Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Potholder Swap

I'm sneaking on the computer one more time before Christmas to show you this little potholder. I made it for a swap the KC Modern Quilt Guild had with the Portland Modern Quilt Guild after Susan Beal came to speak at a meeting. I really liked the construction of this potholder and I hope I can remember how I did it so I can repeat the steps again. I quilted the front and back separately with batting on one side and insul-bright on the other. Then I sewed right sides together and turned in inside out, top stitching all around. I guess I do remember! 
I'm loving Basic Grey's Grunge fabric right now and used a nice lime green for the back. My partner was Elsa Hart and she said she loved lime green, yellow, orange and grey so I included most of those colors. I thought being in Portland, sending a little "Sunshine" would be nice so I found a scrap of that too! 

We could actually use a little sunshine here in Kansas about now. It's been dark, cold, and rainy for so many days. I'll share the potholder I received after Christmas and hopefully we'll have some sunshine so I can get a good photo or too because it's just beautiful!

Take care and have a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Table Topper

I have one more little Christmas item to show you. Another quilt that's been on the UFO pile for a good, long time. It was a UFO back in 2009 when I first blogged about the things that got me stuck. Then I finished the top and got stuck on how to quilt it. I passed it off to Angela sometime earlier this year to quilt and was so happy to sew the binding on over my Thanksgiving trip to Texas.

It's fun to look back and read what I was struggling with and how far I've come in the last couple of years of sewing. I remember picking out every piece of this fabric at Stitch On. I think it may have been the first project I chose individual fabrics off the bolt. I was so nervous!
The pattern is Christmas Cookie Crumb Catcher from Chickadee Hollow Designs. I decided to omit the applique and embroidery. The embroidery was what drew me into the pattern initially but when I was actually finishing the top I wasn't really interested in doing either. 
Christmas Table Back
I knew I wanted something interesting quilted into the center square which is really beyond my abilities at the moment. I think Angela did a beautiful job highlighting the center and I love all the loops in the different borders. 
I'll leave you with this picture of Jenna with her Gingerbread house. We've made a tradition of going to see the Gingerbread House display in Lawrence and then making our own. It's so much fun to work together on it. I pipe the icing and she places all of the candy. Teamwork!

Well, I'm off to to do some wrapping and laundry and work on one final present with Jenna since she's on Christmas Break now. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas! 

P.S. Laurie is the winner of the Sleigh Bells Stockings Pattern. Thanks to everyone for playing along!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sleigh Bells Stocking Pattern Giveaway

Thought I'd take a moment to pop in and share a couple Christmas stockings that are new to our house this year. We've been enjoying some fluffy red and white stockings from Target the last few years which were great but I'm so excited to have something I made waiting for Santa this year.

Shea from the Empty Bobbin Sewing Studio asked me earlier this year if I'd like to test her new Sleigh Bells Stockings pattern and of course I jumped on the opportunity. Even in the testing phase, her patterns are so well written and I just loved the designs.

I chose Basic Grey Grunge fabrics. I love that they read as solid but the distress print gives a bit of dimension and illusion of texture. I tried a little hand stitching around the circles and absolutely loved the way it turned out. The detail of the white trim on the cuff gives it such a finished look. 

Jenna claimed this stocking as soon as she saw it and I'm so excited that she loves it. She was a little unsure about sending it off to Shea to photograph but I promised her it would be in good hands. In fact, this stocking got to take a trip to Houston to hang in Moda's booth at market this fall which was pretty exciting! It's back home now and I can't wait for Santa to fill it. It's such a good size and I think Santa will find the shape of it easy to work with since the toe points at such a great angle.
This is the other style I tested. I really liked all the little piecing on this one. As part of the testing process, the blocks on my stocking ended up smaller than the actual pattern. I just quilted it along the seam lines where the blocks join. My husband will get to dig into this one Christmas morning.
Here's a peek at the back.

