Challenge Accepted

The other night my mom and I were talking crazy squares. She wanted to try making some, so I was giving her some tips.

We were discussing how most of my crazy squares end up between 3″ and 6″ in size, no larger. Some even as small as 1.5″.

So that started me wondering, how big could I make one? Why didn’t I make larger squares?

Out came the fabrics. I decided to use an old jelly roll that had been sitting on the shelf for a few years now.

I managed a 14″ block before I was annoyed with it and then added the polkadot border to bring it to 18″ square.

Challenge accepted, completed, and I don’t like it. I don’t know why. I just don’t.

So, I did what any other crazy person would do. I took the rotary cutter to it.

Now I like it! It’s weird and unusual.

Some batting and backing, some decorative stitching, and I determined it done.

Or was it? Time to add beads! I love the shimmer and shine that beads add.

What have you challenged yourself with lately?


WIP- Where Was This Hiding?

I recently went through a couple of plastic totes in my Wife Cave and I found a surprise!

16 blocks of a quilt top made with a jelly roll. I started this, oh, probably three years ago at a sewing retreat. I drew the pattern up on grid paper and pieced the blocks. Then it was packed up to bring home and … forgotten.

I now have it sewn into 8 sets of 2 blocks each. Eventually I’ll have all 16 blocks sewn together, add a border, and get it quilted. Eventually.

Have you found any surprises lately? Maybe in that tote hidden in the corner of your craft area? You might want to check. Never know what surprises you’ll find!

Jump – A Short Story

Lately I’ve been wanting to write more again. That makes me very happy. I’ve always loved writing, whether poetry or short stories, and the occasional attempt at a novel (I have 2 that are in the process of editing).  But I think short-short stories are my most favorite to write.  They are quick and easy, and a lot of fun.

I hope you enjoy what I share with you.  Please let me know by leaving a comment below.


(by Michelle D. 2018)

One more step and I’d be over the edge. One more step, just this last one, and I’d be done. Goal accomplished. I could still hear the voices egging me on. “Just jump.” “Just do it.” “You should just go ahead and jump.”

I shuffled just the tiniest bit forward, looked over the edge again. My breath caught in my throat, my heart pounded at the sight. Crystal clear water sparkled up at me, seeming even farther away than my previous glance. Such a long drop, such depths.

It shouldn’t be so hard to make this decision. Or maybe it should be. Maybe this hesitation meant I wasn’t ready. I still had other things to accomplish before I made this leap off the cliff. I could cross some other items off my list before I gave in and made this jump.

My children’s faces flashed in front of my eyes. I took a large step back. What was I doing? Was it worth it? Would they understand? They were so young still. They had no idea where I was. They didn’t know the shame I felt. Would they realize I was doing this for them? Could they understand that I had to do this?

It was time. I had stalled long enough. Any longer and I would lose my nerve completely and never do it. And I had to do this. I had to.

I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, then opened my eyes, ran forward, and jumped. The fall seemed to take forever. Falling, falling, slipping through the humid air, then hitting the water with enough force to shock my body. I sank toward the bottom.

I did it. I jumped. The warm water surrounded my body as I sank toward the bottom. Moments later the urge to fight kicked in and I pushed toward the surface.

“Good job. Next time we’ll try the five-foot depth. And maybe not a belly flop on your landing. Those will steal the breath from your body, and quite frankly, they hurt.”

I smiled up at my instructor. Finally, I was getting over my fear of water and learning to swim.

WIP – Crazy Tote

I’m still on the tote kick. They are fun, pretty easy, and as long as you don’t do something crazy, they can be quick too.

But my motto? Go crazy!

Crazy squares that is.

I decided to make a bunch of crazy squares and start assembling them into a new tote bag. I’m using “blender” fabrics and a skinny jelly roll in black. Blenders are solid color with a small print in a shade or two darker, as you can see in the picture below.

I made enough to do one side of the tote so far.

Although I will be adding more black to the bottom once I get the other side ready. I want to make sure I adjust correctly for how much will end up as the “bottom” side of the tote bag.

I originally was going to do smaller strips of crazy pieces alternated with black strips for the other side. But then I decided to try designing an applique project, which then turned into what will be the other side.

Don’t worry about that wrinkle in the background. The kitty is not stitched down yet. I was auditioning colors to be the background. I’m loving my colorful cat!

I wonder what I should make next, after this is finished. Any ideas?

