Happy Holidays everyone! For those who celebrate Christmas, I hope the day was lovely. I think this is probably the smallest gathering we have had for Christmas but you know what? It was great. Julia, Ray and I were together and we enjoyed it very much.
Knowing it was supposed to snow on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we invited my parents over for cookies and coffee on the 23rd. Mom and Dad live at a higher elevation than us and thus get quite a bit of snow. Once it snows, their part of the highway is often impassable. They know to plan ahead and ‘hunker down’ when it is snowy. Our afternoon together was very nice though.
Because it was going to be just three people for Christmas dinner, we decided to make something less traditional than the prime rib my husband normally makes. Julia found a recipe for Bao (Chinese Steamed Buns) as well as a recipe for a Chinese Beef Noodle soup. Both were fun to make and really delicious.
This is the bao after we steamed them. Making these was a fun family project. Julia made the dough and I made the pork filling. We all worked to assemble them. Yummy!
I had some time to do a little bit of sewing on my Meadow quilt (which, per my usual, I started long ago). The flowers are all glued down with heat and bond. I did some free motion quilting to hold them before I basted the top and backing. Now that it is basted, I have been doing more free motion on the flowers. Once that is done, I will work on the background. It is a fun project and I love how it is looking thus far.
Just before the holidays, I found these cute cups at one of the local thrift stores. I bought five of them. They are so sweet and I have visions of grand children drinking hot chocolate from them at Grammy’s house. A grandma can dream, right?
Closing with a cute picture of my girls. They are becoming good friends as A gets older and H develops patience. I love seeing them snuggled up together watching cartoons on this little iPad. Check out the curls A has!
That’s it for now. We are in the midst of a power outage so I can only write while the generator runs and it is time to turn it off! More soon.
As I mentioned the other day, I came across a quilt top from my guild’s Community Service team. Nothing like an impending move to get me going on this top. It took no time at all to get it basted and stippled.
This scrappy quilt is one crazy flurry of color. Most of the prints are from the 1980’s and 1990’s as far as I can tell. Lots and lots of novelty fabrics were used. The person who pieced it alternated rows of seven inch squares with rows of 3 1/2″ squares and rectangles. It is much like an I-Spy quilt and will be fun for someone to look at and enjoy the variety of prints.
So many holidays are represented in this crazy quilt. Christmas and Easter, Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day fabrics are all over the place. For as many novelty fabrics as are included, it was interesting to note she didn’t include any Halloween fabrics.
Kokopelli (the flute playing, dancing characters on blue) are symbols of fertility and rain. Interesting placement next to rabbits and hens, both of whom are quite prolific at reproducing. Hahaha. Coincidental placement, I am sure.
I backed the quilt with black and white polka dots and used the same for the binding. In the interest of efficiency, I machine bound it front and back. I need to practice this – my machine binding is less than precise.
Just after Thanksgiving, Julia, my mom and I made some cinnamon applesauce ornaments. These are very easy to make though the dough is very sticky. There are tons of links to make these ornaments. We used the cheapest cinnamon and applesauce we could find.
Once the ornaments were dried, we used puff paints and decorated them. It was a lot of fun to do and the ornaments smell so yummy. Note – these are not edible! They would taste horrible and even when rolling them out, it seemed strange not to taste the dough. If you make these, enjoy the fragrance but make sure not to taste them! Some of ours will go on the tree and others will be given to a few of our neighbors.
Julia and I plan to go to town this afternoon and wander our local shops. We have such a cute downtown area and I am looking forward to this. Also, tomorrow a local nursery is hosting a group of teenage crafters and holding a holiday event. We are both looking forward to browsing their crafts and supporting their entrepreneurial spirit.
Enjoy the weekend everyone!
Linking with my usual parties. Check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.
It snowed this week!! Years ago, it seemed like we got a snowfall every year. The kids would get the day off of school and it was a treat for all of us. With climate change, we rarely see snow. But this week we got about two inches and it was wonderful. Prior to this we got rain, a lot of rain. Living with drought and fires like we do, nothing is better than rain. Anyway, we are enjoying this wintry weather up here in Northern California.
Most of my time has been spent packing and great progress has been made. However I have found a few minutes here and there to sneak in a little bit of sewing. When I was sorting scraps last week, the pull of the solids bin was great. I did a little improv and ended up with two cute minis.
