Category Archives: Pinned it AND made it!

Gifted Greys

Life got away from me, and I never showed you this lovely finished baby quilt. I got it bound and washed just in time for the baby shower, and even managed to snap a few photos before gifting it.


There’s that pop of aqua that I used for a binding- I really do love how it finishes the quilt off.

Can you see how I chose to quilt it? I echoed the shape of the star, and since it is off center, I really like the final look. The lines aren’t as straight as I might have liked- this was my first time using my new quilting bar, and I’m still getting the hang of it. I used a purple variegated thread that has been in my stash forever- I don’t think you can really tell, but it made me happy…


I quilted the white star in soft grey thread, and I am really happy with the impact of the lines inside the star. You can see it on the back as well…


I love this backing- it’s a perfect companion to the front, it works with the binding, I like the play of the stripes with the quilting lines- AND- it was on sale!

The baby shower was truncated (it had been scheduled prior to the Broncos making the playoffs, and was going to overlap with the Patriots game… so it was moved up and ended early as so many people needed to leave to go watch the game. Me, I couldn’t care less…) But! There was still time to open gifts and I can happily say that the quilt was well received. Phew! (And mom-to-be already got a lovely thank-you note to me- so I know it was truly appreciated…)

Linking up with TGIFF and Finish It Up Friday.


Filed under Baby quilts, Finish It Up Friday, Gift, Pinned it AND made it!, Quilts

50 shades of… yeah, not going there.

It’s January 20th and I am very nearly done with my first quilt of the new year! This is kind of amazing to me. Especially because I feel like we’ve already been crazy busy this year. There was seeing Star Wars for the 2nd time, checking out the lights at the Denver Botanic Gardens, going to the National Western Stock Show, and still working to integrate our new kitty into our family…

Working around all of that, I started a quilt. I thought I’d have more time- the baby is not due until later March- but it turns out that the shower is this weekend- so I sprang into action! Fortunately, I had a plan in mind all along- Star Bright by Swim Bike Quilt. The baby is a girl, and the mom and I share a love of a particular color scheme.

I had a false start- my original batch of greys was way too brown. So I replaced some and was much much happier! Honestly, the trickiest part of this one is truly picking the fabrics… Also really neat about these greys- some from my scrap bin go back a decade or more, and some are brand spanking new. I love that!

The three-day weekend meant that I had enough time to baste and quilt this sucker- using my brand new quilt bar. I wish the arm(?) came further forward to line up with the walking foot, but, it was still a help.

I tried a pop of aqua for the binding- and I have to say, I’m loving it. Not loving so much the self-threading needles I bought as an experiment. img_2354Not all that easy to thread after all, and then I broke my thread several times when it caught on the top of the needles. I quickly went back to my old needles…

Meanwhile, I thought you might like to see all my helpers. George (top right) is the newest member of the family (adopted 12/18/15) and as such, hasn’t yet learned not to climb on the sewing machine table. He was deeply offended that I wasn’t petting him at that moment. Wally, bottom right, at least had the decency to wait until I finished basting before he sat on the quilt. And Bob, normally the worst behaved of the lot, actually was happy to snuggle on my feet while I hand bound the quilt.

 Even with all this help, I still managed to almost finish the quilt last night. A teensy bit more hand sewing and then burying a few quilting thread ends, and it will be good to go! Whee!

Then back to the Tardis quilt- which has actually been started! Annie and I are still in the cutting tiny squares phase, but now that the design wall is free again, we can start laying it out.

Linking up with Sew Cute TuesdayWIP Wednesday and Let’s Bee Social.







Filed under Baby quilts, Pinned it AND made it!, Quilts, WIP Wednesday

Something’s Fishy

I just finished a quilt of a kind I’ve never made before: a commission. While working on a bunch o’ baby quilts for work-related babies, one of my coworkers wondered if I could make one for her brand new nephew. Apparently his nursery is “nautical”- fairly vague- but I took that to mean fishy. If it is preppy and plaid with blue anchors and such, well, oops…

I found an ocean themed print that I adored, and then I went stash-diving.


