• Finished Quilts in 2010

    Click pictures for full details! Julia's Field of Blessings See Mom, I *Can* Make Snowmen in Texas! All Shook Up Pansies & Primroses Vintage Spring Vintage Baby A Bad Copy
  • Finished Quilts in 2009

    Click pictures for full details! Sunshine & Swimming Pools Loving Hands Boy Woogies Carina's Quilt Front Charity Quilt 1 Charity Quilt 2
  • Finished Quilts: Previous Years

    My sister's quilt Elena's Signature Quilt Cosmic Spiral Simona's Flower Garden ...And Everything Nice The Wool Quilt The Original Woogie
  • Finished Craft Projects

    Traveling Car Playmat Brown Bear Matching Cards
  • Finished Girls’ Dresses & Costumes

  • Quilt To Do List

    *Julia's "Baby" Quilt
    *Bethlehem Quilt
    *Kaffe Fassett String Quilt
    *Star Happy Batik Quilt
    *Red & Tan Single Wedding Ring Quilt (blocks made)
    *Batik Charm Square Quilt
    *Lingerie Quilt
    *Purple & Gold Mystery Quilt (just needs quilting!)
    *Eagle paper-pieced Quilt (@ half pieced)
  • Other Craft Project To Do List

    *Alphabet Matching Card Game
    *Apple/Pear Dress for Elena
    *Pillow Case Dress for Julia
    *Knit Dress for Elena (need to do post!)
    *Knit Shorts for Me

Spring to Finish: I Took the Out

My last enumerated Spring to Finish item was:

10.  Make something? for Elena’s teachers at Mother’s Day Out.  I’ll give myself an out and buy something if need be, but I’d like to find something to make them or for their kids.

Well, this one is DONE.  Elena’s last day of Mother’s Day Out/Preschool was two weeks ago and I ended up just giving her teachers Target gift cards.

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“But huh?  That doesn’t look like a Target giftcard!” <– I can hear you questioning from here!

I had seen and wanted to make her teachers nice little purse notebooks.  At the end of the day, though, I decided it was something that was too big and bulky for *my* purse so why would I give it to someone else?  And I *know* everyone can always have fun spending a bit of money at Target, so that’s what I did for them.

But I did make this prototype before I made my decision to go with gift cards.

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Well, unfinished prototype.  This is the front of the notepad cover.  If I complete it, it will either have a button or velcro closure here on the front.

I didn’t use any pattern in the making of this, but did look over several different tutorials and etsy listings for similar notepad covers.

I really like how the pockets came out except for the diagonal interior pocket, but that can easily be worked out with a bigger triangle.  I made it bigger initially and then cut it down forgetting that I was going to lose a lot of it in the seam.

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The back cover, with 2 pockets.

Really my biggest problem with it is that it’s just too fluffy.  I think I would like something hard versus soft, but all the tutorials I did see used fusible fleece.  Maybe go ahead and use the stiff Peltex?  Or maybe just fuse the fleece on both sides instead of just one so everything is a bit stiffer and just more together?

I’m not ready to give up on this project yet because ones I’ve seen are super-cute and they *look* usable — mine just doesn’t seem usable with my current prototype.  I might keep working on this one before I waste more fabric.
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But since I gave myself an out on this Spring to Finish item, I’m taking it!

By the way, just look how much Elena has grown since she started Preschool 2 years ago — here she is on her 1st and last days of Preschool (*sniff* *sniff*).

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Spring to Finish: Quilts for Kids quilts DONE!

The Spring to Finish challenge is almost over, yet here I am with only 3 reported finishes from the 10 on my list!  YIKES!

But right now I am going to add 2 more quilts to my finished list — WOOHOO!

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Back in March, my Mom forwarded me an e-mail about Quilts For Kids:

I *CHALLENGE* you to participate in this effort AND to forward this to all your quilting friends!

Would you like to take part in a FEEL GOOD PROJECT?  Downy Touch of Comfort is sponsoring a quilting project.  It is a “Quilts for Kids Challenge” and it is open to everyone who likes to quilt.
Here is how it works:  Downy has made up a kit for each quilt.  All you need to do is go on line to www.quiltsforkids. org (http://www.quiltsfo rkids.org/ patterns/ request/)  and request your kit. And the great part is the whole project is FREE.  Downy will send you your kit, FREE.  You will receive all the fabric needed to complete the quilt (this means you get everything for the Four Patch Blocks,the Feature Fabric, the Borders, Backing, Binding and label, plus the pattern, and all the fabric is already cut out for you.  All you need to supply is a piece of batting, your labor and your love.
When you finish your quilt, you simply package it up and return it to Downy.  Then all of the quilts will be given to children in hospitals around the country, who are facing life threatening illnesses.
I took the challenge and sent for my free kit.

Soon enough, I received this package in the mail:
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Upon opening, I found a great selection of fabric for a kid’s quilt and an easy pattern:

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I very quickly pieced the top – it only takes a couple hours tops to piece the simple pattern –  but it has admittedly taken me long…TOO LONG…to get it quilted.  I find basting to be a pain in the butt — well, pain in the back really — because I do it on the kitchen floor.  And I have to be sure to mop the kitchen floor first, which, well, I’m not the best housekeeper.

