Category Archives: Family

Just Checking In

Somehow it is nearing the last part of January and I haven’t sat down even once to write a post. Crazy times here in my part of the world. Last we chatted, there was a snow storm and power outage in our community. Well, let’s just say it was one crazy time. So many people were out of power, propane, internet and cell service for days, turning into weeks. In some ways, the huge annoyance of it all really brought people together. There were lots of people who literally could not get out off their property. People who had no heat or way to cook. This lasted so long. One woman in our area started cooking for others and just had locals sign up to help or to receive food as needed. She really amazed me. Within a short time, she had a team of people who drove to other parts of the area and delivered hot meals. There was also a team of men who had chainsaws and volunteered to chop trees that were blocking driveways or leaning on rooftops. Yep, quite the crazy time but people rallied.

My parents were without power for 12 days. That is a long, long time to live with wood stove heat and a little generator to keep the fridge cold. They slept at our house but their days without power were long and difficult. The silver lining was we got to have some lovely dinners shared with my mom and dad. It was one long slumber party! We had lots of long chats about our impending move to the state of Washington and now my parents are considering moving up there too! Yahoo!!

Checking out a map of the state of Washington.

Life is back on track now but there is so much to be cleaned up – anywhere I drive, I see yards with huge trees lying across the property. Piles and piles of debris are everywhere and the county is trying to keep up with all of this.

Ray and I have been sorting and purging so much stuff. How did we end up with all of this?? I have made trip after trip to donate carloads of items to the local thrift stores. Yet the garage is quickly filling with packed boxes. I would estimate we are 75% packed which feels good. We are using Pods to move – basically filling these storage containers which are then stored for us until we are at the next house. They will be delivered to that house when we request it. These make for an interesting moving process that is convenient and fairly affordable. Interior painting is done, and carpet cleaning is scheduled which means we are getting close to listing the house.

Julia in her happy place! Newborn piglets.

After way too much packing, cleaning and sorting, Ray and I decided to get away and go visit Julia. Her university is about 350 miles south so it’s a bit of a drive. But wow – what a difference it makes!

One of the animal units on campus.

Seeing green, rolling hills on every side were a refreshing change from our damaged hillsides. This was taken on a walk through the beef unit on campus.

Montana De Oro bluffs.

We also took a short drive to the beach and wandered the trail along this bluff. The waves were quite dramatic that morning! We took sandwiches and had a picnic on the beach after our walk.

Books, books everywhere!

In the late afternoon, Julia and I masked up and walked over to Phoenix Books, a used bookstore near the house we were renting. Is this crazy or what?!? This is just one corner but books were everywhere. Of course I found the quilting section and it was huge. The books were shelved so tightly it was quite difficult to look at them. The cookbook section was a lot of fun too. So many great books everywhere. Using great self-control, I bought only one thin book because anything I brought home would be one more thing to pack! The bookshop reminded me of a quilt fabric shop called Obie’s Country Store that I visited some years ago in Pennsylvania. It had the same weirdly crowded vibe. I wrote about it here.

After the long weekend, we are back at home and trying to get through a bit more packing. We meet with the realtor next week to make a plan for the next steps. Today I need to clean up the last bits in the sewing area. I have kept it somewhat available thinking I might have time to do a bit of sewing here and there but that has not happened. I think I will pack everything but one quilt I have been working on – just in case I can do a bit of FMQ on it.

To soothe that insistent need to be making something, I have been teaching myself to crochet in the evenings. YouTube is the best and I have been having fun watching tutorials and playing with yarn. It is relaxing and for me, it seems easier than knitting.

Leaving you with a picture of H, just before her first dance class. She is so excited to be taking dance with one of her neighborhood friends. What a sweet girl.

OK – time to wrap this up and get busy! Hope everyone is staying healthy and safe. Our area is still experiencing quite the post holiday surge. So wear those masks and be careful!

