Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 has been a very good year!

I'm very thankful to everyone who supported me this year.  January 1st 2012 will be four years that I've made quilts for others and what a wonderful time it's been.  I feel so blessed and so thankful to have made new friends and the quilts that keep them and their children warm. 

A very happy and blessed new year to you all.  Thank you for your kindness, love, and support in 2011!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

This Christmas I have a bouncing baby boy!  He's a little drooly as you can see. Eight months old now and really, really sweet.  How did we ever live without him??!!  I can't help but notice Grandma and Grandpa sent more gifts to him than to anyone else in the family.    Ahem.

I loved making this quilt for a dear friend.  She had a baby girl and like all good mommies do... they get a quilt to match the baby!  :)   It's super warm, backed with chenille and flannel as batting.  

This really has been the Year of the Shabby Chic Quilt.  I have yet to tally up the grand total of 2011 quilts but I'm sure the Shabby Chic will rule.

My newest babies... we have been entertaining 5 teeny caterpillars for about a month now.  They have all successfully grown into chrysalides and now THREE are butterflies!  We actually watched #3 hatch this afternoon.  It was completely amazing.  Sadly part of the chrysalis was on his face and he was unable to break free.  The little bugger fell to the ground and hasn't been the same since.  We're praying he comes around soon.

It was fascinating to watch the whole process of slimy slithery caterpillars turn into these beautiful butterflies.  Even watching the struggle as one neared its "finish line" was quite an allegory for our messy life.  I used to think when I became a mother, I would inherit all these remarkable "instincts" that we hear about. 

Nothing comes easy.  Instincts can work against me.  And boy is there ever struggle, even though I thought I would kind of have it figured out by now. 

But we also have joy.  A reason for hope.  At the end of the day we have a God who loves us so much that he reversed the "butterfly process".  He left his beautiful life in heaven to come down among the dirt here.  He did this to set us free and give us our freedom from the sin that entangles us and covers our eyes. 

I pray you have a blessed Christmas.  Full of light and hope and lots of love.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Disappearing Nine Patch a la Hipstamatic

First things first... I MUST finish this quilt soon.  It's a tshirt quilt for my sister-in-law.  She was so dear to give me a serger (still in the box!).  In return I would make her a quilt.  Yeah, sorry Sis.  The top is done but the back is not even close.  Looking at the tiny baby at the top lets me know that it has been quite a while since he is definitely not that teeny any more.

Look out, 2012... I'm coming atchya with a sorority t-shirt quilt and tons of carnations. 

Check out that focusing in the picture!  Can you say NEW CAMERA?!  Thanks, hubs.  Happy Birthday to me!  It's been a journey figuring it out but the macro setting is my first priority. 

Anyway, the quilt was a disappearing nine-patch for a friend of my mom.  She is Chinese and expecting a boy.  So mama requested that Chinese Kids Michael Miller fabric with other blues and greens.

I've never done a disappearing nine-patch before but it was fun!  It took a bit to get used to.  My advice would be to use as much color variety in each 9-patch block as you can before you cut it.  I made the mistake of making a bunch of green blocks and then blue blocks thinking it wouldn't make a difference.  It did.  The colors were clumped together and I had to make new blocks with more variety.

Just before I received my new birthday camera I decided to pay for my first app on the iPhone.  (I totally did not expect a new camera so this was my present to myself.)   I LOVE the hipstamatic app.  I love, love, love these pictures.  It makes my children more beautiful and my life seem so much happier.  HAHAHAHA!

See below... you wouldn't know the girls were totally annoyed with me at the annual Christmas Tree Festival.  They are happy and retro and oh so hip. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

In loving memory

In loving memory...

The holiday season is so sad for so many people.  Including me.  I lost my cousin two years ago, just before Thanksgiving.  I know others hurt this time of year. 

 I didn't personally know this family but I hurt with them.  This quilt was made with many prayers and tears too.

 Made from seven of his dress shirts and simply quilted to give his parents warmth and comfort.
I'm very honored to have been a part of this Christmas gift.  May God bless you this time of year.  Peace to you. 

And lots of hugs.

Monday, November 28, 2011

'Tis the (crazy) Season

We have had a lovely busy crazy month of birthdays, milestones, and lots of sewing!

My middle girl turned 3!  She is usually my nutty buddy (aka wild child) but sadly was a titch sick on her birthday party day.  No voice at all meant only whispers from the birthday girl.  It kinda made us a little sad to see this outspoken little person turn into a silent fragile mouse!

We got a small trampoline for her which has been enjoyed by everyone here.  The baby just loved the balloons.  So innocent and full of joy at the tiniest of things...

For her birthday we decided to cut her hair.  For the first time ever.  Look at that tiny floating head...  Gosh I love her!  We celebrated with a nice lunch afterwards and she was pretty excited about it all.

A quilt for baby Cash using the crib sheet from his nursery (Little Builders, Eddie Bauer), flannels, corduroys, suede, and cotton.  A very texture-riffic quilt! 

