Strip Quilt

Before my grand daughter Aria was born I made her a gender neutral quilt because her parents chose not to find out if they were having a boy or girl.  My daughter Kayla decorated the nursery with a cute mint/gray color scheme that I matched for Aria’s quilt.

Finished1

You can read about that quilt here.  Infants do not use bulky quilts much so that quilt still seems almost brand new.  Since one of Aria’s new baby brothers (yes, she will soon have three new siblings!) will be using that original mint/gray bedding, Kayla is going to pass that crib quilt down to him.

Aria recently moved into a new room with a new toddler bed and I had been thinking about making her a new quilt to match.  A few weeks ago I made three mini quilts for her triplet dolls.

triplets

Kayla told me that night Aria insisted her mom and dad lay those three mini quilts over her for bedtime even though they probably did not even cover her legs.    I knew I needed to get her new quilt made quickly.

I had been wanting to try a “quilt as you go” quilt because it was suppose to be fast so I went to the fabric store with a strip quilt in mind and selected five different fabrics.

Fabric

I cut the fabric into strips the width of the material and into random 1 1/2″ to 5 1/2″ pieces that when pieced together would measure approximately 48″ long.  I think I cut 19 strips in total.

Cut-Strips

I also cut a piece of fabric the size of the quilt backing and strips of fabric for the binding.  I laid out the strips randomly to see how it would look as a finished quilt then sewed them directly onto the batting and quilt backing.  There are several good tutorials on-line that shows exactly how to do this, including the one I used here.

Quilt-1

After purchasing and washing the fabric, it took about eight hours to cut, sew and bind the quilt.

quilt2

Quilt-3-

It was a fun,  fast quilt to make.  I hope she likes it as much as she did the doll quilts!

The Grandkids Room

A couple of months ago I shared with you a set of sheets I found that inspired me to make a star quilt for the room where my grandkids stay when they come to visit.  You can read that post here.  Those sheets and that quilt were the focal point for decorating the rest of the room that I finally finished this past weekend.  Here is the overall look.

Facing-windows

Here is another view that shows the 11″x14″ prints of the kiddos I printed on my new Canon Pro-100 series printer.  I am having so much fun with that printer…but that is a story for another post!

Bed-and-Crib

Now before you start yelling at me about the 34 year old Basset crib I am using let me state for the record that my husband thoroughly researched the problems with old cribs and ensured they were not an issue with ours.  The problems typically relate to how close the spindles are together and how well the mattress fits in the crib.

Crib-with-Pillow

Our spindles are close enough so a little head can not get through and the new mattress fits tightly up against the sides.  I also checked with both sets of parents to make sure they were ok with me using this bed.  I am so happy that the crib we used for all three of our girls now holds their little ones.

I also added some new curtains and made a window seat cushion.

window-seat

Check out this adorable little retro table and chairs that we pulled from the basement of my mother-in-law’s home.  When I saw the gray top and the red chairs I knew it needed to be in this room!

table-and-chairs

My favorite part of the room is the new gallery wall.

Gallery-wall-2

It took me a lot longer to pull that together than I thought it would.  I really wanted  to include items that the grandkids would enjoy, like pictures of all the granddogs and our kitty cleo.  Pinterest was a great source for inspiration.

Gallery-Wall

I made the ABC and Twinkle Little Star posters using Photoshop Elements but I have seen both for sale on Etsy.  I bought the map for $4.00 when I was at the Magnolia Market in Waco last month and I specifically wanted to mount it on something where I could use push pins for the cities where our family lives.  I had not originally planned on putting up a board for holding artwork but when I walked through the garage a week or so ago I noticed some old baseboard trim Dave had stacked in the corner.  I picked up a piece of it was the perfect size for the space.  All we did was fill a couple of nail holes, give it a few coats of paint and add twine for hanging the pictures.

Overall, I am pretty happy with how the room turned out and I did not finish too soon because my youngest granddaughter and her mom and dad are moving in with us on memorial day weekend for a few weeks while their new house is being finished!  I hope she likes it!

Sneak Peak

Six weeks ago I sent a quilt top I had made to The Missouri Star Quilting Company for machine quilting services.  You can read the story behind this particular quilt here. Today it came back to me and I am soooooo excited.  I love how it turned out…..here is a sneak peak.

quilted-but-no-binding

This weekend I will be making my binding and completing the quilt.  It is funny but binding a quilt is one of the task of making a quilt that I really enjoy.  I am not sure why, maybe because it signifies that the quilt is complete.  The original vision and all the detail work are finally coming together.

quilted-but-no-binding-2

Now that the quilt will soon be done I need to get into high gear and finish up the grandkids room that I have been working on including making some window treatments.  There never seems to be enough hours in the day to work on all these fun projects!

