One of the joys of teaching quilting is getting to see what your students create from your classes. Yesterday, Dayna Ferrero came by the Quilt Crossing to show me her completed quilt top from the Stitcher’s Garden class at Quilt Crossing. It was gorgeous! All she needs to do is trim the batting and put the binding on and it will be a welcome addition to her guest room.
In addition to the quilt, she also made a few extra blocks so she could incorporate them into two pillow shams. Such a great idea and what a lovely way to welcome her guests.
Thanks so much for sharing your finished project, Dayna. I’m so excited for you and your quilt is beautiful!
What projects have you been working on lately? I would love to hear about them.
A very special handmade gift from our son-in-law, Derik, that I just had to share…
For Christmas each year the adults in our family draw names. This year was no exception and on Christmas Day we shared one another’s gifts and revealed who our “Secret Santas” were.
Marv’s was a particularly mysterious gift. It was wrapped and was the largest present under our tree, or should I say next to it, because it would not fit under the tree. We learned that our son-in-law, Derik, had drawn Marv’s name and then set about to make a very special gift indeed.
As Marv began to unwrap his gift, it was clear from the start, that Derik had gone to a lot of work to make this very unique gift.
Beneath the gift wrap was a wooden chest. On the front of the chest, Derik had wood burned “Sparrell” and a sturgeon fish.
Marv and his Dad did a lot of sturgeon fishing after his parents moved and retired on the coast of Washington. This was a great tribute to some very special times that Marv spent with his Dad.
When Marv opened the chest, the purpose of the chest became very clear.
Marv and his Dad loved to play cribbage and would play almost non-stop when we were on vacation or together. They enjoyed challenging one another.
Inside the chest were playing cards, pegs and three custom-made cribbage boards. Marv was speechless.
On the top cribbage board, Derik inserted photos of Marv and his Dad with a day’s catch. It was so much fun to see these photos again and relive their excitement of sharing their sturgeon catch.
On the other two cribbage boards, Derik had wood burned into the boards a map showing Willapa Bay, where Marv’s folks lived during their retirement. He also wood burned, “Charlie’s Board” as Charlie is Marv’s nickname and he was especially called that by his Dad.
Of course, there is also a sturgeon depicted on each of these boards as well. They really are something!
The more we looked at the boards, the more impressed we became as there was so much detailed work on each board.
One can only imagine the amount of time and effort that Derik gave to make such a special gift.
But, that is not the end of the surprises contained in the Cribbage Chest…
In addition to the beautiful artwork that Derik had burned into the cribbage boards and the outside of the chest, he also wrote a limerick about Marv and his Dad and had burned that into the underside cover of the chest. It reads,
“Once there were some men from the coast
Fishing and cribbage greats, the locals did boast
You’ll be over the barrel, skunked by a Sparrell
If you decided to play
It’s at your own peril.”
His limerick was very clever and oh so true. There still, however, was another surprise contained within this amazing gift. If you look into the chest (which also came with a Handbook of Cribbage rule book), you would see the cards, rule book, 3 cribbage boards, a small leather bag with pegs for each board and if you removed all those, you would discover that the chest had a false bottom.
You could carefully lift out the false bottom, and it would reveal a Treasure Map from the 1985 Goonies movie that Derik had burned into the bottom of the inside of the chest. We were (and still are) all blown away by all the work and detail Derik had incorporated into this very relevant and meaningful gift for Marv.
Of course, the cribbage boards have already been played when we had our First Annual Cribbage tournament with our kids and grandkids the week after Christmas. Now the Cribbage Chest remains in our game room and Marv is ready for the next challenger. He’ll be pleased to play and share his special gift from Derik.
One last note, for any of those who know Derik, you will recognize his artistic talents at work. He is truly a wonderfully, talented artist. However, for this project, he taught himself how to wood burn, because he had never wood burned before. As you can see, he did an incredible job on his first and very special, wood burning project.
Thanks again, Derik, for your thoughtful gift that is already a family heirloom! It really meant a lot to Marv and all of us and we so love and appreciate you!!!
