Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year!

I've been seeing a lot of year end wrap-up posts popping up in my blog reader these past few days and I must say I'm floored by what so many of you have accomplished. You ladies are incredible! You work (inside or outside the home), raise your families, cook, clean, organize and still find time to create gorgeous quilts, outfits for your kids and even purses and clothing for yourselves.

My own little sewing wrap-up may be small in comparison, but looking back I can see how my sewing skills are improving and my creativity is blossoming. Here's a quick run-down of what I accomplished in 2011:
  • Completed three baby quilts, with two donated to charity. These projects were great opportunities to experiment with straight line and organic line quilting, as well as my first foray into sashing my blocks. 
  • Made several gift sets. The first was a mug rug and matching pin cushion for my daughter's preschool teacher. The second was a dolly diaper bag, diapers, wipes and quilt for my adorable niece, Miss E. 
  • Made a preschool backpack and conquered my fear of zippers!
  • Designed a Darth Vader costume for my daughter's bear. This was quite possibly one of my proudest sewing moments in 2011.
  • Created Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny Halloween costumes for my kids.
  • Whipped up lots of goodies for my Etsy shop and even participated in a craft fair.
Not too shabby, considering I only have time to sew when the kiddos are sleeping.

As for 2012, I only have a few goals so far:
  • Complete the postage stamp quilt.
  • Complete a top-secret quilt to be gifted to a dear friend soon.
  • Try new quilting techniques. I'm slowly venturing into new territory with new techniques like flying geese, simple block pattern design and even (eep!) fabric/color selection.
  • Continue busting through my stash.
  • Buy fabric mindfully. Try not to purchase fabric without a project in mind - that's a hard one!
Happy New Year to you and your family! I'd love to hear about your accomplishments and goals for 2012 - be sure to include a link in your comment if you blogged about it.

You can find this post linked up at:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

T.N.T. Thursday: Flying Geese

This week I took the plunge and started a top-secret quilt that involves flying geese. Since this was my first attempt at sewing flying geese, I turned to my good friend Google for advice. I found a couple of great tutorials, but in the end I ended up using Pieceful Kwilter's no waste flying geese tutorial. There were certainly other excellent flying geese tutorials out there but I liked this one best for several reasons:
  1. No waste! Don't get me wrong, I love scraps. But I knew I wouldn't be able to find a use for all of those itty bitty triangles that would be left behind if I used most tutorials.
  2. You get four flying geese every time. This is awesome because I just so happen to need four identical flying geese for each block on this quilt.
  3. There's a handy-dandy little chart to help you out with the math. A must for any quilting newbie like myself!
It's a great tutorial if you happen to be new to flying geese. As of this afternoon, I've finished four blocks and I must say they're ADORABLE! 

I know what you're thinking... why the big secret? Why only show part of a block? The recipient of this particular quilt just so happens to be the one dear friend in my life who actually reads my blog and this post is enough of a spoiler as it is. You wouldn't want me to ruin her surprise, would you?

I promise that I'll post lots of photos as soon as it's finished and gifted!

You can find this project linked up at: 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Quokka Quilts Blogger's Choice FQ Bundle

There's a fun little contest sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop going on over at Quokka Quilts. Contestants pick their own fat quarter bundle using any 12 prints and 3 solids that can be found in Fat Quarter Shop's inventory.

I'm new at putting together prints for quilts since all of my finished quilts so far have been scrap quilts, but I couldn't resist joining in the fun. I like the idea of mixing up fabric lines when putting together a quilt. Entire collections are wonderful, but I think you really stretch your creative muscles when you force yourself to come up with your own "collection" for your quilt.

My bundle for the contest is inspired by one of my new favorite lines: Woodland by Natalie Lymer for Lecien Fabrics. It's so fun and cheerful. Wouldn't it make a delightful quilt?