I put Insul Bright and regular batting scraps in these so they can be used as pot holders or trivets on the table. They are a little be stiff since I quilted them densely.
This was the first one I made. The wavy piecing was fun but I do have to say, I am not hugely satisfied with the jittery look of my wavy quilting.
This was number two. It is made mainly with shot cotton which doesn’t have a ton of body. (Hmmm, I should have starched the pieces.) So it pulled with the quilting. No worries though – still fun to just sew!
Both of these little projects are backed with Kaffe Fassett stripes.
This is what I have on my machine this week. As I packed, I found a quilt top that belongs to our Guild’s Community Service team. Guild members can drop by and pick up completed tops and finish them or quilts that need to be bound. I have had this on the shelf for months! (Sorry team!) So I basted it and am giving it a meander this week. I have the binding strips cut and ready to go. It should be finished in a day or two.
Finally, aren’t these holiday stockings gorgeous? My sister sent these to me, Ray and Julia. She is incredibly talented with her knitting needles and made these for us. I really, really love them. Her work is just amazing. I can’t wait for Santa to fill our stockings this year!
That is it for now. Since it is Tuesday, I think I will head over to Linda’s for To Do Tuesday. You can click here to check out what everyone is working on this week. Also linking up with Pat at Stitch, Sew & Show.
I am in good company as I join in with Leanne at Devoted Quilter for the 100 Day Challenge, WIPs Be Gone 2021. Her thought was we should all gather together and use the last 100 days of 2021 to finish up some projects that have been languishing for whatever reason. I have plenty of these so it makes perfect sense to use this as a way to get some momentum going. Technically this challenge started on September 23rd but I am just now writing a post about it.
This is my list of unfinished items I will try to move forward on or actually finish. It certainly isn’t a list of all unfinished projects but these are WIPs I would love to complete. Leanne has been a great cheerleader for all of us. I strongly suggest you check it out and join in. You still have 93 days left!! (Isn’t that crazy – 93 days left in 2021.)
I have made some progress! Last week I was able to stitch my blocks together for my Positivity Quilt. I am making a smaller version with 25 blocks and a couple of borders. The blocks are assembled and now I need to measure the top and cut borders. More on that as it comes along.
I have a list of all the colors I am behind on for RSC 2021. Purple is now caught up!
Teal blue is now finished as well. I have the dark blue blocks half way to finished too!! (It was surprising to me how little dark blue I had in the scrap bins.) I think that only leaves the September blocks in orange. This makes me so happy – I tend to be one who just sets something aside if I get too far behind. But I really like these blocks and want to finish this quilt. Before moving on to something else, I need to finish both the dark blue and orange blocks. It will be really fun to layout the blocks and see how they are all looking when together. After these blocks are done, I will move on to quilting one of the finished tops. Now you know my progress for the first week of the challenge! Yahoo!!
Hope everyone is doing well – enjoy the upcoming weekend.
Hello there! Life is still quite busy here. The fabric sale continues and customers are keeping me busy. I am happy to say the stack of empty bolts is still growing and the shelves of bolted fabric are shrinking. Thank you all for supporting me as I clear out the shop in anticipation of closing it.
In between shipping orders, we have had a lot going on. I haven’t been able to get a ton of quilting done but I do get to the machine now and then.
I am working on my blocks for the Positivity QAL. The other day I suppose I wasn’t paying attention because the block wasn’t assembled correctly. Ooops! Luckily it took little time to unpick the stitches and fix it (the upper left block). The blocks are super easy to make and I am enjoying it. People are starting to post their progress on Instagram under #thepositivityqal. Check them out to see! If you want to join in, there is time. The QAL is just getting started!! Sure some people (Preeti and Cheree, I am looking at you!) are finishing flimsies but others (ME) have all of five blocks sewn. Also, for those of you who are already into this, remember the first link up for showing progress shots is this Sunday. Preeti and I have decided I will hold the link up here though. So come back here to link up on Sunday, ok?? (Note to self: go figure out how to host a link up since you haven’t hosted one in several years. Haha)
I have also had some time to work on the gray and blue monster I am making for my bed. We have a king size bed so this is certainly the largest quilt I have made yet. (I have made four queen size quilts though and this isn’t too much bigger than those). I am very happy with this project though. My husband chose the fabrics and helped me select the pattern. Mainly I need to work on the sashing strips and then assemble the rows and add borders and baste it and quilt it and bind it and wash it. See – I think I am almost done!
