Children, Family, Finished Product, Gift Idea, Kitchen Accessories, Special gifts

Timeless Pattern for Special Someones…


Occasionally, you discover a pattern that is simply timeless.  Even though fashions continually evolve and change, the strong appeal of these designs remains and stands the test of time.  Such is the case for one of my favorite apron patterns from the Retro Aprons pattern booklet  from Cindy Taylor Oates of Taylor Made Designs.

In 2006, a pattern booklet for Retro Aprons was published and quickly became a very popular pattern.  I especially appreciated the way Cindy used the rick rack trim to finish the edges of Apron A, my favorite version of her retro aprons pattern booklet.  Here’s a brief overview of how to create a finished edge with rickrack.

1) Place rickrack next to the finished edge on the right side of the fabric and attach the rickrack by stitching down the center of the trim.
2) Fold under rickrack and edge of fabric and press.
3) Using thread to match fabric, topstitch through all layers, 1/16″ from folded fabric edge.













1) You begin by placing rickrack next to the finished edge on the right side of the fabric and stitch through the center of rickrack with thread that matches the rickrack trim.

2) Fold under the rickrack and edge of fabric and press.

3) Using thread to match apron fabric, topstitch through all layers 1/16″ from folded fabric edge.

4) This creates a hem, where 1/2 of the rickrack will be showing.

This is such a great way to not only add a bit of color and trim to your apron, but it also finishes the edge of your apron.  This method can be used in a variety of ways to finish other sewing projects as well.

As you know, I love rickrack and I’ve made dozens of aprons from this pattern.  They make great gifts for your favorite hostess, a wonderful wedding gift and you can also make mother/daughter matching aprons too!

In 2007, Cindy released the “Little Retro Aprons for Kids” Pattern booklet.  This pattern resized the styles from her first apron book to provide the same styles for children.  It also included an adorable apron pattern for 18″ dolls.


Little Retro Aprons for Kids, 2007

Recently, I asked my granddaughters what they wanted for their birthdays this year.

Alecia putting her Retro Apron to good use

Since they have outgrown their “Disney Frozen” aprons, they both asked if I would make them a new apron and they wanted it to look like “Mommy’s apron”, which I had made several years ago for my oldest daughter.

It just so happened, I made Alecia’s apron from the original Retro Aprons pattern and I was delighted to be able to make similar aprons for my granddaughters.  I also decided to surprise them and make matching aprons for their American Girls dolls.

They each chose the fabric for their apron and it was so fun to see how the fabric they chose really fit their personalities.  I had a stack of fabric for them to choose from and Belen chose the red print fabric I would have chosen for her.  Eloise found a cute, more modern fabric, for her apron and I got to choose the color of the rickrack trim for each of their aprons.

Me and the girls with their Retro aprons on.

On the morning of their birthday celebration (Belen and Eloise had a joint celebration with the family), the girls were delighted with their aprons. Belen chose not to have a pocket on her apron, but Eloise wanted a pocket.  They were THRILLED with the matching aprons I made for their dolls and Eloise was delighted to pose with her doll in its matching apron.  What a fun birthday gift for the girls and their dolls!

Eloise with her matching playmate


Eloise’s apron (with a pocket) next to the doll aprons














What spring projects have you been working on lately?  It is such a great time of year to be sewing!

Happy stitching!




Beginner Sewing Project, Finished Product, Free Pattern, Gift Idea, Holidays

Gift Ideas for Most Any Occasion

I’m always looking for ways to personalize my holiday gifts each year.  One easy way to do so, is to choose a themed fabric that is meaningful for the recipient.  I want to share a few gifts I made this year for Christmas, because all of these gifts could be used for most any occasion throughout the year.  Some of them have free links to free patterns.  Here are a few gift ideas to consider:

Burrito or Roll It Up Pillowcase

Choose a themed fabric and add complementing fabric for trim and cuffs.

Pillowcases are always a great gift and with the clever roll-it-up or burrito method, you can make a pillowcase in no time at all.  A great source for a free can be found at the All People Quilt site for American Patchwork and Quilting

You will be amazed at how quickly they sew together and they really are a lot of fun to make.

