Category Archives: Family

Hodgepodge of Happenings

Hello all – I have not had much in the way of free time this week. So much so, I find it hard to believe it is Friday already! Here is a peek at the past week.

Last weekend was a special one because my youngest son, Ian, was here for a quick visit. He had signed up to participate in a run up in the Lake Tahoe area. That is approximately an hour drive from our home so he slept here and took off early in the morning for the run. I love all four of my kids and when I have time with one of them – one on one – it is a special thing. As such, it was a treat to have Ian here. We snacked, visited, watched his silly dog playing, and then ate some more! I made a yummy cinnamon swirl bundt cake and a nice pot of beef stew. Yay for family time!

Monday we had our deck refinished. A few weeks ago, Ray and I painted the railings (a tedious task for sure) and then a painter came and stained the deck. Check out the difference!

Before – it looked so tired and worn!
After – It is just gorgeous!

We are so happy with the look of the tinted stain. It took two coats which the painter meticulously applied with a small roller and a paintbrush. He is a great guy and has painted for us several times in the past. Ray and I just keep looking at the deck, admiring it. We haven’t even put any furniture or plants back on it – It is so pretty!!

The gazebo on our pond.

The roof on our gazebo has been falling apart for several years. Finally we hired a roofer to come replace the roofing. There is a sky light at the peak which they broke (purposefully) when taking apart the old roof. Ray replaced it when they finished.

He got this all finished and, because he isn’t a fan of heights, was happy to come down from the roof.

Looking across the pond at our neighbor’s trees.

Colors are starting to change here and I love the reflection of these maple trees on the pond. With the drought here, this is really the lowest we have seen the pond in years. As always, we are crossing our fingers for any amount of rain.

When the sky light was finished, I helped Ray carry the tools back to the shop. When he went inside, he found water on the floor. We have a pump which pulls water from the pond above and it used to water plants and the lawn. It had a leak and was making a mess of things. Isn’t it frustrating to find things like that! So the rest of that day and the following two days were spent cleaning up a mess in the shop. Thanks goodness for the wet/dry Shop Vac. It cleaned up the water quickly. This was one of those events that really just spurred a clean out that has been needing to happen for a long while. The shop is 1200 square feet and there was a lot of debris stacked up. So we have been working on it. I help where I can but it is akin to cleaning out my sewing room. Ray would have no idea which fabrics I want or don’t want, right? Similarly, I don’t know which stacks of wood are to be organized and saved and which are to be tossed out.

The extra pumpkins!

Moving on…. It was time to pick the pumpkins from a pumpkin patch Ray planted this year. We had our neighbor kids (two little girls) come and choose pumpkins and kept a few for ourself. The rest are ready to be delivered to a memory care unit in town. They seem excited to have them for the residents. We are more than happy to donate them.

Dark blue diamond blocks

Three more blocks are completed for my RSC 2021 quilt. The colors look terrible but that is what happens when you try to take a photo inside the house when it is dark out. Just two colors, orange and bright/lime green remain for the year. Then I can start to assemble the blocks. Feels good to be catching up on this project!

Red and turquoise, stripes and dots!

Even though I am supposedly working through my WIPs now, I pulled some fabric for a baby quilt. You know how it goes… I had the best intentions of not starting anything new but then Sew Preeti Quilts asked me to give a pattern of hers a try and I can’t say no to Preeti, can I? It is a cute pattern and uses strip piecing for efficiency. I have my strips cut and sewn and then cut again. Next up is to sew the blocks together. This weekend is not very busy so I am hoping to get the blocks together over the next day or so. I should be able to share this one soon!

Dried hydrangeas

Finally, I want to show you these pretty hydrangeas. I love when they start to turn from white to a faint pink blush. I cut a handful and have them drying here. I also cut some of the lilac bits that were turning color to. It makes such a nice arrangement and should last quite a while. I do this each fall with these particular hydrangeas.

OK – that is it for now. Not a lot of sewing this week but such is life. The weather has cooled off considerably which makes me so happy. It gives me more energy to get things done outside which means less time in the sewing room. If you could all do a rain dance in the hopes the west coast can get some relief from this drought, it would be much appreciated. Enjoy your weekend – do something creative!

Changes All the Way Around

So many new experiences on the horizon for all members of the family. Today we take Julia to college. After more than a year of very boring college on-line in her bedroom, she finally gets to be in person again. She chose to return to a new university though. This one is 350 miles from home, as opposed to the 55 mile drive to her previous school. That is a big change. She won’t be coming home on weekends so easily. But I think this is the right choice for her. The school has a very different vibe, has 18,000 students as opposed to 35,000. The town is wonderful and it is just a few miles to the beach so the weather is much better. All good things. She is feeling nervous and excited, as are her parents.

