Category Archives: Sewing/Quilting Projects

It was curtains for me!

As a “sewing SOWER” I have often been asked to make curtains. Sometime the host gives me a credit card and tells me to go to the store and get something really nice. Cost is no object.
OK, so that NEVER happens! Occasionally we do get to go to the store (usually a Wal-Mart) and shop like you and I shop – trying to get the nicest fabric we can for the least amount of money.
Sometimes they say, “We got this bolt of fabric on sale. Do you think you could make it into curtains?” Or sometimes it’s, “We just found this box of curtains. Do you think you could make them into curtains that fit the windows in the cabins?”
This time it was – “We’ve been given a couple of boxes of fabric. Do you think you could make curtains for our dormitories from it?”
Well, let’s see what we’ve got!
Turns out the fabric was from a local (closed) bedding factory, and it consisted of pieces measuring 108” x 96”, with one finished edge. And I mean lots of pieces!
In their previous lifetime I think they were going to be king-size bedspreads, but my job was to make them into 26 pairs of curtains for Palmer Hall.
Better get to work!
There was lots of ironing,
measuring and cutting,
(Never underestimate the value of notes when you’re doing production line cutting/sewing!)
And after three days it was all cut, pressed, and ready to sew…..
And sew I did!
I found I could crank out a pair of curtains in about an hour, so my goal was 4 pair per morning. That would leave me with time to get them hung with a little wiggle room for the inevitable “man, I didn’t count THAT window!”
(Yeah, that happened.)
But when all was said and done, what had looked like this –
curtains before
Now looks like this –
OK, so it’s not Martha Stewart, but I think it’s a start. It might not keep the morning sun out too well, but at least the boys won’t be peeking in at the girls (or vice versa!).:)
Since we are here on this SOWER project by ourselves, my best friend while making these curtains was this –
Thank you Chris, Bebo, Andrew, Tim and all the rest for keeping me company and not minding as I sang along!
Gary’s jobs here at Bethlehem Family Camp have been a little more diversified. 🙂 He’s cleaned and serviced A/C units,
Cleaning ac
did a fair bit of work in the bathrooms , including boxing in sewer pipes and making partition walls for the showers –
And installing handrails in all the toilet stalls on campus (about 24) but the photojournalist failed to take pictures of those!
He also built a fire door/wall in one of the dorm’s stairwells –
It needs a little bit of work before it actually IS a firewall, but it’s a pretty good start for a guy working alone.
And when he ran out of hammer and nail (or should I say saw and screw) stuff to do, he picked up a paint brush and got to work on the Tabernacle –
He was one productive boy this month!
We’ve worked extra days this month since we wanted to get an early start on our December Project. In fact, we’re already in Waco, TX (leaving Lizzie there in Bonifay) where we’ll be helping DD Lara with her kitchen remodel. We plan to be here through Christmas, so it was pretty interesting trying to figure out how to pack for our extended stay. We got it all in the truck – now we just have to make sure we remember to get it all back.

Even the dashboard plant came along for the holidays!
Dashboard Plant Waco

And Gary has already started making a mess in the kitchen!
Kitchen Floor

Crafty Things – Part III The Memory Quilt

So, what has over 3000 pieces and has taken well over 5 years to complete?
The Memory Quilt!
quilt header
It’s been almost two years since I first mentioned this project, making memory stars from fabric I would pick up along the way to remind me of the different places we’ve seen, SOWER projects we’ve worked, family and friends we’ve seen, and other things that I, well, just wanted to remember! I’d collect fabric, work on the stars about a dozen at a time, recalculate how many I still needed, and then keep on collecting! I had the main part sewn together (all 179 stars, in no apparent order!) by the time we left for Alaska, picked up the border fabric while we were in Alaska, and after the Christmas sewing rush, got back on track with sewing that baby together. And last month I finally got it to a local machine quilter. We picked it up on our way here (Palmdale, CA), and I got busy on the binding.
Memory Quilt-3
(Meals? Who needs meals!)
Yesterday, March 5, 2010 it was finally completed!
Here are some of my memories, up close and personal!
Memory Quilt-5
Some of the stars are pre-trip – quilting friends that contributed squares, or the base fabric from the wedding quilt for our son Toby and his bride, Tammy.
Memory Quilt-6
This one reminds me of our February 2009 project where it rained and rained and rained.
Memory Quilt-7
Ah, the sweet memories of a weekend with my nephew, his lovely wife and beautiful new daughter!

Memory Quilt-9 Memory Quilt-8 Memory Quilt-11 Memory Quilt-15

New Hampshire, Georgia
Arizona, Nashville

Memory Quilt-1 Memory Quilt-2

Gary’s flannel “lounging” pants (that finally wore out!), Cabin Curtains

Memory Quilt-14
I did have to add a couple of stars to cover our Alaska Adventure, but they worked well as corner blocks.
Memory Quilt-12
I’m really happy with the machine quilting! I had it done at Georgia’s Quilting Obsession in Beaumont, CA, and I think she did a really nice job!
See where the binding changes from blue to green in the above photo? Here’s a close-up-
Memory Quilt-13
That’s to remind me to always cut an extra strip of binding before you use up all your extra fabric on other projects!

