Last Finished Quilt of 2011

I worked my butt off on the quilting and binding for this quilt and managed to finish it in time for Henry for Christmas. 


This quilt is the last of four I Spy quilts.
It is the last quilt for the year and the last of my parade of handmades.

Henry square
(Henry's fishy square)

I started his I Spy quilt knowing two things, I wanted to use the Ann Kelle Remix Stripe somewhere in the quilt and that I was willing to cut into anything to get some interesting prints.

ann kelle remix stripe as binding

When I had finally pulled together the 135 prints for his quilt, it still took months and months before the full design came to me.  I'm not a fast designer.  Either the idea has come to me, or it hasn't arrived yet.  I try to be patient until the right plan comes to mind, but it isn't always easy.  The design for this quilt came over months of thinking about it.
One day, I just woke up and I knew I wanted to use more than color for the solid squares.  I thought that they would be random....

another double quilted plus

Then, weeks later, I decided to arrange the squares in a plus sign design.

 double quilted plus

Then, it took months before I figured out that I wanted the spy fabrics arranged by color
and in pluses also.

more hand quilting

The quilt squares took up the whole floor of my dining room for two weeks before I figured out that the pale background spy prints had to go at the bottom of the quilt and offset by the colored solids.

"see da gnomes!  see da bunnies!"
Henry says, "see da gnomes! see da bunnies!"

Even once the top was designed, it still took me ages and ages before I knew how to quilt it.  Eventually, I decided on a mix of machine and hand quilting.


"bwooberries, cwabbies and bugs"
Henry says, "bwooberries, cwabbies and bugs"

all done

Here is the recipient inspecting the I Spy squares:


I think he likes it!


Thank you to Rachel, Audrey, and Sandi for helping me to collect fabrics!

And thank you to all readers and commenters on this blog.
It really does help me stay motivated to finish projects throughout the year.

Happy New Year to you!

Mom's Pillow

Kerry's and Leila's recent posts about making pillows got my mind whirring.  Naturally, I thought I'd try to make one for my mom.  This was so fun that I might become a pillow addict soon.

mom's pillow

I used Kerry's pattern and put my own twist on it with 
added angles, quilting, zipper closure and and put a star on top of the tree.

mom's pillow

The star is from an IKEA print and I put a little red hand stitching around it.

mom's pillow

For this project I put in my first invisible zipper.

mom's pillow

My mom is so excited about the pillow, and that made it easier to let go.

mom's pillow

Parade of the Handmades

I made a few other gifts for the holidays....

First up is a felt ornament for Ben.  He is a big Cubbies fan and all he wanted for Christmas was tickets to a game this summer.  But, I had to make something for him, too.  Ben's birding friend, Mike, has a bunch of Packers and Brewers ornaments on the family tree.  So, naturally, I had to step in so Ben could root for his team while decorating the tree.

Cubs ornament for the hubs

Then I made this little pouch with a pattern by Keyka Lou. This is the Keychain Clutch pattern and is just as cute as can be.

Keychain Clutch open
Keychain Clutch closed

Lastly is another Keyka Lou pattern called the Bubble Pouch.  I think it is super cute and simple to sew.  And, as an extra bonus, Keyka Lou is is having a sale on patterns she is retiring and this is one of them.  The pattern is only $3, but, you have to hurry here before January 1st. 

Bubble Pouch open

Bubble Pouch front

Bubble Pouch side

I still have a few more handmades to show, but I have to get some decent photos first. The gloomy winter weather is not cooperating.

The kitties have moved in!

I finished renovating the house for Henry in the early morning hours of Christmas Eve.  

outside of house

In addition to the painting, three rooms got new wood floors and two received new "tile". 

kitchen and green bedroom


The kitty family moved in on Christmas morning.


Henry's excitement made everything totally worthwhile.  The kitties have been very busy trying out the stairs, the potty, the bathtub and the bed (under the covers, of course).  And, we've mostly dissuaded Henry from crawling into the house or using it as yet another percussion instrument.

I hope your holidays were joyous.


For three days I've been taking out carpet and wallpaper, priming, painting, sanding, laying flooring, and more painting.  All for Henry's gift on Christmas day.  The work is not yet finished, 
but I thought that I could post a few "before" photos. 

This is the dollhouse my dad made for me for Christmas when I was a child.  He decorated it with carpet samples and wallpaper scraps that matched my childhood home. 

outside of house

The house was designed with 4 large doors that opened up--two in the front and two in the back.   
The doors are held shut with magnets.

bedroom and livingroom and stairs

diningroom wallpaper

The attic is under one side of the roof. 

and attic

Stay tuned for the new and improved house!  
I can't wait to see the look on Henry's face on Christmas morning.

Toddler Gingerbread Houses 2

We had so much fun decorating gingerbread last year that we just had to do it again.  I made a big batch of royal icing, put the sprinkles into shaker containers and bought a few candies to share. The parents brought a gingerbread kit assembled the night before so it could withstand the decorating enthusiasm.

henry before

henry after

This year, Henry was very busy with eating any candy that I put on the house.  His favorites were the cinnamon red hots and the gumdrops.  He also loved tucking all sorts of candy in the gingerbread house windows.

samuel before

samuel and matthew after

Samuel recently turned one. He was most fascinated with playing with the candies in the crinkly wrappers so his daddy helped with the decorating.

jonas before
jonas after

Jonas was also a big fan of the candy tasting. He liked placing the gingerbread marshmallows in the yard, too. One of those marshmallows is Jonas, one is Henry, one is his mommy, one is his daddy, etc.

