Happy Thanksgiving Friends!

Just popping in to tell you how much I enjoy my blogging and quilting community. I am really thankful to know you all and to enjoy this fun on-line relationship with you. Hoping you are able to celebrate Thanksgiving in some fashion if you live in the US. Ray, Julia and I will have my parents over for dinner. The five of us are pretty much in the same bubble and are all very careful to stay healthy. Thus we feel it is safe to have our Thanksgiving meal together.

I know many people are feeling very lonely without their kids or parents or other family/friends that they normally would spend the holiday with. My hope is that we are nearing the light at the end of the tunnel. The vaccines hold promise and look like they will soon be released. Slowly, slowly, we will get back on track. Try to stay positive and continue to be careful, safe and healthy. Take care and thank you for your friendship!

One More Little Finish

Look another little quilt headed to Jack’s Basket! As a result of my cleaning efforts in the sewing room, I put some scrappy nine patch blocks together that had been sitting in a pile for quite some time. It felt so nice to use up the blocks and make this sweet little quilt.

It is so bright and cheerful. I quilted straight lines on the diagonal. At first I was stitching across the wonky stars but it looked funny so I took that out. I think the stars look best without any quilting. The lines were just freehand with the corners of each square guiding me. Because the quilting is very light, the quilt has a cozy drape to it.

Purple flannel on the back makes for a soft, cuddly quilt. For the binding, I used a bit of a yellow print from an older line by Jeni Baker, back when she was designing for Art Gallery Fabric. I even had the right size scrap of batting for this. Isn’t it great to use up some fabric that has been sitting for a while?

I had not yet mailed the You Are My Sunshine whole cloth quilt yet so both of these will go out together next week. I am not positive, but I think this is either the seventh or eighth quilt I have finished this year. Most of these were were made with flimsies that have been sitting which is super satisfying! Still another month to go this year. Will I have time to finish another quilt? Time will tell!

A Special Quilt For a Special Person

I have a pretty finish to share today. I was waiting for it to be received by its new owner before I shared it with you. I made a scrappy jelly roll quilt, using the pattern by From Bolt to Beauty. Michelle calls it the Ridiculously Easy Jelly Roll Quilt and the name is accurate!

For some time now, I have wanted to make a quilt for my (first) mother in law. I have posted in the past about my first husband. He passed away in 1994. Since his death, I have stayed close to his mom. When she retired, JoAnne moved up to the foothills and lives only 60 miles or so from me. We used to have girl’s day out together fairly often, going to lunch and shopping. She has developed some health issues that make this a bit of a challenge. Between her health and the chronic migraines I deal with, we rarely actually see each other now. But we do talk on the phone, text and generally keep in touch. I am grateful for our friendship.

JoAnne developed some problems with her back which necessitated surgery. She waited and waited because of the pandemic but finally her doctor said she needed to have it taken care of. After surgery, she went home to her son and DIL’s house to recover. Unfortunately, she took a tumble, breaking her leg just one day after getting home. Back to the hospital she went, this time for surgery on her leg. It has been a really rough time for her. I decided I needed to get her quilt finished up so she could cozy up with it while she recuperates.

Making this scrappy quilt was a lot of fun. I had a portion of an older Moda jelly roll hanging around and I cut 2 1/2″ strips from various fabrics that worked with it. For the background I used an off-white polka dot fabric I used to stock in the shop. The soft colors, shades of pink, green, brown and off-white, were selected because I knew they would be loved by my mother in law.

I backed it with a cute text print that is all about family and home. Two things very important to both me and JoAnne. This Kimberbell print is called Make Yourself at Home. (There is still a small amount left in the shop.)

When I was quilting it (on my friend’s Tiarra sit down quilter) I used lots of loops and a variety of flowers. I also tucked in my late husband’s first name. See it above?

Just below his name, I also put his birthday. I thought she would love these bits about Mark to be in the quilt.

In the photo above, my sister in law and her daughter are looking for Mark’s name and birthday. I had tucked a note in with the quilt telling JoAnne I had stitched them in for her.

Today we had a fun gab session on FaceTime and I think she loves the quilt. It makes me happy to have finally made a quilt for her. I don’t know why I didn’t do this years ago. But now was the time – after two surgeries, lots of pain and discomfort, she is going to need to take it slow and heal. The whole experience has been so stressful with the extra layer of nonsense the pandemic adds. When she was in the hospital she couldn’t have anyone with her. This is just the worst. Being in pain and on lots of different medications makes it so hard to think clearly and make decisions. The doctors were, for the most part, pretty good about working with my brother-in-law as he was advocating for his mom. But not having anyone in the room with you is so miserable and lonely. I am really grateful she is home with her son and finally getting better.

