Forever Young and Still Learning…

One of the things I enjoy the most about my business, is the people I am privileged to meet in the private lessons I teach.  I have taught children like Liam, who made a twin-sized B’s Big Girl Quilt, and love how curious our granddaughters are when they come to visit.

Belen (6) and Eloise (4) watching my Bernina machine embroider B's Classroom Quilt

Belen (6) and Eloise (4) watching my Bernina machine embroider B’s Classroom Quilt

I’m sure they will be sewing with me in the near future.

I’m particularly impressed when I am asked by a “more mature” customer to help them either with a project or to learn more about their new machines or the embroidery software.  Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Barb and Lily.

Barb excited about her first day of lessons

Barb excited about her first day of lessons

Closer look of her design called Purple Trillium

Closer look of her design called Purple Trillium

Barb is a wonderful lady, 79 years young.  She discovered a beautiful design set by Smith Street Designs called Wildflowers.  She already had the perfect palette for these designs, a quilt she recently finished piecing.  She wanted a refresher course on embroidering with her Bernina 730 machine.

 

 

She wanted to learn how to load the designs to her machine again as well as the fundamentals of machine embroidery.  In no time at all, she was busy stitching her very first floral design on a block of her quilt with a solid background.  Isn’t it stunning?

 

 

Another design called Indian Blanket

Another design called Indian Blanket

 

When she arrived for her second  lesson, she was eager to share the additional blocks she had completed.  She also announced that she had dismantled her quilt top to make it easier to hoop the individual blocks.  I was amazed, but it does make the project a lot easier to work on.

She had a long list of questions and in no time at all, we were stitching another stunning design from the Wildflower collection called Indian Blanket.

 

 

Barb cutting around the securing stitch for her machine appliqué design

Barb cutting around the securing stitch for her machine appliqué design

Barb is so enthusiastic and fun to work with.  She is always open to learn something new and then give it a try for herself.  I really admire her tenacity and am pleased how well she is doing in the short period of time we have worked together.

She has quite a wardrobe of adorable hats and I’m  anxious to see what stylish accessory she is wearing.  I feel very fortunate to share some very fun hours with Barb as we work on her latest project(s).

When her quilt is finished, I will post a picture of it as it is going to be stunning… just like the maker!

 

Lily working with her new Bernina 580 machine

Lily working with her new Bernina 580 machine

Meet Lily, another one of my students who is working on a wonderful quilt for her great granddaughter’s graduation.

Lily is 83 and delightful!  She is also learning more about machine embroidery and doing very well.

She originally purchased a machine that could not do embroidery, but in no time at all traded that machine for an embroidery machine so that she too could create some of the beautiful embroidered projects.  She said that she bought a new machine in order to learn something new.  She feels it is important to challenge oneself in order to keep your mind active and alert.

Stitching with Lily

Stitching with Lily

I feel very privileged to get to spend time with her and always look forward to my “Lessons with Lily”.

I hope you are enjoying some beautiful spring weather and would love to hear about projects you have been working on.

In the meantime, “Happy Stitching!!!”

Jane

 

Posted in Finished Product | Leave a comment

Hugs & Kisses Cuddle Quilt

Sometimes the best way to let someone know you are thinking about them, is to make a quilt.  It not only provides comfort to the recipient of the quilt, but additionally provides a bit of therapy for the maker of the quilt.  Recently, my sister, Vicki, had two surgeries and, due to the extreme bad weather conditions, it was impossible to visit her.  The Minneapolis airport was literally shut down off and on for two days.

A warm and snuggly throw

A warm and snuggly throw

I wanted to send her something that would let her know how much she was in my thoughts and prayers.  Due to time constraints (I wanted to send it as quickly as possible) I decided to make her a cuddle quilt. I told my sisters, Mary and Kathy, what I was doing and was pleased that they wanted to be a part of the quilt as well.

Choose two colors of minkee or cuddle cloth and a light weight batting

Choose two colors of minkee or cuddle cloth and a light weight batting

I had seen some throws that were being simply made out of two layers of cuddle cloth, which were very cozy.  Since there was no piecing involved, they also did not take a lot of time to make.  This was a good solution and here’s how I made it.