This pic makes me so happy. I really love these fabrics together. I ended up adding some more as I went, as the pattern I used, Charm and Squares by Elizabeth Hartman, lends itself very nicely to scraps.

Life got in the way- our vacation in September followed by what seemed like a million obligations in October. Halloween is by far our favorite holiday, and we had so many fun things to do last month! But then November arrived and I finally found some sewing time.




Please pardon the terrible photos. When I finally finished, I was so eager to take it to my colleague that I tossed it in my car before I stopped to take photos. So the hallway by my office had to suffice.

If I had it to do over, I would have been much more careful about the placement of the yellow fabrics. And Not had the ocean fabric making that strong diagonal.

That obligatory monday morning quarter backing done, I can honestly say I love this one. Especially the back.


That’s a Kaffe plaid shot cotton that has been in my stash forever. And it was literally a perfect match. Plus, look at how wonderfully crinkly it got after one washing!! I was going to use a peachy-orange for the binding, and that might have been a better choice for the front, but the ocean fabric made the back pop perfectly.

Now for the hard part. I’m supposed to tell my colleague what she owes me. I’ve never done this before- added a price to a quilt. Advice?


Filed under Baby quilts, Finish It Up Friday, Pinned it AND made it!, Quilts

Elizabeth for Charlotte…

Turns out I will go to damn near any length to avoid basting. Because last week, I didn’t touch the 2 finished baby tops- but I did complete an entire NEW top.

Actually, I was just really inspired. I’ve had a large pile of Tula Pink’s Elizabeth since right when it came out. I LOVE that line. But I haven’t had a plan for it. I just needed to own it and pet it. You guys understand, right?

So my husband’s first cousin, much younger than him, just had her first baby- a little girl. We’re totally not close to them- didn’t merit a wedding invite or anything. BUT. A baby girl is an excuse to make a quilt. A baby girl named Charlotte is an excellent excuse to use fabric inspired by English royalty. And, it’s never a bad thing to make a gesture that could bring a family a bit closer together, right?

Once I got the idea to make Charlotte an Elizabeth quilt, I just couldn’t stop. I browsed my Pinterest boards for ideas, and I found the perfect one.


This Moda Bake Shop pattern was perfect- they used a blank center square, but I thought it would be the perfect spot to stick Elizabeth herself! It’s technically a charm pack pattern, so I pulled fabrics and cut my own squares. Fabrics range from really old AMH to really recent modern prints, and tons in between.


I modified the pattern one tiny bit- I added a row of the background fabric as a border around my center square. I needed it to balance the pattern after I swapped the center out from plain to pattern…


Once I got going, I had to tear myself away. It was a work night. It was bedtime. I did’t want to stop. It was such a fun project- so fast and satisfying.


Later in the week, I got the top completely done.


It looks super ripply, but I’m blaming my very ripply design wall for that.In retrospect, I’d leave out the two paler purple fabrics and use two darker purples, but it’s really fun and happy. If I can bring myself to baste it, sigh, i will have it done so fast. (Especially as this baby is already here, and the other 2 quilts are for babies due later…) I have my binding fabric picked out- the Tula pink from the squares- but not sure what to do about the back. Maybe I’ll use more of my precious Elizabeth? I did buy it in 2 of the color ways…

And if I finish it before 9/4, I may still not pop it in the mail. Why? Oh, you know, because I’m going to get to MEET TULA PINK that night. It’s so awesome- her new line, Eden, contains a print with what can only be described as a fancy tiger. And my amazing LQS/LYS is called- wait for it- Fancy Tiger. So Tula herself is having a lecture and release party at my store! And I bought my ticket to the now sold out event the minute I heard about it… Does anyone know etiquette for this kind of event? Can I bring a quilt or two to show her? (Thinking specifically of my City Sampler top…) Can I bring books for autographs? Can I get through this without embarrassing myself? (Yeah, I think we all know the answer to that…) Also- what do I wear?????

Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday, WIP Wednesday, and Let’s Bee Social.


Filed under Baby quilts, Gift, Pinned it AND made it!, Quilts, WIP Wednesday

The end of the rainbow…

A few weeks ago, I managed to quilt and bind my rainbow star quilt. It was a quick quilting project- I just did crosshatch through the middle of the blocks, but- I didn’t go through any of the white star pieces, so there were a LOT of ends to bury. A LOT. I finally managed to get photos of the finished project, and I got it shipped off to the new arrival. Since it arrived yesterday, I can finally share it here! (I’m feeling extra warm and fuzzy because, aside from the fact that this is one of my fave finishes ever,  my cousin said receiving this makes her want to keep having babies. Best compliment ever?)


I took the quilt up to Breckenridge with us for our mini-break, and enlisted my campers to help take photos when we picked them up. (That stunning backdrop is just part of the glorious place they spend a week each summer… poor kids.)

I ended up using a black and white original pearl bracelet for the binding- thank you for all the suggestions!


And the back came out nicely too-


Happy friendly monsters all around. They always make me think of the classic The Monster at the End of This Book– I loved it when I was little and read it to both my kids. Maybe I should make sure the new baby has a copy?

Hopefully soon I’ll have a photo of the wee one with her quilt- but at least we have a trip planned for a family wedding in October, and we’ll get to meet her then.

Linking up with TGIFF and Finish It Up Friday.


Filed under Baby quilts, Finish It Up Friday, Pinned it AND made it!, Quilts


Maybe I should just give up on summer blogging? Even when I manage to find time to sew, I can’t find time to type. But at the moment, my kiddos are BOTH away at camp in the mountains. Husband had to work late last night, and I got an entire quilt top done in one night*! And dammit, today I’m going to tell you about it.

I went back to the pair of baby quilts mentioned in my last post. I figured out the layout for each one. And each has a sneaky little inside reference that is making me so happy. The professional development group that I am in with both moms-to-be has often worked with a very cool tool called the Enneagram.  When first introduced to it years ago, I worried that it would be too touchy-feely for me. I was so wrong! Each personality type is assigned a number. I’m a textbook 5… And one of the moms-to-be is a 3, the other a 7. I managed to work out my designs to reflect that- and to not have a single block leftover!

Our first mom is a type 3. So she gets 3 rows of chevrons!


The border is the wonderful doggy batik I showed you up close last time. I noticed that there are actually 2 different cats hidden in the pattern. Mom #1 is totally a dog person, so I tried to cut the borders carefully to include as few cats as possible. And I did cut directionally…

Mom #2 is a type 7. My original layout was set 6×6, but, I had enough blocks to make it 6×7- so she has 7 rows.


I actually like this one a lot better as a rectangle. It seems to work with the reverse layout. This one is also getting borders- a tiny bit skinnier than the other one- but as you can see I didn’t get to it last night.

And it will take another few days to get back to it. Somehow, when planning the kids’ week away at camp, I didn’t even notice that they would be gone over out 16th wedding anniversary. So we’re sneaking away to the mountains for 2 nights all by ourselves! Whoooooo!

* btw I did finish quilting and binding the quilt for my new cousin- and I’m planning to mail it this week! And hopefully even blogging about it.


Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday, WIP Wednesday, and Let’s Bee Social.


Filed under Baby quilts, Gift, Pinned it AND made it!, Quilts, WIP Wednesday

More for Mom…

My final finish of 2014 was a birthday gift for my mom- I know, she made out like a bandit this year, right? 😉 I made my parents a set of 8 quilted placemats many years ago. They were blue and white and matched their dishes. Last year, my mom got new dishes: fiesta ware in Paprika and Ivory. The old placemats clashed horribly.

Also a few years back, okay more than a few, I made my folks a quilt for their living room.

bento box quilt

It was PERFECT for their living room in South Carolina, even though the colors were so very very very far from my style. (Also please note my dad was well known for never smiling in photos- he actually was happy with it…)

bento box 2

Anyway! In my mom’s new home here in colorful Colorado, the quilt is still in the living room- right next to the dining area (sort of one big room). So I busted out the copious stash of leftovers and set about making her a new set of placemats.