Hope to share the finished room and quilt soon.

 

It started with a set of sheets…..

I had been thinking about updating one of the bedrooms in our home where the grandkids usually stay when they come to visit. It was still decorated in high-school-girl turquoise and lavender from several years ago when I still had a high school girl living here. I had seen a set of sheets at Target that I liked and had considered buying them but just was not ready to commit to a color scheme.  Then one day I walked by and saw this…..

sheets

 

A 40% clearance sticker! Decision made.  I picked out a soft grey paint  ( Essential Grey by Sherwin Williams) and had the Mr. start painting the room.  I also  knew I wanted to make a quilt for the room and since I had never made a star quilt before thought this might be something to try.  As usual, I started with my graph paper and dimensions and came up with a design.  Someday I will wise up and just use a pattern but I actually like doing it myself.

Design-on-Paper

 

Then, just to be sure my design and dimensions would transfer appropriately to fabric, I made one of the quilt squares.

finished-block

 

Satisfied that the design would work, I determined the size of all the pieces I would need and started cutting out the fabric. Cutting fabric is my least favorite part of making a quilt, but I love having it all done at one time.

Cut-pieces

 

Dave was getting ready to go out of town for a few days so I set up my sewing machine in front of the tv and each night after work I sat down to sew and literally watched 14 back episodes of Fixer Upper. My kind of fun!  In this picture I had sewn all the squares and attached the inner borders to make rows.

rows

I then sewed the rows together and attached the outer borders. I knew when I started this quilt that I was going to have it machine-quilted but at the time I was not sure where I would take it.  The last time I asked the person who had machine-quilted three other quilts for me,  she had a six month long waiting list.  Then I remembered that the Missouri Star Quilting Company, a place I visited last year (see that post here), will do machine quilting for a very reasonable price.  On their website all you do is enter the dimensions of the quilt, pick out a quilting pattern, batting and a backing fabric if needed.  You can also have them bind the quilt although in this case I want to bind the quilt myself.  Then you just pack the quilt up and send it to them.

I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive about sending the quilt top through the mail, however within just a couple of days I received the nicest email from Sarah at the Missouri Star Quilting Company;

Dear Theresa,

Your quilt top arrived safe and sound. We have delicately hung it up and it will soon be mingling with the other wonderful quilts. The final step in the journey to becoming a masterpiece is getting closer every day! Your quilt displays wonderful craftsmanship and precision. You should be proud! Thank you for letting us be a part of this beautiful quilt! We will handle it with great care and treasure it as if it were our own!

I am sure this is probably a canned response they send to all their customers but just knowing they had received it and would be handling it with care set my mind at ease. Now I cannot wait to get it back…..they say it will take 4-6 weeks but I am sure hoping it will be sooner. In the meantime I need to make about 24 feet of binding so I will be ready when it is returned!  Pictures coming soon of both the room and the finished quilt.

Color Block Quilt

I recently completed a color block quilt for my soon to be born third grandchild.  The parents decided not to learn if their newborn would be a girl or boy so they chose the neutral colors of grey and mint for decorating the nursery.  I love this combination of colors and since I had made a grey strip quilt a year ago (see that post here) I actually had some leftover fabric I could use.  The mint fabric I ordered from Carousel Designs where my daughter had picked out this fabric for some of the nursery linens.  You can bet I made sure it was 100% cotton quilting fabric before I ordered it so as not to have the issue I had with my last quilt (read all about that here.)

I cut out all the pieces including the white borders.

Squares

Borders

For some reason I did not take any pictures of piecing this quilt but did get one of the basting process.

Preparing-to-baste

The hand quilting went very quickly since I just quilted “in the ditch” around each of the blocks.  I made the binding out of the mint fabric, sewed it to the quilt on the machine, then hand finished it.  I really like the binding process and I think that is because it just finishes the quilt so nicely.

finish3

Finished1

Baby quilts are so fun to make, they go so quickly and I always think about the sweet little newborn who will be using it.

Field Trip to Missouri Star Quilt Company

A few weeks ago by sister, brother-in-law, Dave and I took a day trip about an hour or so north of Kansas City to a small town called Hamilton, Missouri.  Prior to 2008, this small town was best known for it’s most famous son, J.C. Penney, a retailer and philanthropist.

Mural

In late 2008, a phenonomon was starting when some kids got together and bought their mom a long arm quilting machine.  They had no concept of what was to come.

