Friday, November 7, 2014

The jeans quilt: an update

Just a quick peak at the completed top of the jeans quilt. I'm absolutely in love with the weight and soft feel of it.

The plan is to get it pin-basted by the end of the month for my November goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes. I think it will be quite lovely all quilted up!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Teaching children to pray the rosary

One of the things we started doing this summer was working on our family prayer life. When my mom-in-law was scheduled to go in for surgery, I spotted the perfect opportunity to start family rosary time with the kids.

Sounds impressive, but I should tell you that it wasn't until just this year that I started praying the rosary every night. It took me my entire life to learn the rosary... and I'm a life-long Catholic!

It's never too late to get started, right? (How To Pray the Rosary Everyday is a great place to learn more if you're curious, even if you aren't Catholic.)

I thought we'd kick off our family rosary time with a special intention for my mom-in-law, who was scheduled to go in for surgery a few days later. After saying one decade each day, we'd make a tissue paper flower for each set of prayers we said for her. I had it all planned out, so everything would go perfectly:
  1. Line the children up at Miss C.'s bed, everyone kneeling quietly.
  2. Prayerfully say one decade of the rosary together each day.
  3. Pat myself on the back for being Super Mama.
Here's what really happened:
  1. Attempt to line up kids in a row at Miss C.'s bed. 
  2. Stress out internally (and try not to snap at the kids) as Miss C. does a kneel/flop combo over and over, Master W. squirms and whines about having to say even one Hail Mary, and Little Miss C. flops on the bed while snatching rosaries and swinging them wildly about.
  3. Pray every night for patience and grace, and thank God when each day gets a little bit easier.
In the end, it wasn't the perfect prayerful exercise I had envisioned in my head, but my two older kids were super proud of themselves when we finished. And now that we've been doing it daily for a few months, everyone is in the routine and morning rosary time goes quite smoothly most days. Now:
  1. Miss C. kneels quietly and starts us with an opening prayer.
  2. Master W. kneels quietly and proudly prays the entire decade.
  3. Little Miss C. still wildly swings the rosaries sometimes, but mostly seems content to take my extra rosary in and out of our little rosary bags.
Success! It's been a great way to help my children develop their relationship with Jesus and I just love that we start each day with a special devotion to the Blessed Mother.
As to our tissue paper flower bouquet, it turned out to be a great project! My original inspiration for the project came from Call Her Happy, where I found a link to some very easy tutorials. Miss C. wrote each set of prayers on the leaves, arranged the bouquet and picked a ribbon for the vase. My mom-in-law was very touched and still has the bouquet on display in her kitchen several months later.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Squirrelly!

This year, we had a little gray squirrel join us for trick-or-treating. Isn't she just the cutest?

Miss C. has a deep love for all things squirrel, so it was no surprise that she wanted to be one this year for Halloween. The costume was pretty easy to put together, thanks to a gray hooded sweatshirt and matching sweatpants found in the boys department at Wal Mart, and a yard of coordinating faux fur from JoAnn's.
Sewing the tail and ears mainly consisted of me winging it... and one evening later I had the perfect squirrel costume!

This was my only handmade costume this year, since Master W. found all the parts to his Batman costume in our dress-up box and Little Miss C. wore the honeybee costume worn by Miss C. several years back. Maybe next year!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Breathing new life into old jeans

I made a startling discovery a few weeks back: I'm a closet jeans hoarder. 

It all started when my husband needed new jeans for work. The jeans he'd been wearing every day were wearing thin and already had a few holes at the corners of the back pockets. So, we picked up a few new pairs and I promptly rotated the old ones into the closet as back-ups (I think I see now why I have a problem...) and too out the old back-up jeans (three pairs) thinking I should probably toss them since I couldn't imagine thrift stores wanting jeans with holes in them.

And then, since I'm easily distracted and can be rather lazy when it comes to cleaning, the old jeans sat in a pile in our bedroom for a week or so. Every day I saw them sitting there, and for some very odd reason I just couldn't bring myself to throw them away. 

Finally, it hit me: maaaayyyybe I could make a jeans quilt out of them! I knew I had a few more pairs of old jeans in the closet, so I started digging. 

I found two extremely worn and tattered pairs of mine that had holes in the knees and were completely unwearable. They were hiding on a shelf high up in my side of the closet.

