucky aunt...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Deborah's Quilting Group & Jenny Haskins

My sister, Deborah, lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She drives to Sew Tech in Evansville, Indiana to take embroidery classes. (Their phone number is 812-477-8477, and the owner's name is Lisa. Email is:

The quilt they're making is Sharman's Vintage Garden, designed by Jenny Haskins.

Deborah did NOT send a picture of herself. But, after much begging on my part -- she did send some pictures of the OTHER students. Eleven ladies in the class -- and one woman is making THREE OF THESE QUILTS. Deb said "that woman has the new big honker machine & can sew it in one hooping...There are three sisters in this class I'm almost sure 2 have never done anything like this."

The class meets once a month. Started in Aug-March

This isn't Deborah's first quilt. I'm hoping she sends me some pictures of her "Beyond the Color Purple" quilt which is stunning. I believe this is a picture of their teacher -- Nancy Hastings -- who has taught Beyond the Color Purple at least 3 times--Moulin Rouge-& now Sharman's Vintage Garden.

GREAT, GREAT JOB, LADIES...if you happen to read this post -- let me know your names. I'm hoping Deb keeps the pictures coming -- we'd love to see your finished quilts!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Chicago Weddings

Okay -- it's BLACK FRIDAY. Time to rush out there and find some bargains!! I'm not much of a shopper. But the best time I had shopping this year was with my friend Marion -- when we met for a few days in beautiful, downtown CHICAGO.

I love this picture. If you look closely -- you can see me & Marion reflected in the glass. During our all-too-brief-October-visit to Chicago -- we walked the mile to the Art Institute when we noticed this bakery window. Here we are, making fun of the gigantic "Big, Fat, Greek Wedding" cake!! It had little twinkle lights strung through every archway...

Then -- we bumped into a REAL WEDDING taking place in the park. If you can see the bridal party -- the young bride is wearing a dress she BOUGHT ON EBAY!!

The intricate detal of the dress itself does not show up in this picture. But trust me -- there is cutwork, and hand-embroidery. It is a stunning example of a dress lovingly made by an accomplished seamstress. Her friend told us a woman made it for her daughter in 1962...and this young bride didn't need a single alteration...

I remember looking at that bride, on that day, wearing that beautiful vintage wedding dress and thinking that's why women sew. We love using our own hands to make something that will last -- something that is worthy of being passed down to the next generation. So many of my most treasured things are about that. Embroidered pillowcases, hand made quilts...some were made by my own ancestors -- many were lovingly made by women I am not related to. But I hope they'd be happy to know I treasure their workmanship and I appreciate their skills...

And, of course, there was a really incredible pair of shoes I could not resist taking a picture of...

Amazing, eh? (altho, painful, I would think...) I'm thinking I can add a little spandex zebra stripe ankle cuff to just about any pair of black shoes...why wouldn't that work?
No matter what you're doing today -- take a minute to pat yourself on the back. Thanksgiving was a lot of work -- and you deserve a break today. Go sew something...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Table Linens

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! This is the holiday that is MOST about the right stuff. Really. Food, family, special table linens. Enjoy it!! AND TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES. I always forget to take a picture BEFORE we sit down at the beautiful table. My mother's embroidered tablecloth, Aunt Rozella's silver....

When it comes to pictures -- I wish I had done a better job when my boys were growing up...there were so many little moments that happened but because I couldn't work a camera -- they're lost forever...

When I recently had lunch with my young-Mom-friend, Anne from Cedar Rapids (remember her twins in their halloween costumes?) -- we exchanged Goodwill gifts. How could you forget the zebra striped outfit she gave me for Lillian?

I gave her the Iowa tablecloth and a set of heart-shaped placemats. Because I knew she would have fun setting a special Valentine's table. But Anne decided she couldn't wait that long. THAT very night, she went home and set the table with the heart shaped placemats.

She sent me this email:

"Last night was a big hit. I didn’t get the hamburger out of the freezer in time, so we opted for pancakes. Sam told Sarah, “Seriously we’re having pancakes for supper!” Sarah came to the table set with the hearts, “Oh, I want to hug my placemat!” She proceeded to take her placemat from under the plate and hug it. I was even told that these pancakes were the best ever. (I don’t think Bisquick has changed the formula.)"

