Category Archives: Family

Covid Crafting

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

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

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

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

They are quite cute when lit up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Farm Quilt Finish

I am in a quilting and reading phase. Quilt a little, read a lot, quilt some more. There are always so many projects to make and books to be read, am I right?

But – the sewing! I have been getting lots done. Today I will share this cute picnic quilt I made for my grand daughters. I carried this line of fabric (it is all gone – sold so fast!) and before I sold out, I stashed away some of the red and yellow yardage as well as a panel of the animals.

I love seeing red and yellow together. It makes for a really cheerful combination. I need did use the green fabric with this project. I decided to save it for another day.

I started to make nine patch blocks last January and split them up, sewing them back together for a disappearing nine patch design.

Some had red centers.

Some had yellow centers. But once made, the blocks were always set aside for some other project.

Well my son and his wife recently bought a house outside of Seattle and we have been calling it “the Farm House”. It isn’t really a farm but it is on 1.5 acres and has a lot of raised beds, greenhouses, and a chicken coop. So, farm enough in our opinion.

I decided I needed to finish the quilt so the girls could sit on it outside and eat a snack or bring their lunch outside. The three year old is always filled with energy and I know she will love their big yard. This property is perfect for them.

I had some fun quilting this. In the center, I stitched in the ditch around the white animal squares. Then I used vertical and horizontal straight lines at various intervals. In the yellow border I just did a wavy line through each one.

I played with the red border. I did swirls, hearts, flowers and whatever else came to mind. On two corners I put the girl’s names which was fun. On the bottom border I stitched “Grammys Girls” but wasn’t thinking of the orientation so it is upside down. Sigh. Not a huge deal but I do wish I had thought to flip it before I stitched the words. Not enough to spend the time unpicking the stitching though. Haha.

The backing is a super wide stripe from Michael Miller. My sister was clearing her sewing area a couple of years ago and gifted me this piece and a few others. I knew it would come in handy at some point. The binding is a repro feed sack print I have in the shop. I like the little flowers framing the quilt, though this picture doesn’t really show the binding off very well.

I ran into a snag when I washed the quilt last night tho. The red bled onto the white animal squares. (I was too annoyed to take any pictures.) Ugh. I haven’t experienced this and was a little freaked out. Both Wendy of Pieceful Thoughts and Jan of Colorful Fabriholic recommended this method by Vicki Welsh to removed the red. By the time I asked these lovely women, I had already cold water washed it twice and rinsed it two more times. After reading Vicki’s method, I chose to alter it a bit. My washer is large and the quilt is about 50 x 50″ so not terribly big. I put it in the wash on the “deep water wash” cycle with hot water. The hot water was the part that scared me but Vicki says that is what needs to be done. Before I put the quilt back in I decided to spray each of the white squares liberally with OxyClean stain remover. I didn’t rub it in aggressively but I did sort of massage it into the stained areas. Then I used a fragrance free “free and clear” type of laundry detergent and put in more than I normally do. Once the machine was filled with hot water I stopped the cycle and let it soak, making sure it was all under water. Finally I let the machine finish its cycle and ran it through a couple of extra rinse cycles since there was a lot of soap in there. It worked! The animals are back in their little white squares as opposed to the pale pink squares that I saw last night. Phew! Thank you Wendy, Jan and Vicki!!

Now that this is finished, I have moved on to another quilt top. I basted it yesterday and plan to quilt it this weekend. It is miserably hot and smokey outside – I did get a little yard work done early this morning but will be inside all afternoon. We don’t have any plans for the long weekend. Hope you are all well. Enjoy your long weekend and make sure to spend a little (or a lot) of time sewing!

Linking to:

Brag About Your Beauties, Whoop Whoop, Tish’s UFO Busting & TGIFF

Coming Home to the Start of Fire Season

Sad to say, Fire Season is a thing here. Each year everyone hopes for less disaster, fewer homes lost, and that the fire won’t be in their town. It is a very strange ‘season’ that did not use to exist. I have lived in this town for 26 years and while there was an occasional wildfire, it wasn’t an annual occurrence each Indian summer. Now, come August and September, it isn’t a question of ‘if’ a fire will occur, rather it is a question of when and where it will happen.

