Category Archives: Family

Weekend Recap

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have seen the pictures I posted over the weekend.  Julia and I took a road trip and visited Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.  This college is a favorite in our family – I graduated (class of ’82) and two of my sons plus one daughter-in-law also graduated from there.  Julia is planning to apply there next fall.  We thought it would be fun to do the college tours and see the campus as it has been several years since we have been there.  Plus she was pretty young when we last visited and I thought she needed to see it with a more mature viewpoint.

It was a beautiful day of tours and walking… oh, so much walking.  Julia is deciding between Biology or Animal Science as her major.  It is so hard to know what you want to do at this age but Cal Poly is a university that requires the applicants to declare their major right away.

She was thrilled to be able to visit the Swine Unit.  The manager of that unit, a senior at the university, was incredibly friendly and let Julia hang out for quite a while. It was helpful to find out Julia can volunteer at the animal units even if she chooses Biology over Animal Science as a major. Either way, she can work with the animals..

It was a quick trip but well worth the drive (which is a bit of a pain because we live 350 miles from campus).

When I got home I had a package waiting for me!   A couple of weeks ago I entered a giveaway on Instagram.  Kim over at Leland Ave Studios was celebrating the launch of her 52 Week Creativity Project where she will be posting discussions with various artists each week in 2018.  I read the first one which was really good.  I am looking forward to this series.

Kim generously gave a fat eighth bundle of Alison Glass’ new line, Diving Board- to me! What a treat.

Oh my gosh!  I was so tickled to win this bundle.  The colors fall in line with the shades of blue, pink, greens, yellows and oranges that Alison often uses.  This is nice because her older lines work so well with the newer pieces.  Oh the colors are gorgeous !!

This bundle is a big one at 24 pieces.  I will surely let it sit for a while – until I think of the perfect use for it. I have several projects on-going at the moment so I am in no hurry to start another one.  Thank you Kim for this gorgeous addition to my stash.

Linking to Molli Sparkles Sunday Stash link up. I haven’t written a Stash post in such a long time. Receiving this bundle was such a fun surprise! Now I am going to go pack orders. The shop was busy over the weekend and I need to get caught up,

Handmade Christmas Gifts

Now that Christmas is done and gifts have been given and received, I thought I would share what I made with you. Usually I try to find a fun project to make and give during the Christmas season.  In recent years I have made purses, zip pouches, table runners and hot pads. This year I decided to make an apron for my Vermont daughter-in-law.  Also, I made hot pads for my California son and his girlfriend as well as my Toronto son and his wife.  These projects were quick and satisfying.

For the apron, I upcycled a duvet cover that I had bought a while back. I was thrilled to find this cover in a tan and cream stripe.  The neutral colors and the feel of the fabric assured me I would easily find many uses for the fabric.  I had a vintage pattern from 1975 that I have been holding on to, thinking it would make a really cute apron.

Originally the pattern was designed for a wrap around dress and let me just say, I would have totally loved wearing this dress at age 15 (not that I was necessarily 15 in 1975… oh wait, I was.)  Anyway, I had a really similar dress that I made out of a green striped seersucker fabric.  I was so cool.

Ok, back to the apron.  I had seen these Japanese work aprons and really liked them – this pattern is a bit of a compromise between a standard apron and the Japanese wrap style. This one is more fitted with darts in the bodice.

It wraps around the back with the tie coming through an opening left in the side seam.

I finished the interior seams by folding the raw edges in and top stitching them for a clean look.  This fabric would likely fray in the wash so this will prevent any issues.

I even remembered to put a little label on the inside.

Overall, this was a fun project and hopefully my daughter-in-law will get lots of use out of it.  She is a great cook so I suspect she will use it.

On to the hot pads!  I wanted to make something with the Maker Maker fabric I have in the shop.  I cannot even express how much I love this fabric!!  I made Chemex Cozies out of the Grid fabric and the gray and black Lines fabric.  They were far and above, my top sellers for the Christmas shopping season.Anyway, I thought I would make some hot pads using the Grid fabric and the cats.  The linen has such a nice texture and weight, making it perfect for kitchen accessories.  These finished at at eight inches square and are filled with two layers of Insul Bright, making them nice and thick.

