...was a challenging year for me.  Henry's autism diagnosis, starting early childhood school, therapies, fixing up our house, moving to Maryland and then selling our house--whew!  It was a year of personal life growth for sure.

But, it was also the year of creative growth, too.  I feel lucky to be among such talented company in the Cocorico, Pastiche, and Ringo Pie Bees.  The monthly themes challenged me to my limits, but my sewing skills kept growing to match what I imagined for my design. 

pastiche mosaic

cocorico bee

You'll notice that these mosaics are a little thin for bees that I've been in all year.  I still owe 4 bee blocks for 2012.  Luckily my bee-mates are patient with me. 

ringo pie bee

This was also the year of the Farmer's Wife quilt. I wish I could say that I've finished it, but that is not the case. Maybe I can finish it by spring?

First half of FW, backlit

 I did a little knitting this year. Most of it was very tiny, but I do have the one big shawl to warm me up.

knitted 2012

I finished a couple of quilts to cuddle up in, but I did gave them all away except for one (my AMH voile quilt is covering my lap as I type this (bottom right).

finished quilts 2012

And, lastly, there are some other sewn items that I'm proud of from the year.

other 2012

2012 was supposed to be the year of the finish.  I had nine items from 2011 that I wanted to complete.  Unfortunately I only finished of those nine!  So, I officially declare that 2013 will be the year of completion.  All projects from 2011 will be done this year as well as some from 2012.
I mean it this time. 

I'm grateful for this space to share my adventures in sewing.  Occasionally I need a space where I am a mom but I'm a person, a designer and a sewist first.  Thank you all for joining me over the last year.

Please, take a minute to tell me what you made this year that you are most proud of.  Do you have any specific plans for 2013?


The last week has been a whirlwind.  The boxes hid my tree for a few days,

where is the tree?

but it sure was nice to set up my new craft space and see my fabrics again.

red and green unpacking

We took a break from unpacking last weekend to go to DC.  Henry loved his first Metro ride,

first Metro ride

his first visit to the Smithsonian (Natural History Museum, Oceans exhibit),

first visit to the Smithsonian

and playing on the mall near our Metro stop.

view of the Washington Monument

Gift opening was fun but we have to limit the number of gifts so he doesn't get overwhelmed. 

openining gifts

Henry never seems to tire of the holiday treats.  He has been begging to decorate Christmas cookies since October.  We bought some gluten free graham crackers and found a few GF treats to stick to the frosting.  He had so much fun that we will do it again this week.

decorating cookies

But, first, we have a visit from my brother and niece.  It is so nice to see family in our new home.  It makes it all seem more real.

So, I'll be staying busy until after the new year.  Henry will start school on the 2nd and I'll get a little time to myself.  I look forward to catching up with more blogging friends then. 

I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Our House

We are (somewhat) settled into our new home in Maryland.  We are renting a lovely place on a culdesac with a playground next door.  The neighborhood seems very friendly.  Henry will start school after the new year and we are looking forward to seeing what the programs here can offer him.  We finally got our moving truck three days ago and we just got internet yesterday.

in front of the new house

We put our Wisconsin house on the market the same week we moved out.  In fact, we didn’t allow it to be shown until the day after we left.  As we drove through Pennsylvania, we got a call from our realtor that the very first person that saw the house put an offer on it.  The past three weeks have been busy with negotiating and banking and paperwork, but we just closed on that house yesterday.

I have a special relationship with our house after all of the renovation I did on it.  A few of the posts about home renovation are here, here and here.  I loved our yard and garden, too, (with posts here, here and here).  I didn’t blog about the weeks of work I put in at the end.  Things just got too busy.  Anyway, I’m glad our house will have another family to love it now. 

I made this ornament of our Wisconsin home.  I think it still needs a little more embroidery before it goes on the tree, but I'm a little too schmoopy to work on it now. 

ornament of our old house

I feel grateful for the six plus years we had in our Wisconsin home and I look forward to the good things to come here.
Wishing you all a cozy place to celebrate the holidays with loved ones.

Digging, finding, sewing, packing, etc.

I'd like to start by thanking all of you for sending me good thoughts about packing and moving.  Henry is adapting fairly well so far, though we can see the effects of the change of routine.  We are making steady progress on the house, but Friday is coming up very quickly.

The very hardest room to pack up has been my craft room.  I tend to have too, too many ideas.  I make a lot of piles of random supplies with big, big plans in my head.  And then the piles beget more piles.  I feel like it was an archeological dig down in my basement to some of the ideas I had when we moved in six years ago (or before).  Anyway, in order to tie up some loose ends, I ended up sewing and cutting a lot more in the past two weeks than I had planned on.

