Category Archives: Family

Two Busy Weeks

I can hardly believe I haven’t posted in two weeks! The time flew by and here we are at the end of September. When we got home from our Maui vacation we switched gears and Julia started packing for college. She had been accumulating things for her dorm room over the summer and it was piled up in her room. Time to get organized!

So many things to pack and bring to school. Last weekend Ray and I took her to move into her dorm room. It was such a fun time, though bittersweet as I am sure you all understand. We are really proud of her and know she will do great things at school. But on the other hand, we knew we would miss her.

Even though the university splits move-in days among the odd number and even number dorm rooms with half coming Saturday and the other half on Sunday, the lines were long. So many kids to check in and issue room keys to.

It didn’t take too long to get most of her things unpacked. Her room is cozy and she is happy with it.

I even brought her a tiny pumpkin from our garden for her desk.

We took a short walk to visit the dairy cows which live around the corner from her dorms. (You can see the dorm buildings in the background). Julia is right where she belongs!

In all honesty, it took a lot of scrubbing to get the stink off these boots and make it acceptable for her to have them in her room!! (They are usually kept in the garage!)

A picture with her proud father!

And one with her proud mom as well! So now we all get used to this new change. She is making new friends and will soon be buried in homework.

I did very little sewing this week. But I made sure to keep up with the Mosaic Mystery QAL. Here is the first set of blocks which was the piecing we were assigned for September. There were also a bonus stack of 2 1/2″ half square triangles that resulted from clipping the corners of the larger blocks. I don’t know exactly what I will do with those but surely they will get used at some point. Now I wait for the October instructions!

This morning I worked on quilting my Panda strip quilt but got frustrated because the tension was not right and I have to spend some time with my seam ripper. Not in the mood for unpicking the quilting, I switched gears and decided to do some cooking. I made flatbread for the first time. It was fun and so easy!

Do you cook with recipes on an iPad? I do and so far I haven’t spilled on it. But there is always that chance. Anyway, the recipe is from Keepin It Kind, a vegan site. We are not vegan but I do like to cook dairy free for my husband when possible. Flatbread is unleavened so it is very quick to make. No rising time or kneading is required. The ingredients are mixed with the mixer and then divided into eight equal portions. Rolling them into little pancakes was a breeze.

My mistake was in not heating up the cast iron skillet quite enough with the first one or two pieces. But once it got really hot, they bubbled up and browned nicely.

Yum! If you haven’t had these, flatbread is really like a thick, doughy tortilla. They only cook about one minute on each side.

The recipe only made eight pieces which was perfect. Although if I had made more, I suppose they would keep in the freezer.

We had some for lunch with soup. For dinner we will have them with leftover roast chicken and caramelized onions on them. I am fairly certain we won’t have leftovers. 😉

If you like simple recipes, this one is a great one to try. The only modification I would make is to increase the salt. The recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon but I think I will double that the next time I make these. There will definitely be a next time because they were really yummy and a lot of fun to make.

As for sewing, I plan to continue to quilt the little panda project and I am also wanting to make a trick or treat bag for my grand daughter. Hopefully I will get to both of these during the week. Hope all of you are well and happy! What have you been up to? Tell me in the comments – I have missed everyone!

A Week in Maui

Remember the post about the incredibly long travel day Julia and I experienced on our way home from Vermont last winter? It paid off in a big way with a ‘free’ trip to Maui for me, Ray and Julia. Free in the sense of free flights – the rest? Not so free. Haha.

We really had a great time, spending eight days together on Maui. Here is a brief recap with (too many?) photos!

Great condo for relaxing – which we did plenty of! Don’t worry – they weren’t staring at screens much of the time. They were researching places we wanted to visit.

Watching the waves and waiting for the sun to set.
The opening in that seawall was great for the surfers to access the ocean right in front of us.

The views from the lanai were wonderful. We were entertained my many, many sea turtles swimming in the waves. Also, lots of surfers – most mornings there were great waves out front and lots of people playing in them.

Ray took our picture in front of this tree to show the massive size of the trunk. Crazy big!!

