Author Archives: Bernie

The Robe of Many Colors

Back in October my daughter told me her friend was wanting a new bathrobe. To which I replied (as you would I am sure) “Oh, well why don’t I make one for him?” Any excuse to sew something, am I right? Anyway, Balam (her friend) was excited and even told me no one had ever made any clothing for him. I certainly didn’t need to hear anymore than that.

A few weeks later, Balam and I met at Ben Franklin to choose a fabric. I had hoped for a thick terrycloth or a nice fleece. No luck finding either one. I steered Balam over to the flannels. You need to know Balam has some wild taste in clothing. He is often wearing really bright Hawaiian shirts. He and Julia like combing thrift stores for fun clothes and both of them usually have on some pretty crazy socks. When Balam spotted a section of tie-dyed flannels his eyes lit up. I tried to steer him over to the blue and green tie-dyed flannel but clearly it was far too subdued for him.

I have been calling this project the Coat of Many Colors or the Robe of Many Colors since I started working on it. I got home with the fabric and washed it with several color catchers and then dried it in a hot dryer. After cutting out the pieces, Julia and I were looking at it. It felt too thin for a bathrobe. With the one layer of flannel, it just didn’t have a cozy feel to it. This was over Thanksgiving weekend. We hopped on-line to see what was on sale at Jo-Ann’s. There was a teal blue flannel for $2.99 per yard and it was a great match. Score!

The lining made the robe so much cozier and it matched really well.

When the solid flannel arrived a few days later, I cut out the same set of pieces (front, back and sleeves). I had already constructed the outer portion with the tie-dyed fabric and now I put the blue lining together. It went together very quickly as this was a super easy pattern. Inserting the lining, wrong sides together with the outer fabric was simple. Then I carefully pinned the edges together along the neckline and all the way down the front opening. I top-stitched the outer robe and lining together at the shoulder seams to anchor everything. Then I ran a basting stitch around the entire open edges, up each side of the front and around the back of the neck.

I was ready to finish the open edges in front when I realized I didn’t have quite enough of either the teal fabric or the brightly colored fabric. So I used both. I put the bright portion around the back of the neck and slightly extending into the front. The rest was finished in teal.

A pop of hot pink in the pockets.

For fun, I used a hot pink flannel for the inner pockets, which Balam really liked. He was so appreciative when he received the robe yesterday. All smiles and he wore it over his jeans all the way through dinner. Isn’t that the best?

Julia modeled for me even though this is a bit too big for her.

This was a super fun and very easy make. Balam is really happy with it which makes me so satisfied. Most likely this will be my last finish for 2019.

November’s blocks.
December’s Flying Geese blocks.

Today I worked to get caught up on my piecing for the Mosaic Mystery QAL. I have to say, I am tickled to have these finished up. For one reason or another, it seems like I rarely keep up with these quilt alongs. Because I was sick a lot in late November and early December, I fell way behind. But with a few nice, long sewing sessions, I am all caught up! Now I can begin piecing this quilt when the next set of instructions are released. WooHoo!!! Since I am on top of this QAL, I think I will go ahead and start the Push-Pull QAL with Quilting Jetgirl in January. I keep looking at fabrics for that one and haven’t quite made up my mind yet. Decisions, decisions…

Here we are at the end of 2019! I would love to reduce the inventory in the shop for end of year and tax purposes! How about a huge sale? Just in case you are inclined to help me out with this??? For today and tomorrow only, 20% off all yardage! Even better, 50% off Clearance, Remnants, Bargains, Winter and Autumn fabric, and End of Bolt pieces. This is a sale not to be missed!

Happy New Year everyone! I am looking forward to all sorts of fun, creativity and quilting in 2020. How about you?

Looking at 2019 and 2020 – Setting and Meeting Goals

Our community has a thing for setting goals for ourselves each winter. I enjoy hearing what others decide to focus on and also like to look at the recaps people post on what they did or did not accomplish during the year. It is a bit like setting New Year’s Resolutions except in the sewing/blogging/quilting world. Thank you to Yvonne (Quilting Jetgirl) for hosting a link up each year, reminding us to create some sort of organization to our making.

