Monthly Archives: October 2017

Mickey Mouse – A Simple Halloween Costume

Julia has always come up with fun ideas for what she wants to be for Halloween.  Over the years, she has dressed up as Wednesday Addams, a devil, a ladybug, and a bat to name a few. This year she decided to dress up as Mickey Mouse.  She is long past the age of trick-or-treating but her high school has an annual Halloween Dance and they all dress up for that.

Did you know that Mickey Mouse was developed by Walt Disney and the very talented Ub Iwerks in 1928? He is the official mascot of the Walt Disney Company and has been making people smile for years.

“I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.”

— Walt Disney, Disneyland; October 27, 1954

Simple Mickey Mouse shorts!

Let me tell you, Mickey Mouse was such an easy costume to put together.  Julia had black leggings and a black t-shirt to use so the main task was to make the red shorts and the Mickey ears.  For the shorts, we dashed out to Ben Franklin and bought a 1/2 yard of red fleece.  I used a pattern I had for pajama pants and did a few alterations to the pattern pieces before cutting them out.  I had to make the waist sit a bit lower, shorten the inseam quite a bit and add a pocket to the right side. (Pockets are a must-have on all clothing so she can keep her phone nearby!) Between cutting, fitting, adjusting, and sewing them — the shorts took about an hour or so to make.  Julia cut two white ovals out of felt and I lightly tacked them to the shorts. She plans to use them as pj shorts so it will be easy to take the buttons off when she is through being Mickey.

The only challenge (and it wasn’t a huge deal) was making the Mickey Mouse ears.  I had a remnant of black vinyl on hand and we cut circles out of that.  But the vinyl proved to heavy and the ears constantly flopped over.  Browsing ideas on Pinterest, we found a great alternative using black poster board and a head band. This called for another trip to Ben Franklin!  I was extremely proud of my self control when I was able to go into the shop, grab the head band and poster board and not even wander through the fabric department.  Didn’t even go near it!  This is probably the first time I have achieved this feat and may well be the last! While I did go get the supplies, I didn’t actually make the ears.  Julia and Ray took care of that.  Here is a link to the site they used if you need inspiration.

It would appear Mickey is tiring of this photo shoot!

We couldn’t think of an easy way to achieve yellow shoes so she skipped it.  But really, she looked so cute – Seemed like they all had fun at the dance too.  Living out in the country, we don’t really get trick-or-treaters so Halloween night is usually quiet for us.  I hope you all have more treats than tricks tonight!


Sewcial Bee Sampler Quilt Finish

I am so happy with the finish of my Sewcial Bee Sampler quilt.  I loved making the blocks along with the billions of other quilters that followed along with this QAL hosted earlier this year by Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell. I posted progress shots along the way as I made the blocks, but just in case you didn’t know, the QAL included 25 blocks but I stopped after making 20.  This quilt is a comfortable size for a lap quilt and I felt like if I went for the full twenty-five blocks, this would just be set aside and not finished.  The colors of the quilt are so pretty and I was anxious to finish it and use it.

After sashing the blocks and rows with Mesh Joy, a gorgeous low volume print from Sharon’s Gossamer line, I took the quilt over to the long arm shop where I rent a machine.  For the backing, I used a piece of soft vintage gingham that I purchased at a thrift store over the summer. The light brown color is lovely and works well with the quilt top.

When I picked the binding, I was trying to choose between two fabrics, Terra Firma in deep yellow and Twinklestar Berry  from the Garden Dreamer line by Maureen Cracknell.  I couldn’t make up my mind so I asked Julia to choose between  them and she immediately went to the Twinklestar fabric.  It works well with the front and back.

I took it to the long arm shop a few weeks back and quilted it with a loose meander pattern. Because each block is different and the quilt is fairly busy, it made sense to keep the quilting simple.  More importantly, I wanted to use this quilting time to practice my control on the long arm and by using such a basic quilt motif, I could focus on the speed and evenness of the stitches on the long arm.  It was really helpful to practice like that.  It amazed me how little time it took to quilt it!

I really like the loft the quilt has with the loose quilting.  This quilt is so cozy.

