Category Archives: Sewing

#SOL22: Projects

Is it the planning?

Executing the plan?

Revisions along the way?

Successful completion?

The “Thanks” upon receipt.

A brief review of the last few quilts.

Graduation 2022

Quilts of Valor

And a baby gift!

My Perspective:

It’s all about the gifting!

Just some of my 2022 creations.

What are you creating? What part of the process is your favorite and why?


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#SOL22: Friggatriskaidekaphobia

A target on the calendar.

Just a number.

But . . .

It started like any ordinary day.

Normal. Normal coffee. Normal reading. Normal writing. Normal or at least routine emails. Off to sew. Deadlines looming on several projects. The simultaneity of multiple projects in varying stages.

Attaching the binding. There’s the first inkling. It’s not attached. I can see the tiny row of stitching marks but there is no thread there. Tiny, threadless holes.

Best seam ever.

No bobbin thread. Must resew AFTER filling a bobbin or two.

What should be automatic descends into a time-crushing task. The thread spins off the bobbin as I let go. The crease in my finger stings as I rethread the bobbin. That’s two.

The phone interrupts. My hope of efficiently completing this task . . .

Not going to happen!

The phone call leads to another and then a quick email. Time races by.

The binding task incomplete. Actually barely begun. I opt for re-pressing the project to regain my momentum. I load the newly filled bobbin, pull up the thread, center the needle and lower the presser foot.

AND press the foot pedal to sew.


No motor.

No needle stitching away.


And that’s THREE! It’s been hours. Nothing completed. And now the machine has decided to be contrary.

I check the power connection. It feels solid. Pull it off and reconnect.

I press the foot pedal again.


No silence around me as the air is filled with painful utterances. I’m down to a very short amount of “free time” left. It would be nice to complete something. Anything.

I press the foot pedal again. Still nothing.

As I pick up my glass of warm water where the ice has slowly disappeared, I notice the light is not on.

The light is not on.

Silly me.

I had turned the power switch off.

Of course the foot pedal was inactive.

Strike three on Friday the thirteenth was ALL on me.

No light. Power off. No foot pedal! What a ditzy move!

And now an easy solution to what had seemed like a schedule-altering, impossible to recover from, Friday the thirteenth comedy of errors.

How was your Friday the 13th? Were you anxious about the possibilities of ill fate? Did you even recognize the enormity of the date?


Frigga being the name of the Norse goddess for whom “Friday” is named and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen.Jan 13, 2011

Google definition


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#SOL22: Rehearsal

Decision freeze is a real thing.

Which red? Which white? Which blue? Print? Solid? Stars or not? Big print or little?he

It began with one pattern, then a panel, and then pictures to re-create and innovate.

The first was a pattern. Lovingly. Carefully. Thoughtfully. Each part chosen for the way they would fit together in the whole.

And here’s the draft.

New skills: applique stars and then two color flange binding (not seen in this iteration)

Quilt 1

And then because of a picture. . .

I had to determine the size of the squares, the dimensions of the stripes and the fabric for the squares. And then on to matching the picture in my head with the one on my table.

Quilt 2

The process is never complete until the edges are bound.

Binding (Measure, Cut, Sew, Press)

Ending with a mitered seam for the strength in seams sewn at angles.

Binding 2 (measure, mark, sew, trim, press, check)

And a star copied from another quilt top . . . still in progress.

Last week I put together three quilt tops as I get ready for our May Quilt Guild meeting. Do you see the theme that has emerged? In June, local veterans will receive “Quilts of Valor.” There are requirements. Size. Fabric Quality. Pre-washed. Labelled. . . My goal is to complete six. My uncle needs one so his may be included in that six. Six in a month.

One is done. One is ready for the binding to be hand sewn. Two more tops are constructed.

Two more weeks.

More rehearsal so that each quilt I construct improves and my skills sharpen.

Quilts of Valor

Quilts = Healing link

What are you doing in your community to help or heal others? Where might you begin?


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#SOLSC22: 29

Day 29 of the 2022 Slice of Life Story Challenge

Then and Now


Three girls

Book lovers



Farm living

And all spaced out

A gap of five

and then a gap of seven –

Twelve from top to bottom

Sharing a room

Similar but not exactly alike




Book lovers


People connectors

Flower lovers



and crafters

Connected with texts, emails, Twitter and phone calls.

