Tomorrow will be a big day at our house! It’s daughter’s birthday and also the last two drug chemo day. Although she will still have two more treatments after tomorrow, the end is in sight and those two are not as nasty as the one tomorrow. So we will celebrate! Tomorrow she will still feel ok. Starting Wednesday afternoon, Thursday and Friday will not be very pleasant but she knows that. So tomorrow we will celebrate. The birthday seems to be a significant day to have the last double treatment.
This of course requires a celebration. We will have some family and a couple of friends to have dinner and celebrate. This also requires a few gifts. My kids are very “green” oriented and dislike paper waste including cards. I really can’t just give up the cards because I like them but I can do something about the wrapping so I decided it was time to create re-usable gift bags.
I have to admit that until I found a remnant of birthday fabric at the store the thought had not crossed my mind. So I created three different kinds of bags. The first bag that I did is somewhat narrow and tall. I lined it with orange fabric, put some handles on it and a snap at the top so it could be closed and the contents will stay secret. I think every good birthday gift should be a surprise and hate it when the packaging fails! The second bag is just a drawstring beg. Sort of a medium size that will accommodate many sizes and shapes of gifts. The third bag was an experiment. I wanted a bag that was easy to close but also a little bit fun and different. This is the bag from the cupcake fabric. Although it’s hard to tell from this photo I hemmed the top of the bag, and then sewed colored elastic into the side seam so you can just stretch the band around the top of the bag and it’s securely closed and adds a cute little top to the bag. All in all the gifts are ready for tomorrow, we’ll get the chemo done, dinner will be started in the crock pot before we leave in the morning (pulled pork) and we’ll all be glad when tomorrow is over and the day has been celebrated to the best of our ability!
A new zig zag quilt has been finished! This has been on my design wall for a while as I contemplated what I was going to do. The new parents are Florida Gator fans and wanted this to be a nod to their Gator loyalty. When I looked at the Florida Gator colors however I just couldn’t see making a baby quilt with just blue and orange which are the main colors. Now I actually am fond of both blue and orange with a touch of green but for a baby this seems a bit intense especially when the gender has not been disclosed. Mom and Dad have chosen not to find out ahead of time.
I knew I wanted to use half square triangles but was undecided about the zig zags or make them using arrows. I also wasn’t sure about the colors. This is version number 1.
I ended up using a royal blue, a green an orange and a fabric that was mixed but included those three colors. I had all of these in my stash. I did end up buying a different orange because I wanted one that was brighter with all the white. Once I got the zig zags done I had the dilemma of the border. I cut the half square triangles with my Go cutter and the finished pattern made a 12″ square so I knew that I wanted the border to be about 4″ total but I really didn’t want to use another fabric or re-use one of the fabrics. I stared to play with some quilting software that I had received for Christmas.. EQ7 or Electric Quilt and ended up with alternating squares and rectangle of the white and colored fabrics. One day when I was walking through JoAnn’s in search of something else, I found this stripped fabric that had all the same colors in it as well and knew this would be the perfect fabric binding. The back I also ended up purchasing and that was a piece of yellow flannel with green alligators Finally the baby quilt was ready. Mom and Dad were pleased, I was satisfied and the baby is due in a couple of weeks. Nice to have this one finished and nice to be pleased with the result.
Chemo caps and baby blankets. I just never knew that the road would include sewing both at the same time. And for the same age group of people. I haven’t posted for a long time but I have thought about it. At the beginning of April my middle child had what we expected to be surgery for a mass or growth on an ovary. We were all shocked when they discovered that she had ovarian cancer. Instead of removing just the mass she had a complete hysterectomy. She is only 33. She’s moved from Portland into her old bedroom and is spending her time working, sleeping, reconnecting with old friends and doing chemo for 18 weeks after the 5 weeks recovery from the surgery. Certainly not how any of us had planned on spending the summer. She is treating this experience with grace, dignity and a positive attitude. It’s a pleasure to have her with us again while she deals with this “detour” in her life. She had been transitioning to a job with her company here in Seattle and they have been great at supporting her and that is a blessing too.
The next step of course is dealing with hair loss. This has been harder than we expected but I keep telling her it’s a good thing she has a great looking head! Some friends have sent her knitted caps which she loves. I’m not a knitter and those knitted caps are really her preference. I have tried making her some sewn caps but also know this has been mostly for me and not for her. It’s hard to know as a mom and a parent how best to support these kids when they are adults but have such huge challenges in their lives. We do the best we can. The other side of this is so many of her friends are having babies. New babies, expecting babies and all of that. Still fun but makes one stop and be grateful for the children that we do have and heartache for the things we can’t control.
All that being said, I have had fun sewing chemo caps and baby quilts and tag blankets. I’ll have several more things to share here soon. I’m in the process of baby quilts and tag blankets. I’ve made several of those for my niece because her daughter has loved them and she would like to buy some from me for her friends. So for now, here is the cap that really turned out the best.. if I can get a picture of the others I’ll do that. One of the other ones turned out well but I’m not sure it will ever get worn. And also a cap that came from a dear friend that is turning out to be a favorite. Chemo caps and baby blankets will continue here for a while. A nice diversion for our next few months.
