Monthly Archives: December 2014

Looking Forward

Happy New Year!! I have been away from the computer for the past week and a half or so spending time with my children. All four kids plus my daughter-in-law were here for a week over the Christmas Holiday. What a treat. I love having them all at home. The last of them left this afternoon. We had a great time together – lots of time for visiting, playing cards, seeing relatives and eating, eating, eating. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season as well.

Business first! In my last post I was celebrating my 51st post and 51st follower with a little giveaway. Mari, who writes at the Academic Quilter, won the giveaway. Today I packed up a box of treats and will get that shipped of to her tomorrow. Congrats Mari!  If you haven’t ever popped over to her blog, you might want to do that. She is a clever writer and a talented quilter – which makes for good reading!

As with many of you, I have been considering what goals I want to set for the coming year. Quilty resolutions, you might say. I have decided upon just a few. Being a list-maker and goal setter, this works well for me. Rather than list off 20 goals and only accomplishing a few of them, I am trying to be realistic. Here are five goals that I feel are attainable.

  1. Finish my three unfinished quilts before starting a new one. Once I get a quilt top done, I am so excited to start the next one. But then I have unusable quilt tops staring at me in my sewing room. Considering the work that went into those almost-quilts, I want to finish and enjoy them. Right now I have a nine-patch batik quilt top, my Aurifil BOM quilt, and my RSC14 patchwork blocks to sash and assemble. So, first things first, I will finish these before beginning a new quilt. (This will NOT be easy for me but should be really gratifying.)
  2. I am often inspired by Amanda Jean Nyberg who writes at Crazy Mom Quilts. She is both an amazing quilter and teacher. Over the past few months she has mentioned that she is on a “fabric fast”. She, like many quilters lately, is trying to sew strictly from her stash. She hasn’t bought fabric for several months! I bought a ton of fabric over the past year. I intend to sew from the stash in my sewing room and use many of the beautiful pieces that I have. My plan is to “shop” my stash and sort it into a few projects. Of course I won’t begin those until I complete number one. See above! 🙂 I will have to purchase batting and I am not sure I have yardage large enough for quilt backs but I absolutely have enough to piece a number of quilts. It will be interesting to see how long I can avoid buying new fabric. As you know, this is one expensive hobby. Not buying fabric for a while will be good for the budget!
  3. Take more time to enjoy the process of piecing. When I am piecing a quilt top I become so anxious to see the finished result. It seems like this anticipation causes me to hurry, which isn’t a good thing for a couple of reasons. First, it makes for sloppy piecing and second, it takes away from the enjoyment of the process. I love the whole bit – selecting the fabric I want to use, the pattern for the quilt, then cutting the pieces and making the blocks. I want to focus on slowing down. I am confident that just by slowing down, my blocks will be more precise and my points more accurate.
  4. Improve my photography skills. The pictures that I use on my blog aren’t as nice as I would like so I intend to learn more about photography. I take millions of pictures but usually just candids of my kids. I would like to focus on learning how to better use my camera and set up my pictures. For Christmas I received a photo light box from one of my boys. This will really help with the pictures I take for my Etsy listings. I have only just started to play with this. I also asked a friend of mine that is talented with her camera to give me some pointers. Making progress on this goal already!
  5. Finally, I plan to learn a bit about quilt restoration. I have two quilts that need to be restored. One is a log cabin quilt and was the first quilt I ever made. You can read the story of that quilt here. The other is a pretty, antique quilt that I was given. If you look at the picture below you will see that the center of the star is shot. There are quite a few diamonds that are threadbare and in need of repair. It would be great to learn how to replace these pieces. (I assume by applique?)


I have been working on goal number one this morning. I am trying to finish the quilting on my Aurifil BOM quilt so I can get the binding sewn on. I made a scrappy binding, which is a first for me. (Check out that pile of Clover binding clips. My Christmas gift from me to me!) This should be my last finish for 2014 – if I can get that binding on today!