Ten Minute Table Runner

Several table runners folded in half lengthwise

This popular free pattern has been around for several years and is another great gift idea.  It only requires 1/3 yard of focus fabric and 1/2 yard for your border and background.

You can get a free pattern for this fast and easy project at the Utah State University Cooperative Extension website.

You can achieve some interesting variations depending on whether you fold the fabric to the front or the back when sewing the final end points as shown in the following photo.

End points folded to the front on the top table runner and to the back on the bottom table runner.


Have a good time choosing your fabrics and customizing your table runners.  This is a great beginner pattern and can be somewhat addictive!




Hopeful Hatchlings (Stuffed Animals)

There is a darling new book called Hopeful Hatchlings by Jessica George from the Sweet Brian Sisters.  The book that has patterns and instructions for 10 adorable baby animals. Each of the animals will fit inside a Zipper Egg and a pattern for the egg is also included in the book.

Our granddaughters were very quick to point out their favorite animal in the book.  I told them their selections would be part of their Christmas gifts.

Eloise chose Paddy the Penguin in her egg
Belén’s favorite was Dalton the Dragon







Choose a fun fabric for your eggs to complement the little animal who will live within.

These really are a lot of fun to make and the girls were thrilled to get theirs as you can see.

Eloise her Paddy Penguin
Belén with her Dalton the Dragon










I think there were be other Hopeful Hatchlings hatching around our house for future occasions.  They really are quite charming and somewhat addictive!

I hope you are enjoying the holiday season and will be able to try some of these gift ideas.

Happy Stitching!



Children, Finished Product, Free Pattern, Gift Idea

The Giving Bunny

When school adjourns for the summer each spring, I look forward to the extra time I get to spend with Belen and Eloise.

The special message on B’s rock
B’s special rock with a cute camping scene on the front

Friday before last, I was pleased to spend the day with them.   While we were running a few errands together, Belen found a painted rock that had been planted for someone to discover.

The front of the rock had been painted with a camping scene and the back was lettered with instructions, “Boise Rocks – Post pic, keep or re-hide.”  The girls were fascinated by this little gift and we too thought it would be fun to leave some little gifts for strangers.

I told them about the Giving Bunny I had seen on Urban Threads.  If you go to Urban Threads’ website and click on their “Freebie” link, you can download either a machine or hand embroidery design for The Giving Bunny.  Under the Instructions link for this design, there is an explanation… “Here’s how it works: Download the FREE Giving Bunny design, available in two sizes for machine embroidery, as well as a PDF pattern for hand-stitchers.  Stitch up as many bunnies as you please. Dress ’em up if you like, give them names, attach a tag to each to introduce them to the world, and then leave them in public spaces for someone to find.”

The girls and I thought it would be fun to make some bunnies to give away, so we stitched several bunnies out of an ivory polar fleece.  Both Belen and Eloise had fun printing the names for each of their bunnies on little tags that told the story of the Giving Bunnies.

Eloise posing with some of her “Giving Bunnies”
B with a couple of her bunnies.









We printed off a template for the tags that Urban Threads provides and attached one to each bunny with small safety pins.  Belen added an additional note to the back of her tag that read, ” Hope your bunny finds a nice home!  Belen.

Belen added a note to the back of her tags
A finished bunny with his special tag

Once we finished making several bunnies, we packed them up as it was time to take Belen to her Writing Camp at the Cabin Writing Center near downtown.

After we dropped off Belen, Eloise and I thought it would be a good idea to hide some of the bunnies near the Ann Frank Memorial grounds. Eloise was very particular about where she wanted to place each of her Giving Bunnies.

Eloise initially put a bunny in the Ann Frank statue’s hand, but decided to relocate this one.

Initially, she wanted to put a bunny in the hand of the Ann Frank statue, but later decided to relocate this bunny.  Next she tried a couple other spots around the Memorial grounds.

