Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's a work in manic process

Christmas is almost here!  My girls got American Girl dolls from their grandmother for Christmas.  They got them  when we were in Virginia for Thanksgiving.  I had it in my mind to do doll quilts for them.  Two are completed.  One, I like. The other I hate.  I just want to put it in the trash, but my husband thinks that would be silly.  I'm going to share, hoping that my picture doesn't end up pinned to Pinterest as a "What not to do" quilt board.

A few weeks ago I made the Japanese Charm quilt.  I wanted to put a flange binding on it, but ended up transposing the numbers for the strips.  I cut the binding down, but it was obvious that it wouldn't work.  The mis-cut binding was squirreled away. I've never made a doll quilt, but I have observed that bindings on smaller items are often out of proportion to the item.  Maybe I could use this skinny binding on a doll quilt? It turns out that it was still too skinny for someone on my quilting level.  I hate it.

I don't think I mitered the corners correctly either.  I've never been so frustrated with any of my quilts.  As I struggled with it, I marveled that I have ever managed to complete a quilt.

If I'm being truthful, my frustration started with the quilting.  I didn't originally quilt the borders, and went back and added to those lines.  That is a mistake.

So, I'm undecided on what to do with this quilt.  What do you do, assuming you do occasionally, when you have quilts that you just can't live with?

My second doll quilt went a little more smoothly.  I even did my first cheater binding.!

The quilt lines aren't perfect, but I am pleased with it.  I'm even thankful for the disaster quilt.  I learned a lot making both of these little boogers.

I don't think my Mama reads my blog, but in case she does- she should go away.  The next is a result from my Word Play Bee.  The blue was an unfortunate color coordination on my part, but I didn't hate it enough to duplicate the work in another combo.  The border is a bit different than planned.  I sent all of the solid crossweave I had to each member.  I didn't get the leftover fabric back from everyone, so I had to nix the solids from the border.  I used every single scrap of the print in the border.  It was a close one.  So- lesson learned.

It's a quilt, obviously, for my Mama.  The left side (as pictured) is the name of my children- the right their corresponding nick names.  On the back- her "grandmother" name which is:

Rhymes with Panini

My backings end up huge because I use the entire WOF.  I made the middle panel first, and then made a tube with the other fabric.  This way, I only have to do one cut (in this case tear) down the fabric.  I'm comfortable doing it this way, but I think I'm probably wasting a lot of fabric.

I'm getting ready to quilt this sucker- today.   I'm going to do "organic lines" as coined by Tallgrass Prairie Studios.  I'm binding it in gray Heath, and I've thought about doing the lines both horizontally and vertically, but I just don't know!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tooth Fairy Pocketed Patch Pillow

Something big happened at our house today.

Yep, my baby girl lost her first baby tooth.  It happened in a flash.  Recently friends have posted to FB pictures of their children and their gaps, and I thought- wow, Ada doesn't even have a loose tooth.  Last night that changed, and today, the tooth was out.  I thought I'd have a little bit of time to whip up a pillow, but  no such luck.  She lost her tooth at about 3pm.  I decided to make her a pillow out of my favorite fabric-  Sarah Jane. 

I'm always excusing my pictures, but I have a camera that's nicer than my picture taking abilities.  Something is funky about the flash.  Couple that with poor lighting in our home and the late hour, and well, I'm sure by now you're buying the excuses for my poor pictures.  There is no such excuse I can offer for the following tutorial.  It is as clear as mud, but I hope the inferior pictures make it understandable enough to do on your own- should you too need to make a tooth fairy pillow quick like.


-2 pieces of fabric about 9x7 (1 for background, another for backING)
-3 scrap pieces of fabric for front panel

1. Sew two strips of scrap fabric together and hem a seam of the top strip.  This is going to be your pocket.

2. Put these pieces on top of your background fabric.

3. This is where it gets a little tricky.  You need to take your third piece of scrap fabric and position it right sides together over the strips, and the background fabric.  (You're working without a pattern here, and basically what you are doing is freepiecing a patchwork square, or in this case, a rectangle- of sorts.) With a 1/4 inch seam allowance, sew from top to bottom across the background fabric and the strips

4.  Press your seam, flip it over, press the panel.  Easy peasy.

5. Square it up and you're done (with the top), but the hard part is over.

6.  Now, get your backING fabric and cut it to fit the panel you've just created. 

7. Put the backing and your panel right sides together and pin.

8.  Sew all the way around. Leave a gap for stuffing.  Note that my gap is at the bottom.  A better place would've been one of the sides.  

9. Trim your corners.

10.  Go to your kitchen drawer and get those chopsticks that you don't know why you have.  If you don't have said chopsticks, snag a pair next opportunity, stick them in your purse and remember to put them in your kitchen drawer.  Forget that you have them until you need to pull the outside out of the inside of something. 

11.  Ta da.  

12.  Stuff (chopsticks handy here also ) and close your hole.  (In my case- have your Mama do it because your own whipstitch is sad- very sad).

I'll get a better picture of the finished project in the day time. 

