Sunday, January 30, 2011

Birthday Gifts

My littlest nephew's 1st birthday was Thursday, so I made my sister-in-law something to celebrate.  On a child's 1st birthday, I think the mommy deserves most of the celebration!

First I made the "Slouch Bag" - an Ali Foster Pattern.
Very easy pattern to follow, but I used fusible interfacing instead of canvas as the pattern calls for.  I didn't want it to be too "slouchy!"  The fabric is Alexander Henry "traffic jam," and the inside is a home decor Alexander Henry fabric - I found both on sale at The Crafty Planet.  On the inside I added a large pocket for her iPhone, pens, snacks, etc.
 Next I made these cute little bags from the perfect box pouch tutorial on the Modern Quilt Love blog found here.  These were really quick and fun to made.  I filled the larger one with chocolate and tossed it in the Slouch Bag.  We kept the littlest one to store Lexi's silly bands.  I would definitely make this bag again, but would probably modify the lining a bit -- I don't like seeing the unfinished seams on the inside -- good thing it is hidden by the chocolate!

Linking up to: {Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Easy Double Hourglass Quilt

I'm using Allison's tutorial for her easy double hourglass quilt (find it at  And it really is easy.  The blocks are quick to make, and fun to piece -- they come together quickly.  Now I just need to decide on a layout.  
I had some helpers this afternoon, and of course Holly and Lexi each had their own ideas about how to lay out the quilt squares.  
They're dressed alike because it was "twins" day at school.  They wore the same dresses, fleece pants, AND their Minnesota Twins baseball hats.  It was cute.

Layout 1
Red-Print-Green (repeat)
Layout 2
Red-Print-Red-Green-Red-Print-Red-Green (etc.)

I think I like layout 1 better, but what do you think?
(I didn't lay out all the quilt blocks yet, just a few rows to get an idea of how the different layouts would look.  And this space on the floor wasn't quite big enough!)

Linking up to . . . .

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

String Quilts

My first string quilt

My nephew Oliver with his quilt

I LOVE the look of string quilts, and LOVE that it's a great way to use up scraps of fabric.  But I don't like the paper piecing part of it.  Ashley at has a great tutorial on paper piecing string quilts -- and hers are BEAUTIFUL.

I've never been very good at following recipes, patterns, etc -- I'd rather make up my own.  So I came up with two different ways to do string quilts.  For Oliver's quilt, I used squares of green Kona solid instead of paper for the foundation.  Each quilt block ended up being quite thick, but that's ok -- then I just skipped the batting for this quilt, and used soft minky dots on the back.  I quilted random diagonal lines on this one -- a bit hard to see in these pictures, but it looked great.  If I could do this one again, however, I would make sure that the middle strips of each of the squares were the same size.  I like the scrappiness/wonky look of the quilt in general, but I'd like the middle green strips to be the same.

Next I tried a quilt as you go doll-sized quilt -- this was an experiment to see if a quilt-as-you-go string quilt would "work" for a larger sized quilt (queen sized) or not.  This doll quilt looks really cute, but the back is pretty lumpy from the thick seams (batting plus several layers of fabric) -- bummer!

My conclusion: next time I'll do the paper piecing!

Valentine's Day Hearts

The girls and I spent last weekend making Valentine's Day decorations.  We printed out lots of online coloring pages in a variety of heart shapes, colored them, and taped them all over the walls.  We practiced writing "I love you," and "Happy Valentines Day!" over and over, too.  Then we made this heart garland!  The girls are very into patterns -- this is a math topic in kindergarten right now -- and they quickly realized that the heart pattern was A-B-A-C-A (or red-white-red-pink-red, etc).  We punched out tons of hearts with a scrapbooking punch and then sewed them together.  I was planning to do this with felt, but the scrapbooking punch wasn't strong enough for felt, and it seemed like too much work to cut out so many hearts with a scissors.  This was MUCH easier!

Friday, January 21, 2011

I Love Having Little Girls

What a gift it is to have two little girls to play with everyday!
Santa did some clearance shopping at Land of Nod and found this
Plan Toys dollhouse for Holly and Lexi for Christmas.
How did he know that I LOVE dollhouses, too?!

We have had so much fun with this already.
The dollhouse came with these cute little green pom-poms for shrubs,
but we decided that we needed some white ones, too, for the winter months.
  The girls were AMAZED that we could make these ourselves!
Original "shrubs"
Our winter pom-poms

I found a handmade family for our dollhouse on Etsy here.
Shannon did a beautiful job with this family,
and the little teddy bear is just too cute!
She'll even do a custom family to look just like yours, if you'd like.

Baby & Teddy Bear

Child's Bed

Parent's Bed

Even the kitty is enjoying the dollhouse
 (no surprise, since she's a girl, too!)
Of course the family needed winter quilts for their beds, too.
We used some scrap fabrics to make quilts for two of the beds.
  Holly requested something for the crib next.
And we'll have to get to work on lighter quilts for the summer months.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pincushion Love

My lovely friend Amber made this pincushion for me for Christmas.
How did she know that I had REALLY been wanting one?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Family Picture

Lexi's Family Picture, complete with cats!
I just love watching my little artists develop their own style.  I have never seen Lexi draw cats (Holly draws them often), so this picture really made me smile.  In church this morning, Holly drew picture after picture -- it was impressive!  I plan to use one of the drawings as inspiration for a quilt for our front door for spring -- I tucked it away for future use!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Christmas Pillows

Christmas Pennant Pillow

String Quilt Pillow

I finally finished up some pillows to go along with the Christmas Quilt for our bed.  Too bad it's January already!  I still have a huge amount of fabric scraps from the Merry and Bright collection, but I think it's time to finally put this fabric away . . . at least until next fall.  

The pennant pillow is made with some of my favorite scraps and rick rack.  I quilted curved lines following the rick rack, and did the binding in stripes.  I love it!  Holly loves to help me arrange the pennants -- she helped arrange the pennants on most of the zippered bags I made for Christmas presents.

The string quilt pillow was fun, and I love how it looks.  Instead of paper piecing, I just cut batting pieces to 10inches square and then did a quilt as you go method of piecing -- more on this later -- I took pictures as I went along.  I finished this pillow with an invisible zipper (I always follow this tutorial from

I'm entering the pennant pillow in a contest on Stitched in Color.  I love Rachel's blog, and have been inspired by all of the other beautiful pillows that have been entered!
Blogger's Pillow Party

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Lexi's Christmas Quilt

Just in the nick of time, I finished Lexi's Christmas Quilt.  
I had made the quilt top last year, after Christmas, with more of the "Merry and Bright" line of fabric that I'm in love with.  I didn't get around to basting the quilt until a visit to my parent's house the weekend before Christmas.  I often save basting a quilt for a trip to my parents house, because they have a large expanse of wood flooring, which makes taping the quilt back to the floor and working my way around a large quilt much easier.  And it goes twice as fast when my mom helps me!  I wasn't sure how to quilt this one, though, and ended up ripping out many, many stitches while trying to make up my mind.  I also decided that I need a new sewing maching in the process!  I ended up just quilting straight lines, in varying widths, in each "square" of the quilt.  I've never made anything quite like this, with so little piecing and so much of one fabric.  But Lexi LOVES red, and I knew she'd love this quilt.  

I finished up the binding on Christmas Eve, and laid it on her bed,
so that she would wake up Christmas morning to a surprise.
She loved it.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Holiday Pictures

Lexi's Holiday Art
Holly's Holiday Art
Our Family
Holly & Lexi with their Cousins, Grandparents and Great-Grandparents