More than a year has flown by and it is once again time to sew for the Safelight Project. Hosted each year by Carole of From My Carolina Home, this project provides support to people in the domestic violence shelter that Carole advocates for. Just in case you are not familiar with Carole and her work, she is one incredibly kind soul. She has spent the better part of the last year working hard to gather hundreds of quilts for victims of the Carolina hurricane. Carole also is a very active blogger with all sorts of quilt alongs, fun tablescape ideas, upcycling and thrifting posts, as well as great recipes. Check out her blog as it is lots of fun.
The Safelight Project is one I have contributed to before. People escaping domestic violence need all the support possible. I love the idea of these gift totes filled with little necessities because so many times the person leaves with just the clothes they are wearing and not much more.
Making a cometic bag and sunglasses case takes little time and not a whole lot of fabric. The instructions are so simple (and available here). Each one just requires a bit of batting and a strip of velcro.
Carole collects many sets and includes them in the tote bags she fills with other sundries. It must be so gratifying to see these pouring into her mail each year.
You know I have a thing for fabric with birds. This looks like a quail to me and I love it!! At first glance it looks like a paisley print but then this sweet bird shows through.
A bit of inspirational fabric made a sweet lining for this pouch.
Have to say, I was a bit disappointed when I realized I cut the triangles going opposite directions for each of the cases. Ooops!
Both sets are in the mail today heading for Carole. Thanks so much to Carole for coordinating this wonderful event each year.
Linking up with a few sites, check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.
About two weeks ago, I was contacted by Winnie and Tyler, owners of Nido Goods. This shop has just begun and they sell a fantastic wool ironing mat. When they asked me to review their product, I was happy to do so. I have been reading about these mats a bit on-line and wondered if they were worthy of the fuss generated recently.
Guess what? They are! My sewing area is contained in my guest room. Luckily, I don’t have guests all that often. But it does mean the queen size bed takes up a good portion of the room, so space is tight. I have a laundry room which is next door to the guest room and that is where my ironing board is. Yes, you could say having to walk to the laundry room is a good thing because it gets me off my bum and walking a bit when I am sewing. But when I am piecing blocks it is annoying. I used to have a wooden, table top ironing board but it took up too much space. I also made an ironing mat with Insul bright and that silver color fabric one uses to make an ironing board cover. However it heats through and gets the table top really hot. (I think I should have used a lot more Insul Bright in the filling). Anyway, I was pretty excited to have a mat sent to me.
I had read that there might be an odor when ironing on wool, especially if using steam. The steam can make the wool a bit moist and possibly cause an odor. I found little odor, if any. The bit I did smell made me feel a bit nostalgic. When I was a girl I attended a private Catholic school which meant I wore a wool, plaid, pleated uniform through 8th grade. As soon as we were old enough to (sort of) do a decent job of it, my mom had us ironing our uniforms after she washed them. (Remember there are six girls and that was a lot of pleats for her to press!) So the smell of the mat reminded me of pressing the uniform skirts. But truly, it is a very light scent. Not a problem at all.
It measures 13.5 x 13.5 inches which is a great size since the largest block I usually do is 12 inches. Using up just 13.5 inches of space is really efficient as far as my sewing space goes. If taking a class, this would be a perfect tool to bring. The care instructions advise not folding or rolling the mat. But with a 13.5 ” square, it will fit into a tote bag without a problem. This will help avoid the lines that often happen at the ironing boards when taking a class!
As I was writing this review, I wondered what the word Nido meant. When I was on NidoGoods.com, I found out it means ‘nest, a structure, place or home where one finds comfort’. I love that! As I was emailing back and forth with Winnie and Tyler, I asked a few questions about their business. I thought it might be nice for you to read the conversation as it took place. These two are so fun to work with.
How did you start this business? Tyler and I had been thinking about starting an online business for a little while now. Meanwhile I recently started quilting in my free time. I am beginner so I don’t have a proper workspace. I started using our dining room table and had to constantly go back and forth to our ironing board. So basically I thought there has to be a better way and stumbled across wool ironing mats and our business was born.
Do you make the mats yourself? Do you outsource them? No, we do not make the mats ourselves. The product is manufactured in China and is made from 100% New Zealand wool! We had several manufacturers send us samples based on our specifications. We then spent the next few weeks testing them to ensure that we chose the best of the best. 😀
Do you plan to make different sizes? We are currently in production of a larger 17×24 inch mat and are considering other sizes. If you have any thoughts on additional sizes we would love to hear them!