The next gift I want to share was not made in the sewing room!  My husband decided he wanted to make a gift for each of the kids. The boys and their spouses received gorgeous rolling pins made with pieces of walnut and oak that he laminated together.  He turned them on his lathe to make a one piece rolling pin.  I just love them!  The kids were taken with the wonderful finish and really appreciated the work that went into these.

Each piece is different from the next with the stripes and color variations making them unique.

Since Julia isn’t really in need of a rolling pin just yet, he made her a piggy bank.  She had such a great time with Daisy and Ella last year, he thought this would be a fun way to remember that summer.

This was a challenging project but it turned out so cute!I love the shape of this little pig’s body and her curly tail.  It was so much fun to watch Ray making these projects during the months before the holidays.  I love having a few handmade gifts under the tree.  I also made some placemats for my parents but didn’t think to take pictures.  I will take some the next time I am up at their house so I can share them.  Were you able to make any of your holiday gifts this year?  If so, share in the comments.  I would love to hear about them!

Linking to my favorite parties, including Finished or Not Friday hosted by Busy Hands Quilts.  Check the Link Up tab at the top of the page for more info!  Have a great weekend all.  🙂

Heartwarming Holiday Project

Ok – this post has nothing to do with quilting or sewing and everything to do with service to one’s community, helping those who need it, and bragging about one of my kids. Sorry, I can’t help it – but I am so dang proud of her so I decided to write about this. Plus, it may inspire another family to do a similar project once they see how easy this came together.

Our family has always felt the importance of volunteer work. My parents instilled it in me and my sisters from a long ways back. I have tried to instill it into my children as they grew up. Because of this, Julia is already an active volunteer in our community. She has been helping at the local food ministry since she was about five years old. For the past four years she has volunteered at the thrift store benefiting the animal shelter off and on as her school schedule allows.

Julia and I were recently talking about other ways she could actively volunteer in the community. She wanted a project that was ‘all hers’. She wanted to think of it, organize it and carry it out on her own. After some discussion, she decided to hold a Toiletries Drive for the shelter. To do this she first got permission from her principal to hold the event at school. Then she approached the shelter and asked for a ‘wish list’ of what they needed in this regard. They were thrilled to give her a list of items such as toothpaste, tooth brushes, hand sanitizer, antibiotic creams, antacids, deodorant, lip balm, band aids, and many other items along these lines.


Julia’s next step was to create a little brochure which she posted at school and gave to the principal and school secretary. They both posted it on various avenues of communication with the students and parents. I posted her project on my personal Facebook account so my local friends and neighbors would know what she was trying to do. Oh. My. Gosh. The response to Julia’s project was just awesome.




She specifically suggested people donate all of those free little shampoos and lotions that one collects from hotel visits which often seem to linger on in the bathroom cabinet. She also proposed cash donations and promised to use them wisely to purchase what was needed. People from everywhere donated. Kids, moms and teachers at her school brought items in. Neighbors, friends and family members donated money. She ended up with bags and bags of items plus $245 in cash donations.

Yesterday she and I went to the local dollar store. She carefully counted and selected items from the list. It took quite a while to fill the cart but she heaped it with all sorts of supplies.

Calculating what she had spent, keeping notes on how many of each item she had selected, and figuring out what the tax would be was quite the process. She wanted to spend all of the money but not exceed the $245.00. She did great and has about $10 left over which we will take to the dollar store once more to buy a few more things. We didn’t dare go get more items on that trip. It took the cashier forever to ring up more than 200 items as I boxed them up and Julia tracked the costs. The other customers in line were so patient and kind. They could see she was doing a project and if they asked, she would explain it. One older gentleman chuckled and said ‘oh phew, I thought that was all for you.’ It was so nice to see everyone being supportive and sort of cheering her on rather than grumbling about having to wait behind her for a bit.

This picture makes me smile – she has a receipt that is about three feet long!

In addition to collecting from friends and kids at school, Julia also asked two of our family dentists for donations. One dentist donated a carton of toothpaste tubes and the other dentist gave her a box of toothbrushes. This is one generous community we live in!

There is so much value in a project like this! For one, she learned to define the steps needed to get this going. She approached adults – at school, at the homeless shelter and the local dentists – on her own – to ask for permission and support of her project. She lugged supplies home, posted signs at school, promoted the project on her social media account and will finish up by bringing the donations to the shelter next week. She also plans to write thank you notes for many of the donations. If I think about how projects are done in the professional realm, many of these steps are the same. I feel like this was a hugely valuable experience for Julia.

