Nettle Finger Mitts With Malabrigo Yarn

Nettle Mitts

Exactly a year ago during a visit to Napa, we found a yarn shop in downtown.   It was a crisp December weekend and I found myself gravitating toward the warmth of the yarn shop.  Even though I had no mitten-making skills whatsoever at the time, I couldn’t resist this fingering yarn and the mitten pattern.  Then, a few weeks ago, when the weather started getting colder, I also started knitting.  I watched a few youtube videos to learn how to even use DPNs!  I had to use some seriously thin, 2.5mm needles for this project.  I persevered and here’s my very first set of mittens. 

Harvest Date Fingerless Mittens With Madelinetosh

Harvest Date

A year later we stopped by the same yarn shop, now as Napa residents, and I picked up this beautiful orange-yellow shade of yarn and a set of knitting needles.  It has been raining nonstop for the last couple of weeks and I found myself yearning for another pair of mittens.   This one was even faster to make with a chunky weight yarn and 5.5mm knitting needles.  Even with my deviating a little from the pattern to knit the thumbs, I finished this set in no time whatsoever.  I love my mittens and they are definitely keeping my perennially frosty hands very warm.

Penguin Quilt Pattern

This little one is staying warm as well with his very own winter clothing.  This one belongs to Sandra.  She made him from my Little Penguin Polaris quilt pattern.  Love the little thing with his super cute red hat and scarf!!  He is so perfectly dressed for his winter holidays!!  Many thanks to Sandra for letting me share him with all of you!

Stay dry and warm, and have wonderful holidays, everyone!!

Jedburgh Abbey Doorway Details

Drawing of a doorway detail, Jedburgh Abbey, Scotland

In school, I was never very good at history, I always managed to only pass by the skin of my teeth.  I had the hardest time following the syllabus.  Whenever I came across an era that I liked, I researched, read and dove in, completely ignoring everything else that was being taught in the classroom.  The good thing about being a grown up is that now I can continue to do that without the pressure of grades.  I also don’t have to stick to just books, I can now travel to places of historic interest as well.  I love prehistory, archaeology and ruins.   That took me to Scotland twice.

Sword Relief On Stone From Iona Abbey

 Drawing of a stone relief, Iona Abbey, Scotland

I recently started drawing again after a long hiatus.  I missed the scratching sound of pencil on paper too much.  I went through my Scotland photos and picked out a few to draw.  In the evening after a long day, it’s wonderfully relaxing to revisit the places through drawing while listening to some comforting old TV show or movie.  I think these drawings would make nice embroidery designs too.

DSLR Camera Quilt Pattern

I could not have done these drawings without my trusty camera.  I made the SLR camera pattern many months ago and never got around to making it.  My friend Amanda recently made this pillow from that pattern.  I squealed in joy when I saw the picture.  I LOVE the way she quilted it.  I already told her that I am going to copy that quilting design when I make my quilted camera.


Aqua Brown With Green & Cream home machine quilt

I am so happy to have this quilt finished and ready for use during our first winter here in Napa.  My husband requested this quilt during an impromptu trip to the quilt store.  We picked out all the fabrics that very same day – a combination of Jacobean flowers and stripes.  That was such a long time ago.  The whole ensemble – the quilt-top, pieced backing, trimmed batting and the variegated thread I was going to use for quilting – all sat on the shelf forever.  I was too afraid to quilt it because of the large queen size.

Take 5 Quilt Basted

Finally, a few months ago, I pulled it out one rainy Friday, basted it and started quilting it the very same day.  Although I had a fantastic neck pain afterwards, I managed to finish quilting it by the end of that weekend.  It didn’t turn out to be that difficult to move half of the quilt through the narrow neck of my sewing machine.  I didn’t roll up the quilt, I bunched it up and pushed or pulled as needed.  The quilt was too heavy for my machine and that affected the stitch lengths at faster speeds.  Once I started quilting at a slower speed, it become much smoother.

Aqua Brown With Green & Cream home machine and hand quilted

Once the machine quilting was done, I started hand quilting each of the 42 squares.  I tend to overwork my wrist through various activities during the day, so I have restricted myself to only one hour of hand quilting per day.  So much of my life is governed by the clock, I really don’t like to rush when I am working on creative things.  It takes however long it takes.  Working at the slower pace is relaxing too and my wrist doesn’t hurt afterwards.  I finished the last square a few weeks ago, and sewed on the brown binding over the next few days.  Or was it a couple of weeks?  Don’t really remember!

Aqua Brown With Green & Cream home machine quilt

We went to historic Sonoma downtown last Friday, and the little state park was the perfect place to take a picture of this quilt.  Just in time too, because the rain came right after we got in the car and it hasn’t stopped since!


