mushroom bonus

Remember last year when my mom gave me the mushroom log? Well, after it was spent I threw it out into the garden because the instructions said it was really good compost.  However, being a somewhat lazy gardener, I didn’t really break it up or anything.  Imagine my surprise when we came up to the house Friday and saw these beautiful huge oysters!  I took a picture in situ so you could see how they blended in.

Here is a close up. What a great dinner they made!

Then, finally a little spring preview.  Yes, here in Minnesota it is spring!  I know I should be more upset about the global warming thing, but when you have weather like this in Minnesota in March it is impossible to worry!

Happy Spring!

Christmas star tutorial

I made this Christmas star on Christmas Eve over a year ago and I always meant to do a tutorial.  I figure it is probably the time to start Christmas projects if you are organized and don’t want to be crazy in December. (I prefer to start them in mid October so I can frantically be sewing all December and actually end up buying half of my gifts but that is just me.)  Finally, I included it in my ufos to jump-start myself and here goes:

Christmas Star Instructions


2 pieces of felt, store-bought squares work fine, but otherwise 12 inches square

2 pieces of silver fabric at least 10 inches square

2 pieces of gold fabric at least 10 inches square

one length of wire about 10 inches long or one length of ribbon about 6 inches long

2 paper templates; print from here : star pdf 2

White sewing thread

Sewing machine

Hand sewing needle





decorative metallic or rayon thread

machine embroidery needles

Step one:

Layer the metallic fabric, felt and then paper patterns with the pattern side up. Pin. Using the sewing machine, use a long straight  basting stitch following around the outer line of the big star of the star template. On the pdf pattern I made it is green. Sew right through paper, felt and metallic fabric.  

 Trim the metallic fabric about a quarter inch from the sewn line.  

Step two:

Next lay the other color of metallic fabric pieces on the felt side on top of each of the metallic star you already sewed. This is the felt side, not the paper side.  Make sure the second metallic fabric is centered over the red star on the other side.  You may pin it to make sure. Now, flip it over and sew through all layers on the paper side on the green line, again using a straight stitch. Trim this star to about an 1/4-1/8 inch. 

Step three:

On each of the stars separately, use a satin stitch to go around the edges of the metallic stars. A satin stitch is machine stitch that has a very short length and a wide width. Do this from the right side. You are covering up the raw edges.  If you wish, you may use metallic or rayon decorative thread.  If you use specialty thread, use a machine embroidery needle or metallic needle for best results.  Then trim the felt layer to about an inch.  Put the two trimmed stars together and trim the felt so they match leaving at least 1/2 inch edge of felt around the star.

Step five: 

Now pull any paper that is outside the outside line of satin stitching.  If you tear off paper inside that line also, don’t worry.  However, unless you plan to wash the star, you don’t need to tear off all the paper.

I made the sides opposite of each other, but you can make them the same. At this time, if you wish you can add embellishments like the small beads I added.


Baste the ends of the ribbon together to make a loop, and then to the back side of one of the stars. Now pin the star parts together, wrong sides together. Carefully straight stitch around the star about a quarter inch from the edge.  Try to stay on the felt, not the metallic fabric.

Tree topper:

Make a loop on one end of your wire, and position it as I have the screw.  You can make your loop by turning the wire around a pencil and then flattening it.  It doesn’t need to be as big as the screw. (Because of our particular Christmas tree, a screw works best, but for a natural tree a length of wire sewn partly inside with the part outside the star coiled will work better) Hand baste the loop end to the star using the picture as a guide.  Pin the stars together wrong sides together and sew around the stars about a quarter inch from the edge. Try to only sew on the felt not the metallic applique. Start about an inch from the where the wire emerges and end about an inch from where it emerges on the other side.  In other words, do not sew over the wire! If you are nervous, you can hand sew the whole thing. After you have machine sewn the star, hand stitch the area around the wire closed.  Bend the coils down so you can attach it to the tree tops.

finished apron skirt

Yes! I made this yesterday.  I was particullarly proud because I have been very sick all week with a head cold.  But yesterday, I just barely well enough to make this.  Patti had given me a gift card to the fabric store for Christmas this year and this was one of the fabrics I bought.  I am excited to wear it to church today.

Steve and I also went to the fabric store and bought the fabric for the back of Paul’s quilt.  I especially love the lobster fabric.

