Monday, December 24, 2012

O Holy Night

Wishing you a gentle, joyous Christmas...

Time to count your blessings...


A New Year filled with adventures, love, good health and success.

With Appreciation,


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Holiday Memories

Years and years ago when the kiddos were young I baked up a storm for Christmas. 
 Peanut brittle. Toffee. Fudge. Pounds and pounds of fudge. 
Chocolate-covered pretzels. Banana bread.  Strawberry bread.  
Fruitcake (yes, I am the one person in the world who loves fruitcake!).
 Rum cake. Zucchini bread. Pumpkin bread. 
Thumbprint cookies. Candy cane cookies. 
Gingerbread men. Decorated sugar cookies. 
 I loved all that baking! (I even made plum pudding one year!)  

I gave away tons of baked goodies as gifts and the rest was served 
at our Christmas Eve open house for family and friends.
  Such sweet memories!

Christmases are different now, with kids/grandkids in Hawaii, Oregon and North Carolina
...and we're in Arizona.  
Diets change, too.
So my baking binges are a thing of the past.
Still, sometimes the urge hits and there's nothing to do but give in to it and bake something.
So I did!

Candy cane cookies! 

Its been 20 years or more since I made a batch of these.
They take time to make but that's OK when you're in the throes of a Baking Urge.
Hands all greasy and gooey.
Carefully rolling each log to the correct size. 
Twisting them together two by two.
Loading up the cookie sheet and popping them into the oven.
Enjoying the wonderful smell of cookies baking.
Mmmmmm...the smells of Christmas and treasured memories!
Life IS good!

Happy Days,
Gramma Sheri

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Priceless Winners!

Yep, I decided to choose two winners!  Each will receive the fat quarters as shown above.  Hope you like them.  I figured they would make a couple of cute coin purses.  

So now, the winners!  


I have sent each of the winners an email so I can get the info I need to send their packages out ASAP!
Thanks to all for your lovely comments.  Now get ready for the NEXT HOP!
 Sew we quilt

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

U R Priceless! Coin Purse Blog Hop

Day 4! 

So Many Thanks to Katherine at Sew Me Something Good for all of her cheerleading efforts. She's kept us on track and kept track of us.  Yay Katherine!
Madame Samm, you provided an awesome pattern for us, with foolproof instructions (available here), and I have had a ball making these tiny (addicting) purses!  Thank you!

Now, for purse #1 (and the dearest to my heart):

Isn't she the sweetest little thing? (Referring to the coin purse, of course. The child could use an attitude adjustment. But I like her just the same.)
It's this year's Ghastlies fabric line and I can hardly wait for the next collection!
I love to add piping to my purses so found the perfect shade of pink for it in my stash. It was meant to be!
One thing I will do differently with the piping next time: I will add it just shy of the seam allowance to cut down on the bulk so that the edge will fit better in the purse frame channel and the needle won't balk at the bulk. ("Balk at the bulk"...that's what my jeans do when I put them on fresh from the dryer.)

Here's are the ingredients for the piping (the quarter is there for scale):

Teeny tiny piping cord, encased in a 1" strip of fabric, sewn with my zipper foot and the needle positioned right by the cord in the fold.  Then trimmed to a 1/4" seam allowance using the Groovin' Piping Trimming Tool (not a seller, just a happy fan of the tool). 

Here is the other side of the Ghastly coin purse:

Wouldn't it be fun to add some crystals to the candle flames?  Or to the chandelier chains? Or...never mind. Maybe next time.

On to purse #2:

Route 66!  We've spent a lot of time on the Arizona segment of Route 66.  I found this fabric in The Quilters Mercantile in Williams, Arizona.  Makes me want to hit the road!
The back of the coin purse is the same.

Purse #3:

This is actually the center of a huge flower with black/white/grey petals. The purse doesn't do the fabric justice at all, but it is an eye-catching pattern. I offset the flower center just a bit...wish I had done it just a bit more. The sides are made from a coordinating black/white striped fabric. When I got it sewed together and turned it right side out, the white stripes looked like piping.  Happy coincidence!

Here is the other side of the purse:

Yes! Same fabric, different flower! (I LOVE this fabric.)  You can see more of the striped fabric on the side.

Okay, those are my FINISHED purses.  Here is one that almost made it but I ran out of time and into an "arthritic fingers" wall:

Gotta have the southwest desert pictured in here somewhere!

Now for a wee little giveaway!  I am picking out FOUR fat quarters, each in a different Southwest design, and will send them to whomever Mr. Random Number Generator chooses on November 13th.  Trust me, they will be nice fat quarters! Simply leave me a comment and make sure I can email you if you win.  Best of luck and THANK YOU for stopping by!

