Category Archives: update

A Bee in My Bucket Hat

Hmm. Doesn’t have quite the same ring as “a bee in my bonnet,” does it? But I already have a blog post titled “A Bee in My Bonnet” so the one above will have to do.

Why a bucket hat? Well, after happening upon images on Instagram of the Sorrento Bucket Hat by Elbe Textiles I was inspired to give it a try. The pattern is available as a digital download for a mere two dollars. Lauren, the owner of Elbe Textiles, donates all proceeds from the sale of the pattern to a different cause every month. What a lovely thing to do.

Here’s a picture of my newly completed hat:

The multiple stitching lines around the brim are optional. I really like the effect of the contrasting thread. I chose a swirly dotted print in spring green for the lining:

Oh, did I mention the hat is reversible? Two for the price of one!

It’s easy to see why it’s called a bucket hat:

I interfaced the brim (an optional step) to give it more shape. It’s fun to play around with the brim, flipping it up in the front or the back for a different look. Here it is with the front of the brim flipped up . . .

. . . and here is the reverse side with the back brim flipped up:

Now all I need is a matching face mask. (Kidding!)





Posted in bucket hat, face masks, family, update | 5 Comments

Kitchen Remodel: Before and After

After posting pictures in January of the valances I made for our kitchen windows, I declared last year’s kitchen remodel “officially complete” and blithely added I would post before and after pictures “one of these days.” Well, friends, it’s been nine months coming but “one of these days” has finally arrived.

Our kitchen was fully functional before the remodel. Indeed, it had been updated only 20 years earlier. But there were several things about the kitchen I had grown dissatisfied with and I knew that making changes now would achieve two ends. First, the Dear Husband and I would enjoy cooking in the kitchen more. Second — and much more important — the updates would make our home more attractive to buyers, a consideration down the line when it’s time to think about selling.

Let’s start with the east wall, moving around the corner to part of the south wall:

The soffit over the sink is gone, allowing the new cabinets on the south wall to go all the way to the ceiling. The old casement windows were failing, which is what started the remodeling ball rolling. We replaced them with double-hung windows in keeping with the windows in the rest of our 1913 house. Not shown in the photos above are the sliding glass doors that take up the rest of the east wall.

Here’s the east wall with the valances in place:

Looking directly at the south wall:

The upper cupboard space gained with the elimination of the east wall soffit was offset by cupboard space lost by having a custom range hood cover installed. We also lost a great deal of lower storage space by giving up the angled corner cupboard to the left of the stove which held a very large two-tiered lazy Susan that held most of my pots and pans. This forced me to pay attention to the items I actually use in my kitchen and resulted in paring down contents not just there but throughout the kitchen.

Here’s a “before” shot of the west wall:

Apparently I didn’t get a shot of the entire west wall after the remodel so I can’t show you a side-by-side comparison. Here are two “after” shots of the west wall:

The counter-depth refrigerator makes the kitchen feel roomier. It’s wider than the old fridge but doesn’t hold nearly as much. No matter: the old one is now downstairs in the pantry. Having a second fridge is literally one of the biggest bonuses of this remodel.

By the way, after taking the “after” shots last fall I had the lovely watercolor (by my talented daughter-in-law, Jeanne Ann White) reframed. Not until I got it home and hung it on the wall did I notice that the wood frame is the same color as the stainless steel appliances:

In the northwest corner of the kitchen, the doorways from the dining room and TV room were transformed by millwork matching the rest of the house:

It didn’t occur to me to take a “before” picture of this corner because there was literally nothing there but sheetrock.

Finally we come to the north wall:

Jeanne Ann’s work is featured on this wall as well. The wood trim you see on the far right side of the photos is the frame of the sliding glass door.

And there you have it.

I’m going to do one more post, focusing on some of the decorative accents I’ve added to the kitchen. I might include a list of the pros and cons of the remodel. Yes, there are a few things about the kitchen I don’t love so much. Overall, though, I am thrilled with the outcome and would do it again in a heartbeat.