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I used this tutorial from Ellison Lane. It worked well with the fabrics, and was fast and easy. No two placemats match, front or back, but I did bind them all in the same fabric for continuity. I just did simple straight line quilting- worked well enough.


She loved them! Hooray! And as an added bonus, it turns out they have another fan. Mom left them in a stack on her dining table, and found her cat Anna curled up asleep on them. Maybe I should use the remaining scraps to make Anna her own quilt? Probably more sanitary, right?

Of course, when the kids saw these, they reminded me about my plan/promise to make OUR family unit some custom placemats. Gotta get on that…

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday and TGIFF.



Filed under Finish It Up Friday, Gift, Pinned it AND made it!, Sewing (not quilting!)

The Grand Reveal- Sewing Room, Studio, Woman Cave or whatever you want to call it, it’s all MINE

Regular readers of this blog are probably so tired of hearing me talk about the sewing room remodel… especially since I’ve shown you basically nothing. And yet I’ve been referring to it for over a month…

It’s not done yet, and will likely never be “done”, but it is finally presentable. I’ve been sewing in it for a little over a week, and loving every minute of it. So, time to share! (Also, this is going to be a CRAZY photo heavy post…)

Caveat- I didn’t take before photos of either the old sewing room or the old playroom. Both were not something I was proud of.  You only get the happy after photos.

First, we cleared out the old playroom, and I thoroughly shampooed the carpets. Have I ever mentioned that Myrtle, our nearly 14 year old kitty, has decided that litterboxes are for suckers? Yeah, that’s awesome. Great for our carpets.

Next, I made curtains.

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I love the fabric soooooo much! The colors are perfect for the paint and carpet already in the room, and perfect for my taste.

Next came the best present Rich has ever gotten me:


A door!! The playroom was open to the hall, no door or even doorframe. Which meant I couldn’t keep out the naughty cat, and couldn’t leave any fabric (or anything) on the floor. At least, not until my amazing husband installed one for me! So now, the room is safe from Myrtle!

Next step was building a ton of Ikea furniture. Again, hooray for the husband!


My original plan was to buy white Expedits, but Ikea has discontinued the line and all that was left when we went was black. In the end, I actually like the black more than I expected.

Then I had to bring down alllllllllll the fabric. And yarn. And books. And magazines. And random other craft supplies. I enlisted the children to help move things. Of course, then I had to refold nearly all the fabric. That was intense. I watched the entire Season 3 of Game of Thrones while I was working…  In all, I ended up with one 4×4 cube expedit, one 2×4 cube expedit, and one 2×2 cube expedit. I bought drawer inserts for 2 cubes, and door inserts for 2 others, so in all, that left 24 cubes for fabric. And I filled EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. I ran out of room, and all my Kaffe fabric is on a leftover old white 2 shelf bookcase. And my dream of putting scraps into the kids’ old fake Target expedits? Yeah, no, ran out of room there, too.

The giant black bookcase I used to hold about 2/3 of my fabric in the old room fit into the new room with about 1.5 inches of clearance!! That shelf now holds all my crafty books, magazines, patterns, and some miscellaneous supplies.


(Please pardon the stuff piled in front of it! I told you it’s not perfect yet.) That stuff piled there? The contents of the drawers of this old dresser we scored for free from a neighbor some years back.


The old room was so crowded that just to get into the drawers I had to move 3 things. Ugh, but it did provide much needed storage. It’s not the prettiest thing in the world, so I decided to experiment with this


and these.


I’ve had that keep calm and sew on fabric for years, waiting for the right moment. And I just picked up those spools a few weeks back, on clearance! I did a lot of searching online, and found tutorials for how to Mod Podge fabric onto wooden furniture. And while it’s definitely not perfect, it is fun. What do you think?


