Stinky donated fabric

Regular readers know that I do the Second Time Around for my quilt guild. We take in donations, and preparing it to be resold to guild members at our monthly meetings.  I’m in my 3rd year of this activity, and I have run into a BIG problem!

I want / need ADVICE  —  Backstory – I picked up a giant container of fabric donated to the guild.  A SMOKER donated it to the church, who donated to the guild. Thankfully, the secretary at the church warned me it was smelly.  The container was so big and heavy, it took two of us and a cart to get it to the car, and then we split it into 3 containers, so we could lift them. We got our first whiff while we were standing in the parking lot.  I made sure to close the containers tightly when we put them in the back of the SUV.

When I got home, I had to get it out of my car and out of the garage due to the stench.  I opened the containers outside and further split the piles of fabric to get some fresh air around the fabrics.   It made my eyes water, and started me sneezing and coughing. I let it sit outside my garage for 4 hours in the fresh air.  Those boxes are going outside again this morning for another round of fresh air.

I did a little google research and discovered that VINEGAR is the trick, if the item is washable.  The recommendation was 1 cup of vinegar to a load.  (My hubby has lots of vinegar in the garage because he makes weed spray with it..another Google research project).

I sorted out one color, GREEN, and brought it in the house to wash. I soaked it for 2 hours in the washer with hot water, and 4 cups of vinegar.  I increased the quantity of vinegar because the stench was terrible.  After it soaked, and rinsed, I washed it with hot water and laundry soap, and softener.  I also put in 4 color catchers during the 1st soak. (Good thing too!!).   After the 2nd wash it did not smell, so I put it in the dryer, on the anti-bacterial setting, and added about 4 dryer sheets.  That setting is very hot and runs for about 1 1/2 hours.

I have to report it no longer smells like anything at all!   No smoke smell, and no smell from the liquid fabric softener or the dryer sheets.  I had to do some “fluffing and folding” because some of the really big pieces got twisted up. There were some 3 & 4 yard pieces, and they got a little tangled and the expected strings, but really, not to bad considering I had the washer on heavy duty/deep water wash.   There must have been 25 yards of fabric in just this one load. I considered the method a success, and since there was so much fabric, I think it was worth saving.

Down side to my new washer (Maytag top loader with no agitator) is that it doesn’t “fill up” above the fabric. It “senses” how much water needs to go in.   I cheated the machine, and added 3 “buckets” of extra water, to make sure everything was covered. I’m sure I confused the brain of the washer, but I feel like it needed that extra depth.

Green fabric

I decided to finish this pile up by putting the pieces outside on the porch, in the shade to continue to air.

Airing of the greens

There really were some very pretty pieces!

Pretty greens

I know it doesn’t look like much now, but this is a lovely batik!

3 or more yards of batik

Several yards of that batik, so WORTH the effort I think!

I’ve started the next “SOAK” load.  The pile of reds is in the washer, with the 4 cups of vinegar and a little OXYCLEAN. (I put that it, because 3 or 4 pieces had a bit of “stain” at the fold line.) Not as large a volume of fabric, but some good piece, worth the effort to save from the “stinky smoke”..

Now the question —-  HOW do I get the stench of smoke out of the small pieces??  From what I could see, on the first dig through the bins, there are squares, and blocks and strips .  I’ve got lingerie bags, but I wonder if there is a way to get the stink out WITHOUT washing those small pieces, and without really “touching them”.   I’m afraid that doing the heavy soak and heavy wash that I am doing with the large pieces will just leave me with a bag of strings and fuzz.  I am highly allergic to the smell, and don’t want to over handle the pieces if possible until they are neutralized.  So, share your wisdom and experience, please!!  

My volunteers will be steam pressing, trimming, measuring and folding the first 25 yards or more and getting it ready to sell at the September guild meeting in the next few weeks.

My daughter & I chatted about the Pros & cons of washing all this fabric. It is worth it, IF the ends justify the means.  Well, I think it was worth the washing, in spite of the the wrinkles, the cost of the washing machine wear and tear, hot water, drying, and laundry products.  Our Second Time Around sales at the guild meetings average over $400 at each meeting, so the effort pays off.  The members LOVE to shop our tables, where we are selling fabric for $2/yard.

Looking forward to hearing any and all advice.

ps…I’m sure most smokers don’t even realise how the smoke in the air clings to their fabrics.  I was married to a smoker for nearly 30 years, and he had no idea how bad the smell was, and didn’t believe what it did to his body. His death from Kidney cancer was attributed to smoking at age 53.  If you need help stopping, talk to a medical professional.  For your sake first and foremost, and for the sake of those who love you.


