Quilting Merit Badge, Intermediate Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,760 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—9,508 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life   

For this week’s Stitching and Crafting/Quilting Intermediate Level Merit Badge, I hadn’t planned on spending my week on a sewing project, but my sewing machine had other ideas.

You see, I normally like to get down with my crafty self during the chilly winter months, my socked feet resting by the fire, as I sip hot tea and watch the sun set at like, 3 p.m. Summertime, I normally reserve for glamping and fishing and hiking and identifying trees, and other such warm-weather activities.

But at times, my sewing machine reminds me who is boss (hint: it ain’t me). And basically, the cute little Singer can smell fear.

So, if I plan a big sewing project, the needle will bust, the thread will fray, the scissors will disappear, the price of fabric will go up, the gears will grind to a halt … well, you get the picture.

Hence, why I’m quilting in summer. The machine was stitching beautifully when I got it out to hem a quick skirt, and all was right with the world, so I bailed on my outdoor plans and here I sit.

Piecing and quilting (and sweating in my fuzzy socks. Really regretting the fire. Didn’t think that through appropriately).

For my Intermediate Level merit badge, I had to “pick up the pace and try a harder project than my Beginning Level project, and try a new pattern that taxes my sewing ability and makes me reach new heights.”

Whew! I’m nervous just thinking about it.

Today, Celestial Star, tomorrow the world …

Actually, forget Celestial Star. That looks hard. Let’s try Spiral Geese. Hm. Also difficult.

I wasn’t reaching new heights as much as I was stressing myself out. Okay, we’re going with ZigZag Love. I can do this! ZigZag is my middle name.

In order to earn my badge though, I needed a 20-hour time commitment (Pshaw. No worries there. At the rate I’m going, it’ll take me 20 years to complete this thing.) and a friend to sew with me.

I asked Midge, but she was skeptical of my roaring, cozy fire and said her fuzzy socks were in the wash. (Who’s skeptical now? Me, that’s who.) So I dialed up my pal, Judy.

Wait. Does anyone actually dial the phone anymore? Isn’t that kind of like “rolling up the window?” I didn’t technically dial then, I texted.

R U up 4 a needle luvin good time?

Who is this? I don’t do drugs.

Hahaha, lol! It’s me, Jane “ZigZag,” the Quilt Master.

Ah. Lemme guess: you’re sitting in front of a fire, watching Christmas flicks in summer, huh?

Yup. Get over here.

I’ll bring the eggnog.

quilting_2065It’s good to have friends who gets ya. Judy and I spent all weekend sewing and crafting to our little heart’s content. At the end of my 20 hours, I had a complete ZigZag Love quilt top and was considering changing my street name to Celestial Star Janey.

Hear Ye!

Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Sherrilyn Askew!!!

Sherrilyn Askew (Sherri, #1350) has received a certificate of achievement in Cleaning Up for earning an Expert Level Shopping Green Merit Badge!

“Last year, I spoke with my new-to-me chapter about having a bag swap and the importance of reusable bags (I was preaching to the choir). This November, we were finally able to have our sew-in and do a bag swap (YEAH!).

We had fun!!!!! We originally started with 7 people and 1 virtual member for our bag swap, so I tie dyed 8 canvas bags with blackberries. Due to attrition, we only had 4 people in the swap, but I made pockets for all the bags anyway.

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The bags were barely dry and had no pockets when my daughter decided which one was going to be hers (I still need to complete the pocket). Using some of my hand-dyed fabrics from another badge, I made pockets and stitched them onto the bags. I then flipped the bags over and using dyer’s crayons, stenciled a bug on the back side of each bag.

MaryJane sent our chapter several blank canvas bags that we have since proceeded to decorate. I made a pocket for one of the blue and white bags. Watch the mail, as no swap is complete until you receive a bag in return.”

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Young Cultivators Merit Badge: Thank You! Beginner Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,724 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—9,486 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life   

For this week’s Young Cultivator Each Other/Thank You! Beginner Level Merit Badge, I enlisted my handy-dandy, go-to, MBA newbies, Piper and Andy. No, it wasn’t just that they were the only two whippersnappers in my circle; it was actually their mother’s idea.