Eloise hid hers first, while Belen attended a Writing Camp at the Cabin

She was so excited to see who would be the first to discover one of her Giving Bunnies, so she hid behind a grove of trees to watch.

Eloise waiting for someone to discover one of her bunnies

While she was watching, she did not see anyone find one of her bunnies.  We decided to leave and go and get an ice cream cone and check on her bunnies when we returned for Belen’s reading at the Cabin.

Eloise gave a lot of thought as to where to hide her bunnies.

When we returned, one of her bunnies was gone.  She was thrilled and decided to relocate the remaining bunnies in a place where they would be a little more visible.

Hmmmm, this tree was a great place to perch a bunny

We put out a few more bunnies and went to watch Belen read one of her writings from Writing Camp.

Belen did an amazing job and we were so proud of not only her poem, but also how confidently she read it in front of a large crowd of people.  Alecia and Andy joined us to watch Belen too.  She was the first presenter.

Belen reading a piece she had written at Writing Camp

After Belen was finished, we told Mommy and Daddy about the Giving Bunnies and  Eloise helped Belen hide a few of her bunnies.

Ready to stage their bunnies

The girls had such a good time finding the “perfect” spot for each of their bunnies and talked about who might discover them.  It really was a very fun and exciting adventure.

When Mom met up with us later, the girls were eager to tell her about their Giving Bunnies

What projects have you been working on?  It is so much fun to be outdoors with all this beautiful weather.

I hope you are having a great summer and look forward to hearing about any projects you have been working on.

Happy Stitching!


Finished Product

The Princess and the Pea for Eloise


Eloise's Princess and the Pea Quilt
Eloise’s Princess and the Pea Quilt

I designed a special quilt for our granddaughter, Eloise.  At the same time, I developed a pattern for this quilt as you may recall in an earlier blog, introducing the Princess and the Pea pattern.

After I made the original sample for the pattern, I created another one, just for Eloise.  I changed the second quilt and used a variation suggested in the pattern.  Instead of bias trim for the vine that winds around the quilt’s border, I used a large rickrack.

I’m very pleased to share that last night I gave Eloise her quilt and she was delighted and could not wait to put it on her bed.  The first thing she wanted to do, of course, was to find the pea!

Eloise with her Princess and the Pea quilt
Eloise with her Princess and the Pea quilt
Eloise pointing out the pea
Eloise pointing out the pea

For the last several weeks, whenever we were together, she would ask about the status of her quilt.

I was committed to finishing this quilt as it was made especially for her and had some unique features.  First of all, her mommy, Alecia, had asked me to make the quilt using fabric with the 1930’s vintage look.  I also had to incorporate Eloise’s favorite color, purple and began collecting fabrics and rummaged through my stash to come up with a good collection for her quilt.  I also used rickrack for the vine that twists around the border of the quilt.  I love the bit of whimsy that this added to the quilt.  I found a darling background print with little purple flowers that served as the perfect backdrop for the princess’ bed.  It was so much fun to see this quilt come together and watch as the anticipation built from Eloise.

She was particularly tickled when I added the crown with her name on it and she loved to search for the little pea under the bottom mattress when the quilt was on my design wall.

The crown for Miss Eloise
The crown for Miss Eloise
The pea peeking out under the bottom mattress
The pea peeking out under the bottom mattress







Once the top was finished, I had it quilted by Yvette Ebaugh, who did an incredible job on my original Princess and the Pea quilt.  Once again, she did a beautiful job as you can see in the following pictures…

The beautiful quilting truly highlighted the quilt
The beautiful quilting truly highlighted the quilt
Love how the woodgrain was quilted on the bedposts
Love how the woodgrain was quilted on the bedposts







Each mattress was quilted different
Each mattress was quilted different




I love how the quilting highlighted the pea
I love how the quilting highlighted the pea








Finally, I made the label for Eloise’s quilt.  I always consider this the finishing touch for a quilt because it tells a bit of a story of the quilt, as in who it was made for and when, etc.

Sweet Eloise's quilt label
Sweet Eloise’s quilt label

I’m so pleased to have this quilt finished and tickled that Eloise loves it.  That’s what really makes it all worthwhile.