So are you wondering where my stocking is? Life has been a bit hectic the last few weeks as I've been teaching a little more, volunteering, finishing up a great college class, recovering from bronchitis, and preparing for guests, a trip and Christmas. I'm so glad I had a chance to work on these earlier this fall before the pace of everything picked up so much, but my stocking will have to wait until after Christmas. I'm sure Santa doesn't mind waiting until next year to see it! I'm going to try star blocks in the same colors of fabric.

Shea's been showing some great versions of these stockings on her last few blog posts: half square triangles, Kelly's raw edge applique, and Lisa's silk stockings. The wonderful thing about Shea's patterns is that she includes so many color photos of options in the actual pattern that you can be inspired to create something that's just perfect for your own taste in fabric and design.

So....How would you like your own copy of The Sleigh Bells Stockings Pattern? I have one to give away if you'd like to join me in some more Christmas sewing!

One entry - Leave a comment telling me if there was something you always found in your stocking Christmas morning. I remember an apple, orange, nuts, and a big bag of M&M's at the bottom of my stocking every Christmas with some other fun goodies mixed in of course.

Second entry - Follow my blog or let me know you're already follow.

You have until midnight Dec 18 and I'll post a winner on Monday. Good luck!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving 2011

Pumpkin Stars

Hello, everyone! I hope those of you here in the US have had a great Thanksgiving and that everyone else is having a great week so far. We've spent our day very quietly with just the three of us at home after visiting family in Texas last weekend. We had some very simple meals and just enjoyed being together. Watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and some football was high on the agenda. I'll treasure the memory of teaching Jenna to do a little needlepoint with a plastic canvas and needle while I worked on a cross stitch project. She was so disappointed that it wasn't finished before she went to bed tonight. So sweet! I hope she'll be eager to pick it up again tomorrow. 

I thought I'd share my very first and looooonnnngest quilt project. The pumpkin wall hanging you see above was started in the fall of 2001. We had just moved in with a friend since our house had sold while we were still building our new one. September 11th had just shocked us all. And I had just started my first year as a Reading Teacher after teaching 1st grade for a couple of years. 

I took a class at Quilting Bits and Pieces in Eudora, KS and the fabric was included in the class kit. I remember being so thrilled that it had some purple in the fabric. The teacher was wonderful and patient and very knowledgeable. I do remember my mind glazing over while we were standing at the ironing board and she started talking about fractions...1/4, 1/2 inches, seam allowances, etc. I just have to laugh at myself now. 

Pumpkin Stars quilting
The pumpkins, stars and vine were all hand appliqued...over the course of a few years. I was busy teaching and each fall I'd take it out and stitch a little more. Then it would find it's way back into the closet. I finally finished the top in 2009 and got stuck because I didn't know how to quilt it. Luckily, I met Angela Walters not long afterwards at the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild and she agreed to quilt it for me. I just love the pebbling she did inside the pumpkins!

Pumpkin Stars detail
There's some of that purple fabric I thought made this stand out from other traditional fabrics. While it's much more traditional than what I love now, I'm so happy to finally have it finished and displayed because I learned so many skills working on it and it was the beginning of my love for sewing and quilting.

Have a great weekend! Anyone braving the craziness of Black Friday? I have to say that late night hours of shopping interests me more than getting up early on Friday but it's just not my thing. If I lived closer to my sister I'd go with her to cheer her on because she loves it. Have fun Viv!!

