Thursday, May 28, 2020

{Post 1,717} More Projects Finished


I am making one more patriotic item for my booth. I finished up 3 small quilts yesterday. One is a quilt I want to keep. Just need to find the perfect place for it. Here it is, still on my quilt frame. I quilted it with a light blue thread in Wonky Feathers. It is now bound (with the same red fabric as the border) and has a hanging sleeve. I think I’ll try it over my sideboard. Stay tuned! I think it’s about 24” square.


I rarely buy fabric, unless it’s for a specific item. I got a jelly roll with the fabrics in the center above. I bought a yard of the red for the borders of this and the previous (nearly identical) quilt. Tonight I was sitting at my sewing desk wondering what I’d do with the leftover fabric from the jelly roll. I didn’t have much to match it, even for a scrappy quilt. The blue and red are both shades I don’t have in my stash. So I came up with these 16 spool blocks. I had enough for 14 w/o repeating a fabric, then I actually had to use two reds and two blues to have enough to make it an even 4 x 4, or 16.


The lighting is not good in the picture. It’s night time, and the room I have my design wall in has only a center ceiling light. I’m debating whether to add borders or just leave this as is. The blocks finish at 6” each. I have enough of the red with polka dots (3rd row down, second block in) for borders and binding. At least I think I do. I sure have stretched that yard of red!

In news from around our happy little house here, my husband finished installing our new mailbox and post tonight. Now to move my pride and joy—um, I mean my purple clematis vine and Black-eyed Susans. I hope they make it. I have had all those flowers for 20 years. I moved them from our last house. I need to wait until Wes builds the enclosure for the mailbox flowerbed to move them. We are deciding between fake rock and something wood. Since he is doing all the work, I am leaving it up to him. Until a project becomes his, it’s like pushing string to get it to completion. I’m sure some of you can relate. 


I went to my booth today after allergy shots, per my usual. I had finished two more table runners and wanted to get them in the booth before the weekend. Saturdays are the busiest days there. I got a curtain rod and some hangers from Walmart on the way. I hung the curtain rod from the front of my hutch (it is old and falling apart as opposed to old and in good condition). I didn’t realize that the center of the rod is sagging until I got home and looked at the pictures. I also stripped out a screw putting up the rod holder, so I need to take another screw and a drill in. I am thinking I can put a wooden dowel in the middle of the hollow curtain rod to strengthen it. Will go try it tomorrow.  One of my new runners is on the rod and the other has the gold border on the screens. I moved the patriotic large throw to the ladder and put a queen-sized quilt on a child-sized bench I took in.




I am not selling much, but I keep adding things. I can take an honest answer...do you think the booth looks too crowded? Please leave me a comment or send me an email (joanparker10@gmail.com).





Wednesday, May 20, 2020

{Post 1,716} Out and About??


This past weekend my husband and I made a 3-1/2-hour-one-way trip (we also came home, LOL). It was so weird to be out and about. My husband’s birthday was this past weekend, and one of our daughters invited us to come for supper and stay overnight. We enjoyed it so much. Then one of our sons asked to meet us at a DINE-IN RESTAURANT on our trip home. Honestly, I felt like we were getting away with something! It was so fun. Several times we were all (all three of us) laughing so loudly that nearly everyone else turned and looked at us. The restaurant had the open tables and booths spaced out so there was lots of distance between them. We had a marvelous time.

I hand sewed this little wool pattern on the way there and home. It measures about 8” across. I love little projects like this that finish up quickly.


I forgot to take the thread for the berries, so I added those and blanket-stitched the outside once I got home. I have plans to make another one of these. So cute and fast.

While we were at my daughter’s, my grandson asked me to make him a quilt (he is 7). I told him I would love to. We picked out a pattern on Pinterest. Might have it finished in time for Christmas.

My daughter made the following recipe while we were there. It was so good that I made one the day after we got home. I gave half of it to a family that “Oreo’d” us tonight. A family from church left a package of Oreos and a quart of milk (in a Mason jar tied with string and a card) on our front stoop, rang the doorbell, and ran back to their car (our door is far from the driveway). We got out there before they pulled off. I offered them half of the pork I had cooked (they have 4 young children).


