Category Archives: Family

Round Robin, a Comfort Quilt, Princesses & Goats

Well, where to start with this post? How about with the SAHRR? It is coming together nicely with two more rounds to add on. (Remember this is the Stay at Home Round Robin hosted by Quilting Gail. This year marks the third year of the event but the first time I have participated.

Hourglass blocks were the choice for this round. Chris @ Chrisknitssews took us through making these symmetrical blocks. Of course it is up to each quilter how to use them. I made tiny hourglass blocks to utilize the HST’s that I already had. Then I bordered them with strips of batik to get them to finish at 4.5″. At first I was going to put them on the darker blue batik because the colors are so vibrant on the dark background.

However, when looking at the quilt top I decided not to put two dark blue rounds side by side. Instead, I placed the hourglass blocks with the turquoise blue batik. Maybe I will continue to alternate the shades of blue.

16 patch blocks on point

On to the next project. Sometime before we moved I saw a post on Instagram from a woman who wanted to give up some blocks to anyone who would make a comfort quilt with them. I offered and she sent me two sets of blocks. The blue and light brown 16 patch blocks were one of the sets. These blocks had been made quite some time ago but after trimming them and reinforcing seams here and there, I put them together in this simple setting. They look sweet and with the added border, the top is just large enough to be a cozy lap size quilt. I need to look through my yardage and find something for the backing but the rest of this will go together quickly.

Spring has arrived in central California. Julia is happily working with mama goats and their babies. She is having a really busy term and the time she gets with these little guys make such a nice break in her day. Those rolling hills in the background are so pretty!

Soaking up some sun.

My son and his wife took the girls to Disneyland for the first time. It was princess heaven.

I thought the variety of expressions on A’s little face were so funny.

Posing with a princess and holding their dresses just so.

Little sister decided she needed a full hug.

The girls had a quick cuddle while riding the monorail into the park. I love this picture!

OK – that is enough for now. Feels like I have lots to work on this week. Hopefully you are all involved in a project that is causing those creative juices to flow! Linking up with a few favorites. Check the out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Make sure to check out the Quilter’s Color Mixer event coming on March 30th. It is going to be a great opportunity to learn all about color and placement from some really talented instructors. For more details on the event, click here to read my previous post.

Grammy Time

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.)

Quiet time at Grammy’s

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)!

Hmmm, what can I make with this???

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).

Success!

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!

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

An Unexpected Hiatus

It has been so long since I have written a post, I hardly know where to begin! From mid-November to now, I have been sick with one thing after another. This has been incredibly annoying! There are so many respiratory viruses going around and I believe I have sampled all of them. Our area has been hit so hard that my primary care physician’s office is unable to see any respiratory/flu cases in person because the staff has come down with it and now they are very short handed. It is just wild. The kids have it the worst and the children’s Tylenol and Motrin is flying off the shelves. Anyway, in case you’ve wondered, that is what caused me to go missing. I have been reading and watching TV and doing bits and pieces of sewing as I could.

I think I need to do a general post to catch up with what has happened around here. This blog is somewhat a journal and I can’t just ignore a whole six weeks!

In mid-November my amazing sister hosted an early Thanksgiving for our family. There were about 50 people attending and another 15 couldn’t make it. We haven’t had the group together in a very long while and this was great fun. My parents have six children (my sisters and I) who then in total had 21 children and those grandchildren have had 16 children. If you add in all of the spouses and partners, we have one big family! When I think of the numbers that make up our group, I always come back around to my parents. I am so grateful they had a big family and started this whole ball rolling!

When we all got together it seemed like every single one of the kids attending was coughing like crazy. The following week, the adults started to catch the bug. It was nuts – but also worth it to be able to see everyone in one place.

Two weeks later was Thanksgiving. We had dinner at my son’s house. Look at this big girl learning to baste the turkey! We enjoyed a smaller group this time. It was pure luck that most people felt decent for the holiday. (The girls have also been sick constantly for the past 6 or 8 weeks).

Being home so much did allow me to work on a holiday quilt. I saw a free pattern by Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs called Candy Circle. I have a very large bin of holiday fabrics. Many of them were already cut into five inch squares which made putting this together quite easy. I chose the gray and white background to give it a modern wintry look.

When I had the quilt top on the floor for basting, I decided I wasn’t happy with the large expanse of gray in the center. Not sure how it popped into mind, but I thought adding a big snowflake would be fun. My husband created the template for the snowflake and I found some white, tone on tone fabric with a very slight shimmer to it. Perfect!

I fused it to the center while the quilt top was on the floor and then stitched the raw edges of the snowflake first, before I started to quilt it.