This morning I looked at the map for California to see where fires were burning and this is what I saw. We had a series of lightening strikes on Sunday and Monday nights this week and many (most?) of these fires were started by those events. There is a fire several miles from our home. It is far enough that I highly doubt we are at risk. There was a point where my parents felt nervous for their home and property so they came and stayed for a night at our house.

My son took this outside his home early this morning.

Up and down the state, land and homes are burning. The smoke and ash are just awful. I am ever so grateful for the responders, firefighters, Salvation Army (who feed everyone working on the fires as well as trying to help those who have lost their homes), the people who set up and run the evacuation centers (which are completely complicated by the need for social distancing and proper care for the Corona Virus), the sheriffs department who is tasked with alerting the neighborhoods that need to quickly evacuate. It is a huge issue and one for which there is no simple answer. Some people (looking at you President Trump) say it is because California doesn’t take care of land management properly and there is too much fuel. I don’t know the answer. But it is awful right now and I am hoping they get the local fire contained soon so we don’t have more homes lost.

Hugging my two girls the morning before we left.

OK – on to less depressing topics. Our trip to Seattle was just wonderful. We were there just over two weeks. We didn’t go out a whole lot – much of the time was spent with our grand daughters while my son and his wife house hunted. Fortunately they found a great place and are under contract for it now. Another 4 – 6 weeks and they will move in. I think it is the perfect home for them.

When I got home I needed to get organized – always so much laundry to be done, groceries to stock up on, etc. Now that is all taken care of so I am anxious to work on some sewing.

Ridiculously Easy Jelly Roll Quilt, by From Bolt to Beauty

Just before I left, I finished this strip quilt. I had been loosely following along with Michelle, From Bolt to Beauty, who was hosting a quilt along for this free pattern on hers. It goes together so fast. I had about 1/2 of a jelly roll left over from the Postage Plus quilt I made. I added some strips from other fabrics to come up with enough for this lap quilt.

Aren’t these tiny polka dots a fun background?

While the colorful bits were all from my stash, I didn’t have any neutral fabrics in a large enough piece for the background. I decided to use the last of a bolt from the shop. These cute polka dots are from Maywood Studios’ Beautiful Basics line. I think they add a sweet element to this quilt top. I am not totally sure what I will use this one for but I plan to get it basted and quilted up. Otherwise it will be hung in the closet and forgotten.

My fabric stack for the Morewood Mystery Quilt

Last night I started cutting the pieces for the Morewood Mystery Quilt. I think this will be really fun and quite different from anything I have made, based solely on the fabrics I am using. The batiks are a stack of Anthology Fabric pieces that I have had for a really long time. The polka dots are the last of a bolt from the shop. The cut list for this mystery quilt looks super easy which makes me happy. I like easy! If you are interested in joining in, click here for the info. This event is hosted by Cheryl Brickey, from Meadow Mist Designs. Her Mystery QAL is a fun annual event. We are just getting started so you haven’t missed anything yet!

This morning the sun looked like a ball of fire due to the thick smoke. This was taken from my front deck.

OK – I think that is it for now. I am going to go work on a block for the 2020 Monthly Color Challenge. I am a bit behind – July and August are both incomplete. Since we won’t be going outdoors for at least several more days, I will be able to get caught up. How about you? Tell me how you are doing and what you are working on? Sending good vibes and healthy thoughts to all of you!

Family Time, Finally!

For the last week I have been in Seattle with my son and his family! Finally! My second grand daughter was born in March, 2020 but due to Covid, I didn’t meet her until this week. This has been heavenly. Grand parenting is really the best thing ever.

