Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Quilting Bee with Grandma

Grandma Rosina & Grandpa William John Mertz
on their wedding day.
27 March, 1927
 The Quilting Bee

Visiting Grandma’s I always had fun
She had a way of getting things done.

Grandpa tilled field, and dinner in oven
She’d take my hand, oh I was in heaven.

Off to the church we’d walk quite a ways

With room there to gather, and for children to play.

Into the gym it seemed big and empty

But tucked on the stage was color a’plenty.

Amazing to see that old dresses, coats and shirts

could be cut and assembled into masterpiece works.

One at a time the women would come
To work on this quilt till the stitching was done.
Chairs pulled around a large wooden frame
Fabric stretched taught in order to tame

bumps, or small creases, they’d have none of that!
Layer between two named after a bat?

Expertly assembled on this frame that they built

This large fabric sandwich was then set on small stilts.

When I was little I’d play underneath
Lay on my back and listen to them speak

Stories were told about weather and grain
They fretted and worried about little rain

But then Grandma spoke about her faith in God
And I knew rain would come and soak the dry sod

Soon Grandmother had me pull up a chair
Could I be included for I had no gray hair?

I learned to thread needles before I could stitch
This job I was given was my little nitch.

I would walk 'round that big old pine frame
To thread a few needles to each lady I came.

A smile, and a hug often waited for me

Tiny eye holes for some were so hard to see!
A few of Gran’s friends were old and quite frank
Some rocked their babies who started to stink

These women enjoyed their time with those quilts
They laughed, joked, and cried, strong friendships were built

Silver steel glided with up and down motions
Thread, shears, and rulers were some of their notions.

After a few years I was invited to sew
I learned there are many tricks I needed to know

Carefully I watched as my Grandmother taught
To take even stitches, bottom layer must be caught.

It did not matter how quick, or how slow
What mattered the most was to sew a straight row.

I understood there’s a level of trust
To sew on their quilt, quality was a must.

Afternoon over soon we packed up to go
My mind was filled with new things I know.

I looked at my Grandma and smiled ear to ear
Beside this great woman there was nothing to fear.

I knew she loved me it was plain to see
Because she took me with her to her Quilting Bee.

-by- Sandra Dodge



Monday, April 15, 2013

"Oh SprinGee!"

I was in the middle of working on a new quilt when I realized I'd like to make it a little bigger than the pattern calls for, which was a large lap quilt. So I ordered more from one of my favorite fabric acquisition spots (Ebay) and began waiting. I'm NOT a good waiter. Rather than just stop sewing completely, I decided to find a fun project to fill the time until my extra fabric arrived.

Here it is, and it is finished...waiting for a cute wall hanger:

'Oh BeHive!'
 Mike Myers used the term, 'Ohh Behhhhave!' in the Austin Powers movies, and I never watched one but I laughed enough at the teenagers running around my house telling each other to 'BeHaaave' for it to stick. When I decided to name this project since it is definitely mine...I've dubbed it thusly, "Oh BeHive!" 

This is a combination of three little quilts I'd seen. But I like this one best. Yep..it's so 'sprinGee'. LOL. 'SprinGee' too must be said like Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory.

Ok enough speaking like other people. Haha!

Come back soon to see my new quilt in the works. It is a Tumbling Charm using the 'Gypsy Girl' fabric line by Moda.

Sew Sandi

P.S. I found the original pattern that sparked the idea for this quilt mini. It is by 'Patchsmith' who is a designer out of England. Here is her 'Mug Rug' pattern.

It is called 'Honey Bee'
Her designs can be found by searching the Craftsy.com website. I have found more ideas for future 'little' fun projects that I can finish in a day or two, or a weekend. I haven't really liked small quilts in the past because I thought, 'whats-the-point'? But since starting the Monthly mini's last year...I have really learned to enjoy the applique, machine quilting, binding necessity, and creativity of small projects. Don't worry though...I still have a few BIG quilts in the works. :) Stay tuned.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Carol's Concepts

Carol wrote me and told me she'd be posting about my 'ME' quilt on her blog today. It is so fun to see that caricature that she drew from the pictures I sent. Here are some pictures she posted on her blog which you can (and should) go see for yourself here:


