Time has flown by and I will be heading home on Wednesday. When I was getting ready to come out here I thought three weeks sounded like such a long time but yikes, it has gone by quickly!! We quickly settled into a rhythm and it has been wonderful
H and I have spent a lot of time in the kitchen. She has a new stool to stand on so she can ‘help’ cook and she just loves it. She crawls in and out constantly and has learned to drag it from counter to counter to the sink and back. Washing dishes, stirring and mixing, so many projects. Luckily she and I enjoy baking and we have made SOOO many things. Cookies, focaccia bread, muffins – I have probably put on a couple of pounds during this trip.
Yesterday we made these Maple Pecan Scones. She had so much fun and was covered in flour by the end of this round of baking. They are delicious and if you want to try them, here is a link to the recipe on the King Arthur Flour website. I cut them fairly small so she wouldn’t have a huge serving. Actually I put half of them in the freezer so they can have them again after I leave.
As for sewing, I have done quite a bit! I made a table runner for my daughter in law. When I was at Jo-Ann’s, they had the Home Decor fabrics on sale and I picked up this floral print. It is a nice weight and has a linen like texture.
I also grabbed a celery green Kona solid (I don’t know what the real name is – I didn’t check the bolt.) This project took no time at all to make. I cut a rectangle (I think it was 14″ x 50″) and stitched the front and back, right sides together. Once I turned it right side out, I ran two lines of topstitching around the perimeter and called it good. It looks great on their dining room table. However, I removed it after taking the photo so we wouldn’t spill on it before my DIL even gets home!
Another project was to make a super hero cape for my grand daughter. Again, this was a very simple project. I bought a 1/2 yard of red satin fabric at Jo-Ann’s and folded it in 1/2, right sides together. I stitched around two sides and turned it right side out. With the folded side and the two stitched sides, it was finished on three sides of the square. After pressing it (on super low heat) I folded the raw edges to the inside and stitched two seams, one at the top edge and one about 2 inches lower. This left an opening at each side to thread the cord through.
My grand daughter wasn’t thrilled with this. She doesn’t seem to care one way or another about it. However, I suspect she will enjoy it at some point. It is silky and shiny and will catch her eye when she is in the mood for playing dress up.
I have just a few more days with her so I am keeping her home from day care this week. She can go at the end of the week after I leave. Not sure what we will do with our last couple of days but I know it will be fun.
Linking up with the usual parties. Check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.
I have been in Vermont for almost two weeks. That seems crazy – in some ways it is going way too fast but then I stop and realize I really miss my hubs and Julia. But it is all good. H and I are having such a good time together. She is still such a delight. I don’t see very much of the terrible 2’s in her at all. I think this is because she has very good language skills so normally she doesn’t get frustrated when she wants something (or doesn’t want something). She can get her message across. Of course, she is not all angel, all the time. She can be a teensy bit defiant now and then.
I find the gender based differences in children really interesting. I have three boys and a girl, a degree in Early Child Development and have worked in preschools and daycares. There are some very consistent, biologically hardwired, differences between the two genders and other differences that are taught by surroundings, toys offered and parental/caregiver attitudes. Language is a big one. It has been my experience that girls acquire language earlier than little boys and they will often sit for stories and language activities sooner/for longer periods than boys. H is really into singing though her songs are often a mash-up of ABC’s, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Wheels on the Bus. If someone sings with her, she can stay with one song. If she is singing solo, all the songs come up at one point or another during her performance. I appreciate that H’s parents have provided all sorts of toys – she has trucks, tractors, blocks, baby dolls, and stuffed animals. I tried to do the same with my kids and in fact, have the silliest picture of my oldest son (at 2 years old) trying to nurse his baby doll when his baby brother came along. Pretend play should be widespread and include all sorts of imaginary ideas and props.
There are also tons of art supplies in this house. It has been fun to spend time with markers, paints and crayons with H this trip. There was a large cardboard box downstairs and she discovered it made a great ‘vibrating noise’ when she scribbled on it. This was a great activity to do with her one morning last week.