Oh, and then there was that pair in my drawer that I never wear because they fit waaay too loosely in the waist.

A little more digging in the closet produced another mystery pair of jeans. What's going on here?

A quick check of my kids' closet revealed two very ratty pairs of little boy jeans, complete with patched knees, and a very old pair of little boy jean shorts. Also too ratty to wear.

So, final count (including the original three from my hubby's closet): nine pairs of jeans and one pair of jean shorts. Most completely unwearable.

What happened to me? When did I become the crazy jeans lady?

Yikes. Well, I figured this was as good a time as any to put my crazy jeans collection to work.
I spent about a week cutting each pair at the seams, then carefully rotary cutting denim rectangles to leave as little waste as possible. I even figured out that I could squeeze little more denim out of each pair if I cut up the back pockets (most of them had holes at the pockets, so I didn't want to incorporate the entire pocket into the quilt).
Now that every single pair of jeans has been sliced and diced, I'm left with a hefty stack of denim rectangles. What you see below is able half of what all of those jeans yielded. Next up, I need to pick up a denim needle so I can start piecing them into strips!
The plan is to make it into a twin-sized quilt, with a Lightning McQueen sheet that I have in our linen closet (washed, but never used) as the backing. Then, a some light straight line quilting and it will be off to our church's St. Vincent de Paul ministry so they can give it to whoever needs it most. Hopefully, it will help keep some sweet little guy warm this winter.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Nurturing Catholic culture in our home

Sometimes I think it's hard for adults to share our faith with friends and even family. We worry that we might offend or make someone feel uncomfortable. Heck, I've sat here at my computer for the last 10 minutes wondering how I should start this post.

Children, though, don't carry all of the worries and social filters that we do. They ask the tough questions without realizing how much they're making us squirm. They don't beat around the bush. And they aren't shy about sharing their faith and love for the Lord.
Watching Miss C. (and now Master W.) attend Catholic school these past few years has been an incredible experience for me. Intellectually, I understood the both the secular and spiritual value of a Catholic education. Heck, I attended Catholic school myself until we moved the summer before 6th grade, and eventually went on to graduate from a Catholic university. 

But it wasn't until my own children were attending Catholic school that I realized just how completely I had underestimated the true value of a Catholic education. Sure, we said prayers together at night and before meals. But in the last two years I've come to realize something about myself:

I've been running on a spiritual cruise-control for a looooong time. And it's time to get in gear.

So, here I am muddling along, trying to strengthen my own faith, teach my children about theirs, and create a home filled with Catholic culture. Here and there, I'll slip in a post about what we've been up to. I hope you enjoy a little peek into the Catholic side of my life.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cars, trucks and arrow tails

I can't wait to put this cheerful little quilt in the mail! My cousin gave birth to a gorgeous baby boy nearly two weeks ago and we're all just so excited to have another little guy in the family. 
Master W. finally has a boy cousin! The two of them are still badly outnumbered with 10 girl cousins, but there's always still time to add more boys to the clan. 
This was such a fun quilt to make. I drew inspiration from the Arrow Tail quilt tutorial from Sing All You Want. I don't have a working printer so I used my Sidekick ruler, which makes the very same shape. I used up every large scrap I had, so I felt a little stricken after I sewed all of the rows together only to discover that the quilt was not quite long enough. I like my quilts to be longer than they are wide (or at least square-shaped), and I just couldn't stomach the idea of the arrows all facing the wrong way if someone held it up... so I added a strip of fabric to the top and one to the bottom to make the quilt a square. Crisis averted! At 45 x 45", it will be perfect for snuggling well into the preschool years. 
I just adore little boy prints, but never seem to know anyone having baby boys. I finally got to use up a bunch of the scraps left over from Master W.'s Traffic Cone Quilt, and I still have plenty left for another quilt down the road. 
As an added bonus, I pieced the back with large scraps and a few bigger pieces from my stash that I was at a complete loss as to how I should use them. I was never quite sure what to do with those red, blue and green prints, but I think they look perfectly at home on this quilt back.  Hooray for purging! (Have you heard about Rachel's Purge Along? This is my entry for this week's link-up.)

You can also find this quilt linked up at:




Monday, August 18, 2014

Pattern testing: Rae skirt

It's been many, many years since I've sewn an article of clothing for myself... since freshman year of high school to be exact. My mom and I wrestled a beastly teal knit into a long-sleeved princess-seamed dress. It was all very '90s, let me assure you. And no, there is no photographic evidence of said dress. 

