Monday, December 26, 2011

My Old Fashioned Santa!

Well, I have an interesting story about my Santa.  He's the one in front of my trees on my porch.

I made him about 18-20 years ago, a very long process that has to be done in steps over a few weeks.  So, when they say patience is a virtue, they are so right.

Notice he isn't in this picture!

So, a couple weeks ago, one of my employees noticed a lady leaving the shop, she did not purchase anything, which really shouldn't matter, but she had her jacket on when she walked out the door and as she was walking towards her car, she had her jacket off, under her arm, with something in it.  Diane, my employee, walked over to the door and noticed this, but at first she thought she had a bolt of fabric.  I know what you're thinking.  Quilters are honest people.  Yes, that's was I always think, but I'm always amazed when things like this happen.  Diane noticed a smidgen of red sticking out from her jacket.  She looked down, and yes, the Santa was missing.  Then she noticed that my Santa was missing.  Yes, gone! 

Well, then she called me over right away, explained the situation and away I went.  Out to her car.  This lady was acting very fidgety, trying to cover what it was in her passenger seat but, I noticed a bit of his coat prior to her covering him, that confirmed it.  I asked her to bring her window down and she finally put it down about 4".  I politely asked her to remove her jacket so that I could see what was under it.  She asked, "Why?", then I explained that he was missing and that my employee saw her jacket covering him while she walked to her car.  She got very anxious then and said, "I don't have to.".  Well, I felt very angry then, that someone would just up and take something that didn't belong to them. 

She proceeded to put back her car up as I was asking her to please show me what it was under her jacket.  She then proceeded to put her car in drive.  So, I decided to stand in front of her car.  Probably not the most intelligent thing I've ever done!  But, I really thought that she would just give him up.  Well, with me standing in front of her car, she just put it in reverse, so then I kept walking along side her passenger side.  I was talking to her the whole time, explaining to her that it wasn't a very good idea to leave and that I had her license plate numbers, the make and model of her car.   So, she had to stop to put her car in drive, and at that point, for some weird reason, I decided that holding on to her side mirror might encourage her to stop.  Or, maybe I could hold her car back.  NOT!  She took off down the driveway. 

I ran in and wrote down her license number and then the adrenaline kicked in.  My mouth dried up and I started to shake.  I couldn't even punch 911.  I've never had this happen to me before.  I had to ask Diane to do it for me.  After some explaining to the dispatcher, how big, what he looked like, and other fun stuff, they sent out a deputy sheriff, actually 2 riding together. 

They arrived and one came in while the other one walked down to out mail box.  He came walking up with my Santa.  We came to the conclusion that she drove back and threw him out the window.  

We asked the two deputy sheriffs if the call they received to this sounded kind of odd.  They said the call came in as, "Please respond to 5130 E US Hwy 14 in regards to a stolen Santa off the porch."  He explained that it sounded "interesting". 

So, as it turned out, they went to her home and after much questioning and telling her that there were two of us that saw the Santa, she finally admitted to taking him.  I have to add here that this lady was around 60 and drove a Cadillac.  She did not look like someone that would do something like that.  I know we shouldn't stereotype people, but really, I'm sure she could've bought her own Santa.


The way it ended up was that I didn't have any charges brought up against her, which my husband said that I should have, but she is not allowed back on our property or she could be arrested for trespassing.  My Santa is now back home, a little damage to his beard, but overall, he looks pretty good.

Moral of the story, you just can't trust everybody!

Till next time!  PJR

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ah, A Retreat!

I spent the weekend before last at a place called Covenant Harbor.  It's in Lake Geneva.  A wonderful place for a quilting retreat.  My friend Marge was one of the organizers.  They did a fantastic job.  I have lots of pictures, but I'll try to keep it brief.

We had a ton of fun.  This is Bonnie, she went around stealing desserts.  It was all in fun, really! 

Isn't this adorable?  This is Peggy's pincushion.  She made it. 

And this is Char's pumpkin pincushion.  Very cute!