Quilting this piece was a bit unwieldy but overall, it went really well. On each section, white, gray, and colorful, I did a different motif. This kept me interested – honestly, quilting something this big becomes a bit mind-numbing for me after a bit.

It is now on Julia’s bed and I think she really likes it. (I couldn’t resist the snowflake pillow when I saw it in the store. It looks like it was made for the quilt!) Most impressive to me was the fact that I made the quilt top completely from stash. I had to buy the backing fabric but otherwise, this was all made using fabric and batting I had on hand!

In the early fall, I went to a quilt show and as I wandered the vendors, I saw this advent calendar. I know I could easily make this but it was all finished and so cute. Supporting the vendors is important – I know I was very appreciative when quilters shopped my booth at shows in the past. I picked it up for the girls and later on headed over to the Dollar Store. Each pocket has two items in it, one for each girls. Some candy, some hair ties, stickers, and holiday stamps. This picture is from the first December 1st. I think they have enjoyed their daily treats. (It is hung somewhat high because of their Labrador – A calls him a Wabrador– puppy who would surely sniff out the forbidden chocolate).

Moving on! I have also been sewing gifts for the girls for Christmas. I am excited to be able to spend Christmas with them. We haven’t ever been there to watch them on Christmas morning so this year will be extra special.

This apron is for little sister. It is lined so she can wear it either way. This fabric is an older print that has been in the holiday fabric bin for a while now. I think she will love the cookie print. For big sister I made one with princesses and castles. It is already wrapped and somehow I forgot to take a picture of it.

I also made each child a teddy bear. I have never made a stuffed animal and have to say, this was really easy. For me, the most challenging part was stitching the mouth. I had to take it out a couple of times to get a decent result. The teddy bear pattern is from TieDye Diva. Here is a link for you. The pattern comes with some clothes and I did use them for the pants. For the hoody, I went over to Best Dressed Bears. She has lots of simple and super cute teddy bear clothing patterns. Here is the link to the hoody. The patterns over at Best Dressed Bears are made for a slightly bigger stuffed bear so I just made the pieces a smidge shorter in length which did the trick.

OK – I think that sums up the last six weeks. After soooo many boxes of tissues, cups of tea and honey, inhalers, antibiotics, humidifiers, and more naps than I can even count, I think life is back on track. I hope you are healthy and happy. Julia is home and has been patiently waiting around for me to feel better. We love going to some of the cute towns around here for window shopping and just enjoying the Christmasy vibe. Hopefully we will do that tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

Linking up with lots of fun blogs. Check it out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

A Spooky, Spooky Ghost

This year I was tasked with making a very, very spooky costume for my grand daughter’s Halloween. A wanted to be a ghost, a spooky, spooky ghost. She was quite specific about this. When asked what a spooky ghost does, she pursed her lips into a tiny ‘O’ and said oooohhhh. That was the extent of it. She is so dang funny.

‘Ooooh’ says the spooky, spooky ghost.

I asked my daughter in law what she thought would be a good spooky ghost outfit and she sent me a link from The Frugal Navy Wife. It looked adorable and super easy. I agreed to make it and promptly forgot about it! Two weeks ago my son asked me how the costume was coming along. Yikes! I quickly ordered a few things from Amazon and got going on it.

Assembling the costume

This couldn’t have been any easier. One piece of stretch lace was seamed into a loop sized to fit around A’s chest. A spool of six inch tulle was cut into 40″ lengths, or double the length I wanted the skirt to finish at. (Of course the spool I ordered from Amazon is enough to make about a hundred of these, but that’s ok. It will be used up at some point). I stretched the lace around a box so I would have something to work from.

Each piece of tulle was poked through the opening in the lace and the strip then pulled through the loop that formed. (Does this make sense?) I pulled down on the strips of netting to tighten the knot and made my way around the piece of stretch lace. I also looped a long piece of tulle from front to back so it could be tied as needed in back. It was sort of like the straps to a sundress.

Finally, I cut ovals from black and white felt for the eyes and the spooky, spooky mouth. These were hand stitched to the front.

The finished costume

Once it was finished I decided to make a matching headband with the stretch lace and a bit of tulle.

So cute, not so spooky!

Our sweet girl was quite pleased with the costume and headband. She wore them to the Halloween party at her little toddler program.

This spooky ghost went to a party!

Halloween finally rolled around. A was cranky and not in the mood for much. It turned out she was coming down with a virus and by the middle of the night (of course!) she had spiked a fever and was feeling miserable. I am really glad she got to go to the party at her school and enjoy a bit of Halloween there since she wasn’t able to enjoy it on the actual day.