I cut up all of the fabric for Ben's quilt and then packed it up.
boy's nonsense

I cut up some squares for a patchwork muted red, white and blue quilt.  I've had this idea swimming around in my head for 3 years and I finally collected enough fabrics for it.

all set to go

log cabin start

I had one starter block received from the 3x6 bee (mrssorrells2009 on flickr) and a stack of fabric that this block inspired.

I started by cutting the fabric into strips to make one large log cabin block. Then, instead of folding up the strips and putting them away, I just sewed them all into a quilt top.

AB and DS log cabin

I look forward to getting a batting and backing on that after the move.

I also dug up some quilt as you go squares from the Mother's Day retreat with crazymomquilts and I finished quilting all of those.  I hope I can get some of them sewn together on the car ride.

quilting squares from retreat

quilting squares from retreat

As I've been packing, the mail has been coming in with ornaments in the Trim the Tree swap.  I'm a lucky, lucky swapper this year!

trim the tree swap ornaments received

Oh gosh.  I'd love to chat more and show off more fabric and quilting and project pictures but I really have to get back to cleaning and painting and bubble-wrapping everything.  I have big craft plans for the drive and for the first couple of weeks before the boxes arrive by moving truck.  Cross your fingers that all of the knitting and hand sewing projects I have in my head will fit in our tiny little car.

Finished sometime last week...I think.

My camera is chock full of pictures to upload and things to write about, but I can only take a brief break in the packing to post this.

This is my Four Corners Quilt designed from one jelly roll and a 8" square of fabric (plus batting, backing and binding).  The tutorial for the quilt top is here.

Four Corners quilted

I am really proud of the quilting on it.  I started with four circles (traced a dinner plate) and my walking foot.  Then I followed the previous quilted line as I circled out further and further until I ran into other lines.  It really was a lot of fun.

Four Corners quilted

I did hand quilt the three center circle lines because those tight curves are tough with a walking foot.

Four Corners quilted

This quilt went to live with the two best neighbors in the universe.  I wish we could tuck them in our car and take them with us on our move.  I'm crossing my fingers that we win the good neighbor lottery again the next time we buy a house.

We take off on Friday, but I'll try to pop in again later this week. 

A bit frantic

We are moving soon. I've lived in Wisconsin all of my life, and now we will be making the big move to Maryland, perhaps as soon as the beginning of December.  I always like to close up loose ends by the end of the year, but packing up an entire house in a matter of less than three weeks is a bit much.  So today's post is a jumbled mess of about four posts all jammed together so I can focus on packing for the rest of the week.

First up is my sunglasses block for Tamiko in the Ringo Pie Bee.  She asked for Magnum P.I. themed blocks.  This block was due in June, but it took me quite awhile to find the right fabrics and the right techniques to achieve my vision for this block.  I hope she loves it as much as I do.
Magnum P.I.

Next up is a recent distraction.  I've been collecting fabrics and perusing patterns for a quilt for Ben for many months now.  He is a mathematician and a birder.  He loves camping, patterns and lists and taking notes about the birds he sees.  I fell in love with Leila's Boy's Nonsense tutorial for the Value Added project and everything came together perfectly. 

boy's nonsense

boy's nonsense

I made eight blocks this weekend and now I'll have to pack them all up to save for another sewing day after the move.

boy's nonsense

My Trim the Tree Ornament Swap mittens are done.  I added a little detail work with size 8 perle cotton.  I hope my partners like them.

make a choice

And you saw this quilt a couple of weeks ago.  It will be traveling to...


...the Pine Ridge Reservation along with the quilt below to keep a couple of babies warm this winter.  The quilt above was my first ever attempt at baptist fan quilting.  The one below was my second attempt.  I think things got better, but I still need a lot of practice. 

donation quilt

Okay, I'm off to pack up my sewing and crafting mess into boxes.  I'll have to save a few hand projects and maybe a couple of other tidbits to work on.


Now that I'm "unstuck" on the Gypsy/Bohemian block for the Pastiche Bee, I find myself sewing "like the wind" to get all of the other ideas out of my head. I finished this porcupine design last night and pieced it today.


And I finished this portal block yesterday. This was another one I was a little stuck on. I think portals are a great theme, but the only idea I had was falling down the rabbit hole. I hope it the recipient likes it.

portal--down the rabbit hole

Well, I can't chat more. I have to clean up new stray threads and old dust bunnies. We have a babysitter coming over so Ben and I can go on a date!

I hope you have a good night, too.

Struggling with a theme


I am ridiculously behind in bee blocks (I think I have seven to make? or more??), but I hope to fix that starting with this block.  This is an accordion block for the bohemian/gypsy theme for September in the Pastiche Bee.  This theme stumped me for the longest time.  I just didn't even know where to start.  Then I finally sat down with wikipedia and looked up both terms.  That was less than inspiring.  I tried google images and got nowhere.  Lastly I tried searching everyone's uploads on flickr with the term "gypsy" and I stumbled on this image.  Finally, it clicked.  I had to do an accordion. 

