Yearly Archives: 2019

Rituals and Traditions with Meg Cox

I think I have mentioned that I am the program chairperson for my local quilt guild. I really like this task as it allows me the opportunity to learn about so many great teachers and speakers. I talk and email with them and then choose who might come to the area and talk with us or teach a fun class. About a year ago, I was told that Meg Cox would be doing a West Coast speaking tour and would be in our area. She has a friend here she wanted to visit and it worked out she could schedule her visit with her friend around the time our guild met.

Meg Cox is a writer, journalist, and a quilter. She has had a really extensive career which includes authoring five books, being a reporter for the Wall Street Journal for 17 years, a quilter for about 30 years, and has written many articles on family traditions and rituals for lots of trade magazines. I felt really lucky to be able to work this out. Our guild is fairly small and wouldn’t have been able to pay for her travel out here and back as she lives on the east coast. This was a gift dropped in our laps, so to speak.

Last week Meg spoke to our guild about the value of family traditions. We heard about how traditions and rituals give family members something to look forward to and create a stronger feeling of connection. She shared some fun ways to build tradition within the family, whether your family be a traditional one or a creatively built family of friends and/or relatives. She also talked about the wonderful quilting traditions we all immerse ourselves in. Memory quilts and making quilts for those in need is a huge tradition in our arena and she shared all sorts of beautiful examples of these. Her lecture was really timed perfectly as we go into our holiday season which is rich with tradition. I encourage you to check out her website. Meg also has a wonderful monthly newsletter, titled Quilt Journalist Tell All. I subscribe to it and enjoy reading it quite a bit.

Listening to her made me think about the rituals my family has. Some are common and others maybe not so much. But these are the times we all look forward to and look back on fondly. These rituals keep us connected. For example, in my family we made birthdays special in small ways. The person celebrating their birthday chose the meal for dinner that day. I remember when my kiddos were small, they would choose the same thing over and over. Julia went through a stage of wanting hot dogs with dill relish. Not my favorite meal (by a long ways!) but when she was 6, 7 and probably 8 that was her birthday meal. My son Ian chose chicken and tortilla casserole over and over for a couple of years in a row.

Growing up, my family had lots of rituals to observe, both within our family and our religion. I was raised in the Catholic church and attended parochial school through 8th grade. Catholicism is heavily steeped in ritual, as are most religions. But the traditions I really remember are from within our family. Watching Christmas TV specials was such a treat each year. Living before DVD’s and DVR’s, we really looked forward to watching Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. My sisters and I looked forward to watching these cartoons.

When the six of us were old enough to know the hard truth about Santa, my mother decided we would draw names and fill each other’s Christmas stocking. I think this was one of my favorite things about Christmas; filling a stocking for a sister of mine and opening my stocking that was filled by a sister. We were supposed to keep it a secret and not tell each other whose stocking we were filling. I doubt we were very good at that.

We filled each others stockings with things like nail polish, 17 Magazine, lip gloss, Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers, and Love’s Baby Soft perfume (because what girl doesn’t want to walk around in a cloud of baby powder scent?) and candy.

Were you a teenager in the 70’s? If so, do you remember this lip gloss?? It was an incredibly thick goop that we applied with a ‘roller ball’ applicator. Ugh. By the way, what is this girl doing kissing Roger, Richie, Fred, David and Bob – hmmmm…

There was also the lip balm style that came in all sorts of flavors. I have such fond memories of our secret Santa stockings we made for each other!

After the lecture I was visiting with some guild members and it surprised me to hear that some didn’t really have strong memories of family traditions while growing up. This made me a little bit sad. I very much enjoy these connections and hope my kids have fond memories of our Christmases, birthdays and other family times.

I would love to hear about your traditions. Let’s share them in the comments. Maybe we can inspire each other and learn some ideas for fun ways to build our family celebrations and holidays. If this has not been something you have done, I urge you to take just one idea and implement it. Your kiddos or grand children will love it. It is a wonderful way to enhance family life.

Quilt Shows and Quilt Alongs

Good morning all. I am enjoying a lovely, quiet morning here with coffee and some blog reading and I thought it a good time to catch up. It has been a while right?