The kids moved from Vermont to Washington because my DIL is (finally) done with her residency and has started working for a Seattle group of radiologists. With Covid, the move process has been really complicated. They have temporarily moved into a furnished rental while they house hunt. It has been crazy to see what house hunting in Seattle is like. The houses list and then sell within a day or two. So if one pops up that you might be interested in, you have to look at it and decide if you want it, make an offer within the day and cross your fingers and toes that you get it. Talk about a seller’s market. The kids made an offer on one last night but who knows? The realtor says there will likely be at least a 1/2 dozen offers made and all will probably be well over asking price. It is such a crazy time.

While they look at houses and my DIL settles into her new work routine, Ray, Julia and I are here to help out a bit and play with the girls. Let’s just say we have the easy end of the deal. So far we have been to the Rose Garden, the Arboretum and the Zoo. Seattle is really strict about face masks and social distancing. People respect the space of the other people they come across. At the zoo, we had to have an appointed time to enter so they could keep track of how many visitors are in the park. (I will say I thought it was a bit crowded at the zoo though.). The Arboretum was incredible though and there was plenty of room for everyone on the walking trails.

Want to see a bit of what we have been doing?

Checking out this cool tree bark at the Arboretum.

Does anyone know what kind of tree this is? The bark was really interesting. The shiny stripes were as smooth as a silky ribbon. I haven’t seen anything like it but there were quite a few on a path through the Arboretum.

Princess Mirabelle picking wild flowers in the neighborhood

We brought a big surprise to H – A stunning Cinderella dress and a tiara. She is sure the tiara is a ‘magical crown’ and sometimes she closes her eyes with great drama, bows her head deeply, and imagines something magical happening.

Dr. Mirabelle, at your service

Having a mama who is a doctor means you are quite familiar with scrubs and stethoscopes. She likes to play with mama’s real stethoscope which isn’t often available. Luckily she now has her own garb. Isn’t this picture hilarious? I just love it.

Good to the very last drop

After mama’s first day of work, we celebrated with ice cream. What a great treat. This girl does not let one bit go to waste. Julia is still getting used to the mess one three year old can make!

Tubby time happens every night – This is her evening routine and then it is off to bed.

I love watching her play in the tub. She has such a great imagination. She talks constantly and makes up all these scenarios that happen during tubby time every night.

The next part of the bedtime routine is she chooses three stories.

Grandpa and Grammy take turns reading books before bed.

Mornings are the best

What is better than baby snuggles and good coffee first thing in the morning? Nothing, absolutely nothing.

Can you do this?

Babies are so flexible. This girl immediately goes for her toes during a diaper change. She loves this game. It is crazy how she can lay her leg against her chest like this. I am fairly certain I would not be successful trying this!

Babies and quilts, the sweetest combo.

Somehow I never made this little one her own special quilt. But I did bring this bright strip quilt up for her. (I have carried kits for this one in the shop for a while – I think there is only one more left though.) She is enjoying a bit of tummy time here. Not her favorite activity but she will play like this for a short time.

We are planning to stay for a while yet so my son and his wife can continue house hunting. Hopefully they will enter into a contract soon. Then we will head home for a while until escrow closes. If they need us to come back up to watch the girls while they move into their house, we will be back in a flash. The joy of being (mostly) retired is the flexibility to go back and forth as needed. With Covid, we are planning to drive rather than deal with airports and flights. I am incredibly fortunate to have a good friend (she is also into sewing and quilting) who enjoys running the shop while I am gone. I don’t think I could have both (the shop and trips to see the kids) without her. I am so very grateful to her for helping out.

Hoping you are all well – hang in there and stay healthy. I am enjoying a moment of quiet – everyone but me and the baby took off for a walk at the beach. I am waiting for a certain chunky monkey to wake up from a very long nap. This is the life!

Getting Outside

Today Julia and I needed something different to do so we decided to do a few errands and then go for a short hike. We are fortunate to live in an area with tons of gorgeous walking trails. Julia chose Hirschman Trail for today’s walk.

