Thursday, February 26, 2015

A finished quilt top! (But not for me!)

I have been dabbling in a bunch of different projects lately: a few for the Curves class I took at Stitched in Color, a few original designs for magazine submission and my own patterns to sell, a commissioned quilt, and another for a blog hop (posts on all of those things to come!). 

But the one project that did get finished is the quilt my two older boys (6 and 3.5) made. They are really proud of it, and I am proud of them! 

(And it's Batman Thursday, in case you couldn't tell. Every Thursday is Batman Thursday here.)

Here's the finished quilt without goofy boys in front of it. They are MUCH more interested in sewing blocks than in assembling the blocks into the quilt top. The last couple seams dragged on for several weeks, and I almost just sewed them myself, but I really wanted the quilt to be made by them. 

I think I will have some fun quilting it--great for practicing some new machine quilting motifs, because the stitching won't show much with all the action in the quilt top! 

I asked each boy to show his favorite block. They both chose the last block they made, which had some fairly appealing fussy cut sections.

Here's Josiah's:

A close-up of the block:

And Thomas':

And a close-up:

As for me, this is still my favorite block, because Thomas drew it first with crayons and then wanted to make it out of fabric. You can read more about that block here.

I'm off to finish my February ALYOF goal...darn February with only 28 days!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Valentine's Day: It's not just about the chocolate!

(Although quality chocolate makes for a pretty darn good Valentine's Day in my mind!)

With Valentine's Day around the corner, I wanted to share links to a few tutorials I've featured in past years. 

First up, a travel tic tac toe board:
(There are still a couple of these available for sale in my Etsy shop!)

And then the Valentine's themed version...with hearts instead of Os!

Click here for the tutorial and here for the heart-themed version.

And then an easy last-minute project you can do with scraps--fabric postcards!

Click here for the tutorial.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 6, 2015

ALYOF Goal: Baptism Gown Bag

My 5-month-old was baptized back in October in a family baptism gown which has been worn by 17 people over three generations of my husband's family. (You can see it in the photo below.) As our generation has used this gown for our babies, it has traveled between our homes wrapped in tissue paper and secured in a ziplock bag. Something so special deserves better packaging!

When I got this lovely blue and white fabric printed with the Lord's Prayer (from Kanvas' Bible Study collection), I thought it would be perfect for a little quilted bag. And now it's February, and I still have the gown and the fabric. No bag. It keeps getting pushed down my to-do list because there's no concrete deadline for finishing it. So for my February A Lovely Year of Finishes goal, I am going to make the bag for the baptism gown! (And yes, we might still transport the quilted bag in a ziplock bag just to keep the gown protected from spills, but it will have it's own quilted home as well!)

And here's a sneak peek of what else I've been working on--batik strips for a cool curved table runner in the Curves Class over at Stitched in Color! (More on this later)

Saturday, January 31, 2015

New baby quilt design!

I'm starting out the year strong with a last-minute finish for January's ALYOF goal, hosted by Sew BitterSweet Designs and Fiber of All Sorts

Here was my original pattern, which I designed and sewed back in 2008 before my first son was born:
(My 5-month-old is currently using this quilt!)

And here is my updated 2015 version:

Next up is deciding how to quilt it...I have some ideas but not sure if my free motion abilities can make them happen! 

I am happy to have finished the quilt top--success in month #1, and that much closer to producing my first pattern for sale!

I sewed the Log Cabin blocks a couple weeks ago, and knew that I'd need to do the applique blocks and assemble the quilt top this week. A few unexpected deadlines came up, and I ended up sewing two other quilt tops this week as well. (Which is why I finished this quilt top in the last few hours of January!) 

My design wall was filled up, so I laid this one out on the floor!

Below is evidence of why you should not sew late at night when you're starting to feel tired:
I fused the animal shapes to the right side of the fabric. Oops!

What else have I been up to?
My boys had an ice day on Thursday, so we worked on assembling their blocks into a quilt top. We're just about done! The boys appropriated two of my orphan blocks (4th row, far left and far right), but they made the rest. They're very proud, and I think that knowing that this quilt was made by a 5 year old and 3.5 year old changes it from the initial reaction of "wow, that's super busy!" to pretty cool. 