Last weekend I spent a couple of days as a vendor at a fun show in the small town of Brownsville. I can’t say how much I enjoyed this little show. It was so relaxed and the people, quilters and wanderers both, were incredibly friendly. This guild has a membership of about 30 people with roughly half being very active. The town has a population of approximately 1300 people. It was quite nostalgic for me as my first husband’s grandparents lived in Brownsville and we spent many Thanksgiving weekends with them in their very tiny house. Grandma Ada cooked on a woodturning stove and was into quilting, crochet, and stamp collecting. I have one quilt of hers, all hand stitched hexies. It is in need of repairs, being made in the 1940’s and hopefully one day I will get around to it.

The toddler books and the sweet tape measures were a popular item during the show.

Back to the show! Because it was a very small show, I didn’t bring as much inventory as I normally do. There was a corner of one table with fun notions and projects. The toddler fabric books were a fun find for customers – I had a sample of each one available.

I pre-cut quite a bit of fabric into one yard cuts so I would have enough selection without having to pack and unpack all of those bolts. Not shown in the picture is another table which displayed a number of bolts as well as the pre-cuts.

Everyone wanted to pet Jack, an emotional therapy dog used by the Sherrif’s department.

Other than the friendly quilters, one thing I was really taken with was the presentation done on Sunday afternoon at the end of the show. This small group of quilters makes an impressive number of community service quilts each year. They get together every Wednesday to work on their CS quilts. The stack they had on display was just amazing. On Sunday afternoon, the representatives of the groups to which the quilts are donated are introduced and presented with their quilts. There was a representative from the Fire Department, Hospice, local Domestic Violence as well as the Sheriff’s Department. Most of the representatives told a heartwarming story of how the quilts are used before thanking the group and loading up with quilts for the year. There was an emotional support dog who came along with the sheriff that works with children who have been removed from scary situations. The idea of presenting the quilts in this way was really touching. Do any of you do this with your community service quilts? I think it provided a meaningful opportunity for the quilters who make all of these gifts to see how valued and appreciated their work is.

October piecing for the Mosaic Mystery QAL

Last week I finished up the October blocks for the Mosaic Mystery QAL. These were simple (as you can see) but I think this is truly the only sewing I did all week! At least I am caught up and can begin the November piecing now.

The Truckee River in November

My husband and I spent a couple of days away earlier in the week. We had to go up and check on our house in Downieville since we had not been up there for so long. Because of the power outages we had to toss everything in the fridge and freezer which was quite annoying. We also spent a day with my in-laws which was lovely. We took a long walk along the river and got a lot of visiting in.

Coming soon!

Finally, just in case you haven’t seen this yet – there is another great quilt along coming up. The Push-Pull Quilt Along begins next week. The schedule is very relaxed with prompts announced every three weeks. Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl is the host and as with the last QAL, it is a transparency quilt. This technique is so unusual and the results are always striking. Needle and Foot will be sponsoring some of the prizes for the link ups. Quilt fabric kits will also be available in the shop for those who want to choose a ready-made collection of solids. The kits were curated by Yvonne so you know they will be a stunning set of color. Photos of these will be shared in a couple of weeks.

This is a three day weekend for many in the US (honoring the veterans in our country). For me, it means Julia had time to come home from school. She is here until Tuesday early morning, when I will take her back down to school. She sent a list of foods she has been missing so lots of cooking is going on. This is what all of my kids seemed to do when they were home during college. “Mom, will you make XXX for dinner?” So spaghetti and meatballs, bbq pulled pork with slaw, and Baked Potato Soup are on the menu this weekend. Ah, a light and low fat menu to be sure!! I love feeding my kiddos. Hope you are enjoying the long weekend if you are in the US. Many thanks to all of those in Service who support our country now or did so in the past!

One Adorable Pumpkin

Happy Halloween!! Your recent two weeks of family time in Vermont were wonderful. The goal was to hang out with our son and his wife and spend as much time as possible with our grand daughter. 

Grandpa was her favorite during our visit!

While there my grand daughter came down with a miserable virus and had terrible croup. Poor little girl was sick for a long stretch and toward the end of it, my husband came down with it.  Not a fun bug at all!  The two days before we left, my son and his wife were starting to come down with it but it didn’t look like they were going to be quite as sick.

Since we were having some quiet time at home and H was taking long naps due to being sick, i did have time to do some sewing. I pulled out my DIL’s sewing machine to make a Halloween costume for H. She and her mom found a cute picture of a little girl dressed up as a pumpkin with green leggings and t-shirt on underneath. 