Ray and I are taking a couple of days to relax after we settle Julia at school. We haven’t been to the coast since pre-pandemic and are excited to do this. No indoor restaurants or shopping though. Just a few hikes, sleeping in and reading books. Sounds like heaven to me. The air shouldn’t be smokey and the temps in the low 70’s – oh my gosh, I cannot wait. I am not bringing my laptop or iPad so won’t be blogging or reading blog posts for the rest of the week.

My shop is done! I put it on vacation mode which means it is closed but I have the option to use it again. I don’t want to lose the name. I believe if I truly close it with Etsy, I would not be able to use the same name again. It is best to leave my options open. What a strange feeling. My usual morning was to check in when I first woke up to see what orders came in during the night. Then make the coffee and head downstairs to prep any orders needing to be packed. This weekend I felt I was fumbling around not checking my phone for orders or customer questions that needed my response; it was so strange. But I am grateful and excited for this next phase.

Because of the shop, I spent a fair amount of time with Facebook and Instagram. But as most people know, that habit becomes a huge time suck. Look at one thing and down the rabbit hole I would go, wondering where that 30 minutes (or more) went when I resurfaced. I deleted FB and IG from my phone – at least for now I am going to stay away from social media. By the way, I don’t consider this blog, or the blogs I follow, as a form of social media. I love them and will continue to participate. I am unsure why, but social media has been annoying me lately; this means I need to take a break.

OK – that’s it for now. The car is packed to the brim – I hope Ray left a spot for me to squeeze in!! We will get our youngest moved in and then feel happy/sad while she moves a little farther from us (metaphorically and physically). I hope she is happy, makes some lifelong friends and learns all the things she wants to learn. I hope she loves, or at least likes, the three girls she is going to have as roommates and experiences all the fun college has to offer. She told me last night she is just excited to hang out with people her own age. She has been has been isolated with her parents and grandparents during the pandemic and really needs friends younger than 60. Haha.

I hope you are all doing well. If you have a second, I would love to hear your thoughts on Instagram and Facebook in the comments. (I won’t respond right away but promise to in a week or so.) I’ll be back in touch soon but until then, go make something!

Quilts, Projects and a Fun App

The Mercyful Quilts continue to arrive! I have a large stack of quilts to deliver to the hospital and I know they will be thrilled to have them.

Lots of boxes to recycle as I open the beauties!

Pieced by Tina C from Delaware.

Most of the quilts are from the Positivity QAL, hosted by Sew Preeti Quilts. However I also received two quilts from Tina C in Delaware. Tina has contributed to Mercy before and she is a fantastic quilter. I really like this sampler in particular though.

Isn’t this the cutest?

Up at the top, there is the sweetest pup appliquéd to the quilt. It is about ten inches tall and such a fun surprise when you look through the quilt.

Also made by Tina C.

This smaller lap quilt is a pretty one. I do love Dresdens! This will be so sweet for a petite patient.

From Wendy!!

This Positivity quilt was sent to us from Wendy of Pieceful Thoughts. This one is particularly fun for me because she used a bundle of fat quarters from my shop. A couple of years ago I held an event selling a series of blogger bundles and Wendy collected them. This bundle was curated by Quilting Jetgirl. It is fun to see the bundle made into a quilt.

Made by Mary R in New Mexico

This quilt came at the same time as Wendy’s which was sort of fun because they have a very similar vibe.

With Mary’s quilt, there is such a subtle shade difference in the strips connecting the pluses. Isn’t that a cool design? Your eye is really drawn to the pluses. Great idea Mary!

There are so many more quilts and I will share more in the next post. I am so grateful to Preeti for cooking up this event and have heard rumblings she may do it again next year! Prize winners for the finished quilts will be announced on Monday, the 6th of September. If you (like me) didn’t finish your quilt yet, that is ok too! Finish it when time allows because Mercy Hospital is always in need of quilts. We will welcome it at any time.

Painting is not nearly as fun as quilting

As for me, I continue to be distracted from the sewing room. This week my husband painted the master bathroom. It looks so fresh – we have been wanting to clean up this bathroom for a long time now. I painted these cabinets for him out in the garage. We shared the painting duty on the bathroom door because I was waylaid by a migraine. The cabinets and the door are back in place and the bathroom looks wonderful!

Time to clean those boots!

Julia is getting ready for college to start up this year. She goes back on campus which will be so much fun. She has been packing and organizing her things. Her boots are ready to go for her beef production lab this quarter. in the upperclassman housing, she has a suite with three other women. They will share the common space and kitchen. Julia has collected quite a set of kitchen supplies through hand me downs from her older brothers so she will have a nice kitchen set up. We take her down to campus in another ten days or so.

