Thursday, February 19, 2015

A pillow and a new WIP...

Well I'm sick of winter, how about you? I'm trying not to complain too much...but it does get old this 20 below zero weather. One of the few perks about winter is the excuse to hunker down inside with some hot tea, movies, and lots of soft blankets and pillows to snuggle under. Speaking of which, I have another pillow cover to share!

Look familiar? I had left over scraps from my Christmas stocking and couldn't bear (no pun intended!) to put them away. I had to use them up. I've been enamored with this scrappy improv diamond block lately and I thought it would make a fine pillow cover. Viola! Quick and simple winter pillow cover. I don't love my pillow form though, I think I went the cheap route when I bought this one and it's just too lumpy and floppy.

I've been having so much fun making sweet little baby quilts. Here's another one I started, a scrappy patchwork wonky star quilt. I'm really starting to rack up the scraps so I was determined to only use scraps for the patchwork in this quilt. Happily, most of squares I'm using were already cut to the right size. Score!

My inspiration came from this photo:

I love the colors in this quilt, contrasted with the white stars.

I made mine wonky...just because. Since I took these photos I've added another row and more blue squares. I'm starting to piece the blocks now. Our frigid weather does give me more sewing time at least!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

On my design wall...

...a new quilt top, recently completed but shown here in progress. I've been calling this one my 'man quilt'.

Awhile ago I thought it would be fun to make a quilt with a more masculine flair. And I wanted it to be scrappy. So I dug out all of my blue and green scraps and cut them into rough strips (if they weren't already). I didn't have enough green and blue so I added grey and black too. I wasn't being very discriminative in my fabric there are some interesting, arguably non-masculine prints in there. But that's OK, I like it.

I've wanted to make the cover quilt from Sunday Morning Quilts for a long time. This seemed like the perfect project to try it out. It's so much fun! No worrying about perfectly straight strips or precise 1/4" seams, this one is charming for it's imperfections. And for all of the pieces of fabric, it still comes together pretty quickly.

This quilt will go to a special guy, I'm pretty sure he doesn't read my blog so it should stay a surprise. I hope he likes it. BTW, there are over 75 different fabrics in this quilt top! A record for me :-).

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Christmas gifts - Part 2

I finally got around to photographing the Christmas goodies I made for Lorelai! Between the dreary unphotogenic weather and normal mothering business it has taken me far too long. Plus we were using them already so there was the matter of getting them through the laundry ;-).

In a previous post I mentioned that I'd be turning these lovely towels into embellished hooded towels for Lorelai. She has outgrown the infant hooded towels and I still really like having a hood for this project is just cute and fun!

I used this tutorial. It's a very simple project, the trickiest part was sewing over the really thick parts of the towels. I broke a few needles. I found ways to avoid the thickest parts though, so no more needles were sacrificed in the making of this gift. The blue towel went to my nephew, and I wrapped it up before snapping a photo of the finished product.

I love this raspberry towel, it's probably my favorite. As luck would have it, around Black Friday towels were on sale everywhere, so I got a really good deal on all of these. I wasn't thinking during my online ordering frenzy though, you can make two hooded towels out of one hand towel so I should have doubled up on the colors. Next time. Flannels were on sale at JoAnn too. They had so many cute prints to choose from!

When Lorelai was born my dad nicknamed her 'little cupcake'. It stuck. So when I saw this festive cupcake print I had to have it. I didn't have a plan for it when I bought it, but I think it's cute on a towel.

This was my attempt at getting Lorelai to model her towel-ha! She wouldn't keep the hood on for more than a second and she was off before I could even get her to face me! Too busy for momma I guess.

And here they are, all stacked up. We've been using them regularly now and we love them. They are so cozy and plenty roomy for our little cupcake.