Snowpocalypse 2021

Climate change is definitely effecting the seasons. We have gone from drought to crazy rain to snow. Records are being set in Northern California, highways are closed and tens of thousands of people are without power. The ski resorts up in Lake Tahoe have gotten about 200″ in the month of December which is great. However the highways leading to Tahoe have so much damage with downed trees and power lines and are closed so skiers cannot get there!

We haven’t had this much snow since 2013. It seems like we used to get one good snowstorm each winter but for the last 8 years or so we have hardly seen a flake.

The driveway two days ago.

The first snowfall we had was a couple of days ago and we got about three or four inches. The neighbors just a bit farther out, got substantially more. The snow was very wet and heavy and was complicated by some winds. This caused a lot of damage in our town. Our area has a large number of oak trees which were already compromised by the drought and then saturated with recent rains. Oak trees do not like to be soggy! Many, many trees were uprooted and came down on Sunday night.

My neighbor’s house sustained terrible damage.

This is my neighbor’s house – A huge tree fell on the garage, crushing the roof. It is hard to see but his truck is parked parallel to the garage and is under the tree. Their other car is in the garage but he can’t get to it to see what sort of damaged happened to it. A number of other enormous trees fell on his property. It is a disaster. Our subdivision was hit very hard so there are quite a few homes with this sort of damage. So much so that a Sacramento news team came out and did a story on it.

The power went out Sunday night and the generators started up Monday morning. We are on wells in this area so we need to have electricity to have water. Those with all electric houses are really feeling it as are homes without generators. We have a gas stove so we can cook and the generator keeps the water going. My Mom and Dad are still without power – we got lucky and ours came back on last night. Actually it is more than luck, our power line is shared with the line that powers a stoplight on the highway a mile from our house. If the traffic light goes out, it is at the top of the list for repairing so usually we are not without power for too long.

This is just down the road from us – several power lines in our neighborhood were knocked down. This happened on so many streets – it is going to be a long project to get all of the lines restored.

Standing next to a fallen tree for size reference.

This is the rootball of a tree that fell on the corner of our road. It is enormous!

Yesterday, before our power was restored, we took a walk through our neighborhood and a PG& E truck (our power company) drove into our little street. Julia and I got so excited!! These poor guys are working long days and nights to get the town going again.

Yesterday the snow got slushy so Ray and Julia shoveled a bit. Of course this morning we woke up to a fresh three inches on the ground! Murphy’s Law I suppose!

I was doing a little snow dance!

I was their cheerleader as they shoveled. So darn unfortunate that we only have two snow shovels……

Now that we have some power, I am going to work on quilting my Meadow quilt. Back soon with a progress update on it. Hope you are all safe and warm, enjoying the wonders of electricity!!

A Quiet Christmas

Happy Holidays everyone! For those who celebrate Christmas, I hope the day was lovely. I think this is probably the smallest gathering we have had for Christmas but you know what? It was great. Julia, Ray and I were together and we enjoyed it very much.

Knowing it was supposed to snow on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we invited my parents over for cookies and coffee on the 23rd. Mom and Dad live at a higher elevation than us and thus get quite a bit of snow. Once it snows, their part of the highway is often impassable. They know to plan ahead and ‘hunker down’ when it is snowy. Our afternoon together was very nice though.

Because it was going to be just three people for Christmas dinner, we decided to make something less traditional than the prime rib my husband normally makes. Julia found a recipe for Bao (Chinese Steamed Buns) as well as a recipe for a Chinese Beef Noodle soup. Both were fun to make and really delicious.

This is the bao after we steamed them. Making these was a fun family project. Julia made the dough and I made the pork filling. We all worked to assemble them. Yummy!

Meadow Quilt, in process

I had some time to do a little bit of sewing on my Meadow quilt (which, per my usual, I started long ago). The flowers are all glued down with heat and bond. I did some free motion quilting to hold them before I basted the top and backing. Now that it is basted, I have been doing more free motion on the flowers. Once that is done, I will work on the background. It is a fun project and I love how it is looking thus far.

Tiny holiday cups!

