Fruit Salad Quilt Complete! (at long last)

Remember my Fruit Salad quilt? I received most of these blocks back in 2011 from the Long Distance Quilting Bee members, plus a couple from myself and my mom. I made the quilt top a while ago but never got around to finishing it. Last week I quilted the top, batting, and backing together. Yesterday I finally made and attached the binding.
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I love the flannel I used for the back. Originally I was thinking of using the banana fabric for the back, but the quilt is so much more snuggly with flannel on one side. The polka dots were originally white, and I prewashed it initially for my sister’s Christmas quilt, but since it was bleeding enough to turn the polka dots pink at the time, I used different backing on her quilt. I think the polka dots look so cute on this fruity quilt. The quilting around the individual blocks just gives the back a hint of interest so your eye doesn’t go crazy staring at all the dots.
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I love the look of the yellow banana binding contrasting with the red flannel as well. Maybe I just love bright colors?
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I sewed around the borders 1/4″ away from the seam on both sides for each border. Its simple, but thats okay. The differences in block colors & pattern are busy so I’m okay with straight forward borders & simple quilting on the borders. I’m really glad to have this unfinished project finally finished!

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Refinished Mirror

This is a mirror that has resided in my garage for almost a year. I swiped it from my sister-in-law’s garage sale items last summer. Originally it was attached to a long dresser, and I don’t need another dresser…thus I took the mirror alone. I like that its big, but I don’t like how dark it is. IMG_9824
I decided to refinish it using a compilation of techniques from my own past experience upcycling Craigslist furniture, and one of the paint techniques Cyndy uses on The Creativity Exchange. After priming the wood, I mixed spray paint & some acrylic in a bowl & applied it with my finger. I wore a latex glove because I didn’t feel like getting paint all over my fingernails & skin creases. If I didn’t like how it went on, I just added/smeared/mixed paint until it pleased my eye.
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The wheat at the top of the mirror looks so much better with its lighter look!
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After fingerpainting the mirror with my multi-tone paint, I mixed some wood stain with some light colored acrylic. This I applied with a cheap sponge brush, and after about a minute rubbed it off. I rubbed it with varying degrees of pressure to get a bit of a worn look. Thomas thought it looked like fun, so he joined in with me on this part—he did the part in the photo below, and I think it looks amazing–just like birch bark!
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After it was entirely dry, I lightly went over it with sandpaper. I think it looks pretty good! I am still deciding where to put it, but I like the fact that if I get tired of it looking like this, a new coat of paint will give it a complete makeover. DIY projects are so worth it!
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Burp Cloths!

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This past week I finally found the time to “prettify” some burp cloths. My boys’ burp cloths are half worn out, and I made them from patterned flannel that really scream BOY so it was fun to buy some white burp cloths & scavenge through my ribbon basket to find some feminine samples to adorn them.
Random fact: it is almost impossible to find white burp cloths where I live. I think I went to four different stores, including Target and Walmart, none of which sold these nice, white, traditional burp cloths. What is wrong with them? I ended up ordering these from Amazon. Regardless of the hassle they were to procure, I’m happy with the end result.
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More Pink Scrap Quilt

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Remember when I said that I wasn’t in a hurry to finish the pink scrappy quilt that I am working on, but that its so fun to work on? Well, the joy factor struck again and I made the center of the quilt.
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I have been seeing these giant starts crop up from time to time on other sewing/quilting/crafting blogs that I follow, and I finally decided to just go for it & make one using the same fabrics I’ve used in the small blocks for my giant star.
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I played around with the layout a bunch as you can see. I actually deleted more potential layouts from my camera…I am only posting these ones because I really like them for one reason or another.
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Several of these would have worked but I wanted to find one that gave the most balance between light & dark, busy & calm, solid & print.
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Ultimately the photo below is what I went with. Its hard to see in this photo because it was dark and I really only took this photo so I’d remember where to lay out the pieces as I sewed them together bit by bit. In real life, it looks amazing. I think this will be a very fun bedspread someday!
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Thomas says I should call this the ‘Fablehaven Quilt’ because I only work on it at night when my husband is reading Fablehaven aloud to the rest of us. All the blocks I’ve made including this giant star were made this way, and last night we finished the series. Fun stuff.