We have walked here several times before. It is an easy walk and there are some really pretty sites to see.

The highlight of this trail is a beautiful pond. It comes up quickly but I look forward to seeing it each time – once on the way in and again on the way back out. Today there were two beautiful ducks swimming. Other times I have seen large turtles swimming at the water’s edge.

Walking along the trail we spotted this bright blue painted rock with a B on it. It was a little treasure nestled in off the side of the trail. There have been lots and lots of people painting rocks for others to find since the quarantine started. We decided to keep an eye out for more and we were not disappointed.

Wonder what the significance of the letter R was?

This little gem was in the crotch of a rotted tree branch.

This was actually a chunk of wood someone painted. Cute little rainbow!

Another spot of color on the trail.

Another letter, was this “I” the start of someone’s name?

We really enjoyed finding these. It was fun to think of people tucking them in along the way. Julia and I plan to paint a few and plant them on another trail. These made us smile so we will do the same for someone else.

And now…. too make you smile! Look at these two cuties!

These sisters really look alike. Older sister is on the left and little sister is on the right. They are surely cut from the same (very round) cookie cutter!

Hope you are finding ways to change things up a little. Getting outside, doing something new, learning something different? It all helps to keep us sane during this crazy season of life.

It Has Been a While

Hi everyone – somehow about two weeks have passed since I have posted. I am unsure if it is because I don’t have much to tell you or I have been busy or what? One would think with the shelter in place rules, I would have tons of time to write blog posts but it hasn’t happened.

So much to pack up and bring back home!

Actually, lots has been going on – a few days ago we drove to Julia’s university to clean out her dorm room. They decided for sure the students will not return to campus until fall session opens. This was sad and is the case across the country. When we were cleaning out the dorm room, Julia was melancholy. She certainly didn’t get the dorm life experience she was hoping for with all of these changes.

Watching the bagels bake.

Like all of you, we have been keeping busy with projects and cooking – so much baking!! Julia has made cookies, bagels and dinner rolls. Currently she is learning about sour dough starter. She started one batch but it didn’t work so she tossed it and has started again.I made pumpkin bread the other day with some pumpkin from the freezer (actually from out garden last summer). We are trying to cook all sorts of meals based on what is in the freezer – mainly because food tends to be shoved to the back of the freezer and forgotten. Now is the time to take stock of what is there and use it up.

As far as sewing goes, it has been hit and miss. At the time of my last post, I was really into it and then I sort of lost my motivation. But when the governor of California asked residents to begin wearing masks in public, I decided to make masks for the family. I have looked at a couple of patterns and mashed them up to get a result I am happy with. It is a work in progress for sure.

Certainly not the most fun sewing project, but a necessary one.

I mailed a few to my son and his wife in New York. Those two are the members of the family I worry about most. They have been very careful and stay in their apartment most of the time. They have a dog so do need to be outdoors to walk her. It is so awful in New York and they need to be extra diligent.

Organizing scraps.

I spent a couple of evenings cutting lots of scraps into squares for future use. This was actually somewhat satisfying. At least I was able to close my blue bin after doing this. Now of course, I have a new bin with these squares and more on the way. Sigh. It is never ending.

Charm squares and some solids

Another day or two was spent making half square triangles with a pack of charm squares I got from who-knows-where? I thought they would be cute used in some fashion. Can you tell I am just mindlessly, aimlessly sewing? So HST’s are made and trimmed and in a bag. Someday they will be used. Making the HST’s is the worst chore – it will be more fun to stitch them up.

Love these polka dots!

Another fun hour in the sewing room was spent hunting through scraps to find polka dot fabric. I am trying to stick with dotty prints for the 2020 Color Challenge. This month is purple but I have not yet started the block.

The lovely Princess Mirabelle

I am still enjoying lots of texts, photos and FaceTime with my two grand babies in Vermont. Not as good as real life visiting but this is all we have for now. Above is a picture of my grand daughter, AKA Princess Mirabelle, enjoying a pretend birthday party with her stuffed animals. She makes me smile every day.