Me and my Dodgeee
by-the-way...'DH'= Dear Husband
Here is what Carol drew.
Making my face.
This was hanging in her studio for this pic.
This was actually the picture I saw
on Pinterest that sparked the idea
on how I would like to hang Me in
my sewing room.
I liked the idea of pasting fabric on empty spools as a decoration. I knew I'd been saving those empty spools for a reason. ;) By-the-way...you can buy these see through shoe box-type containers at Dollar Tree for....wait for it...$1. I keep a half dozen in my office because you'd be surprised how often I need one. Don't pay big department store prices. Or, do. ;)
Now I'm here with 'ME' right where I oughta be.
Thanks again to Carol Tursnik! 
Sew Sandi


A Little Lucy Laugh

Lucille Ricardo tries to figure out her
'new' sewing machine.
When I saw this old photo of Lucille Ball in her show, 'I Love Lucy' it brought back so many memories of me and my sister, Cindy, watching her show. Nothing made me laugh like her trying to sew something. Her efforts usually brought her ridiculous howling cry when she would invariably fail. I can almost hear Ricky's LOUD baritone laughter at her ludicrous antics. I still think that in the old movie called 'Trouble With Angels' starring Haley Mills...her catch-phrase in that movie MUST have been coined while watching Lucille. It was: "Oooooh, I have the most scathingly BRILLIANT idea!" LOL.
In Dec 1981 I was a bride of about 6 months when we were about to celebrate our very first Christmas together. I wanted a sewing machine so badly. My Grandmother Rosina Mertz had just taught me to do Counted Cross Stitch and I wanted a sewing machine so I could zig-zag around my aida fabric so that it wouldn't unravel as I handled my work. I know, what a puny excuse of a reason to buy a sewing machine. Hahaha
My husband is a very generous man. Except when it comes to himself. He can look at the same pair of shoes ten times before he buys them. LOL. We lived in Oklahoma, and there was a Sears store there. ( a very SMALL store)...and we looked at that machine again, and again. One Sunday I noticed that the machine I wanted was on Sale for Christmas for $99. That wasn't just the plain-Jane straight stich/zig-zag machine....Nooooo...this one was REALLY fancy, it had 12 different stitches on it. Think of the creations I could make with '12' whole stitches to choose from. LOL.
A couple of days later...my husband and I happened to be driving by the Sears store and he pulled in. He turned to me and said, "Your going to have to do a LOT of sewing to justify $99. for a machine!" Hahaha. It's funny now...but back then that was a lot of money. And we were just starting out. But when I grinned at him...he marched right into that store and bought me that machine. It still works but when I purchased my little 'Betty' Bernina...alas...she was replaced and put out to pasture. Now I take her to classes, and to the church if we ever need simple stitching done for projects there.
So this picture brings back the memories of me trying to learn to sew on my fancy 'new' Kenmore with '12' different stitch types. I was bound and determined to make my DH proud of me and my use of that new machine. I imagine my face didn't look much different than Lucy's.
Anyway- I had to share this picture and story. It made me smile and appreciate the faith my DH had in me all those years ago. I wonder if he thinks he got his money's worth yet?!? ;)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sew Sandi's New Domain

Here I am! I came in the mail yesterday.
Thank you Carol!

This is what I worked on today. The idea in my head actually worked out better than I planned.

A new spot for 'Sew Sandi'
 I like it. It felt good to have her up and keeping watch.
My creative space.
Notice Betty likes it by the sunshine of the window.
A peek at my stash. The folded pieces stacked on
top of the shelves are all flannel. The rest is 100%
quality quilter's cotton. I could just stand and stare.
Admission: All the fabric on the right shelf, second from the bottom...ALL are pre-cuts. Happy JOY.
I know the walls are still very bare but that's the beauty of having a new space, filling it with things that I've made, or love.  I'll fill those empty spaces with things I've created, things that speak to me, show productivity, fresh ideas, patterns and things that challenged me, or made me stretch as a craftswoman.
I am still working on my scripture quilt. That will take up a wall soon. I hope I can get it finished in the next couple of months. Keep stopping by to look around. I will post as soon as it's finished. I promise. :) Margo's is on Lois's machine NOW. My heart just did a leap-frog thinking about it. :) When we get them all finished...we need to have a show. There are 5 of us making them. We started in March, 2011. Lois has been our most humble quilt guru, stash buster, venue provider, and trusted precious friend. As a quilter I cannot even lick her boots on my best day. I have a couple of hundred quilts to make just to get into her ball-park. :)
I better get started!
Sew Sandi

Sew Sandi

I know there are several people out there who scratch their head and cannot figure out the love affair some people seem to have with Pinterest. I'm NOT one of those people. I GET IT and I LOVE IT!

