Florine Johnson Designs - Hand & Fusible Rooster Appliques for Quilts & Crafts


When women have been married for a number of years get the news that their spouse is ill and will not be around as long as they thought he would be, it's a shock to the system. This started for me about a year ago. All of a sudden your mind goes over all that you do not know but are going to have to know when the time comes. You stop your life as you know it and start taking on more and more. In my case, I stopped doing any quilting but kept up with my work filling orders for my patterns.

Reading has always been my first love. Reading lets you escape into the world of someone else. About the time of my shock, I picked up a book by FERN MICHAELS displayed in the "Summer Reading" area of the library. It was titled WEEKEND WARRIORS. Seven strong women taking on legal injustices by becoming vigilantes. I was enthralled and wanted more. I thought there would be seven books as each one covered an injustice, but to my delight I discovered there are 25 books under the group heading "The Sisterhood Novels." I've just finished #23 and am looking for #24. Fern Michaels has also written many other books and I intend to read them all!

Meantime, I'm also trying to continue doing some applique every day and a machine quilting project. It is slow going, but little by little I will get things done and I'll enjoy the journey along the way. My year to FINISH has been sidetracked a good bit.

Read any good books lately?

Quote found in a puzzle book: "Those considering themselves superior aren't."

First Stab at Stitching

This is the very first needlework I ever remember working on. It was one of two kits offered by the Good Housekeeping magazine. The other was a rectangle of a sunflower and I think I still have that kit. I believe these kits were purchased around 1969 or 1970. I started working on the tree and realized I needed to put it into a hoop on a stand because of the size (30" x 30".) That hoop stand made it sooo much easier to work on. I could put it in front of a dining room chair and stitch away with one hand on top and the other below. The whole tree was worked with up and down straight stab stitching. The thread was wool and the background was wool also. The work was easy and that's why it was FINISHED! My husband, Ed, framed it for me and it has been hanging in our home ever since. Today it hangs over my bed.


From that first stitching, I graduated to crewel work. Now crewel work was interesting and it was fun to try different stitches. I completed (FINISHED) a vase of bittersweet (also a kit) and it hangs in my dining room. One day I'll give crewel a go again because I love working with a needle in my hand. (There's that word FINISHED again.)




Never say 'Never'

I took three years of Home Economics in grade school. At that time in Minnesota, they started training girls in the 5th grade to be farm wives. They had two person stations for cooking and baking classes, plus sewing machines to teach us how to sew aprons to wear when we were cooking, naturally. I can whip up a mean apple muffin for breakfast.

We even had to bring a sock to school with a hole in it so we could be taught how to properly trim, then weave sewing threads to repair it using a wooden darning egg. My sock was a pale yellow. I actually enjoyed weaving a covering for that hole with needle and thread. Apparently I did a decent job of it because a day later in math class the math teacher had gotten my sock from the Home Ec. teacher and proceed to hold it up to the class and exclaim what a wonderful wife I would make. I wanted to sink through the floor and be out of there! That was my first memory of using a needle and thread but it took me years before I started any other handwork. BTW, when did people stop mending socks?

I think I was even brainwashed into taking one year of Home Ec. in high school in North Dakota. I screwed up ironing a long table cloth using the Mangle. It kind of got away from me. To get out of there in time for the next class, I carefully folded it so the creases were inside. Whoever needed to use that cloth next had a problem! I decided then and there I was "never" going to get married or live on a farm. Never did live on a farm, but that other "never," ha!

Sew on and Sew forth.



After setting up my wonderful UFO list, locations list and the numbers to choose from a jar, I realized that I also needed to have a hand applique project to work on for a break from machine work. Switching back and forth might be good.

So back to the drawing board to figure out how to separate applique from the other projects.  That brought up another question.  If the hand applique project is in blocks and borders, could I divide them up into those individual blocks and have each one as an individual project to be drawn out of the jar?  Or, should they be grouped one right after another in order to continually work on them until all blocks and borders are finished?

I'll ponder on this and consider any advice anyone passes along to me.

Sew on and Sew forth.






Working on the churn dash wall hanging had became an obsession. Quilting on the sewing machine is not something I'm really good at but something urged me on to the detriment of getting other things done. That's just not right. Finishing is my goal, but not to the point of neglecting the joy of the journey. I woke up this morning and realized this particular journey had become work, not a pleasure.

From now on, the journey itself will be sufficient, something to enjoy and done carefully to hone my skills. Once a project is finished and out there in the world, the pleasure of working on that project is gone. They become things, for which we need to find a purpose. If they're regular sized quilts they can be used to keep warm. Wall hangings need a blank wall and I'm running out of wall space. This particular wall hanging is personalized with greetings, drawings and signatures of the makers so it's a keeper. However, next time I make something, I will decide whether to sell it, give it away or keep it, even before I start the work on it. No more frantic obsessions to "get 'er done."

For those uninitiated with the usage of UFO in the quilting, crafting world, it's UNFINISHED OBJECTS.

Sew on and sew forth!

UFOs And I Are Staring Each Other Down and I Intend to Win!

Finally, at this age, I get it. Adopting the idea of choosing one word for the year, I chose "FINISH." Beginning in December it looked like I might be able to finish a project I drew out of a jar. Listing about 20 UFO's, numbering them and cutting up little post-it notes, I wrote a number on each one to cover each UFO and folded them shut so I couldn't see the number. Into the jar they went.

The second list of the UFO's contained the location of each of them. Most projects went into a box together, but some couldn't fit and I had to find another location for those. This list of locations will save me many hours of searching when I've drawn a number for a project that isn't in the box. Yes! I need this list.

The first UFO I pulled out of the jar wasn't my first choice. But I made the rules and must abide with them. This first project is the Churn Dash blocks given to me by the Hall County Quilt Guild way back in 1999 as a gift for being their presiding president that year.


The photo shows the blocks put together as a 27" x 33" wall hanging, but still needs quilting, binding and a label. Maybe I'll get it finished by the end of February. You think? I can't wait to see what the next project will be. Sew on and sew forth!