Thursday, May 29, 2014

Things for Babies

We were recently blessed with the arrival of twin nephews. Oh, you guys, they are the sweetest little people in the world. Seeing them snuggled up together just melts my heart. We're so happy that they live close so we can hopefully spend lots of time together.

Divided Basket

Naturally, anytime a baby arrives in my family I start thinking about quilts. I have been formulating plans for these guys and picking out bits of fabric here and there and can't wait to start creating something special for them. But, in the meantime, I made some goodies to welcome them to this world, and hopefully make things a bit easier on their Mom and Dad. I mean, I can't even imagine the number of diapers, burp cloths, and bibs they'll need. Oy!

So, to keep everything organized I started with a Noodlehead Divided basket. I've seen so many versions of this basket made for babies and I love how functional they are. Aside from piecing and quilting some fabric for the front pocket, I stuck with the pattern (it's a great one!). I found this fox print at Joanns and thought it was pretty darn cute, so I paired it with some denim essex yarn-dye linen and a couple of bright prints from Chicoppee by Denyse Schmidt. 

Basket for Babies

Divided Basket Inside

Divided Basket Back

Now, for all the little things...I first saw burp cloths like this on Anna's blog (here), but the original tutorial is over here on Probably Actually. They are so soft, so functional, with a fun band of fabric on each end.

Burp Cloths

I've been making wash cloths like these for years. What seems like eons ago, I tried cloth diapering with Joe. Along the way, I picked up some amazingly soft organic bamboo velour, thinking I'd use it to make cloth wipes. It's seriously soft stuff, but also insanely stretchy. I make a new stack about once a year for my kiddos to use in the bath. Making them has been a battle with how stretchy the velour is but this time around I finally found a trick to make it super easy...I essentially glue basted the pieces together. I've started using glue a lot more in my sewing room (good ole' Elemers) and am amazed at how helpful it is! More on that later, perhaps?

Washcloths

These bibs were my favorite thing to make. I used the Best Baby Bib pattern by Jennifer Casa. I suppose you don't really need a pattern for bibs - there are dozens of free ones available out there or it's easy enough to trace your own. But, I adore the patchwork style and sweet shape of these bibs. Jennifer's patterns are always great with a little something special to them. I used an organic knit for the ties so these will be super soft on their sweet little necks. 

Bibs

So, of course, I had to sew something fun for big sister too. Riley loves dolls and stuffed animals, so I knew right away that I wanted to use the adorable Three Bears Sleeping Bag pattern by Flossie Teacakes. The one thing my kiddos have always begged for me to make them are stuffed animal sleeping bags...over, and over and over again. I've had my eye on that pattern for a long time and I'm so happy to finally have it on hand. It's such a sweet pattern, simple to follow, with three different size options. Riley's is stitched up in Briar Rose fabrics by Heather Ross, which, tells it's own little story. 

Bear Sleeping Bag

Bear Sleeping Bag

I've been doing so much fun, gift-y sewing this Spring and I have to say - it's the best! Now, these boys better not grow up before I finish their quilts!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Over at Imagine Gnats: Felt Family Photo Book Tutorial

Oh, this is a good one! I'm over on Imagine Gnats today sharing a tutorial for a super awesome Felt Family Photo Book. We took silly pictures in our backyard on a Friday night and by lunchtime the next day, I had this fun little book all stitched up. I love it and I think you or some little person in your family would love one too! So, pop on over to Imagine Gnats to read all about it!



I can't leave this post without sharing these pictures...the Gods of silly family photography must've been shining down on us that night. Everyone was in their perfectly silly element. We popped a tripod up and literally, click...we had one of my favorite pictures of all of us...ever! Enjoy!







Monday, May 12, 2014

A Finished Boy's Nonsense Quilt

I have a fun finished quilt to share with you today! It's my first completed quilt as part of the Grace Circle of do. Good Stitches. I tried very hard to have a vision for this quilt, and I think maybe I did in my own mind, imagining how it would play out with my own fabric and scraps. But, introducing it to all of my bee members, and seeing how they interpreted it resulted in something completely different.  Which, in the end, I love! 

Grace Circle February Quilt Finished Front

This experience of sewing with a bee is new to me and I learned so much from my first stab at organizing my monthly quilt. It amazes me how these seemingly scrappy mismatch blocks came together. The quilt is made of Boy's Nonsense blocks stitched up using this tutorial by Leila from Where the Orchids Grow. I think the group agreed that these were fun, quick blocks to sew.

Grace Circle February Quilt Closeup

I pieced the back using a large piece of the Storybook Lane print that was the original inspiration for this quilt along with some other large scraps. I wanted this quilt to have a whimsical girly feel and I think the back echos that theme. 

Grace Circle February Quilt Back

For the quilting I chose to do do a swirly free-motion quilting (FMQ) pattern. I'm going to be honest - I wasn't totally happy with that decision or with my quilting. I was aiming for a design similar to the one I used on this quilt. But, I think I rushed with the quilting because I was so anxious to finish the quilt and I didn't take time to practice beforehand. The tough thing about FMQ-ing is that it's not easy to correct. Also, I find personally, that if I get off track (or sloppy), it can be hard to get back on track. Always, always sketch or practice your design...lesson learned! If I had done it over again, I would've probably chosen a simple straight-line quilting design and let the scrappy colors and design speak for themselves. Thankfully, I think the quilting design is somewhat secondary to the pattern and colors of this quilt, so overall, I'm very happy with it.

Grace Circle February Quilt Closeup

Whew. We are our own worst critics, yes? The most important thing, of course, is that this quilt will bring comfort, warmth, and love to it's recipient. I was so happy to send it off to My Very Own Blanket, where it will be passed on to a foster child in need. Thank you, Grace Circle, friends for helping me make this quilt!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Seeing and Stitching Meadow

I kind of can't believe that my 13-year old self declined an opportunity to walk around one of England's finest gardens with my Mom and Dad when they took my sister and I there many, many years ago. I chose, in typical teenage fashion, to sit in the car and sleep or tease my hair some more - who knows. These days I love to wander around a pretty garden, take pictures, absorb all the combinations of color. I often wonder how they fill in those spaces so perfectly, with plants and colors intertwining. I'd like to say that it makes me more ambitious in my own garden, and it does a bit, but mostly I like to take pictures and enjoy them.

I took these on a recent Sunday morning outing to Duke Gardens. I could've spent a whole long day wandering around there.  

For Maggie

I was especially drawn to this glowing aisle of flowers. The yellows with bright pops of orange made me think of some lovely prints from the Meadow collection by Leah Duncan. This was my must have fabric collection this Spring and I came home eager to start sewing with it.

Duke Garden aisle

Flower Love

I had started one of these log cabin blocks at Sew South but only got so far as about half of a block done (which reminds me, I owe a post on the awesomeness that was Sew South). So, I decided to start working on them again.    

Meadow QAYG Blocks

These are quilt-as-you-go log cabin blocks stitched up using Rachel's tutorial. Aside from organizing the prints by value (with low value prints on one side of the block and high value on the opposite side) this type of project is about as close as I get to mindless sewing. Quite the right kind of sewing for me right now. I plan to make a new quilt, perhaps to throw on the end of our bed. 

Meadow QAYG Block 1

Meadow QAYG Block 2

Meadow QAYG Block3

Just like I fell in love with that row of flowers, I've fallen in love with this new project. The colors make me so happy and stitching them last week was so therapeutic. Life is still insanely crazy, but sewing is starting to feel right again. And, a friend and I are planning a trip to another garden. Can't wait to see what inspiration I find there! 

New Quilt In the Works