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For Lea

Our 7th grandchild was born early, and I was caught unprepared. I finally have the quilt done for baby Lea. I started it soon after I finished Callan’s in June, and I even had a shortcut. I already had a lot of small patches cut, and several were joined in various formations that I could use in this one. I had found a photo on the internet, which is how many of my ideas happen, and knew I wanted to try my own version of it. It didn’t matter what sizes the original poster had made hers, I was using what I already had. I can’t find the person’s blog where I found the design, so I can’t give credit. If you recognize this, please comment and let me refer to your post.

A couple of things slowed me down – I have arthritis in my hands and it is getting worse. The patchwork didn’t bother me, but even machine quilting isn’t comfortable for very long. I even gave up finishing the binding by hand, using the machine only. I also fell and sprained a wrist and the opposite hand’s thumb, so it really hurt to quilt by machine!

So, enjoy the photos, and the baby will soon be enjoying the quilt.
lea quilt1

lea quilt2

lea quilt3

Back to quilting again

I haven’t explained my spotty quilting and posting lately. I was diagnosed in July, 2013 with Multiple Myeloma, an incurable cancer of the blood. The initial treatments (biologic – pills and injections) caused several side effects including fatigue. I wanted to work as long as I was able to, but that meant I mostly dozed in the evenings and rested on the weekends. I didn’t do much sewing or quilting. In January, 2014 I had a stem cell transplant. My own stem cells were harvested from my blood and returned after high-dose chemotherapy. I’ve recovered stamina and energy since then, so I am back to sewing. As I said, it’s incurable for now, but I am in complete remission for a while.

My niece lived near the major hospital where I had the transplant, 4 hours’ drive from my home. There were a few times I needed to stay in the area for appointments and she graciously allowed my husband and me to stay several nights. She stocked up on foods and drinks we preferred and I enjoyed the energy of her household of 6. As a thank you gift, my first quilting project post-transplant was to make her a wall hanging she would enjoy.

I’ve made a couple of bookshelf quilts and it’s still a favorite of mine. I am able to use scraps from my bins and personalize it for the recipient. For hers, I included a birdhouse as a bookend, a shelf lamp, a framed photo in which I embroidered an image of her cat, and a coffee mug with Detroit Tigers’ logo.

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When I make this quilt, I always try to make the leaning or stacked or upright books look as natural as possible. I’ve seen some finished quilts with nothing keeping the upright books in place and that always bothers me! The edges on this one seem wavy because I had just finished the binding and hadn’t pressed it.

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(Close-up photos of the wall hanging)

My niece loved it and quickly posted a picture of it hanging near her reading chair. I hope each time she looks at it she sees how much I love and appreciate her and her family.

My husband’s oldest daughter and daughter-in-law both announced they were expecting their next babies, so I have new projects to begin!

Piecing and quilting all in one

ragged pieced doll quilt

Lilly’s doll’s quilt

I’ve seen quilts made by others using this technique, but I hadn’t tried it for myself. One granddaughter is receiving a rag doll from us for Christmas, and I decided (of course!) the dolly needs a quilt.

I started with two pieces of white cotton with  batting pinned between. Then I got into my stash of small pieces of fabric to start placing colorful squares and rectangles.

ImageThe lavender with lady bugs is leftover from making the same granddaughter a sundress with hat and diaper cover. Other fabrics will also be familiar in the quilts I’ve made when she and her brothers were babies.

I pinned the fabric and stitched about 1/8″ from the raw edge, backstitching where I began and ended. This leaves a small amount of fabric to unravel in the wash. I left white space between, to act as sashing and to separate the fabric designs and colors. As I was placing them, I decided to concentrate on pink, yellow, green and purple.

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pinned squares

I would pin several pieces, then stitch them, and repeat. With a doll-sized quilt, it was quick and easy. I enjoy looking at the quilting design on the back as I go.

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quilting

When it was complete, I trimmed the edges and bound it with more sugary-pink fabric. Now I have to mail it off the the granddaughter so her baby doll won’t be cold on Christmas morning.

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Merry Christmas!

Hello Again!

I know I’ve been missing from the blog for several months. I haven’t posted since I finished the maze quilt top. I’m not big on making New Year’s Resolutions, but it seems this New Year means I’m turning directions again.

My husband and I moved to a new state, and we’ve been settling in, redecorating, and refurbishing the house. We are nearly finished with the changes we want to make.

I opened an Etsy store for the doll clothes I’ve made. I had moderate success up through Christmas with a few sales, and I’ll continue in that direction. I wanted to concentrate on doll clothes at least until Christmas so there was some inventory for choices.

Now I’m going to get back into some quilting again. I have to finish the maze quilt. I want to work on the barn quilt again. I want to get a lot more of the small pieces and scraps made into quilts or quilt blocks for Margaret’s Hope Chest. If more of you would get involved with this project, I would love that! Please comment if you already participate, or if you think you might in the future.