I highly recommend this costume for anyone. It is simple and super cute! It would also be a great way to make a tutu. All different colors of tulle could be used to make it just how the ballerina wants it.

I am working on a quilt but it is going to be gifted to someone at the holidays. So no pictures of it until after Christmas. I am super happy with my progress so far! Take care everyone.

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!!

Giftbags, Sweatshirts, Chocolate Cake and Shortbread Cookies

Lots of fun happening around here these days! Making, baking, getting outside and spending time with family have taken the bulk of my time lately. I couldn’t remember what I had shared lately but after taking a look at my photos on my phone, I found several projects to write about.

Let’s start with these cute matching sweatshirts. I wanted to play with the serger machine my sister gave me a while back. It is really useful for finishing a seam when making clothing. A couple of years back, I picked up about two yards of extra wide pink fleece at a thrift shop. I am not one for this color so I didn’t make anything with it. With cooler weather coming, I decided to make my grand daughters matching pullover tops. When they were here a couple of weeks ago, I tried them on the girls. I had made the necklines with the fleece fabric and there wasn’t nearly enough stretch. I could hardly get them over the girls’ heads. Back up to the sewing room to unpick the stitches and replace the necklines with a ribbed knit (also thrifted!). I haven’t tried them on yet but the neck is quite stretchy so I think they will fit well now.

A fresh new apron for me!

This next project is long overdue. I don’t wear an apron too often but if I am doing something messy in the kitchen I like to have one on. This (thrifted) fabric is so cool. It is a very lightweight denim with a print that looks embroidered on it.

To give it some body, I lined it with a piece of yardage off my shelf. The pattern called for hemming the edges but really, lining the full apron is better. It gives the apron some heft and takes much less time than rolling the hem all the way around the entire apron. I think it provides a nicer finish overall plus it is reversible.

I wasn’t in need of another sewing machine but when I saw this at an estate sale, I couldn’t pass it up. It works so well and has the basics – different speeds for sewing, needle up/down, and a nice selection of stitches. It will be great if I have someone over to sew with, for teaching my girls to sew (this machine is less complicated than the Bernina), and for a back up if the Bernina is getting serviced. It is also much lighter in weight which is nice when taking a machine to a class. Totally worth the $28 I paid for it!!

Holiday Gift bags.

I make these on a regular basis. Wrapping gifts at holiday time uses lots of paper which isn’t terribly ecological. Since I have quite a collection of Christmas fabric, I made four more gift bags. These are lined and have ribbon drawstrings. I tend to make them in a variety of sizes and fabrics so they fit different size gifts. I tried for a better photo but honestly, I got lazy and didn’t want to stuff them. Hahaha.

What do think? This is just a peek at a project I am working on now. It will be a wall quilt for our bedroom. More on this as it progresses. I am really thrilled with it thus far.

These cookies were so yummy. I wanted to make some non-dairy cookies for last weekend. My son and his wife came for a weekend of visiting, beach walks and some fishing. Anyway, I chose to try these Tahini Cookies from The Mediterranean Dish. Wow! Soooo good. Tahini is a sesame seed paste and has a different flavor. My DIL didn’t really like them but the rest of us sure did. I made a few substitutions with the recipe – mainly using vegetable shortening instead of butter and rolling them in confectioners sugar after they cooled a bit. I will surely make these again.

Birthday Cake for Ian

My son turns 32 years next week. Since we won’t see him on his birthday, I made a cake for him last weekend. Again, dairy free. This bundt cake is based on a cake mix but I added chocolate chips (dairy free), dairy free yogurt, an extra egg, and a splash of Kahlua. For the frosting, I heated one cup of oat milk and poured it over one cup of dairy free chocolate chips. When they melted completely, I whipped the mixture with powdered sugar until I got the consistency I wanted. It was sort of mousse like? I had to keep it in the refrigerator because it doesn’t really set up. Really yummy though. Ian took a chunk home with him and we finished the rest this week.

Shar and Isla

I had the pleasure of hanging out on the beach with my DIL, Shar, and their dog Isla while the guys fished. Shar actually likes fishing as well but didn’t have a license so we were on puppy care duty. It was a beautiful day out.

I saved the best for last in this post! Shar loves to embroider and made this for me for my birthday. I love it so much. The quilt is adorable and each square has a different stitch. Look at the clothes pins holding it to the line – the detail work in this piece is just awesome. It is so special to me and I am really touched that she made this for me.

