Northern Lights backpack


Almost makes me wish I carried a backpack.


My little Minnesotan has a thing for the Northern Lights.  When I got this fabric she actually ASKED me to make her a backpack.


The fabric is by Quilted Treasures and the pattern is the Dawn to Dusk backpack by Chris W. Designs.  This pattern is the most “authentic” looking backpack I could find, with padded and shaped straps and great pockets.



This is a streamlined version, with a front zipper pocket instead of  a pocket with flap.  I added a side water bottle pocket made from mesh, with an adjustable elastic pull.  The cord stop is a kitty, but it did not cooperate with my photography.


For the lining I chose Mario.  Because it’s Mario.  And his gold coins.


The interior pocket is elasticized to hold some electronic device like a laptop or iPad.  Or a small cat.  The cat print is a fat catloaf.  Just like my fat cat model Tippy.  He’s actually not fat, he’s big boned.


This backpack screams my girly’s name.  Northern Lights, video games from the 90s, fat black cat.  She’ll be stylin.’






Run Forrest run – the Jenny dress


I learned everything I know about modeling growing up in the 1970’s.  From a Fig Newton commercial.*


But let’s look at the dress instead of talking about my awkward runway skills.   The pattern is the Jenny dress by Sis Boom Pattern Company.  The fabric is a soft and gorgeous chambray.

I must tell you of my love for patterns by Sis Boom.  They actually include pieces for cup size adjustments.  In my experience with four of their patterns, I can measure and print and the finished garment actually fits on the first try.


This dress is so comfortable and covers everything I want to keep covered.  It is also figure flattering in real life.

*Sad but true.  If you remember the commercial, there was a dude in a Big Fig costume.  He did a song and dance, and did a Lord of the Dance type pose.  Every photo op from my youth, and into my twenties, included my Big Fig pose.  Even now I can barely keep my arms down when my picture is snapped.  The struggle is real, people.

“Free Your Mind” purse


This fabric has been screaming to me in my sewing room.


I love color.  I love bold.  And I don’t own a black purse.


This is the larger version of the Companion Carpet Bag pattern by Mrs. H.  The purse frame is from Emmaline Bags.


I think I could carry camping supplies in here.  Like I would go camping!


The sparkle vinyl bottom will protect against cooties.  Because purses are prone to catching cooties.









It’s a purse! It’s a tote! It’s two-in-one!


Multi-tasking in purse form.  This is the Betsy Bag, from the pattern by Betsy LaHonta.


The amazing tan fabric that looks like leather?  It is actually a paper product called Kraft-tex.


It can be washed and dried, cut and sewn.


The top of the bag can be tucked in so it behaves like a purse.


Then pop that out and move the handles and voila!  It’s a tote.


There are drawstrings so I can keep all my birds from flying away.


I just happened to have (not kidding) two hot pink cord locks in my collection.


The lining has ukuleles all over.


Added bonus – I got to use lots of shiny hardware!

Farmer’s Wife week one: one of these things is not like the others


I don’t know why the song from Sesame Street pops  into my mind every time I look at my first blocks.  The Yogi statue seems to be hanging his head in confusion.

I was going to stage some lovely backdrops to show off each block.  Our adorable little fatty, Tippy, had arranged his bulk across most of the cutting table.  As I pulled the book out from under him, I recognized how nice his sleek black fur would show off the colors in the blocks.  So now I present the blocks from the first week, complete with kitty background.


Here is Becky, with her cacophony of prints and colors.  I am using the foundation paper piecing method for my blocks.  While not necessary for the straightforward blocks like Becky, I actually like to paper piece.  I do it whenever I have a chance!  And no, I am not aware of any help groups for this particular affliction.


Bonnie found me in a much different mood fabric-wise.  I love these prints together.


When the Aunt block came up next, it sent me back to the drawing board for the center fabric.  I’ve chosen small prints for most of my fabrics, and could not find anything that I wanted to fussy cut for the center.  So that little cowboy dude is going to be a one-off.  Or is he…

I love the delicate way that 20 pound cat is modeling the blocks.  They grow up so fast.


The post in which I reveal the answer to the age old question: Which came first?


The chicken came first.  Apologies to the egg crowd, but I made the chickens first.

When we were in LA recently, my outlaw Sara wanted to work on a few sewing projects.  You see, she started her very first quilt when her family was visiting us in sunny Hawaii.  We finished it via video chat!  That’s the first time I’ve tried teaching sewing with an ocean separating me from my victim  student.

In LA we had to go to a couple of quilt stores for supplies.  At least that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.  I came across a pattern for pot holders, “Which Came First” by Sweet Tea Girls Patterns, and I decided Sara needed a chicken in her kitchen.  We proceeded to laugh ourselves silly picking out the fabrics, choosing to have a hot pepper chicken with chemical structure wings.  The beaks are made with egg yolks – stick with me here, folks.


