Monthly Archives: April 2017

Do you shop at Amazon?

Published / by Mary / 8 Comments on Do you shop at Amazon?

I’ll admit I dislike shopping so I always head to Amazon first to see if they have what I need. I have a prime membership which used to just mean free shipping but now it’s got a number of other benefits including free books, free music, and free videos – TV and movies. I always start at Amazon Smile now that I learned that it generates donations for a charity I choose. 

$33 dollars isn’t much but wow, thanks to me and other Amazon shoppers the Red Cross has received over a million dollars. It’s a good reminder that every little bit adds up and it’s an easy way to help … just like donating to the food bank when I go to the grocery store – what better time to think about those hungry and in need than when I’m stocking up on groceries for the two of us. It’s a reminder of how truly fortunate we are. (And for those of you who know that I rarely go to the grocery store, I’ve got Keith trained to give too)!


Published / by Mary / 5 Comments on Flannel

The last time I ordered muslin for my HeartStrings quilts they sent me the wrong thing. It was a heavy duty muslin , not the lightweight stuff I usually use but since it was all I had, I used it for the last set of blocks. It’s a heavy top and I decided I would just back it with flannel and not use any batting and I think I found the perfect backing for it. I’ll get it pieced and carry it along with the top to Big Canoe for quilting. 

My boys

Published / by Mary / 1 Comment on My boys

We had dinner out with business acquaintances of Keith’s and I was talking about why we chose Tampa this time around. While there were a number of reasons – high on the list was being closer to my boys AND having a lot of activities here for all the kids. Chris and Becky visit us frequently with Rae and I hope that Adam will visit more often too. It’s also a fairly easy drive for me to get to GA and our condo at Big Canoe … another opportunity to see the boys and our little ones. 

More of the same

Published / by Mary / 11 Comments on More of the same

Keith’s been out of town and there’s not a lot to report around here … I’m still working on the blocks for Becky’s king size quilt but since the design wall is already full I don’t have anything different to show you at this point. She needs to get the bed measurements to me and I should be ready to start assembling – I’m going to do this in sections rather than long rows. Once I’m happy with what’s on the design wall, I’ll start assembling those blocks and then move it onto the guest bed so I can layout the rest of the blocks. 

I’m still experimenting with the air fryer … In addition to apples almost every night, I’ve been making some sweet potatoes. Not quite fries,  not quite chips but really yummy! Mom ordered the same air fryer and has tried a few things too. Most of the recipes available are for breaded/fried foods so it’s taking a bit of experimentation to find the right cooking time and temp and to find the best cut for the veggies. 

It seems like Finn has grown up overnight – I think he’s about 7 lbs now – he’s going to the vet for his last boosters on Monday and has his first grooming on Wednesday. I keep warning Keith that he’s going to look a lot different – it is already hot here and he needs to lose a lot of that hair!!

We’re taking more walks now, he’s easily distracted, and wants frequent breaks but it really helps to run out some of that energy he has and when we get back he takes a good nap and I can get some work done. 

Our anniversary is next week … I was looking at old photos and came across this one from a trip to Hawaii 10 years ago this month … we looked so much younger or maybe my sunglasses are just hiding the wrinkles and I had less gray hair. I know I could color the gray but I’m not into the hassle that would involve – it doesn’t bother me that much!! Right now all I need is a quick trim every couple months. 

Around the house

Published / by Mary / 5 Comments on Around the house

I have new wind chimes for the porch – the tones are so rich and resonant. 

The tree canopy on our street has filled out … I love streets where the trees meet in the middle!

Finn took his first walk around the block. We’d been walking him within the gates of the community but his energy level is high and I felt a walk around the block would tucker him out and I was right … he’s taking a nap in the pen in the library as I sit here and listen to my new wind chimes! He bounds all over the place and being able to keep the leash short helps control him so I pulled out Chesty’s old leash. 

