Category Archives: Quilting Skills

One Adorable Pumpkin

Happy Halloween!! Your recent two weeks of family time in Vermont were wonderful. The goal was to hang out with our son and his wife and spend as much time as possible with our grand daughter. 

Grandpa was her favorite during our visit!

While there my grand daughter came down with a miserable virus and had terrible croup. Poor little girl was sick for a long stretch and toward the end of it, my husband came down with it.  Not a fun bug at all!  The two days before we left, my son and his wife were starting to come down with it but it didn’t look like they were going to be quite as sick.

Since we were having some quiet time at home and H was taking long naps due to being sick, i did have time to do some sewing. I pulled out my DIL’s sewing machine to make a Halloween costume for H. She and her mom found a cute picture of a little girl dressed up as a pumpkin with green leggings and t-shirt on underneath. 


I used a Simplicity pattern for the costume. There is a Jo-Ann’s in the next town over so off I went in search of orange fabric. At first I planned to use a wool felt but it was so stiff. I knew H wouldn’t have fun running around in that at her Halloween party (at her daycare).  I was with my son Kyle (he and his wife drove over from New York for a weekend) and he spotted a bolt of orange fleece way up on a top shelf, not yet unwrapped. Lucky for me he is 6’ 2” and was happy to hop up and down to grab it. This was perfect. 


The pumpkin is lined with fleece and filled with batting. Even trick or treating in Vermont, this girl is going to be quite warm. Her outfit is so heavy!!  There was a stencil for the face but i felt like it was too big so I ended up cutting the pieces out free hand. Using a few bits of ‘Wonder-Under’, I fused the face to the front and appliquéd them with a simple zig zag stitch. 
The pattern called for a casing to be made at the hemline with elastic inserted to make it puffy. However with the fleece, there was already a nice shape to the pumpkin. Instead, I trimmed the fleece lining to be about two inches shorter than the outer layer.  Turning one inch of the outer layer to the inside, I machine stitched the hemline. 

She was trying on the hat when I first finished it. But it was a bit too big.

Ok- my favorite part of the whole costume is definitely the hat. When I made it, H was quite happy to wear it about the house for an afternoon so I really hope she wears it on Halloween. It looks so darn cute on her. I made it during a nap time, guessing at the sizes and it was too big for her.  There wasn’t a clean way to fix this without doing a lot of seam ripping. I had to rip one seam on the  pumpkin and it was difficult to manage with that puffy fleece fabric. So I cheated and took a little tuck and just stitched it up. The hat is still a bit large but better than before. 

So darn cute!

When I left I had not had time to run out and buy some velcro which was needed for the shoulder straps. So I left it unfinished and my daughter-in-law took care of it. I received some really cute pictures of H having fun with her costume today.

Getting ready for daycare earlier this morning. So much excitement!

I am glad they had a little party at her daycare. I hear they are supposed to have a lot of rain tonight so that may put the kibosh on any trick or treating.

I love the green and white striped leggings and t-shirt under her pumpkin costume.

Just in case there was a chance for trick or treating, I also made her a tiny treat bag to carry.

This was designed off the cuff and I didn’t write down any measurements. If I had to guess, I would say it finished at about 8″ x 11″ or so. Maybe even a bit smaller. I had that polka dot ribbon on hand (actually had all of the supplies on hand) and I took two pieces and sewed them together (wrong sides together) just to make it a bit heftier.

The bag is lined, which makes it a bit stronger. Since she does not yet know what trick or treating really is, she won’t be disappointed this year if they skip it due to weather. She can play with this bag or use it next year.

While I was there H and I made a festive bandana for their dog Wusha. I think Wusha looks a bit embarrassed to wear it but this dog will do anything my grand daughter asks of her. I had the triangular pieces cut and pinned and then had H sit on my lap and help me feed the fabric through the machine. I tried to take a selfie because it was so sweet but I am really, really not good at those and didn’t get much of a picture! But we had fun and she was thrilled to help Gram-gram sew for a few minutes.

Introducing Georgie Ghost

One last project while we were there was to make a little ghost to hang in the dining room. We had been taking walks around the neighborhood and she really liked looking at the neighbors decorations. She loved the ghosts and a few little scarecrows we saw. I asked her if she would like to make a ghost and she was so excited.