This is such a cute shot so I am including it, even though it is a bit blurry.

Honestly, it wasn’t all that difficult. I would strongly recommend something like this if your family is looking for a way to give back to the community. If your kiddos are younger, you might want to be more hands-on and supportive. As a teenager, Julia required only a little coaching here and there but truly she did 90% of the work herself.


I am really proud of this girl and she is (rightfully) proud of herself. She likes the fact that she started this, kept to a timeline that she developed, and was very successful. If you have any questions about implementing a project like this, feel free to ask. These are the times when parenting is so gratifying; when we see one of our kids giving time and energy in a selfless manner.

And now just a quick Thanksgiving recap:  We had a great holiday!  Very quiet with only three of us celebrating together but so much fun.  I also held my first big sale in the shop.  Orders kept me busy and I truly appreciate each of the orders I received, some from blog friends and others from new customers – thank you so much for supporting my business!

Christmas Project Finish

Last weekend I made the cutest leggings for my Vermont grand baby.  This morning I took a few pictures to share with you. They will go off in the mail this afternoon so she can wear them for the holiday season.

I was in Jo-Ann’s about a month ago and picked up this adorable reindeer fabric.  I love the expressions on the face of these deer.  At the time, I was hoping to make one-piece pajamas or a little dress with the fabric but I didn’t buy enough.  Drat .  I had enough for leggings though.

As usual, I perused Pinterest and found this free pattern. It was just perfect, very simple and it went up to size 2T. My sweet grand daughter is a chunk and I didn’t want the pants to be too tight. The pattern is from and prints out on four pieces of 8 1/2 x 11 paper. The instructions are simple and if you are just learning to sew, I recommend this project. It is beginner friendly.

It took all of 45 minutes to cut and sew the legging.  I used a tiny zig zag stich while sewing so there is some give with the knit fabric.

Each seam was finished with an extra zig zag stitch. I wasn’t exactly sure about the length. I had an inseam measurement of ten inches from her mama but it seemed long. I put elastic at the ankles. That way if they are long, they can bunch up at the ankles.

Last finishing touch was to stitch an X at the back of the waist so it is easier to tell front from back. I can’t wait to see how these fit.

While I was working on these, I kept thinking about the kids’ Christmas stockings. I felt like they needed an embellishment at the top. I took a run to Ben Franklin and found this red twill tape with a white stripe. It has a rustic look that I thought worked great with the Winter Friends fabric. When I got home, I asked my husband to make some rustic buttons for me.  He found a maple branch and sliced some rounds from it.  Then he drilled two needle-size holes for stitching, sanded and put some finish on them.  They are SOOOOO cool.  I was thrilled with the finish of the buttons. (You can bet I will ask him for more of these in the future. He whipped them out in no time. What a talented guy!)

The twill tape would surely fray over the years so I stitched a teensy hem at each end and painted a bit of white glue over the ends.  I think that will help the tape remain intact.

What do you think?  I feel like this is the icing on the cake. The stockings feel finished now.

Do you want to see a button up close?  Yes, I thought so.

OK – This is it. No more blogging until after Thanksgiving Day.  This afternoon Julia and I have a date to make pumpkin pie, fudge and the dough for tomorrow’s rolls.  Happy holidays to you and your family!

Linking up with my favorites.  You’ll find the URL’s at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Finally, if you haven’t yet signed up for my newsletter, now is a good time.  I have a fun Black Friday event planned.  Sign up here.

Winter Friends Christmas Stockings

While visiting my son, daughter in law, and grand baby in Vermont last month we talked about the holidays.  This is the first Christmas we will be apart.  My daughter in law is working her second year of her residency as a radiologist.  Apparently the second year residents don’t have the best work schedule.  She is working over Thanksgiving and Christmas both.  So the three of them will be celebrating holidays in between her shifts at the hospital.  Such is the life of a new doctor.

Always ones to look at the bright side, my son and DIL are kind of excited about Christmas though.  Because they have always traveled to California for Christmas since they married in 2010, they have never had their own Christmas tree or stockings.  They have an 8 month old daughter and it is time to begin their own family Christmas traditions.  When my DIL asked me to make them stockings I was so pleased.  What a fun project to tackle.  I showed her pictures of the fabrics I have in my shop and she chose the Winter Friends line by PB Textiles.  This is so perfect since they are a very outdoorsy family living in Vermont. What better theme than woodland creatures, Christmas trees and snowmen?

