Spring Has Sprung! Flowers are blooming, trees have leaves, the birds and the bees are back. And while we are on the topic of Birds and Bees, I'll just say that it seems like babies are being born faster than I can make quilts for them.  The kids have at least 4 teachers who are having babies in the next 3 weeks.  One of those special babies happens to be arriving for Jack's Saxophone teacher and his wife.
I wanted to make him a special quilt because he has really done a wonderful job instructing Jack this year.  However, I was running out of ideas until I ran across this quilt on Pintrist, by Stormy-Day.  I have always had a special fondness for Elephants.  Initially I believe that is why I pinned this quilt.  Well, that and the awesome colors, beautiful placement and the awesome quilting.  It all just screamed at me.
Elephant Quilt by Dana at Stormy-Day

I was inspired to do a similar version, but out of a saxophone.  I found a simplistic version of a saxophone in clip art.  My son Jack, ever the purist, helped me discern what I absolutely needed to include on the quilt to make it look "real".  I took some measurements of the clip art, multiplied all of my measurements by 3 and sketched out an enlarged version of the sax on a larger piece of paper.

If you check out Dana at Stormy-Day talks about how she developed her Elephant quilt.

I had purchased a few selected solids and a purple and polka-dot pattern for the backing at Jo-Anns, I pulled a few scraps from my stash to come up with a slightly more infant color scheme.  I layer the strips out in the shape of my saxophone and sewed them together in a 'rainbow-ish' color pattern.  After I had a very rough version of the saxophone sewn together I traced the inverted drawing on to the back of some Heat and bond. I fused the heat and bond to the back of the saxophone strips and then cut out my Saxophone shape.  following manufacturers directions I fused the Saxophone strips to the white backing.  Using a wide zig-zag stitch I machine appliqu├ęd the saxophone to the white background.   I cut out 3 different sized circles and hand stitched them to the saxophone to look like keys.
Please excuse the wrinkly mess.

I trimmed the background to 36" X44". I cut out 42 assorted 4"x4" squares and bordered the white backing with these.

My original plan was to use the quilting as a tool to emulate "music" coming out of the Saxophone.  I cut out 3 heart sizes and used them as templates to make it look as though hearts not notes were streaming out of the horn.  However in my rush to quilt this beauty I got a little over zealous and quilted the hearts a bit too densely.  You can barely see them.  Sad, I know.  

With the exception of the quilting I really LOVE how this quilt turned out.  I think I may have to make another in Black and White.  I think that the absence of color would be striking. Now this one is all wrapped up and ready for her new home.


Cargo Duffle - An Easter Surprise

Another Easter Surprise?  You Bet!  This past week my Mom was in for a visit.  The kids were SO excited to see her.  They love having visitors, especially family!  Since mom was going to be hanging around for Easter I decided she needed to have her own special 'Easter Basket'.

Unless you have been living under a rock I am sure you have seen Noodlehead's Cargo Duffle pattern floating around on the web.  And if you haven't you can check it out here at Robert Kaufman and here at Noodlehead.

Let me say my bag did not even come close to being as cute as some of the bags out there.  But overall I'm happy with it. The bag came together fairly easily after the quilting of the individual pieces was completed.  I thought the directions were clear and concise.  However, if you get hung up on a step, no worries.  There are many, many bloggers out there who have made the bag and offer their advise, tips and strategies for making the directions clearer.  

How cute are these pockets!  Love them!  They really set the bag apart from other bag patterns that are out there.  I believe on my next cargo duffle I will have a friend of mine embroider some cute designs to take these pockets to the next level.

The bag has a large long zipper which makes getting things in and out of the bag a breeze.  Nothing worse than not being able to find what you are looking for on your trip.  The seams on the inside of the bag are bound, much like a quilt, which makes up for the fact that there is not an actual lining.  However, if you really want one I believe there is a blog or two out there that has adapted the pattern to add in a lining.  I really prefer the bag finished the way the pattern was written. The interior looks nice and neat and the quilting is highlighted.  Beautiful. 


Easter Basket Surprise--Nail Care Pouch

Happy Easter Everyone!  I hope the Easter Bunny brought everyone lots of goodies.  Our Easter Bunny worked well into the night to bring a Hoppy Easter to our home.  (Perhaps if she had started the Easter Basket Surprises a little earlier she would not have had to stay up so late.  But that is just how we roll or...er.. hop)

This year the Easter Bunny got an idea.  A wonderfully, simple basket addition for each of her three little bunnies.  This year along side the chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, peeps and iTunes Gift cards the Easter Bunny decided a homemade nail care kit was in order.  You see the Easter Bunny knew that all 3 of her little bunnies bit their nails.  She also knew that she had the only set of clippers, files and scissors.  That would never do!  So she decided that each little bunny would have to have a set of  their own.  Shopping she went for all the necessary supplies, clippers files, scissors and all!  Oh! What fun she would have!  She sewed hours into the night to finish these pouches for her little bunnies knowing that they would have the best kept nails in town.  This is how she made them..

Nail Care Pouch-

One pouch will hold nail file, cuticle scissors, finger nail clippers, toe nail clippers, and tweezer.
You will need the following:

Supply List:
1 - 6.5"X13" fabric for exterior
1 - 6.5"X13" fabric for interior
1 - 7"X6.5" fabric for pocket
1 - 6.5"X 13" piece of interfacing
1 - 7" X 14 inch piece of batting
2 -  Dritz brand snaps


1. Fuse 6.5"X 13" piece of interfacing onto wrong side of 6.5" X 13" exterior fabric following manufacturers directions.

2. Layer 6.5"X 13' piece of fabric for interior onto batting, right side facing up.  Be sure to center fabric over batting.  Pin layers together and quilt as desired.  I quilted .75" spaced lines down the length of my interior fabric.