This was super easy. One styrofoam ball from Wal-Mart and a packet of cheesecloth from the grocery store. I cut the cheesecloth in two strips and with the help of one happy two year old, layered the ball with the cheesecloth. Then we worked together to cut the eyes, nose and mouth. I had gotten her a glue stick that starts out purple and dries clear. This way she could see where she was putting the glue to put the pieces on. The addition of the bow on her head turned this little ghost into a girl. H and I had so much fun with this project and it was the perfect amount of work for a two year old.

Checking to see if Georgie Ghost can fly.

My son took the photos of H and her ghost – they are so sweet! We really enjoyed our time with the kids and can’t wait for our next visit. Grand parenting is the best and it would be even better if we all lived on the same side of the country!! Someday…

Linking up with a few fun places, including the monthly Favorite Finish party at Meadow Mist Designs. Be sure to check the top of the page under Link Ups!

Grammy Time

Guess what? I am in Vermont hanging out with the cutest two year old ever! We arrived on Sunday last weekend. We are staying for two weeks which is just a treat. My husband came along on this trip which pleased H no end. She does love her Grandpa.

We have been on grand parent duty a bit and have also had a couple of days to do some touring around. As you can imagine, the beautiful fall leaves are at their peak right now. Tuesday and Wednesday Ray and I spent time driving east and south to the bottom of Vermont and then up the western side. Of course, this state is small so it doesn’t take long to do this. We stopped along the way though to enjoy the sites.

I will share my two favorite places we visited! First of all we found a place called Vermont Salvage in White River Junction. It is a huge building with three floors of all sorts of things that were kept during various home renovations. Ray and I spent a long time looking through pile and piles of fun things that would be great to have if we were fixing up a house

The selection was incredible. Everything from tubs and toilets to mantles and stained glass windows. There were bins filled with hardware, hinges, door handles, cabinet pulls and more.

If only we could have thought of a way to use these old jail cell doors!

Here we found a wooden phone booth. Where did this come from? I just loved it.

This wooden slide was so fun. It was quite rickety and I found myself wondering if it was made by some devoted father (or grandfather?) for their children.

I allows was thinking that my bum would in no way fit this slide! It was clearly made for little kids. Also, it was so steep. Think of how many kids flew down that slide and scrambled up the ladder for another turn!

The other place we really enjoyed was a trip to King Arthur Flour. I love their website and use their recipes quite often. Our local grocery sells quite a variety of their flours too. When Julia was out here last summer she had lunch here with her brother and sister-in-law. She told me about it and said the shop was something I would love. Know what? She was so right!

The store is enormous and is filled with baking tools, kitchen decor, linens, cookbooks and baking mixes of all kinds. The only thing that restrained us was the fact that we would have to tote things home to California and the fact that lots of the items are available online.

Being there made me want to go home and bake. I really love cooking and baking as does my husband.

They make wonderful breads and baked goods onsite. Samples were everywhere which was a great selling technique! I liked the huge windows which allowed us to watch the baking in process.

Even more, they have a beautiful classroom set up. The day we were there the class was on making hot water pastry as well as short pastry crusts. I wish I could have snuck in the room just to listen for a while!

The restaurant is great too. We had a fantastic lunch after shopping and wandering. So yummy.

We did purchase a number of the mixes and plan to make some over the weekend. My middle son and his wife are driving over from Brooklyn where they live. So family time means lots of food (at least in our family!)

I will close now with this fun announcement! Guess who is going to be a big sister?? We are so excited for grand daughter number two! She is due to arrive in mid-March. Big sister seems to have some understanding of what is to come. She has told me the new baby will cry a lot, want a pacifier and lots of bottles. However she clearly doesn’t get the difference in boy names or girl names. She has asked that this child be called Ferdinand. I am really hoping her parents can talk her out of this!

That is my news for now. Hope all is well with you!

Susie’s Quilt is Finished

Months ago I started to make a memory quilt for my friend Susie. Her husband passed away in September of 2018 and some months later she gave me a stack of his shirts to make a quilt with. I first posted here about this project if you want to see earlier pictures.

That weird little curved line at the too right is a branch from a tree. Creative photography?!

