Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Winterkist Wonderland

A few months ago I got the chance to participate in a Fat Quarterly Design Challenge using Winterkist, Monica Solorio-Snow's wildly popular new Christmas collection. The Fat Quarterly Christmas Issue which includes my project was just released, so I thought I'd share a few pictures of the Winterkist Wonderland I made for my girls.

For the challenge, I received a small stack of fabric including red, green, white, and dark gray prints -- including one piece with those cute little gnomes. It sounds like an easy color palette, but actually it was a little tricky trying to decide how best to use everything. Even though I had first envisioned a simple reading rug with pockets, the project quickly grew into an interactive play mat. I picked up some Kona cotton in Bahama blue to use as a background (my usual stand-bys didn't work this time -- Kona Coal was too dark and Kona White was just too pale), and spent several days figuring out how I wanted to arrange the rest of the fabrics in the piece. The landscape was soon covered with pockets masquerading as trees and a snow fort, and I used interfacing to make sturdy gnomes and snowballs that would easily fit inside. My girls can now play everything from tic-tac-toe to snow tag to "The Mystery of the Missing Snowball" with these little guys.

The quilt is minimally hand quilted around three of the pockets with red embroidery thread, and I pieced together red prints with Kona White to make a candy cane binding.

The gray prints were used to make ties so that the mat can be rolled up easily for travel. I couldn't resist adding a large gnome to the back as a fun decoration.

My thanks to Lynne at Lily's Quilts for giving me the chance to be a part of this issue's Designer Challenge. You'll definitely want to pick up this amazing Christmas issue. I've just started paging through my copy this morning, and the projects are gorgeous!

Monday, October 29, 2012


I finally got started on my Weekender, and though I haven't done much sewing yet, I can see where this project got its reputation for being a challenge. I've never done so much cutting for a bag in my life, and I haven't even started on the heavy duty Peltex yet. My favorite part so far has definitely been the piecing I worked on for one of the large pockets. Using my Nursery Versery prints by Heather Ross, I did a little fussy cutting here...a little paper piecing there. I love the way it turned out. For those of you who are curious, I borrowed Tamiko's pattern (which you can download here) and copied it at about 70% of the original size. I plan to use the original pattern to make a pillow cover sometime later this month, but for now, my Weekender and Scrappy Stash blocks are the two big projects on my list this week.

My dear friend Beth at Plum and June is holding our next Long Weekend giveaway this week, in between hurricane-proofing her home and prepping hand sewing projects in case of power outages. Is it any wonder why I admire this woman? Hurry over to enter, and while you're there, be sure to see the sweet quilt she chose as her entry for the Blogger's Quilt Festival.

For our church barbecue on Sunday, the girls wore pumpkin shirts that my sister made for them. All she did was applique a pumpkin (using a Flea Market Fancy print) and stem (out of a wood grain print) onto a plain white t-shirt.  Jeans, sneakers, and pigtails completed the look. It's such a wonderful quick project for this time of year, and my daughters looked so cute that I just had to get out the camera. I can't wait to frame at least one of these photos for the family room.

My thoughts are with all of you on the east coast who are bracing for Hurricane Sandy. I know power outages are expected everywhere, but please do let me know how you're doing if you can. We're praying for you!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Fall 2012

My entry for the Blogger's Quilt Festival this fall is a piece I made last July for the Modernista swap. I call it Perspective -- you can read the original post here. This mini quilt is actually one block from Elizabeth Hartman's Looptastic quilt pattern in her beautiful book Modern Patchwork. All of the fabrics for the two circles are from Anna Maria Horner's Lou Lou Thi and Innocent Crush collections. The background is Antique Architecture from Etchings by 3 Sisters, and the quilt is bound in Acorn Chain from Modern Meadow by Joel Dewberry. The circles were sewn together and then appliqued to the background using a simple zig zag stitch. I then hand quilted the piece using red embroidery thread around the outside and inside of the circles.

Just looking at this quilt reminds me of quiet evenings spent with my husband, laughing together over favorite movies while I cut out shapes and worked on hand quilting and binding. This was the first time I had ever taken so much time on a quilt before, and the enjoyment I took in that slow process led me to name the quilt as I did.

The past month has given me even more perspective on how and why I sew, to slow down and truly enjoy what I'm doing rather than just hurrying from one project to the next. Though I considered several quilts for my festival entry, in the end, it seemed appropriate to remember this little quilt which helped me take my first step toward a more peaceful creativity.

