Saturday, August 19

Scrappy Strip Quilt

If this quilt looks familiar, it's because I used only scraps from my Ring Around the Rosie quilt. I had many strips all cut into three widths from the pattern. After cleaning and sorting, I decided to put the scraps to good use and make a new quilt!
I simply stitched same-sized strips together along their shorter ends. I didn't put a whole lot of thought into the fabric placement, aside from avoiding the same fabric sewn together. I stitched all strips end-to-end, then sewed the 1 1/2" and 2 1/2" joined strips together along the length. I cut the length in half and sewed those lengths together, before sewing on the 3 1/2" width strip.  
If you are familiar with a Jelly Roll Race Quilt, I used a similar method, just with different width strips! The quilt stitches up very quickly and is the perfect quilt to sew while listening to your favorite audiobook or show because there's no thinking necessary! The results are random and scrappy, and thanks to spreading fabrics out along my original strips, I think I achieved a balanced top without stressing about color placement. 
To make the back, I took larger scraps and sewed them together to create a scrappy back that looks just as cute as the front! I tried spiral quilting for the first time, and although it's not perfect, I'm happy with the result and will try it again, probably on a smaller quilt. It will look great washed & crinkled and sitting on someone's lap. The quilt measures approximately 50"x 60"- a great throw size. I used even more scraps for the binding. 
This quilt was donated as a raffle prize at a recent Neurofibromatosis fundraiser to benefit NF Michigan. You can find out more about NF and the organization at their website. My cousin was diagnosed with NF at a very young age, and that was the first our family learned about the disorder. Thankfully, she is a healthy, smart, loving, soon-to-be 5-year-old, but many others have much more severe health and developmental problems. My cousin is blessed with top doctors and researchers right near their home in Michigan, where she can receive top-notch care.
If you would like to support NF Michigan, you can donate through their website. Contributions go toward supporting persons affected and their families, assisting in medical care, education, and research. 

Friday, May 26

Ring Around the Rosie

For every quilt pattern that makes it into final form, I only get to actually sew about half of them into actual quilts. It's always amazing to see how the computer files I have been working with for months in digital form translate into tangible fabric and quilts. Although the fabric is new to the market, it often feels like an old friend to me. As I work on virtual quilt designs, I become familiar with little details and nuances, the way the colors play within the collection, and how the patterns all measure up against each other. I can identify them by SKU numbers and color ways. It's a rather sterile beginning for an end product meant to bring warmth and comfort. So to finally get my hands on real fabric and make a real quilt comes as somewhat of a relief.

A few months ago, I had the privilege of sewing a quilt top for one of my new patterns. My Ring Around the Rosie quilt features Verna Mosquera's Love & Friendship collection for Free Spirit Fabrics. These are some seriously cute fabrics with little flowers, love notes, hearts, and a really great twisted stripe. I made the quilt top and sent it off for quilting. Check out how cute the final quilt looks!

The quilt is made of four generously sized log cabin blocks, each employing every fabric in the collection. The final quilt is 70" x 90" aka perfect for a twin bed. How sweet would this be in a little girl's room?! Don't need a twin quilt? -- Each log cabin is 35" x 45", which is a great size for baby or wheelchair quilts.

When I was designing this quilt, I wanted to make sure the construction was as straightforward as possible. My favorite detail in the instructions is that there is no need to sew lengths of fabric together to achieve the large blocks. I might be the only person excited by that fact, but in my opinion, the fewer steps, the better.

This quilt would be easy to adapt to another line if your tastes are different. It uses 24 different fabrics and would also look great as a scrappy stash-buster. Let me know what you think of the quilt and of course I would love to see if you make your own Ring Around the Rosie quilt!

Monday, April 10

Monday Book Club

One of my goals for 2017 is to read more! In an effort to share the book love, I've included links in this post that are Amazon Affiliate links, which means I receive a small kickback if you make a purchase using the links.

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We were on a lovely family vacation to the beach last week, which meant I had a little extra time to read. Some people like to get out and do things on vacation - see new sights, visit new places. Me? Give me a chair and a book and just leave me alone. Even with extra help from family, two little kiddos make my vacation fantasy a hard sell, but I was able to finish one book and start another before heading home.

The Fate of Mercy Alban has been sitting on my bookshelf at home for a very long time and I thought it seemed like a good choice for beach reading. It's a story about a wealthy family and the ghosts (literally and figuratively) that haunt them and their historic home. It was a fun little read full of everything - murder, mystery, a haunted house, and even a romance. There were a couple decent twists and turns but I was able to "figure it out" before the big reveal. The book was fast-paced, sometimes annoyingly so, but squeezed in enough story to satisfy my vacation needs. Wendy Webb has a number of other books that seem to be similar in subject that may land on my to-be-read list.

