Monday, February 24, 2014

Rainbow Patch Baby Quilt

Rainbow Patch Scrappy Baby Quilt by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

After patiently waiting for me to tie up some loose ends over the past few months, this little baby quilt finally came out of the Work In Progress basket yesterday. So many times I leave something unfinished for weeks on end when it would only take an hour or two to wrap up the project, and this was definitely one of those cases. I am so glad to have this quilt done at last!

Rainbow Patch Scrappy Baby Quilt by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

When I make a project for little ones, I try to pull in as much color and visual interest as I can. This quilt ended up being a sort of scrappy rainbow -- hence the name -- and I love that it also works as an I-Spy quilt. I pulled out a lot of my favorite fabric designers for this one: Heather Ross, Lizzy House, Anna Maria Horner, and so on. There are also quite a few alphabet prints mixed in there too for fun.

Rainbow Patch Scrappy Baby Quilt by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

The quilt is backed in a red and white dot print by Bonnie and Camille and is bound in a black and white Heath print from Alexander Henry. I wanted to have a black based print to frame the colorful quilt top, and this sketchy fabric makes a perfect binding. I used a zig zag stitch on my machine to make some randomly spaced wavy lines across the quilt, so much fun for little fingers to trace.

Rainbow Patch Scrappy Baby Quilt by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

Baby quilts are always such a joy to sew. I love to pray for the new mommy and baby as I make a quilt that I know will be a part of both their lives. It also brings back so many memories of holding my three daughters when they were newborns. As difficult as those early years were -- and they were tough! -- I will never forget the wonder of snuggling my cheek against their soft little baby faces. This quilt will be winging its way across the ocean to my sweet friend Jodi in Australia tomorrow, and all my love goes with it.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


a peek at Road to California 2014

When I started blogging at the end of 2011, all of my connection with the quilting community was online. It really wasn't until I attended last year's Road to California Quilt Show that I got to see some of these people in person, and it was a powerful thing. Whether these people were into traditional quilting, modern quilting, or something in between, it didn't really matter. All of us found joy in using a needle and thread to make beautiful things, and this gave us something in common.

Cindy, me, Deborah -- love these ladies...

I returned to Road to CA last month, and the feeling was back only stronger. This time I got to meet up with some blogging friends in person, enjoying a precious half hour with Cindy and Deborah to chat face to face. It was also wonderful to meet the incredible ladies behind Fabricworm and Birch Fabrics in person after communicating with them by email for months -- in fact I had so much fun talking, that I didn't take time for a decent photo. I left that day with sore feet and a light heart, feeling so happy to be a part of this community of quilters.

Mary, Gayle, Michelle & Pat -- just a few members of the group

Then this past Sunday I was looking over Keri's e-newsletter from The Quilt Loft fabric shop in Upland, and I was thrilled to see that Friends of the Modern Quilt Guild was starting an Inland Empire chapter and holding their first meeting at her shop on Monday night. What a joy it was to spend some time with other ladies who love to sew! We have come with different life backgrounds and sewing experiences, but in essentials, we were all the same: a desire to grow in our craft and a willingness to share with and encourage each other. I have great hopes for this group and am so grateful to Michelle for getting it started. If any of you live nearby, please come! We'll be meeting up on the second Monday of every month at 6pm. The website is still under construction, but you can find it here.

no makeup, no jewelry, no stylist, and not much sleep...just me as I type this blog post

The events of the past month have made me think a lot about community. We all say that we want to be part of one, but the reality of this can be so different from what we imagine. To have a community, you have to have people, and people are not always what we want them to be. That seems so obvious, but it can be a hard reality to deal with at times. Many bloggers have written about the importance of getting beyond the "perfect" image of our blogs and sewing room photos, but I think we also struggle with getting beyond the glossy image we have of each other as people. As much as we know that our friends aren't perfect, we kind of want them to be sometimes. In fact, we sort of want to be that way ourselves. Once we get past those first impressions and start seeing the flaws, the annoying habits, the issues where we disagree (sometimes strongly), it's so easy to drift away from each other and into those cliques that we all despise. What started out as a great adventure in sisterhood once again ends up being little more than another version of the high school lunch room.

I don't have any grand solutions to the problem, but I've decided to adopt two new rules of thumb when dealing with people in my community (sewing or otherwise) this year:

1. Let people be who they are. I always think of that scene from Pride & Prejudice (the Colin Firth version, of course) when Lizzie is angry with her friend Charlotte for marrying the ridiculous Mr. Collins just to secure a home for herself, insisting that she and her sister Jane would never do such a thing. "But, Lizzie," Jane insists, "not everyone is the same!" How often I have had to remind myself this. Give people space to be themselves, even if it's not exactly what you would prefer them to be. It's okay to disagree on some things. It's okay to like different things. We can be ourselves and still be friends.

