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May 2017



this is where I left off when I pooped out at about 9:30 last night!

And, also about the same time I realized that I'm going to have to take a little blog break this week to get everything done (camper quilts, washing all the camper linens, the guys riding gear, prepping yummy camping food . . . ;)!

Side Note:

I'm absolutely smitten with this camper and flowers quilting pantograph and my new Greengate ironing board cover, too ;) ;) ;)!!

But, I wanted to pop in, say "Hi", let you all know I'd be gone from the blog the rest of this week, and to wish you all a great Memorial Day Weekend (I hope it's filled with the people you love and the things you enjoy)!

See you all next week ;)!




It's that time of year again

and I'm giddy with excitement! Our first camping trip with friends is coming up!

Last year, I was insanely busy as we converted a covered trailer (completely empty) into our little home away from home. Somehow with all of the painting, floor laying, and stocking of the thing with dishes and such, I did manage to get the curtains and duvet cover made before our camping trip in the mountains of Colorado! Yes, duvet cover – it gets down in the 30's some nights when you're out in the middle of nowhere, mountain land, and there's only so much our Little Buddy heater can handle ;)! I'll see if I can find the pictures, and maybe do a little "Before and After" post soon ;).

But, I didn't get any quilts made for the bed for us to use while we are camping around here.

Time got away from me (again). So, I'm putting these cuties aside for a bit.

Side Note: This is why I have so many pincushions and pins. It's a dirty little secret of mine, but I love pinning and it really does help me to make the finished product neater. I call it "couch work", and try to schedule my projects so that each step is ready for the next pinning stage before I leave the sewing room in the afternoon, then I pin at night while we are watching movies, and they are ready for the machine the next day ;).

Ok, back to camping. Originally, I was going to make one quilt, but I fell so in love with both of these fabrics that I decided to make two (which will be nice to have for cooler evenings anyway ;).

Oddly enough, loving to quilt as I do, I really like whole cloth quilts for beds (picture the contemplating emoji here ;)! And both of these gorgeous Flower Sugar prints by Lecien are so beautiful they sort of scream whole-cloth-quilts

especially with the added touch of this darling "Road Trip" quilting pantograph!

I better scoot, and get to quilting.

Have a great weekend, girls ;)!



Our Life In Pictures, May 11 – 17, 2017

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Friday, May 12, 2017

(the Baby Robins have left the nest – this one was having a bit of trouble getting over the fence).

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Tate loves to hike,

He likes to stop and smell the flowers (and leaves, and even sticks ;)!!

When he gets tired, he just hitches a ride with Pop ;)!!

Sunday, May 14, 2017 (Mother's Day)

Monday, May 15, 2017

He also loves glasses

and swimming, too ;)!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Chef’s Table & The Road Less Traveled!

How about a Netflix Binge for some creative inspiration this week, girls?

I've mentioned here that my husband and I are foodies, that we love to cook and experiment in the kitchen, and that we love to watch cooking shows together! So, we found "Chef's Table" on Netflix while we were holed up this winter, and thought we'd enjoy it! And, oh my gosh, did we ever, but not in the way we expected!

It turns out that the series was about so much more than food. Each episode focuses on one world renowned chef. As you watch, it quickly becomes clear that these world-class chefs (from across the globe) are artists of the truest kind, and that their medium is food! And, regardless of your artistic gift and your particular medium (be it canvas, fabric, food, music . . .), these stories are incredibly inspiring!

This series is definitely a feast for the eyes! I've never seen such beautiful, edible creations in real life. But, what I loved most, what I found so inspiring were the stories about their journeys to discover their own creative gifts. Each of them shared their unique experiences of setbacks, confusion, and struggles. Many of them shared the challenge that confronts all artists – to stick with the norm, or to break with convention, follow their hearts, and do something completely different! Several of them found that convention and tradition just didn't "fit" them. And, many felt a profound sense of meaninglessness while stuck in tradition, and became so discouraged in their journeys that they wanted to quit.

Yet, each of them persevered. They found the unique gift that they had been given to share. And, they built world renowned restaurants as galleries to share their creativity and art with world!