(The Singer on top was my Grandma’s. I actually made some clothes on it with her back in middle school… I love that I can now look at it all the time. It needs a tune up, but it still works.)

I mentioned the kids’ old fake Target expedit shelving? There was one 3×3 unit, and two 2×4 units. We moved the 3×3 to the new playroom, and I kept the others. I planned to put my scraps in them, but instead, they became yarn shelves. I LOVE being able to look at my favorite skeins.


And, um, that’s not even all the yarn. I don’t want to talk about it. I might have a problem.

See my new old Pfaff up there?

Also, you can see my high tech design wall. It is two super cheap vinyl tablecloths, backed with the fuzzy stuff. They’re simply tacked to the wall. Low tech and cheap, and it works just fine. My design wall is actually smaller in the new room, which is a bummer, but, overall, I’m so far ahead!

Can you see that rainbow pillow? It’s on my couch. Because the room is so big, I have a couch and ottoman just for me. This couch is the first “real” piece of furniture I ever bought- not a futon, not from a thrift store, not a hand-me-down, etc. The cushions covers have seen better days, and one foot is broken off and has to be carefully shoved back into place if you move the thing even one inch, but it is so very very comfy and cuddly even nearly 20 years later.


(The mod podged dresser is directly across from the couch.)


Are you ready to see the sewing/cutting area? (Are you still there, even? I’ve been droning on forever…)

Here’s the cutting area- you can even see where I’ve got my laptop and speakers set up. It’s not a prime viewing spot, but it turns out the wifi isn’t awesome in the basement, and I don’t have a lot of choice on set up spots. The plastic tubs are some of my scraps- the tubs used to hold the yarn. Fabric in this area is: yellows, oranges, browns, pinks, reds, white/black etc, solids, novelties, xmas and halloween. Xmas and halloween are under the cutting table as I only need to get at them occasionally. The bin under the table holds my City Sampler fabrics, and the ugly mess is flannel I haven’t decided what to do with yet.


And don’t you love the Ikea rug? It’s the one big splurge of the whole redo. Totally didn’t need it, totally love it. And it was only $40, so, not too bad. AND with my brand new door, the damn cat can’t mess it up. Oh, and that Raggedy Ann and Andy embroidery piece? My OTHER Grandma made it for me before I was born 🙂 The empty white wall behind the expedit is going to be covered with a Kilim rug from when I was a kid living in Istanbul. I LOVE that rug. But we have to get it prepped to hang properly.

Next, the sewing spot.


You can see I have a mini ironing station right next to the machine. I’m already really loving it! (In my old room, I could’t set up the iron close to the sewing machine, and I wasted a ton of time going back and forth….) This new station is so handy. The big board is over by the giant bookshelf, and is easy to get out for bigger jobs. The fabrics on this side are: purples, blues, greens. Because I have the most of those. And this wall also has that white Kaffe-filled shelf that you can’t see- it’s right at the end of the 2×4 expedit.


There you can see how that half of the room fits together. And also that the art isn’t hung on the walls yet. Soon, I hope.

I am so happy with this room. It’s huge- I think about twice the size of my old space. It’s clean and pretty and comfy and full of things that make me smile. It’s big enough that I can have multiple projects out at once without feeling overwhelmed. And it’s ALL MINE.

I am very aware of how lucky I am to have this space. I started sewing more than 15 years ago in the corner of the living room in Rich and my tiny one bedroom apartment in Brookline, MA. Then I used the kitchen table in our first house in Denver, followed by a corner of our bedroom. When we moved to this house, I got a room that I split with a desk and computer. For 10 years, that room served me wonderfully- even that smaller room was a wonderful gift- space of my own to sew! But this new room?

I’m a grateful woman.

A grateful woman with a room of her own.

And possibly too much fabric and yarn.

(Linking up with TGIFF, Fabric Frenzy Friday, and Fabric Tuesday )


Filed under Other Crafty Goodness, Pinned it AND made it!

Meow Mix, Top Done!

