To my little corner of the world where there is no limit to creativity. Where possibilities are endless. Where life happens and is embraced. And where a sense of humor is a must!

Sewing Southpaw...

Is the place where I share my creativity, my hobbies, and other stuff!


This is my son - all grown up.
I'm so very proud of him!
But I wish he would call
just a little more often :-)
Hugs, Mom

Fritz Von Woofshmidt
01/10/2000 - 01/04/2014

Fritz (aka Boo)
The very bestest doggy ever!

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    In Loving Memory of
    Bella Donna

    In the short time that we had together your unconditional love filled our lives with happiness, and our hearts with joy.

    Your passing leaves us forever changed.

    Rest in peace my sweet, darling, little girl.

    July 5, 2006
    October 19, 2007

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    “The most potent muse of all is our own inner child.”
    Stephen Nachmanovitch

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    Location: Colorado, United States

    I'm a wife, a mom, a dog lover, a complete lefty, a true scorpio, and I'm on a creative journey. I welcome you to join me.

    Sewing Southpaw...

    Is the place where I share my creativity, my hobbies, and other stuff!

    06 January 2014

    Saying Good-bye

    For all the hopes that we had for the New Year, having to say goodbye to our dear, sweet Fritter-boo was not one of them. But alas, that's what we had to do early afternoon on Saturday, January 4th. Sadly, just 6 days before his 14th birthday.

    If you've been following my blog, or have happened to read any of the many posts that Fritz was included in you know how much we loved him. And can easily imagine how heart-broken we are. I have had a mini schnauzer in my heart and by my side for over 30 years. Although, until Fritz, we didn't get to experience the full benefit or the consequences of the breed. Unfortunately, while miniature schnauzers are incredibly wonderful pets, great with kids, fierce defenders, and full of energy, they are also prone to an abundance of health related issues.

    Fritz was just the sweetest, most lovable, most devoted companion we have ever had. And of course, like all schnauzers, he was very vocal! That's what made him so 'human' in his ability to communicate and express what he wanted. We were told many times that he a was people dog - not a doggy dog, meaning he truly preferred people to other dogs. He almost always traveled with us on vacations, local outings, etc. He loved to ride in the car, and he loved hotel rooms! He was fabulous with kids. He loved walks, the park and mostly, he loved to chase his tennis ball.

    Fritz remained a real trooper, patient and cooperative through all of the trying times he was forced to experience. Through all of the surgeries, include the removal of an abdominal mass in May, 2013 and then his cataract surgery in July, 2013. And although he returned home a blind doggy, and required several eye drops, several times a day, he did regain most of his sight by late September, and was only mildly disgruntle about the eye drops.

    When he was diagnosed with diabetes in February, 2013 DH and I were so frightened but again, true to form, he tolerated his twice a day insulin injections like a big boy. He quickly adjusted to the change in diet and feeding schedule. Over the past year, with each poking and prodding, ultrasound, seemingly endless blood panels, and treatments, he always bounced back and retained his sweet disposition.

    He began having seizures in October, 2012 and while they were infrequent and mostly mild over the next year, they did take their toll on his nervous system. As the seizures became more frequent and more severe, Fritz was not as able to bounce back, and slowly we had to stand by and watch his health further decline.

    Then about 3 weeks before Christmas, 2013 he had a major seizure that left him forever changed. His disposition began to change. He became more aggressive, although not mean, just not very tolerant at being touched. Which was difficult because he had already lost so much muscle mass that his hind legs were really weak and he had to be carried much of the time. And with each seizure it became even more difficult for him to get around. He was just beginning to get around a little better on his own again when the next seizure happened on New Year's day. Between New Year's day and the final seizure on the 4th, he could barely walk on his own and had to be carried up and down the stairs. He struggled to stand long enough to go pee or to poop. He didn't want to eat, and he began drinking so much water.

    It was during the final seizure that afternoon that DH and I both looked at the clock, then at each other - was the vet's office still open? Was it finally time? Well, the vet was in later than normal and agreed to wait.