Little girls Sun Dress

In a previous post this month I mentioned making a sundress ( ) with fabric my 8 year old granddaughter chose.  That dress went off in the mail yesterday after I put a size tag in it.

When I finished her dress,  I pulled fabrics that I considered “suitable for sundresses” for young girls.  Look at these fun fabrics!  I’d forgotten I had an entire tote full of “tutti fruiti” fabrics.

Tutti Fruitti fabrics

This batch is that puckery Tutti Fruiti fabric. I have a couple of yards of each print. I think I used the green plaid (c) in a sundress a few years back.

Tutti fruiti choices

This group is my favorite of all the prints. Again, it is the puckery Tutti Fruiti fabric and I have at least a yard or more of each.

coordinating prints

These two are also Tutti Fruiti, and are coordinating prints. They would make a nice outfit together.

I also dug into my stash of “pink cottons” and came up with this –

fun cotton fabrics

They of course don’t play well together but each is fun on it’s own.  I must look for some lime green to go with that fabric I marked with a J.  These are quilters cotton.

Digging deep into the box of red & orange & pink fabric in my stash I pulled out these more “grown up” fabrics –

from the pink stash

They are soft, lovely cotton pieces that don’t scream “kid fabric”.  That box was overflowing, so I pulled out ALL the pinks and refolded them (ruler fold), and created a container of “just pink”.  Now both lids will close.

All of these fabrics were the choices I sent off to the  5 year old granddaughter to ponder!  You might remember she decided she wants to “feel the fabric” before she decides!  (Makes my heart sing with joy, because I am like that when I am in a quilt shop!!)

Meanwhile…..I decided to  start on a size 3 for the littlest granddaughter. She didn’t get a choice in fabric selection, I chose for her.  I chose a yard of fabric E, and after the pattern tracing got started with the sewing. I finished up today, attaching the bodice to the skirt, making the button holes and sewing the buttons on by machine.  The dress is in the wash and ready to deliver tomorrow.

front of size 3 dress

Size 3 sundress – front

Size 3 dress

Size 3 sundress – back – 11 buttons!

I can’t wait to try it on my youngest granddaughter and see if I guess right on the size.

I always find commercial garment patterns to run rather large, or maybe I just have small grands.  I’ve never recorded her measurements, but this grandma is taking the tape measure along tomorrow when I deliver !!

Middle granddaughter will make her fabric choices when she is visiting in August.  Her mommy said she is SO excited about all the fabrics and getting to chose!

That’s all for this StitchingGrandma this week!  What have you been up to lately?


Sewing at the Assisted Living facility etc

On Thursdays, I often go sew with the residents at Brandywine Assisted Living.  I started this project after my friend June moved into the facility.  June has been out of commission for over 2 months due to a fall, breaking her back, being in hospital and rehab and unable to get around very much.  I saw her last in early June, and found out recently she had gone back to the hospital.  Turns out what was really giving her pain were two broken ribs, besides the injury to her back.  Well, I like to report I saw her this week, up and walking, with a smile on her face!  She wasn’t up to sewing yet, but she is in much better state. I was so glad to see her!  Apparently she had been “out for a walk”, with an aide, while we were sewing.  We all got to visit for a few minutes, and even her hubby is in better spirits since she is doing so much better.  My hubby was very pleased to see both June and her hubby.  So, thanks to my readers who have kept dear June in thought and prayer!

I have 2 “regulars” , besides June, who like to work on projects,  Trish and Dee.  Trish is the “seamstress” at Brandywine.  Everybody brings Trish things to hem, fix etc.  She often gets asked to make things for people and is generous with her time.  She “travels” to the room where we sew with her machine in the box, on the seat of her rolling walker.  She is a very independent woman, who still drives, and goes to classes at the local quilt shop about 10 miles away. Trish brought a lovely bag she had just made for “show & tell”.  Trish is not a quilter, but since I am, that is the direction I am taking the sewing group. The other “regular” is Dee.  She IS a quilter, and enjoys working with the fabric and is a power sewer.  No instruction needed about 1/4 ” seam allowances or “right sides together” or “chain piecing”.

I was given a bankers box of 4.5″ squares several months ago, and thought they would be a perfect start for these ladies.  I never know how many people are coming, and this gave me a huge variety of fabric to have ready to sew.  Dee and Trish started their quilts in May, laying out blocks they liked, etc.  Dee wanted to make a lap quilt, and Trish a baby quilt.  This box of squares had a wide variety, and made a good jumping off point.  They enjoyed going through stacks of squares looking for fabrics that met their personal requirements!  Last month I suggested to Trish that she order 2 yards of white fabric for use as sashing.