How did you choose wool used in the mat? What makes wool the right fabric? There were two major factors that we were focused on – performance and odor. When it comes to performance, we chose wool because it retains the heat very well which allows heat to be delivered from both sides. Also, we have a nice wood dining table so we wanted to make sure that it didn’t get damaged! The wool also creates some friction allowing for grip so things don’t slide around when pressing. The odor was a concern as well, as some of the samples released a not-so-great smell with steam and heat. We were determined to find the best combination of the two and we couldn’t be happier with our product!
Other things to share? We are brand new small business owners and very excited to get our product out on the market. If any of your readers have any questions or concerns feel free to contact us directly at email@example.com
As a small business owner, I enjoy supporting other small businesses. Nido Goods has a great product to offer and will soon have another, larger mat available too. I would love it if you would check them out and give their mat a try. These mats are sold on Amazon and, in fact, today happens to be the second day of the Amazon Prime sale! The mats are on sale today only for $24.99 which is nearly 25% off the regular price of $32. You do not have to be an Amazon Prime member to take advantage of this price. If you are reading this post AFTER the Amazon Prime sale ends, you can take advantage of a special discount offered to readers of Needle and Foot! Use code NEEDLEFOOT when ordering and you will receive 20% off. Thank you Nido Goods!!
Another distraction popped up the other day. I have been wanting to make something for my grand daughter with the new Trixie fabric. This piece was designed by Heather Ross and it features two little mice, Trixie and her friend Thomas. I really love it! By the time I ordered it, a few key pieces were already sold out. However, I do have these two sweet bolts in the store.
I am fully aware the fabric in the shop is supposed to be sold. That is the goal. However, it is really difficult not to cut into certain bolts and this is one of those. These little mice are too cute. In real life, I have a huge issue with rodents, mice, etc. Ugh! But these, I can handle these little critters!
The pattern was a freebie from SewCanShe.com. This little skirt is so simple to make. The length of the skirt seemed quite short so I added a bit more length by adding on the second ruffle with the green floral.
I was also able to add some length by stitching a band of the floral around the top of the skirt. I used that to create the casing for the elastic. This added about one inch to the overall length. I love the way that pop of green looks at the top too!
I packaged up the skirt this morning and will mail it off to Vermont tomorrow morning. The elastic is not yet stitched together. I really wasn’t sure if I was making the waist the correct size so I am hoping my daughter in law can check the fit and then stitch it together. I know H will love these little mice with the bicycles.
Heather Ross creates such whimsical designs. Trixie is no exception. For those of you who are really into fussy cutting, the design lends itself perfectly! Hopefully it will fit H and I can share a picture of her wearing it soon.
It is the first week of July, so you know what that means, right? The annual Meadow Mist Mystery Quilt kicks off! Cheryl Brickey of Meadow Mist Designs is back with her 5th annual mystery quilt, called the Mosaic Mystery, beginning on Thursday, July 4th. This confident beginner level quilt along is completely free to join and has a relaxed pace with monthly instructions posted on the first Thursday of each month. All quilt instructions will be posted on the Meadow Mist Designs blog and you can find all information about the quilt along on the Mosaic Mystery page. Join over 3,700 other quilters in the friendly and quite active Meadow Mist Designs Facebook Group . Cheryl is also offering a non-mystery option for those that want to join in, but would rather see the design ahead of time. You can sign up for the non-mystery option here.
This year I am involved on a couple of levels. Needle and Foot is sponsoring two different prizes during the event, one in August and another at the final reveal when the QAL wraps up. Additionally, Needle and Foot has two kits curated specifically for the Mosaic Mystery Quilt. This is really exciting! Cheryl and I worked together to create two kits, each with very different vibes.
For some quilters, a Mystery Quilt can be somewhat daunting. It might feel a bit nerve wracking to pick fabrics without knowing what the pattern looks like. To this end, Cheryl and I thought it would be nice to have kits available for you to choose from. Both collections contain a selection of fabrics from Art Gallery Fabric, with a solid as the background and three prints used in the quilt and as the binding.
One of my kits contain three prints from the Sun Kissed line. Designed by Maureen Cracknell, these fabrics are summery and so cheerful. The Sun Kissed kit is available here.
Going clockwise, there is Linen for the background, Summer Dress Dreams, Hazy Daisies in Scarlet, and Bandana in Grapefruit.
The prints include large and medium scales which just happen to work well with the design of the Mystery Quilt.
Above are the details on the Sun Kissed kit for your review.
This stunning kit contains print fabrics from Pat Bravo’s Matchmade line. Created by Pat as a line of blenders, the range of color used for the Matchmade fabrics is bold and saturated. To see more details, click here.
