When I find a quote I really love, I like to make it cute and put it up somewhere I can read it often.I found this one while reading a blog about a mom with new baby number four and feeling that she just cannot do everything she used to do, but that was okay because she was needed right where she was. One day she could return to some of those activities and hobbies. Boy, did I need that! I have tried to keep this quote in mind for the last year and that some day I will have the time and energy to return to those things I used to enjoy so much. But yes, my time being a mom to my four busy babes is so very important right now.
My niece Chloe was born right around when I became pregnant last year...and then we moved, and then I had my baby...and now Chloe is turning one so I am done with her quilt in time for her 1st birthday! To get inspiration for this, I called my sister in law and asked what Chloe liked. She said Chloe loved food. Well, I love cupcake prints. I think they are adorable. And so my design became life and I was able to get this sweet little number to my sweet little niece!Here's my baby girl on her cousin's quilt. Doesn't it just look soft and luscious? Almost good enough to eat, right? I used brown minky dot and a creamy white minky, with a pink soft swirl fabric that reminded me of swirling frosting. I found some darling prints to coordinate with the pink cupcake print that is the anchor fabric for the piece. Did I ever mention I like ruffles? Scratch that, LoVe ruffles! And a ruffle border was the perfect accent to this cute number. (Although the ruffle did take more time than I thought it would.) I am thrilled with how this project turned out, because from design conception to completion, it took one and a half weeks. I think that's a record for me!
Here is my most recent quilt creation. My youngest brother Luke had congestive heart failure from a defective aortic valve and a damaged mitral valve. He has had to go through a lot of pain through the surgery and recovery, and I wanted to do something heartfelt to show I loved him while he got through this recovery period of at least six weeks. And so the Recovery Quilt idea came to me. My 6-year old daughter has been learning some basic sewing, and did the embroidered message in the middle as an added touch of love. I love this inverted squares quilt pattern, and have been excited to make one since I saw a picture of a similar quilt. I asked my brother his favorite colors (red, blue, and green,) and I went shopping for masculine fabrics. The ones I found were quite linear, and I am excited how it all went together. I quilted concentric squares around each block. I think it is harder (or maybe just tedious?) to quilt straight lines! I can whip out some free-motion whirly designs much quicker :) But this looks nice and it turned out alright. I really liked how the back turned out. I love the strip of little squares as a top and bottom border. That all came about because I accidentally miscounted the length the backing needed to be. But what a happy accident, it turned out cute! The stitching also looks great on the back. And the verdict? My brother really likes the quilt (yea!) He uses it to snuggle with and try to stay warm enough during this recovery time. Just my little gesture of warmth and love!
I had a fuel of creative sewing frenzy at the beginning of November, and I planned more projects than I had time to make before Christmas! But at least I was able to make special items for my mom, my mother in law, and my nieces. I just love looking at other people's creative ideas, it sparks my creative process and gets the gears turning. When I went to Utah in October last year, my family took a day trip to the wonderful little place Gardner Village. I love the quilt shop Pine Needles there, and what a host of ideas I gathered on my visit! My mom especially loved a pillow that looked similar to this harvest one I made her. I knew she was busy with work, so I wanted to have something special for her as a surprise. It turned out pretty cute! My mother in law's birthday happens to fall right after Thanksgiving, so I decided to make her a special quilted Christmas table runner. Thanks again to ideas from Pine Needles, I fell in love with a Christmas applique quilt done in this same line of fabric, called "Figgy Pudding" by Moda. Because of the woodsy feel of the prints, I decided to do an applique tree table runner. I thought I would make one for me too, but once I saw how much I loved the end result, I decided to make an entire quilt with three separate applique panels. Needless to say, I will finish that for next Christmas! But the whole thing turned out delightfully.I had hopes that I could make a special pillow for each of my nieces and nephews for Christmas using the embroidery feature on my machine. (Which I had not even tried out until November!) So a project was born to use the feature: personalized pillows. I didn't make it to my nephews' however. But the nieces' pillows turned out darling! I love the little trees and birdies fabric, and I am a sucker for stripes and flowers. I embellished the pillows with a quilted double flower, piping trim, and a pleated ruffle.For this next one, my little niece Emi has a pink and black room. I found some pink and black flowers and stripes (like I said earlier, gotta love flowers and stripes!) and I found a darling fabric flower embellishment that I wanted to try here. The ric-rac edging and trim also turned out very cute. I am quite happy with the flower, and would love to make some for my daughter now! My leftover projects I had better get started on now if I want them done for next Christmas!
