Wednesday, April 26, 2017

It's A Finish!

Gypsy Wife is done and I've decided to call it The Gypsies Are In Town. Here's why. When I was more than half-way done piecing the top a vague memory popped into my head. I remembered either my parents or my grandparents saying "the gypsies are in town." I was little when I saw the scissor sharpener man coming down the street where my grandparents lived and now I began to wonder if he was in fact a gypsy.   

So I called my brother and asked him about the gypsies. Here's what he said: 

"Several times a year they came to town. There was a scissor sharpener with a horse cart and grinding wheel, some sold strawberries, and another had a cart filled with ice covered in hay."

"If you gave them something they put a chalk mark on the street in front of your house. Mom kept a bag of potatoes on the back porch and she'd give them one or two." I knew I could rely on my brother to set my memory straight. He's 6 years older and remembers everything :)

The back. 

This cheater cloth was once a skirt. It wasn't mine but I couldn't bear to throw it away. So I removed the elastic in the waistband, opened the casing, ripped out the side seam, threw it in the washing machine and used it on the back. 

I brought the quilt to Barbie to be long-arm quilted. She did a wonderful job. I love the way it turned out!

The quilting design is a floral/leaf combo.

I anchored the lower portion of the strips with a little hand quilting.

Years ago I bought 4 yards of this print fabric for $2.00 at the historical society fair. As I was prepping it for the back I discovered an original Newberry's price sticker, 37-cents/yard. Those were the days :)

was playing around with the photo filters on my computer. Most of the filters drastically changed the look of the quilt but I kind of liked "Vanilla" because it showed the light and dark values.     

I just finished cleaning and de-cluttering my sewing room. Still have a long way to go but it feels so much better!

My rack of UFOs :)

Pretty yellow tulips in our garden :)

Have a wonderful week!

Copyright 2017, Barbara Schaffer

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Cherry Blossoms and Gypsy Influence

Did you know that Branch Brook Park in Newark, NJ, is the cherry blossom capital of the nation? It boasts 5,000 cherry trees beating out Washington, DC's by more than 1,200.

We went for a drive through the park last week and while we had already missed some of the early blooms the ones we saw were breathtaking. 

Branch Brook Park is the nation's oldest county park. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead in 1895. 

There are more than 18 varieties of cherry trees on 360 acres. 

One of my favorite views is along the canal . . .

. . . and another is with Sacred Heart Cathedral in the background.

My husband worked for the park system for nearly 30 years and ran many concerts in the park. It was at one of those concerts that a little abandoned puppy came into our lives. We named her Cherry Blossom aka Blossom :)

I hung the two dog pictures in our family room. They are the first things you see when you walk in the door. They look so nice!

More Gypsy influence! I already showed you several minis that I made with leftover strips from Gypsy Wife but I got carried away and ended up with 9! Each one is 9-1/2" x 12-1/2", bound, and currently pinned to my design wall.

These bricks are 1" x 2" . . .

. . . and these are 1" x 3".

I chain-pieced the triangles that were trimmed from Gypsy's square-in-a-square blocks to make this strippy.


Each has a piece of vintage fabric on the back. I've been admiring the potholder quilts made by Wendy The Constant Quilter and I'm thinking I may try this technique with my minis. Check out Wendy's blog to see her latest :) What I like about this method is that each block is quilted and bound so when you finish sewing all the blocks together your quilt is done!

Have a great week!

Copyright 2017, Barbara Schaffer

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A Wonderful Gift

I am such a dog lover! Over the holidays, a friend gave me six cross-stitch dogs that she made when she was in her early twenties. Thank you, Wilda, I love them!

Here are four . . .

. . . the other two I just had framed at Michaels. Lassie was my childhood dog. 

I got her when I was 11 years old.  She was AKC registered and her official name was Barstan's Princess Lassie. Barstan was a combination of my name and my brother's--Barbara and Stan--but we called her Lassie.

Not surprising because one of my favorite TV shows was the 1954 Lassie series I entered a Campbell Soup contest by sending in a "list of names for the Lassie puppies" and received this 'autographed' picture of the real Lassie as a thank you.

When I was 13 my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and we could no longer keep Lassie. So she went to live with my Aunt Midge and Uncle Warren and I visited often :)

We were newlyweds living in Fort Benning, GA, when we got our first dog. She was a beautiful German Shepherd that we named Shepuppie (she-puppy). 

How cute

One thing I remember about living in GA were all the ticks I had to remove on a daily basis. Yuck!

A family portrait in 1963 :)

When my husband was discharged from the Army we moved to Suffern, NY . . .

. . . where Shepuppie had a litter of 8 pups :)  We sold them for $25 ea. Another aunt took one and we kept one.

We named him Fella. We waited and waited for his ears to straighten but they never did. After moving to Middletown, NJ, he disappeared. We think he was dog-napped as there were reports of such incidents circulating in town. 

But getting back to the entire set of cross-stitch dogs. I was going through some old McCall's Needlework magazines and came across this issue with the dogs on the cover! How crazy is that?? It was dated Fall-Winter 1952-53. The group was referred to as Dog Show and featured six of the country's most popular dogs. The blue transfer pattern cost 50-cents. I may frame the other 4 together. We'll see

I've been busy quilting Flags, making more minis, and now I have Gypsy to bind. Moving right along . . . :)

Copyright 2017, Barbara Schaffer

Friday, April 7, 2017

Retro Roosters and A Cake

I really enjoyed participating in the Year of the Rooster Challenge sponsored by Two Thimbles Quilt Shop. The challenge was to interpret the theme, no smaller than 10" x 14" and no larger than 24" x 24", and to use the red fabric in a recognizable amount on the front.

I'm calling mine Retro Roosters. It's 15" x 18". Can you tell I was influenced by the Gypsy Wife style?? Mainly strips and vintage fabrics :) The rooster print in the middle is 57 years old. A friend of my grandmother's gave me a box of fabric samples when I was in high school and that was one of them. No, I didn't piece the checkerboard. I found that fabric in Lancaster many years ago.

More vintage on the back. Thank you, Wendy! The green roosters are very happy in their new home :) 

The label is another fabric sample from years ago :) I'm linking up with Lori at Humble Quilts so hop on over to see more.  

Today is our granddaughter's 16th birthday so I made her a "money cake." She'll get it tomorrow :)

Copyright 2017, Barbara Schaffer



Wednesday, April 5, 2017

4-Patch Baskets and Morning Glories

I can check off #7 on my '17 in 2017' list. Patch Baskets top is finished! 

I started making these blocks last year so it feels really good to have the top done. 

I made a total of nine blocks with various backgrounds but placement was dictated by which basket corners lined up with the ones in the neighboring blocks. If one was a little off it got moved to the outer edge. The finished blocks are 12-3/4" square. 

I had purchased 5 yards of this fabric when our local quilt shop went out of business last year. A bargain at $3/yd!

Lucky for me it worked out nicely for the border. There were 4 large floral stripes per width with enough blue in between to cut them apart evenly.


I left the tiny stripe on for the inner border and mitered the corners. Not sure where I'll trim the outer edge to when it's time to do the binding but it is done for now and will be added to the quilting queue :)


Remembering Natalie (1940-2001) on March 27th

Natalie had quite a collection of morning glory fabrics hoping to someday make this quilt . . . 


. . . but in 2002 Rachel, Rita and I made two small quilts for her daughters in memory of our dear friend :)

Check back with me on Friday when I'll be posting my Year of the Rooster challenge quilt and linking up with Lori at Humble Quilts.

Copyright 2017, Barbara Schaffer