Hello there! This week sure buzzed by in a hurry. We have had lovely weather which means we have been able to get out in the yard. The flower pots on my front deck are planted which always makes me happy.
In the family post I wrote two weeks ago, I mentioned that great grand child number 17 had arrived. She is adorable and doing well. It is a bit early for her to be playing ball but I thought it would be fun to make a set of squishy balls for her to use when she is a tiny bit older. These always come together quickly and are great for using up scraps. I stuffed them with polypill and put some little rattle noise makers in them too. Now I just need to get them sent down to Southern California for her. If you want to make some, this is the link I used to get the template. You can enlarge or decrease the size of the ball template on a paper copier.
For some reason I wasn’t in the mood to work on any of the quilt projects I have going. Instead I opted to make matching summer pajamas for my grand daughters. They don’t need them, have loads of pjs, but what the heck? I saw this pink unicorn fabric at a thrift shop for $2/yard. Who can resist? They both love pink, rainbows and unicorns so I had to buy it! I will see my three year old over the weekend and I suspect she will enjoy these quite a lot. She can bring the matching set home for big sister.
Making those pajamas got me in the mood for sewing clothes. I bought this fabric over a year ago but never used it. It is some sort of rayon and has wonderful soft drape to it. So I cut out this summer dress. I didn’t have quite enough and need to look through my solids to find something that will work as the lining for the bodice. I am making the short version with the curve to the hemline. It should come together quickly.
The girls painted these frames for me as a Mother’s Day gift. I love them. The picture that H chose for her frame (on the right) is really something. The expression on my face is not one that I would normally choose to have framed and on display but there you go. It is on the mantle for all to enjoy! Hahaha. I think we were making fudge for Thanksgiving two years ago but why I have that expression is unknown to me. How silly.
These photos are also quite special. Julia will be graduating Cal Poly next month. She had graduation photos done and I just love them. I posted them on Instagram so you may have already seen them but I had to share again. The photographer (also a Cal Poly student) did a great job. These three are my favorites but it was a tough choice. Of course she had to have a series taken at the swine unit with her favorite animals. She is very excited to graduate but as is often the case, it is bittersweet. She will miss those rolling hills and her friends.
Finally, one more bit of news. My parents sold their house!! They are moving up to Washington. We are all so excited. This is a huge adventure for them but it seems to be working out well so far. They will be up here next week to begin looking at houses. Crossing fingers they find just what they want.
Just a reminder that the kick-off for the Positivity 2023 QAL happens on May 28th over at Sew Preeti Quilts. Preeti will be sharing the pattern choices and talking about fabric choices. I am very excited for this event and hope you will consider joining us!! We will be sewing lap size quilts to donate to Mercyful Quilts. Of course if you choose to donate your quilt to another cause, that is fine as well. We just want to extend more positivity into the world and this is one way to achieve this!
Last October Ray and I had the opportunity to bring our youngest grand daughter home and spend a few days with her, one on one. It was delightful. We promised big sister she would have a turn to have a sleep over by herself too. Then everything got crazy with all of us being sick for weeks on end. Finally the week after Christmas we made it happen.
When I took Julia to the airport to go back to school, my son met me (this is about the 1/2 way point between our homes) and I picked H up. We were worried little sister wouldn’t understand why she wasn’t coming along. However her father had the good idea to meet in the Ikea parking lot and the promise of Swedish meatballs for lunch with dad was a good distraction; everyone was happy!
Spending time one on one with a grand child (or a child) is so special. The dynamic changes and it seems like the relationship deepens. I grew up in a big family and then had a big family (four children) which is wonderful. But having the chance to single out a child and focus on them entirely is such a blessing. (On the flip side, little sister was getting lots of extra attention from her parents while H was at our house.)
Planning to have this time with H, I had a mental list of fun things we could do. It was supposed to be very rainy so outdoor time would be minimal. Letting her take the lead, we did the things she suggested as much as possible. Board games, jig saw puzzles and coloring are activities she favors so there was lots of that happening.