Next came the eggs.  They look so shiny, don’t they?  The yolks are all about peppers, a nod to the chickens (which came first.)  And they really are functional pot holders!

I will never give up the pot holders that my grandma crocheted.  They are the best, although looking a little rough from wear.  But I can see into the future, and the future is chickens.

New dog bed for my giant puppy!


Dorito is celebrating her new bed.  Now that she’s grown to a whopping three and a half pounds, I decided to sew something for her that she would not be forced to wear.


I figured that she needed a sweet bed just her size.  I got this stretchy, furry fabric at Wal~Mart.  I traced a dinner plate onto some heavy canvas and covered it with a disk of sugar skull.  The wall is a stuffed tube.


Maybe she need a matching hoodie?

More Union Jack flags mean…more Liberty of London fabric!


Variety is the spice of life, so I am feeling very spicy.  If I had to choose one fabric only to use for the rest of my life?  Well that would be cruel, but I would definitely choose Liberty Tana Lawn.


Picking the fabrics to combine in each block has been helping curb my innate desire to make sure everything matches perfectly.


The hardest part of this project is trying to NOT plan ahead.  I want to wait until I have all the blocks to choose the fabric and style of the sashing.  But I’m getting impatient.


Five blocks a month, until I have a total of…I don’t know yet.  I have not yet even calculated how big I want to make this.


Seeing each block individually makes me think I want this on my bed.  King size.  At least that will give me a long time to work on it.  I really enjoy working on foundation paper pieced projects.


The obsessive part of me craves the perfection that can be achieved with paper piecing.  And it is so easy!  I took some pictures while I was working on these blocks.

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Sew, press, cut, add fabric and repeat.  Easy and stunning!

We’ll talk soon, I’m off on an adventure.

I went to Downton Abbey, so I had to join a quilt along.


Speaking of my Anglophile tendencies, I went to Downton Abbey in May.  A trip to the promised land for someone like me, someone whose idea of a rollicking viewing experience is Sense and Sensibility.  Or Downton Abbey, of course.  It’s my absolute favorite TV show in recent years.

Andover fabrics came out with Christmas Downton Abbey fabric this year!  OMG, Christmas and Downton Abbey together?  You know you can count me in!


Ebony Love at Lovebug Studios ( started a Downton Abbey Christmas in July mystery quilt along this summer.  I felt it was my destiny, nay, my responsibility, to join in.


I’ve never participated in a mystery quilt along before.  I decided to go for this one, because I already knew I loved the fabric.  In fact, I had already purchasesda half yard bundle of the fabric.  The fabric requirements are obviously not the same as a half yard bundle, but I am going to be flexible and mix it up a little to use all the pieces in the bundle.


These 16 patch blocks show some of the changes made so far.  I like the variety that this is bringing into my version of the quilt.


I have quite the assortment of candles going on in mine!  I will be fascinated when the layout is available, so I can figure out how to incorporate my blocks into it.


It’s the fifth week of the quilt along, and I am up to date!  That is something to celebrate, in my estimation.  Once or twice in my life I have joined progressive projects, and let’s just say that staying up to date is not always my modus operandi.  I guess it helps that I still like this project.  And I know it helps that I love Downton Abbey.  I think Lord and Lady Grantham are probably going to invite me to a shooting party soon.

Anglophile alert! Union Jack quilt squares and Liberty Tana Lawn fabric, all in one convenient place!


How much do I love all things English?  Other than mushy peas, I’m in pretty deep.  I love the humor, the TV shows, chips, crisps, you name it.  And it is well documented that I LOVE Liberty fabrics.


I even joined a club.  Westwood Acres ( has a Liberty of London Tana Lawn club!  Each month they send a bundle of 10 beautiful pieces in fat quarters, eighths or sixteenths.  So I thought and I thought until my thinker was sore.


I remembered an online magazine I bought a while back, issue #10 of Fat Quarterly magazine (  There it was, the perfect quilt for small cuts of fabric, appropriately named Jumping Jacks.  I can’t think of a more perfect match!


I decided I would pair up each month’s fabrics, choosing one for the triangle “background” and one for the wide stripes.  I chose a solid Kona white for the narrow stripes.  Even the prints that I don’t instantly love are turning out beautifully in these blocks!


There are brights and lights, mostly traditional with some flair thrown in.  I am so excited to use all the diverse prints to make a quilt that can only be one-of-a-kind!  I have not yet decided what I will do for the sashing on this quilt.  I am sure some inspiration will come along as the months progress.

The blocks are foundation paper pieced.  It is such a great way to make perfect blocks every time.  When I post the next set of blocks, I will flip some over so you can get a good view of the paper piecing.  With only five blocks to make each month, I should be able to keep up with this project while still working on everything else that tickles my fancy!


Anybody have a favorite?