I used a Simplicity pattern for the costume. There is a Jo-Ann’s in the next town over so off I went in search of orange fabric. At first I planned to use a wool felt but it was so stiff. I knew H wouldn’t have fun running around in that at her Halloween party (at her daycare).  I was with my son Kyle (he and his wife drove over from New York for a weekend) and he spotted a bolt of orange fleece way up on a top shelf, not yet unwrapped. Lucky for me he is 6’ 2” and was happy to hop up and down to grab it. This was perfect. 


The pumpkin is lined with fleece and filled with batting. Even trick or treating in Vermont, this girl is going to be quite warm. Her outfit is so heavy!!  There was a stencil for the face but i felt like it was too big so I ended up cutting the pieces out free hand. Using a few bits of ‘Wonder-Under’, I fused the face to the front and appliquéd them with a simple zig zag stitch. 
The pattern called for a casing to be made at the hemline with elastic inserted to make it puffy. However with the fleece, there was already a nice shape to the pumpkin. Instead, I trimmed the fleece lining to be about two inches shorter than the outer layer.  Turning one inch of the outer layer to the inside, I machine stitched the hemline. 

She was trying on the hat when I first finished it. But it was a bit too big.

Ok- my favorite part of the whole costume is definitely the hat. When I made it, H was quite happy to wear it about the house for an afternoon so I really hope she wears it on Halloween. It looks so darn cute on her. I made it during a nap time, guessing at the sizes and it was too big for her.  There wasn’t a clean way to fix this without doing a lot of seam ripping. I had to rip one seam on the  pumpkin and it was difficult to manage with that puffy fleece fabric. So I cheated and took a little tuck and just stitched it up. The hat is still a bit large but better than before. 

So darn cute!

When I left I had not had time to run out and buy some velcro which was needed for the shoulder straps. So I left it unfinished and my daughter-in-law took care of it. I received some really cute pictures of H having fun with her costume today.

Getting ready for daycare earlier this morning. So much excitement!

I am glad they had a little party at her daycare. I hear they are supposed to have a lot of rain tonight so that may put the kibosh on any trick or treating.

I love the green and white striped leggings and t-shirt under her pumpkin costume.

Just in case there was a chance for trick or treating, I also made her a tiny treat bag to carry.

This was designed off the cuff and I didn’t write down any measurements. If I had to guess, I would say it finished at about 8″ x 11″ or so. Maybe even a bit smaller. I had that polka dot ribbon on hand (actually had all of the supplies on hand) and I took two pieces and sewed them together (wrong sides together) just to make it a bit heftier.

The bag is lined, which makes it a bit stronger. Since she does not yet know what trick or treating really is, she won’t be disappointed this year if they skip it due to weather. She can play with this bag or use it next year.

While I was there H and I made a festive bandana for their dog Wusha. I think Wusha looks a bit embarrassed to wear it but this dog will do anything my grand daughter asks of her. I had the triangular pieces cut and pinned and then had H sit on my lap and help me feed the fabric through the machine. I tried to take a selfie because it was so sweet but I am really, really not good at those and didn’t get much of a picture! But we had fun and she was thrilled to help Gram-gram sew for a few minutes.

Introducing Georgie Ghost

One last project while we were there was to make a little ghost to hang in the dining room. We had been taking walks around the neighborhood and she really liked looking at the neighbors decorations. She loved the ghosts and a few little scarecrows we saw. I asked her if she would like to make a ghost and she was so excited.

This was super easy. One styrofoam ball from Wal-Mart and a packet of cheesecloth from the grocery store. I cut the cheesecloth in two strips and with the help of one happy two year old, layered the ball with the cheesecloth. Then we worked together to cut the eyes, nose and mouth. I had gotten her a glue stick that starts out purple and dries clear. This way she could see where she was putting the glue to put the pieces on. The addition of the bow on her head turned this little ghost into a girl. H and I had so much fun with this project and it was the perfect amount of work for a two year old.

Checking to see if Georgie Ghost can fly.

My son took the photos of H and her ghost – they are so sweet! We really enjoyed our time with the kids and can’t wait for our next visit. Grand parenting is the best and it would be even better if we all lived on the same side of the country!! Someday…

Linking up with a few fun places, including the monthly Favorite Finish party at Meadow Mist Designs. Be sure to check the top of the page under Link Ups!

