2018 Quilting & Sewing Recap

One of the reasons I blog is to keep track of the progress on projects I start. Most are home and yard DIY, but it’s nice to look back and see what I’ve made with my sewing machine. I got a late start on sewing projects in 2018 because of our move to Idaho. The first project was getting my new sewing room setup. It seems like there was one setback after another getting the room done. When we pulled up the old carpet, the floor was uneven and the wood stove had been installed over the carpet so we had to dismantle the stove to put the flooring under it. Once I got my sewing center setup, the cable broke on the lift for my sewing machine so I ordered a new cable but the order got lost. That was another month of waiting. Finally in mid-August, I was ready to unpack.

Before flooring and painting
Flooring and painting done on right side of room
Moving in desk and sewing center
Sewing center setup on my mod rug
Getting organized and displaying my mini quilts
Ready for sewing!
A room with a view

The first thing I made was a starburst quilt top in oranges and whites. I had participated in a quilt swap where you send in any number of 10″ squares of orange fabric and you get that number back in different fabrics. I saw this starburst pattern on Pinterest and knew it was perfect for my pile of orange squares.

Piles of orange fabric
Marking white squares in preparation for making 200 half-square triangles
Years ago I bought this ruler called the Bloc-Loc. It has ridge on the underside that locks onto the seam for trimming perfect blocks.
These Clover clips are my new favorite. I may never use pins again.
What happens when you turn on the fan and you haven’t pinned the blocks to the design wall
Sewing the blocks into rows

My next project was a quilt-along sponsored by Bernina. For their 125th anniversary, they designed a quilt with embroidered motifs. I thought it would be a good way to learn how to use the embroidery features on my Bernina 765. Unfortunately, the first time I took the embroidery module out of the box and tried using it, it made a hideous noise. It went in for repairs in October and they are still waiting for parts. I hope to finish this quilt in 2019.

Most participants are using the gold Bernina fabrics designed for the challenge, but I decided to go with blues and white. I’ve been on a blue and white kick lately.

I learned how to use the adjustable seam guide on my Bernina, and these may be the best points I’ve ever sewn.
Blocks completed and auditioned on a background fabric
On the design wall awaiting the embroidered motifs
The embroidery will go in the little white square…one day.

Years ago, I learned how to make a reversible hooded flannel jacket for kids. I even taught a class on how to make it a few times. So when my grandkids came to visit, I made them these jackets. In the past, I used a Simplicity pattern but I couldn’t find it again. I ventured into the online world of downloadable PDF patterns and found this cute jacket pattern from Stitch Upon a Time. I definitely want to try more garment sewing in the future, and these downloadable patterns seem to be the way to go.

Taping the printed pattern pieces together
Cutting out the body pieces
Completed jacket for my grandson. His favorite color is green.
Finished jacket for my granddaughter. Her nickname is Pen-Gwen.

Time for some Christmas sewing. I made these Kate Spain advent stockings for my granddaughter. The point turner was my best friend while making these 24 little stockings!

Twenty-four little stockings ready to be filled with treats

One of the quilters I follow on Instagram posted this Noodlehead Range backpack she had made, and I thought it would be fun to make for my girls for Christmas. I ended up making four and keeping one for myself. Since I used quilting cottons from my fabric stash, I had to reinforce them with canvas to make the backpacks stiffer. I broke quite a few needles going through all the layers. I also learned how to insert a zipper.

Interior and exterior parts cut and labelled
Making straps and connectors
Sewing up the side seams and using the awesome Clover clips again
The broken needles pile
Blue backpacks with denim bottoms
Black and white backpacks with cork bottoms

I finished out the year with a little utility sewing. I made flannel sheets for our RV since we would be traveling in December. RV mattresses are odd sizes and finding sheets is difficult. I order the 108″ wide flannel usually used for quilt backs to make a flat sheet, a fitted sheet, and two pillow cases. No pictures of these.

I also made rice filled hand-warmers from some scraps of sock monkey flannel. Just stitch up a little pouch, fill with rice, stitch closed, and then microwave. They really work!

I got a little carried away making hand warmers

So that wraps up my 2018 quilting and sewing projects. In 2019, I’m making some sample quilts for a new class I will be teaching in June. I also need to finish up a few quilts I started in 2017. I would also like to try my hand at garment sewing.

Road to California

On December 16, we embarked on a 17-day journey from Northern Idaho to Central California and back in our fifth wheel.   The first obstacle to overcome was getting out of our driveway.  Shawn had to buy studded snow tires and chains for the truck.  Our neighbors, Rich and Kyle, did their best to help us out by plowing as much snow and ice as possible off of our downhill driveway.  When Shawn went to buy the snow tires and chains, Rich chained his truck to Shawn’s to prevent Shawn from sliding down the driveway.  It was a scary drive in the early morning darkness, but Shawn successfully navigated us down the driveway to the main road before removing the chains.