What quilt projects have you been working on?  I would love to hear about them.

Happy Sewing!


Note:  If you would like to make your own Princess and the Pea quilt, it is available as a pattern that can be purchased locally at the Quilt Crossing or online at Craftsy.



Finished Product

Welcome Wyatt

Our niece, Mandy, is expecting and recently found out that she is having a baby boy.  As you can imagine, everyone is anxious to welcome a new bouncing baby boy to the family.

Last Sunday, her mother, Romy, gave her a baby shower and it was fun to make a few baby boy items, as I usually am sewing for our two granddaughters.  I found out the baby’s name is going to be Wyatt and the nursery has a “Whale” theme.  I was in a time crunch to make a baby quilt, so thought instead I would purchase a cozy blanket and add a whale appliqué with my embroidery machine.  Below is the baby blanket I prepared for our new nephew.

The Appliquéd Whale Baby Blanket I Prepared for Wyatt
The appliquéd whale baby blanket I prepared for Wyatt

To make this blanket, I was so fortunate to first find an adorable chevron patterned plush baby blanket in the exact colors I wanted to use.  In addition to that, there was a really cute whale bib that I determined, with a few minor adjustments, would make an adorable appliqué for the blanket.  After purchasing the bib, I carefully cut away the long blue straps and pinned the body of the whale to the blanket.

Baby blanket I purchased
Baby blanket I purchased
Adorable Whale Bib
Adorable Whale Bib







Then I sewed an edge stitch around the appliqué to attach the whale to the blanket and was pleased with the end result.

Sewing the whale to the blanket
Sewing the whale to the blanket

Next, I focused on a few more items for Wyatt.  While shopping, I found a set of cute onesies that had a nautical theme and one of them even had a print with tiny whales.

Set of nautical onesies for Wyatt
Set of nautical onesies for Wyatt
Custom onesie for Wyatt
Custom onesie for Wyatt









It’s always fun to personalize a few items for a baby shower, so I embroidered another Onesie with Wyatt’s name.

Customizing Oshkosh T-Shirt
Customizing Oshkosh T-Shirt
Something for Daddy too
Something for Daddy too







Since there are usually a lot of baby items that include a comment about Mommy, I thought it would be fun to personalize a little shirt that Daddy would like too.  I added “Daddy’s Helper, Wyatt” to a cute little Oshkosh T-Shirt that I had purchased – it was fun to choose the designs to complement this cute little shirt.

Adorable Whale Cake
Adorable Whale Cake

The shower was a lot of fun and Romy did a great job with the “whale” theme, including an adorable whale cake.

Mandy holding her new whale blanket
Mandy holding her new whale blanket

Best of all, Mandy received so many wonderful gifts and seemed to really enjoy herself.  I was tickled that she also enjoyed the items I had made for her and Wyatt.

Have you made any shower gifts lately?  If so, I would love to see them.  It seems with Spring around the corner, there will be more shower invitations for bridal or baby.  Such a fun time of year.

Happy sewing!




Finished Product

Asian Memories Quilt

In April, 2007, we took an amazing two week trip to China to visit Andy and Alecia.  To commemorate our visit, I made a quilt that I gave to them as a Thank You gift.

Asian Memories Quilt made to commemorate our 2007 Trip to China
Asian Memories Quilt made to commemorate our 2007 Trip to China

When we arrived, it was my birthday, so Alecia greeted me at the airport with beautiful flowers and also surprised me with a lovely birthday cake when we arrived at their apartment.  It was very thoughtful.  The best gift of all was seeing her and Andy!

My birthday flowers and cake
My birthday flowers and cake

While we were in China, we spent time in Shanghai, where Andy and Alecia were living.

View from Alecia and Andy's Apartment
View from Alecia and Andy’s Apartment
Copy of IMG_2715
Living Room


Alecia & Andy's Home in China (on 27th Floor)
Alecia & Andy’s Home in China (on 27th Floor)

It was quite a change from their home in the North End in Boise as you can see…















We also toured Beijing and climbed the Great Wall and saw the Ming tombs.

