Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year in Review

I thought I would take a look back at the year.
A few things of note:
15. Stained glass quilt
Happy New Year
Here's to new goals, new ideas, more creativity, giving more and wanting less, finishes and simplicity, all said with a glass of champagne raised in the air  and a party hat.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Handmade for Christmas Roundup

While hiding in the warmth of my home avoiding the sub zero temperatures outside
I thought it might be a good time to up date on what I made for Christmas this year.
I had two lists of projects I wanted to make.
 One was my Optimistic list and the other was my Realistic list.
Typically, I worked off the latter and still did not finish all that I wanted.
My favorite finish is the first picture.
The lovely recipient is my oldest, only and dearest daughter.
I used the Missouri Star 5.5 tumbler template. If you
have never visited your site, you must!
They have everything including daily deals
that are a steal, anyway.
In the sashing I included the mini tumbler.
 (the mini tumbler template was a free daily deal)
Most of the fabric is Ty Pennington (From MSQC) and it absolutely reflects
this girls amazing style and personality.
At a recent sewing weekend with the girls my niece
 was bitten with the sewing bug.
She had dabbled in it in the past but
it seemed to take hold this time.
She requested (I am her Godmother) a sewing
basket and a thread catcher. The first picture below
is the thread catcher. I did not have a pattern
although I know there is a pattern for this particular
style (Sorry I cannot remember who it is by). However,
the bag on mine is much bigger. The shoe for the
pincushion was thrifted, and I love how it turned out.
The box is filled with a ton of notions and sewing
supplies. It was so much fun to put this together
for her.
The sewing box was a purchase from JoAnn's.

Last year I made a water bottle carrier for my mother.
 I used an awesome tutorial from
Pink Chalk Studios found Here. Sometime within the year
my sisters got it in their heads to relentlessly tease  me
about not making them one. Spurred on by the fact that
my mom lost hers and I made her another one.
"she gets two and we don't even have one..." and so forth it went.
So I made them each one. Strategically buried under another gift
to tease them back.
And finally my mother wanted a another needle case for her knitting needles. I made her this http://rickrack-and-ribbons.blogspot.com/2008/05/oh-sic.html one before but she wanted a
case for smaller needles too. You cannot really see in the picture but there are three layers
of pockets of varying sizes.
I think that is it. I am just glad I got pictures. So many things I make I forget
to photograph.
Ridiculous since I have a gazillion devices that
take pictures!!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Is it really November already?
The cool temps and wind should have given it away
 but it is actually sunny and calm today in these parts.
November has brought a lot to our little family, some challenges and some blessings. Sometimes the worst case scenario can actually become an eye-opening, lesson-learning, moment.
A scratch and sniff sticker moment if you will.
Whilst I was in the middle of lesson learning,
responsibilities went onto the back burner and at the risk of a full on fire,
 I tackled one of them this weekend.
Or doused it with baking soda (on account of the fire risk). You get my drift. I hope.
A friend of mine commissioned a new mobile home for her laptop.
I, of course said, (like a silly little girl) "I can do that, no problem."
Ha. Can I just repeat that? Ha
I had an idea in my head but no pattern. This is a bit of an undertaking
sans pattern, at least for me it is. I am no seamstress mind you. No project runway contestant
But I began.
Then stopped.
 Cut everything out.
Then stopped.
I was stuck on two accounts....
 1. she wanted grommets and
2. I wasn'tsure how to do the handles to
 make them super accommodating for a heavy laptop.

Inside, 6 pockets, divider and 3 pen pockets.
I decided not to do gussets so that eliminated side straps. You can see
I ended up sewing the handles down to the inside panel before assembly.
This decision took a lot of staring blankly and a lot of trips to the
kitchen for snacks and drink.

