Yearly Archives: 2020

Covid Crafting

Quarantine life goes on and the days are somewhat repetitive. Julia and I continue to look for projects and crafts to keep us busy and mix things up a bit. Recently we decorated two clay pots we found in the garage.

Julia has been into house plants this summer and has quite a few in her room. We thought it would be fun to take a plain clay pot and make it pretty. Wanting to use supplies we had at home (always frugal, right?) we browsed Pinterest for ideas.

When we came across a link for using decorative paper napkins and Mod Podge we decided that would be a fun way to go. We took our inspiration from that post but didn’t do all they suggested.

First coat of paint

First step was to paint the outside of the pot with basic, water soluble acrylic paint. Again, we used whatever we had. Julia chose white and I chose yellow.

We made sure to paint to upper part of the inside of the pot. The instructions said to seal the inside of the pot. My guess is to prevent any water from soaking through and damaging the paint or decoupage. But we skipped that part. Whatever happens is fine with us. 😉

We had two choices of decorative paper napkins in the closet. Either Christmas theme or these yellow, blue and white flowers. Guess what we chose. Julia and I cut out bits and pieces that we liked. Then we carefully peeled away the second ply of paper. These napkins are fairly thick and it looks nicer if you just use one ply of thickness. Then we painted the spot we wanted it to adhere to on the pot. After smoothing the napkin bit over that glue, we carefully painted a layer of Mod Podge over the paper. It looks all thick and white but dries very clear.

Julia chose to paint a layer of Mod Podge over her whole pot. For some reason, this layer did not dry clear. It has a brown-ish tone to it but I think it just looks rustic.

Julia’s finished flower pot
My finished pot.
Aren’t these cute?

These were really fun to make and a good way to fill another afternoon at home. Kind of satisfying to make something with supplies we have on hand. Much like sewing from the stash in my closet!! Honestly, the Covid quarantine has had some upside in that we are much less inclined to run to the store for odds and ends. We eat more out of the pantry and freezer and projects are often made with what is on hand. This has been a nice change for us.

Now, for a little sewing related chit chat. Have you all been wondering and waiting to hear whether I have kept up with the 2020 Monthly Color Challenge BOM? I know, I know – how rude of me to forget to post the June block. My apologies to all of you. Hahaha. I did get the block done and it is a cute one.

Kind of wrinkled but still so cute.

Now that the year is half way done (and that alone is very, very strange) I enjoyed putting the first six blocks together for a quick look. I am really happy with the polka dot theme.

These blocks look so happy together.

This month’s block looks to be a nice one but I haven’t even cut it out yet. I have three weeks to go so there is plenty of time!!

That’s is the news from here. Like everyone else, we are trying to make the best of these strange times. Lots of time to make things, bake things, play cards, and take pretty walks. Here are two pictures from this morning’s hike up in Nevada City.

This buck had only one antler. I am guessing he got into it with another buck and lost the argument?
I love this look-out about 1/2 way up the trail. It is just gorgeous.

OK – time to go get to work. The kitchen is a mess and I have a number of orders to cut and ship. What have you been up to?

I hope all of you are staying healthy and sane. Reach out to each other and keep in touch. I think staying in contact is super important these days. I am one who enjoys time to myself but with all of the current restrictions, too much alone time isn’t good. We need to talk, visit, and stay in touch with friends and family. Hang in there. 🙂

Keeping Busy

June is winding down. Not sure how that is possible but really, it is best not to question things these days. Time passes, some days fly by and others feel so incredibly repetitive. Such is life during a pandemic.

I haven’t shared much lately so I need to get caught up! First off – a little crafting. Julia and I have been trying to spend some time together making projects. A few weeks ago, my son and his wife were here for a weekend (the first time we had seen them since Christmas!!). We spent some time painting small rocks Julia had collected outside. The goal was to place them here and there along a local trail so others could spot them as they walked. We pulled out some (really old) acrylic paints and started painting. It was a fun way to spend an afternoon and we made quite an assortment.

Flowers, an avocado, a monster and some sweet daisies

A few days ago we lucked into a nice cool morning so Julia and I walked the local trail and tucked the rocks here and there as we went. Love the monster with the googly eyes and the avocado (my DIL painted). Pretty creative!

Clouds, Gnome, Ladybug, Flag and the scariest Shark EVER!

More fun! They look really cute out there. The shark is probably my favorite of this bunch. Plus he is sitting on the branch of a Manzanita tree and that curly bark is always fun to see. Julia and I will head back to the trail later this week. We want to see whether people leave the rocks there for others to see or if they pick them up.