This is such a random post but it well represents how things have been. These are strange times and it will be something to look back on 2020 and the Corona Virus pandemic. Hope we are are on the other side of this soon! Please do be careful, stay healthy and reach out to friends, family and neighbors.

Scrappy Dresden and Monthly Color Challenge Block

Happy Saturday Everyone. It is National Quilting Day so I really hope you each find a few minutes to work on a project or at the very least look at fabric and plan the next project!

I got my two monthly scrappy projects done for March! For RSC2020, the color is teal and I decided to make a smaller Dresden plate. I will combine it with the larger orange one I made in February and likely need to make one or two more before I put them together into some sort of wall quilt.

For the Monthly Color Challenge, hosted by Patterns By Jen, the color is orange. You might remember I did the January and February blocks with polka dot fabrics. That caused me to do a quick search though my scraps to see if I have enough polka dotted scraps to make this a theme for the sampler. I believe I do! So this month, I continued with the dotted fabrics.

March Scrappy Blocks

The block was a breeze with a pinwheel block in the center and then some flying geese to surround it, making it a square in a square. Easy peasy and very cute!

Next up is another quilt I am working on for Mercy Hospital. I had thrifted some pretty fabrics about a week or two ago. I knew I wanted to use them in a large block design because they are quite large in scale of print. I gathered another piece from my scraps plus a cut from a blender in the shop and pieced a Giant Star Quilt using a tutorial by Jeni Baker from In Color Order. This pattern is super simple and a lot of fun. Side note: I actually made something very similar when I was about 19 or 20 years old for my parents. I remember I saw the pattern in a magazine and made with in tones of burgundy, navy blue and it had a muslin background. I filled it with a puffy polyester batting and yarn tied it. That was a whole lotta years ago!

At this point, I have the quilt basted and did some ditch stitching to stabilize everything. This weekend I should be able to get it quilted. I need to find something fun to use for the binding.

Since all of California is mandated to now ‘shelter in place’, there is plenty of time for sewing and also lots of time to read. I am LOVING this book and highly recommend it if you want something to read while we wait out this Covid-chaos. My girlfriend loaned it to me and it is such a great read.

Let’s close with a picture of my sweet grand daughters, shall we? Little sister has decided she isn’t terribly fond of sleeping in her bed and is creating some sleep deprived parents these days. Coincidentally, big sister is thinking afternoon naps are passe`. Yikes, this doesn’t make for a good combination. Hoping the baby starts to cozy up to the idea of sleeping in her bassinet soon!!

Linking to lots of fun places including Brag About Your Beauties and Oh Scrap!

Rituals and Traditions with Meg Cox

I think I have mentioned that I am the program chairperson for my local quilt guild. I really like this task as it allows me the opportunity to learn about so many great teachers and speakers. I talk and email with them and then choose who might come to the area and talk with us or teach a fun class. About a year ago, I was told that Meg Cox would be doing a West Coast speaking tour and would be in our area. She has a friend here she wanted to visit and it worked out she could schedule her visit with her friend around the time our guild met.

Meg Cox is a writer, journalist, and a quilter. She has had a really extensive career which includes authoring five books, being a reporter for the Wall Street Journal for 17 years, a quilter for about 30 years, and has written many articles on family traditions and rituals for lots of trade magazines. I felt really lucky to be able to work this out. Our guild is fairly small and wouldn’t have been able to pay for her travel out here and back as she lives on the east coast. This was a gift dropped in our laps, so to speak.

