Historic Ice Storm

In Oregon, we had a pretty wild Valentine’s Day weekend with an historic ice storm for some people and snow for others. At my house, we didn’t receive much snow, maybe 1/4 of an inch, but we were hit hard with the ice storm.

We had about 1-1/2 inches of ice accumulating over a short period of time, which caused major power disruptions and tons of damage to trees in the area.

During the ice storm, we heard the cracking, creaking, and falling of tree limbs and whole trees constantly over several days. We saw tree branches explode, just literally fall to pieces in front of us. With other trees, it looked like the ice covered limbs shrank back into themselves before cracking and falling under the weight. The eerie popping noises spooked our dog and kept us nervously looking out the window to see if one of our trees or a neighbor’s tree fell.

We lost 2 large trees in our front yard and one flowering plum tree in the backyard. One of the front yard trees dropped a large limb on our car. Fortunately, the thick ice spared the car major damage, and we saw just minor denting after the ice melted.

Our large maple in the backyard took heavy damage and will need an arborist to remove it later this year. We had a decorative juniper bush, about 20 feet tall, topple over. We cut the top 10 feet off and replanted it, hoping that the roots will take to the earth again.

After a few hours of ice, this is what our front street looked like:

Trees with ice damage

Many of the trees in the photo above took severe damage and either fell over during the storm or had to be removed. One branch fell on the neighbor’s house and punctured the roof.

Ice storm hits these trees hard

In our backyard, my beautiful flowering plum tree took heavy damage. Most of the major limbs snapped and fell during the storm.

Plum tree, mid ice storm

Limbs continued to snap and break for a few days after the freezing rain stopped falling. I will replant something beautiful where the plum once stood.

Plum tree, after (February 2021 ice storm) and before (spring 2020)

The ice was very beautiful, in its own way. It made beautiful patterns and shapes in the bushes, grass, and objects on my patio.

Ice coats a bush in my backyard
Icicles dripping off a hanging basket frame

I wouldn’t want to sit in this chair during my lunch break. Brrrr!!

Ice coats a patio chair

Before the COVID pandemic, my sister gave me a fun garden decoration for Christmas. It is a rooster made from metal scraps. He’s now become the recipient of many jokes and curses in the past year, including this ice storm. Let’s all blame him, ha, ha!

Ice coated “Corona” rooster

I didn’t get any sewing accomplished in the past two weeks, outside from a little English paper piecing. Now that the ice is melted and we’ve cleaned up most of the fallen debris, I plan to get back to some quilting.

Stay safe out there!

~Jen

Welcome 2021!

On New Year’s Eve, my family and I stayed home as we usually do, played board games, and made homemade pizza for dinner. We stayed up until midnight to celebrate the official kicking of 2020 to the curb. We saw fireworks light up the sky as neighbors welcomed the new year. I feel positive that this year will turn things around for everyone, and that we’ll finally see Covid lose its grip as the months go by. I want my son to be able to enjoy some normal high school times and make memories.

I have a few goals for this year, not time-specific. The first is to spend more time in nature. We did quite a bit of hiking last year, and I want to continue doing so.

Here’s a picture from Ecola State Park with Haystack Rock in the background at Cannon Beach (aka “The Goonies” beach) in Oregon just days before the new year. We took the dog and had a lovely short hike and picnic lunch.

My second goal is to release and let go of stuff. I have way too much stuff in the house so I’m committing to reducing and donating items each week.

My third goal is to sew a little each day, even 5 minutes. I want to finish WIPs that have been languishing for far too long! The first one in the queue is to add the binding to my Tula Pink 100 Modern Blocks quilt. The second one is to finish my Seaglass BOM, which I just received the final blocks and setting layout this week.

My word for the year is serenity. I want to live it, breath it, be it.

Do you have any goals, quilting related or otherwise?

Happy quilting,

~Jen

Baskets in the Woods

Remember my post about making fabric baskets? Well, I couldn’t stop with just one, and so I made 4 similar baskets for a group of quilting friends.

I wanted to get a picture of the baskets all together in an outdoor setting. So, my family and I took a weekend drive to a beautiful little lake, with falls colors beginning to emerge.

