Project Linus

I took the day off because it is Stephen's birthday. Not that I knew what that meant when I woke up this morning, I just knew I couldn't go to work. Since his death, I can't focus or plan anything. Finding meaning in the loss of a baby is totally impossible but I just did not want to waste this day wallowing in my own sorrow, I've done enough of that on most other days. I wanted this day to be a positive remembrance of this most important day.

I had ordered altar flowers for church in memory of Stephen, and I planned on planting a bush in memory of his birth. But it all felt sort of superficial, like some common thing that everyone does whether it's meaningful or not. I did it anyway, I found a beautiful blue butterfly bush. It was something that felt good to do, but at the same time I couldn't imagine myself planting a bush every year on his birthday. I guess I really wanted a tradition I could continue in memory of him.
Project Linus

So I fidgeted and surfed the net for nothing in particular. Of course all I usually want to do is sew on my off days as sewing is therapeutic for me. Before I knew it, I was surfing for baby quilt patterns. And that's when I remembered Project Linus. I looked them up and there it was - a reason to do what I love best - make a quilt. And I could do it in memory of Stephen and give it to Project Linus so a sick baby could have it. And I could do this every year. It was a perfect idea.

I was rambling and excited and ready to get started. It's perfect and how incredibly coincidental that I am a big Peanuts fan. It was like this was meant to be. I got started immediately. A review of a good pattern and a look at what I have on hand still meant a trip to the fabric store. I really enjoyed picking out such cheery fabrics. I got them home and put them in the wash machine immediately. While I waited for the laundry to finish, I read the instructions and prepared everthing to get started. In no time I had the top done. Since I machine quilted it with straight lines, that also went pretty quick. Before I knew it, the binding was on the edges and I was done.
Project Linus

My daughters really liked the idea and thought they might want to do the same next year, so a new tradition begins out of sadness and love for our little SIDS baby boy. I am so glad I took the day off.

With love,
Stephen's Grandma


Fall Craft Fair

Even though I had planned on doing two craft fairs this fall, as it turned out, I didn't get my booth money in quickly enough and the craft fair at my church filled up. But that's ok, it just meant I had more time to prepare for the next one. And that one was paid in full so there was no turning back. Plus it was at work so it was an easy decision.

The craft fair at work was meant to benefit the Alzheimer's Foundation. It was pretty successful for me and I am glad I had the opportunity to participate. I almost forgot how much hard work it is to pull this off but it was a great experience and pretty profitable as well. It was a nice "employee benefit".

When today came I was a little nervous even though I had done this years ago. There is something about having my hard work judged and sometimes rejected by customers that I find intimidating and I guess I take it too personally. I mean there are plenty of things at craft fairs I'm not interested in so I don't know why I take it so hard.

I set up my booth which was pretty stress free and almost relaxing. It didn't take me as long as I thought it would and I had plenty of time to enjoy the process. I think part of the reason was I followed a crafters suggestions and set my booth up at home first. I also did a lot of prep work including great signage and good packaging after the sale.

The craft fair took place from 10 am until 1:30 pm, not long but it was enough time to sell lots of stuff. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to sell my items. I sold woodcrafts, tote bags, hand made dolls, and lots and lots of catnip toys. What fun! I had a great time and made some extra money in the process.

The hardest part of the day was taking everything down and packing it all away. It took me four trips to the car to get it done and I was exhausted when it was all over. Now it's time to list the rest on Etsy and get ready for the spring crafting events.

Until then, it's time to make some handmade Christmas gifts and get back to quilting.


Halloween Cover

Thimbleberries Fall Design
For Halloween, I made a quilted pillow cover using a Thimbleberries design. I love fall colors so I really enjoyed making this, plus the Thimbleberries designs are wonderful as well.


A Warm Quilt

Jeff mentioned that we could use a new bed quilt. The weather was getting chilly at night and he wanted something warm and comfy. After some thinking I decided to take my pretty little beige, scraps and make a quilt. Of course, I did not have enough scraps to come close to queen size but the idea gave me a good sense of direction on what this quilt was going to look like.

Once I dug out all of my beige, off-white, ecru, flowery little prints I realized that some of this fabric was almost 30 years
old. The reason some of it was still around is that these prints weren't exactly favorites of mine, probably something I bought to fill in around prettier fabrics at one time. I was bound and determined to use every last bit of it.
I cut the squares into triangles and started to make the rows. Incorporating the old with the new was fun and I could very easily stick in the not-so-favorite fabrics and they blended nicely without making me cringe with dislike. It was turning into a lovely, soft, warm looking quilt.

It didn't take me long to complete it, I think the cooler temperatures were a signal that I wanted this one done soon as well.


Back to Craft Fairs

I finally took the plunge. I bought craft fair booths. Not one but two so I jumped in with both feet, I paid for a booth at my church craft fair and another at my work's craft fair. Now I'm committed to making lots of inventory. I just wish I had more time.

I used to do craft fairs regularly but I stopped as the kid's events seem to take over. Now that they are grown, I am excited about getting back to it. I have really nice display racks that Jeff built for me. So I scrubbed them so they are clean and ready to go.


The Friendship Bag

Quilted Mini Tote
I found this tutorial on a blog called p.s.iquilt. It was so cute I had to give it a try. I used scraps from a wall hanging I made so I didn't have to invest in any new fabric (**rats**!). I think I am going to make a bunch of these. I am also going to try a larger version as a lunch tote.


Iron Cupcake and the Cupcake Apron

My daughter, Jen enters a monthly contest called Iron Cupcake. Each month there's a specific theme, such as liquor, savory, spice, fruit, etc. for each month.