Last week Meg spoke to our guild about the value of family traditions. We heard about how traditions and rituals give family members something to look forward to and create a stronger feeling of connection. She shared some fun ways to build tradition within the family, whether your family be a traditional one or a creatively built family of friends and/or relatives. She also talked about the wonderful quilting traditions we all immerse ourselves in. Memory quilts and making quilts for those in need is a huge tradition in our arena and she shared all sorts of beautiful examples of these. Her lecture was really timed perfectly as we go into our holiday season which is rich with tradition. I encourage you to check out her website. Meg also has a wonderful monthly newsletter, titled Quilt Journalist Tell All. I subscribe to it and enjoy reading it quite a bit.

Listening to her made me think about the rituals my family has. Some are common and others maybe not so much. But these are the times we all look forward to and look back on fondly. These rituals keep us connected. For example, in my family we made birthdays special in small ways. The person celebrating their birthday chose the meal for dinner that day. I remember when my kiddos were small, they would choose the same thing over and over. Julia went through a stage of wanting hot dogs with dill relish. Not my favorite meal (by a long ways!) but when she was 6, 7 and probably 8 that was her birthday meal. My son Ian chose chicken and tortilla casserole over and over for a couple of years in a row.

Growing up, my family had lots of rituals to observe, both within our family and our religion. I was raised in the Catholic church and attended parochial school through 8th grade. Catholicism is heavily steeped in ritual, as are most religions. But the traditions I really remember are from within our family. Watching Christmas TV specials was such a treat each year. Living before DVD’s and DVR’s, we really looked forward to watching Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. My sisters and I looked forward to watching these cartoons.

When the six of us were old enough to know the hard truth about Santa, my mother decided we would draw names and fill each other’s Christmas stocking. I think this was one of my favorite things about Christmas; filling a stocking for a sister of mine and opening my stocking that was filled by a sister. We were supposed to keep it a secret and not tell each other whose stocking we were filling. I doubt we were very good at that.

We filled each others stockings with things like nail polish, 17 Magazine, lip gloss, Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers, and Love’s Baby Soft perfume (because what girl doesn’t want to walk around in a cloud of baby powder scent?) and candy.

Were you a teenager in the 70’s? If so, do you remember this lip gloss?? It was an incredibly thick goop that we applied with a ‘roller ball’ applicator. Ugh. By the way, what is this girl doing kissing Roger, Richie, Fred, David and Bob – hmmmm…

There was also the lip balm style that came in all sorts of flavors. I have such fond memories of our secret Santa stockings we made for each other!

After the lecture I was visiting with some guild members and it surprised me to hear that some didn’t really have strong memories of family traditions while growing up. This made me a little bit sad. I very much enjoy these connections and hope my kids have fond memories of our Christmases, birthdays and other family times.

I would love to hear about your traditions. Let’s share them in the comments. Maybe we can inspire each other and learn some ideas for fun ways to build our family celebrations and holidays. If this has not been something you have done, I urge you to take just one idea and implement it. Your kiddos or grand children will love it. It is a wonderful way to enhance family life.

Quilt Shows and Quilt Alongs

Good morning all. I am enjoying a lovely, quiet morning here with coffee and some blog reading and I thought it a good time to catch up. It has been a while right?

Last weekend I spent a couple of days as a vendor at a fun show in the small town of Brownsville. I can’t say how much I enjoyed this little show. It was so relaxed and the people, quilters and wanderers both, were incredibly friendly. This guild has a membership of about 30 people with roughly half being very active. The town has a population of approximately 1300 people. It was quite nostalgic for me as my first husband’s grandparents lived in Brownsville and we spent many Thanksgiving weekends with them in their very tiny house. Grandma Ada cooked on a woodturning stove and was into quilting, crochet, and stamp collecting. I have one quilt of hers, all hand stitched hexies. It is in need of repairs, being made in the 1940’s and hopefully one day I will get around to it.

The toddler books and the sweet tape measures were a popular item during the show.

Back to the show! Because it was a very small show, I didn’t bring as much inventory as I normally do. There was a corner of one table with fun notions and projects. The toddler fabric books were a fun find for customers – I had a sample of each one available.

I pre-cut quite a bit of fabric into one yard cuts so I would have enough selection without having to pack and unpack all of those bolts. Not shown in the picture is another table which displayed a number of bolts as well as the pre-cuts.