  1. Woodland Red Toadstool Dots
  2. Remix Red Argyle Plaid
  3. Pimatex Basics Red Lovely Circles
  4. Weekend Clubhouse 2012 Red Petit Point
  5. Kona Cotton Rich Red
  6. Woodland Gray Toadstool Houses
  7. Remix Steel Argyle Plaid
  8. Stitch Organic Steel Tonal Patchwork
  9. Remix Steel Scatter Dots
  10. Kona Cotton Coal
  11. Woodland Olive Home Sweet Home
  12. Hall of Fame Olive Game Ticking
  13. Alphabet Soup Green Circle Up
  14. Crazy for Dots and Stripes II White Mini Dots on Green
  15. Kona Cotton Peridot

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I hope you and your families enjoy a wonderful, safe and very merry Christmas. May the light of Christ shine brightly upon you and yours.

Oh, and in case you're wondering... yes, that's our tree. And no, it didn't look this disheveled the day we decorated it. I think it took my kids a grand total of three hours to destroy "redecorate" it. Now nearly all of the ornaments reside safely on the top third of the tree.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

T.N.T. Thursday: A Dolly Gift Set

Tomorrow I get to meet my precious niece, Miss E., in person for the first time. She's 16 months old, and though we've Skyped a lot since she was born I've never actually held her or squeezed her cute little cheeks since my brother and his wife live in Texas and we live in Northern California.

And since my sister-in-law is expecting their second baby this summer, I thought that perhaps Miss E. will want some goodies to use to take care of her own baby doll (made by my mom as a Christmas gift for Miss E.) after her new brother or sister arrives. Miss C. carried her diaper bag everywhere we went after Master W. was born. She loved changing her bear's diapers and bundling them up for bed whenever I did the same for Master W. I'm hoping Miss E. will want to do the same with her own babies.

This is the first quilted bag I've attempted, and I'm completely in love with it. Every one of the fabrics was chosen from my stash. The one with the little girls and dolls was something that I won in a giveaway over at JAQS Studio. I think they all go so nicely together, don't you?

Inside the bag, Miss E. will find two doll diapers, three wipes and a doll-sized blanket (made using leftover scraps that my mother-in-law gave me after she finished Master W.'s cozy quilt). I hope Miss E. loves it as much as I do!

You can find this project linked up at:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

T.N.T. Thursday: Teacher gift

Today was my daughter's last day of school before Christmas vacation. Hooray! I'm one of those people who loves having my kids at home all day long. They're crazy. They trash the house. They're often exhausting. But I'm happiest when we're all together, so I'm really looking forward to the next few weeks.

This week I made a few scrappy gifts for my daughter's preschool teacher. We ran into Ms. Tara during lunch on a non-school day a few weeks ago and she mentioned during our conversation that she loves to take long bike rides with her family. Then I learned last week that she loves to sew. After a mental review of my stash (please tell me I'm not the only crazy person out there who has her scraps mentally cataloged), I knew I had everything I needed to make a scrappy mug rug and pin cushion with a cute bicycle fabric as the centerpiece.

This project was full of firsts:

  • First-ever teacher gift. My sweet little girl is four years old and attending preschool for the first time this year. Where did the time go?
  • First log cabin block. I've been meaning to try my hand at log cabin blocks for a while now, but for some reason was a little intimidated. No need! I found a fantastic tutorial for an offset log cabin mug rug over at Stitching By Starlight (a wonderful quilty blog that I follow).
  • First time using a 1/4" binding. I still love 1/2" binding best, but it was nice finally see how it would look on one of my finished projects.
My only regret on this project was forgetting to use my walking foot when quilting up the mug rug. I don't know what I was thinking. Okay, I do. It was late. I was tired. And... well... I just wasn't thinking! Other than being slightly off kilter, I think it turned out great!

You can find me linked up at:

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

T.N.T. Thursday: Postage Stamp Quilt

This week I started my very first postage stamp quilt, which I plan to make lap size (another first) for movie watching, book reading, and general couch snuggling. Many thanks to the super sweet Jolene at Blue Elephant Stitches for sending me a ginormous mailer full of beautiful scraps.