Marv on the Great Wall
Marv on the Great Wall
Ready to climb the Great Wall
Ready to climb the Great Wall










We attended Kung Fu theatre and the Peking Opera.  So many sites to see and we hiked into the Forbidden City, Tinanmen Square and the Summer Palace.

Tinanmen Square


Our Most Excellent Tour Guides at the Summer Palace
Our Most Excellent Tour Guides at the Summer Palace








Of course, there was some shopping at the pearl, jade, cloisonné and fabric markets.

Jane at the Pearl Market
Jane at the Pearl Market
I found "My Store"...
I found “My Store”…














We also visited the water town of Suzhou…

Canal in Suzhou
Canal in Suzhou

and hiked through the Administrator’s Garden.

The Administrator's Garden
The Administrator’s Garden
Touring the Administrator's Garden
Touring the Administrator’s Garden









It was an incredible trip and when I made their quilt, I found fabric that reminded me of some of the birds we saw in the Administrator’s Garden.  The pattern I used for the quilt was called BQ from Maple Island quilts.

Close-up of quilting by Evette Ebaugh
Close-up of quilting by Evette Ebaugh
Another close-up of quilting
Another close-up of quilting










After the quilting, the finishing touch was the label that summarized our most excellent adventure!

Copy of the Quilt's Label
Copy of the Quilt’s Label

It was a trip of a lifetime and we had so much fun.  The best part of the trip was  spending time with Alecia and Andy and seeing how well they had adapted to their new home in Shanghai.  They were very comfortable in China and did a great job as guides during our visit.

Quilts are a great way to commemorate a significant event in our lives.  What quilts have you made to help remember a special time or a special someone?

I hope you are enjoying this beautiful August weather.

Happy Sewing!






Finished Product, Gift Idea, Kitchen Accessories, New Patterns

Anna’s Apron – My New Pattern…

Last year, I made an apron for a gift exchange for our annual investment club’s Christmas party.  The girls really liked the apron I made and the final recipient said she loves to wear it because it is not only cute, but extremely practical as she no longer has to search for a kitchen towel when she is working in her kitchen.  Both of my daughters suggested that I should  create a pattern for it so I could share it with others, so…  

My first prototype of Anna's Apron with Terry Cloth Kitchen Towel and Route 66 themed fabric

I’m pleased to introduce my new pattern, Anna’s Apron.  The wonderful thing about this apron is that once you have it on, you always have a kitchen towel within your reach because it is the base of your apron.

Terry Cloth Apron with Optional Pocket

The pattern includes 2 different versions for the waistband as well as an optional pocket pattern piece and has detailed instructions and illustrations that walk you through the apron’s construction, step by step.   It is a fun and easy pattern to make.

The apron is a great gift idea and can be personalized for almost any occasion.  It is the perfect solution for those hard-to-shop for people on your gift lists. 

Anna's Apron with Woven Kitchen Towel as Base

You can also make the apron using a woven cotton kitchen towel.  I prefer the terry cloth towel because of the body and absorbency it provides and it is more wrinkle resistant. 

What I enjoy most about this pattern is that you can easily personalize the apron and really make it meaningful to the recipient,.  I have several pieces of fabric that I have collected for future aprons that will be a lot of fun to give because the theme of the fabric is relevant to the recipient.  For example, I have some fabric that has a coffee theme and the resulting apron will be a gift for my favorite coffee connoisseur.     The jumbo rickrack is a fun accent and perfect trim for this pattern.

This Apron has fabric with theme of San Francisco on Terry Cloth
Pat, my Apron Model


If you would like a  pattern, you can purchase a copy on Etsy  or by replying to this blog post.  It is also available locally in Boise at the Quilt Crossing. I think you will find this pattern to be a fun apron for yourself as well as for others.  You’ll be amazed at how handy it is to have your kitchen towel “at hand”.   I would love to see some of your finished projects and hope you will share pictures of them.   I also want to thank my friend, Pat Henderson, for being the lovely model for my apron pattern. 