    My poor sweet, little boy was nearly lifeless when I picked him up and we drove him to the vet's office. We held him, kissed him, told him how sorry we were that we couldn't make it better, and we put him down.

    We wonder now if we should have had an MRI done to check for a brain tumor. Although, I'm not sure what we could have done about it. And I'm not sure what we would have done other than try to make him as comfortable as possible, love him completely, and wish things could have been different.

    For now we just have to assume that based on the symptoms and the science that that is what finally happened, and had probably been happening since the seizures began. We painfully accept that we did everything we could to give him a good life, a good home, and that some things are just out of one's control.

    We miss him so much and we feel so lost. The house seems so empty and quiet. We pick up his ashes next week and we learn to live without him.



    01 January 2014

    Happy New Year - 2014

    I just wanted to pop in to wish you all a Happy New Year. I hope your holidays were filled with lots of cheer and some relaxation, with friends and family, and with health and happiness.

    Luckily, things around here were pretty uneventful. DH took some vacation time, which gave us some enjoyable time together for shopping, playing cards, and just hanging out!

    I've not made any New Year's Resolutions to speak of. Mostly, I just want to be in a better place physically and emotionally this time next year. For instance, I'm not going to vow to drop any weight. Instead I'm going to try and eat more healthy foods. I'm going to try to approach my blog, Etsy shoppe, house cleaning, exercise, crafting and creating, etc., with the same attitude.

    Right now we have a slight break in the weather we're going to go take down the Christmas lights on the house. We'll be careful and you do the same.

    Until Next time...Happy Needling!!!


    22 October 2013

    Little Crazy Quilt Elephant

    This is the finished project from this photo before the retreat and Lauri ended up taking her home. She was also featured in the Autumn issue of Crazy Quilt Gatherings magazine, published by Pat Winter.

    All of the fabrics are quilter's quality cottons. And each seam is double stitched to minimize popping seams during/after stuffing. I added most of the seam treatments and beads prior to sewing her together. Then added additional seam treatments and beads afterward to help cover those seams.

    You will notice in the bottom photos that I have a string tied around her legs. That's because she kept trying to do the splits. In the end, I removed the strings and used a transparent thread on the inside of the front and hind legs to invisibly 'tether' them together so that she would remain standing upright.

    Surprisingly, from start to finish this was about a 5 day project. She stands 8" tall (including her ears) and 12" long (excluding her tail).

    The pattern that I used to make this cute little elephant is from Yesterday's Charm, and is called Ellie and Elwood Elephants:

    Well, I better get back to editing retreat photos so that I can get those posted. Hope to be back shortly!

    Until Next time...Happy Needling!!!


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    24 August 2013

    I've Been Published!

    I always wanted to say that. LOL. But it's not what you probably think. I haven't written a book, or created anything that someone has come to me asking for. I submitted an article to Pat Winter for the Autumn issue of Crazy Quilt Gatherings magazine, and Pat has graciously chosen to included it. Still for me, it's a pretty awesome event!

    If you don't already have your copy, you can find it here. Since I order every copy as soon as it's available, I set up an automatic notification through Magcloud. Nothing easier than having someone else keep track of things for you!

    Anyway, you will find my article on page 30. I have chosen to include a few of my favorite projects but for now those will remain a secret. No sense in telling you what's in the magazine, that will only spoil the surprise when you buy it. I will tell you that since I'm not a Shabby Chic kind of person, I wanted to put it out there that you don't have to be. That you can still create beautiful things with bright, bold colors, using cotton fabrics as well as silky, fancy fabrics.

    I was also very delighted to find that Lauri and Freda also had an article published in this issue. They both do just lovely work. Freda attended one of our CQI Retreats in 2010, and it was a pleasure to meet her. Lauri has attended since the beginning in 2008. And although Lauri did miss the 2012 retreat in Utah, she'll be joining us again this year. And 5 out of 6 years is still a great attendance record. Gerry K also gets a kudos for 5 out of 6 years attending - sadly, she won't be joining us this year.