I placed all 4 baskets into a plastic bag, and I took them with me on the very short hike. It was only 1 mile around the little lake, with a some heavy brush in a few sections.

How cute are these baskets all lined up on a log with the lake in the background?

Fabric baskets on log

We had a great time, having this little lake all to ourselves. It wasn’t chilly, but there was a beautiful cloud hovering over the lake surface and providing a misty backdrop to our time here. The foliage was quite wet, and so our pants became soaked as we walked around the lake, but we didn’t mind at all.

The maples were starting to turn color, with many trees displaying vibrant yellow leaves and a few turning towards orange and red.

Cloud hugging Daly Lake
Wooden bridge
Fall foliage

I hope my friends like their fabric baskets! Getting out in nature is one of my favorite things to do, and it really helps me deal with times of stress. I can’t wait to go again!

Take care,

-Jen

Making a Fabric Basket (or Tub)

Hi everyone!

Recently, I came across a fun sew along on Instagram where the participants were making fabric baskets, also called tubs. I was intrigued by them, by I knew that I didn’t have time to complete one within the sew along timeframe. I purchased the pattern called “Tub Family” from RosieTaylorCrafts on Etsy, and set it aside for a couple of days.

Then, several weekends ago, I had a few hours to try my hand at making one. The pattern comes with 3 sizes of fabric baskets, and I opted to make the largest one. I have some of the beautiful Homemade fabric by Tula Pink, which I think is absolutely perfect to make all sorts of things for my sewing room.

The pattern walks you through the construction steps pretty well, but I have a few pointers if you decide to make one.

Once you have your main basket panel, liner, and foam all ready for quilting, I do recommend using the straight-line quilting as mentioned in the pattern. I tried doing an all over swirly type quilting on my test basket, but I had a much harder time attaching the bottom and getting the basket to sit properly. It’s just kinda floppy!

On my “real” basket, I did straight-line quilting using a beautiful Aurifil bright green thread with a seam guide on my Bernina. In the picture below, you can see my seam guide helped to give me perfect 1-inch quilting lines.

After quilting at 1-inch and .5-inch intervals, I had my finished main panel, ready for my quilt inspector. I used some fun Tula Pink ribbon along either side of the fussy cut sewing machine in the center of the panel. This pattern is so flexible that you could make baskets out of scraps, a single piece of fabric, or several large chunks like I did.

My finished main body panel with quilt inspector

After trimming the main panel to the correct size, I started to attach the base to the body. This step is the hardest part of the whole pattern because the base really needs to be eased in using clips or pins.

I used Clover clips to secure my base rather than pins. No blood! If the base is still too large after easing it, you may need to trim it down slightly.

Using Clover clips to attach the base

The pattern does have you hand stitch the base to the body before using your sewing machine to help with puckers. I highly recommend doing this step. You can remove the clips after hand basting, and then use your machine to slowly and carefully stitch the base to the body.

I did my binding a bit different from the pattern by pressing one side in 1/4-inch so that I’d have a nice finished edge to work with when sewing the second long edge to the inside of the basket.

Getting the binding ready

I did completely machine stitch my binding rather than hand sewing the inside, just for lack of time. I used the same color thread as the quilting, and I think it looks fine.

Here’s a look at my completed fabric basket, filled with some EPP supplies:

My finished basket!

These baskets are addictive to make, and I want to try making the medium and small sized ones soon. Maybe Christmas themed ones as well!

There are many examples of completed baskets using the #tubfamily hashtag on Instagram.

Enjoy and happy sewing!

-Jen

Sea Glass BOM, Months 8 and 9

Hi everyone,

I’ve caught up with my Sea Glass block of the month program by Fig Tree & Co!

In September, we got the fabric pack and pattern for month 8, which instructed us to make 24 setting blocks instead of the regular 2 focus blocks that we usually make. At first, I thought that 24 blocks would take a long time, but the setting blocks come together very quickly with chain piecing.

We only used solid fabrics in these blocks, alternating the colors in small squares between a light aqua and a light green.

Month 8 setting blocks

For this month’s block, we returned to the standard format of 2 focus blocks. The block this month did not come with a name, as they usually do, so I’m sure that we just a small oversight. I really love the block this month, and how the blue color really pops!