The garden is going nuts now. Zucchini, cucumbers, green beans, bunching onions, boysenberries, and blueberries are coming in fast and furious. Tomatoes are just starting to turn color, the shallots look great and the pumpkins are happily growing.
Before I close (which I really need to do so I can get downstairs and ship orders), here are some smiles for you. The girls are growing like crazy and I am feeling the urge to see them again! It has been just over a month and they seem different already, especially the one year old. At that age, there is something new almost daily.
OK – I will be back on Sunday with a link up for you! Come and check out the quilts people are making or link up your progress shots.
Today I want to share the finish of this pretty coin quilt. This quilt started out on a whim one day a couple of months ago. I was cleaning my sewing room and attacked a pile of scraps, cutting them into rectangles measuring 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″. I decided to concentrate on specific colors and then use the rectangles at a later date for a coin quilt. Green, yellow, pink and blue were the colors I selected.
Yes, the quilt has a bit of an Easter egg vibe but who doesn’t love Easter eggs? I chose a mottled blue fabric from the shop as the background and a pretty green wide back (also from the shop) to finish it up. The binding is the same as the background. I might note I find myself really drawn to using a binding that matches the outer border when possible. I like the look of it. Maybe because it feels less busy to me.
With my trusty quilt holder, Julia, I was able to take a few photos of this pretty quilt in our yard. When I quilted it, I outlined the coin columns and then stippled the blue background. I have been using Glide thread and finding my machine loves it. I had very few hiccups and those I did have were due to bobbin winding issues. Glide is slippery thread and (for me anyway) it can be a challenge to wind the bobbin with it.
My husband always leaves a patch of California poppies go in the field, not mowing them down until they finish blooming. The poppies are such a pretty pop of color for us. Anyway, this quilt is destined to be a Mercyful quilt and is also my contribution to the 2021 Hands 2 Help event run each year by Sarah Craig, Confessions of a Fabric Addict. I also have a quilt in the works for her Hometown Hero idea but it won’t be finished by the deadline. I will post the story behind that quilt soon as it is finished.
Yesterday my husband and I took a day and hiked at the Gray Lodge Wildlife area. It is gorgeous out there. Usually it is a haven for waterfowl but this late in the season, there isn’t a whole lot of water so the number of birds out there is far less. We were lucky to be out there and enjoying ourselves before it gets too much hotter. This is in a fairly toasty area an hour or so from our house. We plan to go back during the winter months to see the birds.
There are tons of rice fields out in this area too. At this time of year the fields are heavily irrigated and bright, bright green. So gorgeous. Because the fields are so wet, there are lots of white heron out there. Try as I might, I didn’t get any pictures of these pretty birds.
At home we are busy picking, cooking and eating artichokes. This year is a bumper year for our artichoke plants. However, it is supposed to really heat up over the next week which should slow the plants down quite a bit. I haven’t counted how many are out there but I bet we have about twenty left to pick, after eating several and sharing some with my neighbor.
Ok – that is it for now. I have lots in the works! I am joining in with Sew Preeti Quilts Positivity Quilt Along which begins this coming week. I love the pattern for this quilt and look forward to sewing along with Preeti and many others. At the same time, I am making a quilt to celebrate the upcoming publication of Cheryl Brickey, of Meadow Mist Designs, new book, Just One Charm Pack. The book comes out toward the end of June and there will be a blog hop later in the summer to share the quilts several of us are making. I have the pieces cut and hope to start sewing tomorrow. Hope all of you enjoy the weekend!
Psst: Be sure to come back and read my next post. I have some big news to share!!
Linking up with Cheryl’s Favorite Finish as well as other favorites – check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.
It is the end of the month and I scrambled to get a few things done for April. Seems the April came to a close much sooner than it was supposed to as I wasn’t really ready.