Here's the thing about a moment. You NEVER know when you're gonna have one. Which is why you MUST HAVE A CAMERA...thanks for sharing this one, Anne. Maybe life really is all about pancakes for supper on heart shaped placemats...

Good job, Anne...


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

WOW Moments at Quilt Market

Every day, there would be those "WOW" moments at Quilt Market in Houston. You know -- you see an outfit that is soo great, you want to stop the woman right there in the show aisle and just TAKE A PICTURE. Well, the great thing about working in the Schmetz booth is that I pretty much got to do exactly that!! I think these pictures speak for themselves...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mom's Apple Pie

First of all -- I can't believe you have TIME TO READ A BLOG today!! With Thanksgiving two days away -- it's just not possible to get everything done. So my tip of the day is "Mom's Apple Pie". My Mom baked the absolute BEST apple pie in the world. Here's a visual...

But this is not a recipe -- it's a metaphor...which might help you get through the holidays. Think of every single day as one of Mom's Apple Pies. A wonderful, delicious treat meant to be enjoyed. But, it's only one pie -- and if you try to cut it into a hundred different pieces, nobody enjoys it.

When the boys were small, I was running a retail business. I was being pulled in many directions -- there was work, special events, marketing, Chamber of Commerce, the beginning of my speaking business, then I'd go home to cooking and cleaning, mountains of dirty clothes, little league baseball games four nights a week, wanting to eat dinner with them, but having no time.

One day, I realized I had just as much time as everybody else. I simply was not doing the things that mattered to me the most.....That's when it hit me that each day was like one delicious apple pie. I GET TO DECIDE who gets a piece of my pie. My family deserved HALF. The business needed the other half. So the Chamber of Commerce fell off my priority list and I let other people take over the PTA and running the school carnival.

So there it is -- my Apple Pie Philosophy. It is YOUR DAY, AND YOUR TIME. And only YOU can decide who is deserving of your time and energy. Embracing this philosophy gives you the right to say "NO". Maybe you'd rather rock the grandbaby than bake your own rolls. get my also gives you the right to say "YES"...


Monday, November 23, 2009

Project Runway FINALE

SURPRISE, SURPRISE. Irina wins Project Runway, Season 6. Was there ever a doubt? I watched the Finale with absolutely no sense of suspense. Much like “Dancing with the Stars” this week – the Finale was a foregone conclusion. (If Joanna & Derek had made it through on DWTS, THEN there would be a Finale – but if Mya doesn’t beat both Kelly and Donny -- it proves there is no dancing in heaven.)

Sorry - I digress. It's just that, even after watching the BIG PROJECT RUNWAY Season 6 FINALE three times -- I don't have anything pithy or interesting to say about it. (maybe that's the problem -- I kept falling asleep -- and I had to watch it THREE times before I actually saw everybody's collection..?? hummm..)

Irina deserved to win. No question. Every single week, her sewing was impeccable. She made pants, coats, dresses – long, short, fitted, loose. There wasn’t anything she couldn’t design and then sew. But her all-black collection in the Finale was boring. Also, I thought it was stupid that they made her switch out her purchased t-shirts -- which she intended to cut up and repurpose. How is that any different than using a print fabric? NOT that any designer in Season 6 would ever think of using a print…come to think of it, maybe there IS A BAN…??

Personally, the three outfits I remember from the FINALE all came from Carol Hannah. Her opening garment (pictured here) was a show-stopper and her 13th look, the blue one-shoulder long draped gown was exquisite.

The one single garment I will MOST REMEMBER from the entire season came from Carol Hannah in the Finale -- her upside-down-Christmas-tree dress.

But --I knew Irina was going to win....The judges even liked her goofy hats. Which we will NEVER see anywhere on the planet after today.

The big injustice was that the vapid Althea came in SECOND. Are you kidding me? Althea thinks Harem Pants done with a capri leg will be THE NEXT BIG THING?? Right. Just what America needs. A new style that will make us look hippier...I thought her "collection" was a tired, poorly made mess. As far as I'm concerned, Althea didn't have one memorable outfit either in this Finale OR in the 13 episoides preceeding it....

