Happy mail

When we arrived home last week after two weeks away, I had mail waiting for me.  Unfortunately, the post office had already closed for the day, so on Monday, I finally got to go pick up my “happy mail.”  I love when I’ve been away and come home to exciting things in my mailbox.

There was this mini quilt with three mini-mini quilts on the line.  The siding on the house is really cool because the fabric is folded to make that effect.

mini quilt with quilts

And do you recognize this little girl on the swing from a previous quilt block I received?  I laughed out loud when I saw her again!

mini mini quilt

Cool beadwork in the tree.  Reminds me of the cherry blossoms here in Virginia in the spring!

Mini quilt beading

Next package: a little fabric bundle that I won in the Bee a {Modern} Swapper group for “most creative packaging.”  The package may or may not have had some other goodies including some Ghirardelli  chocolate which may or may not be already gone.  Ooops.  I love the grays and will be able to use them to make some more of those English paper pieced rose stars I was working on.  And the reds are a welcome addition because I have a serious lack in my fabric stash!

Happy mail: fabric bundle

And hey!  Another mini!  After years of having no fabric art in my sewing space, my walls are going to be so (sew) pretty!  I love how the pink binding picks up the pink in the birdie.

Mini quilt bird in tree

There was one more, but I didn’t get a photo of that.  I won a giveaway on the Sew, Mama, Sew giveaway day from Happy in Red.  It is three really beautiful skeins of yarn and a crochet hook.  I don’t crochet, but I really want to learn.  2013 goal?  I think so.

What to do when your quilt is attacked by a toddler wielding a dry erase marker

I had just finished my mini quilt for the Bee a {Modern} Swapper swap.

Patchwork and birds mini quilt

I had solved my conundrum over what to do about quilting around the bird in the middle of the quilt.


I had finished the quilting around the rest of the quilt.


The only think I had left to do was to attach the binding and send the quilt off to its new home.  I was pleased to be finished, so I brought the quilt downstairs to take a photo.  Before I could return my pretty mini quilt to the sewing room to add the finishing touches, disaster struck in the form of a 2-year-old who had gotten her hands on a dry erase marker.

The horror!!

Here’s a tip: dry erase marker is more or less permanent on fabric.  Do not ever allow a child to unleash her “creative additions” on your quilting project with dry erase marker.  At least give her a washable marker or an ink pen.  I’m sure those would come out easier than this, which, did not come out at all!

In case you were curious, here is the list of various cleaners and chemicals I used on the marker in an attempt to remove it.  Oxiclean MaxForce laundry stain remover, Resolve carpet cleaner, extended soak in oxyclean, Mr. Clean magic eraser, extra concentrated oxyclean, nail polish remover, pure acetone, vinegar, rubbing alcohol, bleach pen, mineral spirits, and Greased Lightning cleaner.  Hmmm … I think that’s all.  I received several other suggestions that I did not try (Murphy’s oil soap, hairspray, rotten milk), but really, I think I covered the spectrum of chemical reaction that could have removed it.

When it became clear that I would not be able to remove the marker, I made a plan to cover it.  I traced the edges of the various sections of the quilt and marked where the damage was.  When I had finished that, I drew out an appliqué pattern to cover it.

Then it was just a matter of creating the actual fabric appliqué.  To keep with the style I had already started in the center of my quilt and have a piece large enough to cover all the damage, I ended doing raw edge appliqué on two dozen little leaves, a large tree, a bird, and three flowers.  Phew!

But we’ll call it a success.

IMG_5507 There is one bit of marker left that I could have covered with a different arrangement of the leaves, but I’m leaving it uncovered as a remind of what I went through with this project.

IMG_5509I finished it off with some aqua Ta Dots for the binding.

IMG_5511You can see on the back where I added the appliqué after the quilt was already together, but since this is a wall hanging, you’ll never even notice.



Tree in the Sunset mini quilt

I joined a mini quilt swap through the Flickr group Bee a {Modern} Swapper.  The result was actually TWO mini quilts because the first one was damaged by a 2-year-old wielding a dry erase marker (note: dry erase marker on fabric is PERMANENT!).  I have now creatively covered the marker, but there was so much of time and tears in that quilt that I couldn’t bear to give it away.

So with less than a week to go before the mailing deadline, I made a new one!  I showed you part of it the other day, along with a couple extras I included in the package.  But I didn’t want the color scheme to ruin the surprise for the recipient, so I waited to show you the whole thing.  Since the package has been delivered, here is mini quilt #2.

My partner was Tiffany, for whom I made the spider web blocks last month.  As a result, I knew she was going to be working on a quilt for her home with a purple, orange and brown color scheme.  I used my tree from the first mini and her color palette as my inspiration.