2. Give people grace when they need it. There are days when I'm grouchy or depressed or feeling like a flop in one area of my life or another. In those moments I need someone who cares enough to put up with me and love me anyway. The members of our community need that same grace. Everyone says something they regret from time to time. All of us want to feel like we belong -- even when we sometimes secretly don't feel like we really do. In those moments, we need to be ready to give each other the grace that says, "We care about you. You matter to us."  And yes, this means not only having a heart that's willing to embrace our friends on their bad days. It means having the courage to be kind to the difficult person in our community (you know who I mean -- yes, that person) who, truth be told, may need your kindness more than anyone else in the room, even if they don't seem to deserve or appreciate it. While there are definitely a few people out there who enjoy being a pain, most people are doing the best they can...just like you.

It's not going to create utopia overnight, but I really believe that practicing (not just preaching) these two standards will go a long way toward bringing a little more love into our sewing communities -- both online and in person. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this subject. How do we make our communities stronger? How do we make them a place where people truly feel like they belong?

Friday, February 7, 2014

April Showers Case

April Showers Mochi Dot Patchwork Case by Fabric Mutt

I picked up a great preschool quiz set at Costco last night which will be perfect for Bear, and you know what that means...a new case for me to sew! I've been sneaking glances at my April Showers layer cake for the past few weeks, just dying to make something with those lovely new prints. Today I finally broke them out and paired them with some luscious Momo Mochi Dots in Teal. I'm already planning to order more of these gorgeous linen prints in other colors.

April Showers Mochi Dot Patchwork Case by Fabric Mutt

The case has a cherry red zipper and is lined with a collage print from the Ecletic Elements collection. This fabric is such a fabulous neutral -- I have yet to find a print that doesn't look great beside it.

April Showers Mochi Dot Patchwork Case by Fabric Mutt

The four workbooks and star quiz pen all fit neatly inside with room to spare. I like that this case will grow with the girls. Later on it will be perfect for holding a sketch pad and art supplies. For now it's helping me keep school clutter at bay...and making me happy every time I see it.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Frolic Head Scarves

Birch Fabrics Frolic Head Scarf by Fabric Mutt

When my friends at Birch Fabrics sent me some of Rebekah Ginda's Frolic collection, my daughters fell completely in love. These colorful prints seem destined for children's clothing and accessories, so I decided to turn the little stack of fabric into head scarves for my girls.

I recently used an Amazon gift card that I got for Christmas to buy a few new sewing books, including the newly revised Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross. This book is such a pleasure to read -- I just love the photos and illustrations on every page. Her pattern for Jane's Head Scarf is a perfect choice when you're looking for a quick finish. It took me all of an hour to make three scarves -- even with the endless interruptions that come with a busy household.

Birch Fabrics Frolic Head Scarf by Fabric Mutt

I changed the measurements slightly for each girl to insure a snug -- but not too snug -- fit. The pattern came together very easily, and we were all delighted with the results.

Birch Fabrics Frolic Head Scarf by Fabric Mutt

Frolic is a darling collection, but if I had to pick a favorite print, it would be Tulip Toss.

Those sweet little flowers just feel like a breath of spring.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Crafty Traveler Blog Hop

There's nothing I love better than checking out new bag tutorials, so I was thrilled when my friend Jennifer of Ellison Lane Quilts invited me to share my latest tutorial as a part of her wonderful Crafty Traveler Blog Hop. Spring and summer are still a few months away, and now is the time to start making bags for our upcoming vacations. I can't wait to start making a list of all the new bags I need to try!

So...the Ellie Travel Case. This little bag is small but mighty and absolutely perfect for carrying cosmetics or toiletries on your next trip. It also works great as a traveling sewing bag, just the right size for a project on the go. You'll find all the instructions for making a case of your own right here. The lovely people at Riley Blake Designs shared some of Lori Holt's upcoming Vintage Happy collection with me to make this version of my bag, and I love the way these prints fit the retro look that I was going for. One isn't enough, of course, so I'm hoping to make another case soon...

I've already seen a few Ellie Cases pop up on Instagram, and I've heard that there are more to come. If you make one, I'd absolutely love to see it. Be sure to tag me @fabricmutt and add the hashtag #ellietravelcase so I can take a peek at your creations!

 The Crafty Traveler Blog Hop runs from February 3 to March 12. Link-up your travel handmade project March 6-12 for a chance to win one of three great prizes! (US only) 

#1: Free Spirit Fabric, Crafty Traveler Tote supplies and Dritz rotary cutter. 

#2: Box of 50 Coats Threads

#3: Pellon Prize Pack (Interfacing & Batting) 

To enter to win simply link up your project at on March 6. Please link from a new blog post but your project can be anything you've made to travel handmade within the last 6 months. You may also link from Flickr or Threadbias. 

Blog Hop Schedule
3/6: Link-up opens at 
3/13: Winner's announced! 
 Thanks so much for stopping by!
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