Category Archives: Family

Family Time

We just got home from a rather quick trip to Vermont. It is somewhat difficult to find times that work for our schedules and the work schedules my son and his wife keep so even though it wasn’t too long of a trip, we decided to go for it. Basically we had two long travel days and 3 1/2 days of family time squeezed in between.This is the second time I have been to Vermont. The first was last spring at the beginning of April.  Much of the snow had only recently melted off so the landscape was still recovering from a crazy winter. We got lucky with this trip though.  The leaves are all turning color and it was just gorgeous. Two sunny days and one day of very windy, chilly weather.

Saturday we walked the local Farmer’s Market which is always fun. I love to see what they are able to grow in an area when we are visiting. Plus this Farmer’s Market has a lot of food booths (our local market doesn’t have nearly as many) so we sampled our way through. Best find of the morning was surely the dark chocolate and cherry soft pretzels. Oh my gosh, they were incredible. Ray and I decided that we need to try to replicate these. I also tried these ‘husk cherries’ that look like tiny tomatillos and, to me anyway, had basically no flavor at all.  Certainly nothing resembling a cherry flavor?

We spent the afternoon driving through Stowe and then back home via Smuggler’s Notch. This is a mountain pass through the Green Mountains. It was named for the times when Vermonters were smuggling trade with Montreal, Canada because President Benjamin Franklin had declared a trade embargo between the US and Canada in the early 1800’s to prevent America’s involvement in the Napoleonic Wars. It was also used by slaves to escape to Canada and later than that as a route for smuggling liquor in from Canada during the Prohibition. A whole lot of historical activity has occurred  over this gorgeous, incredibly narrow, mountain pass.

Julia took this picture as we drove. Gorgeous trees. On the way home, my DIL suggested we stop at Poorhouse Pies.  This is a little pie stand a few miles off the highway, in Underhill, Vermont. Who would turn pie down??  The place was adorable.

Poorhouse Pies is run by two women, Jamie and Paula.  They opened their business in 2009 and make pies daily (every single day!) and sell them to a few local markets as well as at their home. I love this place because they rely solely on the honesty of people.  They put the pies (full size and little hand pies) in a refrigerator in the shed and there is a lock box above.  The prices are listed and people slip the money into the lock box. You don’t see a whole lot of this sort of thing anymore!

The walls of the inside of the shed were covered in little notes from many visitors.

 

This girl is ready for pie!

Oh my gosh, the pie was delicious.  We had blueberry pie and we all thought it was really tasty.

Later that night Andrew and I watched a clip of an interview with the Poorhouse Pie owners. Responding to a question about the honesty of their customers, they replied that they knew of only two times where pies had been taken without payment.  Both times were on the last day of school and they figured some high school kids decided they needed pie.  For the most part though, their customers are very honest and generous, leaving more money than the pies cost. This warms my heart.

We had such a nice day. I was really impressed with my grand daughter.  At seven months old, she is one of the most easy-going infants around.

Sweetest baby ever!

She was out and about with us all day long and didn’t fuss until the very end of the day. She is delightful.

Knuckle dimples!

OK – that is enough for now. I need to get the laundry going as there are piles of it to be dealt with.  Julia still has two more days of Fall Break. She and I are heading to the zoo this morning. She is in the midst of a primate unit in Anthropology and wants to go check out the monkeys with new perspective.  I have more on this trip because we spent an awesome afternoon at the Shelburne Museum where there is a….. quilt exhibit!!! I will share that in a separate post.

Leaving you now with an adorable baby-on-a-quilt picture. What better way to end a post??

 

Ferrari Handmade – Grand Opening Celebration

Today I have something really fun to share with you. This week my sister Patti is celebrating the grand opening of her shop, Ferrari Handmade!!  She has been working incredibly hard on this for several months now and she is ready to invite you to come and browse her shop.

Let me take a few minutes to introduce you to Patti.  Of the six of us sisters, she is number three and I am number four which means…. yes, she is older than me. I will admit this gives me satisfaction in a sort of unhealthy way.  It is readily apparent in the photo above. I am the baby and she is to the right of me — even at this age, she is clearly older and wiser than I. (I love this picture – two more girls were born not long after this.)

Patti and I shared a bedroom growing up and we fought constantly.  Like, really and truly — all the time. Funny how once you live apart you miss the person that drove you nuts for so long. We would love to live near each other again.  We share a love of sewing and we both took sewing classes from Mrs. Handley back in high school.  She haunts us somewhat and if we have a sewing mistake or a major project fail, we will say “Mrs. Handley would be so disappointed.”  (I wrote about Mrs. Handley a long while back if you want to hear more about our esteemed sewing teacher.)  Yes, Patti and I have been sewing a long while now.

We both made lots of our clothes during high school (remember,  my father owned a fabric store so we had ‘easy access’.). Not long after high school, Patti moved to Southern California, married and started her family. (Click here for a post about the bridal gown she made for her wedding.)