To get started, decide on the size of the throw you want to make and purchase two pieces of cuddle cloth for top and bottom of the quilt.  I also added a layer of Dream Cotton Request batting, to provide additional warmth as it is very cold in Minnesota this time of year.

 

Colleen setting up the quilting machine

Colleen setting up the quilting machine

To save time, I decided to hire the wonderful ladies at Quilt Crossing’s Quilt Studio and have them quilt an adorable X and O’s (Hugs and Kisses) pantograph design across the quilt.  Colleen set up the machine and programmed the computer and in no time at all had completed the quilting across the cuddle cloth.

 

Watching the magic happen as the machine stitched across the layers of cuddle cloth

Watching the magic happen as the machine stitched across the layers of cuddle cloth

 

It was fun to watch as the machine made its way across the layers of fabric.  The X and O’s of the “hugs and kisses” quilting design really stood out as the machine meandered back and forth stitching lots of love into our throw quilt.

 

 

 

Trimming away the excess batting and minkee

Trimming away the excess batting and minkee

Using a lint roller to clean up the minkee dust

Using a lint roller to clean up the minkee dust

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the quilting was finished , I trimmed away the excess minkee and batting from the edges of the quilted fabrics.  It is helpful to use a lint roller to clean up the minkee dust that is created whenever you cut into minkee or cuddle cloth.

Making the binding for the quilt

Making the binding for the quilt

 

I found a cute striped fabric to use for the binding of the quilt and cut a 2 1/2″ binding for the diameter of the quilt.  This was seamed together and pressed and then stitched around the edges of the quilt.

Now it was time for the finishing touch of the quilt…

 

 

Stitching the binding and a whole lot of love onto the quilt

Stitching the binding and a whole lot of love onto the quilt

 

We wanted to let Vicki know how very much we all were thinking of her.  A good way to convey our warmest wishes was through a quilt label.  I also wanted her to know that this quilt was from all of her sisters and designed a label in my Designer Plus software that expressed all our sentiments.

Creating the quilt label in my Designer Plus software

Creating the quilt label in my Designer Plus software

 

 

 

 

Stitching the label onto the quilt

Stitching the label onto the quilt

 

 

 

The completed label

The completed label

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The label reads, “For our sweet sister, Vicki…  We love you to the moon & back.  Love Always, Jane, Kathy & Mary”

The finished quilt, being folded for express shipping

The finished quilt, being folded for express shipping

The quilt was complete and ready to ship.  I was very pleased how it turned out and the above picture shows how the quilting design really shows through.  Best of all, Vicki was so excited when she got her package and called us immediately.  She said she was all snuggled up in the warmth of her cuddle quilt, reading the label from her three sisters.  Needless to say, it pleased all of us.

If you have a need for a quilt that is relatively quick to make, but provides lots of warmth and comfort, you too might consider making a cuddle quilt.

Happy Sewing!

Jane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Finished Product | Leave a comment

Quilting with First Graders

A few months ago, after attending a school program for our granddaughter, Belen, her teacher asked if I would be interested in telling the children about quilting.  I thought that would be a fun opportunity and agreed to meet with her to further discuss.  Over the holiday break, we met and brainstormed ideas and decided that first, I would come in to talk with the children at school and then, the next day, we would take a field trip to a local quilt store, Quilt Crossing, to learn even more.

Showing the children an embroidered nine patch quilt

Showing the children an embroidered nine patch quilt

On Thursday of this week, I went to Belen’s class  and talked to the children about quilts and quilting.

Talking about the different types of quilts with the class

Talking about the different types of quilts with the class

I was so impressed at how attentive they were.  We talked about the difference between a quilt and a blanket and I demonstrated how a quit is made of multiple layers of the quilt top, batting, and the backing.  They were eager to share their experiences with quilts as well as the stories associated with them.  One quilt they especially enjoyed was a quilt I made in memory of my mother, Hazel Johnson (Belen’s great grandmother).  The fabric has several scenes that depict growing up on a farm.