During the last month that she competed the theme was vegan/gluten free so she made a s'more cupcake with flourless chocolate cake cupcake in a graham cracker crust with homemade marshmallow topping. They were delicious. So I made her this cupcake apron to wear at the competitions.


Good Morning Pillow

I love to go through the clearance buttons. It's like an adventure to see what I can find, and not just for the cuteness or the deals but for how they can spark the imagination. I found some Mary Engelbreit buttons for 50 cents and I had to make something to attach them to. The buttons are on the back and now they seem pretty boring compared to this design so I didn't bother to include a photo of the buttons, just the inspiration from them.


A Thimbleberries Quilt

I don't know why I am compelled to make quilts in dark shades in August. But the colors are gorgeous, I love the dark reds, greens and blues. My all time favorites are the beiges though. Maybe on some subconscious level I try to work color into my beiges. It could be that the pastels of spring have worn out their welcome for me. Although I will never tire of the warm weather season. I guess I should try working with summer colors one of these days.

I always have company when I'm quilting. My kitty loves to pounce the thread as I baste the layers together. He constantly breaks my thread. So I usually have a few needles threaded and ready to go so when he wants to play, I'm ready.

He is a great quilting companion.


Catalog Copy

Pastel Patchwork Quilt
I saw a quilt just like this one in a Pottery Barn catalog. I loved how the colors were like a rainbow, soft, and flowing through the color wheel. And the white background is a great contrast, crisp and clean against the softness of the pastels. So instead of ordering the quilt, I made my own version. The really cool thing is that I only used fabrics that I had in my stash, except for the white. I didn't have enough white to complete something this size.


Sampler Wallhanging

Debbie Mumm Fabric
I took a quilting class for fun and the first suggested project was this sampler. It was a great opportunity to make a bunch of different kinds of quilt squares. I used one of Debbie Mumm's fabric collections to complete the project and I used the leftover scraps to make the backing. I learned a good technique to attach a rod pocket to the back in order to make this into a wall hanging.

I've been making quilts since seventh grade but since most of what I know about quilting was self-taught, I thought it would be a good idea to see what I could learn. It felt good to discover that I knew more than I thought, good validation and it gave me more confidence. I did pick up a few new tricks and techniques so it was a worthwhile investment. It also gave me incentive to keep on quilting.


Pink Lemonade Quilt

My favorite colors are yellow and pink but not necessarily in that order. I found this wonderful quilt pattern and whipped up this lap quilt. It's made with hourglass blocks and Irish chain blocks, pretty simple. I call it pink lemonade. It's backed with a traditional pink-white striped fabric that looks like the old fashioned ticking fabric found on mattresses and pillows years ago.


Kitty Quilt

I fell in love with this fabric full of kitties and doggies. Some of the coordinating pieces have little paw prints and many of them are varieties of blues, reds, blacks and whites with adorable cats and dogs.

So what does one do with this kind of fabric?

Make the kitty a quilt of his own. And as you can see, he likes it.


Because of Summer

Summer Wall Hanging
I love summer and I love gardening. I also love Country Threads patterns. In honor of some of my favorite things, I made this wall hanging. Now I just need to re-paint my kitchen to reflect the colors I used. Is that a bad thing to decorate a whole room to match a wall-hanging?

State Fair Entry

I entered this quilt in the Wisconsin State Fair. It qualifies under the memory quilt division. It is to commemorate my husband and his time in the Navy. Even though the fair is in August, the entry deadline in May so I have to think about this way in advance, in fact, I got the entry form in February.

I printed some of his Navy photos onto fabric and incorporated them into the quilt. Then, I embellished the photos with some trim that looks like the rope that is used to tie ships to docks and I found some with stars and anchors embroidered on them. I used Navy print fabric and the blues either had stars or a wavy pattern to resemble water and the beiges reminded me of sand.

Funny thing is when I did the blocks individually, they looked great but for some reason when I put them together...well, there really was no way to put them together where they looked like they had some asymmetry. It's mish-mosh bunch of stuff that didn't turn out so well together. Luckily, when Jeff is under it in is favorite chair, it's not straightened out enough to notice how bad it really looks. At least he likes the memories that the photos bring. I doubt if I will win anything with it but I've seen worse at the fair. At least it was a good learning experience.


Breast Cancer Quilt

Pink Hearts QuiltAt work we do a fund raiser as part of the Making Strides Breast Cancer Walk. My company is a corporate sponsor so it's a big deal. The really cool thing is each department is asked to make a gift basket and most people are pretty enthusiastic about it. It's pretty amazing to see the creative ideas that go into some of these baskets.

I decided to add a breast cancer quilt to the mix. Since pink is one of my favorite colors, I used scrap fabric and some of my stash that I had on hand. All in all, my out of pocket investment was under $20, with a third of that used on the pink fleece fabric I used as the backing. I cut out simple squares and machine-appliqued some pink hearts on it.

It was a fun and easy project that brought in nice sized bids and a great final sale price.
Pink Hearts Quilt

Etsy will have to wait

OK, so I open my etsy account and plan to sell my crafts. As I start to surf the site, I find more things that I want to buy, especially fabrics! I keep buying and making crafts but I haven't posted a thing for sale.

But there's a reason for my change of heart (for now). I volunteered to work at a spring craft fair and loved the camaraderie and fellowship that goes with working in a booth. I did craft fairs years ago, but I forgot how much fun it was to hang out and sell the things I made. I rented a booth for the fall craft fair. The committment is giving me incentive to keep sewing, sewing, sewing!

I will be ready in fall for this new adventure and in the mean time, etsy will have to wait.


Sunshine Sews on Etsy soon!

I've finally been sewing for real. My fabric stash is fantastic, and the projects are flowing. I am getting ready to open an etsy store and preparing to get back into the swing of creating new things. I'm pretty excited to get this thing going.