This is probably going to sound incredibly geeky, but I swear to you I felt as though I had won the lottery when I poured them all out onto my couch!

After I got over my initial excitement, I spent a little time organizing them loosely by color, then bagged them up and threw in a few of my own scraps. Last night I couldn't resist cutting into some of the green scraps, which is why you don't see those bags (yes, there are two more!) here. 

My plan is to cut the scraps to 1.5" squares and then sew them up into 4" x 4" monochromatic blocks similar to some inspiring blocks I pinned recently.

This should be fun, but I certainly don't expect to finish it any time soon!

You can find me linked up at:

Friday, November 4, 2011

Blogger's Quilt Festival

Today is the very last day to enter Amy's Blogger's Quilt Festival. This is my first time entering the festival, so it seems appropriate to enter my very first quilt for consideration.

This twin-sized quilt was a labor love, made just for my sweet little girl who was about 2.5 years old at the time. I took me four months to make, and is comprised almost completely out of scraps from my stash, fabric gifted to me from my mother, birthday dresses she wore on her first and second birthdays, and baby clothes given to her by her godmother.

I love that it was something I made, using fabric from the women in my daughter's life. And I love that she loves it.

Monday, October 31, 2011

"It was a blue jacket with brass buttons, quite new."

I hate to admit it, but Miss C. is 4 years old and this is actually the first time I've made her and Master W. a Halloween costume. Of course, this is also the first year that she had a specific costume idea in mind... and it was something I definitely couldn't buy in a store.

You see, Miss C. loves Beatrix Potter's stories. Our storybook collection is well worn and loved, having been read over and over again. And not just by me! Miss C. has them all memorized and can read them aloud word for word, often narrating the stories with her paper bag puppets (there is one for every character).

This year, my little trick-or-treaters went dressed as Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny. They didn't Miss C. loves Beatrix Potter's stories, so I wasn't at all surprised when she looked to her favorite storybook characters for costume inspiration.

Here's how I put them together:

  • Bunny bodies were made from gray t-shirts and sweat pants. Master W.'s t-shirt was originally a onesie that I altered by cutting off the bottom. I added a white fleece tummy to each shirt using a simple zig zag stitch.
  • Bunny tails were constructed from cotton batting. These were actually pretty easy to make: simply cut a circle of batting, baste around the edge, fill the center with cotton stuffing, then cinch up the basted threads to make a ball. Hand stitch a piece of white felt over the cinched edges, then use a safety pin to attach to the back of the pants.
  • Miss C.'s jacket was made using blue fleece and a $1 McCall's pattern. I added four "brass" buttons and skipped the button holes since I was pressed for time. Master W.'s jacket is actually his own little corduroy jacket. I simply added a few rustic patches to cover the existing truck patches on the jacket.
  • The hats were made using a free pattern that I found online and altered to include bunny ears. Master W.'s hat fit splendidly and the ears actually stood up. I'm not sure what happened with Miss C.'s hat... the ears never wanted to stand up! Oh well. 

Thankfully, Miss C. (who is a stickler for details!) loved the costumes. The kids had a great time trick-or-treating and happily fell fast asleep in their new bunny pajamas as soon as we got home.

You can find me linked up at:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Try New Things Thursday: I Spy Charm Quilt

This week Melissa over at Happy Quilting introduced a new weekly link-up, called Try New Things (T.N.T.) Thursday. Here's my story:

I think I may have lost my mind last week. Not only did I push myself to finish a baby quilt for the 100 Quilts for Kids charity event, I also had a baby quilt to finish for a baby shower being hosted for my cousin's wife this past weekend.

I finally finished hand sewing on the binding around 10 p.m. Friday night. The shower was scheduled for the following afternoon. I was a little worried, but somehow I managed to get it all done in time!

This is my first attempt at making a quilt with sashing and my first time making a charm quilt. Overall, I'm really pleased with the results. I won most of the charm squares in a contest hosted by The Girl Who Quilts a while back (actually, I won two identical charm packs, filled with adorable charms) and had pieced the top together not too long afterward. I then added a single charm cut from my own stash to each row.