Once Patti started having children, her sewing changed a bit and she began sewing for her kids.  She has a five children, three girls and two boys. One of the things Patti really enjoyed was making costumes for her children. Her girls were very involved in theater when they were in high school and she made costumes for them.

Maria playing the part of Tina Denmark, in the play “Ruthless”

As Patti’s kids grew up and began their own families, she shifted her sewing priorities yet again and began to focus on her grand children.  Hers are very lucky grand kids because she has made some really fun costumes for them.

When her first grandson, Jack, was just a baby, his mother, Maria (same girl as the one that played Tina Denmark in the costume above)  had to speak at Comic Con in Southern California. She asked Patti to make a costume so she could dress him up as Jack-Jack, from the kids’ movie, The Incredible’s.

Last year, two of her grand daughters wanted to dress up as Princess Lolly and Queen Frostine from the kids’ Candyland game.  Grandma came through and the girls were adorable.

The older grand daughter (Queen Frostine) had a recent obsession of Veruca Salt, the character in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie.  She was thrilled with this costume from her Grandma.

Am I getting the idea across?  She loves to sew and she sews a lot! It came time to think of another way to put her sewing to work for her.  Now that her children are out of the house, she has a lot more time.  I have written before about how helpful she has been by working the quilt shows with me.  As we spent time together preparing for and working the shows,  the more she thought about having her own business.  She loves creating these wonderful outfits for her kids and wanted to expand on this hobby of hers.

And so it began. Ferrari Handmade came to fruition just days after she decided to open a shop. Once Patti decides to do something, there is no going back.  She epitomizes the phrase, “Go big or go home”.  She commits and dives in. Patti began researching fabrics and selecting designs and creating dresses. She had a soft opening at the last quilt show we worked and she was quite successful. She sold a number of dresses and little tote bags and took home orders for custom work.

She has been sewing fiend over the past weeks.

She is lucky to have a great studio to work in. I may be a wee bit envious. Ok, yes, I am envious – it is a lovely space. (Real life crafting comment though…. she made me promise to tell you it never looks this clean. She wasn’t ready to go public with a picture of a messy space just yet.)  😉

Her inventory grows daily as does her selection in her Etsy shop. Right now she is focused on creating a dress in each of the fabrics she has on the shelf. She is making sizes 2T through girl’s size 8.  I really like the system she utilizes for stocking her shop. She lists at least one finished dress which the customer is welcome to order, or the customer can place an order for that dress in a size that works for her child. Patti will take the order and ship the dress within five business days (though she is usually faster than that– she does not seem to require very much sleep.)

I think one factor  setting Patti’s product apart from others, is her use of trim work and unique accents. Most of her dresses have piping accents at the sleeve, bodice or neckline and many have ruffles or under skirts in coordinating fabric.

Her fabric selections are the perfect combination of pretty and practical.  She uses quality cottons which are easily washed, so her dresses are beautiful but also practical for children; ready to be worn and played in.

Of all she has made for this season, this is my favorite.

I love the dark blue celestial pattern with that bit of gold trim peeking out at the sleeve and from the hem of the lining.

 

How about these snowmen on blue – it is great for the holidays but could easily be worn all through the winter months.

This dress features snowflakes on a deep red background. I should note that Patti uses a very generous hem so these can be worn for a long while before the child out grows the dress.

 

This sweet holiday dress has a rustic feel to it.  Patti chose a print featuring Christmas ornaments decorating a background of pine. I love the bias strip of plaid she used to accent the bottom of the dress.

Handmade doll dresses to match your little one’s dress.

One more thing I have to show you.  Patti also makes doll dresses that fit American Girl Dolls, or other dolls that are 18 inches tall.  I love this!! How fun to surprise your little one with a matching dress for her doll. If you are shopping and select a dress for your special girl, you can also order a matching dress.  She has some in stock but will happily take orders for others to match the dress you are purchasing.

Hopefully you now have an idea of the style and excellent quality of the items made by Ferrari Handmade. Because so many of you either have children or grandchildren, or a special child in your life, I know you will be happy to hear Patti is offering a custom dress to one lucky winner.  To enter the giveaway, you need to do two things.  First hop over to her shop and take a peek at the dresses she has listed so far.  Come back and comment here to tell us which dress is your favorite. (Hoping this will provide some input on the fabric choices she is using and then she can plan accordingly.)  The other requirement is to either like her Etsy shop so you can keep track of what she is offering, or to follow @ferrarihandmade on Instagram. Either way, you will then be able to hear about any promotions or new product that might be available in her shop. So, you have two simple tasks to complete and you may win a lovely handmade dress for your special girl.

Additionally, readers can use the coupon code GRANDOPENING20 to receive 20% off any orders at Ferrari Handmade.  This coupon is valid through the end of day on October 10th.  Definitely a great deal on a gorgeous gift for a little one.

Thank you for taking part in this celebration of Ferrari Handmade. I am so proud of my sister and the work she has done to get this up and running. If you feel so inclined, please share the  news of her shop with any of your friends who might appreciate Patti’s work. It takes a village and I love the way our community supports each other!  Good luck with the giveaway!