Quilted Bag Made With Piano Quilt Pattern

Some of you already have the winter storm inviting itself to your home.  I hope the warm colours of the last vestiges of Autumn in this post brings you a little bit of comfort.  It’s always a pleasure for me to share blocks and projects made by others using my quilt patterns.  Quite by chance I came across this stunning quilted music bag made by Gwen.   Not only is her piecing of the piano block beyond perfect, she picked the perfect accompanying fabrics too.  They add a beautiful touch of movement and sophistication to the bag.  The golden-yellow music notes fabric is so tangibly warm.  She made this bag to carry the music for her piano lessons.  I play the piano too and this bag is such an inspiration!  I am in awe!  You can see more photos of this bag on her blog.


Violin Quilt Pattern

Another surprise awaited me when I saw this violin block made by Katrin.   I would have never thought of using those colours for a violin, they make it so bohemian!  It’s gorgeous and I love it!  The colours of the violin are also scattered like confetti in the background fabric of the block.  I play only classical music on the violin, but Katrin’s violin block is making me want to play something risque and new!!


Fall Maple Leaf Quilt Pattern


Fall Maple Leaf Quilt Pattern

I think music and autumn are a match made in heaven.  In my mind I can very easily interweave music and the movement of leaves in the autumn breeze so I was only too happy to show you the beautiful musical instruments along with these leaves made by Kris.  She has been making these spontaneous maple leaves and I love seeing them.  It’s like finding the perfect leaves during a walk and you know you have to bring them back home with you.  Perfect for keeping in the treasure box.  Aren’t they beautiful?!

Over the previous months I have collected quite a few projects from others.  I created a Made By Others page so these projects have a forever home.  Many thanks to all of you for giving me permission to share your work.

Nettle Mitts

These works have inspired me to work on new patterns.  Aside from that and sewing the binding on a queen size quilt, I am working on these mitts with leaf patterns in them.  This is my first project with double-pointed needles and these are my first mitts.  I am knitting them slowly to avoid making mistakes.  So far it’s going really well.  Hopefully pretty soon I will have something homemade to keep my hands warm.  Wish me luck!



It was really overcast a couple of days ago.  For some strange reason, the cloudy, cool weather gave me a huge urge to bake.  I gave in and became a mad baking lady.   I kicked off the baking session with these easy scones.  We treated ourselves to a couple of warm ones that afternoon with butter and jam.   I sometimes like to eat them with just butter and sprinkled sugar.

Peach Crumble

Once the scones came out of the oven, I prepped a peach crumble.  Since I am allergic to all fruits with pits and cores, I can only eat canned peaches.  First I drained the syrup from the peaches and added shredded coconut and sugar.  Then I prepared the crumble, added some coconut to that as well and then into the oven it went at 375F for 30 minutes.   If I could, I would add coconut to everything!  I almost wanted to skip dinner and go straight to dessert that night!

Whole Wheat Bread

Last but certainly not least, I baked three loaves of bread.  I really love homemade bread, but I haven’t been able to bake for a while because I had been a bit under the weather.   Since I am feeling a lot better now, I just had to bake bread.  Once I had made up my mind, there was no going back.  This bread is really not that hard to make, just a lot of waiting around.  Since I was puttering around the kitchen anyway, the timing was perfect.  I love the smell of freshly-baked bread wafting through the house.

Charlie kitty On Quilt

After I finished all that baking, I felt like Charlie in this picture.  By the way, this is the reason why this quilt is still not finished.  I partially hand quilted it.  Every time I got up for five minutes, he was on it, sleeping.  I finally finished the quilting last week and I am feverishly hand sewing the binding now.  It is a queen size quilt, so there’s a lot of binding to sew.  Currently this is the only quilt I am working on.  Since I am not touching anything else until it’s finished, hopefully I will be able to show it here very soon.

It’s not all his fault though, for my not finishing the quilt, I must share part of the blame.  Puffy clouds and cool weather have been inviting me to go play outside, and I must heed their call.  I have been out and about with my camera a lot lately.  This is our first year here in the Napa Valley.  My friend Kris and I have been talking about “leaf peeping” and that’s exactly what I did while exploring the area.  Fall is like a second spring, only all the leaves turn into blooms.  I thought I’d share some of my favourite photos here.

Fall Colours Napa Valley Vineyard

 Napa Valley Vineyard

Fall Colours Napa Valley Vineyard

  Napa Valley Vineyard

Fall Colours Napa Valley Vineyard

 I had no idea that grape leaves change colour too.

Fall Colours Napa Valley Vineyard

Afternoon sunlit leaves

Fall Colours Napa Valley Calistoga

 Looks like red blooms – it’s spring in fall

Fall Colours Napa Valley Calistoga

Gorgeous reds

Fall Colours Napa Valley Calistoga

 Yellow-softened asphalt

Fall Colours Napa Valley Calistoga

 Soft leaves under my feet

Dark, overcast clouds or puffy white clouds, I am happy to be able entertain myself on all occasions!



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