DONNA POSTER NEWSLETTERS
Finally --- the holidays are over and we can back to a normal routine which, hopefully, will include lots of quilting!
We had a perfect holiday and I’m feeling well again. A trip to an ear, nose and throat specialist solved a longtime problem of mine. For the first time in my life I heard someone say, ”I know what you have and I know how to fix it.” Beautiful words! I have reactive airways --- allergic to dust mites and ragweed. Threw away my feather pillow, electric blanket, raised the water temperature above 130 degrees and I’m feeling better already.
Had a lot of fun trimming the tree this Christmas --- Eliad “helped”. I chose the blown glass ornaments this year because they are the most interesting. Have you ever seen a tree with over a hundred ornaments hanging from the bottom branches --- and “naked” from there on up? Did you know that you can hang six ornaments on one little branch before it hits the floor? You can learn a lot from a four year old! Hope your holidays were great fun too.
It’s time now to get some quilting news in our newsletters again. I was rummaging through some old guild stuff and came across two nice little hints. Use clear, plastic, zippered cosmetic cases to keep supplies in --- you can see everything inside. The other suggestion was to stick a golf tee in the top of a spool of thread to hold a thimble or, with a magnet glued to the top, extra threaded needles.
Wow! I just found a whole pile of good stuff that Istashing away to send to you. (I gotta get organized this year) Here’s some of the goodies:
Someone sent me this --- It was on how to find more time to quilt. I don’t know who or where it came from, but I love it. Housework is only for spare time! I have very little of that so very little housework gets done. My DH has learned to live with this. Of course he was pretty easy to work with as he was a bachelor when we met --- didn’t know the house was supposed to be kept clean and I made sure know one ever told him otherwise!
Another good one --- a cardboard paper towel core is perfect to wrap precut strips of fabric around. Ideal to carry to classes and to store for future use. I use this method to store my cut and folded binding.
Did you know that those old pincushions were made in a tomato shape for a reason? Believers of old thought it was good luck to put a ripe tomato on the mantel of any new home. But ripe tomatoes weren’t to be had all year round so tomato pincushions became popular housewarming gifts.
This tip came from a handquilter. She uses clamps from the stationery store to clamp her quilt layers to the table for basting. Also, she bastes in a grid six inches apart rather than in a radiation method. I’ve always used the grid method. Radiation basting flattens the center resulting in a very unevenly basted quilt.
Here’s a hint of my own. In this stressful economy many of us will be using up our stash of fabric to make quilts. No problem for me --- I happen to love scrap quilts! Look for uncomplicated patterns with just one or two pieces. If you want the design to show, use contrast --- darks & medium darks with lights and medium lights. Some people like to just throw the cut pieces in a bag and use them as they come out of the bag. Great fun! My favorite scrap quilt (actually my first charm quilt) starts with the darkest pieces in the upper left corner and gradually moves to the lightest pieces in the bottom right corner. For accent I put a few darks in the light areas and a few lights in the dark areas. I used the Apple Core piece (or as a student of mine called it --- the Panty crotch piece!!)
Getting ready to teach at the Road to California show. When I’m back and things settle down a bit, I’m hoping to write to you every month. Also need to get Mr. Donna sending a few more recipes. What would you like to see in our letters? I always like hearing from you so send me your ideas. Pictures, too --- we’ll post them for others to ooh and aah at!
Gotta go --- more of my book is due --- Mr. Donna is asking for more applique designs --- and I’ve got a quilt I’m working on! Quilters are never bored!!!
Enjoy the winter --- it’s a good excuse to stay inside, nice & warm, and quilt.
Your quilting buddy,
Mr. Donna here with a request. I’m hoping one of you folks is geekie enough to help me with a problem. Here it is: On occasion, images I put on the website will disappear when the pointer is moved over them. Refreshing the page brings the images back, only to disappears again the same way. Such a situation exists for the last two designs (Snails Trail & Hidden Wells) on the Foldy Stuff page which contains all the designs. I asked my host about this with no solution. Help!!!
DONNA POSTER NEWSLETTER
--We have sprouts peeking through! It’s too early, I know, but I’m going to enjoy them anyway. This has been such a cold and dreary winter everyone’s itching for Spring.
--On the other hand, we have Eliad who, at 4 ½ years keeps us in stitches. Here’s an example. Riding in the backseat of my Beetle:
Gran’ma, why did that ambulance have the siren going?
That means he has to hurry because he’s taking someone who is very sick to the hospital.
Why is he sick, gran’ma?
I don’t know, honey.
(Long pause here) Maybe he didn’t wash his hands after he went to the potty.
He just cracks us up!
--Cleaning up the house these days. After eight months of battling “colds” I finally saw a pulmonary specialist. I have asthma. Our younger daughter, Laura, developed asthma several years ago and has done extensive research on it. Her comment, “Mom, this is very treatable” was reassuring and it feels good just to have a firm diagnosis. So --- I see this as God’s little joke on me --- the very thing I hate most in my life (cleaning) is now something I must pay attention to on a regular basis!
--Had a wonderful time at the Road to California show. Great classes, smart students, warm weather, nice people! And Laura, who lives in San Diego, came up for a few days to help out. Our son-in-law, Michael, came up Sunday and spent several hours at the show. He is quite astonished that people will spend so much time cutting up fabric, only to end up sewing it all back together again! Laura fell in love with the longarm quilting machines and I have to tell you that when Michael tried it I definitely saw his eyes light up!
--Found several new items at the show.
The first was a really unique way of hanging quilts on a wall. It involves a long magnet which you can adjust easily after it’s already on the wall. If you think a magnet will not hold your quilt, well, I’ve never seen a magnet like this! Your quilt will stay up! Go to www.magnificentquilt.com <http://www.magnificentquilt.com/>.
-- The second item was a new starch called Mary Ellen’s Best Press. I bought a bottle because so many of my students said it was fantastic and worth the price. It was 3.99 for a relatively small bottle. There’s no website on the bottle but ask for it at your local quilt shop.
--If you like stationery with a quilting theme, go to www.bbdcreations.com <http://www.bbdcreations.com/> . I first found them at a show in Vermont and I see they’ve now expanded their line to include other things. Look them up --- their style is very unique.
--Lori, one of my students, gave me the greatest hint. After losing some expensive sewing items at the airport, she now carries with her a padded, self-addressed envelope with 5.00 postage on it. That amount will cover anything they might confiscate and is a lot better than losing a pair of Gingher scissors!
--It’s amazing what you learn in a quilt class. When teaching in Texas I could tell you where to get Siamese cats bred with good temperaments, who to call to remove a swarm of bees, which restaurants serve emu meat, etc. Very interesting stuff!
--I didn’t get the name of the sender but thank you! I’m going to try it.
I wanted to send along a tip a 98 yr. old MAN taught me.
Leave your pack of needles in the holder they came in, thread each, no matter how small the eye, it shows up against the background of the folder and you have a whole package to steady your hand instead of just one tiny needle.
I have been asked to make a quilt out of old silk sari's and thought Foldy Stuff might be the best way to go. I know if I don't use a foundation, I would have to stabilize each piece of silk which seems like a pain to me.
--My question is, since the sari's are dry clean only, would you prewash your muslin or any cottons you use with the silks? (I'm from the school of thought that you prewash cottons before you use them in quilts, except if a specific pattern tells you not to like for rag quilts.) I can't seem to think it through in my mind whether it would be best to prewash/preshink the cottons or not. I don't know if they shrink under dry cleaning solvents . . . I guess that's my real question. If cottons shrink with dry cleaning solvents then I should preshrink them . . . any thoughts?
--I was going to show my customer the Chinese Lanterns, Sunburst, Hexagon Fussy Cut, Springtime. and Peony patterns to see if she likes any of those.
--Thanks. You came to speak at my quild, County Line Quilters, several years ago and I loved your talk. I've never done Foldy Stuff, but have always wanted to try and I think this may be the project to use it on!
Foldy Stuff is great with silk! And, no, because of the foundation muslin, you won't have to add a stabilizer --- which I think ruins the beauty of the silk anyway.
--As for washing the muslin, it wouldn't hurt to wash it, but I've never heard of dry cleaning shrinking cotton so it seems unnecessary to me.
One hint --- try cutting just a few pieces first. My experience with silk is that it frays something awful when cut on the straight grain. If you cut it on the bias it doesn't fray at all. However, if cut on the bias it has a mind of its own! I handle it by rotary cutting all four sides of a piece before picking it up. Then, pin it at both ends on the muslin and, if needed, "pat" it in place. Sounds like a lot of fuss & bother but you end up working out a sort of routine. Silk is my absolute favorite fabric!
Let me know how it works out for you --- I'd love a picture or two, "in process" and finished!
--Hope you’re having a good winter season. I know it’s time for me to haul out some of those gorgeous batiks I bought at the show and start cutting up a quilt to stitch!
DONNA POSTER NEWSLETTER
Just got back from a two week visit to San Diego to see our daughter, Laura. We left in cold weather and returned to warm sunny days and flowers blooming everywhere. Great way to enter springtime!
Eliad is growing so fast these days --- and the questions! He gives you a whole new perspective on life. He’s very self sufficient, too. About a year ago he entered the usual “monsters under my bed” stage. But he solved the problem by stationing a little rubber goofy looking figure in the doorway to his room. It works, too --- as long as that goofy blue guy is there his room is absolutely safe! Wouldn’t it be great if we all had such a simple guard against our “monsters”.
If you ever get to San Diego, be sure to visit Rosie’s Calico Cupboard Quilt Shop. I hadn’t been there in several years and was stunned! I have never seen so much fabric --- she must have several thousand bolts!! One room alone was filled with fabric on sale for $4.00 a yard. I bought ten 8 yard pieces for backings!!
I get so many funny stories from my readers --- I love them! Here’s one from Linda Worsley. Before I had a dedicated sewing room, I used the “guest room” and always had fabric piled up on the couch that made up into a bed. One day when our son was about 5, we were going to have company and I “cleaned” up the guest room to be able to fit someone else in there, and our son said, ‘When did we get a new couch’?!! Boy, can I relate to that story!
In the same email she tells about having an embolism that went into her lungs. She constantly tells quilters to get up every so often and move about, especially their legs.
I’m delighted at the number of quilters who are using the Foldy Stuff for potholder gifts. Most use the Pineapple, probably because it’s the most showy and the thickest. Check out the third page under “Show And Tell” on our website, http://quiltwithdonna.com. Karen Winn’s son went on a three week choir trip to Italy and was told she needed to send eight gifts for hosting families. They couldn’t be too heavy as each student was limited to one suitcase and one backpack. Eight Foldy Stuff potholders were perfect and a huge success!
Mr. Donna here: First a note about sending this newsletter. Comcast did me a big favor and changed its e-mail format. They do this from time to time; doesn’t improve anything, just change for change sake. Anyway, I floundered for a while and made many telephone calls. As part of the solution I managed to send the last newsletter to certain folks more than once, maybe two or three times. So, please pardon the foulup. I believe I now have it back on track. We shall see.
Mr. Donna here with a new recipe. This one is called Creole Bouillabaisse (I couldn’t spell that one without help if my life depended on it). It is my understanding that this is a dish made by wives of fishermen. When the boat came back after a days fishing the catch was sold. What wasn’t sold was taken home and the fisherman’s wife made a stew called bouillabaisse. Here is what I do:
1 lb fish fillets cut into 1 inch chunks. Can be flounder, bass, orange roughy,
or any firm fish.
¾ lb shrimp. The smallest shrimp works best.
½ cup butter
¼ cup flour
1/2 pint oysters
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup copped celery. You can’t use to much celery.
2 tsp minced garlic
2 cans chicken broth, 13 oz each.
1 lg can diced tomatoes. Use the brand with some seasoning. , like Furmans
1 cup dry white wine
2 T chopped parsley
1 T lemon juice
1 bay leaf
½ tsp salt
¼ cayenne pepper
That’s the recipe. In addition I include the following:
1 can clams
8 clams in the shell. Try to get live ones.
1 lg snowcrab leg cluster cut up at the joints.
½ lb bay scallops
Using medium heat melt butter in large boiler, add flower to make the roux. Heat to light brown. I find things work out better if I undercook everything. Add onion, celery and garlic. Stir (it’s all in the wrist motion) until veggies are tender. Add small amount of chicken broth if roux is too dry. Add remainder of ingredients except the seafood, simmer 10 min. Add fish, oysters and scallops, simmer 5 min. Add clams, mussels and crawfish, simmer 5 min. Add shrimp, simmer 1 min. Should be enough to feed Patton’s 3d army.
Cute quote, “Quilting alone; an out-of buddy experience”
Till next time --- happy quilting,
DONNA POSTER NEWSLETTER
It’s August already --- good grief, where has the summer gone? Well, OK, let’s look at the bright side. The nicest, prettiest part of the year is just around the corner. The flowers in Mr. Donna’s garden are gorgeous. The deer haven’t eaten the hostas yet and we’re gonna have pizza and wine on the deck tonight. Life is good!
Eliad is so much fun these days! Growing so fast you can almost see it. And “all boy”! I had two little girls so this “boy” stuff is new to me. Last week I emptied my button jars for us to play with. He dutifully matched three sets of buttons then announced, “Grandma, this isn’t any fun.” If it doesn’t have wheels or water it’s useless! So these days I’m the one who’s learning new ways to have fun --- boy style!
Been finding a lot of great tips these days --- here are some of my favorites:
Instead of folding a quilt parallel to the edges and getting those nasty creases, try folding it on the bias in the same way you would fold a large piece of fabric to cut bias strips. Next fold the ends in and keep folding it this way till you have a square or rectangle. No hard creases!
Theresa writes: I was told by a fabric conservationist that you should NEVER dry clean cotton. The fibers are easily weakened by the solvents and will cause deterioration of the fabric. That is why you should NEVER dry clean a quilt of any age. Just thought I'd pass that along!
Sometimes it’s hard to see which fabrics will stand out in an assortment of prints. Layer them, side by side, and print them out in black and white. The contrast will be very obvious!
Keep your glue sticks in the refrigerator to keep them firmer. They’ll last a lot longer.
Our son-in-law to be and Mr. Donna have started a “let’s have some fun” web page and have imbedded it within our quilting website, http://Quiltwithdonna.com. You can get there by typing foldystuff.com/WWHH,html (the URL is case sensitive) into your browser. Or, go to the first page after entering our website, just over the humming bird in the box at the top, are the letters “WWHH” click on that link.
WWHH means World Wide Happy Hour which grew out of the practice of these guys having a martini at 5:00PM each day. Go there, and tell all your friends. It’s a great piece of fluff.
Did you know that Mr. Donna came up with some of the first rulers and notions in the quilt market? As an engineer, he could see what was needed and how to manufacture it. But one of these notions has a very funny story.
Years ago, when the rotary cutter was a new gizmo, someone came in the store with a beer can handle that she’d stuck on her ruler to help hold it down while she cut her fabric. She’d bought at the local beer barn. It was meant to stick on a beer can so guys could drink in a genteel manner. Needless to say, as a beer can handle it "bombed" --- big time! Mr. Donna found the source of these handles and started importing and selling them in the quilt market. We used to chuckle as the importer tried, many times, to find out why he was the only person who could sell these things! This ruler handle is still being sold to quilters.
I’m starting to see AQS ads for my new book, Block Beauty. Exciting! They put my favorite quilt on the front cover! Look for it this fall.
I am looking forward to getting back to teaching again. The health problems of the last year have put a real crimp in my schedule but it turned out to be allergies which I’ve evidently struggled with for a long time and didn’t know it. I haven’t felt this good in years! As I start up classes again, I’ll post them on my website.
