Category Archives: Crafts

Grandparenting

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.

A new set of crib linens and quilt

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.

Very little quilting gave a lot of loft.

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.

Simple yarn ties

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.

Soft flannel backing

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.

Matching sheet and pillowcase

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??

Playing trains with PePaw.

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.

Finding seashells at the beach

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.

Playing with her princess.

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.

Simple play with flannel pieces

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!!

New Toy in the Toy Room

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.

Betsy McCall in McCall’s Magazine

Fast forward to 2022 and a new way of playing with dolls!

Dream and a Wish, by Riley Blake Fabric

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.

The carrying case for the doll.

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.

The inside of the pouch

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!

Such a fancy wardrobe.

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.

Aren’t these curls amazing?

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!

Linking to my favorites – check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Summer Squirrels are Happening

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.

Small flags for my girls

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.

Backing for the flags

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.

New summer placemats

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.

Playing in their PJs in a tent in the backyard.

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.

Doesn’t she look miserable? Poor girl.

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.

Playing with Dad’s video game is a special treat

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!

A Week’s Worth of Daily Life

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).

This mama had a litter of 21 piglets1

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!

The beekeeping family!

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.

Helping Dad.

These experiences are priceless. I am so happy to see them so excited and learning this together.

Before!

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.

After!

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!

Before!

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.

After the first coat of paint.

I chose white ‘chalk’ paint. It looks so cool! I painted outside because wow, this stuff smells awful.

After!

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.

The library in Port Orchard

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.

A stack of books

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!

Community Service Quilt Finish

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.

Colorful Chaos!

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.

Celebrating Valentine’s Day and then St. Patrick’s Day.

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 right next to Easter Bunnies and Hens. 🙂

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.

A very messy craft

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!

Linking with my usual parties. Check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

A Very Old WIP & and Squirrel

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.

I think this is so darn cute!!

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.

My first set of hearts

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.

Do you see that little purple heart, just behind the ‘n’?

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.

Christmas Gifting

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.

Bookmarks!

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!

Pajama Pants

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.

Opening gifts.

They seemed quite happy with the idea of matching jammies though I did get them different color t-shirts to go with them.

Julia and Townes

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.

Wooden Christmas Trees

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!

Autumn Activities

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!)

Artists at work

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.

Covid Crafting

Between the Covid safety measures and the wildfires out here, our family is basically stuck inside and at home. The smoke continues to pollute the air and our Air Quality Index has ranged from 175 to 352 (the highest I have seen it) over the last month. (As a point of reference, 0-50 is considered healthy, clean air). In our area, the fire that started this mess began on August 14th. Fortunately, that fire has been dealt with but there are myriad other fires up and down the whole west coast, keeping the air very unhealthy.

Having to stay inside so much gets boring and the three of us get antsy. We have been trying to do projects, read a lot, watch tv and play an occasional card game to pass the time. Over the weekend we got crafty! Want to see what we made?

The first project were these silly mummy jars. Julia and I thought they would be fun to have out for Halloween. The project is so simple and if you have small children, it is perfect for them. You only need a few clean jars, some Mod Podge, cheesecloth, and wiggly eyes.

Cut the cheesecloth into strips approximately 1 1/2″ wide. Maybe two strips per jar? Paint the outside of the jar with a coat of Mod Podge. Wrap the strips around the jar as you might wrap a mummy. Haha – like I would know how to wrap a mummy. Then paint another coat of Mod Podge over the wrapped jar. Let dry. The next day we used a hot glue gun and attached the wiggly eyes. Julia’s boyfriend decided one of our mummies needed to have crazy eyes so he used two different size wiggly eyes.

They are quite cute when lit up.

Moving on, and in keeping with the Mod Podge crafting, Julia and I colored two jars. I really love these!

Another simple project, you only need two clean jars, Mod Podge, and some food coloring. For these jars, pour about 2 tablespoons of Mod Podge into a little bowl. Add the color you want (remembering not to add too much!) and about a teaspoon of water. Mix until the color is distributed – we used a toothpick to mix ours. Pour the colored glue into the jar and start to rotate your jar slowly, letting the glue run over all sides of the jar. Once the inside of the jar is well coated, drain the Mod Podge out. If you are going to make more jars, drain back into your bowl. Since we didn’t want to make more than one each, we drained the jars over the kitchen trash. Hold it upside down for a minute or so to let it drain. Then invert it on to a tray with waxed paper on it. Let the jars stand upside down for an hour. After that hour passes, bake the jars – standing right side up – for an hour at 225 degrees. They dried clear and hard.

I don’t know that I would put water in them as I am uncertain if that would eventually wash out the finish we made. But they look cute with dried flowers.

Moving on Julia wanted to make some soft pumpkins. We had everything we needed though the only appropriate socks we found were from Ray’s drawer. I am not a fan of the darker colored pumpkin. I do like the lighter colors though.

To make these we used a tutorial found at A Well Purposed Woman. I won’t go into the details since we really followed her instructions completely. This was a lot of fun to do together. Julia had the great idea to wrap floral wire around a pencil to make the little curlicue ‘vines’ we glued at the top near the stems. I like the fact that the instructions told us to put 1/4 cup of dry rice in first and then the polyfil stuffing. This weight at the bottom really makes the pumpkins sit nicely. If I were to do this again, and thrift stores were a feasible option, I would look for some socks with better colors or a knit sweater that could be upcycled. However, considering we were only using what we had at home, I call this a success.

One more fun thing to share – my sister, Juanita, is a yoga instructor who lives in Texas. With all of the travel restrictions in place, my family (like yours I am sure) is unable to be together. To allow family members to be able to spend time together, my sister has been teaching a yoga class via Zoom on Sunday afternoons. The link goes out to everyone in the family and whomever is available joins in. I took a screen shot over the weekend to share with you.

This doesn’t even show all of the family that participated. I couldn’t fit everyone on my screen. But it is such a great way to spend an hour together. Do a little yoga and then we all visit for a few minutes. It is just real life connected virtually. During family yoga this past Sunday, my sister in the upper right corner had her 16 month old grand daughter in and out of the room and my niece, bottom row, far left had to stop to help her three year old put her pants back on. It all makes us laugh and we (sort of) get to be together.

It takes some effort and a bit of creativity but I am glad we can find ways to stay connected. I hope you are able to as well!

Keeping Busy

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

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

Flowers, an avocado, a monster and some sweet daisies

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

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

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

A play fort

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

Vintage Simplicity Pattern

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

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

French seams to prevent fraying

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

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

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

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

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

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