Yesterday I had lunch with Susie and (finally) gave her the quilt. She is really happy to have it and I am hoping she enjoys snuggling up with her quilt and a good book now that cooler weather is upon us. I think it finished at about 65 x 75″ so that is a nice size.

This quilt is rustic and cozy. Because all of the shirts were plaids, I chose to make each four patch block with a solid (from various pairs of shorts) and a plaid. The shirts were Rick’s favorites and he had worn some of them quite a bit. This made it nearly impossible to get a straight cut on the plaids. But I didn’t worry about it. This is a memory quilt and it will serve its purpose well.

My favorite part of the quilt is the red flannel that was used as the border and for the two red heart appliqués. The fabric was taken from Rick’s bathrobe and it frames the quilt perfectly. I love the deep red color. The binding is a soft creamy flannel that is in the shop. It seemed to be just the right choice with that rich red border. It complements the pale green gingham backing too.

I don’t know the name (or if there is a name) for this pattern I quilted on the four patch blocks. I quilted a diagonal line and then swooped up one side and down the other creating a leaf shape. It was so easy to do and it looks pretty. I first started with a free motion foot and had a heck of a time getting across the main intersection of the four patch. It made me crazy that I couldn’t get over that point without jumping all over the place. When I finally made the switch to the walking foot, it was just a breeze. I didn’t even think of that in the beginning but this design works really well with a walking foot.

I rarely remember to label quilts but I did put one on the back of this quilt. My handwriting isn’t the best but I am glad I labeled it.

There are some tucks on the backing that really gave me trouble. Other than that, this was a wonderful project and I enjoyed making it. I hope Susie takes comfort in it and loves having the quilt as reminder of her many happy years with Rick.

If a Tree Falls on My Driveway

You would think I would hear it, right?? On Saturday night, sometime between Julia getting home at 10:30 pm and 10:30 the next morning, a huge portion of an even bigger Heritage Oak tree crashed to the ground at the top of my driveway.

Standing at the top of my driveway

I can’t believe I didn’t hear it but nope, I didn’t hear a thing. This fuels the whole philosophical debate about ‘if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound’. It is hard to describe the size of the gorgeous tree. If the fallen limb were upright and Julia and I were trying to reach our arms around the trunk, our hands would not meet. They wouldn’t even be close. The tree is estimated to be over 400 years old. Isn’t that impressive? 400 years!

There were four main trunks coming off of the tree and a bit of a well in the center. I suppose, over the many years, the rainwater settled in that little valley and slowly rotted the base. Our neighbors, whose property this tree is actually on, are very careful people and had an arborist check the tree regularly because of its massive size. He thought the tree was quite healthy. Which it was, really, but for the center of that massive base which had rotted.

Sunday morning my parents came by for a visit and had to tell me my driveway was blocked and this tree had fallen. What a surprise, I had no idea! Dad and I took a closer look and saw the split that went all the way though the base of the tree. It was clear the other portion of the tree would likely fall. However, when this portion fell, it would hit a series of power lines overhead. This was really scary and we called the power company immediately. It took about four hours for the emergency team to get out here but as soon as they saw what was going on, they shut off the power to that line.

Within the hour, they had a team of tree trimmers out to the site. I felt badly about these guys having to work on a Sunday afternoon but was very grateful they were there. It felt even worse to see them chopping the tree up, bit by bit. We watched them work for quite a while. Neighbors were coming out and lamenting the loss of this enormous shade tree.

The tree trimmers were actually still working in the dark when we went to bed Sunday night. This morning we walked up the driveway to see how it looked. They had done a great job of trying to clear pathways so we and the neighbors could get in and out of our properties. There is still much work to be done however. It is astounding how much wood and debris are up there all from the one tree.

In the picture above one can see the close proximity from the tree stump, on the left, to the power pole, on the right. It was really a dangerous situation one the tree was found to be at risk of falling. Now that the danger has been taken care of, my neighbors can be heard with chain saws trying to clear some of the wood. We are all comforted by the fact that nothing was damaged and no one was hurt by this. It surprises me how bothered I am by the loss of the tree, something that has been the landmark to our house all these years. When giving directions we always tell people to look for the massive oak at the top of our driveway. Now it isn’t there anymore. Something is always changing and right now, for us, it is the look of our neighborhood.

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!