Trish called me early in the week and let me know her fabric had arrived.  When I arrived this week, she had her fabric ready to cut. My quilter’s assistant (aka husband) helped Trish, handing her blocks and replacing them on the design “wall”.  (Our design wall is a plastic table cloth with flannel back!)  I cut sashing strips and posts, while Trish sewed.  With that extra pair of hands, we cut just the right amount of strips, and Trish was able to get them sewn on one side of the block, and all the posts sewn on the remaining strips.  She was so happy with how the scrappy blocks were setting with the sashing!  Trish was also very appreciative of my “Quilter’s helper”, keeping her pieces straight on the the design space!  I have several yards of a very pretty fabric (from June’s fabric stash) that will get used for the backing.

Quilting at Brandywine Assisted Living

Quilters assistant Bill with Trish!  They both were having a good time.  I think they will be disappointed if Bill doesn’t come “next time”!  

Next time I go to sew, I will get a picture of Dee hard at work.  This week wasn’t a good time for a photo of her.  She had taken a bad fall and her face is still severely bruised. She had an interesting story to share to accompany the bruises, and let’s just say, be careful when you are in a hurry!

While I was cutting fabric, and pressing parts for the ladies, my phone was buzzing and ringing.  I had 2 friends reaching out to check on “my” well being. While we were away from home, there was an accident on our busy road, right in front of our house. We came home to find the roadway covered in sand (to absorb the oil/fuel spills I suppose) and orange markings all over the road and in our lawn.

Lucky we have a fence!

We could not figure out what had happened, but were thankful our fence was still in place. (I know, time for power washing and painting again! It’s been 8 years…)

I posted the picture above on Facebook and asked if anyone knew what had happened.  Another friend sent me a link to the local fire company photo’s of the accident.  Now the orange paint makes sense. The marks in our grass were LR (Left Rear) and RR (Right rear).

I am guessing the red car crossed the center lane and hit the white car head on, pushing the white car back into our yard and narrowly missing our fence.  I just don’t understand how this can happen at 35 mph!  Big, wide shoulders on both sides of the road.  I’m still shaking my head.  (Not that everyone really drives the speed limit……) Neighbors who have to turn into the development across the street from us often talk about how risky making the turn is, with people passing on the right shoulder, rather than waiting for them to make the turn.  Completely illegal in Delaware to pass on the shoulder.  Getting out of our driveway during “commute times” is challenging, and we often have to wait 2 or 3 minutes for traffic.  The speed limit changes to 25 mph just north of our house, so everyone going south is “speeding up” to the 35 mph (or higher) and traffic going north into town is (should be) slowing from 45 to 35 to 25….but that doesn’t happen.  I guess we won’t know the “rest of the story” about this accident, but we were grateful to find the mailbox and fence intact when we arrived home a couple of hours after the incident. Both of these vehicles were seriously damaged, and I pray the occupants were not seriously injured. I could see in other photo’s that the “side curtain” air bags had deployed on the white Kia.

I am thankful to, for those friends who cared enough to check on our well being. And, I am even more thankful that my husband decided to ride along with me to Brandywine to visit with June and Walt, instead of staying home to cut grass in the summer heat and humidity. Cutting that “strip” in front of the fence is always risky with the road traffic, but today is Saturday, much cooler and less traffic too!  I should be out weeding, but I have a sundress to make!

Stay safe on the roads this long holiday week, and slow down, give others a break, leave early and put down your phones while you are driving.

Summer sewing

I have been doing a little summer sun-dress sewing.  My grandchildren were here for a bit in June, and the 8 year old wanted to pick out fabric for a sundress. Her favorite color is blue.  I was not surprised with her fabric combinations. The fabric on the top is tutti fruiti and the bottom is a batik like print.  Both are 100% cotton and we chose a piece of white cotton to line the bodice.  Challenges – CRUMMY directions on the pattern by Burda.  (I always say this about patterns for garments….hey, I’m a quilter and I need pattern makers to assume I have never sewn before!)  I overcame the challenges because I have sewn before, but gosh if I hadn’t…… There were very few alignment marks on the pattern, and no marks for aligning buttons or number of buttons etc.  I just got out the ruler and chalk and figured it out for myself!