OK – I think I have caught you up for now. This weekend is a local quilt show. The featured quilter is actually someone from Grass Valley (where I used to live). She was in the guild there and is now President of the guild up here. I am looking forward to seeing her work.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!! Is fall weather starting where you live? The days are getting shorter and the leaves are just beginning to change here.

Linking to my favorites – see the list at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Busy, Busy, Busy

October is here which means we have been in our new house for almost six months. Seems like one would have all the boxes unpacked at this point but nah… there are too many other fun things to do.

Ray and his mom on the beach

For instance, we had my mother in law here for a visit last week. She had not seen the house yet. It was super fun to show her the area. Like me, she is a fan of beach combing so we spent a lovely afternoon wandering at the water’s edge picking up shells and sea glass. The weather could not have been better.

It is finished!

Just before she came, I put the finishing touches on this mini. I worked in slow motion when attaching the binding so I could minimize any issues with the hearts. I just didn’t leave quite enough room for the binding. All is well though and I hardly touched the little hand quilted hearts.

With the backing.

It looks so cute on the wall. I already want to start a new mini. They are super satisfying because I can finish them quickly.

These photos make me laugh each time I look at them. Julia and her buddies at the swine unit were making a social media post to welcome the students back to campus. She was trying to pose with one of her favorite 500 pound boars, Leopard. He was feeling frisky and wanted to play rather than stand still. Hahaha.

Taking his girls for a ride

My son built an electric bike with two seats on it for the girls. The three of them love it and cruise all over with it. It helps for him to have a little boost of power to cart the weight of two kids behind him.

The coolest cotton candy ever!

Yesterday Andrew was trying to keep the girls out of the house. My DIL has to work nights for a couple of days so she needs to sleep during the day. They found a festival they could ride too. The girls waited in line for quite a while for this fancy cotton candy. It was huge so they shared it. Isn’t it cool though? I haven’t seen anything like this before.

My own sort of festival

I had my own bit of fun yesterday. One of the local quilt guilds held a fabric sale as a fundraiser. Fabric was $3.00 per pound so shoppers just filled their bag, it was weighed and then calculated. I told myself not to buy any small pieces as I just don’t need them. Instead I looked for stretch knits to make t-shirts and larger pieces of cotton for potential backings. I also needed some fusible batting for a project I am going to make (more on that later). I was so successful! I bought 20 yards of fabric, a large unopened package of fusible batting and a new triangular ruler for $27.00. I am in the process of washing the fabric now. What fun!

That is it for now. Today’s plan is a long walk this morning and a bit of yard work. Hope you are enjoying your weekend!

Linking up with Oh Scrap!

Checking In

I have been out of touch for a couple of weeks. Last we chatted, I was heading to stay with my grand girls for a long weekend while their parents took a quick break. We had so much fun. The girls were very easy to take care of even though the two year old was running a bit of a fever. She was still very happy to be with her grandpa, even if not feeling quite 100%. We got to celebrate Ray’s birthday while we were there.

Celebrating Grandpa’s birthday together

The girls had fun painting a cardboard box outside. There was no real plan other than to paint for the sake of painting.

Muffin tins make a great holder for the paint.

Once the box was done, H asked if we could make it into a rocket ship. She clearly had a very specific plan in mind. Ray and I talked to her for a bit to try and suss out her plan. She was able to explain just what she thought it would look like.

Working with Grandpa to make the rocket ship

It turned out so cute and the girls were pleased!

Rocket ship to the moon!

When H was in the box, she and Grandpa would count down to blast off and Grandpa would shake the box like crazy to make it feel like she was blasting off. It was so fun.

The day we were driving home I started to feel sick. By the time we got home (it is only a 75 minute drive) I felt horrible. Climbed into bed and there I stayed for three days. Then I just felt awful for another three or four days. I tested negative for Covid and it seems I had the flu. The day I started to feel better, Ray crawled into bed and repeated my entire experience. Ugh!! We lost a couple of weeks to this virus and it was not fun!

Once we got our energy back, we invited the girls to come for a weekend. We really wanted to spend some time with them before H starts school.

Playing at the local splash pad

We went to a local park that has a splash pad. Little sister was a bit leary of most of the fountains but she would occasionally stand near one and shriek. It was really funny. Mostly she watched and also stomped in the puddles.

This girl couldn’t get enough!

No fear with this one though. She has such an adventurous spirit!

Two kitties in a swing

There was a playground next to the splash pad. H was in this big webbed swing and really wanted her little sister to join her. A was not going anywhere near it. She kept saying it was scary. After many invitations, big sister said, “let’s be kitties” which is one of A’s favorite games. A few meows later and little sister was in the swing snuggling with H. I was almost getting choked up here. H kept patting her little sister’s back, saying ‘see, this isn’t scary, I am here with you’. They fight occasionally but this sort of thing makes up for the squabbles.

