Terracotta Warriors

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Last week, I went with a friend to see the Terra Cotta Warriors at the Minneapolis Museum of Arts.

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This terra-cotta army of the First Emperor of China (c. 220 BC) is considered one of the most spectacular finds in archaeology.  In 1974, a farmer -seeking to build a new well- discovered a pit filled with  a garrison of buried warriors over 2000 years old!

More than 6000 sculptures were buried near the emperor in order to protect him in the afterlife…

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Horses, archers, cavalry, infantry…

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Truly amazing!  Unfortunately, photography of the warriors is not allowed–the above photos are of replicas…

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So I have included a few photos from the little book I purchased.

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The detailed faces are fascinating-each sculpture is very unique-with detailed expressions, hairstyles, hands…

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Photos just don’t do the exhibit justice…If you get a chance to see this exhibit as it goes on tour, jump at the chance–it is amazing!

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I think I will add seeing the real excavation to my Bucket List…

Oh, and if you do go…watch the movie-(it is free), but unless you are super hard-core – skip the headphone tour–

You might also like:  Franconia Sculpture Park   and  The Witch of Fox Point

Decorating Christmas Trees – With Free Motion Quilting

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I wish I was one of those organized quilters who stitch their Christmas projects in July-but that’s just not me.  My quilting is usually seasonal (see here).  Now that we are decorating the house for Christmas, I’m inspired to stitch a few quilted motifs.  As usual, I start with a few doodles: (You can read more about Doodle Notebooks here)

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Then I head to my sewing room.  The nice thing about decorating Christmas trees is that the essence is so simple:  a triangle…with a trunk…and maybe a star on top.

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If you start with that shape, it almost doesn’t matter what you stitch…

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It will be recognizable as a Christmas tree…

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I liked this tree a lot and it was easy, easy to stitch.

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Lightly draw a triangle.  Start stitching in the middle and move up to the pointed top (add the star now if you would like one).  Then stitch down and to the right.

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Then, just sweep left and right to form the bows of the tree-offsetting the upward “swoop”.

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In less than a minute you will have a gorgeous tree…

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Then just stitch a few more trees with any pattern that comes to mind….

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I like this fancy tree:

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A bit plain, perhaps…

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I love this decorated tree–wish the tree in our living room was so quickly decorated!

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Now it’s your turn–give it a little glitz!

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Next week–I have an easy project for our quilted forest!

You might also like:  Poinsettia

Ten Stocking Stuffers Every Quilter Will Love

Ten Stocking Stuffers for Quilters


1. Gingher scissors-

Anyone who uses scissors to cut fabric will LOVE Gingher scissors.  All Gingher scissors are fabulous, but if you can only give one pair-the 8 inch dressmakers shears is the one to get.  For gift giving, the designer series with decorative handles are especially nice.


2. Fiskars Micro Tip Scissors-

I call these clippers, because that is how I use them:  to clip threads, make small cuts in fabric-(applique), etc.  They are absolutely indispensable!  They have a spring assist which makes clipping very easy and they stay sharp forever.  A MUST HAVE in every quilter’s basket!

3. Jeana Kimball Needles

I have tried a lot of hand sewing needles over the years, and there are many good ones, but these are my favorite.  I usually keep a package of straw needles in sizes 10 and 11 in my sewing kit at all times.  They are great for applique and I use them for hand sewing bindings as well as for general use.


4. Aurifil Thread

I use the 50 wt thread for everything.  It is beautiful.  It does not break or knot and it is great for both machine and hand sewing.  It is hands-down my favorite multi-purpose thread.


5. Pincushions-

I love pincushions, and I have many.  They make lovely gifts for anyone who stitches.  Most quilting stores offer a variety and many Etsy vendors sell felted wool pincushions that are really fun.  Be creative-no need to settle for the plain red tomato…

6. Iris pins

Quilters and seamstresses are very picky about their pins…I love Iris pins.  They make a great gift because they are a little spendy at $10.00 for a tin, but  I can assure you, your gift will be greatly appreciated for years to come!  They are very sharp and very strong.  FAVORITE!

7.  Roxanne Thimble

While quilters are picky about pins, they are obsessive about thimbles.  Before I found Roxanne thimbles (I have two-just in case I misplace one), I purchased dozens of thimbles in search of the perfect thimble.  Roxanne’s thimbles fit like a glove!–(pun intended)–They do require fitting.  If you buy them online, there is a separate fitting guide and series of rings – Do not skip this step!-These thimbles fit tighter than you expect, but that is what makes them work so well.  They are pricey, but again, in dollars/hours of happy usage-they are a bargain.  Again, a very very nice gift to receive!


8.  Fons & Porter Marking Pencil

There are dozens of marking pencils available to quilters, (and I have most of them).  However, if I could only have one, I would choose this mechanical pencil.  It is strong and easy to see and you don’t need to find a sharpener. It comes in different colors of lead and it does not dry out-like many markers do…For most purposes, this pencil works like a charm.


9.  Quick Quarter

This little blue ruler is designed for marking half square and quarter square triangles.  I also use it for sewing mitered corners on quilt binding.  It triples as a stiletto, and occasionally-a poker when anyone annoys me while I’m working.

10. Lint Roller-

I know it’s not very exciting, but I couldn’t live without lint rollers.  I use them to get dog hairs off my quilts, and threads off my clothes.  Your favorite quilter will think up uses for these little gems.  (And since 3M is headquartered just a few miles from my house…I thought I’d give them the plug.

Quilters love notions (You might say…Quilters are Notional…)  and we are in constant pursuit of the perfect tool.

Coming soon:  The Consumer Reports Division of The Inbox Jaunt will do more comprehensive comparisons of scissors, rotary cutters, thread, sewing machine needles, free motion quilting aids, rulers, marking pencils….. We will have all of you doing Free Motion Quilting and Fabric Dyeing by the end of 2013!   Stay Tuned…. Oh and buy a few little vases….many more vase quilts to come!