The virus is really getting crazy in California. The governor has mandated a 10pm curfew until December 21, 2020. I wish everyone would take it seriously, stay home and keep the darn mask on when they have to be out and about. It is hard – I get that. People are lonely. But until there is a vaccine, it is the only way to keep things under control. What a mess. I hope you are staying safe and healthy. Be careful and try to be patient. This won’t last forever.

I was so inspired by this news of Dolly Parton’s donation to help fund the Covid vaccine. Her generosity is inspiring. We need all the positive news we can find. There is far too much going wrong in the world and it is nice to read about people trying to do good.

Linking up with Brag About Your Beauties, Whoop Whoop, and Finished or Not Friday. Hop on over and take a look. Lots of quilty inspiration to be had on those link ups!

The More I Clean, the More Mess I Make

Know what I mean? I keep pulling bins and zip lok bags out to sort and organize. Then I find something fun and ditch the cleaning process and start sewing. I suppose I am kind of cleaning up but if you look at my sewing room, you wouldn’t really know it. Hahaha. Surely this is not unique to me. Cleaning up a mess usually means making a bigger mess temporarily. However, the inability to overcome the temptation to play with little bits here and there is certainly slowing down the process!

RSC18 nine patch
Just a sampling of the blocks I found.

When I was pulling out a stack of zip lok bags I found a stack of 17 nine patch blocks. I made these during the first half of 2018 and then got tired of them. This is a habit of mine! Anyway, when I found the stack I decided I should use them up rather than put them away again.

It took very little time to stitch them together and put a border around the whole top. It will be just the right size for donating to Jack’s Basket. I wish I had made a few more with the wonky stars but I knew if I set it aside, telling myself I would do that, it would be months before I picked it up again. Better that it is going to be finished and sent off. I found some purple flannel for the backing and will get it basted and quilted up asap.

What the heck?

I have a bin marked solids. All colors are in there, all sizes and shapes. When I was picking through it, I found all of these light blue 1/4 circles. They are from the quilt I made for Julia’s bed back in 2013. I don’t know how many there are in the stack so we will just say a million. I was contemplating what I might do with these and in the blink of an eye, I was at the sewing machine playing with curves. Sigh. Maybe I am just not meant to have a clean sewing room?

But look at this. I think it is really cute and could be a fun quilt or mini. I pulled some chocolate brown and chartreuse and bagged all of it up as a project to work on soon. I love making the curves without having to measure. I am just tracing around the blue curve on the polka dot fabric and sewing them together. Then I square each block to 4.5″. I know I will use them in some fashion.

I put the blue 1/4 circles and related fabric away and – I kid you not – I found another zip lok bag. Jeez, it is endless. But this one had a lot of brightly colored strings in it PLUS about ten little improv crumb blocks. This was a huge distraction and I spent the evening yesterday making more of the blocks. I am up to about 18 or 19 now. The crumb blocks finish at five inches. My plan for these is to make economy blocks using the crumb blocks at the center. I believe the blocks will finish at nine inches which is a nice size. I need to make more of the crumb blocks to have enough for a lap size quilt. This project is now in the “make for Mercy Hospital” pile.

In between all of this, I have been using the AccuQuilt Go to trim scraps into usable squares. I now have a bin that is really stocked up with 2.5, 3, 3.5 and 4.5″ squares. Plus a huge stack of 5 inch squares. This is quite satisfying!

OK – now I am off to cut out a pair of flannel pajama pants for Julia. Hers are looking a little ratty so she is in need of a new pair.

Here is a picture of her with one of her older chickens. She has two out in the coop and is trying to socialize them a bit. I think she is working her magic because they are calmer now when we hold them.

Flora and Fauna, enjoying a little sunshine.

Enough for now. Hoping all of you are well and happy. 🙂

Linking to Finished or Not Friday over at Alycia Quilts and also at Oh Scrap!

So Thankful

OK – this is such a sweet little finish! Remember I mentioned Julia is learning to embroider and to knit? She stitched the word thankful for me on a simple square of quilting cotton. (She was looking for something to do and I asked her to stitch one word I could display during the fall season.)

I knew I would make something very understated with this. Using a deep red scrap, I sewed on the first border. It finished at 3/4″ wide. Then I took an earthy brown scrap and attached a second border which finished at 1 1/4″ wide.

