Thursday, March 27, 2014

Coming "Clean" ...the Truth About My Sewing Room

I woke up this morning and thought, "I'd like to post about my sewing room, but it's such a mess." I don't have the time (nor do I want to take the time) to straighten up my little haven for visitors--even if they are just 'virtual' visitors. Chewing on this thought for a while I became aware that in my quilters mind (you know, where I'm wearing blinders), my sewing area is always perfect and pristine. Sadly, as I walk through the door to tackle a project or locate some sewing-related-must-have-at-this-minute geegaw, I'm always stunned by the ...well, let's be nice the lack of organization that greets me.

So what to do? Make a mental note (and let's be honest, I'll forget in about ten minutes) that next time my sewing room is clean I need to take pictures for a blog post--or do I do something brave and daring? Do I march in there and take photos of a room that is well-used, or to be nice,"lived in"? Yeah, that works for me.

Here is the way I think my sewing room looks all the time, the way I envision it before I walk through the door:
Notice there is NOTHING on the "Big Board" other than the iron and also nothing out of place on the counter tops. The Sewing table itself is uncluttered except for a few necessary items (like the Bernina).
In the following video, I think I called this, "A nice place to sit and read."

Compare the above pics to today's reality:
I think the drying rack in the corner is a nice touch, don't you? And just where are those clean counter tops hiding?

Ha--There will be NO sitting and reading on this sofa!

When we moved to our home about 10 years ago, I claimed the master bedroom for my stitching haven and scrapbook/crafting area. I found this video from when my hubby and I revamped the room in the fall of 2010...adding cabinets and counters. Notice how incredibly clean everything didn't last very long!

More shots of my gently used room. In my defense, I am getting ready for a guild talk and trunk show, along with working on my own patterns--there's a lot going on right now in my special room.
Finishing bindings and stacking up quilts for a trunk show.

I LOVE my Big Board and I made it a little wider than most.

The "rats nest" in the corner of my table where I toss scraps, chunks, and bits. Lately I'm never far from a ready supply of caramel/cheese corn--notice the bowl on the table!

The sofa is a perfect place for fabric to 'rest.'

I labeled the drawers with these color coded labels. I easily know which drawer has what color fabric in it.

My mustachioed baby.

I designed the Big Board with some cheap-o tables on rollers from a Big-Box store. I can roll it around wherever I need it. Love it.

Looking across the room to the scrap-booking area.

Nice big cabinet that had been slightly bruised. I got it at a great price.

Organized fabric and kits lurk inside the upper cabinets waiting to see the light of day.

Button storage
Whether we hole-up in the corner of a shared family room, or stake our claim on the dining room table, or have the luxury of a dedicated room, our sewing spaces are our sanctuary, our haven, our cocoon which buffers us from the busy world in which we live. I hope you enjoyed the tour of my sewing space...with and without the clutter. Maybe I'll clean it up today--nah, no point in that!
Happy sewing.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

It's Official...IT'S OUT!

Quilters of the Bunco Club: Phree & Rosa, Book 2 in The Bunco Club Series, has been released on Amazon in paperback and Kindle Edition. If you enjoyed The Bunco Club (Book 1), please consider reading Book 2.

The blurb from the back of the book:
Revisit the characters from THE BUNCO CLUB and follow Phreedom Clarke and Rosa Mitchell as they each come face to face with their futures. Phree forges an exciting new life for herself from the proceeds of the Mayflower discovery. But will she learn to overcome bitter feelings toward her hippie mother? And how will she deal with an ex-husband whose desperate demands for money keep escalating? Struggling every day with grief and guilt, Rosa wonders what happened to make her fourteen-year-old son leave home. She worries she will never see him again. But the one question that paralyzes her with fear and never leaves her any peace remains the same: Is my child still alive? While the main focus of QUILTERS OF THE BUNCO CLUB: PHREE & ROSA is on two characters, the other six women from THE BUNCO CLUB weave in and out of the story keeping their strong friendship, opinions, and love of quilting alive.

A look at the FINAL cover: 
I did a little tweaking and changed the font.

The journey to writing a second book is over. I'm excited with the finished work, and dare I say, a tad bit proud to have two books under my belt. Endless thanks to the people who believed in me and supported me through this remarkable 'late in life' dream.
Having said all that...on to Book 3!

NOTE: At this moment the Kindle Edition IS available, but it takes Amazon a few days to link everything together (the cover still has not shown up for the Kindle--Argh!). If you're interested in the Kindle Edition Click Here.

Monday, March 17, 2014

'Tis a Happy Day for Sure!

Being half Irish, this is a day for celebration and fun! Put on some green clothes, and start the pot a boilin' for the corned beef, cabbage, carrots, and taters. Fire up the oven, make some Irish Soda Bread, and slather it with cream cheese and jam. YUM!! Wishing everyone a Happy St. Patrick's Day--enjoy the day.