(If you missed some of the hop thus far, click on the U R Priceless Blog Hop button on the left side bar.)

as sweet as peaches
Deborah B
Birgit H
Fish Creek Studio
A Quilter's Table
Lily Patch Quilts
Cherry Blossoms Quilting Studio
Mary F
Rose Prairie Quilts and Farm
The Desert Rat Chronicles (that's me!)
Sally K
Paris at a Certain Age
From Blank Pages
Quilt Taffy
Barb H

Sunday, November 4, 2012

U R Priceless Blog Hop!

 Starting Monday, November 5th, visit these blogs to see how coin purses can be transformed from simple, utilitarian bags to works of ART!
There will be over 100 bloggers participating, so I'm sure there will be MANY more coin purses to inspire you...maybe to make some of your own?
There will be giveaways, too, so come join in the fun!

My day is Thursday November 8th, so stop by and visit, and please, please visit my co-bloggers, too!

Happy Hopping,
Gramma Sheri

Sunday, October 28, 2012


In Memory of Watson

Our elderly cat, Watson, lost the last of her 9 lives Saturday morning.  She will be greatly missed for a long time to come.
She was rescued from a blackberry bush when just a kitten and immediately became the Empress of the family.  She found nearly everyone annoying except a select chosen few, readily dispensing disapproving hisses to anyone uninvited into her domain.  Dubbed "the demon cat" early on by our son-in-law, Watson was described by our daughter: "She was ornery, beautiful, soft, loyal to the very few she loved, unpredictable, vindictive, tiny and tons of fun. She's become part of the history of the family. I think everyone had some sort of run-in with her though we were all secretly delighted by her naughtiness."

Watson (so named before her gender was correctly determined) was a cantankerous, opinionated, quixotic, inquisitive, vocal, bossy, playful, tuxedo old lady with a comical pouf of a tail that looked like a startled dust broom. Though we miss her so much and will even more so in the coming days as our lives adjust to her being gone, she left us with almost 2 decades of memories that will help ease her absence (and perhaps will also preclude her being replaced anytime soon...just kidding Watson...we loved you...truly we did). 

Thank you, dear old girl, for adding your story to our lives.

Gramma Sheri

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Gettin' It Back It's Old Self

So...although I don't know how it happened, the template layout on my blog was changed from three columns to two. And word verification was turned on. 
I can see a Blogger techie just rolling his/her eyes and muttering "Yeah, and you didn't change a thing."
In my former life I was a programmer and I muttered those very words under my breath too many times to count.
But I didn't.
Didn't change a thing.
But now I have. Changed things, that is.  
My blog is back to three columns and (what I realize now is) its old, boring self.  
Oh there are still some issues (like those screwdriver/wrench icons dotted all over the screen) 
but I'll deal with them later.  Probably.
What I DO need to do is add some pizzazz to my blog.  
Will work on that.
At least word verification is off.  I hope!

My Blog View Has Gone Rogue

Somehow, the layout of my blog changed drastically, and I'm puzzled.  No, make that downright alarmed!
Tried to correct it yesterday and thought I had.  
But no.  
It's like the gadgets and buttons and posts decided to merge like a shuffled deck of cards, forming two columns instead of three.
So now things are out of order, there is html code that has escaped from its button and is hanging around on the background and the whole effect is like Salvadore Dali had his hand in the blog's layout. 
And the screwdriver/open-end box-wrench icon is all over the place.
I really don't want to surrender my blog's personality to the cold, inanimate, inhuman, disinterested, impersonal, uncaring, grasping, unfeeling, juggernaut that is the Blogger Boogeyman.  

I don't like the sterile "dynamic view" templates.

I want my page in three columns, splashed with a plethora of buttons, lists, gadgets, colors and personal headings.  
Is that too much to ask?

Blogger: Listen Up!
I want my blog back!!!

With Frustration,
Gramma Sheri

Friday, August 24, 2012

About A Soft Package and Some Trees

For a long time now I've been wanting to make a Bottled Rainbows quilt.  So finally I just ordered the Kona fabrics for it, and they arrived yesterday!  (LOVE getting those soft packages in the mail!) 
Here they are in all of their yummy-colored goodness:
I ordered them from Marmalade Fabrics, who has packaged them in fat-quarter or half-yard bundles expressly for the Bottled Rainbows quilt.  Never ordered from them before but received great service: ordered online on Saturday, the bundle was shipped on Monday and I had it on Wednesday.  Complete with a nice thank you note.  Sorry to sound like an advertisement, but am just a happy customer. 
So now I can begin my first mosaic-tile quilt!  As soon as I finish the rest of my class samples...