The quilting is simple and quite minimal. I did a few rows of big-stitch hand quilting above and below the word. You can still see the (crooked) line I had marked with the Hera marker right below the word. That has since melted away (I love using a Hera marker!) I think this is really all it needed. I did machine stitch a tiny border just outside of the red fabric as well. The binding is the same fabric as the outer border which less distracting, keeping the focus to the center.

Measuring only 8″ x 11″, it is easy to tuck into any spot. I originally planned to hang it during Thanksgiving but truly, it is something that should always be displayed. It will most likely be kept on display as a little reminder throughout the year.

Linking to Brag About Your Beauties, Whoop Whoop, and Finished or Not Friday.

Reminder – today is the last day of the 20% off sale on all Autumn and Holiday fabrics!

Autumn Activities

This is my favorite time of year. Not because of all the pumpkin spice lattes either. (I am not a fan of sweet coffee.) But the weather, oh how I love this weather! I also love that we live in an area with great fall colors.

The maples in our yard are gorgeous. I wish the leaves lasted longer. It seems like they fall so quickly once they change colors. We try to really enjoy them while they are here though. So much so, that we have learned the succession in which our trees tend to turn color. It is truly exciting when we see one start to become colorful. Simple pleasures, right?

In this family, Halloween is not a huge deal once you don’t have little kids around. But this is Covid and we are doing anything we can to keep busy. Remember when Julia and I painted rocks last summer and put them on our local walking trail? I suggested we paint pumpkin rocks and set them out before Halloween for the kids that walk the trail. (Or adults, we make no judgement!)

Artists at work

After our masterpieces were finished, we went for a walk and set them out on the trail for others to find. This is my favorite part.

Aren’t they funny? The nice, precise jack-o-lanterns are made by Julia. The others are the work of my husband and me (the less talented pumpkin artists in this house!) We haven’t returned to the trail yet but I am certain they made people smile to see them.

In an effort to stay busy and creative, Julia has been using You Tube to teach herself to embroider and to knit. She was wanting ideas of what to stitch and I asked her to do a word for me. She embroidered this pretty bit and I am now working on making a little frame for it. I will just do something simple and then add some bit stitch quilting. It will be so sweet.

Have you been wondering about Julia’s little chicks? Of course you have. She took a few outside to the lawn (they currently reside in a box in the laundry room.) At first they were shocked, never having seen the world outside of their box. But once they got settled down, they had a great time. The girls are at the awkward (aka ugly duckling) stage these days. The cute fluff is falling out and their feathers are growing in. They will live in the house until they are fully feathered and can stay warm out in the coop. It is a bit of a challenge though. As they grow their feathers, they like to try them out to see if they can fly. Julia keeps raising the cardboard walls of their home because now and then, they fly out and cannot get back in. Hahaha.

I was weeding out in the yard the other day and saw these little mushrooms. It made me think some fairies should (or maybe they do?) live there.

Ok – that is my update for now. I will be back with a couple of finishes soon. How are all of you doing? Coping, staying healthy? Celebrating the election results? All of the above? Hang in there – these are strange and unprecedented times we live in.

If you are in need of your own fall colors or maybe some Christmas fabric, they are 20% off in the shop (today through Friday.). Lots of cuteness to be had for a great price.

Ticker Tape Holiday Tree

I have loved ‘ticker tape’ projects since I first saw them on Crazy Mom Quilts, some years back. They are so cute and a really fun way to use up bits and pieces of fabric. Fast forward to a couple of days ago when I saw the cutest ticker tape tree over at Devoted Quilter’s site. Leanne created this 12″ block for Quilt Mania. I thought, “ok, I am going to do this. ” I have loved these little scrappy projects for a long time and I decided to set aside the jillion other things I needed to do and make this fun mini. (Thank you Leanne!!)

I have to say, I am especially excited that this quilt turned out because I made it on a ‘post-migraine day’. Normally, I never make anything the day after a migraine. If you have never had one, a migraine leaves a person with scrambled eggs for brains. The day following one, I don’t think clearly, feel very foggy and definitely do not drive anywhere. So when I decided to make this, I figured it was low risk. Using scraps, it wasn’t a huge deal if it ended up in the trash. Fortunately Leanne’s instructions were really helpful. I did get all turned upside down when I was trying to stitch the tree shape (using two rectangles of the cream fabric and a square of dark green for the tree. I kept flipping the rectangles around and could not see my way through it. I finally texted my friend, Sophia, and she was going to talk me through it. But suddenly the lightbulb flipped on and I got it. Seriously, it is very frustrating to know I ‘should’ know how to do something and have this muddled brain that just can’t get there.

