Just Can It!

Just Can It!  or Put a Lid on It!

I’m not sure of the historical timeline of these phrases, but as a parent of tweens,  I am positive that when a Mom says these things, she is definitely thinking something else!

So while we enjoy the very momentary silence that might follow this canning reprimand,   let’s take a look at the very last picture block from Farm Girl Vintage that I am including in my quilt, Canning Season.  I plan to use the Haystack layout in the Farm Girl Vintage book but with large 12″ scrappy haystack blocks instead of the smaller ones suggested in the book.  You can really see some of grandma’s stash showcased here with some of mine.  It is definitely scrappy!


I chose the blocks for this quilt as I went along and thought of a story in my life that they represented.  I realized too late that I should have made the smaller blocks!  This final block is special to me and was very difficult for me to complete, as my grandmother passed away this spring.

My Grandmother, Sylvia, lived about 4 hours away.  Our family would take the road trip to visit fairly often.  As the oldest grandchild, I was able to share a long time with my grandmother at both the house she raised her family in, and then later in her new neighborhood.  I have so many memories.  My youngest uncle and aunt still lived at home when I was a little girl.  There were easter hunts (where we thought we lost the last egg), Uncle Don’s old green car in the driveway, sticks in my uncles stocking, Christmas parties, Grandma helping me clean rust off an old bicycle in the shed, Airplanes that flew over the house (all the time),  her old-fashioned washing machine, homemade Christmas ornaments, aunt Kathy’s Barbie doll and clothes that they would drag out of the pull-down attic when I would visit,  Aunt Kathy asking me to be her flower girl, Coffee and Scrabble / Crossword / Cards.  (Yes, I have Grandma to thank for my coffee habit!).  I could not even begin to name them all.

She also taught me to quilt.  I am forever grateful for her encouragement.

Canning Season represents another little memory.  Every time I would visit, she would let me open a new jar of jelly.  We would go down to her pantry shelf and she would give me one to open for our toast.  I loved to open them because the top of the new jelly jar had a wax plug in it and I always thought that the jelly at the top, that had never been used tasted the best!  For some odd reason, I thought that was really fun…
(Aren’t kids strange?)

The quilt is coming together now.  I am using the blocks you see here with white sashing and scrappy cornerstones.   When complete, it will be a happy quilt of warmth and memories.




Mitten String

When I was a child, winter seemed to come with more snow. I love snow.

How many of you go to pull out your gloves, or your child’s gloves to come up with two left (or right) hands!  I even tried to buy multiple pairs of the same kind just so that when needed we could find one matching pair.  Alas.  I was a failure.  We still rarely come up with a pair.

My mom was one smart lady.  Mittens with no front or back can be either a left or a right hand.  Then, to prevent the inevitable loss of mittens on the playground, in a snow pile, lost at a friend’s, or carried off by the sock monster, she attached strings to them and put them through the coat sleeves.  We HATED it, but in hindsight, it worked!!

In honor of my mom’s solution, (which has of course been deemed a hazard by today’s standards – Can you believe any of us survive to become parents!) I give you MITTENS, by Lori Holt.


True to my task, I used a mix of vintage stash and new stash in the block.  I also added some sashing to size it up for use in my Farm Girl Vintage quilt.   The Mittens pattern is part of the book, “Quilty Fun”.    Lori has a fun behind the scenes trailer about the inspiration behind the book of patterns on You Tube.

If you make a full row, then you use a mixture of left and right hand facing mittens.  However, if you only make a block, you can just pick your favorite hand!  I picked the one best for a snowball fight!



Jack Pumpkinhead

Well folks, just in time for Halloween tricks or treats, my husband and I (let’s call him Jack Pumpkinhead) took our kids out to Powell Pumpkin Patch to hunt a couple of “perfect” Jack O Lantern pumpkins for carving.   Now why, do you say, are you calling your husband Jack Pumkinhead?

Jack Pumpkinhead was a fictional character from the second OZ book called “The Marvelous Land of Oz”, by L. Frank Baum.   He was incredible tall and skinny and was not known for his intelligence…  Sometimes even a genious can resemble a fictional character.

So, here’s the laugh.  Today, when I said that I was going to pick up some pie pumpkins to make some “from scratch” pumpkin pies, Jack Pumpkinhead piped up and said… I’ll just go get one at the grocery store…    Sigh.  What man says this when his wife just said she would bake some homemade pies?

So, even if he momentarily resembled a character lacking a brain, I’m sure that I might have resembled one of the other characters, Mombi… the wicked witch of the North.  I’m sorry I was so peeved.  I guess making that pie (after all) is an apology of sorts.  I’d put a picture here, but before I could snap one, one of my kids (who understand the value of a homemade pie) snuck in and tasted part of the center! So…no picture.

I did snap a picture of my Farm Girl Vintage patchwork pumpkin.  Believe it or not, orange was the only color I am completely lacking from grandma’s stash.  It still turned out cute using more modern fabrics.  She has a version with a jack-lantern face on her website, but I found something else in my stash that worked perfect!  Jack-O-Lantern buttons! Appliqué would work great too!

Meet Jack! He’ll make a perfect October edition to my quilt.

Trick or Treat? 






Sow and Sew

April and May have been real.  Real Busy, Real Life.  Low and High.
(Do you mind if I babble?)

The snow missed me this year, but I am digging myself out nonetheless.  The spring has brought birthday parties, work travel, outrageous taxes, home improvement, school events, contests, awards, death, and new life.   Would you believe me if I told you it all happened in that order?

In one more week, the current school session ends and summer begins.  What better way to celebrate life’s constant skirmish than to sow and sew?

I am a month “behind” in my personal block of the month club.  I have finished my next sister blocks, which I will write a separate blog on later.  I did get my hands dirty and planted some tomatoes, hot peppers, strawberries, and herbs in my garden.  With unseasonably warm weather, I even planted them before Mother’s day, which is akin to playing Russian roulette with mother nature.   I won! (so far)

Since I am a month behind with the quilting, I will write it off as a loss and move on.

In light of planting my garden and tending my flowers, my block from Lori Holt’s Farm Girl Vintage patterns this May is “Crops”.

As I mentioned before (I think), one of my goals with this quilt is to construct it from my stash, most of which was gifted to me by my Grandmother.  I almost broke down and bought fabric this month.  The biggest challenge in my stash is finding large enough pieces with small prints.  Much of her stash was cut into smaller pieces.  I wonder if this was because smaller pieces were easier to use with hand piecing?  I digress.

In the end, I held strong and supplemented Grandma’s stash with some of my own, a scrap from a project I made for my Sister, probably some fabric that was passed between my Mother and my Grandmother, and some pieces of my own that didn’t have a plan yet.

The block is simple to create with half square triangles, tipped with smaller triangles, then sashed.  It was almost therapeutic.  Note: The pattern wastes fabric after trimming.  The half square triangles are created with squares of every fabric.  I have sewn and saved them for later, but am not sure if they will be handy in the other blocks in the pattern.

My block is finished.  I really need to get my behind out in the sunshine to sow some more seeds and prepare my garden for some delightful fresh ingredients this summer.

I mentioned death.  One of my Grandmother’s passed away this month.   At her memorial service, we were asked to think of a memory to remind us of her.  One thing we had in common was flowers and plants.  She loved sharing with me the flowers in bloom and the critters that would visit her back patio and garden.  I think that I might take a break from sewing one day and see if her children would mind if I transplant some of her flowers to my yard as a memory of her.

Life’s balance is that my cousin and his wife welcomed a new baby girl to the family the same week.  (Congratulations to the new parents and grandparents!)

Happiness can be Sow and Sew.