Thursday, March 19, 2020

liquid gold!

So this month was supposed to be all about quick posts and baby quilts but...

We've been making maple syrup! 🍁
We've lived in this house for almost 30 years.  There are several sugar maple trees on the property.  I've always wanted to tap one and finally, this was the year.  

It's so simple:  drill a hole at a slight angle, insert the tap, hang a bucket on the tap's hook...

and watch the sap flow!  (I lined our old bucket with a zip-lock because it's cleaner and easier to empty.)

We just tapped one tree this first year.  I cannot believe how much sap has dripped in less than a week.  I empty the bag at least 3 times a day.

I've been boiling it down in small batches on my stovetop.  This very wide Calphalon pan I purchased at an outlet store years ago has been perfect for this task.  

It takes about 1.5 hours to boil down to 2 cups which I then filter through a coffee filter.

When I've boiled down 3 pans (so I have about 6 cups) I put it in a smaller pan and boil it down some more.  Actually, now it's like making candy, I cook it till it's 219 degrees F.   

This year, I'm putting it in small canning jars.  I turn the jars over while the syrup is still hot and let them cool that way.  The jars seal themselves!  
Next year I'll plan ahead and be ready with cute maple leaf shaped jars to store it in. 
Have you ever turned sap to syrup?  

Having something new and fun to focus on has really helped me thru this week.  
Stay healthy!  

Thursday, March 12, 2020


How cute are these koalas?

The pattern is by Elizabeth Hartman and available here!

In January, Elizabeth offered to donate 100% of her proceeds of this PDF download to WIRES, a wildlife rescue in Australia.  In less than 24 hours she sold out of the available downloads and donated $19,638.79 AUD to WIRES!!!  How amazing is that?  

The back is a cozy gray crosshatch flannel.
Hoping lots of babies are cuddling with Koalas in 2020!

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a great week!

Thursday, March 5, 2020

meadowland night hike

I've made several baby quilts this past year that I've not yet shared here so I'm hoping to catch up with short weekly posts this month.  

Last year there was an online quilt along using this Meadowland pattern by Then Came June.  I did not participate but I sure was inspired.  Every quilt was prettier than the last.  This pattern seems to work with any fabric.  These prints are from Heather Given's Night Hike collection.

I picked up the fabric while shopping Small Business Saturday sales at Crimson Tate last November.  What a cute shop!  I even won one of the hourly door prizes!  Thanks again, Heather 😊

The selvage reads so good I had to include it!  
The backing is super soft Cuddle from Shannon Fabrics. 

Baby quilts are such fun to make and give.  Have a great week!

Sunday, December 29, 2019

holiday gifting and swapping

I haven't been sharing much lately because all of my recent makes have been gifts.  Now that they've all been gifted, here we go...

Market Bags
First up:  2 market bags for 2 dear friends.  Pattern by Anna Graham and available in her book Handmade Style. I used Essex linen/cotton blend, Denyse Schmidt prints πŸ’›πŸ’šπŸ’™and LEATHER!
This was my first time working with leather.  I purchased unfinished straps from a local Tandy Leather shop and dyed them myself.  The dying was much easier than I was anticipating.  
It went on smooth and even.  When I sprayed on the sealer some of that even tone disappeared.  I was disappointed at first, but actually, it just looks a little worn in now and hopefully will just improve with use and age.
I used heavy weight polyester thread and a leather needle in my Juki TL2010 to sew the handles on  v e r y  s l o w l y.  It worked beautifully!  Now I want to switch up the handles on my own market bag!

Sew Together Bags
I finally made my first Sew Together Bag at a guild sew-in.  As per usual, I don't know what took me so long.  I LOVE this pattern by Sew Demented.
I've made three more since then and another is in the works.  Fun to make and fun to give!

My mom has a kitchen towel that hangs on her cabinet.  She bought it years ago in France.  It's seen better days and she requested a new one.  Basically, a 24" diameter circle of terrycloth with a binding and hanging loop (which I oversized in case she wants to hang it over a door knob). She loved it - well, she said she did.  Hey, she's a mom!

Guild fun!
This year the Detroit Area Modern Quilt Guild decided we would all make a byAnnie Easy Does It bag and have a Yankee swap with them for our holiday meeting.
First, I made the one on top.  Not gonna lie, I was a little disappointed that all the hard work of that binding is hidden on the inside of the bag.  

When I got word that we weren't supposed to use holiday fabric I made another.  This time I used AnnMaria Horner fabric and changed it up by sewing the binding on the outside of the bag.  Bottom right is the sweet bag I received in the swap.  It was made by our incoming president Jenny Draeger, @jfodraeger on Instagram.  Thanks Jenny!

The AnnArbor Modern Quilt Guild had a notions swap.  I gave an add-a-quarter ruler and gingher snips wrapped up in a Jeni Baker drawstring bag that I adjusted the size of to fit the gifts.  Unfortunately, I forgot to get a photo of it.

Here's what I received!  This was made by the super talented @emmmylizzzy.  She was inspired by Making It on NBC.  It has already found its spot on my sewing room wall!