Some of the farm scenes on the quilt

Some of the farm scenes on the quilt

One of the farm scenes on the quilt.

Close up of farm scene on the quilt.

 

 

 

 

My grandmother, Magdalena Sveen on top of a crazy quilt she made in 1953

My grandmother, Magdalena Sveen on top of a crazy quilt she made in 1953

 

 

I told them how I first became interested in sewing because of my Grandmother, Magdalena Sveen, who is Belen’s Great Great Grandmother.  She was the first person to teach me how to sew, and later, taught me how to piece and tie quilts.    The majority of her quilts were utilitarian quilts and were donated to the Lutheran church bazaars in North Dakota, where she lived.

The crazy quilt my Grandma Sveen made in 1953

The crazy quilt my Grandma Sveen made in 1953

 

However, I shared a very special quilt that my grandmother gave me many years ago.  It is a wool crazy quilt she made in 1953 and is a very special keepsake of mine. ( I can only imagine the hours she spent embellishing each patch of the quilt with beautiful and varied embroidery stitches.)

I shared with the children the differences between a pieced quilt versus an appliquéd quilt and the children were asking very good questions.

It really was exciting to see their enthusiasm as we discussed a quilt project that we are going to make together as a class.  They were anxious to choose the fabrics they wanted to represent them in the class quilt.

The children watching a demo of a computerized quilting machine

The children watching a demo of a computerized quilting machine

On Friday, the children arrived at Quilt Crossing.  They were very excited to see all the beautiful quilts hanging in the store.  The first demonstration for them  was a computerized long-arm quilting machine.  They were mesmerized and watched the needle position of the quilt pattern on the computer tablet.  Even the parent volunteers were impressed by the technology behind these machines as well as the speed of quilting process.

 

Teacher pointing out the tablet to some of the students.

Teacher pointing out the tablet to some of the students.

Children watching the quilting machine

Children watching the quilting machine

 

Next we had the children do a scavenger hunt, which they enjoyed and were quite good at!

Class picture at Quilt Crossing

Class picture at Quilt Crossing

Belen really enjoyed the field trip with her class

Belen really enjoyed the field trip with her class

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The morning passed quickly and before we knew it, it was time for the children to return to school.  I gave each of them a little bookmark I made to serve as a reminder of their field trip and escorted them out to their bus.

I Love to Read Bookmarks

I Love to Read Bookmarks

Happy Belen on the Bus

Happy Belen on the Bus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a pleasure to spend time with the first graders on Thursday and Friday of this week and share with them my passion for quilting.  There were 21 students in the class and they were so well behaved and genuinely interested.  They were so much fun to be with and on Friday evening I received a text message from Belen’s teacher that read…

“Quick story… on Friday the kids have to select a book to spend the week practicing, until they can read it fluently.  Today, Grady walked up to me with The Quiltmaker’s Gift and said, “This will be perfect!”  :)

That really made my day!

Happy quilting,

Jane

 

Posted in Finished Product | Tagged | Leave a comment

New Look for Rick Rack and Polka Dots

Version 2

New Logo Design for Rick Rack and Polka Dots Pattern Company, LLC

As you know, For the past few years, I have been developing patterns for my company, Rick Rack and Polka Dots Pattern Company.  It is something I really enjoy doing and I love to share my patterns and ideas with others in my classes and through the stores where my patterns are sold.

Ten of my published patterns as of July, 2015

Ten of my published patterns as of July, 2015

In July of this year, while attending a Bernina Conference in Phoenix, AZ, one of the major  pattern distributors, Brewer Quilting and Sewing Supplies, scheduled a meeting with me to discuss my patterns.  My name had been given to them by Val and Diane, the owners of Bernina Connection in Phoenix, AZ.  Val and Diane carry my patterns and are two delightful ladies who have a beautiful store (a “must see” if you are in Phoenix).