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Some Recent Projects

I just finished a baby blanket I’ve been working on for over a month. Here is a peek at the back: IMG_9686
Basically you sew diagonal lines through 4 yards of flannel. Then, you cut through 3 of the layers, leaving 1 layer to hold it all together! When you wash it, the cut flannel gets all wriggly and curvy and its very fun for babies to stroke and snuggle with. 🙂 Maybe I’ll post a tutorial on how to do it if I make another one before my little girl makes her debut in this world. Here is a snapshot of the front flipped onto the back.
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I also went to a baby shower for a friend, and sewed a purple baby blanket for her. I actually have several purple flannels with cute prints, but I’m hesitant to use them for myself because I’ve never been a huge fan of purple. That is to say, I like it on other people & in other people’s homes, but I just can’t envision myself or my personal projects as being purple-heavy.
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I also whipped up this little number…just a single layer of flannel with the edges turned over twice. Its hard to tell in this photo, but its fuchsia on cream. IMG_9488 I think its darling. After the previous paragraph, do I need to state that this doesn’t really count as purple in my book because the fuchsia contains a lot of red/pink? I remember using a lot of single-layer blankets for my boys when they were under 6 months, so now I’m trying to decide which of my flannel patterns to use to make 2 or 3 more.

The women’s organization at my church is holding a charity auction tonight. If you wanted to donate you could either make something to donate, or donate an actual service (like babysitting for someone else, or cooking lessons, etc) I made this cute star using a liberated quilting technique. IMG_9751
Then I turned it into a pillow. I stuffed it pretty well, its quite firm. IMG_9754I think that if no one wants it then its no loss because it will match the pink & aqua quilt I’m working on. Who knows, maybe I’ll make myself a matching pillow anyway! I used the light aqua color as a seam border, and the dark teal on the back. I think it turned out quite cute! IMG_9755

Last but not least I am also, slowly, getting my jar quilt put together. Here is the layout I decided on: IMG_9476
Now I have a stack of jars on my ironing board, waiting to be ironed so I can lay them out again & sew the next connecting seam on my rows. My goal in January was to get as many partially finished quilts finished this year (and hopefully before the baby comes) as possible. As this post probably demonstrates, I’ve had a lot of distracting sewing projects happening! But I think I’m finally getting to a place mentally where I ought to be able to finish my Fruit Salad quilt, and hopefully this jars quilt, in March. I also feel guilty about not plugging away at the sampler quilt I started (see some blocks here and here…back when I first started posting them on Y Seams) so I suppose its a good thing that I dropped out of most of the bees, swaps, and flickr exchange groups I did last year!

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Scrappy Pink Quilt

I’ve been working on a few projects lately but haven’t really taken great photos until today, so that is my excuse for not posting on this blog for so long. I’ve got a few baby blankets underway that I’ll share with you after they’re complete. In the meantime…check out this sweet pink alphabet fabric!
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I saw it and immediately thought it would look so sweet with different shades of teals and pinks in a scrappy quilt. Playing around with the fabrics I have, I came up with this:
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I think that the dark pink is a little strong, & would overwhelm the pale pink background of the alphabet pretty easily if the whole quilt were done like that. Fortunately, I only want little pops of the dark pink here & there. I found some lime fabrics and some whites/off-whites to mix in as well.
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I also have some fabrics for this quilt from clothes that my grandma and mom have made, one in particular dates back to the 1950’s! I thought it would be fun to preserve some of those fabrics in a sweet little scrappy quilt for a little girl to enjoy for years and years.
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I only have 5 blocks made so far. I’d like to make 12 or 15, and then frame each block with a white border, but have a colored square connecting each block on the border corners, similar to this quilt. My plan is for this to go on my baby’s bed when she’s big enough for a real bed. With these 5 blocks I like the scrappiness, but I also like all the different teals framing the white diamond that the diagonal alphabet squares move across. I haven’t really made a huge plan for what color goes where, as far as the small scrappy squares are concerned. I’m just randomly picking fabrics & will let the finished product be a surprise to myself, along with everyone else, to see how it all comes together.
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I think that the white borders will help tone down the busy-ness of the fabrics, but at the same time I want the words SCRAP QUILT to come to mind when someone sees the finished product. Since the end goal for this quilt is still several years away, I’m not feeling stressed to finish it…but not feeling stress while working on something is so enjoyable that it just might come together more quickly than anticipated!

