Among Brenda's Quilts

Bagmaking Class

I started on a major project in the Spring of this year, and after a busy summer and September full of event appearances, presentations, and sewing classes, it feels like winter might be on the way.

Changing Seasons, New Activities

**Updated: Project news at the bottom of this post**

With my new project about to transition from 'almost done' to 'open for business' I thought it might be the perfect time to spend a bit of time on things close to home before things rev up again. (At the end of the article I'll tell you more about what I have in store for you - I think you'll like it).

It’s been unseasonably warm this fall and mostly I’ve been able to enjoy it, barring one nasty cold. With a couple of chillier days in the mix lately, I thought it a good idea to stop ignoring the inevitable, and have begun to winterize my garden. 

Two things are always problematic at this time of year: my large potted Hibiscus and my 12 outdoor goldfish.

The Hibiscus

Hibiscus plant

In the past I’ve taken the Hibiscus to my Mother’s place. This involves wrapping the pot and soil in plastic and tipping it on its side in our van to transport it to her house. It’s a heavy brute so it needs to be wrestled into her house where she has a corner in her office where it gets a bit of afternoon sun each day. There are better rooms in the house for plants and Mom has got a big place but the problem is the Hibiscus sucks up about an 1/8th of any room it’s placed in. So it languished in the office through the long winter.  By the time spring rolled around the poor thing had lost all but about 10 leaves and looked to be on its last legs.

I’ve been nursing it outside all summer and finally, now that it’s promising to get cold, it is full of buds!  Where to put it?  I decided to take matters into my own hands and wrangled it into my family room.  I moved out some of the furniture to give it a bit of space near the window and got some tie-backs for the curtains so they would not block any available light.  Hopefully it gets enough light and the wood stove in the room does not cook the poor thing when the days get cold and we decide on having a fire.  Today it blessed me with one lovely blossom – sweet thing that it is.

Hibiscus bloom


The Goldfish

Fish pond

What to do with the goldfish? My two ponds are shallow and I  have had the previous years fish freeze solid on more than one occasion.  I’ve tried a heater for the pond but the outdoor GFI socket has this nasty habit of tripping when I’m not around leaving me with more frozen fish.  I don’t have room for a large aquarium and am a bit hesitant to buy one as we have had so many leaky water issues in the house that I figure I am cursed in this department.  So in the past I have taken my fish to Mom’s larger, deeper pond.  There, they stand a 10% chance of survival.  This is not great but it’s better than being a frozen fish cake.  The cold is not the problem with Mom’s pond.  The trouble is the wildlife, the weasel, mink and heron.  Mom came out to see what all the fuss was about last year at the pond and found a weasel snaking around in the water eating the fish and stopping mid-hunt to hiss at her.  Nasty fellow.  This gave her such a fright that she retreated.  

Being a natural born problem solver an idea occurred to me.  I went over to the pet shop this past week and asked if they wouldn’t take my fish back in to re-sell them to me or somebody else next year?  They were completely agreeable to this solution.  Hurrah!  Now to round up the slippery things and drive them over to their new home.

Gold fish

Sewing is a perfect indoor winter activity

When you live in a seasonal climate, winter can mean a lot of slogging around in crappy weather, so when you don't have to go out, it's nice to tuck yourself away in your sewing room and indulge your hobby.

Which leads me to something those of you on my email newsletter list already know about.

I'm offering sewing lessons online!


The new site, with video classes is now open! To see which classes are currently open for registration, check the Video Classes page.

For now, we'll offer one class at a time so I can give questions from the first students the attention they deserve before moving on to the next group.

 Hope to see you there! 

Get our 12 Free Tips for Bagmakers  along with more information on a weekly basis.

Written by Brenda Miller — October 17, 2016


I'm Brenda, and I love designing patterns that help you create beautiful, functional bags and quilts.

These patterns are unique, well-illustrated, simple to follow, and fun to sew.

We also carry my own line of bag zippers, finished designer bags, bag hardware kits, specialty fabrics, and notions, so you're able to easily find what you need to do a superb job on all of your ABQ projects.

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