Category Archives: treasure

Shop Hopping: Eagle River, Alaska

Do you shop hop for certain things when you go on vacation?  We always buy certain souvenirs:  postcards, refrigerator magnets, and t-shirts.  Sometimes, if I am lucky, we find a quilt shop or two.  Recently, we drove from our home in West Virginia to Alaska.  This was actually the second time that we drove to Alaska.  The first time we went in July 2015.  It caught on fire.  We went home.  This time we decided to be tourists.

rainbow in Canada

We decided to see a little more of Canada, so we entered Canada through the town of International Falls in Minnesota.  We drove through Manitoba and Saskatchewan…It was a lot like driving through Kansas.  (If you have driven through Kansas you will understand…if you haven’t, you should try it at least once, so you understand.)

Canada does have some beautiful parts…majestic mountains, Banff National Park, etc.  Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory is NOT one of those beautiful places.  After making a reservation for a hotel room that was held with a credit card, our room was given away.  After 14 1/2 hours of driving, this was a rather crappy end to the day…especially since this was my birthday.  We kept on driving.  We slept for an hour here and an hour there for a grand total of 3 1/2 hours sleep.  However, we did get there sooner than planned and save $169!

Yadda, Yadda, yadda…we ended up in Eagle River, Alaska, a couple of days later.  This sounds like a remote place, but it is actually the suburbs of Anchorage!  It is still a beautiful place, but more citified than most people would think.  As we were waiting to check in to the hotel for the evening we ate a charming little pizza place.  Delicious!  This is where we were when it first dawned on us that most people who live in Alaska are actually from somewhere else!

We were checking out the area when we wandered into a…drum roll, please…a QUILT SHOP!  Yeah!  The Quilt Cache is a great little shop.  I had a great chat with one of the ladies in the shop about the best places to see Denali, etc.  We also chatted about the project she was working on when she wasn’t busy waiting on customers.  It was great to be out of the car for a few minutes.  What an inspiring little shop!

Alaskan batiks

I did buy some Alaskan market batiks.  The eagles are a bit hard to see.  They are the light shapes in the fabric on the left.  I love the grizzly bears, pine cones and bear tracks in the fabric on the right.

I bought a few fat quarters as Christmas gifts for my friends.

fat quarters

Since we were there on July 3rd, I was wearing red, white, and blue, and it was Eagle River, I was inspired to buy some eagle fabrics, too.

Quilt of Valor panel eagles and flags

I will probably turn the fabric on the right into a pillow for my social studies teacher husband for our anniversary.  He never wants presents…or very rarely asks for them, so I think this will be an excellent surprise.

I learned from a friend to check for clearance items.  As I was browsing, I found a bag stuffed with scraps that were left from Quilts of Valor projects that were hung around the shop.  I really need to start taking my camera into quilt shops with me!

Happy travels and happy quilting!



Treasure hunting…

I love to hunt for treasure to share with my friends and family.  Treasures come from a variety of places in my life…yard sales, flea markets, re-gifts, etc.

Salt and peppers (yard sale treasure)

My co-worker is now a newly wed.  She loves owls.  I picked these silver owls up at a yard sale to go with the rest of her wedding gift.

flea market treasure

flea market find

Whoooo says these aren't treasure?

Whoooo says these aren’t treasure?

Prize Box

This light cost me 50 cents.  What a great prize for the prize box at school.  I also bought a disco ball light, but it was too tacky to take a picture. (Not that this light isn’t too tacky to photograph!)

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Antique Quilt Top (flea market treasure)

I found this wool beauty at Hoke-E-Geez flea market in Bedford, PA.  I should have taken a close up picture of the herring bone stitch between each piece.  Some of patches are tan/ brown herringbone and/or hounds tooth fabric. Not close up picture today….sorry!

It was just the top.  It is amazingly clean.  I am going to practice machine and hand embroidery on it.  I did wash it when I got it home just in case.  Don’t want to introduce any critters, etc. into my sewing room.

It came through the wash just fine!  Whew! and Yeah! at the same time.  Nothing like a clean slate to work on,  in more ways than one.

look what I found 1

quilt find

Recycled Finds

My husband loves a good lunch meat sandwich.  I love that the lunch meat comes in these reusable containers.  They are treasure to me, because I can store block parts and pieces in them.  I like them because you can see what is in them easily.  Sometimes I even write on the sides with a sharpie marker….just so I remember which project the pieces are to be used in later.  I am the proud owner of a whole bunch of these.


