100 Wishes


In December, I mentioned that I was helping my SIL, Lesley, make her first quilt.  It is a 100 Wishes quilt, for the son they adopted from China just before last Christmas, my sweet nephew Caleb.

In Northern China, where Caleb hails from, it is customary to invite friends and family to contribute a patch of cloth with a wish for the baby. Part of the patch of cloth goes into the quilt, and the other part of the cloth is kept in a scrapbook along with the wish for the child. The quilt contains the luck, energy, and good wishes from all the families and friends who contributed fabric; hence the name, a 100 Good Wishes Quilt.  Great idea, right?  Well, many adoptive families carry on this tradition to commemorate welcoming a new little one into their family.

Lesley had never made a quilt before, but she was determined to make one of these for their son.  She started collecting fabric about six months before they traveled to China to meet him and bring him home.  I helped her decide on a block, and a layout, and answered questions for her as needed (usually via the telephone).  Her project is an ambitious one, Caleb has a full size bed, so this first quilt is a LARGE quilt.

She had cut and sewn every block herself with fabric donated from friends and family, and while they were in China last December, I squared them all up for her, and got them ready for piecing.  I also made the two special embroidered blocks to surprise her with at Christmas.

Last month, I agreed to help Lesley with the layout of the quilt, and instruct her on the next step — piecing the rows together.  We realized we needed a few more blocks to make it the size we wanted, so we pulled out the fabrics and pieced 13 more blocks.

Caleb is fascinated with how things work.  Once he saw the sewing machine come out, he was not the least bit interested in playing with his brother and his cousins — he wanted to know more about this strange looking machine, and more importantly, use it himself!  Above, I am explaining to him how the sewing machine works, and he did not leave my side for the rest of the afternoon.  He even sewed a few seams, pressed blocks, and the best part — helped us decide on the layout of his quilt:

He loved this task, and he was so proud of his work:

and see the border fabrics being auditioned in that photo?  That was Caleb’s doing.  Somehow he knew that is what you do, take your big pieces of fabric and try them out along the sides of the quilt to “audition” borders:

This day was a treat for his Mom and I; neither of us had any idea that Caleb would be involved in the making of his own quilt top.  But like I said, his natural curiosity for learning new things, especially when there is any kind of technology involved, kept him with us all afternoon.  I am so proud of this boy, he might actually be the one I get to teach how to quilt and sew!

His Mom, Lesley, has since sewn her rows together, and she needs to add the borders, piece a back out of the leftover fabrics, and have it quilted.

On December 16th, it will be one year since he came home, and became a citizen of the United States.  Since that time; he celebrated his 5th birthday, attended a semester of pre-school, had surgery to fix his cleft palate, began speaking English, started kindergarten this fall, and joined a soccer team.  I’m sure there are a hundred other important milestones I haven’t mentioned here. He loves his big brother, and Daddy and Mama, adores his grandparents and other extended family members. It’s hard to remember that just one year ago, he was only a little boy in a photograph, from the other side of the World, that we all looked forward to meeting.  He fits so well, it seems like he’s been a part of our family forever.


Hocus Pocus-ville


This is a pattern I’ve had and been anxious to make up for some time now.  Its a pattern by Crabapple Hill; they design amazing hand embroidery patterns, made into tea towels, pillows, or in this case, a quilt.

I don’t intend to make the full quilt, as I want a wallhanging.  I made just four of the embroideries (I’ll come clean, my Mom actually did the majority of the stitching for me because she was needing a handwork project and I didn’t have the extra time, myself–so I passed the traced blocks onto her to complete for me).  Mom’s hand aren’t as steady as they once were, but she still does beautiful handwork. Together, we made the Pumpkin Patch:

Hagatha’s Laundry:

La Witch Boutique:

and Morgana’s Apothecary:

I’m still deciding on a setting for my blocks, and I may embroider a tree or something to balance them off in the center, eventually.  Here is a very un-glamorous, mish-mash of the four blocks hanging together on my design wall:

I’m very happy with the tone-on-tone print I chose for the background, I like it much better than the solid ivory the sample is made with.  The details drawn into this pattern are amusing and very clever–click on my photos enlarge them and read the little signs, etc. on the “witchy” businesses…  Hoping to have a finish before this Halloween, but time will tell…

Do you do hand embroidery?

If so, what have you made?

Creative Clips

It’s been a month.  A month of quiet; A month of busy.  A month of reading books; A month of prayer.  A month of work… of appointments… of meetings… of housework… of meal-planning and cooking… of illness and exhaustion… of tears and of laughter… and a break from feeling obligated to journal here.  Resolutions were made; and kept (still going strong!).  Change (improvement?) was made in so many ways, and excitement and anticipation of the next few months is high. 

When I started my blog, I posted (nearly) weekly “creative clips” showing small things I worked on or did, that didn’t necessarily warrant an entire blog post.  Sort of like my friend Cindy’s “Really Random” posts–only not as amusing as her posts.  😉  I’ve decided I’m bringing Creative Clips back in 2012.  So here goes:

Creative Clips, Weeks 1, 2 & 3!