Pattern details

Buttons….the dress sat for 2 weeks waiting for buttons and buttonholes.  I decided to tackle them one day this week, and got out the book for my machine and did some “test buttonholes”.   Then I tested sewing the buttons on by machine.  Lessons learned during practice were my machine did not like the small spool lying on it’s side, and jammed up the thread. I put that small spool on my thread stand it ran perfectly.  But while I was fixing the jam, I cleaned the entire bobbin area of my machine, since I had the plate off.   (Been a bit since that has happened….)  Also, the button sewing on foot and setting were EASY to use!  I chalked where the buttons were to be placed and went for it after only practicing on 1 button on a scrap. The other lessons….I think the button hole foot/ making function is fine, once I got my eye on the chalk line where I wanted the button to be etc.  I don’t think that “one pass” with the stitching is enough.  It seems flimsy to me.  My friend suggested to make a 2nd pass before moving on to the next button hole.  Great advice from Nancy.  The button sewing function only did about 6 stitches, so I ran it 3 times before moving on to the next button.  Hoping those buttons stay put!

9 buttons

Dress size 8

This dress will go off in the mail this week, and I have started one for the 2 year old granddaughter.. Her’s will be all one fabric, in a tutti fruiti material, and I will post a photo when finished.  Middle granddaughter is going to “select” her fabric next time she visits. I sent her lots of photo options of fabrics, but she likes to “feel” the fabric!  Completely understand sensitive skin and like a quilter, who doesn’t like to go around the fabric store and touch it all!

Is anyone else as “pattern direction challenged” as me???  I do enjoy sewing for the girls, and figure once I master the directions I better make one for each! I don’t think it will bother them to have the same style dress in with 3 different fabrics. Hope not!  Ohhh….must remember to put a size tag in the side seam of the skirt, out of the way where it won’t scratch.

Happy sewing!

Vacation Bible School Tropical Treats – Shipwrecked review

I think this is the 2nd or 3rd year that I have done snacks at Vacation Bible School (VBS).  I do a lot of planning and often read what others have written about the program and shopping experiences/food prep experiences.  I thought I would share my experience with this years program.  Our theme this year was SHIPWRECKED Rescued by Jesus.

I started with a booklet from “EASY VBS GROUP” called Tropical Treats. This booklet gives menus for each day along with the Bible reference and teaching suggestions.  RECOMMEND!!!

FOOD ALLERGIES –  What a great guide for making snacks that were “allergy friendly, no peanuts, and had easy modifications for gluten and dairy allergies“.  I also used the information I got from Snack Safely when shopping and verifying various items for the “allergy issues” I had on my list!  This year I had “cow’s milk, mango, peanuts, egg, dairy, cashews, pistachios, rice, oat, wheat, meat,corn, cantaloupe, banana” all on my list for kids that were registered.  The menus were “less tricky” than last year with the allergies, and my husband was a good shopping helper, as we read labels etc.  I spent a little time “refining” the grocery list, calculating servings per person, etc. The allergy issues were a little easier this year too, because the parents checked the menu & ingredients and in most cases brought a suitable substitute the day a treat was being served to accommodate their child’s special needs. Kids who had allergies were served FIRST the first day, and their name-tags indicated their allergy. Their group leaders understood that when they lined up, they were always to be first in line at snack time. This ensured we didn’t goof up.

Shopping – We spent one day hitting 2 stores price checking and coming up with a cost per ounce. We wanted to get the most value and be careful with the church’s resources.   Then, when we got to the 3rd store, we KNEW if the item was a buy or not in that store.  I deviated somewhat from the menu when I found it to not be cost effective. We shopped at BJ’s warehouse, Redners and Walmart, and at Dollar Tree for decorations and non-food items.   I had one parent who was gracious to shop for ice cream and strawberries later in the week too. Walmart did not carry the Herr’s brand for the pretzels we needed.

Logistics –  I have 2 big storage bins with removable tops, and I “filled them up” with the groceries, based on the day of the week. I took the snacks “the day before” to the church so they were on hand for the next morning. I also take a cooler, and bags of ice cubes I have saved over the month from my home ice maker, and a couple of those “blue ice” products that re-freeze.  I have a wonderful cart I bought at Harbor freight, which makes moving large quantities easy from the parking lot into the church. I leave one of the storage bins at the church to pack things away in overnight that will get used the next day, like crackers and napkins etc

We had 111 children registered in advance and every day I kept track of attendance. On average we had 88 children per day.  I did all the shopping based on the 111 kids. While it felt like, I “over purchased”, I had to be certain that if EVERYBODY showed up on a given day, I would have enough!  Because the attendance varied, I was able to offer the 35 staff members snacks too.

Food Prep – The guide book has the children working as teams to prepare the snacks.  We have VERY large groups, and determined this was not going to be easily managed, so we had a team of teen-agers and adults who worked all week on snack prep and serving. I will note how we managed this each day.

Our snacks were “Sand-elicious Parfait; Gone Fishin’, Castaway Cracker Mix, Fruity Floats, and Graham Raft.”