This is a pincushion that I started a year ago and finally finished it.  I gave it to DarLynn for her birthday that weekend.  And the MidNite was a "just in case" I couldn't sleep.  I have many of those nights.  The good thing was, I slept great while there.

This is my Farmer's Wife quilt.  I finished the blocks last January, but it's taken me this long to get the borders on.  And, as it turned out, I was short one of my second border strips.  So, I had to take it home unfinished.

This is a quilt that I finished the top at the last retreat to Fern Hill I went to at the end of September.  I brought it with to get the binding on.  It's one of Delaney's Christmas presents.  It has orange minkee on the back.

This is my sister, Cathy's quilt.  We did a block exchange a few years ago and the quilt took 182 blocks, so, we named it our "182 Block Quilt".  Kind of fitting!  Her border, sashing, and cornerstones are great!

At the retreat, they had a project for those who wanted to do it.  It was a quilt made with a Jelly Roll.  This pattern is all over the internet, and I'm sure you've seen it, but if not, here is the link.  This one to the left is my sister, Connie's quilt.  There were quite a few of the women doing this, so they decided to make it a competition.  My friend, Leanne won.  She made it (just the inner quilt) in 1 hr 18 min. 

Here' Micki's Jelly Roll quilt.  She was the second one done.  She did hers from a Moda line called "Solphie".  Very cute!

This is my sister, Rose's Jelly Roll quilt.  She made hers from one of the Minnick and Simpson lines. 

This is my sister, Cathy's "Dipped In Chocolate" quilt.  We did a block exchange for this a few years ago.  800 tiny little four-patches.  She got hers finished a while back.  I'm just now getting mine put together.  It is an awesome quilt. 

This is Debbie's quilt, "Heirloom Stitches", a Lori Smith design.  We did this last year as a "Block of the Month".  Instead of doing it up all in cotton, we did the applique in wool.  Isn't it a great quilt?

This is the center of Debbie's quilt.  "Pennies From Heaven" by Gretchen Gibbons.  We are going to be doing this as a "Block of the Month" starting up in February, hopefully.  This is also a wool on cotton quilt.  This picture does not do it justice.  It is absolutely gorgeous!

Oh, and we ate good too.  These are just a few of the homemade items that the women brought in to share.  Peanut clusters, nut mix, and pretzel, rolo, pecans.  Mmmm, good! 
 I can't wait to go back there.  Actually, I'm hosting a retreat there next month.  I know, I'm a little spoiled.  If anyone is interested, please email or call me.  We still have openings!

Till Later, PJR

It's About Time!

Well, hello!  It's been over a month since I last posted and to be blunt about it, it's about time.  I could say that I've been too busy, and yes, that is true, but I'm always busy.  So, no excuses here.

Since I last posted we've celebrated our 8th Anniversary of being in business as "Life's A Stitch Quilt Shoppe".  We had our annual sale and it was a lot of fun and lots of people came by for our sale.  I wish I had taken a picture of Char, our Grand Prize Winner!  She won 20% off for an entire year.  She was very surprised.  We do this every year and it's one of the funnest parts of our Anniversary Sale.   

And during the last month, we had a new water heater installed, and a water softener installed at the same time.  It's been 7 years since we've had soft water.  That's when we moved out here.  Oh, how I'm loving that soft water.  It's like heaven taking a shower again.

Then we enjoyed our Thanksgiving Holiday with our family and a very relaxed day of doing little or nothing.  This doesn't happen very often, so I take full advantage of it.  Actually, I had lots of fun just playing with Delaney.

This is Delaney checking out the dogs' toy basket (to the right).  Most of the time, she just wants to give the dogs a toy to play with.  Not this time.

Nope, she wants to sit in it, toys, her, and all.  I think she thinks she's still little enough to fit in those small places.  So, now that she got do I get out!

Well, I'm trying.  Oh, but it's so hard!  So, as it turned out, she did make it out and on her own.  She's getting pretty savvy about things like that.  She's even climbing on chairs and onto tables, and oh how we get nervous about those things. 