I had a lot of sprinkles and candy to sweep up after all was done.
That has to be the sign of a good toddler craft :)

candy in the windows
Before I close here, I have to show one more photo of the candy stuffed into the windows.

I'm pretty sure that Henry wishes our house looked like that inside.

Sun to photograph by

I swear I haven't seen the sunshine for a week or more.  But this morning the sky is clear and blue.  Finally, it is a good day for quilt photography!

This was my initial sketch for a quilt for our friend (soon to be one year old!) Miles.  I bought some water themed fabrics and tried to include them all in the quilt plan.

initial drawing

Soon after starting my piecing plan, I realized that the prints were too bright and with strong contrast.
They needed more solids to balance the design. 

fabrics detail

The turtles and the zig zag stripe are from Wendy Slotboom for In the Beginning.  The whales are Anne Kelle Urban Zoologie.  The octopus/whale/submarine print and the school of fish are from Cosmo Cricket Snorkel.  The big bubbles are Jennifer Paganelli Bell Bottoms.  The solids are Kona white, Connecting Threads ocean mist and marine (I think marine is discontinued).  
The quilt is bound in the marine fabric also.

I made a lot of adjustments and added solids as I went along with the cutting process.  
I think it worked out. 

swimmy quilt for Miles

I hope a certain one year old likes it!

(Photos of this quilt were brought to you by sunshine and a patient husband 
willing to stand and hold up a quilt on a frosty morning.)

(Unofficial) WIP Wednesday #8

WIP Wednesday is hosted by Lee at Freshly Pieced, but the linky party is on holiday until January.  I still need this routine to keep me in line at this time of year. 

Last week I was astounded, yet again, that my WIP count is at fifteen!!

Then I finished these legwarmers

and this quilt for a friend's baby (full pictures and write up coming soon).
swimmy quilt is bound

And....then I added two more holiday crafting projects to the list.

One is a wood and glue and magnets contraption that I'm excited about, but it is a gift so I can't share right now.

The other is a renovation project on the dollhouse that my dad made me when I was a kid.  I'm updating the paint and flooring and Henry will receive it under the tree this Christmas....and I have no pictures to share.

Sooooooo, take away two and add two....that means that my final project count is still at fifteen.
There isn't much time before the new year.  Do you think it is possible to reach nine WIP's?  Please tell me it is possible.  Pretty please?

The things I do for art


I finished the legwarmers this week. It turns out that this project is nearly two years old, not one like I previously stated. But the funniest part of this story is the photo shoot. Ben rarely takes photos, so he needs a lot of direction behind the camera to get a blog-worthy shot. Also, I'd usually wear the legwarmers under jeans. I don't even own a winter skirt. So, I was either standing on a chair next to our tree in the front window of our house--in my underpants. Or, I was not so gracefully getting up and down from the chair to help Ben with the camera--still just in my underpants. Our neighbors across the street are in their seventies so let's all hope that their eyesight isn't very good....

The legwarmers are cute, though.

WIP Wednesday #7

It has been far too long since I participated in a WIP Wednesday. There isn't a linky party today, but I needed to organize my project list anyway.

(Please remember that WIP Wednesday is brought to you by at  Lee at Freshly Pieced.)

Projects Finished!

Dr. Seuss Holiday Jammie Pants for Henry.  I finished them last night and now he won't let me take them off of him.  Sewing success!!
dr. seuss jammie pants

December blocks for the do. Good Stitches bee--Scrappy postage stamp blocks for girl and boy quilts.
dream do. good stitches

dream do. good stitches

Front Burner:  these are the things I'm currently working on.

Two custom pincushions for the giveaway! --no photos, I hope to finish them in the next week.

WI block for TinaTina's Quilt --This Wisconsin block is done and I have a curved piecing tent block in process for this quilt!

This is for a pillow for my mom's birthday.  I started with the tutorial from verykerryberry.  My mom would prefer the angled branches, so I made adjustments to the pattern.  The front of the pillow is done.  Now I hope to learn how to install an invisible zipper for the back.  Wish me luck :)

nearly thereKnitting?!?! --these are some leg warmers started nearly a year ago.  If I can remember how I did the cast off on the first legwarmer, I could be done with this project today.  If...

prepping blocks for the fwqal
Farmer's Wife Quiltalong--40 blocks cut out and ready to piece.  The group is on holiday, but I may just have to sew up a few of these anyway.

Henry's I spy wip
Henry's I Spy Quilt --The top is finished and I  think I have my quilting plan all set.  I must get over inertia and baste this soon.  I really want this done in time for Christmas.

Miles' Swimmy QuiltSwimmy Quilt for Miles--I just need to bind and wash it. 

Back Burners:  All of the following projects have not been touched in weeks or months, so I'll just quickly list them here:

sewing together
Hexie Insanity --the pile of hexies sewn together is bigger, but I don't have a recent photo.

sparkling pond
Sparkling Pond --This quilt is still on vacation for a little while.

tiny housesTiny Houses May Moms Quilt

top left cornerSew Buzzy Bee Quilt Top

all sewn upDresden Quilt

hexies!1st Hexie project

red and pink wipPink and Red Baby Quilt

dream on postage stamp wip
Dream On postage stamp quilt along


New = 0
Finished = 2
Front Burner = 7
Back Burner = 8
Works in Progress = fifteen!  I was really hoping to get this number in the single digits by the new year, but that just doesn't look possible at this point....