Month 9 blocks

We have 3 more months to go left on this wonderful BOM. I have all the blocks up on my design wall in my sewing room, and I just love the soothing color palette. I can’t wait to see how it will all come together in the final month!

Take care and happy quilting!

Jen

How to Make a Trumpet Bell Cover

Recently, my son’s high school band received permission to begin in person outdoor rehearsals. They are limited to 10 students per rehearsal time, and they need to have a bell cover and wear a mask.

I decided to make bell covers for all the trumpets in his group so that they wouldn’t have to wait for an online order, which could take weeks. There are 7 trumpets in his cohort group, and each bell cover takes about 10 minutes to make.

7 trumpet bell covers!

Supplies Needed

  • Stretchy material (polyester/spandex blend). I purchased some athletic apparel fabric from my local fabric store in blue, which matches one of the school’s colors.
  • 3/8″ elastic
  • Safety pin
  • Thread to match
  • Paper and pencil for template
  • Sewing machine and basic sewing supplies

Instructions

  1. Trace the trumpet bell onto a piece of paper.
  2. Enlarge the bell shape by about 1.25 inches to create your pattern. I used a school compass for this step or you could eyeball it. I found that a 1″ enlargement was a bit too small to fit over the bell comfortably. If you use cotton fabric instead of the poly/spandex blend, you’ll likely want to cut it 1.5 inches larger.
  3. Cut (2) circles from the fabric.
  4. Place the circles right sides together (RST), pin or clip together, and stitch using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Be sure to leave a small area open for turning right sides out and backstitch at the start and end of your stitching.

    Sew a 1/4″ seam, leaving an opening for turning

    Opening in the bell cover before turning

  5. Turn right sides out.
  6. Stitch another seam about 5/8″ from the edge of the circle to create the casing for the elastic. Stitch around the entire circle and backstitch. You do not need an opening for this second seam.
  7. Cut a piece of elastic about 11.25 inches long.
  8. Place a safety pin on one of the short edges of the elastic to help you insert the elastic into the casing. Be sure to hang onto the other end so that it doesn’t get sucked into the casing.

    Inserting the elastic into the casing

  9. Overlap both ends of the elastic about 1/2″ and sew together securely. I removed the pin before stitching.

    Overlap the elastic about 1/2-inch and sew

  10. Sew the opening closed.

    Sew the opening

  11. Ease the elastic around the casing so that it is more or less evenly dispersed.

    Inside of trumpet bell cover

  12. Place the bell cover on your trumpet and play!

Trumpet standing with bell cover

Trumpet bell cover

My quilt inspector supervised me very closely during this process. Maybe he thought I was making him a shower cap? Ha, ha!

Is it a cat shower cap?

I hope to make my son a reusable face mask with a little slot or flap for the trumpet mouth piece next. Until then, the band members have to cut a little slot into disposable face masks in order to play. They are also social distancing during practice. 

It’s a strange new world in so many unexpected ways!

Take care and happy sewing!

Jen

Introducing Alfie the Alpaca Foundation Paper Pieced Pattern!

Hi everyone,

I’m so excited to introduce you to Alfie the alpaca! I designed this cute alpaca block for a mini quilt exchange with my sister.

Alfie is foundation paper pieced, suitable for quilters with some paper piecing experience. The block size is about 16.5 inches by 8 inches before adding borders. The pattern does include instructions for adding the same size borders as shown in my finished quilt.

You can purchase Alfie for just $4 on my Etsy store, QuiltedCatPatterns!

Let’s take a closer look at Alfie the alpaca! I based this pattern on a photo that I took of a cheeky little alpaca in Sisters, Oregon during summer 2019. I used Cherrywood fabrics for the alpaca body, and Pie Making Day in Key Lime from RJR fabrics for the background. I pieced each section of the pattern, and then pinned the sections to a design board before stitching them together. This process helps you to catch any fabric placement mistakes before the whole block is stitched together.

The picture on the left shows all of the individual foundation sections pieced. The picture on the right shows the sections as I started to sew them together into units. I love watching foundation paper piecing patterns come together!

