I hope to inspire and entertain you with a lot of sewing and a little of everything else!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Quilting "Bee" Keychains

I hosted the first meeting of a quilting bee at my house yesterday. It is a group of 6 ladies from my Quilt Guild. We wanted to have a monthly group where we could sit, stitch, snack, and chat. I wanted to make the first meeting really special, so I organized a tea party with some of my favorite tea foods and my vintage luncheon sets. I forgot to take a picture- oh, no!
I also wanted to make a little favor for each lady. I looked at a lot of in-the-hoop projects, but I went back to one I have made before and liked: Embroidery Garden's Candy Bar Holder Key Rings.
These are usually made of felt and the design comes with a lot of options. I added one layer of bee fabric over the top piece of felt because I really wanted a "bee" theme. I also changed the usual eyelet for key fob hardware. This was not because I thought it was better, but because my store was sold out of eyelets and I was doing this at the eleventh hour as usual!
These key rings hold a sweet surprise: an emergency mini Hershey bar. What sewist doesn't need that in her toolkit?
But the best part is, after you succumb to temptation, you can use the holder for a few folded bills instead.
I was able to fit 3 of these in my large hoop, so making six was quick work. Hubby plied the key fobs on. The quilting bee ladies loved them! This is a design you definitely need if you do machine embroidery!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Patriots Day, 1864

On Monday, Andy and I attended a small Patriot's Day event in Massachusetts. We went in Civil War garb and it was a beautiful, warm day.

 Here we are in our outfits!

These elegant ladies were showing quilting while stitching a potholder quilt and also selling chances on the lovely quilt hanging in the back.
Andy liked seeing, petting, and feeding the animals the best. There were a horse, sheep, and chickens!

I think these chickens are Rhode Island Reds- they are darker than our golden Shelly.

My favorite thing to see was the lady cooking over an open fire. She had some meat in there and was adding some cut up vegetables. It looked quite delicious. I hope that I will be able to learn old fashioned cookery techniques in the future.

A group of male CW reenactors were drilling. We both jumped when they shot their guns.

There was a lady demonstrating vintage toys. Andy and I enjoyed the "whimmydiddle" which is a stick with grooves and a little wooden spinner on the end. You rub a smaller stick on the grooves and the spinner twirls. By changing the placement of your fingers, you can make it spin in the opposite direction!

The event was fun, but Andy did not last more than 1 1/2 hours, so we will try to find more kid-friendly events later this season.

I haven't given the details of his outfit, because I just finished it before we left!

The pants are brown linen, with buttons at the waist. They ended up being long, so I will probably hem them shorter. I did not button them on to the shirt as the pattern called for, but I think it would have helped him stay better "put-together". The shirt is a reproduction fabric. I love the coral color with the brown. It was very easy to make, except it was super short. I added about 4" at the bottom with a flat-felled seam so it wasn't noticeable.
These shoes were the best I could find at a low cost. I got them on ebay for $8. I know they are more 1940s, but they are all leather with no synthetic materials and they lace up. They are so cute and were unworn. I need to find black leather "boots" for both of us.
I am still hoping to find some really great events to attend as we learn more about this hobby!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Coffee Goody Bag

My little boy wanted to bring a little present in for his teacher's birthday this week. I picked a few in-the-hoop projects that I thought would be nice and Davy chose this coffee mug goody bag.
This design is from Embroidery Garden: Tea, Cocoa, and Coffee Pouches.
I like all 3 of the designs. This one originally had 3 different fabrics, but I made it with 2 because I wanted to show more of the hippo fabric. Davy's teacher loves hippos.
There is a zipper at the top to put the "treats" in. We added cider, coffee, and tea bags. It makes a really nice little gift.
This week, I am finishing Andy's Civil War shirt and pants, putting together a charity baby quilt, and I need to make a romper for the "Flip this Pattern" series at Frances Suzanne! I have a lot to do!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Some of My Favorite Historical Kids' Books

Well, I don't like to go more than a week without posting, so today I am going to do something a little different. I have several projects "in the works": a Civil War shirt for Andy, my little CW quilt is nearly done, and stuff for Easter. Meanwhile, life has been super-busy. Spring has finally arrived in New England- much to my delight. We have one tiny patch of snow left in the yard.
I often see people post questions looking for good books for their kids. Here are some gems that I loved when I was a kid and have enjoyed sharing with my kids, too!
Everyone knows about the great books by Beverly Cleary (Ramona, Henry, etc.) but have you ever read these series?
All of A Kind Family by Sydney Taylor:
This is a wonderful series about a family with 5 girls growing up in New York City around 1900. They are Jewish and it's a great way to learn about the meaning of Jewish holidays, whether you are Jewish or not. There are several other books in this series, too!

Katie John by Mary Calhoun:This book takes place in the 1950s. It is fun to read about the technology (or lack thereof) of the time. Katie John is a tomboy who gets into lots of adventures while helping her family run a boardinghouse. There are 4 books in this series.

Adopted Jane by Helen Fern Daringer:
Jane is an orphan in the early 1900s. She has lived at an orphanage most of her life and has never been chosen to visit a family. One summer she gets 2 invitations: one to visit a widow in a town and one to visit a country family. This book has something I require in a good book: a happy ending!
Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher:
Elizabeth Ann is a timid 9 year old who goes to live with relatives in Vermont. She learns a lot about herself and how to look at life in a new way!

 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith:
 I have probably read this book at least 10 times, but I still enjoy it. This is one for older kids- teen and up. Probably my favorite "classic". This one is neat to me because I have family that lived in Brooklyn at the time of this book. It focuses on Francie Nolan and her life as a poor child around 1906. There's lots of love, but many hard times, too! This book is excellent for adults, too- try it if you haven't read it!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A True Scrap Quilt

I am so excited about finishing the piecing and backing for the little Civil War Quilt. The pinwheel blocks were made from the cut-away triangles from the Big Civil War Quilt! I made them go further by alternating them with solid blocks, each about 4" square. Then I added a border, which brought the quilt up to 36x45". This just happened to be the exact size of some packages of batting I got on clearance for 97 cents, so this was truly using up bits.

You might notice basting stitches on here because I took the picture after layering it for quilting.

Here is the back, which I had to piece because I was really down to little pieces of the fabrics I used! I had 3 9-patch blocks left over from the big quilt, so I added them to the back. I love it!!
I bought some tan quilting thread and a leather thimble, so I am ready to hand-quilt this. It will be the biggest thing I have ever done by hand. The other 2 were mini-quilts. I have no idea how long it will take, but then I will just have to bind it with a red plaid I have set aside. This has been a really fun project!!