DAY ONE – Served 89 children and some staff. The Sand-elicious Parfait started with a pre-packaged pudding cup. I was able to purchase the pudding packs for $1/for 4 pudding cups on sale at Redner’s, a local supermarket. The pudding was “shelf stable”, that did not require refrigeration for storage. I did refrigerate the night before and kept them in a bowl of ice during the day while we were serving.  The recipe called for 4 vanilla wafers per child, crushed, to be the “sand”. I bought 2 large boxes of Vanilla Wafers at BJ’s Warehouse. Each box had 2 bags. I crushed 3 bags in a food processor and put the crumbs in 2 – 1 gallon ziplocks. This was twice as much as needed. I had my helpers using a measuring tablespoon to scoop the crumbs (aka SAND) on top of the pudding. The actual pudding cup would not hold more than a tablespoon. We also offered “whole” cookies to those that were “still hungry”. We were to use “fish shaped or other sea creature shaped gummy candy” on top. I could not validate Swedish fish for “nut allergies”, so I picked up some additional sweet & sour gummy worms (from Dollar Tree) that were certified nut free for the 7 kids with nut allergies. I was unable to find dairy free pudding alternative, and for those kids we were prepared to offer just cookies and Swedish fish (from BJ’s). My FOOD PREP team went “assembly line” opening the pudding cups, putting on the “sand” and topping with a Swedish fish or Gummy Worm. They put the prepared snacks on a plastic serving tray. and only prepared the quantity for the group as indicated on the class rosters. Got a thumbs down from about 10 kids on the snack. The rest ate it up and were looking for more. I considered it a filling snack! Pudding cost alone was $30 for 120 units, Vanilla wafers 2-30oz boxes @ 6.99 each; Swedish Fish – $7.29, Gummy worms $1 OVERAGES – about 20 pudding cups and 4 cups crushed cookies, and ½ bag of swedish fish. Note; crushed cookies used for refreshments on Sunday.

Sand-elicious Parfait


DAY TWO — Served 99 children and staff.  This was called GONE FISHIN’ -Ingredients were Skittles candy and popcorn, sealed in seperate parts of a cello bag.  The size cello I needed was available at Dollar Tree in the party goods aisle.  I purchased 5 packages (25/pack). The bags came with silver twist ties.  The “recipe” called for using a rubber band for closure and the small bands I purchased just snapped. We decided quickly on just the twist ties, and clothes pins .

Gone Fishin' VBS Snack 2018

 I used my personal air popper and popped 1 1/2 quarts of popcorn kernels.  My machine does about 6 popped cups at a time (enough for 6 bags).  I pre-popped and stored in a 32 quart storage tote enough to pre-assemble snacks during the first hour or 2 of VBS.  Off and on during Monday I continued to pop corn and assemble the snacks. It took about 2 hours of work to prepare half of the snacks on Monday. We ‘ran out’ of skittles and had to make another trip to BJ’s for more. Prep finished on Tuesday morning while the first groups were being served. We used a sharpie marker to draw a cute “fish-hook” on the clothespin!  A couple of helping hands put skittles in the bag and twist tied them closed, while someone else measured out popcorn and twisted the bag close with the clothes pin. Heart stickers went on for the eye. They were really cute.  Feedback from kids – only a few commented on the unsalted unbuttered pop corn. The rest ate it up.  They had to “get thru” the popcorn to reach the skittles. Bigger kids figured out quickly how to get to those skittles!  Only the smallest children needed help removing the twist tie.  The popcorn quantity was too much for the littlest kids.  Overages – about 10 cello bags and a cup of skittles. This was an intensive prep snack. But, the results were worth all the work!  I underestimated the volume on the Skittles, and had to send the hubby back to BJ’s for 2 more large bags.  We used 4 large (warehouse store size) bags of Skittles with about 1 cup left over! Skittles cost was almost $28, bags were $1 for 25 bags, and packages of clothes pins were $1 x 4 packs.Heart stickers 2 packs/$4.50.

DAY THREE – Served 90 children. Castaway Cracker Mix – Simply stated – COLORED GOLDFISH. Instead of using 5oz cups as recommended in the guide, we used snack size zip-lock bags and measured the recommended volume. We added in left over Gummy worms & Swedish Fish as a surprise treat, and used the extra heart stickers on the outside of the bag, to remind the children that Jesus loves them. EASIEST treat day of all.  The snack bags helped if kids wanted to take their snack with them. Overages-even though we used a measuring scoop, there was excess. I purchased 5 large cartons based on 5 oz per child. We had about a carton and half left over. We gave LOTS of second helpings and used them for supplemental snacks later in the week. Goldfish was $7.49 per carton x 5 at Redners.  Snack bags – 2 box – Dollar Tree, 50 per box, $1/box.

