Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Gift to Give

Each year, until last Christmas, I would ask my sister, “What would you like for Christmas?” She would always respond something like, “I am blessed. I don’t want anything. Rather, give to those in need.”

Instead of asking her last Christmas, I simply prepared and gave her “Blessing Bags” for her to pass along to those in need. I don’t think I’ve ever given her anything she liked and appreciated better – ever!

This year, I’m expanding the tradition, to give a Gift to Give.

And, this year, rather than just filling up several gallon size Ziplock bags, I’m creating fabric shoulder bags for the homeless to have as an additional gift. This way they may easily carry and keep items safely stored away.

I grew up with Grandmothers and childless Aunts making us something for Christmas. I so appreciated the time and effort they spent creating something for me. Because I love sewing something, making special one-of-a-kind gifts, I’ve been pondering what I could do to fulfill this “need” I have, I guess, to also give a part of me.

However, I’ve learned many folks don’t like “stuff” or “clutter” and tastes vary from one to the next. For some, their “gift” will be simply a gift card from their favorite store. That way they can get exactly what they want and nothing is re-gifted or tossed or sold in a garage sale.

But, everyone will receive a Gift to Give.

If you’re interested in starting the tradition, know this isn’t an inexpensive endeavor. Just these items alone totaled over $60.00 mostly from Walmart’s “trial size” aisle. 

Oh, and I put the bar of soap and bottle of shampoo inside a freezer strength ziplock bag.

But, to each Blessing Bag I still need to add:

bottle of water
bottle of Special K

Some things I will NOT include:

Hard Granola or Energy bars (many homeless have teeth/gum issues)Trail Mix (same reason)Beef Jerky sticks (same reason)Gum/Hard Candy (same reason) On-the Go coffee or tea – (really? I guess it depends where they “live” because if it’s underneath a bridge ~ which I’ve seen numerous in the Dallas area ~ how will they heat up some coffee or tea? So, know your demographic!)

I’ve decided, the day after Christmas, I will spread out the gathering of these items over the year. So, each time I go shopping, I’m adding a little bit of the needed items to my regular list. I’ll mark a clear plastic tub “Gift to Give” for storage of said items, so it won’t be so costly at Christmas time!

Several sites across the internet offer suggestions of what to include in Blessing Bags. Pinterest (of course my favorite go-to place) has a nice collection.

Will you create one (or 3 or 6) “Gift to Give” this year?


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Tomorrow is CyberMonday!

Thanksgiving 2016 is now in the memory file. Preparations for the joyous Christmas celebration are underway!

~ Decorating ~
~ Shopping ~
~ Wrapping gifts ~
~ Baking ~
~ Giving ~

What an exciting time of the year!

Tomorrow is CyberMonday!

I don’t usually “plug” my shop on this blog, but I do hope you stop by my online shop, Lanetta’s Creations, where you’ll find unique, one-of-a-kind items Handmade in Texas!

On CyberMonday, use coupon code CYBERMONDAY
and receive 20% off!!!

I just loved creating this Red Cape (and accessories come with!) that fits 18” dolls like the American Girl, Springfield, Our Generation, Gotz, and the vintage Chatty Cathy!

Oh, and rather than calling it a “bib” – I have created “Wearable Napkins” for adults! This is just one that’s available in Dallas Cowboy print:

Cowboys are doing fabulous this season! We may even get to the Super Bowl! Wouldn’t that be amazing!

Don’t forget, classy aprons make wonderful gifts! And, tomorrow’s savings is a good time to think ahead for Valentine’s Day! I just love Snoopy…  

Although I love everything I create, the most special item I produce is the Action Quilt, also known as Fidget Quilt.

Time and time again I hear heartwarming stories of how these little lap quilts covered with doodads, bibs and bobs provide activities to help those with Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, or Traumatic Brain Injury keep once busy hands occupied! As Martha would say, “It’s a good thing.”

Don’t forget me ~ and other small handmade businesses ~ tomorrow!
I/We need your support!

Thank you in advance!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

It has begun!

Renovations to the back bedroom in this 1918 house – my long awaited dedicated sewing room – have begun! I’m excited beyond words! Finally!

We’ve started with the exterior door.

Due to just the way it had do be – the door into the room from the living area is only 28” wide. It is certainly too small for a wheelchair (not that one is needed right now, but it could change in a heartbeat – been there, done that!) or for moving items into the room like my Aunt Lee’s desk or the antique “kitchen” table I dearly cherish.

While I was in Dallas last week, Bud ripped off the white vinyl siding we put on about 24 years ago… and the interior paneling.

