Category Archives: Gift

Let’s Begin at the Very Beginning

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It doesn’t get more basic than this. A ruler, a rotary cutter, and plain white fabric…

I know last week I said I wouldn’t be sewing for a while- and it turns out I lied. I stole a few unexpected hours tonight to start a baby quilt. Another baby quilt. You see, my husband’s brother will be welcoming his first child at the end of the month. While as a family we are not exactly close, my first and probably only nephew gets a quilt, right?

I’ve had it planned out for weeks- the very day that the Fat Quarter Shop released the free Blithe pattern, I knew it was just right. All along, I had been thinking HSTs on a white background, and here was a way to make it just a little more interesting… I borrowed the layout from S.O.T.A.K.’s baby sized version, which is so lovely.

Tonight I pulled fabrics… always so much fun! I started with scraps and then added actual yardage as well.

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Astute viewers might notice some Tula Nightshade and Saltwater in the mix. I am so proud of myself for cutting into those! It took serious willpower.

 I got through all the plain HST blocks tonight.  I will never get tired of looking at the magic of squaring up HSTs.

I started playing with the layout just to get an idea of where I’m going.

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I’m quite happy so far- but also very, very doubtful that I will be able to finish this in time to take it on our trip back East at the end of the month. Frankly, it was naughty of me to steal the time tonight at all! SOOOOO many other things I should have been doing. But I had so much fun. Um, I mean, it’s for the baby so I had to right?

Right.

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

PS Thank you so much for all the kind words about my elephant last week- aside from my sewing time tonight, I have been so busy that I haven’t had time to respond personally…

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Filed under Baby quilts, Gift, Quilts, Wordless Wednesday

Updated Elephant

That cold kicked my butt. I started to feel better. It was my body playing a trick on me, trying to make me think I should be working and sewing and all that.

Not so much. I didn’t finally actually truly feel WELL until after I got two unexpected days off last week- snow days! You might have heard that Denver got a surprise blizzard last week…

(photos from only 24 hours later because snow always melts away very quickly here…) We got between 15-18inches of snow at my house. The school where I work was closed for 2 days, the school my son attends was closed for 2 days, and the school my daughter attends was only closed for one- but we decided that with basically the entire city closed, it would be cruel to make her go to school, so I let her stay home with us.

And I spent the crazy blizzard day sewing away.

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All those triangles and bias edges meant I had to SERIOUSLY square up this baby!

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I changed up my plan for the inner solid border- I was going to use the teeny elephant print but it felt too light. Back to my absolutely favorite purple ever, the Lizzy House tonal pearl bracelet. I need to buy more ASAP… I manage to use it in everything.

I am so happy with this! I was trying to imagine binding- I think I want a black with white polka dot fabric. But I need to buy some…

I even managed to piece the backing. I used leftover strips and squares, and just put them together however they made me smile.

Then, I added some of that pretty pink and white elephant fabric to each end. I also added some grey at the sides, but that should all get cut off after quilting- it’s just the extra for the sides.

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I didn’t get around to basting it yet… hopefully this weekend, and then I’ll quilt it. I have to have it ready to gift by April 6th. I should be able to pull that off- too bad I don’t think we’ll have another blizzard before then.

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

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Filed under Baby quilts, Gift, Quilts, WIP Wednesday

Un-endangered Elephant

After about a week fighting what might go down as the worst cold on record, I’m slowly returning to normal. I must have looked terrible last week- it felt like every single one of my coworkers looked at me and made a relived comment about how much better I looked today.

That slow return to health has also meant a slow return to sewing. Annie has graciously given me permission to take a short break from the Tardis quilt to work on 2 baby quilts- the babies are both due in later April… (I did piece the back for the Tardis, and start in on some pillowcases- one of which she’s already using.)

Shhhh- I can show this one here and on IG, but not on FB, because I’m friends with the mom-to-be. First baby quilt up is for a sweet colleague who is expecting a little girl, her first child. She very sweetly mentioned her color preferences to me, and also that they like elephants- and then asked if she was being obnoxious. I told her I would so much rather have an idea of what would make her happy than to have to guess.

And so started my googling of elephant fabrics and patterns. So many cute elephant fabrics out there, but I decided on this one:

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So darn cute. And then the pattern ideas. I went through so very many. And then I stumbled onto a free patchwork elephant pattern from Hoffman Fabrics.

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Adorable, right? Of course- this finishes at 67×56- HUGE for a baby. So I decided to go smaller, and instead of 4.5″, I cut my squares 2.5″. And man, would I have saved myself some serious headaches if I had cut them 2.25″… exactly half. Because, math. Still ugh.

