The Life and Projects of An Avid Hobbyist

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Quick Question

How much thread do you use in a given month, quarter or year?  Do you know?

A few years ago I discovered was taught that the easiest way to choose a thread for piecing was to use a medium gray.  That little bit of information CHANGED MY LIFE! I no longer try to match my piecing fabrics to my thread (an all white quilt would likely be an exception to this rule, but since I've never made one, we'll never know).

Since then I started buying Signature Master Piece 100% cotton thread (granite) and while completing my holiday gifts, this happened...


That, my friends, was 2,500 yards of long staple Egyptian cotton...gone!

I usually buy it at the Mancuso quilt market aka the Quilt Fest of New Jersey X  to save on shipping costs.  This year it will be March 6-9, 2014 in Somerset, New Jersey.  I also love their King Tut quilting thread AND their Bottom Line for my stitch-in-the-ditch.

Since it's usually around my birthday, I use this an an excuse to go a little wild (emphasis on the little).  This year, my list is as follows:

Metallic: Antique Silver                       Metallic: Cranberry                                    King Tut: Obsidian  

...and a bunch of color cards. ~ksp

Sunday, January 26, 2014


I have a deep and abiding love affair with Mary Ellen's Best Press.  I first came to use it while taking a class at City Quilter.  Since then, I use it for sewing and quilting and even ironing my clothes.

Unfortunately, while it was never cheap, over the years it has gotten much more expensive and I no longer work in NYC so it's not so easy to grab a bottle during my lunch hour.  In recent years, I've taken to the internet for purchasing.  This go-round, google told me that there was a sale at Stuff 4 Sewing for cheap, cheap, cheap.  The sale can be found here.

I found an online coupon and qualified for free shipping and I ended up getting it for about $33.00 per gallon with shipping.  To do so, I had to buy three gallons which means I shouldn't need any more until 2015!

God, I love a sale and a coupon!! ~ksp

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

WiP Wednesday-Snow Day Edition

I was indoors all day due to the colossal snow that NJ got.  Up to 16" in some spots. Yikes!!  There was a state of emergency that included the closing of state I stayed home to sew.

Here is one of my "in progress" projects...

Here are the bits laid out.
A good friend was a maid of honor for her sorror who is now becoming a mother. We took her MOH dress and cut it up to be in this quilt (it's the sage bits). I backed it with Wonder Under (from my local Wal-mart) and craft muslin (from the stash).  It's a bit heavier than the quilters cotton but I think it will ensure that the taffeta will hold up almost as well.

Here is a rendering of the final project using EQ6:

I'm about 50% through assembling the top. The square that is circled in purple is the final layout and the last manipulation before the top is fully assembled.

 This is for a baby that is due late winter/early spring.  So far, I'm ahead of schedule (#don'twanttojinxit) ~ksp

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Thanks, Victoria!

I "loaned" my only bundt pan to Victoria and NEVER SAW IT AGAIN.

IMAG0459She made good on replacing it with this pan from King Arthur Flour.  I used The Pioneer Woman's Perfect Pound Cake recipe, found here:


  • 3 sticks Butter
  • 3 cups Sugar
  • 5 whole Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Butter Flavoring
  • 2 teaspoons Lemon Flavoring
  • 3 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Sprite, 7-UP, Or Sierra Mist

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Cream butter. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing after each addition. Add butter and lemon extracts and mix well. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add soft drink, then mix together until combined. Scrape sides of bowl, then mix briefly.
Pour into a greased Bundt pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, until the cake is no longer jiggly.
Remove cake from oven and invert pan until cake drops out.

Good times! ~ksp 

Saturday, January 11, 2014


One of the quilts in my queue is an asymetrical argyle pattern.  I am trying to decide which is a more appropriate non-juvenile pattern for the eight year old recipient.

Option 1


Option 2


Option 3

Thoughts??? ~ksp

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Thank You!!

Here are two of the awesome Christmas gifts that I got.  The first is a new stocking made by my mother! It is awesome and roomy and beautifully embroidered.