Thank. Goodness.

I do not look back on that dress with any fondness, but every once in a while I get the urge to sew a dress or a skirt for myself. I have this fantasy wherein a design a gorgeous vintage-style dress with a fitted bodice and full skirt. You know, for everyday wear. It would be just perfect for a trip down the hall to change diapers, right?

Usually good sense ("Those women's patterns in JoAnn's are awful!" or "I hate fancy fabrics!") or budgetary constraints prevail, and I'm back to my scrappy quilts and bags and zippy pouches. A dress can be many yards of fabric... and fabric is expensive (read: I'm too thrifty to spend that kind of money on myself).

Recently, though, I had the opportunity to test the (now released) Rae skirt for Sewaholic Patterns. I've been following the Sewaholic blog for years now, and have been on the pattern testing list for quite some time but never saw the right pattern testing opportunity come up until just a few months back when Tasia put out a call for ladies who wanted to test out a beginner's skirt pattern.

I emailed her back right away with all of my info (size, sewing experience, etc.) and waited eagerly to see if I'd be one of the lucky few to be chosen. Of course, then reality set in and I realized that I'd just volunteered to test a skirt pattern designed for pear-shaped women. And I'm not pear-shaped. At all. Somehow or another, in my excitement I'd completely forgotten that all Sewaholic patterns are designed for pear-shaped ladies.

Hmmm...

I was excited, yet a little scared when I discovered that I'd been chosen as a pattern tester. Would it look terrible on me? Was I about to waste money on fabric only to make something that would look terrible on my figure?

I hauled myself out to JoAnn's, busted out my coupons and chose this pretty floral print from the apparel section. I'm not sure what it is... maybe some sort of faux-linen? It drapes well and is quite breathable, so I like it. Whatever it is.
I ended up sewing View C, which is a fuller, longer version of the skirt. The waistband is a simple elastic casing and the entire skirt only used two pattern pieces. The skirt came together in a couple of evenings (this would probably take less time to more experienced garment-sewists) and I have to admit that I was completely wrong to be afraid.

I love it! It may have been designed with pear-shaped ladies in mind, but I'm a little bit more straight-up-and-down and it works just fine on my shape. I really, really love it and can't wait to make another... when I can convince myself to splurge on fabric again. Maybe something for fall!


Saturday, August 16, 2014

For my mom-in-law.

We all breathed a huge sigh of relief when my mom-in-law came out of surgery nearly two weeks ago. The surgeon was quite pleased with the results and assured us that she'd make a full recovery. After less than a week in the hospital, she was ready to come home and is really starting to recover nicely. Hooray!
The kids were sick the day we were scheduled to visit before she went in for surgery, so I had to send the quilt via hubby post. She called me later to tell me that she loved it, and was excited to see that it is a perfect match for her living room decor.  I wish I could have been there to give it to her in person, but we really didn't want to pass on any viruses right before she went in for surgery. No use making her recovery any harder than it has to be, right?

Now that she's home recuperating, I've had a few chances to visit and I love seeing her quilt draped across the back of her couch. It's been a bit too warm to snuggle under it yet, but I know she loves it and will use it in the colder months.
I chose a lovely green arrow print from the designer section at JoAnn's and the green is a perfect match for the greens in the Incarnadine charms I used on the front. The cream fabric used in the sashing and borders is American Made Brand in cream, and boy do I love it! I am so excited to be able to support an entirely American-made line of fabric. The hand is quite nice, and the excellent quality reflects what I've come to expect from something made in America. 

The quilt is somewhere around 54"x70" in size (I think... now I wish I'd written that down!). The quilt design was based on the Jungle Lattice quilt over at Craft Buds. I followed Lindsay's directions for cutting the fabric and constructing the rows, but added addition rows of charms to increase the size from baby to lap and had to make some minor adjustments to get everything the proper size. It's a great pattern and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to dip their toes in the on-point waters. It wasn't as scary as I thought it would be!

I'm especially pleased with how the quilting turned out. Who knew that straight lines could be so dramatic? 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A baby boy quilt under construction

Master W. is the only boy cousin in my entire extended family. My brother has three girls. Two of my cousins have several daughters each. And I have two girls. Right now, he's outnumbered 10 to 1!