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Indiana Jones Quilt: Project Complete!

At long last, the Indiana Jones quilt is complete! IMG_9481

Thomas is so happy. He loves it because its big enough for him to wrap himself up within its snuggly folds.

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Here it is all laid out, ready to sew. Because each block was a different size, Thomas & I ended up sewing various fabrics around the blocks which we then squared up. Thomas picked background fabrics which he thought were appropriate for Indiana Jones.

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I just freehand quilted with my machine diagonal stripes across the blocks, about 2-3″ apart. Then I went around the border twice. Its hard to tell in these photos, but it frames the blocks so they pop pretty well.

The script in the middle spells out THOMAS in runic alphabet letters. I found the alphabet on this site, and just sort of free-pieced them together. They could be cuter & more uniform, but I’m just telling myself that they were carved by some prehistoric person who wasn’t very skilled at homogeneity, and calling it good. Why did I choose this alphabet, you ask? Because I thought it would be easier to piece together than egyptian hieroglyphics!

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We used this brown and cream print flannel for the back. I folded it over twice to make the binding, and it adds a nice touch of “Jonesie” to the front. I saw this flannel on Black Friday last year when Joann’s was selling flannel for $1/yard. Score! I think the skulls add an appropriate touch.

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Thomas has been sleeping with his quilt ever since it was finished.

In his words, “I love it. Its really warm, nice, snuggly. Its one of a kind!”