So it boils down to these five goals; finish my UFO’s, sew from my stash, improve my piecing by slowing down, focus on my photography skills (hah, no pun intended!), and study up on quilt restoration. If I can accomplish these I will be satisfied. It seems like a reasonable list. We shall see! Who else is setting goals? Let me know so I can go over and read your list. All the best in the new year!

Linking to Let’s Bee Social and Linky Tuesday. Please take a look at these wonderful blogs. Their link is at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

The Holy’s and the Jolly’s – Christmas Cards

When I was growing up (the 1960’s) it seemed like we received tons of Christmas cards.  Maybe my parents were just incredibly popular or maybe, because there was no internet, email, facebook, blogging, instagram, or twitter, that was how people wished each other a Merry Christmas.  Actually, it was probably both. But really, we received a billion cards each season. My mom would string them up and display them or keep them in baskets to look at. I loved checking the mailbox across the street and bringing in a veritable pile of cards. (I still love checking the mailbox which is 1/2 mile from my house and usually only contains junk mail or the occasional bill that can’t be paid on-line. Old habits die hard.)

The best part was after Christmas because then my sisters and I got to “play” with the cards. We hoarded them, traded them, and sorted them. Remember, I have five sisters and even so, there were enough cards for all of us to have some. This was a ritual for us and was something to do after the excitement of Christmas had mellowed and we still had that second week of school vacation. When we sorted them, we classified them in two groups;  the ‘Holy’s’ and the ‘Jolly’s’.  You probably know which cards fell into each pile.

The Holy’s:

or maybe –

These were fine.  They were pretty and, attending Catholic school for the first eight years, we knew this was what Christmas was (supposed to be) all about.  But then there were these – the Jolly’s.

In large part (no pun intended) isn’t this what Christmas is about to a kid? It was for me.

I wish people still sent cards in the mail. I know that the postage has become ridiculously expensive and usually I am up-to-date on the news and what everyone’s kids look like because of Facebook but I love the tradition of finding a card in the mailbox! Such a simple pleasure.

Christmas is just around the corner.  As my family says, only three more sleeps and my boys will be home.  Time for major grocery shopping and a bit of house cleaning as well as finishing up the gift wrapping. This will leave no time for sewing or blogging.  I have still one gift that I am making and I am fairly certain it will not be done in time for Christmas. It is turning out so pretty and I don’t want to hurry it. The recipient will have to wait patiently and I think (hope?) it will be done shortly after Christmas. 🙂

Before I wish you all a Merry Christmas though, I have one bit of news. I am so excited! This is my 51st post and I just got my 51st follower (between email followers and Bloglovin followers combined.) Doesn’t that seem auspicious? Fortuitous? Just sort of cool?  I had hoped to have 50 followers before the end of 2014 – that was a goal I had set when I started posting earlier this summer. I made it! I was so nervous when I first posted on Needle and Foot – that feeling of what if I have a party and no one shows up? But look, all of you showed up!!  I have had almost 20,000 page views so far. Yikes!!! That makes me happy.

Giving thanks for the friends that I have made through this little blog of mine, I want to do a small giveaway. If you are a follower of mine, leave a comment as to your preference – tea or coffee?  Easy peasy. I will draw a name in a couple of days and send the preferred treat off to a lucky winner. (Be specific – coffee – whole bean or ground? Decaf or Caffeinated? Teabags or loose tea? Have a special flavor that you love?) We have some really yummy local teas and coffees and I am looking forward to treating someone to this. Note:  be sure that I have an email address to reach you if you are chosen.

By the way, I am not going anywhere close to the post office until after the holidays.  Etsy sales were good this month and I have been going to the post office constantly so I will mail this off after Christmas.

Wishing all of you a wonderful holiday season. Hope you are able to spend it with your friends or family as the case may be.  See you in the new year!