Scrappy Fall Table Runner

I have a fun finish to share with you all today. I have been doing a little collaborating with Carole of From My Carolina Home for the past couple of weeks. She is hosting her fabulous Autumn Jubilee which happens each fall season. One of her projects is a set of placemats which I supplied the fabric for. You can check those out here – they are really pretty. Carole does an amazing job creating tablescapes – whenever I see one, I wish I was sharing a meal with her! I love what she did for this festive autumn table. Below you can take a look at the fabric she used. The kit is available in the shop but in very limited supply. I suspect it will sell out quickly. It is a great bundle and she is supplying the tutorial for you!

I wanted to make a scrappy project for my table as well. In return, I decided to try out one of her Scrap Dance patterns.

I chose the Scrap Dance Two Step pattern for my project. As you know, I like simplicity and this pattern has some great blocks that are really easy to piece. Just my style. Though it is intended for a larger quilt (which is really necessary for the secondary patterns to show up), I decided to use it for a table runner containing only three blocks. This is the perfect size for my table because the blocks finish at 12″ square.

I chose pieces from a few of my scrap bins as well as a few fabrics in my shop. It is hard to resist using them, they are just downstairs! Can you blame me?? I cut a bit of Sweet Harvest for the centers of each block as I really love that plum color. Then I used scraps of other Art Gallery pieces for the remaining. The background is Natural Elements. Be it from the scrap bin, or the shop, I did use all Art Gallery Fabric for the top. A little Maureen Cracknell, Pat Bravo, Bonnie Christine and some Sharon Holland, are all put together for an autumnal scrappy look. I do think you could go scrappy on the background but only if they were the same values and the colors were super close. Otherwise the pattern might be lost.

Because there is so much going on with the colors and patterns of the fabrics, I went very simple with the quilting. I did some ditch stitching first to hold everything together. Following that I only outlined some of the background pieces.

The rectangles on either end as well as the triangles making up the star in the center. To keep things calm, I used the same fabric for the border and binding.

Originally, I had planned to make four blocks. However (after cutting pieces) I decided it would be too long for my table. This left me with some extra cut pieces to incorporate into the back. You can’t see the entire back here but the pieced stripe extends the length of the runner. The brown solid was in my stash so I used that bit up.

I have to say, Carole’s pattern was a dream to use. I think it would make an adorable bed size quilt. If you used solid scraps, it would be a bit on the modern side. With prints or repro fabrics you would achieve a very traditional look. I love that Carole includes so many sizes in her patterns. This pattern includes everything from table topper to a king size bed quilt. This gives the quilter many options and the math is all done for you! If you haven’t yet made one of her patterns, go check them out here. She has a number of them to choose from and I know you will enjoy using her beautiful designs and easily understood instructions.

Southern Vermont is gorgeous at this time of year!

I am loving autumn here in the north east. We have had clear, gorgeous skies as well as some stormy gray days. Fall is my absolute favorite season so I plan to enjoy it regardless of the weather!

Linking up with a few fun places. Check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Grammy Time

Guess what? I am in Vermont hanging out with the cutest two year old ever! We arrived on Sunday last weekend. We are staying for two weeks which is just a treat. My husband came along on this trip which pleased H no end. She does love her Grandpa.

We have been on grand parent duty a bit and have also had a couple of days to do some touring around. As you can imagine, the beautiful fall leaves are at their peak right now. Tuesday and Wednesday Ray and I spent time driving east and south to the bottom of Vermont and then up the western side. Of course, this state is small so it doesn’t take long to do this. We stopped along the way though to enjoy the sites.

I will share my two favorite places we visited! First of all we found a place called Vermont Salvage in White River Junction. It is a huge building with three floors of all sorts of things that were kept during various home renovations. Ray and I spent a long time looking through pile and piles of fun things that would be great to have if we were fixing up a house

The selection was incredible. Everything from tubs and toilets to mantles and stained glass windows. There were bins filled with hardware, hinges, door handles, cabinet pulls and more.

If only we could have thought of a way to use these old jail cell doors!

Here we found a wooden phone booth. Where did this come from? I just loved it.

This wooden slide was so fun. It was quite rickety and I found myself wondering if it was made by some devoted father (or grandfather?) for their children.

I allows was thinking that my bum would in no way fit this slide! It was clearly made for little kids. Also, it was so steep. Think of how many kids flew down that slide and scrambled up the ladder for another turn!

