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.
My sewing room is basically made up of bits and pieces that eventually come together to form something pretty – I don’t mean this to sound all philosophical. I am not like that. I mean to say it is a mess and I spent some time organizing and realized there are all sorts of fun bits in there that I want to play with. I have picked up a few things thrifting, made a few fun things and finished some others.
As far as thrifting goes, here are the most recent finds. This little stack of bits was a cute one. I love the roosters and the piece of white is totally clean and quite large; and really,- who doesn’t want extra white fabric on the shelf? The yellow bit is about 7″ by 42″ and my yellow scraps are next to nothing. These are washed and put away for now.
This block was in a bin and looked so forlorn. It was a dollar and I wondered who pieced this with such nice points and didn’t want to keep it. I usually imagine that these things come from a lovely woman’s quilty UFO pile and get donated when she can no longer sew. Take a look at the beautiful curve she did with the stem, it is lovely. I will make a little table topper with it because it is 14″ square and deserves to be finished.
When I was cleaning up, I somehow ended up with this pull from my stash. I kept seeing pieces that needed to be together. I don’t have a project in mind for it but if I put them back in their color area, they wouldn’t become used together and they should, don’t you think? Pieces are anywhere from fat quarter to 1/2 yard in size. I just love this autumnal bundle. When I put the photo on Instagram last night I was asking what other colors might need to be added. My IG/blogging friend, Gloria, suggested deep brown and I agree. I have a nice dark brown in the solids stack and will pull it to see if it belongs with the others. Am I crazy to just pull it and let it sit there until I figure out what to make with it? Do others do this? I have projects lined up right now and don’t “need” another but still??
Here is another little bit. This is a six-inch square made up of leftover pieces when I was making the border to surround my THREAD mini quilt. I didn’t want to throw them away. It will adorn my design wall for now, waiting to become something else. It is so cute.
Speaking of the THREAD mini, I put sleeves on both minis and got them hung up. My thread collection is a mess. I have some on the wall, as you can see. The pegs on these two spool hangers are too short for my Aurifil and Connecting Threads collections. So I have bins of those two and another of gorgeous, shiny spools of Sulky. What is the solution here??
This picture shows the slightly ridiculous state of affairs in the closet that holds my fabric. It was either show you the truth or close the door which is a mirror and show you me taking a picture, standing on a chair, in my nightgown. The decision came quite easily.
Lest you worry that I didn’t make any progress on my scrappy projects during August, let me assure you I did. But barely….hardly any….almost none. I made four scrappy HST blocks. Except, once again, I veered from the RSC16 color of the month and used yellow scraps instead of a second round of purple. I think I can no longer call this a RSC16 project. They are so cheerful – I was too pressed for time to lay them out with all the others though.
I will have to lay them out this month though and take stock to see what colors I need to finish it up. There are three months left and while it sounds like forever, we all know it will pass far too quickly! I also need to double up on the Pretty Gemstones project and do two colorways for that.
Finally – oh, you are going to be so proud of me for this one. I took a ton of bits and pieces – namely the receipts that support my Etsy shop – and got them organized into a spreadsheet for the 2016 tax year process. Oh my gosh, you don’t know how happy this makes me. To have eight months all organized – Paypal and Etsy reports downloaded, numbers entered in Excel. Amazing!! My usual process is to complete our personal taxes, and then become angry with myself because there are twelve months of nonsense to compile to figure out the numbers for my little business. Last year I was kicking myself over and over for having it in such a messy state. But, look! It is September and 3/4 of it is done. OK, I will stop bragging now.
There you have it. A whole lot of minutiae – somehow having written this up makes me feel like I took care of lots of loose ends. Simple pleasures, right?
Linking up to my favorites – please check out the tab at the top of the page, Link Ups, for all sorts of fun linky parties.
Also, if you haven’t popped over to check out the $5 Blowout Sale at C&T this weekend, please do. Lots of great sewing and crafting books to be had for only $5 each.
This morning was, as it has been all week, too hot to work outside. My husband and I were cleaning up our basement (it stays nice and cool down there!) As we went along, I made a huge pile of items to donate at one of our local thrift shops. I came across a bag of odds and ends and thought it best to take a quick look before adding it to the pile. I’m so glad I did!