Quilting, In Real Life

I have thought about hosting an event like this for a long while now. Occasional frustration while scrolling my various social media feeds got me thinking. While I do love the inspiration found on Instagram and Facebook, sometimes it makes me wish I were more skilled or more artistic or more prolific a quilter or more, just more. Know what I mean? It seems to me we should share both – the mistakes and the achievements, the blunders and the best of our work. This would present a balanced picture, it would show quilting – in real life!

In an effort to do this, I invite anyone who wants to share to leave a story in the comments. Explain what your mistake was, how you did or didn’t fix it, and what you learned from it (if anything!). Bloggers – if you write a post describing the same, please put the URL in a comment so we can all click through and read about your silly mistake or misunderstanding.

I have so many I could tell you about but I have chosen one big one that I chuckle about almost every time I bind a quilt. I would define this as a complete misunderstanding. I don’t have any wonderful pictures to illustrate this so I will just have to tell the story.

When I started quilting, I basically taught myself. This was back in the late 1970’s. At that time, I made three quilts – each one queen size. I had no clue about actually quilting a quilt so they were hand tied. Also, I didn’t know about binding a quilt so they were sort of made ‘envelope’ style. I layered the front and back, right sides together. Then I stitched around the perimeter, leaving an opening large enough to turn it right sides out. Then, get this, I took a layer of polyester batting and inserted it into the quilt and basically crawled in with it as far as I could to smooth it out. So the batting wasn’t really stitched in to anything and you can bet it was lumpy but I was 17 or 18 and I thought this was fine. This is sort of the back story – it isn’t the misunderstanding. We haven’t gotten there yet! I just wanted to tell you where I was coming from as far as quilting knowledge goes! It helps to know that though I began sewing when I was 11 years old, I made clothes – not quilts. I took home ec classes in high school and learned a lot about sewing then. You can read a post here that talks more about those classes if you like. The rules for making clothes are quite different than those for making quilts. This is what caused my major misunderstanding!!

Fast forward from 1978 to 2010 and I began quilting again. This time I had the benefit of all the tutorials on the internet. I read many and they were (and still are) very helpful. Some of the first projects I made were minis and table runners. Then I moved on to trying to make some lap size quilts. Binding quilts was quite tricky for me. I would look at the pictures of other quilts and the crisp bindings with beautifully mitered corners and wonder why the heck mine looked so weird.

Want to know why? Let me tell you. For the most part, I understood the process of making the double fold binding, stitching to 1/4″ before the corner and then off the corner, then I mitered the corner as I turned. All of that worked well. Once I got the binding entirely stitched on, I made my mistake.

I assumed that the 90 degree corner needed to be clipped! After all that work, I went to each of the corners and snipped them off!!! No kidding. I didn’t do this only once either. I did it to a couple of quilts before I figured it out. When sewing clothes, pillow cases or anything with a 90 degree angle, the corner is clipped off so when you turn it right side out, there is a nice crisp corner without excess fabric bunching it up. Well, as we know, bindings are folded over the corners and the corners need to be intact so they fill the binding. My habit to clip those corners was so strong I just did it automatically. Let’s just say the bindings on the first couple of quilts were very weird indeed. I don’t have any pictures of this. But I assure you, I did it repeatedly.

There were actually several habits that were hard to change when I started quilting. Using a 1/4″ seam felt so wrong to me. It didn’t seem like such a small seam could actually hold the pieces together. When sewing clothes, it is standard to use a 5/8″ seam. Also, I am used to back tacking each time I start and stop a seam. Most of the time, I still do this. Old habits die hard. But when I am piecing small blocks, it is problematic if I tack at the beginning and end of the seams – it can make my seams too fat, make the blocks too small, and sometimes causes those bitty pieces to get sucked into the machine at the feed dogs (which makes me crazy!)

We are all constantly learning. Many of my readers are amazing quilters, some are quite new to it and others are like me – gaining confidence with much still to learn. But – we are all right where we should be. Our projects should not be compared. They are as unique as each of us which is what makes life interesting.