Storefront

I had become acquainted with the Missouri Star Quilt Company by one of the many free quilting tutorials Jenny Doan showcases on YouTube.  The name “Missouri Star” is an old quilt pattern so I assumed that is where the name came from and did not realize their retail store was actually in Missouri and not far from my town.  My sister and I were very excited about finally getting to visit the retail store in person, but after walking through it I have to admit I was a little disappointed.  It was a nice store but very similar to other quilt stores I had been to even in my own town of Kansas City.

quilt-shop-1

quiltshop2

As we were paying for the fabric and notions we had bought,  the clerk mentioned that we need to walk down the street and check out another store.  Since we made the drive we figured it would not hurt to see what else was in the town.  We were flabbergasted…….there are about 15 different store fronts, all fabric stores.  One devoted to solid fabric, one devoted to licensed sports fabrics, one with modern patterns, and the list goes on.  And yes, these are all part of the Missouri Star Quilt Company.  There are a handful of other stores in town, but ninety percent of Davis Street, Hamilton’s main drag, belongs to the Missouri Start Quilt Company.

chevron

solid-colors

When I say it is a mecca for quilters throughout the world, I am not exaggerating.  This sleepy town of about 2000 citizens hosts thousands of on-site visitors each year.   Missouri Star Quilt Company employes 180 people who sew, staff stores and ships thousands of packages a day.  The company is now in the publishing business, food service and is currently planning a “man’s land” to give the husbands of their customers something to do.

bakery

What a story this small town now has!  And for me is it exciting to know that success stories can happen even in the most unlikely of places.  Hamilton is a fun day trip from Kansas City especially if you like to sew or quilt.  I can not wait to go back!

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If this quilt could talk….

My second grandchild was born in March, a beautiful little girl named Alexia Grace.

kindra-and-lexi

Months before her arrival her mom showed me the fabrics she had picked out at Carousel Designs to have drapes, a crib skirt, sheets and a changing table pad custom made.  Since fabric was available by the yard,  I had the fabulous idea to buy some of the coordinating fabric and make a quilt for Lexi’s room.  In November I ordered a yard of each of the three fabrics and actually got it on sale for 20% off.  The thought was that I would have it made and give it to her to take back to Texas after she visited at Christmas.  That did not happen.  January came along with an extended stay in Omaha and all I had done was wash the fabric.

fabric

Finally I decided I had better get started so I planned a design on paper using a herringbone pattern.  Then I cut out my squares of fabric and started sewing the squares into layer cakes. If you have no idea what layer cakes are, check out my post here.

cut-squares

chain-stitching

cutting-layer-cakes-2

If this quilt could talk it would tell you that it heard more than it’s share of expletives coming from the mouth of it’s maker.  After all the squares were cut and sewn, I started laying it out in the pattern and it appeared I did not have enough squares.  The actual problem was I had cut the squares 6.5 inches instead of 10.5 inches.  I have no idea where I got that number from.  I had to go back to Carousel Designs and order another yard of two of the fabrics, this time it was not on sale!

It was close to the end of January before I received the new material and I was starting to panic that Lexi would be here before the quilt was done.  I buckled down and spent an entire Saturday in cold, snowy Omaha cutting out the new squares, making the new layer cakes and finally being able to sew the squares into rows.

sewing-rows

Once the entire quilt top was sewn together I hand basted it to the backing and batting and started the process to hand quilt.  If this quilt could talk it would tell you to never attempt to hand quilt something that is not 100% cotton.  Hand quilting requires a loose weave so several stitches can be picked up on one pass of the needle.  It took me about five minutes to realize I would not be hand quilting this tightly woven fabric blend, especially when the needle came through the leather thimble I was wearing and stuck in my finger as I was pushing it through the fabric.  OUCH!

I was totally bummed for a day before I had another idea. In the past I have had a few quilts machined quilted by someone who lives just a few miles from me.  I immediately called her and asked if she would be available to quilt this for me and she said that yes she could do it but her next opening was next September.  Whaaat???  I actually told her to save me the spot because I had just found out I have another grandbaby due next September.   This would not work for Lexi’s quilt though because she was due soon and I realized then that the quilt would not be done before she got here.

If this quilt could talk it would tell you that it traveled halfway across the country and back before it was even finished.  I had one final idea, I have a cousin who lives in the state of Washington and does machine quilting.  I gave her a call and practically begged her to quilt this baby blanket.  She graciously agreed so I removed the basting in the quilt since I knew she would need to do that and packed up all the pieces and shipped them to her.  A week or so passed and I got a phone call from her.  I could tell by the tone of her hello that it was not good news…….the quilt had broken multiple needles on her machine, she was not going to be able to quilt it.  I thanked her for trying and asked her to pack it back up and return it to me.