I was looking around on Pinterest for inspiration when I asked the kids what they had in mind.  They said to make them coordinate with the set of fabrics but to make each stocking with a different design.  So this is exactly what I set out to do!

First I wanted a template for the size of the stocking.  I remembered I had an old pattern from Simplicity that was designed by Eleanor Burns (of Quilt In a Day fame.) The size of the stocking wasn’t exactly right but it was enough to get me going.  I cut stocking shapes from batting and that is what I quilted my piece work to. From there I looked for ideas on line.  I found this tutorial by Amy Smart (Diary of a Quilter) and liked the idea of doing a ‘quilt as you go’ strip pieced design for one of the stockings.  Beyond that, I thought I would do a basic patchwork design and just go from there.

The strip pieced QAYG stocking was a breeze.  It came together easily.  This was the first stocking and I did use a few strips from other Christmas fabric scraps.  I kind of wish I had not done that because for the next two stockings I stuck with just the five Winter Friends prints.  Not a huge deal though. For the QAYG process, I cut random width strips and sewed one on top of the other beginning in the middle and working out to both the top and bottom.  Once the strips were sewn to the batting I trimmed to the stocking shape.

What originally got me wanting to add other pieces was this bit of text saying “the stockings were hung” which I thought cute to include. It looks cute and the colors match well enough so I left it as is.

For the next two stockings I made rows of patchwork which I then used for the stocking front in the same QAYG fashion.  I fussy cut the blocks featuring the larger snowmen, deer, woodland animals, and Christmas trees. These were alternated with 2 1/2″ squares of the other prints. I love the way the patchwork looks when set on point. This is my favorite of the stockings.

The second patchwork stocking is also really sweet.  I made little four patch blocks, fussy cutting the squirrels and hedge hogs to be used with the green snowflake print and the plaid print.  The four-patch squares are a little wonky but I am calling that a charming design feature.  😉

I sewed a curved piece of a cross hatch neutral fabric over the toe of each stocking to make it look sock-like.  I also embroidered a line of stitching to decorate it a bit more.  The toe pieces were hand cut so each one is different from the next.

The back side of each stocking is made with the larger print.  This decision was made purely out of laziness.  I had enough of this fabric in the sewing room at the time and would have had to walk all the way downstairs to grab more fabric if I chose a different one. How lazy can a quilter get???

I don’t know what the kids plan as far as family size but for now they have three stockings made.  I set aside enough fabric to be able to make two more stockings should the family grow!  I might not have exactly enough but they will still match the original stockings well enough. I am really happy with the stockings and hope the kids use them for many years to come.

In celebration of the upcoming holiday season, I have put all of the holiday fabric in my shop on sale for the weekend.  Use code HOLIDAYFABRIC25 to receive 25% off any of the Christmas fabrics listed.  I hope you will take advantage of this great sale which will run through end of day on Sunday, November 19th. Orders will ship out first thing Monday morning so you will have your fabric in plenty of time to do some holiday sewing!

I am linking up with my favorite linky parties. For more information, click on Link Ups at the top of the page.

Sam’s Quilt

The sports jersey quilt is finished!  This is the second t-shirt quilt I have made, the first one being for my niece, Lil (Sam’s cousin.) The jersey quilt was a good learning experience, but what quilt isn’t? There is always something new to try or a skill to further practice.

The biggest challenge was definitely piecing those slick, polyester pieces of the jerseys.  Second to that would be working with the rubbery decals used for his number and the logos.  They were much thicker than one would think.  Other than those two issues, this was a breeze to make. You can read progress posts about putting it together here and here.

To quilt this rather heavy project, I rented time at the long arm shop.  It would have been difficult to feed it through the throat of my home machine because the decals are thick and stiff, making the quilt unwieldy. Once I had it loaded on the machine I quilted it with lots of interlocking squares.  It looks like a nice, masculine motif and works great with the blocky pattern of the quilt.

Sam’s football number was 50, just like his father’s was when he played.