As you can imagine, I haven't had many opportunities to make little boy quilts these past few years. In fact, I've only made two (Master W.'s traffic cone quilt and my Scrappy String quilt)! I've had a lot of fun making quilts for the new baby girls of the family, but have been waiting... waiting... waiting... for another boy to come along so I could finally make another baby boy quilt.

All that waiting is about to pay off because another one of my cousins is about to give birth to her first baby (she's actually in labor right now!)... a boy!!!

Hooray!

[Cue the fabric scrap confetti and crazy amounts of time at the sewing machine.]

Since I've been waiting so long to make a baby boy quilt, I've had more than a little time to dream up the design and fabric choices.

I decided to draw inspiration from the Arrow Tail quilt tutorial from Sing All You Want. I don't have a working printer, so I couldn't print out the template for cutting the diamonds. But I do have my Sidekick ruler, which makes the very same shape. Woot!
The fabric choice was a no-brainer. I've been saving all of the scraps from Master W.'s traffic cone quilt for this exact occasion, so I pulled out the bags that I'd set aside when I finished his quilt and started cutting.

I only hit one snag when putting this top together. There were only so many large scraps in those bags, so in order to make the quilt the size I wanted I had to add a strip of the traffic signs print to the top and bottom. It's actually grown on me quite a bit!
This is a stash purge of the best kind. (Have you heard about Rachel's purge-along that's going on right now? This post is my entry for this month's link-up.) I had a ton of transportation-theme scraps laying around that I wanted to use but simply couldn't. I love each and every print since I had carefully chosen each one for Master W.'s quilt, and was so incredibly excited to finally have a quilt to use them on again.

Of course, I didn't manage to use all of them up – I still have a bag full of small scraps left – so I need to start dreaming up another baby boy quilt for the next wee one!

As you can see, I've already sewn up the back and pin-basted the layers together. Now I need to get cracking on the quilting and binding since the wee one should be here very, very soon. Finishing up this quilt is my top priority this month, and is my goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes August goal setting party over at Fiber of All Sorts and Sew Bitter Sweet Designs.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The squirrelly skirt


Miss C. loves squirrels. Her love for squirrels knows no bounds.

Let me count the ways:
  1. In our house, we don't call our furry friends "squirrels". It's pronounced, "Skaaaaaa-wuuuurllee!"
  2. She has five little stuffed animal squirrels that she sleeps with every night. 
  3. She has a squirrel calendar. She often flips through the pictures on said calendar to see which squirrelly is her favorite.
  4. We've set up a miniature blue adirondack chair in our front yard for the neighborhood squirrels to recline on whilst dining on their corn cake (which we happily restock whenever they've polished one off).
  5. We often discuss the time that the smallest of our squirrel visitors came right up to the window during lunch one day this summer and watched us for a minute or two from the windowsill. We were all riveted!
  6. We own a Lego Friends squirrel set.
  7. Miss C.'s great-grandmother heard about her love for squirrels and sent her the coolest-ever squirrel pen.
  8. We've set up an entire wall of squirrel art above her bed.
  9. Squirrels appear in most every picture she draws.
  10. Miss C.'s summer sewing project was to make a skirt, only it wasn't going to be any old skirt. She made a squirrelly skirt!

Whew! If you got all the way to #10, you'll see that we've reached the apex of our love for squirrels since our furry friends have made their way into the sewing room!

Last summer's sewing project was a pillowcase. This year, with a little help from me (serging, making the casing and pinning the hem), Miss C. sewed up the most adorable skirt I've ever seen. We spent quite a bit of time selecting the perfect squirrel fabric at JoAnn's, but after that she set to work and we had it finished in a couple of nap time sewing sessions.

We didn't use a pattern for this skirt, though I used the same method that was employed on the chicken skirt. Basically, sew up a tube of fabric for your top layer and a longer tube for the bottom layer. Then baste the two layers together, create a casing and finish your hems. Easy peasy!

I just love that she picked squirrels for her skirt. She found the perfect way to put her own personal stamp on this project. Smart girl!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Almost there.

With only a few days left before my mom-in-law goes in for major surgery, I've been working overtime to finish her quilt.

I'm going to see her tomorrow afternoon, so I'm excited to be putting the last stitches into the binding.