Playing Memory together

I have been meaning to share this fun app for quite a while now. This is something I really enjoy using with my grand daughter. For the past year or so, we have played together, read books, had silly conversations and colored pictures using the Caribu app. It is a really nice way for me to stay in touch with her. I love getting a text from her (on my son’s phone of course) asking if I have time to play Caribu with her. (By the way, this is not an affiliate link – just a very cool product that I wanted to share with you.) Caribu has games, books, drawing, worksheets, addition and subtraction, matching, working with sounds and numbers, and mazes – plus more I am not remembering at the moment.

Peter Rabbit – a classic!

There are a large number of books to read and they are divided into age groups or subject categories. The selection of books isn’t exactly Newberry quality. But for our purpose, it is fine. She loves picking books out. Right now Angelina Ballerina is one of her favorites and we read them quite often. The user can mark something as a favorite so it is easy to find again.

A delicious ice cream cone.

Drawing is another favorite. At four years old, she usually needs me to draw the item first and talk about each step so she can relate it to the pictures on the right. Then she tries to do it herself. I love seeing her facial expressions as she works on her drawing.

We spend a lot of time together this way and it is really a special way for her to have time with her Grammy. She has some older cousins who also read books on Caribu to her. There is a subscription fee which can be paid monthly or annually. The free version is available but is very limiting because you can only do a few activities each month – but if you want to try it out, that is a great way to do it. One suggestion, it is nice to look through some of the activities ahead of time. Once we get on the computer together, H is so excited and doesn’t want me to have to ‘figure out’ where something is, or how it works. It is easier to take a quick peek at the screen before we start a call. I have found it works better on a tablet than on my laptop (though I am not sure why?) Enough on this – I think it is a fun time spent with H and if you have a distance grand parenting thing going on and want to have another way to stay in touch with your grandchildren, give it a try.

My shop inventory is disappearing quickly – It looks so strange downstairs with only a few shelves of fabric left. At 40% off, there are still some bargains to be had. I expect I will be officially retired by mid-September. Woohoo!!!

Long Overdue Mercyful Quilts Update

Oh my gosh, I have been going a million miles an hour lately. Sometimes life is like that. We have had a trip to San Diego (family wedding), tons and tons of gardening because my farmer husband planted so much this year, and fire season has begun in fall force. So, I am behind on blogging and blog post reading.

My immediate family!

This picture was taken at the recent wedding. My parents are standing on either side of the bride and groom. Just to explain; my parents had six kids, who then provided 21 grand children to the group. Following that, those grand children produced (so far) 16 great grands. This picture shows our family less about 15 people who weren’t able to get to the wedding. I love our huge, very noisy family.

When we got home from the wedding there were four quilts waiting for me! It was like Christmas morning!! Let me show them to you.

Positivity Quilt made by Cheree L.

Just gorgeous and if these colors don’t make you ache for autumn, than nothing will! Cheree blogs over at the Lively Latte and she actually made two quilts during the Positivity QAL one of which we were fortunate to receive!

Positivity Quilt made By Janine H.

Here is Janine’s version of the Positivity Quilt. Adding the triangles gives it such a different feel. She blogged the details for this quilt here. She also pieced the backing which I love!

The color sequence she used is so pretty. This is a double sided quilt, if you ask me!

Donation Number Two by Janine!

Janine included a second quilt in her box. I remember when she made this one and I just love it. Looking at the quilting design, I suspect it stayed hidden in my brain and was my inspiration when I quilted the Ninja baby quilt I just finished. 🙂 Janine based her design of this quilt on a pattern called Nines in the Middle by Doris Rice for Moda, The blog post with the back story is here. Also, she made sure to tell me that she received the fabric from Louise of My Quilt Odyssey . So actually, this pretty quilt comes from both Janine and Louise!

Another beautiful quilt back!

Looking at the back side, you will see that Janine made another pretty, pieced backing with her leftovers. This side also really shows the quilting pattern off.

Positivity Quilt, Pieced by Julie K and quilted by Rebecca Grace

This beauty was also made by a participant in the Positivity QAL. Julie K pieced this pretty quilt. The blues on a scrappy neutral background are so soothing. She sent it over to the talented Rebecca Grace to be quilted. Rebecca did a custom quilt motif on it using several different patterns. The effect is really fantastic. I offered to bind this quilt so that Rebecca could send it directly to me as opposed to sending it back to Julie for binding and then sending it to me. Might as well save on some postage!

Another pretty backing!!

Isn’t this a cool backing? I love the huge plus or cross, depending on what you want it to be, with the blue fabric. I have enough of the blue fabric to use as binding and hopefully this will be done soon.

Let’s move on to summer gardening! Like I said earlier, Ray put in a lot of plants this year. With just the three of us here, there is no way we can eat all of it. We share it with neighbors, friends and family but there is still too much! I have taken extra fruits and veggies over to our local food ministry twice now.

These peaches all went to the food ministry yesterday!

We have had grapes for at least five or six years now. Usually the raccoons and birds take most of them and the individual berries on the plant are quite small. Not so this year! We have beautiful clusters and, as you can imagine, more than we can possibly eat. So I have been taking those to the food ministry as well.