One of the best art supplies in the house are this set of Do A Dot Markers. I think these were a gift from Santa this year. They are filled with washable liquid and have a little sponge on the top. If the lid is left off and the bottle is laying on its side, there is no leakage. They don’t dry out like other markers. Just give it a shake and press it on the paper a couple of times to wick the liquid back into the sponge at the top.
They also have little textured grips on each side making it easier for younger children to use them. It is very easy for kids to be ‘successful’ artists with these markers.
Pressing the marker up and down creates dots which are really fun. To use them like a paint brush or marker, the child presses down and drags them. The colors are vibrant. Anyway, no affiliation here, this grandma just highly recommends them!
This week I also did some sewing (of course!!) I made a little oven mitt for H. She loves to help cook and has been wearing mama’s huge silicon mitt while I am in the kitchen and then walking to the oven and warning me, “hot Grammy, too hot”. So she now has her own small oven mitt with kitties all over it!
I used a tutorial from IkatBag. There are so many really fun crafty projects on this website. I couldn’t figure out how to get my laptop to print on the printer here so I ended up just drawing out a little mitt and using that for the pattern. There is a layer of lining, fusible Pellon, and the outer layer. Both fabrics were fat quarters from Jo-Ann’s. I made the usual sandwich of inner and outer fabric and the batting, then quilted on the diagonal to hold the layers together. They were stitched right sides together and I did a zig-zag stitch around the edge to control any fraying.
Before turning it right side out, I clipped the curves and especially the slight V between thumb and mitt. The binding had to be stitched by hand both inside and out. The opening is too small to easily stitch it on the machine. H loves it and that is all I need to see!
My other projects for last week included a table runner for my DIL – her birthday is coming up next week so this will be a nice project to leave her for her when she gets back home. Also got the Squared Away quilt top stitched together. I will take pictures and share these later this week. Sewing plans for this week include a red satin cape for H to pretend with and more four patch blocks for the memory quilt I am working on.
Looking out the window, the blue skies make it seem like I should go take a walk but it is only 10 degrees out. Maybe when it gets to a toasty 15 degrees, I will venture out with the dog! Hope everyone is enjoying the week. Make sure to find a little time to create something!
Here is another project I made this week. This cute turtle was made with the free pattern, Myrtle the Purl Turtle, from Purl Soho. What a fun tutorial this is.
The shell is a piece from Flea Market Fancy by Denyse Schmidt. I love this fabric and have had it on the shelf for a bit now. I used a linen blend by Andover (available in my shop) for the head and the tops of the feet (or are they paws?) The linen adds a great textural component. Along those lines, the wool felt used for the belly is so soft, adding yet another texture. Two black buttons were sewn on for the eyes. The pattern doesn’t include a mouth. I thought about it for a bit but didn’t come up with a way to add a mouth that I liked. So, eyes only it is!!
Putting the turtle together was really simple. Stuffing the turtle was another story altogether. I couldn’t get the seams at the feet and head stuffed to my liking. If I really packed in the stuffing, everything got really stiff and lost the cozy appeal I wanted. But when I loosened the stuffing these little creases developed. After playing around with it for a while, I opted for the creases and the softer stuffing.
I was happy to see my grand daughter’s excitement when I gave her the turtle. She patiently watched as I sewed the eyes on and then she happily took ownership! I tried to get her to name the turtle but she is too young and just didn’t get it. She calls it Turtle and that is good enough for me.
If you haven’t tried making a stuffed animal, this is a fun one to start with. The joins at the neck are a little tricky but other than that, easy peasy. Thanks to Purl Soho for this fun pattern. They have several other cute stuffed animal patterns (a teddy bear, super cute bunny, penguin and a cat) on their site that I look forward to trying. If you have any stuffed animal patterns you’ve used, I would love to hear about it. Always looking for the next project, right??
Linking up with my favorites. Check them out at the top of the page under Link Ups.