You see, she had noticed a bit of … well, negligent and perhaps slipshod behavior in her sweet little angels as of late.

Okay, I candy-coated it. What she really said was,

These gremlins who live with me and call me Mom have become entitled, selfish Twerpensteins with ATTITUDES. Suggestions?

Suggestions? Boy howdy, was I the farmgirl for the job!

You see, I too, have struggled with being negligent and slipshod an entitled, selfish Twerpenstein, and have recuperated nicely.

Hello, my name is MBA Jane and I am a recovering gremlin-with-an-attitude.

Hello, Jane!

I knew the root of the problem with the rugrats lay in their lackadaisical, cotton-pickin’ hearts. They needed a job, a purpose, a sense of thankfulness.

And maybe a cookie.

photo by Jason Lam via Wikimedia Commons

(Because everything—including jobs, purposes, and merit badges—go better with cookies).

In order to earn their Beginner Level badge, they simply needed to start a Gratitude Journal.

Easy peasy, lemon squeasy, righto? I mean, come on. Who doesn’t like to journal things in cute, little, cloth-bound booklets?

Evidently, Piper and Andy, that’s who.

You’d think I was pulling their teeth or forcing them to drink kale juice. The sounds of whining coming from my kitchen table practically made my ears bleed, I kid you not.

“But Auntie!” they cried, in unison, “It’s SUMMER! School is over! We refuse to learn anything! Bloody murder! I won’t do it! The pencil hurts my fingers! The paper smells weird! I need more cookies! This will give me Black Lung! You’ll be sorry when we’re dead!”

Yadda yadda yadda, etc. etc. etc., blah blah blah.

Trust me: I’ve toughened up since becoming an auntie. It’s not a job for the faint of heart. You need a will of iron, a spine of steel, a big heart, and a whole lotta chocolate chips.

After they realized I was not going to back down on this (and that their mother wasn’t going to let them come home until their attitudes changed), they cracked open their journals and buckled down. Well, sorta. Andy banged his head on the table a few more times for good measure, but after it made his eyes cross and I didn’t soften (but did hand him some ice), he sighed and got to work.

They were kind enough to let me read their lists:

  • Cookies
  • Summer vacation (or lack thereof, Auntie)
  • Wifi
  • Puppies and kittens
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Snacks
  • Mom and Dad
  • Friends
  • Slumber parties
  • Toenail polish
  • Outdoor barbeques with the neighbors
  • Horseback rides
  • Shopping
  • Holidays
  • Tree climbing
  • Blanket forts
  • Movie nights
  • Andy (don’t tell him I said that)
  • Piper (don’t tell her I said that)
  • Swimming
  • Pets
  • Pizza nights with the family
  • Vacations
  • Staycations
  • Back to school outfits and supplies
  • Lemonade stands

I thought it was a lovely list.

P.S. I may have forgotten to mention they have to write in these journals for two weeks to earn their badges.

photo by Danni Suplicki via Flickr.com

Ahem. Pray for me.

And send chocolate chips.

 

Hear Ye!

Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … CJ Armstrong!!!

CJ Armstrong (#665) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning an Expert Level Origami Merit Badge!

“Folding paper into tiny little articles of clothing is one of my favorite origami projects. I call these clothes “Tiny Togs” and have used them to make cards, wall hangings, tags and journals. There are several variations on folding for a blouse or shirt. You can add a tie or vest to a shirt for a masculine look. There is the A-line skirt and the pleated skirt, shorts, pants and little purses. Some of the folding is intricate to get the tapers and tucks just right. And, of course, your own imagination can take you beyond what the instruction pages, if you have them, tell you. Buttons, ribbons, and other embellishments can be added as well.

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I’ve chosen this project for the expert level because it is my favorite and these “Tiny Togs” are still things I use in my papercrafting projects. It has taken approximately 3 hours to complete this project. This project, when framed, will be a great wall hanging for my sewing room or my craft room. I’ll be making more “Tiny Togs” in the future as they are so adorable and fun!”

Young Cultivators Merit Badge: Music, Beginner Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,724 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—9,486 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life   

For this week’s Young Cultivator Make it Easy/Music Beginner Level Merit Badge, I knew I needed a brush-up on my own musical skills, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone. So to speak. No killing of anything required for this badge, Madge, rest assured.