Everyone wanted to pet Jack, an emotional therapy dog used by the Sherrif’s department.

Other than the friendly quilters, one thing I was really taken with was the presentation done on Sunday afternoon at the end of the show. This small group of quilters makes an impressive number of community service quilts each year. They get together every Wednesday to work on their CS quilts. The stack they had on display was just amazing. On Sunday afternoon, the representatives of the groups to which the quilts are donated are introduced and presented with their quilts. There was a representative from the Fire Department, Hospice, local Domestic Violence as well as the Sheriff’s Department. Most of the representatives told a heartwarming story of how the quilts are used before thanking the group and loading up with quilts for the year. There was an emotional support dog who came along with the sheriff that works with children who have been removed from scary situations. The idea of presenting the quilts in this way was really touching. Do any of you do this with your community service quilts? I think it provided a meaningful opportunity for the quilters who make all of these gifts to see how valued and appreciated their work is.

October piecing for the Mosaic Mystery QAL

Last week I finished up the October blocks for the Mosaic Mystery QAL. These were simple (as you can see) but I think this is truly the only sewing I did all week! At least I am caught up and can begin the November piecing now.

The Truckee River in November

My husband and I spent a couple of days away earlier in the week. We had to go up and check on our house in Downieville since we had not been up there for so long. Because of the power outages we had to toss everything in the fridge and freezer which was quite annoying. We also spent a day with my in-laws which was lovely. We took a long walk along the river and got a lot of visiting in.

Coming soon!

Finally, just in case you haven’t seen this yet – there is another great quilt along coming up. The Push-Pull Quilt Along begins next week. The schedule is very relaxed with prompts announced every three weeks. Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl is the host and as with the last QAL, it is a transparency quilt. This technique is so unusual and the results are always striking. Needle and Foot will be sponsoring some of the prizes for the link ups. Quilt fabric kits will also be available in the shop for those who want to choose a ready-made collection of solids. The kits were curated by Yvonne so you know they will be a stunning set of color. Photos of these will be shared in a couple of weeks.

This is a three day weekend for many in the US (honoring the veterans in our country). For me, it means Julia had time to come home from school. She is here until Tuesday early morning, when I will take her back down to school. She sent a list of foods she has been missing so lots of cooking is going on. This is what all of my kids seemed to do when they were home during college. “Mom, will you make XXX for dinner?” So spaghetti and meatballs, bbq pulled pork with slaw, and Baked Potato Soup are on the menu this weekend. Ah, a light and low fat menu to be sure!! I love feeding my kiddos. Hope you are enjoying the long weekend if you are in the US. Many thanks to all of those in Service who support our country now or did so in the past!

One Adorable Pumpkin

Happy Halloween!! Your recent two weeks of family time in Vermont were wonderful. The goal was to hang out with our son and his wife and spend as much time as possible with our grand daughter. 

Grandpa was her favorite during our visit!

While there my grand daughter came down with a miserable virus and had terrible croup. Poor little girl was sick for a long stretch and toward the end of it, my husband came down with it.  Not a fun bug at all!  The two days before we left, my son and his wife were starting to come down with it but it didn’t look like they were going to be quite as sick.

Since we were having some quiet time at home and H was taking long naps due to being sick, i did have time to do some sewing. I pulled out my DIL’s sewing machine to make a Halloween costume for H. She and her mom found a cute picture of a little girl dressed up as a pumpkin with green leggings and t-shirt on underneath. 


I used a Simplicity pattern for the costume. There is a Jo-Ann’s in the next town over so off I went in search of orange fabric. At first I planned to use a wool felt but it was so stiff. I knew H wouldn’t have fun running around in that at her Halloween party (at her daycare).  I was with my son Kyle (he and his wife drove over from New York for a weekend) and he spotted a bolt of orange fleece way up on a top shelf, not yet unwrapped. Lucky for me he is 6’ 2” and was happy to hop up and down to grab it. This was perfect. 