Midnight Moonlight – A Short Story

One of the Facebook pages I follow is for our local area and its focus is photography from around our county.  We have some amazing photographers in this area.  One of our local guys, DW, posted the following photo. I contacted him and asked for permission to use his photo (with credit to him) with the short story that the photo inspired. I hope you enjoy.

midnight moonlight inspiration photo - DW Harmon - Pure Lapeer

(Photo by DW Harmon – Michigan. Shared with permission)

 Midnight Moonlight

(by Michelle D.)

Unnatural silence surrounded her. The air so still not a single leaf rustled. Missing also were the normal sounds of wildlife. She should be able to hear the croak of the bullfrogs from the misty swamp ahead, the hoot of an owl, or the skittering of little feet through the dry leaves. Instead there was nothing but pure silence.

The woman took a careful step forward. Gravel moved under her foot, grinding together in a loud crunch. She stopped again, her heart racing, her heartbeat audible in the silence of the woods.

She just needed to follow the tracks, she kept telling herself. They would hopefully lead her to safety. The old cabin with the monster of a man was behind her. She hoped he was still unconscious from the blow she gave him to the back of the head.

The moonlight glinted off the rails of the old abandoned railroad track. She studied the rails. Years had passed since childhood, but she should still be able to balance on the narrow beam that the rail presented. She stepped carefully onto the right rail. The light mist made the rail slightly slick, but she should be able to carefully walk silently along it.

A careful glance over her shoulder showed nothing behind her. He wasn’t using the rails to sneak up on her, but she needed to hurry. He could come to at any moment.

Up ahead she saw a break in the woods. It appeared that the railroad tracks created a small bridge to cross a gap in the earth before the next stretch of woods. Maybe she would be able to figure out where she was, orient herself with the surroundings.

A loud snap broke the silence behind her. She gasped and took off running, carefully balancing as she ran. Years of training came back to her, unfortunately her body was not in the same shape as her gymnastics days. Her feet wobbled as she ran.

Low, rolling laughter came from her right. Another loud snap to her left.

“Leave me alone!” she screamed, abandoning the rail to run full tilt on the gravel next to the tracks.

She slid to a stop just before tumbling down the embankment. The tracks continued across the gap; just a couple of rails and rotted boards stretched between her and the other bank. Laughter came from her right again. Another glance around showed her she was still alone. She tested her weight on the rails.

“You can’t escape,” the words from below whispered over her skin.

“Go away,” she sobbed.

A growl came from behind, “Run!”

She took off across the suspended rails, balancing as carefully as she could on the shaking, slick rails. The other bank loomed, coming closer. If she could make it to the other side maybe she’d be safe.

She jumped the last couple of feet, slipping on the gravel and coming down to her knees. Her eyes wide, breath coming in short pants, she looked around. A light glowed ahead of her, just down a path off the tracks.

“Help!” she screamed before standing and running for the light. The woman burst into a clearing. “No,” she whispered, sinking once again to her battered knees. The old cabin, the same cabin she escaped only an hour ago, stood before her.

“I told you, you can’t escape,” a voice whispered just before pain burst across the back of her head. She rolled over, stared up at the monster, her vision fading.

“Until death do us part, my love,” he grinned as he raised an ax. The last thing she saw before the world went black was the light of the midnight moon shining on the gleaming metal head of the ax.


The “Super” Shopper Totebag

You may have seen a sneak peek of another bag sitting behind my Big Shopper Totebag in my last post.

This one I did not use an actual pattern for, but did use the same concept for putting it together as the Big Shopper. I also didn’t really measure out a certain size first, I just winged it. So the bag ended up quite a bit larger than expected. I call this my “Super” Shopper.

You can see the size difference in the above picture. A little narrower, but taller. It’s actually the perfect size to roll up a quilt and stuff it in without having the top of the quilt hanging out all over. (For those times you are working on hand binding and taking a quilt on the go).

With this bag I did not put pockets on the inside, just one on each side on the outside.

Since the strip was wider as well I did mirror images on the decorative stitching.

I think I could get addicted to making Totebags. How about you?

Big Shopper Totebag

I’m finally replacing the Wal-Mart and Meijer reusable grocery bags that I’ve been using to cart around craft projects. The Big Shopper bag by Whistlepig Creek is a great totebag.

I made mine according to the pattern for the larger size. I did add decorative stitching in the thin strip of green because I love doing decorative stitching. I add it to pillowcases as well.

The circle with the MD initials was made by my friend JK. Some day I’m going to go play with her embroidery machine.

The bag has a good amount of pockets inside. You can make them the size you want. So you could have a bunch of skinny pockets for holding scissors and pens and such, or a few wider pockets. It’s up to you.

I love making bags. And they are usually quick enough to actually finish the project in a decent amount of time.

Have you made any Totebags lately?