Ask Jo: This and That

Every so often questions and comments come from readers that I think others would like to hear my response to.  That’s when I feature them on the blog.  This is one of those days. 

Maryanne asked; “What is the charity group that is helping a maternity hospital in Tanzania? How to contact them please?”

Many of you might remember about the Ohio group who is making quilts for a Tanzania maternity hospital.  You can read the full story HERE.

Here is their contact information.
Quilts for Tanzania
Peace Lutheran Church
3530 Dayton-Xenia Road
Beavercreek, Ohio 45432

I have spoken with Celesta the point person and it sounds like a trip is being planned to visit there.  I’m so hoping she’ll pass on pictures to share with us.

After I made my pincushion and shared it here I wrote that I wasn’t a fan of crushed walnuts as a pincushion filled.  I don’t want to start an uproar as I know many of you like crushed walnuts.  Find the post HERE.

Here are a few of the comments and questions.

Barbara wrote:
“I bought a big bag of crushed walnuts and made one but it does make them rust! Waste of money! Your’s look great!”

Margaret wrote:
“You were specific about the type of sand you used…silica sand. As opposed to, say, play sand that is sold for sandboxes. Is there a particular reason you used this type of sand? And where did you get it?

I’ve been using ground walnut shells, but am beginning to think they may be dulling my pins. Can’t get a straight answer on this…some people say the shells sharpen pins and other say they dull them. Pins in the pincushion that’s had walnut shells for quite some time are definitely duller than new pins, so am thinking of switching to sand as I love to make, use, and gift pincushions.”

I use the silica sand as it is a dry sand.  Sandbox sand is wet.  I believe it will smell and hold moisture.  If it does that, the pins will rust.

I buy it at the big box home improvement stores like Lowes, Home Depot, Menards.  I’ll warn you, it comes in a big bag…like 20 pounds.  I suggest buying a 5 gallon bucket and lid at the same time and store it in there.  I bought a cheap funnel and spoon at the dollar store and keep the spoon and funnel right in the bucket with the sand.  If you can find a friend or two to split a bag with, that would be the best…but if not, you have just invested in all the sand you will ever need.

I first started using silica sand after doll making.  I made “country style” dolls and sold them in the 90’s.  One of the pattern companies suggested using the sand in doll bottoms to get them to sit.  Then Mary from Country Threads said that is what she used in pincushions.  I guess I’ve always had a good experience with it so I’ve continued to use it.

At one point I did try the crushed walnuts.  I was thrilled I could get a smaller bag and it was easier to find in the stores.  In the end, I’ve liked sand better so have moved back to that exclusively.

I got lots of comments about my hair after I posted a recipe for sugar cookies and showed this picture.  Find post HERE.

Gingerbread-1Everyone thought I had cut my hair.  It’s not true.  This is an old picture of me from about six years ago.  I am too low maintenance for short hair.  I don’t get it cut often enough when I have short hair. I’m a little lazy like that.  I’m sticking with long hair for now.

About that same post Judith asked:
“How many cookies does it make? Have enjoyed many of your recipes.”

HA…now that’s a hard one to answer for a few reasons…
1-I always make bigger cookies
2-I have childcare kiddos and family here that eat cookies as fast as I can make them.  If you don’t have a big family and childcare kids, you will have enough to freeze…and they freeze well.

Barbara wrote:
“Where did you finally get the book if not carried by Amazon?”

She was referring to this book… You can read the review I wrote about this book HERE.

This is the book where you can find this pattern…

The quilt I currently started working on.  I’ve been collecting shirts to make this quilt for some time…then our daughter Kayla saw is and wants a version of it for her baby’s quilt.

The truth is, the book is now available through Amazon.   I just looked.  You can find it HERE.  It is also available HERE on Quiltmania’s site.  Either way it’s purchased, it’s expensive compared to USA quilt books.  This one is written in French and English.  The patterns are doable but just wanted you to know that both languages are included in one book.  There are 12 projects in the book and I like several of them.

My friend Jean was at my house and saw the book.  She ordered one right away.  A week or so later she contacted me and said she like the book and had a list of about five quilts in the book that she really wanted to make.  The book features fabrics that are striped which is something we don’t often see.  If you are a person who loves working with shirts, this book is filled with quilts that are fun…like this one…

or this one…
If you’re looking for something you don’t always see and something that would appeal to someone who wants a quilt but prefers a bit more of a modern style quilt, this would be fun book with many options.

I think I answered some of the most recent questions.  Let me know if I missed something.  You can always email me at  I have other emails but if you want a quicker answer, use this one.


3 thoughts on “Ask Jo: This and That”

  1. Just a suggestion on making pin cushions: 60 years ago in 4-H we made pin cushions with steel wool because pushing the pins in and out of the steel wool keeps them sharp and clean. I still use steel wool.

  2. For pincushion filling I use ground glass (lqs) or emery sand (amazon). I label the ones I gift or sell as containing sand or ground glass and that they are NOT TOYS.

    Please be sure if you are gifting or selling pin cushions, please be sure to prominently label them as filled with ground walnut shells. As someone deathly allergic to all nuts, this could cause a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction if I were to put the pins in my mouth after they were stuck in ground nut shells. I had to stop going to a favorite nursery after they started using crushed hazelnut shells as mulch and potting soil amendment. Having my hands blister and itch and my throat starting to swell shut was not a fun way to discover their new mulching method!

  3. Pingback: Charity Quilts: Tanzania Gals | Jo's Country Junction

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