The other place we really enjoyed was a trip to King Arthur Flour. I love their website and use their recipes quite often. Our local grocery sells quite a variety of their flours too. When Julia was out here last summer she had lunch here with her brother and sister-in-law. She told me about it and said the shop was something I would love. Know what? She was so right!

The store is enormous and is filled with baking tools, kitchen decor, linens, cookbooks and baking mixes of all kinds. The only thing that restrained us was the fact that we would have to tote things home to California and the fact that lots of the items are available online.

Being there made me want to go home and bake. I really love cooking and baking as does my husband.

They make wonderful breads and baked goods onsite. Samples were everywhere which was a great selling technique! I liked the huge windows which allowed us to watch the baking in process.

Even more, they have a beautiful classroom set up. The day we were there the class was on making hot water pastry as well as short pastry crusts. I wish I could have snuck in the room just to listen for a while!

The restaurant is great too. We had a fantastic lunch after shopping and wandering. So yummy.

We did purchase a number of the mixes and plan to make some over the weekend. My middle son and his wife are driving over from Brooklyn where they live. So family time means lots of food (at least in our family!)

I will close now with this fun announcement! Guess who is going to be a big sister?? We are so excited for grand daughter number two! She is due to arrive in mid-March. Big sister seems to have some understanding of what is to come. She has told me the new baby will cry a lot, want a pacifier and lots of bottles. However she clearly doesn’t get the difference in boy names or girl names. She has asked that this child be called Ferdinand. I am really hoping her parents can talk her out of this!

That is my news for now. Hope all is well with you!

Susie’s Quilt is Finished

Months ago I started to make a memory quilt for my friend Susie. Her husband passed away in September of 2018 and some months later she gave me a stack of his shirts to make a quilt with. I first posted here about this project if you want to see earlier pictures.

That weird little curved line at the too right is a branch from a tree. Creative photography?!

Yesterday I had lunch with Susie and (finally) gave her the quilt. She is really happy to have it and I am hoping she enjoys snuggling up with her quilt and a good book now that cooler weather is upon us. I think it finished at about 65 x 75″ so that is a nice size.

This quilt is rustic and cozy. Because all of the shirts were plaids, I chose to make each four patch block with a solid (from various pairs of shorts) and a plaid. The shirts were Rick’s favorites and he had worn some of them quite a bit. This made it nearly impossible to get a straight cut on the plaids. But I didn’t worry about it. This is a memory quilt and it will serve its purpose well.

My favorite part of the quilt is the red flannel that was used as the border and for the two red heart appliqués. The fabric was taken from Rick’s bathrobe and it frames the quilt perfectly. I love the deep red color. The binding is a soft creamy flannel that is in the shop. It seemed to be just the right choice with that rich red border. It complements the pale green gingham backing too.

I don’t know the name (or if there is a name) for this pattern I quilted on the four patch blocks. I quilted a diagonal line and then swooped up one side and down the other creating a leaf shape. It was so easy to do and it looks pretty. I first started with a free motion foot and had a heck of a time getting across the main intersection of the four patch. It made me crazy that I couldn’t get over that point without jumping all over the place. When I finally made the switch to the walking foot, it was just a breeze. I didn’t even think of that in the beginning but this design works really well with a walking foot.

I rarely remember to label quilts but I did put one on the back of this quilt. My handwriting isn’t the best but I am glad I labeled it.

There are some tucks on the backing that really gave me trouble. Other than that, this was a wonderful project and I enjoyed making it. I hope Susie takes comfort in it and loves having the quilt as reminder of her many happy years with Rick.

Two Busy Weeks

I can hardly believe I haven’t posted in two weeks! The time flew by and here we are at the end of September. When we got home from our Maui vacation we switched gears and Julia started packing for college. She had been accumulating things for her dorm room over the summer and it was piled up in her room. Time to get organized!

So many things to pack and bring to school. Last weekend Ray and I took her to move into her dorm room. It was such a fun time, though bittersweet as I am sure you all understand. We are really proud of her and know she will do great things at school. But on the other hand, we knew we would miss her.

Even though the university splits move-in days among the odd number and even number dorm rooms with half coming Saturday and the other half on Sunday, the lines were long. So many kids to check in and issue room keys to.

It didn’t take too long to get most of her things unpacked. Her room is cozy and she is happy with it.

I even brought her a tiny pumpkin from our garden for her desk.