Speaking of class samples, I finished my trees!  They look considerably better in their decorative-stitch-finery. (Am enjoying stringing words together with hyphens tonight, apparently.)
Here you can see three trees:
Yes, I stippled them all...fastest way to quilt samples.  

Now am off to sleep since it is 12:12 AM here.  Am gettin' too old to be a night-owl.

Happy Days!
gramma sheri

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Seasonal Wall-Hangings

Finally I do have some things to show.  Not all are completed yet but I feel the need to prove to Blogland that I have been busy!

First up: a Spooky Victorian Mansion (pattern by Sharon and Jason Yenter).
My apologies for such a bad photo. This was so enjoyable to make. Most of the fabrics are from the Hallographix II line by Jason Yenter.  I selected a few from my own stash (had to get some Ghastlies peeking from the windows, after all!), like the "eyes" fabric, the fields in the background, the sidewalk and steps, and the two shrubs.  Oh, and I fussy-cut the owl on the rooftop from a piece of fabric that has NOTHING to do with spooky mansions, but there were shadings in it that looked like owl now there is a little owl-shaped piece in the middle of my yard of fabric!  I left off the 6 1/2" outer border so my version fits where I want to hang it. 
Got this done just before heading out on our vacation (more about that tomorrow).

Since coming home last week I've been trying to catch up on samples and writeups for my fall classes.  One is a series of quick and easy Christmas tree wall-hangings. I've shown one here already (it is the completed one) and these are the other two I'm working on:

They look kinda nakedy but will be much prettier with the decorative stitching, quilting and binding (and new photos!). Yep, these were cut with the Accuquilt Go! Baby cutter.  I am having a lot of fun with this cutter and no, I do NOT represent them nor do I recommend throwing away your rotary cutter (I love my rotary cutter!). It is fun for a change though and a nice side-benefit is that I am learning a lot about my machine's decorative stitches.

So that's it for now.  Gotta go look at the rain (its an event here in southern AZ) and watch the lighting show.

Happy Days!
Gramma Sheri

Friday, August 10, 2012

Dear Blog...

I have neglected you, I know, dearest blog.  
I apologize deeply.

Lots of traveling. 
(14 states since mid-June.)
Visiting family: kids and grandies and siblings. 
(Good for the soul.)
(Arches Nat'l Park, Canyonlands, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Sunset Crater, Wupatki Nat'l Monument.)

Now lots of catching-up to do.
Madly stitching up samples for fall classes.
Writing supply lists and classroom instructions.
Chores and errands and correspondence...and bills.
And catching up with my blogging buddies to see what y'all have been up to.

All-in-all, a lovely summer with photos to prove it! 
(Soon. You've been forewarned!)

Happy Days,
Gramma Sheri

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Blogger's Block (sigh)

Pictures to post.

Stories to tell.

Ideas to share.

Just. Can't. Do. It.

Ever experienced Blogger's Block?

Hoping to emerge from this mental fog soon!

Happier Days,

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mystery (to me) Quilt Block

I found this quilt top at an antiques shop in Henryetta, Arkansas. It was made with feed sacks, men's shirts and other fabrics, and was sewn both by machine and by hand. Not familiar with this block but I quite like it. Any ideas?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Memories of Roswell, NM

Spent last Thursday night in Roswell, NM. Got in too late to visit the quilt shop, and left on Friday morning before it opened. :/
Here are some photos I snapped Friday before we hit the road. Not many downtowns with store windows like these!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Over the river and through the woods...

To my grandkids' house I go!
Made my granddaughters (son & DIL have 4 children...all girls) each a pillow embroidered with their names.

Crocheting the "Date Night" Lily doll to pass the time as we drive and drive and drive and drive. We're into day 3 of our 4-day trek to the kids'.

If you're on the road today, may you have safe travels!

Happy days,

Monday, May 28, 2012

For Dad

Today I remember my Dad.
How he went to war.
Lost so many of his friends.
Saw things a person should never have to see.
He drove a tank across Europe.
Patton's army.

He came home, married the love of his life and raised 6 kids.
We are a close family.
Dad loved his family fiercely, possessively. 
And he loved the Lord most of all.  
He was a great man, a remarkable man.
There was a whole generation of like my dad.
Men who didn't make excuses or complaints.
Men with integrity.
Men who revered the truth.
Men who sacrificed.
Men who kept promises.
Men who were proud of doing for themselves and their families and their country.
Men who did what had to be done and prayed that they would live through it.
I miss him so much. 
And so does the world.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again

Stumbling out of the mullygrubs and working on several wallhangings. They are patterns from the Accuquilt site, and I am enjoying them very much.  They are layered and ready for quilting so should be finished by Monday, depending on how much time it will take to get some software updates applied to my Mom's new computer.