Dish towels for Larry. That’s really all he wanted for his 60th birthday was some hand embroidered dish towels. Well I can certainly pull that one off! So for a month
every night well most nights when I watched TV I worked on dish towels. Larry had watched me work on dish towels before Christmas when I was making them for friends and that’s when he decided they were really cool and he wanted some of his own. I did some different patterns on his than I did on the Christmas ones. He really loved the coffee pot and coffee cup one that I had done for a friend so I did that one and the rest were different. I used a hot iron transfer like this one Stitcher’s Revolution and ironed them onto Aunt Martha’s Vintage Dish Towels. Hurray, the dish towels for Larry were done in time for his birthday. They were fun to do and Larry was pleased!
Three blind mice! In this case I have four blind mice but the result was the same. I had this pattern from Fig Tree & Co. The Three blind mice pattern. Oh, they were fun to make. Fast and easy. They are filled with some batting and craft pellets. These particular mice were thanks yous for some special ladies who cooked and planned meals for an adult Girl Scout volunteer event. We all go out to one of the camps owned by our council and have a wonderful time visiting, crafting, singing and what ever else we want to do. The three ladies who help organize menus and meals are all sewing, hand craft types of ladies and they all use pin cushions. Mice are always a part of any camping experience and a perfect match was made. The fourth mouse was a thank you to a woman who helps us with craft ideas and wasn’t able to make it this time due to illness. I also have another mouse cut out and half sewn for myself.
Figure 8 scarves have been all over print and media blogs and advertising for the past year. They can be expensive to buy but inexpensive to make. Before Christmas I was in the fabric store
fondling browsing the fabric remnants and found some fabric that I knew would make lovely scarves. This type of fabric can be fussy to work with. It stretches, frays and distorts easily but it will also produce a satisfying project. Figure 8 scarves are just that. A long strip of fabric with a twist in the middle so it forms a continuous loop. Kind of like a Möbius strip. I found several coordinating remnants and also a couple of wider one color pieces and made scarves. It was fun and I do think the girls were pleased. These scarves are stylish and add some warmth to these cool winter days.
A Christmas stocking for Raegan was a necessary addition for holiday sewing. This sweet little girl ventured into the world on December 5th. The grandparents and Mom and Dad were excited. Of course all the family and friends were pleased to have such a sweet addition to this family. I didn’t want Santa to overlook this new babe however so a stocking was created. I used a combination of a McCall’s stocking pattern and some AccuQuilt dies. The name was cut with a Slice Fabrique die. If I do this again I will make a few changes but overall, it was a successful completion. Merry Christmas Raegan.
Apron and shoe bags were on the christmas list this year. I decided my husband needed an apron and then maybe I wouldn’t need so much stain stick. That pesky silverware seems to develop holes at meal time and it’s hard to keep the food on the utensils! It so often ends up on the front of the shirt. I have started to wear an apron every night when I eat. It’s in the drawer next to the table and it’s gotten to be a habit to reach into the drawer, pull out the apron and save the clothes. Now hubby can do the same. The apron has sat by his plate for several days now and hasn’t been tested but soon I know that will happen.
The other project that happened for Christmas was shoe bags. I have made them for middle daughter but never had made them for the other two kids. Oldest daughter and son both have plans to travel in January and February and they both commented that shoe bags would be something they might use. I know that I hate to put my dirty shoes in the suitcase with the clean clothes. Sometimes I’ve also used these bags for dirty laundry when I’m traveling. It’s a bit more private than a plastic bag and it’s nice to have those dirty clothes contained. I made the bags about 19″ tall and 26″-30″ wide. That way they will work for either athletic type shoes or sandals. The animal print that I used for my son was a little short so I added a casing to the top of the bag. It works just fine and added a nice designer touch to a simple bag. More successes and Mom is happy!.
Embroidered dish towels and pot holders were on my list this year. That is my list of gifts to create. I have a dear group of lady friends that I play bridge with a couple of times a month. We’ve played together for 27 or 28 years. We play bridge only with one another and although playing bridge is the reason we tell others we are getting together there are really several goals in mind. One of these is to catch up on news, share our concerns and happy tales and the other is the table snacks and desert! Good reasons for good friends to get together. After we had played together for a few years we started to exchange Christmas gifts. Some years I have a good idea that I will work on for months ahead of time and other years I don’t have a good idea until shortly before Christmas bridge. This fall has been challenging as far as time goes so I didn’t really have any good ideas until after Thanksgiving when my brother invited me to go on a road trip with him to Palm Springs. I knew there would be time in the evenings for handwork and decided that I wanted to embroider some dish towels. In the week that I was gone I managed to finish three towels and when I got home I added some hot pads and the gifts were good to go. The embroidered dish towels and pot holders were fun to make.
Pot holders are another project that I always love. They can be fast or take some time. I have simple ones and more complicated ones that I use in my own kitchen. Along with the dish towels I added a mitt type pot holder and a simple square pot holder. I have both kinds in my kitchen and use them all. I found this great fabric with grapes and apples that was a darker fabric I knew would be perfect for simple pot holders. They were multicolored with no white. Pot holders get dirty so quickly I like ones that don’t show the food stains so quickly. Merry Christmas dear friends.
Another zip finish. I’ve made so many of these this year the process has certainly gotten faster. It’s a project that I still enjoy however. My dear friend Gretchen has recently had another birthday. Yes, for all of us they keep coming around. I don’t always give gifts but this time I wanted to bring something to let her know I was thinking of her. This little zip pouch fit the bill. It’s made from linen and cotton. I don’t sew often with linen but I do like the way it looks. It is a bit fussier to sew with however as the fabric stretches and frays easily.