The background is a solid black called Caviar. The prints starting in the top left and going clockwise; Indication Midnight, Positivity Berry, and Positivity Midnight.
This kit is very modern with strong contrast. The prints are small scale and not the primary focus of the kit. The color is the focus – shades of teal and berry with a dramatic black background. Gorgeous!
Here are some details on the Matchmade kit for you to review.
I have had such a great experience working with Cheryl creating these two kits for you. If you are someone who is intimidated by the prospect of selecting fabrics for a mystery quilt pattern, be sure to take a look at the kits. Cheryl and I tried to create two very different kits, both modern with bold colors and yet each with a very different feel to them. Using strictly Art Gallery Fabrics in the kits means they are of the highest quality. Kits do not include the backing fabric or batting. However, I do have fabrics in stock that work really well for the backings for both kits. You can see backing suggestions when you click through to the kit links.
There are a number of each kit available in the shop. Come take a look! If you have any questions about the QAL – hop over to Cheryl’s so she can assist. Questions about the kits? Leave them in the comments or shoot me an email. And…. just to have some fun, let’s take a vote. Which kit is your favorite? Let me know in the comments. I am so curious.
Over the past two years or so, I lost contact with my friend Susie. We used to take long walks together, never running out of chit-chat. We both really enjoyed it but life got so that we fell out of the routine. In January of this year, I contacted her about a volunteer commitment we both work on and she told me her husband had recently passed away of lung cancer. I didn’t even know Rick had been ill. I felt awful that we had lost touch and I hadn’t been around to support her during his very serious illness. I know all too well how important it is to have friends helping you during such a dark, painful time.
We got together a couple of times soon after and I offered to make a quilt for her with Rick’s clothes, whenever she thought she would be ready to part with some of his shirts. About a month later, she brought me a large bag containing his bathrobe, some shirts and shorts. We took a look at everything and talked about whether she was ok with me cutting them up. Then we looked at different quilts I had pinned to a memory quilt board on Pinterest. She was drawn to a simple four patch block with sashing. Easy enough to make! Susie also asked if I would include two photos of her with Rick she had printed on fabric. I haven’t used that sort of thing before but of course I was happy to add them to a block.
Looking at the collection of shirts and shorts, it seemed best to use the two pairs of solid blue shorts and then two plaids for each four patch. Susie looked in the shop downstairs and chose a very neutral textured solid for the sashing and border.
Working with clothing that has been worn is a bit tricky. Susie chose the items Rick favored most because she had the sweetest memories of him in those shirts or shorts. Of course this means some of them were well worn. I wish I could remember who it was, but on Instagram, a nice quilter reminded me to back any thin fabrics with a stabilizer of sorts. This was perfect. I fused a woven interfacing to the back of some of the chunks of fabric before I cut the strips. Once that was done, I cut 3 1/2″ strips wherever I could. Then made strip sets and sliced them up to make the four patch blocks.
The next step was to create two blocks where I could utilize the pictures of Rick and Susie. I wasn’t really sure how to do this? The fabric they were printed on seemed to fray easily so I didn’t want to stitch a border directly to the printed piece. Instead I chose to fuse the photo to a square cut from the neutral sashing fabric. After fusing it (with each edge pressed under to create a clean look) I topstitched around the perimeter.
I think that worked quite well. One limiting factor was the shorts I used as a solid. I ran out of that fabric with two blocks to go. What to do? I decided to cut two more plain blocks from the sashing fabric. Then I took bits of the flannel bathrobe and cut two hearts from it. Those were fused to the background squares and appliquéd to the fabric. They look very cute and I like the pop of the deep red plaid.
Finally, we agreed the red plaid flannel robe would be the perfect outer border. I really love how the red flannel gives a cozy and rustic look to the quilt top.
The quilt top measures roughly 60″ x 70″ which should be perfect for my very tiny friend. Now I need to choose a backing and get it basted. This is the type of project I really enjoy. It holds meaning and comfort for my friend. I really regret not having made something like this when Mark – my first husband – died in 1994. I was overwhelmed with being widowed, single parenting my boys etc. Sewing was not at the forefront of my mind – in fact I didn’t really sew for many years after that. Making this for Susie is very satisfying. I am really looking forward to quilting it up so she can enjoy it. September will mark the one year anniversary of Rick’s death and I want to be sure she has this before then.
Linking to my usual spots – check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.