I also love bags.  This is a chicken feed bag from my dad.  It is the only one like this that he had.  Unfortunately, the company changed the front of the bag front.  I got to teach a bag making class at quilt camp this year.  Sorry, no pictures.  I lost the camera card and card reader somewhere in my travels.

recycle bag 9


Happy hunting for treasure!



Quilt Camp 2015

Quilt camp was GREAT!  I think that taking this time to learn and socialize with others is probably the best gift I give to myself all year long.  I was in a bit of a creative slump.  My quilting mojo has returned!

I need to share some pictures.  I apologize if they are not the best.  I am a quilter, not a photographer (obviously).

Disappearing hour glass…I love these disappearing patterns! (Missouri star quilts has some great videos to get you started on these!)

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Two patch quilt…beautiful!

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A little block that grew into an entire quilt…

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Fawn,  who is ultra talented (that is beyond talented), had this hanging on the wall above her work station.  I love the Celtic border.

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Fawn also likes to design outfits, etc. for her 18 inch dolls….so cute!  I wish I had taken a picture of the tent she made.

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Stack and whack block

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More disappearing blocks

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And the show must go on!  (Again, I apologize for my questionable photography skills!)quilt camp 2015 (13) quilt camp 2015 (14) quilt camp 2015 (15) quilt camp 2015 (16) quilt camp 2015 (17) quilt camp 2015 (18) quilt camp 2015 (19) quilt camp 2015 (21) quilt camp 2015 (22) quilt camp 2015 (25)quilt camp 2015 (23) quilt camp 2015 (24)  quilt camp 2015 (26) quilt camp 2015 (27)

I love this feathered star….paper pieced.  I thought it was a lot like giving birth.  It took almost all day.  I didn’t enjoy the work that much….but the outcome was great!  Great job teaching us this gorgeous block, Honey and Jan!  (I know Honey was tired of my whining and was glad when I finally finished!  What a great lady!)

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Some cute monthly quilts…I love the crab!

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Another antique….sunbonnet Sue. quilt camp 2015 (47)

An Eleanor Burns barn quilt…beautiful work!quilt camp 2015 (48)

A fantastic applique quilt by Fawn.  WOW!

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Another feathered star quilt camp 2015 (53)

Our challenge this year was to make a “one block” quilt.  Here is one designed and made by Jan.  She is great with the paper piecing!

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I wish that the center of this quilt could be seen in greater detail, as well as the beautiful red work that Honey did.

quilt camp 2015 (57) quilt camp 2015 (58) quilt camp 2015 (59) quilt camp 2015 (60) quilt camp 2015 (61) quilt camp 2015 (62) quilt camp 2015 (63) quilt camp 2015 (64) This vest is made from dresser scarves and old embroidered hankies.  Beautiful handwork…and craftsmanship.  Sadly, it was not signed or dated.quilt camp 2015 (65) quilt camp 2015 (66) quilt camp 2015 (67)

And last, an interesting thing…a giant flip flop with no slip stuff on the bottom so that you do not have to chase your foot pedal all over the place.  I have to make myself one of these!  (I even have the no slip fabric…I found it just the other day!)quilt camp 2015 (68)

Sadly, all good things come to an end.  Quilt camp is over for another year.  It is time to go home.  The machine and my most used tools are safely belted into the front seat of the car beside me.  (I only belted them in because 1) a suicidal squirrel almost caused total chaos on the arrival trip and 2) the car thinks someone is sitting there with out a seat belt being fastened…bing…bing…bing…then faster….bingbingbing….argh!)quilt camp 2015 1Hope you enjoyed the photographs!




Tea Towel Dress

My friend Richele made this adorable tea towel dress at her church group. What a cute presentation of a tea towel dress! Not to mention a fantastic use of an inexpensive towel, possibly from the dollar store.

tea towel dress 2

Cute, eh?

Here it is laid out on the table.

tea towel dress

What a simple and useful item! I can’t wait to start embellishing one of these…Mwhahaha!

Richele had this partially made one that she did not have time to finish with her church group.  The lady that taught the class had the two layers sewn together at the neck hole for them.  She had already clipped the curves and turned it to the right sides for the class members.

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Naturally, we drew a pattern.  My goal was to fit it on a regular size piece of copy paper.  I used the curve of a coffee mug for the neck hole.  I just guesstimated the sides.  I made both sides match.  One side is a reflection of the other side.



After we drafted the pattern, I cut my pieces…both at the same time…laid with right sides together.  What can I say?  Sometimes I am really lazy!  I sewed the neck hole.  Clipped the curves.  Turned it outside right, then ironed it.