November was such a warm month, that we did almost all the outside holiday decorating the week before Thanksgiving.  We had a couple days in a row that got up to 60 degrees and we took advantage of that.  The lights down the driveway we set up and the porch got decorated.  That is the one thing that I love to do for Christmas is to decorate the porch.

Here's our bench!  Those skates are Canadian Flyers I bought on Ebay for $18.00.  There was another pair up for sale at the same time, but they were never used, for over $100.  I like my barely used pair better.  It gives them character!

And the dry sink with fun things that surround it.  I love antique winter items, like the skiis, the sled in the above picture and the sled in the picture with the trees below.  They're just fun items.

This is a great shelf that a friend's dad made for me.  I normally have a quilt hanging from it, bit it's just fun to put different things on it for different seasons, but I always leave my chickens and the cow weather van up there. 

The old goat cart filled with greens and holiday ornaments.  And no, these are not another pair of those skates, I just have to move things around once in a while.

And we can't leave the lamp out, add a bow and an old trough of some sort.  Fill the trough with ornaments and voila, done.  Keeping things simple is sometimes better than over doing it.

The trio of pencil trees is a must.  You can't decorate without having trees up.  And at night they light up.  Notice the Santa in front of the trees.  Well, I have an interesting story about this Santa in my next post. 


So, now that's it's almost the middle of December and there are 12 days left till Christmas, I can honestly say that I'm more ready this year than in the past.  Decorating is done, presents are wrapped (well, most of them anyways!), and most of the baking is done.  I'm not even sure why I'm more ready, maybe it's because I'm trying to keep things simple.  Either way, I seem to be enjoying it more.

Till Later, PJR

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


This is one of my favorite holidays.  I really miss seeing those little ones all dressed up now that we live in the country.  But this year we had Delaney for a few days while my daughter and son-in-law are on vacation in Los Cabos.  We have had so much fun!  Although, we handed her off last night to her other grandma and grandpa, so that they can enjoy her as well.  The great thing was that we were able to dress her up in her costume and take her to our friends house in town (our old neighborhood) and then to a few houses.  She really liked doing that. 

Here she is in her Cow costume.  We even got the Mooo down, but we forgot about the "trick or treat" saying.  There's always next year.

Our friends, Kim & Deb, gave her the little pumpkin bag filled with goodies.  And she found a package of mini oreos and also found out how good they were.  Yum! 

She also spent most of the time at our house competing for space with all the animals.  Along side Niko, looking at something they find interesting.  I'm not so sure what that was though.  She really liked picking up the dog food and feeding it to Niko and Gracie.  I showed her how to put her hand out flat and they would lick it off the palm of her hand.  Not the best habit, I'm sure, but g-ma let her do it and we can do that at our house :-)

I didn't get all of her dog in this photo, but that's Kenzie.  She's a Cockapoo and very smart.  Kenzie and Delaney play together quite a bit.  It's very interesting how they understand each other.

She also liked Tipper, one of our cats.  I was amazed how gentle she was with her and also with how tolerant Tipper was.

Well, now that Delaney isn't here anymore, I'd better go get some work done.  Lots to do and so very little time.  I have two patterns to write up today and do some kitting on another large quilt.  So off to work I go!

Till Later, PJR

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fun Stuff!

This past week has been a blur, not to mention, I never pulled out my camera.  No, not even once.  I spent the entire week getting ready for our Bus Hop, which was Friday and Saturday.  But the weekend prior to this, I did have a little fun. 

First, here's Delaney with her new "Plasma Car".  After I spent some time at Fern Hill with Randy and others, she mentioned to me about this Plasma Car.  I couldn't resist.  When I got home from Fern Hill, I immediately ordered one.

Briana and Delaney stopped by for lunch one day and I just had to get it out I couldn't resist showing her the new car.  She loved it.  But for now, it's staying at our house.  She will be staying with us at the end of this week for a few days and she'll love having it here.