Poblano and Anaheim Peppers

The peppers are very happy this year as well. I will be roasting these in the next day or too. We love roasted peppers on sandwiches, in omelets and in salsa.

As far as the shop goes, the sale continues and the number of bolts on hand has been steadily decreasing. I appreciate all of your support. Whether by shopping or sharing the word about the close out sale, you are such a help!

The regular price fabric is now 30% off! Patterns and notions are 20% off and ship free. The clearance and remnants are 10% off. Come by and browse the sale; see what might strike your fancy!

OK – this post is getting on the lengthy side. I will close now and hopefully get back into a better blogging schedule. I hope all of you are well and happy!

A Bit of This and a Bit of That

Life has been fairly busy around here – lots of garden time, some visiting with friends, reading books and, of course, some sewing. Let’s see what I can share with you today!

First up, I received two incredible quilts for Mercy Hospital! These were quite unexpected and I am thrilled to have them. My friend, Stephanie, is a local long arm quilter with a passion for purples and blues and a strong love of Kaffe Fassett. When she offered these two quilts to me for Mercyful Quilts, I was over the moon. Want to see them?

Isn’t this stunning?

This quilt is so, so pretty! Love the design, the fabric and the quilting. The backing is the same fabric as the outer border. I love it and I am sure someone will be so happy to have this as a remembrance of their loved one.

Stephanie doesn’t do custom quilting. She uses edge to edge designs. She does a lovely job quilting her pieces.

Another pretty quilt!

This quilt was made with a jelly roll. These fabrics have a bit of a metallic shimmer to them and the theme of the line is dragonflies. The backing is a soft purple flannel. Lush!

Pretty Dragonflies are quilted along with a looping design.

I looked for some information on dragonflies because I know some cultures feel there is a symbolic meaning to the dragonfly. I loved what I found.

From Dragonfly-Site.com:

“The dragonfly, in almost every part of the world symbolizes change and change in the perspective of self realization; and the kind of change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity and the understanding of the deeper meaning of life. 

The traditional association of Dragonflies with water also gives rise to this meaning to this amazing insect. The Dragonfly’s scurrying flight across water represents an act of going beyond what’s on the surface and looking into the deeper implications and aspects of life. 

Reading this, I couldn’t help but think this quilt was meant for Mercyful Quilts. The recipient of our quilts may very well be struggling to understand a deeper meaning of life as they grieve the loss of their loved one. It is always our hope that Mercyful Quilts bring comfort during this process.

As for my own sewing, I finished a baby quilt that will be shared in a week or so as a part of the celebration of Cheryl Brickey’s newest book; Just One Charm Pack. The quilt is adorable and you’ll just have to wait a bit to see it!

I am also working on matching outfits for my grand daughters. I have one outfit done, for the younger one.

I also have a pair of shorts finished for the big sister. \

There is even a little label on the back to help her know which way to put them on. I have yet to cut out or sew a shirt. I am hoping I can figure out how to do this with the remaining fabric. (The leftovers are in odd shapes and sizes). Cross your fingers for me! If it all works out and the outfits actually fit the girls, I will share a picture later on.

Last fall we bought some new furniture, including the chair you see above. I wanted something to rest your feet on but the ottoman that matched the chair was too big for the space and too pricey for my wallet. Some years ago, I bought this little footstool thinking I would one day re-upholster it. Of course it sat in a closet ever since. But it was the perfect thing for this chair so I ordered matching fabric to cover it with.

It was a fairly simple project and it didn’t hurt any that Ray did most of the work. A staple gun and a fair amount of hot glue was all it took – and the muscle to be able to staple gun into this very hard wood. I don’t think I could have done it, truth be told. But I was a very helpful assistant. Honest! He actually covered it during the Christmas holiday but again, it sat. Waiting and waiting for us to make and attach a band around the perimeter to hide those staples. That finally happened last week and it is finished. This project took much longer than it should have!

It is that time of year when the garden is producing in full force! Ray dug up potatoes twice already; there is an abundance! Tomatoes are starting to really ripen as are the green beans and cucumbers. For some reason the crook neck squash are weirdly small. He yanked that plant out as it really isn’t worth picking those miniature bits.

Check out the size of this boysenberry!! We have the hugest berries this year. Yum – sooo good! Both the boysenberries and the blueberries are about finished for this year. We were able to freeze about twenty pounds of blueberries which is far more than usual. It is so nice to have them all year though.

Let’s take a look at some silly girls, shall we?

Dad decided it was time to play with water balloons for the first time! This picture couldn’t be better – he caught the splash as the perfect moment!

I love this (slightly blurred) picture showing the girls playing together. Little sis will do anything big sister says. Here they had a little game going on that reminds me of a Conga line! They are so funny.