I am looking forward to reading tales from others about your blunders, mishaps and misunderstandings! I had planned to have a link up ready for those with blog posts. Well, the weekend got away from me and it didn’t happen. Instead, bloggers, please leave the URL link to your blog post in a comment. Readers, please scroll the comments and click through to read the mistakes others have made. I can almost guarantee I will both learn something by reading these and will also have a laugh or two. For readers who are not bloggers, will you tell your story of a mistake or goof you made? Explain it, tell us how you did or didn’t fix it – share with us! Your story in a comment enters you in the drawing for the prizes! Readers, if you want to comment on others stories, please feel free. I think this will be a lot of fun.

At the end of the week, I will close the comments. Then I am going to draw names from all who entered their story and prizes will be given! Remember from the prior post? We have a gorgeous fat quarter bundle from Art Gallery Fabric, a $30 gift certificate to my shop, three pdf patterns from Bonjour Quilts, one pdf pattern from Devoted Quilter, two mini charm packs from My Sewcalled Quilts. Also, one more prize has been thrown into the mix – one book from C&T Publisher will also be awarded. Lots of fun things to give away!! (Note, when you leave your comment, please let me know if you live outside the US. I have to limit the fat quarter bundle to US residents only – darn those shipping costs!)

Thanks to everyone for participating! We need to encourage each other – one way to do this is to show both sides; our successes and our blunders!

Fireburst Flimsy

I have a quilt top to share with you!  It is my first time participating in a mystery quilt project.  For those of you who aren’t familiar, a mystery quilt is an event where the quilter who designed the pattern releases bits of information on a regular schedule.  The participating quilters follow along, making something but not knowing what the final result will look like.  This event is the Fireburst Mystery Quilt designed and hosted by Tish of Tish’s Adventures in Wonderland.

A little bit of background – I haven’t ever participated in one of these because, honestly, the idea of making a quilt when I couldn’t see the pattern freaked me out a bit.  I have such a difficult time with spatial relationships, what goes where and in what direction does it point, etc.  When I make something, I constantly look at the pattern to double check myself and even then I make mistakes and spend a lot of time with my trusty seam ripper.  But this time was different because I cheated a bit.  🙂

Tish was planning her event and, early on, she asked if I would put together some kits to sell in my shop that worked for the pattern.  There are quilters who like the idea of a mystery quilt along but feel challenged pulling fabric for it without being able to see the pattern (the host of the QAL will usually explain that the pattern needs so many light, medium and dark value fabrics so people can pull from their stash or shop accordingly.). Anyway, Tish and I worked together to pick fabric in my shop and create kits (which was actually a lot of fun and I look forward to seeing the finished quilts of people who purchased the kits.). To do this, Tish showed me the pattern, thus taking the ‘mystery’ out of it for me!  I decided to sew along with the group, sort of pretending I had not seen the pattern and give it a try.  For the most part, I didn’t look at the finished pattern – in fact I didn’t look at it until the end when I discovered a mistake.  More on that it a minute.  😉

Another reason I wanted to participate was the very slow and relaxed schedule Tish. planned for the event.  She gave instructions at the beginning of each month and it was very easy to accomplish what she planned within the month.  This has been such a hectic time lately with my son’s wedding, trips to Vermont, summer time etc.  I appreciated a project that I could just work  on a little bit each month and ‘keep up’.  (I have not kept up with any of my RSC2018 projects at all, which is a little disappointing.  But what’s a person going to do?  Life gets in the way.)  At this point, participants are finishing up the quilt tops and then will be quilting and binding them. There is a fun link up in January to celebrate the new year and these pretty Fireburst quilts.

OK – so how was my experience with a mystery quilt along when it wasn’t actually a mystery?  It was interesting because I still spent a lot of time with my seam ripper!!  I have leftover pieces that I cut and/or stitched incorrectly.  Half square triangles that were not used because they were made with the wrong fabrics.  Maybe I will make a few blocks with these oddball pieces and put them on the backing.  With all of that, I still have a mistake on the quilt top.  Take a look and you will easily spot it! By the time I noticed it, the blocks were stitched together and I was no longer on good terms with my seam ripper.  This is the way it will stay! My fireworks are going to flare a bit different than everyone else’s!!

It is such a sweet quilt and will be a fun baby quilt to gift or donate.  I love the two print fabrics from Priory Square by Katy Jones.  The solids are bold and make a great fireburst coming off the center! Isn’t the center block pretty?  It would be a fun block on its own.

