What a Gem!

On Christmas Eve, this little pumpkin turned a year old:

Gemma 1st Birthday

She’s our grandbaby, Gemma. I started a quilt for her a while ago (Hubby and I picked out most of the fabric together before she was born) but I always give myself until the first birthday to finish and gift a baby quilt. In Gemma’s case, I gifted the quilt to her on her 1st birthday.

I used the Gem Block, lavender prints with a scrappy yellow background:

 Full Shot Gemma What a Gem Quilt

 Gemma What a Gem Quilt

I was trying to design applique into the front when I started this project, but I ended up adding an appliqued monogram to the flannel back instead:

Gemma Quilt Back

Gemma Quilt Back Detail

The G was machine-appliqued on, prior to quilting:

Gemma Quilt Applique Detail

 Gemma What a Gem Quilt

The quilt measures 36″ x 45″, 18 (9″) Gem Blocks and 2 Accent Blocks. I used six different purples (lavenders) and 5 different yellows on the front, the back is a Moda flannel and the “G” monogram is a tone-on-tone Peter Rabbit print from my stash.

Here’s a shot of the little cutie pie modeling with her quilt (she’s wearing a hoodie with buttons all over it, for her Christmas visit to Grandpa & Grandma’s house!):

Gemma & Her Quilt

Happy Birthday, Gemma!


Happiness, delivered.


Yesterday I showed you the wonderful happy I received from Mary. Today, I’ll show what I sent to Cindy in Fresno, CA. Cindy makes all manner of fun selvage items, her most recent came in SECOND in a recent online contest, Texting while Sewing:

I’ve started collecting my selvages, but I had yet to make anything with them.  I knew I had to include something with a selvage for Cindy… but what?   I had seen this pincushion and sewing kit on someone’s blog recently, as part of the Zakka Sew-Along–suddenly I knew this was the item to create for Cindy and just how I would use the selvage!  I don’t own a copy of the book, so I made this up as I went along, and modified it to make it work for me.

The pincushion is filled with walnut shells (why?  They are inexpensive and readily available… and the crushed shells work like emery, keeping your pin and needle points sharp!)

Yep, I buy it at a pet store, a giant bag is under $10.00.  Fill your pincushion with a funnel, and stitch up the opening.  Easy as that.

The pincushion fits nicely inside this roll-up sewing kit, which has small pockets to hold your package of needles, thread, your English paper piecing hexies(!), your scissors, your thimble, etc…

Most of Cindy’a kit came from my scrap bin, except for the green “tree” print used for the binding and one end of the pincushion.  I chose that fat quarter because I had purchased it at Grubers last year, the same weekend I met Cindy for the first time.  The entire kit rolls up and ties nicely, for a fun take along sewing kit:

The band is attached, it is another piece of selvage dots (from a Dr. Seuss fabric as it had the brightest colors I could find!) and satin ribbon for the tie.  Enjoy, Cindy, I had a lot of fun making this for you!

p.s  HAPPY SWEET SIXTEEN to my beautiful Goddaughter, Leah!  

(My God, how did sixteen happen?!?)


DIY Woes


Today is my lovely Momma’s 75th birthday!  This Spring, she sold her house in my hometown (about 120 miles from where I live)  and moved into a retirement town home community in a suburb of Des Moines (yay!).  Having her living locally, close to her three youngest children, and five of grandchildren, is wonderful.  She babysits when needed for my brother and sister (happily and willingly!), attends soccer and football games and practices, joins them for a quick trip out for ice cream; even joined me on Friday for her first AQS experience!  When she needed new eyeglasses, I just took a long lunch to go help her pick out a new pair.  Yesterday, she drove over and took my little sister out for lunch for HER birthday.  Mom has been very happy she made the move, despite missing her old friends, and we’re happy to say she’s made new friends fast.


(Click on the photo to go to the designer’s site–love her Cake Walk pattern!)  My sweetie and I fixed up a new sewing table for Mom’s Elna sewing machine as a birthday present.  She sews with an Elna 6003, but she’s never had a drop-in table for it.  It must have been six years ago that she and I bought a nice unfinished wood shelf/tabletop at Menards with the plan that I would help her turn her old treadle sewing machine base into a custom made drop-in table for the Elna.  Well, best laid plans…

After her move in June, my sweetie and I took some measurements, drew up a plan, realized that the treadle sewing machine base wasn’t wide enough to accomodate her sewing machine, but thought we might have a table base in the garage that would work… so we hauled the wood tabletop home with us.