This little girl loves to make things. She also loves to cook. Her parents give her a lot of room in the kitchen and she is developing a really good understanding of how to bake. For Christmas, Santa bought her a Disney Princess cookbook and she brought it over. I asked her what she wanted to make and she chose Monkey Bread. The recipe was simple, biscuit dough rolled into balls and rolled in butter and cinnamon with sugar.
H is careful and able to measure most of the ingredients on her own. ( In the photo you can see the apron I made for her for Christmas. She also got a new nightgown and was looking quite the princess when making her Monkey Bread).
What really impressed me with this part of the process was she controlled that incredible impulse to lick her fingers between rolling the dough balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture. I watched quite closely and at the end of the process we celebrated by licking all ten of our fingers. The Monkey Bread turned out so pretty and H was satisfied. However I made a mistake and forgot to have her put the salt in so it tasted rather flat. Oh Grammy. She didn’t seem to notice but Ray and I sure did. Sigh.
Next this girl went straight for my heart and asked if we could ‘make something in the sewing room’. As if I would say no to that request. Upstairs we went. I have a huge bin filled with flannel and minky scraps. There really isn’t anything in there that I would miss if she cut it up so I let her have at it. Wanting her to take the lead, I worked hard to bite my tongue and not suggest anything. (This wasn’t easy!!!) She was immediately drawn to a scrap of black minky with a bubbled texture on one side. When she asked what we could make with it, I suggested a stuffed animal or a pillow. She chose pillow. I told her she could put a different fabric on each side or the black minky on both sides. She just lit up and went digging through that bin, turning into the Tasmanian Devil with fabric flying everywhere. But this sort of mess is creativity in my book. She chose a crazy tie dyed flannel and then found a pale mottled fabric that she liked. Wanting to incorporate all three, she kept thinking. Finally she decided to cut the mottled cotton fabric into squares for each corner of the minky side of the pillow plus a bigger square for the center.
It was interesting to see how much concentration it took for her to pin her squares where she wanted them. (I couldn’t worry about turning under the edges of the squares. Pinning them was hard enough!) This part took a bit of time. When we went to the machine to sew, she chose to work the foot pedal and I guided the fabric under the needle. My machine has a speed control which was set to slow.
We stuffed the pillow with polyester stuffing and this is the finished result. The project took well over an hour and she started to lose interest during the stuffing. Off she went to shop in the fat quarter baskets for something else to play with. She also found a bag of pipe cleaners and decided she needed to twist them all together.
Honestly I could watch her play in here all day (well actually we did spend the larger portion of the day in there)!
Finding a cheetah print minky scrap, her wheels started turning again. The thinking process for this project was super interesting. H decided she wanted to make a snake. She told me she wanted to “use insulation for the middle, not stuffing.” This was momentarily confusing… Insulation? Then she pointed to the bin of batting. OK – there’s the ‘insulation’. (Why did she even know that word?) Looking at the picture you’ll get an idea of her plan. She wanted to layer the batting and the fabric and roll them up into a snake. She was very firm that she did not want to make a tube and stuff it. I left her to play with it for a bit and she finally figured out she needed to get the fabric under the batting to roll it up or the fabric would be on the inside of the snake. The issue for me was I didn’t want to roll up all that minky to the inside of the snake. I stepped in and suggested she could roll just the batting and then cover the roll with the cheetah print. She understood and that’s what we did. As we rolled, she thought and said ‘you know, a snake’s head isn’t just round’. OK – after we tapered one end to a sort of triangular shape this girl asks for a ‘forked tongue’ and eyes. Out came the tubs of ribbon (tongue) and buttons (eyes).
H was so proud of this project. Making Elizabeth (this is what she quickly named her snake) took much thought but what a great finish for her! The minky was wrapped around the batting (aka insulation) that she rolled up. We pinned it tightly and hand stitched a seam the length of the snake. H did about three inches of hand sewing and grew bored of that so I finished it up.
After making her snake, big sister told me that her little sister would be sad if she didn’t have a snake. Back to the tub of flannels! She picked out a piece of solid pink and another of solid purple plus two green buttons for the eye. This time I made a tube with the mandated triangular head and ribbon made to look like a forked tongue. Big sister had no interest in helping to make this – she chose the fabrics and moved on. While I sewed H found scraps of orange fleece from the pumpkin costume I made for her several years ago. She didn’t sew anything with it but played with it for a long while – arranging and rearranging the bits and telling me what it looked like. Also, if you look in the background of the photo, you will see a big fluff of poly stuffing with ribbon around it. She spent a long time tying ribbons around this fluff. She wanted to contain it somehow. Finally she wrapped it in a piece of fabric and then tied it with ribbons.