The rich colors – cheddar yellow, the deep blues and the raspberry colors are my favorites.  This was such a fun quilt to make.  I know there are a lot of QAL’s popping up for the new year.  I think I will look through them and choose one. I have two more quilts in process and I hope I can finish those up before starting another one.  Tomorrow I plan to take my nephew’s jersey quilt to the long arm shop and quilt it.  Hurray for finishing up some projects!!

Have a wonderful weekend all!  Linking to some of my favorites. Please feel free to check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Fussy Cutters Club, Book Review and Giveaway!

Today is my day to post a review and host a giveaway of a fun new quilt book.  If you are here for the first time via the blog hop, welcome!  The book of the day is Angie Wilson’s Fussy Cutter’s Club published by C&T Publishing.  You may know Angie as she is the queen of online quilt alongs and swaps. She thrives on leading large groups of quilters through complicated projects such as her current QAL making Jen Kingwell’s Gypsy Wife Quilt – not for the faint of heart for sure.  For more info on the events she is currently leading and has done in the past, click here.

It was about two months ago when I was invited by C&T Pubs to review Angie’s upcoming book.  Right away I was intrigued by the title of the book and the gorgeous cover.  I know we aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, but come on.  Look at this cover!  It just pulls the reader in at the get go.  Angie’s reputation for mad skills with fabric play and use of color assured me the book would be worth the time to read, review and create with.

The premise of the book is to learn to look at your stash with a new perspective – Angie teaches the reader to use your fabric by cutting into it and emphasizing the bits you love the most.  The book is well written and the instructions for each of the 14 projects are precise and easy to understand.  Angie takes the reader through the design process, how to best use your fabrics, color theory and more, prior to introducing projects. She really did a great job with this book.  The projects range from the very simple to quite complex (again, look at the cover!)

For my project, I chose to make the tote bag.  Angie rated it as an Intermediate project but with her clearly written instructions, I didn’t have any trouble. Following Angie’s thoughts on color for this project, I chose a limited palette.

My bag is built around a piece of vintage fabric I have from the 1950’s.  It is  a kitschy print featuring red, brown and black kitchen appliances, clocks and coffee cups.  I loved the idea of using vinyl for the bottom of the bag (looks great and gives durability) and found this textured vinyl at Ben Franklin.  Once I had my focus fabric and the vinyl, the rest of the fabric was pulled from my scrap bins.

Since the red coffee cup was the primary focus, I decided to use mainly black, brown and white with the occasional pop of red. Most of my fabrics had a vintage look to them except the coffee themed text prints.  Those are clearly current and modern but I liked the idea of including the coffee text with the other fabrics, to further the coffee theme of the bag.   The main fabrics I fussy cut were the coffee cups and saucers, the text prints, and the tiny black coffee pots on the vintage fabric.

Making the slabs for the outside of the bag was really fun – I have improv pieced in the past, but it has been a long while.  Putting these scraps together was very satisfying.  I did reduce the size of the bag by a few inches in width and length. I am fairly short and the bag seemed like it would be too big for me at the original size but breaking it down to reduce it was easy.

The two main slabs and the vinyl bottom are assembled here

I learned quite a bit about fussy cutting.  Like anything, the more you do it, the better it becomes. Looking back, I feel I should have trimmed the bits I fussy cut closer in. I left too much peripheral pattern and that detracts from the focal point.  Note the cup and saucer below.  I think if I would have trimmed it down a bit and removed the little bits of coffee pots, it would have been much cleaner. In the picture above, take a look at the text print.  Were I to do this again, I would not allow the other words to appear. I really only wanted the word “coffee” to be the focus.  But live and learn (or sew and learn?).  Next time I will remember these bits and pieces that really make a difference in a project.


When assembling the bag, Angie’s instructions called for me to line the outer pieces with fusible interfacing and then to apply fusible batting.  I was skeptical at first but it really makes the structure of the bag a nice combination of crisp and soft (does that make sense?)  The addition of the fusible interfacing gave it a nice shape. Once I had those layers assembled, I used simple straight line quilting to hold all three pieces in place.

Her pattern calls for fabric straps but I had plenty of the vinyl so I decided to make the straps with that instead. I like the look of it and was pleasantly surprised that my machine had no issue stitching through several layers of vinyl. (I did use a heavy duty jeans needle.)

