Monday, November 11, 2013


It's sort of bitter sweet that this is my last year doing personalized ornaments, but at least this year I'm 
going out with a GRREAT fanfare.

Gettin' it done, son.

GRREAT (Golden Retriever Rescue, Education and Training) is pretty, well, great when it comes to rehoming Golden Retrievers.
 I've been commissioned to help their cause by making up a few batches of ornaments for their seasonal
fundraisers.  It's nice to do something like this in my last year.

They provide so much more than just rescue services for dogs in need and sponsor several fundraisers and meet-ups for Golden enthusiasts.  They are truly a well organized group who love what they do.

30 pieces of handcut felt and 15 embroidered slogans later the GRREAT order is getting packed up.

30 pieces of handcut felt and 15 embroidered slogans later the GRREAT order is getting packed up.

Project GRREAT

Gives new meaning to getting the warm fuzzies.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Modified Jellyroll 1600: Oliver's Quilt

I actually started on this project a mere month after Fiona had been born.
I was still greatly fatigued, in lingering pain, but was on the up swing.  I felt like I needed to find something to do that did not involve poop, milk or screaming.
I hadn't been able to get around very easily back then.  The basement stairs to my new sewing room had been a big no-no for the last month. So, it was with great satisfaction, one random day I had enough energy to go downstairs and sit in a quiet room for an hour.

By myself.
That is a big deal, guys.

I started a Jellyroll 1600 pattern, so named because it's 1600 inches of fabric in the beginning, but finishes to a tidy 48 x 64 quilt, that's a little smaller than a twin sized quilt.  If you add a few borders you can easily make it to a twin size.

First attempt at the jellyroll 1600

The above picture was taken in September 2012 when I started, but I didn't actually touch this project again until June 2013! Such is the life of a quilter.

I realized that the jelly roll I'd picked out (Ten Little Things by Moda)  was very "busy" looking once it was all sewn together.
In fact it was chaotic looking and it hurt my eyes.

I decided I would need to break it up with a solid color which would mean cutting thru my perfectly nice quilt top. You might cringe at cutting a perfectly pieced quilt top, but sometimes you just have to risk it.

Oliver's quilt 2013

It was quite a bit of calculating square inches, measuring twice, and then double checking again before I cut anything.

Oliver's quilt 2013

After a few little slip ups in the measuring department and cutting out more blue fabric, I managed to get it all sewn up.

Oliver's quilt 2013

It was now the end of June.

Oliver's birthday was fast approaching and I had to make a decision on how to quilt it.  I decided ultimately that it would be easier to send it out than try and quilt such a big top on my tiny table.  Even though I'd quilted large projects in my studio before I'd never sent out a piece of work to be professionally finished.

It's hard to pack up your hard work, mail it far away and hope beyond hope that the quilting will be what you imagined.

Oliver's quilt 2013
(Quilted by Missouri Star Quilt Co.)

3 long weeks later it came back.  I was downright thrilled with it.

Fiona even approved!

Oliver's quilt 2013

Though I didn't get it back in time to finish it for Oliver's actual birthday party, he did get it two weeks later to rave reviews and heartfelt thanks.

Oliver's quilt 2013 - DONE!

Things that are worth remembering when quilting a quilt top:

If it's going to be loved and used for lots and lots of years make sure your quilting is close together and uses a design that will go ALL over the quilt.
This helps minimize stretching of seams and fabric resulting in a huggable quilt regardless of all the washing and drying it will go thru.

Want to try your hand at doing a Jellyroll 1600?
Missouri Star has a really great tutorial on how to get it done:

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Long Overdue Post

When life gets busy things tend to fall to the wayside.
For example, I've been sorely neglecting posting for various crazy reasons.  You can pick from the following list of "crazy" below:

- Complete tear out and remodel of our main bathroom starting in April, finishing sometime in May. Discovering a huge mold and mildew problem in said main bathroom.  Bad contractors, slow completion, lots of painful naptimes and pints of beer.

- LOTS of pattern testing for the awesome Betz White

- Teething woes for Fiona
- A new nephew in June
- Reopening Tumus in July
- Completing another quilt, starting a second, 
almost finishing a third (but that one's secret ^_~)
- Desktop computer dying slowly
- Fiona turning ONE in August

and so on.

Blog posts do take time to write and think out and "down" time, being at a high premium these days, is a treasured commodity.

I do intend to make a valiant effort to keep you all in the loop of awesome as much as I can, so for now here are some fun pictures of everything we've been up to since March.

Bathroom remodel from Hades

January's Endeavor

Young's Jersey Dairy Summer 2013

Gettin' it done, son.

Young's Jersey Dairy Summer 2013

Oliver's quilt 2013 - DONE!

Fiona's 1st Birthday

p.s.  Are you guys ready for the Holidays yet? EEP!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

OMG 7 months

I decided today would be a good day to backup all of our Fiona pictures.
I've been told that the first kid always has the most pictures.  Being a "first" myself I think that's only mostly true, but there's 5 of us and that's alot of things to keep on top of and taking pictures isn't always part of that list.
We actually have been rather modest in our picture taking.  It's still alot but we aren't doing one everyday and we try to just take pics of things we love and want to remember....when we can grab the camera that is.

These last two months have been rough though.  We had to put our chinchilla, Yoshi, down just a week after Valentine's Day due to a quick/sudden moving muscle disease.  Because of it I haven't been back down to my sewing room in nearly that long.  He was my constant sewing companion and it's hard to be in an empty room when you're used to having a buddy nearby.