There were definitely a few days when I wondered if I could get it all done in time. (My goal for ALYOF this month was time get it quilted and ready for binding... check and check!) I'm just so relieved that it will be ready for her to have in the hospital. 

I can't wait to show it to you all finished and crinkly!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Falling in love all over again.

It's no secret that I'm a scrappy girl at heart. I love creating something new out of little leftover bits of fabric.

Not too long ago, though, I discovered that I was avoiding my scraps. Where I used to head straight for my scrap bags when starting a project, I found myself thumbing through the larger cuts of fabric in the cupboard next door. 

I'm telling you, those scraps knew they were losing me to the shiny stacks next door. The guilt! All those bright colors and pretty prints were laying it on thick and for a time I was able to resist.

"It's not you, it's me," I'd say.

But they knew better. I'd fallen out of love with them and they just couldn't understand why.

Looking back, I think I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed by the sheer number of prints and colors going on in those bags. And what was I to do with the ones that I still liked, but didn't love enough to make a focus in my projects?

Then it came to me: it was time to start a scrappy English paper pieced quilt. I'd been meaning to try English paper piecing since... well, forever. All of those gorgeous EPP quilts out there in the bloggy world have been tempting me to give it a try. Yes, it was definitely time.

A few clicks on Etsy and I'd ordered some 2" diamonds to get me started. From the very beginning I knew I wanted to take all of those crazy scraps and turn them into a beautiful vintage-inspired scrap quilt. Each star is pieced with scraps that seem to be friends with one another – not necessarily best friends, as they aren't all matchy-matchy – but friends. Then all of the stars are surrounded by Kona Snow diamonds, which when joined together make snowy hexies. 

I'm completely smitten with this project. English paper piecing lets me spend more time with my hubby at night while still keeping my hands busy. It allows me to sew while I watch the kids play outside. And it's made me fall in love with my scraps all over again.

But the best part is that this one is for my mom. I've been thinking about starting a quilt for her for what seems like forever, but could never come up with the right design. This one is just perfect: she loves everything vintage, so it will appeal to her sense of style, and she'll know that my love for her went into every single hand stitch.

It's a long-term project, for sure. So I'll try to post pictures of my progress here and there. After six months, I have nearly four rows finished!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A bright quilt for a little ray of sunshine

There's nothing like a new baby to wash away the blues. My new baby niece, Miss R., was born just a few short weeks ago and I'm completely smitten.

I haven't been able to see my little sweetie-pie niece in person, since Texas and California aren't exactly close neighbors but I've admired her chubby little cheeks from afar several times via Facetime and Skype. I wish I could be there to hold her, but have had to settle for the next best thing. Am I the only one who marvels at the fact that we can video chat? I can remember watching Pee Wee's Playhouse when I was a kid (the '80s were the best time to grow up!) and thinking, "I wish we could have a real Picturephone!" And now I do!

Okay, back to the quilt... I asked my mom to stuff Miss R.'s quilt into her suitcase (thanks, Mom!) and take it to her in person when my folks whisked off for a long visit to Texas to do what every grandparent does best: rocking the baby and spoiling the grandkids!

Miss R.'s quilt arrived safe and sound, and she looks just so sweet wrapped up in it. I love how the quilting turned out, even more so because all of those straight lines intersecting at the triangle points created a happy surprise on the back: stars! Look closely at the photo below and you can see them. Isn't that cool?

The quilt ended up being somewhere close to 52" square. I love the semi-scrappy look of the front. Most of the prints are leftovers from the Hello Tokyo bundle I won from Fabric Fusion and Rita of Red Pepper Quilts (thanks, ladies!). I also added the solids from my stash and lots of coordinating scrappy prints like the hearts, ladybugs, black-and-white overlapping dots and a bunch of others. The backing and binding were made using one of the Flowers prints from the Sweet Things collection by Lakehouse Dry Goods.

I had always wanted to make an equilateral triangle quilt, and now that I've done it I'm totally in love! I'll definitely make another one someday. The triangles quilt up so nicely and just look so beautiful when finished. I think Miss R. will love it for many, many years to come.

Little Miss C. decided to help me photograph the quilt. Just look at those cute little baby toes!


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Hiding out.

It's been the summer of bad news. Not terrible news, but bad enough that I've been hiding behind my sewing machine for the last few weeks after about a month of no sewing. Zero. Zip.