If you’re new to my blog and want to review the kitchen remodel from the outset, feel free to follow these links:

March 27, 2019:  All Quiet on the Sewing Front
April 14, 2019:  Prepping for the Kitchen Remodel
April 22, 2019:  Kitchen Remodel: Week 1
April 28, 2019:  Kitchen Remodel: Week 2
April 30, 2019:  Kitchen Remodel: My Color Inspiration
May 5, 2019:  Kitchen Remodel: Week 3
May 11, 2019:  Kitchen Remodel: Week 4
May 15, 2019:  Kitchen Remodel: Week 5
May 26, 2019:  Kitchen Remodel: Week 6
June 3, 2019:  Kitchen Remodel: Week 7 — Part 1
June 9, 2019:  Kitchen Remodel: Week 7 — Part 2
June 13, 2019:  Kitchen Remodel: Week 8
June 16, 2019:  Kitchen Remodel: Week 9
August 14, 2019:  Kitchen Remodel: An Update
August 24, 2019:  Kitchen Remodel: the Glass-Fronted Cabinet
January 5, 2020: First Finish of 2020: Kitchen Valances

Let me end this long post by saying I am beyond grateful to have a kitchen. As wildfires fires raged through Oregon last week leaving destruction and devastation in their wake, some of my family members and friends were forced to evacuate their homes. I am relieved to report their homes are still standing but it will be some time before they can go home because the fires are still burning and the air is thick with dangerous smoke. The fires came within a few miles of Portland but the city was blanketed by smoke. Portland has had the worst air quality in the entire United States for the last few days. Rain is forecast for tomorrow so we are hoping for some relief.

I have watched in anguish the images on TV of entire neighborhoods reduced to rubble not just in my state but also in California and Washington. Wildfires are burning in a dozen western states but the west coast has been hit especially hard. Against that backdrop I feel lucky to have a beautifully remodeled kitchen.




Posted in family, home dec, kitchen remodel, update | 7 Comments


Last December I made the Dear Husband a new bathrobe because his old one was practically falling apart. I remember thinking, “My robe is pretty worn out, too. I should make myself a new one.”

Fast forward eight months. Eight months! That’s how long it took me to get the job done. But the wait was worth it. Here’s my brand new kimono-style robe:

The fabric is a lovely Asian-inspired toile from Michael Miller Fabrics that’s been in my stash for a number of years. I probably bought it thinking to use it in a quilt. Fortunately I had purchased a fairly large piece, enough to eke out a bathrobe. Also in my stash was a piece of blue polka-dotted fabric that was a good choice for the contrasting band, belt, and pocket trim.

Here’s what the robe looks like from the back:

Rather than make belt loops and a loose belt as the pattern called for, I stitched the belt directly to the robe on the back:

Perhaps you can see the stitching a bit better in this next photo:

The Simplicity pattern I used (5314) didn’t include pockets — what bathrobe doesn’t have pockets, for heaven’s sake? — so of course I made my own. And because the toile fabric depicts large-scale scenes of people and objects like pagodas and bridges and musical instruments, I decided to match the design on the pockets to the fabric underneath.

To do that I made patterns for the pockets out of freezer paper. After positioning them and ironing them in place, I made registration lines on the pattern that lined up with the design underneath:

Then I lifted the freezer paper pattern from the robe and matched it with the same design elements on the fabric scraps I had left over after cutting out the robe. Voilà — fussy-cut pockets.

Here’s the right-side pocket pinned in place:

(You’ll notice I added an inch-wide strip of my contrasting polka-dotted fabric to the pockets for some extra design appeal.)

Here’s the pocket stitched in place:

I did the same thing with the pocket on the left side:

I’m very pleased with the way my new robe turned out. Can you picture me sitting out on the back deck tomorrow morning enjoying my morning coffee? Here’s my dress rehearsal:




Posted in family, update | 18 Comments

It’s a Wrap: Scattered Stars

Finally! I got the label made today for my cheddar and indigo quilt, Scattered Stars, so I can officially declare it finished:

Here’s a look at the back:

Scattered Stars finished at 66″ x 88″.