On to my second project. This was a big one. By big I mean intimidating for me. I decided to make Lorelai a Christmas dress since I made her one last year. This time I actually bought a pattern off of Etsy. I thought that would make things a little easier, take some of the guesswork out of the project. I am not much of a garment seamstress. I've made a few things in the past but I get so discouraged when things don't fit perfectly and need a lot of adjustment.

The pattern was great, detailed instructions and great photos. It comes with several options-short, long, or 3/4 sleeve, sash or no sash. Since this is a winter dress I went with long sleeves.

I think it turned out pretty cute! It was a bit big on her (I made the 12 month size), and I wasn't surprised because she is such a peanut for her age. I ended up shortening the sleeves a little. And that fabric! This was the year of the penguin. It started with a cute little penguin decorating we have in our living room. Then we found a cute little stuffed penguin at a craft fair for one of her Christmas presents. So this fabric was perfect.

And here we are on Christmas Eve, getting ready to go to church. She had just woken from her nap, like momma it takes her a while to wake up!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Christmas gifts - part 1

Did Christmas go by in the blink of an eye for anyone else?! Weeks of preparing, anticipation...and then, in a whirlwind, it's over. I have to say, for the most part we had a really wonderful Christmas. Lots of quality time with family and friends, cookie baking, Christmas movie watching. I loved it!

This year I wound up making more gifts than I ever have, which had me working over time the month of December to get it all done. Yes, that's why I've been absent here. But now I'm excited to share all I've been working on!

I still need to photograph a few things so let me share the handmades that have found new homes. Please forgive the poor lighting in these photos! We had an unusually warm, dreary Christmas here in Wisconsin.

This past fall my mom requested a mug rug to take to her new office. She wanted soothing teal and blue tones, which happily I have a lot of these days :-). I recently discovered the quilting section of my local library and checked out Quilt Improv by Lucie Summers. Great book! I've been interested in improv, in a hesitant, look-from-a-distance sort of way. This book was a great intro, it helped me get my feet wet without being scary or overwhelming. So I tried her string diamond block (not sure if that's what she called it). What a fun block to make! My scraps seem to mostly come in the form of strings, so this is a great way to use them up. I love that it ends up looking a little complex even though it's a very simple and easy block to make.

Around the same time my dad requested coasters for their new home. He didn't really give me any input which made this project really challenging for me. I usually like some sort of design guardrail, a spring board to jump from. Since fall colors tend to be their go-to I went that direction but a little funkier. A little brighter. My husband understood my color vision right away (and I didn't even coach him!) so I guess I got it right.

But as I finished these up I started to see an 80s geometric aesthetic. Gah! NOT what I was going for. After contemplating MANY other coaster designs, none of which seemed quite right and in any way exciting, I ended up gifting these. And now I think I like them after all. In all their 80s glory!

Of course about a week before Christmas I added two quilted stockings to my 'make' list. Because I needed more to do ;-). These stockings are for my brother-in-law and his fiance. When they asked for stockings for Christmas I just couldn't NOT make them. As fate would have it, I had bought some adorable camping themed fabrics at a local quilt shop just a few weeks prior. I thought maybe I'd make something for my husband's side of the family because camping is in their blood. Here was my chance!

They are not traditional stockings I guess, no Christmas fabric or even Christmas colors. But I like tailoring stockings to each person's tastes. I think it's a little more special that way. I kept a couple of the camping fabrics consistent in each stocking and then added fabrics from my stash to customize them.

I really wasn't sure how I'd like all these fabrics together, I had several scary 'do these fabrics look hideous together????' moments, but I think they ended up looking nice. I just love those little retro campers! And the guitars and fish are perfect for my BIL.

The backs are not pieced. I was crunched for time...and you don't see the back anyway! I finished them just in time (December 23rd!) and I think they were well received.

Now to track down my daughter's handmade gifts and photograph them...