I am hopeful the handles will hold. Now the grommets were not a big deal but I did not
want them to go all the way through all layers because this puppy has a LOT of layers.
Mostly for durability and stability. so I ended up putting a false panel in as you can see in the picture below- the back of the bag.
Caution: Full Disclosure is coming up.
Okay see that little button on that square of fabric. Funny story. Not really.
After the bag was complete and before I did the topstitching on the opening I looked the bag over for missed seams and any defects. Thoroughly looked it over. So I thought.
I sewed the final topstitching and snapped the bag shut.
Here comes the good part....
I, at this point of relief of being done, realized I put the magnetic snap and closure strap on backward.
REALLY? Yup that is what I did and did not even notice until I sat back to admire my creation.
Re-enter blank stare. For a long time.
I almost took it all apart and then decided to take out the topstitching and perform a
little bag surgery removing the infected magnetic snap and closures strap and re-inserting it on the other side. Hence the need for the fabric graft and cute button. Who's to know. Except you reading this, provided someone reads this.
Now I just hope the laptop fits.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Before and After DIY

It started something like this:
Lilli: Mom I need a dresser
Mom: well I suppose you could have yours
Lilli: Don't you need it
Mom: I can make do, it is yours
Silly mom, I used the dresser for years to hold various miscellany in my sewing room.
 It was perfect for batting, cutting implements, tools, WIPs, etcetera.
But.... ahem, it was hers after all.
So I emptied its contents into a very large cardboard box and pilled batting and unfinished quilt tops on top and there it sat.
 I had been combing thrift and garage sales but with no luck until.....
one afternoon I came upon this sad cupboard at the thrift store. I paid $7.50 for it.

I went to the mismatched paint section and found a light violet paint.
Nothing like other peoples opsies to make me happy.
 A day of sanding and painting in 90 degree weather and whoola, the perfect fit.

I actually like it better than the dresser, the most expensive part was the pulls.
They cost more than the cupboard itself but the whole thing was just under $20.
Pretty good for a new to me piece of furniture.
Now everything is back in its rightful place and I don't have to
dig through a cardboard-box-pile to find something!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Happy Fall

Apparently my summer was too jam packed to even think of this space. I did accomplish a few things but am pretty sure I went the whole of July and most of August without touching my machine. Then one weekend night I sat. I started piecing scraps with no real direction in mind. But as they came together I decided on a table runner. I like it very much. Most are the scraps from my low volume quilt. Many are favorite pieces that I only have small bits of them left.
We were also short on hot pads. Not sure where they disappear too, mostly likely on some Caribbean island with the socks that also seem to vanish.
Not sure if I ever posted the following, I made it for my sister as a gift.
 I love how it turned out and I think she did too.
I am in awe of the waning of summer and how rapidly it dissipates when one isn't looking. I feel myself shifting in preparation for fall. The call of soup and bread for dinner, the smells of cinnamon and apples replace the desire for strawberries and cold salads. I was sitting outside the other evening and there was this moment of complete stillness and I felt transfixed but the sound of the drying cottonwood leaves rustling in the breeze. Beautiful.

Monday, May 20, 2013

My Little Favorite bag

I spent a little time with my machine this weekend and was pleasantly surprised with the results.
A while ago I picked up this pattern by Kati Cupcake.
And promptly decided that if she could be Kati Cupcake then why could I not be Tasha Tart.
 Of course tart sounds a little more risqué then cupcake (what other luscious deserts start with T?) 
however, maybe, if I played my cards right with that name,
Strawberry Shortcake would call for a chat.

But probably not. Oh well.
This is the inside. I love all the pockets, as many on the in as on the out.
The fabric is Seaside Cottage by Heather Mulder Peterson and I like it very much.
In all honesty and full disclosure there are two things I am not:
 1. a pattern person and
 2. a pattern person who loves a lot of little details.
There are 2 things this pattern was:
 1. a pattern (stating the obvious) and
 2. a pattern with a ton of detail.
In and effort to be what I am not I followed the pattern and
all its details and could not be happier for it.
It was worth every extra second.
The pattern was amazingly well written and this bag is sturdy.
Every detail added to its integrity and overall appearance.