I was elated about Brewer’s interest and upon their request, submitted my products for review.  I am extremely  pleased to announce that Brewer has picked up my patterns for distribution. This is so exciting for me, because up until now, I have been wearing all the hats for Rick Rack and Polka Dots, including pattern design, sample making, photography, printing, marketing, distribution, fulfilling all the orders and, of course, accounting.  I’m anxious to partner with Brewer as they have a sales force who will market my patterns and a distribution team to help fulfill orders to retail stores/customers.

Assortment of patterns ready to ship to Brewer

Assortment of patterns ready to ship to Brewer

IMG_2640

Packing slip (I’ve whited out some info.) ready for Brewer

These past few months have been busy with all the paperwork, etc. and I’m learning a lot along the way.  In addition, I developed a logo for Rick Rack and Polka Dots Pattern Company, LLC to help distinguish my patterns when they are on the store display racks.  I will also be developing a new blog banner, etc. and enjoy working with Kate, my Graphic Designer.  She worked her magic and transformed my original logo sketch into the our final design, with a few minor tweaks along the way.

RRPD Logo1

Preparing to ship "rep samples" of some of my patterns for Brewer

Preparing to ship “rep samples” of some of my patterns for Brewer

 

 

 

 

 

 

New display rack at Quilt Crossing

New display rack at Quilt Crossing

The Quilt Crossing in Boise, Idaho, currently carries all my patterns and I so appreciate all their encouragement and support over the years.  I have been working on a new rack for their store to make it easier to display my patterns.  Thanks again to Patty and Laura for their continued business.  It is such a pleasure to work with you!

I’m looking forward to the exciting opportunities ahead and also want to thank all my customers for your continued support.  Your enthusiasm, interest, and feedback help to fuel my ideas and keep me energized for who knows what’s next!

Thanks again to all of you!

Happy sewing!

Jane

 

Posted in Finished Product | 4 Comments

Nana’s Girl Scout Helper

Belen is in Girl Scouts and I volunteered to sew the patches on her sash as she earned them.  What I didn’t realize at the time was this was somehow translated into sewing all the patches on for her entire Girl Scout Troop.  So, last week, when Belen was out of school, we spent the afternoon sewing on the various patches for her and her fellow scouts.

Sewing on each patch, one at a time

Sewing on each patch, one at a time

Since Belen has become quite the little reader, she was a big help.  Once I completed her sash, we used that as a template for placing the badges on the sashes for the other members of her troop.  She would check the list to see who  had earned which badge and lay them out on each sash.  Next, I would double check and first pin and then sew them in place.  We had quite the little assembly line and in no time at all, Belen pointed out that we had put on 82 badges for 9 girls.  She was very excited to try on her completed sash. It was a lot of fun and B’ is anxious to take them to her next Scout meeting which is this week.

Belen modeling her completed sash

Belen modeling her completed sash

Some patches were sewn on the backside of her sash.

Some patches were sewn on the backside of her sash.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I enjoy sharing  sewing projects with our grandchildren.  They are always bringing me items to “fix”.  They love to “hang out” in my sewing studio and are always eager to help.

What kind of sewing projects have you been working on this month?  Christmas is only a month and a half away, so it’s time to start working on my Holiday “To Do” List.  What projects are you making this year?

Happy Sewing!

Jane

 

Posted in Finished Product | 1 Comment

A Star is Born this Halloween!

It has become more or less a tradition for me to make our granddaughters’ Halloween costumes every year.  From a Little Lion, Jessie in Toy Story, Snow White (& Super Porter), and Fantasy Fairy Princesses, we have had quite a variety of costumes and ideas.  This year, Belen decided she wanted to be a movie star and Eloise chose to be a My Little Pony called Rainbow Dash.  Our daughter, Alecia, found a cute costume for Eloise with the rainbow mane and tail, etc.  I found a McCall’s pattern for B’s  costume that had the look

McCall’s 7175 pattern looked like a movie star

of a movie star.  Then I took a trip to Hancock’s Fabrics to find “gold” fabric, per Belen’s request.  I lined the entire dress to give it more strength and help to keep B warm.