When a younger child is making something, it often is more about the process than the final product. Playing with the orange scraps, playing with the wad of stuffing – H spent a long stretch of time doing this without any desired outcome. As adults, we often want to ask ‘what are you making’. I think this is a mistake. Much of the time, the child doesn’t know what they are making. When I asked H is she wanted help with that fluff and her ribbons, she said she couldn’t get it to stay together. I suggested she look for fabric to wrap around it and off she went. There doesn’t have to be an outcome or a finished item. She is thinking, playing, and imagining and that is what is important.
Whether it is fabric and ribbons, flour and sugar, or paper and crayons, I love watching this girl make her projects. She gets so absorbed by her ideas. As a grammy, it is my job to step back and just enjoy her. Making the craft supplies available and then keeping my mouth shut unless help is asked for; that is my job!
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The last couple of days were such a blast. We have been wanting to have just one of our grand daughters over for a couple of days. Ray and I thought it would be fun to see what it would be like to have just one all to ourselves. Because H has kindergarten it worked best to have A over. I went and spent a night at their house and then brought her home with me the following day. (H will have her turn over one of the holiday breaks in November or December.)
We weren’t sure how this would go, having A over without big sister or her parents. What a pleasant surprise! She was so happy and content. Slept great, played and played, and enjoyed a few adventures with us.
Before she came over, I made a new quilt for the crib. It is getting colder and the quilt she was using is very lightweight. For this one, I filled it with two layers of 80/20 batting and backed it with flannel. It is super cozy.
I used a Fabric Cafe pattern called Dash for the quilt. It is very simple and requires three, one yard, pieces of fabric. I have a lot of yardage of both of the prints in this quilt and had just enough of the textured blue piece.
For the quilting, I stitched in the ditch around most of the pieces. Also, I tied simple knots in the center of each square with Perle cotton.
The backing isn’t a fantastic match but I had this piece of flannel in my box and it was big enough. In the interest of using up what I have, I called it good enough. The piece is super soft so it feels very cuddly.
While I was at it, I made a matching crib sheet and pillowcase. Like I said, I have a lot of this fabric on the shelf!! But it looks so sweet to have it all coordinated. This girl was very excited to see her bed with the ‘strawberry’ blankets. She thought the little flowers were strawberries and who am I to argue??
A is in the midst of potty training so she spent lots of time in her panties – I thought it was easier to skip the pants over them in case we had to get to the bathroom quickly. She didn’t have any accidents though so I think she is on her way to success! She and her grandpa played with this wooden train set I found at a thrift shop for $5.99. Great deal and she had a lot of fun setting it up and (mostly) crashing the train so it would derail. Hahaha.
I love this picture! We took A to the beach and hunted for shells. She was really immersed in this whole process. When we set the bag down for a bit to climb on some rocks, a couple of seagulls came over and pecked at the corner of the bag, trying to pick it up. Oh my gosh, she went nuts – clapping and shooing the birds away from her bag. It was really funny. Serious stuff for this two year old.
Remember this fabric doll kit I posted about earlier? It was a hit. She understood right away to use the velcro bits to dress her up. It was so sweet – she played with the princess quite a bit.
One afternoon I gave her some flannel pieces I had cut out ahead of time. She made Halloween ghosts and was able to use the little bits to create different faces. It is so satisfying to watch her enjoy these simple games and toys. She made happy ghosts, angry ghosts and spooky ghosts; each one’s mood dictated by the shape of the mouth she gave it.
Our time went by quickly. Both Ray and I were thrilled that she was so content to be here. We look forward to having her back soon – well, maybe after we take a couple of naps to recover!