Yesterday was a housecleaning day. The obscure chores just get pushed back until finally the oven stinks whenever it is heating up and there is no choice but to clean it. That was not a fun chore but it is done and the oven is all ready to go again! I also had to give some of my houseplants a bath. The larger ones get dusty and it is easiest to take them on the back deck and just hose them off, let them dry and bring them back in. Yikes they look so much better now.
After that nonsense, I managed to finish the RSC blocks for April. I used three very different shades of blue for these blocks. The diamond blocks are fun to make and not at all difficult. They finish at 6″ x 12″. I have been pre-cutting the neutral background triangles making it simple to put them together (making one wonder why I would wait until the end of each month??) Sigh.
Here are a few of the colors put together. I am sure I will need more than three of each color (which is what I am currently making). Seems best I make a few more pink, yellow and green blocks so I won’t have to do it all in the fall. But will I??? We all know the answer to that. Motivate me. Tell me how happy I will be come October, if I have the right number of blocks made. Tell me how it will make it so much easier to assemble the quilt and if I don’t have the right number of blocks made, I will likely put this in a project bag and let it languish. Tell me, ok???
In the meanwhile, I have also been working on a panel challenge hosted over at Prairie Moon Quilts. A while back, Shelly challenged quilters to use one of the panels in their stash and make something with it. Too many times, the panels in shops attract a quilter and are purchased without a real plan how it might be used. Panels are so fun and can be used in any number of ways. To see a few of my favorites, check my Pinterest board.
I chose to use this beautiful panel from Northcott’s Covent Garden Line. I do have it in the shop if you love it as much as I do! It measures 28″ x 42″. The colors are amazing. It was designed by Deborah Edwards.
When I first got this panel in the shop I wanted to just quilt it as a whole cloth and hang it somewhere. But as time went on, I was less convinced this was the right choice. When Shelly presented her challenge, I decided to cut it up and piece it.
Next decision was how much to cut?? Not much was the answer I came up with. So I sliced it into columns. The center measures 9″ wide and moving out from there the size decreases. The next strip was cut at four inches, followed by three inches and the narrow outside strip was 2 1/2 inches wide.
For the first border, I used a piece of fabric from PB Textiles. I liked the rusty tones with the flowers. It was just about square at this point and my brain felt like it should be a rectangle. Adding a four inch floral strip at top and bottom made this happen and my brain was much more content. Shelly will be showing all of the quilts made for this challenge and will have it open for viewers to vote. I hope you will hop over there on Monday to look at all the different projects everyone has made. I am looking forward to it!
What a huge difference this made – There are so many ways to use this columnar method with a panel. Some quilters will move the panel pieces up and down so the picture is not totally lined up. This looks great with panels showing pretty landscape scenes. I also love when a panel is cut and made with attic window blocks. One idea that attracted me was seeing a quilt where part of the panel was cut and appliquéd to the quilt. The design looked wonderful. To see the panels I have in the shop, click here.
Thanks to Shelly for motivating me to play with this panel. Now it is time to baste and quilt it. I have a few quilt tops lined up to be finished. I think I will baste one this weekend to begin that process. What are your plans for the weekend? It is going to be rather warm here and there is plenty to do out in the yard during the cool of the morning and then in the sewing room in the afternoon.
Linking with my usuals. Check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.
I think this is the first coin quilt I have made and I love it. It is simple, pretty, and has lovely color. This project consumed a nice pile of scraps, most of which were given to me by my sister.
In January I spent some time cutting pink, green, blue and yellow scraps into strips measuring 2 1/2″ x 5″. Then I made myself put them away and finish a few other projects before playing with these. When I was ready to sew the coin quilt, it was great to just pull the bag of strips off the shelf and dive in.
I decided to make one long strip of coins for the center and worked outward from there, reducing the number of coins in each strip. Not having much of a design wall, I kept them taped to the trim above these closet doors. I spent almost no time placing colors or making sure one color wasn’t next to another. Knowing there would be wide sashing strips between the columns meant no coin would truly be side by side with another. Seeing it come together so nicely was satisfying, especially given I didn’t lay anything out. I simply pulled pieces and chain stitched them together.
I used a mottled, light blue fabric for the 2 1/2″ wide sashing, as well as the tops and the bottoms of each column. It screams springtime to me!
The next step is to pick a backing and get it basted. It is 69″ tall and maybe 54″ wide?