Also using a variety of textures is a special memory quilt for another baby on-the-way.  This included everything from a leather jacket, hat, wedding dress, and Vera Bradley purse scraps.  I really enjoyed putting this together.  The sewing machine did well, even with the leather!  Yay, Janome!

A rag quilt for Baby Ciara.  Pretty cool mix of prints and colors, this is totally my style. 

Many more Christmas quilts on the way.  Oh how it warms my heart that people are giving quilts as gifts.  (No pun intended!)  I love that people see them as heirlooms, treasures, and something special to be excited by. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bonnets and Bikes

We have had a lovely autumn so far.  Took a nice day trip to Amish Country and rode a wagon through a ranch that had every animal from Buffalo (and a Beefalo too!) to Long Horn to Zerbras.  The girls absolutely loved it!  And even though it cost an arm and a leg it was worth it to see how they loved feeding, petting, and being up close to these exotic (to us) animals.

 This llama was hilarious.  And a bit freaky.  It ran beside the wagon several yards hoping to be fed just a bit more... and more... and more....
I currently have 8 - or is it 9 - quilts going on now.  I do not work well with so many to keep track of!  Thankfully my clients are crazy nice and the quilts are fun to assemble.  The bikes from Michael Miller are so great.  It really makes me excited to get to baby boy's quilt in oh, a few years!

Which reminds me... I finally finished Isabella's quilt.  Here is a picture of the front.  She chose a blue and pink floral for the backing and I finished it off with scrappy pink binding.
I was very happy with how it turned out.  She was happy with how it turned out.  FIVE YEARS in the making!  I finished the binding one night about 10pm and sneaked into her room and laid it on her as she slept.  She woke up in the morning all excited.

And then turned it over to the blue backing because she likes that better.  Five years of piecing the front, people.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Quilt, Cook, Run

When I first started this blog, I originally wanted to call it Quilt, Cook, Run.  Those are my "big 3" favorite things, but I wasn't sure how that would work over the long haul.  You know, having kids doesn't allow for a lot of free time so I thought it best to concentrate on just one.  So the "quilt" part won out and that's a good thing. 

I kinda cook to survive at this point and run to take care of the cooking part...  :)

 So now I can write posts that touch on each one as necessary.  Here goes!

The Quilt: 
I started with this color-filled inspiration.  And here is where it ended up!  I think it's pretty cool and I hope my client does too.  Her baby is due in about 36 seconds so I'm hoping the quilt will get there before baby.  Go, quilt, go!

The Run:
I just completed some race/competition thingys.  Last year I was 12 weeks pregnant and ran a half marathon.  He was the size of a lemon.

This year he sat in a lawn chair and watched me go by.  What a difference a year makes!

My husband and I also did the Warrior Dash together.  Yep!  It was hard.  I could run all day but I have no upper body strength.  Which would have been nice climbing over all those walls.  But it was a great challenge after running races the last 10+ years.  And it was nice to play in the mud with hubs. 

 And the Cook part...
My husband's work has a little recipe contest going on.  I've decided to enter my version of Swedish salmon that I watched my hostmom make oodles of times as an exchange student in Sweden.  It's very simple: equal parts salt, pepper, sugar, and dill on back and front (1 tsp of each, divided amongst the fillets). 
Here I served it with cheesy orzo and peas - something you would never see in Sweden!  We are gluttons for cheese on everything and I'm ok with that. 

Sometime I'll have to share about the day I made mac 'n cheese for my Swedish friends.  With chocolate chip cookies as dessert!  I wanted to do an American lunch for them but perhaps it was as little "much".  Oh dear....

So stay tuned to see if it's a winner!  I really hope so because it is one of my favorite things to make, so healthy and yummy.

Happy Autumn!  Looking forward to the apple farm and all the lovely festivals this time of year. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

this moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Quilt Updates

Little Grace's 100 Wishes Quilt is complete.  She is a sweet little 4-year old who will soon be snuggling with her very own twin-size quilt.  Each square is 8".

 Of course we had to make a custom label for the little one.  I must say the hand embroidery has greatly improved.  I really enjoy it now and love new challenges for different stitches and even cursive fonts. 

I got new labels!  Love them.  I actually ordered two sets.  The navy blue (above) I ordered from a lovely Etsy seller, The Dancing Needle.  I wasn't sure about fonts and colors and such so I also ordered from Namemaker (pink ones below).   They both come to about $1/label after shipping.  Of course nothing beats Tracy's personal service and no minimum order.  For example, I just ordered 5 of the navy ones just to see what they were like.  Namemaker is a huge company and I think I have about 35 of the pinks to use. 

Which is fine because I like them.  But if I didn't that would be bad. 

I just like to give ya the low-down because it took me about a gazillion years to settle on these heavy decisions.  I'm very indecisive. 

Melodie's quilt is also coming along nicely.  The quilt top is done.  I love the applique here.  I just ordered the flannel backing and so excited to put it all together. 

Sorry for the yucko pictures.  Dropping major hints on a new camera for my upcoming birthday.  Husband are you reading this?

Next on the to-do list:  three pillows and a boy quilt of bicycles!  Sooo excited as I have wanted this fabric for Nino's quilt for quite some time.  And now I have an excuse to buy it.  Hooray!