I’ll be back with photos when I make progress on these projects, soon!

Making do with what it is

I love thrift store shopping, and crafting. The two go hand in hand, quite often.

I am an elementary reading teacher, and right now I have 50 students. I always put up a small Christmas tree in my classroom, and usually have ornaments on the tree that students can choose to keep.

I found a bag full of small round “gold” rings, and my thought was that they were snap-together frames for a craft project. Knowing there were plenty in the bag for one per student, I bought it. Little did I know, they were actually curtain rings. No snap together parts.

No worries. I got them home, fiddled around a little, and decided there was plenty of gluing surface to cut paper in a circle and glue to the back. I got out my new crafty circle cutter and found 1 5/8″ is the right measurement.

I plan to print a photo of each student to put in the center of 50 of the rings.

I counted out 50, and found at least that many remaining in the bag, so I found some scraps and this is what I did. Simple, cute, and I may revise it at some point.

I had a small scrap of pine tree fabric and it covered the backs of three of the rings. A little bit of ribbon, and it’s a simple ornament. I will probably work up a small tribute on the back saying it’s a gift from Mrs. M.

Busy otherwise, not busy quilting


I have been really busy lately, but not with quilting as much as I would like to be. We have decided to move, and we’ll be selling our house and many belongings at an auction scheduled for March. This means I am very busy with packing boxes, moving items to a sale staging area, and getting the house ready for an open house.

The good news is, in the course of cleaning and organizing the sewing room, I put all my unfinished projects in one box. Now that most of the intense work is done, I can spare some time for sewing and quilting. I don’t really want to start a new project, and seeing my old unfinished ones gave me a little incentive to clear out the box soon. It’ll be easy to pull out a project, work a bit, and it can go right back in the box if I don’t have time to work on it.

I pulled out two Christmas table runners last weekend, and finished them. One is for my niece and one for myself. I rarely make two items the same but I loved this design. I saw a project, but I never purchase kits so I made one that was similar. I had most of the squares together, the large white blocks cut out, and was stuck with deciding what to fill that large white space with. I noticed I had two different holly patterned fabrics so I appliqued holly leaves and berries. I’m very happy with the result, and in two days was able to complete these two table runners.

This weekend I noticed a tutorial by Noodlehead, which came at exactly the right time. I have three co-workers having babies, and I needed a fast project I could finish within a week, when the shower is scheduled. I made some diaper pouches using scraps from my closet. The color portions are flannel, leftover from previously made baby quilts.

What makes me happy? Two great weekends of sewing!

Sewing for windows

My son recently bought a new house and the previous owners took all the good window coverings with them. That left a 20-something single man needing to cover some bare windows. He has lived without on some windows, and made do on others, until good old Mom could show up with a portable Singer sewing machine.

First, of course, we had to talk about what kind of coverings he might want. Since I knew I couldn’t cover every window, I had to know which were priorities. As far as design, color, and style, he said I could decorate as I wanted to.

I forgot to mention that his house is a 6-hour drive away from mine!

I showed up with all my paraphernalia and set to work measuring windows. I shopped for a while to see A) where all the fabric stores were located and B) what might be available. I talked over my ideas with my son and figured out, in the time I had, I could cover the two windows he requested, plus two more.

First I made Roman shades for his bedroom. That was the fabric I found first, that I liked. It’s a black faux suede with an embossed viny leaf design.

The next day I was out shopping again, this time to finalize the purchase of any hardware and supplies I needed, and to find the rest of the fabric that I couldn’t find before. I scoured the same fabric stores again, widened my search horizon, and was able to find what I was looking for.

The next windows I sewed for were the kitchen window and the patio slider. He needed something that would not block the light but would reduce the heat from the sun. These sheers with a plaid white-on-white design worked very well. By hanging with cafe rings, he can easily slide it aside to go in and out the door.

The final window was the living room window facing the street. The problem with it is that the sun would shine in, bounce off a couple of walls, and make it miserable for watching television. More Roman shades would do the trick there. The valance happened because removing the black curtain rod would leave holes to patch and touch up with paint, and it was just simpler to make a valance.

If I had it to do over, I would use a dark fabric to back it, but I didn’t want it to absorb heat from the sun. A close up shows the metallic floral design which goes very well with the two different paint finishes on different walls.

Overall, it was a very productive few days sewing for my son, and he’s thrilled with the results.

I start back to school on Monday, and have sewn 48 days this summer during my time off.¬† I have one day left, so I know I won’t complete my 50-day challenge, but missing it by only one day is pretty darn good. I’m still proud of all that I’ve accomplished this summer.

DAY 48 OF MY 50-DAY CHALLENGE