On a happier note Fiona is 7 months! She seems pretty old already.
She's not quiet sleeping thru the night yet, BUT it's getting better.
I didn't think she'd grow up this fast and I have to keep reminding myself that she's still a baby, but boy is she tall! (28in?? egads!)

And sometimes I can get a smile when I do a few silly things, she's pretty camera shy.


Happy 7 months Fi-Beastie.
I love you and can't wait to give you your own little art corner ^_^

I plan on getting my sewing groove back on in the next few weeks.  I haven't forgotten my 12 quilt goal though I may modify it to be a few completed quilts and some smaller gifts at this rate ^_~

Friday, February 15, 2013

5 Easy Pieces: Corbin's Quilt

You would think in the midst of all the Holiday madness I would not have had time to start a new quilt, but I did.  Mostly because my friend Kelly was finally, after two girls, having a boy.
Her husband was both relieved and thrilled to know he would soon have a fellow Couch Comrade.

What I lack in pictures for this quilt I certainly do not lack in heart and still feel the need to journal its creation.  Kelly's little boy Corbin is now here and it's as good as time as any to share it.

 I found this pattern in the Winter 2012 issue of Quilty.
5 Easy Pieces by Colette Cogley.

"I must make this," I thought. "I could make it a football quilt!"
Then it hit me. Where the hell was I going to find Lions fabric?
The death grip the NFL has on their trademarks is legendary and not to be messed with.  But finding Detroit Lions fabric was like trying to find the jackalope of fabrics.  A myth.  Something no one in any quilt shop or fabric store could say actually existed.

Then I found it on the NFL website of all places (facepalm).

Corbin's Quilt

Corbin's Quilt

In between the Stars & Banners quilt and a second bigger quilt for my sister Rachel's girl, was Corbin's.
Luckily the hardship I experienced finding Lion's fabric did not follow me when I went to buy the remaining greys and whites.  And after a few dedicated nights of cutting, pressing and sewing it took form.

It was a touchdown.

Corbin's Quilt

But how on earth was I going to quilt it? 
It was modern enough that straight lines seemed appropriate.

Corbin's Quilt

I soon found out that sewing straight lines for almost 42" both ways is not easy.


But I managed with the help of my trusty seam ripper.

Almost done...2 more quilts to go.

I can tell you that I was able to give Corbin's Quilt in a timely manner (cough 2 weeks before he came coughcough), but it was enough time to have a photo op of the quilt in its final place.

Corbin's Quilt

To the Fan Man for his Fan Boy.
I hope you two watch as much football as you can handle in the coming years and maybe,
Detroit will win a Super Bowl.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Cool Tools: The Lil' Twister Tool

There's alot of rave reviews over this somewhat "newish" tool called the Twister by CS Designs.
You've probably heard of it and if you haven't heard about it you've more than likely seen the awesome results of using this Cool Tool.

Like this:

I actually used mine to make Fiona a new Christmas Stocking.  Here's what the tool looks like:

Lil' Twister

(fabric is JOY by Kate Spain for Moda)

Friday, January 18, 2013

January's Endeavor

I'd like to say I'm going to try and do one quilt top a month and complete ALL 12 quilts by year's end. That means piecing the backing, basting it, quilting, binding and possibly giving :)

I've definitely got the majority of my finished quilts from the Holidays loaded on the PC. Now I just need to share them with you!.....well maybe after I sew a bit more.

Also once I get the go ahead I have another pattern to review from Betz White that I know you guys are going to find really fun.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Stars & Banners Quilt: Crystal's Quilt

Almost exactly a year ago I started work on this pattern: Minick & Simpson's Stars and Banners
I didn't know it at the time, but this pattern was created for the Quilts of Valor group and is no longer in print or at least I can no longer find a place where you can buy it.

Aaron's send off

Ironically I intended this quilt to go to my brother Aaron, who some of you may recall serves on the Army Reserve and was deployed to Iraq for a full year.  When I found the pattern I never knew that it was made for Quilts of Valor but it's so very fitting for him and his family.

So it began as something I thought I could finish within a few months, nevermind that I was, at the time, almost 2 months pregnant.

Stars & Banners

Write out your combos and label

Or you can mark it this way

By the time I took this picture it was March.

What happens when you iron instead of press

But I "pressed" on.
Pressing from the back

And eventually I had all the stars pieced and pressed and laid them out.

Crystal's Stars & Banners quilt

But after April things had to be put on hold.  We had a nursery to finish, two rooms to fabricate in the basement and my ever expanding belly was starting to hinder me both mentally and physically.  So the quilt was put on hold and packed away.
Fast forward to November.  With a new baby waiting off to the sides and sometimes sitting on my lap to sew I dug out the quilt and sewed on the the top bunting.

Crystal's Stars & Banners quilt

Amid the jumble of still packed boxes of fabric and general sewing chaos in my new sewing room I had a quilt.

Crystal's Stars & Banners quilt

And it was awesome.
Crystal's Stars & Banners quilt
 I pieced my backing and basted the whole thing all in one day. It was now December.
But a quilt isn't a quilt until it's well, quilted and bound.

Crystal's Stars & Banners quilt
Crystal's Stars & Banners quilt
Crystal's Stars & Banners quilt
Crystal's Stars & Banners quilt

And then I washed,dried, and gently folded it up.  It was ready to give.
Finished! 2012

I didn't get a chance to get a "cool, stylish" shot of the finished quilt before I gave it away.  It was, afterall, Christmas Eve when I finished it, but my youngest sister Sarah managed to take this snap at its unveiling.

The Giving Away

I have a goal to make a quilt for every single person in my family.
It's ambitious, yes, but quilts are something you give to those you love the most.

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