Sam’s Jersey Quilt

A while back, my sister asked if I would make a quilt with some of the jerseys her son, Sam, had worn over the years.  My sister’s family is quite the opposite of mine.  They are all about sports – football, skiing, running, baseball, lacrosse – they all play something!  The family also follows pro sports, both football and baseball.  My family? Um, not so much. In fact, one year when a dance Julia attended (in junior high) was sports themed and the kids were supposed to wear a shirt from their favorite team, we had nothing. No favorite team, no t shirts or pennants – nothing!  She ended up borrowing a t-shirt from her cousin to wear for the dance, making her a Giants baseball fan for those three hours.

Sam pitching for Varsity baseball at Cherry Creek High School in Colorado.

Sam just graduated high school and is off to college in Colorado where he will pitch for their baseball team.  He has played baseball for years and also played football in high school and with all of that, he has amassed quite the stack of jerseys.  It was fun to look through the jerseys he sent me, but wow, I was so hesitant to start his quilt. I have had the jerseys sitting in the sewing room since April. I would look and think about it but then fold them up and put them away. That slick jersey material and the rubbery numbers and logos made me nervous.

Love the intensity of Sam’s expression in this shot.

I asked around for suggestions and ideas and lots of people came to my rescue.  Namely, Sarah Craig, of Confessions of a Fabric Addict, who has made loads of memory quilts.  She and I emailed a few times and she gave me a few tips and also recommended a fusible interfacing by June Tailor that she likes.

My first step was to cut the front from the back of each shirt at the side seams.  I also saved any smaller logos from the sleeves.

Julia helped me with this and we sort of folded the shirt fronts and backs into similar size squares and laid them out on the floor. Once I got to that point, I just didn’t know what I wanted to do.  So, I did what any sane quilter would do and put it back in the bag and set it aside. 🙂

Finally, I did a little more research and found this book, Terrific T-Shirt Quilts, by Karen Burns.   It has been very helpful.  Somehow, I couldn’t picture what I wanted this quilt to look like. It definitely needed to be masculine and with red, blue and dark blue jersey and logos, there was no question it was a guy’s quilt. But it needed some sort of structure or organization.  When I saw this quilt, it gave me just what I wanted. This pattern calls for the shirts to be cut to 12″ x 14″ and stabilized with fusible interfacing.  The June Tailor interfacing recommended by Sarah worked really well. It is a woven fabric and adhered to the slick jersey fabric without any problem. Getting the logos to work within the 12″ x 14″ block was tricky.  Some of the logos were too wide, others were featured up at the top of the fabric (just below the seam line across the shoulders in the jersey). Because of this, the designs are not centered well within the blocks. This doesn’t bother me a whole lot though.

I love this block with his last name on it but I barely fit it within the 12″ width requirement.

After getting the jerseys prepped and cut, I started to work on the sashing and border pieces.  After checking in with Juanita (my sister and Sam’s mother) I decided on gray and red for the fabrics. As luck would have it, I had a great gray and white polka dot in my shop. It is actually a wide back fabric by Red Rooster (and it just happens to be available here!!) In addition to the gray and white polka dot, I chose a cherry red textured solid by PB Textiles. (Why yes, thank you for asking, I do happen to carry it in my shop.  Click here!)

Doesn’t it look great??  I am so happy with it and hopefully Sam will like it as well!  I added a fourth row of blocks so I could use more of the jerseys. Plus it needed the extra length – Sam is a tall guy.  With the fourth row, the length grew to 72″. I have some ideas about using the little logos from the sleeves, as well as some of the wider logos that wouldn’t fit in the quilt top design, to make a pieced backing. For now though, I need to set this project aside once again.

Before I can finish Sam’s quilt, I need to finish a different project I am working on.  I am reviewing a new book by Dorie Hruska, called Making Connections. It is a great tool for free motion quilting or long arm quilting with a continuous flow, thereby avoiding starts and stops.  Remember my post about my entries at the fair when the judge commented she could see too many starts and stops?  Well, this is helping me correct that!! There will be a fun blog hop which begins on Monday (but my post won’t come up until September 8th. ) I will be hosting a giveaway of one copy of the book so be sure to come back and check it out!

Have a great weekend everyone!  It is going to be insanely hot so I will be inside taking advantage of the A/C and sewing.  How about you?

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

(This is an affiliate post, meaning if you click through and purchase Dorie’s book, I will receive a small commission.)

 

 

Time for School

Hi Everyone — Today is the first day of school for Julia. Summer absolutely flew by. I posted a few pictures on Instagram last week about the county fair but I thought it would be fun to share some of the details with you.  Julia did a great job taking care of and showing Ella. When you show a pig at the fair, there are two places in which the kids compete. One is called Market Class which is where the judge assesses the quality of the pig, with regard to structure and muscle vs fat. Because the kid’s select their animal when it is very young based on it’s structure and then feed it out over the next six months, they have an impact on these things. If an animal is over weight or too lean, the owner adjusts feed accordingly. Julia had many challenges with Ella and her food intake so this was not easy.

Julia showing Ella off to the judge.