I’m always looking for ways to personalize my holiday gifts each year. One easy way to do so, is to choose a themed fabric that is meaningful for the recipient. I want to share a few gifts I made this year for Christmas, because all of these gifts could be used for most any occasion throughout the year. Some of them have free links to free patterns. Here are a few gift ideas to consider:
You can achieve some interesting variations depending on whether you fold the fabric to the front or the back when sewing the final end points as shown in the following photo.
Have a good time choosing your fabrics and customizing your table runners. This is a great beginner pattern and can be somewhat addictive!
Hopeful Hatchlings (Stuffed Animals)
There is a darling new book called Hopeful Hatchlings by Jessica George from the Sweet Brian Sisters. The book that has patterns and instructions for 10 adorable baby animals. Each of the animals will fit inside a Zipper Egg and a pattern for the egg is also included in the book.
Our granddaughters were very quick to point out their favorite animal in the book. I told them their selections would be part of their Christmas gifts.
Choose a fun fabric for your eggs to complement the little animal who will live within.
These really are a lot of fun to make and the girls were thrilled to get theirs as you can see.
I think there were be other Hopeful Hatchlings hatching around our house for future occasions. They really are quite charming and somewhat addictive!
I hope you are enjoying the holiday season and will be able to try some of these gift ideas.
This past week, the girls were out of school for the Thanksgiving holiday, so I had the pleasure of their company for two days in a row. They are always eager to “do a project” and we decided to make a quilt for their American Girl dolls. It was a great project to use for them to learn how to sew with a sewing machine.
We talked about different styles of quilts they could make and discussed what size was best for their 18″ dolls. Belén decided to make a patchwork quilt from 5″ squares and Eloise liked a strip quilt design. I printed off a layout for the designs they chose. Next, they went through a pile of fabric from my stash and pulled out the colors they wanted in their quilt and then labeled their layout sheets accordingly.
It was fun to watch them sort through several stacks of fabric and choose which prints they wanted for their quilts.
For Eloise’s quilt we cut a number of 2 1/2″ strips and she laid them out in the order she had on her sketch. Of course, she was able to move some of them around so they were just the way she wanted them. Her fabrics were bright and colorful and included an assortment of storybook prints (Little Red Riding Hood), peace signs, bicycles, etc. She chose a 1930’s conversation print for her outside border.
Belén also chose a variety of prints. I was impressed how she laid her blocks across her quilt at an angle. She balanced her colors by repeating the fabrics used in the corner blocks. I think there is a future quilt designer in the family! Belén had to go to gymnastics for 3 hours, so Eloise and I stitched Eloise’s quilt first.
Since Eloise is only 6, I set the machine up so that she could sit next to me and as I fed the fabric through the feed dogs and stitched strips together for her quilt. Eloise was in charge of the foot pedal. When she pressed down the foot pedal, the machine sewed until we were at a stopping point. Then, we repositioned the quilt for the next line of sewing and she stepped on it to sew again.
It was a great way to help Eloise feel a part of the construction process of her quilt top. She also liked to help me line up each strip as we gradually sewed each section of the quilt together. She was very attentive and listened carefully for when to start and stop and slow down. We had a good time!
As we joined the strips together, we pressed each seam to the darker side. I explained to Eloise why we did this to keep the seam allowances from showing up on the front of the quilt. We had a good conversation about this.
I didn’t let her use my hot iron, but she was able to use a toy iron and press the seams once again for good measure.
In no time at all, we had completed Eloise’s quilt top and it was time to pick up Belén from the gym.
After lunch, we began work on Belén’s quilt. We first sewed the blocks together in pairs and then the pairs became rows and step by step, we sewed B’s quilt top together.
She was curious to learn about the different parts of the machine and why and how it worked, how were stitches formed, etc.
We pinned her blocks together and she sat and stitched them together. She learned how to chain stitch and why it is a great way to save thread and time.
Before we knew it, her blocks were sewn together and we were able to get the border sewn in place as well.
Once that was done, our first day of sewing was complete. We decided to take a break and run a few errands in preparation for Thanksgiving.
The day after Thanksgiving, B asked if we could finish her quilt. I told her we needed to create a label for the back of her quilt and she proceeded to type the content for her label into my embroidery software.