My SIL is making a 100 Wishes Quilt for the son they recently brought home from China.  I surprised them at Christmas by giving them two special blocks, hand embroidered and sashed to match her quilt blocks, with dates to represent their trip to China, his birthday and adoption date (“gotcha day”), and the date he became a citizen of the United States–all within an outline of his two countries:

On December18th, my Sweetie and I went to meet our new nephew, and then, a few days after Christmas, he and his big brother spent a few hours at our place while Mom went on a lunch date and ran a few errands.  It’s amazing, they are truly brothers, as if they have been since birth.  His first trip to Dairy Queen with uncle and auntie:

I didn’t sew any gifts to give this year, however I did have a customer request for a set of Mother/Daughter aprons… using this sweet cupcake fabric from my stash, I made an apron for a 3-year old girl and her mommy–who enjoy baking together:

Like Katy, I sometimes resist cutting into “precious” fabrics in my stash because I’m saving it for something “special”.  Silly, huh?  Well, I opened a Good Fortune layer cake and started sewing last weekend… on a sewing day at my place with two awesome friends:

Seriously, I have to get over that–the stash is there to be used, Amy Butler and Heather Ross and all…

It just felt  good to sew again…. and have I ever mentioned how much I love to chain-piece?

I did a little hand-piecing on a short road trip over the holiday week; a little progress on the hexagon quilt:

I enjoyed twelve days off from the job at holiday time, and spent much of that time sleeping (even though I had grand intentions of spending it creating!)… I guess your body knows when it has reached a certain point of sleep deprivation, and my body decided to revolt and take the sleep it needed no matter what the right side of the brain was demanding. 
Life is indeed good, and I am blessed,

Tea, anyone?

This sweet mini quilt was designed by Emma… She’s a member of my small group, Seams Sew Easy, a graphic designer by trade, and a talented quilter. I offered to test this pattern for her, and this is my finished product:

Complete with yellow Darlene Zimmerman designed teacup border, royal blue flange, and polk dot(!) background. (My photos are terrible–but trust me, it’s sweet, cute, bright and fresh colored!)

I received another block last week for my Neighborhood quilt, from Alissa:

I’m loving all the little details everyone is adding, those are Heather Ross seagulls…

and a green car parked by a little orchard?!? Alissa didn’t even know I drove a light green Beetle, that could be my car!

There have been four more revealed here, that haven’t arrived in my mailbox yet. Go check them out!

Have a blessed Easter weekend,

And another one’s down…

…another one bites the dust! I finished another UFO this week, before the Independence Day holiday it is intended as a decoration for. (Never mind that I started it before last Independence Day! Ahem.)

Here it is completed. It measures 21″ x 23″, and I added four navy tabs to hang it from. The red and white flowers are wool felt (I felted it myself because I couldn’t find the correct colors in an affordable quantity)…the rest of the project is cotton.

There is some beaded embellishment on this one…

I think I may have showed you a progress shot of it with this borders….

Which I decided was too busy to my eye, and needed the solid red to separate the embroidered/embellished panel from the busy piano key border. Not to worry…those star blocks didn’t go to waste…here they are on the back:

With the exception of the small navy stars on cream…the border prints are all from Sandy Gervais’ Red, White and Bold fabric line. Love her seasonal lines! The navy blue on the front and back, the red Kona cotton, and the small star print all came from my stash.

Handwork, handiwork

Is there a difference between those two? It seems they are the same thing, but I guess we use the term “handiwork” to describe anything made or done, like a landscaper’s handiwork, or the handiwork of a cook, whereas handwork is something specifically made with your hands… This is what Merriam Wenster has to say about it…

hand·i·work Pronunciation: \ˈhan-di-ˌwərk, -dē-\

a: work done by the hands b: work done personally handiwork>2: the product of handwork

hand·work Pronunciation: \ˈhand-ˌwərk\
work done with the hands and not by machines

But I digress. I promised you some photos of projects I’ve been working on, so without further adieu, or digression, here is the handiwork of some of my handwork…

I’ve done some more work on the nearly completed, WIP since June 2008, Liberty Garden wallhanging. The beadwork is nearly done, and there is just a small amount of embroidery left to complete the center. I’ve decided the border needs to be redone, so that will come off, a small red inner border will be added and the piano key border will be sewn back on. Then quilting and…drumroll, please…..hanging!

I also completed this adorable little guy just in time for the upcoming holiday…

Can’t reveal the rest of him just yet… He was made from a vintage transfer, posted on Flickr in the Hoop Love Vintage Transfer group. Probably a design originally from the 1930s. Ain’t he sweet?!

Have you been doing any handwork lately? I’ve been trying to always keep a handwork project with me so that I can make use of any time I spend waiting, in the car, at a doctor’s office, etc. I’m not a patient person when it comes to just waiting, so this really helps make the time fly!