We walked a trail one day in Iao Valley State Park which was lovely – it was quite warm that day (really every day we were there!) so we were thankful it was just an easy walk and mostly in the shade.

Julia wrapped in a towel (over her sweatshirt). It was so cold up there!

Our favorite trek was up to the Haleakala Crater. We chose to do this in the evening so we could watch the sunset from the crater. The elevation is over 10,000 feet and we were literally above the clouds. The only time I have looked down on clouds is from a plane so this was spectacular.

This photo is untouched and it was so amazing to see.

Doesn’t this crater look like something on another planet? It was a challenge for me to be at that elevation. I was a bit dizzy and my stomach was very queasy – high elevation and I do not mix well. I really wanted to see this even though I was fairly certain it would trigger a migraine (and it did!). Gotta make choices, right? It was worth it.

Sunset at Haleakala Crater

The week we spent on Maui was unseasonably warm. Just our luck! The temps were in the mid-90’s and of course soooo darn humid. That was really unfortunate. Ironically, the temps at home that week were unseasonably cool with temps in the mid-70’s. Ah well, we got unlucky there.

Food, glorious food. Vacations always mean trying lots of different foods, right? Ray and I love wandering the grocery stores and looking at the differences between home and the destination. We went to a couple of farmer’s markets and bought different locally grown fruits. After a week of eating guava, papaya, mango, dragon fruits, pineapple, custard apple and star fruits, I would have to say that while they were fun and different, I am not a huge fan. They were too sweet for me. Plus the textures weren’t the best. Mango and pineapple are fine – and we eat them here at home all the time. The local pineapples were much nicer than what we purchase here but that makes sense as I am sure they pick them early for shipping here.

As we were driving around the island, we saw this road side stand several times. Finally we had to give it a try. Oh my gosh – it was exceptional. Fantastic rotisserie chicken and the best ribs. Smoky and tender, we brought quite a bit home to our condo and made a few meals with it. Seemed very strange to see a huge (really huge) bbq on the side of the highway but it was delish!

Maui Quilt Shop

Much to Julia’s dismay, I spotted this quilt shop one afternoon when we were out in search of a shave ice treat. It was tiny and carried a good stock of Hawaiian fabrics, batiks and summery novelty fabrics. Lots of patterns and samples were everywhere.

Surfboards, pineapples and palm trees scream Maui to me.

I was very good and just bought a couple of pieces to bring home as souvenirs of the trip. I look forward to making a little something summery that will serve as a fun reminder of the trip.

When we were getting to the end of the trip, I asked Julia to choose what she wanted to do on the last day. I was not even surprised at her decision. We went to Surfing Goat Dairy. (Of course we did!). They had a fun tour, goat cheese tasting, lots of goats to pet and the best part – we learned to milk a goat by hand.

Goat milking!

It was quite fun and the goat cheese was truly amazing! There was an incredible assortment of chocolate truffles with various flavors and you know we sampled several of them. We bought some frozen Quark to take home. We wrapped it well and it was still very cold by the time we got home. The flavor we chose was Passion Fruit and yum!! The usual goat cheese I buy here at home has a fairly strong, distinct flavor. But the Surfing Goat Dairy cheeses don’t have that harsh taste at all. We learned this is because they use vegetable rennet and not animal based rennet. This made such a nice difference in the flavors.

Overall, we had a lovely trip. Once home, it was back to business. My friend Sophia shipped orders for me while I was away and I am so grateful to her for the help. I had four custom orders for Chemex and French Press cozies to make and those are all finished now. There were also three boxes of fabric to deal with – I have listed some of it but still have a ways to go with that. Vacations are wonderful and it is a good for everyone to get away and enjoy a change of pace and scenery. But for me, I do love coming back home! I am such a homebody.

Looking forward to the first bit of piecing for the Mosaic Mystery QAL. Also I am just about done with the hand sewing on my friend Susie’s memory quilt. I also want to do a bit of big stitch hand quilting on it so that will be my project for evening time. Julia moves into her dorm on Saturday so she is busy packing and I am busy realizing she is growing up and leaving the nest! How about you? What does your week look like? Tell me in the comments. Happy Monday all. 🙂

County Fair Re-Cap

What a nice day we had today – long but lots of fun.