When I write down a recipe for myself, I don’t put all the steps in. Here is some help if you are planning on making this same thing. I used a 9-pound bone-in piece of meat. I’d try to use boneless next time. I cooked it in an 8-quart Instant Pot, and it barely fit, even cut up. The instructions are to cut it into chunks 2 times as big as your fist before sautéing. IP=Instant Pot, T=tablespoon, t=teaspoon, QR=quick release. Mmm-mmm...

Here is a quilt I machine quilted for a customer and the second one is a top that I pieced to put in my booth. I just started the quilting on that tonight.



More on my patriotic quilt tomorrow, I hope!






Tuesday, May 12, 2020

{Post 1,715} Another Day in My Life


I have become best friends with my cutting mat and sewing machine again. I have been making masks nearly all my free time (and then some). That seems to be slowing down. I also made a twin-bed-sized quilt (customer) for a childhood friend She has received it, and she loves it! Here is that project. It was made in a Disappearing Four Patch pattern and quilted with what I call a triple axis design (free motion by yours truly).



When I get some time, I am going to make a matching pillow sham for her. I have the fabrics, I just need the time.

I machine quilted this beauty for a customer/friend.



Then came Mother’s Day. It was the first time I heard from all 8 of my children. One of my sons-in-law was the first one to reach out to me. He and I are very close. He is a gem. I just thought it was odd that this was the first time I heard from all my kids, and it was the first time we could not be together. Weird times.

We had a day and a half of tree work (removal and pruning) done this past Friday and yesterday. I am so pleased with the workers and the way things look now. Pictures do not do it justice. Here is the front of our house before any work was done.




These were taken first thing in the AM, before any work was started. Our house is the gray one in the middle, FWIW.  After they finished removing 3 small trees and cutting half of one out and trimming branches, the sunlight was so BRIGHT!!! Also, it was overcast and early when I took the befores.




I am so thankful for our house. I hope you are for yours as well.

Two of my sons sent me flowers for Mother’s Day. Here are some pictures of them.



My five-year-old grandson is with us for the next few days. I love him so! Things are quite different when he is here. For example, pizza and strawberries for lunch! We are going to paint a plant stand this afternoon. We are also going to the dollar store for a few little gifts for his cousins who I will be seeing this weekend. I will get him a couple little somethings, too. This will be his first time wearing a face mask. He is excited.

Till next time.









Saturday, April 18, 2020

{Post 1,714} Another Day of Isolation


These have been strange days, indeed. I am somewhat of a loner as it is. I have had to make myself reach out to people during this time of “sheltering at home”. Being a homebody, this has not been a hardship for me. I have over 100 bolts of fabric at my house because I used to sell Thimbleberries fabric online from my home. I probably need to think about doing that again as I still have way more than I could ever use in this lifetime.

I would love if some of you would share one very good thing that has come from the sheltering time we are experiencing. I can think of several, but this is one of my favorites. My youngest daughter is leading a time of sharing from our personal Bible study Monday through Friday. As odd as it sounds, I know the ladies in her church from their voices. How do I know this? The first time I joined their group, there was a glitch with my Zoom app. I could hear them, but I could not see them (that cleared up on day #2). But I have spent so much time at their church and talked and talked to so many of them that I knew who was speaking just be hearing them. But my point is that I have loved sharing what we get from God’s Word. She is using the acronym SOAP: scripture (reading ourselves), observations (that she asks us to volunteer to share), application (again—voluntary), and prayer, which we end with. It is 30-40 minutes per session. Rachel encourages us to read and journal our findings ahead of time. It has been just delightful as her mom to see her lead this group of ladies all older than her. She is gracious, encouraging, and knowledgeable. I am so proud of the young lady that she has become.

In other news, I am making so many masks, as I am sure many of you are. After my family and church family were covered (pun intended), I reached out to neighbors and friends through Facebook. I also made and donated quite a few to a charity that my pastor supports.  Now I am selling some on eBay. I have made all adult masks until today. I have developed a pattern for children. Several states have a mandate/order/whatever in place now that requires anyone going out in public to be wearing a mask. One of my sons and his family live in such a state, so I got to make them for his little girls and wife. Our lives have all been affected by this virus, haven’t they?


