Category Archives: Family

A Special Quilt For a Special Person

I have a pretty finish to share today. I was waiting for it to be received by its new owner before I shared it with you. I made a scrappy jelly roll quilt, using the pattern by From Bolt to Beauty. Michelle calls it the Ridiculously Easy Jelly Roll Quilt and the name is accurate!

For some time now, I have wanted to make a quilt for my (first) mother in law. I have posted in the past about my first husband. He passed away in 1994. Since his death, I have stayed close to his mom. When she retired, JoAnne moved up to the foothills and lives only 60 miles or so from me. We used to have girl’s day out together fairly often, going to lunch and shopping. She has developed some health issues that make this a bit of a challenge. Between her health and the chronic migraines I deal with, we rarely actually see each other now. But we do talk on the phone, text and generally keep in touch. I am grateful for our friendship.

JoAnne developed some problems with her back which necessitated surgery. She waited and waited because of the pandemic but finally her doctor said she needed to have it taken care of. After surgery, she went home to her son and DIL’s house to recover. Unfortunately, she took a tumble, breaking her leg just one day after getting home. Back to the hospital she went, this time for surgery on her leg. It has been a really rough time for her. I decided I needed to get her quilt finished up so she could cozy up with it while she recuperates.

Making this scrappy quilt was a lot of fun. I had a portion of an older Moda jelly roll hanging around and I cut 2 1/2″ strips from various fabrics that worked with it. For the background I used an off-white polka dot fabric I used to stock in the shop. The soft colors, shades of pink, green, brown and off-white, were selected because I knew they would be loved by my mother in law.

I backed it with a cute text print that is all about family and home. Two things very important to both me and JoAnne. This Kimberbell print is called Make Yourself at Home. (There is still a small amount left in the shop.)

When I was quilting it (on my friend’s Tiarra sit down quilter) I used lots of loops and a variety of flowers. I also tucked in my late husband’s first name. See it above?

Just below his name, I also put his birthday. I thought she would love these bits about Mark to be in the quilt.

In the photo above, my sister in law and her daughter are looking for Mark’s name and birthday. I had tucked a note in with the quilt telling JoAnne I had stitched them in for her.

Today we had a fun gab session on FaceTime and I think she loves the quilt. It makes me happy to have finally made a quilt for her. I don’t know why I didn’t do this years ago. But now was the time – after two surgeries, lots of pain and discomfort, she is going to need to take it slow and heal. The whole experience has been so stressful with the extra layer of nonsense the pandemic adds. When she was in the hospital she couldn’t have anyone with her. This is just the worst. Being in pain and on lots of different medications makes it so hard to think clearly and make decisions. The doctors were, for the most part, pretty good about working with my brother-in-law as he was advocating for his mom. But not having anyone in the room with you is so miserable and lonely. I am really grateful she is home with her son and finally getting better.

The virus is really getting crazy in California. The governor has mandated a 10pm curfew until December 21, 2020. I wish everyone would take it seriously, stay home and keep the darn mask on when they have to be out and about. It is hard – I get that. People are lonely. But until there is a vaccine, it is the only way to keep things under control. What a mess. I hope you are staying safe and healthy. Be careful and try to be patient. This won’t last forever.

I was so inspired by this news of Dolly Parton’s donation to help fund the Covid vaccine. Her generosity is inspiring. We need all the positive news we can find. There is far too much going wrong in the world and it is nice to read about people trying to do good.

Linking up with Brag About Your Beauties, Whoop Whoop, and Finished or Not Friday. Hop on over and take a look. Lots of quilty inspiration to be had on those link ups!

Autumn Activities

This is my favorite time of year. Not because of all the pumpkin spice lattes either. (I am not a fan of sweet coffee.) But the weather, oh how I love this weather! I also love that we live in an area with great fall colors.

The maples in our yard are gorgeous. I wish the leaves lasted longer. It seems like they fall so quickly once they change colors. We try to really enjoy them while they are here though. So much so, that we have learned the succession in which our trees tend to turn color. It is truly exciting when we see one start to become colorful. Simple pleasures, right?

In this family, Halloween is not a huge deal once you don’t have little kids around. But this is Covid and we are doing anything we can to keep busy. Remember when Julia and I painted rocks last summer and put them on our local walking trail? I suggested we paint pumpkin rocks and set them out before Halloween for the kids that walk the trail. (Or adults, we make no judgement!)

Artists at work

After our masterpieces were finished, we went for a walk and set them out on the trail for others to find. This is my favorite part.

Aren’t they funny? The nice, precise jack-o-lanterns are made by Julia. The others are the work of my husband and me (the less talented pumpkin artists in this house!) We haven’t returned to the trail yet but I am certain they made people smile to see them.

In an effort to stay busy and creative, Julia has been using You Tube to teach herself to embroider and to knit. She was wanting ideas of what to stitch and I asked her to do a word for me. She embroidered this pretty bit and I am now working on making a little frame for it. I will just do something simple and then add some bit stitch quilting. It will be so sweet.

Have you been wondering about Julia’s little chicks? Of course you have. She took a few outside to the lawn (they currently reside in a box in the laundry room.) At first they were shocked, never having seen the world outside of their box. But once they got settled down, they had a great time. The girls are at the awkward (aka ugly duckling) stage these days. The cute fluff is falling out and their feathers are growing in. They will live in the house until they are fully feathered and can stay warm out in the coop. It is a bit of a challenge though. As they grow their feathers, they like to try them out to see if they can fly. Julia keeps raising the cardboard walls of their home because now and then, they fly out and cannot get back in. Hahaha.