Pictures, jokes, and news flow back and forth.

Similar but not exactly alike.

Today I thank my two sisters who have allowed me to “get it done” when they were more inclined to approach tasks more collaboratively or at a different pace. You’ve taught me so much. Thanks, Sherry and Pat, for being models of grace, a source of inspiration, and the best sisters possible.

How do you describe your siblings? How would you describe them at different points in your life?


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum during the month of March.

Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOLSC22: 24

It’s day 24 of the Slice of Life Story Challenge for 2022. (one week remains!)

One highly researched and effective reading intervention is Reading Recovery. I’ve calculated the cost savings when one student is successful in Reading Recovery and does not enter into special education.

I’m going to use $4900 as the per pupil allotment for each resource student in Iowa. It’s a rounded number for illustrative purposes.

If Reading Recovery helps one student be successful in reading, the student saves:

  • grade 2 $4900
  • grade 3 $4900
  • grade 4 $4900
  • grade 5 $4900
  • grade 6 $4900
  • grade 7 $4900
  • grade 8 $4900
  • grade 9 $4900
  • grade 10 $4900
  • grade 11 $4900
  • grade 12 $4900

Cumulative savings from grade 2 through grade 12 = $53,900.

Of course there are costs associated with Reading Recovery, but if two students are successful each year, Reading Recovery has paid for itself in savings.

A teacher leader in Reading Recovery leads professional development, teaches behind the glass, and observes teachers teaching. In some ways that work is similar to a consultant’s work: PD, demonstration teaching and classroom observations.

Yay, commonalities.

Our lives also intersect on Twitter, sometimes in chats, or also just some random retweets!

We’ve participated in multiple book studies: Including What Readers Really Do as well as online groups.

We’ve attended institutes where we’ve enjoyed the sights and sounds of The Big Apple.

We’ve shared stories of our families.

We love to learn.

Thank you, Sandy Brumbaum, for helping me strive for both joy and balance in my personal and professional life.

Photo by Alexas_Fotos on Unsplash

How do you find both joy and balance at work? At home? Who do you use as sounding boards?


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum during the month of March.

Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL22: Retreat

To back up, to begin again.

To treat myself . . . AGAIN. A re-treat!

Both of these definitions seemed to fit. On New Year’s Eve, I committed to a three day retreat. Tasks to complete. Start the year off right. Time to get a positive flow. All of these were a part of my thoughts as I agreed and packed up.

Christmas was special. So many handmade gifts that made my heart happy to share.

9 patch ornaments
Mario blankets
Tote bags
Wall hangings

And then 2022 enters. A graduate. More birthdays. Another Christmas to plan for. And yes, dedicated time to begin during the second week of January.

Beginning with a plan. And some flexibility. (More ideas/projects than could ever be completed.)

A community. The only one I knew in advance was our hostess. Agreeing to spend the majority of the time during our 72 hours with strangers. Would that make it easier to spend our time working instead of chatting and socializing? I was about to find out how it feels to join a “new” community.

Processes. Laughter. Learning. Doing. Talk. So many parallels to a reading community, a writing community, a conference . . .

Result: Two graduation quilt tops finished. One for 2022. One for 2023.

What are you planning to accomplish in 2022? How will you measure success? What processes will guide you?


12 new friends, planning for the next retreat, considering “show and tell” and practicing what I have learned. Win/Win! Huge success. And new sewing machine purchased to move beyond a straight stitch and zigzag. A small step forward into 2022.


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum.

Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL22: Foreshadowing

Totally, that kind of a day. Cold. AGAIN. The average daily temp for January is 35 degrees. Staying 15 to 20 degrees below that average is just cold. Tiring. Causing weary bones.

It was not a good day to sew. 15 minutes of stitching around the edges of an 18 inch square was followed by over an hour of “ribbit” – ripping every single, stinking stitch out. So not right! The outside shape was a parallelogram. Not a square. UGH, Geometry! Not the picture in my brain or the one that matched the lines in the plaid.

Following directions was not helpful today. My #OLW “Be patient” was tested. At least three times or more.The air fryer cookbook said six hard-boiled eggs emerge after 15 minutes at 250 degrees. WRONG! The egg white was gooey, icky and totally gag worthy. Trash can ready. Not even soft boiled. GROSS! Beyond disgusting.