 

 

Alfie the alpaca block without borders

After I sewed all of the sections together, I decided to add some off-set borders to the Alfie block. I used a very narrow inner border from a peach colored Grunge fabric on the left side and along the bottom side. This peach fabric matches the peach tone of the blankets on the llamas in the outer green border.

I knew that I would add the dark green outer border before ever designing this block. My sister picked out this fabric as our challenge fabric for our mini quilt swap. We each had a fat quarter to use in our mini quilt somewhere. The llama fabric is called Llama Life Faraway Places by Cloud 9 Fabrics.

I also auditioned many fabrics for the bottom border, and finally settled on a black and white square print that I had in my stash.

I did simple quilting with an all-over meander on Alfie’s face and body using Glide thread in Linen and Bone, free-motion swirls using Glide in Celery in the light green background print, and some diamond shapes in the dark green border. I also free-motion quilted “Alfie” in Glide Apricot Blush on the bottom border.

Alfie the alpaca block without hair

I thought Alfie might be missing something, some integral part of his cheeky self. I figured that he needed some hair!! I went to a local alpaca farm and purchased some alpaca yarn in a shade to match Alfie’s head.

I used a couching foot on my Bernina to sew the yarn to Alfie’s head in little swirls. I love the texture and dimension that the yarn added to this mini quilt. I think it brings Alfie to life!

Adding alpaca yarn to make hair

Here’s a look at my Alfie completed mini quilt from a recent day hike with his fluffy head and shorn body:

Alfie the alpaca mini quilt with avalanche lilies

I hope you enjoy my new pattern, Alfie Alpaca available now for purchase. I’d love to see a photo if you make something using this pattern!

Happy quilting,

Jen

Making a Migraine Relief Headband: A Free Tutorial

Image

Hi everyone,

I’ve experienced migraine headaches my entire life. I’ve tried all sorts of remedies, and I do have prescription medicine to help manage the pain.

I’ve told my husband many times that I wished there was some type of headache wrap that I could wear because I tend to use my hands to press against my forehead for some relief. My hands get tired after a few minutes, ugh!

So, why not make something myself? Although this migraine relief headband won’t cure your achy head, it might help relieve the pain.

Supplies

  • Basic sewing supplies
  • Knit or other stretchy fabric
  • A sewing machine needle suitable for sewing on knit fabric
  • Fabric scissors
  • Measuring tape

Migraine Relief Headband Tutorial

  • Use the measuring tape to measure your head, centering the tape in the middle of your forehead.
  • Subtract 2-inches from the measurement to get your headband length.
  • Cut a piece of fabric to your headband length by 5-inches wide. For example, my head measured at 20-inches. I use a piece of knit fabric that is 18-inches long by 5-inches wide.
  • Fold the fabric in half, right sides together, and hold together with clips or pins.

Fold headband in half, right sides together

  • Sew the long edge using a 1/4-inch seam. Be sure to back stitch at both ends. I like to use a stiletto to help feed the fabric through the machine.
  • Fold one short edge over, wrong sides together.
  • Sew the short edge with a 1/4-inch seam. You only need to fold this seam once.

Fold one short side, wrong sides together

  • Turn the headband inside out. The right side of the fabric should now be on the outside.
  • Insert the raw short edge into the sewn short edge, about 1/4-inch. Use clips to hold the ends together.
  • Sew the two short edges together along the earlier stitching line, and remember to back stitch. You can use the headband now or go to the next step.

Tuck in the raw edge

  • Fold the stitched short seam in half, right sides together.
  • Stitch using a 1/4-inch seam. I like this final step because it gives the headband a nice finish.

Back of headband, short seam folded in half and sewn

Your headband is now finished and ready to wear! It should fit tightly against your forehead so that the compression offers a little relief.

A Completed Headband!

If you do not have allergies to fragrances, you can add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil to the headband.

I’m making a few of these headbands using different knit prints because they can also be used for exercise or hiking headbands. My bangs continue to grow longer and longer during COVID-19, and I’ve decided to let my hair grow out a bit before visiting my hairdresser. These headbands will come in handy during this awkward hair phase!

Happy sewing and I hope these headbands help with your migraine pain.

Best,

Jen

Make a Wish Postcards for SOQS + A Fabulous Coupon for Cricut Maker Machine

Hi everyone!