My model shows just how cute this tote bag is!

Overall, it was a great project and I felt the book was a great inspiration  to look at my fabric with a different perspective.  The tote is really fun (as you can see with my always available bag model.) It traveled with me to Vermont last week and when combined with the cross body bag I made, it was the perfect set up.

This is just one example of the projects that Angie designed for her book.  There are thirteen others though, including pillows, coasters, minis and zip pouches. To take a look at some of the projects, here is a list of the bloggers celebrating this new book.  Check them out for lots of inspiration as well as several chances to win a copy of the Fussy Cutters Club book!  As with most book giveaways, if the winner is international, an e-book will be provided.  If in the states, you will receive a hard copy of the book.

To enter to win, please leave a comment telling me your current go-to quilt book (I guarantee if you purchase or receive this book, it will be right up there on the list!) I will leave the giveaway open through Saturday, October 28th and will announce a winner on Sunday.


Linking up with lots of my favorites – most are listed at the top of the page, under Link Ups.  Also linking to Elm Street Quilts annual Bag It event.  Check that out here!

Thrifted Stash Update

It has been a long time since I have written a Sunday Stash post.  Maybe because I have been buying fabric constantly over the past months for my shop and it would be really boring if I wrote about each addition.  Technically, that isn’t my stash, but it is fabric and I do acquire it on a regular basis.

But today I want to share a couple of finds I had at the thrift store over the last several weeks. Every once in a while, I get lucky and find nice quality duvet covers in the thrift shop.  I remember finding one a couple of years ago and using one half of it to back a scrappy quilt I had just made.

Duvet covers tend to be a quality cotton with more heft than quilting cottons.  Thicker than sheets, they can be really durable. The first one I found is a pretty green color, maybe sage green or a dusty green?  It has a gingham pattern on both sides, one check larger than the other. After separating the fop from the bottom and removing the hemmed or finished edges, both of these pieces netted out at 77″ x 84″.  I should be able to back two lap size quilts with these and I paid a whopping $5.00 for the entire thing.  There are no worn spots or stains – they look wonderful.

This is the next one I found.  It is heavier than the green gingham – maybe similar to ticking or duck cloth? I took it home and laundered it. Then after removing buttons along one open edge, I split the top from bottom and removed the finished edges.  It is a bit smaller, finishing at 60″ x 76″.  As with the green pieces, it is free of spots or worn areas. I am thinking of a few different projects I may use these for.  I am not sure if I will back a quilt with it because it is a little bit narrow. The neutral taupe color will be easily worked into a number of projects,  I am thinking I will use this for some Christmas projects I have yet to begin. You’ll have to wait until later to hear about these. 😉  For whatever reason, this duvet cover was a little bit more expensive but I happily paid $9.50 for it.  It is still a lot of great fabric for the price! (Side note:  I no issue paying a little more for items like this because the main thrift shops I frequent are in support of our local Hospice organization and I am very happy to support such an important group of caregivers.)

Anyway – that is the latest with regard to my stash. If you venture into a thrift store, take a quick peek at the linens area – I am thrilled when I find something like this because backing a quilt can be an expensive part of the project!

Family Time

We just got home from a rather quick trip to Vermont. It is somewhat difficult to find times that work for our schedules and the work schedules my son and his wife keep so even though it wasn’t too long of a trip, we decided to go for it. Basically we had two long travel days and 3 1/2 days of family time squeezed in between.This is the second time I have been to Vermont. The first was last spring at the beginning of April.  Much of the snow had only recently melted off so the landscape was still recovering from a crazy winter. We got lucky with this trip though.  The leaves are all turning color and it was just gorgeous. Two sunny days and one day of very windy, chilly weather.

Saturday we walked the local Farmer’s Market which is always fun. I love to see what they are able to grow in an area when we are visiting. Plus this Farmer’s Market has a lot of food booths (our local market doesn’t have nearly as many) so we sampled our way through. Best find of the morning was surely the dark chocolate and cherry soft pretzels. Oh my gosh, they were incredible. Ray and I decided that we need to try to replicate these. I also tried these ‘husk cherries’ that look like tiny tomatillos and, to me anyway, had basically no flavor at all.  Certainly nothing resembling a cherry flavor?

