My Early Birthday Present To Myself

My quilt group wrapped up our Mystery Quilt project last month (pictures of mine to be posted shortly, as I had to redo a part of the quilting that looked like monkey butt), so when soliciting for new project ideas, I jumped in and suggested a totebag. One might say I whipped out the airport elbows and hollered “A TOTEBAG LIKE SHANNON’S PLEASE!” and knocked several old ladies out of the way lest they offer up something different, but then, one couldn’t really prove that, could they?
Truthfully, I was sort of coveting a bag Shannon, one of the group members, had brought in that she had made. Not “coveting” in the sense that I was plotting to take out Shannon (she’s sort of fierce in a nice-but-exceptionally-tall sort of way) and take her bag, but rather upon seeing it, I got the sense that I Must Have A Bag Like That (not unlike my shoe reaction). Not because I don’t have enough random bags in the house to carry all of our worldly possessions already, but I was going to write off the material purchase as a part of my birthday present.
So we got the instructions at quilt group on Tuesday evening, and I finished mine yesterday (a hint at my secret identity based on the initial, but if you’ve ever emailed me you’d know my name anyway).

New Tote Exterior
What’s that fabric, you ask?
Tote Fabric Close-up
Why yes, those are pink circular saw blades! What gal doesn’t want some literal “Girl Power”? Some of the phrases say “Mrs. Fix It”, “Working Woman”, and (my personal favorite) “Word to Remodel”.
Here’s the interior – it’s pretty roomy, as the sides are 18″x18″ with a gusset of about 4-5″.
Tote Interior
I spaced the pockets sizes so I’ve got room for a book (you know, the one I bought for Brief to give me for my birthday), as well as whatever random flotsam I’m sure the kids will chuck in there.
I showed it Brief, all excited that I was finished, and then realized maybe he didn’t want to see circular saw blades ever again. I’m pleased to report, that aside from a partially missing fingerprint and some loss of feeling in the one finger, he’s fully recovered, and that my new tote bag did not set him back in recovery at all.

Projects

Here’s a picture of my sewing table (the table I use for cutting and pressing), with just a few projects. I’d show you my sewing machine, but I’m in the middle of quilting our niece’s wedding quilt, and I don’t want to ruin the surprise for her, but will post pics after she’s married (in February! ARGH! The waiting!)

Click through to the Flickr photo for the notes on what all that is…

Better Late Than Never

I’ve made each of my kids a “baby” quilt, although with very different purposes and time frames. I started Boxer’s while I was pregnant, when we didn’t know if he would be a Boxer or a Bloomer, so I stuck to purples and greens as we did for the nursery colors. It was actually the first quilt I ever made, and it did turn out pretty good for a first time, I think. I finished it a couple months before the birth, and even had it to show off at my baby shower at work.

Bloomer’s I started months after she was born, and I just finished it a couple weeks ago. My excuse/reason for this is that I’ve re-purposed some baby things of hers that I particularly liked. Or that I’ve gotten lazier/busier/slacktacular on the journey to motherhood. So here it is:

Bloomer's Baby Quilt - Finally!

Aside from needing to invest in a better photography setup or something, I am quite pleased with it. The pinks morph into purples and whatnot. Around the outside border are little appliqués of either a cat silhouette from the same purple fleece her pacified cozy is made out of, or a flower from the same purple gingham as the crib dust ruffle.

Or, as in this example, the little leather ladybugs from her baby booties and a cut-out of the flower cluster from my favorite baby dress of hers.

Bloomer's Quilt Close-up 2

Scattered throughout are these little butterfly appliqués which I bought before I was even pregnant with Boxer and said I use them somehow with my first baby. Or second. Whatever.

Bloomer's Quilt Close-up 1

Each kids also has a quilt that my MIL made them with appliqués up the wazoo, and some others that were more functional that we usually throw on the floor to dance on (other than this one that I’m hanging on the wall and not letting her touch). So, finally. Done.

Which is great timing, because she’s not a baby anymore. She is a little girl.

Who’s not getting her mitts on this for a number of years because dammit, it took 2 year to finish.

Flights of Fancy

Brief is off at a business thing in Florida with his business partner, so I’m once again Single Mega Mommy. I’ve been unable to shake the funk I’ve been in for the past week or so, and while I’m sure it’ll be gone soon, it’s sort of annoying. There’s nothing wrong, per se, but I just don’t feel right. Everyone is healthy, Brief’s stitches came out okay and the other finger is healing up. I think I just feel stuck or something.

Before I left for the funeral, I did finish a quilt for our pending grand-nephew (Brief’s nephew is having a baby this summer, so in addition to Brief’s niece that had a daughter before Boxer was born, that makes me a great-aunt twice over) (I am sooooooo old).

Paper Airplane Quilt

Since the family is full of aviation nuts, I used some cute paper airplane fabric I found and made up this pattern based on the cover of this book – the offset isn’t as pronounced in my adaptation, but it was free because I made it up.