Julia started the day with a great smile, all ready to go.

She competed early in the morning in “Market Class” which is where the judge (in the ball cap) ranks the animals by the quality of their physical structure. Julia and Leo did well, placing 3rd out of eight animals.

Competition was followed by the “Breakfast of Champions” which is an annual event at fair. Yum – corn dogs!!

We watched some 4-H kids practicing showing their steers and I just loved the phrase on this guy’s shirt. His 4-H group all wore these shirts and it made me happy to see – they must have a great leader.

The breeder that Julia works with had a new litter of piglets just a few weeks ago. He brought the mama and her eight piggies to the fair to people could see these little guys. The mama looked exhausted and why wouldn’t she be with constantly nursing eight hungry babies. Mama pig weighed 500 pounds – she was huge.

My dad joined us for lunch and to watch Julia compete in the afternoon. We loved having him hang out with us – Thanks for coming, Papa! Isn’t this a cute picture of the both of them?

The day ended on a somewhat sour note. During the showmanship competition, Leo decided he wasn’t in the mood to cooperate and literally went to the corner of the ring and refused to leave. Try as she might, Julia couldn’t get him to perform, walk, or get out of the corner. It was crazy ridiculous since Leo has been such a great animal and they have been walking our property every morning for weeks and weeks. But if the animal has never been in a ring with eight other pigs, you can’t truly be sure how it will respond. Leo wasn’t in the mood I suppose. Julia tried and tried and finally realized she wasn’t going to be successful. Oh well, life lessons, right? I was proud of her in that she kept her cool and did her absolute best.

They are still buddies even if Leo really doesn’t dig the show ring too much. Raising an animal is a great experience that instills patience and responsibility in a person. But as with humans, animals have their own personalities, likes and dislikes. This guy is not a performer which was disappointing and surprising to Julia. She handled it well though and that is what counts.

Sewing, Baking, Napping and More

Lots going on around here lately. My husband has finally decided he is ‘done’ renovating our little house in Downieville and it is listed for sale. We bought it some years ago after I saw it for sale during a quilting retreat up in the mountains. We have enjoyed many weekends up there and Ray has really outdone himself with updating it. I suspect it will sell easily and make someone very happy.

A “Before” photo

This is a shot of the living room when we were first looking at the house.

The same angle with Ray’s updates!

Want to see more? Here is the kitchen when we toured it the first time.

The “Before” shot of the kitchen.
And the kitchen as it looks now. I love it!

In some ways we are sad to give this little house up but we are also ready to be responsible for just one house again. Life is always changing!

I did bits of sewing here and there over the past week but mostly I was napping and dealing with a long migraine cycle. Ugh, that is so frustrating. Started Sunday night and here it is Friday and I am not so sure it is over yet. Such a waste of time – dragging around and not accomplishing a whole lot. I am so fortunate that reading does not bother me when I am sick – many migraineur’s cannot read because of strong sensitivity with their eyes. I have a hard time looking at the computer, I think it is because of that little bit of movement that one’s eyes track while looking at a screen. But the T V and books are ok. Anyway, lots of napping and I am crossing my fingers it is over with soon. I did my second monthly injection of Ajovy yesterday. My neurologist said some people experience a benefit right away and it can take others 3 or 4 months to notice a difference. Maybe this month will be better!

The sewing I did do was mainly working on my friend Susie’s memory quilt. I got it basted (Julia helped me crawl around on the floor for that!) I quilted straight lines through the sashing and have been thread sketching an echo of sorts around the two plaid hearts. I think it lends a rustic simple look which is perfect for the mood of this quilt. Next, I plan to work on the short sashing strips between the four patch blocks. Then I need to decide what I want to do with the four patch blocks. I am just taking it easy and enjoying the process.

Julia has asked me to make her a new purse. The last one was made in fall of 2017 and it is looking a bit worn. I love her fabric choices! The blue and gray fabric just arrived last week and I am happy to cut into it and give it a try. It is called Harmony with Nature and was designed by Norman Wyatt. She chose the Mystic Gray (an Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solid) for the lining.