We spent the afternoon driving through Stowe and then back home via Smuggler’s Notch. This is a mountain pass through the Green Mountains. It was named for the times when Vermonters were smuggling trade with Montreal, Canada because President Benjamin Franklin had declared a trade embargo between the US and Canada in the early 1800’s to prevent America’s involvement in the Napoleonic Wars. It was also used by slaves to escape to Canada and later than that as a route for smuggling liquor in from Canada during the Prohibition. A whole lot of historical activity has occurred  over this gorgeous, incredibly narrow, mountain pass.

Julia took this picture as we drove. Gorgeous trees. On the way home, my DIL suggested we stop at Poorhouse Pies.  This is a little pie stand a few miles off the highway, in Underhill, Vermont. Who would turn pie down??  The place was adorable.

Poorhouse Pies is run by two women, Jamie and Paula.  They opened their business in 2009 and make pies daily (every single day!) and sell them to a few local markets as well as at their home. I love this place because they rely solely on the honesty of people.  They put the pies (full size and little hand pies) in a refrigerator in the shed and there is a lock box above.  The prices are listed and people slip the money into the lock box. You don’t see a whole lot of this sort of thing anymore!

The walls of the inside of the shed were covered in little notes from many visitors.


This girl is ready for pie!

Oh my gosh, the pie was delicious.  We had blueberry pie and we all thought it was really tasty.

Later that night Andrew and I watched a clip of an interview with the Poorhouse Pie owners. Responding to a question about the honesty of their customers, they replied that they knew of only two times where pies had been taken without payment.  Both times were on the last day of school and they figured some high school kids decided they needed pie.  For the most part though, their customers are very honest and generous, leaving more money than the pies cost. This warms my heart.

We had such a nice day. I was really impressed with my grand daughter.  At seven months old, she is one of the most easy-going infants around.

Sweetest baby ever!

She was out and about with us all day long and didn’t fuss until the very end of the day. She is delightful.

Knuckle dimples!

OK – that is enough for now. I need to get the laundry going as there are piles of it to be dealt with.  Julia still has two more days of Fall Break. She and I are heading to the zoo this morning. She is in the midst of a primate unit in Anthropology and wants to go check out the monkeys with new perspective.  I have more on this trip because we spent an awesome afternoon at the Shelburne Museum where there is a….. quilt exhibit!!! I will share that in a separate post.

Leaving you now with an adorable baby-on-a-quilt picture. What better way to end a post??


Autumn Fabric Pumpkins

Hi Everyone!  As part of the Sew Much Fun Halloween Blog Hop hosted by Jen at Faith and Fabrics, I decided to make some autumnal fabric pumpkins. I wanted to make something new for the house but decided to forgo the Halloween novelty fabric and use fall fabric so I could leave them out through Thanksgiving.

These pumpkins are such a breeze to make. I poked around Pinterest for a while and found this easy tutorial from HGTV. Mainly I was looking for suggestions on the size of the individual rectangles that make up each puff on the pumpkin. This tutorial had three sizes worked out which was just perfect.

To  make the sections of one pumpkin, I cut six rectangles of equal size. I stacked the rectangles and trimmed off each corner, making a slightly curved shape.  Next I sewed the long side of the rectangles together from top curve to bottom, using a large, basting stitch.  (My Janome machine stitch length was set to four.)  Use the threads on either end of the seams to gather the pumpkin sides to your liking.

Then you hand sew a loose, running stitch around the bottom opening and draw the opening to a close.  Stuff with pillow stuffing (you might be able to use batting scraps?) and then sew a loose running stitch around the top to close the opening.  When closing the top and bottom openings, it doesn’t have to look perfect because both areas are covered.

To cover the bottom, I traced a round object (the top to my little button jar) and cut a circle of matching fabric.  I used raw edge applique to attach it, hiding the bottom stitches. I thought the blanket stitching looked really nice for this.

Here is another one.