Blogger's Quilt Festival Stats
Finished quilt measures: approximately 22" square
Special techniques used: applique, hand quilting
Quilted by: me
Best Category: Doll/Mini Quilt, Wall Hanging, ROYGBIV Quilt

Linking up to the Blogger's Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side as entry #177.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hustle Bustle

Today we have made it a third of the way through the 100 Day Hustle, Kelsey's wonderful support group for those of us who want to accomplish everything (or mostly everything) on our to-do lists before December 31st.  I have to tell you that I was a pretty happy camper when I checked my progress today. So far I've been able to finish about half of the items on both my mandatory and optional lists -- far better than I thought I would do when I wrote these last month, I assure you. Just click on any of the pictures below to take you back to the original project post, unless the photo is making its debut today. Here we go...


1. Christmas potholder for my grandmother: DONE. This was a quick finish -- as in less than an hour. If you're looking for a last minute holiday gift, keep this one on your list.

2. Finish Vintage Holiday quilt (backing, quilting, binding):
DONE. I'm so glad to have this quilt finished and in use. It also took another potential item off my list since I now don't need to make a new bed quilt for Miss Bear.

3. EPP block for Travellin' Pic-Stitch Blog Hop: DONE. This item is also a start on one of the items on my other list as you'll see below.

4. Modernista Swap Project: DONE. I just finished putting my package of goodies together yesterday, and I plan to mail it over the weekend.

5. Modern She Made Swap Project: IN PROGRESS. My fabric choices have been approved, and I've picked a pattern and started cutting.

6. Play quilt for my nieces: IN PROGRESS. I've chosen the fabric and am deciding on a pattern.

7. Diaper bag for my sister:

8. Camera bag for my brother-in-law: IN PROGRESS. I've chosen the fabric and pattern, and now I just have to get this one made.
A few more projects have made their way onto my list in the past month...

9. Scrappy Stash Quilt Along: IN PROGRESS. I'm about a third of the way through my blocks and absolutely loving this project. Forgive the poor lighting in this picture, by the way; it was evening before I was able to get this photo taken.

10. Amy Butler's Weekender Bag: IN PROGRESS. I've chosen my fabric and cut out the pattern pieces, but the bulk of my sewing should happen this weekend. Lori and I are co-hosting The Long Weekend next month, a blog hop featuring different bloggers' versions of this amazing bag. You can check out the details here.

11. Blog Updates: IN PROGRESS. There are a few things that I've been wanting to do with my blog design, and you may notice some changes already up, hopefully giving it a cleaner look. I'd still like to add a few more things, including a page showing my finishes from the past year.


1. New purse for me: DONE. This is, hands down, my favorite purse ever.

2. Pillows for the family room: IN PROGRESS. I'm counting my EPP project as the first of many to come.

3. Tula Pink Sew Along project:
DONE. This pillow cover was a gift for my brother-in-law and his wife. I'd like to make another one for our home -- more progress toward finishing number two on this list.

4. New advent calendar: NO PROGRESS.

5. Finish new quilt for Bunny's bed: IN PROGRESS. The top is almost complete; I just have to add a border of white around the edges of the center design. Then I need to do the backing, quilting, and binding.

All told, I'm feeling pretty good about my chances of finishing my Must Do list before the end of the year, and I'm hoping to finish more from the Want to Do list as well. This sew along has not only given me great accountability, but sitting down to make my lists really helped me focus on the finishes that were most important to me. With the chaotic schedule of the holidays coming up, that kind of organized motivation is priceless. Kelsey, you're my hero!

How are you doing on your list? Please share!

Happy Little Pouch Hop

It suddenly dawned on me this morning that Christmas is exactly two months from tomorrow. Hard to believe, I know. I have a to-do list that I've been working on -- more on that tomorrow -- and I'm starting to add a few more items to it now that I have Christmas presents on the brain. When Elaine asked me to contribute a post for the Happy Little Pouch Hop, I figured that this was a great way to get started on a pouch or two for holiday gifting.

Pouches are such a great quick finish. There are so many different variations out there, and all of them are wonderful for last minute gifts. Emily and Elaine have put together a great list of bloggers who will be sharing tutorials, pattern reviews, and plenty of eye candy. Take a look...

Emily from Mommy's Naptime
Elaine from Dashasel Sews
Courtney from Mon Petit Lyons
Lucy from Charm About You
Hollie from Undercover Crafter
Katie from Katie's Korner
Lindsay from Lindsay Sews
Michelle from I Like Orange
Sara from Sew Sweetness
Holly from Bijou Lovely
Heidi from Fabric Mutt
Elizabeth from Don't Call Me Betsy
Emily from Mle BB
Shruti from 13 Woodhouse Road
Beth of Plum and June
Kaelin from The Plaid Scottie

You'll definitely want to get in on the fun and make a pouch (or two) of your own, because of course there are prizes involved here, awarded each weekend of the hop. Be sure to join the Flickr group!