A play fort

About half way through the loop, there is this huge old oak tree. I have pictures of Julia sitting in it from years back. This time, there was this play fort built around the base of the tree. So many branches were collected and assembled teepee-style around the base. We went and peeked in. So cute!! There were a few bits and pieces of construction paper with flowers drawn on them hanging on the inside with string. At the opening to the fort there was a bit of red glitter sprinkled on the ground. I just love thinking of the kids who made this. I hope it stays in place as it must have taken quite a while to gather the branches and assemble this. There is nothing like pretending in a fort like this. I know my kids would have loved this when they were young.

Vintage Simplicity Pattern

About a week or so back, I posted this picture on Instagram and Facebook. I decided to make a summer dress. I have had this vintage Simplicity pattern for a long time now. It was printed in 1966. I thought this would be perfect for lounging around. The fabric is a voile by Art Gallery Fabric. I love their voiles because they hang nicely and don’t wrinkle after washing. Super soft and comfortable too. The voiles have been quite popular in the shop lately so I am running low. I just placed an order for more and cannot wait until they arrive (maybe another ten days or so?)

The dress took no time to put together. Four pieces to cut out and since it ties at the shoulder, no zipper to fuss with.

French seams to prevent fraying

I used French seams on the two side seams to prevent any fraying. These are super simple when dealing with simple, straight seams.

While it is certainly nothing fancy, it is just what I wanted. Cool and loose and comfy which is just my style. Whether it be 1966 or 2020, the pattern works just fine. Be warned though – sewing with vintage patterns is a little bit tricky. The sizing is very different. Don’t assume you are the same size with older patterns as with current. Rely on the measurements listed on the pattern – that will tell you what size you need to use. It was a fun dress to make.

The kick off for this year’s Mystery Quilt Along happens this week! I am really excited. Probably due to the lack of local quilt guild activity and community quilting (with everyone staying home during the pandemic), the sign ups for this years QAL increased greatly. If you have not participated before, I encourage you to give it a try. I love working with Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs, the host of this event and her patterns are always a hit. Without divulging anything I will tell you Cheryl described this year’s pattern as beginner friendly and it does not require any paper piecing or difficult techniques (eg the dreaded Y seams or curved blocks.)

Here are a few of the kits available. Pop over if you want to see the rest of them!

There are kits available in the shop if you prefer working from a kit rather than picking fabric yourself. Take a peek. They are selling like crazy and I have been cutting yard after yard of fabric this week!

Covid numbers continue to climb. Life is filled with this strange feeling of uncertainty even as we live in quarantine, doing the same things over and over with one day melting into the next. Hang in there, support each other and above all, sew something!

Super Cute, Super Simple Finish

You know how you set something aside for so long and then somehow your mind decides it is going to take forever to finish it and you don’t want to so you just leave it there? Yeah, me too. Last fall I pieced a cute strip quilt using a focus print from Pandalicious. I had yardage in the shop and thought it would be fun to make one and then make up some kits for others to make it.

Last September…….

So I made up the quilt top and got it basted. I started to free motion quilt each of the strips and all was going well. When I got to the large section of pandas in the middle, my tension got screwed up. Of course I didn’t know this and just kept going because the top side looked fine. Ugh. When I saw the back, I knew it all had to be unpicked.

Onward I went and got all the messy stitching ripped out. By then I developed some serious dislike of the project and set it aside? Why do this? It wasn’t the quilt’s fault. But I did anyway. Folded it up and put it on top of a pile of fabric.

Easy Peasy Finish!

This week I thought it was time to finish it. Of course, by now, the fabric is gone and I can’t make any kits. Sigh. Quilting the remaining sections (the pandas in the middle and both of the black and white sections on top and bottom) took no time at all. Like an afternoon of playing at the machine and it was done. So after sitting there for 9 months or so, it is done!

I attached the binding with machine stitching on front and back. It is adorable! I quilted the top and bottom sections with a meandering motif of interlocking squares. I am not sure what was going on, but there are some little tension issues on the back side. Not enough that I am going to fix it though. I suspect after being washed, it will all work out.

Sweetest pandas!

I did a very loose meander over the middle section going around the pandas. They are such happy little guys!

Shady evening sun.

I took the photos in the early evening so the sun was creating lots of shadows. But no matter, just look at how happy this little quilt is. What should I do with this one? I will likely donate it. It will be fun for some child to snuggle under.