The clearance sale continues! Prices are now discounted by 25%!

I am getting closer and closer to retirement! The sale is now set at 25% off so be sure to come take a peek!!

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

Shipping Orders, Sewing, and Cute Kid Pics

Hello there! Life is still quite busy here. The fabric sale continues and customers are keeping me busy. I am happy to say the stack of empty bolts is still growing and the shelves of bolted fabric are shrinking. Thank you all for supporting me as I clear out the shop in anticipation of closing it.

In between shipping orders, we have had a lot going on. I haven’t been able to get a ton of quilting done but I do get to the machine now and then.

I am working on my blocks for the Positivity QAL. The other day I suppose I wasn’t paying attention because the block wasn’t assembled correctly. Ooops! Luckily it took little time to unpick the stitches and fix it (the upper left block). The blocks are super easy to make and I am enjoying it. People are starting to post their progress on Instagram under #thepositivityqal. Check them out to see! If you want to join in, there is time. The QAL is just getting started!! Sure some people (Preeti and Cheree, I am looking at you!) are finishing flimsies but others (ME) have all of five blocks sewn. Also, for those of you who are already into this, remember the first link up for showing progress shots is this Sunday. Preeti and I have decided I will hold the link up here though. So come back here to link up on Sunday, ok?? (Note to self: go figure out how to host a link up since you haven’t hosted one in several years. Haha)

I have also had some time to work on the gray and blue monster I am making for my bed. We have a king size bed so this is certainly the largest quilt I have made yet. (I have made four queen size quilts though and this isn’t too much bigger than those). I am very happy with this project though. My husband chose the fabrics and helped me select the pattern. Mainly I need to work on the sashing strips and then assemble the rows and add borders and baste it and quilt it and bind it and wash it. See – I think I am almost done!

The garden is going nuts now. Zucchini, cucumbers, green beans, bunching onions, boysenberries, and blueberries are coming in fast and furious. Tomatoes are just starting to turn color, the shallots look great and the pumpkins are happily growing.

Before I close (which I really need to do so I can get downstairs and ship orders), here are some smiles for you. The girls are growing like crazy and I am feeling the urge to see them again! It has been just over a month and they seem different already, especially the one year old. At that age, there is something new almost daily.

Hmmm, I am sure there is some way to make this thing go.
Daydreaming. Remember doing this as a kid in the summer?
Silly girl, wearing Dad’s hat.

OK – I will be back on Sunday with a link up for you! Come and check out the quilts people are making or link up your progress shots.

Is It Really the End of May???

Somehow May is just flying by! I haven’t posted since April but with good reason. Now that our family is vaccinated we have had lots and lots and LOTS of family time. Like many of you, we are making up for all of the lost time over the past year or so. It has been heavenly.

With all of the visiting going on, there has been very little action in the sewing room. Before I left for Washington, I did get my diamond blocks made for May. The RSC color this month is red and I have plenty of red scraps! I am quite pleased with the blocks for the month. Plus, to start increasing the total number of blocks, I made four instead of three!!

Another fun project was a set of pillowcases for my sister. A while ago she was doing some cleaning and came across a piece of fabric with the Stanford University logo on it. She had bought it years ago and tucked it away. (Her husband is a Stanford graduate.) She asked me to make something simple with it and of course I said sure. Some weeks after I got the Stanford fabric, I was in a thrift shop and saw a big piece of fabric with the UC Berkeley logo on it. This was quite the amazing find, as my sister is a UCB graduate!! I grabbed the fabric and decided to make them a matching set of pillowcases, his and hers.

They certainly do not match – the colors are basically awful together. But it was so cool to find that Berkeley fabric!! My sister loved them and was quite surprised to see her school included in the package.

Moving on to more wonderful news! Preeti Harris (of Sew Preeti Quilts) is hosting her first Quilt Along! Even better, is she has designed the The Positivity QAL to be in support of Mercyful Quilts. I think most of you are familiar with the Mercyful Quilts program I coordinate for Mercy Hospital in Sacramento, CA. If you are not, please read a few prior blog posts about this truly valuable program. I have them available for you at the top of this page, under Mercyful Quilts.

Preeti generously asked me if she could coordinate this effort. Now, mind you, Preeti has already donated SIX gorgeous quilts to the program and here she is asking to do more. Amazing!!

Last week I received two quilts from her. Let’s take a look at them.

The original Positivity Plus Quilt.
Serenity Quilt

Mercyful Quilts was selected to receive both of these gorgeous quilts. If you would like to read Preeti’s blog posts about them, here you go: Serenity and then Positivity Plus. If you haven’t yet read Preeti’s blog, please check it out. Her writing is just as creative as her quilting.