2019 was a year of change for our family. Julia graduated high school and started college. My husband retired last summer which has been just fantastic. Last year, I set five goals for myself for 2019. Let’s see how it went:

  1. Continue to grow my shops. This was a success. Sales in the fabric shop grew by 30% and the pattern shop sales increased by 14%. As I had planned last year, I started offering kits for existing patterns as well as QALs (such as the Beothuk QAL by MMM!Quilts, Mosaic Mystery Quilt by Meadow Mist Designs, and Quilting Jetgirl’s Push Pull QAL which is just starting. Kits are new for me as I personally had never purchased a set kit for a quilt. However my customers like them and they are a lot of fun to develop.
  2. Stay involved with charitable projects. Another success. Mercyful Quilts was a recipient for quilts made during the Hands 2 Help event hosted by Confessions of a Fabric Addict. We received so many stunning quilts. I am touched by the beautiful works of art donated to Mercy Hospital. I am hoping to continue coordinating this project and receive more quilts this year.
  3. Finish UFO’s. Epic fail here! I finished only one UFO. The rest sit exactly as they were at the beginning of 2019.
  4. Practice garment sewing. This was a reasonable success. I made one dress and two t-shirts for myself. Also a Halloween costume for my grand daughter, a pair of pajama pants I gifted to a family friend and a bathrobe for another friend. I don’t know why but I feel like I wanted to make more clothing for myself so I don’t consider this a total win. I have fabric and patterns ready to go – but they didn’t happen.
  5. Same as last year….  strive to accept my limitations caused by chronic illness.  I feel like this was a bit win. I am doing so much better at planning life around the migraines. I was able to work as a vendor at two quilt shows this year. I also started a medication that is a monthly injection I do at home. I think it helps? Nothing earth-shattering but I feel like the frequency is slightly less than it was before.
Projects Made in 2019

While I didn’t actually make too many quilts in 2019, I did make a lot of different items. Table runners, tote bags, and treasures for my grand daughter were a lot of fun and took time away from quilting. Additionally, I made 52 Chemex covers and 18 French Press cozies as orders came in through the shop. I like having a variety of projects as it keeps me from getting bored of doing the same thing over and over.

I started and finished four quilts this year. Three baby quilts and a memory quilt for my friend, Susie. I also made two quilt tops but they are in the unfinished pile at this point.

Ok – so what about 2020? Honestly, the goals aren’t terribly different!

  1. Continue to grow both of the shops. Kits have been a lot of fun and I would love to continue working with pattern designers to develop this portion of the business. I strive to add more selection so customers are more likely to find what they want. Recently I was asked to carry some repro or traditional fabrics and have just added a number of them to the listings. Also I have been trying to develop my selection of solids. Finally, notions and patterns have been added and the selection of those will increase over time as well.
  2. Scrappy Projects – I made only one scrappy project last year. The bins are packed full. I plan to do one scrappy project over the year. I am thinking it might be the Monthly Color Challenge which is hosted at Patterns by Jen. She held one last year and I liked watching everyone’s progress. This certainly won’t clear out the scrap bins but at least I will use a few.
  3. Garment Sewing – I will continue to focus on this as I really enjoy it and want to improve my skills. I have a plan sketched out in my head and will share that plan with you soon.
  4. UFO’s. They were on the list last year and I sure hope they aren’t here next year! The number increased by two (making it a total of five quilt tops) since I made two tops this year but didn’t finish them. What can I say? Having them quilted is too costly so I hope I can balance my time well and get these finished up!

Of course, this list could go on and on. However if I do a good job with these four categories, I will be satisfied. I know myself and will surely make things not on the list but that is all part of the fun. Those squirrels come by on a regular basis. It can’t be helped! 😉

Wishing each of you a happy new year! (2020 sounds so crazy to me.) I hope the year holds great things for each of you!

Linking with #2020PlanningParty

The Holiday Season

Happy Friday everyone! It has been a long time between posts. Without whining I will just say I caught a bug just before Thanksgiving, it moved from a cold to bronchitis to pneumonia and set me back a bit. Thankfully, all is well now!

Our house is decorated and the lights are up. This always makes me so happy. I love this time of year. Julia and I have made a few batches of cookie dough and froze the cookies raw. We can then pop them in the oven a bit closer to Christmas.

I also made two batches of these amazing Sweet and Spicy Walnuts. A friend of Ray’s gave us two huge bags of (shelled!) walnuts. They are addictive and the three of us have been eating them constantly. Yesterday Julia had a few friends over and they went through them as well. I wanted to gift some so I will likely need to make one more batch. Fortunately, they are super easy to make. You want to give them a try, trust me.