The other is showmanship which is where they judge the owner’s ability to work with their animal.  Out of about 20 kids in her group, Julia came in 6th in both Market Class and Showmanship. For her first year, this was so great.

Job well done Julia!

Better than that is when Ella was auctioned, she was purchased by the CEO of Telestream, the company I used to work at and where my husband currently works.  Each year the company buys one or two animals to support the local youth and then donates the meat to our local food bank.  Our family has been involved with Interfaith Food Ministry for many years so Julia is very familiar with the organization. Before Fair came, she wrote to the CEO and explained she would be so happy knowing Ella went to such a good cause, feeding the hungry in our town. In a month or so, Julia and I will pick the meat up and take it to the Food Ministry for disbursement.

I think 4-H is a wonderful organization as they have impact in many areas of a child’s growth and maturity. It was required that each of the kids (and one parent) work a shift in the Pasty Booth as this is a major fundraiser for the club.  Julia did great and the time flew by because the booth was very busy. Luckily the booth is air conditioned with those ovens going constantly.

Preparing Pastys to bake in the oven.

Saying good bye to Ella was sad for Julia but she knew this was the way it was supposed to play out.  She worked really hard and I am incredibly proud of her.

The last couple of days of summer were spent catching up after the busy week we had.  Yesterday Julia and I had lunch together and saw a movie to celebrate summer’s end.  It was lots of fun and she was ready to go back today and see all of the friends she missed over the summer.

Before fair, Julia asked if I would make her a new purse. She is learning to drive and for the first time, has to carry a purse with her. Of course I agreed and we hopped on Pinterest to look at my board of Purses, Bags and Totes.    Julia chose a basic bag from Very Purple Person, called the Reversible Bag.  We made a few changes so hers is not reversible.  More on that in a minute though.

First she had to select her fabric.  She had fun looking at all of the bolts in the shop and selected a batik for the outside.  Then we pulled choices for the lining.

So many choices!

It didn’t take very long for her to settle on this Island Batik floral and the deep orange solid, Art Gallery’s Pure Element Tiger Lily.

It is a great combination and that orange works perfectly!

This bag is super simple. It prints as a PDF and you just need to tape a few pieces together to get the full template.  We did lengthen the strap.  Julia is 5′ 8″ and she wanted it to hang to her hip. I also added two pockets with Velcro closures to the interior and a little clip to hang her keys from.  (I still can’t believe she is old enough to need keys.  It seems like she should still be filling her purse with stuffed animals and markers.)

I didn’t put a closure at the top of the bag but I think I may add one.  It seems like it needs it so it isn’t always gaping open.  Julia doesn’t mind either way. Just trying to think of a closure that can be added now that the lining is all sewn in. I am sure I will think of something.

Sitting up like a big girl.

Now that fair is finished and school has started, it is time to catch up on housework and get ready for my son and his family.  Then come next week and we are all beyond excited!  Look at this girl — I can’t wait to play with her! She is sitting up and trying to crawl.  Just adorable.  🙂

Reno Show Recap & Summer Break

Last weekend was the Truckee Meadows Quilt Guild annual show in Reno, Nevada. Needle & Foot was a vendor there – this was the second show I have done.  The first one was our local guild’s show in May. As with most things, I did a few things different this time and learned a bit more with the Reno experience.

Before we  go into all of that, I want to talk a bit about my ‘silent’ partner.  It was about February of last year when I got the idea to vend at the Grass Valley quilt show in May.  But I was really hesitant to commit and to pay the $200 booth fee.  I have mentioned now and then that I have difficulties with migraines. But if I were to be honest, I would describe my migraine issue with stronger language – I have a chronic illness and it really wreaks havoc with my daily life. I get about two or three migraines each week. This has been on-going since 2009. For whatever reason my body shifted (probably something to do with peri-menopause and then menopause) and the migraines kicked in with force.  (I am not explaining all of this to gather your sympathies, more to show why I make some of the decisions I do.)

People with chronic migraine have a really difficult time committing to anything with a defined date or time. I rarely know how my week will go,wait –  not rarely, scratch that.  I never know how it will go.  So it makes it hard for me to join committees, or volunteer groups, promise to take Julia somewhere, etc.  I cancel out of many, many commitments. All. The. Time.  When I wanted to try a quilt show, I knew I had to have back-up. I couldn’t take the chance on doing this without someone else there to run the booth if I got sick.

My five sisters – at a surprise party for Cathy (the one in the red t-shirt

Knowing this, I called Patti and asked her if she would work the show with me (or without me, as the case may be.) She immediately agreed. I mean without hesitation, without knowing exactly where it was, how long it lasted, or what it entailed. That is how she is. That is how all of my sisters are. Having her work it with me gave me the confidence to go ahead with it. We did the Grass Valley show and it was great fun.

Because of the success of the first show, we signed up for a few more. Now we were planning as a team. Patti is an incredible seamstress.  She has made two quilts – her first one was queen size as a gift and the other was for her daughter, Laura. But for the most part, she sews garments. She decided to make a few things and bring them to the show in Reno to gauge reactions to her work and the pricing.  In the space of about six weeks, Patti planned fabric and color, pattern and detail work, to make a selection of girl’s dresses and little coordinating messenger bags.