    I also believe that this is 5 years in a row for Diane, and 4 for Colleen. (Somebody correct me if I'm wrong!) And to the 'die hard' retreat goers for 6 out of 6 years attending - a shout goes out to Cathy, Connie, and me (blushing). We've been very fortunate to have so many wonderful ladies join us in years past, and we hope to have them join us again at future retreats. You will be missed!

    Okay, since I'm speaking of the retreat, let me just say, "HOLY COW!" We are less than a month away from 'opening day' and there is still so much to take care of. I guess I should be happy that my TO DO list has gone from about a dozen typewritten pages all the way down to four. When I get it down to one, I will be doing my happy dance and greeting retreaters!

    I think the only part of retreat planning that I'm not really going to enjoy is the grocery shopping. My weekly shopping takes about an hour and for just two of us really doesn't amount to much. The thoughts of shopping and cooking for 23+ people has me just a little frightened. LOL. I only have one fridge with bottom freezer so I will be making a few quickly trips to the store during the retreat. NO WAY can I fit everything we're going to need in the space I have. I'm also just a bit concerned that my offer to cook for everyone might have been a bit ambitious. LOL.

    If you would like to see who is coming and/or catch up on other retreat post, you can find information here and here. Well, it's time for me to jump off the computer, make some phone calls, and try to check a few more of those items off that LIST! Thanks so much for stopping by to visit. I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend.

    Oh, I almost forgot....Fritz is doing well. He is not going to regain his sight but he's still my little darling and we're all working through it. Thanks so much for your kind words, emails, comments, and well wishes. Each and everyone is very much appreciated.

    Until Next time...Happy Needling!!!


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    22 July 2013

    Checking In and Catching Up

    My goodness, things have been so busy and hectic around here for the last couple of months I scarcely know where to start!

    Let's start with Fritz -

    He recovered nicely from his abdominal surgery on May 7th, mostly because we got his diabetes under control very quickly. The mass was benign - YAY! Sadly, he did develop the diabetes caused cataracts that we hoped to avoid. And they came on so quickly. Virtually over night! We met with the opthamologist and scheduled his surgery immediately but even then, he was nearly blind by the day of surgery. The vet was able to remove both cataracts and replace the lens in the right eye but the lens in his left eye fractured and couldn't be replaced. Under normal circumstances, Fritz would have had really good vision in the left eye, even without the lens. Sadly, due to inflammation and excessive lipids, a week after his surgery he is still blind.

    The plan is to get rid of the inflammation so the eye closes, restricting access to the lipids, and vision returns. Unfortunately, and despite all of the medications, eye drops and efforts to reduce the inflammation, it's just not happening! And the truly scary part of this is that if we don't get the tissue around the eye to keep out the lipids, not only will he be permanently blind, he will lose the eyes themselves. I guess you can imagine the mood around our house just now - we are hoping for the best - but preparing for the worst.

    And while this certainly would not be the best scenario, blind dogs can have happy, nearly normal lives. It's just going to be a lot of work and a lot of hours "mapping" out the house, much like you would for a blind toddler. And even after he becomes more familiar with his surroundings, can find his food and water, and is at less risk of hurting himself, we will still be stepping over and around gates near the stairs and keeping a very close eye on him. In the end life for all of us should be much less stressful. So....

    Now, onto retreat business -

    I've been working, nearly daily with Cathy to get the retreat organized. Planning has been really, really fun but I have seriously under estimated the number of balls I would have in the air at one time, and also just how many loose ends there would be.

    So, just who will be joining us this year?

    Barbara W, Beth P, Bev F, Carol K, Cathy K (Etsy), Colleen A, Connie K (Etsy), Diane M (Etsy), Donna D, Elizabeth R, Gayle S (flickr), Hideko I (flickr), Ingrid G, Josie T, Lauri B, Lorraine S (Etsy), Maggie H, Maureen G (Portfolio), Shari J, Sharyn N, Susan B, Wilma W, and of course Me (Etsy, flickr).

