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The Poppy Show

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The weather during July 2020 in Chicago has been a textbook example of summer. Lots of heat, humidity, and sun – short on rain, but not too bad. The garden plot has been basking in this weather and much prefers the dryness to the excessive rainfall of 2019.
The day after the last blog post was the first day of the Poppy Show. The first bloom was observed June 29 and for about two weeks, the flowers were magnificent. They only last a day or two before the petals fall.


As maybe you could see in the above picture but definitely below – the bees thought they were magnificent too. 



After the blooms, I let the stalks turn brown. I brought a few home for photos and to collect the seeds for baking.

The seeds could be collected by shaking as they disperse naturally through the vents on the top. I probably waited a little too long as I think the maximum number of seeds can be collected before the vents open up completely.
You can also open the pods up – this is how they look on the inside, you can s…

Foam #6 as Art?

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Hello Everyone! The popular refrain to stay safe and sane continues. June has been an incredible, momentous, and exhausting month. Planet Nice Crafts has felt the emotion of these times. It has spent time reflecting, but also continuing to stay the course. As of today, 257 masks have been delivered to the MasksNowIllinois group and others in our orbit. The MasksNowIllinois group in totality has completed over 15,000 masks with almost 29,000 requested – so the group is more than half way there. It has been asked where these masks are going. According to the updates, before the beginning of June, healthcare facilities and disabled/senior centers were the main recipients. Now the focus has changed to non-profits and under-resourced places such as orphanages, safe havens, homeless shelters, food pantries, and child care services. This affects Planet Nice Crafts because now only the 2-layer masks are sewn instead of a mask that has a pocket for a filter.
The sewing of masks is one of three …

Seasonal Changes

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Hello Everyone! I hope everyone is staying safe and sane. Since the last post, temperatures have warmed up, the sun is higher in the sky, and the trees have flowered and are now almost in full leaf. This is significant as there is not much natural light filtering to the workspace now but the trees do keep the temperatures cool.
What hasn’t changed is facial mask production. At the time of this post, 180 masks have been completed with another 25 waiting to be sewn. This is a picture of the last drop off a couple weeks ago.


The actual sewing is going well. It has been interesting to handle so many different fabrics from iron clad cotton (perhaps due to high thread count?) to stretchy knits that I think are the most comfortable to the standard, reliable quilting or bedding cotton and cotton/poly blends.
There was an opportunity to take a pause from the masks to sew up some pillowcases. Pillowcases are a standard beginner level sewing project and I have been sewing them intermittently for a …

Overtime at Planet Nice

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Hello Everyone. We are working overtime in the current situation – that has been the biggest change here. One of the outcomes of this tremendous activity is that we have a LOT to share. As I think it is normal when an organization gets going, there was a plethora of chatter about individuals sewing masks as the ILMasksNow effort. While that was settling into a system, Planet Nice Crafts decided to go ahead and finish the oven mitt last mentioned in January. Remember?



The hand sewing portion was finally finished and the main part of the mitt was machine quilted with a grid, that worked out nicely.


The last step was to put all of it together with a bias binding. My first bias binding attempt was not successful because it was not wide enough to contain all the fabric layers. So I made the second attempt really chunky which I thought was fine for an oven mitt. Here is the elaborate pinning job.

Even with the extra width, it was still a challenge on the curves. It felt like the binding was fi…

Planet Nice Crafts to the Rescue

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Hello Everyone. I hope all are adjusting to the Stay-In-Place order if it applies to them. There has been relatively little change here at Planet Nice because of an already remote job and class. This week is Spring Break for College of Lake County, but before it started I did have a relatively significant class project due, a field research report.

For the assignment, we could choose our topic and we were encouraged to have fun so I chose sewing. But what to do a field research on specifically?

Ongoing at the time of the assignment were announcements about an event called Maker Faire Lake County. Maker Faires are events that celebrate and promote the innovator mindset which includes design, creativity, building, and tinkering and are associated with Make magazine. A call for makers was made in the event announcement and the application was due March 20. As the announcement included crafters, I thought it would be a new venture to complete the application as Planet Nice Crafts. After mor…