New Happy Box

Happy Box - June 2022
Happy Box – June 2022

I received another Happy Box. If I haven’t said it before these boxes do make me happy.

One of the things I like is the reusable  silverware set. I’ll bring that to work, so I don’t have to keep using one time use silverware. I also like the skincare care and makeup products Natalie includes. I would never know these things exist, so it is great to be able to try them out.

The Happy Box subscription is sold out for now, but you can be notified it it becomes available again. Consider getting one of your own. The Happy Box Mixer is still available which gives you the opportunity to try out the program. No affiliation!

Foxglove Inspiration

Foxglove bed
Foxglove bed

I had just read Friend Julie’s Late Spring Flower Friday post when I went off to a work event and saw this bed of foxgloves.

The nice, but odd thing is that this is right next to a parking garage. I didn’t really have to crop the photo much to keep the concrete out of the photo. This bed was quite large and even included a few small trees. It was really nice to see some nature near a shopping mall.

Happy Box Contents

Happy Box
Happy Box

I have received three of the Sew Hungry Hippie Happy Boxes. You saw the Rainbow Pincushion I made from the first box. I really enjoy these boxes, partially because they are not 100% sewing supplies and partially because they are fun.

Happy Box Radical 80s
Happy Box Radical 80s

There is always a theme. This month’s theme is ‘Radical 80s’. Did people say ‘radical‘ in the 80s? I seem to recall they did. This month has some fun smelly erasers, which I remember my sister having in the 1980s.

Happy Box project
Happy Box project

The box also contains a boom box project. Boom boxes were big in the 80s. The nice thing about the projects in these Happy Boxes is that everything is there: fabric, interfacing, pattern, hardware, everything. You don’t have to think; you just have to sew. The project has some of the Ruby Star Society novelty prints with roller skates and boom boxes.

Happy Box candy, patch & miscellanea
Happy Box candy, patch & miscellanea

There is candy, too. From the other boxes, I noticed that it was candy with which I was not familiar, but always fun. This time it is Hubba Bubba chewing gum. I am not really a gum chewer, but Hubba Bubba and Bubblicious are the most fun gums to chew, because a person can blow HUGE bubbles.

The box also always includes a good card with a profound saying.

I won’t get these forever, but for now it is fun. I am two projects behind now that I have gotten the latest box, so I need to get sewing.

I noticed on Saturday that there were two left, so check out the Happy Box subscription and consider getting one of your own. There is also a Happy Box Mixer, which gives you the opportunity to get a box one time and see what is inside. No affiliation!

Clematis Inspiration

Tim's Clematis
Tim’s Clematis

I saw this flower at a friend’s house over the weekend and just loved it.

I really want to draw it and play around with the lines.

I thought it was a Stargazer Lily, but after searching I found it was a Clematis. This one looks a little different than the others on the web, but I still think it is a clematis. I wonder how it would do in my yard, if I would need to pamper it too much. I’d love to look out into my backyard and see these giant blooms.

Thinking about EPP

Green Hills Country Club tile
Green Hills Country Club tile

I went to a luncheon the other day and the restroom had beautiful tile. It was also in very good condition. As mentioned, I am thinking about what project to make after. I am not very inclined to design my own EPP.

However, looking at these tiles makes me think about how I would go about making the design using EPP. It might be fun to make one block.  The single tile would be a great design.


Green Hills Country Club tile
Green Hills Country Club tile

I really like the ease of the EPP BOM. Lots of hand stitching, but relaxing, because I don’t have to do much. In an ideal world, they would set up another Wilynne Hammerstein design as an EPP, but who knows? La Passacaglia is the best known.

Getting Back in the Groove

I keep hearing talk about ‘getting your Sew-jo back’. At the moment I have plenty of sew-jo, but there have been times where I have not had any inspiration or motivation. I wanted  to sew, but somehow couldn’t.

At various times, I have talked about this. Once was when I was contemplating creativity. 2006 was a year of challenging sew-jo. There are other posts about getting back in the groove. I should make a tag for those.

Thoughts on Dots
Thoughts on Dots

There are a couple of quilts I have made specifically to get  me out of a slump. One was Thoughts on Dots. It came to mind over the weekend, because the YM dragged it out to sleep with. It was on the cold side this weekend and his room has a lot of windows.