I found a sprig of fall leaves at Ben Franklin and decided to cut it apart, using the leaves to decorate the tops of the pumpkins.  I also took apart two beaded napkin rings I had to use the little vines with red and gold beads on them. They look really cute.


The smallest one, below, is my favorite. Probably because I really like the fabric used for this one.

Nothing here that can’t be accomplished with a bit of hot glue and some leftover bits found around the house! I was glad to have a bag of stuffing that was nearly full (leftover from making these stuffed blocks for my grand baby).  It took the remainder of that bag to stuff the three pumpkins. I found twigs in the yard for the main pumpkin stem. The only thing I purchased specifically for this project was the fall leaf sprig for a whopping $2.99!

I hope you will give these a try.  If you get stuck or have questions, don’t hesitate to comment or shoot me an email. I am happy to help.

For more Halloween inspiration, be sure to check these posts out too.  Have fun!!

Faith and Fabric

The Cloth Parcel

Daydreams of Quilts

Slice of Pi Quilts

I Have Purple Hair

Patterns by Jen

Adventurous Applique and Quilting

Sew and Tell Project

Cross Body Bag for Travel

Most of the time, I use a big purse. I carry all sorts of stuff, probably more than I really need to. But that doesn’t work as well when I am traveling.  If I bring a tote bag or backpack on a plane (for a book, iPad, food etc) it becomes cumbersome to also have a purse.

I decided to make a slim, simple cross body bag for these, not-very-frequent, travel days. This way I will have a purse with my wallet and phone in it while I am traveling and it won’t take up tons of room in the carry-on bag. Brilliant, you say? Aw, shucks…

I chose the Grid fabric from Sarah Golden’s Maker Maker fabric.  It is a wonderful cotton and linen blend with great texture. Andover makes it and I have a selection in my shop.  I washed the fabric before I started so it would soften up a bit.

When I was thinking about this project, I decided to model it after the 30 Minute Pouch on  I have made tons of these as gifts.  One Christmas I gave them to a number of my friends, my sisters, my mom and mother-in-law. You can check those out here.  Anyway, I thought if I just made it substantially larger, added an interior pocket, and loops for a strap, it would be a cute bag.  Guess what?  I was right!  It turned out great.  Here are some photos of my process.

I cut the exterior piece, the batting and the lining all the same size, 9″ x 20″.  Then I quilted the batting to the exterior piece with three seams.  The quilting doesn’t show at all, black thread on a black print, but it held the batting in place while making the bag.

The interior pocket came next.  It is a bit of a trick to explain but I took a 5″ square and placed it on top of the lining piece, right sides together. I drew a rectangle toward the top, on the back side of the square and stitched around that rectangle.  Next I clipped out the interior of the rectangle so I could turn the fabric to the other side of the lining.

Finally, I took a second 5″ square and sewed it to the flap of fabric that was now on the wrong side of the lining.  (I know this is hard to follow and if anyone wants further info, I can write a tutorial.  It is a nice way to add a pocket to any bag you are working on. Let me know if you would be interested.)

Interior pocket sewed to lining fabric.

Once the pocket was in place, I set the zipper – I won’t go into detail here because I used the exact process described in the KelbySews tutorial. It is very simple.

Before sewing the side seams, I placed two loops of twill tape, one on each side, to be stitched into the side seam. Then I sewed the side seams.

This bag has exposed seams (the lining doesn’t hide them) so I did run a tight zig zag stitch along each side to finish the fabric.

Once the bag was flipped right side out, it looked like this.

The final piece was to make a long strap. I pieced together two lengths of fabric that were two inches wide. By pressing the raw edges to the center first, then pressing the whole strip in half, and finally stitching the strap all the way down the length of it, I quickly had a shoulder strap. I looped one end through each of the twill tape loops and stitched them together.  This means it isn’t adjustable.  If you wanted something more flexible, you could buy the hardware to make a little looped finish on the end of one strap.

Peeking at the interior of the bag.

The lining was a scrap from a thrift store but I love it with the Grid fabric.

For measurements, in case you are curious, the bag finishes at 8″ wide, 10″ tall, with a strap that is 50″ long.  I think the size is just what I wanted.  The only change I would make is to move the zipper up about two inches so I would have a bit more usable space inside the bag.  The most functional space is below the zipper and it would be better to have less space above the zipper.