Anyhow….. I did get there. Once the little tree was constructed, I put the borders on. The red plaid was a scrap from a big bag of fabric scraps my sister gave me a while ago. It was perfect for framing the little tree.

Then came the fun part – cutting up scraps and decorating the tree. Leanne had made hers with various shades of green but I decided to make mine festive with various holiday fabrics. Once I had an arrangement I liked, I used a fabric glue stick to place the pieces.

I used a tight zig-zag to applique the pieces to the tree. This is more than adequate since it will hang on a wall during the holidays and shouldn’t require laundering.

I had fun using a micro stipple on the background. Nothing like a mini quilt to give that satisfying feeling of a finish, right?

See that little snowflake at the top of the tree? Love it! Also, the green heart in the center just adds a little sparkle to my tree.

The backing was a bit of a holiday print I had in my drawer full of Christmas fabrics.

Overall, this was just a very fun project that I enjoyed making. It has been such a long time since I played around like this. Be sure to give it a try. The directions are available here. I am looking forward to hanging this in the entryway during the holidays! Thanks again Leanne – writing tutorials takes a bit of time and I am so appreciative to you for putting this one together.

Linking to Whoop Whoop, Brag About Your Beauties, Finished or Not Fridays.

Retail Therapy Anyone?

Just popping in this morning to share with you a bit. This has been a crazy election season and most of us have been holding our breath for days now. Not unexpectedly it looks like we will be holding our breath for a few more days. Regardless of our political leanings, disappointments or satisfaction, we live in an amazing country where we have the opportunity to vote and make our opinions known. Not all of the world enjoys these liberties. (And try not to hold your breath and grit your teeth – it isn’t healthy – relax your shoulders, inhale deeply and relax.)

Easier said than done though, right? It is very hard for me not to keep refreshing the screen on my election update page. So, I decided to create a sale for my customers. It will provide distraction and fabric bargains for you and give me distraction as I cut and ship your orders. How does that sound?

Today and tomorrow only, yardage is marked down 25% in the shop. (Sale does not apply to notions, patterns, books, sale items or precuts.) Head over and see what appeals to you! Do a little shopping and a lot of sewing – take some deep breaths – try to let it go until all of the mail-in ballots are counted. At this point, we have voted and now we wait, and we sew.

Hang in there all of you!! Just a couple more days and we will know what the next four years will bring.

OOPS!!

UPDATE – I forgot to tell you all! I pulled the winner for the holiday apron and hot mitt kit. Winner is Kathy H from Pennsylvania! Hurray for Kathy. 🙂

Holiday Project, A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Just popping in with a quick update. I have something new in the shop and I am really loving it. Recently I opened an account and started carrying Northcott Fabrics. In case you were not aware, they make tons of fun panels. I don’t use a whole lot of panels but my customers have shown me the light. Some of them are really cute and make for a fun, quick finish.

Thinking of holiday gifts, I thought this would be a great one to have in the shop. With the panel, a bit of lining and some Insul Bright, you get to make an apron, two oven mitts and four coasters. Instructions for most of it are on the panel. The coasters were my creation. They have the four squares at the top of the panel which are a bit of a bonus. I thought they were really cute so I made them into holiday coasters.

The apron is adorable. I lined it with a bias check fabric ( available in the shop) which gives a nice weight to the apron and also makes it reversible for use during the rest of the year.

The lined side for you to take a peek at.

The oven mitts are a little tricky. I did a double layer of Insul Bright in them because I think they are more insulated this way. But it makes for a thick batch of fabric to sew. That part wasn’t a huge deal but binding the edge at the top was. My machine doesn’t have a free arm to sew a smaller, circular seam with. I was able to do it but it just took a bit of fiddling as I went around the circle.

Once the binding was stitched on, I folded it to the inside and pressed with steam. Then I hand stitched it down.

The coasters are a breeze. I used batting scraps and scraps from the lining of the apron to make these. I think I might give them a little top stitching around the perimeter now that I have looked at them for a bit. It will give a more finished look to them.

What do you think? I really like the resulting set. It makes a wonderful gift for someone or to give to yourself! Considering how long it has been since I have done a giveaway, I think it is time! I made a kit with everything you need – the Insul Bright for the mitts, the panel and the lining. You only need to supply the batting scraps for the coasters. I am certain each of us has plenty of scraps to use!

To enter the giveaway, you must follow Needle & Foot in some way. Please let me know how you follow. If you want links, follow me here on the blog or at any, or all, of these: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or my newsletter (which is sent out all too infrequently but I do try!) Leave a comment and tell me if you are a fan of panels like these or if you usually do not choose to use them. I want to hear what your thoughts are. Giveaway open to US residents only (sorry – the cost of postage is prohibitive). Winner will be drawn on Sunday, November 1st at the end of the day. Good luck!!