When Julia’s friends were here yesterday, they made some gingerbread cookies. This one is my favorite.

Sewing…. This is my busy season with my shop. Meaning the majority of my sewing has been Chemex Cozies for my customers. I only have one left to go and hope to finish that one today or tomorrow. Nothing too exciting to show you there.

I also made doll clothes for my grand daughter. Of course, in my rush to get that package mailed off, I totally forgot to take any pictures! I found a template on-line for making little diapers for her doll. With her little sister coming in March, I though it would be fun for her to have diapers for her own baby. I am not sure she will be able to put them on and off herself? They have velcro closures but still might be a trick for her. I made them in a few sizes because I wasn’t sure what would fit her baby dolls. We don’t want them to leak, do we?? Haha. I also made her a set of flannel pajamas and a little set with shorts and a t-shirt. All were made with scraps and bits of elastic and it was a fun sewing session. If you want to give this a try, here is a great link to several free patterns for doll clothes.

There are a few gifts in process as well. Those will be shared after the holidays. Finally – I am working on the November piecing for the Mosaic Mystery Quilt. When I got sick, I really got behind with this project. So I have to get the November and December piecing done. It is looking really good though. There are a couple of other QALs and BOMs starting soon that I want to join but if I am behind on this one, it will be a challenge. So wish me luck!

Incredible Stitches!

While I don’t have any work of my own to share this week, I do want to pop in and show you something pretty! As program coordinator for our guild, I have scheduled Cindy Needham to come teach a workshop in February for us. I scheduled this a long while back and felt fortunate even then to be worked into her full teaching/speaking schedule. Luckily for us, Cindy lives only two hours from here which made her very affordable for our guild.

Mini quilt pieced and quilted by Cindy Needham.

Anyway, on to the good stuff! When I schedule someone to teach, I always request a sample of the project they are going to teach. Guild members love to see the samples, as opposed to a picture, when deciding if they want to take the class. I believe most guilds provide samples for this reason. Cindy will be teaching a workshop on planning quilt motifs and quilting feathers. The sample above is pieced with silk. The mini measures approximately 20″ x 28″ or so (I didn’t actually measure it.) This particular piece is labeled as a Gaudynski sample as it looks to be stitched in the style developed and taught by Diane Gaudynski.

Up close, quilting by Cindy Needham

This sample is just incredible. I knew Cindy was an extremely talented quilter. But seeing it up close is such a treat. She free motion quilts and for the life of me, I cannot imagine ever quilting like this. I thought it would be a fun thing to share this beautiful stitching with you.

Quilting by Cindy Needham.

The motifs are so tiny and so detailed. It is hard to imagine having this sort of control. I tried to watch her lines, where she traveled to and from. Jaw dropping work!

Check out these feathers! Quilting by Cindy Needham

The feathers are beautiful but to me the most impressive are the petals to the right of the feathers. Those tiny spaces between each petal are stitched down with minute stitches causing the petals to pop. Same for the flat space between the feathers. Such teeny tiny stitches!

Quilting by Cindy Needham.

These look like tulips to me. I love them because they show off the silk beautifully. The whole effect overall is elegant. Pale colors of pink, rose and a really light gold all worked together. Cindy collects vintage linens and textiles and works them into much of her art. I am so looking forward to her trunk show and listening to her lecture. I will post an update in a couple of months after our February guild meeting.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday. Thanks to so many of you who shopped my Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday sales! The last of those shipped out yesterday.

I am still cutting kits for the Push Pull QAL. My customers have been really patient as I ran out of the darker fabrics for both kits and had to re-order. An interesting thing of note – I offered four kits. Two teal blue kits where the quilter could choose a light or dark background and two orange kits with the light or dark background.

Every single kit sold so far has had the dark background. Not sure why this catches my attention but it does.

I am curious what your thoughts are? Maybe the transparency effect is shown better with the dark background? I like them both but clearly that is not the opinion of most! I still have a few kits left if you are interested. Click here to check them out.

It is going to be a rainy weekend so tomorrow I should be able to find some time in the sewing room. I have several holiday gifts I am working on and I need to make some progress with those! Sunday we are driving over to my son and his wife’s house for lunch. We haven’t seen them in a long while so I am excited about that! How about you?

Push Pull QAL has Begun

You may have seen the promotions of the Push Pull Quilt Along on social media over the past couple of weeks. This quilt along is being hosted by Yvonne Fuchs of Quilting Jetgirl. She is well known for her striking use of transparency technique to achieve a look of layered colors in her quilt design. Her Push Pull design also uses transparency to achieve that effect.