Just look how pretty it is outside!
 I may even make another sash out of the white flower fabric to change it up a bit.
In two weeks I fly out to Seattle for some job training
 and this bag will be perfect to haul my
entertainment accoutrements on the plane.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Tumbler meets the Sippy cup, a quilt top

One of the greatest gifts of retreat are the people you meet.
 I went this year only knowing a few people and each year
when I leave I know a few more.
My work table partner was Betty and Betty had an amazing aesthetic for
design and my taste in fabric. Save for batiks which I cannot yet love.
She was also one of the kindest persons I have met.
I needed earphones...she had an extra pair.
And she gave them to me. Just like that. 
Have you ever meet someone and you just instantly hit it off?
Like you have been friends forever?
That was how I felt about Sarah, Natalie and their mother.
Betty Jenny and Sarah
We just hit it off. We had a blast chatting and laughing.
I was often mesmerized by the sewing ability of Jenny,
she was whipping out quilt tops at lightening speed
and was the stealthiest cutter I never saw.
 Sarah and Natalie where the same way,
except Sarah was working on the tiniest pieces ever.
At some point they told me they had a website,
Cool I thought, I shop on-line, a lot, I will have to check it out.
Then they showed me some of the rulers they created and sold.
Wow, I thought, you guys are good.
It just so happened they had a ruler for the tumbler block that fits perfectly on a charm pack with little waste.
Tumbler meets Sippy cup. Quilt top.
Even better,
 I brought charm packs
and planned to make a tumbler
 using a cardboard template,
 but acrylic is all the better.
Then Jenny, did a trunk show
and I was blown away.
I feel a little naïve now,
  but Jenny actually has a ton of tutorials ,
on just about any quilt pattern out there.
 Not only does she show you
how to create the block
 but most likely it will be
faster and easier.
She specializes in
using all pre-cuts.
I had always been drawn to pre-cuts
but they perplexed me.
And sat on the shelf.
This opened a whole new world for me.
Believe me I got caught up in watching
her tutorials for a couple of hours
when I got home.
I could listen to her talk all day.
Plus, she has and amazing singing voice.
 Their quilts are beautiful. Jenny is a born teacher.
Not to mention that when you talk to Jenny, she seriously makes you
feel like the most important person in the room.
When I got home it occurred to me that Jenny had heard some of the
questions I asked a hundred times, yet she responded to me as
if it was the first time she heard it.
The case above,
is for knitting needles for my daughter.
I show it because
I had admired Natalie's blocks made of
Ty Pennington's new line.
She had a stack of blues and greens that
she wasn't using and the yellow and birds above.
She gave them to me.
Just like that.
A. Mazing.
I used what I had left to
make Lilli a needle case for Easter.
If you are in the market for anything quilting you have to check out their site, Missouri Star Quilt Co, the tutorials (also on YouTube) and their blog.

Monday, March 25, 2013

I love retreat

Wow, I don't know where to start.
There are so many things I want to say and remember about this last weekend. Not to mention so many wonderful people to talk about. First, though, I have to thank my sister Cindy. There was a time many years ago that I teased her about quilting, I may have even called her a grandma for it. (most likely not a real insult since we would both like nothing better then to be called something that means the greatest women to have lived- our grandmother and our own mother)
I digress, Cindy taught me to sew when I was but a wee little lassie.
 She bought me my first sewing box- it was made of blue plastic and inside was a removable divided tray. I think I was about 8 and it was filled with notions and fabric. I loved that box. It smelled like a fabric store and had sharp objects in it (I wasn't usually allowed to have things like pins and needles). There may have been a good reason for the latter but that, my friends, is a story for another day. Cindy also taught me how to piece, how to baste and how to bind a quilt. She has answered countless questions over the years and many of the same ones twice- I do that.
She has also made each of my children beautiful quilts and a few for little ole me. The point is if it had not been for her I would have never found this fabulous outlet, been invited to this retreat and had the opportunity to not only spend time with her but also meet other wonderful people!
Cindy and Me a VERY long time ago
I love this picture, there is a 17 year age difference between us but it only made us closer.
Here she is at retreat. She eventually decided to become a pirate and grow a thick
mustache, not to be out done but such infamous pirates such as The Dread Pirate Roberts.
Fabulous career and the bounty is abundant.