I certainly made up for lost time in the last several weeks, though. All that sewing time resulted in two quilt tops and two completed quilts sent to their new homes (one for my aunt and one for my new baby niece - my little ray of sunshine born just over a week ago). I'll be writing about each of these tops and finishes soon, I promise!

I needed that time at my machine and honestly, I didn't have much creativity left for writing. But I miss this place. I miss chatting with my buddies. And I miss being able to create a record of my creativity.

Since I'm so far behind, I'm just going to give you a sneaky peak at a quilt top I finished tonight. A very special relative recently found out that she has to have a major surgery in just a few short weeks (one of the pieces of bad news this summer), so I've been putting in a little overtime to get this one finished by the time she checks in to the hospital for surgery.

I had seen Incarnadine by RJR Fabrics on Fat Quarter Shop months ago and figured someday it would make the perfect quilt fabric for this special relative, since it is a perfect match for the colors and style of her living room. That "someday" came rushing forward when we found out that she'd be having surgery at the beginning of next month. It may be summertime and hot as blazes here, but I know hospitals are cold and after she gets home she'll be spending plenty of time recouperating on the couch in the coming months. I figured a cheery quilt might help keep her spirits up as she recovers.

I hopped online and headed straight for Fat Quarter Shop, snapping up three charm packs and a couple yards of American Made Brand in cream* so I could whip up this windowpane quilt top. My goal for July is to get it quilted and ready for binding (linking up with ALYOF). More on this quilt - and hopefully with better photos - in another post.


* Have you heard of American Made Brand solids yet? If you and I were sitting together right now I'd be talking loudly and gesturing wildly with my hands... I'm so excited about this stuff! I'm going to do a full post on this line of fabric soon. Stay tuned! 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Darth Vader big boy wallet

Miss C. had another birthday party to attend a few weeks back, this time for one of the boys in her class.

I was a little nervous at first, wondering if I could pull off a handmade gift that would appeal to a boy, but was surprised to see quite a few awesome ideas on Pinterest. I finally settled on this little Darth Vader wallet, using the noodlehead tutorial I had already pinned quite a while back.

The pattern is super easy and the wallet came together quickly. The Darth Vader image came from some leftover Star Wars fabric I had laying around. The outer blue fabric was the last of the remnants of a heavy Ikea curtain I had cut up for other projects a few years back, and the gray came out of my quilting scraps. I used some iron-on interfacing with glue on both sides to keep it from fraying and falling off, then did a simple zig-zag stitch all around. 

Done!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Semi-scrappy triangles


I'm so far behind on blogging, it's ridiculous.

I don't have any good excuses, other than that I just didn't feel up to it. I guess that's good enough, right?

Well, I'm jumping back in with this bright quilt top made up of all of the leftovers from my Hello Tokyo bundle (courtesy of a giveaway by Fabric Fusion and Rita of Red Pepper Quilts) and whatever coordinating scraps I could rustle up from my stash.
I ended up adding in some white scraps, though I'm not sure if they're Kona or something else, as well as that awesomely bright pink. It's not a perfect match, but I think it works. And, in an effort to stretch myself, I went out of my comfort zone and pieced some of the solid pinks next to each other. Usually, I'm all about same prints/colors not touching in a quilt - it offends my sense of order... or something... But I've seen it done in quite a few quilts lately and I've been thinking of giving it a go. So here it is!
A note on construction: I used the Jaybird Quilts Sidekick ruler. It's an awesome tool for anyone contemplating an equilateral triangle quilt – I highly recommend it.

This quilt is being made especially for Niece #3, due this summer. I like to make my baby quilts big, but this one is ENORMOUS! I think I got a little carried away when cutting up all those scraps. The upside is that she'll be able to enjoy it for many, many years.

Next up? Choosing the fabric for the backing and binding. Then off to quilting!

You can find this post linked up at:


Monday, April 7, 2014

In progress: An equilateral triangle quilt

I was completely blown away the first time I ever saw an equilateral triangle quilt. It was so beautiful, so completely orderly.

And I added it to my list of quilts that I wanted to make.

Flash forward a few years and I finally took the plunge... after picking up the handy-dandy Sidekick Ruker from Jaybird quilts.