Just before the holidays, I found these cute cups at one of the local thrift stores. I bought five of them. They are so sweet and I have visions of grand children drinking hot chocolate from them at Grammy’s house. A grandma can dream, right?

My sweet girls.

Closing with a cute picture of my girls. They are becoming good friends as A gets older and H develops patience. I love seeing them snuggled up together watching cartoons on this little iPad. Check out the curls A has!

That’s it for now. We are in the midst of a power outage so I can only write while the generator runs and it is time to turn it off! More soon.

Take care everyone.

November is a Wrap

On this last day of November, I am thinking about how quickly the month buzzed by and how busy it was. Lots of work on the house was accomplished and just a bit of sewing. Such is life.

My photographer has rudely decided to go off to college, leaving me to take pictures in a mirror. Haha.

Earlier I made this pair of pants. They are really, really comfortable and I am quite happy with them. I used Simplicity 2369 to make these stretch knit, wide legged pants.

After making the pants, I was browsing in a shop downtown. I saw similar pants but they had rounded pockets on each side. They were stitched without finishing the edges (which works because knit fabrics don’t really ravel). I thought this was a fun addition so I went home and did the same with these pants. I wouldn’t have thought to leave the edges of the pockets unfinished but it worked out well. I suspect if I tried to turn under a curved pocket, it would not look great and would give the pants a very homemade vibe.

The pocket after washing a couple of times.

This was a fun project and I will make at least one more pair. Next time, I will make the pockets bigger. I drew the pocket size myself and it is a bit too small in relation to the width of the pant leg.

Four generations!

For Thanksgiving we were really fortunate to have all four of my kids, two of the spouses, both grand daughters and my parents for dinner. It was a bit chaotic but really great to be together. My DIL (mom to grand daughters) is a physician and she works one major holiday per year. She had Thanksgiving this year so she was unable to come. We really missed her presence. I love the picture above even with the one blurry leg!

Thanksgiving 1992

When my kids were little (long time ago!) we always made fudge for Thanksgiving. Licking the pot was part of the process. The boys are still in their pajamas and licking warm fudge here.

Some traditions never get old!

Julia was making Muddy Buddies (another family favorite) and everyone joined in licking the chocolate/peanut butter from the bowl. H was thrilled to do this with her dad and Grandpa. It was so much fun. Just in case you aren’t familiar, Muddy Buddies are Chex cereal coated with melted chocolate and peanut butter, then they are shook in a bag with powdered sugar. My kids love them.

Cranberry sauce in the making.

Julia was making the cranberry sauce and H was her sous chef. We make this recipe every year. I posted about it here if you want to check the recipe out. It is delish and not difficult to make at all.

Bejeweled and bedecked.

This girl was adorable as always. I pulled out the tub of dress up jewels (a thrift store find when Julia was very young). Being a toddler with style, she decided to just wear as many as possible. Hahaha – she felt so fancy. She is talking quite a bit now and spends her days mimicking her big sister.

Walking to the neighbor’s house.

Being a Grammy is just the best. My neighbor boards horses and she was so kind to let the girls come over and feed her animals a carrot now and then. We walked across the pasture between our houses with the little ones and enjoyed hanging out with the horses and my neighbor’s dogs. Both girls are very fond of animals and being able to feed and pet them was thrilling.

OK – that’s it for now. I am working on a very old WIP and will share it once I get the binding completed. So, coming soon – a finish – albeit a small one. But a finish is a finish, right??

Linking to a few fun sites. Check them out at the top of the page.

Masala Box is a Finish

I have finished very few quilts this year so I am excited to share this with everyone. It is a cheerful quilt and a fun pattern to make. As you likely remember, I tested this pattern for Sew Preeti Quilts. Preeti writes delightful patterns and has several listed in her Etsy Shop.

Masala Box Baby Quilt

I did make an internal compromise with this project. I really wanted to spend some time and quilt the center of each block with a picture of sorts. I had them all planned out. However, life is so crazy right now and I decided the free motion quilting would have to wait for another project. Instead I did a version of a zig zag/serpentine stitch going both vertically and horizontally which was a very quick way to finish this little quilt.