In the bag was a pile of fabric that I had purchased some time ago at a garage sale. It was the sort of thing where you buy an entire bag without being able to take it apart to see what is really contained in the bag. I threw caution to the wind and spent my $3.00 on the mystery bag because that’s the kind of person I am. Most of the fabric was not my type of thing (lots of shimmer and shine.) So it ended up in the basement. This morning I took a closer look before donating it and found a set of African wax print fabrics! Score.
I hand washed them as I was fairly certain the bright colors would run a bit (and they did.) They looked so pretty hanging on my line in the way too hot sun. They dried in about five minutes!
Two of the four pieces are marked as being Sotiba prints, made in Dakar, Senegal. There are conflicting accounts of the status of Sotiba. When I was googling the company there was reference to it going out of business in the late 1980’s and also some reference to current production. I honestly don’t know if they are still making fabric. Anyone out there have any info on this?? The pieces aren’t large – they measure about 14″ x 25″. Not quite a fat quarter in size. The colors are so bold.
I was first introduced to African wax prints last November when a customer requested a custom order through my Etsy shop. She sent me this beautiful fabric and asked me to make a Chemex cozy with it. I posted about that project here. The fabric she sent me was Ankara, and it felt like a higher quality weave than these pieces. It was wonderful to sew with.
I think I will use these pieces to create some items for my shop. These pieces are not large enough to make Chemex cozies so they will probably be used for French Press cozies instead. At any rate, I am so glad I took a minute to scan that bag one last time.
The week has come and gone. It started with a Monday holiday (Martin Luther King’s birthday) which always makes the rest of the week go by quickly. Monday holidays also cause me to remain in a state of confusion for the rest of the week, wondering exactly what day it is. At any rate, it’s nice to be looking toward the weekend.
I was focused on my Etsy shop this week so not a lot of regular quilting was accomplished. I had two custom orders which are finished and shipped off. I also decided to cut into a pile of vintage sheets that I have been collecting and get those listed in the shop. For the past several months I have had my eye out for vintage sheets whenever I was in a thrift store. As the pile grew, it became clear that I don’t need to keep all of it. Sheets are large! I decided to cut some into fat quarters to list.
There are some really pretty sheets to be found.
The florals are so sweet and feminine. I try to look for flat sheets as opposed to fitted. The fitted sheets can be a bit worn but the flat sheets don’t take the abuse and are often in great condition. Vintage sheets are almost always 50/50, cotton and polyester. I haven’t quilted with them yet but have a plan in mind. Jeni Baker of In Color Order has posted about some really cute projects she has done with vintage sheets and I am using her work as inspiration. I like her use of stripes with the florals. I haven’t found any stripes yet but my eyes are peeled. They will show up!
The three in the picture above are my favorites so far. Especially the middle one. The colors are just gorgeous. If you’re interested in working with any of these, check my shop. I bundled a few sets but if you see colors you want I am happy to create a set of the pieces you like. This week I sold a few sets to a young woman who is making bunting flags for her wedding this coming spring. The venue is a rustic barn and I think the flags will be adorable. Hoping she will send me a picture when she gets the buntings finished up.
Moving off topic a bit, I found a pile of vintage magazines this week when I was in a thrift store. They are a blast to read. Not sure what I want to do with them but am so enjoying looking through them.
Kind of a risque cover for 1965!
Take a look at the upper right corner of the Look magazine shown below. A “hot dog” diet? For real? I couldn’t help but laugh. Just in case you want to try it, the article suggests that you eat three hot dogs per day with all the trimmings (mustard, onion, relish and bun). This diet allows you to add a beer or coffee and suggests you add a glass of tomato juice or a piece of fruit for added nutrients. They estimated that this would be equal to about 900 calories a day and if you follow this diet for a week, you should drop a pound per day. 900 calories a day? Three hotdogs for seven days?? Ugh, 21 hotdogs? Nutritional insanity circa 1963!
Check out these ads for cigarettes. Print ads for cigarettes were banned in January of 1971 but wow, prior to that they were on every other page. Love this one. So glamorous. Except, why does he get to go swimming and she has to settle for wading and wearing jeans and a long sleeved shirt? No fair.
I don’t think I like the way this guy is checking her out….
This guy is the epitome of sophistication.
Finally, I leave you with this chart showing average income and spending for a single income family of four in 1973. I found this interesting. (My apologies for the crummy copy. I was being lazy so I took a picture of the page rather than scanning it.)