The pumpkin is lined with fleece and filled with batting. Even trick or treating in Vermont, this girl is going to be quite warm. Her outfit is so heavy!!  There was a stencil for the face but i felt like it was too big so I ended up cutting the pieces out free hand. Using a few bits of ‘Wonder-Under’, I fused the face to the front and appliquéd them with a simple zig zag stitch. 
The pattern called for a casing to be made at the hemline with elastic inserted to make it puffy. However with the fleece, there was already a nice shape to the pumpkin. Instead, I trimmed the fleece lining to be about two inches shorter than the outer layer.  Turning one inch of the outer layer to the inside, I machine stitched the hemline. 

She was trying on the hat when I first finished it. But it was a bit too big.

Ok- my favorite part of the whole costume is definitely the hat. When I made it, H was quite happy to wear it about the house for an afternoon so I really hope she wears it on Halloween. It looks so darn cute on her. I made it during a nap time, guessing at the sizes and it was too big for her.  There wasn’t a clean way to fix this without doing a lot of seam ripping. I had to rip one seam on the  pumpkin and it was difficult to manage with that puffy fleece fabric. So I cheated and took a little tuck and just stitched it up. The hat is still a bit large but better than before. 

So darn cute!

When I left I had not had time to run out and buy some velcro which was needed for the shoulder straps. So I left it unfinished and my daughter-in-law took care of it. I received some really cute pictures of H having fun with her costume today.

Getting ready for daycare earlier this morning. So much excitement!

I am glad they had a little party at her daycare. I hear they are supposed to have a lot of rain tonight so that may put the kibosh on any trick or treating.

I love the green and white striped leggings and t-shirt under her pumpkin costume.

Just in case there was a chance for trick or treating, I also made her a tiny treat bag to carry.

This was designed off the cuff and I didn’t write down any measurements. If I had to guess, I would say it finished at about 8″ x 11″ or so. Maybe even a bit smaller. I had that polka dot ribbon on hand (actually had all of the supplies on hand) and I took two pieces and sewed them together (wrong sides together) just to make it a bit heftier.

The bag is lined, which makes it a bit stronger. Since she does not yet know what trick or treating really is, she won’t be disappointed this year if they skip it due to weather. She can play with this bag or use it next year.

While I was there H and I made a festive bandana for their dog Wusha. I think Wusha looks a bit embarrassed to wear it but this dog will do anything my grand daughter asks of her. I had the triangular pieces cut and pinned and then had H sit on my lap and help me feed the fabric through the machine. I tried to take a selfie because it was so sweet but I am really, really not good at those and didn’t get much of a picture! But we had fun and she was thrilled to help Gram-gram sew for a few minutes.

Introducing Georgie Ghost

One last project while we were there was to make a little ghost to hang in the dining room. We had been taking walks around the neighborhood and she really liked looking at the neighbors decorations. She loved the ghosts and a few little scarecrows we saw. I asked her if she would like to make a ghost and she was so excited.

This was super easy. One styrofoam ball from Wal-Mart and a packet of cheesecloth from the grocery store. I cut the cheesecloth in two strips and with the help of one happy two year old, layered the ball with the cheesecloth. Then we worked together to cut the eyes, nose and mouth. I had gotten her a glue stick that starts out purple and dries clear. This way she could see where she was putting the glue to put the pieces on. The addition of the bow on her head turned this little ghost into a girl. H and I had so much fun with this project and it was the perfect amount of work for a two year old.

Checking to see if Georgie Ghost can fly.

My son took the photos of H and her ghost – they are so sweet! We really enjoyed our time with the kids and can’t wait for our next visit. Grand parenting is the best and it would be even better if we all lived on the same side of the country!! Someday…

Linking up with a few fun places, including the monthly Favorite Finish party at Meadow Mist Designs. Be sure to check the top of the page under Link Ups!