I was thrilled with her plan because it added a whole new dimension to the booth. As you know, many quilters do not enjoy garment sewing. However almost all quilters do recognize highly skilled workmanship. I knew these dresses would be appreciated and valued by the quilters shopping at the show.  More importantly, it meant Patti and I had something to work on together. Patti lives about 150 miles from me but we called and texted constantly as she developed her plan and made these gorgeous dresses.

OK – let’s talk about the show. It was a great experience. The show was smaller than the first show we did and was a non-juried show. This made for lower attendance. However, the people that were there were so friendly. They shopped our booth and made purchases – enough so I would say it was worth our time. The venue wasn’t without issues though. You can probably tell from the photos, the lighting was just awful. (These photos have been edited, lightened and brightened.) It felt like the power was out in our corner. Everything was so dark! That was quite a problem. We were carrying bolts into the light to see true colors whenever a customer was trying to make a decision. It added a layer of frustration for each of the vendors. Also, there wasn’t any wifi available. In this day of using technology for everything, lack of wifi is pretty ridiculous. We had to use cell service for our phones, had to use our phones as hot-spots for the iPads, and we were constantly charging devices to keep things going. (Because of these two issues, I will probably pass on this show next year, unless changes are made.)

We tried a few new things with this show. We arranged the bolts in more of a thematic groupings and tried to make the colors flow better (hard to illustrate with the lousy light) . I think this made the booth flow much better. I ordered black tablecloths which added uniformity to the look too.  I folded the fat quarters in a different way so the pattern of the fabric was displayed better and I grouped them by colorways in the basket.  It was interesting to see the difference in our sales. We sold a lot of fat quarters and lots of the little kits and notions we brought; at the last show we hardly sold any of those items. The yardage we sold was also interesting. For one thing,many of the guild members were collecting floral prints for a class that was scheduled for October. They wanted large scale prints for fussy cutting. Luckily I had a selection of Art Gallery fabrics (Maureen Cracknell and Sharon Holland’s prints) that worked for this and those sold well.

For lots of reasons, I would call the show a success. It wasn’t hugely profitable but Patti and I gained exposure, learned another thing or two about booth set-up and tear down, sold fabric and dresses, and most of all, had a great time together. The next show isn’t until mid-September. It is about 50 miles from home so a bit more convenient than the Reno show. (Even though we did stay overnight in Reno for two nights, we had the luxury of staying in my in-law’s second home. They generously gave us access to the house which was sooo much nicer than staying in a hotel – and, of course, more economical too.)

Patti has decided to go for it and she will be opening an Etsy shop with her handmade items. As this progresses, I will keep you posted – I think her work is nothing short of amazing and these dresses will be fun gifts at holiday time or for birthday gifts.

It is August now and that means school starts in two weeks for Julia. With the end of summer approaching, I want to take a bit of time off and focus on family.  Today I am taking Julia and her BFF to the mall and out for lunch. Fair is next week which means we will be super busy with Julia and her 4-H project, Ella. I will turn in my quilts for exhibit later today too. There is lots going on!

Grammy’s sweet girl is coming soon!!!t

As if that isn’t enough, my son and his wife and this little chunk are coming for five days at the end of the month. As I thought about all I have going on and how busy things have been, I decided to take a vacation from blogging and social media.  I really want the break and look forward to shifting my focus to home and family for a few weeks.  While I am away from the blog and my social media platforms, I will still be shipping orders. If you need anything in particular, you can always email me via the Etsy shop or at my email address. I am happy to help you. But I won’t be looking at Facebook or Instagram for a couple of weeks. It is important (to me anyway) to get away from all of the chatter that is social media. As much as I love the on-line community, it can be quite a distraction from daily life and eats away at my time in the sewing room too. Hopefully this makes sense to you. Enjoy this last bit of summer — I look forward to catching up with everyone the first week of September!!  When I return I will share the book selection for the Autumn round of Fabric & Fiction. I also have a few other fun things planned. I’ll be back soon!!  🙂

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Small Finishes for This Week

This week sure buzzed by quickly. There was not a whole lot of time spent in the sewing room.  I have been spending quite a bit of time working on the shop; especially on the process of moving patterns from the first shop to the new shop. I think it is worth the time it takes.  I have had a number of sales from the new shop so I know people are finding it. I like managing the patterns separately from the fabrics. But it has taken a lot of time!

As far as sewing, I made two little projects for my sweet grand baby. My daughter in law asked me if I would make strap covers for their infant carrier. She even found the right pattern to use for the straps that fit her model carrier. I think this is a pretty smart move- the strap covers add some cushion if baby girl falls asleep with her face on those straps.  They also catch the drool that come along with baby. It is much easier to take the covers off and toss them in the wash then to wash the pack.
The pattern was a breeze to follow. I did have to make a quick trip to find some green fabric (it actually is green, but leaning to teal blue) for the covers. I had plenty of batting scraps for the filling and velcro for the closures.
These are entirely reversible which would have been fun if I had used two different fabrics but I didn’t.  The pack is a print of green and blue and it didn’t need another fabric in the mix. Baby also needs a little hood that will attach to the pack but I haven’t tackled that yet. I did buy plenty of the fabric though. Hopefully I will get to that in another week or so.