Be sure to check out my shop this weekend where you will find a 20% off sale on ALL fabrics in the Clearance & Remnant section
The first week in Vermont has gone well. My grand daughter changed quite a bit since I was out here over the holidays. She is such a happy girl. Her vocabulary has increased and now she can tell me all sorts of things. Her favorite line is ‘My do it myself’. Can you tell she is nearly two years old? As long as she is given a chance to do whatever it is herself, she is satisfied and if she can’t complete the task, she is ok with being helped. I am thoroughly enjoying her. However, it is surprising how she can tire me out. I relish her two or three hour nap each afternoon.
As planned, I have been doing a bit of sewing during nap time. (also prepping dinner, making cookies, doing a little laundry – remember how much was accomplished during those wonderful nap times?) So far, I have been making four patch blocks for the memory quilt I am making for my friend Susie. Stitching those only holds my attention for so long. To keep things interesting, I switched back and forth between that project and making a little purse for H.
I used a free pattern designed by Pat Bravo called Saddle Bag. It is a small purse which meant I didn’t have to cut it down. The strap was too long so it was shortened quite a bit. Overall, this is a very simple bag to make.
An interior pocket was not included in the pattern but I thought it would be a fun addition to the little purse. Who knows what treasures will be stored in this pocket!
The only complaint I have about this pattern is the directions for the shoulder strap. I have made many bags, probably a dozen or more, and they were quite a bit more complex than this little one. But the way the instructions explained attaching the strap was just strange. I couldn’t make it work. Finally after fussing around, I remembered this is for a two year old. She absolutely does not care about the way the shoulder straps are attached. Actually I could have used two huge safety pins and all would have been fine! I decided to just stuff them in on each side and top stitch them down. Works fine!
There is a mistake though and I may as well point it out! The velcro closure I added is way (as in WAY) off center! I saw this and remembered, yet again, it’s for a two year old and it is a toy. She doesn’t care about this sort of thing. So, even though I had a seam ripper sitting right there, I just left it be. I sewed a button on for a little decoration and there you have it! A lovely purse sporting all sorts of frogs and butterflies!
Isn’t she adorable? Actually, they both are. She loves her purse but she usually calls it her diaper bag. I wondered aloud why she said diaper bag instead of purse and my son explained that his wife hasn’t really been carrying a purse. She tends to throw her wallet into the diaper bag so she has just one bag to carry. This makes perfect sense. It is a diaper bag now!
I feel so lucky to have this long stretch of time in Vermont. When I was packing for the trip I was a bit concerned about the cold weather. Fortunately my son and DIL have tons of cold weather gear. It has been a surprise how much the right difference wearing the right gear makes. Today we took two walks. H really loves to be outside so I try to make it a point to be sure she gets to play outside every day. Today it was 16 degrees out and not a problem. She looks adorable with her snow suit on and her rosy cheeks. Of course I really miss Ray and Julia but this is a very special time for H and me. I feel like I am really getting to know her which is just a delight.
Linking up to my favorite places. Check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.
As I mentioned, I am going to be spending several weeks in Vermont. My DIL is away for a 4 week seminar and I have the privilege of hanging out with H for a bit. Of course, I had to plan for some sewing time. This girl is a good napper so I should have two hours in the afternoon to sew. Luckily my DIL has a machine she loans me while I am here!
I brought supplies with me – most of which are duplicates so I plan to just leave them here. That way I know I will have the basics when I come to visit. (Thanks Wendy for the great idea! Up to now, I have been carting them back and forth with each trip.) I think I may have been a bit over-zealous when planning projects but I wanted to have choices!
I plan to make this cute turtle for H. I thought she would enjoy helping me stuff it when I get the body made. The (free) pattern is by Purl Soho and can be found here. I think the Denyse Schmidt print will be so cute for the shell and I have some Andover linen blend for the hands, feet, head and tail. Wool felt will be used for the tummy.
I also brought a stack of blocks I made last year during the Squared Away BOM hosted by Mari (Academic Quilter). I started this but didn’t finish it. I do have thirteen blocks though and Mari suggested I just alternate them with a neutral fabric to make a quilt. I think this looks great! I need to square the blocks and then will stitch the quilt top together. It will need some borders but that can wait until I get home.