Difficult to photograph the white stitching on white!

The zig zag adds some fun texture and will probably be enhanced even more after being washed.

Polka dots for the backing.

I have quite a large piece of this polka dot fabric which made the backing choice a simple one. Binding was done with the same red fabric as used on the front.

The end of the fall leaves in our yard.

Our fall colors were extraordinary this year – most of the trees have dropped their leaves at this point.

Moving on to non-quilting topics, I have exciting news! Ray and I have decided to move from California up to Washington. I am sure you can guess the main reason. Yes, you got it. There are two sweet girls up there we are wanting to see more often. Between the pull of being near the grand children and the drawbacks to California life (mainly very hot summers and the dangerous fire seasons), we decided to go for it.

We have talked to a realtor and made a list of projects to do in order to have the house ready to list in early Spring. To that end, we both have been very busy. Ray bears the brunt of the really hard work but I have a fairly long list as well.

The sewing/guest room

Here is one project – you’ll surely relate to. I moved my sewing supplies downstair to the family room in order to create a guest room.

After the massive clean out

In the twelve years we have lived in this house, this room has never been so clean. After the holidays I will have all the carpets cleaned and the guest room will be staged for showing. For now, I am just reveling in its tidy state.

Julia’s room was in need of sprucing up as well. When she was about 10 years old, she asked if she could have a blue and lavender room. Time took its toll on this room so Ray and I painted it a very pale gray.

As with the guest room, I cannot believe how tidy Julia’s room is. This room will also be rearranged for showing but the hard part is done.

I can’t show you the new sewing space just yet – mainly because I haven’t taken a photo for you. (Let’s be honest, it is a hot mess!)

Another project is underway.

Finally, here is another project I am working on. I am a huge fan of photographs and have so many albums. But they do take up space. Rather than move them all, I decided to pull pictures out and organize them by year in photo boxes. One might think this is a quick and easy task, and it should be. But with each album I get pulled into the nostalgia and memories they contain. So while this is really enjoyable, it is not quick!! Evenings have been spent poring over the books and sharing pictures with my kids via text. It will get done all in good time. I have emptied about eight albums and they fit into two boxes which saves a lot of space.

That is enough for today. I need to get going to the grocery store for a few things. Julia comes home tomorrow for the whole Thanksgiving week. I am so excited! I haven’t seen her for eight weeks which is the longest ever! Have a wonderful day everyone.

Linking up to my favorites since I miraculously have a finish!! You can find them at the top of the page under Link Ups.

Hodgepodge of Happenings

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

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

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

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

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

The gazebo on our pond.

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

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

Looking across the pond at our neighbor’s trees.

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

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

The extra pumpkins!

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

Dark blue diamond blocks

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

Red and turquoise, stripes and dots!

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

Dried hydrangeas

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

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

Changes All the Way Around

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quilts, Projects and a Fun App

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

Lots of boxes to recycle as I open the beauties!

Pieced by Tina C from Delaware.

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

Isn’t this the cutest?

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

Also made by Tina C.

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

From Wendy!!

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

Made by Mary R in New Mexico

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

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

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

Painting is not nearly as fun as quilting

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

Time to clean those boots!

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

Playing Memory together

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

Peter Rabbit – a classic!

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

A delicious ice cream cone.

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

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

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

Long Overdue Mercyful Quilts Update

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

My immediate family!

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

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

Positivity Quilt made by Cheree L.

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

Positivity Quilt made By Janine H.

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

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

Donation Number Two by Janine!

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

Another beautiful quilt back!

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

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

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

Another pretty backing!!

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

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

These peaches all went to the food ministry yesterday!

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

Poblano and Anaheim Peppers

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

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

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

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

A Bit of This and a Bit of That

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

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

Isn’t this stunning?

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

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

Another pretty quilt!

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

Pretty Dragonflies are quilted along with a looping design.

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

From Dragonfly-Site.com:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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