Summer project—2014…

If you have read my blog long, you know that Steve and I usually work on some sort of big ‘house’ project during the summer. Since we just had our house remodeled last year, we don’t have a project to do at our house. We helped Chris with his bathroom remodel in the spring and early summer. Now what?

We decided to work on the McCarley Woods. Howard and Marian McCarley donated a wonderful property to Austin College a few years ago. It is primarily used by faculty and students in the biology department.

The cabin on the property is solid but needs a bit of spiffing up. Steve and I decided that this would be a great project but first we needed a place to put the tools that are occupying one of the bedrooms. Se we decided to build a shed!


Steve designed an 8′ x 8′, pier and beam structure. Last weekend he put in the foundation and built the framework for the front and back wall. Tuesday morning (after Pilates) I showed up to do my part which is to be both foreman and gopher.

I helped him raise the end walls and secure them in place. Then the framing for the side walls went up. After that, we added the 2′ tall extension that he had prepared to the top of the front wall. The roof will slope from front to back.


Christopher joined us after lunch and I, for one, was very happy. The siding is Hardie paneling and it is heavy! Drilling holes and driving screws through it was hard on their hands… I have a feeling I could not have done it at all.


Once the back and two sides were paneled, Steve and I hoisted and slid 4′ x 8′ sheets of chip board up to Chris, who nailed them to the rafters. Next we sent up metal roofing sheets. All of that sounds a lot easier than it was :-).

WoodsShed-09 copy

It was a long day and we called it quits at 6:00. Wednesday it rained. Luckily I had found time to put a coat of water seal on the plywood floor while the guys were doing other things so it didn’t peel apart.

This morning Steve went out early (because I went to Pilates again) and started getting Hardie panels cut and installed on the front wall.



I helped him get the remaining, small wall panels up. Next we worked on enclosing the roof rafters to keep the critters out. And we wanted to trim out the corners of the shed before we broke for lunch. At some point it started to drizzle, and then rain.


We were wet and muddy when we called it quits at 12:30. Steve is going to build the doors later and maybe we can hang them Saturday. We’ll paint the shed in a couple of weeks, when I am back after teaching in Indiana next week.


It is solid and functional. Once painted it might even be cute!

You just don’t want to miss this…

I sent a newsletter last Friday to say that Linda and I formed Piece O’ Cake Designs 20 years ago. Amazing! We wanted to celebrate with you because it’s only because of you that we are still here. So, until August 3, 2014, everything (except the Stella lamps and any eBook or print on demand book that comes directly from C&T) is 20% off. Click here to read the newsletter to find the coupon code. (I don’t want to put it here because months from now someone will read this post and be unhappy that the code no longer works.)

I don’t expect to have a sale like this again, at least not for a very long time. So if you were waiting until the perfect time to order something, this is it. We have run out of some things but have re-ordered. Some fabric may sell out and not come back so if there’s something you want order it soon.

Happy anniversary!

Taking a ride on the way-back machine…

You know those emails that you sometimes get? The ones with lots of photos that have been forwarded so many times that you have no idea who actually wrote the first email? Every now and then I get a really good one. This was the subject line: a dose of nostalgia. Thank you, Nancy for sending it :-).


I made these, by the dozens! Gotta say that they were lousy potholders but they kept me busy. My mom surely loved that part. Below are my grandmothers good highball glasses. Looks like she wasn’t the only one who had them.



I wonder what happened to my diary? It looked just like this.


I think Mom’s table and chairs were pink. Or red.


I hated this vacuum, with a passion. But my mother loved it.


My first mascara… I don’t miss it one little bit. For those too young to know, you wet the brush and swished it on the dark cake of mascara and then applied to your lashes. What a mess it was!


I miss the feel of this phone in my hand, and the sound of the dial. The noise was good in both directions. Dial enough and it could make your finger hurt.

Now that I think of it, I miss the experience of talking on an old phone. Talking on the phone was more special then than it is now. We didn’t just call for any little thing—and we for sure didn’t call long distance often. I don’t miss that part—I love being able to call anywhere in the country as if I am calling across town.


I have Mom’s watch that is similar to this one. I wish it could be made to work.


I wish I could find these diaper pins now, for Bear who wears cloth diapers now.


Remember this nasty glue? It dried brown and didn’t work. What’s to love?


I was a tomboy and played cowboys and Indians with the neighborhood boys when I was 6 or 7. We all had metal cap guns that these strings of caps fit in. I remember the smell of the burning powder and paper! I suspect that is a toy that cannot be found these days.


Hose, that came in a box, and required a garter belt. I am so thankful that hose are out of fashion.


Remember the roller rink?


I still have my bronzed baby shoes! and several leather baby shoes that didn’t quite make it to the bronzer. I don’t know why I love them, but I do.


How could something be both gross and good at the same time? I actually preferred the cherry Luden’s cough drops, which are still around.


Oh, if only the penmanship the nuns tried to teach me had stuck. I type much better than I write by hand.


Anodized aluminum glasses are pretty but they sweat too much and, as I recall, they have a subtle metallic taste. Even so, they are just too pretty! If I had any, I’d use them.

I tried googling ‘a dose of nostalgia’ and did not find the source for these images but there were some interesting pages. If you want to, use ‘the google‘ and see what you find!

John Flynn is riding again…

John Flynn has been getting in shape in between shows and snow storms and is ready to ride in Bike MS. Mile by mile and dollar by dollar, Bike MS is changing lives. That’s why he registered for Bike MS and why he’s asking you to support his fundraising efforts with a tax-deductible donation.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is dedicated to creating a world free of MS, but they can’t do it without our help. It’s faster and easier than ever to support this cause. Simply click here to visit John’s page and make a donation.


Your donation supports cutting-edge research and programs and services for everyone impacted by MS. Ending MS means no one will receive an MS diagnosis again. Every dollar helps.  Every person makes a difference. And, because John goes above and beyond in all things, he has made this quilt that one of his lucky supporters will win!

Please support him by making a donation! He promises to keep his supporters posted on his progress. Click here to go to John’s Bike MS page to make a donation.

A wonky house show and tell…

house 15

Gail from Ontario sent me a photo of the little quilt she finished from a block started in my class at the London Friendship Quilter’s Guild in Sept 2013. She added some button flowers and embroidery and hand quilted the block into a little wall hanging. It’s way cute!

I am always happy to see the projects that you all make from our patterns. Happy stitching!

Summer time is flying by…

Although my husband tells me that time passes by exactly the same way, minute by minute, day by day, I swear that time moves faster as I get older. It makes him sigh, deeply. At any rate, I can hardly believe it has been a week since I last wrote. (FYI: the new bras are amazing! I hope you found time to shop as well.)

I’ve been working on a new quilt for the revised edition of our Piecing book. I can only show you a snippet of it, otherwise it would spoil the surprise for when the book comes out…


This is the pile of scraps that were left from cutting strips. It’s a very happy quilt!

Scraps-02 copy

I enjoy piecing and am finding it fun to crank out some quilts… as long as I still have applique to do at night :-).