Every Baby Needs a Quilt

Every baby needs a quilt.  or.  that's my excuse to sit down and make a quilt rather than washing my kitchen floor!

There's a new baby cousin in our family.  In the back of my mind I was toying with the idea of making a quilt, but it wasn't till after he was born that I decided I WAS making one.  I knew what the mom's nursery colors were, and I knew which style to make.

A while back, she commented on this one that I made for my kiddos, so I knew that's what I'd be making, only editing the colors a bit, rather than a total mish-mash.

When I make something as a gift, I'm always agonizing whether they'll like it.  "should I have rather gone with this?  what if this is just the one fabric they hate?"   on and on.  But this time I had a blast.  Because I knew her exact colors and what pattern to make.  I tried to add in fun motifs, although it was a little harder cause I was just going with teal, orange, green, black and white.

I think this little guy blowing bubbles is my favorite.

I didn't get a pic of the back, but it's a green and yellow flannel with a bit of an argyle print.

Stay tuned, I think there's a bit of a giveaway in the near future...  what should I give you;  fabric, or a finished project?

Warm and Whimsical

I had a jolt of inspiration the other day to finish up a few quilts for my store.  I started this one a few months ago, then set it aside to start on Christmas gifts.  I had a lot of fun making this one, and I lovety-love-love these colors.

If my little girl only needed another blanket, I'd keep it right now.   I started with no plan, and really didn't have any idea what the final quilt would be.  I had a stack of warm colored fabrics picked out, and decided to add some pastel solids.  My only regret is the center block which I think is a bit too dark for the rest.   When you see it hanging here it looks like a bit of a bulls-eye, but really, in real life you hardly notice it.  I guess that's what happens when I don't draw anything out ahead.

This block here is the same as the binding fabric.  But I never even noticed that till it was done.  I chose the binding now the other day, and was pumped at how well it matched.  Duh!  There was a reason.  I just forgot that I had a piece of that fabric included in the quilt top.

I used Bliss Flannel on the back.  I'm telling you, if you like to use flannel,  go buy some of it RIGHT NOW.   I think I could use it on almost every quilt I make.  It seems extra soft, and the color is just right.  The size of the dots is small which I like.  When I'm buying quilt backings, I always steer away from stripes or anything in rows, because if I do straight line quilting,  I'm bound to have it off-center by a bit, and even a quarter inch makes the back look messy when your quilting line doesn't match up with the fabric on the back.

So what I'm saying is, these dots are small and close together, so this isn't an issue.

Yes, I want to keep this one!  But there's always another one to make...

Scrappy Spool Mini Quilt

I made this for the My Favorite Little Quilt Swap.  Totally crazy to do at this time of year, but it was a nice little break to sit down and sew up this fun spool.

It only measures about 17"x20", and I used up a bunch of little strips from my overflowing scraps.

I made this aqua one a while ago to hang in my sewing room and had so much fun with it, I wanted to make another one.  This one is made with fabric selvedges.

I used the quilt-as-you-go method for this again, and what I love the most is that you don't have to get up to iron.  Each strip you turn over and quilt it down so it lays flat.  I just love doing random stuff like this.  Get a big pile of scraps and pull one out.  Pull another one out and sew it on.  It's just liberating to put all these totally unrelated fabrics together...

Just a little sneak peak of the next project.  It's already in it's new home, so I'll show you more later.

Monday Thoughts

*six more loads of laundry

*20 minutes of quietness so far (it's naptime)

*technically not quietness, since the 3-year-old is talking in his room, not sleeping.

*so many sewing/quilting projects to finish before Dec. 25.  I wish I could show them to you, but things may
be a little quiet here.  I promise you'll see them after Christmas.

*loving this description of winter in my country.  It made me a little less grumpy about this cold and snow.

*if you're feeling a bit sorry for yourself, and want to stay that way, don't follow this link.  It might make you realize how astronomically good you have it.

*if you're like me, you then feel so bad that you can't do more.  Then remember this saying: " As one person, I can't change the world, but I can change the world for one person."  And that one person might be right under your nose.  So don't take anyone or anything for granted.

*it's now quiet from the back bedroom.  #1 (we call them #1 and #2 at our house, the kids I mean) anyways, #1 must be sleeping.   Now I'd better hit that laundry pile.