For the month of March, I set myself a goal of finishing all 25 Catvent kitty blocks for the Lovely Year of Finishes. (I’m #134 at the March kickoff linkup…) I admit I got distracted by my Modern Cross, but not so distracted that I missed making my goal.

The blocks went together very quickly, and often, the most difficult part was picking fabrics. I made the blocks nearly entirely from my scrap bins, with some very kind help from Cindy over at SeeLifeMarvels. Cindy sent me a wonderful pack of orange scraps to help bolster the weakest part of my stash…


As soon as Cindy’s package arrived, I got to work on my orange kitties.


I’m so happy with them! One of the brides-to-be receiving this quilt loves skulls, so sneaking in that fabric in one ear was just perfect! Also, not sure if you can see, but the orange-y yellow kitty right below? It has a teacup puppy, in a teacup, on its face. I found some of that wonderful old Heather Ross fabrics in my scraps. A kitty with a puppy on its face makes me smile!

I moved on to red/pink/purple next, and this was the most stressful part. I had a horrible time making the red to pink transition.


I really wasn’t happy with that iteration. I liked the kitties individually, but, the two in the top right corner seemed too similar. I was tired, so I went to bed, but when I approached it after work the next day, with fresher eyes, I found a solution.


SO much happier with that version! And, I got to make another funny kitty- the top left cat? Has flamingos on her face… (And, I plan to piece the “rejected” cat into the back of the quilt, maybe using her as part of the label, so all will be well there, too.)

Looking at my wild and crazy cats brings me to a point I’ve been mulling over lately. I was chatting via email with Cath at WombatQuilts who, btw makes the most gorgeous blocks and you should go visit her right now if you haven’t already. She was complimenting my fabric choices, and I was wondering if my love of prints and busy-ness means I am not a true modern quilter. I know that there many different ways to define modern quilting, but when I look around the blogosphere, I get confused. I don’t identify as a traditional quilter- that just feels like a bad fit to me. At the same time, I make quilts from patterns, and am very uncomfortable with improv or creating my own designs. That does feel VERY traditional to me. And then back to my fabric choices. I don’t like “traditional” fabrics, and  I do love loads of contemporary designers. But I also love using massive amounts of color and pattern- I’m terrible at minimal or low-key. These kitties contain everything from solids to Kaffe shot cottons, from batiks to novelty prints and from contemporary designers to random 10 year old scraps.  I think there’s even one piece of 30s repro.

So where do I fit? Do you struggle with these definitions at all?

Phew. All that deep stuff aside, look what I did!

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That’s right- I finished not just the blocks but the entire quilt top with 48 hours to spare. (I realize the month isn’t yet over BUT we head out on vacation at noon Saturday…) I even got it done before the sun set, so I could get a few photos before I totally lost the natural light. Of course, I didn’t realize how wrinkled the right side was until AFTER I took the photos. Oops. But the top IS done.

Now I can head out on my trip with a clear quilty conscience… Everything think warm, not snowy thoughts for us in Boston next week! (Also, there’s a quilt exhibit opening at the MFA while we’re there, AND the To Boston With Love flags with also be on display… so, hooray- for me at least, the kids are not so thrilled.) Hope you all did well with your own March goals. See you soon 🙂




Filed under Finish It Up Friday, Gift, Meow Mix, Pinned it AND made it!, Quilts, Year of Lovely Finishes

Finish it Up Friday: January Harmony

A little behind, but here are my January do.Good Stitches Harmony Circle blocks.


January called for wonky stars in cool colors on grey, so, ta-da. As it was all from stash, I have no idea what fabrics I used. I DO know that I used this tutorial from The Silly BooDilly.

Sadly, it looks like February will be the last month I’m in the circle. I’ve asked Rachel to find me a replacement. Life is getting in the way, and etc etc etc… Meanwhile, I’ve got to get to work on the February blocks– aren’t they cool?

What are YOUR sewing plans for the weekend?

(Linking up with TGIFF and Finish it Up Friday)


Filed under do.Good Stitches, Finish It Up Friday, Pinned it AND made it!, Quilts