Sam’s Jersey Quilt; November 2017

My sister asked me (a LONG time ago) to make a hanging sleeve for a quilt I made for my nephew. Remember his baseball and football jersey quilt? She wants to hang it on a wall in his room. I finally cut a few strips of this gray dot and will get that off to her in the mail.

Today is my husband’s birthday. I just finished making him a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. To keep it dairy free, I used coconut cream instead of butter for the icing – it is yummy and I was licking my fingers the whole time I frosted the cake! I used coffee for the liquid instead of milk or cream because the coconut is fairly sweet and I thought the coffee might cut that a bit. He requested enchiladas from our local Mexican restaurant which is a treat for me. No cooking!! Then we eat cake. Probably way too many calories after a week of napping but such is life.

Hoping all of you are enjoying summer. Have a wonderful weekend and if it is hot outside (it is in the high 90’s here!) now is the time to enjoy the cool of your sewing room and make something!!

Feeling Accomplished

Last fall I wrote a post to explain our family’s thoughts about raising show pigs. I had received a number of questions and comments about how hard it must be for Julia to raise these cute animals and then give them up at auction when fair time rolled around. The post generated a lot of comments and generally reader’s liked it. Janine of Quilts From the Little House, suggested I submit it to be published. (Thank you Janine!) I thought about it for a bit and decided to give it a go.

In November sent it in to Country Extra which is a smaller supplement to the magazine, Country. But I didn’t hear back from them so I assumed it was not something they wanted to use. Then in April I received an email asking to use the story in their June/July issue. Success!

Yesterday I received a print copy. It is a fun experience to see my story in print. There’s my girl and Olive!

I very much appreciated how careful the editors were to retain the feeling of the essay while having to shorten it. They sent me the proof to check for any errors or changes that were needed. The woman I worked with was so friendly. It makes me feel good about the whole process and certainly willing to do it again should any idea come up worth writing about.

Susie’s Memory Quilt

As for the sewing room, I have been working on the memory quilt for my friend Susie. Her husband passed away last September and in the spring she asked me to make a quilt using his shirts. It is really coming along nicely. Today I will finish sashing it. She gave me his red plaid robe that I plan to cut up for the outermost border. I think the red is going to look great. She is happy with the progress and I am honored to make this for her.

Woohoo!! Art Gallery is on sale to day!

Today is the last day of the sale on Art Gallery Fabric in my shop. Be sure to come check it out – tons of gorgeous yardage is 20% off. Happy Sewing!

Linking up with my usuals and also with Em’s Scrapbag, Moving It Forward Monday – check out the projects in this link up for some fun inspiration.

Back to the Real World

After a fantastic ten days of family time, my kids have gone back home to their lives and I am getting caught up here at home. We all enjoyed our time together and I am so happy they were here to celebrate Julia’s graduation from high school. It was so much fun to have this long visit together.

My last post was celebrating my five year blogging anniversary! I want to let you know who the giveaway winners were.

For the charitable donation, Jinger S. was selected by the handy dandy Random Number Generator. Her charity of choice is the Alzheimer’s Association. She has family members who were or still are suffering from this insidious disease. I am happy to donate $50 to this cause. I hope someday there will be some way to prevent the disease or at very least, stop its progression. Interestingly, June is Alzheimer’s Awareness month so the timing of this giveaway couldn’t be better. If you would like to see a few of the facts and figures about Alzheimer’s, click here.

For the handmade wooden point turner, Random Number Generator chose Robbin G. Robbin is a reader who actively participates on the blog. I always enjoy her comments on my posts and I am happy to send this prize off to her!

Last Wednesday, during an incredibly hot evening, Julia graduated from high school. I was so proud of her and her classmates as they all completed this phase of life. She had such a great experience at Ghidotti and I know she will grow even more when she goes off to college in September.

Having cake together after graduation.

My grand daughter endured the hot, long (and for her quite boring) commencement like a champ. The high school is quite small, Julia’s class had 43 students in it. The Parent Association provides cake and lemonade at a reception after commencement. I love this picture of H looking up to her Auntie Julia.