Making pizzas.

The last night we all made individual pizzas together. The girls love doing this. Yum.

Summer is winding down and H starts kindergarten in two weeks! Hard to believe she is going to be in school.

My friend from California arrives today for a quick visit. She is also a quilter and as luck would have it, today is the local quilt guild’s show. I am really excited to see Sophia, even if just for one night.

Scrappy pumpkins

With school starting for H and summer winding down, I have been thinking about fall. I made a few scrappy, strip-pieced pumpkins. I think I will incorporate them into a Halloween quilt.

Debbie Mum Halloween panel

I can’t remember if I shared this but I was at an estate sale some time ago and picked up this Halloween panel. I am thinking I will use the pumpkins to border one side. I am going to make blocks out of them that set the pumpkins on an angle so they have some character. More on that as I make progress.

Lastly! Sunday is the opening of the final link up for the 2022 Positivity QAL!! I have my quilt finished. If you do as well, please link up!! Remember that if you don’t have a way to link up, you can email me a photo and I will add it to the blog post. I want you to be eligible for the prize drawing!! The link up will be open all next week so you still have time to finish it up. See you soon!

New Dresses for My Girls

We just had three days of summery weather! When it hit 90 degrees, Ray and I once again felt sure we have made the right decision in moving up here! Neither of us like hot weather and love the cooler weather we have in Washington. We are back to cool temps and a breeze today. Perfect!

In between working on quilts that need to be finished, I have been making two dresses for the girls. Before leaving California, my friend Stephanie was clearing out some fabrics she didn’t think she would use. Stephanie is a generous soul and she gave me so much fabric! Among the pieces were two cute prints.

These two pieces are from a line called Stitch Cats by Clothworks. They are super cute and I thought the girls would enjoy something made from them.

I made the dress for little sister first. I used the Geranium pattern by Rae Hoekstra. I have to tell you, I am so rusty at making garments. Also, I didn’t like the way the closure was done on the back of the dress.

From the Geranium pattern by Made by Rae

It seemed like there should be an extended overlap (a tab of sorts) for the buttons and buttonholes but the designer just has it overlapped without this. Does that make sense?

Since the pattern didn’t provide this and I didn’t like the way it looked, I decided to use a ribbon closure. Note: The ribbons are cut extra long for now. I want my son or DIL to trim them after deciding how long they should be to take the dress on and off of A. It turns out we only need to untie the top bow to take it on and off.

A’s dress is made with the larger print and the bodice is lined with the smaller print. It is nice and long so she should be able to wear it for a while – these girls seem to grow about 1/2 inch each day!

I added a pocket for her treasures. It was so cute when I first put the dress on her. She had a tiny bag of Skittles that big sister got from a piƱata earlier in the day. She immediately put the Skittles into her pocket.

This is the dress I made for H. The Geranium pattern wasn’t a large enough size so I switched over to a free tutorial by Life Sew Savory called Tank Dress Pattern. (Note – I have used a number of her free patterns and they are pretty darn good. She has so many on her site!) This dress is much the same as little sister’s though I used more of the smaller print for the bodice and skirt. The buttons were handled the same way on this pattern, without a tab, but I just gave in and overlapped the pieces as she instructed. (I need to figure out how to fix this issue myself for next time.)

Because H is into all things pink and sparkly, I chose these heart shaped gemstone buttons I saw in JoAnn’s. In actuality, she doesn’t need functional buttons for the dress as it goes right over her head without unbuttoning the dress. I could cut the front bodice as one piece if I were to make this again.

Above is the obligatory picture of the girls in their new dresses. They gave me all of 30 seconds to take this before they ran off so it isn’t the best shot. These two had better things to do than placate Grammy with pictures.

The next morning H was trying on shoes from a box of hand me downs she received. She is in love with these sparkly green flats! I love her pose here with her legs crossed in such a lady-like fashion. (I also love that she chose to put her new dress when she got up the next day). Overall, I am happy with the dresses. Making them was enjoyable and I feel like I am getting back into the groove of garment sewing. I have some fabric for a shirt for myself and hope to work on it soon.

I am not one to write about politics on my blog. Everyone has different beliefs and that is ok with me. I don’t want to get into it. But the last couple of weeks have really been a tough time. So sharing these two pictures of my girls seemed a great way to close – with feelings of hope in our future generations of very strong, capable, powerful women.

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!