Monday, January 17, 2022

Sally's Creative Recommendations: January Takeover

Hi, this is Sally here to take over as Darlene isn't listening to me.  She is busy free-motion/rulerwork quilting on her King size Nine Sisters quilt.  Hard to see her sewing on her Babylock Solaris 2, behind a bundle of quilt bunched up on her table.  But from time to time she pops her head up and smiles!  I think she'll share something with you soon.  

As I've been trying to get Darlene to create one of my ideas for Valentine's Day and not seeing any signs she is interested, I thought I'd share some of them with you today.  But first, don't ignore that you can make Valentine's Day special with very simple forms of creativity.  

Here are just a few of my ideas:

All Women Stalk has fun ideas for Heart shaped food.

The Jolly Jabber (Fat Quarter Shop) has a free pattern to make an adorable Heart quilt, as well as a Heart cross stitch design.

Sew Very Crafty has a tutorial to make a sweet Heart Shaped Pot Holder.  Wouldn't this be fun in cheerful Valentine's fabrics?

We All Sew, by Bernina has a tutorial showing you how to stitch a heart coaster.

Also, We All Sew, by Bernina has a tutorial to make an adorable scrappy Valentine Mug Rug.

The Exploding Hearts quilt, designed by Slice of Pi Quilts, would make a wonderful gift for Valentine's Day.  But you may want to make more than one, so you can keep one for yourself!

Geta's Quilting Studio has a free pattern to make a heart placemat and coaster set.

Simply Sweet Mats, by Shabby Fabrics is adorable.  I confess I'd love to dine on heart shaped nuts (or any nut) on top of this mat.  I'll drop another hint for Darlene to  make it for me!

Leah Day has a class where you can learn/improve your freemotion quilting skills and make a stunning whole cloth quilt with beautiful hearts and feathers.  I signed Darlene up for this class several years ago and she loved the class, as well as the whole cloth quilt she made during the online workshop!

Amy at the Polka Dot Chair has a tutorial to make a fabric envelope perfect to hold a card, note and/or some treats to give to a special someone.

So Fontsy has a fun tutorial to create Wire Wrapped Words which would make a great gift, as well as decoration.  Consider doing a spin off of this theme applied to quilting!

For those who love machine embroidery:

 San Francisco Stitch Company has a lovely design for a mug rug or postcard:

Kreative Kiwi has a free ITH Heart Coaster.  I inspired Darlene to make these and she had a blast making them for gifts, as well as for our home!

Kreative Kiwi also has a sweet ITH bear and sleeping bag design that is FREE!    I inspired Darlene to make these for Valentine's gifts several years ago and I hope she will make them again this year (for gifts to our neighbor's children).

Lastly, I want to let you know about a fun and free event.  AccuQuilt is hosting a Slumber Party, Tuesday, January  18th - 12pm - 1pm CST.  It is free to attend and Shannon Fabrics is a sponsor, so there will be some super comfy door prize giveaways too!  Click here to sign up!

Thanks for popping by today.  I hope you like the creative ideas I shared with you today.  I have loads more and can come up with creative ideas faster than I can eat free peanuts, so I'm always delighted to share some of my ideas with you.  I really don't understand why Darlene doesn't create something for every idea I give her!

Friday, January 7, 2022

Fun Friday - Let's Chat About Spreading Kindness and Happy Mail


Happy Friday.  Sally and I hope you have a Fun Friday, full of joy and creativity too!  Today we want to discuss some fun topics with you and also solicit your ideas.  Please feel free to leave a comment or send us an email if you have any ideas to share with us.

Sally wants to share ideas for showing Kindness to Hummingbirds in cold Winter months by adopting a variety of ways you can keep Hummingbird feeders from freezing.  Click here for info.

Sally also wants to remind everyone that simple acts of kindness can spread smiles by painting a rock and leaving it for someone to find.