The minute I started surfing for some of my favorite crafts and saw the plethora of beautiful, creative, ingenious ideas that are out there in cyber-wonderland being pulled together so that people (like me) can draw from their gifts, and talents to learn, grow, and create myself to help and bless my family and friends...I was hooked.

From appetizers, to how to clean the gunk off the bottom of your frying pans and cookie sheets, to patterns for crochet easy enough for a total novice like me, etc...I could go ON, and ON. It's there...It's on Pinterest.

I have in my possession umpteen cook books that I devour once, or twice, and then I put them away to collect dust. Oh yes...every blue moon I'll TRY to find that ONE recipe that I would love to make for my family or a party...but trying to find the recipe takes MUCH longer than making the recipe itself. I have tried to organize my Pinterest 'Boards' in such a way that I can find the things I am in need of, and QUICK. I can even access them in the grocery isle at Walmart for the recipe. That=Love.

No this isn't a PRO Pinterest post. Though, you'd think so. It brings me to my post today though. I LOVE quilting. Everything about it. From small quilts, wall hangings, to large bed quilts. From very vintage quilts and patterns, to more modern trendy quilts. Pinning new fresh ideas that I can learn, grow, and increase my skills looking at...I pin. I'd rather look through quilt tutorials, and blogs, than watch the crud they have on TV, any day.

So one evening I was browsing my favorite things...quilts...on Pinterest...and I saw a small portrait quilt. I did a double-take...and my mouth started to water. It was soooo cool! I clicked and went to this woman's blog and was enthralled in a world of art, color, caricatures, that encompassed thread, and FABRIC! It began when this woman (Carol) decided to make a quilt of the people in her sewing guild. And like eating one Lays potato chip...she couldn't eat just one.

I had to contact Carol. We had to be friends. :) And through a bevy of email and wading through her present time deadlines, and crunches...she made one of ME, to hang in my new sewing room that you can read about in one of my older posts called 'Let's move'.

I got ME in the mail today. And I LOVE ME! Hahaha. She asked for a couple of pictures of me to draw from and I sent these:
One of my faves of 'DH' and I.
Jer & Sandi- In love for almost 33 years.
OK- Those are the pictures I sent to her. I told her a few things about me...including that my eyes were hazel. The madder I get the darker my eyes are. Or so says 'DH', Bahaha! My favorite color is red. And the walls of my sewing room are a sage green. She told me to tell Jerry not to worry she would make my eyes a light color of green. :) Now let me introduce ME:

"Sew Sandi"
Lady Number #41
How fun is this? I cannot wait to get her up in my sewing room and get her situated so she can watch over my 'stuff'. ;)
Like I've said a gillion times to my children...nothing ventured...nothing gained. I have a new talented pal by the name of Carol Turznik. Her talent now will hang in my special space. You can see the other #40 ladies she has created by visiting her blog here:
From that page you can go to her button on the right hand side which will shoot you over to her flickr site. Go ahead...spend a while looking at her amazing work. You can email Carol at turznik@execpc.com. NVNG!
Can I just say....Pinterest Rocks! And sew does brilliant, gifted, craftswomen like Carol. Thank you Carol. I will appreciate your work for a VERY long time.
 In Appreciation,
'Sew Sandi'

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tiffany's Tumbler Baby Quilt

One of my sweet neighbors, Tiffany, (and a member of my Ward (church) family) is having baby number 2, hopefully the first week of April. Tiffany has a darling little girl (Stella) who is not quite 2. This time she is having a precious baby boy. I decided to make her a little quilt.