Hazy, Smoke Filled Days

Most likely you have heard or read about the horrific fires ongoing in California right now.  It is hard to put into words how awful this siege of fires has been, still is really….

The Napa/Santa Rosa fires are the most tragic, at least in terms of homes lost. All of these fires began Sunday night as the northern regions in California experienced a sudden burst of high winds.  The horrific loss of homes in Santa Rosa is disastrous.  These photos have been floating around the internet so you may have already seen them.

One of the Santa Rosa neighborhoods after the fire.

Another photo of Santa Rosa.

When my family went to bed Sunday night the wind was just crazy and we woke up Monday morning to calls that school had been cancelled. There were large numbers of people being evacuated from their homes and several huge fires were raging. I am very fortunate to live about 6 miles from the closest fire so our home was safe.  But many were not so fortunate. Now, two days later, some of the evacuations have been lifted.  We have not lost nearly as many homes as the heavily populated Santa Rosa area, but at this point, more than 200 structures in the three largest fires nearby have burned. Yesterday was windy again, making battling the fires much more difficult.

Fire retardant being dropped on the Lobo fire in Grass Valley, CA

As I write this, the most recent update is that the fires in my area are roughly 35% contained. This means they are making progress and, at the least, the fires aren’t spreading further. They opened school for all of the local schools but there are still several areas without power though. The air quality, as you’d imagine, is horrible.

Smokey haze in my front yard this morning.

At this point, there is no containment yet reported with the Santa Rosa fires. Hopefully the winds will remain calm today, making for a better firefighting situation. Unfortunately, there is no rain in the forecast this week.

Like I said, there aren’t words adequate to describe all of this. I am filled with gratitude for the fire fighters, first responders, and fire fighting teams from other parts of the state, as they work to put out these tragic fires. Throughout the day, I can hear the helicopters and planes that carry water and retardant to release over the fires. It is really eerie. The community has come together and supported each other. The fairgrounds opened up to take any livestock that needed to be evacuated. While my family was lucky this time and not affected by any of these fires, it is a vivid reminder that it could happen on any day to any one of us.  Living in this gorgeous tree filled and very dry region, fire is always a possibility.

Staying inside today because of the smokey air and will finish up a little project I started while Julia and I were home together this week. Hope to share this with you tomorrow.

No Finish This Friday

Well, I guess not every week is going to include a finished project, right? That is unreasonable.  But I did come close! It wasn’t a terribly productive week. Monday morning I had my second round of Botox injections. I have been receiving them as a way to lessen the frequency of migraines as well as the severity of them. My first round was in July and I will receive them every ninety days.  Both times, the series of injections set me off and triggered a cycle of migraines.  So, it wasn’t unexpected that I was down for the count for much of the week.

While I was in migraine mode, I wisely stayed away from the sewing machine as I tend to make so many mistakes if I sew while dealing with headaches. My brain just doesn’t fire on all pistons and I make silly errors.  Instead, I sorted my scrap pile which hasn’t been done in months. I also watched too much TV but Netflix has the most recent season of the PBS show, Call The Midwife, and I love that series so I couldn’t help myself.

As is often the case for me, the blue scrap pile and the green were huge. I managed to stuff the greens into their tub but no way would the blues fit. I posted this on Instagram and found someone who could use blue scraps. Those are packed up and ready to be sent off to a happy quilter. It is nice to share them, better than tossing the fabric and really, how on earth will I use all of it?!

Yesterday I felt much better and was able to keep my appointment at the long arm shop. I had planned to take the jersey quilt and finish that up but I chickened out. I decided to take one more of my own quilts to gain a bit more practice time before I tackle the jersey quilt.  I was nervous about thread or needle issues with that thicker quilt.  When I got there and talked to the gal at the shop, she assured me it wouldn’t be a big deal to quilt Sam’s project so it will definitely be the next one I take to the shop.

I loaded my Sewcial Bee Sampler quilt top and was excited that I was able to load it (almost) without help. I am getting the hang of this process which feels good.  The quilt top lay nice and flat – also exciting to me – it doesn’t always happen that way. I decided to just do a simple meander so I could focus on controlling the needle’s speed and direction.