Why does the color look so strange in this one?

Happy to cross this off the UFO list and wish I had done it long ago. Makes me happy to get it finished up.

Anyone have anything fun planned for the weekend? Hahaha…. sorry to be so ridiculous! I feel like each day (weekend or not) is so much the same due to the quarantine. Our town is loosening up just a bit but we are still very careful. So it will be the usual. Taking walks, a little bit of gardening, shipping orders and sewing, sewing, sewing!

Silly silly girl

Want to leave you with a smile. Isn’t this just a classic fun-in-the-bathtub picture?? This girl makes me laugh all the time. She is such a joyous kiddo. Enjoy the day everyone!!

Linking to Brag About Your Beauties and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop! Go check them out to see lots of fun projects.

Beneath Missouri Stars, from a Quilting Cozy Series

UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed. I have emailed the winner, Darlene H, to let her know. Thanks everyone for entering. I hope you will encourage your library to carry Carol’s books and/or head over to Amazon and get one for yourself!

I am not sure you remember but about two years ago, I reviewed a book called Tie Died which is the first book in a large series authored by Carol Dean Jones. At that time, it was my first experience with these cozy mysteries. I had a lot of fun participating in the blog hop promoting these books for Carol and CT Pubs. Even better, because of the event, Carol and I became acquainted and now enjoy a nice friendship.

Some months ago, I found out Carol would be publishing book 11 in her series this spring. Titled Beneath Missouri Stars, I hoped to review it. I contacted C&T and they agreed to provide me with a review copy of the book.

The book is really fun. If you aren’t familiar with cozy mystery novels, click here and read my first review where I explain what cozy mysteries are all about. There is some order to the Quilting Cozy series of books but I didn’t really have any problem reading number one and then jumping to number eleven. Lots had happened to the main characters (Sarah and Sophie) in between but the author does a wonderful job of telling you just enough so the reader can fill in the blanks.

In Beneath Missouri Stars, Sarah and Sophie are trying to solve a mystery (typical for these two best friends) which revolves around the murder of a young girl. The crime occurs when a popular country western singer is in town to perform. As Sarah and Sophie work to solve the mystery there is (as always) a sub plot involving a quilt or two. I love how the author (who is also a talented quilter) weaves the quilting tales into these books. There are quilt shops, club meetings at the local quilt shop, community service projects and more. Drawing on her career in geriatric social work, the author also touches on various issues that often arise with older people. This is done with sensitivity and sometimes a bit of humor. The book is well written with several twists and turns to keep the reader engaged.

When Sarah, the protagonist, decides to make a quilt emulating the night skies of Missouri, she ends up with the beautiful dark blue quilt featured on the cover of the book. Of course, behind the scenes, Carol (the author) actually designed and made the featured quilt using the traditional Missouri Star block. Looking at this quilt and the pattern for it (which is included in the book) I was quite taken with it. Two tone quilts (blue and white in this example) are a favorite of mine.

After reading the book, I emailed Carol and suggested we work on a kit for this quilt. The look of lap size (54″ x 72″ finished) quilt is dramatic, just like a starlit night sky. She agreed it would be fun so the two of us got to work. When Carol made her original version, she used squares from two layer cakes as well as a bit of extra yardage. I tried to emulate this and thought it might be nice to offer layer cakes in the kit. But it would have required two full layer cakes to have enough fabric which would have made the kit quite expensive.

Deciding against using layer cakes, we chose beautiful yardage from a PB Textiles line called Spring Blue and a very dark blue background from Terra by Norm Wyatt. It works so well together and while the quilt isn’t scrappy, the effect is much the same.

Included in the kit are three fabrics from Spring Blue, a light, medium and dark print. These work to make up the blocks and the setting triangles used to put the blocks on point. The medium blue print is also used as the binding.

Included with the fabric in the kit is a copy of the book which has been signed by the author. The Quilting Cozy books are a great deal considering you get a novel and a pattern for just a bit more than the price of many quilt patterns. The number of kits is limited so most likely they will not last long. If you want to see the details of the kit, you will find it here.

To celebrate the release of Carol’s 11th book in the series, I have a signed copy to offer as a giveaway prize!! I am excited to share this book with all of you and to send a copy to one lucky winner. Carol’s series is entertaining with fun characters and lots of quilting fun. How can you go wrong with that??