I hope all your hand made gifts were finished in time and as well received as each of these!  

Tuesday, October 22, 2019


Last year I participated in a Polaroid swap on Instagram.  We made little blocks that look like Polaroid photos and shared with each other.   When I heard my scrapbooking/card making friend was going to be a grandma I knew it was time to pull these out and put them to use. 
I received about 30 blocks in the swap so got to work right away to add to my collection.  For the quilt to finish at 40"x50" (my daughter's favorite new-baby size) I needed 72 blocks.  

The blocks go together very quickly though I did spend lots of time going through my stash and fussy cutting 2 1/2" squares to make them.  I loved every minute of it!  How cute are some of these Polaroids?

Grandpa is a carpenter.  I looked long and hard for a backing fabric with tools but all I could find was a fat quarter of the little wrenches above (first in the second row).  While I couldn't use it for a backing, I did make a Polaroid out of it and took the completed top apart, just a bit, to add it in.  

Instead, I made a giraffe from Sew Fresh Quilts Giraffes in a Row pattern and pieced it into a backing.  My daughter took monthly photos of her son during his first year on the BB-8 quilt I made for her.  She loved watching how he started so tiny and by a year old was almost as big as BB-8!  Maybe this new mama will have fun with that, too!

Here's a close up of the gray fabric I pieced the giraffe into.  It's got darling little stars and planets on it.   The selvage reads "The Little Prince ~ Le Petit Prince".  I was not aware that it's a book and the fabric is from the illustrations.  

How could I not incorporate it into this new little guy's quilt? 
I used a yellow Mini Pearl Bracelets fabric by Lizzy House for the binding.  It goes perfectly with that giraffe.  I had this in my stash but there's a little left here.
I free motion quilted this with a meandering stipple and used Quilter's Dream Cotton select loft batting.  I washed it before gifting and the texture is so cozy!

This was a fun one!  Now I'm off to look for "Le Petit Prince"!

I hope you're enjoying October.  Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, May 17, 2019


I've been participating in an online sew along and making "trinkets" using the Trinket pattern by Alison Glass.

These trinket blocks are paper pieced.  I made a few ahead of time because it's been awhile since I did any paper piecing.  They go together quickly and are a little addicting. πŸ˜‰ By the time I was making the 5th or 6th block I realized my trinkets were reminding me of being at our camp in Northern Michigan.  So that was my focus for this quilt - things I love up north!  I posted my blocks each day on Instagram using #rsftrinkets.  In each post I describe how I relate the block to something up north, occasionally including a photo of the trinket in real life.

We were allowed to change up how we sewed the pattern pieces.    Do you see here how I turned this clover into a pontoon boat?  I took the same pieces of the block but sewed them together inside-out.

We were encouraged to arrange our trinkets any way we wish.  To participate in the prizes we needed to include at least one of each of the 40 trinkets from the pattern in our quilt.  I opted to repeat a few and ultimately made 56.  I sewed them into simple rows but offset my rows to change things up a bit

My quilt finishes at 50"x57".  I found this fabric with sunglasses at Ikea.  It's extra wide (59") so it was an easy backing choice.  Don't the colors go perfectly with the trinkets on the front?  

The binding is from my stash, black with colorful stripes, that show much better in real life. 

Can you find the bald eagle?  Or my favorite, the torch?  The last trinket in the bottom row above represents the lighthouse in Charlevoix where we had our most fun, and dangerous, and windy, and cold photo shoot ever with my Beacon/lighthouse block quilt.

We returned there to repeat the photo with this quilt.  The trinkets are too small to see here - oh well.  It was a beautiful sunny day with no wind - the exact opposite of that first time.

It's pretty with Lake Michigan in the background!

The bright sunshine makes it challenging to photograph a colorful quilt with a white background.  But we are happy for the sunshine and hope you're enjoying some this week as well.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

a buzzy bizzy kid

I'm trying to finish up some long time works in progress this year so I've set a goal to not start something new till I've finished up something old.  
I made this Bizzy Kid quilt top at least 4 years ago.  It's been hanging in the closet ever since.  My grandchildren are growing and we're needing more than baby quilts now so it was time to finish this up.

The pattern is by Cluck Cluck Sew and still available in print or pdf form.  The solids are a mix of Kona and Moda.  The print fabrics are from the Bug a Boo line by Adorn It.  Hard to find now but aren't these bugs cute?   I made this as a new quilter and didn't really understand fussy cutting.  I would cut these guys differently now but it still works. 

I've learned a lot about pressing over the years, too.  I spend about 2 hours removing loose threads and re-pressing seams before quilting this.

The quilting is free motion jagged lines.  I think it looks like how bugs fly around, zipping here, zipping there.

Quilter's Dream wool batting  and a stripped single-fold binding that matches the backing.

Well, most of the backing.  I added a few columns of blocks for more width.  This quilt finishes at 48" x 60"!  A perfect size for Bizzy Kids!

We were looking for a cool bug in the woods but instead found this guy playing peek-a-boo! 

I hope you're finding fun things to keep bizzy with this week.  Thanks for stopping by.