We took a short walk to visit the dairy cows which live around the corner from her dorms. (You can see the dorm buildings in the background). Julia is right where she belongs!

In all honesty, it took a lot of scrubbing to get the stink off these boots and make it acceptable for her to have them in her room!! (They are usually kept in the garage!)

A picture with her proud father!

And one with her proud mom as well! So now we all get used to this new change. She is making new friends and will soon be buried in homework.

I did very little sewing this week. But I made sure to keep up with the Mosaic Mystery QAL. Here is the first set of blocks which was the piecing we were assigned for September. There were also a bonus stack of 2 1/2″ half square triangles that resulted from clipping the corners of the larger blocks. I don’t know exactly what I will do with those but surely they will get used at some point. Now I wait for the October instructions!

This morning I worked on quilting my Panda strip quilt but got frustrated because the tension was not right and I have to spend some time with my seam ripper. Not in the mood for unpicking the quilting, I switched gears and decided to do some cooking. I made flatbread for the first time. It was fun and so easy!

Do you cook with recipes on an iPad? I do and so far I haven’t spilled on it. But there is always that chance. Anyway, the recipe is from Keepin It Kind, a vegan site. We are not vegan but I do like to cook dairy free for my husband when possible. Flatbread is unleavened so it is very quick to make. No rising time or kneading is required. The ingredients are mixed with the mixer and then divided into eight equal portions. Rolling them into little pancakes was a breeze.

My mistake was in not heating up the cast iron skillet quite enough with the first one or two pieces. But once it got really hot, they bubbled up and browned nicely.

Yum! If you haven’t had these, flatbread is really like a thick, doughy tortilla. They only cook about one minute on each side.

The recipe only made eight pieces which was perfect. Although if I had made more, I suppose they would keep in the freezer.

We had some for lunch with soup. For dinner we will have them with leftover roast chicken and caramelized onions on them. I am fairly certain we won’t have leftovers. 😉

If you like simple recipes, this one is a great one to try. The only modification I would make is to increase the salt. The recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon but I think I will double that the next time I make these. There will definitely be a next time because they were really yummy and a lot of fun to make.

As for sewing, I plan to continue to quilt the little panda project and I am also wanting to make a trick or treat bag for my grand daughter. Hopefully I will get to both of these during the week. Hope all of you are well and happy! What have you been up to? Tell me in the comments – I have missed everyone!

A Week in Maui

Remember the post about the incredibly long travel day Julia and I experienced on our way home from Vermont last winter? It paid off in a big way with a ‘free’ trip to Maui for me, Ray and Julia. Free in the sense of free flights – the rest? Not so free. Haha.

We really had a great time, spending eight days together on Maui. Here is a brief recap with (too many?) photos!

Great condo for relaxing – which we did plenty of! Don’t worry – they weren’t staring at screens much of the time. They were researching places we wanted to visit.

Watching the waves and waiting for the sun to set.
The opening in that seawall was great for the surfers to access the ocean right in front of us.

The views from the lanai were wonderful. We were entertained my many, many sea turtles swimming in the waves. Also, lots of surfers – most mornings there were great waves out front and lots of people playing in them.

Ray took our picture in front of this tree to show the massive size of the trunk. Crazy big!!

We walked a trail one day in Iao Valley State Park which was lovely – it was quite warm that day (really every day we were there!) so we were thankful it was just an easy walk and mostly in the shade.

Julia wrapped in a towel (over her sweatshirt). It was so cold up there!

Our favorite trek was up to the Haleakala Crater. We chose to do this in the evening so we could watch the sunset from the crater. The elevation is over 10,000 feet and we were literally above the clouds. The only time I have looked down on clouds is from a plane so this was spectacular.

This photo is untouched and it was so amazing to see.

Doesn’t this crater look like something on another planet? It was a challenge for me to be at that elevation. I was a bit dizzy and my stomach was very queasy – high elevation and I do not mix well. I really wanted to see this even though I was fairly certain it would trigger a migraine (and it did!). Gotta make choices, right? It was worth it.

Sunset at Haleakala Crater

The week we spent on Maui was unseasonably warm. Just our luck! The temps were in the mid-90’s and of course soooo darn humid. That was really unfortunate. Ironically, the temps at home that week were unseasonably cool with temps in the mid-70’s. Ah well, we got unlucky there.

Food, glorious food. Vacations always mean trying lots of different foods, right? Ray and I love wandering the grocery stores and looking at the differences between home and the destination. We went to a couple of farmer’s markets and bought different locally grown fruits. After a week of eating guava, papaya, mango, dragon fruits, pineapple, custard apple and star fruits, I would have to say that while they were fun and different, I am not a huge fan. They were too sweet for me. Plus the textures weren’t the best. Mango and pineapple are fine – and we eat them here at home all the time. The local pineapples were much nicer than what we purchase here but that makes sense as I am sure they pick them early for shipping here.

As we were driving around the island, we saw this road side stand several times. Finally we had to give it a try. Oh my gosh – it was exceptional. Fantastic rotisserie chicken and the best ribs. Smoky and tender, we brought quite a bit home to our condo and made a few meals with it. Seemed very strange to see a huge (really huge) bbq on the side of the highway but it was delish!

Maui Quilt Shop

Much to Julia’s dismay, I spotted this quilt shop one afternoon when we were out in search of a shave ice treat. It was tiny and carried a good stock of Hawaiian fabrics, batiks and summery novelty fabrics. Lots of patterns and samples were everywhere.

Surfboards, pineapples and palm trees scream Maui to me.

I was very good and just bought a couple of pieces to bring home as souvenirs of the trip. I look forward to making a little something summery that will serve as a fun reminder of the trip.

When we were getting to the end of the trip, I asked Julia to choose what she wanted to do on the last day. I was not even surprised at her decision. We went to Surfing Goat Dairy. (Of course we did!). They had a fun tour, goat cheese tasting, lots of goats to pet and the best part – we learned to milk a goat by hand.

Goat milking!

It was quite fun and the goat cheese was truly amazing! There was an incredible assortment of chocolate truffles with various flavors and you know we sampled several of them. We bought some frozen Quark to take home. We wrapped it well and it was still very cold by the time we got home. The flavor we chose was Passion Fruit and yum!! The usual goat cheese I buy here at home has a fairly strong, distinct flavor. But the Surfing Goat Dairy cheeses don’t have that harsh taste at all. We learned this is because they use vegetable rennet and not animal based rennet. This made such a nice difference in the flavors.

Overall, we had a lovely trip. Once home, it was back to business. My friend Sophia shipped orders for me while I was away and I am so grateful to her for the help. I had four custom orders for Chemex and French Press cozies to make and those are all finished now. There were also three boxes of fabric to deal with – I have listed some of it but still have a ways to go with that. Vacations are wonderful and it is a good for everyone to get away and enjoy a change of pace and scenery. But for me, I do love coming back home! I am such a homebody.

Looking forward to the first bit of piecing for the Mosaic Mystery QAL. Also I am just about done with the hand sewing on my friend Susie’s memory quilt. I also want to do a bit of big stitch hand quilting on it so that will be my project for evening time. Julia moves into her dorm on Saturday so she is busy packing and I am busy realizing she is growing up and leaving the nest! How about you? What does your week look like? Tell me in the comments. Happy Monday all. 🙂

Another Simple Strip Quilt

In an effort to continue to practice free motion quilting, I whipped up another quick strip quilt. When I made the brightly colored quilt a couple of weeks ago, it worked out wonderfully as a way to practice different quilt motifs on each stripe. The quilt is small enoughg to be a pleasure to work on. It has been a long while since I have worked on my quilting and to my surprise, my abilities really regressed. Like most things, practice is essential.

I chose to use this adorable Pandalicious fabric as the focal point in the middle and then build from there. The fabric was designed by Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery Fabric. It is sweet and whimsical making it perfect for a child’s quilt! Two of the other stripes are also from that same line. The Hidden Pandas are a lot of fun and then the black and white squares with circles is called Panda Patches. The solid Emerald green and the large green dots finish it off. The color combo is great and not the typical used for a baby quilt.

A blank slate, waiting to be quilted.

The quilt takes minutes to assemble which I did several days ago. Because I truly dislike basting quilts, I forced myself to get it done. Actually – I was able to do this while on hold waiting for customer service on the phone – multi-tasking at it’s best. (Thank goodness for speaker phones!) Now it is ready to be quilted!

My quilt holder was in a less than cooperative mood. He makes me laugh. 🙂

Now these little pandas will have to sit and wait for me. Ray, Julia and I are taking some time off next week for family time! We are really looking forward to this after such a busy summer. Julia starts school in a couple of weeks so this is the perfect way to end the season!