Pattern Cover

I’m excited to share this new pattern with you and hope you will give it a try.

Happy Stitching!


Finished Product, Gift Idea, New Patterns

New Kit Available – Ride ‘Em Cow Girl (or Cow Boy) Western Paper Doll Play Quilt Kit

Belén with her Western Paper Doll Quilt

For Christmas this year, I made our granddaughter, Belén, a western play quilt.  It became one of her favorite toys to play with and she really enjoys it. 

Belén dressing the dolls in her quilt.

I had several requests for a kit for the western play quilt and am pleased to announce the “Ride ‘em Cow Girl (or Cow Boy) Western Paper Doll Play Quilt” kit.

The finished play quilt is 50” x 42” with little cow boys and cow girls as the main focus on the center fabric of the quilt.  They are all ready to be dressed in their western wear that is on a separate coordinated fabric.  The coordinating outfits will be backed with fusible fleece (included in the kit), to help keep them in place, even when the quilt is in an upright position.  

Close up of Western Clothes and Gear for Paper Dolls and Horses

The cost for the kit is $59.00 and includes all the 100% cotton fabric for the quilt top and borders as well as the fabric for clothing and gear for the paper dolls and horses, including:

  • Pattern with detailed instructions for making the play quilt and western clothing and gear for dolls and horses.
  • Fabric for main focus fabric with horses, cow girls and cowboys on it.
  • Blue fabric for outside border of quilt that has boots, ropes, horseshoes & cowboy gear
  • Fabric for paper dolls’ western clothing and western gear
  • Fusible fleece for the backing of the paper doll western clothing and gear
  • I will make a custom label with your child’s name (4 lines maximum) and your own personal message that you can put on the back of your finished quilt – see sample below.  The cost for the label is $10.00.
Quilt with all the paper dolls and horses dressed

You’ll need an additional 2 ½ yards (42” fabric) or 1 ½ yards (60” fabric) for backing and 3/8 yard for binding.  (Note:   I used a minkee cowhide print for backing Belén’s play quilt.)

This is a fun project to make for your little cow poke.  It is an easy pattern to follow and sew and does not take long to complete.  Once it is finished, you’ll be amazed how well it will entertain your little buckaroo. 

Finishing Touch - Custom Label will be included with your kit

If you would like to order your kit today, please leave a comment to this blog post or send me an email at:  [email protected].

Thank you and Happy Sewing!


Bias Trim, Finished Product, Gift Idea, Kitchen Accessories, New Patterns, Serger Option

New Pattern for Cake and Casserole Carrier with Potholders

Casserole Carrier with Potholders and outer spoon pocket
Fresh off the press!!!  I’m excited to share my new pattern for a very handy item – a cake and casserole carrier.     I made one for myself many years ago and after numerous requests, have recently made it into a pattern to share with others.
This view shows the inner pocket and lining

It is an easy to make pattern for a very practical item. If you make this for yourself, you will discover that this carrier will be one of your favorite items to use to transport hot dishes or cakes to your next picnic or social event.

The pattern includes 2 versions of the carrier and potholders.  Instructions are included for 2 types of edge finishes, a bias trim edge as shown in the previous pictures and a serged edge finish as shown below.
A carrier with a serged edge finish and inside spoon pocket
 It’s also a great gift idea that will be used over and over again.   This pattern will quickly become one of your favorites and if you can’t find a pre-quilted fabric in the kitchen colors you want, you can simply make your own quilted fabric to use.  What a great way to practice your free motion quilting.
Don’t forget the pair of matching potholders…

This is also a great project to use a binder attachment, if you have one for your machine.  I was able to make the models you see in the pictures using Bernina’s Binder Attachment #88 and it worked great.The pattern is currently available at Etsy and is also available locally in Boise at the Quilt Crossing.

I will be teaching a class using this pattern on Tuesday, June 12th at the Quilt Crossing, which should be a lot of fun.  I need to caution you, this pattern can be addictive! Happy Sewing…Jane