It has been a while since I shared any updates on Julia. She is doing great at school this year. She works at the swine unit on campus and spends a lot of time helping the sows when they farrow. This photo is from the middle of the night when she spent a long while with a mama sow who was struggling to deliver her piglets because they were so darn big. They kept getting stuck and Julia ended up having to manually help them deliver (by reaching in and pulling the piglet out). These little guys are just enormous compared to the newly birthed piglets she usually sees. It is such a great picture because the piglets look so happy to be out in the world and Julia is clearly happy with the outcome of the experience.
That is it for now. I hope all of you have a lovely weekend!!
If you are around my age, you might remember Betsy McCall. This cute paper doll was printed in McCall’s Magazine beginning in the early 1950’s. I am unsure how long the doll was included in the magazine but I did read that Barbie took over in popularity pushing poor Betsy aside. I remember cutting out the dolls and her clothes though. As kids, my sisters and I also enjoyed these booklets made of heavier paper with dolls and their clothing printed in them. I think the printings were perforated so it was easier to ‘cut’ them out.
Fast forward to 2022 and a new way of playing with dolls!
I have had three of these panels in my stash for a short while. I saw them on a destash sale and snapped them up ($3.00 each including shipping)! I thought it would be fun for my grand daughters to play with plus having another panel for a future gift wouldn’t hurt.
This week I put this together. It didn’t exactly go together according to the instructions by Riley Blake. Creating the outer pouch and handles was very simple. It is filled with a stiff, fusible fleece to give it some body.
When the pouch is opened, you see a bed for the princess and on the other side is her closet – much needed for her beautiful dresses.
There are quite a few dresses for this girl to choose from!
This is where Riley Blake’s instructions failed me (and other makers according to a quick internet search). The company then tells us to cut out the doll and her dresses. We are told to fuse flannel to the back of the dresses so they will stick to the doll. Ummm, nope – that was a fail. The dresses didn’t stick even a tiny bit. Just kept sliding off the princess in the most embarrassing way. I felt so sorry for the girl. Also, for some reason the flannel doesn’t adhere terribly well to the doll and clothes so I did a quick stitch around the perimeter to make sure they didn’t come apart. I think the flannel is helpful in adding substance to the clothes so stitching it is better than just skipping that step.
To fix this, our princess had to undergo a bit of surgery where I stitched a small bit of velcro to her chest and head. It didn’t seem terribly painful and she recovered quickly. Then I stitched matching bits of velcro to the backside of each dress and hat. Now she won’t endure the shame of running around in her nightgown and my grand daughters won’t be upset when they cannot keep her clothes on.
My younger grand daughter is coming tomorrow for a sleepover. Her big sister has a field trip to the pumpkin patch and her dad is volunteering with that. I am curious to see how A likes this new toy. I could see this being great for a distraction on a car ride or maybe in a restaurant while waiting for dinner. But mostly I plan to play with her and see where her imagination takes this princess.
So excited to see the kids this weekend! I hope life is treating you well – What are you up to? Home enjoying the beginning of fall weather? Doing something creative in the sewing room? Tell me!
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Happy 4th everyone! It sure doesn’t feel like July here. We are having a bout of unseasonably cool weather and the high for today is only supposed to be 69 degrees (about 20 degrees C). We are heading to my sister’s house for a BBQ but it won’t be very warm out!
Whenever I am ‘supposed’ to be working on something it seems like everything but that project appeals to me. Why does this happen? I should be working on piecing the blocks for the 2022 Positivity QAL. I have the pieces cut and I did get some of them pieced. I think about 20 blocks are made. But all sorts of other ideas keep popping into my head. So you know what I did? I set those QAL blocks aside and played with other fabrics.
Part of the reason is I wanted to make things that take no thought. The last couple of days I have had a cold dragging me down. Summer colds are unfair in my opinion and this one opened the way for a couple of summer squirrel projects.
Here is one project but I actually made this one about a month ago and never shared it. We have one very tattered USA flag that was left at the house by the previous owners. When the girls were here they marched around with it. It looks awful and there was only one flag to march with. Not a great situation. I found some patriotic fabric on the shelf and made two little flags for them.
I think they are super cute. The girls weren’t overwhelmed with them. Maybe the timing wasn’t right. Or maybe they prefer marching around with just one worn out flag? Who knows? But these are sweet and I am sure they will use them at some point. I did glue the fabric to the dowel so the flag stays on the pole. A few drops of superglue on the dowel and that fabric is well attached.