Monday, December 8, 2014


We finally have stockings for everyone in our family! And they are even hung! But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning. I really get into Christmas. Yes, I'm the crazy lady watching Christmas movies in October because I'm that excited. So about five years ago when my husband and I moved into our first house, I was determined to go all out with Christmas decorations, including making stockings for each of us. I found this really cool spiral stocking pattern in American Patchwork & Quilting, and started on my husband's. This pattern is paper pieced, and there are A LOT of pieces. And this was one of my first paper pieced projects. It turned out really neat in the end, but I won't lie, it was a lot of work. So of course my motivated stalled after finishing this one.

Because my husband is pretty non-traditional in his tastes, I chose non-traditional fabrics and colors. He liked it. Or so he says ;-). Fun fact, because there are so many tiny pieces and I wasn't confident in paper piecing, I left all the paper in the patchwork. The stocking has a bit of a crinkle to it, haha.

Fast forward to last winter. Having Lorelai renewed my motivation to make stockings for our family. I decided to move away from the spiral stocking and went with simple, sweet patchwork squares in colors and fabrics that made me think of Lorelai. Red, pink, aqua, a little grey/cream. And those little gnomes appear again!

Scrapping the same stocking pattern as before meant needed a new pattern. But I wanted the stockings to be the same size and shape. So thinking I'd be smart and avoid tracing the finished stocking for my husband, I used the individual paper pattern pieces from that project. Well, obviously something was lost in translation. Lorelai's stocking ended up much bigger! Oh well, more room for goodies I guess.

The process for this one was pretty simple. I basically made a piece of patchwork that would cover my stocking pattern/template, trimmed it to that shape, basted it to some batting and quilted it. I trimmed my batting down, and then I used this tutorial to add a lining and cuff. I had to figure out my cuff dimensions though, they were not the same.

I plowed ahead and completed my stocking in November. I wanted it to be similar to Lorelai's in that it would have some kind of pieced body with a solid cuff. I didn't care too much whether all my stockings match...I wanted them to reflect each family member. So for me, it had to be those polar bears. They come from Laurie Wisbrun's Brrr collection. This is an older collection, but I drooled over those polar bears in the red/turquoise colorway for months. When I finally purchased just two small cuts of fabric I hoarded it for many more months, waiting for just the right purpose. I'm so happy to have these pretty fabrics turned into something lovely in my living room!

So here they are, all finished and waiting to be stuffed with treats on Christmas Eve :-).

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Back in October I started a sewing 'to do' list to be completed before Christmas. Ha. Some of that list was definitely wishful thinking on my part!!! But I can say that some of it has been checked off already. Let's review...

    -Plush baby block for Lorelai's birthday. I've made them for other baby friends so she needs one, right?

All done! The only fabric in my stash that really said 'Lorelai' to me was those little gnomes again. I'm a sucker for little bearded holiday characters I guess. You may remember them from the dress I made her last Christmas. The fabric is from the same Michael Miller collection.

    -Birthday bunting for Lorelai's party

I ended up making her birthday bunting out of scrapbook paper due to lack of time and unfortunately I didn't get any good pictures of it. Sorry!

    -Lorelai's Christmas stocking (already started!)
    -My Christmas stocking

Our stockings are done and hanging in our living room, but I will save those for another post ;-).

    -Friendship quilt (post on this one coming soon...)

This one is in progress. Slow progress. I keep getting distracted with other projects, imagine that! But here's a sneak peak. My best friend had the truly awesome idea to make quilts together that would commemorate our friendship and our addiction to Downton Abbey. We started watching the series together ages ago and are slowly working our way through it. Life and little babes are keeping the pace pretty slow. The idea was to try and use the Downton Abbey fabric in our quilts, but neither of us really liked those prints. It's strange because the clothes on the show are really beautiful but I didn't see that reflected in the fabrics. Anyway, we compromised with using a few of the more appealing prints and mixing them with a variety of other fabrics. Because the Downton Abbey collection seemed to be mostly dark jewel tones, that was the direction we went with but maybe more richer and more vibrant. Probably from my influence...I just NEED color in my life. Anyway, more on this quilt later.