3.  Once batting and interior fabric are quilted trim excess batting away and square up fabric to 6.5" X13".

4. Take 7"X 6.5" inch piece of fabric for pocket and fold in half with right sides together, so that piece measures 3.5"X 6.5".  Pin along 6.5" side and sew to make a tube.  Turn tube right side out and press.  Stitch along folded edge.

5. Place tube on right side of interior fabric. 5 inches up from bottom edge.  This tube will become your pocket.  Pin in place to interior quilted fabric matching raw edges.  Edge stitch down sides and across bottom of pocket.

6. Lay interior fabric with pocket basted on right side up with pocket opening facing up.  Mark along pocket width with fabric marking pen for pocket dividers.  For my dividers I marked lines at  .5 inch, 1.75 inch, 2.75 inch, 3.5 inches, 5 inch and 6 inches at both top and bottom of pocket, making sure lines are square with pocket and interior fabric.  Sew along lines to make dividers for nail tools, back stitching at top and bottom of pocket.  Insure tools fit in each pocket now.  Once interior and exterior sides are sewn you will not be able to easily change divider size.

7.  Turn both interior and exterior fabrics wrong side up with pocket opening facing towards top.  Using a round edge of a glass, templet or lid curve top edges of fabric.  This step is optional.  All four corners can be left square if desired.

8.  Pin interior and exterior fabrics right sides together.  Sew together using .5 inch seam allowance.  Be sure to leave 3 inch opening at bottom of pouch for turning. Clip corners and curved edges.  Turn. Press.

9.  Pin seam allowance under.  Edge stitch around pouch.   Fold bottom of fabric up to make flap. Press.  Fold top edge of fabric down to make second flap.  If desired you can top stitch 2.5 inches down from top edge and .25 inches down from bottom of pocket to create fold lines for pouch.

10.  Attach snaps to top pocket flap and bottom pocket flap as desired.


American as Apple Pie Quilt top

This quilt has been bouncing around in my head for at least a year.  It changed and morphed itself into this design quite by accident.

Initially, I had more of a 'pie' look in mind for the quilt.  A pie quilt, one with blocks on point, lattice sashing, prairie points around the boarder and a scalloped edge.

 That idea changed around as I started laying the blocks out on my design floor.  The more I mixed them around the more I liked this layout.  And so this quilt was born.

Hopefully a pattern will follow shortly...
To be Continued.


New Wall Art

I have been doing a bit of hand work lately.  Many of the pieces I have shared with you.  This piece I believe I shared part of it a while back.  It's the Quilt, Sew, Live, Breathe sewing machine cover from Generation Q Magazine.

Well it turns out I decided not to make it into a sewing machine cover and I turned it into a piece of wall art. Here is my finished version.  I chose not to do the entire picture in black and red like the original pattern but added a few of my own choices.

After I pressed, starched and trimmed it I played with lots of different color combinations.  In the end I settled for mostly the black, red and white.  I did mix it up a little bit throwing in a tiny piece of blue, pink, yellow and green to complement my stitches.

I picked up an 12 X 16" canvas at Joann Fabrics one day when I was out running errands, just incase.  Well it turned out that it was the perfect size for my new embroidery project.

Once my red and black border was in place I simply stapled the completed project to the canvas!  Just that easy.  Okay, not quite that easy.  I did have to do some calculations here and there.  The finished embroidery project measures 1.5 inches larger than the canvas.  So for all you math impaired that is 13.5 x 17.5".  I also temporarily taped the project to the canvas to make sure that it was centered the way I liked it.  I'll admit that the manual staple gun has never been my best friend so I did have to beat several of the staples into submission to get them into the frame.

Now comes the really hard part.. deciding where to hang it.


Showing Off

Today I want to show you two of the cutest kids EVER! (just a little biased)  My niece and nephew modeling a few of my sewing projects.
First off are the Christmas projects you may remember.. The toddler apron and chef's hat.

I am told his creations are as cute as he is.

Only made cuter when you actually see a baby in it.. AWE...

 the ever adoriable Cordelia showing it off.

There is no feeling greater, no love expressed more fully, no joy more rapturous then when you see your creations being used and enjoyed.


Simply Woven - {finish}

I spent Friday finishing up this small quilt.

 Using up a stack of 2.5 in strips that may have once come as a jelly roll.  As mentioned in my previous posts I used Simply Woven quilt pattern by Jessica Kelly of sewcraftyjess.com for Moda.  I found her directions superb, I really enjoyed watching the emerging pattern. I ended up making 16 block for this quilt.  However, due to a small miscalculation I could only use 12 on the front and 3 on the back.  Somehow I mixed up the placement of one of the stripes causing the entire block to not match up with the other 15.  One of the downfalls of quilting past your bedtime.

I used an all over quilted swirl on this quilt, trying to balance out the square edges and sharp corners with a few curves and waves.

The back I pieced from a few pieces I had leftover from another quilt + the three blocks I couldn't use on the front. The misfit block that wouldn't work anywhere will probably be made into a journal cover.  Only time will tell. This quilt is going up in the basket of quilts to be gifted.  More than likely it will find a home with one of the 4 teachers we have this year who are becoming first time parents.

E was my big helper for this photo shoot. 
 She really got into it.  Posing in all sorts of funny positions and faces.
  Even she enjoyed this fun quilt.