I have been keeping up with my exercise routine.  I walk or run everyday and sprinkle in cycling, lifting and swimming.  My favorite places to walk or run are outdoors – either on the Baylands or up at the Dish or at Rancho San Antonio or Arastradero.  I love to get away (or feel like I’m getting away) from the hustle and bustle of everyday life for just a little bit.  It’s also nice to see all the wildlife.

This is from an early morning walk with the husband.  Those are two turkey vultures and they were gorgeous.  We stood there observing them for quite some time.

This was a little later on during the same walk – just look at all those birds!  The Baylands is such a beautiful place to walk especially in the early morning before too many people are out there.

This week I was also at Rancho San Antonio hiking with some friends and we saw that cute little bunny.  It was not really afraid of us and we also saw this gorgeous buck – he also was very tame and let us get quite close to take pictures.  Even though the weather is getting a little more crisp, it is just perfect for getting out in.

Fabric Painting!

I found this great fabric on saleimg_4690

And immediately had an idea…img_4676

I wanted to make a quick, easy skirt.  I had to wait a bit to actually cut the fabric.  This was so funny!!  What you can’t see is that as soon as I placed the fabric on the table, Honeybee ran over and lay down on it.  I thought, ok, I have some yarn I need to wind for a student so I’ll just do that while he sleeps on my fabric.  I pulled out the yarn winder and got started.  As soon as I started winding yarn, Honeybee jumped up and started playing with the yarn.  I kept winding slowly to play with him and then left him with the yarn and went back over to my fabric.  As soon as I started marking the fabric, Honeybee came over and lay back down on the fabric.  This picture is actually from the second time he laid down on the fabric!  I did cut the fabric, but waited to do anything with it until Honeybee had his nap.img_4686

My idea is to paint the flowers (not every flower, but maybe 1/3 or 1/2 of them). I started with the centers of a few flowers.  Then I realized that I had not done any testing to see if this would actually work — how would it fare in the wash and the dryer??  I have just had the rose dyeing fail.  I decided to cut out a bit of fabric, paint it, wash it, dry it and iron it…

Can you tell the difference??  I can’t either except I took the pictures.  The one on the left is before washing, drying and ironing – the one on the right is after.  It made it through fabulously!!  I was all set to go

These are the flowers I have done so far:  one purple, one orange and one blue.  It takes awhile, but I am loving it.img_4734

These are the paints I am using.  They are a little stiffer when dry than I thought they would be even after washing and drying for the sample.  I am hoping over time things soften up a little.

Worry Pets

My daughter saw these on pinterest a bit ago and I had to make a sample.img_4732

I think I shared this one before.  I had gone to JoAnns and purchased a quarter of a yard of any fun fur that was on sale.  It was still quite expensive, but I just knew that my students would love them!  I was right!img_4721

One of the boys in my class made these.  Isn’t the cat one so cute!  He figured out the ears all by himself!img_4723

This student wanted to make square ones for all her cousins.  So sweet!img_4724

Another square one – the back is pink in case you can’t see.  These whip up in no time – literally about 10 minutes from start to finish – so they are perfect for quick gifts or in the case of the student above, she had just finished a soccer bag for her mom (her mom is the team manager and carries the game balls to all the games) with lining and a zipper.  She only had a few minutes left in class and wanted to do something easy – this was perfect!img_4594

And then of course I had a few orders from here.  The red one is on it’s way to my daughter who is away in college and the other one is for one of the daughters here at home.  The only drawback is that fun fur makes a HUGE mess when it’s being cut.  Bits and pieces of fluff everywhere.  The kids love it and blow the little bits across the table at each other, me…. it’s fun in the moment while they are having fun, but cleaning it up is not so much fun :o)

HQAL Update and Slow Stitch Sunday

It is time for the HQAL (Hand Quilt A Long) update for the past three weeks.