This quilt is painful to read about. I was definitely struggling with my process and you lovely people got to read about every minute shift in my thinking. The point about this quilt is that it is plain squares that I rearranged and rearranged until it seemed done. It got me back in the groove.

Lesson: cut squares and rearrange them.


Much earlier than Thoughts on Dots was a little Playmat I made for the YM when he was a baby. According to the information I have, I made this quilt in 1997. I remember making it envelope style. No binding.

I don’t remember why it is all on the bias, but you can tell I was making improv quilts even then. These were scraps of fabric. The lobsters were kitchen curtains we had when the YM was born. The scribbly fabric was purchased in a basement shop downtown on my lunch hour. I am sure that shop is long gone, but I remember the thrill.

I don’t know about the different styles I have employed to get me back in the groove, but here are two of the resulting quilts.

Pandemic Tile

For the first time during the pandemic, I ordered take-out online, went and got and took it to a friend’s house where we ate on their deck. I had a specific time I had to pick up the food. I left the house, ran some errands and then went to the restaurant. I was 15 minutes early. The neighborhood has a lot of nice shops so I decided to just walk around for a few minutes and then go get my food. It was interesting to read all the pandemic related signs with different rules about accessing their store (order online with curbside pickup, temperature check, physical distancing – you name it, I saw it). I also saw a lot of people out and about with a variety of masks. There are more people wearing fabric masks than the small blue pleated paper masks. I was less anxious about being out than I have been, but some people wouldn’t stay away from me.  That was anxiety provoking.

IOOF Doorstep, Burlingame
IOOF Doorstep, Burlingame

I also saw some tile. It was on the doorstep of the IOOF and would make a GREAT quilt.

That line at the bottom could be one of 3-4 columns in a quilt. It looks a little like bargello. The squares are clear enough so that I could make a pattern without very much problem. I don’t think I have seen a design like that before. It is pretty distinct.

I was disappointed that whoever is the tenant can’t be bothered to clean the tile.

IOOF Doorstep, Burlingame - corner
IOOF Doorstep, Burlingame – corner

The corners would make interesting blocks as well. The black and white diagonal line would make an awesome secondary pattern.

Random Quiltmaking Excitement

I went off to the North Coast on Friday with DH for a Native Sons event. I like that trip because the drive up is beautiful, the area is very green and there are three quilt shops!

I have written about the quilt shops, Bunny Hop, Ocean Waves and Stitch before. I am going to update my reviews again in the next week or so, but I was so excited after visiting the shops and talking quilting with a friend that I just had to write.

First, I forgot how inspiring it was to visit quilt shops. I want to use up 100 yards this year, so I am trying not buy a lot of fabric. Still, I wanted to visit the shops anyway, so I focused on color, pattern, and design. I am feeling very inspired right now.

Quilt design inspiration chair
Quilt design inspiration chair

Inspiration, however, started early in the morning at breakfast at the hotel. The lobby had been redone and they had new upholstery. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the design. I noticed that there were jewels like ones that were discussed in the All Points Patchwork book. I reviewed that book a few months ago. Wouldn’t the motif make a great EPP quilt?

Modern Holiday Hearts
Modern Holiday Hearts

One of the things I saw in the shop was a Valentine’s Day Modern Holiday pattern. One of the things I love is the subtle “I love you” message. The hearts were made of up two different fabrics each. The variety of pinks in the example hung at Stitch made me really happy. I can see making a table mat out of one block.

Second, it was fabulous to talk about quiltmaking with someone. Of course, I seem to have quilting discussions all the time, but this was different. Karen and I only see each other at NSGW events. We got to exchange some views about quilting. I heard about her guild woes. We talked about our projects, UFOs and things we wanted to make. I was also able to get her interested in a Jelly Roll Rug** and the Quick Curve Ruler**, though I am not a complete temptress, because she picked up the Posh Pack pattern** before I extolled the virtues of the ruler**.

Talking about the Quick Curve Ruler** made me excited to get that ruler out again and make a couple of the patterns I have waiting in the wings.