The cute ditsy elephant print is going to be the solid inner border as well as the back. But with so many squares, that meant I got to pull fabric from stash. Hooray!

Grey for background, elephants because, and pink-red-purple charm squares to set the tone. And then, a trip to the scrap bins, and another to the pink shelf. I made a big mess! And then cut out so many more 2.5″ squares. Because that is all I can do these days…

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I had to make a few HSTs- but the math for those, at least, was simple enough. There’s something so satisfying about squaring them up.

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Then came the fun of laying out the elephant!

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Can you see it?

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How bout now?

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Now you totally can! With the help of google and some wonderfully helpful blog posts, I made my setting triangles and pieced MOST of the odd blocks. Astute observers might notice that there are 2 blank spots at the top of the elephant’s head. The math there (quarter square triangles w/ HSTs in the same square) got the best of me, but I’m coming back for them tomorrow. Damnit. Meanwhile, I started piecing the rows together and it’s making me so happy. This is my favorite kind of quilting- playing with color, cute animals, and a gift that will make someone smile.

Now I just need to finish getting better, and hope none of the rest of the family gets it. Here’s hoping none of you are feeling lousy!

Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday,  Quilt Story, and Let’s Bee Social.

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I double-dog-dared me

Last year I had fun making a pair of coordinating-but-not-matching baby quilts for some frolleagues (that would be colleagues who are also friends…) Their baby boys were due mere days apart- though one decided to be as late as he could be and so they’re slightly further than that- but still within the same month.

I finished the quilts, and got photos, and gifted them and everything, but never blogged them. So without TOO much further ado, here are my final finishes for 2015.

Baby Boy #1:

(pardon the lousy cell phone photos snapped early in the morning before giving it away…)

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Both quilts were focused on the doggy batik fabric- and also the remaining pieces of the rainbow batik roll that I used for my favorite quilt of last year. Both quilts were made up of pieced HSTs that came from this tutorial by Amy at Stitchery Dickery Dock. Quilt #1 got a backing made from some very very vintage Anna Maria Horner and remaining batik.

Quilt #2:

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Same squares, same border, same binding, same quilting, different layout: totally different feeling.

This one got different backing, too.

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I love it! Rainbow dog treats. So happy- and so likely to hide any stains a baby boy might make…

My heart totally melted a few weeks back when I saw Mr. Quilt #2 in his 3 month photo on FB- on the quilt… Hooray!

Linking up with TGIFF and Finish it Up Friday.

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Filed under Baby quilts, Finish It Up Friday, Gift, Quilts

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.

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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…

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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…

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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.

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

Lost and Found

Okay… 2015 wasn’t exactly my best year for sticking to blogging. I tried. I sewed a millions miles of stitches, knitted all the things, and even took some cool trips. That should have been content for a whole year… And yet…

My excuse for totally falling apart at the end of the year is a sad quilt story that eventually had a miraculous ending. I made a lovely quilt, using some of my beloved Tula Pink Elizabeth, for a new baby in the family. Not a relative we’re close to, but still. Babies get quilts,  right? And I FINALLY got it quilted and in the mail in early November.

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And I heard nothing.

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And so I asked my MIL to discreetly check in with the recipient, as she was seeing them over Thanksgiving.

And the unthinkable had happened.

The package had not arrived.

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And here is the part where you learn from my mistakes. Though, really, you would never have done what I did. You’re smarter than that.

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I shipped the quilt via the US Postal Service, priority mail. And I didn’t insure it- because a handmade quilt is priceless and how would I prove the value anyway? And I also didn’t bother with a tracking number, because the postal service has never ever lost one of my quilts before.

Cue me banging my head against the wall and sobbing. Shaking my fist at the sky and muttering curse words. I contacted the postal service. First time filling out multiple pages of forms on their website, it crashed at the end and didn’t register my inquiry. 2nd time I made it through, and was rewarded with a form response saying they’d get back to me. A few days later I got a different form email that told me my problem had been forwarded to the appropriate department. 2 weeks later I got an email survey asking me to give feedback on the service I received. You can imagine how I filled that out! And that was the last I heard from the postal service.

Sniffle.

I was so down, and I didn’t want to admit this had happened. I didn’t want to blog about it- both because I was in denial, and because I didn’t want you all to know how dumb I am.

And then- a miracle occurred.

I mailed the package to our relatives at 123 XYZ St in CAMBRIDGE, MA. A rug cleaning shop at 123 XYZ St in WATERTOWN, MA received the quilt. But here’s the miraculous part- my relatives have used the rug shop before. And the shop owners recognized their name and address. And the quilt made it to the family.

Seriously.