This pile of scraps is the leftovers from my Twisted quilt. Some of them are already stitched together and need to be squared but many (MANY) of them need to be stitched and squared. I am excited to get this done because I think it will be fun to use these somehow. Maybe a baby quilt or a springy floral mini? The majority of the fabrics are Kaffe Fassett and it will be fun to have these to play with. First I need to get through the tedium of squaring them all up though. Have to pay to play, right?
Other than Myrtle the Turtle, this is probably my top priority. I posted this picture on Instagram two weeks ago. My friend Susie lost her husband to lung cancer in September 2018. She is ready to deal with his clothes now and asked if I would make a memory quilt. Of course I am happy (honored actually) to do this for her. I have cut the shirts into four inch squares. Some of the shirts were kind of thin but she loved them and wanted to include them. I reinforced them with a very light weight interfacing and I think they will work fine. We looked at patterns and she chose a simple patchwork. I am doing four patch blocks and sashing them with a neutral, low volume fabric in a creamy off-white. She also gave me two photos she had printed on fabric of the two of them. Those will be incorporated as well. I am hoping to get the four patch blocks stitched up during the trip.
I know, this is sort of ridiculous but I have one more project. A while ago, Sarah of Sarah Goer Quilts sent me these sweet fat quarters during a book share I hosted. I love them and thought they might make a cute purse for H to have. There is a tutorial here, created by Pat Bravo. I think it will be perfect though I plan to reduce the size a bit.
What do you think? How much of this will happen during nap time over the next three weeks? It’s anybody’s guess! But I look forward to sewing when not playing with H. She is such a cutie pie and we have lots of plans. There are tea parties to enjoy, the children’s museum to visit, and maybe a trip or two to the library. Such is life while visiting in Vermont!
Happy Friday everyone! It has been really busy here between the shop, the usual migraine nonsense and… wait for it…. getting ready to leave for Vermont! I am going to be watching my grand daughter for three weeks. Her mama has to go to Washington DC for a month long training session and asked if I would come and help out while my son is with H. He commutes a fair bit to work and back which makes H’s daycare time much longer if he is on his own with her. Between that and snow days and the usual illnesses she is always coming down with, it will be good to have another person there. I am looking forward to it as much as my DIL is NOT looking forward to it. You know? I feel terrible for her to have to leave for so long. She is a medical resident in Radiology at the University of Burlington and has known this was coming for the last several years but now that it is actually time to go, ugh! She is such a trooper and is trying to make the best of a lousy situation.
I have been cooking meals and freezing them so Ray and Julia don’t have to cook quite as much while I am gone. They both have long days and it will be nice to have a few things they can just pull out of the freezer and heat up. Also, my friend Sophia has been coming over and learning to run my shop for me. She is such a good friend and I am incredibly grateful she is able to do this for me. She will cut orders and ship them for the next few weeks. I have known her for a long while and we are both into quilting and sewing. She will have everything under control while I am away!
I did play a bit in the sewing room this week, though not as much as I would have liked (is there ever enough hours in the day?). I had four custom orders, two are finished and the other two are prepped to be completed today.
Inspired by watching Marie Kondo on Netflix the other day, I thought I would clear out some old fabric that just wasn’t ‘sparking joy’ for me any longer and give it away. But as soon as I sat down and started going through things, I found this panel I had picked up at a garage sale last fall. That was the end of the Konmari cleaning effort!
I just love this panel. I did several reverse image searches to try and find it on-line and see what line it was from. One person on Facebook or Instagram (?) commented that she made pillow cases with it in the 1980’s for her children. So it is an older fabric. I wasn’t sure what to do with it but finally decided to make a doll quilt with it for A Doll Like Me. It is so pretty and, at 22″ x 26″, just the right size for this.
I found a batting scrap and some backing fabric and quickly put it all together.
I love the pig and unicorn both!
The quilting is basic since it really doesn’t show up and the animals are the star of the show here.
Lions, tigers and bears, oh my!