The project was fun and should have been quite easy.  Actually it was easy. Even with my errors, it came together nicely. If you like the pattern, I encourage you to make one.  All of the steps are listed with clear directions on Tish’s site.  There is time enough to begin now and finish with us in January if you like!

Time to make the backing now! I hope you are all having a lovely week.

Linking up with lots of fun places.  Check them out at the top of this page, under Link Ups.

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Good to Be Home

I thought I would post a quick check in now that I am home from Vermont! If you are on Instagram, you might have seen the photos I posted from the trip. It was such a treat to spend so much time with my son and his family.

The first day there, my grand daughter woke with a fever.  While I certainly don’t want to ever wish her ill, I have to admit, I enjoyed holding her a bit extra while she wasn’t feeling well.  This girl is usually on the go and doesn’t have time for very many grammy cuddles.  That Monday when she was under the weather, she was running around a bit less and happy to sit on my lap and look at books a bit more so that was a treat.

The rest of the week, she was a bundle of energy.  We took lots of walks, ran a few errands and played in the back yard.  Remember I posted about the projects I intended to complete during nap time? I was mostly successful. I started a blouse for myself.  All that is left is to finish the neckline and the armholes.  I brought the wrong type of bias tape so that was set aside and I will finish it up this week.  

I did get a pillow case made for the baby’s bed.  The pillow case with the kitties was made just before I left home.  The baby got a kick out of it and pointed to the kitties as we meowed. 

While in Vermont, I made one with a soft flannel from Michael Miller. (I love the flannels I have in stock – They are really soft and thick.) She loved the fish and we had fun pointing to those too.  I kept telling her the colors of each one which would make her smile as we went along, though she really hadn’t a clue what I was saying.  Haha – Grammy’s have to try, right?

When I cut the fabric, it was a bit shorter than I wanted.  To remedy this, I left the selvages on and then bound the edge with a bright orange print from my stash (maybe a Dear Stella print??) This worked well and the pillowcase was generously sized.

Unfinished leggings for the Halloween season.

Also I made the leggings I had planned.  I love the way they look on her though I didn’t remember to take a picture so you will have to trust me on that one.  I used the same pattern from Toddah as I used for her reindeer leggings last Christmas.

Other than that, no other sewing took place.  I am not afraid to admit she wore me out by the end of the day.  The plans I had to sew after she went to bed each night didn’t materialize (no pun intended!) By then, I was wiped out and usually watched a bit of tv and went to bed.  I did manage to finish a book, The Housegirl, by Tara Conklin.  It was a good read and I would recommend it.  The story is about a current day young lawyer who is working on a reparations case to recognize the descendants of African American slaves and it ties to a young girl who was a slave in the 1800’s.  I thought it was really interesting and of course, a bit sad –  still a good story though.

I am happy to be back home – I was gone nine days which is a long time to be away.  While I was away, I didn’t have one single migraine.  I have talked before about dealing with chronic migraine. It is really incredible to go such a long stretch without a headache.  I have been home since Tuesday night and still haven’t had one.  So it has been since August 25th.  I was texting my sisters about this and one of them asked me how much time I spent on the computer while in Vermont.  I thought about it and realized I hardly turned my laptop on at all.  I haven’t been doing much blog reading at all and didn’t write any posts (I had written the Meet & Greet post earlier and scheduled it to post). I often bring a book on my iPad to read on the plane but I was in the middle of The Housegirl so I brought it to finish up, meaning I read a paper book, not electronic.  This was really interesting and made me wonder if the lesser migraine frequency was at all related to the dramatic decrease in screen time. So, I am going to test it out.  For the majority of September, I am signing off the blog and won’t really be reading blogs either.  I do have the September Blogger Bundle coming up on the 12th of September so I want to do a post then. But I am very curious to see if this relief from the migraines continues. I cannot give up computers completely because I need to continue to work my shop.  But I know I can lessen the time spent quite a bit.

So, I will be back on September 12th with a gorgeous bundle curated by my friend Mari who blogs at  The Academic Quilter.  Be sure to pop over to check it out.  I love the colors Mari selected!!  Until then, take care and happy sewing!