Take care and I'll be back soon with some Christmas fun! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween Pillowcase

Halloween Pillowcase
I whipped up this cute pillowcase at my retreat in September. A friend of mine made a couple in this fabric gave me the extra to try out the Roll It Up pattern. It's very easy and includes french seams which gives it such a nice finish even on the inside. Turns out, it's the same pattern my mom uses to make pillowcases for Jenna.
Halloween Pillowcase Close up
The little skeletons are cute instead of scary and have little hearts, so we say they are very kind. The are also glow in the dark which is pretty fun!
Pillowcase Challenge Fabric
Stitch On, one of my local quilt shops, is gathering pillowcases to give to a charitable organization at Christmas. They have around 800 families in need. So I searched through my stash and found 3 yards of this stripe fabric that I purchased last year hoping to make a valance in my breakfast area off the kitchen. I'd forgotten that the living room had striped curtains and the fabric really didn't work to have two different kinds of stripes. Not enough fabric for our office window. So it sat waiting until I realized it would make great manly pillowcases. Stitch On had the brown that I thought looked great with the stripe. So three pillowcases are added to the list of projects I need to complete very soon!
Fancy Nancy
For my family in Tennessee, I have to show a picture of Jenna in her Halloween costume. She came home from school one day in September and announced that she'd told all her friends she was going to be Fancy Nancy for Halloween. You can bet this book loving mama was excited that she'd picked a book character all on her own. I ordered the costume online and it arrived way to short. So I dug through the dress up clothes and found a purple skirt to layer and my mom sent a tiara (and Cinderella dress that she'll wear next year). Jenna commented several times during the day in amazement that she felt so beautiful...It cracked me up!

Now we are trying to recover from all the candy. The dentist is having a swap tomorrow so hopefully we can get her to part with most of it. I need it out of the house! I'm hoping to show you a little Christmas goodness if I the sun will come out this week for me to get some photos. It's supposed to snow a bit tonight so I don't think it's too early.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Kokka fabric
This fun Japanese print by Kokka is for a swap I'm participating in...Gen X Quilter's Japanese Imports Swap 2 on Flickr. This is my second round and I had so much fun participating the first time that I thought a I'd have another go at it. We each choose a yard of Japanese novelty fabric and cut it into 5" squares. We then send it off and get back 2 charms of each person's fabric.

It was so much fun to get a variety of prints to play with. I haven't decided what to do with them yet but AnneMarie is hosting a quilt along soon that I may consider. And of course Carla has had me thinking about I Spy quilts for awhile now. I'm sure I'll think of something!

I found this at Sarah's in Lawrence. I love the little beagle in this print. I had a very sweet beagle and it makes me thing of my dad who loved beagles, too.

Have you participated in many swaps? I've done a few through KCMQG and a hoop swap and they're so much fun. I've done a pretty good job of not getting carried away with them so far but I could see how easy it would be to sign up for a bunch.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sherbet Pips Peek

Sherbet Pips Gift and Quilt

Thought I'd share a couple of Sherbet Pips goodies with you.

My sister gave me part of my birthday present very early this summer. When she was visiting in the spring, we were fabric shopping together and I may have expressed my LOVE for the girl on the swing print {just a little}. She found this little pouch on Etsy and she was right that I would love it. I've been keeping my needles in it lately.

The quilt is something I started in September at a sewing retreat. It's a kindergarten nap blanket for my kindergartener. Since I started it, the kids are napping with their heads on their desks because of some unwelcome "tiny friends" in Jenna's class. My sister, who's a first grade teacher will understand this situation! And all of you teacher friends out there. Thank goodness, none have come home with her! But I kind of stalled on my progress. I hope to pick it back up this week and finish it up. I had two goals in mind to experiment with when I started this, so I'll share those soon.

Hope you're all doing well!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Improv Block for Jacquie

improv block for jacquie

Many of you know our Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild President, Jacquie, and I could go on all night about what a fun, gracious, kind, inspiring, organized, giving person she is. Well, we got the news that she was moving to Chicago and leaving the Kansas prairie behind. I was shocked and sad yet so excited for her and all the possibilities waiting for her. Within moments of the news, Shea was organizing us all to quickly create blocks for a special quilt.
Windy City

Jacquie loves orange and Shea asked the guild members to make blocks that had orange, grey, white and black and be made in an improv style. Lucky for me that Jacquie had made me sit up and notice that orange wasn't really so bad and I'd actually been on the look out for orange fabric that I could love for about the last six months. I was surprised that I had accumulated a nice little orange stack in my stash.