We worked together to decide what type of border she wanted on her label and she decided to stitch turtles around the perimeter of the border. When the design was complete, we sent the file to my embroidery machine and stitched it out.
We layered our backing, batting and quilt tops and pin basted them together. I used my larger Bernina 830 machine to quilt both quilts. This was such a time saver and we were pleased at the finished quilting.
Next, the binding was cut and pieced together and I stitched it to the back of the quilt, and folded it around to the front. Before I stitched the binding down, I inserted a 1″ folded strip of red trim fabric under the edge of the binding. This added a little bit of color to an otherwise very blue border and helped to “pop” some of the other colors in the quilt.
While I was sewing her binding, Belén enjoyed reading a book called, Sewing Machine Fun for Kids. It has not only great illustrations of the machine and the sewing process, but a number of games kids can play as well. In fact, I had an adult tell me that she bought it for herself when she first started sewing and found it a valuable resource.
Of course, the final step was to add the quilt label that Belén had designed for her quilt. It read “Belen’s First Doll Quilt 2017 – I enjoyed making my doll quilt with the help of Nana. She taught me a lot of new skills as we created it. I love to sew with Nana. Belén”. It warms my heart so much to read her label.
Next week, Eloise and I will finish her quilt. She has been thinking about what she wants on her label and I so look forward to spending some more time sewing with her.
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and would love to hear about what projects you have been sewing. It’s such a perfect time of year to be sewing.
The bewitching night is right around the corner so my day was spent finishing up the girls’ costumes for this year. Here’s a sneak preview…
Eloise wanted to be a fairy again this year. (I made the girls fairy costumes a few years ago.) I was going to make her a costume, but when we were out shopping for something else, we came upon a darling little costume that was in the exact color she wanted, so we purchased it. I told her that we would do something special to make it look magical – so we added lights to the skirt of the costume.
Belen had seen a photo of her Mom (Alecia) and her Auntie Anna when they were little girls with some costumes I made for them. She asked if she could please be a “Sack of Potatoes” like her Mom was in that picture.
I agreed that she could be a “Sack of Potatoes” but didn’t realize how hard it would be to find a potato gunny sack. Apparently, they do not use burlap bags any more to store potatoes. However, a friend of mine had one that she so generously offered for me to use.
After hand washing the bag, I put it on a drying rack to dry. Next, I removed the stitching out of the bottom bag (the potato sack was printed so that the design was upside down) and pressed out any creases.
I trimmed off 2 1/2″ from the length of the bag and stitched in around 6 1/2″ from each end of the new “top” of the bag, leaving an open area for Belen’s head. I waited for Belen to try the bag on to insure her head would fit and then stitched under a rolled hem around her neck opening. (Note: Because burlap has such a loose weave, I stay stitched the area I was about to cut first and then cut the burlap. This really helped to hold it in place and keep it from unravelling.)
After a second Belen try-on to properly place her arm holes, I removed stitching from one side seam to create her first arm hole. Next, I cut a hole on the opposite side for her second arm – this one was faced with a piece of linen remnant.
Her circle of potatoes that ringed her neck were created by stuffing the leg of a pair of panty hose and then stitching here and there to create the dimpling.
I used the same technique for her matching potato barrettes. It was fun to see her reaction when she did the final try-on.
For Eloise’s costume, I made a small quilted bag to hold the battery pack for the lights. I put a sleeve on it and slid it onto a small belt. This held the battery pack for her skirt in place.
Next, I sewed a buttonhole through a couple layers of the netting of the skirt to provide an opening for the string of lights. I gently pulled the lights through the buttonhole and pinned them in place, while Eloise was trying on her outfit.
Finally, I carefully safety pinned the string of lights in place – and once they were turned on, they were quite the spectacle. The lights were already woven into a shear mesh, which made them a lot easier to attach.
Eloise was equally excited when put on her finished costume, as you can see.
The girls are all ready for Halloween and were very excited to show their Mom and Dad their finished costumes.
Have you been doing some Halloween sewing as well? If so, I would love to hear about it. Wishing you an early “Happy Halloween”!