Although I had planned to use it on our bed, now that it’s finished, I realize it’s actually a little more than our little bedroom can handle!
Memory Quilt-4
But even though it may not have a (visible) place of honor in this little house of ours, it still is a treasure to me.
Ah, the sweet memories……

Crafty Things, Part II – Christmas 2009

One of the really fun parts about being on the road is all the fun ideas for things that you gather along the way! There are some very clever people out there, and I’ve been fortunate enough to cross paths with many of them!
Last year, just before Christmas (that would be Christmas 2008), a SOWER friend shared with me what I can only call an “I Spy Beanbag”. The concept is to take teeny tiny things and put them (along with the “beans”) in a beanbag that has a window in it. Then the activity is to find the different items by moving around the beans to reveal the items. Got it?
I’ve had a pretty hard time ‘splaining it to folks, so I’ll just move to the picture.
Clockwise, from the bottom right –
The items that went into the beanbag. (Even though I watched for things throughout the year, at the end I did rely heavily on buttons. There are some amazing buttons out there!)
The three completed bags – made from pant legs of an old pair of Gary’s jeans.
A close-up of the window itself.
The pocket side of bags. I found cute kid’s jeans at thrift shops and used some of their “fanciness” to make the pockets. And the pocket holds the list of what is actually in the bag.
Pretty fun, eh? I think the grown-ups had as much fun finding the different items as the girls did (at least on Christmas morning!).
So those were my “everyone gets one of these” items (and thank-you Joanne for the great idea!).
But it was home-made-ville for the girls individually as well!
Back in 2005, I had made Ellie a quilted sweatshirt jacket.
Imagine my delight when last summer she asked me if I could make her another one since she had finally outgrown the one she had. Yessiree Bob – Grammas really like to hear things like that! When I asked what color she would like it to be(six year olds have some strong opinions about those things, you know), she replied, “purple”. (Silly me – I really should have known!). I started collecting purple fabrics, and eventually put together this –
Ellie's Jacket
I think she liked it!
Ellie's Coat 2009
I had been inspired to do some knitting for Hayley. Or actually I was inspired to ask Lara (my knitter-extraordinaire daughter) to knit a sweater for Hayley and then I would a knit a matching sweater for her doll. It was a good plan, but I discovered just before our Christmas Eve that Hayley didn’t actually HAVE a doll that my sweater would fit. So, as it turned out, Maddie’s doll got a sweater that matched Hayley’s beautiful sweater, and I quickly purchased a cute dress that went with Lara’s sweater. Ah, the best laid plans…..
But anyway – here’s the little sweater –
and here’s Hayley wearing her sweater and holding baby Sarah (with special thanks to Maddie for sharing!).
And special thanks to Toni who shared her cute sweater patterns with me! (Oh, and to Lara who did all the “big knitting” and found the great yarn!)
I wasn’t sure what to make for little Maddie, until I remembered a cute reversible dress pattern that someone had shared with me last fall. She makes these dresses in a variety of sizesand then sends them overseas to various missions when she hears of a need. The dress is totally reversible and only has about 3 inches of hand sewing involved. Sounded pretty sweet to me!
Maddie's dress
The dress was a little big, and I think it took me more time to find a plain brown shirt to go with it than it took me to make it, but all in all, I think it was a success. Here she is in her dress with baby Sarah.
Thanks, Evelyn for the inspiration for the dresses.
With the girls all wrapped up, I only had one more gift to worry about – my precious daughter-in-law, Abigail. Since I was still on the homemade kick, she got a quilted purse-
Abigail's Purse
(and if she stands next to Maddie, they’ll match!). I’ve made a couple of these purses (I have one and so does Lara), but I want to thank my buddy Rosie for her inspiration in making these bags. And watch out, Tammy, you might be next!

My final “fun thing” isn’t really a crafty thing, but just a fun idea if you have grandkids. I wanted to give the girls something fun for Valentine’s Day and I remember someone telling me about sending a bottle through the mail. Here is what I started with –
We cut a door on one side of the bottle and glued the top on. We even splurged on fancy bottles, but I don’t think the water tasted any different. Just so you know.
Then we filled them as full as we could.
Final step – putting the label over the “door” and taking them to the post office!
The girl at the post office hardly blinked an eye – so give it a try! It’s sure to bring a smile to whoever gets a bottle of goodies in the mail!

Fair warning, there’s still a little craftiness to come…..