The rest of the week was spent celebrating graduation with a family party and just hanging out on a stay-cation of sorts. H loved watering with this little watering can I picked up for her at the Dollar Store. Luckily it was really warm so my plants didn’t mind her zealous watering routine. Haha.

As usual, the cherry tree ripened all at once! We have so many cherries. Ray spent some time pitting fruit and freezing it. We were too busy to can or cook jam. Hopefully later on we can get to it. Cherries rot so quickly but we were able to take advantage of some of the fruit.

Aside from her watering chores, this girl enjoyed pushing a little red wheelbarrow around the property. Isn’t she the cutest?

We also spent an afternoon on the pond at the edge of our property. My son, Ian, caught a bass and it was fun to see H’s response. She was enthralled with the whole process and enjoyed watching the fish swim off when he was set free.

Today my plan is to clean up the house a bit. There are toys strewn everywhere. Then I need to open the many boxes of Mercyful Quilts that arrived last week. The only package I did open last week contained this gorgeous piece by Preeti of Sew Preeti Quilts. Preeti named it Oasis and you will surely enjoy her post telling more about the quilt. My grand daughter clearly approves of this donation. It is so pretty and has an hombre effect with the blues gradually changing shade. Thanks so much Preeti.

Once the house is (somewhat) under control, I need to baste my Squared Away quilt top. I am excited to quilt this one up. It is going to be a warm day so this will be a perfect way to spend the afternoon. How about you??

Spring Equals Birthdays & Proms

May has been such a busy month! School is winding down – senior year is coming to a close for Julia. Plus we have celebrated her 18th birthday and she went to her Senior Prom. Crazy to see this girl finishing up high school because it was only a few weeks ago that I felt like such an awful mother as I left her crying on the first day of Kindergarten. Such is life, right?

A few weeks ago, I posted this desperate plea on Instagram and Facebook. Julia’s prom dress didn’t really fit well and she asked if I could fix it. This was the week before prom. Being the confident sewist, I immediately suggested we return it and quickly find another dress. But she #1 – threw away the receipt and tags and #2 – said she loved this dress and wanted to wear it. OK, I promised to do what I could. The main issue was the lining was too snug around her waist. I looked at letting it out and adding some width to the side seams. But I suspected I would end up with something bulky that wouldn’t lay flat. My brilliant daughter, who doesn’t sew, asked if I couldn’t just lift the lining up, folding it right sides together, sewing all the way around, which would make it a little wider at her ribs. Does this make sense to you? It worked like a charm and was super easy. Sort of hard to explain though.

Photo credit to Natalie Webster.

The next issue was the hem. It was really long and she didn’t want to be tripping over it at the dance. I was a bit leary of this task because the outer fabric was a slippery chiffon. But with the help of YouTube, it was not hard at all. The video I watched instructed me to pin it about 1/4″ longer than I wanted it to be. Press it and stitch all the way around. Then trim the excess as close as possible to the seam line. Finally, roll that stitched line to the inside, pin and press and stitch again. I was amazed by how wonky the original hem was. There was no way to straighten it so Julia and I figured if we hadn’t noticed how wavy it was before, no one else would either and I just stitched it – crooked as can be.

Photo credit to Natalie Webster.

Hiding under that pretty dress are black sneakers because my daughter won’t wear much else!

Following the prom, we celebrated Julia’s 18th birthday. Not sure if you remember but last year I made a cake for her 17th birthday and was not entirely successful!

This was one ugly cake!

This year Julia asked for the same yellow cake with strawberry filling and chocolate frosting. I wanted to use a cake mix again but with better results. My trusty internet sources advised adding an extra egg yolk and replacing the required water with milk. I did both of these, though I used almond milk to keep it dairy free for my husband. Also, another site suggested adding a couple of tablespoons of any pudding mix that would match the flavor of the cake. I had an old box of butterscotch pudding that likely expired in 2010 or so. I opened it and added two tablespoons and tossed the rest. Guess what? It worked wonderfully.

Such an improved version!

Julia was happy and we are hoping her wishes come true for this year!