 Now, here are the dogs!  Hmmm, my daughter took this picture with her phone, so it's not the best, but if you look real hard, there are three of them up there.  My first reaction was, why are they on my sofa, which they are not allowed!  But they're upstairs on this futon (old) and that is okay, but really, all three!  Now that is too funny!  You would never know that it's two dogs that are over 100# each and one that is almost 50#.   They somehow managed to get all scrunched up together. 

Now for the really good stuff.  I managed to get a little sewing time in on the weekend prior to the bus hop.  This one is a wall hanging or table topper called "Yankee Stars" and finishes at 22" x 22".  It's a fun take on those Jo Morton Stars and a variation of a courthouse steps.

It goes together so nice and even a beginner quilter can do this!

And Voila!  Done, and it really didn't take all day.  That's what I like about some of these smaller fun projects.  And don't you just love how they stars managed to get centered in the middle?  What a great way to use this fabric.

Now onto more fun things.  I have 2 more small quilts to do and put a border on my House Sampler.  Pictures to follow.

Till Later, PJR

Sunday, October 16, 2011

911 Quilt Day

I have to say that this event was suppose to have taken place last month, but either way it was wonderful.
Let me start at the beginning.  A year ago last month, a good friend of mine, Debbie, came to a Saturday sew day with this wonderful block that she'd made from the pattern called "911 Quilt" by Laundry Basket Designs.  It's a wonderful quilt, but not for a beginner by any means.  Well, the more people that looked at this pattern, the more interest it drew.  Debbie and I got our brains going, thinking about how to make it easier.  Well, we have an Accuquilt Dye Cut Machine in the shop and I decided to call the company to see how much it would be to have the curved pieces made.  So when others found out that we could dye cut the curved pieces, they were interested also.  The arcs are paper pieced.  So, we decided to make it a fabric swap and then each individual could come in and cut their blocks.  So as it turned out, we had 25 people doing the fabric swap. 

This also got our brains thinking.  Not always a good thing, if you know what I mean.  Being that a year from then would be the 10th anniversary of the 911 event, we decided to have a 911 Quilt day.  It was going to be on 9/11, but the weekend didn't work out for the shop.  So instead we had it yesterday.  It was sunny, but very windy, so I had quite a time keeping them all on the clothesline.  Any customers that came to the shop yesterday had the chance to vote on the quilts.  We had votes for "Best of Show", "Best Creativity", "Best Workmanship", and "Best UFO".  Here are a few pics.
   They ranged in size from a small lap to a full queen size quilt.  You had your choice of how big you wanted to make it and how you wanted to set it.  Some of them choose to make it with narrower sashing.  And some did pieced arcs in the borders. 
This was Karen T's 911 quilt.  She did some 911 Blocks in the outer border corners.  Her border fabric was a fabulous beige reproduction print.  Karen's won Best Workmanship.  Good job Karen!
This 911 quilt belongs to Kathy H.  She set her 911 blocks with this wonderful blue print and bordered it with a great tan print.  She sized her sashing down a bit, but kept the inner border to the size that the pattern called for.  I loved it!  Great job Kathy!
This was actually a quilt that was put together by several of us that donated 2 blocks each.  I donated the sashing, border, and binding fabric, and Marge West donated the backing and her quilting.  The quilt raised $1000 towards a benefit for 911 called the "Remember Rally" that Marge's husband does every year.  Good job to all that donated blocks and time.
This is Debbie D's 911 Quilt.  She sashed her quilt in a Judie Rothermel indigo blue print and cornerstones and outer border was this fabulous chartreuse yellow/green print.  It was wonderful.  Great job Deb.  Debbie was one of the first ones to be done with her quilt.
This 911 quilt belongs to Diane Q.  She used fabrics that she has had for quite a few years.  They were very patriot prints.  She even used some lady liberty print for her label on the back.  I should have taken a picture of her label, she does such a great job on them.  Her quilt won "Best Creativity.  I'm sure it was due to the arc piecing in the inner border and the curved corners.  Great job Diane!
This 911 Quilt is by Marge W.  She won the prize for Best UFO as she completed the top, but it was not quilted yet.  I have to laugh because, you know how the saying goes, "the builder never gets his own house done".  Well, Marge is a longarm quilter.  A fabulous one at that.  So, now you know that she puts everyone else's quilts before her own.  Great job Marge!
And lastly is Peggy D's 911 Quilt.  Peggy won "Best of Show".  Honestly, it was the one that just popped out and spoke to you.  Fabulous colors and nice job.  She made her sashing slightly smaller than the pattern had called for, but she was the only one that I knew of that used a brighter reproduction print to set her blocks.  Wonderful, wonderful job, Peggy!