Here they are, on the runway. At this point, I knew Irina was going to win. But the shocker was that Althea beat Carol Hannah. Ugh. I still can't believe it. WHAT SHOW WERE THE JUDGES WATCHING?? And both Michael Kors and Nina Garcia were there, too. Maybe I can blame that little old lady who was judge #3. Who was she, anyway? Where do the no-name judges come from? Do you think they're bidding for their spot on ebay? I wouldn't put it past Lifetime. Somebody should check that judge out, tho -- she's probably Althea's Grandma...


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Carnegie Deli Lunch

When I got to the Carnegie Deli -- two of my favorite YOUNG people were waiting for me -- Jeff Lassiter (recently moved to NYC from Chicago) and April Somboun (recently moved to NYC from Seattle).

Oh, yes -- this is one of their famous corned beef sandwiches..

The three of us had a GREAT was fun to listen to them compare NYC notes...

And, yes, at the end of our lunch -- we certainly did have to share the most delicious thing in New York City. A PIECE OF CHEESECAKE WITH STRAWBERRIES ON TOP.

I'd like to thank both April and Jeff for playing my New York city game. The most important thing about the Carnegie Deli is it's "cash only -- leave the tip on the table."

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sister Tote VIDEO

No blog ever had better friends than the Jan & Bonne sewing duo. Here's an email and some pics they sent me yesterday -- AND I just realized this is YET ANOTHER RITA TOTE. My bag is the "Hey Rita" tote. I showed a picture yesterday of the "Rita, Over Here" tote. AND the bag in the video is the "Rita Where Are you Tote". I'M FAMOUS!! THANKS fdor sharing, girls!!

Hey Rita!

Here are a few pics from the adventures of Bonne, Jan, and the "Rita wanna be bag" :-)

We were in need of a mini sewing adventure as we await the ever AMAZING EXPO!!!

We took the day off from work, left the husbands to fend for dinner on the own and went to the Vancouver Quilt, Craft & Sewing Festival.

We were fortunate enough to be able to catch just a couple of our favorite Expo Vendors between customers for some bag shots. We had such a great time!!! Everyone knows you and they were more than happy to pose for pictures!

Jan insisted we had to have a bathroom pic! I'm pretty sure all the women in the restroom at the time must have thought they were witness to two women with highly questionable sanity LOL!!!

Hope you have a GREAT THANKSGIVING! Bonne & Jan, Inspired 2 Sew

Rochelle's - note the shears through the head just for you!
Sister's In Stitches
Glitz and Glamour
Bohemian Element
Trish Wagner

Friday, November 20, 2009

Vancouver sewing show

Here's a long-lost picture from last year's EXPO. This picture was taken right after Jan presented me with the "Hey Rita" tote. You can see she's carrying her own sister-version...and THIS IS THE WOMAN YOU ARE LOOKING FOR if you're going to the Quilt Sew Craft Festival this weekend...

here's a note from jan:

BEWARE!!! BE ON ALERT!! The "hey rita sister bag" is on the move to Vancouver, WA tomorrow, to the Quilt Sew Craft Festival, ALONG WITH the famous "rita's sew fun blog recycled jeans challenge" jackets!!!! We will be wearing the jackets - so do ya think anyone will recognize us from the bag or the jackets?!!!! We will take a pic if they do!!!! Byeeee, jan and bonne "inspired2sew"

(note from Rita -- HEY -- tomorrow a VIDEO!! Guess what song I picked?)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New York City with NJ ASG

Here I am, sitting on the bus -- riding into New York City -- and could I be happier??

The Macy windows on 34th Street already are decorated with the "Miracle on 34th Street" scenes...I was SOOO DELIGHTED...

Once inside Macy's -- the Hey Rita tote found A ZEBRA BENCH TO SIT ON...

I tried to get a picture of me & my tote, on the antique Macy's escalators -- IT IS SO EXCITING TO BE THERE...

Then -- for some serious shopping -- I head across the street from Macy's --

to the BEST KEPT SECRET IN NEW YORK CITY -- Conway's Department Store. It's like stepping back into the 50's...BARGAINS GALORE...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

ASG New Jersey

Here I am, arriving in the Philadelphia Airport with my customary baggage. Sitting at the curb, waiting for Helen, my ride to New Jersey...