But in between looking at quilts for the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival, I’ve been working on basting and quilting and binding my donations!

This is the quilt with the fabrics they provided:
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And here is the quilt with my own fabrics:
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I must admit I am a bit disappointed with how this one came out. I LOVE the conversation print with the cars and flowers, etc. (and THANKS to friend and frequent commenter cia who gifted me the fabric!), BUT I am not in love with my color selection for the alternating 4-patches. My girls seem to like it fine, so I’m sure another kid will also like it, but if I had used some brighter colors I think it would have turned out *much* better.

The quilting also gave me fits:
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My thread broke countless times while free-motion quilting, and I even changed the needle and the thread and my luck did not improve. So these small 36″ x 42″ quilts took HOURS to quilt!

Per instructions, I washed the quilts this morning. I’m so not used to wrinkly quilts — I keep my quilts pristine as long as possible usually!

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I highly recommend challenging yourself and completing some quilts for Quilts For Kids.  As fair warning though, they do ask that you mail the completed quilts back within 4 weeks.  I am putting my quilts in the mail tomorrow and am admittedly late.  I am sure the organization will gladly take my quilts, but I am also sure they would have appreciated me being more timely.

Bloggers’ Quilt Festival – Spring 2010

Today’s the day!  Bloggers’ Quilt Festival is here!

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The last two times I participated I knew immediately what quilts I was going to share with the world.  This time I have been perplexed, but ultimately decided on this quilt for a couple reasons:.

*I have digital pictures of it!

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*I have digital pictures of it from when my littlest was a baby, and just look at that adorable little bald baby head!  Eek!  Seriously, I had no clue how bald my baby was when she was a baby.  Looking back at the pictures now I’m always shocked at my B A L D baby girl.

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*It is a great example of what a great quilting bee can do.

I was a member of a real-life bee at the time, and we took turns being the leader of the next project.  As leader, you had to bring 2 ideas for the group to vote on.   Once an idea was chosen, everyone who wanted to participate had to make however many sets of blocks that they wanted in return.

All the blocks would be turned in to the current leader who would check them for accuracy and then split them up amongst all the participants.  Blocks made incorrectly or the wrong size were returned to the maker.  Sounds harsh, but totally necessary, and a key to the bee’s success.

It allowed everyone to chain-piece a bunch of identical blocks, but then end up with a scrappy quilt when the blocks were traded!  And unlike many of the bees around these days, *everyone* got blocks for a quilt each time — and as many blocks as you made!

Anyway, this quilt is the result of my turn.  I first gave everyone a snippet of this fabric, which I then obviously used for my backing:

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Then my rules were simple: make a 8.5″ Ohio star block with colors that went with the snippet of fabric.  I gave freedom with the Ohio star block  – they could use however many fabrics they wanted, make hollow stars, make complete stars, have different colored points, whatever.  And the result was perfect!

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I put all the darkish blocks in the quilt above, measuring 72″ x 80″, and put together 30 of the lighter blocks into a baby quilt for my husband’s cousin’s new addition:

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Sorry for the bad picture – pre-digital age.  This baby quilt measures 40″x48″.

I actually still think I have some blocks left in an odds and ends pile.

Finally, this quilt was quilted by my mom – That Quilter – who is a professional long-arm quilter in Houston whom I have the great luck of being related to!

And don’t forget to go and check out all the other great quilts out there — there are just some AWESOME quilt artists about.  I always become a regular reader of at least a couple quilters each time this Festival comes around.  Click this button to get to all the rest:

Now excuse me while I go back to looking at all the pictures of my baby eating my quilt! Awwww….

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Quilty-Blogland Odds and Ends

Okay guys, I’m putting a link on here for an AWESOME giveaway, but to be honest *I* want to win.  So, um, go check it out, but….  🙂

The sewtakeahike blog is giving away a $60 gift certificate to Superbuzzy.  *swoon*  This is *not* part of the other huge giveaway thing going on in sewing blog land right now — it is one of sewtakeahike’s new sponsors so they’re celebrating!  This giveaway is open ’til May 23rd so still plenty of time for you to steal the awesome prize from me!

AND, tomorrow I’ll be participating yet again in Bloggers’ Quilt Festival.

I’ve had a lot of fun having visitors from this festival and have enjoyed exploring and seeing the quilts everyone else has on display. I am still deciding on what I will share. I have a ton of quilts I haven’t put up here yet, but some I don’t have the quilts anymore and the pictures were pre-digital camera days, so the pictures wouldn’t be the best. Hmmm, decisions decisions!

Ten!

1.  Elena graduated from preschool last Thursday.  I must admit when I heard there was a graduation ceremony I thought it was pretty dorky.  But then I saw her beaming while she walked up the aisle in her cap & gown, and I got all teary-eyed.
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2.  Julia did *not* wake up last night screaming for Mommy!  Not even once!  Yes I know she’s 2, and night wakings should be a thing of the past, but for the last couple months she’s had this thing where she wakes up 3-5 times a night yelling at the top of her lungs for me.  It wears me out — I feel like I have a newborn again!