Enjoy these lovely, lovely end-of-summer days.  Say yes to going outside even if it totally messes up your schedule.  You won't regret it.  Just sayin'.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Love Thy Neighbor

I think I'm a bit of an introvert, as most sewists out there tend to be.  Just give me my machine and fabric and I'm happy for hours.  But there's something about getting together with friends, old and new, that just really fuels me. 

I think that's why I love shows like Friends - people just enjoying one another and mutual commraderie.  The laughs, the tears... God created us to be with others, not isolated in sewing bunkers. 

So as summer is winding down I feel like there's a few things we just haven't done enough of.  One of them is entertaining.  We used to have people over at least monthly but excuses, excuses... we just haven't been as frequent lately. 

Until now!  I organized a Progressive Dinner Party with three other neighbors/couples and it was GREAT!  It's been almost a week now and I'm still riding this wave of excitement.  It was like living in sitcom land where the food was great, the laughs were abundant, and everyone just really enjoyed one another. 

 We had drinks and appetizers.  Yes!  I fretted a while about what to serve, how to serve it, etc.  I asked for suggestions on Facebook the night before and got some great responses.  I finally decided to go with Baked Brie

 It was super easy.  And looked super awesome.  Well I made two of them and the one at the bottom here on the blue cake stand did not look as awesome but it tasted great!  Again, very easy recipe.  Check out the link.

So the night continued with much success and I must say I loved it.  We ended up next door around the fire eating peach cobbler.  A fantastic night all around.  If I may urge you to organize something as well, you will not regret it.  And do so while it's still nice out so you can entertain outdoors and not have to clean the house.  wink, wink. 

I currently have two commissioned quilts going.  One is consisting of the above colors.  Holy Vibrance, Batman!  I'm so excited to be working with such electric colors.  The client must have a very exuberant personality because not many people go this bold for a baby.  I can not wait to see the finished product.  The fabric should arrive any day now.  I can barely wait to get started!

 Back to people... here is my husband's aunt from Italy.   We have had such a lovely time visiting with her and her husband.  Oh how I wish I could speak with them.  My Italian is limited to yes, thank you, and shoes.  Not really conversational, per se.   But we would take walks around my father-in-laws gardens, peach trees, and sit at the table fussing over the baby together.  At least I think that's what we were gesturing about....

I hope she knows how much we love her even though I could only tell her she had on shoes. 

Back to sewing... my other current commissioned quilt is for a little girl who has been adopted from China.  Her family here wanted to make her a "good luck quilt".  So the client sent 100 squares from various family members consisting of different novelty-type fabrics.  Lots of ladybugs, butterflies, etc.  This is only a portion of it as it will be much bigger than my little design wall can hold at one time.  I try to make the larger quilts in sections and then stitch them together.  I LOVE when the quilts have a story.  Getting to know my clients through fabric and the history and how it came to be is really the best part of this little gig. 

And now I must start sewing these squares together.  Nap time is coming to an end and I need to have a little more to show for it!  ;)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Frog Tape Winner

 The winner of the Frog Tape Giveaway is Kate!  Thanks to all who entered. 

 In other news, I dress my baby in the same shade of aqua as my walls.  (Windswept)  I think I find this more humorous than said baby. 

 Seriously cute.  I love this boy. 

My husband has some family in from Milan, Italy.  In typical Italian fashion I had less than 24 hours notice of their arrival to our house.  Nice.  I will admit it caused a teensy bit of marital stress, but thankfully I was able to pull together a good-looking table for them.  Prosciutto, golden honeydew (way better than the regular, BTW), parmesano reggiano, salami, 53 other kinds of cheese, Italian Meatloaf, and some red wine.  Bellisimo!

 The summer is winding down and honestly I am quite thrilled.  Don't get me wrong, summer is always nice but for real... I hate watering flowers every single day.  (They barely made it to July 4th this year.)  And it's been so hot that being outside has been uncomfortable.  Especially with a baby strapped to me. 

So now that it's not 300 degrees outside we've been doing everything on our trusty picnic blanket.  This particular day we did scratch art.  I always thought you had to put black paint on top of the crayon-ed paper but this lovely blog post said nope!  Put black crayon on top of the colorful crayon.  Okey dokey!
We did and it worked!  And since we were outside, the girls used twigs on the ground as the scratching devices.  Very cool.  I love sharing art projects with them that I remember doing as a kid.  I remember doing my first scratch art thinking it was so magical. 

Our little homeschool will start soon and I am loving the build-up to it.  The planning, the book buying and lending, the new materials here and there....  Such anticipation for all of us as we explore these unchartered waters.  Sewing has been a great resource already as we've used it for measuring, counting, adding, and of course fine motor skills. 

Isabella is making a pillow for a penpal and although we're about a month past the penpal's birthday she has done most of it by herself.  I am super excited to have her finish it up and hope that she will be encouraged to make more things for others.  That will be a blog post for sure!

Enjoy these last summer days.  Hopefully your flowers have fared better than mine.