Tree in the Sunset mini quilt

My free motion quilting definitely leaves much to be desired, and I’m working on it.  I used this mini to practice some new stitches.  I hope Tiffany can overlook the imperfections of this beginner.  I added some pointy blades of grass and tried out a modified tree bark design that I learned from Leah Day’s free motion quilting site.

Tree in the Sunset mini quilt: Grass and tree bark quilting

The fabric for the sunset sky is something I fell in love with when looking for a fabric for another project.  I believe it’s by Hoffman Fabrics.

Tree in the Sunset mini quilt: close up


I used a variegated thread for the quilting in the sky, which I think complements the sunset vibe nicely.

Tree in the Sunset mini quilt: variegated thread quilting I love how the quilting looks on the back, especially the tree.

Tree in the Sunset mini quilt: back, close up of quilting Tree in the Sunset mini quilt: back

More fun finishes at Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday and Finish It Up Friday.


All wrapped up

The mailing deadline for the Bee a {Modern} Swapper mini quilt/Secret Santa swap was yesterday.

After deciding that I was going to keep my original project and start over completely with less than a week to go before the deadline, I was happy to have shipped my package on time!  The original mini was the one that was attacked by my marker-weilding toddler.  I literally cried over that quilt.  And I probably spent as much time trying to remove the marker as I did making it in the first place.  After all we’d been through, I just couldn’t give her away.

But I was still in the swap, which meant: Quick!  Make a new mini quilt.  I can’t show the whole thing yet because the color scheme will give away my partner, but here’s what I came up with. 

I love the quilting in the sunset sky.  I used a variegated poly thread by Aurifil that my friend Kim gave me to try out.

More details on this mini quilt after my partner receives it!

I also included a little bit of fabric and some cute extras for my partner: A string block zippy pouch and a cute little pin cushion.

But I must admit, I’m almost as thrilled about the packaging as I am about the gifts inside.  One of group leaders, Katherine, issued the challenge to come up with some creative packaging for our swap gifts.

I wrapped the gifts in plain paper and tied them with some cute ribbon.

And then ….

(drumroll please … )

Oh, I amuse myself!  Happy holidays.

Mei tai finish: 2d zoo and lime

My cousin asked to make her a mei tai for a friend.  The baby shower is tomorrow, and by the time we decided on fabric and I had procured all the supplies (I need to go out and buy fabric for the straps), I was not left with much time to finish.  Mei tais take a pretty significant time investment as far as sewing time goes, and well, my sewing time is limited.

I’m happy to say, I finished this up late Wednesday night, and it was in the mail first thing yesterday morning, priority.  It’s supposed to arrive tomorrow.

Kathleen liked this 2d Zoo fabric from Alexander Henry, which I paired with navy twill for the straps.

With the sleeping hood up, you can see that the solid lime on the reverse pairs nicely with some of the animals in the print.

With a reversible mei tai like this, it’s sometimes nice to have a “fun” print on one side and a simpler choice for the reverse, like a coordinating solid or stripe.

With this one, I used navy thread to match the straps and added a little bit of interest with the contrast stitching.

Happy babywearing!

This one definitely fits into the “Thank Goodness It’s Finished!” category.  I’m happy I got in the mail just in time; now if the post office will just hold up their end of the deal!

The laundry basket project

When one has demonstrated some sewing talent, there are sometimes requests for help with unexpected projects.

A friend has a frame that sets on some wheels and holds a bag, which she uses to cart her laundry from her house to her line.  The old bag had started to rip along one of the corners, so she asked me if I could help her construct a new one.

I used a home dec weight fabric, hoping that it would last longer than the previous laundry cart bag, which was made with a lighter weight fabric.  I also doubled the thickness where the bag attaches to the frame.

The previous bag was permanently sewn to the frame, but I wanted to make this one removable in case she wanted to take it off and wash it.  I used long strips of 1.5 inch velcro.  Since I didn’t presently have a load of wet laundry to see if the velcro would hold, I used a small child instead.  It seems to work.

The velcro is simply attached to the outside of the bag, and the upper sections fold over the frame to secure.

And my friend has her laundry cart back in action.

Just a little clutch

A quick clutch ordered as a gift for a new mom.  I must say, as a mom myself, this clutch is perfect for keeping all the “mom stuff” separate from all the “baby stuff.”  I have a clutch with just this design that I slide right in the top of my diaper bag.

And I’m completely crushing on the yellow and gray combination right now.  Love!  Plus, those chevrons.  Seriously, what’s not to like?  I certainly hope the recipient agrees!

The accent and lining on this clutch are organic cotton, part of the Cut Out & Keep line by Cloud9 Fabrics.  An inside zipper pocket is a great place to stash all those little items!