Incidentally, this block was sitting on the floor last night (my craft space is already covering my dining room table so I've been cutting fabrics on the floor) and Henry came up and tried to play the keys on this accordion a couple of times.  Then he called it a mandolin.  I guess we need to review his folk instruments again.

Trim the Tree

My favorite swap every year is the Trim the Tree Handmade Ornament Swap.  I've been working on some prototypes.

This ornament comes from this Danish blog tutorial from Sofie Legarth.  It ended up a little thick from all of the folded fabric and a bit floppy.  I think it would work a lot better with pretty paper and a bone folder.

Trim the tree trial

I adore this knitted glove, but even with my love for tiny knitted things, I can't tolerate making four more of these.  My wrists ache just thinking about it.

Trim the tree trial

So, I'm going to knit tiny mittens instead.  Both the glove and the mitten are from the Mini-Me pattern by Julia Mueller on ravelry.

Trim the tree trial

I absolutely adore handmade ornaments. Do you have any favorite tutorials or examples to recommend. I'd love to see them.

Slowly finishing

I have a big stack of quilt tops that need batting, backing and quilting.  Thankfully, a friend recently gave me a gentle nudge to finish a few of the baby sized quilts.

This quilt started as a stack of gifted ladder blocks from Amanda of crazymomquilts plus a stack of Connecting Threads solids in the oceanfront colorway.   I may still do a little text stamping or applique to this one, but I haven't decided.


This quilt was an attempt to use up a bunch of Nicey Jane fabric leftovers, the green solid I had intended to use as a backing for another quilt and decided against it, and as a practice for baptist fan quilting. 


And this last baby quilt uses a little more of the Connecting Threads solids, some white and aqua Kona solids and three of the blocks I received in my first round of the 3x6 bee


I'm sick today and spending too much time on the couch, but we finally had a little sun here so I had to take some pictures of my finished quilts. I'd like to take them outside and hang them on the line, but the couch is calling me again.  

I'd like to give an additional shout out to the kind people that continue reading and commenting on my blog.  I've been absolutely lousy about responding to comments and reading other blogs.  Please know that I'm just scraping by over here with some big changes ahead and I appreciate all of you that send a little note to brighten up my day.  It means the world to me.


I have been asked by many, many people how I was going to beat last year's Halloween costume.

Officer Buckle

And, I have honestly replied that I don't think it is possible.  A toddler in a mustache is just too funny so the best I can do this year is to try to match it.

He is a big 3 year old that won't wear hats...except this cool fireman's hat that he got from a safety talk at school.  So...fireman it is. 
halloween costume

 I got an XL men's barn jacket from a secondhand shop, a pack of reflector tape and 3 buckles from Joanns.  And then I used a current sweatshirt and fabric pencil to attempt to size it correctly.  The front, back, collar, sleeves and pockets were all resized to 3T-ish.  I flipped the collar around, I took off the buttons and covered part of the buttonholes with reflector tape.  I used some French seams to make the inside look a little presentable and other seams I just sewed as best I could and didn't worry about how they looked.  (The armholes were quite a challenge with that many layers of fabric and reflector tape in the way.)

The jacket should be sturdy and warm considering he has 4 or 5 places to wear it in the next week.  

Perhaps he'll run across a real fireman that can teach him why fire hoses don't go in the mouth.  


Knitting Tiny Things 2

I've been having a lot of anxiety lately.  That is an odd thing to admit on the internet, but it is true.  There are many things going on in my life that are out of my control and it makes me awfully uncomfortable.  Anyway, when that happens to me I have a few things that help.  One is clutching tiny needles and knitting silly things like Barbie clothes.  

tiny knits 2

The patterns came from this site again.  The skirt and wrap around top are pattern number 248 and the dress is a shorter version of pattern number 849.  These will be sent to my young friend that adores handknit Barbie clothes.  I passed my last model doll over to her, too.  And then I sent my husband out to get me a new doll with the bendy elbows.  Just take a moment to imagine my sweet husband in the store and on the phone with me at home, debating the merits of different dolls for about 15 minutes.  (This one is Hispanic Presidential Barbie 2012.  Thank goodness she stands on her own so I didn't have to talk my husband into lying outstretched on the floor to hold her up for the photos again.  He is a ridiculously nice guy.)

tiny knits 2

And here are two newborn hats for the babies of the Pine Ridge Reservation.  I'll be donating these through Bundles of Joy again.

tiny knits 2

I have more charity and Barbie knits coming up. I know some of you have hinted that you'd like to see some sewing project finishes, particularly the Farmer's Wife quilt and the hexies.  I will get there eventually, but the tiny needles and tiny yarn are attempting to soothe my fraying nerves right now.