Of course you could make this pillow as simple, or complicated- or wonky as it suits you.  I thought about adding an extra piece to the left, leaving a tiny pocket in the middle, but settled on quick and dirty.  Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

Also, how much does the Tooth Fairy leave these days?  My husband says a quarter. I convinced him that that wasn't nearly enough.  He went up to $1- but that's what I got 30 some-odd years ago.  Has inflation hit the TF?  Ada hasn't decided if she wants the TF to take her tooth, so it may be a moot point.  

Winner Announcing Day

Giveaway week culiminates with winner announcing day.  I never imagined that I would have over 200 comments, and thanks to everyone who followed- putting me into double digits.  I tried to respond to all the comments, but missed a few.  I'm in the process of checking out all of your blogs.  But, I want to give out my heartfelt thanks to everyone who took the time to leave a comment.  The winner is: 

Sissy who said: 

Thank you for this give away and reminder about "no reply blogger." I am half way thru the blog hop when I discovered I was "no reply." (sad face)
I love to make baby and children's quilts. they are quick, easy, well received and I can FMQ with my little Kenmore sewing machine. I love your redheaded babies. I had two (now grown). My last child was the only non redhead/freckled child. I love the back of the eye spy quilt. love scrappy backs. Def want to follow your blog. Don't feel bad about not writing often. I get so far behind on my blog..too busy with life to sit at computer. ok, thanks again and enjoy this season with your beautiful children.

Seriously, take a minute and check your reply status. You'd be surprised at the number of people who entered who were no-reply and didn't leave an email.  

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A charm(ing) and novel(ty) giveaway

I want to type something wonderful and witty to want to make you come back here after this Giveaway Day at Sew Mama Sew is long over.  But, nothing charming has come to mind.  Nothing novel at least.

My name is Manda.  I'm a librarian turned stay at home, homeschooling, sometimes quilting, rarely blogging -Mama.  I started quilting a little over a year ago after my family had to uproot our lives in Virginia and move to Alabama for work.  Quilting made those first few lonely months bearable.  I come from a long line of quilters.  In fact, I still sleep each night with a quilt that my great-grandmother made for me.  But, I never took interest in the craft as a young person, so I don't have any great stories about learning to quilt from either one of them, although I am happy to continue the tradition.  Even now, my mother and I have two different quilting styles, so I don't go to her for a lot of things.   However, without her to wind bobbin after bobbin for me until I learned, I wouldn't be the so-so quilter I am today.  I'm happy to report that I am an excellent bobbin winder these days.  With any luck, and with a lot of practice, my children- and one day grandchildren- might treasure quilts made by me.

My kids love I-Spy quilts. I love working with novelty fabric.  Here are some quilts I've made over the past year:

1. Quilt for Maggie Rose, 2. Ada's I Spy- back, 3. Ada's I Spy- front, 4. birthdayquilt2

My oldest daughter and baby son have one.  My middle daughter is waiting patiently for hers.  She's going to be lucky enough to be the recipient of a Spoonflower I-Spy quilt.  I've been fortunate enough to participate in Spoonflower swaps.  One was a small swap.  We ended up with pairs of squares, and I'm happy to offer my duplicate charms in this giveaway. There are also some pairs of Japanese charms I have left over. Maybe you're too a Spoonflower swapper?  Maybe you could use these in a mug rug, or doll quilt?

You will also receive these scraps of novelty fabric.  I've entered several I-Spy swaps and sometimes have extra yardage leftover.  I never know what to do with it, and I'm not one good at saving and remembering to use what I have. These are all large pieces.  If you don't like novelty fabric, then I guess this isn't too exciting of a giveaway for you.

The giveaway is open to anyone who can type.  I'll ship anywhere my post office allows me to ship.  This is the holidays, and I have three small children, so I do appreciate some understanding if I don't get to the post office the day the giveaway closes.   The giveaway will close on the 16th at 7 central standard time.

Mandatory entry- please comment below.  Maybe tell me about a special handmade gift you've either given or received.  The longer-windier, the better(read for me), but it won't improve your chances of winning. Neither will becoming a follower, but I have my candy canes crossed that I'll reach double numbers!  The winner will be picked at random by generating a number at

But, before you leave, I have to have you look at my cute babies!

Merry Christmas, Y'all!

Willa, Ada, and Micah

Santa and Micah

Willa (with shoes on the wrong feet) and Ada with Mrs. Claus and Jingles the Elf

Be sure to stop by Sew Mama Sew to enter hundreds of giveaways today!

PS.  Please make sure that I can reach you.  If you are chosen, and you didn't leave your email, and you are set to no-reply, I'll go to the next person.

Edited to add: 

P.P.S. Please check your blogger profile to make sure that you aren't a no-reply blogger.  I was for a while without realizing it.  There are a handful of people who've entered thus far that won't be able to win because they are no-reply and didn't leave an email.  I hate to think of all that wasted time spent entering giveaways over the next week.

P.P.S.S.  I may not be home to close the comments for the giveaway, so if you can comment, it's still open.  I anticipate that it won't be much later than 7pm CST.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Giveaway Day ~ December 12!

I'm going to be participating in Giveaway Day next week. I have some leftover Spoonflower charms, a couple of Japanese charms, and some pretty large pieces of novelty scraps that the I-Spy lover might like to have.

Giveaway Day ~ December 12!