These chefs really reminded me of another favorite poem of mine by Robert Frost:

"The Road Not Taken" (1920)

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

These chefs defied convention, and took the road less traveled! How inspiring is that? ;)


1930’s Fabric Love

I've been sewing with some fun 1930's reproduction prints by Darlene Zimmerman for Robert Kauffman. I always appreciate blogs that post photos of new fabric, so I can get a really good look at it before buying online, so I thought I'd share these with you in case you feel the same ;) – and also because it's just fun to look at pretty fabric ;)! These are prints from a line called "Penny's Pets" that I just love!

And, these cuties, are from her line called "Birds of Liberty" – super bright and cheery!

Back when I first started sewing (many moons ago), I had a real love affair with 30's prints, and sewed with them quite a bit! Then, I sort of fell out of love, and moved on to different fabrics! But, last year when I started sewing the Farm Girl quilts, well – I kind of fell back in love! Do you all do that? Fall in and out of love with fabric, then back in love again?
Hope you all are having a great week ;)!



Half-Pint – Free Quilt Pattern

I have such good memories of making these quilts! This was a super fun quilt along we did in 2009 on Charming Chatter! I remember we had a giveaway contest where my sweet followers shared their ideas on naming this quilt! Esther came up with Half-Pint (the nickname Charles Ingalls gave to Laura), and since I loved Little House on the Prairie and it really seemed to fit the quilt, well she won! The PDF includes instructions for making a mini version (41" x 41") or a full size (59" x 71")! Scrappy really does make me happy, and these are super scrappy, right down to the scrappy binding ;)!! I made two minis and one of the larger version, but this mini made with bright, cheery 30's prints is definitely my favorite!

and I still put it out to hang on our bench throughout the year! Heck, this is one of my favorite of all of my mini quilts ;)!

I made the full size in Gypsy Rose, by Fig Tree fabrics (we get this one out in the fall).

(Holy Moly - our old couch and back in the days when we had carpet ;)!

And, I made another mini in Simple Abundance, by Bonnie and Camille (I gave this one to Kate ;)!




















(thank goodness for improved photo quality over the last 8 years, huh? ;)!!

You can download the pattern for both sizes in PDF format HERE!

Hope you all have a great weekend, and wishing you all a super Happy Mother's Day ;)!



Our Life In Pictures – May 4 – 10, 2016

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Friday, May 5, 2017

Saturday, May 6, 2017

We are so, so proud of our son! If we had gotten to hand pick him ourselves, we couldn't have chosen a more perfect kid ;)!!!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Monday, May 8, 2017

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The babies are growing fast, they're already standing up in the nest and flapping their wings ;)!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017



The Power of Joy

Let's talk about joy today ladies! Because, it turns out that it's really good for you and for the world ;)!

"The Power of Joy – How the Deliberate Pursuit of Pleasure Can Heal Your Life" by Christiane Northrup is truly a favorite of mine! In fact, if life ever gets too heavy burdened with duty and work around here (and sometimes it does) or if I feel like we are getting into a boring, grinding rut (and sometimes we do), I put this CD in and listen to it, because I realize I haven't been scheduling in enough "joy" time for us! I've had the CD for several years now, but I checked, and the program is available on Audible! It's just over an hour long, but full of fun stories, laughs, fascinating scientific studies, and it builds a strong case for actively taking steps to create more joy in your life on a regular basis (oh, and gives you a 10 Point Prescription for how to do just that)!

I love Christiane's positive, cheerful spirit! She is what I will call a reformed Medical Doctor-OB/GYN, who now teaches alternative medicine approaches to life. I agree with her that it is not our destiny to get old, decrepit, and sick! Rather, we are meant to be" healthy, happy dead"! That's what we're shooting for, and it turns out that joy is one of the tools to live that way!