Castaway Cracker Mix VBS Day 3

DAY FOUR – Served 86 children. Snack was Fruity Floats – Deviated from the menu and used 2 buckets of ice cream and scooped into the cups vs using much more costly ice cream cups. Used wide milkshake style straws, and cut off about 2” of extra length. Straws came from Big Lots and were perfect for the thicker drink. Snack set up was done by the crew, scooping ice cream and topping with tropical blend V8 Splash and (TIP) inserting the straw. As we served the children we topped the float off with the sparkling water. (Inserting the straw BEFORE the seltzer is key to it not overflowing!!)  9 oz cups were used. Ice cream was kept in a bowl of ice at the serving table. Volunteer parent purchased and delivered 2 containers of ice cream on Wednesday evening. Quantity of ice cream was perfect. Overages – 2 bottles of V8 Tropical Splash and 98% of the V8 Orange left over and 2 bottles of seltzer water. V8 Tropical Splash contained Mango so the V8 Splash Orange was a suitable substitute  to accommodate 2 children.  V8 Tropical Splash from BJ’s – 2 pack for $5.49, total of 4 big bottles. Redner’s -The V8 Splash Orange ($2.29) and the lemon lime seltzer (2 ltr/$1.19)x5 bottles.  Comment – this was MY personal favorite snack.  The ice cream melted quickly and the drink tasted like an orange dreamsicle!!!!  

Day 4 Fruity Floats

DAY FIVE – Served 75 children. Snack was Graham Rafts – Deviated by “adding” a small amount of pre-packaged frosting (vanilla) on the graham cracker to “hold down” the strawberry half. Prep work- set up the crackers on the plates, affixed the strawberry half with the frosting and counted out pretzels, along with measured pieces of fruit by the foot. Kitchen scissors helped there.  Kids did a great job building their rafts. Had to remind the smallest children to take the paper off of the fruit by the foot.  A Volunteer parent purchased strawberries and delivered them prepared on Thursday evening. OVERAGE – 1 large container of strawberries, 1 LARGE carton of graham crackers and 1 bag of pretzels. Served them after Sunday service.  BJ’s – Big boxes of Honey Maid Graham Crackers 2 @ $8.99 each; Redner’s – Herr’s pretzels 2 @ $3.00 each; Fruit by the foot 6 @ 2.89 each.  Used less than 1 container of vanilla frosting.   Note – no complaints about this snack at all!  

Day 5 VBS Graham Raft

Cheese sticks (4 @ 5.88 each) were purchased at Walmart and were served when ever a child was “really hungry”.  Also, the extra box of Goldfish was distributed on Thursday. One volunteer provided a box of graham cracker cookies for extra snacks. We didn’t want anybody to be hungry, and even though this was just a snack, we found many kids in the morning hours had appetites! (Did they all skip breakfast??)

Our snack station is located in the Narthex of the church, which is carpeted.  Kids sit on the floor.  Previous years I used old bedspreads , but this year I decided to use tropical print beach towels. Purchased 8 new beach towels at Big Lots, and arranged them in a semi-circle. This made a great floor covering, were easy to gather up and take outside to shake out.  We figured out that arranging them in a circle eliminated little bodies getting “too touchy”, and it allowed us greater access to serve the children the snacks. Lots less pushing and shoving than having them line up.

We decorated using the tablecloth (plastic) purchased with the program.  Additionally, I added a bit to the windows. I purchased at Dollar tree 2 “tropical” grass skirts, a fishnet and some luau flowers.  I added sea shells to the fishnet from our personal box of sea shells!  Hubby drilled 2 holes in each seashell, then I used cotton thread and ran a few strands in to make loops. I attached them to the net with paperclips.  The grass skirts were unrolled and hung across the window and in the center was the fishnet.

VBS 2018

Volunteers made great backdrops for VBS – the picture below shows what they did for the sanctuary, which was the gathering place for the beginning and end of the day –

You may wonder what we did with the leftover food.  We have fellowship after the Sunday service and served them, along with dozens of donated cookies.

I made “SAND” with the leftover ground up cookies.  My youngest daughter recommended the recipe from a blog called Here is the link to the recipe –   Sand Pudding  .  My daughter has a friend who makes this for every party/pot luck and there are never any leftovers.  She was right about the NO leftovers.  I did serve in a glass bowl instead of the sand pail.    I explained to the adults I served that this was the “upscale” version of what the kids had.  I even put leftover swedish fish on top!  I also mixed up some of the Fruity Floats for the parents, minus the straws!