I am a bit of a fabric hoarder, collector. I really like quality quilting fabrics that you find at reputable quilt shops. Right now the yardage runs about $11.-$15. per yard. No, that is not a typo. There is nothing worse than buying and trying to work with cheap chain store fabrics. Quilts require too much time, and work to have to worry about your quilt falling apart , or bleeding all over itself in the washer. What a nightmare.

Tip: Try watching Ebay. My favorite designer fabric lines are by Moda, Robert Kaufman, Kari Pearson, Debbie Mumm, Bonnie and Camille, Kate Spain, etc.

You can visit the Moda Bakeshop by pressing the button on my blog interfacing. It is NOT for cooking. It's for sewing. They use a baking metaphor with regards to layers of fabrics that are pre-cut to sizes with baking terms. 10x10" 'Layer-Cakes' come usually 42 in a package. 5x5" 'Charm' packs come in 42 as well. You get the idea. I LOVE to purchase these and have them on hand.

As you can probably guess, sometimes it takes years to gather enough fabric to make a pieced quilt top. But by purchasing designer 'lines' of fabric they have done a lot of the guess work for you. These lines are meant to blend well, go together, and 'work'. When you need to make a quilt NOW...grabbing a 'Layer-Cake', or a couple of 'Charm' packages is a blessing.

That's what I did to make Tiffany's quilt. I chose a Charm pack by- Moda, called 'Meadow Friends'.
This is what a Charm pack looks like.
This is a stack of 42, 5x5" squares.
I loved the lizards, flies, frogs, and bugs.
Tiffany and her sweet family live across the street from us and at the end of our block is a large field, with wild flowers, ponds, ducks, and BUGS! I am sure that little baby boy will be in that field with his Daddy very soon. That's why I chose this line.
I recently purchased a tumbler ruler from
the Missouri Star Quilt Company
which is specifically made to use with charm packs.
It was just begging to be played with.
A closer look at the rows sewn together.
Matching seams is ALL about ironing correctly
and using pins...plenty of pins.
This is the first quilt I actually quilted myself on my machine. I used a white bobbin thread to match the backing I used. But then I tried matching each tumbler with its own color. So blue was outlined in blue, using a 1/4" quilting seam rule, and orange thread outlining the orange tumblers, etc.
I decided to go with brown sashing with
a large orange ric-rac to make the orange POP.
Then I chose a blue backing, and blue
polka-dot fabric for a double binding.
You can see the backing I chose in the
top right hand side of this picture. The
back should always be as cute as the front.
It's finished and ready for her baby shower.
Here is sweet Tiffany with her gift.
What a fun experience this quilt was to make. I used a new fabric line, new fun ruler, and had no pattern except the one I conceptualized in my brain. So it was a challenge. But the results are sew much fun.
Friend and neighbor,


Monday, March 25, 2013

Easter Pillow Case- Tutorial

I have the cutest niece, Lindsay, who asked me just last week if she could have my pillow case pattern. She thinks it's a fun idea to lift the spirits of those around her. So I am not only going to show her how I made these but at the end I will add a link to a great pillow case tutorial video that will also make it clearer.

For this project you will need: I purchased 100 percent cotton, 45" width fabric.

7/8 yd. of your main pillow case fabric.
3/8 yd of complimentary fabric for the band.
Scraps if you are wanting to applique a name, or words.

Size finishes 30x20" - fits a standard pillow

Cut a 10" x 41" Strip for the band - Mine is pink floral.
Cut a 26 and 1/2" x 41" rectangle- Mine is turquoise floral

Hint: Make sure your fabric is ironed so there are no wrinkles or bunching.

I decided to applique names on mine. So I found a font on my computer that would be simple to applique around ie. a bold font. Then type the names or words you are wanting to applique onto your pillow case band. Play with the font size. I used a font that required size 140. Then Print it out.
This is the font I used. It is called
Berlin Sans FB

Then I used my light table to trace the letters onto 'Heat N Bond lite'. You can trace on a sunny window too. You will want to place the letters you are tracing backwards so that when you iron them on they will be straight.
This is on my light table. You see how I
have turned the actual name upside down
to do the tracing. You will trace on the paper
side of the 'Heat N Bond lite'.