My mom finished John Grisham's latest, The Whistler, in time to pass it on for Curt and me to read next. I haven't read a Grisham book in a couple years after Gray Mountain left a sour taste in my mouth. Mom assured me this book is back in line with what we expect and love from John Grisham. I'm only a few chapters in, but it seems to be headed in a promising direction. Curt is currently reading Grisham's Rogue Lawyer so I may be on a John Grisham kick for a few weeks to get caught back up on his catalogue.


Wednesday, March 29

Sawtooth Quilts

I am prepping for a new Craft South class and made these Sawtooth quilt blocks last night. 
Aren't they the sweetest?! 

I grabbed some small scraps to sew, yielding these widdle sweet widdle bwocks. 
{That would be baby talk for "little sweet little blocks" if you don't speak cutesy.}

The larger blocks are 6" finished and the smaller ones are 4" finished. 
Stitched them up together for a 12" block that would look great as a pillow or sewn into a cute bag.


Wednesday, March 15

Monday Book Club

One of my goals for 2017 is to read more! In an effort to share the book love, I've included links in this post that are Amazon Affiliate links, which means I receive a small kickback if you make a purchase using the links.

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Please forgive my delayed book this week! We were on a small family getaway but that meant I got in some extra reading time!

I started When in Doubt, Add Butter at the beginning of our trip and had it finished within a few days. It was light, fun, and mostly predictable with a few little twists. I've never read anything else from Beth Harbison, but I will be open to checking out more for my next trip.

Next from the vacation pile was another Carl Hiaasen novel: Bad Monkey. I'm about 100 pages in and enjoying the hint of mystery unfolding around the different characters who, at first glance, have nothing to do with each other, but will surely be fully intertwined by the end of the book.


Monday, March 6

Monday Book Club

One of my goals for 2017 is to read more! In an effort to share the book love, I've included links in this post that are Amazon Affiliate links, which means I receive a small kickback if you make a purchase using the links.

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I finished last week's First Comes Love just in time to hit up the library for a new book. My first choice is still on hold so I quickly perused the stacks and the bright colors of the Carl Hiaasen section jumped out at me. After virtually no consideration, I settled on Star Island.

I'm nearly halfway through this book and enjoying it so far. It's a quick read full of over-the-top characters and the fast-passed world of celebrities. I have never read any of Carl Hiaasen's other books,  but after reading reviews, it seems they are easy and fun reads. I will probably pick up another one before my next trip to the beach.

Thank the Crayola gods for an hour of painting while I could do the dishes, tidy up, vacuum, and actually sit down and read today. 

Thursday, March 2

Liam's Library : They All Saw A Cat

I love reading to my boys and think that sharing a love of books and reading is one of the greatest gifts I can give them. I am always looking for new favorite books and happy to share my recommendations. In an effort to share the book love, I've included links in this post that are Amazon Affiliate links, which means I receive a small kickback if you make a purchase using the links.

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Stop what you're doing and get this book. I casually grabbed this book off the shelf because it was about a cat and Liam loves cats. The minimalist illustration on the cover also drew me in .. yes I judged this book by its cover. Hard. I'm always drawn to books with hand drawn illustrations and this book goes far beyond my expectations. 

They All Saw A Cat is about a cat walking through the world, meeting other animals. There is plenty of repetition and a simple sentence structure. An early reader could easily work his way through this book. Even a nonreader like Liam can quickly catch on and know what words to expect. I love these types of books for working on sight words, and the varied text formatting and capitalization in this story make it so simple. 
After pointing out " A CAT" in the title to Liam, we talked about the letters and what they spelled. Then we read through the book, pointing as we read, and I allowed Liam to finish the sentences reading "A CAT." Now, I know he's merely spitting back the words I told him to say, but I hope it is creating a good foundation for when he does start reading.

Let's talk illustrations! As the cat encounters new animals, the pictures reflect how that animal views the cat. Some of the animals see in black and white, others are blurry, and as Liam excitedly noticed, the bee views the cat as "polka dots!" With every new page, it's exciting to see who the cat will run into next and how their views of the cat vary.

In its simplest form, They All Saw A Cat is a cute story about a cat and the animals in its world. But there is so much more to this book: animal habitats, predator versus prey, or how our perceptions of the world can be so different. The illustrations are gorgeous and engaging, the story is simple, and we could easily spend a week studying the book and find something new to talk about every day. A+

What's your favorite children's book this week?


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