Back to this week’s squirrel. While I was dragging around with this annoying cold I decided I wanted to make something really simple. I had just read through the Quilting Daily email newsletter where they quoted McCalls Quilting editor, Lori Baker, “If you feel like a challenge, do something new, learn something. And if you are feeling a little fragile, do something simple so your success is assured.” Mistakes happen all the time but I am more prone to them if tired or not feeling well. So an easy project was called for.
This floral fabric was left over from making a table runner for my DIL several years ago. It is a home dec fabric from Jo-Ann’s. I washed the fabric and some matching solid fabric and dried it on high heat to make sure it was pre-shrunk. After pressing it, I cut three rectangles measuring 13″ x 19″ and did the same with the lining.
I assembled all three, right sides together, and stitched the perimeter. Flipped them right side out, poked out the corners and pressed them again. Finally I top-stitched around the edge at the 1/8″ mark. I think they are really cute.
Clearly I should work as a photography stylist. This table looks absolutely incredible. Hahaha. The placemats look cute and since we have white dishes everything works together. Simple and successful – just what I needed. Plus I used up fabric off my shelf.
Last weekend two of my sons and their wives took Julia out to celebrate her 21st birthday. Her birthday was in May but since she wasn’t home to celebrate, the kids wanted to take her out. It seemed like they had a great time. However three days later, one of my boys and one of my daughters-in-law tested positive for Covid. Yuk. Because it was Andrew from one family and Shar from the other, it was clear the contact was made while they were all out together. They both first showed symptoms on the same day. Even worse, this whole group was excited because they were supposed to go on a camping trip up at Mt. Ranier which they had been planning for weeks and weeks. The trip was cancelled. My older grand daughter was so distraught when told they couldn’t go on the trip. Her mama set up a tent in the backyard so they could pretend camp while Daddy was in bed feeling miserable.
This fun didn’t last for too long. From here it only got worse. My other DIL and both grand daughters got sick and tested positive.
Such a rotten time for all of them. Julia escaped it as did one of the guys. But the rest of them have been fairly sick. Julia had to isolate for quite a while and wear a mask when she wasn’t in her room. But it has been long enough now we feel confident she won’t get it.
It seems like the girls are over the worst of it. It is amazing how quickly children can bounce back but not so much with the adults. One of my DIL’s still feels awful. What a rotten virus this is. This picture shows the detritus of a house with two sick adults and two sick kids. Blankets everywhere, water bottles and snacks. Playing with dad’s video game is a special treat though and the girls enjoyed this diversion. I wish I could have them helped out. It has been a tough week for them.
I will be back in a couple of days to share a finish. I got my 2021 Positivity quilt finished and just need to take some pictures and wash it. Can’t wait to share it with you. Enjoy the holiday everyone!
Life in Washington continues to be more comfortable. Over the past week it seems like a lot has been going on both with me as well as my kids. I got a bedroom in the house painted, did a little crafting, and some sewing. My kids – well, their idea of daily lives differ from mine quite a bit (which is as it should be).
Julia is taking a class on swine management this quarter and she loves it. Springtime means birthing – lots and lots of piglets have been born over the last two weeks or so. When she was ‘on duty’ last week, she helped this sow deliver her litter of 21 babies. By the time Julia got there, seven had been birthed. She was there for the birth of the next 14 which took a couple of hours. She said it was hard work, fast paced and exhilarating all at the same time. She loved every bit of it.
Her hands are a little gross but that is part of the deal. She is in her element with this sort of thing and is hoping for another mama to birth piglets during her shifts this coming week. I can say for sure, pig birthing was not a part of the curriculum during my college experience!
My son and daughter in law have been studying the world of beekeeping over the past months. They came across an opportunity to buy a whole beekeeper’s set up (gotta love Facebook Marketplace!) so they are fully experiencing the world of bees. H is right there with them. This process is much more complex than I knew.
These experiences are priceless. I am so happy to see them so excited and learning this together.