I had to laugh taking these tiny little cuts from quarter and half yards of fabric. I'd made an improv block before but I used a tutorial so the training wheels were off for this one. I loved creating it! It was so much fun to just sit down at the sewing machine and play. Shea, her mom Mary, and Angela worked together to get pull it all together beautifully.
Mary and Windy City

This is Mary unveiling Windy City for the first time at our guild meeting.

And here's Jacquie all wrapped up.

We'll all miss her but we're in wonderful hands with Shea leading us and I can't wait to hear about Jacquie's adventures in Chicago.

Read more about the creation of Windy City and see some great close up photos over on Shea's blog. Thanks for the photo's Shea!

If you want to see some more awesome quilts, make sure you check out Quilts on the Quad this Saturday on the UMKC campus. It's the KCMQG's first quilt show!! Get all the details here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bloom Strong

Bloom Strong

I did finish binding this quilt as promised! The next weekend, Roy and I actually had a babysitter and went out to dinner together. He was nice enough go up to the University of Kansas campus with me to get photos. It's always funny watching people watch you while taking quilt photos!
Strong Hall

This is Strong Hall at KU. KU has some beautiful architecture but this building was never one that interested me much. Perhaps memories of the hot, frustrating math classes on the top floor? I happened to catch a show on the local tv station this fall that highlighted the architecture of several buildings in Lawrence and for some reason I grabbed my sketchbook and got busy making quilting designs.
Strong Hall Detail

When I was in college, I loved spring on campus. The flowers and trees were in bloom everywhere and I was so happy to be outside more. Tulips were always some of the first flowers at the base of the Jayhawk statue in front of Strong Hall. I thought the tulips and other prints in Kate Spain's Verna fabric would add the perfect softness to a quilt with such strong lines.
Bloom Strong Close

I used 10 fat quarters and added some solid white. It measures about 47"x45". It's actually a bit wider than it is long. I quilted it simply with straight lines to give it a soft drape. I'm glad I experimented with wider spacing but in the end I think I do prefer a little heavier quilting.
Back of Bloom Strong

I intentionally kept the back very busy in case my friend wanted to take the quilt into the yard for her baby while she watched her older children play.
Back and Binding

I used a print with a soft, blue background for the hand stitched binding.

I started the quilt in the fall last year and had it all pieced before the New Year. I'm not sure how all this time passed so quickly before I finished it. I suppose other projects jumped ahead in line. It was the first quilt that I designed myself and completed on my own.

I'm excited to take it to my friend's little girl tomorrow. I hope she will get a lot of enjoyment from it over the next few years.

Do you have any gifts in progress?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Night Sewing

There was a time when Friday night meant dinner out with friends, maybe a movie or a gallery exhibit afterwards. I still get that sense of anticipation on Friday afternoons and we considered taking Jenna to a photography exhibit this evening but the reality is that Jenna's exhausted from her first full wonderful week of school so were taking it easy with a family movie night.
Bloom Strong Binding

Which means I am determined to finish the binding on this quilt tonight while Rio entertains us all. I'm declaring it to the world so I can deliver this gift before the my friend's sweet girl graduates from college! Well, she's only seven months old, but good grief, this quilt isn't that difficult.
Basic Grey Grunge Fabrics

I'm in love with Basic Grey's Christmas fabrics. I've been collecting pieces for quite awhile now to make a particular quilt. I think I have enough fabric now for three quilts and just added these Grunge solids to the collection. So I'd better get cutting if I want to enjoy them this Christmas.

