Monday, March 2, 2015

Design Wall Monday

I've been playing around with the idea of cleaning and organizing my sewing area (I'm working on it, but not whole-hearted.) and while doing so, realized that I have a number of "orphan" 2.5" batik strips. I'm sure that in the back of my head I thought I would use them for scrappy bindings, but since that hasn't happened yet, I decided to do something with them now. I pulled 27 strips out and sewed them together in this order.

Bali Pops, Jelly Roll, 2.5 Strips, Batik Strips

Do you notice how uneven the right side is here. None of these strips have been cut. These are the exact lengths they were in when I opened the original package. Isn't it kid of crazy to see how much difference there is in the lengths? 

Bali Pops, Jelly Roll, 2.5 Strips, Batik Strips

And, the difference is not just by manufacturer. Some of the short strips were part of a pack from the same manufacturer as the longest strips. Now, to be fair here, the shortest strip measure 43.25" and the longest strip measures 47.5" so none of them would be an issue for me to run out of fabric since most patterns are written using somewhere between 40" - 44" of usable fabric. I just thought it was interesting. 

Anyway, my "plan" is to cut these strips vertically, insert some coordinating fabric(s) and sew them back together again. Do I have a real plan? No! I'll just make a cut or two and go from there. 

What are you working on today?

Want to see what other quilters have on their design walls today?

Go to Judy L's Patchwork Times

Stop back tomorrow for a new Tip Tuesday!

Sunday, March 1, 2015


I couldn't help but laugh out loud when I saw this!

Success! Sort of...

I've been chronicling Quinn's cookie baking attempts today and here's the conclusion - Part 3 of 3.  Part 1    Part 2

The first batch of cookies are done and taken off the cooking sheet. 

Cookies, Healthy Cookies, Baking with Children

After anxiously waiting for them to cool, Quinn gave one to Grandpa Jack, me and then herself so we could taste and evaluate. We all decided that they were ok, but think we need to add more cinnamon and perhaps some honey, chopped apples or raisins. We added a touch of honey to the rest of the dough and I think Quinn's smile says it all.   

Cookies, Healthy Cookies, Baking with Children

In her words, "Grandma, we are on the right track! These are going to be GREAT when we figure it all out"

While the cookies were baking, Quinn finished writing her song and thinks that maybe she'll be a singing baker when she grows up. 

Music with Children

Jack and I were thrilled to be her "reward!" 

The Baking Begins

The baking has commenced!

Quinn is reading the instructions and mixing the batter. This took a long time, but it was fun and well worth it. She said it is great to bake because you get to practice reading and math. But of course, the best part is that you get to eat the cookies. :-) 

Cookies, Healthy Cookies, Baking with Children

And while the dough was chilling, it was time to practice some music skills. Quinn wrote a song using the notes she learned from Mrs. Phillips.  

Music with Children

And then she and Grandpa Jack tapped out the song while Quinn sang the words.  

Music with Children


Jack and I are considered rewards!

Quinn had an exceptionally good week at home and school so Nikki and Zach told her she could choose a reward. Her choice was to go to Grandma's house to practice making cookies for the treat she'll take to school on her birthday. Because our plans today were nixed due to bad weather, she is here to begin the testing. There is something good about snow day!  :-) 

Cookies, Healthy Cookies, Baking with Children

Because of some pretty stringent dietary restrictions, we have to come up with a recipe that has no sugar, no nuts, no dairy and no cocoa. She can have some sugar alternatives, but not all of them so we are trying to keep it simple by using agave, homemade, unsweetened applesauce, etc. 

And to top it all off, she wants them to look and taste good to the other students. Mmmmm, I think that may be the challenging part because the normal snacks are pretty sugar-laden. Quinn is really great at accepting the treat and then taking them home for her brother and sister to enjoy. While the other kids eat their sweet treats, Quinn enjoys a treat Nikki has given the teacher to have on hand for those occasions. 

As you can see in the above picture, we have a few things to try. Wish us luck!

If you have a recipe you think might work and are willing to share, we'd love to hear it.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!   

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What's Making Me Smile

When I arrived home from teaching my class on Saturday, these were waiting for me. (Thanks Pat!)


On Sunday, I trimmed the quilt for Lynn an Ty and it's ready for the binding to be hand stitched.

Scrappy Quilt

This was waiting for my, along with a cup of freshly brewed coffee, Monday morning.


 And tonight, these are still making me smile,


Sometimes we forget the joy that little things can bring to our lives. 

Slow down and smell your "roses." 

You may not be smelling actual roses, but take the time to think about who and what makes you happy. It's important and you should make time to do it every day!  :-)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tip Tuesday! The Mighty Pen

"Tip Tuesday!" - The Mighty Pen

I love learning new things and then sharing that knowledge with my quilting friends. So, every Tuesday I'll provide some tips, hints, tricks, tutorials, shortcuts, etc. that I've learned over the years and share them here on the blog. 

"Tip Tuesday" will be a collection of information about a wide variety of subjects garnered from a large variety of sources.  I am not an expert by any means and do not take credit for being the great wizard behind all of these hints and tips. I will gladly give due credit whenever possible.

These tips will be archived and accessible to you just by clicking on the "Tip Tuesday" tab above. 

Read, enjoy, and be inspired! 

Recently I've found that the most important tool in my sewing room is a pen or pencil. I know that sounds strange, but it's true.

Image result for pen and pencil images

I'm assuming you all have at least one UFO or a project that you've started and need to be away from for a while. If so, I'm sure you can relate to the "get acquainted again" issues that go along with them. 

You know how it is. You started a project and then hastily packed it away because you just "had" to make something using that wonderful new fabric you bought. 

Well, days can turn into weeks, months or even years. And when you do start to work on the project again, you have no idea how many blocks you still need to make because you can't remember which size you were going to make. And then there are those random pieces of fabric that you aren't sure how they were to be used. Are they for the borders? Backing? What?

Labeling and Organizing FabricsImage result for question mark clip art
After running into a couple of projects recently that included only minimal explanation or direction, I decided to take the time to not only be sure that fabric and patterns were together, but to label the fabrics so I know exactly where and how I was planning to use them. Sure, I may change my mind when I actually work on the project again, but I don't waste near as much time trying to figure out where I ended and what I still need to do. 

You can use whatever labeling method you like. I've written the information along the selvage, adhered snippets of the fabric to block mock up sheets, used pieces of paper pinned to the fabric, stuck Post It Notes on each piece of fabric, etc. Whatever you do though, be sure that the labeling will not leave a residue or destroy the fabric. I know someone who wrote notes on masking tape and adhered that to the fabrics only to find that the tape left marks and residue that she could not remove. Granted the project had been stored in a paper bag in the basement for almost ten years, but it was still a mess and when she tried to cut around the residue, she did not have enough fabric to complete the project.

Labeling and Organizing Fabrics

Labeling the fabrics also allows me to know if I have all the fabric I need or if I have yet to purchase some. I've been known to make all the blocks and get ready to sew them together before I realize that I don't have the sashing fabric. (In my defense though, I often intentionally wait to buy border fabric so it doesn't count if I don't have that.)  

And finally, as much as I hate to admit it, my memory really isn't as good as it used to be. With that in mind, I've been keeping a pretty good record of each project as I'm working on it - almost like a journal. I habitually make notes on patterns in case I decide to teach it as a class because I like to give students various tips or suggestions so they can avoid any pitfalls that I encountered. Not only do these notes help me for teaching, they make it very easy to jump right back in to working on a project after having been away from it for a while.

So the next time you start a project (or revisit an old one), have a pen or pencil ready. You'll be glad you did.