Incorporating the sheer organza wrap in the zipper seemliness

Incorporating the sheer organza wrap in the zipper seemliness

 

The sheer organza wrapped around the top of the bodice of the dress and was anchored down in the center front with a decorative brooch.  There were 5 places where I gathered and pleated the organza to make it easier to mold around the shoulder area.

 

 

The brooch anchoring down sheer organza

The brooch anchoring down sheer organza

 

The bodice fabric had sequins and was a little challenging to stitch, but my Bernina machine stitched and glided through it like a champ!

It was exciting to see the dress come together.  I don’t get the opportunity to sew formal wear very often and found it a lot of fun to make.

 

Finishing the hemline by stitching over fishing line

Finishing the hemline by stitching over fishing line

We did a “try-on” with Belen to insure that the bottom ruffle would be the correct length.  Then to finish the lower edge of the ruffles, I positioned fishing line on top of the fabric along the seam line and stitched a very narrow zigzag stitch over the fishing line.  Next, I trimmed away the excess fabric, being careful not to cut into the zigzag stitching.  This made the hem almost invisible and added a bit of body at the lower edge of the ruffle as well.

 

My shy little Movie Star, Belen

My shy little Movie Star, Belen

 

When we did the final try on, the dress was a perfect fit and Belen giggled the entire time she was wearing the dress.

Alecia was able to order an Oscar statuette and some costume jewelry and I found some white gloves.  Later, Alecia found some gold gloves, so Belen had a choice for her final accessories.

 

 

 

Then we added a bit of bling with the costume jewelry...

Then we added a bit of bling with the costume jewelry…

 

Belen really started to look like a little starlet once she added her costume jewelry.

I also got a black long-sleeved knit top for her with black tights so she could wear those under her dress to keep warm on Halloween.

As for Eloise, her costume was truly a rainbow of colors.  It included a wig with rainbow hair and even a rainbow tail for her My Little Pony Rainbow Dash costume.  She was thrilled with it and had a fun time, as you can see below.

I hope you had a wonderful Halloween this year.  Did you create any outfits for your little Trick n’ Treaters?  If so, I’d love to see them.

Happy Stitching!

Jane

Close up of B's jewels

Close up of B’s jewels

I think she was thinking through her acceptance speech...

I think she was thinking through her acceptance speech…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eloise as My Little Pony, Rainbow Dash

Eloise as My Little Pony, Rainbow Dash

IMG_4041

Belen and Eloise Trick and Treating

 

 

 

Posted in Finished Product | Leave a comment

The Quiltmaker’s Gift Quilt Show

Parrishoners Gail, Sarah and Nancy at the 3rd Annual Quilt Show

Parrishoners Gail, Sarah and Nancy at the 3rd Annual Quilt Show

Earlier this month, I was delighted to teach a class at the Grace Episcopal Church in Nampa during their annual Quiltmaker’s Gift Quilt Show.  The Tree of Life Class was delightful and I met a great group of quilters who attended my class (a few of them are pictured above).

I was also asked to share some of my quilts in their annual quilt show, The Quiltmaker’s Gift, and was honored to do so.

Honoring the Spirituality of Quilting

Honoring the Spirituality of Quilting

This was the third consecutive year for the church’s annual show.

All show attendees received a quilt story booklet that shared the stories behind each of the displayed quilts.  The featured quilts in the show were either given or received as a gift, thus, the name for the show was “The Quiltmaker’s Gift.”

The quilts were hung from the rafters in the church sanctuary – it was a very lovely venue.  The following pictures show some of the beautiful quilts that were on display for this year’s quilt show.

Lovely basket quilt

Lovely basket quilt

Pretty floral vine quilt

Pretty floral vine quilt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love the colors in this gorgeous lone star quilt

I love the colors in this gorgeous lone star quilt

One of my very first quilts - a rail fence supposed to show ants invading a picnic

One of my very first quilts – a rail fence supposed to show ants invading a picnic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a great house quilt!

What a great house quilt!

