Friday, December 16, 2016


I have my home and yard ready for the Holiday season.
All the planters from summer are filled with spruce branches, holly branches, Michigan holly berries and a few white birch branches.
Tiny lights are on the porches.

The trees are up in the living room.

A small porcelain sea shell angle tree in the bathroom,

sits along side my tropical quilt.

The winter quilt is on the bed along with fresh cedar garland and lights draped on the headboard.

A herd of birch wood deer my husband made are ready for gifting.

The table was set for my first quilt bee Christmas party.

My good friend came dressed in her festive clothes, note the extension cord necklace to "plug" in her outfit!
She is so much fun.

We exchanged snowman blocks again this year. A couple more years and we each will have enough for a full size winter quilt.
I made a star block for the exchange this year, I thought a few twinkling stars mixed in between the snowmen would be nice. We're all making stars for next year.
The following are the new blocks I received.

Frosty looking at the first star.

This cute one was done by machine embroidery program.

This white on white snowman was done by hand doing the twilling embroidery stitch.

He just makes you happy to look at him!

A wonderful 3-D star block.

Our "collection" so far!
(just laid out on white fabric)

Friday, December 9, 2016

Last rows in the Earth Loom

Last Saturday before the snow came I finished weaving the last rows for this years piece. I wanted to finish the weaving with a "Sunrise/ Sunset" shinning over the all waters on the Earth.

This weaving time was a very peaceful and prayful time. Praying for all the oceans, lake and rivers around the world, praying for the people of Flint and around the world without safe water to drink. Praying that our new leaders will keep our environment safe.

It was very cold out, I found out you cannot weave with gloves on, so my wonderful husband lit me a fire:) It didn't really help but was nice to run to and spend a minute warming my hands.

The "Sun" was Michigan holly berries woven in,

with the sky around it different wools I natural dyed earlier in the year.
I could not believe how blue the indigo still was after sitting in the sun all summer.

Thank you Deb C., Deb H. and Donna for the driftwood, shells, beach glass for your ocean, lakes and river. I love this Earth piece.
Although from my window in the house it looks like a beautiful Christmas present with a bow or maybe a poinsettia woven in!

A recipe from Herb Society
This is suppose to be a very popular pickle at restaurants now.
Sweet, Hot Dill pickles.
One gallon jar of dill pickles. Drain juice. Cut pickles in 1/2" chunks.

Fill jar with sugar.

Pour the juice of a large jar a hot jalapenos over the pickles.
Shake well, everyday turn jar over to incorporate the sugar. After 7 days it should be ready. I tried mine last night and their wonderful.
Not wanting to waste the jalapenos, I poured sugar over them and then the dill pickle juice. I haven't tried them yet.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Christmas decorating.

I spent a weekend machine quilting my Santa quilt. I enjoyed every minute working on this piece. It's not from a cute Santa pattern, it's from my dear friends hearts and hands.

There are a lot of fun embellishments on the blocks.
My moon block has a vintage brooch pinned at the end of his hat, shining like a star!

A wonderful tin lantern lights the way.

Needle felted fur and buttons.

Wool trees and needled felted snow.

My husband and I took the grandsons to Fredrick Meijer Gardens to enjoy the start of the Christmas season. They have 40 trees from all over the world each decorated with traditional ornaments and the folklore stories of each country. Love that.
The long entrance way was decorated with hanging grapevine orbs woven with little lights.

Some were tucked in between white birch sticks.
The whole grounds were lit up. Night time would be magical.

In the large conservatory they had fresh cut cedar trees with a large train running through the different "rooms".

Hand made buildings made from natural twigs, nuts, acorns etc.

Most of the buildings were replicas of the buildings in Grand Rapids.

The grandsons.

This palm tree is decorated with traditional made lights from the Philippines.

Not to bore you with all the trees:)
This Ukraine tree is decorated according to their folklore story.  A family was so poor they could not afford to decorate their tree. When they went to bed the spiders wove webs throughout the tree. The next morning when the Sun shone on it, the webs turned to silver and gold.

Wonderful hand woven Kente and batik cloth represented the country of  Uganda.
Well, it's off to decorate my own house with our own family traditions and folklore!
I hope you enjoy decorating yours.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


After about a week of soaking in the vinegar/poke berry dye I washed out the fabrics. This is the wool! I could not believe how purple it dyed. I washed it with Ivory dish soap, I'll watch it for a year and see how the color holds.

This is the raw silk. It had color when it was soaking but then it disappeared.

I wanted to show you a picture of my blanket flowers (gaillardia) still blooming in November! These flowers are planted in crappy soil by my mailbox, they don't get a whole lot of watering and have been blooming since June! I highly recommend them for the little care they need, long blooming time and the wonderful blue dye the flowers give.

Last week it was off to our annual quilt camp. 10 whole days of friendship, food, fabric and lots of inspiration.

Our makeshift studio looks over the lake.

My friend Deb C. (over the past months) hand pieced this wonderful "hexi" quilt.
She will be putting it in a rustic frame. I couldn't leave home without picking these last flowers of autumn.

Two Christmas's ago my quilt bee exchanged Santa blocks. A few of us added one more Santa exchange, one member appliqueing a sleigh. I also appliqued some wool reindeer and trees blocks. I put it all together at camp.

Of course I had to make a moon Santa.
There are a lot of embellishments on the blocks. I needle-felted fur on some of the Santa's caps,

snow on the trees and in the sky.

Sequins, buttons and glass beads were stitched on by the makers.
The plan is I will machine quilt it this weekend.

My friend Kay had us put her Santa's on black backgrounds. Hers is almost all put together, one more block then borders.

I added wool borders and linen rick rack to this wall hanging.
I'll hand quilt it. I can't imagine not, I dyed the wool with natural dyes, many of them I grew or picked from the wild. Designed and hand appliqued the piece, I think it might be illegal not to hand quilt it:)

This is one of the original cottages on the lake, very old with a out house in the back. It is so charming up close, many of the leaded glass windows are boarded up. I've been wanting to take a picture of it with a quilt piece from the week displayed on it.

This little heart seemed to fit right in the window perfectly.
I hand stitched this scissor/ needle keeper, it took 10 hours of stitching.
The front of the heart is cotton velvet.

The lining is Liberty of London fabric with wool pin keepers.

My girlfriend's daughter came to spend a couple days with us and piece herself a Christmas quilt.
Her mother (and my good friend) passed away when Vicky was 13. My daughter and her were practically raised together.
After she graduated from college (with 2 master degrees all on her own), she began finishing up her mothers quilts. She's a perfectionist and does a wonderful job.

Her Grinch quilt.

After 10 days our last sunset.

I put my "super moon" together.
Hand sashiko stitched with antique and vintage Japanese fabric.
I will hand quilt this piece also.

And the next night the real Super Moon over the last of the Autumn leaves.

Last night was Herb Society, November is always our Harvest pot luck, while we ate and shared we made these cute corn husk dolls for our holiday center pieces.

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo