Every year, my friends and I exchange gifts at our annual retreat, which we call “happies” because it makes us happy to give gifts. This year a few people went overboard in making their happies.

Grubers Happies 2015

  • Cindy made us the 1 hour basket with the cool license plate fabric, which we all used to throw our scraps in over the weekend.
  • Rene’ gave us a custom coffee mug with the logo I designed for our quilting bee, a stack of 2-1/2″ squares of fabric and a patchwork mug rug/mini quilt.
  • Michelle made us a catch-all fabric basket.
  • Amanda Jean made us her work in progress bag, included the pattern and gave us a stack of 2-1/2″ squares from her upcoming fabric collection, Good Neighbors. She also gave me an autographed postcard from Sarah Watts, since I love her illustrations and fabric.
  • Doris gave us charm packs and a cute scissors key chain.
  • Mary gave us a pin cushion with the tiniest hexagon flower. Sew cute!
  • We’re all in the same quilting bee together so Stephanie used the logo I designed to create custom embroidered totes for us. She threw in a jar of honey from her very own bee hives.

happies from StephanieShelly made us perpetual calendars, with each index card date-stamped, as a way for us to track happy moments.happy from ShellyI made a dresden color wheel mug rug for everyone. Click here to see my tutorial on how to make your own.dresden color wheel mug rugsIt was better than gift-exchanging at Christmas!


Care Package

My good friend Michelle and I agreed to do a care package exchange this holiday season. Originally the idea started out as an ornament exchange, but then we decided to add in a few extra goodies, since we were sending our packages so far. (she lives in England, I live in the US)

She sent me SO many wonderful goodies! (you did get carried away, Shell!)

She has a talent for painting faces, bringing out the most charming expressions.

In fact, she is good at many crafty mediums, from drawing to painting to stitching.

She was thoughtful enough to include a couple local goodies from her neighborhood. Wish I had thought of that with the package I sent her!

Even though I’m not finished with Christmas gifts and I have several custom orders to work on, I am already brewing ideas for our next swap. There’s nothing like a care package full of handmade goodies from a long-distance friend to warm your heart. Thank you, Shell!

New Shopping Totes

I am excited to show you a couple new products I just added to my shop. I hope you don’t mind.

I made these stylish shopping totes, which are a little more girly and a little less patchwork-y that my other products. You may notice more of my non-quilt sewing projects are headed in that direction this year.

I made them using fabrics from Sandi Henderson’s Farmers Market collection. I always thought that line was so whimsical and charmy and cheerful!

They have flat bottoms, making them sturdy enough to carry heavier items, like books or a laptop or produce from the grocery store.

They measure 13 inches wide by 14 inches tall, and they are lined with heavy fusible interfacing to make them more sturdy.

They have an inside pocket big enough to hold coupons or recipe cards for shopping or a charger cord if you’re carrying your laptop.

I made another shopping tote to add to the mix, with fabrics from Tanya Whelan’s Ava Rose collection. What a wonderfully girly collection that was! This shopping tote isn’t lined with any interfacing, so it can be folded up and tucked into your purse for spontaneous shopping.

The outside is a rose fabric with polka dots on the bottom. But wait, turn it inside out, and you get a polka dot bag with a rosey bottom.

It measures the same size as the totes above  – big enough to fit a magazine or some goodies you pick up at the craft supply store.

I only made one in each color, so get ’em while they’re hot! Tell all your friends, especially the non-sewing ones.

Stay tuned for a couple more new products coming…

Handmade for Christmas

Before I do a recap of 2009 (which I love doing), I wanted to show you some handmade gifts that arrived at our house and were mailed from our house for Christmas. First I wanted to extend a thank you to my friend Lisa for sharing these adorable handmade projects with me! Aren’t they sweet?

Handmade gifts from Lisa

Next, I want to thank Emily for the fabulous note-taker. What a wonderful surprise!

Note-take from Emily

I mailed a pile of handmade gifts to share with friends for Christmas.

handmade Christmas gifts

They range from a patchwork basket to a drawstring bag to nesting bowls crocheted in organic cotton yarn,

crocheted nesting bowls

… to felted oven mitts,

felted oven mitts

… to a drawstring bag knit from silk yarn and a cotton chenille facecloth.

drawstring bag and facecloth

I wasn’t sure how I was going to get a few handmade gifts done this season, but I remembered how quickly each one of these projects comes together. I didn’t use a pattern for the crochet bowls, but I used patterns for almost everything else. Those cool soaps came from The Soap Opera in Madison, one of the best places to buy locally-made soaps. I love giving and receiving handmade for gifts; I just need to remember to start earlier next year.

Christmas Quilt Tops

I finished two quilt tops the weekend before Christmas, and I’m happy to report that I like how they turned out.