What have all of you been up to this week? It is gorgeous here but too dry. Way, way too dry. Today I read that this is the 3rd driest season in over 40 years for our area. We all know what that means. Horrific fire danger coming this summer and fall. Sigh.
We don’t really have much planned for the weekend. Some yard work, some sewing and generally hanging out. Hope all of you are well, happy and feeling creative.
I will leave you with some fun pictures – they are sure to make you smile!
Linking to my usuals. You will find lots of choices at the top of the page, under Link Ups.
Remember the chicks Julia raised last fall in the laundry room? Well two of the four turned out to be roosters, Pete and Jack. This was somewhat disappointing as that obviously reduced the number of eggs we thought we would be getting. However they were very handsome birds and we got over our disappointment. Then we went up to Washington to celebrate the girl’s birthdays and those naughty roosters had a party of sorts.
When we left, the roosters were about five months old. We thought this was still young that they wouldn’t be fertilizing eggs yet. Oh what sneaky birds.
By the time we got home, Fauna was sitting on a clutch of thirteen eggs. Several days after that, this little one hatched. Since then, no more eggs have hatched. This is a lousy yield for sitting on thirteen eggs. We haven’t ever hatched eggs but our suspicion is that she added eggs, and allowed the other hen, Flora, to add eggs to the clutch for too long so the hatch dates are really strung out. Chicks take 21 days to hatch from the eggs. Poor Fauna has been sitting on these eggs for 28 days now.
She has decided she is really over this whole broody, sit-on-the-eggs, thing and keeps kicking eggs out of the clutch (which means she doesn’t think they are viable so she pushes them out and lets them get cold). Julia tosses those eggs when she finds them. At this point, Julia doubts any of the other eggs will actually hatch. In order to prevent any more hanky panky, Julia put an ad up on Craigslist and quickly gave Pete and Jack to a good home in need of a couple of fine roosters.
Now that Pete and Jack are gone, Julia was really hoping for more eggs to hatch so we would have more than four laying hens. We don’t know what Fauna’s little one is, rooster or hen, so she decided to buy two more chicks. They are a week old. She placed one with Fauna and her baby but Fauna just gave her the side eye, “Just exactly what are you doing here? You are not my chick.” She wasn’t mean to her and let her scratch around and eat, but as a mama hen, she needs to take the babies and keep them warm by sitting over them along with the eggs until they mature. This is sooo cute – when we go out there, we can see the baby peeking out from under Fauna. It didn’t look like she was going to take the new chicks in with her own. Understandable as Fauna has had a lot going on lately and it was just too much to ask of this mama. So once again, we have chicks living in the laundry room.
Now that we have covered what is happening with the animals, lets check on the sewing projects!
Crowded on my very tiny design wall are the completed blocks for my RSC 2021 project. I am really liking the blocks so far. I have played with the sized of the center diamond so they are not going to all be the same. The outer diamonds will be the same though. I have done three of each color but may need to add more. I don’t think 33 blocks (3 x 11 months) will be enough. Not sure yet though. I have plenty of time to figure that out.
The next project I want to share is my first attempt at visible mending. All the rage these days, sewists are hand stitching various mending projects so they are decorative. (As opposed to the idea of trying to carefully mend something so no one knows it was stitched back together.) Months ago, I bought a pair of jeans at Ross. They fit well and were a bargain but they have holes in them which is trendy these days. I tried to wear them with the holes but I didn’t like it. It always felt like there was a pudgy pop of flesh in that hole when I was sitting down. I am not a fan of that look. 😉
I am much happier with the jeans now that I stitched the hole up. I know I will wear them a lot more now. If you love my shirt, you too can sport one! Click here to check them out. Portions of the proceeds go directly to A Doll Like Me to support Amy’s ever important doll-making process.
In other news, as you likely know, Julia has been home since March, 2020 taking classes on-line. She withdrew from UC Davis because it didn’t seem appropriate to pay such expensive tuition while she was taking classes from home. When it came time to apply to go back to school (in fall of 2021) she decided she wanted to switch universities and go to Cal Poly. While visiting Andrew up in Washington, she found out she was accepted! We are all so excited. I graduated from Cal Poly in 1982. Andrew and Ian (two of my sons) also graduated from there. Julia will be joining the ranks soon!