I dusted off my old jigsaw, and cut the hole out for her machine and the plexiglas extension base she had, borrowed my little brother’s router, and my sweetie routed out a nice shallow lip for the plexi to rest on.  The table base that we had fit perfectly.  It came from a little drop-leaf kitchen table that I found at an estate sale and had started to strip the paint off but gave up after we found another small table that needed no work and fit our space perfectly–and it was only $25 (with chairs).  Sweetie wanted to throw the little half-stripped table away, but I wouldn’t let him.  “It’s a perfectly good table, and someone will be able to use it.  It doesn’t need to be in the landfill”.  Yep, I’m that girl.

So, the table base was attached to the bottom of the new custom-cut table top, and a rectangular base for the sewing machine to sit on was suspended from the bottom of the tabletop:

We used an enamel spray paint for the base and legs, and bought a quart of the worst.oil.based.enamel.paint.ever.made. to paint the top a nice smooth, glossy finish.  I’m telling you, this project would have been complete in July if not for this horrible paint.  It went on like glue (and stated very plainly on the label that IT WAS NOT TO BE THINNED).  Not only that, it didn’t really dry, either.  My sweetie is far more patient that I; if I had been the one working on painting this, I would have stripped the first layer off after waiting a week for it to dry completely, and immediately thinned the paint and recoated it a few times–project complete.  But– he was determined not to be defeated by this can of paint (although he threatened about three weeks ago to go throw the entire table away and start over).  I’m pretty sure you know what my answer to that was.

Last week, when he was out of town for work, and we had some warm weather days, I went out to the garage to re-coat it.  He had painted a coat on Saturday morning, and this was Tuesday evening and it was still tacky.  I picked up a scraper and started scraping the edges down, so he could re-sand it, and maybe buy new paint and get the crazy thing done before her birthday.  When he saw what I did, he scraped it the rest of the way, sanded like crazy, thinned the paint and painted a new base coat.  The next day, he painted a second coat on it.  Third day, he did a little touch up, and this weekend we were able to declare this never-ending-project completely done.  Lesson learned: next time, just go buy different brand of paint.  Here is the table sans sewing machine and plexi (I’ll post a pretty pic complete with her set-up after we make the delivery tonight!):

Given the hours we invested in this project, we would have been much further ahead if we had just gone here and purchased a new table for her (but, don’t tell my sweetie I said that).

**UPDATE:  Table has been delivered, it’s a perfect fit and Mom can get back to sewing!  Here is a shot showing the groove we cut out for the plexiglas extension bed, and the whole set-to with her Elna Quilters Dream 6003 machine in place:

Now, if I could just get that table runner made for her that I promised her over two months ago…

This Day in History…


Do you know the site, On this Day in History?  You can enter any day of the year and it will provide you with a list of events, birth dates and deaths with the year they occurred.  SO you can see what happened in the world on the day you were born, etc.

Today is my brother-in-law’s birthday. He is a bit of a history buff, like myself, so I thought I’d highlight a few tidbits I pulled from the site for his birthday, October 2nd:

  • 1789 – George Washington transmits the proposed Constitutional amendments (The United States Bill of Rights) to the States for ratification.
  • 1869 – Mahatma Gandhi [Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi], born in Porbandar Kathiawad India, pacifist and spiritual leader, (d. 1948)
  • 1895 – 1st cartoon comic strip is printed in a newspaper
  • 1910 – 1st 2 aircraft collision (Milan Italy)
  • 1921 – NY Yankee Babe Ruth hits then record 59th HR
  • 1944 – Nazis crush Warsaw Uprising killing 250,000 people
  • 1950 – Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz first published
  • 1955 – “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” premieres
  • 1967 – Thurgood Marshall sworn in as 1st black Supreme Court Justice
  • 1990 – Radio Berlin International’s final transmission (links to Deutsche Welles of West Germany); final song is “The End” by Doors