I was able to finish this flower with the pieced hexis and I am completely loving how it turned out!img_4744

I wasn’t sure I liked those pieced hexis – I wasn’t sure I liked the fabric selection and it just looked a little too busy for my taste, but now that it’s all put together, I really like it!  The pieced hexis were really fiddly, but I actually liked making them once I got the hang of those little pieces.  I see more in my future!

HQAL details:
This Hand Quilt Along is an opportunity for hand quilters and piecers to share and motivate one another. We post every three weeks, to show our progress and encourage one another.  If you have a hand quilting project and would like to join our group contact Kathy at the link below.  Please take a look at all the other fun HQAL project that are going on!

KathyLoriMargaretKerryEmmaTracyDebSusan,  NanetteSassy , EdithSharonKarrin, and Gretchen

Also linking up to Slow Stitch Sunday at Kathy’s Quilts.


I am also linking up to Kate’s 15 minutes a day.  I am hoping that this will keep me held accountable to my goal of stitching everyday for at least that amount.
This week:  7/7 days stitched!!!  Both on my cross stitch project and on my EPP project.  Some knitting was thrown in there as well :o)
And, since this is a scrappy project, I’m linking up with Quilting is More Fun Than Housework, which is absolutely true!


I am really loving the slightly cooler weather.  I always feel like cooking and baking during this kind of weather – chilis, soups, stews, casseroles, all kinds of things.  I made this chili the other night along with cornbread muffins.

With the crowd around here I had just a tiny bit of chili left over for my lunch the next day.img_4579

I ate it out front in our courtyard and the chili was perfect with tortilla chips!  YUM!

A failed experiment

My husband always brings me red roses on our anniversary and on my birthday.  I love them!  I love the dark red, I love the way they smell and I love that he never forgets.  I know he loves me, but this simple gesture is just so meaningful to me.  We’ve been married for 27 years now so we know it’s sticking!  I decided that I wanted to try my hand at dyeing fabric with the rose petals.

I peeled all the flower petals from the pod, put them in a pot, covered them with water and brought them to a boil.  Then I got a piece of 100% cotton fabric from my stash.

I boiled the rose petals for a couple of hours and then strained them out.  Then I put the fabric in and kept boiling the water until it boiled down.img_4696

I took it out and let it air dry and then ironed it with a super hot iron.

Then I wanted to make sure it was set and wouldn’t bleed.  Well…I can tell you that the color did not stay.  After soaking it in cool water and taking it out, the water was pink/red and the fabric was quite a bit lighter in color.img_4708

After a second soaking it looks like this.  It’s back to the drawing board to see what else I could/should have done to make sure that the color stuck.

Scrap Happy

This is the monthly post for Scrap Happy!  I love anything that uses up scraps.  Since I teach kids to sew (and weave, knit, crochet, embroider, cross stitch, etc), I have a fair number of scraps to choose from.  I try to encourage the students to pick from the scrap piles first if they are making something that has smaller pieces and I also show them the things I have made from our scraps for inspiration.


Two strips sewn together.

This is where I was last time I posted about this project.  Now I am here…img_4725

You can’t really tell from this photo, but it is long enough for a king size bed.  I think this will be perfect for my bed (unless it is “stolen” by one of the kids!).

These are pictures of the different sections.  First, the scraps are cut into 1 1/2″ wide strips of whatever length the scrap happens to be.  Then they are pieced to make a long strip.  Once I have a super long strip, I start sewing it to the main body of the project.  It really is quite a simple project, but somehow I really like the simple sewing.

I thought I would include pictures of the two boxes of scraps that we have.  Some of the scraps are bigger than others and are oddly shaped, and some of them are really small.  The students have a great time digging through the box for just the right piece of fabric and I love being able to show them that even small pieces can be used to make something fun and useful.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at).

Kate (me!)Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJeanJohanna,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawnGwen

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address on my Kate, or you can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.


A post that is a little bit late!  Around here, Halloween is a big thing!  My kids (even the big ones) love to decorate and hand out candy.  We always carve pumpkins the night before — even on a school night…

In progress…

And finished.  This year we were missing two – one of my kids is away at college and the other was at work — BOO!