    We're really trying to think outside the box and mix things up a bit now that we're in our 6th year. We will have a slightly more 'structured' schedule, which only means that we are being more realistic about what time we actually have available to us. That scheduling enabled us to add several popular classes and still maintain the free time for stitching and visiting that everyone looks forward to. And with 23 of us in attendance this year, time management is going to be an important factor in pulling this off. I know I haven't been the only person a bit disappointed at past retreats because some of my 'want to dos' just didn't happen.

    Some of the other changes we've made this year is scheduling in a little more 'fun time' with a variety of games, prizes and giveaways! We've also had a wonderful response from attendees and outside vendors offering to donate a little something for our Swag Bags. I don't want to spoil the surprise by posting what those items are but I will say, everyone will be very pleased!

    Another bonus, in my opinion, is the change in sleeping arrangements. This year most attendees will be staying at a nice, local hotel, where we were given very reasonable room rates for our retreat dates. Being able to start your day with a hot shower and a satisfying and unrushed breakfast will go a long way to getting everyone ready for the day's activities. And there is a lot to be said for having a place to drop your stuff at the end of the day, to have a little privacy, and a chance to unwind before climbing into your own bed at night.

    I am also very happy to welcome three International attendees to stay at our home this year. Hideko from Japan, and Diane and Lorraine, both from Canada will be staying with us. We had the pleasure of Hideko's company when she came for the 2010 retreat. Diane regularly attends the retreats and I am very much looking forward to seeing her again, and having her stay with us. I will be meeting Lorraine for the first time, and I'm really looking forward to it. All three of them are arriving 2 days prior to the retreat which will not only give them a chance to settle in but will give the four of us a chance to spend some time together before the 'fun' begins!

    So far our biggest 'obstacle' has been making sure we have enough extra chairs and seating areas for everyone (LOL). Luckily, we're covered! The Formals (dining and living rooms) will be our 'retreat area' where all of our retreat related activities will take place. By adding a couple of table leaves to the dining table and few extra chairs, we can seat 7 comfortably. The living room has 2 love seats that will comfortably seat 4 more. Then finally, with both of my folding, 6 foot banquet tables and another 12 chairs, we have the remaining 12 ladies comfortably settled in! DH is going to help me with side tables (as needed for Ott lights, etc.) and run all of the power cords around the area so that we have plenty of electrical connections without having tripping hazards. Wish us luck with that one (LOL)!

    The kitchen, which is just off of the 'Formals' will of course, be for cooking and serving. Between the kitchen table, the patio furniture, and the retreat area there shouldn't be a problem finding a place to sit and eat. Just off of the kitchen is the family room, which has been dubbed a NO RETREAT ZONE where DH (and our house guests) can hang out with coffee and read the newspaper in the morning, and watch TV and relax in the evening. With the whirlwind of activities and busyness of the retreat during the day, having a place to take a break and relax a bit at the beginning and end of each day is a must!

    We're going to have the Vendor Boutique set up downstairs. I know I need to fit 8 vendors in there but I haven't quite worked out the logistics on that one yet. I would like to maintain some usable entertainment space down there during the retreat, just in case. Maybe even for Saturday night after the hubbies join us for our farewell dinner. It might be nice to have access to the sitting area and TV, or to shoot a game of pool and/or have a drink, etc. So...still thinking on that one!

    Because we don't know just what's going to be happening with Fritz's vision, for now DH is planning on taking Fritz to work with him. Not only am I worried about his stress level and the effects on his diabetes, I'm concerned about having him underfoot and getting stepped on. Plus there is the question of barking. Will it be better or worse than normal??? My guess is worse! So...working on that too.

    And finally, let me address that burning question that has to be in the back of your mind: WHAT ABOUT POTTY BREAKS FOR 23 WOMEN? Well, we have that covered, too. And for the first time ever (I think) I am really glad to have 5 bathrooms. The three upstairs will be for private use and the other 2 (main floor and basement) will be for retreat use. Pretty sure we won't have to take numbers or endure long lines at Intermission (LOL).

