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! 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Block Happy, 1st 2015 edition

Every once in a while I do a post sharing blocks I've made for both my do.Good Stitches group (the Believe group) and for the Great Lakes Modern Quilt Guild. I love participating in both of these groups--it's so satisfying to make a few blocks and see them joined together with other quilters' blocks to make a quilt! Here's my first block-happy post for 2015,  which shows blocks primarily made in 2014!

August do. Good blocks: 
square in a square, with each person getting a color of the rainbow

October do.Good blocks:
dark blue and white, done in any shape/size unit we wanted, based on 3" square units

November do.Good blocks:
Orange and blue Log Cabin variation blocks

December do.Good blocks:

groups of four Polaroid blocks in bright colors

And then our GLMQG online activity for the January meeting:
Ninepatch variations done in solids 
(read more about this here)

Can't wait to see everyone's blocks at our meeting in two weeks--should be fun to see how these get interpreted!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Boys' bedroom finish!

I am thrilled to be able to share these pictures with you because this project has been a long time in the making. My two bigger boys share a room. I picked the pattern (Cranberry Chutney by Madison Cottage Design) and began buying fabric for their big boy bed quilts in June of 2013. Since last spring, my mom and I have been working on these quilts--we each sewed about half the blocks (I think she made more than me), and then we each assembled one quilt. When I was back in my hometown in October, I visited the local quilt shop there to choose the quilting pattern and thread color, knowing that the quilts were almost done. I finished the quilt backs in November and Mom dropped the quilts off for me at Patched Works, with the promise of a mid-December delivery date.
Here are the quilts, done and on the big boys' beds:
Both beds, with the orange nightstand in the middle.
I love the teal lamps (from Target) that serve as reading lamps.
 A little closer look at each bed:

The best Christmas present? At her offer, I had given Mom the leftover fabric to make a scrappy binding. She not only made the binding for both, but sewed them to the quilts, and then hand stitched them to the back on about 90% of the quilts before we saw her after Christmas. Wow! Thanks Mom!

I finished the last bit this week and took pics on the beds this morning. Now to train the boys to make their beds!

Here are the finished backs of the quilts. Since I was putting so much time and money into these quilts, I decided to make them reversible, or at least more fun than just a single backing fabric. Each back is a version of the block concept on the front (except obviously not square). When I first came up with this idea, Thomas wanted the green and Jojo the orange. During the last few months, their favorite colors changed, and they flip flopped. I'm just happy that no one protested the colors I used!

A closer look at the green back:

And the orange back. I used a green-yellow thread on both, at the recommendation of the lovely Julie at Patched Works. You can see the quilting pattern a little better on this side, at least in the photos.

Here's the dresser on the opposite wall, as well as the wall art. The boys are really into superheroes right now, and I found these cool tin wall art pieces at Hobby Lobby. I found the center piece on Etsy. In case you can't read it, it says "Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero."

I'm really glad that their room is finished! Now on to the next project....

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

ALYOF January Goal: Pattern in the making

One of my goals for 2015 is to transform some of my original designs into patterns. You know, the type that people might like to buy. But first I need to remake the quilt, complete with some key tweaks from the original design. Remaking the quilt keeps getting pushed to the back burner behind projects with more important deadlines.

Enter the 2015 A Lovely Year of Finishes! For my January goal, I will transform this pile of fabrics (Safari Playground from Kanvas):

into a new and improved version of this baby quilt:

Here's to starting 2015 off with a productive first month!

ALYOF 2014 Recap

Here's my 2014 A Lovely Year of Finishes recap. Last year (2013), I missed one month. This past year, I missed two months. But I had a baby too, so I'm calling it good. Maybe 2015 is my year to go 12 for 12?!?!

January: piecing my niece's pennant quilt top (leftover from December 2013 goal)
February: quilting a baby quilt for our friends (we gave it in person in April)
March: piecing a chevron quilt top for a friend in the hospital (mailed this off in a fairly timely manner)
April: piecing my improve herringbone quilt top from the GLMQG (Love how this one finished up!)
May: quilting my niece's baby quilt (and mailed it in May as well! woo hoo!)
June: Piecing the back for my new bed quilt (hoping to get this on my bed in 2015--it's with the machine quilter right now)
July: didn't make it (vacation plus very pregnant = low ambition)
August: quilting this small quilt (still need to bind it...)
September: Making a set of fabric letters for my nephew (done and mailed almost on time!)
October: finishing assembling the second top for my sons' new bed quilts (Thanks, mom, for assembling the other one)
November: didn't make it (I blame the late date of Thanksgiving)
December: finishing my baby's stocking (shhh...didn't finish it until after Christmas, but it WAS still December!)

On to 2015!