For the quilt above, I used two charm packs of 5 inch squares from the Figgy Pudding collection for the center, and added three borders to make it big enough for an adult to snuggle under. I’m going to use a fabric for the backing that is in the lower left corner and probably green for the binding.

For this second quilt, I did the same, with two charm packs of 5 inch squares from the Crazy Eight collection. Since I ordered these charm squares a couple months ago and now this fabric was impossible to find, I’m not sure what to use for the backing and binding.

Oh yeah, I finished my mini quilts too!

I think the backs look almost as fun as the fronts.

If I hadn’t had anything else to do these past couple weeks, I may have been able to finish quilting these new quilt tops, but since I was super busy at my day job, and the Christmas holiday was just upon us, I will add these to my (small) pile of UFOs for a 2010 resolution. I only had three unfinished quilt tops before these, so I’m hoping to finish all of them in January.

Christmasy Patchwork

I have been sewing again! A few months ago, I bought several sets of charm squares in Christmas fabrics. I was thinking about making placemats for our kitchen table. After finding a nice tablecloth at a department store, and discovering a set of placemats in our Christmas decorations boxes that we really like, I decided not to make those placemats afterall.

In stead, I am working on two patchwork quilts. The first quilt top contains two sets of Figgy Pudding charm squares.

The second quilt top consists of two sets of Crazy Eight charm squares.

Aren’t they fun? I am happy with how these turned out! I also like that both of these sets included solids in their collections, making it easier to match contrasting colors. So far, they measure 36 inches wide by 45 inches tall, which seems a little to small for an adult to use. To make them bigger and more useable, I need to shop for solid fabrics to add a couple borders. Oh darn, I need to go fabric shopping!

How nice to be working on these simple , no-pressure patchwork projects during the busy holiday season!

A Fun and Productive Weekend

We had a nice dinner party on Halloween night. We invited my aunts and uncle who live in a retirement complex so they could see all the trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood.
front porch on HalloweenI think we had at least 30 kids, and they were all wearing fantastic costumes. I was so impressed! After our guests left, we hung out at the neighbors’ bonfire for some cocktails and a few laughs.

pumpkins lit up on the porch

Next up, I finished quilting my table runner today! I mentioned previously that I used Anina’s pattern, which I liked and would recommend. I don’t think I was as precise as her pattern calls for, so it turned out a little more wonky, but in a good way, of course! This project is made from the Natural Territory fabrics by Terry Atkinson, which I found at my local quilt shop.

Fall Table Runner

(My photos turned out a little dark – I had to hurry before the sun set early today with our Daylight Savings time change.)

I used the walking foot to quilt random lines across it, which was fun. I think the straight lines gave this project a cool, modern effect.

Back of Fall tablerunner

I just need to finish hand sewing the binding to the back and then it will be ready to use through the month of November. It measures 17 inches x 46 inches, just right for our buffet.

fun colors for fall tablerunner

I am looking forward to working on a few patchwork products this week to post in my shop for the upcoming holiday seasons. Hope you all had a great Halloween weekend, and have a great week!


I am excited to share my progress for the week, so please be impressed. I get so easily distracted by lots of creative ideas of things to make, so I’m happy when I finish what I originally set out to do.

First, I finished my red wonky star mini quilt.red wonky start mini Q

I really like making these mini quilts because they are quick and also a great way for me to practice my machine quilting.

Backing for Red Wonky StarI love how these look for the holiday season! Not sure yet where I’ll put these; maybe just hang them at my desk at work, since it’s so drab there.

green-red wonky starsI like these so much that I started another set for a gift for someone.

more xmas wonky starsI made lots of progress on my fall table runner too!

fall table runner ready to be quiltedI pieced it, sandwiched it, and now it’s ready to be quilted. I haven’t decided whether to do a free motion design or random wonky lines. I am even ready with the binding.

binding for fall table runnerMy goal is to finish this table runner on Sunday because today I have to make chili, cornbread, and cookies for our Halloween party tonight. Happy Halloween everyone!

Halloween Treat Bags

Check out these three stuff sacks I made for trick-or-treating on Halloween! As with all of my stuff sacks, these are designed to carry your stuff, from your lunch or a pair of shoes, even candy.

Halloween Treat Sack Trio

I used fabrics from the Spooktacular collection, which feature bright orange, purple and green bats, spiders and ravens. Very cool! The first stuff sack measures about 13 inches tall with a 7 inch flat bottom, and this cool purple lining.

purple treat sack

Check out this funky purple fabric on the bottom!

purple bottom

The second one has the bright orange lining. It measures about 14 inches tall with a 7 inch flat bottom.

orange lined treat sack

And the third one has the orange and white lining with ravens, bats and spiders, oh my.

white-orange lining

I think all the bottoms look cool!white-orange bottom

I listed them in the shop tonight, so stop by to check them out. I only made three, and there’s still time to get one shipped to you before Halloween arrives.