On to my less exciting projects! This picture shows Julia’s bedroom when we bought the house. It was lavender – like really purple! We didn’t like it at all! So now that lots of the unpacking is done, I found a day to paint it. The room isn’t too big so, with a little help from my husband, it only took one day to get it done.
Doesn’t it look lovely? It is a buttery yellow shade now. When we moved here, Ray remarked at how much paint was left in the garage. So we browsed the existing paint and I chose this yellow. There was a whole gallon of good quality paint, and it covered in just about one coat. I am all for using up what is already on hand. Plus the color is very pretty. I do want to make different draperies for the windows. That gray is totally wrong in this room. I am happy this is done because Julia comes home in two weeks!
OK – next incredibly exciting project! Sometime ago, my mom asked me to get rid of this old wicker basket for her but somehow I never did. It just sat in the garage and when we moved, Ray tossed it into the truck. I like the shape of the basket though so off I went in search of spray paint. We didn’t have any I liked so this project did require a quick trip to Lowe’s.
I chose white ‘chalk’ paint. It looks so cool! I painted outside because wow, this stuff smells awful.
Isn’t this cute? I think I will put it in the sewing room after it airs out a bit. It is tall enough for rolls of wrapping paper and I also keep a selection of cut dowels for hanging various size wall quilts. I can see this coming in handy upstairs!
I met up with my two local sisters on Monday. We had planned to get coffee and take a walk. However we made the mistake of getting the coffee and parking our posteriors on this bench. After 90 minutes, it was clear we were not going to take a walk at all. So we enjoyed a nice sister visit and some good coffee.
After the sisters left, I headed to the library which was just behind the bench we sat on.
Somehow having a library along the coast feels very decadent to me. Who can go to the library and the beach in one trip? Me, that’s who! I love it.
Here is the stack I brought home and my thoughts so far. Love the Denese Schmidt book and the Quilts Made Modern by Weeks Ringle. Both have fun info and some great patterns. The Simple Simon book is what I thought it might be. While it does include some cute bits from Liz and Elizabeth, the quilts very, very simple. This book is great for someone who is truly making their first quilt. The book on succulents is great. I love succulents and had to give mine away before we moved up here. Time to get some new ones started! Kate Hudson’s book, Pretty Fun, is pretty awful. I tried to like it – but yikes it is all fluff and a waste of time. So after a few chapters, I closed it and moved on. I am in the middle of While You’re Here Doc about a country vet in Maine. I love this sort of thing. I am thinking it is probably similar to the James Herriot book series – well, I think it probably is. I haven’t read those. But if I were to guess, this is the sort of story he writes! Hahaha. It is entertaining though. Finally I will be reading the Laurie Frankel book next – I love her books so much. I am currently listening to the audio version of Goodbye For Now.
OK – that does it for now. I am at my son’s house, babysitting the youngest while he is off celebrating H’s last day of preschool. She was so excited! She told me she is graduating to kindergarten today but has to wait for summer break first. They celebrate with a hot dog bbq and taking turns riding the horses that live at the preschool. She had a great year here. How on earth is it the end of the school year already???
Remember!! The second annual Positivity QAL kicks off this weekend, Sunday May 29th. I really hope you will join us and sew along for Mercyful Quilts!
As I mentioned the other day, I came across a quilt top from my guild’s Community Service team. Nothing like an impending move to get me going on this top. It took no time at all to get it basted and stippled.
This scrappy quilt is one crazy flurry of color. Most of the prints are from the 1980’s and 1990’s as far as I can tell. Lots and lots of novelty fabrics were used. The person who pieced it alternated rows of seven inch squares with rows of 3 1/2″ squares and rectangles. It is much like an I-Spy quilt and will be fun for someone to look at and enjoy the variety of prints.
So many holidays are represented in this crazy quilt. Christmas and Easter, Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day fabrics are all over the place. For as many novelty fabrics as are included, it was interesting to note she didn’t include any Halloween fabrics.
Kokopelli (the flute playing, dancing characters on blue) are symbols of fertility and rain. Interesting placement next to rabbits and hens, both of whom are quite prolific at reproducing. Hahaha. Coincidental placement, I am sure.