Do you want the backstory on the matching t-shirts? I thought so!
Back when I was a newly married student at Cal Poly, had this t-shirt. I wore it all the time – until it was deemed unwearable. On the horns of the bull, it said “Cow Poly”. Cal Poly stands for California Polytechnic and it has a huge agriculture component in its academic offerings. Hence the “Cow Poly” joke.
Well a while back, I was scanning old photos and sending them to my kids; one of them was the picture above. I told the kids how much I loved this shirt. I have looked for it on vintage college t-shirt websites to no avail. Well, may I just say, I have some pretty amazing kids. My middle son, Kyle, decided to recreate it. He first called the Cal Poly Alumni Association to try and get design files or to see if the t-shirts were available in any fashion. He couldn’t find anything so he drew the design himself and had the shirt made. Since the siblings knew he was making them, the Cal Poly alumni ( current and future) decided they wanted the shirts too. (Julia was superstitious and decided not to wear hers until she was accepted.) The only difference between our shirts and the original is Kyle added ‘class of 1982′ to the bottom of the design, honoring my graduation date. The kids’ t-shirts also have that on the front which I think is kinda cute. Another example of an awesome handmade gift!
OK – this has gotten to be quite a long post. I will catch you up on other sewing projects soon. If you have read all the way to the end, thank you for hanging in there!!
Linking up with So Scrappy and Oh Scrap, among others. Check out my Linky parties at the top of the page, under Link Ups.
Like the really creative title says, I finished up the mini I shared with you earlier! It is so cute. When I was piecing the Mosaic Mystery Quilt (yet to be finished) I had loads of bonus HST’s – you know, the bits that are left over when you make a flying geese block? Luckily, I stitched them as I made the blocks so they were all ready for me to use.
Making this mini used only a small portion of the little 2 1/2″ HST’s. I saw the idea to incorporate a friendship star with the fussy cut center on a site and I cannot remember which it was. I think it was something like All People Quilt but I am not sure. If I figure it out, I will update the post accordingly.
At twelve inches square, it will be easy to find a little spot to hang this. I quilted all triangles except for the background (pale green) pieces. It looks cute and for the most part went well. There are a few wrinkles near the friendship star that could look a little better.
The fussy cut square in the center of the star is my favorite part. I have a stack of squares of this fabric depicting the very famous Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte painting by Georges Seurat. While on a trip to the Chicago, I saw this painting at the Art Institute of Chicago. It is so beautiful. When I saw a handmade shirt at a thrift store made with this fabric, I grabbed it, deconstructing it for the fabric.
There are only so many ways to take a photo of this little quilt. But here is a cute one. You probably noticed I decided to face the quilt, rather than bind it. I like the look of this but it caused me to lose some of the points on the top and right side of the mini. I didn’t lose them by stitching over them with the facing. Rather it was when I rolled the facing to the back, those points are rolled over just enough to make the points round off. Sigh. This was disappointing but I have managed to recover from the trauma. I didn’t have leftover strips of any of the fabrics used on the mini and when I looked at using other fabric for the binding, nothing appealed to me. I do like facing quilts; I just hadn’t considered the issue of those points.
In other projects, I decided what I would do for an RSC quilt this year. Since I skipped doing anything for Rainbow Scrap Challenge last year, the bins are loaded. I need to make some scrappy projects for sure. I saw these pretty diamond shaped blocks over at Bonjour Quilts and thought they would be fun to make each month. Not hard to piece and they will use up some fabric. The blocks will be 6″ x 12″. I suppose I should figure out how many I need to make but I have plenty of time for that. This month is pink and I have cut pieces to make three of them. Pink is probably the scrap bin with the least fabric in it so three will be plenty.
Not a whole lot more to report today! I have had an annoying cold this week. Where the heck I picked that up from, I have no idea. But it means I got no exercise this week and took lots of naps. Hoping to be a little more active this weekend! Hope all of you are well and staying healthy.
Post Update: Now that I am informed about the fussy cutting challenge for Project Quilting this week, this will be entered! Thanks to Wendy and Kathleen for commenting and letting me know. 🙂
Linking with my favorites – check them out at the top of the page under Link Ups.