3.  I think she probably was just too tired to wake up and yell for me.  She stayed up ’til when my husband and I returned from our anniversary night out (10 pm), and she has a bit of a cold right now.

4. This is what happens when you try pinning and sewing at 3:30 a.m. when your youngest daughter isn’t going back to sleep and you don’t feel like crawling back into bed just to shoot up with the screaming of “MOMMY!” yet again in 5 minutes time:

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No, the snowmen are *not* supposed to be upside down to each other!

Lesson: don’t venture into the sewing room at 3:30 a.m.

5. Despite the above setback, my snowman top is done! It’s not being reported on my Spring to Finish list yet though because I still need to piece a back for it. Soon! I only have 2 weeks!

6. Tearing papers out of the top was fairly tedious. I thought I had really thin paper, but I think I need to find even thinner paper for my next foray into paper-piecing.

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7.  We took family pictures 2 weeks ago!  Love them and can’t wait to see more!  Check out our full sneak preview here at photosbybrandy.

SO much better than the normal photography featured on this site!

8.  I dressed Julia the other day in this outfit:

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She was SO EXCITED to be wearing “TINY BLUE PANTS!!!”  Hee.  I think I shall forever call “shorts” “tiny pants” from now on because that is just too funny.

9. As evidenced in the above picture, the girls’ favorite thing to do these days is to play with the roly-polies that have amassed about our house. I regularly have to check hands whenever we come inside or get into the car. Whenever I make her dump them, Julia plaintively cries “But WHY??!?!”

10.  Since I haven’t posted much lately, I have a TON more to talk about but will leave it to another post. There’s a princess ball, teacher’s gifts that didn’t work out, and more!

Spring to Finish: Pansies & Primroses done!

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A typical photoshoot of my quilts: I lay them out on the ground, and they are immediately covered in girls! In fact, I just laid the quilts down in the living room to get their final measurements, and the girls are dancing on top of them, wearing princess clothes and singing.

When I chose 10 projects to try and finish within 6 weeks, these 2 were a given for the challenge — I *only* had to put on their bindings.

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These quilts were put on my Spring to Finish list here, and were previously discussed here and here.

When I started these quilts, I simply wanted to make pink flowers on a green background using the pattern Charming Flowers from Simply Charming.

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I must admit I was incredibly surprised when I finally put my first flowers together and they looked like…..pansies!

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…and evening primroses!

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I did the hard work on these last summer/fall — piecing the tops!  Finishing them now for the challenge made for my easiest finishes on the list.  The real difficulty right now – and why I haven’t shown them ’til now even though I finished them the 1st week of the challenge – was finding a field of primroses in which to take their picture!  Hello!  It’s wildflower season here in Austin and last year the drainage ditch next to us was FILLED with evening primroses.  This year?  Not so much.

These quilts have been traveling in my car trunk for the past 2 weeks, and I finally just put them in the best (small) patch of evening primroses I could find.  I have adored these little flowers ever since Elena was a baby and her first spring I plopped her in a patch of them and came up with this cutie patootie picture:

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And then Julia was added to our family and we got this stunner:
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And last year look at both of these beauties in their tutus:
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Ahhhh, I digress!

The big quilt measures 48″ x 60″ and is mine.  It is now my spring lap/couch quilt.  It makes me very happy — spring is definitely my favorite season.
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The little quilt measures 34″x46″ and is up for grabs.  I guess I’ll put it in my quilt room for a while and wait for some little one that needs some pansies and primroses in her life.

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The backs are nothing special, but thought I’d show anyway. The small one is using up scraps, and the big one is that Hoffman purple flower print.
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And of course thanks once again go to my mom for quilting these.  I LOVE what she did.  I love the leafy borders and the great details in the flowers, etc etc.  Thanks!

Happy 7th Anniversary to Us!

7 years ago today, my husband and I became my husband and I!

And anyone who knows me in real life has seen these next pictures — I love them, to say the least.  My husband and I went to Italy on our honeymoon and couldn’t have asked for a better almost-2-weeks.  We started in Rome and received a Papal blessing — truly a blessing for us and for our marriage.

In the taxi-cab in Rome.

Funny story:  We arrived at our small quaint hotel in Rome on Sunday.  The papal blessing wasn’t until Wednesday morning.  To say the front desk was in SHOCK when we came down Wednesday morning in our full wedding attire would be a complete understatement!  We scored a free bottle of wine when we returned!

Awww, isn’t he handsome?

This picture was taken by another Texas couple who happened to walk in at the exact same time as us.  The couple behind us were Italian.

After this day of traipsing about the Vatican in our wedding attire, we  packaged the wedding gown back up and sent it on its way back home.  I was sad to see it go — I could just imagine pictures all over Italy in my wedding gown.   Wouldn’t that be awesome?!?  but dang, it was big, and there was no way we could carry it everywhere, especially since we already overpacked!

One of my husband’s comments afterward? “He smelled like soap!”  It was true.  He did smell like soap!

And the highlight of the trip – the Papal Blessing from Pope John Paul II.  I don’t think we really believed it would happen until, well, it did.  Beautiful day and so special for these two Catholics.