Do you like this clutch?  You can win one of the same design.  There’s just ONE DAY LEFT to enter the Grand Opening Giveaway!

Do you tutu?

As the mother of two little girls, it really shouldn’t seem all the unusual that I would find myself making a tutu last week.  It is a well known fact that most little girls like tutus.

What is unusual about this brightly colored circle of tulle fluff is that I didn’t make this for either of my two little girls.  Nor did I make it for any of their friends.  I made for me!  (weird-o.  I know.)

There are tons of tutu-orials out there, so I”m not going to give you a tutorial.  This is what I did.

1.  Cut elastic to the size of my waist (hips, actually, as that’s where I wanted the tutu to fit)
2.  Sew the ends of the elastic together into a loop.
3.  Cut the tulle into pieces that were around 22 inches long and about 5-6 inches wide.  A lot of the tutorials say to use the tulle that comes on spools.  I did not.  It’s way cheaper to buy yardage.  I just cut the tulle into lengths of about 22 inches, folded it until it fit on my cutting mat and then used my rotary cutter to trim it to 5-6 inch pieces.  I bought 2 yards of each of 3 colors, but I have enough left over to make a tutu for at least one of the girls.
4.  Fold each length in half and loop it around the elastic.
5.  Stick the end with the two edges of the piece of tulle through the loop made by the fold at the other end.  Repeat, repeat, repeat, et cetera.  I alternated 3 pieces of each color.  Do not push the tulle too tightly together at first or it will stretch out your elastic.  I had to take a bunch out.

My husband is completely baffled that I not only made a tutu for myself but that I plan on running a 1/2 marathon in this tutu.  Yes, yes I do.  That’s totally crazy, right?  Right.  Well, maybe.  I have been running for over half my lifetime at this point, and I’m pretty competitive.  I’m certainly not the fastest person around, but I definitely push myself to the current maximum levels of my own personal fitness in a race.

On race day, I will be 20 weeks pregnant.  While I can certainly keep running for as long as possible during my pregnancy, I figure it’s probably not the best idea to take myself too seriously.  I have been giving myself little pep talks on all my run to tone down the competitive drive.  My friend Kim and my online friend Manda invited me to join a Facebook group with several ladies who are doing this same race and really want to go and have a good time.  I always want to have a good time at a race, but that’s not usually the main goal.  This time, “have a good time,” IS the main goal.  “DON’T take this race too seriously” is another.  As “serious runners” are not typically the type to wear a tutu to a race, this insanity of me wearing a tulle tutu to a race is a physical reminder of why I’m running this race and what, exactly, I’m shooting for here.

So, now you know something about me beyond that I sew when it’s dark outside.  Is this idea just bizarre, or what?  Also, does this tutu make me look pregnant?

Little bugs mei tai

My friend Jessica is going to be an auntie this month and she (thoughtful sister that she is) decided to get her sister the best baby gift in the universe: a mei tai!  Lucky for Jessica, she just happens to have a friend who can make an excellent mei and is happy to do it for a good price (who could that be?).  Lucky for Jessica’s sister, she’s getting the best baby gift in the universe.

Jessica and I met in graduate school, where we both studied plants (she, mosses; me, invasive shrubs), so she thought it was appropriate that her gift have plants on it.  This fabric is called Recycle Vines by Michael Miller.

Not only does it have some super fun and colorful leaves, it also features those totally adorable little bugs.  Nevermind that they are biologically inaccurate (insects have 6 legs, not 4), they’re still darling!

The straps are a yummy brown twill, and in the next picture, you can catch a peek of the print on the reverse, a nice Daddy-friendly stripe that picks up on some of the colors in the main print.

A sleeping hood prevents floppy-sleeping-baby-head.

Want to see more mei tais?  Check out my Mei Tai Album on Picasa!

(P.S. to Jessica: I emailed you a few days ago.  I need to know where to send this!)

I’m going to show this off at Sew and Tell, so head over there to see some other fun projects.

Prairie girl skirt

The family of a friend of mine is dressing up as the family of Laura Ingalls Wilder for Halloween.  My friend enlisted my help to make a prairie girl skirt her younger daughter could wear for her costume.

Add a collared blouse, a bonnet and perhaps and apron, and she will be all set.  Since my friend’s child was not available this morning, I asked my stand-in model, Sierra, to show of the skirt for you.  The intended recipient is a bit shorter than Sierra, so the skirt will fall a bit longer on her.

The waist band is a simple gathered waist with elastic.

I googled “Laura Ingalls Wilder clothing” and many skirts were just simple, long gathered skirts.  However, I decided to go for the “fancier” version and added a bit of pink trim and an extra ruffle at the bottom.

Hope our little prairie girl likes it!