Hennipen County Library – downtown Minneapolis

Published / by Mary / 7 Comments on Hennipen County Library – downtown Minneapolis

If you’re a long time blog reader you’ll remember my posts about volunteering at the library when we lived in Minneapolis. I’ve always thought it was one of the most wonderful libraries I’ve ever visited and I’ve visited a lot of libraries – I always check out the local library when I’m able to in my travels. I also go back to visit every time I’m in Mineeapolis including my visit last December. 

I still support the library there with donations and get email updates, today I got this link to a video about how they’re working with local officials to help the homeless. They have many other services for the community – homework help, job search help, help with English for immigrants, computer access for everyone … I love how relevant they are in this day and time. People think that libraries aren’t important in today’s world but I SO disagree. 

Quilt pattern

Published / by Mary / 2 Comments on Quilt pattern

For those interested, I looked up the pattern I’m using for Becky’s Quilt. It’s in a book I just got from Martingale called the Big Book of Strip quilts but since that’s a collection of quilt patterns by different designers I assumed it had been published before and found it on Google books at this link Tic Tac Tile Quilt. I’m not sure if the link will work or not but give it a try. 

Even though I’m not sold on the gray, I love the brown used in the pattern – brown is my favorite color after all – and it is a quick and easy quilt. I will be making this one again. 

You can go to the Martingale site and see the Big Book of Strip Quilts and view some of the other quilts in the book too. I actually like their collection of “big books” because they usually have more patterns that interest me than books by a single author. One reason I like the Martingale site for buying books is that I get an electronic version and a hard copy and that I can preview the books to make sure there are quilts that interest me before buying them. 

Last year I joined their book club and get a decent discount on my purchases there. I’m not sure but I think the commitment is just 4 books a year and they also have knitting books so it’s not difficult for me to meet the membership requirement. There is a fee to join but they give you back more in a gift certificate right away. You can check out the book club at this link – I don’t have any relationship with Martingale, it’s just a site that I personally use and purchase from. 

While I don’t often make quilts straight from a pattern, all my quilting is inspired by other quilters both published, on the web, and especially antique or vintage quilts that I often find listed on eBay. Where do you find your inspiration?

I want to like gray …

Published / by Mary / 14 Comments on I want to like gray …

I like the idea of gray as a background fabric better than I’ve liked the results but I’ve bought a lot of gray and plan to use it – eventually. 

Luckily Becky likes it as this is the start of their king size quilt. I was really worried after putting the first few blocks up but now that I have more of them it looks better. Becky chose the fabrics over 3 years ago … I’ve been preoccupied with caring for family and moving a good part of that time and when I was home I didn’t want to work on a big quilt. Who knew these blocks would be so quick to piece? Keith got stuck in San Diego this weekend and won’t be back until after dinner so Finn and I have been working in the sewing room. 

Still lots to do but it’s coming along. 


Published / by Mary / 6 Comments on Assembled

My Sharon inspired HeartStrings top has been assembled. This one will go to Big Canoe for quilting on the longarm …eventually. 

I think I might take a nap now … the storms came around 4am and and lasted the rest of the early morning hours. I didn’t get much sleep. 

Missing Chesty

Published / by Mary / 10 Comments on Missing Chesty

It’s kind of scary how quickly we’ve gotten attached to Finn … he’s such a sweet boy…

But I find I’m missing Chesty more these days too.  I love Finn for himself but certain things he does reminds me so much of Chesty. We wanted those Bichon qualities in a puppy  but we didn’t want one who looked like Chesty. They’re good memories so I’ll just enjoy Finn and remember our times with Chesty. 

I didn’t sew today

Published / by Mary / 2 Comments on I didn’t sew today

I was very lazy but you don’t want to hear about that so I’ll tell you about the crispy tortilla strips I made in the air fryer. One of our favorite meals is homemade Chicken Tortilla Soup but I don’t always make the tortillas because it’s hard to get them just right. It was NO problem with the air fryer. 

The corn tortilla strips before …


After a few minutes in the air fryer!

Don’t worry … this won’t turn into a food blog because while I like cooking, I only like to do it 2-3 times a week. Luckily between Keith’s travel and the times we eat out I don’t have to cook any more than that!