Sunday, March 19, 2023

Feeling Virtuous


You all know how much I like to cook. I made chicken stock the other night. When I roast a chicken I cut out the back and flatten it out. I save the backs, necks and wing tips in a bag in the freezer until I have enough to make stock. This time I actually bought a small chicken and cut it up before I threw it in the stockpot with potatoes, carrots, onions, mushrooms, parsley, a parsnip or two and some salt and peppercorns. I pulled out the chicken breasts after about half an hour, so I have nice meat for sandwiches and salads for my lunches. Then I let the rest of it simmer for about four hours. I put it in these plastic containers, and then stuck them out on the porch to cool down overnight. I knew the fat would rise to the top and congeal, and the next morning I brought them in the house, skimmed off the fat, put the covers on and labelled them, and then put most of them in the freezer.

I felt very virtuous. After I did that I sat down and did my taxes, and have a refund coming. Lucky me.

I ordered a stack of fat quarter packs from the Portsmouth Fabric Company. They arrived and I ran them through the washer and dryer and ironed them while I "watched" TV. My housework is done and the bills are paid, so on Sunday I get to do whatever I want. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2023



I'm in New England, and we got hit hard with a Nor'Easter on Tuesday. I elected to work from home, which was smart as the roads were just terrible. As it happened the powers that be decided to close the plant at noon because travel was so treacherous. So I got a real live Snow Day. I was glad I had sewn the binding on the Crowing About It quilt, because it meant I could sit on the couch and sew while I "watched" the BNP Paribus Open on TV. But then I started to fold the binding over I realized that I had not added a hanging sleeve to the quilt. OOPS!

I rummaged around the bin with the leftover backing fabric, and pulled out this, measured it all up and made the hanging sleeve.

Then I had to unsew the binding from the top edge of the quilt, slip the hanging sleeve between the binding and the quilt and pin it in place.

But before I could pin the binding over to the front of the quilt I heard a big WHOMPH!

A branch from a tree had broken and as it fell it brushed against my house and one end landed at the edge of my roof. It had been slowed down by the bushes nearby but it was still startling.

I pinned the binding over to the front of the quilt. NOW I am ready to sew it down.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Binding the Crowing About It Quilt


This is the fabric I chose to bind the first student bird quilt, "Crowing About It." 

Regular readers know I sew my binding to the back of my quilts, so I can do the finish on the front.

It's nice to have a quilt to work on when I "watch" television (Top Chef Season 20 started last week, and the Tournament of Champions IV is well underway) so I'm happy to finally get this quit to a point where I can be sewing while I watch TV.

Working my way around, mitering the corners...

Here I've joined the strips and sewn it all down.

I like to fold the binding over to the front and pin it all down before I start hand sewing it. But that will happen later.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

It's Only a Number


Since I decided the 500th bird I make would be inspired by whatever was around me, it was easy to go into the studio and make a bird that was made from fabrics that were right in front of me. These blues were used in the Aquamarine quilt.

So bird # 500 is blue!

My plan is to do my taxes this weekend. If I am very lucky I will complete the dratted task on Saturday and then have Sunday to do as I please....

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

The Five Hundredth


Somebody asked to see the 500th bird. I haven't even made it yet. That got me to thinking... OMG! I've made 499 birds.

I've made birds based on my family members...

bouquets of flowers,

buildings (barns),

the landscape around me,

food I've eaten,

birthday cards I have received,


the sky,

flowers, (oh yeah, I said that)

and even birds based on me.

I've made yellow birds,

and purple birds,

blue birds,

and black and white birds,

and pink birds.

I've made really big birds,

and really little birds. (The big pink bird is the same size as the blue bird in the picture with the two giant birds).

I've made birds of every color, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, gray and black. 

I've made birds based on every thing, people, friends, landscapes, plants, buildings, cats, dogs, butterflies, mountains, roads, cars, barns, skies, port-a-potties, airstream trailers, signs, you name it. 

I've made really big birds, and I've made tiny ones.

The idea of making ONE BIRD to commemorate the first 499 is more than a bit daunting. It's impossible.
So the next bird I make, the 500th, will be based on whatever happens to inspire me when I go into the studio the next time. It'll just be one in a long line of wonderful birds that each have their own story.

And it won't stop there.

Yes, you can make birds. You can get the tutorial here. And if you think I'm nuts for making 499, well, check this out: One customer wrote this review: "I got the tutorial, planning to make a bird quilt as a gift. I made one bird to test it out. The next thing I knew I had thirty-six."

Monday, March 6, 2023

How Many?


I made four small right facing birds on Saturday. I put them up on the design wall (above) and then counted them. There are 80. I texted Julie.

"Have you updated your lifetime total lately," she texted back?

Um, I've actually never counted, I texted back. I guess I should.

Several hours later I had a pretty good number. I texted Julie, My best count is 495. Then I thought for a. minute. So, OK. Tomorrow I'll make five birds any color I want so I can say I've made 500.

"Well, duh," Julie texted back, "Of course you will."

Thing is though, I was so damned tired, I went to bed early. 8:45 early.

I woke up at 7:30 on Sunday, feeling much better. I got up, took my Fosomax and then started making my lunches for the week. Then I had breakfast, cleaned up and went into the studio ready to make more birds.

It didn't take me long to choose fabrics for five birds. Except I didn't have any leg panels for the "standard" bird. So I made four of those. 

The wing fabric on bird 496 was a scrap from the backing of the Defying Gravity quilt. The breast fabric was from the scrap bins. The beak was from the Pink Panther quilt.

Bird 497 was made from scraps from the Holiday Boxes quilt, and the backing of the first Scrap Slab Triangles quit, Fruit Loops,


I don't remember what quilt I used the breast fabric in, but it was a scrao from something. I literally cut around the leftover bits you see above. When I tell people the birds are very scrap friendly, I am not kidding.

The sunflower fabric for bird 498 was purchased for the Allegretto quilt, the breast is from the Golden Zebras, and the beak is from the Firebird zebras quilt.

The wing from bird 499 is from the Dinosaur quilt I made for my granddaughter. The breast fabric is from my stash and the beak fabric is from some fabric I bought last year that I haven't done anything with yet.

But by that time I was tired and hungry, so I stopped to have dinner, clean up the kitchen and write this post.

I was so pretty excited to make birds that were NOT PINK!!

If you want to make these birds, you can get my tutorial here, at my Etsy shop, It's an instant download so you can't started right away.

Saturday, March 4, 2023



Julie texted me last night "Weather app says you are to have FIFTEEN INCHES of snow in the next 24 hours - holy catfish!!!"

I smiled when I read it. It wasn't news here. We've all known about this for days. I had my groceries delivered after work on Thursday and gassed up my car on Friday. As I drove past the local grocery store on my way home I could see the parking lot was FULL! Nothing out of the ordinary just before a big storm.

I'm all set. In fact, the house is clean. The laundry is done, the sheets and towels have been changed. The bathrooms are clean, the floors washed. The Roomba made a trip around the house so no vacuuming is needed. My car is gassed up and the snow removal plans are made. I have no place to go, so I plan to enjoy the snow day, reading, sewing, maybe a bit of cooking and watching TV. Sounds fun to me.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Lotsa Pink Birds!


Here is a kind of bird that isn't really a kid bird and not quite an adult. 

here is another same-sized bird. (Both of these had related "parent" birds.)

This bird was intended to be a companion to the Wallflower bird, but the fabrics seemed to change that idea.

Here is another of the sort-of in-between birds.

I'm getting real close to designing the final layout for the pink bird quilt, but first I needed to figure out how many birds I had and whether I had about the same number facing left and right, so I took them all off the wall, and put the "adult" birds at the far left and right, put the younger birds next, and then the smallest birds. Once I did that it was easy to see I need to make more small right facing birds.

I should tell you all though, that I have NO IDEA what I am going to do with these. I have some ideas but once I get serious about the layout all bets are off.

You too can make these birds with my tutorial, available here, at my Etsy shop. They are free pieced, which means they are made without traditional patterns or templates and they are not paper pieced. They are a lot like potato chips, you can't make just one!

Friday, February 24, 2023

Friday's Bird and an Excuse


Sometimes I walk into the studio and look down at the fabrics scattered all over my worktable and the idea for a bird just jumps up at me. So it was with this tiny bird. I don't know anything about this kid. Yet.

You all know I read. I mean, I do a lot of reading. I suck down at least one book a week, if not more. I always have a book with me. 

True story:

Years and years ago (over 20) I was sitting in the company's cafeteria, eating my lunch, while reading a book. It's what I did every day. This was back when eating at your desk was forbidden. At one end of the table was the Mark, the CEO, who read the Wall Street Journal every day. It was normally the quiet table. 

So anyway, I'm reading whatever mystery or detective novel I was into and one of the mechanics sits down and starts eating and chatting. Finally he says, "Hey Lynne, when are you ever going to finish that book?"

I looked up, but before I could even formulate a thought, Mark says, "What are you talking about Norm? That's her third one this week."

My head practically exploded. I didn't know what was more astounding, the fact that the CEO noticed I was reading a different book, or that he had COUNTED them.

I still read a book at lunchtime.

Anyway, occasionally I get so sucked into a book I come home from work, have dinner, and then lie on the couch and read until I finish the book or it's time for me to go to bed.

Such it was the last couple of nights while I read "The Writing Retreat" by Julia Bartz. It was not quite the thing I usually read except I couldn't put it down.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Destined for Bigger Things


SOMETIMES, so-called "misfit" kids don't fit in because they have a talent or skill that is so impressive everyone knows they are "going places," like this guy, above. Maybe he's a star athlete. Maybe he's a born politician, maybe he's a musician, but we all know that SOMEDAY everyone will know his name.

This gal, we can all see her future. Someday she'll be onstage saying, "I'd like to thank the Academy..."

Monday, February 20, 2023

Who's IN and Who's OUT?

 We all remember high school, where it was pretty clear which kids were the IT kids, and who weren't. Today I have one of each.

Last weekend I had dinner with my friend Pam, and afterwards she looked at my pink birds and then admired the fabrics on my worktable (see photo below). This one, she said, picking up the dark fabric in the bird above, "this is an outsider. and this..." - she picked up the black and white op-art fabric that became the beak, 

"well if THIS isn't and outcast, I don't know what is!"

This bird clearly ISN'T an outcast. She's one of the "clique" and she knows it. (See that EYE? She's checking out everybody else, to see who stacks up and who doesn't.

High school could be a very miserable place. 

My worktable, strewn with pink fabrics, and lots of scraps.

You too can make birds like this. Or different. You can make them bigger or smaller, or fatter or skinny. You can make birds based on your friends, or family members. You can even make birds based on your coworkers (how dangerous is that?) You don't need traditional patterns or templates, and they are definitely NOT paper-pieced. You can get my tutorial here, at my Etsy shop. It's an instant download, so you can get started right away, (Did I tell you it's very scrap friendly?)

PSA: I had a colonoscopy a couple of weeks ago. My dad died with a tumor in his colon. My aunt died of colon cancer. I had one polyp removed, and it was the kind that could have become cancerous. But we caught it. I'll go back for another colonoscopy in five years. When it comes time for you to get tested, do it.