I was weeding out in the yard the other day and saw these little mushrooms. It made me think some fairies should (or maybe they do?) live there.

Ok – that is my update for now. I will be back with a couple of finishes soon. How are all of you doing? Coping, staying healthy? Celebrating the election results? All of the above? Hang in there – these are strange and unprecedented times we live in.

If you are in need of your own fall colors or maybe some Christmas fabric, they are 20% off in the shop (today through Friday.). Lots of cuteness to be had for a great price.

Catching Up

Hello friends! Hard to believe I haven’t posted in nearly a month. I kept sitting down to write and just couldn’t get into the mood for some reason. Let’s just blame it on the pandemic, shall we? Life isn’t normal and even though I certainly have time on my hands, I find myself dithering it away quite a bit. Sigh.

But here I am, with a cup of coffee and the mood to write. Let’s catch up!

We took a trip up to Washington to watch my favorite grand daughters while my son, Andrew, and his wife moved their family into their new house. My husband and Andrew spent two days working on various little projects at the new house before moving which left Julia and I to play with the girls in the rental. Guess who got the good end of that deal!!

As with most toddlers, this girl needs to get outside to play. She gets stir crazy if she has to be inside all day. One rainy day, we went out to look for puddles to jump in. When she finished jumping in this one, she immediately went into her pretend mode. Her imagination is always going and at this moment, she was making soup for her horse. Each time she added pine needles to the puddle, it was a different ingredient. Some meant for soup and some not so much. “It needs parsley. Let’s add a carrot. Now I will put in an egg. Here’s the rainbow sprinkles.” On and on, all the while stirring her creation with her stick.

It took very little time to go from mixing her horse’s soup with the stick to standing in the puddle and going all in with her hands. How I love this girl.

Just a couple of days later, we were all in the new house. We tried to keep the kids corralled while the movers brought in nine million boxes. My husband ran around inside keeping the movers organized and my son checked the boxes off the list outside. Such a process.

I have never had movers pack my house before. But with a new baby and moving across country (not to mention a moving stipend from their new employer) the kids had this luxury. It was so odd to see some of the things the movers packed. It seemed like every third box contained a weird surprise. One time I unpacked a plastic trash can from the bathroom that was packed with the trash still in it. Another time, an apple was carefully rolled up in a huge amount of paper. Now it helps to know, the house was packed in mid July and everything was stored until they moved in on September 28th. That apple was a mess. There was a box with a container of honey that leaked all over the place, yuk! They also packed a pop-tart which they found somewhere in a zip lok bag, thanks to a three year old who must have left it in some odd place? (They told my kids that they were not allowed to pack any food items that were open but I don’t think they followed this rule at all?) Oh well, for the most part, it all went very well and there were not many items that were damaged in the process.

This little one was a breeze. She is so happy and just sort of went along with everything. I was setting up the laundry room at this point. (She is chewing on an old watch of her dad’s?!) Honestly, I could set her down most anywhere and she would just play with whatever I handed to her. She is starting to scoot around though so it was nice to contain her when I could. Hence the laundry basket. Haha.

I brought up this picnic quilt for the girls and we used it a number of times while playing outside. Babies on quilts, nothing cuter!

Back to this girl and her love of the outdoors. I was pulling a few weeds while she played and showed her a fat worm I found. This quickly led to her digging for worms and figuring out which was a daddy, the mama, the grammy etc. She kept them in this bowl for a bit, ‘feeding’ them grass. She is very inquisitive and asked if they had eyes so we talked about the life of a worm and she happily put them back in ‘their home’ when she learned they would die if not in the dirt. Just before putting them back in the dirt, she did need to sing a ‘wormy song’ to them. My heart melts with her.

The two weeks ended way too fast, as always. I love this picture even if it is quite blurry. We squeezed the girls a million times and drove back up to California. Luckily by the time we got home, our area was basically smoke free. What a wonderful thing it is to have clean air after nearly two months of staying inside to avoid the smoke.

As (bad) luck would have it, just a couple of days after we left, my daughter-in-law tripped and fell. She was carrying the baby so when she was falling her only thought was to protect the baby. She couldn’t break the fall which meant she broke a couple of bones in her foot. So she is hobbling around with a cast and waiting for her foot to heal. So unfair when she was so excited to set up her house and get settled. Such is life. I wish we were still up there so we could help.

That is a fair summary of the last few weeks. I was really having trouble getting in the mood to sew after getting back. It happens, right? But now I have started to spend some time in the sewing room and it all feels great. Yesterday, I had some sewing time at my friend Sophia’s house. She has a Baby Lock Tiara sit down machine. It is the best! I will share more on that next time. I have also been preparing for the holiday season in my shop even though it is somewhat hard to predict how this year will look. Business was crazy for months and then slowed back down as quilters and sewists were able to return to in-person shopping. Now with the unfortunate rise in the number of cases, I need to decide how to plan for that. Such a strange time in life.

OK – back soon with updates on sewing related things! I have missed you all and have not been on-line much at all with regard to blog posts or social media. I need to catch up with so many people! Hope you are well and enjoying your Saturday.

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!