She first defines joy, and then shares the many benefits of joy: 1) it always brings out the best in you; 2) it makes you younger; 3) it increases DHEA the youth hormone and mother of all other hormones; 4) it enhances your immunity; 5) it improves your metabolism; 6) joy creates success [Side Note: Success does NOT create joy – it's the other way around); 7) it enhances your creativity and intuition; 8) it increases your serotonin and decreases cortisol and other stress hormones and helps you sleep better; 9) it increases nitric oxide and blood flow; and 10) it makes you irresistible! And, I'll just add my own thought here – joy is contagious, your joy can really lift the spirits of those around you!

So, here are some of the things that really struck me:

1.     She starts off by explaining: "Here's what I know about life on earth. It is sexually transmitted." (crack me up J)! Life is created joyously and it is meant to be lived joyously! (Good point, Christiane!  Good point!!)

2.    Although it's our natural state, joy doesn't come easily for us in America because we have been raised on the "no pain, no gain", "finish all your work before you can play", and the "you're having too much fun" mottos! She calls this an "addiction to suffering", and says that because of it we've learned not to trust joy. But, thankfully, she points out, this old model is on its way out. Because in truth, pain only leads to more pain.  It's actually joy that leads to more joy, and, it is joy that is going to change the world.

3.    Joy is also difficult for us because of the survival mechanisms of the brain that cause us to ruminate on the negative. I've seen this in many other readings as well. Our brain is geared to remember painful, dangerous events to protect us from future harm. But, Christiane gave some stats that shocked me! We have about 60,000 thoughts per day, and around 87 percent of those are negative and repetitive – yikes! And, 99 percent of those negative thoughts are a gross misrepresentation of reality (so, ya know – not very trustworthy ;)!

4.    Have you all looked at Masaru Emoto's work "Messages in Water"? It's fascinating, but true. Thoughts have quite an impact on the hydrogen bonds in water! Just google it to see photos of water that has received hateful, negative input (the formations are ugly, chaotic, lacking in balance and symmetry), compared to water that receives positive messages of love, joy, symphonic music (the formations are beautiful, like snowflakes, with gorgeous balance, harmony, and symmetry)! Here, let me find one for you because this is something you have to see! Okay, I found one (but, seriously, there are a lot more, so google it ;)!

(Photo 1 – "thank you"; Photo 2 – "love and appreciation"; Photo 3 – "you make me sick, I will kill you")

And, as Christiane points out, our bodies are 85 percent water! Perhaps Napolean Hill is correct in saying that our "thoughts have the peculiar quality of becoming their physical equivalents" – so we want loving, joyful ones!

5.    There are two main motivations in life – doing/not doing things out of fear of consequences, and doing things because they bring you joy! The only sustainable choice for your health and well-being is to do things because they bring you joy!

6.    She argues that chemical imbalances do not really exist, and explains that the best pharmacy you will ever find is between your two ears because every thought you think sets off a cascade of biochemical actions that go out to every cell in your body.

7.    Her prescription for joy includes several things like choosing joyous entertainment and joyous company, and she points out that joy is not about avoiding suffering, grief and pain, which are a natural part of life. She reminds us that our experience of joy is proportional to the amount of suffering we've experienced! Here is more good news – our brains are actually changing all the time! It's called neuroplasticity. And, neurons that fire together wire together! So, the more you experience and savor joy, the more you connect those joy neurons in the brain, and the more you hard-wire those connections, the more inclined you are to experience greater joy – isn't that awesome? ;)!!

8.    She encourages us to make a list of all of the things that bring us joy, and start putting those things into our daily lives! This will be a challenge, because we have that addiction to struggle. She said that if she was asked to do something fun, she had a million things that she "should" do instead – boy can I relate J!! But, joy is extremely important for our own well-being, and for our loved ones as well (probably more important than getting the floors mopped J)!!

9)     It's always shocking to me when I reflect on what really brings us joy, and how little time we actually devote to it when our lives get out of balance (my husband and I were raised on the no pain, no gain, get all your work done before you can play model, but we're working on not working so hard and simplifying and enjoying life more ;)!!!

