Friday, March 29, 2013


Ninjago pillow

My son's recent obsession is related to all things Ninjago.  The little Lego ninjas are fun and he plays with Legos for hours and reads every Ninjago book he can get his hands on.  If you recall, he was also a ninja last Halloween (Kai, the red Lego ninja to be specific). 

Connor came to me with this sketch he had made asking if I could help him make it into a pillow.  In his eyes, I can make anything. 

Connor's drawing

He started explaining that he made some changes to what he really wanted - the eyes were simply shaped (to make it easier on me) and the yellow skin was replaced with red (so I wouldn't have to buy another color fabric for just a little bit).  So sweet.  I had lots of scraps of fleece so multiple colors was not a problem.  As for the simple eyes, I asked him to bring me his original inspiration so I could see.  He brought me one of his Ninjago books.

design and inspiration

I told him I could make a face like the one on the book if he wanted.  He was very excited and he loved watching me draw my pattern which I used to make the face.

my "pattern"

I'm slightly ashamed to say I had more than enough fleece in the house for this project.  I finished quickly, but I didn't have enough fiber-fill to fill up the pillow.  It would have to wait until morning to finish when I could run out and get some more.  When I told him this, Connor ran to his room and came back with $1 in his hand -- money he had earned from shoveling the driveway.  He told me he didn't want me to have to spend money on something he wanted so he asked if that would be enough for more "stuffing" and of course, it just melted my heart.  

Of course it was more than enough.  


Tuesday, March 19, 2013



I along with so many others, have fallen in love with the Swoon Quilt from Thimble Blossoms.  I am going to make a large version (one of these days) for my bed, but for now, I wanted to test it out and do a single block.

fabric detail, 2

I had intended for this to be quick and done in a day, but things don't always work out like that do they?  Between kids getting sick, me getting sick and then spring break (which did not occur for both kids at the same time) -- it did make it difficult.  The pattern warns to cut the fabric very carefully as there isn't enough fabric left over to cut again if you make a mistake.  OK, well I took my time cutting to make it perfect.  . . . . I neglected to read the next instructions carefully.  Well, I made a big mistake (using the wrong size squares to make HST) and I realized it too late.  Anyhow it remained untouched for a while since I was angry at myself for making such a stupid mistake.  I tried to get a the same fabric to replace it, but I couldn't get it and I changed fabrics.

And after all that  . . . I like it more than what it would have looked like had I not made the mistake.

Aside from my mistakes, it is a lovely pattern and block and I'm very excited to work on my larger version at a quilt retreat I'm running off to in April.

fabric detail,1

I named this little doll quilt "Recess".  I don't think I've ever named a quilt before, but it seems very fitting.  Little girls playing ring around the rosie in the center, and hopscotch all round and the rest of the girls jumping rope, picking flowers and just having fun. 

The center block is David Walker's Circle of Friends for FreeSpirit, the yellow print is also David Walker,  Girls at Play from Hopscotch (also FreeSpirit), the blue is a bit of KONA leftover from Gwyneth's Cinderella dress (which I believe is Cotton Candy Blue) and lastly the cute hopscotch print is from Sarah Jane's Children at Play, Hopscotch.

fabric back, detail

The quilting design was simple.  I outlined the girls in the center with a circle and had squiggly lines all coming out from that (like the sun), which I've been wishing would melt all this snow away here.

The back is a solid piece of Girls at Play.

 doll quilt back

Gwyneth is ecstatic to now have two doll quilts.  She's designated this quilt for "Little Baby", whom she named when she was 2.5 yrs old.  

doll + quilt

dolly asleep on her quilt

Friday, March 8, 2013

Easy Quilt Basting

505 spray

I just discovered 505 Basting Spray!  It. Is. Awesome. 

It is (very nearly) odorless.  Spray startch is way stinkier than this.  It doesn't gum up the machine and it makes quilting a dream.  To use it, iron your bottom and quilt top very well.  I also like to iron my batting, but that's up to you.  Start by laying out the batting first.  Lay out the backing on top.

batting and back

Lift up half of the backing to expose the batting.

layer it

Spray evenly with the 505 on the batting.  You don't need much.

spraying the 505

Lay the backing back down and smooth it out with your hands starting from the center and working out.  Lift the other side up and repeat.  Turn it over and do the same for the top.


The pictures here are for a small doll quilt, but the same method works for a much larger quilt.  The whole thing takes less than 5 min.  No more pinning.  No more puckers.  And more importantly no more cursing while quilting.  Yay!  Happy basting (and quilting)!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Scrappy Doll Quilt

scrappy doll quilt

I love using up scraps of fabric.  This little doll quilt was made with leftover strips of the Modern Granny Square quilt I made last fall.

scrappy doll quilt, details

I used scraps of fabric for the binding and the back.

quilt back

For the quilting, I used one of the pre-programmed stitches in my machine. 

quilt line detail

Gwyneth helped her doll explore her new quilt.

scrappy doll quilt 2

Gwyneth was happy.

hanging with her dolly

Gwyneth told me her doll was happy to.  

big baby checking out her new quilt

Monday, March 4, 2013

Pretty Patches

pretty patches

I have a big pile of mending -- mostly pants with holes.  Connor's tend to get holes very fast.  Mine get holes too -- I find a pair of jeans I love and I just wear them out.  Patches can be pretty and fun -- not just economical.  These patches were inspired by a friend of mine's awesome pair of patched jeans.

holes in both knees

If you're mending jeans, make sure you trim an excess threads from the hole so it's not bulky under the patch.

jeans hole

Did I mention this is a great way to use those fabulous bits of scraps?  Well, yup.  All of those gorgeous bits of fabric can cover your holes and give you some style. 

Cut a piece of fabric approximately 1/2" larger in both directions than how big you want your patch to be.

cut out a patch

Turn it right side down and fold the sides in roughly 1/4" and press.

fold under raw edges and 

Turn it over and press again to make it nice and flat.

iron on the top

Place it on the pants and pin in place.  Make sure you only pin through one layer of the pants.

pin the first patch

Using a needle and thread, hand sew the patch down.  You can hide your stitches like I did or make decorative blanket stitches or other pretty stitches.  To make sure you don't sew through both pant legs, it's a good idea to keep your hand inside the pants while sewing.

pick some thread 

start stitching
I like to use a double thread thickness to help secure it.  The threads are a little more pronounced, but it's up to you.

stitch in place

Once you've sewn all the way around, make another patch and pin in place.   These didn't need a second patch to cover the hole, but it looked so much better with a second one.

 pin on the second one

And you're done!  Pretty patches for your pants!



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