I have a couple of things to share with regard to this quilt along. One is this – quilting is an expensive hobby. We all know that when it comes to donating quilts, sometimes the expense is more than our budget allows. I have a couple of generous donors who would like to make this a bit easier on those quilters who choose to donate to Mercyful Quilts and are feeling a budget pinch. (This year has been especially tough on many people financially.) If you are feeling the pinch and would like to be reimbursed for your postage expenses, please sent me a note so we can help. There are limited funds to do this but enough to help a number of you if needed. Remember this is anonymous – your name won’t be announced. If you would like to take advantage of this, use the ‘contact me’ button at the top of the page.

Another way to reduce the expense a bit is this. If you choose to have your quilt done by a long arm quilter, I have an idea that will slightly reduce your expense. You might choose to send your quilt to your long arm quilter and ask her to send it directly to me for Mercy Hospital. If you would include the binding, I am happy to bind the quilt for you. This would eliminate one shipping expense (because the long arm quilter wouldn’t route the quilt to you, and then you would have to send it to me). If you want to discuss doing this, let me know. I am all about figuring out how to be economical. Again, just use that handy ‘contact me’ button at the top of the page.

The schedule for Preeti’s QAL is very relaxed, for which I am grateful. I am not a speedy quilter! If you would like to join in, we would love to have you. Below is a copy of the schedule, taken from Preeti’s blog.

Here is a suggested schedule for the QAL so that you can pace yourself and stay on track.  There will be three linky parties, shown in red below. 
1. May 30, 2021 – QAL Launch – Block Tutorials, Layout Options and Fabric Requirements
2. June 6, 2021 – Finalize your fabric picks, block and layout etc.
3. June 13, 2021 –  Cut fabrics
4. June 20, 2021 – Complete Blocks 1-25
5. June 27, 2021 – Complete Blocks 13 – 24. Linky Party to share your progress
6. July 4, 2021  –   Complete Blocks 25 – 36
7. July 11, 2021  – Complete Blocks 37 – 48
8. July 18, 2021  – Share Finished Flimsy. Linky Party Participation Required for Prizes
9. July 25, 2021  –  Level 1 Prizes Announced. Make Binding
10. August 1, 2021 – Piece Backing. Baste your quilt tops.
11. August 8, 2021  – Quilting
12. August 15, 2021 – Complete Quilting and Attach Binding
13. August 22, 2021  – Share Finished Quilts. Mail Finished Quilts to Bernie. Linky Party Participation Required for Prizes
14. August 29, 2021 – We rest and wait for quilts to reach Bernie.
15. September 5, 2021 – Level 2 Prizes Announced. 

OK – this has been a long post but it has been a while so there was lots to chat about! I will leave you with some sweet pictures of my adorable family!

Grandpa and his littlest girl.
Julia’s 20th Birthday Celebration!
Making bird feeders with toilet paper rolls, peanut butter and birdseed. So much fun!

This week I plan to quilt and bind my Coin Quilt. I want it to be my donation for this year’s Hands2Help. I have started it but my machine was giving my fits with the thread breaking. So irritating! I will clean and re-thread everything which should correct the issue. Wishing all of you a wonderfully creative week!!

Linking to some of my favorites. Please check out the list at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

While Julia Was Away, The Roosters Did Play

Remember the chicks Julia raised last fall in the laundry room? Well two of the four turned out to be roosters, Pete and Jack. This was somewhat disappointing as that obviously reduced the number of eggs we thought we would be getting. However they were very handsome birds and we got over our disappointment. Then we went up to Washington to celebrate the girl’s birthdays and those naughty roosters had a party of sorts.

When we left, the roosters were about five months old. We thought this was still young that they wouldn’t be fertilizing eggs yet. Oh what sneaky birds.

By the time we got home, Fauna was sitting on a clutch of thirteen eggs. Several days after that, this little one hatched. Since then, no more eggs have hatched. This is a lousy yield for sitting on thirteen eggs. We haven’t ever hatched eggs but our suspicion is that she added eggs, and allowed the other hen, Flora, to add eggs to the clutch for too long so the hatch dates are really strung out. Chicks take 21 days to hatch from the eggs. Poor Fauna has been sitting on these eggs for 28 days now.

Fauna and her wee one.

She has decided she is really over this whole broody, sit-on-the-eggs, thing and keeps kicking eggs out of the clutch (which means she doesn’t think they are viable so she pushes them out and lets them get cold). Julia tosses those eggs when she finds them. At this point, Julia doubts any of the other eggs will actually hatch. In order to prevent any more hanky panky, Julia put an ad up on Craigslist and quickly gave Pete and Jack to a good home in need of a couple of fine roosters.