10)    I was surprised just how interconnected joy is with gratitude – many of the benefits of gratitude I shared with you are the same as the benefits of joy. And, the gratitude journal is a way of really allowing the joyful things to sink in (yes, girls I'm firing and wiring those neurons ;)! I think back to my gratitude journal, because those are the moments where I experience real, satisfying, fulfilling joy. And, it's funny because they're all the simple stuff of life – cooking for my family, candle light dinners and date nights with my husband, one-on-one time with my kids (which is rare these days), spending time with Tate, creating new things and sewing, sharing here with you all on the blog and receiving your sweet comments, peonies blooming, watching the baby robins, a long, hot bath, a walk on a breezy spring evening, reading (an actual book with pages), getting out into nature and taking a hike or camping, bonfires . . . .

So, what brings you joy? If you're like us, and you get into a rut sometimes, or your life gets heavy burdened with too much work and no play on occasion, or even if you just feel like your life is lacking joy, I think you'll really enjoy this program!


Pretty Little Trivets & Hot Pads – Free Pattern

Happy Friday lovely ladies! How was your week? Ours was much less stressful (thank goodness) though still busy, so not much time for sewing. Our son graduates from college tomorrow, so I've been busy getting ready for his graduation party. And, next week, Kate and Matt are heading out of town for a friend's wedding, so Tate gets to come and stay with us for five days ;)! But, I still have a fun pattern for you this week! I haven't mentioned it, but I had a blog called Charming Chatter for several years before I took a break, and then started this one. And, I've been meaning to transfer the Free Patterns from the old blog over here so they'd all be in one place – so perfect timing ;). While I'm working on new patterns, I can share these with all of you ;).  We'll start with this one, which was a favorite over at Charming Chatter! It's called Pretty Little Trivets and Hot Pads!

As a side note, the two smaller trivets also make darling Candle Mats or Scentsy Warmer Mats ;). So, here it is – a blast from the past ;) – first posted June 28, 2013 ;)! Enjoy!

Alright, let's talk kitchen goodies, girls!

I just love Dresden blocks, don't you? And right now, I'm especially in love with these

what I call "Chunky" Dresdens. There are only 12 fat little petals/blades in each block, and a nice big, round circle.

My hot pads were in really bad shape, and I needed trivets, too. So, I thought I'd put my love of Chunky Dresdens to practical use – and thought it would be fun to share a tutorial with you sweet girls. The hot pads are 7 ½" finished, and the trivets are 6", 9", 12", and 15" finished. This way, we have some for our little and big pots and pans.

Here are the pattern templates for each trivet in PDF Format for you to Download:

6" Dresden Plate

9" Petal Dresden 

12" Dresden Plate

15" Petal Dresden

These blocks would also make adorable quilts, so if you don't need trivets, I thought maybe you might enjoy them for quilting purposes!

Here are the supplies you will need:

6" Trivet

12 – 2 ½" Squares for Blades

1 – 4 ½" Square for Center

1 – 8" Square for Backing

1 – 8" Square Batting (or Insul-Bright)

9" Trivet

12 – 3 ¼" Squares for Petals

1 – 6" Square for Center

1 – 11" Square for Backing

1 – 11" Square Batting

12" Trivet

12 – 4" Squares for Petals

1 – 7" Square for Center

1 – 14" Square for Backing

1 – 14" Square Batting

15" Trivet

12 – 5" Squares for Petals

1 – 9" Square for Center

1 – 17" Square for Backing

1 – 17" Square Batting

Hot Pads (for Two)

50 – 2" Squares

2 – 9 ½" Squares for Backing

2 – 9 ½" Squares Insul-Bright

8 – 8 ½" Strips ½" Lace (Optional)

2 – 2" x 44" Strips for Binding

Optional: 10 – 2" White Squares for Stamping or Fussy Cut, and 40 – 2" Multi-Colored Squares, 2 Buttons for Hanging Loops, and 4 – 3 ½" squares for stamped blocks on back

Making Templates for Trivets

I printed the pattern templates out twice (to cut one with and one without the seam allowance). To make file folder templates (my templates to store and use repeatedly), glue the printed template paper (I use a glue stick) to a file folder. I only cut one center circle and one petal/blade for each block from file folders.