    Well, that's it for now on what I can post about retreat stuff. And I'm off to work on some of the many lists and posts that we need to provide to retreaters so that they can better plan for their trip and the upcoming activities.

    Thanks for stopping by and I hope to talk to you again soon.

    Until Next time...Happy Needling!!!


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    30 June 2013

    Good-Bye Google Reader

    I'm not sure just yet if Feedly or Bloglovin is going to work best for me but already Bloglovin wants something....Arggggggg!

    Until Next time...Happy Needling!!!


    28 May 2013

    Vistors and Life Changes

    Okay, here we are getting ready to welcome June, picnics, allergies, vacations, and kids everywhere on their bikes.

    I think I remember April, or was it March??? Honestly, it's all sort of a blur. LOL.

    May will be a month that I remember very clearly for a very long time. Our dear son, Mathew and his girlfriend, Merla came to visit the weekend of the 17th. To say that Gene and I were thrilled would be an understatement!

    They arrived early on Friday and we spent most of the day just catching up, and grabbing a quick meal at a local diner. It's been eight months since we were last in Utah. And with Mathew settling nicely into home ownership, taking care of all of his pets, and working long and rotating shifts, he doesn't have a lot of free time. It keeps him out of trouble, though.

    Saturday we stopped over at the Longmont Farmer's Market, then headed to the Pearl Street Mall and Boulder's Farmer's Market. The weather was just beautiful and was a perfect day for a long, leisurely stroll. There were a number of 'street performers' and other goings on.

    This little gal stood so still that you couldn't even see her breathing.

    We especially enjoyed this couple. The 'gypsy' music, her work with the accordion, and their great costumes.

    We decided to top off of stroll with a stop at Starbucks for a Frappaccino. Then grabbed a couple of tomato plants and some fresh bread before heading home.

    Sunday we went to breakfast at Lucille's Creole Café. Again, perfect weather for sitting out on the patio, enjoying an order of beignets and Bloody Mary's, while waiting for their famous Eggs Benedict and Pain Perdu to arrive. After breakfast we headed over to the fairgrounds to see the car show. Mathew has a love of Mustangs and there were plenty to be found that day.

    At about 2PM we bid them farewell. It was sad to see them go! I finally understood how my mom felt at the end of our visits.

    After a month fighting the upper respiratory infection that I picked up in Lincoln, and starting a second round of antibiotics, I returned to the doctor complaining of chest, breast, and lung pain on my left side. Then after blood tests, chest x-rays and a CT Scan, I was referred to a Pulmonologist. The final diagnosis????? Forty years of smoking a pack a day has just about ruined my lungs! Like no one saw that coming. Luckily, I found out before the effects were completely irreversible - a happy accident, of sorts.

    To those of you who have never smoked, you probably either knew and understood the dangers, or are beyond being able to fathom why someone would smoke. Those of you who have quit or are still smoking are probably fully aware of how demanding, expensive and truly dangerous the addiction is. But let me tell you, when you see the damage to your lungs, and discover that your airflow is at 65%, it really drives home the reality of your mistake in judgment!

    Even more sad and pathetic is the fact that quitting is still incredibly difficult. Knowing full well the consequences of not quitting doesn't really help with kicking the habit or easing the addiction. I find that the medications are helping, and I'm hopeful that I will be completely quit by the time I return in 2 weeks for my follow up appointment. And while the damage to my lungs might improve a little, the best I can hope for is to stop the progression of damage. Getting back into the gym and watching my diet will also go a long way to improving and maintaining my lung health.

    According to my Pulmonologist, most of us can live quite comfortably with a lung capacity/air flow of 65%-80% because we're not running marathons or bicycle couriers in San Francisco. But when that number drops below 65%, your mortality rate jumps drastically. At 50%-35% you're looking at oxygen tanks and just a few short years of agonizing pain before you don't have to worry about doing anything AT ALL!