    -Christmas gifts...need to decide the what and who...

OK, so I think I'm making pretty good progress here too but I can't share everything in this category for obvious reasons ;-). I can tell you that I decided to make Lorelai and one other special kiddo hooded towels for Christmas, and I have an enticing stack of towels waiting for me in the sewing room now.

    -Lorelai's Christmas dress

The pattern is purchased and downloaded. The fabric is on it's way. I just hope this one isn't too much for me, clothes are not my strong suit!

    -Baby quilt to donate

I just started this one yesterday. No matter what projects I have going, I always have the craving to piece. Some people like the quilting part of the process, some prefer to applique. I'm a piecer. 

I've had this charm pack called Sakura Park in my stash for awhile now, I won it from Amy at Diary of a Quilter during one of her giveaways. It has really pretty, delicate colors and designs which I thought would make for a nice baby girl quilt.

My design inspiration came from a magazine ad...maybe American Patchwork & Quilting? Anywho, I've wanted to try out the snowball block anyway so why not now? I'm going to add sashing and/or borders to make this quilt a little bigger but I think I'll be able to get away with only using this one charm pack and my Kona Snow background fabric.

Well I think I'm doing pretty well! I'm fully prepared to accept that I won't finish the friendship quilt before Christmas though. And that's OK, it's been a really fun project to work on with my best friend, so I kind of don't want to be done! How are your holiday preparations going?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Baby Plus Quilt

Today I'm finally sharing my latest finished quilt-my baby plus quilt. I've had this one done for awhile, I took it to the craft fair with me (so you may have seen peeks of it already). I really LOVE this one. I usually like all of my quilts, but I just love the colors and fabrics in this one.

A plus quilt has been on my 'to-do' list for awhile. They've been popular in blogland for awhile now, and I like the simplicity of them, and how they can really showcase colors and fabrics. So with the design picked out, I just needed a color scheme. I've been pinning color cards on Pinterest like mad, so I figured that was a great place to start looking for inspiration.

This is the color card I went with. What do you think? Did I capture these colors with my quilt? I think I did pretty well. The daisy photo  is so pretty, but I like how the colors themselves can actually read gender neutral. I think it is so difficult to make really nice gender neutral pieces. It seems like all of the cute prints just end up looking like a boy or girl fabric.

I ended up ordering several teals, aquas, and golds for this quilt because my stash was lacking in those colors. I tend to use them a lot. I found it really difficult to find the 'right' teal or aqua when ordering online! It seems that every manufacturer has a different interpretation of teal and some of my picks ended up more blue and others more green. That's fine, more fabric for my stash!

I typically don't enjoy sewing long rows together for quilts, so I sewed this quilt top together in blocks instead. I arranged all of my individual squares on my design wall first. Once I was satisfied with the layout, I began sewing the squares together into 9-patch blocks. This worked wonderfully! The top came together pretty fast and my seams matched up pretty well. I think if I had done this in rows I would have had more misaligned seams.

I used my typical Warm & White batting on this one, but I didn't have a piece that was quite big enough. I ended up splicing two pieces together. This was my first time trying this technique, and it worked really well. I laid the two pieces side-by-side and used my zig-zag stitch to sew them together. You can't tell where the batting seam is in the finished quilt at all. It's a great way to use up batting scraps.

You can see my new HardcoreQuilts fabric label in the binding of this quilt. I'm happy to report that it was a cinch to sew this in. I also used flannel for the first time as the backing. I will definitely do that again! It makes for a really soft backing. I was a little worried that I'd have trouble with the quilting since I have cotton on top and flannel on the back, but I didn't. The quilting was pretty simple, I echo-quilted a few of the pluses and then a few rectangles here and there to fill in any open spots.

I love this quilt so much I'm tempted to keep it! But, I don't really need more baby quilts around here (yet!) so I've listed it in my Etsy shop. I may be making more plus quilts like it soon was so much fun :-).