Favorite Holiday Happenings


At my pay-the-bills job, the 4th of July marks the end of summer, since our busy season begins on the Monday after the holiday. To compensate for a long slog of intense activity that starts now and doesn’t end until early October, we always get several days off around the holiday and I am enjoying every single minute.

On Saturday, my room mate and I drove to Ithaca to attend a workshop at the Yoga Farm near Ithaca, NY. The weather was threatening, but the rain held off until we were safely inside. The workshop took place in a converted barn–can you think of a more grounded place to have a workshop? Barns just seem to have an authentic vibe that you cannot manufacture.

We stopped on the way to have lunch in Corning. My room mate’s son-in-law gave us a gift certificate to a new restaurant for Christmas and this was the first chance we had to try it out. Hand+Foot was delicious (but I must say, the name is kind of a problem for me — when I first saw the gift certificate, I wondered why he got us a gift certificate to a nail salon??)

Anyway, when we walked in, all thoughts of nail polish disappeared.


The bar at Hand+Foot

We got there at 11:30 am when it opened, but we weren’t alone for long. Before the rush caught up with the kitchen, we over-ordered with three entrees and an appetizer because, well, did I mention the gift certificate? And yes, if you are counting, there were only two of us.

It was fun to try new things and indulge in local ingredients like the delicious sandwich rolls from a local bakery.


This is the pretzel appetizer with beer cheese cream. Yum! Think “blooming onion” except with bread and cheese.

I can’t resist sushi, so I chose the Tuna Poke as my entree. It was so fresh and flavorful. It featured watermelon radishes. I think I will have to expand the kinds of radishes I grow in my garden so I can try to replicate this dish.


Not quite sushi, but close enough for WNY.

On the way home after the workshop, we chased a rainbow, but we could never quite catch up with it.


On Sunday, we stayed home, rested and entertained a few friends with a steak roast on the grill.

Christmas eve can never rival the joyful anticipation I feel on July 3rd. This morning’s sunrise was spectacular to begin the 24 hour count-down to the main event. Despite the old adage, we had nothing to fear from the evening’s weather. The weather was lovely all day long.


“Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.” Pffft.

I spent the day reading, sewing and playing tennis with my family. It was perfect together time!

I’m developing a quilt to make for my room mate’s daughter and her small family. She requested yellows and grays to match her living room decor. I created a sample square today. I hope to buy the fabric for the complete quilt when I visit Cindy in Ohio next week. I can’t wait to hit the shops with her!


Tomorrow’s the big day. I hope you have a glorious 4th of July. Let the “skyworks” begin!

Vintage Find

Mom was helping friends clean out their house and move into an assisted living facility.  In the process of cleaning, they found this sweet, vintage baby quilt that needed a loving home.  I gladly stepped up to honor this work of art.  I keep it on this rocking chair that belonged to my great grandmother when she was a child in the 1870’s!


The artist is unknown as the quilt does not have a label!  This is a good lesson for me because I often wish I could skip the label step…but who will know I created quilting masterpieces if I don’t label my work?

This quilt measures 34 inches square and was hand embroidered, machine pieced and machine quilted.  The embroidery is well done and very detailed.  The colors have remained vibrant over the years.  The fawn and the kitten are two of my favorite blocks but the puppy is very cute too…those furry ears are flopping in the wind!



I think the french knot buttons are special.  How about that house on the left with the red chimney and smoke drifting up into the sky?


Of course we have a Sunbonnet Sue!  She’s pushing her baby carriage through a flower garden.  More cute details to admire!


Here is the entire quilt on display.


I am going to add a hanging sleeve to this so I can use it as an inspirational wall hanging in my sewing room!  It seems like every time I look at it, I see another detail that makes me smile!

No rules quilting

Are you thinking about leftover Monday? In the pause before spring really gets to sprouting, it’s very little difficult to keep my eye on my precious scraps when newer and shinier things are drawing my attention . I’m trying to design an Easter-themed wall hanging for my office with the new beautiful fabrics I purchased at Quilter’s Corner in Ithaca, NY.  Meanwhile, the scraps are piling up, unprocessed and lonely — how’s that for projection?

One of my no-rules quilting projects (perfect for leftover Monday) is something I originally found on the Red Pepper Quilts blog. I was really drawn to the way that the center 1″ white strips  define and highlight the blocks. Since the first time I noticed this pattern, I’ve seen the technique in other places. Whoever thought of it was brilliant — it allows for unthinking, no rules quilting– for when you’re distracted and a complicated pattern with color matching seems like just too much work.

I keep my scrap projects in a train case I found at a garage sale. I tucked a perfume sample from a magazine in it and, although I’m not a big fan of perfume, I love the way it smells every time I open it.


Train case with scrap projects inside.

So, after a tough day (week?) of work, I guess I will set aside my dreams for my new fabric, stop thinking about bright green grass, and dive into leftovers.


No rules quilting – string blocks.

Candy Under Wraps Quilt

When I saw “Desert Sand” from the “Canyon Collection” by Kate Spain for Moda fabrics, I fell in love!

What to do with a fabric I love?  I designed a quilt around this beautiful fabric.  My Candy Under Wraps Quilt is the result!

Full Shot

Candy Under Wraps


While wandering through a favorite quilt shop, I came across a charm pack of Robert Kaufman pastel solids that complemented the Desert Sand fabric and reminded me of Salt Water Taffy.  Personally, the green taffies are my absolute fave!

While we were growing up on the farm, mom and dad always made sure we went to the county fair at summer’s end.  We would always buy a big box of Salt Water Taffy as a take home souvenir.  Throwing the empty wrappers at annoying sisters on the drive home was very fun but got me into trouble!

For the next few weeks I’ll be posting a sew along for how to make my Candy Under Wraps Quilt.  I hope you’ll join me!

The colors of your quilt can be adjusted to fit your taste in wrapped candy; Salt Water Taffy, Jolly Ranchers, Tootsie Rolls, Butterscotch, Peppermints, Smarties (striped fabric would be cute), Halloween candy, Christmas candy, and the list goes on!

Finished quilt size:  53 inches x 53 inches

Block size:  11 inches  x  11 inches

Here are the fabric requirements for the quilt:

36 charm squares for candies

Aqua fabric for blocks:  3/4 yard

White fabric for candies, solid blocks and setting triangles: 1 1/2 yard

Outer border:  1 3/4 yards

Binding:  1/2 yard

Backing:  3 1/4 yards


Your homework for this week:  Look through your stash for just the right fabrics OR buy the fabrics that speak to you!