To enter to win the autographed copy of the book, please leave a comment and tell me if you have made a ‘two color’ quilt before. If so, what colors did you use? If not, what colors would you choose to make one with. I love blue and yellow, red and white and also blue and white. I think limiting the colors of a quilt creates a very dramatic look. The giveaway is open until Friday of this week. I will select a winner and notify the person by email. Make sure you are not a no-reply commenter.

Congratulations to Carol on the success of this fun series of cozy mysteries. I hope we haven’t heard the last about Sarah and Sophie!!

Getting Outside

Today Julia and I needed something different to do so we decided to do a few errands and then go for a short hike. We are fortunate to live in an area with tons of gorgeous walking trails. Julia chose Hirschman Trail for today’s walk.

We have walked here several times before. It is an easy walk and there are some really pretty sites to see.

The highlight of this trail is a beautiful pond. It comes up quickly but I look forward to seeing it each time – once on the way in and again on the way back out. Today there were two beautiful ducks swimming. Other times I have seen large turtles swimming at the water’s edge.

Walking along the trail we spotted this bright blue painted rock with a B on it. It was a little treasure nestled in off the side of the trail. There have been lots and lots of people painting rocks for others to find since the quarantine started. We decided to keep an eye out for more and we were not disappointed.

Wonder what the significance of the letter R was?

This little gem was in the crotch of a rotted tree branch.

This was actually a chunk of wood someone painted. Cute little rainbow!

Another spot of color on the trail.

Another letter, was this “I” the start of someone’s name?

We really enjoyed finding these. It was fun to think of people tucking them in along the way. Julia and I plan to paint a few and plant them on another trail. These made us smile so we will do the same for someone else.

And now…. too make you smile! Look at these two cuties!

These sisters really look alike. Older sister is on the left and little sister is on the right. They are surely cut from the same (very round) cookie cutter!

Hope you are finding ways to change things up a little. Getting outside, doing something new, learning something different? It all helps to keep us sane during this crazy season of life.

Mercyful Quilts on Parade

I have been looking forward to the mail delivery and the UPS guy daily. Most days they bring me a wonderful package to open. It’s like Christmas around here!! Sarah’s amazing Hands2Help event is finishing up at the end of the month so quilts are being mailed to various organizations all over the map. Mercy Hospital in Sacramento is one of the (incredibly grateful) recipients.I have opened quilts from throughout the US – Florida, Texas, Arizona, and North Carolina among others!

I thought it was time to share the bounty with you. I took pictures of some of the quilts but not all. This was not done with any rhyme or reason. I wanted to share some of these and it just isn’t feasible to photograph all of them. Not enough hours in the day, right? But I will say this – ALL of the quilts are amazing. Each one is uniquely beautiful and all of them are clearly made with love and compassion.

Let’s take a look at these beauties!

These were both made by Emily of Darling Dogwood. Both have gorgeous batiks in similar colors but the light and dark backgrounds sure make for a different vibe.

I have to say I don’t know Ann but isn’t she a talented quilter? Her choice of colors and patterns are just wonderful! I love both of the patterns she used for her quilts.

Ok – three quilts from three wonderful women. Top left came from Kim C. in Florida, top right was made by Erica in Arizona and bottom center by the wonderful Linda R. in Texas. Thank you ladies!!!

These two are so much fun. Top left is from Anny who lives about 2 hours from me and I have had the pleasure of meeting in ‘real life’. She made this with a group from the Sacramento MQG – so cool that they chose to donate to a hospital local to them! The other came from Selina who lives in Florida. Thank you so much!!

Two more lovelies – Trudie sent her quilt all the way from Texas and Kathryn sent hers over from Pennsylvania. These beauties will bring great comfort to their recipients.

This quilt came from Cyndy in Oregon – she blogs at Quilting is More Fun than Housework. (I got lazy and used a picture from her blog post!!). Anyway, the thing I love about this quilt is it is made up of orphan blocks! Her orphan blocks look like they were planned and made to go together. I was pretty surprised when I read this. It is really beautiful and she did a great job of laying these out and making them work!

As I said before, there are more and I am so very thankful for each of the quilts donated. It never ceases to amaze me how generous the quilting community is. Quilts of this caliber take so much time! Not to mention the expense of fabric and batting. And then, beyond all that, spending $20 to mail the quilt somewhere! I am grateful to know all of you and thankful you thought of Mercyful quilts when you wanted to give someone such a lovely gift.