Look, I know I'm probably the very last quilt blogger to jump on this bandwagon... but listen up ladies: If you haven't tried this ruler yet and you want to make an equilateral triangle quilt then get yourself online right now and order one. 

It really is that good. It slices! It dices! It juliennes fries! Oh, wait... 

It doesn't do all that, of course. But it does allow you to cut perfect diamonds, triangles and half triangles in four sizes. And putting it all together has been a snap.

I'm nearly finished assembling a semi-scrappy quilt top, which will soon be transformed into a baby quilt for my sister-in-law, who is expecting baby girl #3.

Here's a sneak peak....

Isn't that going to be so cute? My goal is to finish the top by the end of the month. I can't wait to see it all put together!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ethereal: A Mosaic Contest

Rachel at Stitched in Color is hosting another mosaic contest with Lark Cottons, this time with the theme of "Ethereal".

I love pastels and Lark Cottons has an amazing selection to choose from, so I had a lot of fun searching for the perfect fabrics for my collection last night. The entire collection was inspired by that cloud print. I love how it came together.

There's still time for you to add your own mosaic to the contest. Hop on over to Stitched in Color for more inspiration.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I almost chickened out.

This little skirt is the birthday gift that almost wasn't.

Those chickens... the eggy polka dots... the sweet little underskirt. Adorable, right?

Well those chickens almost didn't make it any further than the UFO pile.

Let me tell you a little story...

Miss C. was invited to a school friend's birthday party a few weeks back. I knew I wanted to make a skirt for the birthday girl, so I started hunting through my stash for something cute and girly. I had almost settled on a striped aqua print when I noticed these cute chickens peeking out of a pile of studio scraps that I'd purchased from JAQS Fabrics not too long ago. Amazingly, there was a full half yard cut in there. Score!

Remembering that the birthday girl's family owns chickens, I gave myself a hearty pat on the back for my genius fabric find and started sewing. The kids, of course, were asleep for the night so I didn't consult with Miss C. on my fabric choice like I usually do.

By the end of the evening I had the skirt sewn, raw edges serged and the casing ready for the elastic. All I needed to do was show Miss C., measure the elastic against her waist and check the sizing on her once the elastic was inserted.

What could possibly go wrong?

Here's how our conversation went the next morning:

Me: "Morning, C.! I made a skirt for A.'s birthday last night, check it out."
C: "It's very pretty, Mommy!"
Me: "Thanks! Do you remember that A.'s family has chickens at their house? I thought she might like the chickens on this fabric since she loves her chickens."
C: "Oh... that's good, Mommy... because their dog ate all the chickens."
Me: "WHAAAAAAAA????? The dog killed the chickens???? This is bad! I can't give her a chicken skirt!"
C: "Don't worry, Mommy. It's a good thing. Really!"

The party was this past Saturday. Of course, the million dollar question is, "Did you give her the skirt?"

Yep! I debated it in my head all the way to school, even planned out some alternate fabric choices. The birthday girl's mother wasn't at drop-off, but I confessed shared the story with another mother and she assured me that the family was going to be getting more chickens in the future after some thorough dog-proofing of the coop.

Whew! Crisis averted. 

Oh, and the birthday girl (and her mother) loved the skirt.

Friday, February 28, 2014

A step closer.

I'm closing in on the home stretch of my aunt's quilt, having finished the quilting last week and the binding last night. 

Now all I have left to do is hand stitch the binding to the back. 

I can't wait to wash it up so I can pack it up and send some sunshine to my sweet aunt.

You can find this post linked up at A Lovely Year of Finishes, which is hosted by Fiber of All Sorts and Sew Bitter Sweet Designs.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Best friends.

I always wanted a sister when I was growing up. Three brothers are awesome, but that secret wish was always there.

Now that I'm all grown up, I love watching my girls play together. Check out Little Miss C.'s jump rope prowess!

Friday, February 7, 2014

The sister quilt

It's been almost a year since I put the last stitches in my postage stamp quilt. To say that I love that quilt would be an understatement.

I find myself folding up and placing it back on the couch nearly every day, since it's constantly pulled off for snuggling, hiding, and reading. And every time I pick it up I'm warmed by all kinds of good feelings.

I love the bright colors, the scrappy one-of-a-kind postage stamp blocks and the memories it holds.

