Category Archives: Kindness & Community

February Plans

Just sitting here on a chilly, damp morning drinking that first cup of coffee. (Nothing better than that first cup, is there?) I am trying to wrap my head around the fact that my oldest child is celebrating his 36th birthday today and number two celebrated his 34th birthday two days ago. How did that even happen? Time just marches on. I love having adult children – watching them carve their path, raise children, and develop their careers. It is truly satisfying.

OK – moving on from blathering about my boys, let’s look at a fun project I worked on this week. Our local quilt guild is doing some community service work, making placemats for both Meals on Wheels and the local senior center. I thought this would be a fun project to contribute to. The only requirement was to make them finish at 12″ x 18″. My plan was to use some orphan blocks as the starting point. I have three finished and two more that just need binding.

This one used six HST’s that were leftover from making my Pikes’s Peak quilt (which still needs to be finished). Love the blue and gray tones in this placemat. I used a fun stitch to quilt the outer border. All of the placemats have machine stitched bindings.

Placemat number two used up a few odds and ends from the Twisted quilt I made several years ago and donated to Mercyful Quilts. I actually have quite a few of these rectangles left because I had stitched a number of them backwards and didn’t notice it until after trimming the backside (making it too late to rip them apart). This made a cute placemat and, again, I used a decorative stitch for the two borders.

Isn’t this a cute one? I have had that little heart block for at least four or five years. I made it with a pattern from Kitty Wilkin over at Night Quilter. I never used it though and am happy to see it finished up.

Thinking forward and making a plan for what I will work on next, I think I want to finish up a quilt for Mercy Hospital. I had shared my Bloom with Grace flimsy two weeks ago and, at the suggestion of a couple of you, I decided to add top and bottom borders to give it some length. That is completed and it is basted and ready to quilt.

This is the main goal for February and I will link this up to OMG at Elm Street Quilts. Beyond this quilt, I want to make something for my grand daughters. Both girls have birthdays next month. As I said above, time marches on and A will have her first birthday just after H celebrates her fourth! Wow. I am thinking about making a teepee which can be set up in one of the play rooms. I have a feeling they will like playing in it. For this, I need to order some heavy fabric, maybe a canvas, with a non-directional print..

OK – time to get going. The coffee is now lukewarm and there are orders to pack. Looks like it will be a rainy day but hopefully there will be a break enough to take a walk and get a little outside time. Have a great day all!

Holiday Tales & Traditions Blog Hop

Post Update: Two things I wanted to update here. First of all, the winner of the giveaway on this post is Darci. Congrats Darci and I hope you enjoy the fabric. Second update: I talked about the Christmas Through the Decades later in this post and mistakenly said it was on Netflix. However it is really available on Amazon Prime’s streaming service. Sorry for the misinformation.

Hello everyone. If you are new to my blog, coming here from the Holiday Tales and Traditions Blog Hop, welcome. I have been blogging since 2014 (which seems crazy but it has been over six years now)! I would love to connect with you and invite you to take a look around to see what Needle & Foot is all about.

This week I am hosting a blog hop to share some traditions celebrated over the holidays. I asked a number of bloggers to write a post telling a tale they remember from their holidays or a tradition they celebrate during the holidays. Last year I wrote about family traditions from this time of year and I really enjoyed reading comments about the traditions all of you remember. I thought I would carry this forward to this season as well. We certainly need to come together and lift each other’s spirits during this time of year, especially in 2020 when so much feels heavy and abnormal. I hope you will enjoy the hop. Be sure to click through to the other blogs and enjoy some holiday stories.

I have a few tales to share with you. One from my childhood Christmas memories and the others from Christmases spent with my children. Because I think blog posts are more fun with photos, I am randomly including holiday pictures here and there.