Last Minute Birthday Gifts

Wanna know a little secret about me?  I work best under pressure.  Ummm.... I guess to be totally honest I'd better say I work ONLY under pressure.  But that doesn't mean that I'm totally stressed out all the time.  I just do lots of things last minute without a lot of planning, which some of the time turns out not too badly.  So yesterday morning I realized we were having a birthday supper for my aunt and grandma (and me too, but I don't have to make me a gift)  and I had NO gift.  See, most of you would have thought of that last month, or last week, or even the day before.  Oh well.  No biggie.

I decided on potholders since you can always use one of those.  I have a phobia of gifts that the recipient secretly wonders whatever they're gonna do with it cause it's just not really 'them'.  So pot holder = safe!  Somewhere I'd seen this style with the little pockets for your hands, so I decided to make a little heart shape and make the pockets out of my scrap bin.  For once it turned out right the first time.  I drew out the shape and in the end, it turned out to be about the right size.

My grandma likes blue, and flowers, so this was for her.  (She's not so big on hot pink and polka dots, I'm sure, but I just had to add it in)

My aunt just repainted her kitchen red, so of course I went with that.  To me, red and kitchen just fits together.  See that little ladybug print on the left.  It's Flutterby by Tula Pink and long out of print, but I bought a fat quarter cause I just love it.  I can tell already that it's gonna be gone waaay too soon.

Dinner's Served!

(This photo has nothing to do with my ramblings here today.  But don't you love my chair?  It was an early Christmas gift from my Mom.)

Awhile ago I stumbled upon a Flickr group called Fabulous Fabric Stacks.  Now if you're not a fabric nerd you will totally roll your eyes and go 'whaaaat?'.  But if there's anything I love to do, it's play around with fabric and come up with different color combos, dreaming for each one how I'd put it together in a quilt.  I'll never come close to having enough sewing hours in my life to make every quilt I'd like to, so I just spend ten minutes pretending by stacking up some luscious fabrics, and then tada, in my mind that quilt has been made!

So, anyways, this group has a fun little thing going on where every week someone chooses a theme, and you can put together a stack of fabric on that theme.  It's a great exercise to think outside the 'all from one fabric line' box.  For example, last week was "Game On"  and here's my stack.

Then Amy asked me to think of the theme for this coming week.  I was surprised, honored, and said yes.  Then immediately the second guessing began.  This happens to me all. the. time when it comes to things creative, artsy-fartsy.  I'm instantly lacking in self-confidence the moment someone else deems me worthy of a task.  So the theme ideas began to percolate, but I kept squashing them cause they were too boring, too cheesy, whatever.  Then I decided "HELLO"  this is not a life and death matter, and actually you aren't very original, so just stop pretending, and go with the next idea that pops into your head!

 So I'm telling you,  that this is a GREAT and SO original idea.   I'm comforting myself that it doesn't have to be fancy, cause I want to leave it open to everyone's imagination.  And I had fun, I could hardly decide on what meal/food to choose.  Yes, the theme is "Dinner's Served"  My final stack is below, but I first toyed with the idea of a luscious big green salad full of all kinds of additions, although really I should have devoted it to Diet Pepsi and pita chips, since that's what I'd like to eat everyday... and then I thought of McDonalds....OK, I'll stop now, why don't you go make a stack of fabric inspired by food and show it to us.

Wondering what my stack of fabric is supposed to be?  Go here for a description.  Come join in the fun!


Anyone need some retail therapy?  When I'm feeling a bit grumpy here's a fun thing I do:  Go to Hawthorne Threads, or FabricShack, or SewDeerlyLoved, and fill my virtual shopping  cart.  I ponder, delete items, find new ones, somehow tricking my mind into thinking that I'm totally planning on buying it... Then I move on to something else, and forget about it, but guess what, in my mind I had that fabric.  I dreamt of quilts or little girls dresses, but it was free!

And then once in a while my resolve weakens...and wierd! but a package arrives at my Post Office box.  Guess I must have actually bought that one ;)

These fabrics are from a fairly new collection called Tea Garden by Dena Fishbein.  Something about them is totally yummy to me.  I just love Dena's style which looks like she hand painted the design right onto the fabric.  It's kinda casual and almost whimsical.  Makes me think of a cottage by the sea. (the colors anyway)

I think the flowers in vases on white is my fave, but this little birdie is a close second.  I can see them in a quilt like this, with white sashing...  Has anybody invented a "Time-Stretcher" yet?  There's so many quilts I want to make, but my babies are growing up fast!

Rainbows Two and Three

One day I decided to make a rainbow quilt.  I cut 3" x width of fabric strips from 16 different fabric and sewed them together to make one big hunk of rainbow.  My original plan was to that.  Just quilt and bind and there you have a rainbow quilt.  But somehow once it was put together, it was just to much.  So I decided to cut it into strips and make something less brilliant.  Somewhere along the way, I decided to make a 'set' of baby quilts.

