Saturday, August 6, 2022

I'm Back...

albeit with a little reluctance. I'm my own boss, so why don't I take the rest of the summer off blogging and (mostly off) Instagram? Answer: the longer I do, the harder it is to get back into the habit. And habit it is. So what have I been up to over the month of July and first week of August? Here's a summary with more details inside.

First and foremost were three glorious weeks with Brady here.

Here he's cutting out a pair of sleep shorts. While he was here, not a lot of sewing got done but a lot of getting out and about did. I read 6.5 books, which I'll mention later, as there have been several excellent ones. I've sewed a bit over the month, not all quilts. I've lazed around in the pool, and done a bit of gardening. I've got one pattern ready to release and another nearly there with a third at the 'ready to figure out yardage and start typing' stage.

Brady's sleep shorts were a success, though he asked me to lengthen them, which I did, since he's gotten used to wearing shorts quite long, as you see from the photo above.
Like me, he loves water and swimming. He got to try out his boogie board I'd bought him a few years ago at Erieau, which is a beautiful huge beach on Lake Erie about an hour's drive up the lake from us.

Although it doesn't look it, there was some great wave action on that hot day! Incidentally, the water temperature was a little over 28C which is 83F, perfect! That's a pier out to a little lighthouse in the background.

After he left, I decided to use that same pattern to make myself a pair. I have a few pieces of dressmaking fabric I just can't part with, and see them as skirts or tops or quilt backs, or, in this case sleep shorts!

One of the questions that LeeAnna used as a prompt for the 'I Like' posts that a group of us do on Thursdays, was your go-to summer outfit. For me, it's shorts and a tank top, just as you see above, though not those shorts(!) and a bikini for the pool. It's hot and humid here for months, so the less clothes the better! I love the heat, though AC for sleeping and a respite when it's especially sticky, as in the past several days, 90% humidity yesterday and intense sun, is a must. Of course a pool certainly helps! And since this week was about sunscreen, like LeeAnna, I tan easily, and don't usually wear sunscreen except for my face and chest area where I use Vichy Aquaria Thermal. On my body when I'm going to be out for prolonged periods, I use Coppertone, but the next bottle I buy (I bought Coppertone when Brady was here) is an ocean-friendly sunscreen.

As for books, thanks to Bernie of Needle & Foot, I've discovered Laurie Frankel. If you enjoy Jodi Picoult, you'll enjoy Laurie. The one Bernie recommended, One, Two, Three was excellent, as was This is How It Always Is. Both gave me greater insight into marginalized humans, as well as gave me hope for the inherent goodness in humans to win out. Don't let this make you think both books wrap up happily ever after though.
Non-fiction reads were:
The Personal Librarian, by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray. An incredible true story, I highly recommend it. It's about the personal librarian to J. P. Morgan, though I would call her an art and rare books and incunabula (a new word I learned) collector Belle da Costa Greene, who, because of her light skin hid her black identity in order to be accepted and respected in a man's world.

In July I joined the University of Alberta Alumni Book Club. The July book was Nowhere Girl by Cheryl Diamond. This was another incredible and true story, about a young girl born to fugitive parents. If you want a book that will shock and grip you, this is definitely in that category.

When the Emperor Was Divine, by Julie Otsuka is about a Japanese family interred by the American government during WWII, something Canada did as well.

I read two more Canada Reads 2022 books:
In the City of Dirty Water by Clayton Thomas-Müller, which I'm about half way through, is one all privileged white people should read. He's an Indigenous activist, mainly in Canada but also a lot in the US, fighting for not just Indigenous sovereignty but also for the earth.

Scarborough by Catherine Hernandez was the other Canada Reads book. It is fiction, but based on the author's own experiences in a very poor and mostly BIPOC suburb of Toronto. Again, it opened my eyes more to the plight of our poor and downtrodden.

In the sewing department, I got my purple balloon block and placemat both done and posted them to Instagram.

I spy Bella! She loves to go onto the deck in the morning before the dogs get up. Brushing and nibbling her cat grass starts her day right.

Also posted to Instagram were five more makeup pouches since I sold the last of the Postcard-style ones.
Love this fabric 'GRL PWR' and thought it deserved to be on the outside of the pouch!

This matches the quilt I'm currently quilting, using 'Drift' by Angela Walters for AGF.
You can check them out here.

I got a quilt top finished (see fabric above) and am half way through quilting it, so watch for a post on it this week. It is on my PHD list, so I'm happy to be about to cross off another long-overdue quilt. You can see the quilt behind me on my design wall in the photo of me in my pj shorts.

As for patterns, on Monday I'll be releasing the pattern for The Light Within, which was in Make Modern issue #42.  Gale and Rose, who participated in this year's QAL, Pop Star, chose this upcoming pattern as their free PDF prize. As always, I can't wait to see what they do, when they do make it.
The pattern includes a wallhanging, which could be a table centrepiece, using--I'm SO EXCITED!--Pat Sloan's newest line for Benartex Designer Fabrics, Bird Song.

Close on the heels of this one is the other one published in Make Modern issue #39, Heading North.
This one uses one simple paper-pieced block. I'm planning a table runner to also be a part of the pattern.
They'll both be on sale for a limited time of course!

Speaking of seeing what people do with my designs, I was so pleased to receive these two photos from a customer, Cheryl, of my House Block pattern, made into cute door hangings:

This is the next pattern coming after Heading North: I am finally writing up my rainbow houses pattern. It has been my best-selling pattern on Etsy, and before that on Craftsy. It will have a different star block on each house, as well as different ways to personalize or individualize the houses, and it has blocks that go into the rainbow neighbourhood. Can't wait to finally, finally bring this quilt to life.

I was thrilled to see two more Pop Star quilts finished and posted to Instagram:

See the sidebar for the link to the pattern, which has been really popular, much to my delight!

All in all it's been a relaxing and rewarding month. See you on Monday for the new pattern release!


  1. Any grandchild time is special and just so right! Congrats on the pattern releases. I still haven't gotten back in the blogging saddle, need to do that sooon. Great post!

  2. So glad you're back, but also that you had a wonderful time with Brady visiting! Thanks for the book recommendations and congratulations on publishing those patterns, too. You've been busy!

  3. Everyone needs a break from time to time, but it can be difficult to get back in the swing of things. I'm glad you had a good visit with Brady and it sounds like the rest of your summer has been relaxing.

  4. So happy to see your new post. I had been looking for you this week and saw you had not posted at all in July. I assumed a vacation...glad Brady was part of it. It has been a warm summer so swimming sounds good as does AC. Your new patterns are great and look forward to more deets on them soon. Brady has gotten so tall!! How does that happen? And so fast?

  5. Thank ;you for the book recommendations.

  6. Hi Sandra! I was just thinking about you this morning . . . wondering how the visit with B was, etc. I knew you guys would be having fun. He's such a handsome young man. I am SO excited about the patterns, especially the possibility of Rainbow Houses being released soon. I am going to be one of your first customers! I love houses, rainbow colors, and STARS so the combination is just made for me. Good job on having a relaxing yet productive month. {{Hugs}} a bunch!! ~smile~ Roseanne

  7. Sounds like you are having a wonderful summer! I'm looking forward to seeing your new patterns! Thank you for the book recommendations - I will be searching the library for them! Happy Quilting! :-)

  8. Hey - so glad to hear you enjoyed Laurie Frankel. She is such a great author. I wrote down some of your other recommendations. Also messaged you on Etsy. Thanks!!

  9. How wonderful to spend that time with Brady! I totally get what you mean about blogging and getting back to it. I am having a heck of time, but since my sewing is happening again, I think it will be easier. Love all your new patterns, and am loving my Pop Star!

  10. It’s so nice to see an update from you! I can’t believe how much Brady has grown but what fun you must have had with that sweet young man around. You did manage a lot of sewing while you were on “vacation time with Brady”. Thank you for showing off my Pop Star. 😉

  11. I got sidetracked with the book recommendations. But back again to comment. Lovely post packed with interesting items just the way Sandra does it! So happy your patterns are receiving so much love!

  12. Welcome back. Loved this post. Congrats on your patterns. Now to check out some of those books!

  13. I'm endeavouring to have a bit of a catch up in blogland today - as you can see, I'm quite behind. It's lovely to read that you have a fabulous time while Brady was here. I bet it was hard to say Good-bye. Your sleep shorts look great, love all the other sewing photos to. And it seems like I have another author to discover!