Because I didn’t place any focus on a more challenging quilting motif, this was very relaxing and I really enjoyed it. I had almost no hiccups – the thread snapped once but the shop gal was able to adjust the bobbin tension and I was back in the game in no time.  I have to say, I am loving using the shop’s machine because there is a source of support right there – It is the best of both worlds.

It took no time to get the top quilted up. Another perk of renting time at the shop is their huge cutting table in the back.  I was invited to use it to trim and square up the quilt once I had finished. This process is so difficult at home because I don’t have a surface larger than the dining room table and I have to lay both my cutting mats under the quilt and keep shifting everything around. It is not easy, for sure.  But having this huge table available to me makes the task a breeze.I loved everything about finishing up this quilt. Today I will prepare my binding strips so I can do the hand stitching this weekend.  Hopefully I will have a finished quilt to share with you soon.

 I have also decided to pull my “Ring Me” quilt out of the closet and work on it. I started this one as a part of the blog hop celebrating Amanda Jean Nyberg’s recent book, No Scrap Left Behind.  I want to make it queen size instead of lap size (as I originally planned) so I have some cutting to do to enlarge it.  Previously I have been hesitant to make larger quilts because I dreaded quilting them on my home machine. I feel like I have options now so I am going to take advantage of that and make some larger projects. I would love to put this one on the guest bed in my sewing room.

Ok – enough for now.  I have a custom Etsy order to finish up and several fabric orders to pack. The shop has been really busy this week which makes me happy. It has been so nice to have this part time job that I can work into my time schedule, depending on whether I am dealing with a migraine or not.  Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

Remember today is the last day to enter the giveaway celebrating the Grand Opening of Ferrari Handmade.  Check that out here.

Ferrari Handmade – Grand Opening Celebration

Today I have something really fun to share with you. This week my sister Patti is celebrating the grand opening of her shop, Ferrari Handmade!!  She has been working incredibly hard on this for several months now and she is ready to invite you to come and browse her shop.

Let me take a few minutes to introduce you to Patti.  Of the six of us sisters, she is number three and I am number four which means…. yes, she is older than me. I will admit this gives me satisfaction in a sort of unhealthy way.  It is readily apparent in the photo above. I am the baby and she is to the right of me — even at this age, she is clearly older and wiser than I. (I love this picture – two more girls were born not long after this.)

Patti and I shared a bedroom growing up and we fought constantly.  Like, really and truly — all the time. Funny how once you live apart you miss the person that drove you nuts for so long. We would love to live near each other again.  We share a love of sewing and we both took sewing classes from Mrs. Handley back in high school.  She haunts us somewhat and if we have a sewing mistake or a major project fail, we will say “Mrs. Handley would be so disappointed.”  (I wrote about Mrs. Handley a long while back if you want to hear more about our esteemed sewing teacher.)  Yes, Patti and I have been sewing a long while now.

We both made lots of our clothes during high school (remember,  my father owned a fabric store so we had ‘easy access’.). Not long after high school, Patti moved to Southern California, married and started her family. (Click here for a post about the bridal gown she made for her wedding.)

Once Patti started having children, her sewing changed a bit and she began sewing for her kids.  She has a five children, three girls and two boys. One of the things Patti really enjoyed was making costumes for her children. Her girls were very involved in theater when they were in high school and she made costumes for them.

Maria playing the part of Tina Denmark, in the play “Ruthless”

As Patti’s kids grew up and began their own families, she shifted her sewing priorities yet again and began to focus on her grand children.  Hers are very lucky grand kids because she has made some really fun costumes for them.

When her first grandson, Jack, was just a baby, his mother, Maria (same girl as the one that played Tina Denmark in the costume above)  had to speak at Comic Con in Southern California. She asked Patti to make a costume so she could dress him up as Jack-Jack, from the kids’ movie, The Incredible’s.

Last year, two of her grand daughters wanted to dress up as Princess Lolly and Queen Frostine from the kids’ Candyland game.  Grandma came through and the girls were adorable.