The Go! Baby I won is really getting a good workout and I'm adding new die sets to my wishlist almost daily. 
Will have to pace myself, for sure!

Here are two of the three I'm ready to quilt:
 The one above is from the book
"Quilting on the Go!"
I changed it up a bit.

This is a free pattern from Accuquilt. 
I changed it a bit also. Will be adding stars to the four corners.
Pretty plain. Not sure if I want to embellish it more or not. 
Any advice?

Changing the subject...the blistering hot weather has arrived and with it a gusty, dust-blowing, withering wind.  The desert plants seem to be OK with it.
Here is a shot of my neighbor's century plant (agave americana), sending up its flower stalk. 
After the flowers develop into fruit, the whole plant dies.
Pretty impressive, eh? 
You can see the eave of the house which gives a reference point for the height of the stalk.

Well I'm off to bed.  I work at the LQS for the next 2 days so gotta be rested to lift bolts, cut fabric, haul sewing machines, stock merchandise, and walk walk walk!

Happy Days,
Gramma Sheri

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Warning: this is not a post about quilting!

Resentment can gnaw away at your inner parts until, one day you wake up and you are all gone.
It's horrible.
While it eats away at you, it immobilizes you in a frozen fury:
you feel powerless, suspicious, distrustful, victimized.

Living in a community you loathe can plant the seeds of resentment.
Losing your independence to care-giving responsibilities can do it also.
The list of things that can cause resentment is almost endless.

Resentment's bosom buddy is Guilt. 
Together, they can totally destroy a person.

I'm working hard to get rid of them.
Prayer.  Lots of it.
Thanksgiving.  Even more of that.

My sermon, to myself.

gramma sheri

Friday, May 18, 2012

Design Wall Tutorial

This is my first real attempt at a tutorial.
I have been planning to make a design wall since I restructured my sewing room last fall. 
But I hadn't.
Until today.
 Inspired by the May for Me celebration, I decided to give it a shot. 
Here are the supplies I used:
-Two 2 ft x 4 ft foam insulation panels (these are about 1inch thick and look like sheets of styrofoam)
-Photo spray mount adhesive
-Furniture tacks (like thumb tacks, but a bit longer)
-Gorilla tape (or duct tape)
-Four pieces of batting, about 28 x 52 inches
-A plastic tarp to protect work surfaces from the adhesive
Here is what I did (outdoors, because of spray fumes!):

Took a panel of the insulation (the side with printing is the back)

 Sprayed the entire surface of the front (non-printed) side of the panel with the adhesive
Centered the first layer of batting and smoothed out from center, stretching slightly

Centered the second layer of batting (or poly fleece, in my case) over the first layer
Folded half of it back and sprayed the exposed first layer of batting
Smoothed the folded half out over the sprayed first layer, stretching slightly
Repeated for the second half of the second layer of batting
Smoothed both layers of batting over the edges
Ready for finishing the back

Flipped the panel over on its front

Trimmed corners on the diagonal, about an inch away from the panel
(Hooboy! When did I get THOSE hands!??)

Pulled both thicknesses of batting toward the back and trimmed, leaving about 1 inch to adhere to the back

 Sprayed the adhesive close to the panel around the edges
Starting with the corners, pulled the batting diagonal cut over the corner and adhered

 The corner looked like this after the sides were glued down

 The back, all glued down

 Took the Gorilla tape and ran it around the edges to make sure the batting stayed in place

 The finished back

Finished the panel by pushing furniture tacks in around all edges
(the package of tacks are hanging on the front panel...forgot to remove them for the picture)

So, go back to the top and repeat the steps if making another one!

Here are the two panels hanging on the wall in my little sewing room, with a few of my unfinished projects already in place, reminding me that they want to be finished.
Well, at least the design wall is done...

One last note:  hubby nailed a few finishing nails (the kind with no flat head on them) into the wall studs and we just pushed the panels onto the nails
If I need more stability, I'll just use that picture-hanger goo on the back of the panels

Long post, but it was fun!

Happy Days,
Gramma Sheri

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May for Me, Thus Far

One of my friends, a coworker at our LQS, left me a little baggie filled with leftover bits from a table runner she had made for a shop sample.  She was teasing me about keeping the leftover triangles from our shop-hop quilt.  (See the posts about that here and here.)

This is what she had made:
Pretty, huh?

So I took the little baggie of leftover fabric bits and made this:
Cute, huh? 
(I made my own teeny-tiny Twister template.)

Here they are together:
Mutt and Jeff .
(Youngsters reading this: google it.)

I returned MY leftover bits to her in that same baggie.
Haven't seen anything back from her yet.  heh heh heh

Hugely enjoying myself.

Sunny Days,
Gramma Sheri
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