Ian and I, Christmas 1994

When my three boys were young, Christmas was naturally an exciting time. As it is for most kids, right? After we put up the tree, I would wrap the gifts from Mom and Dad and put them under the tree. This happened about ten days or so before Christmas. My boys would spend a lot of time checking out the presents, shaking them, trying to guess what they were. It drove me crazy if they guessed correctly – I wanted it to be a surprise on Christmas morning and I don’t have the best poker face! So, one year I decided to try to outsmart them. I bought three rolls of wrapping paper. Using one roll for each boy, I wrapped their gifts. Then I didn’t put any tags on the gift. They were just blank. Under the tree they went. The boys were totally befuddled. “Mom, how do we know whose is whose?” they would ask. I would casually reply, ‘oh, I’ll figure it out.’ or ‘don’t worry about it, we can figure it out on Christmas.’ They went nuts and I thought it was hilarious. On Christmas morning, I played Santa (usually it was one of the boys) and passed gifts out to them. When each boy had gifts wrapped all in one type of paper, they figured out what I had done.

The following year, I knew I couldn’t pull the same stunt. It would not be as fun because they would know what I was doing. Instead, I switched name tags between two of the boys. When wrapping Ian’s gifts, I put a tag on them saying “For Andrew”. On Andrew’s gifts, I did the same, putting a tag on them saying “For Ian”. Kyle’s gifts had his name on them (I couldn’t figure out a way to mix it up any further without making some sort of mistake.) Christmas morning I played Santa again and placed all of the ‘Andrew’ gifts in front of Ian and the ‘Ian’ gifts in front of Andrew. Fooled them again!

My favorite holiday quilt-I hang it each season.

Let’s go back in time now to Christmas in the 1960’s when I was a child. I have a fond memory of one year when my father was scheduled to work at church on Christmas morning. I am sure it was the only year this ever happened but there we were, waking up and Dad was going to be gone for the majority of the morning. Mom insisted we would all just wait until he got back and then we would open gifts. Not so easy for a child, let along six of them! To distract us, Mom thought she would light a fire in the fireplace. Well the damper wasn’t opened and she totally smoked out the living room. She sent us all outside while the smoke cleared. I remember being on the front lawn with my five sisters in our pj’s on Christmas morning. I wonder what the neighbors thought of that. 🙂

Since I grew up in the 1960’s, I had a lot of fun watching a show on Amazon Prime recently, called Christmas Through the Decades. The episode on the 1960’s was especially fun. I enjoyed hearing what the top selling toys were for that decade. The list is slightly different depending on what you are reading but this was the list from the documentary.

1960 – Chatty Cathy
1961 – Ken Doll
1962 – Slinky
1963 – Mouse Trap Board Game
1964 – GI Joe (“Pull his ‘dog tag’ and he will issue commands”)
1965 – Rock’em Sock’em Robots
1966 – Spirograph
1967 – Battleship
1968 – Hot Wheels Cars
1969 – Big Wheel

I think it is interesting that, other than GI Joe and Chatty Cathy, all of these classic toys remain popular today. I read that GI Joe is going to be re-introduced but I am not sure if that is already happening.

1/2 yard bundle of Wintertide and 1 yard of an old fashioned Santa print

Thanks for taking this little trip down memory lane with me! Since this post mostly centered on childhood gifts, I would love to hear your memories of toys that were popular when you were a child. Did you receive something you really wanted or give your child a toy he or she was drooling over? Leave a comment – it is so much fun for me to read your experiences and I know other readers will enjoy going through the comments as well. I would love to give one of you a gift this year as well! I will draw a random name from the comments and send along a fun holiday package of fabric (see above) to the winner. Winner will be selected on Friday evening, giveaway is open to US residents due to the cost of postage.

The Holiday Tales and Traditions Blog Hop is being celebrated on the following blogs:

Sew Preeti Quilts
Quilting Jetgirl
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Academic Quilter
From My Carolina Home
Pieceful Thoughts
Devoted Quilter
The Colorful Fabriholic
Me & My Quilts
Kathleen McMusing
Sarah Goer Quilts
MMM Quilts
Needle and Foot  – That’s Me!

Thank you to all the bloggers who participated in this fun event. Wishing all of you the happiest of holiday seasons!

Guess Who!

Today you are all invited to play a little game. In recent months the news has been filled with problems, politics and pandemics. Enough with such seriousness. We need to lighten things up a bit. So I thought I would host a game called Guess Who!