Now that Pete and Jack are gone, Julia was really hoping for more eggs to hatch so we would have more than four laying hens. We don’t know what Fauna’s little one is, rooster or hen, so she decided to buy two more chicks. They are a week old. She placed one with Fauna and her baby but Fauna just gave her the side eye, “Just exactly what are you doing here? You are not my chick.” She wasn’t mean to her and let her scratch around and eat, but as a mama hen, she needs to take the babies and keep them warm by sitting over them along with the eggs until they mature. This is sooo cute – when we go out there, we can see the baby peeking out from under Fauna. It didn’t look like she was going to take the new chicks in with her own. Understandable as Fauna has had a lot going on lately and it was just too much to ask of this mama. So once again, we have chicks living in the laundry room.

Now that we have covered what is happening with the animals, lets check on the sewing projects!

RSC 2021 blocks

Crowded on my very tiny design wall are the completed blocks for my RSC 2021 project. I am really liking the blocks so far. I have played with the sized of the center diamond so they are not going to all be the same. The outer diamonds will be the same though. I have done three of each color but may need to add more. I don’t think 33 blocks (3 x 11 months) will be enough. Not sure yet though. I have plenty of time to figure that out.

Here is the stretch knit I put under the hole in the jeans.

The next project I want to share is my first attempt at visible mending. All the rage these days, sewists are hand stitching various mending projects so they are decorative. (As opposed to the idea of trying to carefully mend something so no one knows it was stitched back together.) Months ago, I bought a pair of jeans at Ross. They fit well and were a bargain but they have holes in them which is trendy these days. I tried to wear them with the holes but I didn’t like it. It always felt like there was a pudgy pop of flesh in that hole when I was sitting down. I am not a fan of that look. 😉

Don’t you love my Doll Like Me shirt???

I am much happier with the jeans now that I stitched the hole up. I know I will wear them a lot more now. If you love my shirt, you too can sport one! Click here to check them out. Portions of the proceeds go directly to A Doll Like Me to support Amy’s ever important doll-making process.

Cal Poly Alums and a new Cal Poly student!

In other news, as you likely know, Julia has been home since March, 2020 taking classes on-line. She withdrew from UC Davis because it didn’t seem appropriate to pay such expensive tuition while she was taking classes from home. When it came time to apply to go back to school (in fall of 2021) she decided she wanted to switch universities and go to Cal Poly. While visiting Andrew up in Washington, she found out she was accepted! We are all so excited. I graduated from Cal Poly in 1982. Andrew and Ian (two of my sons) also graduated from there. Julia will be joining the ranks soon!

Do you want the backstory on the matching t-shirts? I thought so!

Mark and I at our apartment in San Luis Obispo, circa 1982

Back when I was a newly married student at Cal Poly, had this t-shirt. I wore it all the time – until it was deemed unwearable. On the horns of the bull, it said “Cow Poly”. Cal Poly stands for California Polytechnic and it has a huge agriculture component in its academic offerings. Hence the “Cow Poly” joke.

Well a while back, I was scanning old photos and sending them to my kids; one of them was the picture above. I told the kids how much I loved this shirt. I have looked for it on vintage college t-shirt websites to no avail. Well, may I just say, I have some pretty amazing kids. My middle son, Kyle, decided to recreate it. He first called the Cal Poly Alumni Association to try and get design files or to see if the t-shirts were available in any fashion. He couldn’t find anything so he drew the design himself and had the shirt made. Since the siblings knew he was making them, the Cal Poly alumni ( current and future) decided they wanted the shirts too. (Julia was superstitious and decided not to wear hers until she was accepted.) The only difference between our shirts and the original is Kyle added ‘class of 1982′ to the bottom of the design, honoring my graduation date. The kids’ t-shirts also have that on the front which I think is kinda cute. Another example of an awesome handmade gift!

OK – this has gotten to be quite a long post. I will catch you up on other sewing projects soon. If you have read all the way to the end, thank you for hanging in there!!

Linking up with So Scrappy and Oh Scrap, among others. Check out my Linky parties at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Birthday Celebrations, Part 2

Hello all! We are back home in California after a couple of long driving days. Much as I love visiting the kids, the drive is long. It will be nice when we get our vaccines and can feel safer about flying. Soon, I hope. I have seen lots of posts on Instagram about many of you receiving the vaccine. California hasn’t gotten to me quite yet. Waiting and checking and waiting some more!

Let’s talk about A’s first birthday. It was really fun and I greatly enjoyed being there for it. Of course she didn’t have a clue what the fuss was all about.

Her parents kept it simple with a picnic of peanut butter sandwiches at the neighborhood park. It was just perfect. She really enjoyed being out on the grass, trying to eat a few rocks here and there.

Her first time down the slide (from the 1/2 way point and with mom right there) was lots of fun. Wearing shoes, not as fun! She doesn’t understand why she has to have these annoying, clunky things on her feet.

Julia, H and I made cupcakes for the party. We made mini cupcakes for the birthday girl and regular size for big sister and the grown ups. To make it extra fun, we put a surprise in the center. After cutting a small hole in the top, we put a few M&M’s in the center of the larger cupcakes and then replaced the top (we had to slice a bit off the cut out pieces to make them fit again.)