I am convinced that the woman who taught this class at Richele’s church was an evil sewing genius.  We googled how to assemble it.  Oh, there were many “dress towels”…all linking back to the same source, which was not started like the one in Richele’s kit.  Hmmmmmm!  Those examples all had interior shoulder seams that were exposed.  The completed one at the beginning of this post doesn’t have “shoulder” seams.  Hmmmmm!


It took me a few minutes of head scratching and pondering.  I got to thinking about a vest pattern that i used to use.  It had this weird inside out step.  What if??


I rolled it in half, pinned the ends.  Then I flipped the open edges over so that they were wrong sides together. Please study the picture sequence below to understand what I mean.

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I sewed 1/4 inch from the edge.  I removed the two pins from the ends and turned that bad boy inside out.  I used my had to push the points out.  I ironed it nice and flat.  Squish!

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I repeated the rolling, pinning, sewing, turning, and ironing with the other side.  I couldn’t help myself, so I added a few embellishments.  If I had been smart, I would have done the embellishing before I sewed the neck hole.  There are minimal stitches showing on the inside.  I can live with it!


I ironed a “hem” onto the bottom of each side.  It is probably about 1/2 inch.  I used needle and thread to loosely gather my dishtowel.  I shoved it up under the hem.  (I did roll the side edge of the towel to the back because I thought it looked more aesthetically pleasing.)100_5483


Then, even though I don’t like to pin, I pinned the crap out of it just to keep it from moving.  HA! 100_5484

I laid the ribbon over the top and pinned the rest of the crap out of it!  I sewed along the top and bottom edges of the ribbon on both sides of the dress waist..  This neatly closed in the towel raw edge, too.

100_5485Voila! C’est finis!

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This was a cute and easy project.  It would make a great gift!  Thank you, Richele, for sharing this fantastic project with me!  I hope you all enjoyed my little adventure!



Recycling bags…now is your chance to recycle

My husband says that “we” recycle at our house….and by “we”, I mean him.  Most of the time that is true.  I put the “recycling”… cans, bottles, and plastics into sorted bins.  He has to deal with taking them out and storing them until it is time to load them into the truck for the ride to the recycling center.  I am the queen of recycling birdseed, etc. bags.  I love this project.  It is so much easier than you can imagine.

This bird seed bag is exclusive to Tractor Supply

birdseed bag

I have seen many of these cool bags out there for sale.  Many of them cost $10 or more each each!  (That’s quite a profit from garbage!) I decided that I would give them a try.  Here is the “raw” material.

empty bag ready for recycling

Bird seed back from Tractor Supply

I trimmed the bottom off of the bag.   I used an old rotary cutting blade, the same one I use for paper, etc.  This bag is made from a woven plastic of some sort.  The seed picture will actually become part of the bag bottom.

bottomless bag

bag with bottom removed for handles

I used my favorite quilt ruler to trim the handle pieces to 5 inches.  (On later bags, I learned that 4 1/4 inches was better.)  You could use other strap material if you want, but this step is not difficult either.

marking for handles

marking for handles

I did not take a picture of the next step.  I used a closed sharpie marker to crease the parts before I sewed them.  The handles were folded in half and them folded in on themselves.  This resulted in a very durable 4 layer thick handle.  It only takes one row to make both handles.



I used a soda box to form a “solid” bottom since this bag was made into a square on the bottom.

recycle bag bottom

sturdy bag bottom

Here is a slightly angled version picture of the bag at the top of this post. How artful!

finished bag

finished bag

Here is another bag made from a 40 pound chicken feed bag.  I do like the colors and the “pretty chicken” on this bag.  Forty pounds of chicken crumbles is smaller than forty pounds of black oil sunflower seeds.  The sunflower seeds make a very large bag.  The chicken feed bags are closer to the size of the reusable bags that you can purchase in the store.

pretty chicken feed bag

pretty chicken feed bag

I did learn a few things during my little recycling experiment.

 Let me share:

  1. These bags take about 1/2 hour or less to make each.
  2. You do not have to play nice with these.  They can take rough handling when turning them inside out, etc.
  3. The longest stitch length on the sewing machine works best.
  4. They sew up quickly, but they also dull your needle quicker than a regular fabric project.
  5. You can’t pin this material, but you can tape it with clear tape to hold it in place.

I think that our little after school sewing group will be making some of these next week…if there is no snow! (At the moment, the forecast is for the 60’s….that will be fantastic!)

If you enjoyed these pictures and would like more details on how to make these bags, just let me know.  The construction is very basic.  Easy for a beginner!

Have a great weekend!  I am going to go enjoy my unexpected snow day!