A Week of Gathering Inspiration, Waiting, and Planning

I haven’t hit my sewing room since last Sunday. Honestly, I just haven’t been inspired to. I’m thinking that I went on such a feverish productive jag over the last couple of months that I’m a little burned out.

So this week I’ve been thinking a lot about future projects… I looked at a lot of pictures, savored color and fabric combos, bought a pattern or two, and spent way too much time on Pinterest. I also ordered a few more pieces of shot cottons for my stripes and shots quilt, as well as some KFC Fabric to make pillow cases to go with my new bed quilt.

An order of a few more pieces of shot cottons arrived a couple days ago. So I did get into my sewing room tonight and pressed and cut a few more strips for the stripes and shots quilt. I now have 20 sets cut and ready to go. That’s half of what I’ll need for this quilt.

I have a few more pieces of shot cottons that should arrive this week, then I can start pairing up the duplicate strips of the solid shots with the additional 20 unique stripes I have waiting. I may start sewing these pairs together this week. I want to sew them on my Featherweight.

I had one last quick project I wanted to make tonight for a holiday gift at the request of a friend… before I put my Bernina away for a few weeks.

Several years ago I made a bunch of “corn bags” for friends and for people at work as holiday gifts. Basically, they are a flannel bag containing feed corn that you can put in the microwave and use as a heating pad or to help take the chill off. I was first given one by a sister in law many years ago and I used mine so many times and so often it literally fell apart!

This time of year I heat mine up a couple of times every day to warm my hands while I’m working. I just get so cold sitting all day and when it gets dark so early.

I make two different styles. One is a simple rectangle about 8×12. The other kind is about 7×20 and has baffles or section filled with corn. It’s great to throw over your shoulder, around your neck, or to wrap around your hands.

Since I had made a bunch of these a few years ago I still had some feed corn in the garage and had pieces of flannel left over. I like to use a dark flannel since it will get lots of use and the corn bags are not washable. If it gets too dirty and ratty, you just have to throw it away.

I start with cutting a piece of flannel 8 inches by width of fabric. Then I trim this folded piece to 8 inches by about 20.5 inches — so unfolded it would be 8 inches by 41 inches. .

Then I press a 1/2 inch hem along one long side of this piece.

Once that 1/2 inch hem is pressed, fold this piece of fabric in half, right sides together, so that what were the selvedge edges are together. Sew along the long edge that does not have the hem pressed over and one short edge. Use a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Leave the long hemmed edge at the top un-sewn.

Turn this piece right side out and press. It should now measure 20 inches by 7.5 inches.

Using a piece of chalk or a chalk pencil, mark off five four-inch sections.

The edges with the folded hem should line up nicely. You will basically have a long flannel pocket with five open sections. Sew along each of the lines you marked, back tacking at the start and end of each line of stitching.

Now it’s time to fill these sections with corn. I get 50 lb bags of whole feed corn at the farm store. You can buy smaller quantities on Amazon but it’s a lot more expensive.

Make sure you get whole corn. You don’t want to get cracked or ground corn. And you want feed corn. Not seed corn.

And for the love of God… don’t use pop corn!!!

So, why do I use corn instead of rice? The corn seems to hold the heat longer. I think it also holds up better over time than the rice.

To fill the bags I make a funnel from a piece of paper and some tape. I put about 1-1/4 cups of corn into each section. You can adjust to be as full or loose as you like.

Once the corn is in the first section, hold up the bag so the corn falls to the bottom, away from the opening. Then put in a couple of pins horizontal to the opening to keep the corn away from the opening so you don’t sew over corn when you close this.

Continue filling and pinning until you have all five sections filled and penned.

Then take this whole thing to you sewing machine and stitch one long line along the open tops of the bag, making sure to keep the two sides of the bag with the folded hems lined up so that your line of stitching catches both edges.

And that’s your corn bag. I heat mine on high heat for 3 minutes. You should test this out in your microwave and for your personal preference. I like mine really hot! Try 1-1/2 minutes first. If that’s not warm enough, try 2 minutes. Go up in 30 second increments until you find the right time for you. Be careful because you can get warm and cold pockets in the corn. I shake mine up a bit when I comes out of the microwave.

When I woke up this morning it was snowing. We don’t see a lot of snow in Portland and people usually do panic a bit when a storm comes through. It snowed almost all day. This is looking out the front of my house across the street during the early afternoon.

Here’s a view of my back yard first thing in the morning.

After snowing most of the day, here’s the accumulation we got.

It’s a little sad as snow storms go. But it was a great day to be inside and warm just watching the snow fall.

Since it wasn’t much of a day to be outside, I managed to get my living room cleaned and got my basic holiday lights up.

I love having all these lights during our dark and dreary winters. It makes me feel so much better and makes the house feel warm and cozy. I don’t typically put up a lot of holiday decorations. I might pull a few out of the boxes in the garage, but for me it’s really all about the lights.

I also took advantage of a snowy day inside and got most of my Christmas cards addressed. I’ll work on them over this week and have them all ready for the mail later this week. Here’s the photo I took for my card this year. I wanted to show one of my quilts and just couldn’t leave the dogs off.

We had a few windy days early this week and it all brought down a lot of leaves.

I have two huge Sweet Gum Maples on the south side of my back yard. They provide lovely shade to my yard during the summer months. And they drop A LOT of leaves all through late November and all of December.

My yard guys came on Wednesday and got them all taken care of. That’s a lot of leaves!

They were working in an absolute downpour. But once they were done and gone, the sun came out.

One of those big trees is still full of green leaves. I’m glad my yard guys will be back next week.