I like the pace of this event. She is sending out instructions approximately every three weeks. It is different in that this is a purchased pattern. I bought mine this week and look forward to participating. At this point, I am debating using a dark blue palette and making it as a crib size quilt.

A couple of weeks ago, I chatted with Yvonne and we thought it would be fun to put together some kits with fabrics that create the transparency effect for this pattern. Yvonne chose two different sets of solids.

One collection runs from teal blue to a very pale mint green.

If you preferred the lighter tones, you can choose to use the mint green as the background. Isn’t it fun just to look at how the quilt changes based on the light versus dark backgrounds?

The other includes three stunning shades of orange. Again, this one uses the darkest orange as the background.

Here you see the kit utilizing the lightest orange tone as the background. Which one do you prefer??

These kits make it easy for quilters to work with this sort of color play without making the decisions about value or depth of the shades.

Yvonne’s pattern includes three sizes to choose from, small/baby, lap quilt or queen size. This quiltwould make a really dramatic statement on a queen size bed! I appreciate Yvonne taking the time to do the math to allow quilters to make whichever size works best for them. The kits are also available in each of the three sizes. Click here to shop.

Are you going to join in? I hope so – I love this sort of social on-line QAL. Looking forward to interacting with other Push-Pull QAL participants on the Quilting Jetgirl Facebook page or Instagram. See you there!

Today is the last day of my Small Business Saturday & Cyber Monday sale. If you were debating picking up a kit, today is the day! It is 20% off through the end of the day, along with all other yardage, pre-cuts, notions and patterns. The sale may end tonight but kits will be available while supplies are available.

Sparkles and Sequins

Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to spend some time with my son and his family. They were spending a long weekend in Colorado while my daughter-in-law interviewed for a job she is interested in. Since moving and changing jobs is a huge decision, the kids wanted time to look at the area without the added help of their two year old daughter. So I got to be the nanny for a few days.

I had not been to Denver until this trip. Denver is at an altitude of nearly 6,000 feet and I usually avoid high altitudes because of my issues with migraines. But it seemed like a reasonable decision to go and spend time with the kids and hope for the best with my head.

Fortunately, it was a wonderful trip and my head only gave me a bit of grief one evening. We stayed in an Air BnB in the perfect location. We were walking distance to a little park and coffee shop. Across the road and just down a little ways was the Denver Zoo and a great natural history museum. We kept ourselves very busy!

All sorts of sparkles.

Right before I left, I put together a little project for my grand daughter and I to do together. I wanted to make a Christmas ornament with her using what I had around the house. I gathered some green felt and a little piece of green velvet. From these, I cut some triangles to make Christmas trees. Then I went outside to find a branch that might work for the trunk of the tree. I topstitched the triangles together and put the tiniest bit of stuffing inside. Then I used hot glue to affix the branch/tree trunk. I had a container with an odd mix of sequins and shiny things in it which would make perfect decorations for the trees.

An artist at work.

We had so much fun decorating these little trees. I squirted a pool of Tacky Glue on a piece of waxed paper and gave my little one a q-tip to apply the glue to the tree. Then she carefully picked out a sparkle or sequin to put on each spot of glue. I was impressed with her attention span and how carefully she chose her decorations. It was so hard not to tell her where to put something!

Concentrating and creating.

When she was done, we had four sweet trees.

This one is for Grammy.

I kept one to hang on our tree here at home and she took the other three back to Vermont. I just love this age. We really had a wonderful time together.

Now I am back at home and catching up on things. I am also enjoying a cold that I caught during the trip. Yuk. Doesn’t it seem like this happens all the time – fly somewhere and then catch a bug?

Thanksgiving is this week in the US and I am getting ready to cook. Julia came home last night on the train. Yahoo!! We are hoping to spend lots of time baking and hanging out over the long weekend. She will also be studying a lot – end of quarter projects are due soon and then she has her first round of final exams. Busy girl!

Finally, make sure to come by the shop this weekend! I will be holding a 20% off sale starting on Small Business Saturday lasting through Cyber Monday. All yardage, precuts, patterns and notions are all on sale! This is a great time to stock up for yourself or to choose some gifts for those special people on your list. All orders of $10 or more will receive a free fat quarter tucked in with your order. Happy shopping!!

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.