See the tracing is backwards? Then iron the letters
onto the WRONG side of your scrap material.
Cut out your lettering.
Fold your band in half length-wise and iron.
It should be 5" wide now.
Then fold the band in half lengthwise (so 20 and 1/2")
and then mark the middle.
Then I placed a pin in the center of that (10 and 1/4")
so I could see where I would place my letters.
You will want to place the letters above the fold line.
The raw edge is at the TOP.
Use a ruler to center your lettering.
Your letters will be at the far LEFT of your band.
You can see that the letters are placed ABOVE the fold line.
Then when you have them centered. Pull the paper
back off of the Heat N Bond lite, and iron.
Press and lift. Do not rub iron back and forth.
Open the band to it's full 10" width.
DO NOT sew through the band when it's in half.
I use a computerized Bernina "Betty", and it has a 'blanket stitch' that I used to stitch the edges of the appliqued letters. If you don't have this on your machine, don't worry, you can also use a small, tight zig-zag stitch with a beautiful effect. :) You'll want to pick the same color as your letters. I chose a brown. But normally you should use the same color as your letters. This will hide a plethora of mistakes. So beginners should use the same color. Go ahead and stitch SLOWLY around each letter, and the insides of the a's, and e's, etc. It takes some practice. You may want to applique a few letters on some scraps before you sew on your actual pillow cases. Just so you get the feel for moving your material around so much. If you have a 'Needle Down' feature on your machine, use it. If not, try to drop your needle into the fabric before you pivot the fabric to turn a corner.
Lay your 10" band down FACE up and full length.
Place your pillow case body LONG way, FACE DOWN
So- Right sides TOGETHER.
Pin about every 6" along the top.

Remember, RIGHT sides should be together.
Now beginning at the BOTTOM edge of the pillowcase body...
(closest to you) begin to roll it towards the PINNED EDGE.
Like a burrito!
Once it is rolled, STOP when the burrito is on top
of your pressed line. Or, the MIDDLE of your band.
Then take the BOTTOM edge of your BAND up OVER
your burrito to align with the pinned edge.
Then re-pin those THREE layers together.
I pinned about every 3-4"
You should have THREE layers.
Once it's all pinned it should look like this.
Now you are ready to sew that pinned edge.
HINT: If you don't want a scaddy-wompus
top edge. Pin and walk your first few stitches.
Pinning those edges will make them nice and straight.
HINT: Make it a practice to NEVER run over a pin. ALWAYS stop your machine before you get to a pin and remove it.
I used my Serger "Bossy" I love how it finishes my edges
But don't fret if you don't have one. Just sew a straight seam.
This is what a serged edge looks like. It does a
straight stitch as well as a zig-zag on the edge.
If you want to put a zig-zag on your edge. Do it.
Once your burrito is sewn. Pull that burrito OUT.
Just like pulling a coat sleeve out of itself.
Don't worry..it WILL come out. LOL.
Once you pull it out...you may MARVEL that
all the seams are neatly tucked INSIDE the band,
and there are NO raw edges.
Because- that's how we roll!
(Like...BURRITO- pun intended)
Now take your pillow case to the ironing board and
using your finger tips to straighten that band...iron
both sides. Making sure the sewn edge is not bunched.
HINT: I iron the sewn edge but NOT the folded edge until I straighten the sewn edge of BOTH sides.
Then I laid my pillow case out BEFORE sewing the
side-seams and squared it up with my long ruler and
rotary cutter. See the excess strip I cut off? That would
have made the pillowcase lop-sided.
HINT: Good rule...Measure TWICE, cut ONCE!
Once the seam of your BAND is pinned to match.
Go ahead and sew the side, and bottom seams.
You may also want to zig-zag those.
Sorry some of my pictures turned out dark. :(
Turn the pillow case right side out and iron the
seams nice and straight like you did the band.
Ready for their boxes. :)
Voile! You are finished with your DARLING pillow case. Now go give it to some unsuspecting person who needs a fun surprise! Mine went in Cassi's Easter Care package for her and Hermana Hall (her very first Mission companion). There is also one for Taylor our dear friend up at BYUI, she is far from home this Easter. Home is in North Carolina. I wish I had time to make a dozen of these before Easter. But now YOU know how to make them...you can make one for you, or someone you know and love.
Love you Linds! XOXO
Aunt Sandi
Here's the link I promised. She does a great job of explaining.