It's been a long time coming, but I'm finally ready to finish its sister quilt. Those of you following along about a year ago might remember that when I finally finished stitching up all of those postage stamp blocks I discovered that I had enough to make two lap-sized quilt tops.

When I first finished both tops I had a recipient in mind for the sister quilt, but something never quite felt right and I just couldn't bring myself to finish it. I suppose I just had a feeling that the quilt was meant for someone else. So I let it sit unfinished near my sewing machine, figuring the right special someone would come to mind someday.

A few weeks ago my mom called and told me that my very favorite aunt has been diagnosed with a serious illness.  It only took a moment to realize that my sister quilt had finally found a home.

So I brainstormed with my mom on backing fabric and we came up with this pretty little Pam Kitty Love print that we found on sale at Fat Quarter Shop (It was 50% off ladies! Who says the good stuff never goes on sale?! They're out of this print, but there are a few others from the collection still on sale.).

I decided to do the same spiral quilt design that I used for my quilt. I want my aunt to be able to look at her quilt when she's resting and know just how much I love her. Chances are, someone in my house hundreds of miles away from her will likely be snuggling under its sister at the very same time.

Right now I'm about two-thirds of the way through a spiral quilt design and I'm making it my goal for the month of February to get the quilting finished by the end of the month. I'm linking up to A Lovely Year of Finishes, which is hosted by Fiber of All Sorts and Sew Bitter Sweet Designs.

Friday, January 31, 2014

I'm starting early so I'll actually finish on time.

That's theory anyway.
See that Santa print in there? That's a vintage flannel remnant my mom gifted to me a few years back. She'd been holding on to it in her cedar chest for years and years, having originally used it to back the family Christmas tree skirt. Somehow she knew it was my favorite (seriously, how do moms do that?).

I was so excited when she gave it to me and immediately knew that I wanted to turn it into a quilt.

Then it sat.

And sat.

Waiting for some vintage fabric friends to come along.
I finally had a good excuse to go fabric shopping last September when I received an Etsy gift card for my birthday (from my mom, of course!). I found the green print first - isn't it the perfect '70s Christmas print? Then the red one came along (it was just a little piece, so it's just going to be found here and there on the quilt top). I'm not sure of its age, but it seemed to be about the right era.

After that I stalled. There really aren't that many vintage Christmas flannels out there you know. And modern flannels just aren't the right shade of '70s green.

Finally I found that striped print. It's probably more '80s and early '90s, but I like the colors and I'm not set on making a perfect, era-correct quilt. Just something warm and snuggly... and a little bit kitschy.

I think I'm on the right track.

Now, if only I could stop getting sidetracked by other (more pressing) projects. Then I could finish it well in time for next Christmas!




Wednesday, January 29, 2014

All packed up and ready to go.

I recently stumbled upon a recipe for happiness and thought I'd share...

Ingredients:
1 sweet little girl
1 mama-made messenger bag
1 mama-made zippy pouch
Pencils
Erasers
Paper
Notebooks
Stuffed animal friends

Directions:
Mix well, sit back and feel your heart swell as you watch your little girl tote her special things everywhere.

It's been about two weeks since I finished Miss C.'s messenger bag (construction details can be found in my earlier post) and I still love watching her carry it around. I loved the look on her face when I finally gave it to her - she positively lit up. And then she whispered, "I love it." And told me again and again later that day, squeezing my heart the way she is apt to do when I least expect it.
I sure wish I could bottle that feeling so I could save it for those moments when maybe I'm a little down on myself. For not fixing meals with more vegetables. For being too fixated on things I have no control over. For not cleaning my house often (or well) enough. For getting frustrated with my sweeties. You know, for not being Perfect Mommy.

Do you have those days too? I'm thinking I need to distance myself from Perfect Mommy. She's nice and all, but I'm better off just being Mommy. And when I forget and try too hard to be Perfect Mommy (because she's all glittery and perfect and tempting, right?), I'm going to take out this memory as a reminder that my little girl loves me. Just the way I am. 

And just being Mommy is good enough for me.
You can find this post linked up at:












Special thanks to Fabric Fusion and Rita of Red Pepper Quilts for the Hello Tokyo by Robert Kaufman fat quarter bundle that I won not too long ago in a most generous giveaway. Normally I love making things from my scraps, but this collection was destined for Miss C. It was a joy to work with and made the perfect big girl messenger bag for my sweetheart!