My oldest also lost his second tooth. I finished his tooth fairy pillow just in time! 

The back side:
These tooth fairy pillows are currently for sale on my new Etsy shop.

And Friday morning, I went fabric shopping for someone else. Love doing that! I met my friend and her sister at the local fabric shop to weigh in on fabric selection for a quilt. Here's the pile of bolts they took home:

And here's the assembled quilt top on their design wall. Cut and stitched in less than 24 hours--impressive! 

Now we're just waiting for some fresh snow and hosting a Super Bowl party tomorrow night...should be fun!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Word Challenge: Savor!

Each new year, Victoria at 15 Minutes Play puts out a word challenge--pick a word and then make it into a quilt. 

Last year my word was Balance

This year I chose Savor. 

Why Savor?
Because I often feel I'm quilting on a deadline--related to either when a project needs to be done, or when I have to stop sewing to make dinner, entertain the kids, go to bed... It's too easy to sew rushed and focus only on the end result, rather than enjoying the process as I go. 

So for 2015, I will savor my time quilting. I will stop and smell the roses, to use a tired cliche, and pay attention to what I'm working on rather than just how close I am to finishing. 
(Well, except for when I'm handstitching a binding on. At that point, I'm ALL about the finish line!)

A little bit about the techniques I used here. I pulled out a bunch of orange scraps to create some monochromatic made fabric. I did applique last year, so I wanted to try a new and different technique for the letters this year, and freehand stitched cursive seemed like a good idea. I wrote the word on the orange fabric with a washable fabric marker, pinned the fabric to batting, and started stitching with my free motion foot. I used four or five different blues, ranging from sky blue to navy, and traced the word multiple times with each color. I wouldn't say I'm in love with the final result, but I'm glad I tried a new technique!

Monday, January 19, 2015

January Blues

Sometime last year, I stumbled across the Rainbow Scrap Challenge over at Sew Scrappy. I loved the idea, so I mentally bookmarked it for 2015.  Lo and behold, it's 2015 and my mental bookmark worked, so I'm participating!

If you're not in a clicking mood, basically the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is what it sounds like. Each month, you make blocks out of the chosen color. There's an overall scrap quilt pattern for the year, with tutorials for sampler blocks for centers of a main star block, or you can do your own thing. I spent a little time on Sew Scrappy's RSC Pinterest board and found way too many ideas I liked.

While procrastinating other things last week (sorting piles of paperwork, putting away Christmas decorations, laundry...) I jumped into the first month's color: blue. I got a bit carried away (courtesy of that Pinterest board with far too many cool rainbow scrap quilts). We'll see if I can keep up this momentum each month...

The only drawback is that even though I made 6 blocks, I don't feel like I even put a dent in my stash. Oh well...

All 6 blocks together:

The two Log Cabin blocks:

At top, 12-1/2" square of made fabric, 15-Minutes-Play style. My plan at the moment is to make these into Drunkard's Path blocks paired with a white solid. We'll see how that plan evolves through the year. At bottom, a "slab."

25-patch wonky star blocks:

This could get addicting...!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A stitched Christmas gift recap

Now that the holidays are over the pine needles are cleaned up (see the bottom picture!), it's time to share some of my Christmas gift sewing. 

First, a fabric toy bucket. I love these fabrics!

Two sets of fabric letters with drawstring bags. This has become my new go-to gift for 2 and 3-year-olds.

Set #2:

My newest nephew's stocking:

The photos my sister sent of all four stockings together. I love this!

I know I showed this off already, but since Ben's stocking was part of my December sewing, I'm sharing it again! Come St. Nick's Day next December, all three of my kids will be set with stockings and I can sit back and relax!

Another one I already showed off, but also part of my December sewing. Thrilled this was done too!

And then just for's what our tree looked like on January 6th. In all fairness to the tree, we were out of town for 7 days, home for 3, and then gone for another 5 over the holidays. So we definitely were not watering consistently. Quite a pine needle carpet!