All and all, a great week at VBS and a great week sharing the message about the love of Jesus to all of the children.

Hope my post helps you if you are led to doing snacks with your church program.


Scrap Dance Square Dance Assembly Complete

Yes, I sometimes talk about my own quilts on this blog….  Yesterday I posted about a quilt show I visited.  Today, I am changing directions.

I’ve been playing along with the mystery quilt shared by Carole – and earlier in June she published the finally pattern layout.  The pattern is currently free on her blog until the end of June, when she will pull it down for commercial publication.

I really enjoy Carole’s patterns, and I especially like her mysteries.  One of her rules is not to try to “guess the layout” before the final pattern setting is given.  Her other rule is to not share the specifics of the pattern, but to ask people to find it on her page. If you are following my blog using a computer, you should see a button off to the side for the Scrap Dance Square Dance Mystery quilt.  If you want the pattern for free you must hurry!

A quick recap -Each step of the dance had a fun name associated with the activity. I posted about each step as it was occuring, but I will share a photo from each month.  If you want more info, you can do a quick search for “Scrap Dance Square Dance” on my blog to read all the posts.

January the yardage requirements and cutting instructions came out. It was called “Bow to Your Partner, Bow to Your Corner” .  ALL my fabric except the background fabric came from my scrap baskets!  I decided that I could easily make a twin with all the scraps I have collected, so I got busy during my scrap clean up setting aside bigger pieces for the rectangles.  I knew I had enough squares of the required size in my scrap storage system, so I didn’t cut any squares.

February we made 9 patches – and the lesson was called “Do-Si-Do”.

9 patches

March had us working with our rectangle pieces of 2 different sizes and she called that “Come Down the Middle”.  In the photo below you can see ALL my pieces up on my design wall.

Scrap Dance Square Dance parts constructed

April was working with our rotary cutters and it was called “Allemande Left”.  You can see the result in the May photo where we made those nice triangular cuts of color and white.

May was again working with our rectangle pieces and she called that step “Promenade”.

Square Dance - Promenade

June was the final layout and it was called “Shoot the Star!”. The construction method had us “spinning our partner blocks” and the result was fantastic –

Scrap Dance Square Dance

             SCRAP DANCE SQUARE DANCE by Mary Deeter

In April, Carole gave us “unfinished sizes”.  The sizes she gave were “without borders”.  I must have glossed over those dimensions.  Once on my design wall, I thought it was too narrow and too short for MY typical twin.   I decided, I wanted to go larger…..of course!  I added an extra row of blocks all the way around to bump the size up to 61×85.  I didn’t want to add borders as much as I wanted the star to be complete all the way around. So, before I could finish the assembly I dug back in the scrap boxes and tried to find scraps that were similar in tone and color to what I had already included in the quilt so it wouldn’t be to obvious that I added those blocks “at the end” of the assembly.  I was pretty happy with the color placement and the final outcome.  I loved the spinning stars.

This has been a great project and as always, a lot of fun to follow along each month.  My method has been to “set aside the clue day” if possible and dedicate it to working just on the mystery project. It seems to work out well for me except when travel or other commitments get in the way.  Carole gives such good clear instructions her patterns are easy to follow.  If you like what you see you have a chance to download the pattern for free before the end of June.

On my blog, I have talked about many of the other projects I have made using Carole’s patterns. She has free patterns on her blog as well as some for sale.  Go take a look and enjoy the fun.

I will be linking up to “Oh Scrap” when the link up comes on line and I will post that link here. early next week.

Happy sewing!  (Go sew with some scraps!!)


Visiting the 2018 Quilter’s Unlimited Show

Fair Warning — PHOTO INTENSE!

In early June I had the opportunity to attend the Quilters Unlimited Show, held at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly Virginia. Our guild, Ocean Waves Quilt Guild took a bus full of members and guests  to the show.  It was a great opportunity to look at a LARGE show put on by a single guild.  

QU has many chapters and has a very strong foundation in place for this annual show.  Of course, like most big shows, there were lots of vendors, and I indulged myself and purchased a few fat quarters (ahhhemm). Shhh…don’t tell how many!  I had a good time walking around and seeing new products and watching demonstrations .  

A quilter I have mentioned in the past, Cheryl Lynch, of Cheryl Lynch Quilts had a booth and was doing a demonstration of her mini mosaic patterns along with the technique and her special ruler for cutting those little 3/8″ chicklets.   Cheryl also sells her unique ruler called Curvalicious.