It’s always fun to repurpose a piece of clothing and, at the same time, do something that personalizes it for someone special. Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of watching our granddaughters, Belen and Eloise. When I was asked what “project” we were going to work on that day, I suggested that we decorate some jean jackets. They loved the idea and we went to a second-hand store and the girls each found a jacket that fit them.
B’s jacket was originally trimmed with some lace appliqués and a lace trim, which were pretty worn. She asked if she could help me remove these trim pieces before we washed the jackets.
I showed her how to use a seam ripper to remove the lace trims and she was eager to help – she did a great job and in no time at all, her jean jacket was clear of trims and ready for the washer.
The girls thought about what and how they wanted to embellish their new jackets. They chose various fabrics to use to in an appliqué for the back of each jacket.
Eloise wanted to assist too, so she helped me pre-shrink and hang fabric to dry.
After the jackets had been laundered, we were ready to begin stitching.
Eloise also tried on her fairy Halloween costume for a fitting.
Eloise found a fabric with animals from the Quilt Crossing that she fell in love with. We decided to appliqué it to the back of her jacket. I backed the fabric with a piece of batting and quilted around the design and stipple stitched the background, to help bring out the animals in the design.
Meanwhile, Belen was busy drawing a design for the back of her jacket. She decided to draw a koala bear. While I was stitching Eloise’s jacket, the girls took a play break and had some fun on the swings and played with Toby.
We finished Eloise’s jacket that afternoon and she was thrilled to model it. We decided to add a small elephant on the front of her jacket, for a little added interest.
Belen and I discussed how she wanted her koala appliquéd onto her jacket. I found the perfect piece of fabric in my stash for the inner ears of her koala. For the body and tree, I used various shades of gray grunge fabric and a piece of black grunge for the koala’s nose.
I enlarged her drawing about 20% and traced each of the appliqué pieces by placing her drawing, wrong-side-up, onto a light box. I left ample room around each piece so that they could be easily cut apart and then fused to the back of the relevant appliqué fabric.
The light box made it easy to “fussy-cut” the ear pieces so that I could take advantage of the fabric’s design. I rotated each ear piece to take advantage of the spherical design on the fabric.
It was fun to see her bear come to life as each piece was trimmed. I shared a photo of the project with Belen and she was excited.
Next, I fused the koala bear and tree appliqué pieces to the back of Belen’s jacket.I began with the tree in the background and carefully placed the koala paws in the appropriate place, so that it looked like the bear was holding onto the tree trunk. I also fused the little paws from the right side of the trunk that B had drawn.
Next, I free-motion stitched the perimeter of the bear with a gray thread and stitched so that the bear looked like he had a furry fringe around it. Once that was complete, I outlined the bear again with black thread, to highlight the features of the bear’s face, arms and legs, etc. The final stitching was the bear eyes and a sweet little smile and the bear was done! Next, I stitched the tree with a gray and brown variegated thread.
The highlight, of course, was to show Belen her finished jacket. She was thrilled and said, “Oh Nana, I’m so proud of myself!” She said she didn’t think her drawing would look as good as it did in an appliqué.
Here the girls are modeling their jackets. This was a very fun project that you too could do. It was especially fun to have the girls so involved in the process. Best of all, they loved the finished project and it sure was a lot of fun to spend time with them.
What have you been busy sewing? I would love to hear about your projects!
Now it is time for us to get focused back on Halloween. I’ll share some ideas and what costumes we’re creating in a future blog.
I was pleased to have Sam request a “home-made” gift for his birthday this year. He had noticed a Gumdrop Pillow that I made Belen and Eloise several years ago. When we were at dinner one evening, he walked up to me and asked, “Could you please make me a suicide pillow for my birthday?”
I was puzzled by what he meant and Alecia quickly chimed in to explain that what he really wanted was a Gumdrop pillow. Apparently, when the girls got their pillow, they were still quite small and they would try to climb the round-shaped pillow and go sailing over the top of it; hence, it was nicknamed the Suicide Pillow.
I chuckled at the image of our grandchildren being propelled across the top of the pillow as it began to slowly roll and had never heard the nickname they had assigned it.