Watch for a special post coming up on Friday!! Until then, to my US readers, have a wonderful Fourth of July holiday! Also, I have a fantastic giveaway happening today and tomorrow over on my Instagram feed. Be sure to check it out. 🙂
A few days ago my grand daughter face timed with me. She had a very specific request. “Grammy, I need a basket.” After chatting for a bit, she showed me how her parents had strung a line across a wall in the living room. It is right at her height and she now has a place to clip her art work on display. Sort of her own continuous gallery showing! But it seems she has nowhere to keep her extra clothespins and this was bothering her. Who am I to deny a toddler in need?
When asked what color, she immediately replied pink. Of course in the mind of a two year old, I wonder was that the first color that came to mind? Is pink her favorite color (or was it on that particular day?) No matter. I have plenty of pink fabric. 🙂
I used the ever-popular pattern for the One Hour Basket over at Kelby Sews as the starting point. I have made these a couple of times before and it truly takes only an hour (or less) to make. But the pattern size was too large. I cut it back and used rectangles measuring 6″ x 9″ for this little one. The little loopy handles are two bits of gross grain ribbon. I didn’t ever measure the finished size but you can see in relation to my hand, it isn’t large. Perfect for a few clothespins.
When I chose the piece of fabric down in my shop, I wasn’t really thinking and cut a 1/2 yard. The print is from Timeless Treasures Kidz and it is adorable. Loads of pink, with princesses and castles too. Since I had the extra fabric, it seemed like I ought to go ahead and make another basket. This one was cut with rectangles measuring 9″ x 12″. Like the tiny basket, I adhered a fusible Pellon batting to the outer fabric. But with this larger version, I also fused a stiff interfacing to the lining fabric to give it more structure.
I made a handle so she can easily carry this one around if she wants to. The lining was from my stash – Julia had some wild pajama pants years ago with this faux tie dyed fabric.
Aren’t they cute? It was fun to make them and to think of H playing with them. When I finished them yesterday, I texted a picture of them so she could see. She was apparently quite pleased. However about 15 minutes later the UPS truck went up their road. It was distressing for her to see him drive by. She thought he was going to stop and drop off the package from Grammy. Poor thing. The timing just seemed perfect to her. Hopefully her package will come on Saturday.
This was definitely a fun little project to whip up. I will link up with Sandra at MMM Quilts when she has her next DREAMI link up as this was surely one of those Drop Everything and Make It sort of projects!
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.
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.
Last fall I wrote a post to explain our family’s thoughts about raising show pigs. I had received a number of questions and comments about how hard it must be for Julia to raise these cute animals and then give them up at auction when fair time rolled around. The post generated a lot of comments and generally reader’s liked it. Janine of Quilts From the Little House, suggested I submit it to be published. (Thank you Janine!) I thought about it for a bit and decided to give it a go.
In November sent it in to Country Extra which is a smaller supplement to the magazine, Country. But I didn’t hear back from them so I assumed it was not something they wanted to use. Then in April I received an email asking to use the story in their June/July issue. Success!
Yesterday I received a print copy. It is a fun experience to see my story in print. There’s my girl and Olive!
I very much appreciated how careful the editors were to retain the feeling of the essay while having to shorten it. They sent me the proof to check for any errors or changes that were needed. The woman I worked with was so friendly. It makes me feel good about the whole process and certainly willing to do it again should any idea come up worth writing about.
As for the sewing room, I have been working on the memory quilt for my friend Susie. Her husband passed away last September and in the spring she asked me to make a quilt using his shirts. It is really coming along nicely. Today I will finish sashing it. She gave me his red plaid robe that I plan to cut up for the outermost border. I think the red is going to look great. She is happy with the progress and I am honored to make this for her.
Today is the last day of the sale on Art Gallery Fabric in my shop. Be sure to come check it out – tons of gorgeous yardage is 20% off. Happy Sewing!
Linking up with my usuals and also with Em’s Scrapbag, Moving It Forward Monday – check out the projects in this link up for some fun inspiration.
After a fantastic ten days of family time, my kids have gone back home to their lives and I am getting caught up here at home. We all enjoyed our time together and I am so happy they were here to celebrate Julia’s graduation from high school. It was so much fun to have this long visit together.
My last post was celebrating my five year blogging anniversary! I want to let you know who the giveaway winners were.
For the charitable donation, Jinger S. was selected by the handy dandy Random Number Generator. Her charity of choice is the Alzheimer’s Association. She has family members who were or still are suffering from this insidious disease. I am happy to donate $50 to this cause. I hope someday there will be some way to prevent the disease or at very least, stop its progression. Interestingly, June is Alzheimer’s Awareness month so the timing of this giveaway couldn’t be better. If you would like to see a few of the facts and figures about Alzheimer’s, click here.
