Empty Spools

I’m teaching at the Empty Spools seminar March 16-21. What a great place to go—both for teachers and students! I get to be both this year. I’m staying on for another week to take a 5-day class from Ruth McDowell after I teach for a week. I’m very excited!

Empty Spools is held at an historic conference center called Asilomar in Pacific Grove, CA, on the Monterey peninsula. Carmel is just minutes away. I’m from the land-locked prairie so I particularly enjoy any time spent at Asilomar.
If you’ve never heard of Empty Spools, I encourage you to check it out. Students take one 5-day class from one teacher. It’s amazing what you can learn under these conditions. And the site is spectacular! It may be cold and rainy (I hope not but it is March after all) but I know it will be invigorating.

Where to look on the sewing machine…

Linda and I each sew on Bernina’s. Did you know that there is a little mark in front of the presser foot that marks the 1/4″ line? I’m finding that if I keep my fabric lined up with that line and don’t worry so much about the edge of the 1/4″ foot, I get a more accurate seam. I don’t know if other machines have the same kind of mark… but if they do, try using it. It’s handy.

More Pin Cushions

When I was out of applique to work on last week I made some new pin cushions from the wool beads we sell on our site. They are both easy and fun to make—a winning combo! A word to those of you with cats: Cats love these things! If you don’t want them to play with your lovely pin cushions, you’d better hide them. In a drawer.

For the dotted ones, I cut ovals out of felt and felted them to the big wool ball. You can see that I also added some leaf shapes on 2 of them. Use the Clover felting tool or a felting needle to do the felting.
I’m calling the other ones “atomic” pin cushions. (Steve likes these the best.) I sewed small wool beads to the big wool bead with 3 strands of embroidery floss. Run the floss through the bead to each spot where you want to add a new bead.
I cut little squares of felt in contrasting colors to put at the outside of each of the little beads. As I pulled the floss tight, it gathered up the felt and cinched the little bead to the bigger one. Knot the floss out of sight at the base of one of the little beads. Too cute!

A Sneak Peek

The snow is melting and the sun is out. It’s hard to believe that yesterday morning we had 7″ of snow on the ground. 

I spent yesterday putting a new quilt up on the design wall. I was out of stitching (oh my!) and so I really did need to stop everything else I was supposed to be doing to work on this. Orange is sounding really good to me these days, so this one is predominantly orange. I bought the end of a bolt of a blue-with-orange-dots fabric by Kaffe Fassett earlier this week not knowing exactly where I might use it. That dot looks really good with the other oranges! You can see a bit of this quilt in the photo.
Orange may not immediately come to mind when you are working with blue, but it should. Orange is opposite blue on the color wheel. In the same way that red and green go together, so do blue and orange. They are very zing-y! 
I love Saturday. My husband and I have cleaned the house (he does the stuff I don’t like to do and I do the stuff he doesn’t like to do which works out very well) and I have the rest of the day to work on loose ends. There are blocks to trim and set together. There is the manuscript for our next book to get back to. I know there’s more… I’m going to have to look at that “to do” list. And our granddaughter, Elanor, is coming over later to spend the night! I think we’re going to play with modeling clay. 
Enjoy your day!

We’re blogging!

Hello! Welcome to the Piece O’ Cake blog! Linda and I have been talking about starting a blog for a long time and today is the day it’s happening. We’ll both be making posts and it is our hope that, through these posts, you get a chance to know us each a little better.
As I write this, the big news in Sherman, TX, is that it is snowing. Big flakes! This sort of weather event in Texas, in March, is unusual. We often get an Easter freeze (no sane person here plants annuals until after Easter) but this is sort of ridiculous. My cats are confused. They want to go out, but then their little feet hit the snow and it’s right back inside. Ten minutes later we do it again. Silly cats.
It’s sort of nice to be snowed in. My husband, Steve, called to say everyone who works at the college is going home and the students are out playing in the snow. I’m going to make a cup of tea and get to work putting the next project up on the design wall.