With all of this, plus two different awards nights at school, I haven’t done tons of sewing. One thing I am working on though is quilting a top given to me by a family friend. She actually donated three finished quilts to Mercyful Quilts. Then she sent me four tops she had, asking if I would finish them and donate those as well. I don’t normally do this because it takes a bit of time which I am sorely lacking, but she was so sweet to donate the other quilts and I agreed. I know they all won’t be finished terribly soon but I am working on the first one.

This string quilt was probably made a while back. There are many fabrics that look to be circa 1980’s and it is very pretty. Unfortunately, it doesn’t lie anywhere close to flat. I don’t think these string blocks were pieced with any sort of foundation paper or fabric, making them quite stretchy. I pressed it and starched it before pin basting. While pin basting, I took little tucks all over the place and hand stitched them which really helped. When I get to those bits, I quilt heavily over them so they won’t come apart. I am just using a loopy meander which is quite forgiving when I come to a section that is wavy. After binding and washing this it will, hopefully, crinkle up and be very cozy.

The backing is from the sale section in my shop. It is an Oval Elements piece from Art Gallery Fabric. Fabric for the binding has yet to be selected though. I am just about out of thread (which is silly since I am quilting it with white thread) so I won’t get too much farther on this today. I am counting this as my one project for Hands 2 Help and it should be finished early next week.

The quilts continue to arrive for Mercy Hospital and the Mercyful Quilts drive. The Hands 2 Help event at Confessions of a Fabric Addict has been amazing. I cannot even believe the number of quilts made for all of these deserving organizations . Just so inspiring. Some quilters have made 4 or 5 quilts – some even more than that. I have this stack and another box full ready for pick up. Judging by the emails I have received and blog posts I am reading, there are many more on the way. Thank you to all of you generous quilters!!

I hope everyone has a lovely long weekend. In the US, Monday is Memorial Day which many mark as the beginning of summer. We have had rainy, gloomy weather all week so it sure doesn’t feel summery here!

Spring Break

I have been absent from blog land for a bit. Julia was on spring break and we had a lot of time to hang out together. It was really nice to have her home relaxing, not working on homework.

The break started with my son and his wife here for the weekend. Julia picked out her pig for this year and they wanted to come and join in on the fun. (My son raised market hogs during high school too and really enjoys this common interest he has with Julia.)

Leo, hiding in the corner while Julia waits patiently.

Let me introduce you to Leo. He is about 11 weeks old and has a very sweet personality. When Julia brought him home, he was very skittish. Poor little guy was so shy and wanted to hide in a corner of the pen, behind some weeds. Julia was very patient with him and just stayed near him but didn’t try to engage very much at all.

It didn’t take more than a few days before he would sniff her hands and come closer to her. She continued to just be with him, letting him approach her.

One week later, Leo is so much friendlier.

After the five days or so, Leo became very comfortable. He has gotten very social and loves to be scratched and rubbed whenever Julia is out with him.

Look at his cute smile!

Now they are best friends. He will not leave her side if she is in the pen. He nuzzles her legs and wants all of her attention. She did such a good job of gaining his trust and this will make it much easier for her when she starts to train him for showmanship.

Buttermilk Bend Trail on the South Yuba River

In between playing with Leo, we did go do a few fun things. One day we took a hike on the Buttermilk Bend trail along the South Yuba River. The wildflowers are gorgeous this time of year.

Globe Lillies

These wild lillies are one of may favorites.

With so many wildflowers, comes an abundance of butterflies. There were many and we enjoyed watching them.

Try as she might, Julia couldn’t get one to land on her hand.

Cherry Blossoms

At home everything is blooming too! This is our cherry tree. Each season it is anyone’s guess whether we will get cherries. Judging by the incredible bloom we have this year, I am feeling hopeful we will have fruit. The birds take more than their share, but I think we will have some to enjoy as well.

Asian Pear Apple Blossoms

We have two Asian Pear Apple trees, each of which are about four or five years old. This is a strong blossom year for both of them so maybe we will get fruit! Last year I think we only had two or three apples and they were not very big. Crossing fingers for this year.