The above mask (orange) is one for a child. The loop of T-shirt “ribbon” goes around the back of their neck, then the strings are pulled to adjust it to fit over their nose and mouth and chin. Then the string is tied behind their head. The “ribbon string” is made from cutting a tube of t-shirt into one-inch widths and pulling it. It makes the perfect slightly stretchy soft tie for a child. The pleats open up once it is on, so it fits all the crucial areas for a mask.

Below are some of my favorite adult masks. I bought a boatload of black elastic, and I only have enough left for about 20 more masks. I am praying what I ordered comes in soon. I don’t think I will see the end of mask-making for some time.




Have you given serious thought to where your soul will spend eternity? Ten out of ten people will die. Sin is like a virus that none of us can escape. Have you asked God to save you from the penalty of your sins so you will go to heaven when you die? I would love to “chat” with anyone who has questions.

I have been making masks every spare moment. Now it’s late, and I have to lay this old head to rest.

Have a good night!


Sunday, April 12, 2020

{Post 1,713} Easter Sunday


Christ the Lord is risen today! Allelujah!! Easter is my favorite holiday. Christ triumphed over the grave and now lives in heaven forever. His resurrection is one of the most reliable and well-documented facts in human history. Most of those writings were from people that were not religious. Many saw Him walking the earth after His death before His ascension into heaven where He is preparing a place for those who accept Him as Saviour. Glory!

Now onto everyday life. I resisted the mask-making pressure until this past week. When the CDC recommended everyone wear them to protect others (which, in spite of many conspiracy theories, I believe helps the spread of the virus). So I’ve made many this week. I mailed some to everyone in our family and have sold some (for the low, low price of $5 each) to neighbors. I have mailed them to far-away friends (as far as Japan) that are asking me to make some for them. I have also made a lot to donate to charities I support. I think I could make them in my sleep. Here’s my hubby wearing his...isn’t he a cutie??



Here is the video I have been using with a couple tweaks to their pattern.  I can’t figure out how to share a clickable link. Search YouTube for “How to Make Face Mask with Filter Pocket and Adjustable Wire” by EasyToSew. I use a pipe cleaner (also available at Dollar Tree) for the nose wire.

I have just been using my fabric stash. I bought many 1/4” headbands from Dollar Tree to use for elastic. They work great. That’s about all I’ve been doing besides the occasional meal. My machine quilting work has been put on the back burner. My customers understand.

I am praying you all are well. I love to hear from each of you, so don’t think any comment you have is unimportant.






Wednesday, April 1, 2020

{Post 1,712} Stay-At-Home


Have any of you done something new or different from your normal routine? I have not been going to my booth once a week or getting allergy shots once a week. I definitely don’t go to the store at every whim. We have not gone to meet with our church in over two weeks. Something I have STARTED is making a to-do list for the next day. I make this right before I go to bed. It gets things off my mind, and I can prioritize my list for the day in the AM. I find that I need to do the thing I want to do least first. For example, I rarely put all the laundry away the day it is done. It is either hung up or folded, but it’s not at its final destination. I have one laundry day a week so that I don’t have to spend lots of time with it on my mind every day. So that is often the first thing I do when it’s on the list.

Since the stay-at-home thing has started, I have spent several evenings cooking or baking to distribute to friends the next day. Our church family is quite spread out, but there are several areas that contain most. I made large batches of chili, beef vegetable soup, and cookies. Dollar Tree has round containers that are perfect for transporting and storing soup. I bought some paper products and crackers to include in each box. That was fun and fulfilling.

I need to get more exercise in. That will take some planning and rearranging of things. Every day I think about how important it is, but I don’t do much about it.


Above is my string shirt block quilt. It is on the design walls in our guest bedroom downstairs. I added a few more sashing units today. I only need 16 more. I will probably get them made either tonight or tomorrow AM. Then I will get the quilt blocks off the wall and in a pile for webbing. 

I should knock out a few of the quilts I have that only need machine quilting. I have two customer quilts to do, then some of my own. If only my wishes came true as soon as I wished them.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

{Post 1,711} I Can See My Cutting Tabletop


This is the cleanest my cutting table has been for simply ages. Here is the before and after.


All that is on it is a small, beautiful Christmas wreath quilt. All it needs is binding, and that’s what the red bolt of fabric is for.


Then I got set to clear off the floor beside the cutting table (that nearly prevented me from getting TO the cutting table). This pile is completely gone, but I did not take a picture.


I found numerous projects, most near completion. At least now I have some hand-quilting projects to choose from should I get the whim. These were all in the pile closest to my cutting table (green curtains underneath).

This just needs the basting stitches removed and a pillow back sewn on.


This was a sampler from Kim Diehl. I have two of the smallest blocks to hand-quilt and the binding put on.


This is a 20” pillow cover that just needs a back (it has a twin somewhere, but it hasn’t turned up yet).


These two pillow covers are finished. All they need is pillow forms inside.


This only needs hand quilting on the bottom right side of the cream and a backing put on. It is a pillow. The design in the white pumpkin area is called Pumpkin Seeds. I. Love. It. It was just spritzed with water to remove the Mark-B-Gone to show where to hand quilt.


I also found a pumpkin quilt that has the rows sewn together. I just need to sew the five rows to each other to complete the top.

In spite of getting so much done today, I feel like I slacked off most of the day. At the bottom of the blue laundry basket that held all these mostly-finished projects were five shirts to be deboned. My scrap string shirt bin was full (it is not very big anyway), so I pieced the color portion of 16 blocks for a Bonnie Hunter’s Virginia Bound quilt. It’s paper pieced. I thought it would diminish my shirt string scraps, but I can’t tell I used any. I need 80 for the quilt. I found 16 foundations while I cleaned up today. The sides get covered with neutral strings. This is the only quilt I have made more than once. I have completed two of them so far. Now I’m starting my third. I like it so much because all width of strings can be used.


Drop me a line if you’re reading. Just click on the “Would it kill ya to comment?” Button on the left. I look forward to hearing from you.







Thursday, March 26, 2020

{Post 1,710} This Week’s Happenings


The way I keep track of what’s happening in my life is through my pictures. That seems odd, but when I start to write a blog post, I look at the last pictures I posted, then start from there.

It has been odd to be staying at home so much, but I love it (I do not love the reason, but there you go).

I went to my booth Tuesday to spruce up and put up a couple new small quilts. I added a goldfish print bag holder, some bowl cozies, and three mini quilts (which can be seen on my chicken wire screens).




I also took some pouches made with cork on the lower half. There are a few other pouches as well. I am surprised the antique mall is still open. It is certainly not essential. I made the trip over after calling the owner. She said no one had been in all day, but she was there doing paperwork. I wanted to have my new items there so that if customers came in, they would be available.

I continue to work on things at home. I only make things I would be happy to gift so that I am not overrun with items if/when I close my booth. There are 3 customer tops here as well as several (ok—maybe 8) of my own to machine quilt. Tomorrow I’ll work on straightening up my sewing room some more, then quilt at least one of the customer quilts. 

Yesterday was a day off from sewing for me. I decided to be a blessing and visit 7 church families in my area. Well, not really visit visit. I made two batches of cinnamon rolls and met people in their driveways after setting the cinnamon rolls on their porch or somewhere else so we could visit without contact and at least six feet apart. They all were healthy (as far as they know). While I love alone time, I did miss the contact. I can’t spread happiness, but I can pass out homemade cinnamon rolls. I wanted to check in with them in person to see if there were needs I could meet. 

I hope you are all well. Send me a message!

Friday, March 20, 2020

{Post 1,709} Potholder Pandemonium


From what I read and hear, crafters have the same blender mindset. What I mean is that every idea we come across just goes in the blender. It keeps circling back through my thoughts from time to time.

For example, I was squaring up a twin bed’s worth of quilt blocks lately. I had this mess. Instead of throwing it away (it was, after all, super thin slivers of scraps and muslin), I pushed it into a quart Mason jar on my cutting table.