The next obstacle was the weather.  We ended up leaving a day earlier than planned in order to miss a storm.  We drove six hours to Portland the first day.  Eastern Washington is far from picturesque, especially in the winter.  We stayed at the Sandy Riverfront RV Park in Troutdale, Oregon.  Troutdale is a cute little town and their main street was decorated for Christmas.  We enjoyed dinner and martinis at Troutini.  Our waitress encouraged us to come back for New Year’s Eve on our return trip.

The Christmas lights in Troutdale

Martini with color changing ice fish at Troutini

The next stop was South Beach State Park in Newport, Oregon.  Once again we stayed at a park that we visited on our previous trip.  Living in landlocked Idaho, Shawn knew I needed my dose of ocean views.  We just beat the storm, and we were able to take a long walk on the beach.  That night, our trailer was shaking fiercely in the 35 mph wind and rain.

Winter driving conditions

South Beach, Oregon

You’ve gotta stop at Rogue Brewing when traveling along the Oregon coast

We stopped in Bandon, Oregon, home of Face Rock Creamery and the import store with all the dinosaurs.  Face Rock still makes the best mac & cheese in my book, and the clerk told us the recipe is available online.  We bought a frozen mac to go along with a healthy supply of Vampire Slayer garlic cheddar.  No additional dinosuars came home with us this trip.

A menagerie of metal animals past and present

In Gold Beach, we stayed at Turtle Rock RV Resort.  As you can see from the picture, winter RV’ing is not so popular in the Pacific North West, but the solitude makes it much easier to park!  We enjoyed an evening with Shawn’s niece and her family.

Now I know why it’s named Turtle Rock. I totally missed that last trip.

Our first stop in California was in Trinidad, a cute seaside town with an incredible smoked fish shop.  It was a beautiful, sunny day, so after lunch, we took a 2-mile hike before getting back in the truck to head to Garberville for the night.

The Cool Bus

That was the end of the relaxing, leisurely, sightseeing portion of our trip.  After that, our days were packed with visits with family and friends.  We spent the night at Cal Expo RV Park in Sacramento, had lunch with our daughter and the grandkids, and dinner with our friend Jerry.  Traffic and 5-lane freeways were a rude awakening.  The stress level instantly increased.

Then it was on to Fresno to visit our son and the Scharton clan.  Some of the highlights included sampling the local breweries, an introduction to mulcajetes, lots of good Mexican food that we don’t have in Idaho, a Zumba class led by my sister-in-law, and Christmas Eve dinner with family and old friends.  We parked in my brother’s driveway for the duration.  I’m sure the neighbors were thrilled when we packed up and left at 5:30 Christmas morning for a hair-raising drive through the tule fog back to Sacramento.

The molten goodness that is a mulcajete

Enjoying a beer by the fire at Tioga Sequoia Brewing

Gift exchange with the Schartons

We made it to Elk Grove in time to watch the grandkids open their presents Christmas morning.  Shawn’s brother hosted Christmas dinner.  Only in California can you serve Christmas dinner outside on the patio.  Sure, there was a heater and a fire pit, but we won’t be doing that in Idaho in December.

Gift exchange with the Echols

On Boxing Day, we drove to San Francisco to visit our youngest son.  We’ve always gone over the Bay Bridge, but this time we took the Golden Gate Bridge.  It was so much nicer; I may never use the Bay Bridge again.  It was a rare sunny day in San Francisco, so we enjoyed a long walk through Golden Gate Park and a Korean lunch of bi bim bab (not commonly found in Idaho).

It was fun seeing the kids decorate their trees with old family ornaments

The next two days were filled with lunches and dinners with old friends and co-workers.  So much to catch up on and to remind us how much we are enjoying retirement.  We spent four days in Sacramento before heading home to Idaho.  We picked up a cold along the way and just wanted to get home.  The return trip was only two stops compared to the five days we took on the way down.

Shawn’s nephew made some repairs on the RV while we were in town

Gratuitous granddaughter picture from Stephanie’s birthday lunch

I’d tell you which mountain this is, but I was taking a lot of cold medication at the time of the photograph

NYE back at Troutini, we just wanted to go to bed at 7PM

Kyle towing us up the driveway to our Home Sweet Home

We arrived home the afternoon of January 1st and our neighbor Kyle was waiting at the end of the driveway to tow us home.  The trip was fun, adventurous, and exhausting.  It was wonderful to see all of our California family and friends again.  Now it’s time to look through all the seed catalogs that were awaiting us on our return.  Spring is just around the corner…she says hopefully.