After making the little strap covers, I was in the mood to make something else for her. A few months ago, I purchased a collection of the older Cotton and Steel prints during a #destash on Instagram. I had not used any of them yet but as I poked through the bag, I found two prints that were perfect for a little sun hat.

Isn’t that the cutest thing? I had an old pattern from who knows what, so I can’t recommend it because you probably couldn’t find it anyway. There are many patterns like this though and a simple google search should be fruitful. It came together easily and I am hopeful it will fit. Her mama sent me the measurement of her head so if anything, it might be a little big.  I love the back side with a little bow.  Adorable.

I look forward to seeing it on her little head.  Finally, I started the memory quilt I am making for my nephew Sam.  He picked out an assortment of his football and baseball jerseys. He even sent a small one that he must have worn as a little boy. As suggested by several readers in the comments of an earlier post, I emailed Sarah from Confessions of a Fabric Addict to get her input.  She suggested a particular brand of fusible interfacing she likes for backing these projects. I ordered that and it is already here, ready and waiting for me.

My ever helpful daughter and I cut the jerseys up.

I was really nervous to cut into these. Before we started cutting, Julia and I folded them into little blocks and laid them out to get an idea of how I would make this. Then we cut the fronts from the backs leaving everything intact and as large as possible.  I think I will make a lot of 14″ squares with the majority of the jerseys.  Then I will cut miscellaneous bits and pieces that aren’t going to measure up as big but should be included (mascots, American Flags, etc).  Those will be bordered in red and fit into the puzzle where I can. I think it shouldn’t be terribly difficult. The next step is to stabilize this slippery jersey fabric. Sam is off to college in the fall so maybe, just maybe, I will have it done in time?  Well, at least during autumn? Ok, ok, definitely before he graduates college?  We will have to see!

This week is once again my week to sponsor the giveaway for the Sewcial Bee Sampler. I had a lot of fun hosting the giveaway at the end of June too.  If you are participating in the sew along, hop over to Maureen Cracknell’s or Sharon Holland’s blog to find out how to enter and win! It could be your lucky week! There is also a discount code for the Sewcial Bee quilters. Go check it out!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!  I am linking up to a few favorites. Find them at the top of the page under Link Ups.

Have you signed up for the Needle and Foot News yet? Published monthly, this newsletter provides an update on the latest fabrics to arrive at the shop, as well as any promotions or events happening at Needle & Foot. Click here or use the sign up form at the right side of the page, toward the top!

 

Dog Days of Summer

It is so hot outside, really just too hot. As I write, the thermometer on the deck reads 95 degrees, in the shade. This means it is about 100 billion degrees in the sun. Hence the reason I am inside playing on the computer! When it is like this, I try to go out early in the morning to do any chores that need to be done. Yesterday I was out early, dropping Julia off at the high school.  (She is volunteering as a teacher’s assistant for a class taught by her English teacher to a group of exchange students from France.) After dropping her off, I worked in the garden, dead heading roses. We have a nice selection of roses which we have to keep inside the fenced area to protect them from the ever hungry deer that wander our property.

The roses are slowing down a bit due to the heat but we still have some really pretty ones.

I spent about an hour working in the yard and while I trimmed and clipped, I listened to a recent podcast from While She Naps by Abby Glassenberg.  Episode 100 was an interview with Alissa Carlton of the Modern Quilt Guild. Even though I was familiar with much of the origin of the MQG, it was interesting to hear Alissa’s perspective as one of the founders of this ever growing organization. The podcast was made even more interesting when Alissa talked about her other job as a casting director for the reality TV show, Project Runway. I recommend this episode (and really, all of Abby’s podcasts) as it covered a lot of interesting topics.

This girl’s been working. Check out these boots.

Because Julia was working at the high school for the day, I helped her out by feeding and cooling off her girls, Ella and Daisy. Ella and Daisy are two market hogs Julia is raising as a project for 4-H.

Measuring Ella to monitor her growth.

This has been a great experience and I think she enjoys it for the most part. As with any animal project, she has had a few issues to deal with.  Ella, the show hog that Julia has been training to show at our county fair, is oddly uninterested in eating.  She isn’t gaining near the weight she needs to gain to qualify for showing at the fair and for selling at the auction at the end of the fair. This is baffling but Julia is treating it as a science project and trying her darnedest to get Ella to gain weight. She is mixing raw cow’s milk with her feed three times a day to entice Ella to eat more. (She gets the raw milk from her very kind 4-H leader who has a dairy cow.) She also makes tons of scrambled eggs to mix into Ella’s feed to make it more desirable.  So far, Ella isn’t having any of it. She snacks a bit and then gives the rest to her roommate, Daisy.  You can see where this is going. Daisy is gaining all kinds of weight!