Quilt I made in memory of my mother

Quilt I made in memory of my mother

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the quilts hung in the Parrish Hall

Some of the quilts hung in the Parrish Hall

Example of modern quilt

Example of modern quilt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My log cabin wonder quilt

My log cabin wonder quilt

 

Mariner's Compass

Mariner’s Compass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was very fascinating to read the stories about the quilts.  The mix of quilts amongst the incredible stained glass windows  of the Sanctuary made for a very unique, intimate viewing experience.

Beautiful stained glass window of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane

Beautiful stained glass window of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane

One of 12 beautiful stained glass windows

One of 12 beautiful stained glass windows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I believe the quilt show is held the first weekend of October each year.  If you ever get the opportunity to attend The Quiltmaker’s Gift Quilt Show at the Grace Episcopal Church in Nampa it is very worthwhile.

Members of Zion Lutheran Church selling quilt raffle tickets

Members of Zion Lutheran Church selling quilt raffle tickets

You can even register to win a raffle quilt made by the ladies from the Zion Lutheran Church.  The quilt this year was lovely and all proceeds go to charity.

What a great way to spend a Saturday!

Happy Stitching,

Jane

 

Posted in Finished Product | Leave a comment

Tree of Life Quilting Class at the Quiltmaker’s Gift Quilt Show

Introducing the Quiltmaker's Gift Quilt Show at Grace Episcopal Church, Nampa

Introducing the Quiltmaker’s Gift Quilt Show at Grace Episcopal Church, Nampa

 

Earlier this year, while I was teaching at College of Idaho, I met a number of wonderful quilters, including Suzi Johnson.  Both Suzi and her daughter, Stacey, took my strip quilt class at C of I and did a great job on their quilts.  Towards the end of our class time , Suzi asked me if I would consider teaching a class for quilters at her church during their  annual quilt show.  After we reviewed the date for their show and discussed the logistics, I agreed to do so on October 3rd.

I sent Suzi some ideas for an all-day workshop and she reviewed them with her priest, Reverend Karen Hunter.  They chose a table runner that I designed called the Tree of Life. I was excited as I drafted the final pattern for the table runner in preparation for the class. I experimented with a few ways to make the half square triangles for the trees and used Electric Quilt software to finish the final specifications.  It was exciting to see it all come together.

The Tree of Life Table runner - Large size

The Tree of Life Table runner – Large size

 

 

Colleen Murphy quilted my sample table runner and really captured the essence of the quilt.  She did a beautiful job of quilting additional branches and leaves into the setting triangles as you can see from the picture.  It was the finishing touch for the design and my sample was complete for my upcoming class!

When I arrived at Grace Episcopal Church, I was delighted to meet my students in the Parrish Hall.  The classroom was all set up with tables, ironing boards, irons, etc. and these ladies were ready to sew!  There were some quilts draped across the middle of the room, which were a part of the quilt show that was taking place in the church next door.

Stacey, Joy and Suzi cutting their blocks

Stacey, Joy and Suzi cutting their blocks

In no time at all we were under way and the girls were making great progress on their quilts.  It was amazing to see how different everyone’s blocks looked because of the varied fabrics and color choices.

Sarah and Nancy hard at work, trimming their half square triangles.

Sarah and Nancy hard at work, trimming their half square triangles.

Linda, Gail and Stacey

Linda, Gail and Stacey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Showing how to use make half square triangles

Me, showing how to make half square triangles

While we were stitching away, a group of ladies from the church were busy in the kitchen cooking.  Their delicious lunch provided plenty of energy for the group as we continued working on our table runners.

Suzi with her chain stitched half-square triangles

Suzi with her chain stitched half-square triangles

Gail with her completed trunk block for her Tree of Life runner

Gail with her completed trunk block for her Tree of Life runner

It was so much fun to see the table runners come together.  Mid-afternoon, we took a brief break and attended the Quiltmaker’s Gift Quilt Show that was being held in the church next door, while we were in our class.  It was beautiful and I’ve written a separate blog on the show itself.  I was very honored when asked to share some of my quilts in this show.