Then it sat. And sat. And sat. Waiting for a backing fabric and quilting. A few weeks ago, I received an invitation to my cousin's shower and I knew the quilt had finally found a home. So I dug through my stash and found some coordinating backing and binding fabrics. Of course, now that I'm writing this I realize that I never too a photo of the back... oh well!

Overall, I'm really pleased with how this little quilt turned out. This is the second quilt I've quilted using organic line quilting and I'm really loving the results. The only thing I might have done differently would have been to choose a binding fabric that offered a little more contrast to the white sashing. Still, I'm happy with the end result. And my cousin's lovely wife loved it too, which is all that matters to me.

You can find me linked up at:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Finished: Quilt for 100 Quilts for Kids

I finally finished one of my quilts for the second annual 100 Quilts for Kids charity event, sponsored by the DC Modern Quilt Guild. Quilt bloggers and Modern Quilt Guilds were invited to join in on this year's quilt drive, which took place from September 15 - October 15.

My initial goal was to finish up two UFO baby quilts that had been languishing on my sewing table. I was incredibly to take part in this year's event that I got started right away on a brightly colored baby quilt. Then disaster struck... three times. First, I had trouble with my quilting design (let's just say I'm not good a free motion quilting). Then, after I'd figured out a better quilting design I was plagued with bunching fabric on the back. I was nearly in tears the second (yes, second) time I ripped out the quilting. Oh, and my machine died right around this time, too. 

I was ready to give up. Then I decided to hand quilt it with large stitches all around each block. That was great, only it's taken me a very long time to hand quilt it. The result? Well, since you don't see a photo here you can safely assume that I haven't finished it yet. I'm still working on it, though, and it will eventually be donated.

With the deadline approaching (and my brand-new Janome on my sewing table) I figured it was time to finish the other UFO quilt. My new machine made quilting this green dinosaur quilt a breeze. I decided on organic line quilting, and I love everything about it – from its improvised blocks to the monochromatic color palette. 

This little dinosaur quilt is on its way to the Mother Teresa Maternity Home in Placerville, CA. This maternity home is a temporary residence for pregnant women in need and is near my hometown. They've been in need of items for boys lately, so I thought this quilt would be a good fit for one of their expectant mothers.

I've linked up here:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Big Girl Backpack

Where has the time gone? My sweet little girl started preschool for the first time just a few weeks ago.

So who burst into tears on the first day of school? Not Miss C. She was a little shy, but she did great! I, on the other hand, didn't fare nearly so well. Don't worry, though, I put on a bright smile while I was in the classroom. The waterworks didn't start until after I got back in the car.

I'm not going to lie to you, this has been the hardest milestone so far for me to watch my daughter reach. Letting go of that little hand and releasing her into the care of her wonderful teacher was heart-wrenching and bittersweet.

In the end, she did great. No tears at all! Twice a week she heads into the classroom with a smile. I'm so proud of my little girl.

Miss C.'s teacher told us last week at Back-to-School Night that they'd like the kids to start bringing a backpack to school to help with the armloads of artwork they bring home after school each day.

Sooooo... being the crafty mama that I am I couldn't resist making one for her. I picked up a copy of McCall's 6176 (on sale for $.99!) at JoAnn along with some pretty red bottom weight (Miss C. requested a red backpack) fabric for the main body of the backpack. The floral print is something I had in my stash.

I think my new Janome 3160 QDC gave me a boost in confidence because I'm not sure I would have ever attempted a (*gulp*) zippered backpack with my old machine.

I love how it turned out! And Miss C. loved it too. She couldn't wait to bring it to school yesterday. Success!

You can find this project linked up at:

Saturday, June 11, 2011

100 Quilts for Kids

Today I heard about a tremendous opportunity that I'd love to share with you. The DC Modern Quilt Guild is launching its second annual 100 Quilts for Kids charity event. Quilt bloggers and Modern Quilt Guilds are invited to join in on this year's quilt drive, which is scheduled to take place from September 15 - October 15.