Mr. Donna here: OK, tomato season is upon us and that means---what?----chili of course. The recipe is in the Aug/Sept 2006 edition of this newsletter. Click onto “Newsletters” at the first page that comes up when you enter this site.
We are lucky to have a farmer who lives about 1 mile from us; last year he was selling these big 1 1/2# perfect tomatoes for $.50 each. And, the chili was great.
Gotta go now --- I’m getting another book proposal ready to send to AQS! Hope you’re all well and enjoying the summer.
DONNA POSTER NEWSLETTER
My latest book is finally here!! Getting a book published is a bit like giving birth to an elephant! It’s worth the wait, though, because AQS did a beautiful job on it. I asked for lots of color and they did it! Even the illustrations are in color, making them very easy to understand. For more information please go to our website <http://Quiltwithdonna.com/>. You can order the book directly from the website. Would you like it signed… just let me know by email. Donnaposter@comcast.net <mailto:Donnaposter@comcast.net> I’d love to.
Fall is here and our mountain is just gorgeous! The trees make me want to buy fabric in those incredible mixes of golds, yellows, oranges, reds and deep maroon. I just gotta make a quilt like that!
Eliad turned five October 18. I just can’t believe it --- that funny little kid is growing into a really nice young man. Very responsible too --- when we leave I tell Mr. Donna , “I have my cell phone” and he calls out, “And the battery’s good and it’s on!” When I forget my coffee, he’s the one tells me it’s on the roof of the car. His big thing these days is Thomas the Train. He knows all the stories, the trains and their personalities --- spends hours setting up variations of tracks. He’s a fun kid and Mr. Donna and I are really enjoying this Gran’ma & Gran’pa thing!
I just got back from the Houston Festival. I met my San Diego daughter there and we had a wonderful three days. I’ve been going to the Houston Markets and Festivals for over twenty years as either a vendor, buyer or teacher. This is the first time I’ve gone “just for fun” and I actually felt a bit naughty!
As with everything this year, it was a just bit smaller --- a few less booths, quilts and classes. But you’d never know it unless you’d been attending for many years! It was still incredible and well attended. The aisles were packed and people were buying. Felt good.
I found a few new fun things, too. Clover has a new thimble out --- and we’re always looking for the perfect thimble! It’s of flexible rubber for comfort but has a ridged metal tip for stitching. Feels comfy and works great.
Bohn has a wonderful tool for marking fine lines on dark fabrics. It’s a mechanical pencil with fine chalk as the “lead”. It never need sharpening, it won’t go “smudgy” and it comes with six refills. I’ve been looking for something like this for years!
You know those “sticky” rollers that take lint off garments? Well, there’s a new one out that never needs refills and rinses clean with water. It’s advertised for pet hair, furniture, carpets, etc. but it looked perfect for my studio floor. Besides thread they were showing that it’s sticky enough to pick up buttons, safety pins, etc. I bought one, tried it --- works great! I don’t see a website on their packaging but the address is: Easy Living Products, 2705 W. Lincoln, Anaheim, CA 92801
Of course, I came home with a new pile of fabric. One booth had fat quarters of the most beautiful batiks I’ve ever seen for $2.00 each!! I bought twenty-five of them! Lots of books, notions, sewing room furniture and longarm machines. And, of course, the quilts! I’m always in awe of the quilts on display. Where do they get these ideas? One of my favorites was of a jigsaw puzzle with pieces missing. The “pieces” were scattered on the “table” below the puzzle. It was adorable.
And I can’t believe the time that’s spent creating these quilts. Sieglinde Schoen-Smith had a new one --- remember her “Mother Earth” that won the grand prize a few years ago? It’s of the twelve days of Christmas and really defies description! I’m sure she’ll be having a book on it someday!
Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve written. Meanwhile, winter is just around the corner, giving us plenty of excuses for staying indoors and quilting!
Hope you’re well, busy and happy,