Someone gave ME a quilt!

Are you one of those people that gives pretty handmade gifts, hand crafted items, but never seems to receive any? That’s me, too. No one ever seem to think of shopping at vintage stores, or antique shops, or craft fairs for me (I guess they assume I’ll make it myself), occasionally I receive a quilt shop gift certificate (always appreciated!).

Except Toni. She has always found unique, sometimes odd and unidentified, gifts for me, shares my love of fabric and all things sewing, and she’s generous. She gave me THIS:
It’s a quilt she made (a UFO until recently) that I have coveted for over five years. Made of mostly Amy Butler “Charm” fabrics in the navy and pink colorway that I sadly never bought any of. She gave it to me at our retreat this weekend as a belated birthday gift. It was SO worth the wait. The back is the gorgeous Chelsea Rose pattern (and check out that striped bias binding!):Toni, I love it, as you know, and I’ve already spent two evenings snuggling with it, despite the fact that it is unseasonably warm this week! I love you, too, girlfriend.

Our Guild retreat was this past weekend, I managed to finish up these Bee blocks, for Liz and Angela for One Block Over…I did a BAG FULL of cutting to finish up my Halloween quilts for next October… and I stitched most of my Christmas quilt top (pics to come as soon as I finish the top). Mostly I ate bad-for-me junk food, talked, slept, drank a margarita toast to my engagement, and laughed a lot. Retreats are good. Great friends are even better.


Coffee Cozy

It used to be that I didn’t know anyone in my generation that quilted or knew how to sew.  My hobbies were very solo activities.  Until about six years ago when I met my friend Toni (younger than me and just as crazy for quiting and fabric!), and discovered quilt retreats, eventually joined the my local Quilt Guild, and finally found a small group to join.  I’m now blessed with many like-minded friends who understand my fabric obsession, why I would use vacation days from work to go quilting, etc.

One of those friends has had a bit of success lately with local craft shows, her etsy shop, and now, a spread in the most recent Quilts n’ More magazine (Fall 2010):

Veronica Koh Eischeid is a paper crafter, seamstress, jeweler, and quilter.  These adorable coffee cozies are of her design, and are popular stocking stuffers, hostess gifts, and “just because” gifts…

I’m lucky enough to have one of her originals, I received as part of my gift from her in our group Christmas exchange in 2009…

Here it is on a glass (so you can see the cute inner side as well:

Veronica is also the creator of this fabulous circle quilt (getting lots of notice on Flickr these days) that hangs over the sofa in her home here in Iowa:

It’s even more lovely in person.  Check our her etsy shop and her Flickr photostream and tell her you found her through my shout out! 

Done? Check!

I’ve crossed a few biggies off of my Spring to Finish to-do list:

1) Quilt & Bind B&W quilt
2) Quilt and bind dress-form mini quilt
3) Finish Valentine runner
4) Finish six Nearly Insane blocks that are cut
5) Bind Girlish Charm quilt
6) Finish
Chrysanthemum quilt
7) Finish Birthday quilt top
8) Bind the Shining Star quilt
9) Finish Flying Geese runner
10) Finish Lisa’s medallion border
11) Finish Studio canvases
12) Finish vintage sewing machine table
13) C’s baby quilt
14) Finish new shower curtain
15) Make 10.5″ 30s Block for Karen
16) Clean out closets 1, 2, and 3 (Decided to do my LEAST favorite, first!)
17) Store Sample-batik jacket

That’s 8 finishes, and only 9 to go! I realize my time is limited, the end of May is fast approaching, but some of those that are crossed off were my biggest hurdles!

Excuse the cruddy-taken-by-myself-in-the-mirror-of-a-windowless-bathroom photo, but this is the jacket I made for a sample for the shop (#17 on my list)…
This is a more true-to-color photo of the batik I used:I finished this completely with french seams… and lots of hand sewing. See that pretty french seam?My Chrysanthemum quilt, #6 on the list, is coming along, I finished the top this weekend, but I can’t cross it off until I quilt and bind it…
I love how it’s turning out!
Hoping to tackle this and #1 on the list yet this week…

On Friday, I’m off to market. Yes, that market.

Dresses for Mama

I’ve made two of these sweet little wallhangings before, one lives at my friend Lisa’s house (she won in it our Guild auction!) and one lives in Australia. This one I finished up on Friday night, just in time to give to my Mom for Mother’s Day on Sunday…

It seems especially appropriate for her; my Mom grew up on an Iowa farm in the 40s and 50s, and she had three sisters. The first time I ever saw this quilt pattern , it made me think of my Mom and Grandma!

Raw-edge applique, a tiny stipple, and simple straight line quilting finished it off.
One more Spring to Finish complete! That makes SEVEN finishes so far! I’ve been sewing a little more too, but not much to show just yet…

Had a little time to get out and enjoy our chilly Spring this weekend (seriously, what happened to our warm weather? We went from 80 degrees to 34 degrees in two days!)

It hasn’t killed off all the May flowers…yet.

And these little robins seem to be well protected in their Mama’s nest, in the little spruce tree in my sister’s backyard.

But maybe just a tad bit hungry…

My two-year-old nephew is learning a lot about Mama birds, baby birds, and how important it is to not disturb the nest, from this Science lesson in his backyard.

Hope you are all seeing the signs of Spring in your corner of the world…

Quilt in a Day

If Eleanor can do it in a day, I should be able to do it in a week, right?! No problem…. I need a gift for next weekend (Saturday) so I pulled fabrics for a throw quilt last Friday.

Also, I’m not using a pattern, just this photocopy of an old newspaper quilt block called “Chrysanthemum”. I’m making the pattern up as I go. The chrysanthemum is the traditional symbol of friendship, and the quilt is for a very dear friend of mine. If the quilt isn’t done in time for the event, she may be getting a bouquet of real chrysanthemums to tie her over…

On another note, I’m trying to upgrade to a “dream machine” and so, I’ll be de-stashing some fabric, patterns, books, and my current machine, the Pfaff.
UPDATE: Sold the Pfaff–the search for my “dream machine” continues….

Blast Off!

Made with scraps from last Christmas’
Rocket Men project
… an improvisational, Space-themed quilt for my nephew (who never got his own Baby quilt when he joined our family in 2008, so he gets a fun toddler quilt!)

I fussy cut scraps from the Prints Charming fabrics I used to make the rockets, and framed that out in various shades of blue… Then free-handed a rocket ship which I machine appliqued (raw-edge) after fusing on. The stars and the moon are also scraps from the Prints Charming line.

I tried a new free-motion quilting technique, trying to get a cloud, or atmospheric look behind the spaceship. What do you think?

This is what I put on the back, from the 2009 In the Beginning “Rocket Scientist” line:

I could not have asked for a better reaction…

That’s my sister, and baby Jonah immediately “cuddling in”! He did pause to pose with his gift, just like a champ, though!

The color roll his big brother received was a big hit as well…

He moved to his table right away to “get to work”!

See? This is why I love to make gifts!