So that's what this mom is doing on a wild and crazy Friday night. The good new is, I actually have a REAL date with my husband lined up for this weekend and next weekend too. I can't wait! We might be making this a habit ;)

I'd love to hear what you're all up to this weekend!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rogue Crocheters

Fence Flowers

We were in Colorado twice this summer and we usually drive right on through Denver to get to the mountains. Then we stay in the mountains until the last possible minute and then zoom right on through again. This time, however, we planned a day in Denver. I'd been wanting to go to the Tattered Cover and my husband is a big REI fan. We explored a good part of downtown on foot. As we were walking around I came upon this fence. It stopped me in my tracks! Such a wonderful surprise!
Constuction Garden

It goes on forever! I'm usually on the hunt to snap photos of architectural features so it was quite a shock to see such lovely softness in contrast to a noisy construction site.
Crochet Close Up

Here's a Denver Post article about the "rouge crocheters" that I'll read later today (I'm off to pick up Jenna from school). I can't wait to find out how many crocheters were involved and how they got started with this project.

Makes me wonder what rogue quilting would look like :)

ETA: Here's a video of the the women installing the flowers.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wrapping Up the Summer

Dresden Plate

Hello! I'm finally getting a chance to sit down at the computer and look through some pictures from the summer. It was a a whirlwind and now I'm trying to get caught up at home. The list seems endless but I'm making some headway. My sewing room is next. I don't even know where to start in there. I've been sewing in the bedroom to escape the chaos!

I have a few things to show you from this summer and thought I'd start with this Dresden Plate. After teaching the hexagon class at Mountain Stitches, my mom taught me how to use the ruler and stitch these up. She got me started and I finished it up while I was there. I'm such a visual learner and she made it look so easy. And it was!
Dresden Close

I used invisible thread for the first time to applique it onto the background. I definitely see more of these in my future.
1st Day

And here's my sweet girl on her first day of kindergarten! How did five years go by so quickly? She loves school so far but is incredibly tired every night. We are still transitioning with half days but she has already asked why she has to go every day. Preschool had us spoiled. Play time and exploring time is limited now but she's excited to see her friends at school and is enjoying the new experiences there. Full days are coming soon and I'll miss her so much!

I remember when she wasn't quite a year old and we were attending our first year of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), she had terrible separation anxiety. It was so difficult but we worked through it and the whole time I kept thinking the reward and goal would be for her not to be screaming down the hall trying to escape kindergarten like some of the new children at the school where I taught. Well she LOVED MOPS the second year (and beyond) and she was confident enough to tell my husband and I that we didn't need to walk her into school her first day. (We did anyway :) ) YAY!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Pouch Project

Pouch Project

As soon as I returned from TN, I was anxious to sew something. The summer has slipped by quickly I feel like I haven't accomplished much with all we've had going on. I was eager to start and finish something.

I helped some friends from the KC Modern Quilt Guild cut and package some kits at Jacquie's studio a few months ago and I finally felt like my heart could take opening them up and begin sewing.

These kits contained everything I needed to make a little pouch that will hold a tiny baby born too early to survive. They are called fetal demise pouches. Such a cold clinical term. But our guild is hoping to provide something soft and delicate so that parents can hold their little one and say goodbye.

Making the kits with friends was a little easier than sewing them on my own. There was camaraderie through the difficulty in what we were doing. We shared some stories and eventually found some rhythm to cutting fabric and ribbon. It's amazing how being with friends and touching fabric can soothe the soul.

Sewing at home, alone while my family was out of the house, made it so very hard to think about the babies that might be growing right now. How their parents are filled with joy at the anticipation of their arrival. It made me think of the two babies I lost so very early. And it made me think of friends who have lost babies and how I wish there was something I could do to comfort them. I'm so glad to be able to do this project to offer some small comfort for someone grieving.

I started with one pouch and followed Alex's very detailed tutorial for her pouch design. It went together smoothly and for the next three I was able sew in assembly line fashion. I'll admit that I had to turn on the television for some distraction.