Ella and Daisy keeping cool in the mud.

Besides concocting these meals for Ella three times daily (which Daisy eats for the most part!) Julia also has to keep them cool during these dog days of summer. Pigs do not tolerate heat well as they have no ability to sweat.  When Julia and Ray built the pen for the girls, they put misters in which is a great help. Julia also goes out multiple times throughout the day to hose both pigs down.  They LOVE this and it is adorable to watch how the play in the spray of the hose and try to drink the water.

If Ella’s slow weight gain continues, Julia will end up showing Daisy at the fair and auctioning her off instead of Ella.  Daisy is bred as a feeder pig, to be raised for meat.  She will not do well when shown at the fair but whomever is kind enough to purchase her at the auction will have a freezer full of great quality pork. Ella will be fed out until she is large enough and has put on enough fat to be butchered. It isn’t what Julia expected but this is life, right?

Even with all that has been going on around here, I had a bit of time to sew this week. I wanted to catch up on my blocks for the Sewcial Bee Sampler. Hosted by Maureen Cracknell and Sharon Holland, this has been such a fun project. They created it to increase the connection amongst the on-line quilters and it has been really successful. Check out the #sewcialbeesampler on Instagram – there are more than 6,400 photos posted to it.

I have fallen behind on my blocks but I did get a few made this week. I tried to combine solids with fabrics by Maureen Cracknell, both her Garden Dreamer fabric line as well as the earlier line, Fleet & Flourish. But I was running dangerously low and still have several blocks to complete.  I had a funky size scrap of 1/2 of one Ex Libris panel by Alison Glass that I have been hoarding. I knew I would find the right thing to use it for and this is it. The colors work perfectly and I can fussy cut the bits of the panel to use just the parts I need.

Here is another block with a bit of Ex Libris in the center.

Sewcial Bee Sampler, 20 of 25 blocks

I had all of the blocks thus far completed arranged on the floor to look at the flow of color. I need to make sure the last five blocks are made with colors that balance well with what I already have. I think I want to frame one more with the light green and another with the mustard yellow.  As I looked at these, one block jumped out at me – How come I didn’t see the mistake??

I need to spend a few minutes taking apart the upper left corner. Oops!! There is one more block to be released this week and I have four that I still need to make. Then we will sash the blocks and start assembling the quilt top. I really love the blocks I have made thus far – this one is a keeper. It should finish at 72″ square.

Linking up with Oh Scrap and a few others.  Please check out the links at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Have you signed up for the Needle and Foot News yet? Published monthly, this newsletter provides an update on the latest fabrics to arrive at the shop, as well as any promotions or events happening at Needle & Foot. Click here or use the sign up form at the right side of the page, toward the top!

 

A Harmonious Finish

This week I finished my Harmony quilt. I will finally be able to send it off to my nephew and his wife as their wedding gift. Doesn’t some rule of etiquette say you can give a wedding present within the first year and it is still ‘proper’? According to this post on Manners Monday of the Huffington Post, I am still within the time frame. Though really, who would refuse a wedding gift because it was late? At least I am finally giving it to them!!

You might remember I made the quilt top a long time ago. I used a fat eighth set of Millie Fleur by BariJ for the centers and Moda solids, Fig Tree Cream and Stone. The pattern is one that alternates hourglass blocks and economy blocks, each of which finished at 9 1/2″. I love the look of this pattern and feel proud to have drawn it myself and figured it out without a pattern (I don’t do that too often.)

I wanted to quilt it on a long arm because there is lots of cool negative space and it would have been fun to play with it. However, that just never worked out and in the interest of time and wanting to complete this quilt, I opted to quilt it at home.  It is fairly large at 74″ square so I decided against free motion quilting and settled for straight line with my walking foot. I did a diagonal line across the middle. For one side I did vertical lines all the way out and on the other side I quilted horizontal lines. I like the effect.

My favorite part of the quilt is the bottom border where I relief quilted their last name and the words EST. 2016.  It is a sweet reminder of when they married and established their family of two (plus a couple of dogs!!) As with my other relief quilting projects, I fused stabilizer to the back of the border strip (before it was attached to the quilt) Once the letters were traced on to the border, I used my darning foot and created the design by free motion quilting around the shapes of the letters and numbers.  After attaching the border strip and quilting the body of the quilt, I took the darning foot and FMQ’d the outline of each letter and number to quilt that section of the border and make the letters stand out and puff up a bit.

On the corners I used a four patch block as a cornerstone.  On each of these I quilted a little flower. The borders were free motion quilted with a pattern of loops, alternating small and large ones.

To finish it off, I made a scrappy binding!  I am such a fan of scrappy bindings. Luckily, I had just enough of the Millie Fleur fabric left to make the binding.