I backed the quilt with black and white polka dots and used the same for the binding. In the interest of efficiency, I machine bound it front and back. I need to practice this – my machine binding is less than precise.
Just after Thanksgiving, Julia, my mom and I made some cinnamon applesauce ornaments. These are very easy to make though the dough is very sticky. There are tons of links to make these ornaments. We used the cheapest cinnamon and applesauce we could find.
Once the ornaments were dried, we used puff paints and decorated them. It was a lot of fun to do and the ornaments smell so yummy. Note – these are not edible! They would taste horrible and even when rolling them out, it seemed strange not to taste the dough. If you make these, enjoy the fragrance but make sure not to taste them! Some of ours will go on the tree and others will be given to a few of our neighbors.
Julia and I plan to go to town this afternoon and wander our local shops. We have such a cute downtown area and I am looking forward to this. Also, tomorrow a local nursery is hosting a group of teenage crafters and holding a holiday event. We are both looking forward to browsing their crafts and supporting their entrepreneurial spirit.
Enjoy the weekend everyone!
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Since my shop closed, I have been working hard to take all of my sewing supplies out of the guest room and downstairs to the shop area. I want to have a ‘real’ guest room and since we have family coming for Thanksgiving, now is the time to finish this project. As it goes, I found lots of forgotten projects while cleaning out the guest/sewing room. One was a scrappy rag rug I knit back in 2016. I loved this little project but didn’t know what to do about the knots where I joined the strips when I was knitting it.
It felt strange to leave the knots exposed. I was concerned they would unravel somehow. Thinking about it, I decided to cut some fabric and hand sew a backing on to it. I made sure all knots were pulled to the back and then tightened them. Then I pressed edges of the backing fabric under to make it the same size as the top. Because the top is so loosely knit, it flexes and changes shape easily. This made it really difficult to make it match the backing so I used tons of pins and started to sew.
After stitching back to front, I tied some yarn ties to further attach front to back. It looks pretty sad from the back but I kid you not, the back was the same size as the front – it was like herding cats to sew these together. At any rate, I feel like it is now a bit sturdier. When I made this, I used the tutorial by Amanda Jean over at Crazy Mom Quilts. (Oh how I miss her blog!!) It seems like she doesn’t worry too much about the knots joining the fabric strips. I just hope this all holds together well.
OK – on to the squirrel that took me down another path. On Instagram I noticed some little hearts that quilters and sewists have been leaving for others to find and enjoy. It was started quite a while back by a woman over at Ifoundaquiltedheart.com. After reading her website, I decided to join in and make a few. The idea is to leave these pretty hearts wherever you please in the hope they will brighten someone’s day. I started to follow the hashtag #IFAQH and #ifoundaquiltedheart and saw how much these mean to some of the recipients. The process of making something and anonymously leaving it for others, with no expectation of any recognition is very satisfying. If you are interested in participating it is simple, nearly free (since we all have scraps, right?) and very easy.
I spent some time yesterday running errands. While I was out, I drove over to our community hospital and left these hearts in various places. I thought about people who might need some cheer and surely there are plenty who are using the hospital who fall into that category. I dropped mine at the bus stop, the cancer care center, the lab/mammogram building and lastly, right at the front entrance. All were left tucked a bit out of the way but I am hoping they catch someone’s eye and make them smile.
I loved placing this heart behind ‘kindness’, displayed on the way to the main entrance. Seems appropriate, yes?
During this month of Thanksgiving, it is often a time to focus on our blessings and to help others or extend our blessings to them where possible. This is one small way to do this. If making these little hearts appeals to you, I encourage you to give it a go. If nothing else, check out the hashtags on either FB or IG – it will warm your heart.
Hello all and Happy New Year to you. I hope the holidays were pleasant for all of you. While this year was definitely not how we normally celebrate, we did enjoy them. We scheduled a Zoom call with our three boys who live away from home and that was great. Also, my son set up a Zoom so we could just quietly watch the girls’ Christmas morning excitement. That was especially great – seeing them so excited, opening their gifts. Sometimes I wish I could just have a webcam to the girls’ play room and watch them all the time. However, that would also mean I would get absolutely nothing done. They are so entertaining.
This year our tradition of making some holiday gifts continued. I wanted to show you some of them.