When I received it back I knew there was only one other choice to finish this quilt and that was to tie it.  Dave even offered to help me pull the needle through with pliers if needed.  My grandmother had tied most of the quilts she made but I had never tried that.  I searched for instructions online and went out bought a few supplies.

tying-supplies

I was pretty disappointed at this point, the quilt was not turning out how I had envisioned it at all.  I started with the tying process and found it was going pretty fast.

tying

About half way through I was starting to like the look of the ties.  It seemed to make this lavender quilt even more feminine, like little bows.  After the tying was completed, I made the binding and finished the quilt.  finished-quilt-4

finished-quilt-3

If this quilt could talk it would tell you that all the challenges in creating it were absolutely worth it when it’s maker saw this sweet picture.

Lexi-with-quilt

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gray Strip Baby Quilt

I have been wanting to try a strip quilt for a long time and when the opportunity arose to make another baby quilt I decided it would be the perfect project.  Strip quilts are often made to use up leftover scraps of fabric since they are just long strips of fabric sewn together.  For this particular quilt I wanted to keep the colors somewhat neutral so I did a little fabric shopping.

fabric

I am a little bit of a fabric hoarder and ALWAYS buy much more than I need for a project.  One can never have too much fabric!  The first thing I did was cut a few strips of each fabric in various widths and started laying them out until I found a pattern I liked.

Laying-out-the-strips

Then I just sewed the strips together.

sewing-strips-together

After I pressed the seams open,  I cut out the backing and low-loft batting and basted all the layers together.

press-seams

basting

The next step was the quilting and binding.  Since I had the time I decided to do the quilting by hand like I did on the Chevron Baby Quilt.  I am far from a perfect quilter but I like the look of handmade quilting and feel like it personalizes the quilt.  Besides that, it gives me an excuse to watch tv without feeling guilty, at least I am being productive at the same time.

on-the-tree

on-the-grass

Every quilt I make becomes my new favorite and this one is not an exception.  I love the neutral colors and it was easy and quick to put together.  This specific quilt I made for my physical therapist Christy that I talked about in this post.  Now I have two more quilts to make in the next two months.  I better get started right now!

Linking to Find your Voice Friday #1

 

 

November Chalkboard Art

I finally had some time this past weekend to create the November chalkboard for my kitchen.

Nov-2013

Did you notice the bright colors?  I had been hearing via blogland about a product called Chalk Markers that has the bold vibrancy of markers but the easy clean-up of chalk.  I also had been looking for chalk with more of a fine tip for creating different fonts.  I went to my go-to source (AMAZON.com) for a little retail research and I found these fun markers.  Granted, they are a little more expensive than regular chalk at $26.77 for a package of 10,  however the bold colors, chisel tip and EASY clean up was well worth the cost.

Chalk This Way 1I was a little hesitant when I received them because they included a warning not to use on porous surface including chalkboard paint.  WHAT?!?!?  What the heck, I knew if they did not wipe off easily I could always paint my chalkboard again.  Not sure what else I will do with that quart of chalkboard paint I bought when I made this board.  Anyway, I am THRILLED to report that they worked perfectly.  I can attest to the fact that they wipe off easily, just like chalk, with a damp cloth.

Now, if Santa is reading, they also have a set of EARTHY COLORS that would be awesome in my Christmas stocking!!

Chalk This Way 2

Most Welcome Guests

Our house was buzzing with activity today.  We knew the new AC unit was scheduled for  today and after waiting 7 full days to get on their install schedule, I could not have been happier to see anyone.

ac-replace-1

This past week has really made me appreciate the convenience and luxury of air conditioning that we can easily  take for granted.  Yesterday seemed to be the worst day yet, not sure if it was because this primitive living was getting old or the fact that at 4:00 pm it was 91 degrees inside the house.

ac-replace-3

The upside to the week is that I was forced to spend several hours just floating away in our wonderful neighborhood pool just to cool down.  As a bonus, I got in some physical therapy at the same time.

tkg-in-pool

Besides having the ac installers here, the windows we ordered several months ago just happened to be delivered and the carpenters showed up to install them.  One of the carpenters was joking about how hot it was outside today but inside our house it was even hotter!  Guess I have lost my sense of humor about that unpleasant truth!

win-replace-2

win-replace-3

The HVAC guys said it would take about 10 hours for our house to cool down but it already feels better.  Looks like the excuse I have used for the last week to not do anything in the house is slowly starting to go away!