To make your freezer paper templates, trace the template without the seam allowance on the non-shiny side of your freezer paper. Iron the shiny side of that paper to the dull side another sheet of freezer paper, and cut out on the line. You will need one center circle and 12 petals/blade templates for each trivet you make. Note: You can reuse your freezer paper templates two or three times.

REMEMBER: You are using the template with no seam allowance.

Making the Trivets

1.    Iron the freezer paper template to the wrong side of the fabric for your center and your 12 petals/blades. I used several different fabrics for mine, but I think they'd be cute with the same color petals, too.

2.    Carefully cut around the outside of the template, leaving a ¼" seam allowance on all sides. Note: For the circles, I like to leave a bit larger seam allowance (about 3/8th's inches). For the petals/blades, I used a rotary cutter on all of the straight sides (placing my ¼" line on the template line). For the rounded edges, I used my file folder template with seam allowance to trim the petals/blades more accurately.

3.    Leaving your templates on your pieces, give them a quick press. Note: You can remove the templates if you'd like, I left them in because it was easier to see, and made the stitching easier for me (especially the curves around the petals).

4.    Lay out your twelve petals in the order you would like them to be stitched.

5.    Place two petals right sides together, and stitch along the side. Add another petal and stitch, until you've stitched all twelve together. Then, fold the block in half, and stitch your first and last petal together.

6.    Leaving the templates in, press the seams open.

7.    With your file folder template (without the seam allowance) carefully mark your pivot points with a dot with your pencil (just at the corner where the template changes directions).

8.    Make your quilt sandwich. Batting on the bottom, then backing fabric (be sure it is face up), and then your Dresden (face down) – so that your backing and top are faced right sides together, as we will be turning them inside out.

9.    Using the templates as a guide, stitch all the way around your Dresden plate, pivoting at your pivot markings.

10.    Trim off the excess batting and backing at the ¼" seam allowance.

Clip your inner points, and around the curve of your petals. I'm pretty brutal with my trimming – there is quite a bit of bulk so I trim the entire edge down to closer to 1/8".

11.    Turn right side out, and press.

12.    Align your circle in the middle and hand applique it to the center.

To make the center circle, I use the corn-starch method. You can spray some starch in a bowl or make your own (1 heaping ¼ tsp. corn starch and ¼ cup warm water – mix well). Then, using a paint brush, paint the corn starch on in two inch section.

Pull the fabric over gently with your fingers and press, working your way around the entire circle.

Leave the freezer paper template in until you are ready to applique your circle.

When you are ready, give the circle a quick press, and carefully pull away the seam allowance from the template. Press again, and you're ready to stitch.

13.    Quilt as desired. I quilted a cross-hatch in the center, and then quilted about ¼" around each petal. I used masking tape instead of marking lines in the center

Voila – one very pretty little trivet to brighten up your kitchen.

Hot Pads

These are so simple, I'll be quick here.

1.    Lay out your 2" squares in 5 rows of 5 squares each.

2.    Stitch the squares together to make your rows.

3.    Stitch your five rows together.

4.    Make your quilt sandwich backing (facing out), batting, and hot pad top (facing up) – standard quilt sandwich as there will be no turning here.

5.    Quilt as desired.

6.    Pin your lace to each side of your hot pad and stitch using 1/8" seam.

7.    Lay your binding over the lace, and bind! Easy Peasy!

But, they make really pretty little hot pads, no?

Optional: You can use a piece of your left over binding to make a hanging loop. Trim your binding to one inch wide (1/2" when folded). Press the raw edges in ¼" on each side to make a 3 ¾" x ¼" piece.

Run a stitch just inside the edge to close up the strip.

Attach both ends to the top corner edge of the hot pad, and cover with a pretty button!

Such fun little hot pads :0)!!

I almost like the back better than the front (it happens to me sometimes :0)!

My daughter Kate wants a set, so I'll be making more – which is fine with me because these were really fun to sew

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and that you have fun stitching up some pretty little trivets and hot pads of your own. These would also make great little gifts – for house warmings or Christmas don't ya think? If you do stitch some up, I hope you'll send me a picture – I'd love to see them!

Have a wonderful weekend girls!