Reverend Karen Hunter and Suzi Johnson

Reverend Karen Hunter and Suzi Johnson

Later, Reverend Karen Hunter  looked in on our group to see how we were progressing.  I think she was impressed by all the talented quilters who had gathered for this class.

It really was a fun day and I so appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this very special event.  What a great group of ladies I met and had such a fun time stitching with.

Thanks again for inviting me to be your instructor.  You were all a joy to work with and the class was delightful!

Happy Stitching,

Jane

 

 

 

Posted in Finished Product | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Sweet Surprise!!!

As you all know, I love fabric, and many of you know that I also enjoy good chocolate.  My passion for chocolate, however, pales in comparison to my husband, Marvin’s.  Last Tuesday, we came home to a mysterious package in our mail.  Marv gave it to me as he thought it was some sort of quilting/sewing supplies I had ordered.  When I opened the box, however, it was instead a lovely wrapped package with a very special surprise inside!

An inviting package...

An inviting package…

Upon further investigation, the gift wrapping stated it was from a Dutch chocolatier from Rhoon, in the Netherlands.  As I proceeded to unwrap the package, we were thrilled to open up a box of chocolates from our friends, Stija and Cor Lodder, who we were so fortunate to visit with while we were in Amsterdam in August.

Visiting with Stija and Cor in Amsterdam on August 24, 2015, following our Rhine River Cruise

Visiting with Stija and Cor in Amsterdam on August 24, 2015, following our Rhine River Cruise

This month, they are in the U.S. visiting the family of their daughter, Annette, and her husband Corey (our nephew) in California and brought us a wonderful box of chocolates from a chocolatier in their home town, Rhoon.  It really is a very special gift!

Lovely Dutch Chocolates

Lovely Dutch Chocolates

We had similar chocolates when we visited their home in the Netherlands a few years ago and they are almost too lovely to eat.

Such a lovely assortment!

Such a lovely assortment!

I carefully unpacked the chocolates and Marv and I could not resist taste testing a few.  I placed the remaining chocolates on a platter and we both agreed, they are are not only beautiful, but also DELICIOUS!!!

Look closely to see the beautifully shaped pieces

Look closely to see the beautifully shaped pieces

Since the arrival of this wonderful gift last week, we have been sampling the contents of our treasured chocolate box each night following dinner, for a special dessert.  It has been so much fun!

Thanks to our friends Stija and Cor for this lovely gift.  It is very special, just like they are!

Hope you are enjoying this lovely fall weather and if you happen to be in our neighborhood, drop by for a sample of our amazing Dutch chocolate!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Finished Product | Leave a comment

It Takes a Village… or at least a Grade School, Girl Scouts and Volunteers

A few weeks ago, I received an invitation to participate at our granddaughter, Belen’s, school.  Wendi, the school counselor was helping to plan a sewing project where the children would help to make pillowcases for the Ryan’s Case for Smiles organization (formerly ConKerr Cancer) and to celebrate the delivery of the one millioneth pillow case.  This is an amazing organization that began when Cindy Kerr began making pillowcases for her 12-year-old son, Ryan, to brighten up his hospital room and put a smile on his face during his cancer treatments.  Currently, they have over a hundred chapters and thousands of volunteers who provide nearly 50,000 hospitalized children with pillowcases every year.  Yesterday was National PJ Party and Pillowcase Delivery Day to hospitalized children across the country.

Some of the finished pillowcases proudly displayed

Some of the finished pillowcases proudly displayed

Students wore their PJ’s and sewed pillowcases on Wednesday.  I agreed to help and recruited Becky Roberts, a colleague from Quilt Crossing, to help sew the pillow cases.  [For many years, Quilt Crossing has served as a hub  where folks can donate their left over or stash fabrics to a Fabric Bank, where, in turn, charitable organizations can pick up the donated fabric for projects (like Ryan’s Case for Smiles).]

Our jobs were made much easier, thanks to the Girl Scouts of the Silver Sage Council Troops 444 and 826 who raised more than $200 and helped to collect materials to sew the cases to benefit Ryan’s Case for Smiles.