For the handmade wooden point turner, Random Number Generator chose Robbin G. Robbin is a reader who actively participates on the blog. I always enjoy her comments on my posts and I am happy to send this prize off to her!
Last Wednesday, during an incredibly hot evening, Julia graduated from high school. I was so proud of her and her classmates as they all completed this phase of life. She had such a great experience at Ghidotti and I know she will grow even more when she goes off to college in September.
My grand daughter endured the hot, long (and for her quite boring) commencement like a champ. The high school is quite small, Julia’s class had 43 students in it. The Parent Association provides cake and lemonade at a reception after commencement. I love this picture of H looking up to her Auntie Julia.
The rest of the week was spent celebrating graduation with a family party and just hanging out on a stay-cation of sorts. H loved watering with this little watering can I picked up for her at the Dollar Store. Luckily it was really warm so my plants didn’t mind her zealous watering routine. Haha.
As usual, the cherry tree ripened all at once! We have so many cherries. Ray spent some time pitting fruit and freezing it. We were too busy to can or cook jam. Hopefully later on we can get to it. Cherries rot so quickly but we were able to take advantage of some of the fruit.
Aside from her watering chores, this girl enjoyed pushing a little red wheelbarrow around the property. Isn’t she the cutest?
We also spent an afternoon on the pond at the edge of our property. My son, Ian, caught a bass and it was fun to see H’s response. She was enthralled with the whole process and enjoyed watching the fish swim off when he was set free.
Today my plan is to clean up the house a bit. There are toys strewn everywhere. Then I need to open the many boxes of Mercyful Quilts that arrived last week. The only package I did open last week contained this gorgeous piece by Preeti of Sew Preeti Quilts. Preeti named it Oasis and you will surely enjoy her post telling more about the quilt. My grand daughter clearly approves of this donation. It is so pretty and has an hombre effect with the blues gradually changing shade. Thanks so much Preeti.
Once the house is (somewhat) under control, I need to baste my Squared Away quilt top. I am excited to quilt this one up. It is going to be a warm day so this will be a perfect way to spend the afternoon. How about you??
Yep – it was five years ago today I published my first post here on the blog. Seems I blinked a few times and suddenly it is 2019. I have published 512 posts, made hundreds of friends, learned many lessons about quilting, life, and community. It has been incredibly rewarding and even though blogging isn’t the popular force it once was, I am still here.
The blog has grown into a really satisfying business for me as well as a creative outlet. I have enjoyed hosting a number of community service projects such as my Share the Love campaign where we all sewed doll quilts for Amy and A Doll Like Me. Collecting quilts for Mercy Hospital in Sacramento has been and continues to be a heartwarming experience as quilters from all over the country send quilts for families who are dealing with the death of a family member. Mercyful Quilts has been more successful than I could have imagined.
Blogging (for me) is such a great way to keep a journal of my projects, business, community service endeavors and even the silly stories of my family. I enjoy conversing with Needle and Foot readers and hope I provide some entertainment as well. A few days ago I received a note from a reader and she told me this, “Please know that as a caretaker for my husband who is disabled by brain tumor and stroke, you and Sew Preeti Quilts and the Academic Quilter help keep me sane. (I miss Crazy Mom and Finish it up Friday humongously.) Some day I may be able to participate, but for now, please don’t quit.” This reader has no idea how much her note means to me. For many, sewing does much to keep us sane. It is therapeutic and creative, both of which are so important. So dear reader, not to worry, I am not going anywhere.
Five years deserves to be celebrated. This year I have two ideas! First of all, I would like to do another charitable giveaway. In prior years, I have asked readers to comment and tell me about their favorite charity. Using Random Number Generator, I will select a winner and contribute $50 to that reader’s charity. It is really interesting to read about the organizations other people are supporting. So please enter (only once) in the comments and tell all of us about the organization that is meaningful to you. Of course this is open worldwide – enter whether you reside in the US or another country.
Second idea is this – The traditional gift of the fifth anniversary is wooden. As you might know, my husband makes gorgeous wooden items. I will draw a second winner and that person will receive a beautiful wooden point turner. These point turners are perfect for opening the corners on a pillow, tote bag, zip pouch and more. One lucky commenter will be picked to win a handmade point turner.
Both giveaways are picked from the same pool of comments. Winner will be drawn on Friday, June 7th. Good luck to all! Thank you so much for continuing to read and interact with me here at Needle and Foot. Our community is an incredible source of creativity and kindness in this world and I am grateful to be a part of it.