Paper Airplane Closeup

Brag Post

So I’ve been doing a little more sewing recently, what with finally adjusting to my WFH schedule and just cleaning up projects and odds and ends. I’ve started subscribing to some blogs about sewing and quilting, especially making things without patterns, which is weird for me since I’m a pattern junkie. And I need to redeem myself after showing the internet those horrible Easter pants. Anywho, I made Bloomer some sundresses:

Sundresses

On the right is a piece of tie-dye print I picked up a local sewing expo for $3 – it goes to darker purple in the back. On the left is one I put together with extra Lightning McQueen fabric I had from making Boxer a pair of shorts. I’ve got enough extra of the polka dot fabric to use it complement some flamingo fabric I got for another sundress, or possibly shirt and capris (and then matching hats for Bloomer and my mom). Both dresses were super easy to make using elastic thread in the bobbin (first time I used it), following this tutorial.

Also in the picture, purple binding for Bloomer’s baby quilt. And a bra I need to mend. Hello internet!

Also, here is the prayer quilt I finished for the sewing group, and a close-up of one of the square.

Prayer Quilt Prayer Quilt Closeup

With the fabrics the group had in the scrap bin, that middle plaid was a bit overwhelming so I overlaid the lace on it. Really, the three “border” fabrics coordinated and the middle plaid and the border fabric sort of matched, but we had to make do with what we had.

Coming up, I’ll be making the flamingo outfit for Bloomer, working on my “mystery quilt” for the quilt group, and the quilt for Bloomer’s “big girl” bed.

Looky What I Made!

When my sister bought her first house in October, I offered to make her something for it. I suggested a quilt for my niece’s bed (she got a new day bed), so when I was in Ohio in November with the two of them, we went to the fabric store so she could pick out some fabric. The fabric she picked out was the green fabric with monkeys on it, and then I got the blue and the giraffe print to go with it. The purple (which is a wee bit overpowering, but still works okay, I think) and the larger monkey print I got once I got home.

Niece's Quilt Closeup

Since it was for a twin size daybed, I made it a little longer than a standard twin quilt since I thought it would be hanging over the head and the foot of the mattress. For those that are familiar with quilting terminology, I stitched in the ditch around all the squares and the purple inner border. Within each square, I alternated one of three patterns – a leaf like the print, a banana, and a squiggle like the vine the monkey is hanging from in the outer border. For the outer border, I just quilted to follow the print along the trees, leaves, and vines.

Here is a wide shot of the full quilt (crappy lighting not withstanding):

Niece's Quilt

It’s the biggest quilt I’ve done so far as I’ve stuck with play quilts and baby quilts to date, so I was quite pleased that it turned out so well (both for me and for my niece!). I got it shipped off just in time for it to get there for Christmas.

I’m currently working on Bloomer’s baby quilt (yes, she will be two next month – thank you for asking – once I post pictures of it, it will make sense why I waited so long to do her baby quilt). After that I’ll be working on a full-sized quilt for her “big girl” bed and a matching doll bed quilt for her birthday.

Farts! And Craps! I Totally Need A Theme Song For This Section of the Blog

Today we’ll start with a quilt I did just to see if I could do it:This is silk dupioni, which came in an assortment of colors I had to have, with no real project in mind, and then my friend Laurie went and got married so poof! Instant reason to make a quilt out of it. Here’s a close up view:

Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of the material, so it’s more of a lap quilt rather than than a bed-sized quilt, which just means she’s got to snuggle with her new hubby a wee bit closer.

But not too close, because next thing you know, you’re popping out kids and writing blogs with the phrase “farts and craps” and words like “pantsfreesia”.

And next, something I did for Bloomer that she finally, after four months, used properly.

That’s a pacifier, tied to the stuffed kitty with a ribbon. Clever, no?

And now, here is Boxer’s contribution to the Farts and Craps section of the blog:

I know. I, too, was totally struck speechless by its… beauty? artistic composition? unique ability to succintly capture the feelings of an entire generation of Daycare 90210 followers?

I believe I will let his art speak for itself.

Although I could swear I heard it saying: “Put me out of my misery… take me to the trash…”

Lemonade

Since I like to think that being at home means I can “do” stuff, like clean, sew, or do dishes or laundry (with or without Boxer’s help), I’ve made two quilts for a good friend of mine that’s having twins boys in a couple weeks. Below is one of them.

The other one looks the same, only with different black and white squares. Each of the quilts has a shamrock square, as he is Irish, and when I scanned his ultrasound photos for him, I put leprechaun hats on his fetuses. I must stretch the joke as far as it can possibly go before snapping in my face.

On the back I put the label with my name and date and an different Irish blessing on each quilt.

Here’s a close-up of one section:

Here’s something I didn’t tell him about those fleece hearts on the quilts. Sure, it’s soft and fuzzy and can stimulate the sense of touch as well as the visual acuity from the contrasting black and white, but it’s also covering a boo-boo.

Two of the squares I used were a batik print, and I guess the dyeing process weakened the fabric in certain places because once I got the quilt top assembled and started quilting it, I noticed that there were holes in the fabric. Which sucks because I didn’t want to take the whole thing apart just to replace that one square. And oddly enough, it was one square on each quilt, essentially in the same place in relation to the shamrock square.

So as a creative solution, I made a big old heart-shaped fuzzy fleece patch and stuck it over the offending holes, creating a warm and fuzzy symbol of love and all that stuff.

Insert your own pithy comment about making lemons out of lemonade.