The Spirit of the Season

The holidays are crazy sometimes. I am one that can get all wound up about how much needs to be done, making lists and running around far more than is necessary. But over the last couple of days I had a couple of sweet reminders about what the holidays are truly about. Let’s just say there are loads of very kind people in this world and many of them just happen to be quilters!

Here is the first story:   Last week I participated in the Sew Mama Sew Blogger Giveaway day. I asked people to enter by commenting with three words that come to mind when they think of Christmas. I loved reading through all the comments. They were heartfelt. My daughter picked the winner, number 48, who happened to be Mara from Secretly Stitching. It so happens that Mara lives in Greece and my giveaway was not open internationally (the postage to ship a bit of fabric internationally just didn’t make sense.) I emailed Mara and she explained that she was entering the US – Domestic only giveaways for a friend of hers in Texas. She thought that if she happened to win, she would ask the hostess of that giveaway to mail her prize to her friend in Texas. She said this friend could use something fun in her life right now and she hoped this would happen. And it did. I mailed off a package to Shirley in Texas on behalf of Mara, from Greece. Shirley, you have a sweet friend in Mara.  By the way, if you haven’t read any of the posts on Secretly Stitching, take a hop over there. Mara has a fun giveaway posted today. I won’t spoil it for you – go take a look!

Second reminder came about this morning.  I was reading some of my favorite blogs and opened the most recent post on Diary of a Quilter, blogged by Amy Smart (one of my quilty heroines.) Her topic today is three ways to give this Christmas season. Each of them is sewing/quilting related and each touched me. I supported all three. Amy describes a GoFundMe that she is running to finance a sewing machine or two for a village in Ecuador.

Amy also mentions a woman who is making quilts for chronically ill children and needs financial support. Finally she talks about a woman in New York who is teaching senior citizens to quilt and needs fabric donations. (I bet there isn’t a one of us that doesn’t have an extra piece to send off for the cause!)  All of these are unique ways to help someone out that is working in our arena this Christmas.  If you would like more information, check out Amy’s post today.

I hope you are all enjoying the holidays without succumbing to the frenzy that it can become. I am working hard to enjoy it and not let myself get overwhelmed with it all.  My kids come home next week and for me, that is what makes the holidays. I can’t wait!!  Julia and I did some crafting the other day. We have loads of pinecones around as we live in the Sierra Foothills.  With a little white glue and a bottle of glitter we came up with these.

I haven’t accomplished a whole lot of sewing over the past few days. I am working on a small art quilt though and have been thread sketching a bit. Here is a peek. With any luck, I will post the finish just after the holidays.

photo (2)

Take care all and Happy Monday!  Linking up to Anything Goes Monday.


Custom Work

Over the summer I opened an Etsy shop. Kind of scary because it means putting yourself out there and hoping that someone likes your work enough to buy it. So far it is going well.  I have sold a number of items, certainly not enough to make any sort of living, but enough to make it rewarding. It feels good to have someone look at an item I created and purchase it. Also for some reason, I get a kick out of knowing that I am shipping something I made to someone in another part of the country. I have sent things to South Carolina, Alaska, Oregon, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Florida and Virginia. This week I received an Etsy email from a woman telling me that an item I made was on her sister’s Christmas List. I loved that! The same item had sold the day before I received the email. Luckily I had enough fabric to duplicate it and it was simple item. It felt great to make my customer happy.

Over the past two weeks I had two requests for custom orders. I have been making cozies for Chemex coffee pots and sold a number of them as Christmas gifts through Etsy. The first custom request I got was from a woman who wanted me to make one for her using her fabric. She had a gorgeous African Ankara fabric that she thought would work. We chatted back and forth a bit and she sent me a picture of the fabric. Seemed like a good idea so we came to an agreement and she mailed the fabric to me.

It turned out so pretty. She is gifting this to her sister for the holidays. (Excuse the horribly wrinkled sheet that was used as a backdrop! I mailed off the project before looking at this picture. Ick!)