I free motioned around most of the animals and some of the vines to hold everything together. Around the outer border I FMQ’d flowers. That was good practice as I am really rusty these days.
The backing and binding were also a thrift store find – I believe it was an older RJR print. Great colors thought, right??
Don’t you love making something start to finish with bits of fabric you already have. The stack of fabric in my closet holds so much potential. I will keep this little quilt and mail it to Amy when I have a few more things to add to it.
Time to go finish up those two orders. Also need to make meatballs for the freezer. Yesterday I had a roast in the crockpot for shredded BBQ Beef sandwiches. I am filling our freezer!!
Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. Ours will be gray and rainy out, as it has been all week. The wet weather inspired me to cut a few gray and white fat quarter bundles for the shop. Aren’t these pieces wonderful? Included are flowers, stripes and text prints by Carrie Bloomston, Alison Glass and Sarah Fielke! Click the link if you want to add them to your stash. 🙂
Linking to my usual sites. Check them out at the top of the page under link ups!
This week hasn’t been one of the best. Lots of migraine kept me down most of the week. Such is life. There isn’t much to be done about it except take naps and wait for it to be finished.
Once I was feeling a bit better, I decided to make a few hospital gowns for Amy. Remember last week I posted an update on A Doll Like Me? I mentioned Amy is running low on these sweet gowns she provides to children who are facing a hospital visit.
Each of these gowns take about one fat quarter or similar size scrap. You also need a bit of narrow, double fold bias tape. Check out this tutorial for instructions and a template to cut the pieces. The fun of this project (other than the satisfaction of making something to create a smile for a child) is picking fun fabrics to use.
I had a bit of this Disney princess fabric in a scrap bag given to me by a friend. I was just able to squeak a gown out of it. It is a 1/2″ shorter than the others but I don’t think that will be an issue. Luckily I was able to center Cinderella on the front of the gown. I hope there is a princess-loving girl out there who needs this gown for her doll.
I also used a bit of this vintage red print. Last year, after Valentine’s Day, I saw several rolls of ribbon in a clearance bin at Michaels and snapped them up. It was fun to use some to create the ties on the back of the gown.
Also, thinking it would be fun to play with those decorative stitches on my machine again, I used a heart motif to finish the edges of the back side of the gown. The hearts aren’t the best, but it was fun.
I packed these up and hope to take them to the post office. I have heard from a number of you who are making gowns for A Doll Like Me. This is awesome and I really appreciate your time and creativity! If you want to give it a try and feel unsure or have questions, I am happy to help!!
Linking up with several fun link parties, including the DrEAMI event over at Sandra’s blog!
Last year I had the immense pleasure to start a friendship with Amy Jandrisevits, owner and creator at A Doll Like Me.
You might remember the Share the Love Campaign hosted here. Many, many quilters joined in to make special doll quilts to be sent with the lovely dolls Amy makes for children with physical differences.
So many sweet doll quilts were donated!
The campaign resulted in well over 300 doll quilts and I still receive emails now and then from quilters who want to send one to Amy.
I wanted to provide a brief update for readers as it has been nearly a year since the campaign. Of course the need for these amazing dolls is on-going and Amy continues to sew constantly in an effort to keep up with the demand. The amazing thing is Amy’s work has been noticed! Not just by us and the families she works with. Lately, she has experienced a surge of interest by the media as they are made aware of the important work she does.
Media exposure is a wonderful thing as it helps to spread the idea that all children want/need/deserve representation. They need to see themselves as ‘normal’, to know that their differences are not to be hidden or embarrassed by. Receiving a doll that reflects them and looks like them helps them to do this. Having the media spread the word as they have been doing over the past weeks is going to teach a huge lesson in acceptance for readers who haven’t necessarily thought in these terms or been exposed to this idea.