(I still haven’t gotten an official acknowledgement or a thank you note, but my MIL assures me it arrived…) (I mentioned that we’re not close to these relatives, right? This is part of why…)

Anyway! 2015 taught me a very very valuable lesson. I’ll be shipping all quilts via UPS, not the postal service, from now on. If for no other reason than their customer service is more responsive. And, maybe, just maybe, I’ll also hold out hope when the odds seem stacked against me!

Here’s hoping you had your own (major or minor) miracles in 2015- and the 2016 is even better!

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Filed under Baby quilts, Finish It Up Friday, Gift, Quilts

Wordless WIP Wednesday

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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.

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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…)

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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.

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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.

 

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

2015- year of the (sock) monkey?

I fell victim to the holidays… in a good way. There was sewing and knitting going on around here, but no time for photos or blogging. We had a ton of family fun, a wonderful winter break (I still can’t believe how lucky I am in my “new” job- 13 months now- to get 2 weeks off for winter break), and a great xmas. Oh, and my birthday. Thanks to the new job’s schedule, I get my birthday off every year. This year I was spoiled rotten by my family, who got me a new Olfa cutting mat, new rotary cutting blades, a new pair of Machingers, new basting pins, and new flat head pins. Wheeeeee!

Over the break, I made my mom a set of quilted place mats for her December 30th birthday, and I finally finished (by sending it out to be quilted) her Sugar Block Quilt that was supposed to be her 2013 xmas gift. I haven’t had decent light for photos, so you’ll have to trust me on that one. It is stunning- stunning!!!!!!!!!!! And I hope to get some good photos over the weekend. So, basically, stay tuned.

Meanwhile, today I’m going to show you the last project of 2014/first finish of 2015. It’s the final in my long slog of baby quilts. A cousin had baby #3 in October. We’re not close, which makes me sad, and in fact we haven’t even had an xmas card from them in years and years. I made a quilt for #1, her daughter. And then the big drift apart happened. We only found out about #2, a boy, by accident. So sad. my feelings were miffed and i didn’t make him a quilt- I figured if no one told me he existed,  I didn’t have to make a quilt for him. I’m petty. I know. So when we actually got a birth announcement for #3, another boy, I was shocked. And then I decided to make a quilt. Positive reinforcement and all that.

I went stash diving and came up with this.

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There was even enough of the red monkey flannel for an entire, unpieced backing! And the navy blue monkeys for binding. Whee! I love shopping on my shelves…

I decided to go super duper simple as can be, and just did squares. Fast to cut and piece, easy to quilt.

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I had some little leftover bits from cutting the squares, so I did a partially pieced binding.

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And i didn’t have to piece the back.

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So soft, simple, and sweet.

Now I just need to get off my butt and mail it.

I was so very very excited to be done with the baby quilts- and able to go back to my Tula blocks. I cleaned the whole sewing room, and threw all the Tulas up on the wall. I got started again.

And then I checked my email…I’m getting another new cousin in July!

At least that gives me a little baby quilt  break.

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday, TGIFF, and Fabric Frenzy Friday.

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Here a stache, there a stache, everywhere a stache stache

It may seem like I dropped off the face of the earth, but really, I was just swallowed whole by December. I feel like I have been going non-stop for weeks! And yet, I did manage to finish and deliver the mustache quilt…

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I did go back and add another row- a solid, light pink. I feel like it softened the quilt. The center row of teal really looks lost in this photo, but I feel like it pops more in real life.

m 2I also added an inner border of one of my fave Tula prints, from the Acacia line. The green is flecked with very light grey, just right for this project- and the extra row helps to keep the mustache chevrons from bleeding into the mustache outer border. Two borders- how very traditional of me!

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The back is a super soft and fluffy green minky- leftover from the back of my Aunt’s quilt. I did MUCH better with the minky this time. I googled the heck out of it, and got lots of great tips for working with it. I made certain NOT to stretch it taut, and I pinned the sucker within an inch of its life. I followed that up with my now-standard cross hatch quilting, and I’m quite happy with the result.

m 4As it its new owner! World, meet Olive. Olive arrived in this world around 12 weeks early, but she came safely home from the hospital after just over 9 weeks- just in time for Thanksgiving! I was able to take her (and her family) this quilt in person, and meet her. She’s so strong and feisty- such a fighter. She’s only got oxygen because our Denver altitude is rough on everyone, especially so slightly underdone little ones. I’m so thrilled for my friend and her family- now ever so slightly bigger- and I hope Olive soon grows big enough to think that this quilt is too small 😉

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday, Fabric Frenzy Friday , and Crazy Mom Quilts.

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Filed under Baby quilts, Gift, Gift, Quilts