After I got back to the hotel, I took a look at Instagram and was further inspired by  what I saw. Melody Miller posted a fabulous leaf design. Kate Strasdin posted a dress in emerald and orange. You wouldn’t think it would work, but the color combination is wonderful. I don’t know if I have any fabric in that green color, but if I do I might have to replace the blue in a new quilt like my recent donation quilt with the emerald to see how it looks. Victoria Findlay Wolfe was also in my feed with a new Double Wedding Ring quilt. I love the colors and think that is what attracted me. The way she broke up the rings is also very appealing. Finally, I saw some great bags that a Japanese designer posted. Oh! That designer got a like from Ayumi and Chubby, who also make fun bags.

I am not sure if I got my excitement across. I can’t wait to get back to my machine.



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Burning Man

Burning Man Dragon Vehicle
Burning Man Dragon Vehicle

No, I am not going to Burning Man. I did visit an exhibit of their costumes, vehicles and ephemera at the Oakland Museum of California with my sorority alumna group last week. I was really fascinated by the vehicles and the costumes. I also learned a lot about Burning Man, the organization, in general.

It was hard to get close enough to the costumes to see what they were made of. It did make me want to construct an elaborate Halloween costume.

Burning Man Dragon Vehicle - detail
Burning Man Dragon Vehicle – detail

Mostly, I took a photo of the dragon because I thought the YM would like it (he did!). I looked closer, however and found that it was made of common household metals – like muffin pans and cake tins. I couldn’t help but think of a group of mothers getting together and building this thing. It looks very fierce from afar, but close up I saw a message of home and kitchen, a place in which to take refuge.

Theater vehicle
Theater vehicle

Another vehicle looked like an old fashioned theater. I wasn’t tall enough to really see inside. I, also, couldn’t get close enough to see if they were showing movies, but I loved the plush seating, the flocked wallpaper and the aura of one of the grand old theaters.

Big Wheel
Big Wheel

Finally, I couldn’t help thinking of one of those old bikes with the huge front wheel when I saw the last vehicle.

It also made me think of a Big Wheel. I couldn’t tell if one person could drive it or if three people would need to work together to drive it.

There were others, of course. I didn’t take pictures of everything there. It is an interesting exhibit and well worth the time to visit.

More Gift Ideas

In January 2018, I updated the list of gift ideas I originally wrote in 2015. All the posts on the topic start with the same items, but I added and revised the post each time. Lately, I have made different items as gifts and I thought I would share some more with you. Most don’t take tons of time, so you could make a few for the holidays, if you have fabric and no interest in going to stores.

Pillowcases are always useful and you can use a yard of fabric. They are also quick to make, once you find the fabric you like. I have stopped putting the accent fabric in. I make them with two fabrics and that goes even quicker.

I also like aprons as a gift. I made a bunch of them last year using the Flapper Apron pattern, a retro style apron pattern. I purchased when I was out with Amanda near Portland a year or two ago. The thing I like about this pattern, which you have heard before, is that you can make it out of 1 yard of fabric. It is cut on the bias, so directional fabric is challenging, but can be done. I use 1.25 yards just to have a little leeway.

Pouches are a great gift as well. I have made several recently. The Persimmon Dumpling Pouch pattern, a free pattern, from Sew Sweetness. There are many, many pouch patterns out there, both free and for purchase. Add a leash and a lobster clip and it can be used in a larger bag.

The juggling balls I made were a big hit. These will take more time, but are a great project for soccer practice or waiting for people at doctor appointments. I wrote about them pretty comprehensively. I got the idea for the balls from All Points Patchwork, a comprehensive guide on English paper piecing. If you want to learn or improve your English Paper Piecing, get that book. It is great. I still want to make some for DH, but he has to wait.

Mary's Key chain
Mary’s Key chain

Key fobs are an interesting idea. You don’t have to use them for keys and can use them for pouches or other supplies that have a lobster clip or hook. These came to my attention when Renaissance Ribbon created a kit using their fabulous ribbons. I think it is a great use of their ribbons. The heavyweight webbing they sell can be used for bags. It comes in a lot of colors, which will blend with your other awesome fabrics.

A scissor cozy could be a great way to keep your scissors from opening in your bag and damaging other items.

Not a lot of ideas here, but you can take a look at a giant list I maintain on my guild’s site. There are tons of ideas there, though no (or few) reviews.