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Christmas Quilt, 2012

After I had so much fun making my Christmas quilt last year, I decided that I was going to make a Christmas quilt for each of my siblings. I drew one of my sisters for this year’s gift exchange so I decided to make her her own quilt. Originally I wanted the whole thing to be Christmas candy and cookies, but I had the hardest time finding appropriate fabrics throughout the year. I waited to start it until after Thanksgiving because I was hoping new lines of quilt fabric for the holidays would have more sweets in them, but I didn’t see what I was looking for so I ended up just using a hodge podge of fabrics.
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I asked my sister if she’d rather have squares or triangles highlighted in her quilt. She told me she didn’t care, she was just happy to be getting a quilt! So I decided to compromise with half-square-triangles. I cut out 81 6″ squares of color with each square making 2 hst blocks when combined with 81 6″ squares of white. I looked at a bunch of Christmas quilts on flickr for inspiration, but I didn’t really see anything that suited my fancy. Ultimately it was this mini-quilt, done by Leanne of Daisy and Jack that I got my inspiration from.
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As you can see, though, I didn’t continue the ripple of squares throughout the quilt…just alternated diamonds of white and scrappy color. I love how the quilt top came together. I tried to use wintergreen mint blocks in each square because I remember driving around with my sister when she was in high school, and she always had a package of green mints by the stick shift. ALWAYS. So when I saw that fabric I knew it had her name all over it as far as I was concerned. The rest of the fabrics are a mix of fabrics I ordered last summer from Pink Castle Fabrics and left-overs from my own Christmas quilt. At the last minute I decided to throw in 2 squares of yellow (making 4 hst blocks) because thats my favorite color and I thought it would brighten up the quilt from simply red, white, and green renditions.
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I love pinning quilt tops. I think its my favorite part of the quilting process, outside of making the individual blocks. Getting the backing and batting and binding ready always feels like grunt work to me, but once everything is sandwiched together I just love the process of pinning it together.
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I dread the actual quilting before it happens, but once I start it doesn’t bother me. Of course, once I start I don’t want to stop until its done because I know that if I walk away I’ll start to dread coming back to it. Silly, I know, but mental games can be my biggest personal challenge when it comes to solo projects. I always do better if I can just knock everything out in one big swoop. This time the dread was a little worse because I had picked out some great red flannel with white polka dots to use as backing, but when I prewashed it the color ran and the polka dots turned pink. I washed it again hoping it would lighten the polka dots but alas! The pink color just deepened. Rather than continue washing and washing I just decided to switch to a green backing that didn’t clash too badly with the front.
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I ended up quilting this very plainly, just 2 lines emphasizing the shape of the squares. No stitch in the ditch here–the lines are 1/4″ inside and outside the squares and diamonds. I like the way it worked out. For batting I used some warm and natural cotton that I found at the bottom of my batting barrel in the closet. I can’t remember what the original project was I bought it for, but it sure worked out nicely for this one.
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Originally I was making individual blocks for this quilt at my leisure (each one is about 20″ square) but then I woke up one day and realized it was December 18th and I better finish the top and get this thing put together so it could make it through the post in time for Christmas! At that point I just dropped everything else and finished the entire thing in 2 days. Those 2 days include potty training and running kid-related errands, so if you didn’t have time-sucking distractions I bet the whole thing could come together in 1 day if you only stopped to eat, sleep, and shower. Its a pretty simple, straight forward quilt top and I love how it came together!
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Eddie also loves how it came together! This little guy was trying to wrestle the quilt away from me non-stop! I could barely get it away from him to finish binding it. As far as he was concerned, it was his personal snuggle quilt. He kept saying “Nice” and stroking it with his hand or hiding under it, haha.
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Remember how I said I cut out 81 6″ squares? Well, after I had mailed this off to my sister I found a block hiding under the batting. I didn’t even realize I had it! I made the hst’s before I had picked a pattern; I have so many leftover hst’s that I think I’ll be able to make an almost identical sister quilt, and I think Eddie would be most appreciative. It won’t happen in time for this Christmas, but I like the idea of it because then I’ll have a red-based quilt for one sofa and a green-based quilt for the other at Christmas time. My goal for the new year is to actually compile all the quilt tops I’ve made over the past 2 years into usable quilts, so we’ll see how far I can get!

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Black & White & Red Quilt Complete

I finally finished my black and white and red quilt. Its only taken about 18 months!! The top was finished before summertime, but I barely had it machine quilted in September. It is king-sized. If I were selling this quilt, I’d retail it starting at $1000.
The backing is preshrunk flannel. Originally I wanted to do all houndstooth, but of course when it shrunk there wasn’t enough yardage. I ended up getting some beautiful black keys on white to counter the houndstooth.

I used the alphabet function on my sewing machine to write ‘Love from Amy N____’ on the binding. I think the alphabet feature works better on single fabric depths, but it turned out okay.

These next 2 arrow blocks are my favorite.

I just love how striking they are. Truly beautiful blocks in my opinion.

I made this as a wedding gift for my coworker. We were hired at the same time, went through the training program together, and survived all kinds of nonsense together. She’s getting married this month, so I think the quilt is finally finished right in time!

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A Throw Quilt for Sana


A couple months ago my friend Sana asked me if I’d help her make a quilt for her couch. She wanted something with clean lines, earthy tones, but still invoked a feeling of “the islands”. We picked out these fabrics from my stash, and set to work. We actually only got together 3 or 4 times for about 2 hours each time—thats how quickly the whole thing sewed up start to finish. Sana loved the final result & told me recently that everyone in her family wants to have the quilt when they’re in the living room. She was really happy, so that made me happy.

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