Rico’s First Sheep Herding Clinic

I had been looking forward to this last weekend for a couple of months — Rico’s first sheep herding seminar in Central Oregon, near Bend. It was actually a handling seminar, so it was more about me and all I don’t know about sheep herding. Rico is such a natural!

I met Heather in Hubbard on Friday afternoon and we started our caravan drive across the Cascades.


I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the drive. It’s been ages since I’ve been in the mountains. It did my soul good to get above sea level and see some vistas.

It rained most of the trip, but the sun did come out. It was a pretty quick drive with only a few slow downs for construction and slow drivers. (That’s Heather in front of me.)


We made it to Terrebonne, where our Air B&B was located, at about 5:30. Our third friend showed up about a half hour later. We gave the dogs a quick break, then headed out to dinner.

The Air B&B was fantastic! Two bedrooms with two securely fenced dog yards. It was much less expensive and so much better than a hotel. I loved that I could just open the front door and let the dogs out to potty! It was incredibly quiet and we didn’t have to live with the noise of our neighbors.

We were back at the Air B&B by about 8:00 and I was hoping for a good night’s sleep in preparation for a busy day of herding.


I didn’t get any video or photos of Rico herding, but we spent a good deal of time in this pasture. This is my friend Heather with the instructor, and Heather’s young dog Navarre. I just LOVE Navarre.

Rico was such a good dog all weekend. I feel bad that he has so much amazing natural talent for herding and I’m no inept as a handler. There’s so much to learn about herding. I feel like I’m holding Rico back with my lack of experience.


My friend Heather did get a couple photos of Rico and me getting ready for our turn with the sheep on Saturday.

The clinic was held on a working farm, surrounded by huge fields that we were given access to for walks and dog pottying. We spent a lot of time in these fields over Saturday and Sunday. The dogs had an absolute blast running and playing! It’s so much fun to have them in a place where they can really open up and run full speed.


Saturday morning was rainy and really windy. It cleared up and calmed down in the afternoon and we ended the day with a sliver of sunshine.

The forecast for Sunday called for rain and wind all day. Luckily, the wind was much milder than on Saturday, but it did rain most of the day. Every good Oregonian has solid rain gear, and I’m glad I didn’t leave mine at home. They say that in Oregon, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate gear! My rain gear got a work out at this clinic!

Rico only worked in the round pen on Saturday as the instructor wanted to work on my skills. Sunday, we moved to the larger pasture, and Rico really rose to the occasion and made me so proud! It’s so amazing to watch him work sheep. His instincts kick in and he just seems to know what to do. There’s nothing like watching a dog do what they were bred to do.

Bender really enjoyed his field runs. I’m so glad we had access to these fields so he could have some excitement this weekend too. Both boys were so good.

I loved being in that country side! It was so nice to be up at a higher altitude. The rolling hills covered with juniper trees and sage brush made me feel like I was back home. The fresh air and views were so good for me!


We drove home past Mount Hood and even got to drive in some snow at the summit. It rained the entire way, so we didn’t get any views of the spectacular Mount Hood.

The dogs are still tired a day after we got home. Nothing better than a tired dog!


Using Up More Scraps

I took today off work to recover from our weekend of sheep herding in Central Oregon. I had a nice sleep-in and then spent the day sewing. I’m itching to move on to some new projects, so I planned to use up the scraps I cut up last week.

There were enough scrap strip pieces left to make three pouches. So I pieced the six panels and selected fabric for the bodies of the pouches.


I really like the red lotus leaf and LOOOOVE the black spots. The turquoise guinea flower looks better in person than in the photo, but it’s not my favorite. Sometimes you just don’t know how a fabric combination will look until you get it all put together.

I was on the phone with a friend tonight — the friend that introduced me to quilting and to Kaffe Fassett fabrics — and she offered to send me some strips from a KFC strip set that she’s had for awhile. So, more scraps are on their way to me!

I’ll probably make more of these pouches because there are some fabrics I want to try for the body of this design. I probably have a few more of these in me.

I do want to try some pouches with paper pieced panels. I recently purchased these paper piecing templates of snow capped mountains. 