Sally and I also love to send Happy Mail surprise packages!  While we are not trying to solicit Happy Mail being sent to us, we do enjoy receiving it.  But we are uncertain if we should share on our blog when we do receive such?  We'd like to show it off, to recognize and thank the sender, as well as share inspirational ideas for what one might want to share via Happy Mail.  But again, we just don't want to act like we are soliciting packages to be sent to us?  So, what do you think?  Should we share insights about Happy Mail we receive ?  Can you tell we are struggling with how to handle this topic?

For those not familiar with Happy Mail, it really is just about anything you can mail that can let someone know you are thinking of them and might make them smile!  It could be a simple note, a card, a mug rug, luggage tag, bookmark, etc..  The possibilities are endless and it is so fun to "surprise" the recipient in that they don't know something is coming in the mail, just for them!  What a great way to spread kindness.

How to become a Happy Mailer ?   Anyone can send Happy Mail.  Sally and I hope you will join us where you send out at least one Happy Mail to people you care about and want to let them know you are thinking about them and sending happy thoughts their way.  

Need ideas for what to include when you send a Happy Mail ?

Sally comes up with great ideas for including in our Happy Mail packages.  She often says she helps to make them, but I think she just comes up with ideas.  She just spotted a new series of mug rug machine embroidery designs, for "Birthday Month".  She thinks this would be a great item to include to send out a Happy Mail package in the month of your birthday.  What do you think?  For those who enjoy stitching machine embroidery you can check out the lst release in this collection (January) at San Francisco Stitch Co.

Darlene is also making "Button Boats", using a pattern designed by Lazy Girl Designs.  These are great for organizing a sewing room, or just about anything.  They are also easy, fun and fast to make. And, you can lay them flat to mail!

How to receive a Happy Mail package from us ? Our goal is to send 1-3 Happy Mail packages every month this year.  We randomly select blog followers who sign up (see button on right hand column, or click here).  You only need to sign up 1 time, but you do need to be a blog follower.  To clarify, this isn't an entry for a giveaway but a way for Sally and I to simply periodically send Happy Mail to true blog followers, to let them know we are thinking of them.

Sally and I also appreciate hearing your ideas for Happy Mail.  We do hope you will consider joining us in 2022, by sending out Happy Mail to anyone whom you want to send a smile too!  One can never have too many reasons to smile and surprises in the mail are a perfect way to let someone know you care!

Lastly, we hope you are having a Fun Friday and that you have a wonderful weekend with plenty of time to enjoy and create.  We'll be back on Monday, as we have plans to share some quilty things we've been working on.  Sally has also said she'll help me clean and organize my sewing room this weekend, but I hope you don't expect to see any photos on Monday.  Not going to happen anytime soon!

Friday, December 31, 2021

Fun Friday - Cheers To The New Year, Goals, and Fun 2022 Events

 I want to clarify I'm not a wild animal party person.  I don't like large crowds.  But as this is the last Friday of 2021, I'm feeling it is a time to party.  For me, that means more time creating!  And I'm happy to create virtually with you.

I'm also blessed with a husband who likes to cook. He is preparing a small Rack of Lamb dinner for our New Year's Eve dinner and I will prepare the side dishes!  It is just the two of us, in case you didn't pick up the obvious. What about your plans to celebrate the New Year?

Simply stated, "2021 S_ _ _ _ _".  But I'm seeing signs that 2022 is going to be amazing.  I'm eager to welcome in this New Year! And I hope it brings to you and yours a very Happy and Healthy New Year!  So let's "Cheers to the New Year" together!

For many years, as a New Year arrives, I look for the right word to drive me, to inspire me, throughout the coming year.  There are so many inspirational words I could pick:  Patience, Generosity, Happiness, Love, Simplify, Organization, Creativity etc..  For 2022, I've decided for me that "Kindness" is where I need to focus.  Too many people are in need of simple acts of kindness.  We need more hugs, more love, more time listening and definitely more need simple acts of Kindness. 2022 is not the year we can overlook the benefits of being kind to others.  This isn't a new word, nor a new need, but one which seems to be tugging at my heart strings even more, for where I need to focus in 2022.  So "Kindness" is my word.

