A Crafter's Life, Bags Bags Bags

Talking About “Good Mail”

A couple posts ago I shared the craft exchange that @Mildy Granola and I did – drawstring bag for hand knitted socks, in this post The Exchange! .

Well my friend Wendy and I call this “Good Mail“.

Good Mail is when you get something very fun in the mail, like a handmade item or some type of fun treat. Through out the pandemic, Wendy and I have exchanged Good Mail.

THE GOOD MAIL DELIVERED TO MY HOUSE

For this round of Good Mail Wendy sent me an issue of the amazing periodical Curated Quilts and a beautiful Chinese New Year artist postcard for the Year of the Tiger.

What made this issue of Curated Quilts so special is that it featured the story of Wendy’s Quarantine Quilt Collaboration.

If you are just joining us, Wendy did a series of five (5) guest blog posts sharing the amazing story of how deep in the early days of the COVID pandemic quilt she made during quarantine with the four (4) rambunctious boys next door (aka “The Boys”) ages 2 – 8.

Could you imagine (and perhaps you can) being quarantined with your four young children ages 2 – 8 for months on end? Wendy provided an amazing distraction/project for the boys and likely made their parents lives a little saner.

Here are the links to those 5 posts if you’d like to read the full story (or re-read):

In the Curated Quilts (the theme of the issue is “Collaborate”) article Wendy provides a nice summary of the whole experience and shares the best of the photos (including my favorite – the one with the whole family and the finished quilt). It was such an amazing and selfless gift she gave to this family my eyes get a little teary when I think about it.

THE GOOD MAIL DELIVERED TO WENDY’S HOUSE

And what did I send Wendy for her Good Mail? Well she loves cats, and has a couple darling cats at home, so I made her a project bag with this fabric:

It was some cool fabric I found in my stash, I did not know where I got it from. When I posted the bag on Instagram, someone mentioned it is from a Valori Wells fabric line. Since I only had a little more than a fat quarter’s worth of fabric, I must have picked it up from a scrap bag I bought at the Stitchin’ Post when I lived in Central Oregon.

Here is the completed bag:

I included the rest of the fabric for Wendy inside the bag in case she wanted to make something with the fabric, as well as some other goodies (couldn’t just send her an empty bag!)

She has hung her bag with some other previous Good Mail from me (the tote bag I made her):

Guest Blogger, Quarantine Quilts

Quarantine Quilt Project: Life in the Time of Coronavirus, Part II (Guest Blog Post)

Well the tierneycreates Beastie would tease me that I am just using Guest Bloggers to keep up on new posts but I am very excited to share Wendy Hill’s second guest blog post on the awesome quilt she made during quarantine with the four rambunctious boys next door (aka “The Boys”) ages 2 – 8.

If you are just joining us, see this post for Part I of the story as well for some background on the super talented Wendy Hill: Quarantine Quilt Project: Life in the Time of Coronavirus, Part I (Guest Blog Post) .


Quarantine Quilt Project: Life in the Time of Coronavirus

Part II: “The Boys” Make 61 Blocks!

My story about two neighbors who band together (during the pandemic lockdown) left off with “The Boys” arranging fabric scraps on printer paper. We agreed to two blocks per day and soon we had a routine. “The Boys” dropped off their fabric arrangements in the morning, and I dropped off their finished blocks before dinner. 

I gave simple instructions: fill a piece of 8 1/2” by 11” paper with fabric scraps. Overlaps of fabric were okay but no gaps.

One day the mother of “The Boys” tucked a note inside the bag:

This is such a fun thing for our family and it’s always a race to the door when they hear your knock.

#1A, Kid Layout#1B, finished block#2A, Kid Layout#2B, finished blockSome arrangements were easy to sew together. I could sew pieces into smaller units, then assemble the units into a block. 

#3A kid layout#3B finished block#4A kid layout#4B finished blockOther arrangements required me to be inventive. Sometimes the seam allowances created gaps, so I had to add fabrics. I added a solid pink to this block. I looked for fabrics that would “go” with fabrics in the arrangement. 

#5A kid layout#5B finished blockOther times I did my best to duplicate the block, always trying to keep the original intent of “The Boys” who arranged the fabrics. 

#6A kid layout#6B finished block#7A kid layout#7B finished block#8A kid layout#8B finished blockI kept adding more scraps of all sorts to their Big Bag of Fabrics.  “The Boys” took time to create just the right assortment of fabrics on their page. 

#9 kid contemplation#10A kid layout#10B more kid layout#10C finished block“The Boys” sampled everything! Just like with “quilters” everywhere, their fabric choices reflected their explorations and mood. I was always excited to see what The Boys would drop off next. 

#11#12#13#14#15#16#17#18Then this happened: The Hand Blocks! I surprised “The Boys” with machine appliquéd fabric hands (from outlines of their hands taken by their parents). I embroidered their name and age on each hand. 

“The Boys” filled the page around their hands with their fabric choices, which I sewed into blocks. I received another written note:

These hands were such a fun idea! The kids were amazed you could do that!

#19 Wesley#20 Levi#21 Jacob#22 CalebYou know how it is. One thing leads to another, and now I thought the adults had to have appliquéd and embroidered fabric hand blocks too. I placed the hands on 4 pieced heart blocks leftover from 2018, which somehow seemed perfect!

#23, Mom#24, Dad#25, Wendy#26, DavidThe funny thing is that we became closer while we had to live separately during the lockdown. We helped each other out and we even celebrated birthdays out in the yard. 

Caleb turned 9 years old around the time my husband David turned 64. We shared chocolate almond cake and sang a joyous round of Happy Birthday together! Yes, we kept our physical distance for safety, but we remained socially connected. 

#27, almond chocolate torte

Wendy’s Next Blog Post: Magic! Turning 65 Blocks of All Sizes Into a Quilt Top!