The good news was that the other five eggs went back into the air fryer and the egg whites are now solid. Same time as on the stove. No water necessary. The verdict on this methodology has not yet been released.

What will be my choice next?

These are my tools. Which should I use first?

Eggs? Breakfast pizza? Cinnamon rolls? Doughnuts? Banana bread? What should I bake in the air fryer next? Will the recipe be accurate in terms of time and temperature and yield a tasty outcome? What do you predict?


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#SOL21: And Next . . .

“Five more minutes to finish this, and then two minutes to tidy up,

And then I am done for tonight.”

That’s my announcement. Great work session. Making progress. But it’s almost 11 pm and it’s time to shut down for the night.

‘Tis the season. Flurries twice. Thanksgiving is in the rear view mirror. December arrives shortly. And . . .

I’m done with all my big Christmas presents. They are out of my hands. Some will still have some finishing touches, perhaps some embellishment. And ah, yes, some binding. But the initial creations are done.

Tonight I had a leisurely opportunity to work on some squares for my own quilt. My first quilt. My first real project for myself.

It began with a quilt in a shop. I snapped a picture. I was looking for a square to use for my KISS block at Quilt Club. The quilt grew on me. Not exactly as in the format in my picture but that basic plan.


Design the square.


Find coordinating fabrics

(And not those PASTELS in the original)

Three coordinating fabrics in each color.

(Took two shops!)

Organize the purple, blue, green, red, and yellows.

Revise the quilt square pattern.

Start sewing.

Two strips and then cut to a 3″ by 5.5″ rectangle.

Sew 2 rectangles together to form a square with black squares ascending.

Carefully trim.

Keeping the parts of the block square from the beginning is important!

Match each assembled block with a medium block in a coordinating color.

A partial look at the rows.

I did not see the original name. I consider the possibilities for a name for the quilt top. I called it stepping up as the black steps rise up into heaven. There will be alternating rows. Right now I’m leaning towards a 10 ” by 10″ pattern.

Approximately 100 squares. 50 plain and 50 of these sewn squares. No deadlines YET. 18 squares sewn! (36% of the sewn squares are already completed!)

My creative endeavor. Maybe it will be done in 2022 . . . or not! Here are the four squares just added.

When do you create something for yourself? What’s your process? How do you set goals?


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum.

Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL21: In Search Of . . .

Hunting for something unique.

Listing. Searching. Scrolling. Searching.

Hmmm. Closer.

But do I really like it well enough that I will still like it six months from now when I return to it?

Scrolling. Staring. Questioning. Scrolling.


Now on to the hard part.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

I need three that go together – three.

And then probably four sets of three . . . or more.

I ask for help.

I want assistance.

I want reassurance.

Will I really like these tomorrow? Or will I be replacing them that quickly?

I take a risk.

I choose something I’ve never chosen for myself.


An easy way to add another dimension.

And then the unthinkable.

Although it’s for me, I choose pink.

Why pink?

Because it is new and fresh.

Rethinking past choices.

Revisiting new possibilities.

Opportunities to break away from past choices

To enjoy newfound freedom.

Beginning with blue, green, purple and pink.

‘How do you “choose” new projects? Where does your inspiration come from?

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum.

Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL21: Point of View

About five months ago, we “seemed” more optimistic. Some pandemic numbers were headed in the right direction. There were more mandates and then evil seemed to form this schism wider and deeper than the Grand Canyon.

Black or white

Empty or full

Nothing seemed quite so simple.

I blogged about point of view here.

As school begins/continues/or is perhaps even delayed . . .

here’s some food for thought.

Give yourself grace. Pause. Think. Take a deep breath. Listen to understand.

Is it really this simple?

It’s not easy. There are multiple “sides/views” of every interaction.

Solutions require us to look each other in the eye.

We must let go of the old and ineffective beliefs and practices.

We cannot grab onto the “new and shiny” promise dangled in front of us.

We must center students and their identities in all that we plan and do.

We cannot let fear keep us from embracing the work needed for our students to flourish.

We must stand together in unity.

We cannot stand by when loud voices take over the bully pulpit.

What can you personally do? What are you WILLING to do?


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum.

Check out the writers and readers here.

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