Sally and I also want to share our goals for 2022 with you:

Darlene's goals for the year: 
  • Make handmade items and ship "Happy Mail" packages monthly to 1-2 blog followers.
  • Continue to learn and improve my cross stitch skills, making small projects as I travel.
  • Every month, make handmade items for gifts in Christmas 2022 vs waiting till the last minute.
  • Continue to learn/improve my free-motion/ruler work quilting skills
    • Nine Sisters King Size Quilt is waiting for Darlene to do more FMQ in background areas using various Ultimate Quilting Stencils by Cindy Needham, as well as ruler work quilting in borders using rulers designed by Amanda Murphy. Darlene's goal is to finish this quilt in January 2022.

    • Diamonds 2 QAL with Amanda Murphy. Sally talked Darlene into signing up for this QAL in 2021, to give Darlene an opportunity to continue to learn/improve her FMQ/Ruler Work Skills.  

  • Update older EQ tutorials and release for EQ8 users
  • Turn one of my unpublished quilt designs into a published  design
  • Turn one of my machine embroidery designs into a published design.
  • Blog 1-2 times weekly  

Sally's goals for the year:
  • Blog Takeover posts 1-3 times per month to share my amazing creative ideas (of which Darlene is clearly too slow to keep up with my creative ideas).
  • Make handmade gifts for Inner Squirrel friends
  • Help Darlene create using supplies which she is tripping over in her sewing room!  Ok, I think she is tripping over them as I pulled most of them out of their storage areas during the holidays. I had so many great handmade Holiday decoration and gift ideas, but once again, Darlene couldn't keep up with me.
  • How about some Birthday Mug Rugs for Blog Followers.  Do I get a woop-woop?

To help us with our goals, we will be participating in Patty Dudek's One Monthly Goal in 2022.  For January Darlene "wants" to finish FMQ on her Nine Sisters Quilt, but to set a realistic goal for January she has set the goal to finish FMQ in the negative space, and ruler work on the inner border.   Sally will be creating some Birthday Mug Rugs, which will be sent out in January as "surprise" Happy Mail to randomly selected blog followers.  And we are linking up to Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal January Link-up.

Sally also wants to let you know about some fun events which you may want to participate in:

AccuQuilt Event - New 2022 Die, Prizes from Northcott. But you need to sign up ASAP for this free event, as it is tomorrow, Tuesday, January 4tth 12-1pm CST.  Click on the image below to register for this free event.

The Tickled Pink Blog Hop, hosted by Carla of Creatin' in the Sticks will certainly be fun.  After all, this is the "tickled Pink" blog hop!  For bloggers, there is still room to join this event, just contact Carla if you are interested.  Sally signed Darlene up for this event and she is eager to chat with your Inner Squirrel to ensure you sign up too!

Exploding Hearts QAL.  Darlene participated in this QAL in 2021 and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I'm excited that Laural of Slice of Pi Quilts is hosting another Exploding Hearts QAL in 2022.  We hope you can join the fun and participate in this QAL.  Darlene would love to sign up again, but while she won a kit to make another Exploding Hearts Quilt (prize from the 2021 QAL) she has conflicts that are stopping her from joining in 2022.

Diamonds 2 QAL with Amanda Murphy. Sally talked Darlene into signing up for this QAL in 2021, to give Darlene an opportunity to continue to learn/improve her FMQ/Ruler Work Skills.  

Lastly, I want to give a shout out to Quilting Jet Girl.  I'm linking up with her 2022 Planning Party today.  Maybe you are looking for inspiration for your 2022 plans, or maybe you have yours ready to share and will want to join this linky party too!