One of the ways this media excitement started was due to an honor bestowed upon A Doll Like Me by the Go Fund Me organization. Amy has had a campaign running on Go Fund Me for quite some time. Last December the organization really took notice of Amy by giving her the Hero of the Month award in December. Each month Go Fund Me does a story on a campaign they feel is worthy in the hopes of spreading the word even further. When they gave this award to A Doll Like Me in December Amy’s campaign spread like crazy and donations in excess of $20,000 poured in. The donations continue as does the exposure for this cause.
Largely due to the Go Fund Me award, many media outlets became aware of the work Amy does. The story was picked up by the local CBS station in Wisconsin, providing great publicity for this important work. Click through to see the five minute video segment – it is fantastic!
Photo from an article in Highlights Magazine’s blog.
Amy’s work was also featured in a blog post for Highlights Magazine – remember that magazine from when we were young?
I am so happy to see the increase in exposure for A Doll Like Me and the fantastic financial support Amy is garnering with the Go Fund Me campaign. She will be able to continue to work on these special dolls and with the funding, provide them to families who might not be able to afford them.
Three of the quilts I made for Amy last year.
I chatted on-line with Amy this morning to check in. She has sent out in excess of 200 quilts since last year!! She still has a supply to work with but it makes her so happy to have shared so many. The quilts are such a special addition to the dolls and both child and family seem to value them greatly.
Doll clothes and hospital gowns donated to A Doll Like Me.
In addition to the doll quilts, several of us made tiny hospital gowns for Amy. She requested these because many of the children experience a high number of hospitalizations. The gowns make the experience even more relatable as they can dress their doll in one when they are going to have another stay. Pretend play and working through the anxiety of each hospital stay is made a bit more relevant with these gowns. When Amy sends one to a child she knows needs it, she gets marvelous feedback. The parents have told her it makes the doll a complete ‘mini-me’ for the child. Some moms have told Amy the hospital gown brought tears to their eyes (and to one father’s eyes as well). These tiny gestures are incredibly valuable.
It turns out Amy is just about out of the gowns. She has asked me to let you know this in the hope some of you would like to spend an hour and make one or two for her. They are so simple to make. See this post for details! It only takes a fat quarter, some bias tape and about an hour of your time to make one. If you could, please do spend a little time on this! I am happy to provide the mailing info for A Doll Like Me. Just email me – I don’t want to post the mailing information publicly on this post. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no time limit on this – she would love to receive them whenever someone is inclined to make one. Questions about this can be left in the comments and I will get back to you.
That’s it for now. I am so happy to see the word spread about A Doll Like Me. Thank you so much for taking part in this earlier and for helping out as time goes forward. Amy is humbled by and grateful for your support.
Linking up with a few favorites. See the list at the top of the page, under Link Ups.
Hurray for the first finish of 2019!! My goal was to link this up as a finished quilt during the Fireburst celebration over the New Year’s weekend. Alas, that didn’t happen.
However I happened to have a bit of sewing time this week and I finished it up. I started the spiral quilting which is always a bit difficult and wonky for me at first. I was following along at the width of the walking foot but after several full spirals, it started to look a little too tight.
The beginning of the spiral quilting.
I decided to stop quilting and I set it aside. My main concern was whether the quilt would be stiff if I continued to quilt it with this density. I am not a huge fan of dense quilting unless it is a quilt hanging on a wall.
After waiting a bit and asking for input on Instagram and Facebook, I started working on it again. I did a somewhat gradual widening of the spirals such that by the outermost edge, the stitching lines were two full inches apart. I like this so much better. If I could have, I would have started to widen the spirals earlier but I think this looks really nice.
Sewing the binding on. Isn’t the plaid binding so cute?
The quilting took very little time. After the spirals were finished, I used a fun, decorative stitch on my machine for the orange border. I really like the way it looks. There are so many cute stitches available on the machine and I rarely remember to use them. Anyway, that was a lot of fun.
For the backing and binding, I shopped downstairs, where I keep the Needle & Foot bolts. It didn’t take long to choose Folk Fleur and Homespun from the Meriwether line by Amy Gibson. I think these fabrics are so sweet. Plus, a bias plaid binding??? Any sort of bias cut binding is the best. When a fabric is a plaid that is already on the bias, so much the better. What do you think? This quilt looks great from the front or the back.