I’m thinking I’ll make them from batiks, but I’ll also take a look at the KFC scraps my friend is sending and see if there’s something there that will work. I can picture these in a pouch made from my lovely blue chambray that I love so much.

I’ll probably give this a little bit of thought and then dig in later this week.

Pouch Mania

I’m having so much fun making these pouches out of gorgeous Kaffe Fassett Collective Fabrics. I keep trying out different fabrics for the body of the pouch and want to make 20 more! Each one is better than the last!


These are made based on my zipper pouch tutorial. I just changed the orientation of the bag to vertical instead of horizontal. This post has a brief description of how I pieced the panel.

I’ve sold every one that I’ve made, and have orders for a few more. Luckily, I’m not tired of making these yet!

More Scrappy KFC Pouches

I’ve been having fun using up the scraps from my hexagon quilt. In fact, i stayed up way too late last night to make this one!

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I just LOVE the combination of the bright colors with the gray guinea flower. That gray fabric is so amazing! Really makes those bright colors sing.

I also used up a bunch of unused gray triangles in this pouch. I love the softness of the colors. Not a typical look in my work.


Now I’m sad because I’m almost out of these fun scraps!

Jewel Frames Quilt — All Blocks Done

Over the last two evenings I’ve finished the last 49 blocks for my jewel frames quilt, and I can’t wait to see this all put together.


The fabric that these blocks are sitting on is the Black Shaggy that I used for the cornerstones in the sashing, and will be the border of this quilt as well. It is so gorgeous! I can’t wait to see it all put together.

I’m thinking I want to buy a new bed along with a new mattress and box springs. I might wait to finish the quilt until I get that done so I can fit it to the mattress and new bed.

New Kaffe Fassett Colllective fabrics will be released in the next couple of months. There is a new color way of the Brassica that is the most amazing thing! I’m going to have to base a quilt on this fabric!


Jewel Frames Quilt – 40 down

I have really gotten a lot done on this quilt during my four-day weekend. And what a great way to spend a weekend!


I haven’t arranged the blocks yet. I just put them on the design wall as I finished them because I wanted to see how they looked.

I have about half of the blocks done, and my design wall is full. I’m not really sure yet how big I’m going to make this, but I want it to be generous on my queen bed. I have 89 blocks, which is an odd number and doesn’t add up to a quilt top. But 90 blocks would make a generous quilt once I add the borders.

The pattern instructions said to do one long sashing with cornerstones made from the same jade millefiore fabric, and to sew it to the blocks on one long seam. the purpose of the cornerstones is to help line up each row of blocks.

I figured that if I was going through the effort to make cornerstones, that I should make them special. So I decided to use the same black shaggy fabric as I’m using for the border. And I love how they look.

I also decided to make each block with the green border and cornerstone as part of the block, rather than doing that sashing in one long line. Then on the blocks on the last column and row I’ll need to add the final border of green with the cornerstones. You can see the individual block in this photo.


I also used a mass production method to make the 10-inch strips with cornerstones attached. I cut a 9&3/4 inch strip, width of fabric of the green and a 2 inch strip WOF of the black shaggy. I sewed the shaggy onto the green, then put two layers together and cut the finished two-inch strips from the larger piece.

This photo shows two sets of cornerstone strips, one on top of the other, being cut in one piece. It’s a much faster and accurate way to make these strips with cornerstones.

img_0454Then I pressed the strips and pinned them onto the blocks to sew. It took a little longer to put these strips with cornerstones onto the blocks. I’m trying to be very accurate so that the finished quilt will go together well and will be flat.

It’s really coming together nicely and I can’t wait to see how it looks once I mix up all the blocks.

Choosing Cornerstones

I made a good deal of progress on my new quilt yesterday, so today I took some time to square up all the blocks.


The blocks were supposed to finish at 10 inches square, but not one of them measured that big. They were all between 9 3/4 and just shy of 10 inches.

So to make the upcoming construction go better, I squared off all the blocks to 9 3/4. I didn’t cut more than a sliver off of any side, but this minor trimming will make the quilt much more flat and even as we go forward.