Lastly, Sally  and Darlene want to wish you a very Happy and Healthy 2022 with plenty of time for your to be creative and enjoy!  We hope you have wonderful goals for the coming year.  Of course, we'd love to hear what your goals are.  And, we hope you will help encourage us to stay focused on our goals.  We will do our best to try to encourage you to achieve your goals, what ever they may be.  Together, we can do this!

Let's start each day of 2022 with a grateful heart and spread kindness where ever we go!

Friday, December 17, 2021

Fun Friday - Darlene and Sally's Christmas Creativity & Sally's Suggestions

 Happy Friday Everyone.  And Happy National Ugly Sweater Day!

Hard to believe, but we are a week away from Christmas Eve.   Don't stress and don't forget this is really a time of year to enjoy the season, spending as much time as you can with family and friends.  Phone calls and emails are also great ways to stay in touch, so reach out and let those you care about know you are thinking about them.  

Sally wanted to share how she decorates for the holidays.  Her peanut nativity scene is also a kid friendly project!  

Sally's spotted a fun post at Skip To My Lou, with a large variety of downloadable and printable worksheets for entertaining kids during the holidays.  Click here to check ALL of them out.

Darlene has been having fun with her new BabyLock Solaris II sewing and embroidery machine.  Using IQ designer she created quite a few holiday table mats/hot pads, while striving to use up Christmas fabrics in her stash:

Darlene has been quite late this year mailing packages.  After a trip to the USPS today, we are pleased that today's shipments should arrive before Christmas.  But, talk about calling it close!

Sally was late randomly selecting the winner of a holiday theme mug rug giveaway during our stop in the recent Virtual Christmas Cookie exchange.  But, we are now caught up and while that post has been updated, we wanted to include an announcement on this post too!  

UPDATE:  Congratulations to the lucky winner - #28 Needled Mom!  Sadly, her google settings are at the default level, showing her as a no-reply blogger.  Thus, I'm unable to send her an email to notify her based on contact info associated to the comment she left on the post with the giveaway.  But I was able to track her down and we are hoping to work thru Google steps to get her settings changed, but settings have changed and steps are a bit confusing.  Thus, if you know how to change your google settings to stop being in "default" mode, aka no reply blogger, we'd appreciate your help.  For now, here is the best link I've found on the Google site to help:

Under the circumstances of a no-reply blogger, Sally and I decided to select one "additional" winner.  Congratulations to #8 - Terry Knott.  An email has been sent to notify Terry she is a winner and a mug rug will be shipped to her to enjoy! 

Lastly, Sally and I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas.   We both have been enjoying listening to Christmas music, as well as watching Christmas movies while playing in "our" sewing room.  We have a few more Christmas items to make this week, but we are both looking forward to being more creative after the holidays.  And we'll share sneak peaks with you soon.


Thursday, December 9, 2021

Virtual Christmas Cookie Exchange Blog Hop and a Giveaway


Today I'm participating the annual Virtual Christmas Cookie Exchange Blog Hop, hosted by Carol S. of Just Let Me Quilt is hosting her annual Virtual Christmas Cookie Exchange Blog Hop. I love this fun annual event as many creative bloggers participate, often sharing fun holiday memories, inspirational holiday projects, as well as yummy holiday cookie recipes.  For those who may be visiting today, by way of this blog hop, who are new to my blog I want to give you a big Welcome.  And for my followers who popped by today, I hope you will check out all the other blogs participating in this event.   

I made "Cake Mix Cookies".  This is a super easy, fun and fast recipe found on the Betty Crocker website.  The only difference I did was sprinkling crushed candy canes on top, after they were cooked, but before they cool.  But you can also mix 1/4 cup of crushed candy canes into the cookie dough, before baking.  This recipe would also be a fun one to use to get your kids, or gkids, involved in Christmas baking.   Sorry, the lighting wasn't great when I took the picture and it didn't quite pick up the bright red & white of the crushed candy canes.

I also want to share that Sally, my Inner Squirrel and I have been busy making Holiday Mug Rugs recently.