I’m off to see what happened on July 17th (my day!)–

A Great Day, indeed

Last weekend we drove to Kansas City to celebrate my birthday. I received tickets to see a favorite artist at the Uptown Theater as an early birthday gift:

On the drive down I finished binding my Diet Quilt

and stopped by Stewartsville to visit the home of Tula Pink:

She wasn’t there, but her mom, who owns the Quilt Shoppe, was, and she bought ten copies of our pattern to stock in the store! She was picking fabrics for a sample to kit up before I even left the store! I could not resist snapping a pic of these…too cute and too clever:

The shop is definitely worth the short detour off the interstate next time you are on I-35 in NW Missouri!

We spent some time shopping, eating at cute independent shops like The Upper Crust (a pie shop!) and Great Day Cafe (that we discovered on our Quilt Market trip in May–it’s directly across the street from a quilt shop–bonus!)

I’d recommend them both. This was on the sidewalk between the cafe and the bakery–wish I knew who the artist was:

I took A LOT of photos, I seemed to be seeing quilts in every building, retail display, and article of clothing I looked at. No wonder Kansas City has such a strong MQG–there is inspiration everywhere! I’ll do a separate post to show all the photos. In addition to the concert tickets, my sweetie gave me this:

Not just a copy of the magazine–a SUBSCRIPTION to my favorite quilt magazine which comes all the way from France! Woo-hoo!

On the drive home I sewed one of my Candied Hexagon blocks before I took over driving:

Today, my actual birthday, was a good one. Started off with a delivery to the office (a VERY rare occurrence)…

…as if the weekend wasn’t enough, Sweetie felt guilty about working out of town on my birthday, so I received a balloon and lovely yellow and white flowers in a cute little paint can container.

My Mom was meeting me after work to treat me to dinner (have I mentioned how wonderful it is to have her living locally?!?–it’s awesome, we moved her to the Des Moines metro area in early June!) but she had to come save me when my Beetle decided to quit working (I think she –the car– may have been protesting the heat wave–can’t blame her!) and I had to have her towed from the front of the Des Moines library:

Not fun–but I have to give the Beetle credit for getting me home from St. Cloud retreat last week (a 6 hour drive), and getting us home from Kansas City on Sunday (a 3 hour drive)!

It was still a great day, lots of wonderful birthday wishes from friends, phone calls, my sister called and sang to me… it’s all good! And, I’ve always said I was easily entertained and easy to please; was surprised to see this when I opened the internet at work this morning:

This is a pic up close:

and when I moved my mouse over it, it reads “Happy Birthday Doris!” How fun–make sure you visit Google on your birthday–definitely brightened my day. I’m going to go open the Google home page a few more times before midnight. And, I think I may continue to celebrate tomorrow.

What was your last road trip? Any exciting road trips planned?

Do you seek out the quilt shops along the way when you travel somewhere?

One Fish, Two Fish. Red Fish…

Green DRESS!!  ImageOkay, so it doesn’t rhyme, but Dr. Seuss would still be pleased.  This little sweetie had her Golden Birthday on June 5, 2012.  Her Mommy and I were college roomies, and have been best friends for decades.  She wanted a Dr. Seuss party.  Last year it was Hello Kitty, the year before that was a Princess party… she’s a little gal who knows what she likes and knows what she wants.  Image

Incidently, this little Miss has received more Doris-made gifts than any other individual.  The kitty in my blog banner?  Her’s.  She even received a baby quilt while she was still a baby!  She’s gotten one handmade gift from me for every year of her life!

The dress was inspired by this one, and made by grandma.  She played HARD in this dress all day long, girlfriend knows how to work an ensemble.  I started making this quilt from the dress scraps about seven hours before her party started.  ‘Cause, y’know, why start a project ahead of time?


The yellow solid came from my stash, the rest of it came from the scrap basket.  Even the back was a leftover from the dress:


I finished it about 45 minutes before the party… and snapped these photos (in full sunlight–sorry) along the road on the drive to the party.  I had fun weaving that rainbow stripe all the way around the quilt (note there is no binding, it was a sew-and-turn finish).  I got the impression she liked it:



A Saturday well spent.