Prizes have generously been donated by:


I'm looking forward to some happy pouch making next month. Won't you join us?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sherman and Stuff

It's been a crazy weekend of keeping the girls entertained while my husband has been in North Carolina. Right after we dropped him off at the airport on Friday morning, we stopped by Target to pick up a few things, and I let the girls do a little window shopping in the toy section.  When we passed by the stuffed animals, my daughters insisted that I needed to get somebody to keep me company while Daddy was gone since I didn't have any stuffed friends to snuggle with at night like they did. Normally I would have laughed and kept walking, but this little blue elephant just stole my heart. Sherman, as he is now called, has been quite a comfort to everyone this weekend. The girls have each taken turns with him when they were especially missing Daddy, and I have to say that he was worth every penny. Thankfully, my husband returns home tonight to all his adoring fans. It will be so wonderful to have him home again!

Photo from A Quilter's Table
 You will definitely want to stop by my friend Debbie's blog today as she hosts another great giveaway for our Long Weekend event. She had just finished making her beautiful patchwork version of the Weekender when we started planning our sew along, and I knew that she would have some great tips to pass along. Visit A Quilter's Table for all the details!

Debbie's brilliant Polaroid block swap was also the inspiration behind my Focus mini quilt which is being featured today at Quilt Story. There are always certain projects we make that are meaningful to us for one reason or another, and this little quilt holds a special place in my heart. You can read all about it over at Heather and Megan's beautiful blog.

Wishing you a lovely start to your week!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Three Winners

 Congratulations to the winners of my two giveaways this week!

Pink Chalk Fabrics

Courtneysews won a $20 gift certificate to Pink Chalk Fabrics.

Wendy @ Caribousmom and Sharon @ A Little Twist each won an entire fat quarter bundle of Vintage Modern by Bonnie and Camille from the Fat Quarter Shop. I'll be emailing you ladies in just a moment.

I dearly wish that I had a prize package to send to each one of you who entered this week. Thanks for sewing along in the Vintage Holiday QAL and getting excited about the upcoming Long Weekend. You made my week!

Thursday, October 18, 2012


My husband is leaving tomorrow for North Carolina where he'll spend four days with his brother and sister-in-law. (Yes, prayers for sanity as I entertain three little girls for the weekend are quite welcome.)  I wanted to send along a little something with him for these two special people, and a pillow cover seemed like one of the easiest things to fit in my husband's carry-on luggage.

Last month I quartered a set of six-inch charm squares of The Birds and the Bees by Tula Pink for a different project that didn't end up happening. Today I raided that stack for twenty-five squares, using all the prints in the collection except the lady bugs -- I love those too, but I thought these looked a bit more grown up. I used Essex Linen in Natural to pull it all together, quilting it just like my mini Zakka Block Quilt from last spring. I love the different snapshots you get in each square; Tula's work is always so incredibly detailed. I'm calling this one "Windowpanes."

The backing is one of my favorite Anna Maria Horner prints from Lou Lou Thi. The cover ended up being a large one, fitting up to a 21" size pillow. It will be hard to part with it, but I'm so happy to know that it's going to a good home. 

I'll do my best to get all the Vintage Holiday and Long Weekend giveaway winners up first thing tomorrow, but we have a million things on the morning schedule, the first of which is getting my husband to the airport on time. If you don't see a post in the morning, check back later -- I promise to get it up before night falls!

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


It sounds like Lori and I aren't the only ones who have been nervously longing to try our hand at making a Weekender Bag. Some of you even admitted that you've been sitting on the pattern for a while, too afraid to attempt it alone. I'm so excited that we'll all get the chance to finally try it out together! If you'd like to share photos and talk about the process as we go along, Lori has set up a Long Weekend group on Threadbias, and I've started a Long Weekend group on Flickr. Feel free to join either or both -- they're both great sites for building community! I just started pulling my fabric for the bag this afternoon as you can see above: lime green linen for most of the exterior accented with a red dotty print (Riley Blake, I believe) and some Nursery Versery. My version is going to be for my daughters, so I thought a little Heather Ross might be in order. I'm hoping to start cutting this weekend.

I'm also trying to finish my Modernista Swap project this week. My mini quilt is from another brilliant pattern by Kristy of Quiet Play. Does that girl know her way around paper piecing or what? Such a great design, and so perfect for embellishing with fun details.

Last night I finished the top of a table runner -- for my Modernista swap partner as well -- using a mini charm pack of Marmlade and some natural linen. This collection is just the sweetest set of prints, and I love the range of colors. I was so taken with this mini pack that I ended up going back to buy a full size charm pack of Marmalade for myself. The fabric addiction strikes again...

Hope you're all having a great week!