One would likely conclude, considering all of my best laid plans
 (see the previous post)
and having two and a half days to sew,
that I would have accomplished a lot.
Well if you 3 swoon blocks falls into your book of accomplishments
 under the a lot tab then I most certainly did accomplish something.
However, if 3 blocks is all in a days work then I must have spent
an awful lot of time chatting, eating, laughing, admiring and learning.

And I did. I can't wait to talk about the ladies I met and all the
cool things I learned. So much fun.

Friday, March 22, 2013


The enticing smell of granola scents the air as I type. My bags are packed and my map is printed.
Every day this week I woke up with one thought, get through the workday with joy and tend to my family at night. Quick. Because on Friday I am off on my journey. My journey to Iowa for .....wait for it.... RETREAT. I have felt like a child all week, giddy with anticipation.
The laughter, the buzz of so many machines, the wonderful ladies (and a few gentlemen), the food,
all at a beautiful setting on Lake Okoboji (did I mention the food?). Even saying the name makes me happy.

 Three days and two nights with nothing to do but bond with my machine.
And my fabric. I am taking a few friends with me, such as the above
stack of quilts to be quilted.
Meals are provided, snacks are everywhere and prizes all geared
for the retreater. This years theme, oh yes- there is always a theme- is
pirates...argggg maties I cannot wait.
And this amazing bundle that arrived last week. 
Its destiny to be a new quilt for my son (if you click on the link, the pic was last year and he is not broken any more, though his brother is) per his request. His 13 year old
self even picked it out. Good taste in fabric is worth passing on to ones
boys. He requested a chevron pattern. Yes!  HQT no problem.
Then there are these. I have had a love hate issue with this quilt. I became frustrated with it,
(I must be the only one who experienced this) last spring and decided the best defense
would be to give it the silent treatment. That is until last week when I felt the
would be quilt had learned its lesson and I picked it back up.
After punishing it for so long, a reprieve is in order so she is coming along too.

For good measure a little more fabric just in case. Have a fabulous weekend,
I know I will!!!!

Love Natasha

Friday, March 01, 2013

Low Volume Almost Finished

I suppose having the top done is a pretty solid accomplishment. I really love how this quilt turned out. The pattern is from Sunday Morning quilts and was really fun to put together. Even more fun was finding fabrics. I am still on the look out for them. I use mostly cottons with some flannels. There is a ton of different fabrics in this quilt and it is so soft. I think most are pretty low in volume but sometimes it is hard to tell. There are a few middle volumes in there as well.
Though,  the overall effect is on target. Now, photographing this baby was another story. I wanted to use the clothes line but the snow was too high. I tried the side of the deck but the grape vines that were not tamed last fall made it all lumpy.

So I settled for a low tree branch. I want to back it in flannel but am having trouble finding what I want. Its like shopping for a winter coat and all you find are bikini's, dead of winter but warm gear is out.
 I have until the 22nd, I am planning on quilting it at retreat.
I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to that!! Two solid days and one half of quilting and shenanigans with other quilters. BLISS.
In what precious spare time I have I am focused on prep for retreat, I want to have plenty to do even if I do not accomplish as much but I like to dream big!!