Participants are asked to make a baby or toddler sized quilt for donation to a local foster care program, domestic violence center, homeless shelter, children’s hospital, or local military family support organization, or other charitable organization.

Works in progress, new quilts, quilts made through quilting bees are all welcome. I have two baby quilts in progress right now. Now I have a end-date for finishing and donating them!

Looking for more information? Check out Swim, Bike, Quilt!'s post or the DC Modern Quilt Guild.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

And the winner is...


Congratulations, Sarah!! I just sent you an email requesting your address so I can send you your favorite pin cushion.

A big thank you to everyone who entered my little giveaway, left your sweet comments and chose to follow my blogs. You're all awesome!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pin Cushion Giveaway!

You really should be sitting down for this.

I'm serious.

Are you sitting?

Okay. So tomorrow morning is May Giveaway Day at Sew, Mama, Sew, where over 300 bloggers are giving away awesome handmade goodies and craft supplies. 

It's kind of like a giant group hug. With presents! Squee!

I couldn't resist joining in on the fun, so I'm giving away a little something from my shop, agentjane.

One lucky winner (open worldwide) will win the pin cushion of his or her choice.

Entering to win is easy!

One entry: Head on over to agentjane and take a look around, then come back here and leave a comment on this post telling me which pin cushion you'd like me to send to you if you win. Please also include a valid email address so I can contact you to find out where to ship your prize.

Bonus entries (2): Become a public follower of my other blog about the secret life of children's toys: If Toys Could Talk. Leave two comments here stating you are a new (or current) follower, and be sure to include your email address in both.

The fine print: 
  • Winner gets to choose one (1) pin cushion from my Etsy shop.
  • Comments without email addresses won't be included in the drawing.
  • Giveaway ends May 25. 
  • Winner will be selected on May 25 using and notified the same day via email. You will have 48 hours to respond to my email with your mailing address. If I don't hear from you by then, I'll draw another name.
Good luck! And have fun checking out all of those giveaways - I know I will!

I'm a guest blogger!

I was recently contacted by the super-sweet Krissy over at B. Inspired, Mama!, who asked me to contribute a guest post to her awesome blog. She had recently seen If Toys Could Talk and wanted to see if I'd be interested in writing a post for her in the same spirit as my posts over there.

I couldn't resist and had so much fun combing through her vintage toy and children's clothing shop on Etsy, binspiredvintage, for photos to use in my guest post.

If you get a chance, hop on over to her shop, binspiredvintage, and her blog, B. Inspired, Mama! You're sure to find something to love!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Darth Bear

Miss C. loves Darth Vader. He's her buddy. Her imaginary friend. And he's got a fun show at Disneyland that we watch every time we go.

Disneyland is a big deal in our house. We spend months planning and talking about each trip, and Miss C. loves to comb over the park maps with her daddy, who also happens to be a huge Disneyland fan. 

Last winter, Miss C. asked me to make a Tinkerbell costume for her... and then promptly realized that her bear needed one too. I couldn't resist, and spent the last few nights before our trip whipping up an identical doll-sized version of her costume for her bear to wear on our trip. 

I hadn't thought much about her bear's wardrobe recently, but clearly Miss C. was thinking about it quite a bit as our most recent trip to Disneyland drew near because just a few weeks before we left she popped the question...

Miss C.: Mama? My bear. He needs a new Disneyland costume.
Me: He has his Tinkerbell costume. Does he need a different one?
Miss C.: Yes. He needs a Darth Vader costume.
Me: You want me to make a Darth Vader costume for your bear?
Miss C.: Yeah. He needs a cape and a helmet. Just like Darth Vader. See? (Holds up Darth Vader action figure to demonstrate.)
Me: Okay, sweetie. I'll see what I can come up with.

I won't lie to you. I secretly panicked when she asked for this. I knew the cape would be a snap, but the helmet. Eek! I've never attempted a doll hat before, let alone a helmet! 