I’ve decided I’m going to make pillow cases to go with my new bed quilt, rather than making shams. I had hoped to use fabric from my stash rather than having to purchase more fabric, but I didn’t have any pieces that are in the quilt that are large enough. So I ordered a couple yards of the Lotus Leaf fabric, shown at the bottom of this photo. That will be for the body of the pillow cases.

The cuff and accent band will be made from the stripe and zigzag that are from my stash. All three fabrics are in the quilt. The zigzag is left over from the backing and the stripe is left over from the binding. So once the Lotus Leaf arrives I’ll be ready to go.

I’ve made a god number of batik pillow cases over the years. I’ve given a lot of them as gifts in sets of two. Here’s the pillow case pattern I use.

I went and played pickle ball Saturday morning. It was cold and windy but the sun was out. Someone took a photo and posted it on Facebook. I’ve drawn a black arrow to show where I am on the court. I’m wearing a teal fleece and black baseball cap.

Happy work week!

41 Replies to “A Week of Gathering Inspiration, Waiting, and Planning”

  1. Thank you for the instructions on the corn bags. They will be quite useful here in Maine, where we have many cold snowy days/nights ! I’m looking forward to seeing the end results of the shot cotton quilt ! I think it is neat that you will be making it on your featherweight! Have a great week Anne !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I lived in Salt Lake City, on really cold winter nights, I’d heat up a corn bag and put it at the foot of my bed before I went to bed. It was so wonderful to crawl into a cool bed with that warm spot at the bottom@



  2. Yes, don’t use popcorn!!! 🤣 that reminds me of the SNL commercial- airbags filled with jiffy pop popcorn so they find crash victims munching away on popcorn waiting for rescue 🤣🤣🤣! I have made rice bags but will have to try the corn next. The boys with your new quilt looks great for a card! ❤️❤️


  3. I love making those pillowcases! I add a line of stitching to the tiny accent flap so it doesn’t get all weird and wrinkly in the dryer. I refuse to iron pillowcases and sheets, lol. Love your Christmas card!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I made a bunch of pillow case sets several years ago and gave them as gifts. Everyone loved them! I used batiks for those. I’ve never made them with Kaffe fabrics, but I think. they will be good with my quilt.



  4. Photo of the boys on the new quilt is perfect for Christmas cards. So cheery. Do they cooperate easily?
    Great idea for the matching cases. Looks like you picked out great fabrics. Strata (?) is one of my favorites.
    Pinterest is a dangerous place to while away a rainy, dreary day! You come away with so many new projects.
    I would have liked to see some accumulation at least in the grassy areas. Snow always makes everything clean and fresh and light! Do you have a fire when it’s that cold? Nothing like a warm fire to take the chill out of the air.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bender is a natural poser. He would sit there all day and let me take photo after photo… each one great. Rico hates it. He usually looks tortured when I make him pose. I used a cookie for this photo so he looks more relaxed and cooperative.

      That red/pink stripe is Strata… and I love it. It’s such a fantastic fabric. So simple but just magic!



  5. I’m sitting at my kitchen table with a warm rice bag on my lap…I love them! I’ve not used corn before. Rice is easier to find. I make my bags about 12 x 17.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve had bags with both and I prefer the corn. It seems to hold the heat longer than rice.

      I have one on my lap almost all the time when I’m working int he winter.



  6. I purchase whole corn to feed the deer that come to my backyard. This year, unlike any other, there were moths coming out of the deer corn. I kept the deer corn in my attached garage and I had a terrible time getting rid of these tiny moths. The pest control company told me it happens all the time; the larva is on the corn before harvesting. I hope that doesn’t affect your corn bags.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Glad to hear that you were only a “little”. Burned out this week and not I’ll, or worse that you went to my SPAM. Missed your posts. Your dogs are well ‘photo’ trained! Thanks for the pillow tutorials. Have a good week and don’t forget to rest.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love your emails!  So I see interfacing peaking out of the hot wrap – any special kind?




    Sent from Paula


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    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve also used rice bags but never corn – great idea! There’s a Southern States store about a half mile away from my house. I’ve already checked, and they sell the type of corn you mentioned. I see another project in my future! Word to the wise… make sure to use 100% cotton fabric and 100% cotton thread. Polyester and microwaves don’t play well together. The image of filling the bags with popcorn and then heating them made me chuckle. Thanks for all your wonderful posts. I love reading about your sewing, dog, and life adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Question on the heated pads – the picture looks like it was interfaced, is their a kind of interfacing that would be best? Thanks for the tutorial and for ever single email you send out!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I absolutely love the photo of your dogs on your quilt for the Christmas card! They are so photogenic and your quilts are gorgeous! I appreciate the tutorial on the corn bags. I’ve been wanting to make something like this for a long time but will need to use rice as I have no idea where to get that kind of corn around here and have no place to store it either. I was wondering though if you used quilter’s flannel or just regular flannel?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never intentionally purchased quilters flannel. Didn’t even know it was a thing since I never piece with it. So I’m guessing this is not a quilters flannel.



  12. I enjoy hearing about your week and most of all I love your dogs and their dog friends. It looks so beautiful where you live. I just wanted to let you know that you and the dogs are a great read. Barbara

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hello

    Do so enjoy all of your posts, but since lady Monday have not received any. Do hope that you are well. Best wishes

    Sheila Ringwood UK Sent from Sheila’s iPad


    Liked by 1 person

  14. I always enjoy your posts! I make rice bags. I make am outer washable cover for mine & use a double layer of nice muslin for the interior. I will look for whole feed corn next time I’m out. Sounds promising! Kiss the boys for me!


  15. I always enjoy your posts! I make rice bags. I make am outer washable cover for mine & use a double layer of nice muslin for the interior. I will look for whole feed corn next time I’m out. Sounds promising! Kiss the boys for me!

    Liked by 1 person

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