Linking up to WIP Wednesday.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Long Weekend Blog Hop

Image courtesy of Amy Butler Designs
When my friend Lori asked if I'd like to co-host a blog hop on making Amy Butler's iconic Weekender Bag, there really wasn't anything to say except yes. We both had seen several new versions of the bag popping up here and there online lately, so we were both getting the urge to make one of our own. The bag has a reputation for being incredibly challenging yet still doable, and with the holidays coming up and possible travel in the works, what better time to take the Weekender challenge?

And so we welcome you to The Long Weekend. We've rounded up a group of bloggers who will each show you their own version of the bag and give you a few tips for making it yourself. At the end of the hop we'll let you link up your own bags for a chance to win some pretty fabulous prizes from our sponsors.

Here's the schedule:

October 15: Kick Off Day!! 
     Lori Hartman at Lori H. Designs/Gypsy Girl Fat Quarter Bundle 
     Heidi Staples at Fabric Mutt/$20 Pink Chalk Fabric Giveaway
October 22: Debbie Jeske at A Quilter's Table/Cameo Fat Quarter Bundle
October 29: Beth at Plum and June/Two assorted Fat Eighth Bundles - Pink Castle Fabrics
November 5: Jenelle at Echinops and Aster/$25 Fat Quarter Shop Giveaway
November 9: Jennifer @ Ellison Lane Quilts
November 10: Courtney @ Mon Petit Lyons
November 11: Sarah @ Bluprint Textiles
November12: Leanne @ She Can Quilt
November 13: Lori @ Lori H. Designs
November 14: Heidi @ Fabric Mutt
November 15: Taryn @ Pixels to Patchwork
November 16 - 18: Project Link-up at Lori H. Designs
November 19: Prize Drawings Announced

If you'd like to buy a pattern of your own, Pink Castle Fabrics has some for sale here.  They also have been so incredibly generous to offer 15% off anything in their shop when you use the code LONGWEEKEND15.  The code is good until November 19th, so start shopping now!

Here are a few more of our fabulous sponsors! Check out their shops when you're looking for supplies to make your Weekender.


Pink Chalk Fabrics 



Lark Cottons

And if you're looking for more online shops where you can purchase your pattern or zipper -- you know, just in case anyone sells out -- we've done the legwork for you already. Check out the list below: 

Jimmy Beans Wool
Harts Fabric
Quilt Home
Emerald City Fabrics
All Brands
Purse Patterns
Royal Yarns International
Arts Crafts USA
The Dizzy Daizy
Sew Thankful
The Cotton Patch
Christa Quilts
Banberry Place
A Joyful Soul Fabrics
The Quilt Asylum

(remember that you can use either a 30 inch non-separating zipper or a 32+ inch separating zipper)
Seattle Fabrics
Custom Zips
Zipper Stop


But what's an event kick-off without a giveaway?

Pink Chalk Fabrics is offering a $20 gift certificate to one lucky winner. You have two chances to enter:

1) Leave me a comment -- any comment!
2) Leave me one more comment letting me know that you spread the word about The Long Weekend through your choice of social media: Twitter, Facebook, a blog post, etc.

I'll post a winner on Friday. Entries are open to everyone -- just make sure that you have an email address in your comment if you're a no-reply blogger, or I'll have to pick another winner. Be sure to stop by Lori's blog too for another fantastic giveaway!

Would you like to join us? Grab the button below and hop on board!

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Vintage Holiday Quilt Along Party!

I can hardly believe that we've arrived at the end of the Vintage Holiday Quilt Along! I want to thank Camille for allowing us to use her beautiful pattern, and the Fat Quarter Shop for providing us with some wonderful prizes along the way. Most of all, I want to thank all of you for your excitement and encouragement as we've worked on these quilts together. This has been such a great experience, and I've loved sewing along with you!

Our party begins today and ends at midnight PST on Thursday night. If you've made a finished product using the blocks from the pattern -- quilt, table runners, tree skirt, etc. -- add it to the link-up below! I'll post our two winners on Friday. The gorgeous fat quarter bundles you see above are being donated by the fine folks at the Fat Quarter Shop. I do love that Vintage Modern collection!

And if you're itching to join another sew along now that we've finished this one, come back to visit tomorrow. I'll have all the details and two giveaways waiting for you...

Thursday, October 11, 2012


When Jennifer first posted about her Scrappy Stash QAL, I knew I would be joining her. I've had scraps piling up for a while now, and I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with them. I absolutely love log cabins, and these are so fun to make -- a wonderful way to relax in the evenings.

Today is the first rainy day we've had in what seems like forever. The girls and I just spent a few minutes standing in the front doorway, breathing in that familiar smell of wet leaves. I'm so happy that fall has finally arrived.

What are you happy about today?
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