You might remember my post in April when I was working on a mini mosaic – (which is still a UFO….the mosaic is finished, I just need to get back to it to put on the border and get the grouting done……)

Cheryl is also the one who taught me the technique to make my quilt, Mittens, which was all I raved about during 2016 & 2017. One quick search for the keyword, Mittens, on my blog will keep you busy for an hour!  

 Anyway, I am rambling….I like Cheryl, and her design techniques and products and methods.  So, it was FUN to run into her and chat for a minute.  She had a VERY busy booth, so I hope that meant sales were brisk!  

I had free motion quilting at the front of my brain when I was looking at the beautiful quilts in this show.  This is the 3rd time I have been to a Q.U. show, and the work is always impressive.  This time, I decided I would take photo’s of the quilting, close up, to help me when I start looking for ideas of how to quilt an area on my own quilts.  I’m going to share a lot of photo’s….after all…it WAS a quilt show!  There were a few quilts that I liked the overall design of and were inspiring.  This first quilt was interesting because of the way the light was hitting the cross.  I thought it was well executed.

Resurrection Morning by Janice Kibat

Resurrection Morning by Janice Kibat

This next quilt I liked because of it’s unusual quilting on such a modern quilt –

quilt at the Quilters unlimited show, Chantilly VA - June 2018

I failed to snap the maker of the quilt’s name.  At a distance the quilting almost looks like chevrons, but up close, the design becomes apparent. 

Interesting quilting design

The next quilt was a tumbler block quilt.  The diagonal quilting with a variegated thread was interesting.

Diagonal quilting on a tumbler block quilt

It looked to me like the wavy stitch went from corner to corner of the neutral tumbler blocks, and was one of those built in machine stitches.  I have several on my Janome 8900 that I have used like this wavy stitch.  The circle flowing line and circle was done free hand and I like that there were 2 rows of that motif between the wavy stitch. 

I liked the overall look of this whimsical modern take on applique 

Modern approach to applique

What really caught my eye was the folk art design, and the whimsy of the birds or flowers, or stems  “escaping” from the confines of the block!    

A close up look at the border will show you how those circles that are appliqued on and are just floating over the edges were quilted.

Love the pebbles and the circles.

I would need a LOT of practice before I tackled pebbles on a big quilt like this!

This underwater quilt was a great project for using large scale prints of a similar motif.  

Fish quilt

Sorry for the blur, but it is an underwater quilt…..  😉  What I liked about the quilting is it “felt like waves” giving the quilt movement, softening up the hard edges of the blocks.  What I like about the overall look of the quilt is that the maker used colors from the focus print to make the surrounding border of the block. The quilter took all of these uniquely different fish fabrics and now they swim in harmony.  

waves and bubbles

 I loved the “wavy lines” and the “bubbles” in the quilting. 

bubbles and waves

I could be inspired to do this once I master circles.  Love the variegated thread too. It doesn’t jump out at you, it just subtly changes color. On some of the busier prints, you almost can’t see the quilting. 

The quilting in the next quilt gives great complexity to what might otherwise be a very simple quilt –

A Bird in Hand by Marisela Rumberg Outstanding

A Bird in Hand by Marisela Rumberg 

The description on the display card give you information about the quilter and her process –

A Bird in Hand by Marisela Rumberg

Did you notice the little wooden birds stitched onto the quilt? While my friends and I were looking closely at this quilt and admiring it, talking about all the elements we saw in the quilting (the hearts, flowers, birds, etc) we were overheard by another quilter who indicated she had met the quilt maker. Next thing we knew, we were being introduced to Marisela !  We were also told Marisela had another quilt on exhibit and we should go look for it too!  

Quilted birds - A Bird in Hand by Marisela Rumberg

Turns out, we had just seen it – and I was photographed with the quilt.

"I can fly" by Marisela Rumberg

“I CAN FLY” by Marisela Rumberg

Where I am standing the quilt was blank. My friends suggested my shirt color was perfect to become “part of the butterfly”. 

I don’t want to overwhelm you so I will save the remaining photos for another post.  I admired a lot of lovely quilts, and studied the quilting, knowing I had a long road ahead if I wanted to quilt like any of these.  I do believe you “have to start somewhere & practice”.  

What do you look for when you go to a quilt show?  Is it something different each time?  Do you spend your time studying the quilts or more time shopping with the vendors?  Are you often surprised at the quilts you see on display?  I know I am!

DISCLAIMER – These photos are of quilts made by SOMEONE else….not me!  Please don’t ask me for the pattern.   When I was able, I photographed the information card next to the quilt. All credit for the quilts goes to the quilter and the guild. (Read the captions and the story about the quilts from the beginning please!)