I am really happy with this sweet baby quilt. I am unsure where it is destined to live as of yet. But I am sure it will go to the perfect place. That usually seems to just make itself known. Thank you to Tish for hosting the Fireburst mystery QAL. I enjoyed the whole thing! This was also my January “One Monthly Goal” for the event held over at Elm Street Quilts so I will happily link up there when the linky opens!!
Finally, want to see another cute finish from this week? You might remember I spent some time in Vermont over the holidays. One of my favorite ways to spend time was having a tea party with H. When I posted this picture on Facebook, my friend Karen, Kaholly.com, suggested I make some little tea bags for her to pretend with. What a great idea!!
Tiny teabags for a tiny tea party.
I came home and made these. Using little scraps, I stitched up these squares with a bit of batting inside. To make the strings, I braided three strands of Perle cotton thread. Aren’t these fun! Lemon team, strawberry tea, pineapple tea, and…… kitty cats??? I don’t know why I made that one – I think I will tell her it is so she can make kitty tea for Jenny and Polly (their two cats). Clearly I didn’t think this through but it should work out. Maybe her cats want a spot of tea? Those poor cats – I can just see H following them around with a cup and this tea bag hoping they will want a sip. These were so fun to make. I hope she has as much fun using them.
Wishing all of you a great weekend. I know there are some huge storms threatening the Northeast. Stay safe and warm in your sewing room. we are expecting a lot of rain here so I will be doing the same thing!
I have had a sale running in the shop all week. It ends tomorrow which means there is still time!! Save 25% off on all Michael Miller fabrics. So many pretty prints and cozy flannels to choose from! Come take a peek. Remember shipping anywhere in the US is always $6.99 no matter the size of the order. Quite a deal
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Remember the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles? Starring John Candy and Steve Martin, it was a comedy about their trials and tribulations during a trip home for the Thanksgiving Holidays. It was quite popular in the mid-1980’s. It turns out Julia and I had the opportunity to re-enact the movie on our last trip home from Vermont. Well, that might be an exaggeration but our day of travel certainly reminded me of the movie.
The day before we were scheduled to fly home, I was checking in for our flights from Vermont to California. A screen popped up explaining the flight was over-booked (a very common occurrence with many airlines) and asking whether we would like to volunteer to be bumped. United Airlines asked how much money we would bid to accept in return for taking a later flight. The choices were $800, $1,000, or $1,200. Hmmm….. the bargain hunter in me thought – this could mean an ‘almost’ free trip back to Vermont to see my adorable grand daughter. We were supposed to leave on a Friday – would it really make any difference to us if we left on Saturday???
I talked to Julia, my son and my daughter-in-law and we all decided it would be good to volunteer. The pop-up screen explained that the lowest bids would be accepted first. Not taking any chances, I selected the $800 bid. Thinking this would be split between Julia and me, that would basically cover another flight out to the East coast. Rules were, we still had to show up at the airport and check in for our flight. They would then determine whether the flight was indeed overbooked (in case people with tickets for the flight failed to show up). If it was indeed overbooked, they would start calling from the list of people who had volunteered to be bumped. Well we had quite the early flight scheduled but my wonderful son had us to the airport by 5:30 am.
OK, The airport has grown a bit since this vintage postcard was made
We had to check our bags – they were too big to be considered carry-ons. We got to the United area and we were shocked to see the line. Have you ever flown out of the airport in Burlington, Vermont? It is so tiny. Normally there are one or two people in front of us. When we got there early that morning there were people everywhere. Lots of skis and snowboards being checked in at United. Vermont has excellent skiing and clearly vacations were ending and travelers were returning home. We waited in line and checked our bags. The security area in this airport is very small with one line walking through a small room. After going through security we checked with the attendant at the gate and asked if we would be bumped. She said it was too early to tell. We were asked to wait until the plane had completely boarded so she could figure it out.