Renovating a 98 year old house has its challenges! There are no “walls” like we are familiar with now (i.e. 2” x 4” x 8’ studs)…

Instead, the walls are made with 1” thick x 12” wide x 12’ – 16’ long planks (they go up into the ceiling and below the porch). These were covered by the shiplap on the outside (the blue) and a shiplap on the inside (the white).

IF we ripped off the interior white shiplap, we may find paper like we’ve found when other rooms have been renovated. Notice, zero insulation! That’s what the paper was for – bless their hearts! And, is why I never used this room much during the winter! This will all get updated!!!!
Of course we're getting lots of help!
First step…

Check back for our progress

Sunday, October 2, 2016


Starting with the most recent ~ 2016 National Sewing Month ~ I’m going back through my articles and creating an inventory list, a massive to-do list! These are projects I took the time to research and write about, so I want to make the time to create them! Rather than writing down on a piece of paper (to get lost on my desk), I’m listing them here!

Please, hold me accountable!

(Not in any particular order)

Nature’s Music – speaking of my desk, it’s where I keep the book, The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt by Laurie Aaron Hird. While at Thomas’s, I’m keeping my eye out on some tiny print fabrics to use in creating these 6” blocks.

T-Shirt/ Memory Quilt – I need to first gather the t-shirts to use, then wash/dry (without adding any fabric softener or dryer sheet)!

Stack and Slash – while helping out at Thomas Sewing Center over the next few days, it’s a great opportunity to select the 5 different pieces of fabric I want to use!

Mastering the Beast – now that I have the correct tools, I want to go back and finish the “Let’s Sew It” appliqué wall hanging!

Paper Piecing – I’m excited about getting back to work on the Splendid Sampler’s BOM! I know I can do paper piecing now after reading the great tutorials!

Mixed Media in some Mini Quilts – to make a cute wall hanging like the “Hippy Chick”! This should be Number 1 on my list!

Busy Busy Busy!!!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Last Day! First Day!

Today ends this year’s National Sewing Month! I hope sewing for the experience of it continues for us all! It’s been a fun rewarding month of new adventures and techniques I’ve tried or have put on my bucket list! How about you?

Oh, and The State Fair of Texas opens today – through 10/23/2016!!!

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be at Thomas Sewing Center in Mesquite, Texas! They have such lovely fabrics, and oh… the… sewing, embroidery, longarm machines… what will be left in the store that is, as most will be at the Fair!

If you’re heading out to the Fair, check out their booth, located in the Grand Place building directly behind Big Tex!

I’ve already started my sewing to-do list for when I get back to the country after spending this next week helping out at Thomas’s! I’m certain the exposure in a lovely shop will fill me with even more ideas, not to mention supplies!

Remember, sewing for the experience of it benefits others, as well as us! 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

In a Perfect World

Not long ago, a friend shared on Facebook this photo from National Sewing Circle. (Thanks, Donna!) So I, in turn, shared it on Lanetta’s Creations Facebook page!

It would be a perfect world if it worked this way….

How many people quilt?

Every four years independent companies provide a “Quilting in America” survey (although I’ve never been contacted!). The last one, conducted in 2014, indicates the market is worth $3.76 billion (yes, that’s BILLION) annually! They report we have more than 16 million active quilters in the USA – one out of 20 Americans quilts!

I am one.

What’s the difference between a quilt and a blanket?

A quilt has three layers – top, batting, backing.
A blanket is a single layer of fabric.

Cost to create a quilt:

Although dated 8/31/2013, I found an excellent article on Katie’s Quilting Corner that discusses all the aspects of quiltmaking. What do you think of what Katie explains?

I found this cost sheet on the internet. I’m sorry I failed to note who created it, but it’s more in line with 2016 cost of fabrics and materials to make a quilt.

It’s all just a reminder, for those of us who quilt.

It’s an expensive endeavor.

But, one so worthwhile! With every cut made and stitch sewn, it’s a thoughtful prayer and hope filled with love. Wrapped in a quilt, it’s the hug that keeps giving!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

T-Shirt Quilt - aka Memory Quilt

Have you created one, a t-shirt quilt, also called a Memory Quilt? I haven’t ~ yet ~ but would like to… someday! Any tips or techniques you’d like to share in the comments will be greatly appreciated!

From what I’ve heard here and there, there is a trick to working with the knit (jersey) fabric. Knowing how stretched out loved t-shirts can be, I totally understand it will be different from using “regular” quilt quality 100% cotton fabrics!

Fortunately, we have the internet filled with great tutorials! I’m on a mission to find and list some resources I come across, for future reference!

I went straight to Pinterest and did a search for t-shirt quilt tutorial.

A common suggestion throughout:

Although the loved t-shirts have been washed/dried many times over the years, all the sites say to wash/dry once more!
NOTE:  I received a suggestion by a reader: when re-washing one more time, do not add fabric softener to the wash, nor place a dryer sheet in the dryer!