Here's the first one.  You can read about it here.  I really think this one is my (almost) favorite.  I just love white with the bright colors.  I decided each subsequent quilt should use a different background fabric, and also different technique.  So this coin quilt was pretty basic, I knew when I started exactly how it the layout would be, and I used white for the background.  OK.  Now on to the next one.

This is the baby that sat around waiting to be quilted for a couple months and held up the show.  But it's the second one I pieced.  I decided this one would definitely be a girl quilt.  So I went with chocolate brown, knowing that I'd pull out the pinks as my accent. This one is pretty basic as well.  But the difference from the first one is that I just started without a real plan.  Just a big brown square...then started sewing rainbow strips around it.

I decided those big brown pieces need some help so I hand quilted in rainbow colors. My hand quilting skills are not so great.  Sturdy, but not so perfectly even... but the only way to learn is to practice.

This Little Folks flannel makes a super soft back.  I forgot to mention that I first machine-quilted in the ditch around the strips, then I was able to do the hand quilting without any hoop or frame because it was well secured.

This was my third quilt, and I decided to use Kona Ash as my background.  I also went with a total improv style of piecing.  I started out making the plus  sign in the top right hand corner, then without meaning to, it turned into a math themed quilt!  I'm not sure if any baby would have sweet dreams sleeping under math symbols...Oh well, it was a lot of fun to put together!

I love the combination of the greyish tan background, the rainbow hued binding, and the yellowy-lime polkadot binding.  These quilts were a lot of fun to put together.  I had hoped to get a picture of all three together, but the coin quilt went to a new home before the others were finished.

          Coming soon!  Gotta go clean up supper and fold some laundry... Maybe tomorrow morning :)

First of all I want to thank you all for the responses to my last post.  You are a lot of kind, wise folks out there! It's a bit humbling when I think that here I am, sitting at my messy computer desk, just the most average out of millions, and here you take the time to read my stuff, and actually communicate with me.  Well!  Thanks again.

Just this last week I got a new cellphone.  Now anyone who knows me well would say this is more than just a normal announcement.  It's basically newspaper-worthy.  I've carried around the same cell for about 6 years. Back then, it was the most basic phone you could find, and all I used it for was emergencies.  (Oh, my relatives pulled out their hair trying to get a hold of me)  But now we changed phone companies and with the deal came new phones, so my husband decided for me that I was getting a nice new cellphone, so here goes. And I think I'm getting addicted already.   But let's get to the reason I'm telling you this.  One of my first thoughts was, "I've got to make a cover for this thing".  Oh, the weird thoughts of people who love to sew!
So yesterday during naptime I quickly came up with this little cover.  It was fun to make, and only took about an hour, total.

I chose a fun stripe (The Big E by Michael Miller)  and some  coordinating Kona Solids and lined it with a cream colored felt.  The felt worked out great.  It won't fray at all, and gives it nice padding to protect the phone from life's little bumps.  I used velcro to fasten the tab and covered it with a button for decoration.

I had to add one of my little tags, simply because it's so much fun.  Do you do lots of sewing?  You should really get some of these tags to add to gifts or just your own stuff.  They're not expensive at all and just give such a finished feel.  I got mine here.

That blue stripe close to the top?  There's a pocket in there for a credit card or two, and that little ring on the side...well I'm gonna get one of those little lobster hook things on there so I can attach my keys to it.  That way I can run into the store with just this little bundle when I don't want to take my big bag which includes pampers, wipes, a bib, various Cheerios, and a bunch of scrunched up receipts.


Where does this hobby fit into the grand scheme of things?  This is a topic I've thought of often, but it's hard to put into words...

I love to quilt and sew, and tell you a bit about it here, but why?  and for what use?  When I think about the things I believe in, and what I've been placed on this Earth to do, I wonder what cutting up pieces of fabric and sewing them back together again has to do with it.

But I also know that there is a part of me that must make and create and dream.  I think that is in everyone, whether it's painting a canvas, cooking gourmet meals, decorating a home, planting a beautiful garden, or piecing fabric.

It's the times when I think of hungry people, of lonely children, or of people I love whose lives have ended suddenly, that I want to pick up my omnigrid ruler and hurl it across the room...   But then I'd go and pick it up again because amidst sadness, ugliness, hunger, and want, we still have the need for beauty.

P.S.  Don't give up on me.  I have two quilts almost ready to show you, if I can just get some pictures taken.