Super Simple Stripes Baby Quilt Kit

I had some inquiries about the first strip quilt I made. I have kitted that quilt and written up the dimensions for anyone who is interested in practicing their FMQ. Alternatively, it is a wonderful kit to use when teaching someone to quilt or FMQ. If you are interested, click here to see the kit in the shop!

So many fun bits and pieces of fabric!

Finally, I spent yesterday doing some organizing in my shop. When I have a piece of fabric with a little defect, a crooked cut (oops!), or just the end of the bolt, I toss them in a basket. Then they sit there! I took the time to measure them and list them as remnants. If you are a bargain hunter, check them out by clicking here. There are lots of great pieces to be had!

Hope you are enjoying your long weekend if you are a US reader! Take care and I’ll be back in a week or so.

Pillows with Faux Sherpa and Mosaic Mystery QAL Prep

It seems like more of last week was spent outside working in the garden than sewing. We had a bit of cooler weather which was a treat. I joined Ray in working outside several mornings and got several areas of the yard cleaned up. When you have a big yard it must be tackled in smaller sections. If I look at the whole, it is overwhelming and I just avoid it completely. By taking it in small portions, it is more manageable. Much like looking at a quilt top and thinking of all that needs to be quilted. Better to just start with one section and keep going, right?

I did get a few fun things done in the sewing room though. Julia and I have been shopping for fun things for her dorm room. She found out who her roommate is (a girl from Maryland) and also that she was placed in a double dorm room rather than a triple. The campuses in California are overcrowded and many of the dormitory rooms have been converted to triples with three students in them and yikes, that is a tight squeeze. She was really hoping for a traditional double and is so relieved she got one.

When we were shopping she picked out her comforter, sheets and towels. She wanted some throw pillows too. She selected a black and off-white pillow and was looking at others. Her (very) frugal mother was slightly gagging at the price of $25 each for dorm room throw pillows. Then I saw a faux sherpa pillow case at Target for $5.00. I explained I could cover a pillow form with it and she would have the same sort of pillow as the one she was looking at. Yay! Not like I needed another sewing project but this would be so quick. It was easy to convince myself to add it to the list!

As it turned out, the pillow case had an invisible zipper already placed in one end – better yet! So one pillow form fit the width perfectly – I only had to trim off some of the length and stitch up the end. Does it get any easier?

The length that was left was just enough to cover another form I had. This one had to be taken in about one inch on the width and I sewed about two inches of the long opening shut on each end. Then I hand stitched the opening shut after stuffing the form in. Hurray – two more throw pillows for $5.00 instead of $50, which makes this frugal mama happy. A quick distraction from other projects but completed in one sewing session!

My other accomplishment of late was to cut the pieces for the Mosaic Mystery QAL. This is my second mystery QAL. The first one I did was with Tish from Tish in Wonderland and you can check it out here. Of course, I am a bit of a cheater. Because I sold kits for both QAL’s in my shop, I had the picture of the finished quilt ahead of time (to be able to create the kits). So for me it is more of a regular quilt along. The two fabrics on the left are Dancing Daisies and Wild Gatherings from Art Gallery Fabrics Capsule Campsite. From there I chose two blenders to round things out.

Anyway, I am thrilled to have the cutting completed for this project. I really like the fabrics I am using for it. They will be really nice in my living room as a lap quilt. Perfect colors! Cheryl’s Mosaic Mystery QAL goes at a very relaxed pace. July was fabric selection (but I didn’t commit to joining in until mid-August). Then she released cutting instructions in the beginning of August. The first steps for piecing will be released in early September. You can see there is plenty of time for you to join in still! I am enjoying all of the quilters that are actively involved in the Facebook group for the QAL. So many gorgeous combinations are being shown. However, if you are not one for pulling fabrics for a Mystery QAL, I still have kits available in the shop. Easy peasy!! (The collection I chose for my quilt is not listed as a kit but if you happen to love it and want it, let me know. I will happily create a kit for you.)

I have also continued quilting my friend’s memory quilt. I have just a few squares left to quilt and then on to binding. I will share that soon as I get it finished up. Hope you are all doing well. Have a wonderful weekend!

Sharing this post with several link-ups, including Sandra’s DrEAMI link up at month’s end.. Check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

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