Hands 2 Help 2020

Oh how I love this event! Each year Sarah from Confessions of a Fabric Addict hosts an event, Hands 2 Help, to encourage quilters to donate some of their work to various organizations. I have participated numerous times over the years. I have donated quilts to various places and have marveled at the number of quilts made and gifted each May. Last year and this year I am going to donate as well as coordinate the receiving of many beautiful quilts for Mercyful Quilts.

Over the past several weeks, the quilts have started to arrive. It is so fun to open the packages and see the color schemes, block patterns and quilting styles on each one. From simple to ornate, each one is beautiful and very much appreciated. I promise to share them with you – I still need to take pictures though.

As I thought about the event from the donor perspective this year, I knew I would donate one to Mercy Hospital – you all know how strongly I feel about their program. I will be giving them the blue and yellow star quilt I wrote about in my post two weeks ago. I also wanted to donate to our local Project Linus group. As I started to look at fabric, I decided it was silly to make a new quilt for them. I have a small stack of baby quilts in the closet that I made for the fun of it but never used or gave away. It seemed more practical to give one of those away than to make another one.

I chose to give them the Fireburst Quilt I made a while ago during a quilt along hosted by Tish’s Adventures in Wonderland. It is such a sweet quilt and should be used. Yesterday I washed and dried it since it had been in the closet for some time. It is all soft and crinkly now – ready for a child in need.

I love the colors used for this quilt – they are bright and cheerful. I remember when I started to spiral quilt this I worried it would be stiff so I decided to gradually widen the space between the spirals. It worked out well and I like how soft and puffy it is.

The fabric on the backing is Folk Fleur from the Meriwether line by Amy Gibson. It is sweet with tiny flowers floating across the fabric. (There is just a bit left in the sale section of the shop.) I used a zig zag stitch to quilt the border which added a bit of whimsy.

I am really happy to give this quilt to Project Linus. I love making them but it doesn’t make any sense to leave them unused in the closet. I know many people have stacks of their quilts throughout the house and that is what works for them. I feel like quilts are to be used. This one needs to belong to a child.

I am excited to see the numbers for this year. It seems with each year more and more quilts are donated as part of Hands 2 Help. With the quarantine in place this year, and many people unemployed, it might be a lesser number? This would be totally understandable too. Are you participating? If so, thank you for your generosity!! Thank you also to Sarah for spending so much time organizing this inspirational event each spring.

Catching Up

Oh my goodness – time is flying by. Nothing like a pandemic forcing all of us to stay home day after day to make a person busy, right? In March when all of this started I thought I would accomplish this huge to-do list due to being stuck at home. I created a list of blog posts to catch up on, pictured myself scrubbing the kitchen and bathrooms till they sparkled – it was going to be such a productive time. Ummm, what the heck? I have hardly posted here and it took me until yesterday to force myself to scrub one shower. Not the picture of productivity I had anticipated!

Ah, just proof of my human imperfections!! Also proof I really am not into house work. Haha. OK – moving on to sewing. There hasn’t been a lot going on. I did get the April and May blocks done for the 2020 Monthly Color Challenge. Want to see them?

The block for April was made with purple and I was able to continue my polka dot theme. Have to say, I have no idea how I will put these blocks together. I suppose I need to think of a way to sash them with some sense of continuity.

Love the green block which was May’s color. It is a great pattern and would be cute as a quilt on its own.

I also made this cute little pink Dresden. Now I have three of them. Still not a concrete plan as to how I will use them but I like making them and they use up lots of tiny scraps so that is a win in my book!

A few days ago, I posted on Instagram that I was totally inspired by Kirsty of Bonjour Quilts to start a new project. She sent out a newsletter and as she always does, showed some quilts that had been made by others, using one of her patterns. She has a tutorial called Meadow and when I saw that quilt, I got all excited to make one. I clicked over to this post which was from a long time ago (maybe 2016?) . Deciding I really NEED to make this, even though there are three quilt tops on the guest bed waiting to be quilted, I started to pull scraps.

The beginning of a new quilt!

I spent a pleasant evening sorting through white, off-white and green scraps. I ironed a stack of them and began cutting squares in three different sizes. This is a great pattern to use lots of scraps from my bins.

Last night I started making nine patch blocks – only made a few but it is a start. These are the biggest size, using 6 1/2″ squares. They gradually become smaller. Fun, fun, fun. I love starting a new project!

Finally, I will leave you with a picture of my very imaginative grand daughter. She was pretending to be a bird in her nest, reading books. Thankful this bird is safely wearing her helmet while sitting wayyyyy up high in her imaginary tree. 🙂