All the while, my patient son waited in the hallway outside the gate. In this airport that means he was on the other side of a window watching us. He and Julia played ‘rock, paper, scissors’ and we all texted back and forth as we waited. Finally there were about one or two people left in line to board. The gate attendant told us ‘it looks like you are flying out this morning’. So we waved to Andrew, he walked off and we waited to board. Seriously, within two minutes, she looks up with a little panic and says, ‘we are over by two.’ (Why she didn’t know that two minutes earlier, I have no idea.). I texted Andrew and said “waitttttt!!!!!” He came right back and was laughing – we were all laughing at this point. It was early, we hadn’t had coffee yet and this was a long process!
They try to retrieve our bags but the plane takes off with Julia’s bag and mine is waiting somewhere in an office. The gate attendants were so nice and thanked us for volunteering. I told her it was worth it for $800. She looks up and tells me, well I have been approved to give you $1,000′. I was surprised and said, ‘yikes, $500 each? That’s great.’ She looks sort of perplexed and said, ‘no, $1,000 for each of you.’ Julia and I look at each other with a big smile.
The attendant starts looking for a flight to book us on. She seems to be having trouble and keeps muttering under her breath. It appeared that there wasn’t a route available for both of us to fly home together. She could find a single seat here or there but not two seats. Remember now, this is a very small airport and doesn’t have a lot of traffic in and out. She looks for about 40 minutes – trying all combinations of Delta, United and American but doesn’t find anything. By now Andrew and I are desperate for coffee and Julia is practically falling asleep in a chair. The attendant, clearly frustrated and not knowing what to do with these two people who need to get to California, calls her supervisor for help. The supervisor comes up and starts looking. She is rather incredulous as she realizes there really isn’t anything for the next two days. Julia was supposed to go back to school that Monday so we weren’t willing to stay longer than a day or so. Finally, after about an hour of this, I asked if it made sense to get us to another airport to leave from. I asked if there wasn’t some bus or train we could take? The women both looked up in total disbelief and said, ‘you would do that’?? Well, if it means we can go home, yes – of course we would. The supervisor looks at me and says ‘we will bump you up to $1,500 each if you will do this’. I looked and Julia and we just grinned.
Two Happy Travelers
They decide to send us home out of the Logan airport in Boston. It is a three hour drive to Boston and they book a taxi. I thought this was nuts as the cost was $500 dollars for the round trip to take us out there. The United attendants felt awful for this hassle. She kept offering things to us. ‘Here is a voucher for breakfast while you wait for the cab.’ Then, ‘let me refund your bag check fees’. It was crazy.
An hour later we were off to Boston in a taxi. By this time, we were so tired both of us slept and the ride passed quickly. From Boston, we flew to Chicago. Had a bit of a wait there and finally, late that afternoon, we took off for California. The flights were great and all was relatively smooth but it was a long, 22 hour, day. We arrived in California at 11pm which of course felt like 2 am. We still had to go get the car and drive home which is just over an hour away.
Hmmm…. where should we go next??
What a long day but really, it was worth it. For one thing, neither Julia nor I are what would be described as spontaneous. We tend to follow schedules and get rattled at times if there is a lot of change. But we had a really fun day together. We spent our layovers looking on line (thank goodness for wifi everywhere we went) at places we might travel with our $3,000 jackpot. We took naps on the flight and listened to music. All in all, not a terrible experience. (This is saying a lot from someone who truly dislikes flying.)
After some family discussion, we bought three flights to Maui in July. What a fun way to celebrate Julia’s high school graduation and have a great vacation before she leaves for college! Even with this trip, there is still about $900 on these vouchers left to spend. Well worth a 22 hour travel day home. Hmmm…. I wonder if we can get bumped from our flight home from Hawaii??
Have a great day. I did manage to get some sewing done over the weekend. I will get my thoughts organized and post an update this week! Have a wonderful Monday everyone.
Just want to let you know of a sale over in the shop this week! All Michael Miller fabrics are 25% off through Saturday, January 19th!! Lots of gorgeous pieces to choose from – florals, feathers, stripes and bikes!! Also, there are some cozy flannels on sale too. Come take a look!!