I've got to start with this wonderful quilters saying from fellow quilter, blogger, and friend Kathy Mathews. Take a look at her blog Quilting! Sewing! Creating! at She's got a Facebook page, too (listed on the pics below).

These are Kathy's, too. She's a 'stitch'--great sense of humor! Check her out =)

A little hometown pride--celebrating the big day Chicago-style. I never get tired of seein' the green in the river.
Aerial view of the Chicago River in the process of being dyed.
This time-lapse video is only 30 seconds -- watch how the river is dyed. 

The Chicago River--all dressed up for St. Paddy.
We LOVE our Blackhawks in Chicago!

My Irish Great-grandma--Bridget Elizabeth Kiernan Hogan (daughter of Thomas Kiernan [Trim county Meath] & Catherine Keough [CountyDublin])
Grandma Hogan--February 27, 1921

I had a fabulous time sewing, talking and quilting on Saturday when I joined the Top Shelf Quilt Retreat for a one day getaway. Thank you ladies for making me feel sew welcome!

How incredibly cool is this?!! Check out the little ironing board that is clamped to the table--I sew need one!!!

The second book in The Bunco Club Series, Quilters of the Bunco Club: Phree & Rosa, is back from the editor. Corrections have been made, and I have just finished formatting the Kindle Edition. I'd like to have the paperback formatting done today--but we'll see how that shakes out! ...Stay tuned, more later.

Once again-- Wishing everyone a Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Book 2 and Other Happenings

Book 2 in The Bunco Club Series, titled Quilters of the Bunco Club: Phree & Rosa, is finishing its stint at the editor's and could be back to me as early as sometime this week. I will make any changes and corrections, format the manuscript for Kindle and paperback, review a copy of the proof, and at some point along Indie Road, click the publish button and go live. I openly admit to being somewhat impatient -- alright, make that very impatient, and waiting is not my strong suit. After the manuscript is shot through cyber space to the editor, a lot of waiting that takes place in the next many steps. My heart is already racing, and my fingers are crossed that it could be published in 4-6 weeks!!

Here's the cover for Quilters of the Bunco Club: Phree & Rosa. I'd LOVE to hear your thoughts, whether as a comment on this blog or a private email. FEEDBACK PLEASE!!

Oops... As luck would have it, I messed-up (as Leave it to Beaver's older brother, Wally, would say) and double-booked myself this past weekend. Our wonderful semi-annual quilt camp retreat was scheduled for Wednesday through Sunday, but I had also committed to being a vendor at the Pride of the Prairie Quilt Show in Crest Hill, Illinois. I missed the retreat (and from the FB pics I saw, it looks like it was fun as always) but had an incredible time at the PoP Quilt Show. There truly is nothing better than being around a group of quilters.

Many thanks to all of the women who had already read The Bunco Club and stopped by my booth to share with me how much they enjoyed the book. Also a big Thank You to all of the new readers who purchased the book for the first time. Here are a few pics from the event:

My sister Helen (aka Nolly) was a HUGE help. (Thanks to Barb for taking this photo).
Talking to quilters about books, quilt, and art-- I couldn't ask for a better combination!
I've met Cheryl Parker at another show and was happy to see her right around the corner from my booth. Cheryl rescues old machines and brings them back to life. The blue machine she is working on is a Victor treadle. If you look on the left hand side of my blog, I have a listing of Blogs Worth Checking Out...Cheryl's got a cool blog, Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting

In my humble opinion, this was the most stunning of many stunning quilts in the show. This is 365 little 3-inch houses--one for each day of a specific year. In the teeny window of the house, the quilter used various fabrics to denote what was going on that day.

The explanation that went with the above quilt.
Detail of the above quilt.
Introducing reproductions of some of my artwork--Quilters Spools. Note cards or ready-for-hanging pieces for in the sewing room.

1-3 Day Retreat
Top Shelf Quilts Quilt Shop of Frankfort, Illinois is hosting a retreat this weekend (March 14-15-16) in Tinley Park, Illinois (off I-80). It's a great deal--you can stay at the hotel or go home each night OR you can just bring your machine, a project, and make a day of it with a group of great ladies. Since I missed my usual Quilt Camp up in Michigan, I'm going to the retreat on Saturday for a one-day getaway.

As of this Monday Morning there were still some spots available. Come on, Ladies--join us for a fun day or weekend. Call Top Shelf Quilts to hold your spot: 815-806-1694.

It seems like I had more to tell you, but I'll be darned if I can remember what it was! For all of you fellow Chicagoans out there enjoy the fabulous warm weather today (high of 52 degrees) ... I hear that you-know-what is supposed to happen again on Wednesday (up to 6 inches) --UGH!!!


I received a very nice email from June J. who commented favorably about the cover for book 2 and sent me a photo of the Grandmother's Flower Garden she has been working on for two years. It's gorgeous! Check out the unique border she is doing. Karen

Thanks June--Great job and I LOVE the border!