Before stabilizing the t-shirt’s logo (the common core found throughout all the websites I visited), I found Wee Share, her tips and tricks are certainly worth the read-through once you’ve gathered all the memory shirts you want to use. It only makes sense, because not all the logos are the same size, it’s critical to measure and design on paper what goes where ~ FIRST! She’s provided us a cool .pdf to record the t-shirt and it’s measurement!

Quilters Diary also explains well how to stabilize the t-shirt, before cutting out the logo!

Goose Tracks Quilts has listed how many t-shirts it takes to make certain size quilts. This is based on all t-shirt logos cut out the same size - 14.5” finished square.

12 shirts will make a throw-size quilt, approx. 48" x 64" - 3 across x 4 down.
20 shirts will make a twin size quilt, approx. 64" x 82" - 4 across x 5 down
30 shirts will make a full size quilt, approx. 82" x 96" - 5 across x 6 down.
36 shirts will make a queen size quilt, approx. 96" x 96" - 6 across x 6 down.
42 shirts will make a king size quilt, approx 110" x 96" - 7 across x 6 down.

In addition to her tips and instructions, Almost Casual listed “Important Notes” worthy of repeating here!

**Important Notes**
Put your machine on zigzag stitch - this helps when working with jersey
Use a needle made for jersey - a needle that is too sharp can break! This, for some reason, took me forever to figure out. I broke many needles and had many cries when I first started sewing with jersey.
Use a lightweight cotton thread
Go ahead and thread a few bobbins so that replacing them is easy

Already Loved has a two-part series on how to make a t-shirt (memory) quilt filled with step-by-step photos!

One more thing I discovered during my research, and let out a huge sigh of relief, the sashing and outer space fabric – say if logos are on point (like a diamond shape), can be out of “regular” quilt quality 100% cotton! It will help stabilize the over-all quilt!

Creating a t-shirt (memory) quilt isn’t as scary as I thought before I started this quest of knowledge!!! I am so grateful others have shared their tips and techniques!

Again I ask you, will you comment with your suggestions?!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Mini Quilts

When you sew for the experience of it, do you create mini-quilts? 

I’ve been in a couple of homes where friends have created mini quilts, enough of various themes and colors to cover an entire wall! Oh! My! One was in her living room, the other in her longarm room. Both were stunning displays! Although quilts in a much larger size, another friend comes to mind that has quilts she’s created over the years brilliantly displayed going down the length of her hallway. Each one has a story.

Back in 1992, when we bought the ranch, our first neighbor to meet ~ God rest her soul ~ had many bed-size quilts she’d created spread out, layered on top of one another on the bed in her guest bedroom. They, too, all had a story, and were waiting for the appropriate time to be gifted.

I’ve made a few mini quilts wall hangings before. This is totally different from an Action Quilt – aka Fidget Quilt.

Most of the mini quilts have been gifted. But, we do have two hanging in our living room. I would like to make more, to hang on our walls. For me, it’s a way to make our home more inviting, warm, cozy and comfortable. That’s how I feel when I’ve gone into my friends homes.

Not to mention, it’s a great way to practice skills!

What caught my eye this morning was this Heart of Hearts mini quilt on the Brother’s Stitching Sewical blog!

One of my favorite go-to website is Cluck Cluck Sew. She’s created a mini quilt book (or PDF) with the patterns and instructions for these quilts! Aren’t they lovely!

At Favequilts, they have lots and lots of mini quilt patterns! I really like this one, especially its title: Life is Better with Friends:

I’m gathering ideas… which is your favorite?

Monday, September 26, 2016

Nature's Music

Back in March, I purchased the book The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt by Laurie Aaron Hird from Amazon. I’ve yet to make one of the 99 blocks, but have thoroughly enjoyed reading the “inspiring letters from farm women of the Great Depression.” In fact, the CD that comes with the book… is still attached!

As the author explains, the letters she’s included were originally published in The Farmer’s Wife magazine from 1930 – 1933. Names were not included in the magazine ~ simply initials ~ and no city/town but only the State in which they lived.

Not long ago, I happened upon a website, Gnome Angel, where Angie is doing a sew-along based on the book! Whenever I do pull out the CD and begin sewing the blocks, sewing for the experience of it, I will have a resource if I can’t follow the instructions!

I want to share with you a part of the first letter Ms Hird titled “Proud of Her Calling”

Dear Editor:
The finest advantage I can offer my children is this chance to know nature intimately. Perhaps we will never be able to give them training on musical instruments, but if we can train them to attune their hearts to nature’s music, we will have given them something that will stay with them through life, no matter where they may be.”

Although I am not a farmer, I am a rancher.

I know ~ and hear ~ the nature’s music to which she refers.

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