The next day I recalled a Pinterest post about making trivets and pot holders from tiny shavings. So I started to make one. I had a customer picking up as well as dropping off quilts. She had been out of town for a couple months. I asked her if she was stopping at Hobby Lobby on her way to my house. A girl has to restock after being out of town! She was, and I asked her to get me this.


That led to the following pictures which are self explanatory. The quilting is less than an inch apart in all directions, horizontal, vertical, and on the diagonal both directions. The trivet/pot holder finishes at 6-1/2” square. I bound it just like I would a quilt.





Are you like me? Does a new, successful project just make you soooooo happy? This is a little library of all the fabrics in this new quilt. I love it. The soluble fabric rinses off after the quilting. It is magic, I tell you!

Stay well. It is so important to eat well (no junk), exercise, get enough rest, etc. Leave me a message





Wednesday, March 18, 2020

{Post 1,708} Quilts, Grandchildren, and More Quilts


I think I could sew 24/7 and never catch up with my wish list of personal quilts for my home and for gifts, let alone for my booth! With the stay-at-homing going on, I’ve sewn a lot recently. I will just put these out there with sizes.

There are two queen-sized customer quilts I cannot transfer from my phone to my iPad. My phone must be pouting.

This is the back of a baby quilt I machine quilted for a customer:


This is a 27” square patriotic paper-pieced quilt I am making for my booth. I want to make at least one more to keep.


This is a baby quilt I made for a friend in my church who had her precious little nipper this past Saturday.


I had 50 of these disappearing 4-patch blocks pieced when a friend from childhood asked me to make her a quilt. She loves the 1930 reproduction prints, so I made more blocks (over 50 more) and just finished piecing the top this AM. On to the pressing, quilting, labeling, and binding!!


This is another patriotic quilt I am making for my booth. It is all Thimbleberries prints. It still needs an inner and outer border and quilting. With the corona virus thing going on, I doubt my booth will even be open much longer, let along in time for 4th of July. I thought I was getting ahead by making these so early, but it might be for naught. Oh, well.


Now let’s have a look at some grand babies. Pictures only here.





I ordered a large 3-ring binder (with 4” tall ring holders) to make a “catalog” of my quilt pattern selections. I guess with so many things shut down now, it would be a good time to quilt up some samples. That would make it easier for my customers to select a pattern. Sounds good, but where is my motivation?


Saturday, February 22, 2020

{Post 1,707} More Booth Work


I had a few more ideas for my booth. I get great satisfaction from making things myself. A few days ago I was at my favorite thrift store and saw a big piece of finished wood in the “$1 frame” box. It was not a frame, just a large piece of shaped and stained wood with some kind of acrylic finish on it. I went back yesterday to see if it was still there and made this sign for my booth last night...


I was looking at my most recent booth pictures, and I have some ideas for how to use it in my hutch. I hope it works.

There is also a need for more space for hand-painted signs that I have made. I am going to group most of the kitchen items on the hutch and move most of the signs to my shuttered door. I saw some pictures on Pinterest of people who hung framed pictures on shutters. I could not figure out how it was done, so I contacted someone who had them on her blog. She got back to me (after a couple weeks). It seems easy, but time will tell. Stay tuned.

I scrounged around in our garage and came up with enough wood to make three miniature pictures ledges to attach to the flat part of my shutter door (I think it was a closet door in a former life). When I bought it, someone had placed 5 screws in it haphazardly and at different angles. I am OCD. For real. I removed the screws, patched the holes, and painted the whole door last night. I am about to attach my picture ledges to the flat part. I’ll post later about how it goes. I’m a little nervous about drilling through the back and hitting just the part of the wood that I want. Here is the door freshly painted and one picture ledge before IT was painted. 



Just to get you salivating, I am sharing a picture of my favorite food on earth...homemade cinnamon rolls. I bakes 4 dozen for a fund-raiser last night. I kept six of them at home to share with my son and one of his friends.


Update: I attached my picture ledges by going through the front of the shelf. The screws were countersunk and painted over. There will be a picture in front of them anyway. Here is it, not quite dry, but assembled at the very least!