I played around on my own with a couple of ideas that showed up in my Facebook feed.  The one on the left worked out ok.  You fill a container with water and pour different nail polishes into the water, then dip your object – in this case a pumpkin – and the nail polish sticks to it.  Well…that was marginally successful.  1)  I didn’t realize how expensive nail polish is.  I don’t buy it anymore.  When I want to do my nails, I borrow polish from one of my girls, so I was surprised at the cost.  I wound up at Walmart where I could get polish for a little over $1 for each bottle, but some of them were $10!!  2) Some of the polish drops down to the bottom of the container and is not usable.  3)  The polish that does stay on top, forms kind of a film and that is what sticks to your object.  It was fun to do this once, but probably not again.

The pumpkin on the right, is done with hot glue and spray paint.  First hot glue is put on the pumpkin in a design – I drew my design on first and then followed along with the glue.  After the glue is dry, you spray paint the pumpkin.  I have discovered a new found love of spray paint so I really enjoyed this part.  Overall the pumpkin was fun to do, but also probably not again.

One of my daughters really loves to bake so we always make something special for Halloween.  This one was pretty easy.  We made the brownies the night before and then on Halloween put the marshmallows on top and poured frosting over them.  Then used black icing for the eyes and nose.  These were really fun to make!  And tasty!

Food and table decorations.  The kids all have friends over and so do we.  The adults sit out front at the fire pit and talk, sometimes with a glass of wine.  The best part is….

The Maze!!  Our youngest son (13 years) and two of his buddies make a maze in our front yard — this year it was on our driveway.  They design it, measure and then use PVC pipe and black plastic sheeting to build and cover the walls.  It is a huge undertaking over several weekends, but it is really fun.

I tried to capture it on this video, but it’s not a true representation.  The boys dress up and wander around in the maze jumping out at people.  They, on their own, post a sentry at the front of the maze and when little kids come by, they take their masks off and walk through with them explaining everything and how it’s really not real.  With adults and older kids, the masks are on and they give chase.  It’s so much fun – I love watching because the energy is so high and soooo good!

SAL Update

This would be my progress for the past three weeks…img_4584

If you are thinking that you can’t see any difference you would be right.  I somehow did not manage to get even one additional stitch added to this.  I’m actually really disappointed in myself.  I was getting up early and stitching for an hour before anyone else got up – every day – that really helped the progress.  Lately, I’ve been really distracted and flitting from one thing to the next.  There is no cure for this except to hold myself accountable to doing some stitching, any amount, each and every day.  I am leaving to go for a walk with the hubby right now (yes, I know, the air quality is bad, but both of us are going stir crazy) and when I get back I’m sitting down to do some stitching!

Please take a look at what the other stitchers who are participating in this SAL are doing – I’m sure they have some really great progress to show!  AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnnKateJessSueConstanzeDebbieroseChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHelenStephLindaHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyTonyMeganCatherineDeborahClare

About the SAL in case you would like to join us

This SAL (Stitch Along) is slightly different to other SALs in that we don’t all stitch the same design at the same rate. We choose ONE unfinished project, or ONE new one, and show progress of its completion over a series of three weekly updates. There are no deadlines and no set amount to stitch. The result is that the space in our drawers full of WIPs (works in progress) is gradually being freed up to store lots of new crafty goodness. It’s surprising how much motivation I’ve gained from being in this SAL. If you’d like to finish a project you’ve left unfinished for a while, or start a new one with us, you can join us by contacting Avis fromSewing Beside the Sea.


Everyone in our family loves to read!  Quite a few of my students like reading as well.  I decided to come up with an easy-to-make bookmark.img_4368

These are what I came up with.  I cut two fabrics and one piece of fleece 7.5″ x 4″, added some ribbon to two of them and sewed the up.  Easy, peasy!  The one on the right has already flown to Santa Barbara – the other two are in the studio as samples.  I might make up a whole bunch of these as stocking stuffers this Christmas!