If you'd like to read more about this project, the KC Modern Quilt Guild blog has a post here and Quilter's Home magazine just published an article about several projects for lost babies, including ours.
Quilter's Home

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Finally a Finish!

Faded Glory
I think this may have been the first quilt I cut out on my own. I used a Turning Twenty pattern. It spent a lot of time on a shelf in between stages of cutting, piecing, quilting, and binding and spanned a bunch of different life stages when I just didn't make a lot of time for sewing. I'm so excited that it's finished because I think it will get lots of use during the summer time. I picture using it on the table for celebrations, for a picnic with friends or an evening concert in the park. The fabric on the back seems particularly sturdy. It has a finish on it that is a bit stiffer than your typical quilting cotton. I'm curious to see what it feels like after I wash it.
Faded Glory on the Porch

A little bit of a blue rectangle faded a bit before I knew to be careful about closing the blinds in my sewing room so I gave it the name Faded Glory. It's not very easy to see and will get lot's of love in spite of it's imperfections.
Faded Glory Close

My mom quilted it with red thread on her long arm. It's nice to have connections! Thanks Mom!
Girls Day Out

We are home now from Tennessee, and I'm missing everybody so much. If only I could be in two places at one time. My sister Viv, her friend Samantha, Jenna and I went to Knoxville to the AQS Quilt Show and had lunch at a Creperie near the big Farmer's Market.

I've dreamed of these gigantic blackberries since last year. Viv is an amazing cook and made an incredible blackberry crisp that night.

{If you are curious about those tobacco baskets in my last post, I've updated it with some more information.}

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Basket Hunting

{I'm back to add some text to this photo as I haven't completely figured out how to blog from my phone. Nikki asked a question in the comments about this tobacco basket so I thought I'd share what I know.}

My sister has a tobacco basket hanging on her back porch that I just love and I also saw one hanging outside of an antique store. I love the structure and thought one would look beautiful (or at least interesting) over my mantel. When I asked Viv about it, she said they've been all over blogland for awhile. Kansas wasn't a tobacco growing state so I just haven't seen them here at all.

My mom, sister, Jenna and I had a girls day out and went on the hunt. My sister knew just where to go. Later my dad told me that when his family grew tobacco, he remembers these baskets being part of the process.

You can read this article for some history of tobacco baskets.

This is just one link I found that shows how people are using them in their homes.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Checking in from Tennessee

The Tin Roof

Hi everyone! I'm still here in Tennessee having a great time with my family. We just can't seem to squeeze in all we want to do together and my sister talked me into staying a while longer.

She took me to the Tin Roof in Pigeon Forge for lunch with our girls yesterday. It was such a darling cafe in an old house. I wanted to move in the moment I stepped on the front porch and opened the door! And of course, the food was terrific. My sister Viv knows all the wonderfully unique places to eat and shop.

Jenna and Sophie

Here's our girls at one of the parks in Gatlinburg. It's so hot and humid we have to hit the playgrounds pretty early. They are having such a good time playing together and I'm loving every moment I get to spend with my niece.

Ashley & Daniel

My brother got engaged right before I came to visit and the night I arrived the whole family had dinner with him and his fiance. Ashley is very sweet and funny and I think she'll be a wonderful wife for Daniel. I'm so happy for them!

My hexagon class went well. It was fun to share some techniques and have a chance to laugh and visit. In the afternoon I tried my hand at a Dresden Plate and I love how it turned out. Maybe I'll get it turned into a table topper before I leave and I can share it.

I did finish binding a quilt this afternoon. So I'll have to share it too.
Tennessee Barn Corner

I'll leave you with a couple pictures of a barn I just love. It's so different from a Kansas barn. The sides are cantilevered (at least that's what I think it's called). My guess is that different crops call for different types of barns.

Tennessee Barn

Hope you're all doing well and keeping cool (or warm if it's winter where you are). I'll try to post again while I'm here, and maybe even something sewing related!


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