Love Natasha

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I recently discovered this wonderful blog, Silly Mama Quilts, I entered one of her scrap giveaways and won! First time visiting and a win...wow... It just so happens that not only does she have a great blog but she lives near me. Below is a glimpse of my win.
I am really excited because this happened to come on a day off that I plan to spend quilting.
As it happens, I am short fabrics for my low volume quilt (weird)
and there are several pieces that I can incorporate right away!!
I love the letter piece above and wish I had more!! It reminds me
blanket I had as a child that was a whole cloth thing made to look like a quilt.
As it is my day off I decided a quick trip to the quilt shop was in order,
 I had some mitten money burning a whole in my purse.
Also, I start a new job tomorrow and decided this was the perfect treat!
I adore the vintage coffee fabric! Not sure where it will end up but isn't it cute? 
Okay this is the best! I had to buy a yard because that is about the repeat!
It cracks me up... I love the kitchy-ness about it. the articles are hilarious.
One of the articles....
Woman Uses Husband as a Pincushion! written by Jill the Ripper

Tuesday, January 08, 2013


For a long time I have fully resisted the urge to take up any type of yarn work. I have felt that I had enough hobbies and unfinished works that adding to it, would be, well, adding to it. However, while working on my mittens I needed more yarn.
I was seduced by the gazillion skeins of soft, pretty, crisp ovals of yarn all wrapped up and tidy on the shelf. I had always concluded that if I were to learn a yarn sport it would be crochet, I love the little trims and motifs you can create. So during the holidays I picked up my hook, (from previous attempts at learning the craft) and gave it a go.
This pink little number with its concave sides that look like they have been chewed on, is my very first attempt.
I did a lot of chaining and taking apart over and over, until I felt comfortable. Then I learned the next step of single crochet (I think) or I sorta learned it. Then I ripped it out and did it again and again, again. It took forever, what with all the starting over.
When I finished I thought I would  move on to double crochet, but decided to make myself do these “washcloths” at least three times.
 I have trouble with the sides.
With the second one, my focus was less on the stitch-that started to become natural- and more on keeping my stitches relaxed, and finding the rhythm of the stitches. With crochet, there isn’t the gratifying clink of the needles as in knitting but there a rhythm that ensues.
My sides look better but they are still wonky.
I also decided it is good to learn a new skill, to force your brain to think in a new direction. Plus, I used finger muscles I didn't know I had.

Today I celebrate my Birthday,
oh, what am I doing you wonder?
 I have a job interview!
I am actually looking forward to it as I like to interview, so we will see. And maybe bake myself a cake.

Monday, January 07, 2013


Inspired here, and as a result was directed here,
I thought I would make a quick throw pillow. I do not have any pretty ones and love how they change up a room.
I decided to wing it and make a few scrappy blocks, throw on some sashing and admire my creation.
Enter silly girl.
 Instead I created some blocks, measured out the sashing, realized I was doing math, retrieved more coffee, loosely measured and cut the sashing, sewed a little, answered the phone, threw in a load of laundry, rearranged the blocks, re-cut the sashing,
realized I can’t do math,
cut more sashing to make up for the fact
that I can’t do math, drank more coffee,
and before I knew it, it was 3:30 in the afternoon and I was still futzing with the pillow.
At this point, I became determined to finish.
That is, after a good laugh at myself.
So right before dinner, I finished it up!
You know some days I get a thousand things accomplished and others…..not so much.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Making Mittens

Fly Free, that is what this little stitchery did yesterday.
She is traveling some 100 or so miles south.
 I hope her recipient enjoys her.
As for the mittens I had an order for some warm mittens.
They are 99% made from recycled materials.
The 1% is the yarn in the blanket stitching.
I needle felted on the hearts on the outside and again on the thumb
and LOVE how they turned out.
All the outsides are made from wool sweaters and the insides from
cashmere or merino wool sweaters!
The tan pair was a child's sweater that was shrunk. I love the pockets!
In case you needed to see the little hearts on the thumb one more time!
So far, three pair in three evenings,
while watching the HBO special Pacific,
that my Hubs got for Christmas.


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