For the label I made an inset circle and then enclosed it in another circle:

Here’s a close-up:

I tried arranging Scattered Stars artfully on a quilt ladder, with mixed results:

At least you get a good look at the beautiful quilting done by Karlee Sandell of SewInspired2Day.

Coco photobombed my quilt at every step in its construction so it seems only right that she should show up for the final reveal:

Thank you for following along on my quiltmaking journey!




Posted in cats, cheddar and indigo, Churning Stars quilt block, quilt labels, update | 16 Comments

Feedbag Face Masks

I have my twin sister Diane to thank for the name.

In my last post I wrote about a new-to-me face mask pattern I tried out using a vegetable print that made me look like I had green peapod lips and teeth. In addition to commenting on the unfortunate location of the veggies on the face mask, Diane said I looked like I was wearing a feedbag. I have to admit she had a point:

It’s a wonderful pattern, though! The proper name of the pattern is the 3D Face Mask from SeeKateSew, and it’s such a great design that I’ve made a couple more masks:

These are for the Dear Husband and me. I’ll bet you can tell from the size of the ear loops which one is his and which one is mine:

Here’s a look at the inside of the masks (note the plastic strips from coffee packages that work very well as nosewires when inserted in the fabric casings):

It’s pretty clear that face masks are going to be part of our wardrobes for the foreseeable future. Who knows how long it will be before the coronavirus pandemic comes under control? Though the reason we need to wear these masks is truly awful, there is a bit of enjoyment to be had in coming up with fun fabric combinations to make them. I’ve certainly enjoyed the photos posted on Instagram of masks created by other makers, and I’ve enjoyed dipping into my own stash to cut some small pieces of treasured fabrics.

Even though I really like SeeKateSew’s pattern, I’m still a big fan of the mask pattern designed by PJ Wong. I recently made masks for my friends Sue and Anne using PJ’s pattern:

Look how bright and cheerful the masks are on the inside:

Okay, friends, time to wrap up this post and head to the grocery store. You know what that means:  time to strap on the old feedbag!




Posted in face masks, update | 7 Comments

Face Mask Fail

Well, maybe “fail” is too strong a word. Maybe I should just say the final result wasn’t what I expected. . .

To be clear, the problem had nothing to do with the pattern. It’s a very good one.

I’ve been intrigued by the three-dimensional face masks I’ve seen some folks wearing. The boxy shape seems to fit the face well and allows for plenty of breathing room. I  decided to make a new mask for the Dear Husband using the 3D Face Mask from SeeKateSew, billed as “the most comfortable face mask.” I picked this print from Andover Fabrics that I bought last year to make the DH a new apron (which hasn’t happened yet):

He’s the gardener of the family and I thought this fabric would make a fun mask for him to wear when he’s outside working in our yard or tending our community garden plot.

I did make one adjustment to the pattern:

That’s my freezer paper pattern in the foreground, with extensions on the side to allow for a generous ¾” casing for the ear loops rather than the narrow ⅜” casing the pattern provides. The freezer paper pattern can be used over and over again — no pinning because the freezer paper is pressed directly onto the fabric, where it is easily peeled off after the fabric has been cut.

The printed directions by SeeKateSew are very clear, as is her website tutorial. The mask came together very easily. Here’s what it looks like from the front:

Here’s a look at the inside . . .

. . . and here you can see I added a sleeve at the top for a removable nose wire:

When the mask was done I could tell it would be too small for my husband. “No problem,” I thought. “I’ll adjust the pattern to make a bigger mask for him. I’ll keep this one for myself.”

Then I tried it on:

Do you see what I see?

Those peas! They look like teeth . . . and the peapods? They look like lips. Green lips.

And see the roots on that bunch of green onions?

Chin whiskers!!!




Posted in aprons, face masks, family, update | 20 Comments

Beautiful Blenders

As I was tacking down the binding on my Scattered Stars quilt a couple of days ago, I was reflecting on how much I like one of the “modern” cheddars in my cheddar and indigo quilt and was ruing the fact that only a few inches of that fabric remained in my stash.

The fabric is Barcelona City Map in saffron from the “Barcelona” line by Zen Chic for Moda. The line came out several years ago so I didn’t hold out much hope I would find any left but I decided to check the Internet anyway.

Much to my delight, I found an on-line shop called Lark Cottons that still has some — and the shop is in my own city of Portland, Oregon! While perusing the Lark Cottons website I made another happy discovery: Barcelona City Map came in a variety of other colors — and Lark Cottons still has some of those in stock.

Well, you probably know what’s coming: not only did I replace my stash of the saffron/cheddar color, I ordered three other colors:

And more good news: I didn’t have to wait for a package to arrive in the mail. Lark Cottons offers curbside pickup so these beauties were in my hands the very same day I ordered them.

They will be excellent additions to my rather extensive stash of blenders. I rarely use solid colors in my quilts, preferring the subtle texture and visual interest that printed fabrics bring. I’m also drawn to maps and geographical features on fabric so you can see why these appealed to me so much.

Color me happy with these beautiful Barcelona blenders!




Posted in cheddar and indigo, Churning Stars quilt block, update | 8 Comments


I don’t even want to think about the number of hours I spent attaching the binding to my Scattered Stars quilt. What should have taken a couple hours at most stretched into (shall we just say) several hours over the space of several days.

I trace my problems to three decisions — none of which I regret. I can say that now that the binding is on to stay! I’ve already started tacking it down on the back side. Here you can see I’ve turned the first corner and the binding looks fine:

But getting to that point. Oy!

My first decision was not to add a border to Scattered Stars. That meant the points of my outer stars, being exactly ¼” from the edge of the quilt, would butt right up against the binding, leaving no room for error in attaching it. The danger would lie in cutting off the points by taking a seam allowance that was too deep. Fortunately, I had staystitched ¼” away all around the outer edges of the quilt top so I knew my star points were right where they needed to be.

My second decision was to have my binding finish at ½” wide. That required trimming the quilt a quarter-inch beyond the raw edges of the top so there would be a full half-inch from the stitching line to the outer edge. In the foreground of this picture you can see my line of staystitching, the quarter-inch seam allowance,  and the additional quarter inch of batting (the quilt is folded so that the back of the quilt is in the background):

Now take a look at that batting. It’s wool. That was my third decision. Wool batting is lighter weight than most other batts made from cotton or cotton/poly blends. Scattered Stars is only twin-size but all those seams in all those star blocks added quite a bit of extra weight. I knew wool batting would lighten the load, so to speak.

But here’s the thing about wool batting: it’s really quite poufy. Look at this side view:

It appears to be made of many ultra thin layers.

I can’t say for sure but that puffiness may have been a factor when stitching the binding on. I had pinned sections of binding at a time, removing the pins as I went, so I was quite sure all of my edges were properly aligned. But somehow the seam allowance on my quilt top shifted slightly to the left as I was sewing. In some places, not all — but I didn’t notice it was happening because my binding fabric was on top.

I actually sewed all four sides of the quilt before I discovered there were several places where I had caught much less than a quarter-inch of the quilt in my seam. If it had happened in just a couple of places I could have taken the stitching out and readjusted the fabric but it happened all around the quilt. Nothing to be done but rip out the entire binding and start over.

The second time I pinned even more carefully and sewed a section only about 20″ long to test my stitching. I checked my seam . . . and the same thing happened. I was using my walking foot so the layers were feeding evenly through my sewing machine but that one layer of fabric was still pulling to the left. Out came the stitching again.

Want to guess what I wound up doing? The only other thing I could think of:  basting the binding to the quilt. By hand:

I aligned my basting stitches on the staystitching line underneath, thus guaranteeing I had the necessary quarter-inch of fabric underneath . . .

. . . and also guaranteeing I hadn’t chopped off any star points:

Then it was just a matter of machine stitching right over my basting stitches. No shifting of fabric this time. What a relief!