Then we iced the cupcakes, hiding the surprise. H just LOVED hiding these candies and telling her parents she had a surprise for them. It was so cute and I think made her feel like a big kid.

Her first cupcake ever!

The birthday girl thoroughly enjoyed her cupcake and ate every bit of it!

A’s first doll quilt

As I did for H’s first birthday, I made a small doll quilt for A. For this quilt, I dug into my vintage fabrics and cut little hearts out. These were fused to squares of an off-white solid I had in the stash and then appliquéd with a straight stitch. I used a piece of white flannel inside the quilt rather than batting. It made it really soft and easy to wrap around a baby doll. For quilting, I just stitched around each heart and then used a decorative stitch around the edge of the border. It is very sweet.

She doesn’t have a clue as to how to use her vintage dolly quilt but I am sure she will figure it out when she starts playing with baby dolls. We also got her a doll but I guess I didn’t take pictures of that.

My husband wanted to make something for A as well. He thought a wooden pull toy would be fun. She is almost walking (takes two steps and then drops to crawl). Once she is walking, I think she will enjoy pulling this little guy down the hallways.

The helicopter was a collaborative effort between Ray and Julia. She sketched the shape of the body for him and he did all of the woodwork. Before putting the wheels and propeller on, she painted little flowers all over it. It really is adorable. He had small rounds of laminated walnut and oak leftover from making rolling pins so the wheels are really fun.

I just love this girl’s sweet personality. She is very cuddly and gives great hugs, patting my back when she is hugging me. The next time we go up to visit she will surely be walking and talking more. So far, she says Hi, waves bye bye, and signs when she is hungry or ‘all done’.

We had two great weeks with family and now it is great to be home. Last night I played in the shop a bit, getting ready for this weekend’s sale. It is a bit one, 30% off everything! The perfect way to celebrate National Quilting Day!! The sale runs today and tomorrow. Enjoy!!

Linking to Monday Making this week!

Birthday Celebrations, Part 1

Last week was filled with presents, excitement, cupcakes and lots of happy squeals. H celebrated her 4th birthday and five days later, A celebrated her first birthday.

Let’s start with H’s birthday. Turning four was a big deal for her and the night before her birthday she started to cry and told her mom and dad she didn’t want to be four. She had suddenly decided maybe it would be better to just stick with three. Fortunately these fears subsided quickly. She loved being the princess for the day, choosing the meals and the games we would all play. Her mom had balloons and cute decorations. This girl was in heaven.

I made this teepee for the girls to play in together. It was fun and quite simple to make using the tutorial at DIYMommy.com. The canvas is a denim polka dot purchased at Jo-Ann’s and the butterfly print is from Jessica Swift’s Lugu line by Art Gallery Fabric. (It is available here in my shop). I decorated the top triangle above the door with matching butterflies by fusing them with fusible web and trimming some butterflies. They seem like they are adhered well enough but probably won’t last forever.

Two happy birthday girls1

The main issue with this project is the fabric slips down the poles. This makes the seams stretch. We ordered some velcro strapping and I am going to try to tighten it around the poles to stop this. Otherwise, it works well. I used some velcro and two straps to keep the ‘doors’ open. H got the idea easily and can open and shut the doors with the velcro tabs.

As he often does, my husband also wanted to make some birthday gifts. For H, he made a bird feeder. She loves birds and knows many varieties on site. He thought it would be fun if he made it look like a drive-through restaurant. There are feeders on three sides of the ‘restaurant’ and even a table with an umbrella for dining al fresco.

This side is the ‘drive through’.

I knew my grand daughter would like it but was pleasantly surprised by how much. It doesn’t have the pizzazz of the My Little Ponies or the Lego sets she unwrapped and I wondered if she would not be too impressed by it. But she really enjoys it.

Yesterday she joyously announced there was a chickadee at her feeder. We decided he was having birdseed burgers and birdseed fries!

A string backpack for H.

Another fun gift I made for her was this string backpack. She is really into unicorns and rainbows right now so this fabric from Shine Bright by Clothworks was just the ticket. This gift did not excite her upon opening but that was fine. She enjoys it now and has it filled with snacks to take with her when we are in the car or running an errand.

Looking at the waterfall at the nursery with a backpack full of snacks.

A few days ago we went and wandered at the most gorgeous nursery! We had given my daughter in law a gift certificate to this garden center for her birthday in February. She wanted to get some roses to plant in the yard. It really was incredible. I love a good wander through the nursery and this was a fun morning. H really enjoys looking at the plants and colors. She picked out a purple pansy which she and mommy planted in a little pot for the outdoor table.

Handmade gifts are so much fun – I hope we can keep this tradition going even as the girls are older. I will be back soon to share the gifts we made for our one year old. Hope all is well with you. We are only here with the kids for another couple of days and then will be heading for home and regular life.