To celebrate the Virtual Christmas Cookie Exchange Blog Hop, Sally and I decided to giveaway one Christmas theme Mug Rug to anyone who stops by our blog during the Virtual Christmas Cookie Exchange Blog hop.

 Followers and non-followers can enter to win a Christmas theme Mug Rug by leaving a comment on this post letting us know which style you may prefer winning.  Late Sunday Sally will randomly select one lucky winner and we'll notify them via email, as well as update this post accordingly.  But due to postage expenses and our limited budget, we can not pay postage to non-US addresses.  To clarify, if you live outside of the US you will need to be willing to pay postage if you are the lucky winner.

UPDATE:  Congratulations to the lucky winner - #28 Needled Mom!  Sadly, her google settings are at the default level, showing her as a no-reply blogger.  Thus, I'm unable to send her an email to notify her.   But I'm hoping she will see this update and contact me directly to share her email address with me, as well as change her google default settings to allow bloggers to contact her via email when she leaves a comment on their blog.  I will also share this in a subsequent post, tomorrow, to hopefully catch her attention. 

Under the circumstances of a no-reply blogger, Sally and I decided to select one "additional" winner.  Congratulations to #8 - Terry Knott.  An email has been sent to notify Terry she is a winner and a mug rug will be shipped to her to enjoy! 

Don't forget to visit all the bloggers participating in this fun blog hop to find some yummy recipes, see inspirational Holiday projects, and even hear some heartwarming Christmas stories.  I love it all, but absolutely love finding new recipes!

Here's the list of bloggers:

Friday, December 3, 2021

Fun Friday - OMG for December, Virtual Cookie Exchange

 It is Friday and it is the holiday season.  It is time to sparkle  and have fun!

Are you getting into the spirit of the holidays yet?  I strive to not listen to holiday music, nor watch any Christmas movies until after Thanksgiving.  I'm now really enjoying the holiday entertainment, as well as my favorite things about the holidays - making handmade gifts and taking time to get together with friends and family and do something special.  That can be shopping in a quilt store with a good quilty friend, enjoying friendship and a holiday beverage at Starbucks.  What ever you do, this is a season to enjoy and create memories and I hope you find time to share joy, smiles and hugs.

BTW - Today is also National Make A Gift Day!

I'm linking up today with the December One Monthly Goal, hosted by Patty Dudek.   OMG has been a great way for me to stay focused, especially when Sally keeps giving me so many great ideas for creating quilts and more!

My goal this month is to finish the background FMQ for my King Size Nine Sisters quilt, filling in the negative space with floating stars using the Twisted Grid Papa stencil, from the Ultimate Background stencil collection by Cindy Needham.  I've made a few mistakes marking my quilt using this background stencil, but overall I think it is going to look great.  Here is a closeup picture which shows the marking on my quilt using a water soluble fabric marker:

All the stars are quilted and while I had originally planned to quilt swirls in the background, I am pleased with the look of the Twisted Grid.  There is just so much negative space in this quilt, I am not sure what I was thinking when I decided to quilt this project on a domestic machine.  I can't wait to see it finished. When I look back on pictures taken before I started quilting this negative space, I'm thrilled with my progress and thankful for OMG to keep me focused.

After I finish this background quilting, I will move on to the inner border, followed by the outer border, where I plan to do ruler work quilting.  I'm beginning to feel I'm in the home stretch and hoping to finish this quilt in January.

I also plan to make more Mug Rugs and small handmade gifts for Christmas, for family, friends and blog follower "Happy Mail" this month.

Lastly, I want to heighten awareness that Carol S. of Just Let Me Quilt is hosting her annual Virtual Christmas Cookie Exchange Blog Hop, which kicks off on Monday.  This is a super fun and yummy hop that helps to create fun during the holidays, as well as sharing amazing cookie recipes and sharing of holiday memories.

Here's the list of bloggers: