Donations and sewing for 2017

I planned lots of sewing and giving this year, and I really did well.  I am always trying to do it on the cheap, but it never works out. I have lots of fabric so to use it up  I plan these projects that seem to always require something to go with, like string backpacks.

These string backpacks were my first project. All shapes and sizes, but then I found myself having to buy tons of parachute cording. (I am lucky enough to have an average size grommet punch back wine I was sure I would be the next big deal in the REN Fair world.) I am sure there was another way to go so I would love some suggestions and pictures!!!  Thank you.

I do think they were a hit and I donated about 25 to a local charity that provides many goods and services to women and their children who seek a safe place. So happy to donate, I geared up for more donations For them at Christmas time.

Speaking of Christmas…and going back a few years to the HATS!  I started that project to use up my over abundance of polar fleece (who can pass up a good sale on polar fleece.)  well when word of my project got out, I was overwhelmed with the amount of polar fleece fabric donations I received. I still made over 200 hats back then, not counting the fifty or so I made this year. So, I made about 10 baby blankets. Very simple, warm, soft. A donation that I hope was all received.

I am searching for ideas for this coming year. Here’s to a wonderful 2018 full of great ideas, and hearts full of giving.

SIDE NOTE: I was also very pleased to be able to donate fabric and patterns to my nephew and his charter school. He’s 11 and has been taking a sewing class. Imagine the joy to hear that not only does he like hunting, playing in dirt and learning karate….he likes the creative and architectural aspects of sewing. Now that’s sewing for good, and some great auntie happy giving.


Good intentions, less than desired outcome 

When I thought about sewing 1,000 hats in one year, I assumed it would be easy. I had formulated a pretty good plan and I started off really well. But life, as is sometimes will do, got in the way.

I hate having to make excuses for myself. But I will anyway. First of all, I will say that I made lots of hats even if I did not make 1,000.  That is something to be proud of. I may have even made more than some people thought I could make.

So, one thing that happened was hubby (who has been ill for a while) went back to the hospital and had 3 more surgeries during his 8 day stay. He’s is doing much better now, but that required preparation and time off work. It also kept me busy at home and days eventually turned into weeks without sewing. Had I stayed on track, I think realistically 500 would have been a more attainable goal. I want to thank all the people who donated fabric, that was wonderful and helped me increase my total hat count.

Then, the foot. I had had some foot issues, nothing major, but planning to take time off for this became a huge deal. It took some more preparation and planning and again this took me away from sewing. Now, I got very excited thinking of all the things I could do while being off work for a few weeks. When the doctor said I would need 8 weeks off without putting any weight on my foot at all, I knew this would be time well spent around the house. I am sure you have already figured out what my first problem would be. You are right, the first problem was…HELLO! You are having surgery Chris! It was not a piece of cake. It was painful and for the first few days, I couldn’t concentrate on anything more than just moving from chair to couch to bathroom. Whew! Now with those first few days behind me I am doing much better, but absolutely now sewing.

Total hat count (pending)

Now I need to find a place for my hats to go. I of course will contact some local places but I am interested in do the most good for the most people. If anyone reading this blog would like to submit information about a charity or a place in need of hats, I would love to connect with them and ship them out. Please explain-mail me:

Thank you for those who followed my , albeit lack luster story. I think I will continue making hats until I reach 1,000. I can keep collecting fabric and cutting out and sewing and then sending them out to those who need. It wasn’t a bad idea, in fact I think the idea was pretty good.

I look forward to hearing from you and finding those places who have children who need hats.

Time is ahead by 6 months. If this were a game, I’d be losing.

I have been completely derailed from my beanie project. Except for the 25 hats I cut out 2 months ago and managed to sew last weekend, I have had almost zero hat production.

There will be a lot of cold children this winter if I do not step it up. I may have given myself a goal I cannot reach, but I refuse to give up.

I work full time (no excuse) and I have taken on another part time job (still no excuse) that keeps me very busy. Honestly I have been reading various blogs for the last hour and a half. Prime cutting and sewing time. I will post this little update and then later tonight, I will post again with an update as to what I did with my day. I know I have so-called other obligations, like cleaning the house and feeding my husband, but the day is half over and most of the house work is done. Really, what’s better than sandwiches on a Sunday?

Please pray for me as I try to accomplish a little something for others today. It’s not all about me (and husband and dog.) I take inspiration from the wonderful women who’s blogs I follow. I thank them for inspiring and keeping up with life, while I sometimes struggle with whats really important.



Beanies, what beanies?? I’m not making beanies.

It has been more than a month since my last post. Like the kids in the Harry Potter novels, “I can solemnly swear I’ve been up to no good.” By no good, I mean I have not been working on my hat project. I know! Bad girl!!

I actually did cut out a few more hats and stack them by my sewing machine, so that as time allowed, I could run in and sew a few. I did that…once…in the last month. I have not lost track of the time frame, I have just let other things get in my way.

Now that I have flipped the calendar to May. OMG! It’s already May (and almost half over at that.) and I am not near to being half finished. That would mean stashed in my garage are 500 or so hats. I picture hundreds of kids freezing this Winter, for lack of a nice warm hat. So, Shame on me.

I will stop my personal tirade and get back to sewing. Because only that will solve my problem.

Happy sewing everyone.

Beanie count low, the calendar is winning.

When I challenged myself I didn’t want to ever feel stressed out about this. I am doing a good thing and it should not be painful. I did get a lot done this weekend and that is a good feeling. My total of completed beanies (that’s with size tags and everything) is 72 . Seventy-two!!! Hubby thinks that’s great, then I reminded him I am behind by 178! He said how could you be behind? I said the year is 1/4 if the way gone-I should have 250 hats. 😦


An example of what needs to be next to my machine at all times.

Okay, I am not giving into despair. It’s Easter—today of all days I should be happy and full of joy and happiness. I am really, happy that is. Even if the Beanie count is low, I know I can do this. I will cut more today and just always have them by the sewing machine. I think the Winter weather we didn’t get a couple months ago may finally be here. That will make sewing the polar fleece more enjoyable.


Completed, they really look like a lot!!


I think I have PLENTY for girls. I better think neutral colors or something appropriate for boys!

The statis of the puffy “Renaissance” shirt for nephew

It’s finished. It’s only mid March, so I made good time on that January birthday gift.  Lots of problems along the way, but I did not give up. Firstly, it was too short. The pieces looked long enough, I swear, but once I handed him the shirt to try on, I knew I was in trouble. BIG trouble considering it was essentially finished except for the hem.

The neckline was also too small. He could barely pull it on. He said that it’s common for them to be cut with a bigger opening. At this point all I can think of is RICO SUAVE with a gold chain. I vigorously shake that image from my head. Then I come to grips with the fact I will need to fix this shirt, because I do not want to make another one. NO! I like pillowcase dresses and twirly skirts for little girls, not GIANT SLEEVE puffy shirts out of muslin…that I did not pre-wash! Yes, I know what you are thinking.

I had just enough fabric left over to add to the bottom, If I pieced it together. Once that was ready I measured it against the circumference of the bottom of the shirt. It fit exactly. What luck!!! And also a little spooky-but whatever. Nobody had better get a good look at that neckline, but I did fix it. If I am lucky he will let me snap a picture when he comes to pick it up. (He did, so see below.)


Renaissance shirt (that I nicknamed…el diablo!)

Success. It fit! He liked it. The good thing about a peasant style shirt…their are some flaws, but back in the day they would not have been perfect, so I am putting this down in the win column.

You can tell where I added the fabric, but I made a fancy stitch (that they would have totally done back in this  period, right?) I guess the fancy stitch only made me feel better. I told him to wash it in cold water and hang to dry. Who am I kidding, he’s a young man, like he’ll remember that! I appreciate the fact that he is a good sport about it all and he posed for a picture! 🙂

1,000 hats project–finally making some progress!

I am pretty happy tonight/this morning (because it’s now a little past midnight) with the progress I am making. Good thing I am a bit tenacious and I get motivated by my will to not fail, it seems to have really gotten me going. If I really limit my Korean Drama watching, I will actually complete some hats. I will be very close to the first 100. I will be 1/10 of the way there.

Keeping this on-line journal of this process will not only keep me dedicated to the GOAL and a fire underneath me and my sewing machine, It will be good for me to challenge myself and work out any frustrations I have.


Lots of pretty colors and patterns…makes happy hat sewing!

Time management has been a problem of mine. I am usually late and at best BARELY ON TIME. This applies to all things; work, family functions, personal dates, movies…you name it. I have the desire to be on time, It’s just that time gets away from me or I always feel that things will take less time than they actually do. You could say that my optimism makes me late!

I usually work well under pressure. But, I do not want to be sewing the last two or three hundred hats on the last day of Fall. That will be too much pressure. So, I will pace myself and keep track. I have a calendar that I have noted certain goals. If I am LATE meeting those goals, I will pick up the pace. But, for now I am pleased with the start of this weekend. If I can finish sewing the ones I cut last weekend, and still be able to cut out some more…I will be in a perfect position to finish on time.

(the next day)

Now it is officially day time, Saturday to be exact. I was up to the wee hours of the morning and I had a pretty good production line going last night/early morning. I managed to get about half of the hats sewn that I cut out last weekend. After a good nights sleep, I kind of staled a little. I had some things to do with hubby and then a call from sister number three wanting to see a movie and I have not sewn a hat at all today. I am not worried. Still plenty of time. I will add some of the results from the early morning sewing. I think I need to start thinking “storage.”


A few of my first infant hats on the bottom and colorful (size small) beanies on top.

I am very pleased with how they are turning out. Lots of bright colors and cool patterns. Thanks to sister number one, who donated he pink camo, pretty teal blue, grey and a purple “tie dye” and scraps that made cute infant hat in Purple and pink leopard. I haven’t even really dug into my tub-a-fleece yet.

While out and about with hubby this morning, I visited a couple thrift stores and a rummage sale. No fleece, but I found a couple treasures I could not live without. I also went to a quilting fabric store which yielded no fleece but I picked up something wonderful for a baby quilt I am making for a little one who is on the way (not me, but a great-niece.) I loved, LOVED all the wonderful prints. I do happen to see lots of cool prints while trolling on-line, but it’s so much better to buy local (saving shipping costs is also quite grand!)  Happy sewing is good sewing!



I have set the goal, now comes the hard part. (Sewing 1,000 hats)


Me (left) and my sister Dee.

I can honestly say I may have challenged myself with a more than LIKELY, unattainable goal but I am not giving up. I got a wonderful donation of fleece fabric from one of my sisters. She bought it with the intentions of making SOMETHING with it. Then, like we all sometimes do, she changed her mind. Lucky day for me. She gave me some wonderful colors and prints.

I started this post Feb. 25th. Since then…NOTHING. I did move the cutting board and patterns to the garage. So I wouldn’t see it on the dining table, mocking me. I was so motivated, what has changed? I ask myself this daily. Maybe the fact that Spring came a couple weeks early. Oh, who am I kidding. We skipped Winter altogether here in Northern California. It was in the 80’s today and unseasonable warm for weeks.

Well, today the procrastination ends! I am getting something done or I am not going to bed tonight. I will stay up until I cut out at least 50 hats, or until I run out of fabric. Whichever comes first. I will update the post as I go.


Bag-o-fabric from my sis! 4 yards-how wonderful.

March 7th 6:12 pm:

Gathering materials. Switch to smaller cutting mat, because I’m not going in the garage. Make a tall pitcher of strong DECAF tea. I recently gave up caffeine, WHY…I don’t know. It’s 6:52 and I have cut out 7 hats. SEVEN. I have had 2 glasses of ice tea. I can do this!

7:01 pm

Major problem! This is my first serious cutting from actual yardage, not scraps and I have discovered there is about 18 inches left on one side. I cut a total of 8 small hats out of that yard. The hats are cut on the fold and even the “extra small” hat requires more than 18″ folded. NOTE: I cut a few hats going the other direction on the fabric and polar fleece does not have 2-way stretch. I realized that at the sewing stage. I’m gonna crunch the numbers and grab a box of tissue. I will be right back.

One thousand divided by 8 hats equals 125 yards of fleece. If I get the fleece on sale even the cheaper stuff (which I wanted to avoid) it will average about $5.00 a yard. That’s $625.00 give or take a little because I have some fabric on hand. I haven’t actually purchased anything yet. I will get a final count of all the hats made before I actually invest any more money. Because it wouldn’t take a math wiz to realize I spent money on the fabric I have. But, I hate to count it because it already happened. It was in the past. I refuse to live in the past. This HAPPY project began when I wanted to clear out some fabric I have had around forever (actually several years, which in fabric time can seam like forever.) NO TEARS YET. I will find a way to use the edge pieces, that’s all.


So cute. These shall be fun and easy to make!!

7:54 pm

Problem solved!! Infant hats. I can cut 5 infant hats. They are pretty darn cute! Well anything small pink is cute (as a general rule.) I think this will be wonderful. Recalculated… that will be less than $400.00 and maybe a little more once I add California state tax. Yeah!!! (hat cut total:16)

11:52 pm  GOAL!


Me with a little display of “XS” hats. So cute…anything that small is cute!

Finished cutting out! Finally, I am on the road to accomplishment. (There I go counting those chickens again.) But I am feeling really good. I took a small break to feed the troops (aka: self, husband and Buffy.) As midnight approaches, I realize that tonight we SPRING FORWARD by 1 hour for daylights saving time. Luckily that happens at 2 am so technically, I made the deadline.


“I am tired of pooping ever couple of hours”

Back on the 25th of February when I started this post, I was so happy to have the first batch complete. I had no idea my hiatus would last so long. I did post on my Facebook and IG all proud of the first few hats. Twenty more nights like tonight followed by 20 days of sewing and I will be in great shape. I may actually finish this year.

In my defense of slowing production this last week especially, I was nursing a sick little doggie. She got a case of enteritis, WHO KNEW? So she is doing much better, therefore hubby and I are doing much better. Thank you and HAPPY SEWING IS GOOD SEWING.

I love sewing, and sometimes I even make something usable.

It’s really okay that not everything I sew works out. Let’s talk about the RENAISSANCE SHIRT I was making for nephew. I took into consideration he is over 6 feet tall, at least I thought I took it into consideration. The pattern looked lengthy to me. I ASSUMED it was already a “longer style” and not WAIST LENGTH as it turned out.


(serious pattern pieces)

First of all this was my first serious pattern that I have attempted in quite a while. I will admit I am a bit rusty. Lately my big things have been T-shirt quilts, pillow-case dresses and twirly little girl skirts. Needless to say the puffy shirt with sleeve’s the size of my dining table were challenging. TOO SHORT! My goodness, I will fix it, because I don’t look forward to making it again. I’m just saying!

This being said, I still love sewing because you get to make something.You take flat lifeless material and God willing it turns into something usable, wearable (sometimes) and maybe fashionable.  I am really fond of making things for others. I guess I like to make others happy. It’s one of my biggest problems I used to think of it as a fault but really it’s more of just a personal issue. It does make ME happy doing for others. I would do for myself but it’s been a while since I made something for me that turned out the way I expected. Most of my sewing life has been one big SHORT puffy shirt. For the longest time I have switched to making things that will always fit, be adorable on a little someone or is completely functional (like a purse or a pillow cover.)

To say I have been sewing (and still learning) for a while is an understatement. To tell you, the reader would be letting go of a secret. Several secrets actually. But if not now, then when??

I first started sewing in 4-H when I was 10 or 11. I liked it right away, but I was a rebel and had trouble learning the PROPER way to do things. But with my mom’s help she taught me a very good lesson. I had a project that I needed to do and set out for the local fabric store. I picked out a pattern and she tried to steer me towards the “right” material for the skirt. I wanted to choose and couldn’t be swayed. I wanted the blue chambray with little tied red bandanas printed on it. Even though it was a cotton and not a 2-way stretch material the pattern called for. I thought it would be great and would work perfectly. So my mom let me get the blue material with the red bandana’s. I made the skirt following the directions cutting everything out and sewing the best I could. Much to my surprise it didn’t fit! Apparently an A-line skirt with no zipper or elastic needs to STRETCH in order to pull it on. This was my first good lesson in home-economics and as an FHA (future homemaker of America) girl.

Lessons learned: 1. Always listen to your mother (she is usually trying to help.) 2. Follow directions until you are skilled enough to write your own directions. 3. Measure twice, cut once.  4. Forty years is not long enough to have learned lesson number three.


(not me) But I am sure I had the same concentration on my face.

4H pledge: “I pledge my Head to clearer thinking, my Heart to greater loyalty, my Hands to larger service, and my Health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world.”


Need more hours in the day…for work, cooking, cleaning, Korean dramas…and sewing.

Why are there not enough hours in the day to accomplish all that I want to do? I wake up with such good intentions. I set goals, I aspire to reach them. I DO! Then one by one they crash to the floor and I end up kicking them (as if they are actual objects) around  the floor of my car, under my desk at work, and in every room I enter in my house. They mock me, with eyes only I can see. These items on my “to-do” list that I could not complete. Maybe I try and do too much, but doesn’t everyone?

I cannot be the only person who strives to do it all. I will admit when I was younger it was easier. First of all I had a manageable list. I could multitask better. I got things done and probably even made it look easy. Where did that girl go? I will tell you…I look in the mirror and I see her running away. Her thick brown hair bobbing  back and forth, with her considerably smaller ass in her cool yet funky outfits. She is running away from me and laughing. One day I will look in the mirror and she will be gone. What will remain is an older BUT WISER version of myself. Same brown hair (with some highlights…yes that’s what I will call them) although not quite as bouncy. With my slightly dark and swollen eyes looking back at me. Wondering where the years have gone and why time goes by so fast.

This leads me to my point (finally) that the days are flying by. When I first thought of the idea of making 1000 hats in a year, I actually thought I would have no problem. I could do this and make it look easy. Well, two perfectly good but busy weekends went by and I have completed 10 hats. I am not great at math but even I can figure I will be some 700 or so short. Seven hundred little heads that won’t be warm because I went shopping or slept in or watched a movie. It ends now.

March is right around the corner and If I accomplish nothing else this year (besides keeping my job and keeping Michael, Buffy and I alive) I will finish these hats.








OK, so my machine is actually bigger and it’s real. That’s not even a picture of me (Credit to original owner) But I need to have that determination she has on her face. The FLEECE just got real.

THANK YOU!  Happy sewing is good sewing!