I’m going to use Phillip Jacobs black shaggy as the border on this quilt, and am thinking I want to use it for the cornerstones on the sashing as well. I’m going to give it some thought and take a look at it in the daylight tomorrow.


That black shaggy fabric is really something! It’s a bold choice for a bold quilt! I can’t wait to see it all done!



Jewel Frames Quilt Progresses

I’ve made some really good progress on piecing the blocks for my Jewel Frames quilt.


Each block center is cut to 8 inches. The black strips are 1.5 inches wide, and are 8 inches long on the short side, and 10 inches long on the long side. The blocks were cut from fabric in the kit, plus about 15 blocks that a friend of mine gave me from when she made this quilt.

Since I’m making the quilt big enough for my queen bed, and the kit is for a throw size quilt, I knew I’d run out of the jewel/black Kaffe Fassett paper weight fabric. I was afraid I’d have to delay more sewing while I waited for fabric to arrive.

I’ve been trying to replace a black with white fabric that I’ve used a lot. In searching based on the selvedge on the fabric, I learned that it’s a Civil War reproduction fabric. This really surprised me because if feels modern to me. Well,  I found some online, and the shop also had Kaffe Fassett fabrics, so I bought the black and white, the paper weight, and some Phillip Jacobs black shaggy for the quilt border.

I was really surprised when I opened my mailbox today and found a thick packet inside! It only took two days to get the fabric, so I was off and sewing this afternoon!


I cut a bunch of the fabric into 1.5 inch wide strips, and sat down at the machine to add these strips to all four sides of the big blocks. I love to find efficient and quick ways to get things done, so I sat down with a big stack of strips, and chain pieced about 20 blocks at a time. Then turned them around and chain pieced the opposite edge.

Once I had two sides done, I pressed the blocks, and then added the longer strips to the remaining two sides.

I was able to get the strips sewn onto all 89 blocks today!


I still haven’t decided yet how many blocks I’m going to need for this quilt. I know there’s no arrangement that will require 89 blocks! But maybe 90 would work. I’ll just have to wait and see.

Tomorrow I’ll start putting on the jade Millefiore strips and purple cornerstones. I’m going to have to give that some thought before I start.

Bright Cat Storage Bins

I made these bins for the same friend that got the cat shoulder bag in a previous blog post. She asked me for some storage bins that she could use on her desk. I knew she would love the cat fabric. I auditioned a number of different black and white fabrics to go with the cats, and the zebra fabric was the one that sang!


I used this tutorial from Birch Organic Fabrics. It was really easy to make up, and the tutorial is really easy to follow. The only thing that was a little difficult was fusing the interfacing to the fabric. It took a long time to get it to stick well, but that was it. Everything else was really quick and easy.



Up Next — Jewel Frames Quilt

A friend of mine gave me the kit for the Kaffe Fassett jewel frames quilt for my birthday several years ago, and today I started cutting the fabric. (This photo is from the Craftsy page promoting the quilt kit.)

You can get the free pattern here. 

jewel frames for blog

I did a lot of sewing over the holidays of smaller pieces, and I still have the quilt I’m making for my guest room in an unfinished state, but I decided that this quilt will be the next up. And it’s for MY bedroom! I like having more than one project to work on at any given time to avoid getting bored with a pattern or with the fabric. But I’m not sure how I could ever get bored with this amazing fabric!


The kit makes a quilt around 78 x 78 inches. So it’s not quite big enough for my queen bed. So I’ll make it bigger, and will have to decide what fabric to add from my Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics stash. I’m considering a fun floral border. I’ll have to see how it looks once the blocks are all made and assembled.

I got all the 8 inch blocks cut today, as well as some of the strips. I’ll cut more strips as I need them.



I bought yardage of the green KFC Uzbekistan fabric on sale a couple of years ago for the backing.


I’ve never looked very closely at this black paper weight fabric, but as I was pressing it I saw all these amazing bright colors! There really is no fabric like the KFC fabrics!


It’s always so much fun to start a new quilt!