    Long story short - this was my wake up call and I have chosen to live! I also chose to share this bit of shame with you in case you too have had your wake up call and are struggling, or if you are experiencing similar breathing issues and have not yet had your happy accident of discovery.

    Until Next time...Happy Needling!!!


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    02 May 2013

    6th Annual CQI Retreat

    Yesterday we began taking sign ups/registration for this year's retreat. I was surprised and happy to see that there were 12 attendees signed up on the first day. And 2 that I know of waiting in the wings. Of course, there are the 'regulars' but also a number of new attendees, which makes me very happy. I have no doubt that we will have all 22 spaces filled before the deadline of June 1st.

    I'm hosting the retreat this year, here in Longmont. We're working with a local hotel chain for a block of rooms at a great discount, and I will have the pleasure of hosting a few of the International visitors at my home. There is still a lot to do with regard to activities and such but for this group, and these retreats, it's mostly about friends gathering and enjoying the 'girl time' with needle and thread.

    One of the activities that we all look forward to is the gift exchange/swap (fka Chinese Auction). You never know what you'll end up with, or what will be 'stolen' from you. But everyone knows that they will leave with something made or given in friendship and love.

    Here are a few of the gifts that I've made over the years. A crazy quilted penguin that Debbie Q. took home and a dress form pincushion that Lauri took home.

    A whimsical little box made from a cigar box and stuffed to bursting with goodies.

    These are some friendship gifts (bookmarks and matchbook needle cases) that I made for each of the women attending a retreat. This type of gifty was very common before retreat attendance reached 20+ attendees. At that time we decided it made more sense to offer goody bags to each attendee with items donated by some long-time retreat goers, donations from Etsy vendors and local businesses. Although there are still those who can't resist bringing something special just because!

    This is Janet (sitting next to Connie) holding a pincushion made by Gerry Krueger. I was lucky enough to bring a pink pincushion home one year. The box has a crazy quilted inlay that Janet made. This little darling resides in my studio. Janet has created a number of these types of boxes and they are gorgeous!

    Cathy with a crazy quilt she took home. And a lovely crazy quilted bear made by Lauri.

    Bears have sort of become Lauri's trademark. Here are a couple of the other bears she's made. I took the pink bear home the first year of our retreats and the other went to Vivianne in 2011.

    Lauri even made a special bear after the 2010 retreat just for Hideko, and included the names of that year's attendees.

    Here are a few more of the gifts given and received in the gift exchange/swap... These are some beautiful glass buttons and Kerry is holding a crazy quilted pillow.

    Juli is holding a refurbished vintage rocking chair pincushion and here is a teacup pincushion made by Lauri.

    These are a couple of the items made by Connie.

    And a gift she received.

    Sadly, I do not have a photo of the crazy quilt that Cathy gave last year. It was to die for! I also cannot seem to find the photos of the most beautiful tea cozy and needle cases that our members have made. I don't leave your lovely work out on purpose. Besides, to try and include it all would be over-whelming. LOL.

    For those of you who might be thinking about joining us this year but either don't have the time, the supplies, or the courage to make something to give, it is perfectly acceptable to purchase something. Some of the purchased items at past retreats have ranged from glass buttons, to OTT lights, baskets containing assorted crazy quilting fabrics, threads, beads, charms, etc., a nice pair of scissors, pretty fabrics and silk ribbon, etc. In fact, I received a wonderful, vintage sewing box from Gerry Krueger last year. I love it and have it prominently displayed in my studio.

    The whole point is just to give something that you would be THRILLED to receive yourself. Something that conveys your friendship to the women that you might only know from the Internet but have come to consider you sisters.

    This is the project that I'm working on as my swap gift. And for once, I meant to take an unclear photo. I don't want anyone to be able to guess what it is. I will tell you that it is not a bear!

    Well, I'm off to do some stitching and planning for the retreat. Thanks for joining me today and please be sure to check back from time to time for updates and information about what else we have planned for this year, and possibly a few more, little snippets of what we've done in the past.

    Until Next time...Happy Needling!!!


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