Linking to: Brag About Your Beauties, Whoop Whoop, and TGIFF

Small Accomplishments

Thanks to the horrible utility company, Pacific Gas and Electric, much of Northern CA was without power for a couple of days. We had some wind which makes PG&E nervous because of their antiquated equipment (which was deemed responsible for several of the disastrous fires we have recently experienced.) So when a bit of wind is expected, they shut down the power in case a tree or limb should fall on a line and start a fire. That means no power for the duration of the wind – usually a day or so. Then the next day PG&E flies helicopters really low over all the outage areas to look at the lines (does this not sound terribly inefficient?) to be sure there is no damage. Once they can confirm that we get power back. This just makes me steaming mad. We pay plenty for our electricity and goodness knows we don’t get great results. Yesterday when Julia, Ray and I heard the helicopters flying over, we were shouting , “Yay, they are checking the lines!” It is ridiculous and also sounds kinda like we are in a war zone or something. Yet another reason we look forward to moving out of California at some point. Sooner, rather than later, if we can work it out.

Murphy’s Law came into play during the power outage and Verizon had difficulty with the tower that services our area. So we had no power, no wifi and no cell service. We are fortunate to have a generator and when that was on, we did have wifi. But after about 36 hours, AT&T, our internet provider, decided it was quite tiresome to have to provide service without normal power and we lost that connection as well. Sigh. May as well have been marooned on a desert island. I hate being without power and turn into a whiny pest when it happens. My husband could be happy living off the grid and just playing in the yard for the rest of his life. Me, not so much…

I did get a few things done while enduring these terrible times. (hahaha – I know, I am a bit dramatic about the whole thing.)

Do you have one of these? A pile of batting scraps?

Kind of blurry, but I bet this looks familiar to most of you. I had these stuffed into a little plastic drawer. It was getting to be a challenge to close it without shoving it all down. So I sorted it!

Better, yes?

When power was back on, I took some of the long strips of batting that were the same type and stitched them together with a wide zig zag. This gave me lots of bigger pieces that will be cut to size as needed. I tossed some very tiny bits that I have no idea why I ever saved. The larger rectangles are folded and ready to use.

The largest leftover pieces are now measured and marked. What a difference this makes. Some of these are quite large but since they were shoved into a corner of a closet, I never looked through them when I needed batting. At least now I know what I have.

Love this AccuQuilt!

Moving on…. Quite a while back, just at the start of the pandemic, I posted on my Facebook page that I was looking for an AccuQuilt. I was so fortunate to hear from Emily, of The Darling Dogwood. She had two and would be happy to give me one of them. We bartered for some fabric and I paid for the shipping – what a great deal! I am so happy to have this. I ordered a couple of dies for it – just basic squares so far. Emily also gave me one (I think was a duplicate for her?) I put it to good use this week though!

Barely made a dent in the scraps bins.

Some of these were already cut but many were done this week. I now have quite a large stack of 2.5″, 3″ and 3.5″ squares. I also cut a ton of five inch squares of novelty fabric. When I accumulate enough, I list “I Spy” charm packs in the shop. This is much, much easier to do with the AccuQuilt. I now have quite a large pile of them to be sorted into packs and then listed in the shop.

Last, but of course not least, I made good progress on the hand quilting I am doing for this pretty quilt. I think I am probably 2/3 of the way to complete on this project. I just love it. My stitches are getting more consistent, which makes me happy. This quilt really looks pretty, quite old fashioned. Hopefully I will finish it up soon and share the whole thing with you.

So cute.

Just before the outage, Julia brought home four new chicks – like 1 day old – very teeny, tiny. Chicks need to be kept warm and she has them in the laundry room with a heat lamp. They like to be at about 88 – 90 degrees. Well, this is a challenge without power. She had to rig up a warm environment for her babies. She used pots of hot water around outside of the bin they live in. Also added a deep pile of shavings for them to burrow into and wrapped the bin in an old blanket. She was able to keep her chicks all toasty for the duration. The interesting thing was they wouldn’t eat when it was dark which was much of the time. When the generator was on and they had light, all four of them would rush to the feeder like they were just frantic for their next meal. Considering how big they are just days later, I think they survived just fine!

OK – that is it for now. I have power and need to catch up on all things dependent on electricity! You know, the fun stuff like laundry, vacuuming, etc. Blech.