Ta da! Announcing my newest creation, a sweet strip quilt with whimsical applique birds in a tree. All a custom one-of-a-kind design for someone very dear to my heart, my sister. My sister is having her first baby, and I wanted her to have something to cherish from me. I showed her a few quilt ideas and she showed me a few of her favorites...and using the bird fabric I found as my inspiration springboard, this quilt was born.
I was very excited to use the whimsical tree. I love applique and the compilation seemed so exicting, that I neglected several other things so I could finish this to take to my sister last month! (We live four states away.)
While working on another quilt, I had a "happy accident," as my high school art teacher would say. I sewed some ribbon to the backside and it formed loops in and out of the quilting stitching. While I had to unpick that quilt, I gave me a fabulous idea to do a ribbon ruffle and ricrac around the applique tree boughs. I love how it turned out. 3-D things on quilts are so much fun! Here is a closeup of the sweet daddy bird flying home to his nest.I love the quilt's color combination of raspberry, dark chocolate, cream, and lime green. It's almost good enough to eat! I used soft raspberry-colored minkie fabric for the backing and stop border. I love minkie! I hope the baby will snuggle up in it and know it is a hug from her aunt.
I had a lot of fun quilting it, too. That's a very creative process for me as well. I quilted butterflies, spirals, trees, stripes, flowers, and puzzle patterns all over. And I am getting so much faster at quilting, too! It only took me two days to quilt this one.
You can see the quilting stitching details better here. Really, this sounds like I am bragging, but is it bad to love something you made so much?! I am already tossing ideas around in my head for my brother's baby-on-the-way...stay tuned for a new design in a couple of months!
Here is my most recent Baptism Keepsake Book for a little girl who is not into girly frilly pink stuff. Katelyn loves blue, so I gave it a feminine edge with just a sweet tailored look. (I also turned my pink baptism paper blue.) I like how the flowers turned out. Making each book custom fit to each child is kind of fun.
It's finished! It's even in the mail. Here is a project that I thought I could whip out quickly because it was simple. My friend Carissa is so inspirational, and has shared her incredible talent for quilting with so many of us in Omaha. She introduced me to the idea of the strip quilt. Since I absolutely love stripes, I became very excited to try one out. "Why not do two at once?" I reasoned with myself. So in January, I cut out the strips for a quilt for my nephew Elijah and the other strips for my baby Nicholas. You can see that I really tried to follow the pattern of the fabric, so my quilting stitches are very intricate. I probably don't need to have the design so close together next time. But I had battles with my old sewing machine for two months trying to do the quilting before I gave up on it. My old Singer was a good starter machine, but certainly was not built for free-motion quilting. (Which is probably a big reason why I quilt, I love to come up with the designs my stitches make. It's like drawing in stitches!) And so enter the Baby Lock Elluré ESL. It was sleek and beautiful with a pearlized shell and sewed like a dream. Sort of. I thought maybe it had a learning curve, but after constantly breaking thread and tension issues, my sewing machine repair shop found an issue with the needle hitting the casing around the bobbin case. (That's what I get for buying it second hand, it needed some TLC.) So lots of money and four months of sewing machine issues later, I am set!
Nicholas at least got to enjoy this while I was working on it. Once quilted, it did take me a while to hand stitch the binding to the back. In fact, I put it down for a whole month and saved it for our drive to Maryland. It was the perfect road trip project!
I absolutely love the color scheme and tying in the doggie elements. I based the colors off of the main patterned fabics I found at Hobby Lobby. The doggie print fabrics tied in nicely, along with the tactile fabrics. The 2 kinds of soft furs add such a fun and unique element, and with all the other textures (minkie, corduroy, butter fleece, fleece,) and the texture the quilting makes, it is perfect for any toddler to love. I really hope Elijah loves it, and I can't wait to finish Nicholas's now!
I have started my next project, a patriotic quilt, and am whipping it up super fast because I am so excited to see how it turns out. Oh yeah, and maybe I'm excited because it's the first quilt I am making for myself to keep!