I’ve chosen wool batting for many of my quilts and have also used it when applying binding that finished at ½” so I really can’t figure out why I had such a problem this time. I’m just glad the binding is finally on to my satisfaction and I can move toward a finish.

Oh, there’s one more thing I did before starting to tack the binding to the back of the quilt. I pinked the outer edges of the seam allowance to remove a bit of the bulk:

Pinking the edges also eliminated the raveling that often accompanies cut edges of fabric. I have a pair of trusty pinking shears but for long straight stretches I like to use my rotary cutter with a pinking blade. I think this pinking blade is actually meant for paper — I found it in the scrapbooking section at a craft store — but it works very well on fabric.

Since I’m one of those quilters who actually enjoys tacking down binding, this next step will be a pleasure. Then it’s on to the last step, the label.




Posted in cheddar and indigo, Churning Stars quilt block, update | 10 Comments

Quilting Loveliness

How about a few more photos of the quilting on Scattered Stars, my cheddar and indigo quilt? I’ve been feasting my eyes on it since bringing it home from the quilter on Wednesday. It’s only fair to share it with you, right?

Let’s start with the tiniest block in the quilt, this 3″ Churn Dash nestled inside a 6″ block:

The photo shows off the beautiful quilting by Karlee Sandell of SewInspired2Day. At first glance you might think the quilting motif is Baptist Fan but it’s actually a more contemporary design called Woven Wind.

Here’s a look at the entire front of the quilt . . .

. . . and an angled look across the front:

Most of the fabrics are from the “Cheddar and Indigo” line by Penny Rose that came out in 2015. The prints are very traditional but I had fun mixing in some contemporary prints, including this cheddar print — it’s a map of Barcelona! — from the line of the same name by Zen Chic for Moda . . .

. . . and this cheddar print by Victoria Findlay Wolfe from her “Futurum” line for Marcus Fabrics:

That navy print in the Churn Dash block above is a vintage fabric that’s so old there’s no information on the selvage. I can’t even remember where I found it.

Here’s a look at the back of Scattered Stars:

It’s nearly impossible to see the quilting in that photo so here are a couple of close-ups:

You can really see the Woven Wind quilting motif in the large indigo print above right. And in the next photo, notice how the quilted curves in the center of the block serve to soften those sharp angles and straight lines:

I think you can tell I really love how this quilt is turning out! I trimmed it today and plan to attach the binding tomorrow. The forecast for Portland the next couple of days is sunny with temperatures in the high 90s. I can’t imagine sitting for hours with a quilt in my lap so I may have to wait till cooler weather arrives to tack the binding down on the back.

In the meantime I can work on the label. I should have a finished quilt to show you by the end of the month.




Posted in cheddar and indigo, Churning Stars quilt block, update | 7 Comments

Oh My Stars!

Scattered Stars is quilted!

Mere hours after dropping off the top and backing to longarm quilter Karlee Sandell of SewInspired2Day yesterday, she had them loaded on to her longarm machine and quilted. Karlee posted photos on her Instagram feed last night and kindly gave me permission to post them here.

Take a look at this:

Isn’t the quilting marvelous? In my last post I hinted that the motif I had chosen was a contemporary version of a very traditional one. It reminds me of the time-honored Baptist Fan motif — but with an edge. The design is called Woven Wind, and I chose it not only because of its similarity to Baptist Fan but also because I felt all those sharp points in my blocks needed some curves to soften them a bit.

And there’s one more reason: my quilt is a quirky combination of traditional and contemporary elements. I started with two very traditional quilt blocks — the Churn Dash and the Sawtooth Star — combined into one block (the Churning Stars block) but then created a quilt of different sizes of blocks with no border. I used a group of very traditional indigo and cheddar fabrics but also threw in some contemporary cheddar and indigo-colored prints. The traditional-but-contemporary quilting motif reinforces my other design choices in making the quilt.

Here are a couple of close-ups of Karlee’s quilting:

The quilting looks terrific on the back too:

I’m off to fetch my quilt so I can see this quilting loveliness in person. More photos to come!




Posted in cheddar and indigo, Churning Stars quilt block, update | 8 Comments