It was a great surprise to see how the green pattern matched so well where it joins with the buttons. Totally happened by chance as I didn’t think to check that when I was cutting. I was more concerned with how to fit the most of that bold blue and purple stripe in the piece. I got lucky!

20141202_2284I had these pretty a brass buttons that added nice touch. I quilted it along the white lines that delineate the pattern. Overall, a good finish. The best thing is now I have some experience with Ankara fabric and plan to buy more. Ankara fabric actually originated  with the Dutch. It was made with the intent to be sold in Indonesia but quickly gained popularity in West Africa. It is a very dramatic use of bold colors and prints and is usually made with 100% cotton fabric. The piece that I worked with washed well and was easy to sew on.

The second custom order came around as a result of a request from a woman in Pennsylvania. She wrote me and said that she liked my work but wanting to gift a Chemex cozy to her guy, she hoped for something less feminine. This forced me to take a look at the fabric choices I have been making and yep, most are rather feminine. It is interesting because when I make a new Chemex jacket to put up on Etsy, I always post it on Instagram with various hashtags. I get a pretty good response and guess what, they are predominantly male responses. But those responses haven’t led to sales on Etsy. It follows that I might be more successful in that market with some covers that are less floral! My customer specifically asked for denim, twill or flannel. This is what I came up with.

The denim is from my husband’s massive pile of old levi’s. The flannel is actually a piece leftover from pj’s that I made for my boys about ten years ago. Talk about lucky, I didn’t even have to make a run to the store!photo denim-crop

photo 4The buttons were purchased in Lancaster, PA during my amazing fabric hunt in Amish country. (That trip was a blast and you can read about it here.)

photo 2It was a win for the customer and some new perspective for me. Question of the day: If you are selling product on Etsy, do you charge extra for a custom order? In these two instances, I did not. The items were ones that I make regularly, the customer just wanted me to use a certain fabric. However, it does mean setting aside my current project and sewing something different for each of these customers. I am not sure and would love to hear what others are doing.

As an aside, I am loving the comments I have received on my post about the giveaway for Sew Mama Sew. What a sweet group of comments. Today is the last day for the giveaway so if you want to join in, check out this post.

Enjoy your weekend!  Linking to Let’s Bee Social and Crazy Mom Quilts. Find these links and more, at the top of the page under Link-Ups.  (That sounds like a commercial!)

Holiday Giveaway

I am so excited!  Today starts the Giveaway Day sponsored by Sew Mama Sew. I have followed the Sew Mama Sew website for quite a long while. Twice each year they host a blogger giveaway. This is an event where bloggers will link up with a treat to give to one lucky winner. It is a way for bloggers to meet new readers and readers to discover some fun, new blogs. There will be so many giveaways to enter this week. It is really a lot of fun to check out all of the blogs and you just might win something. Many of the people linking to this giveaway will either have a handmade item or will be giving some sort of supplies having to do with sewing – might be buttons, fabric or a pattern.

In keeping with the  spirit of the holidays and the kind, quilty bloggers, I wanted to join in and provide a treat to a lucky reader. I started this blog last summer and have been so fortunate to have met many on-line friends. It has been a great to get to know others that are involved in this quilting/crafting/sewing corner of the blogosphere. I have been inspired by the work of many and have learned much more than I had hoped.  In thanks, I put together a little basket of treats.

If this is your first time popping over to Needle and Foot, welcome! I am a stay at home mom with a love of sewing. I work on quilts, small and large, as well as sewing some garments and bags. I love sharing what I am working on and learning what others are doing. Take a minute and check out a few posts. Hopefully you will enjoy your time here.

On to the giveaway! First of all, there is a set of eleven 3″ x 30″ (approximately) strips in vibrant colors. I had purchased a grab bag of strips and this set was part of that bag. Perfect for an upcoming project when you want to brighten up a dreary winter afternoon.


