Miss B’s Quilt

I have a very special student in my homeroom class, Miss B. She is in 7th grade. She has Down Syndrome.

When we were making our charitable project of Christmas stockings at Christmas she expressed a real interest in sewing, but said, “I could never do that, maybe I could get a toy machine for Christmas.”

“You don’t need a toy,” I said, “You need to sew.”

It took some convincing, but it turned out that she could sew. Better than average. And now she has a special sewing class with me two days a week. Similar options are available at the school, but she needed something individualized and carefully paced.

Well, first she made a drawstring bag for her waterbottle. Went just fine. The next project was a quilt.

She finished the piecing a week ago. I had it quilted and bound it for her (She isn’t ready for that yet).

She got it back today.

Such a beautiful thing. She is so proud. It has transformed her life. Sewing. Is. Power!

Do You Treadle? I Do Now!

Many years ago my mother gifted me a treadle machine that she can’t even remember where she got it from. It isn’t a family machine. Maybe a rummage sale at the local Ladies Aid Hall? Maybe around 1976?

Anyway, it sat around my house for many years. I decided it was time to decide…Do I treadle? Or is this a large and not very attractive paperweight?

After a cleaning and servicing–including un-sticking the head and replacing the belt–the service technician called me and told me quite a long story about my machine.

It definitely isn’t a paperweight. It is a rare and rather special 1920s National Two Spool Treadle. And it has all the parts and is fully functional.

So, I have been learning to treadle. It is a slow process. But one I am really enjoying.

A few discoveries about treadle machines: 1. Don’t allow them to run backwards. It breaks the thread. Arrgh! 2. Mine has two spools and no bobbin. Who knew? 3. You have to oil the frame as well as the machine as it is a functional part of the sewing process (metal moving parts). 4. I still have a lot to learn.

Again I ask, do you treadle? What are your top tips? I would love to learn more.

I Made Something

While quilting is my dearest love in the crafting world, it did occur to me that perhaps things had become a bit…stale.

So, I decided to try something different.


This book came from the local library and is full of fun ideas.


Like this!


A fully lined and insulated lunch bag.  WITH a zipper.


It has some issues, but I am pretty sure lunch will still taste good.  And I enjoyed the process of just trying something.  Worth the process.

ps–Will return to regularly scheduled “programming” soon.  But, look for a few different things in the near future.  Different is good.

A Sleuth Of Bears

What do you call a group of bears?  A SLEUTH!!  What a fantastic word.

And what a great description for this finally-finished project that started with Sparkle Jane, but eventually involved all of us.


A high school friend of Sparkle Jane was involved in a service project making charity bears.  There were leftovers and Sparkle said she could make some bears.  There was A LOT of leftovers.  In typical Sparkle style, she cut until she couldn’t cut any more.

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And then it was time to stitch.  Each bear, of course, needed to be unique.

Then she got tired and set it aside, but this year she was determined to finish.  ALL OF THEM.


She finished all the faces.  I helped with eyes.  Then it was time for everyone to help with stuffing and stitching.


And they are finally finished.  YAY!  Soon to be donated to worthy causes.  Whew!


A local headstart preschool posted a listing on JustServe.org that they needed capes sewn for the two-year olds.

Capes for two-year-olds?  Count me in.


Using the donated fabric (nice, high quality stuff, by the way) I created 32 capes, mostly based on THIS TUTORIAL.


I LOVE my new serger.  It made this so easy.


I can see all the children running around looking like super-heroes (or butterflies, which is what I REALLY think they will look like).

It feels good to serve.

Rice Filled Heating Pads

One of my goals for 2019 is to make a Non-quilty project between quilts.  Here is my first for the year:  Rice Filled Heating Pads.  If you don’t know about these, they are wonderful.  Just rice in a bag, basically, heated briefly in the microwave. Warm, weighty, soothing and non-electrical.DSC01357










Thanks to Sew4Home for this fine tutorial: https://sew4home.com/projects/pillows-cushions/microwavable-rice-filled-heating-pads

I especially like the fill directions.  My first thought was to pour from the side and somehow make it all close up nicely…this is much better.

Two cozy pads of different sizes to fit the need.

If you are not familiar with Sew4Home, consider stopping by for NON-quilting tutorials and projects of all kinds.

Ah, sweet feeling of comfort and…Success!

Trek Outfit #1

We continue to prepare for the pioneer trek.  It is traditional to wear period-suggestive (not period authentic) clothing.  We’re glad the pioneers were tough, but I am grateful for modern sewing machines, elastic and, when on the trail, tennis shoes.

Truly, the dressing up is part of the fun and really helps you get in the spirit.

Here is Daughter’s first complete outfit.


The shirt came from a yard sale, but it is Eddie Bauer linen (AND, a terrific color).  The skirt came from the thrift store.  It was a size much-larger-than-Daughter, but we took in the waistband and it is nice and full now.  The apron and bonnet are hand-me-down pieces from the fabric stash.  I really like the eyelet.  Total cost:  $4.
All pioneers should be comely and thrifty, don’t you think?

Christmas For The Grands: Twin L.

The second half of the twin set L. and V. is a 3-1/2-year old boy who loves his cars, tools and other noisy and construction oriented things.  Some of you might remember that last year he got a tool belt.


This year’s gift is a little different…All rolled up…Guess  it…


This year he gets a car caddy race track. Don’t you want to play, too?!


Thanks to this very good tutorial, I was able to whip it up in no time.  I did a number of tweaks, of course.  The main one was changing out the felt track for canvas and iron on tape.  The track is now smooth and fast for those little cars.

Christmas is still a month away!  How is this granny going to wait?

Pincushion Play

This weekend I took some time to attack the overflowing ironing-and-mending pile.  There were loose buttons, torn beltloops, holes in elbows–you know, the usual.  And, many wrinkled shirts, pants and napkins.  All that was taken care of in about 3 hours of diligence.

After that I deserved a little play time.


This small pot (about 3-1/2″ across the top) was a yard sale find for 25-cents.  CUTE!


I make a whirl of wedge shaped pieces a little over twice the diameter of the top.  They were 3-1/2″ long and 1/2″ wide at the skinny end (two seam allowances) and between 2 and 2-1/2″ wide at the base.


Some gathering and stuffing and a button later–Ta-dah!  A pincushion.  It was play time for me and a  fun result.


Hopefully I will have a little more play time before back to school Tuesday…I hear fabric calling!  For now, though, it is time to walk the dog.  She is fun,  and keeps me from making exercise excuses!

Summer 1964–Now THAT’S A UFO

In one of the recent house cleanouts, I found a lovely bundle of fabric–Linen and butterflies.  How could I leave it?  It was so very pretty I set it aside, hoping there would be enough there to make something.

This last week I got the bundle out and unrolled it.  It had been cut, but the pattern pieces (not the pattern package) were still there.

A brief internet search showed me that Simplicity 5409 was this dress. Publication date 1964.

It was in a size I was certain would fit Daughter.  So, nothing to do but sew it up.


Ta-dah!  A lovely summer shift.


Only 51 years in the making.


We had to add some darts to better fit Daughter’s shape, but overall I think the effect is lovely.


UFO no more!