Miss C.'s pattern.
After a few deep breaths, I dug through my stash and started sketching out the cape pattern. At this point, Miss C. took a deep interest in pattern making and decided that she needed to make a pattern for me to use on this project. 

My daughter is a task-master by the way. No sooner had I finished the cape than she mentioned that her bear needed boots just like Darth Vader. I told her I wasn't sure I knew how to make boots and she quickly pointed to her pattern saying, "You can make it, Mama. Looks, it's on my pattern!" Thankfully, I'd just seen a cool baby socks tutorial on Made by Joel that would be perfect for some Vader-esque boots. 

The helmet was on the back burner. Even though she asked about it every day I couldn't bring myself to start it. I was too scared. With the boots complete, though, I had run out of excuses. I made a test version using some leftover craft felt and though it was way too small for her bear's head, it was a start. I took a leap of faith and slowly started cutting and sewing the helmet together, fitting it to her bear's head while Miss C. slept at night. I didn't even make up a pattern... and somehow it worked! My husband suggested a chin strap to keep the helmet in place and suddenly it was done!

Or so I thought.

Miss C. was pleased with the helmet, but then informed me (two days before we left on the trip) that her bear might be cold without a shirt... one like Darth Vader's shirt. No problem! I already have a doll shirt pattern on hand, so I hand stitched a felt buttons and lights panel then added it to the shirt front piece before sewing it all together... the night before we left!

I had so much fun making this new costume for her bear. Miss C. was so pleased she dressed him in it nearly every day during our trip to Disneyland last week. And I'm pretty sure he liked it too.

You can find this project linked up at:

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Baby Quilt #3

Sometimes I think I must be wearing a sign that tells people to give me fabric. Seriously. I think at least 80% of my stash has been gifted to me by people. My mom. Friends. Strangers.

Yes, strangers have given me fabric. 

Take this little baby quilt that I finished a few weeks back (soon to be another donation to a local maternity home). Both fabrics used in the quilt were gifted to me shortly after Miss C. was born. The peach fabric was gifted to me by a sweet little old lady that I've never met – a friend of my husband's wonderful grandmother – who thought I might like to make a dress for my daughter. The blue fabric was a gift from my bargain hunter mom, who had gone on a fabric and pattern binge shortly after becoming a grandmother for the first time. 

I hate to admit it, but I never got around to making those sweet little dresses for my baby girl. Life with a high needs baby made it impossible to even think about sewing dresses that she'd grow out of in a month or two, so that big stack of fabric has sat in my stash for the past three and a half years.

I rediscovered them while hunting for scraps to use in my Project Destash baby quilts. The finished quilt is a bit more traditional than my usual quilting style (I'm a improvisational quilter a heart), but I like how it turned out... 

... even though I chickened out at the last minute and decided against hand quilting it in favor of stitching in the ditch. Maybe next time!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Vintage-Inspired Hair

Have you ever wondered if you were born in the wrong era? I do all the time. I'm an old fashioned girl trapped in a very modern time. I may have a cell phone, but I dearly wish I could wear all of those beautiful '40s and '50s dresses and hairstyles.

My current hairstyle has left me feeling rather uninspired lately and I've been combing blogs and YouTube for tutorials that can help me transform my modern style into a more romantic, vintage style.

My hair styling tool kit consists of a round brush and hair dryer, so I've been waiting for a good deal on a set of rollers. I happened to be visiting Big Lots for the first time last week when I spotted two sets of foam curlers for $1 each. Ten minutes later, I had two dozen curlers and bucket of bubbles in hand (nothing wrong with a little bribery for good behavior in the store, right?). Score!

Today, I spent the first half of my day roaming the house old lady-style with a full set of curlers in place. I felt a little sheepish at first, but thankfully nobody laughed at me (thanks Miss C. and Master W.!). 

A few hours later I had the kids down for a nap and a gorgeous, vintage-inspired updo in place. Many thanks to LisaFremontStreet's fabulous YouTube tutorial.