Mason Jar Cozy

My quick sewing project for last week was this cozy for a pint size mason jar. My daughter in law takes jars of layered oatmeal (I think she puts fruit, milk and yogurt with the oats) to work and cooks them for her breakfast. She wanted a cozy for the jar because it gets fairly hot in the microwave. This isn’t exactly gorgeous, but I am fairly happy with it. First I measured the girth of the jar and the height I wanted. I cut two rectangles of fabric and one of batting, each 4 3/4″ x 11 1/2″. I also cut two circles of fabric and one of batting, 3 1/2″ in diameter. Then I quilted the batting to the exterior fabric. Stitching a seam along the short side first, I then pinned the outer fabric circle to the cylinder I had made. That was the most difficult part.

I couldn’t get it to fit correctly without a few tucks along the way. I did the same with the lining (except no batting this time). Then I stitched the lining and outer fabric right sides together around the top opening of the cylinder, leaving a couple of inches open so I could turn it right sides out. It worked well enough but I am sure if I made a few more, the aesthetics would look a bit nicer. (I did make a mock up with some ugly fabric before I started so I could be sure it would fit the jar.)

The week went by so quickly! School is in session again and we are back to our routine! Today I even did a bit of quilting on a baby quilt I am making. I love the way these flowers look. I backed the quilt with a vintage sheet I had thrifted a long while back. It is so soft! I will share this with you again when I get it finished up.

I hope you have been enjoying springtime! We are definitely in full spring season here in Northern California.

Big Decisions!

It is that time of year. College acceptances and declinations are being emailed out to all sorts of college seniors. Julia and her friends have been texting like mad, announcing what universities they did or didn’t get into. It is a very competitive process these days. I remember back in the day; you know, when I was walking five miles to school (up-hill) each way in the snow, it wasn’t such a huge deal to apply for college. I went to our local community college for two years and when I finished up the general education classes, I chose a four year university and picked a major. My main decision point was, in all honesty, where was my boyfriend going to attend? Sounds terrible, but it’s the truth. I also remember that in 1980 when I started college, the tuition fee each quarter was $69 ($207/year). I applied and just assumed I would get in. It wasn’t thought to be a big deal. I took the SAT’s but didn’t do anything amazing with those. My grades were reasonable but certainly not more than a 3.4 (or so?) GPA.

Oh how things have changed! The tuition at my alma mater is now up to approximately $3,200 per quarter ($9,600/year). Last year of the 55,000 applicants about 16,000 were accepted. There were 10,000 applicants with GPA’s of 4.0 or more who were turned down. The competition is fierce. College juniors and seniors take the SAT and ACT tests multiple times and when they aren’t satisfied with their scores, they work with SAT prep tutors. GPA’s of 4.0 and higher are prevalent and these kids are fighting for their spot.

Julia was fortunate in that she applied to four universities and was accepted at each one. We have done tours, walked campuses and, of course, talked and talked and talked. Julia had several decision points when choosing where to go but the most important was….. the swine unit! Once we got to this one, I knew her decision was made!


My daughter in her happy place.

The swine unit at this particular university is gigantic. There are approximately ten litters born each month. We saw the nursery area and drooled over these tiny piglets.

Look at them, one on top of the other! So funny.

We had toured the swine unit at other universities last year and while they were nice, they just didn’t compare.

Tell me the pig on the right isn’t smiling!

We went home from this particular tour and my daughter thought and thought about her choices. We called and cancelled our flights and the campus tours which were scheduled for next weekend.

Last Saturday she committed and is officially going off to college in September! This is such a milestone in her life. (Mine too! She is the last kiddo at home – the chicks will have all flown the coop!!) Here she is accepting the offer and of course, you know what the next step was. “Mom, what credit card should I use for the deposit?” Here we go!

I thought I would make a little something to surprise her – to celebrate this important decision. Looking through my stash, I remembered a piece of fabric Julia picked up last fall during a trip to Ben Franklin. It was a Riley Blake piece with piggies wallowing in mud and it made her smile.

Aren’t they cute? Snorkels and beach balls. Hahaha.

Pigs truly have a love of mud. Julia usually keeps a nice sized mud puddle in the pen for her piggies to play in and cool off with.