Me and my st-ister!
The other is frpm my supervisor.  When stressed, we love this scene from Zoolander...

Excellent stress reliever!!


She got me my own hand rendered Mugatu for my desk!  It's awesome...I laughed myself silly. Good times. ~ksp

Monday, January 6, 2014


  1. austere  quality; severity of manner, life, etc.; sternness.
  2. usually, austerities. ascetic practices: austerities of monastery life.
  3. strict economy.  
I mean it in the “strict economy” sense of the word.

Over the winter holidays, I took some time to stash-dive and figure out how many projects that I have abandoned, forgotten about or put on indefinite time out.  Turns out, it's quite a few.  

I bit the bullet and cataloged them all.  I sat down and had a hard conversation with myself about finishing.  Here is the list there are about thirty-one in total: 
Project Name
·       Bonus Blocks Quilt
·       Celtic Knot
·       Gifts of the Spirit
·       Grinch Remnant
·       Minimalist in Brown
·       Patriotic 1 (Patchwork Times)
·       Patriotic 2
·       Pinks and Purple
·       Scrappy Nine Patch
·       Spectrum (Sample)
·       Strip-a-rama
·       Wonky Shoo-fly
·       B/W Hexies
·       Baseball Caps
·       Batik Nine Patch
·       Changing Pad
·       Christmas Tree Skirt/Advent Calendar
·       Civil War Quilt
·       Holiday Table Runner
·       Jythothi's Quilt
·       Kwanzaa Table Runner
·       Lone Star Baby (1)
·       Lone Star Baby (2)
·       Pantoja/Wright Memorial
·       Sister's Choice
·       Dissappearing Nine Patch
·       Mickey Mouse Classic
·       Oversized Arglye
·       Paisley (with Blue and Yellow)
·       Same Gang
·       Star Sampler

I'd like to say that my story is a cautionary tale, but I don't think that it is.  For me, this is a hobby, it's not my job.  I do this because it brings me joy and I learn things with each project and its process.  I am a process person.  So this year, I am going to practice my intention of finishing the projects that I have started.  Wish me luck. ~ksp

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

To Everything There is a Season

Goodbye 2013!

I love celebrating new years and seasons as they change because they offer an opportunity for reflection and renewal.  As such, I am so excited to be ending 2013!  It was an awesome, inspiring, amazing, wonderful, magnificent, astonishing, formidable, intimidating, daunting and breathtaking year. 

A good friend shared with me her aim to be more reflective and intentional in her daily interactions.  As part of her practice, and in preparation of the new year, she shared with me the following items for reflection.  I hope that you can find time to review and reflect upon them as we look forward to another (productive, fun, energized and dynamic) year!

May you have a safe and jubilant celebration of this new year, I look forward to our continued creativity and expression in 2014. Life is short, fill it up! Turn, turn, turn! ~ksp
1.                   What was the greatest lesson for you of 2013, and what changed as a result?
2.                   What was I most happy about that began in 2013?
3.                   What am I most happy about completing in 2013?
4.                   What is my biggest piece of unfinished business in 2013?
5.                   Who are the 3 people what have had the greatest impact on my life, positive or negative?
6.                   What is the biggest risk I took in 2013, and what did I learn from it?
7.                   List 6 things I am most grateful for.
8.                   What else do I need to do, say or acknowledge to feel complete in 2013?

1.                   What word or phrase would I like to have as my mantra for 2014?
2.                   What would I like to be my greatest accomplishment in 2014?
3.                   What is my greatest strength? How can I use it in 2014?
4.                   What do I want my biggest risk to be in 2014?
5.                   What things make me feel  most alive? How can I do more?
6.                   What am I most committed to improving or growing about my work?
7.                   Who or what am I most committed to loving or serving in 2014?
8.                   What major effort can I give to make my finances better?
9.                   Write an affirmation statement for 2014 that is SPECIFIC, POSITIVE AND IN THE PRESENT TENSE.
10.                Who am I committed to be in 2014? What words would describe me for 2014?
11.                Picture myself one year from now. What do I want to say about 2014?