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

Getting Back To Work

I've been neglecting working on any hand applique for a while.  I really wanted to keep up with it but life has a habit of getting in the way.

When asked recently to do a 8 1/2" block for a retiring business friend, the realization hit me that this was the perfect chance to get back in the game. The work was started and completed in just a couple of days. It was so great to be working on one of my favorite pastimes again and here's the photo of the block. The design is one by Nancy Pearson. In one of her classes years ago, we learned how to create depth using fabrics with this rose. I've kept that sample hanging in my studio all these years for inspiration.



Hand Needles and their numbering system

Hand Needles and their numbering systemI've always been flummoxed by the numbering on hand needles.  I thought that the larger the needle, the larger the number should be.  It was confusing to me and I think to a few other handwork and hand sewing  people too.

However, the other day I was remembering a book about inventions I had read years ago.  One story really struck me.  It was about King C. Gillette. One day in about 1895 the idea that he called a safety razor came to him.  Back then they had straight razors and had to sharpen them on a strop back and forth. (Leather belt like thing.)  I remember my dad doing that.  

So Mr. Gillette had the safety razor but it had no blade.  No one made steel thin enough to fit into the razor.  After many tries he was about to give up.  Finally in 1903 (eight years later) someone came up with a method of rolling the steel thin enough to fit into the razor.  And the rest is history. 

Now I know that the hand needles had to go through the same process.  The processes and technology had to evolve in order to make the first large, wider needles smaller and thinner, little by little.  Maybe that's why the finest needles have the largest numbers.  

No more confusion for me.  Yea!  I love reading.


What do quilting and cereals have in common?

Check out the newest blog article and find out!

Cereal and Quilting ?

Remember Count Chocula, Boo Berry and Franken Berry cereals from the 70's? They've been pretty much unavailable since 2010. But now they are coming back for Halloween and will be available in September. These 3 cereals will have a limited time period in which they can be purchased.

So why am I writing about this you ask? And what do General Mills cereals and quilting have in common? Well nothing really, NADA, except.......General Mills wanted to redesign the characters for the cereal boxes.

They contacted DC Comics who, in turn, arranged for artists they've worked with to redo these characters. DC chose our son, Dave Johnson, to redesign Franken Berry. (I love his fingernails.) Credit to the
designers appears on the side of the boxes. The new designs are really cute and we're proud of our son, Dave.

I can't wait to see them in the stores so I can grab a few boxes. So if you remember Monster cereals or have sons and daughters who remember them and/or have grandchildren who've never heard of them, get to the grocery store and take a look.

If you would like pictures of how they look and the article written about this, click here.

It works for me!

I've had trouble with cramps in my feet and/or lower legs for a while now and they can happen at night.  I used to have to stand up or get up and walk around a bit to "cure" them. 

Lately, I've tried something new to me.  It's called dill pickle juice.  Ya ya, that stuff you throw away after the dill pickles are eaten up.  I now keep some in the refrigerator.  When a cramp comes, I just go drink a couple of tablespoons of it and go back to bed.  Within minutes...no more cramps. 

If you like dill pickles and get a cramp now and then, give it a try.  It works for me.  Yea!


The Joys of Quilting...Part 2

A note from Florine ~After the Joys of Quilting...Part 1, I mentioned that Part 2 would be next week.  As it turned out, I was a few months off!  Sometimes life gets in your way and stops you from doing what you should be doing.  No excuses here, just that there were reasons for not getting back to this blogging right away.

At that point in my life as a quilter, I am neither good at piecing, nor am I good at hand applique. So I joined the East Cobb Quilters Guild in Marietta, Georgia, to see what I could learn from that group of over 200 quilters.


After attending a couple of ECQG meetings, a new zip code bee was formed in my area. I joined that group too. At that first bee meeting, everyone was very polite and smiling a lot. After the meeting, my cheeks were aching from all that smiling. Being a loner, I wondered if my cheek muscles could stand that much work once a month.  But within a few months, we grew to know each other and the meetings became one of sharing and rollicking laughter. Joining the Nimble Thimble Bee was a very good thing to do.


At one of the ECQG meetings I learned of a shop in Stone Mountain, GA, (No longer open) called the Village Quilt Shop owned by Joyce Selin. Wanting to see what the shop was like, I drove for 45 minutes to get there. I was stopped in my tracks when I saw Joyce's Baltimore Album quilt hanging on the wall. That's when the desire to learn hand applique became an obsession for me. I MADE THE DECISION* to become competent at hand applique and promptly signed up for a year long series of monthly classes.


Joyce started us with Elly Sienkiewicz's books on Baltimore Album blocks. Attached is a photo of my very first block. I was hooked! For the approximately next five years I worked on hand applique, trying to perfect my stitches and learning how to do all those dimensional flowers. I was making block after block, but not putting anything together. Just blocks.


Around that time I was also fortunate to meet an international group of quilters. Unfortunately though, through them I gained an international reputation as someone who never finished anything. But I did. I really did. I finished blocks.


Recently a well known teacher said, “I don't make quilts. I make blocks.” Do you know how relieved I was to learn I wasn't the only one making blocks instead of quilts?


Next time (please note, I didn't specify when but I will try monthly at least) I will talk about learning to do the stitches and how bad I was to begin with. DECIDE! 


* DECISIONS can really change your life!