The Gumdrop Pillow can still be purchased at Amy Butler’s website. I was pleased when a friend of mine still had her original pattern and once I traced my pieces, was excited to choose fabrics for Sam’s pillow.
Sam liked the large size pillow, so I prepared the pattern pieces and cut the various pieces required for the pillow. It was fun to mix the prints.
Next, I embroidered a quote from J.K. Rowling, “Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic.” Sam is in the process of reading the entire Harry Potter series and I thought he would enjoy this quote.
The pillow is made up of 8 sections. Four sections were sewn together to form two halves. Seams were pressed open and then the two halves were sewn together, which created the round shape for the Gum Drop pillow. Of course, I had to sew a tag into one of the seams.
Now it was time to stuff the pillow. It took three 40 oz. bags of Ultra Plush Poly-fil to fill the Gum Drop Pillow and was quite the site to behold.
The most fun part of the project was seeing Sam’s delight when he received his new Gumdrop pillow at his birthday celebration dinner. He was genuinely pleased to add his pillow/ottoman to his bedroom decor.
What projects have you been sewing this summer? I would love to hear about them.
When school adjourns for the summer each spring, I look forward to the extra time I get to spend with Belen and Eloise.
Friday before last, I was pleased to spend the day with them. While we were running a few errands together, Belen found a painted rock that had been planted for someone to discover.
The front of the rock had been painted with a camping scene and the back was lettered with instructions, “Boise Rocks – Post pic, keep or re-hide.” The girls were fascinated by this little gift and we too thought it would be fun to leave some little gifts for strangers.
I told them about the Giving Bunny I had seen on Urban Threads. If you go to Urban Threads’ website and click on their “Freebie” link, you can download either a machine or hand embroidery design for The Giving Bunny. Under the Instructions link for this design, there is an explanation… “Here’s how it works: Download the FREE Giving Bunny design, available in two sizes for machine embroidery, as well as a PDF pattern for hand-stitchers. Stitch up as many bunnies as you please. Dress ’em up if you like, give them names, attach a tag to each to introduce them to the world, and then leave them in public spaces for someone to find.”
The girls and I thought it would be fun to make some bunnies to give away, so we stitched several bunnies out of an ivory polar fleece. Both Belen and Eloise had fun printing the names for each of their bunnies on little tags that told the story of the Giving Bunnies.
We printed off a template for the tags that Urban Threads provides and attached one to each bunny with small safety pins. Belen added an additional note to the back of her tag that read, ” Hope your bunny finds a nice home! Belen.
Once we finished making several bunnies, we packed them up as it was time to take Belen to her Writing Camp at the Cabin Writing Center near downtown.
After we dropped off Belen, Eloise and I thought it would be a good idea to hide some of the bunnies near the Ann Frank Memorial grounds. Eloise was very particular about where she wanted to place each of her Giving Bunnies.
Initially, she wanted to put a bunny in the hand of the Ann Frank statue, but later decided to relocate this bunny. Next she tried a couple other spots around the Memorial grounds.
She was so excited to see who would be the first to discover one of her Giving Bunnies, so she hid behind a grove of trees to watch.
While she was watching, she did not see anyone find one of her bunnies. We decided to leave and go and get an ice cream cone and check on her bunnies when we returned for Belen’s reading at the Cabin.
When we returned, one of her bunnies was gone. She was thrilled and decided to relocate the remaining bunnies in a place where they would be a little more visible.
We put out a few more bunnies and went to watch Belen read one of her writings from Writing Camp.
Belen did an amazing job and we were so proud of not only her poem, but also how confidently she read it in front of a large crowd of people. Alecia and Andy joined us to watch Belen too. She was the first presenter.
After Belen was finished, we told Mommy and Daddy about the Giving Bunnies and Eloise helped Belen hide a few of her bunnies.
The girls had such a good time finding the “perfect” spot for each of their bunnies and talked about who might discover them. It really was a very fun and exciting adventure.
What projects have you been working on? It is so much fun to be outdoors with all this beautiful weather.
I hope you are having a great summer and look forward to hearing about any projects you have been working on.