Today, I’m excited to share with you the 2 postcards that I made for the Make a Wish Postcard challenge for the 2020 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, now a re-imagined as a virtual show. I’m also very happy to share a special price and some coupon codes for the Cricut Maker machine, which you can use with fabric!

The Cricuit Maker machine normally retails for $329-$369, depending on options. However, this weekend through May 31st, you can get one for $299! You can also use the coupon code, JUNSHIP, to get free shipping through June. If you already have a Cricuit machine, you can get 40% off all materials through June 2nd. If you purchase using one of my links, I’ll receive a small commission, which I use to offset the cost of fees for running this blog.

Are you ready to see my 2020 SOQS postcards? I support the show every year by making at least one postcard using the challenge fabric.

This year, the challenge fabric was from Elizabeth Hartman.

Challenge fabric for Wish Upon a Card 2020

For my first card, I used the Flame fabric by incorporating it into bird legs and the Meringue fabric by turning it into a bird’s eye. The remaining solid fabrics are by Cherrywood. I added hand embroidery elements, and added rose gold wire detail to the bird’s head. I called this postcard, “Tall Bird.”

“Tall Bird” Postcard for 2020 Wish Upon a Card

For my second card, I decided to make an alpaca based on a photo that I took at last year’s quilt show while staying at the Sisters Best Western. The hotel replaced their llama herd with some young alpacas. One alpaca, in particular, gave me a charming side grin that I wanted to capture.

Designing an Alpaca Postcard

I started the process by printing 2 versions of my photo: a close-up and a full body. I traced the close-up of the alpaca face onto paper to make my pattern. I used a light table and created reverse applique pattern pieces.

The background of the card is from 3 different green batik prints, pieced together. The alpaca body is made from wool felt with machine and hand embroidered details. I used the Meringue challenge fabric as flowers in the background, along with some orange embroidered flowers.

I called this card, “Happy Alpaca!”

“Happy Alpaca” Postcard for the 2020 Wish Upon a Card challenge

Although neither of my cards won a prize in the challenge, they will both be available for sale during the 2020 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show virtual event. I’m not sure if they were selected for framing or matting, so I’ll find out along with you! I may even bid on my open cards, lol.

I really enjoy supporting the show by making these cards, and I purchase cards each year.

Postcards for the 2020 Wish Upon a Card Challenge

Did you make a challenge card this year? I’d love to see it!

Happy quilting!

~Jen

2020 Mini Series SAL – Finished Project Reveal!

Hi everyone,

I’m happy to say that I’ve finished my project in the 2020 Mini Series sew-along, hosted by Giucy Giuce and Alison Glass. Over the past 2 months, we have made 8 tiny foundation paper pieced blocks as part of this SAL plus a 9th bonus block for registered participants!

This SAL was a great virtual quilting community project to work on during COVID-19. We encouraged each other through our posts on Instagram, which you can find using the #MiniSeriesSAL hashtag.

I completed all the blocks and decided to piece them together into a “skinny mini” horizontal quilt. I added a 2-inch border to the top, bottom, and sides. I did not add any sashing strips between my blocks because I had a special place in my quilting room picked out to display this quilt.

For quilting, I used Glide thread in white and did some simple piano keys in the borders using a ruler. I also stitched-in-the-ditch around each quilt block.

Quilting my “skinny mini”

For my binding, I used a print from Tula Pink’s Zuma line that perfectly complemented the Kona cotton colors that I used for my blocks. This is the same fabric line that I used for the little green print with the seahorses, stars, and anchors in my blocks.

I’m displaying my Mini Series skinny mini quilt above a closet door in my quilting room and attached to a shelf holding some of my antique toy sewing machines. I love the beachy pop of color that it provides in that color. It also coordinates well with the Sherwin Williams Sea Salt paint on my walls!

Mini Series SAL Finished Project, A Skinny Mini!

This has been such a great project to make over the past several months. I’m happy that I kept up with the blocks each week, and that I was able to finish a project on time to get a finisher’s pin. When the pin arrives, I’ll add it to my skinny mini! My thanks to both Giucy Giuce and Alison Glass for hosting this sew-along!!

Happy quilting,

~Jen