Crafty Things, Part I – Remembering Alaska

Since we have a day or so until our March project really kicks in, I thought I’d share some recent crafty things I’ve completed lately. Ok, so actually they were from last year and were mostly Christmas gifts and yes, it is March, but somethings just don’t get organized so easily! (Like a “show and tell” post!). But, because some of my faithful readers are my quilting buddies from my previous lifetime, I thought I’d do a little sharing.
Today it’s all about Alaska. I know, I know, you heard about Alaska for 4 months. But this is about Alaska memories! Have you ever heard of a “Shop Hop”? A Shop Hop is where area shops (in this case quilt shops) join together in some group marketing plan to entice shoppers to visit all of the shops and purchase stuff! With quilt shops the plan is often to purchase a particular block kit at each shop that can be sewn together into one large quilt. In Alaska, the Shop Hop covered the entire state, and while we made it to lots of those shops, we didn’t make it to all. But that didn’t stop us – my quilting buddy Naomi and I still managed to pick up (or have shipped to us!) 12 kits! If I had followed their directions, I would have ended up with a quilt that looked (more or less) like this –
Alaska Quilt
But I didn’t really want an Alaska quilt. So I decided to add borders and make individual wallhangings. A plan much more suitable for someone who lives in less than 400 square feet.
So, to help me remember the bears that we saw,
I made the bear wallhanging.
Alaska Bear
To help me remember the moose we saw (and oh, how l loved the moose!)
I put this together –
Alaska Moose
And my favorite fireweed…
Alaska Fireweed
The towering mountains –
Back to Lower 48 - Day 2-11
Alaska Mountains
The ancient glaciers –
Alaskan drive - day 13-36
Alaska Glaciers
the serene loons –
Alaska Loon
and while we never did see any Eskimos in kayaks, we did see some of those wonderful jackets –
Discovery Riverboat-7
Alaska Kayak
Oh, and the outhouses…..
Dalton Hwy-3
Alaska Outhouse
(This one is headed to our Vermont Cabin, where we do indeed have an outhouse!)
And then the last three –

Alaska Dragonfly Alaska Blueberries Alaska Eagle

Out of the eleven that I completed, five of them went to my unsuspecting family as gifts. 🙂 The other six are in my wallhanging “stash”. And every time I pull one of them out, I’ll be reminded of the wonderful summer we spent in Alaska!

Tomorrow – the rest of the Crafty Story!

What we did yesterday we will do again tomorrow.

Yes, we’ll be cooking. 100 meals, 3 times a day, 7 days a week. OK, so we haven’t cooked every one of those meals, but we’ve certainly been on hand for most of them! And the next 9 meals will be our personal responsibility (the cook’s away!). But aside from the panic that the rice really will NOT BE DONE in time, or the questions about cooking butter beans, seeing the smiles on the faces of the boys (along with the hands that go up when asked if anyone wants seconds) has made all of the extra hours worth it. Hopefully next week we’ll get a day or two off, so I can get some housework done!

But since about the most exciting thing that has happened in my life lately is the fact that the rice did indeed get done (never underestimate how long it is going to take to get a huge pot of water to boil – I really should know better!), I thought I’d share some photos of my quilting projects that I did for the family this year. (This is mostly for my quilting buddies – everyone else, view at your own risk! )
Hayley’s Quilt
Since the girls are together in the same room (bunk beds no less!), I made her a quilt to coordinate with the one I made for Ellie last year. Tammy and I picked out the fabrics when we were together in August, and we chose a simple fat-quarter pattern (Yellow Brick Road). Since it was an easy pattern, I tried to put a little extra detail into the quilting. I don’t have a picture of it on her bed, but here are a couple of it on my bed – along with some close up detail shots.

Hayley's Quilt

Hayley's quilt detail 2 Hayley's quilt detail 4

I also made a pillowcase and a little pillow to match. (Those pillowcases are so easy to make – and are such a big hit!)
Hayley's Quilt, Pillowcase and pillow

Maddie’s Quilt
I also made a quilt for our new granddaughter – though at the time I didn’t know if it was a granddaughter or grandson. So while this may look a little like we were expecting a boy, I actually just built it from my “stash” – and I tried to make it nice a bright and interesting. Again, it’s a simple brick pattern, and I did just basic machine quilting. But the back is nice soft flannel, and I hope it gets lots and lots of use!
Maddie's quilt front

Maddie's Quilt Front Maddie's quilt back

The Nap Quilts
And the rest of the gang got “Nap Quilts”. I used the same Yellow Brick Road pattern, and put a nice cozy fleece on the back. Two were done in homespuns (again from my “stash”) and two were done in some fun bright prints. I kept one of the print ones – and can verify that it works great! (for naps, that is!)

Nap Quilt 3 Nap Quilt 1

Nap Quilt Back

Still on the horizon – a keepsake quilt for Maddie, finishing up a wall hanging and a table runner, and catching up on my “memory stars”.

But the very next thing on the horizon is chicken and rice for 80 hungry boys!