And to all the others that may have or not have finished their 911 Quilts (I'm one of those), better luck next time, we wished you could have joined us.

Till Next Time, PJR

Fern Hill Retreat

Well, it's been some time since my last post.  Life seems to be to busy, especially in the fall and the shop takes presidence over other things.

At the end of September a few of us went on a retreat to Fern Hill in New Glarus, Wisconsin.  It's a lovely area just outside of town.  We had great fun and inspired each other.  Here are a few projects that everybody worked on.

Here's Bonnie with her Basket Quilt by Blackbird Designs made with "Antique Fair".  What a wonderful quilt!

And DarLynn with her Doll quilt.  This was an exchange that we did a couple years ago.  I still don't have mine together.  Way to go DarLynn!  Love those dolls!

Here's Debbie's quilt that she made for her Son and Daughter-in-law to be.  What a gorgeous quilt!  I'm sure they will love it.

And then there's Marge's quilt.  This was from one of Jo Morton's books.  They name befunks me at the moment, but what a great quilt.  She bought it as a kit from the shop a couple years ago.  Love it!

This is a quilt that I made for my granddaughter, Delaney.  I just decided to do different types of piecing in each pieced row separated with part of a panel
I started when she was still in womb and she's now over 14 months old.  Well, it's never too late.  I just figured, when I didn't finish it when she was born, I would give it to her at a later time.  Now I think it worked out perfect.  It has more of a toddler appeal anyways.  It will be a Christmas present.

Here's another one of DarLynn's quilts.  She started this at another retreat sometime back.  Isn't it sweet?  You just gotta love those pinwheels.  And of course, this is something she just made up. 

This is something that Marge was working on.  Little four-patches that finish at 1 1/2" each for a quilt called "Dipped in Chocolate".  That was another quilt that we did an exchange for.  I only have mine done in rows.  Someday it will get there.  But don't you just love how they landed in front of her sewing table on the floor like that in a little spiral pile.  Love it!

Here's a close up of that pile.  So perfectly spiraled.  Lots and lots of little four-patches!

This is DarLynn with a pincushion she won.  A Shawnee vase made into a pincushion.  Well, the game we played the last player could steel anybodies gift.  Guess who the last player was.  Me!  I tried, believe me.  She tried to tell me that she had a pet sheep and all that bull just so that I wouldn't steel it from her.  Well, she won out.  I did not steel it.  Darn!

But instead, I won this!  Isn't it adorable?  Gotta love it.  I also got a little pair of scissors with it, but they are being used while this picture was taken.  They are awfully cute too.  There's a lady north of where we live that makes up wonderful vintage stuff like this.  She's amazing

These are just a couple of things that I made during the retreat.  The little caddy on the left is for a mini iron.  And the bag is called "The Peek-a-Boo" bag.  It's made with 2 fat quarters, some fusible interfacing and clear vinyl.  Too darn cute!

This is a "Sewing Caddy" that I made several months ago, but it you look at my ironing tote and my peek-a-boo bag, you'll notice that they all kind of match.  Last year I bought this fabric at this shop in Monticello.  It's only about 10 minutes from the Fern Hill retreat.  This year we went back there and voila, they still had the fabric.  I decided I needed more, then I thought it would be fun if they all matched.  Oh Fun!

I wished I had taken more pictures of the scenery outside.  Great fall colors and beautiful countryside. 

Till next time, PJR