The day of the event -- Rosemary and Beverly...


And, all too soon -- Rosemary is dropping me off -- to meet my ride back to the Philadelphia airport -- Margaret!!

In future posts -- I'll share some pictures of our FABULOUS DAY IN NEW YORK CITY!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


As you well know -- I think about blogging every single day. And a HUGE part of writing this blog has been LEARNING HOW TO USE MY CAMERA. Because, most of the time, a picture really IS worth a thousand words...

Ross gave me a digital camera for Christmas several years ago. Frankly, it was lost in the trunk of my car for nearly a year. I lived most of my life NOT taking pictures. Really. I sucked at it. If, on rare occasions, I did remember to take a camera someplace -- it didn't have film in it. OR, even worse -- I would never get the film developed. ugh...

But I AM LOVING MY DIGITAL CAMERA. However -- It's just too small for me to keep track of. I lose it in my car, or in the house. I've left it in restaurants and at my sister's house. Ugh... Unlike my cellphone, I can't "call it" when I misplace it. But what has SAVED ME is the luggage tag Ann Sagawa gave me last year. GENIUS. It's mostly a big pice of fabric with a plastic "business card" envelope at one end. The other end just gets "tied" to my luggage. or, in this case, my tiny little CAMERA....

Most of the time, the people who find it are people who know me -- so THEY CALL. And, if I lose it in an airport or a tradeshow -- the luggage tag has at least made it possible for a "good samaritan" to do the right thing!!

THANKS AGAIN, ANN!! For a wonderful, most useful gift!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Baby Avery

A couple of weeks ago, we had a baby shower for Brenda. To review, she is married to Toby, who is my sister Deena's son. Their first baby is due in November. ANY MINUTE NOW. Brenda is the one who is decorating her nursery with bandanas -- remember?

Well, since then, I got the picture of the sock monkey cake. (Chad made the cake -- he is Toby's brother). I was pretty sure I had a picture of little Avery with her beloved sock monkey.

So, I went back -- here'a group shot from the baby shower...we had already eaten lunch and opened the gifts. (everybody was still there except for my cousin Kim and her Mom...)

Becky (Chad's wife) is holding her daughter Avery, pregnant guest-of-honor, Brenda, holding the Hey Rita Tote, then our Emily (married to our son Elliott) then Madeline (Avery's sister) and pegnant Kelcy (holding Lillian). Don't the children all look DELIGHTED to be there?

This is the best shot I have of Avery and her sock monkey. Although, at this moment in time, it doesn't seem to be much of a comfort to her, does it? Believe me, she is usually a VERY HAPPY BABY...

I love the idea of a child having that "comfort thing". And every Grandma wants to MAKE that one thing the baby ends of loving to death. Lots of babies get comforted by a certain blanket, or attached to the satin edges. Apparently, with baby Avery -- it's going to be ALL ABOUT THE SOCK MONKIES...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Anne & I AFTER Mondo's

As we were leaving the restaurant -- I had to take MY OBLIGATORY picture of the Hey Rita tote in the fancy-schmancy restroom. That's us in the mirror and, obviously, we were pretty pleased with ourselves... it really is not easy for us to BOTH STEAL HALF A DAY away from our families and jobs and DO an actual "LUNCH".


After lunch -- we have some time...what to do? what to do? Iowa City is a little jewel of a town. It is unique in many ways but it does two things spectacularly well -- thrift stores and advanced college degrees...

So -- GUESS WHAT WE DID?? Shocker, I know. Me in a thrift store...Ann found an early treasure. Monogrammed linens are always a hit...

This was my BEST BUY of the day -- 16 unopened envelopes of Aunt Martha's embroidery transfers! What a deal -- only $3 for all of 'em...

And this item? Anne is holding the Hey Rita tote on top of a pair of beautiful plastic legs. C'mon -- IT'S ART. For only $10 -- I was REALLY, REALLY tempted!

This is me and Anne on our way home. CONGRATS TO BOTH OF US -- for knowing how important it is to, every now and then, to spend a little old fashioned "girl time"...