These were two fabrics we picked up in the clearance area to make shorts for Steve.  By the way, never go the fabric store with your husband when you are sick.  You will buy three times your budget (even with all of your coupons) and volunteer to make shorts.  This is actually not everything we bought. I shouldn’t complain.  He was willing to drive me there when I was sick and walk around for an hour and even sort through the fabrics I picked out for Paul.  He even knows if there is more than one roll of fabric to pick the one with the least yardage so I can get the end piece at half off. I’m also secretly a little excited to make the shorts.

John and Missy’s quilt

This is a quilt I made over ten years ago for my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding.   I was reminded of it when I was cutting charms.  I saw it a few years ago at their house and it was in surprisingly good shape, because my sil is such a careful steward. Anyway, speaking of memories:

The dark blue squares and light blue striped squares are from Steve’s shirt.

The blue squares with the red shapes – which are actually Clifford are from a pair of Eliott’s shorts.

The white background squares with the pink paisley are from my Grandmother Amann.

The rainbows are from one of Eliott or Paul’s crib sheets.

The green and white stripes are from a strange suit my neighbor gave me.

There is some pepper fabric from Steve’s shirt in here too.

The center fuchsia plaid is from a cotton dress I wore for a long time.

A couple of these I still have fabric from and cut squares from last week.  Wow. A line of quilts that goes back at least ten years.


I did something fun last week.  I cut some 2 1/2 squares for a friend who is doing a charm quilt.  She suggested that I cut some for myself as well.  This is what I ended up with: a snapshot of my scrap collection.  This is every quilting fabric I have in my scraps.  To be clear, scraps for me are pieces of fabric that are smaller than a fat quarter.  With my awesome organizational skills, I have determined that a fat quarter (give or take a little) is the smallest size that I can neatly fold.  So my scraps are stored randomly.  Whenever I start a quilt I go through them and pull all of the colors for that particular quilt.

So it turned out I had ninety-nine.  So I had include one more from my grandmother stash to make an even hundred.  I will use mine for a leader and enders over the next few months.  It’s great to look at these little swatches because they are full of such great memories.   The yellow plaid one is from a shirt my son had when he was about four.  The bright red floral, call it b-7, is from a weird maternity dress I never actually wore.

One of the things I love about quiltmaking, is the lines that can be drawn between work.  In painting, an artist may have motif that repeat, or a color scheme, but in quiltmaking the fabric can often draw relationships between work.  Also, for me personally, the fabric can have great meaning and memory.  I love the idea that some of these lines are now drawn across the country to a new completely different line of work.

green velvet

I imagine they were specially dyed for someone’s wedding but now they’re mine!  Green velvet shoes.  Who would ever buy such a thing.  Me, apparently.  I love them.  I wore them to work yesterday, and they were awesome!    I went to Savers looking for black or navy shoes and then there these were.  Three dollars!

Anyway this raises a lot of fun questions:

How far into March can one wear emerald-green velvet?  (I usually put my velvet aside toward the end of January, although I did were my velour skirt longer this year.)

How many pairs of winter shoes can Roberta own that can’t be worn when there is snow on the ground, rain or any sort of dampness outside if she lives in Minnesota?  (Apparently, at least three, if she has snow boots.)

How many green outfits can I assemble right now? (Actually, none that are the right color green.  I guess I need to go shopping to buy an emerald-green dress and emerald-green tights.  Isn’t St. Patrick Day coming up?)

51 plus request for advice…

So I finally counted my grandmother’s flower quilt and I have 51 “flowers”.  Here is the crazy Roberta count:

9 brown, 7 blue, 6 pink, 6 green, 6 plaid, 4 gold, 4 peach, 3 green plaid, 2 white, 2 pink floral, 1 different green, 1 peach plaid.

Yes, that is 51, and worse,  only 5 sets that can be laid out as traditional flowers in sets of six.  Awesome job planning. So I laid out four of the five flowers sets and I have 3 lights and 2 darks.  Except that the one set of dark a weird brown color I am not thrilled about. So after some complex drawings, I decided just put them together randomly in alternate lines of 8 and 7. This means I only need 2 more flowers to make 53.  Don’t ask me to explain the math. I will show you my flower football notes which I believe will get me partial credit on any quiz.

Anyway, I was starting to think about how am I going to put this sucker together.  I have made satin quilts before but a long time ago, before I cared about washability and stability.  That would probably be about the time I started this quilt.  Any recommendations for what fiber I should use batt and backing would be awesome.  I don’t believe I have any silk fibers which means the satin is either polyester or rayon.

On another topic, the ufo for this month is the cross stitch which I have been working on for at least eight years.  I’m 0 for 2, on finishes for ufos this year, and I am afraid this may be 0 for 3.  But I will give it a shot.