Have you made these bookmarks before? There are loads of tutorials for them on the internet and they are super fun. It is made to slip over the corner of the page to keep your place. I used a stack of miscellaneous charm squares I had for these. I tucked them into cards for my sisters and included them in gifts to (most of?) the family. Coincidentally, I also received one in the mail from a quilting friend which was a fun surprise!
I made three pair of pajama pants. The two above were made for my parents. I believe this is their first pair of matching pj’s and I am hoping they will take a picture of both of them when they wear them.
They seemed quite happy with the idea of matching jammies though I did get them different color t-shirts to go with them.
This is the only picture I could find of Julia in her new pj pants. Cute polar bear flannel, right? You will also see Townes in this photo. Julia is fostering him for the shelter. This is the third dog she has fostered and he is such a sweet animal.
My husband made a set of these sweet Christmas trees, enough for one for each of our children plus our parents. I love these and they are definitely one of my favorite of all the things he has made. So simple and really pretty.
Julia painted this wooden ornament for me. A while back, Ray sliced a branch into small rounds and gave them to her to craft with. She has made several ornaments so far. Mine is so sweet. She made one for Ray as well but he keeps it in our room and I failed to grab a picture of it for this post. It is a cute camping scene of a lone tent in the mountains. Perfect for him!
I also made two aprons, one for Julia and one for my daughter-in-law, Shar. I don’t (yet?) have any good photos of those gifts though.
I do love making gifts for people. I am happy to see Julia also making some gifts. It makes gift giving even more special. Today is going to be the take-down-the-holiday-decorations-day. How about you? As much as I love Christmas, I am ready to get the house back to normal. Enjoy the weekend everyone!
This is my favorite time of year. Not because of all the pumpkin spice lattes either. (I am not a fan of sweet coffee.) But the weather, oh how I love this weather! I also love that we live in an area with great fall colors.
The maples in our yard are gorgeous. I wish the leaves lasted longer. It seems like they fall so quickly once they change colors. We try to really enjoy them while they are here though. So much so, that we have learned the succession in which our trees tend to turn color. It is truly exciting when we see one start to become colorful. Simple pleasures, right?
In this family, Halloween is not a huge deal once you don’t have little kids around. But this is Covid and we are doing anything we can to keep busy. Remember when Julia and I painted rocks last summer and put them on our local walking trail? I suggested we paint pumpkin rocks and set them out before Halloween for the kids that walk the trail. (Or adults, we make no judgement!)
After our masterpieces were finished, we went for a walk and set them out on the trail for others to find. This is my favorite part.
Aren’t they funny? The nice, precise jack-o-lanterns are made by Julia. The others are the work of my husband and me (the less talented pumpkin artists in this house!) We haven’t returned to the trail yet but I am certain they made people smile to see them.
In an effort to stay busy and creative, Julia has been using You Tube to teach herself to embroider and to knit. She was wanting ideas of what to stitch and I asked her to do a word for me. She embroidered this pretty bit and I am now working on making a little frame for it. I will just do something simple and then add some bit stitch quilting. It will be so sweet.
Have you been wondering about Julia’s little chicks? Of course you have. She took a few outside to the lawn (they currently reside in a box in the laundry room.) At first they were shocked, never having seen the world outside of their box. But once they got settled down, they had a great time. The girls are at the awkward (aka ugly duckling) stage these days. The cute fluff is falling out and their feathers are growing in. They will live in the house until they are fully feathered and can stay warm out in the coop. It is a bit of a challenge though. As they grow their feathers, they like to try them out to see if they can fly. Julia keeps raising the cardboard walls of their home because now and then, they fly out and cannot get back in. Hahaha.
I was weeding out in the yard the other day and saw these little mushrooms. It made me think some fairies should (or maybe they do?) live there.
Ok – that is my update for now. I will be back with a couple of finishes soon. How are all of you doing? Coping, staying healthy? Celebrating the election results? All of the above? Hang in there – these are strange and unprecedented times we live in.
If you are in need of your own fall colors or maybe some Christmas fabric, they are 20% off in the shop (today through Friday.). Lots of cuteness to be had for a great price.