I don’t know what line(s) these pieces are from as the selvedges were removed when I got these but they work together well.  POST UPDATE:  According to Barb at Mountain Quiltworks these are from Kate Spain’s line called Terrain. Thank you Barb!!


I added a few holiday prints from my stash. They are roughly fat quarter size (18″ x 22″). It might be just the thing for a last minute holiday project.


Always nice to add a bit of fabric to your stash.


I’ve added a few fun treats to the basket as well.


No, I didn’t make the ornament. 🙂 It is so cute though and would be such a simple project.


Be sure to take a look at all of the fun giveaways on the Sew Mama Sew website. Check out a few blogs and meet somebody new! All giveaways, including this one, will be open for the entire week. I will pick the winner of this basket on Saturday, December 13th. The winner will be contacted via email and also announced on a later post.

So here is the deal – to be eligible for this cute little holiday basket all you have to do is leave a comment – just three words – that tells me the following:

“Three words that come to mind first when I think of the Holidays are:”

I apologize to any international readers but my budget doesn’t allow for shipping outside the US. Thanks for playing along! I am looking forward to reading your comments. Enjoy this giveaway and so many more over at Sew Mama Sew.

Linking to Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!

Update:  The giveaway is now closed.  At random, my daughter chose number 48 as the winner. We are very scientific here – I told her to pick a number between 1 and 137. Congrats to Mara. I emailed you and need your address please.  Happy Holidays everyone!

When it rains, it pours!

I am sitting here in the kitchen listening to it pour rain. Living in parched California, this is really a wonderful sound. As we were enjoying the downpour my cell phone and my husband’s cell phone start beeping with one of those emergency alert sounds. Apparently it is coming down so hard that the Weather Service is posting flash flood warnings!  It’s ok, we need it so desperately.  There is actually one tiny town in Central California, called Porterville, where many of the residential wells have dried up.  Truly and completely dried up. The residents of that town are buying their water and taking sponge baths. The city officials actually brought in portable showers so the 600+ residents with dry wells could have a hot shower (the rule is to bring your own towel and soap.) Clearly it is no exaggeration that we are experiencing a drought.  The fact that my rain gauge shows 2.43 inches of rain in the last 24 hours is wonderful!

Today I gave the first Christmas gift of the season! How fun it is to gift a quilt to someone – I love the feeling of making it for someone special and knowing they are touched when they receive it. I made a 1600 quilt top (jelly roll quilt) back in October. You can read about it here. Using Moda’s “Merriment” line, it turned out to be lovely shades of deep red and pine green with lots of creamy colors thrown in for good measure. It is technically a holiday print but really it isn’t that “Christmasy” so I think it can be used throughout the winter months.

Holiday Jelly Roll Quilt November, 2014

I cut off enough of the edge of the original quilt top to be able to create a pieced border around the edges. I put a narrow strip of pine green between the main section and the border.  Using diagonal, straight line quilting made this project a breeze to quilt.

Holiday Jelly Roll QuiltThe backing is a simple creamy tone on tone fabric. It looks pretty with the red binding. (I forgot to take a picture of the backing though, oops!)

The most fun was bringing it over to its new owners, my Mom and Dad. Merry Christmas – I thought I would give it to them now since they were just decorating for the holidays. They love it and it looks great on the couch, right near their wood stove. So cozy. The picture isn’t the best, I only had my phone with me. But look how cute!

photoI have started another project that will be gifted at Christmas time. That won’t be shown here until after the holidays. Don’t want to ruin the surprise. Time to go read my book and listen to the rain. Hope all is well at your house!

Linking to Let’s Bee Social, Linky Tuesday, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Crazy Mom Quilts and TGIFF. Take a peek at all of these link ups to see so many amazing projects. As always the links are available at the top of my page, under Link Ups.  Also…. thanks in advance for your comments, they always make my day!