Becky and I checking out our "Station 1"

Becky and I checking out our “Station 1”

Step 1 - Pick out your fabric

Step 1 – Pick out your fabric

 

Becky and I were part of “Station 1” where we sewed the initial seams for each pillowcase.

 

 

 

 

The first step for the children was to pick up a pillowcase kit that was already rolled and pinned at the “Step 1” table.  There were such a great variety to choose from and the Girl Scouts had  rolled and pinned each pillow case so it was ready to sew.

 

Preparing our machine for the onslaught of students with their pillowcases.

Preparing our machine for the onslaught of students with their pillowcases.

 

There were 2 other ladies at Station 1 and we readied are machines so that we could establish a sewing production line.  As children were released for noon break, they picked up their pillowcase kits and headed our way for Step 1 of the pillow-making process.

 

Explaining how we were going to sew the seam to Belen and her classmate

Explaining how we were going to sew the seam to Belen and her classmate

 

 

Students were paired up and together would bring his/her pillowcase to us to sew the first seam.  We would take a few seconds to explain what we were going to do and then invite the students to take turns stepping on the foot pedal of the sewing machine, so they could be a part of sewing process.

 

Sewing with Belen was a lot of fun

Sewing with Belen was a lot of fun

 

 

One of the bonuses for me was to get to sew with my granddaughter, Belen.  She and her classmate did a great job of helping me to sew their pillowcase as you can see in the picture.

 

 

Look closely to see her foot on the foot pedal

Look closely to see her foot on the foot pedal

 

 

Many of the children really got in the sewing process.  A number of them asked if they could sit down and sew the seams, which we were not able to allow as there were just too many children to teach each of them to sew at this event.

 

Becky astonishing a student with her talents!

Becky astonishing a student with her talents!

 

 

 

I was able to capture one little girl who was in awe when Becky helped to sew her pillow case.

 

 

Keakua was very interested to watch as his pillowcase was being constructed.

Keakua was very interested to watch as his pillowcase was being constructed.

 

 

 

It was fun to see some of the children I have met in Belen’s class.  Keakua was very interested as his pillowcase was being constructed.

 

 

Turn, Iron and Pin Station

Turn, Iron and Pin Station

 

 

From Station 1, the next step was to go to Station 2 to “Turn, Iron and Pin the pillow cases.  In no time at all there were long lines forming at this station.

Children turning their pillow cases inside out

Children turning their pillow cases inside out

 

 

 

The children got very excited at this point because they could really see that their pillow cases coming together.

 

 

Workers at the final Station 3

Workers at the final Station 3

 

 

The final Station 3 was where the last two seams of the pillow cases were sewn.  This completed the construction for each pillow case.  Once we finished all the Station 1 pillow cases, we also converted to another Station 3 to help finish up all the cases.

Completed pillow cases, Take 1

Completed pillow cases, Take 1

 

 

 

When the cases were finished, they were hung on long clotheslines in front of the school.  It really was a site to see!

 

 

 

Completed Pillow Cases, Take 2

Completed Pillow Cases, Take 2

 

 

I loved how colorful the cases were and there were color schemes and themes for both boys and girls.  They are definitely going to light up some children’s hospital rooms!

 

 

Take 3!

Take 3!

I felt honored to be a part of this worthwhile and fun event for Ryan’s Case for Smiles.  If you would like to learn more about this amazing organization, visit the website for Ryan’s Case for Smiles.  They have information on how you too can get involved to help make the world a little bit brighter!

Happy Sewing,

Jane

Some of the children posing after school with the completed pillow cases

Some of the children posing after school with the completed pillow cases

A couple folks sent me links to the KTVB news article that aired on Tuesday’s 6:00 news.  You can view it at their website at KTVB.com.

P.S. – There were a lot of folks involved in putting together this incredible project.  I have pictures of only a few as we were busy sewing most of the time.  Thanks to all of you who contributed to make this such a fun and successful project, including the Girl Scouts and their leaders for all the prep work.

 

Posted in Finished Product | Tagged , , | Leave a comment