The older grand daughter (Queen Frostine) had a recent obsession of Veruca Salt, the character in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie.  She was thrilled with this costume from her Grandma.

Am I getting the idea across?  She loves to sew and she sews a lot! It came time to think of another way to put her sewing to work for her.  Now that her children are out of the house, she has a lot more time.  I have written before about how helpful she has been by working the quilt shows with me.  As we spent time together preparing for and working the shows,  the more she thought about having her own business.  She loves creating these wonderful outfits for her kids and wanted to expand on this hobby of hers.

And so it began. Ferrari Handmade came to fruition just days after she decided to open a shop. Once Patti decides to do something, there is no going back.  She epitomizes the phrase, “Go big or go home”.  She commits and dives in. Patti began researching fabrics and selecting designs and creating dresses. She had a soft opening at the last quilt show we worked and she was quite successful. She sold a number of dresses and little tote bags and took home orders for custom work.

She has been sewing fiend over the past weeks.

She is lucky to have a great studio to work in. I may be a wee bit envious. Ok, yes, I am envious – it is a lovely space. (Real life crafting comment though…. she made me promise to tell you it never looks this clean. She wasn’t ready to go public with a picture of a messy space just yet.)  😉

Her inventory grows daily as does her selection in her Etsy shop. Right now she is focused on creating a dress in each of the fabrics she has on the shelf. She is making sizes 2T through girl’s size 8.  I really like the system she utilizes for stocking her shop. She lists at least one finished dress which the customer is welcome to order, or the customer can place an order for that dress in a size that works for her child. Patti will take the order and ship the dress within five business days (though she is usually faster than that– she does not seem to require very much sleep.)

I think one factor  setting Patti’s product apart from others, is her use of trim work and unique accents. Most of her dresses have piping accents at the sleeve, bodice or neckline and many have ruffles or under skirts in coordinating fabric.

Her fabric selections are the perfect combination of pretty and practical.  She uses quality cottons which are easily washed, so her dresses are beautiful but also practical for children; ready to be worn and played in.

Of all she has made for this season, this is my favorite.

I love the dark blue celestial pattern with that bit of gold trim peeking out at the sleeve and from the hem of the lining.


How about these snowmen on blue – it is great for the holidays but could easily be worn all through the winter months.

This dress features snowflakes on a deep red background. I should note that Patti uses a very generous hem so these can be worn for a long while before the child out grows the dress.


This sweet holiday dress has a rustic feel to it.  Patti chose a print featuring Christmas ornaments decorating a background of pine. I love the bias strip of plaid she used to accent the bottom of the dress.

Handmade doll dresses to match your little one’s dress.

One more thing I have to show you.  Patti also makes doll dresses that fit American Girl Dolls, or other dolls that are 18 inches tall.  I love this!! How fun to surprise your little one with a matching dress for her doll. If you are shopping and select a dress for your special girl, you can also order a matching dress.  She has some in stock but will happily take orders for others to match the dress you are purchasing.

Hopefully you now have an idea of the style and excellent quality of the items made by Ferrari Handmade. Because so many of you either have children or grandchildren, or a special child in your life, I know you will be happy to hear Patti is offering a custom dress to one lucky winner.  To enter the giveaway, you need to do two things.  First hop over to her shop and take a peek at the dresses she has listed so far.  Come back and comment here to tell us which dress is your favorite. (Hoping this will provide some input on the fabric choices she is using and then she can plan accordingly.)  The other requirement is to either like her Etsy shop so you can keep track of what she is offering, or to follow @ferrarihandmade on Instagram. Either way, you will then be able to hear about any promotions or new product that might be available in her shop. So, you have two simple tasks to complete and you may win a lovely handmade dress for your special girl.

Additionally, readers can use the coupon code GRANDOPENING20 to receive 20% off any orders at Ferrari Handmade.  This coupon is valid through the end of day on October 10th.  Definitely a great deal on a gorgeous gift for a little one.

Thank you for taking part in this celebration of Ferrari Handmade. I am so proud of my sister and the work she has done to get this up and running. If you feel so inclined, please share the  news of her shop with any of your friends who might appreciate Patti’s work. It takes a village and I love the way our community supports each other!  Good luck with the giveaway!