I tried to avoid quilting through the rubbery decals and numbers.  Instead I went around and inbetween them wherever I could. It was really difficult to keep the quilt flat while quilting it. I cannot tell you why, the heft of it or maybe the slick jerseys? If I were quilting it at home, I would have guessed I didn’t baste it well enough. But when we loaded it on the long arm (the gal at the shop kindly helped me) it seemed very straight and flat.  At any rate, it is not tightly quilted. The quilt has a puffiness to it.  It doesn’t bother me though.  I plan to wash it today before I mail it off and it is likely to crinkle up a bit when the batting and cotton fabrics shrink up a little.


Remember I pieced the backing so I could use up a few more jerseys?  This is the first time I loaded a backing that really had to be straight on the long arm to line up well with the front.  It was mostly a success – the logos are straight but they aren’t centered across the back.  Side note, it has been quite rainy this week which is wonderful. I kept waiting for a clearing in the weather so I could take some photos.  Finally, Julia said we better just to take pictures Mom.  So off we went in the rain.  I put a beach towel under the quilt and she held it over the railing.  Such a dedicated quilt holder!!  You can see the towel shows under that edge on the left. 😉  Ok, back on topic – I love the way the back looks and it shows the quilting pattern off a bit.  I keep looking at the larger spaces near the decals and wonder if I should add some quilting there?  Do you have any input?  Are those unquilted spaces too large?

The binding is an older stripe with 1 1/2″ widths red and gray.  At first I was hesitant to use it because the red wasn’t exactly the shade I wanted but there are so many different reds in this quilt between jersey colors and the sashing I used that it worked well in the end. The bold, chunky look of the stripe fits with the blocky pattern of the quilt just fine.

So this one is finished and will be sent off to Sam early next week.  The long arm practice continues.  It is tons of fun but has a definite learning curve to it.  My skills are improving but I need so much more practice.  It motivates me to finish up some of my projects so I can go back and practice some more!

Now sewing time for me over the next couple of days. This weekend my sister and I are working the Pioneer Quilt Guild’s show in Roseville.  If you are local and planning to attend, please come say hello!  I am excited to see the quilts hanging and meet members of the Pioneer guild!

Mickey Mouse – A Simple Halloween Costume

Julia has always come up with fun ideas for what she wants to be for Halloween.  Over the years, she has dressed up as Wednesday Addams, a devil, a ladybug, and a bat to name a few. This year she decided to dress up as Mickey Mouse.  She is long past the age of trick-or-treating but her high school has an annual Halloween Dance and they all dress up for that.

Did you know that Mickey Mouse was developed by Walt Disney and the very talented Ub Iwerks in 1928? He is the official mascot of the Walt Disney Company and has been making people smile for years.

“I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.”

— Walt Disney, Disneyland; October 27, 1954

Simple Mickey Mouse shorts!

Let me tell you, Mickey Mouse was such an easy costume to put together.  Julia had black leggings and a black t-shirt to use so the main task was to make the red shorts and the Mickey ears.  For the shorts, we dashed out to Ben Franklin and bought a 1/2 yard of red fleece.  I used a pattern I had for pajama pants and did a few alterations to the pattern pieces before cutting them out.  I had to make the waist sit a bit lower, shorten the inseam quite a bit and add a pocket to the right side. (Pockets are a must-have on all clothing so she can keep her phone nearby!) Between cutting, fitting, adjusting, and sewing them — the shorts took about an hour or so to make.  Julia cut two white ovals out of felt and I lightly tacked them to the shorts. She plans to use them as pj shorts so it will be easy to take the buttons off when she is through being Mickey.

The only challenge (and it wasn’t a huge deal) was making the Mickey Mouse ears.  I had a remnant of black vinyl on hand and we cut circles out of that.  But the vinyl proved to heavy and the ears constantly flopped over.  Browsing ideas on Pinterest, we found a great alternative using black poster board and a head band. This called for another trip to Ben Franklin!  I was extremely proud of my self control when I was able to go into the shop, grab the head band and poster board and not even wander through the fabric department.  Didn’t even go near it!  This is probably the first time I have achieved this feat and may well be the last! While I did go get the supplies, I didn’t actually make the ears.  Julia and Ray took care of that.  Here is a link to the site they used if you need inspiration.

It would appear Mickey is tiring of this photo shoot!

We couldn’t think of an easy way to achieve yellow shoes so she skipped it.  But really, she looked so cute – Seemed like they all had fun at the dance too.  Living out in the country, we don’t really get trick-or-treaters so Halloween night is usually quiet for us.  I hope you all have more treats than tricks tonight!


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.)