Saturday, January 30, 2010

Podcast 010 - Love Stories

Total length of this podcast: 46:32

CLICK HERE to listen to Podcast 010. Right-click on the link and save it to your hard drive. Or better yet, so you don't miss future podcasts, subscribe using one of the links to the right.
You can download the MP3 audio file (which can be played in iTunes or other multimedia players) and skip to whatever segment interests you -- check the minute marker for each segment.


Today's bumper music is The Dutchman, a song by American singer-songwriter Michael Peter smith, used with permission. During the Grab Bag segment you'll get to hear the lyrics of this profound love song.

Here's the Alice in Wonderland stripe fabric I designed for Spoonflower.

Here's the Nursery Alice fabric I designed for Spoonflower.
You can order my fabric at -- search for "Mirkwood Designs." is a site specifically for hand-crafted items. If you are thinking about starting a cottage industry selling things you've made, this is a wonderful place to do so.
Today's Alice in Wonderland redwork is Alice and the Flamingo.
CLICK HERE to download the free redwork pattern.
CLICK HERE for the Drop-Stitch Scarf pattern on Ravelry (also called the Seafoam pattern).
CLICK HERE to go to Ravelry.

Pincushionpalooza! I promise that in upcoming podcasts I'll offer some fun pincushion patterns and ideas. Meanwhile, for your viewing pleasure, here are just a few of the ones I've made recently. Can't have too many pincushions! (Well, maybe you can...)
Jar-top pincushions, lots of cousinet biscornus, lots of shell pincushions, a couple of miscellaneous ones, too
The world's a playground. You know that when you're a kid, but somewhere along the way, everyone forgets it.
[Allison in the movie "Yes Man"]
Here's the late Helen Kelley's column from the February 1984 issue of Quilter's Newsletter Magazine.
One of the magazines in the box was the February  1984 issue of Quilter’s Newsletter, a magazine to which I currently subscribe. The column “Loose Threads” by the late Helen Kelley was terrific. And it applies not only to quilting but to every aspect of our creative lives. Here is what she said:
Quilters spend a lot of time justifying the fact that they would rather quilt than do housework. I will admit that housecleaning is at the rock-bottom of my priority list. I’d better be honest with myself and everyone else. At my house, if I am going to savor the joys of quilting, dirt won’t hurt and dust is a must.
There is something almost mystical about seeing something you have conceived in your own mind flowing from your fingers. And after all the work, there comes the satisfaction of having a thing that is a joy to behold and glorious to touch.
Don’t ever measure yourself by what the next person is doing. Whatever his speed or ability or vision, it has nothing to do with you. What does have to do with you is that you fulfill your vision in your own way. The only measure that is important is that you do the best you can. It is a terrible waste of your own time and it is self-deprecating to settle for less.
If you take the joyful times and mix them with a little of the irritating things and the things that require determination and stubbornness, and if you put all of that into your work, you get a self-portrait. Next time you look at someone’s work, let it make you wonder what it is telling you about the maker.
I have enormous respect for the old. Maybe you’d even call it a reverence, Those gals here in America were really terrific, you know. Everything I do starts out with the old – old fabrics, old designs, old techniques. Somehow, in the process, I begin to see new things in them. How we use what we already know and combine it with new ideas says something about ourselves as individuals. That’s the exciting thing about exploring.
There is something about creative needle-women that is comforting. They use their minds. They have the courage to try something that they haven’t done before. They get a delight from it. And they laugh a lot. They almost always have a wonderful sense of humor.
I'm offering a REAL reward for photos you send me of work you create using my patterns, tutorials, etc. I've started a gallery of your work. This reward is good for a limited time only -- I haven't decided when it will end, but I'll give you plenty of notice. The two people who have submitted photos so far are VERY HAPPY with their rewards, and I think you will be, too. Only one reward per artist! CLICK HERE to check out the gallery so far.

THE FIBER ARTS SEGMENT [Podcast minute marker 16:35]

Valentine's Day Friendship Braid Quilt

This quilt has received the official Cat Of Approval

CLICK HERE to download the free Friendship Braid Quilt Tutorial.
CLICK HERE to download the free Checkerboard Quilt Border Tutorial.

Remember the three rules for making a checkerboard border:
  1. Make sure that the width and height measurements of the center of the quilt are both either even or odd numbers (plus half an inch).
  2. Make sure to use an exact 1/4-inch seam allowance when sewing the border units.
  3. Make sure when sewing on the borders that the checkerboard pattern is maintained around the whole border.
THE PAPER ARTS SEGMENT [Podcast minute marker 26:50]

Truffle Boxes
The Trapezoid Box on the left holds two truffles, and the Bon-Bon Box on the right holds one truffle. They'll also hold other candies and small items, too, like a diamond bracelet or an engagement ring!

CLICK HERE to download the free Truffle Box project sheet.

THE RECIPE SEGMENT [Podcast minute marker 30:10]

Luscious Chocolate Truffles
This is the way Teddy presented his truffles as gifts to his teachers in elementary school.

Three simple ingredients. It is absolutely essential that you use good-quality chocolate.
Also, DO NOT use unsweetened baker's chocolate!

Chop your chocolate until the pieces are small.

Using a small ice cream scoop makes the process easier.

Perfectly toasted coconut.

Roll each lump and roll in coatings. From top, the coatings are powdered sugar, ground walnuts,
toasted coconut, and cocoa powder. Be creative with your coatings!

The recipe makes 24 luscious and beautiful truffles. Bet you can't eat just one!

CLICK HERE to download the free recipe for Luscious Chocolate Truffles.

THE GRAB BAG [Podcast minute marker 37:55]

Love Stories
My husband's parents, the lovely Rosali and The Original Ted

My mom and dad, The Original Ruth and the dashing Jack

The Dutchman
Michael Peter Smith's music is available for download on iTunes under the name "Michael Smith," but don't get him confused with the myriad other "Michael Smiths" out there. These are the albums on which he sings "The Dutchman":
  • Michael Smith Love Stories
  • Songbook, Vol. 4
  • Paradise Lost & Found (with Anne Hills)
  • Such Things Are Finely Done
  • Tribute to Steve Goodman
  • Anthology
I'd like to thank Michael Smith's publisher, Bird Avenue Publishing, ASCAP, for allowing me to sing and record my version of The Dutchman for this podcast. CLICK HERE to visit Michael's Web site.

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day, and tell someone that you love them.

And remember . . .
Creativity isn't a race . . .
. . . it's an adventure!


  1. Thanks for the Truffle idea, the recipe, and the template for the boxes! Now I know what I can do for my valentines!

  2. Robyn, I think you'll be really happy with the results. The truffles (according to the chocolate lovers I know) are wonderful, and the boxes are very sweet and very easy.


  3. Your Website is inspiring, thx for the braid quilt so quickly! I am sorry to say I haven't made anything that I can share for real but in my mind I have made them all!! I learn from you every time I visit and when I listen to your podcasts. I know I can return here for inspiration when I can actually make the items you show us. Thank you! Kathleen in NC

  4. I wanted to pass along a photo of the Knitting box I made using your truffle box pattern as the base. It is at: It is designed to put a ball of yarn in so that you can knit on the go.

  5. I just listened to this podcast and your voice is absolutely fabulous.

  6. thanks for sharing your brilliant idea.