The backing is a green, floral wide back I purchased long ago and I couldn’t honestly say what it is. I can say I love the ease of a wide back for backing. Pieced backs are very cool and give you sort of a double sided quilt but wide backs (108″ wide) provide ease of use and a speedy finish. (Plus I have a large piece of it leftover which is kind of nice!)  In fact, I recently bought the first bolt of wide back, a small gray polka dot by Red Rooster and it is listed in my shop.  Just in case you need some. 🙂

I can’t wait for the kids to receive their quilt.  I was really sad to have missed this wedding last year. From the pictures they shared, it was just a gorgeous day for my nephew and his new wife. I am sharing a picture of them dancing at their wedding. Breathtaking, aren’t they? I hope they love the quilt and use it happily for years to come.

If you haven’t yet signed up, I would love to have you sign up for my newsletter. Sent monthly, it contains updates about new fabrics I have in the shop and promotions that will run that month for newsletter readers. Sign up form is on the right side of your screen, toward the top.

Linking to my favorites, each of which can be found at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

 

The Best Kind of Sewing

I know I am not alone when I say I love to sew for a cause. There are so many people less fortunate than us, people who are dealing with all sorts of hardship. Quilting and sewing cannot fix these things, but it can show others how much we care. One such cause is Sadie’s Dream for a Cure. Founded in 2012, this organization provides tote bags filled with toys, crayons, games and stuffed animals to children who are battling cancer. Sometimes the child regularly endures long IV infusions or hospital stays in an isolation room while their immune system is severely compromised from their treatments. These bags bring a little happiness to a scary time for a child.

This organization has several options for how we can help. They will provide an entire kit to a person wanting to sew a bag. These kits contain the fabric, fusible batting and the label for the front. Alternatively, they will send you just the label, if you would like to rather use your own fabric. I thought it would be a good use of some stash so I requested just the label. Finally, if you don’t have time to sew just now, they keep a wish list on their website of items they need for filling the bags. Here is a link to check it out.

Bags are donated to hospitals all over the country. Some of the bags are filled with adult items for parents who find themselves suddenly experiencing an extended stay at a pediatric hospital. The adult bags are stocked with toiletries and snacks.

Before I go any further, I need to make a clarification. I didn’t make all four bags shown at the top of the page. I first heard of this project on Instagram when The Quilter’s Planner announced a sew along to make these bags as a group. They did a few posts explaining the steps along the way. I didn’t join in with the sew along due to some timing issues. However, I did pass the idea along to my sister. She also loves to sew and I was fairly sure she would want to make a bag or two. Turns out she made three! Hurray for the kindness of others.

It has been fun to receive pictures of the bags my sister made over the last week or so. She did this cute one with bugs — perfect for the budding entomologist.

Who wouldn’t love the colors in this purple and blue bag? The fabric choices are perfect. It would work for a child or an adult.

For the third bag she used this sweet multicolored fabric with little cupcakes.

My bag is pink with a floral print used for the pockets and the trim around the top. I added a pop of green for the accent strip. When I was making it there was one hiccup.  After I attached the lining to the outer bag, I noticed I had forgotten to put the pocket on the lining (for the inside of the bag). Dang it. I decided to unpick the stitches on the side seam and carefully insert the pocket and try to stitch it down. It was kind of silly but it worked.

I am pretty happy with the final results! Fun, bright colors make for a cute bag.

These bags are fun to make and a simple way to help out a family going through a rough time. I enjoy bag making anyway so this was a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

Just a quick note – I want to let you know I have begun a newsletter to keep readers posted about my fabric shop. I will be sending it out about every eight weeks or so and it will contain information on new arrivals and fun promotions for my newsletter subscribers. If you are interested, there is a sign up form on the right side of the page.

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts and TGIFF.  Hope all of you have a fantastic long weekend for the Memorial Day holiday.

 

Three Babies with Three Quilts

This is a quick post to bring a little smile to your day. Over the past several months our family has grown by three.  It has been wonderful to welcome the three newest members to the family. This brings the great granchild count up to 12 for my parents. Quite the family my parents started; they had six girls and the six of us had a total of 21 children between us. Now there are 12 great grandchildren (so far!)

When I found out about all of the babies to be born in the beginning of 2017 (we had one born in January and two born in March) I got busy making some quilts. Now that the babies are here and the quilts are gifted, I want to share photos of these sweet babies and their quilts.

This little guy was born January 17th. He has the lattice quilt I made for him last fall. (Read about details for this one here.)  Isn’t he adorable? Have you seen such a cute smile? His two older sisters dote on him. This lattice quilt was based on this tutorial.

My sweet grand daughter was born next, on March 7th. She is so darn cute. This girl got a quilt of HST’s based on the Simply Snuggly pattern. More details on this project can be found here. Her presence in this world means I will be traveling to Vermont when I can and enjoying the stream of photos her parents share with me in the meanwhile. She just started to smile last week and it melts my heart to see those smiles.

Finally, the third baby, this adorable girl was born at the end of March. She also has two older siblings, a brother and a sister. I made her the rainbow star quilt using the When You Wish pattern by BonJour Quilts. For details on this quilt click here. I really loved making this one and will definitely use this pattern again.

Hope you enjoyed these sweet pictures. I love seeing the babies with the quilts. Makes me smile. 🙂