Anyway, my thought was to make a couple of pillow cases. They are simple and so fun to make. It had been a while since I had made these so I looked at the tutorial at the Seasoned Homemaker to refresh my memory. These are super easy to make and look so nice when complete. Using French seams creates a lovely finish on the inside.

These took very little time to whip up. I used a white on white fabric called Fool’s Gold from my shop. It is by Libs Elliot and the white is absolutely crisp. I think it dresses up the look just a bit (if that can happen with pigs playing in mud?!?) The soft pink trim was a scrap I had (always nice to use those up!)

I know the match isn’t perfect for the quilt she has on her bed but they are cute nonetheless. Julia is excited these days because there is so much going on with the last semester of high school! Next weekend she will select her piglet for this year. Photos to come!

If you haven’t tried making these ‘burrito style pillowcases’, I encourage you to give it a try. They look so pretty and are not at all difficult. Is it time to personalize your bed with some nice new pillowcases?

Loving These Handmade Gifts

My grand daughter turned two years old last week. Her parents and I wondered how this could be?? Those two years have buzzed by and here she is, a toddler who talks a blue streak, is starting to be potty trained, and has perfected the all-important sentence “I can do it myself”.

Oak and walnut step stool created by Grandpa.

My husband and I wanted to make her a gift from each of us. As one would expect, his was made of wood and mine of fabric. Ray made her a pretty step stool. My DIL actually asked him to make this. Recently they converted her crib to a toddler bed and it is a tiny bit tall for her still.

He laminated strips of oak and walnut together to make the top. Then he framed it with walnut. Always one to think of safety, he angled the legs on the bottom so it wouldn’t tip as she stepped on and off of it. He also put little grips on the bottom of each leg making it hug the floor for safety as well as avoiding any scratches on their hardwood flooring.

She loves her little seat. Such a sweet girl.

Gram-gram chose to make a little bassinet for her dollies and stuffed animals. H is at that age where she loves to put things and people to bed. Sometimes a doll or stuffed animal, sometimes her Gram-gram or her daddy – she loves to cover you up with a little blanket and say pat-pat when she tucks you in. Oh my heart.

I used a tutorial on Sew Mama Sew for this project. It was very fun to make. Nothing too unusual in the process at all, just boxed in corners, a lining of a stiff, fusible batting and a ruffle to decorate the outside. I used a home dec fabric from Jo-Ann’s for the outside. I love the whimsical birds. The lining, ruffle and pillow are made with a purple Kona cotton.

The bed was a little bit ‘floppy’ so before adding the band above the ruffle, I lined it with a stiff, fusible interfacing. That seemed to give it more structure.

A soft little dolly quilt too!

Of course a doll bed needs a little quilt! I used this little floral and just quilted a few lines across it each way. It is just the right size to tuck in a dolly or stuffed animal.

She loved it!

My grand daughter was all smiles when I gave it to her. She immediately loaded it up with a little doll and her stuffed elephant. (I blocked out the name on her hat, that is why it looks a little strange!)

How many animals can sleep in one little bed?

I really loved making this for her and hope she will play with it for a long time to come.

Using the little cushion as her own pillow. Testing out the softness for her baby dolls?

Of course she felt the need to do a little bit of quality control and lay on the cushion from the bed. Any good mommy has to make sure her dollies will be cozy, right?

Happy birthday to this two year old. Such a fun time for her as well as Gram-gram and Grandpa. Linking up with my usuals plus two new (for me) Linkys – one is called Show Off Saturday and the other is at The Crafty Quilter. Check the others out at the top of the page, under link ups!!

Remember that this Saturday, March 16th is National Quilting Day. Check your email first thing Saturday morning for a newsletter announcing some fun deals for just that day only! If you don’t subscribe to the Needle and Foot newsletter, this might be a good time to sign up!! Click here to subscribe – and remember, I won’t use your email address for anything else, nor will I share it.

PS – If you would like to see more of my husband’s woodworking, follow him on Instagram! He is @kringelwoods and is a talented kind of guy. (I may be a bit biased, but still….)