I invited a number of quilt bloggers to send me a picture of themself as a child. There is quite the mix of bloggers participating. You are likely to be familiar with many of them, but some might be new to you. Here are the rules to this very challenging game. (Haha – really, this is quite simple.) In this post is a list of all of the bloggers who are playing along. Each of them has a childhood photo showing below. Each photo is labeled with a number – Blogger Number 1, Blogger Number 2, and so on.

Your job is to leave a comment including a list of the bloggers’ names and then next to each name, put the number of the picture you believe is theirs.

The order of the pictures and the blogger’s names are totally random. If you already know what the blogger looks like, great – then try to match the person up with the photo. If you are unfamiliar with the blogger, click their name and you will be taken to their website. Take a look around, get to know the person and see what she looks like. Come back and leave your best guesses in the comments.

To sweeten the deal, there will be prizes! First prize goes to the person who gets them all correct. If this doesn’t happen, it will be awarded to the person who guesses the most correctly. Should there be a tie, I will pick a name between the winners.

OK – first let’s look at the names of all the bloggers who are included in today’s Guess Who game. Again, no particular order was used in this listing.

Now let’s take a look at the most adorable pictures ever!

Blogger Number 1
Blogger Number 2
Blogger Number 3
Blogger Number 4 – just the little girl, not her brother!
Blogger Number 5
Blogger Number 6
Blogger Number 7
Blogger Number 8
Blogger Number 9
Blogger Number 10
Blogger Number 11
Bigger Number 12
Blogger Number 13
Blogger Number 14

Now that you are all on cuteness overload, it is time to match them up. You might want to copy the blogger list into your comment and then add the number of the picture you believe is theirs. I hope you all have a lot of fun looking through these and trying to guess who is who.

Remember the prizes? Here they are:

First Prize – a five piece, 1/2 yard bundle from Mystical Lands, by Maureen Cracknell

2nd Prize – charm pack & one yard piece from Rosewood, by Meags & Me.
3rd Prize – a charm pack of Jen Kingwell’s low volume line, Wovens

In addition to the prizes shown above each of the three winners will also receive their choice of one PDF pattern generously donated by Cynthia Brunz of Quilting is More Fun than Housework.

OK – time for you to match up the fourteen bloggers with the correct picture! The winners of the game will be drawn on Saturday, December, 12th. Good luck everyone. I will also put up a post with the correct bloggers matched to their pictures on Saturday as well! I hope you all enjoy this.

Thank You from Mercy Hospital

Below is a letter I received from the Palliative Care team at Mercy Hospital in Sacramento, California. They are so grateful for all of the quilts you have made and donated to their program.

Dear Stitchers,

We are writing to thank you…words cannot explain how important these lovely Comfort Quilts are to the family of our dying patients.  When we deliver them, a look of relief and gratitude immediately takes the place of sadness and loss.  For our families to be able to take home something that their loved one has worn is amazing and unforgettable.

Thank you for all of your skill, hard work, and obvious love that is sewn into each and every quilt; our gratitude for this kindness will never end.  Please know that you are making a difference in someone’s life.  Thank you, again. 

Sincerely and warmly,

The Palliative Care Team at Mercy General

Lisa Seo, Palliative Care MD
Sameera Sandhu, Palliative Care MD
Lori Marsh, RN
Emma Cook, LCSW
Elizabeth K. Mohrherr, MSW
Lucy Zang, SSC

Happy Thanksgiving Friends!

Just popping in to tell you how much I enjoy my blogging and quilting community. I am really thankful to know you all and to enjoy this fun on-line relationship with you. Hoping you are able to celebrate Thanksgiving in some fashion if you live in the US. Ray, Julia and I will have my parents over for dinner. The five of us are pretty much in the same bubble and are all very careful to stay healthy. Thus we feel it is safe to have our Thanksgiving meal together.

I know many people are feeling very lonely without their kids or parents or other family/friends that they normally would spend the holiday with. My hope is that we are nearing the light at the end of the tunnel. The vaccines hold promise and look like they will soon be released. Slowly, slowly, we will get back on track. Try to stay positive and continue to be careful, safe and healthy. Take care and thank you for your friendship!