 

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Summery Tablecloth

I have a finish to share!  Remember the tablecloth I started?  I was using this sweet cheddar yellow widleback from the shop (down to only one more yard in the shop). My plan was to make a floral collage (inspired by Laura Heine’s patterns) around the border of the tablecloth.  I posted this back in late June.

The day I posted it, there was a comment from my friend Preeti (of Sew Preeti Quilts).  Part of her comment was this:

“I am impressed that you put so much effort into the table cloth. It will be a piece of art and everyone will be overly careful not to spill the tomato ketchup on it 🙂”

This really made me think for a bit.  My family is not overly careful.  This tablecloth was intended for use on the deck – for eating outdoors.  That means summer food.  It means burgers, bbq chicken and ribs.  We are not a dainty family.  I wash my outdoor tablecloths all the time!  I changed my mind entirely and took the flowers off the table cloth.  I saved them for use in a different collage project!

So there I was – no fancy border. Just the hemmed wide back – it seemed too plain.  I dug around and came up with some wide red bias tape.  The bright red with the cheddar yellow appealed to me so I trimmed the edges with two strips of bias tape, one wider than the other.

It is simple but very washable!!  I like the red – it gives the tablecloth a little pop.  What do you think?  It was very easy to do.  I didn’t mark anything.  The two strips may not be perfectly placed but really, who can tell??
I am grateful to Preeti for making me reconsider the idea.  That floral collage would have been so pretty but also very time consuming.  I don’t think the border would have held up very well to constant laundering.  Plus it would fade on the deck as that table gets the afternoon sun all summer long.  It would be better to spend the energy on a project where it will last.  So, now I know that about 1.5 yards of wide back fabric and some bias tape equals a cute tablecloth!  Talking about wide back fabrics, I want to let you know I have an incredibly pretty new wide back in stock to share with you.  It was designed by Amy Butler and is called Night Music – I love it. Click here to check it out.
Reminder:  Today is the last day for the 25% OFF sale on all Alison Glass fabrics.  No coupon code needed.  Click here to shop!

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Plans for This Week

I am trying to get organized before my trip to Vermont next weekend!  I am so excited at the prospect of spending over a week with my son and his family.  My grand daughter’s daycare provider is on vacation for the week leading up to Labor Day.  This is my lucky break!!!  She and I will get to spend a whole week together.  Her parents are even going to take a quick mini vacation while I am there.  This will be the first time they have been away over night without their girl.  I am sure they will have a great time as will she and I!

Grammy’s girl – watching the sail boats.

The decision I am faced with is which projects to bring to work on while in Vermont.  My daughter in law has a sewing machine and I plan to set it up for the week.  My grand daughter is (fortunately) a very good sleeper with usually a 2 hour nap in the afternoon and an early bedtime at 7pm or so.  This will leave some sewing time for Grammy.

So far I have some fabrics cut to make a few new pillow cases for my grand daughter.  I made two for her at the beginning of summer and I thought she would like another one or two.

Also, I cut out this simple shirt. I prefer View B which has only the front and back pieces so it will be a fun, quick project. I will finish the neck line and armholes with bias tape in a contrasting color (which reminds me – I still need to get the bias tape!) I chose this voile by Katarina Roccella (which is listed in the shop) – I love the dark gray background with colorful little flowers.  There will be plenty of time to wear this as our weather doesn’t usually cool down very much until October or so.

Julia and I were in Jo-Ann Fabrics last week and we saw this Halloween knit fabric.  Doesn’t it look perfect for leggings for a toddler with the chubbiest thighs ever? I totally agree!  So, that is project number three. I just need to collect the thread and notions I want to bring and put it all together.  I think this should keep me busy during nap times.  But just in case I need more, I am going to take a big stack of charm squares.  Those are easy to pack and I can always just do a patchwork quilt.  It is good to have choices! Hopefully I will have a good bit of sewing time, but who knows? Life with this toddler could be totally different when she figures out her parents are away.

Alison Glass Prints from Handcrafted and 76 – on sale this week!!

One more thing before I close the post.  If you are an Alison Glass fan, you are in luck.  All of the Alison Glass fabrics are on sale this week for 25% off!  Sale begins today and runs through the end of the day on Thursday, August 23rd.  Take advantage!!

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Have you signed up for my newsletter?  It is published every month or so and is full of information about my shop, new arrivals, sales, and events.  Click here to sign up!