I wrangled in my partner in Merit Badge earning crime, the ever-so-lovely Miss Piper, and I explained what we needed to do in order to earn this one. She said it sounded easy-peasy, but I reminded her that’s what we think about a lot of things in life until we try them.

photo by Stilfehler via Wikimedia Commons

“Remember leash-training the pot-bellied pig?” I asked. “The DIY flying trapeze? The year we went without Netflix? Yeah. That’s what I thought. Now, front and center!” (You have to be strict with kids. They like it, and it keeps them on their toes, which is always a good thing. I highly recommend cultivating a little suspicious fear in the whippersnappers whenever possible.)

We got to pick three songs and listen to them, trying to identify the different musical instruments used. This seemed like it wouldn’t be so difficult, but I made the mistake of letting Piper pick the first song. Evidently, I am old. I am not phat enough (what’d she call me?!) to fully appreciate the youngsters’ musical tastes these days. Still, I was game. I made a guess as to an instrument used,

“A kazoo?” I asked, desperately trying to hear some semblance of classical composition somewhere in the song. Anywhere. At all. “A trash-can lid? An underwater elephant with a sinus infection?”

“Aunt Jane! Come on now, that’s a bass guitar.”

“Ah. Yes. Totally was my next guess.”

Piper was a good sport and she let me pick the next song. I chose the melodious sounds of Simon and Garfunkel. My ears needed them after Piper’s pick.

Piper woke herself with a snort and wiped the drool off her chin (very funny, kid). “I’m gonna go with … um, a harp?”

Turns out, my instinct about how hard this badge was going to be was pretty on point. We attempted cataloging the instruments in a few other songs, but by then it was hard to hear our guesses because we were laughing so hard.

I’m not sure we learned much, but we definitely bonded. So that counts, right??

Next—when the giggles died down—we talked about harmony, melody, and rhythm.

photo by Nichelle Anderson via Wikimedia Commons

“Harmony,” said I, in my most astute voice, “is what we were just doing when my alto yodeling matched your soprano wailing.”

“And melody,” said Piper, getting into the spirit, “is what we both tend to ignore in favor of our own tune.”

“And rhythm,” I continued, “is a most excellent word to use in a game of Hangman.”

“Aunty, you are so wise.” Piper high-fived me. “Even if your musical taste is dreadful.”

Pshaw! Kids these days.

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Hear Ye!

Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Abigayle Franklin!!!

Abigayle Franklin (TheKnittingFarmgirl, #6692) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning a Beginner Level Knitting Merit Badge!

“I’ve been a knitter for a number of years. In order to earn my merit badge, I taught a local lady to knit at our local coffee shop. In order to prepare for the lesson, I knit a sample dishcloth. Debbie, my student, then knit one of her own. I taught her how to cast on, garter stitch, and bind off.

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Additionally, I discovered that our barista is pregnant with a little boy. So I added a crocheted border to it and 2 straps to make a bib. This experience was excellent! I created a knitter friend (my first in this new city) and a baby got a bib out of the deal!”

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Hear Ye!

Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Christine Erdman!!!

Christine Erdman (NY pumpkin girl, #6634) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning a Beginner, Intermediate, & Expert Level Aprons Merit Badge!

“For my Beginner badge, I sewed my 1/2 apron using a simple pattern that I bought at Joann’s. I picked a bright pretty color and went to work …

It turned out wonderful and I have been wearing an apron every time I am in the kitchen baking or cooking dinner. My grandma used to always wear an apron.

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For my Intermediate badge, I made a really frilly apron out of pretty pink polka dots and daisy material. I used two different prints and made ruffles and a pocket on the apron. It is so girly looking. I was very pleased with the outcome of my apron. It looks good enough to greet friends and family with when you are in the kitchen.

For the Expert badge, I chose a pattern that would make a frilly, pretty apron and picked out my material for it. I picked two different patterns to accent the pocket on the apron and the ruffles. Then the fun began.

I was very pleased with the outcome of my apron project. I made a girly frilly one for my granddaughter and I also made a John Deere apron for my grandson, as he likes to help in the kitchen at times and he also likes to wear it when helping his dad with repairs in the garage.”