Just Because – My Kind of Day

Today is my kind of day. It is National Just Because Day. Is this a real thing? I don’t know but I am choosing to believe it is, at least for today. Seems to me on Just Because day one can do pretty much as they like and not have to answer why. It is the one day when the reply to “Why?” is “Just because.”

So what is the plan? Eat ice cream in the middle of the day? Call a friend you haven’t spoken with in ages? Take a nap? Indulge in a long bath? Skip doing dishes all day long? Leave the bed unmade? Spend the day sewing even though there are dust bunnies everywhere and the bathroom hasn’t been cleaned in way too long? Sure, go for it. Just because.

Anyone who knows me, knows I am a little bit Type A. Kinda rigid and a definite rule follower, that’s me. So let’s drop all of that – for today, Just Because! These times have not been easy as of late. Lots of worry, loneliness, long hot days (in California anyway), wildfires and way too much smoke, hurricanes, pandemics, homeschooling, lay-offs, unemployment, and all of the political absurdities – so, so much negativity. For today, skip all of it. I will choose to ignore the news, just because. I will do something kind for someone in my neighborhood, just because. I want to add a small extra in each order I pack and send off to a customer today, just because.

It is more than ok to indulge now and then. In fact, it is important. Acknowledge the work you put in each day, whether it is at home or at a job. Give yourself a break, just because – it is well deserved! Celebrate today and don’t explain why you are doing whatever it is that strikes your fancy – do it Just Because. Enjoy the day! Relax those standards and don’t worry about why.

Here are some pictures to make you smile. Why did I include them in this post? Just because…..

Squishy baby thighs!
A very happy three year old.

For all of you, just because:

A fun sale today at the shop – take 20% off your order, Just Because. Enter coupon code JUSTBECAUSE and receive a nice discount plus an extra little gift from me. Just because!

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.

Wrapped with Kindness

I received something really special in the mail yesterday. The family of a patient who received a Mercyful Quilt wrote a note of thanks. We quilters have talked about this and agreed we do not need to hear the gratitude felt by recipients of the quilts we donate. As quilters, we donate because it might soothe someone during a really difficult time and it makes us feel we are helping in some small way when we make and give these quilts.

But this family was so taken by this handmade gift and they wanted to be sure we all knew how touched they were. Three sisters spent time with their father who recently passed away at Mercy Hospital in Sacramento. They were given the opportunity to select a quilt and wrap up their dad with it as they sat with him. Receiving this was such a sweet surprise for them. They wanted to extend a note of thanks and this is the best way for me to share it with all of you.

The best thing was the photo they enclosed with their thank you note. I am really hoping the person who made this quilt will see this post. Please let me know if it is one of you who donated it. If I can track down the quilter, I would be happy to send the picture to the maker – what a sweet way to see your quilt providing comfort.

This picture says it all to me. The comfort it provided to three sisters and their father. The beauty of this quilt tucked around their dad rather than a plain, sterile hospital blanket is just lovely. It surely didn’t make saying goodbye to their father easy but maybe it helped just a tiny bit.

Since I am writing on the topic of our gifts for Mercy Hospital I would like to share one more story. Last summer a young woman was dying of breast cancer at Mercy Hospital. Her husband and 11 year old daughter spent their time with her. As her death became imminent, a palliative care team member asked the girl to come and choose a quilt for her mom. She explained the girl would be able to keep the quilt after her mother’s death. The girl looked through the quilts and carefully picked one out. When asked why she chose a particular quilt, she told the nurse it made her think of Paris. She and her mom had talked about how wonderful a trip to Paris would be. Since this wasn’t going to happen, she wanted to wrap her mom up with this quilt. (I wish I knew which quilt this was but I don’t have any idea). I think this is so amazing though. For this little girl to attach such an important memory to the quilt she chose must have been comforting to her.

These are the reasons we do it. This is why we spend hours cutting up pretty bits of fabric and sewing them into quilts to be given to people we will likely never meet or hear from. It is kind, thoughtful, helpful and so necessary in our world. Kindness matters. Thank you to each of you. Please know the need is on-going. Mercy Hospital is down to about ten quilts right now so if you are called to help, please donate a lap size quilt when you can. It means more than we know to so many people.