Feathering the Nest

Fall is in the air.  Okay, not really.  This is Virginia in the first week of September.  It’s currently 90 degrees out.  But I wish Fall were in the air.  It’s my favorite season.

I’ve been working on a project that has an autumnal feel to me:


I call it the Bohemian Feather Table Runner.  It’s inspired by and adapted from this beautiful Anna Maria Horner quilt.  I just loved the design, but wasn’t sure I could manage the whole quilt.  The shape of the blocks just begged to be made into a table runner instead.

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It’s a great way to use up scraps.  I think the natural linen adds to the boho feel, but then again, I think linen should be used in everything.  Evening gowns? Yup, why not. Bathing suits?  They never flattered me anyway.  I have had the backing fabric in my stash for a long time and loved it but wasn’t sure where to use it.  It’s a fairly big scale print and I didn’t want to wreck it by chopping it up.  I love how it works with all the prints on the front.


I’ve put it on sale in my Etsy shop, but I am tempted to keep it.  Might have to make a second one for me!

Fun with Floss

Sometimes I get tired of sitting at the sewing machine or I want to hang out with the family.  There is NO space for the family in the craft room.  It’s my selfish place.  And my happy place.  That sounds wrong, doesn’t it?  Don’t judge…

Anyway, I recently discovered some creative fun for when I’m not hiding in the craft room:61Ou85QzfeL

I used to love to embroider, but I stopped because, let’s face it, people don’t really NEED that many cross-stitched wall hangings, and I can’t stand making things if they don’t at least have a hope of being useful in some way.

This book is full of cute little designs and projects that actually can be used or can embellish another sewing project.  I’ve made several houses from the Felt Winter Village project to use as tree ornaments.  They are pretty cute if I do say so myself. I’ll try to add some pics of those soon. I also made a larger project using the embroidery design, but not the same pillow design from the front cover of the book:


I wanted mine to be square and I got a chance to use some of the fabrics leftover from my holiday gift quilts.  I like it so much that I’m tempted to keep it, but (for now at least) it’s in my Etsy shop.

Forgotten Finish

This one is an old finish, but a new post.  I made this baby quilt more than  a year ago before we even left Korea.


Somehow (shocking) it got lost for months in the melee of the move.  The pattern is from a beautiful tutorial by Bonjour Quilts.  The fabric is a mix of Sweetcakes by Riley Blake and assorted solids from my stash.

IMG_0736Those pink prints remind me of Strawberry Shortcake Dolls from my misspent 80’s youth.  I can almost smell her fake strawberry-scenetd nylon hair…sigh…good times.  Hopefully the gray and the modern pattern offset that sickly sweet girly girl thing.

IMG_0741IMG_0737It’s sparsely quilted echoing the lines on the front of the quilt in pink thread.  This was made in the days before I even thought about learning to free-motion quilt.  I don’t think FMQ would have added much to this quilt, though.  The simple, straight lines make sense to me here.


IMG_0744Time to add this one to the collection to be sold!

What’s new?

Been waaaay too long since I’ve taken time to post!  I need to get back in the habit.  Here’s what’s been cooking lately:


Isn’t this fun?  It’s a bag I made using Riley Blake’s Union Jack fabric.  The pattern is modified from a Sew Serendipity Bags pattern that fits the size of the flag print just perfectly.


I love how it turned out.  I kind of want to keep it for myself, but it is part of several projects I’m making to sell, so stay tuned for news of that.

IMG_0044I obviously have a lot of work to do learning how to take pics that aren’t BLURRY!  Must work on that!

Think Pink

As I took the table runner we usually use to the laundry room for a wash the other day I was thinking how I really ought to make more runners for a little variety.  The next day inspiration arrived in the mail.  You see, I’ve treated myself to the monthly Kona Solids 1/2 yard club at Canton Village Quilt Works (Shhh…lets not mention it to Handsome).  The price was right and I’ve been wanting to add more solids to my stash but I wasn’t sure about what I would get.  Would these be 6 ugly half yards per month?  All the colors CVQW couldn’t sell otherwise?  Since I could cancel at any time I wanted, I decided to take a chance, and I’m so glad I did!  Look at these pretty colors:


They are perfect for adding a little Valentine spirit to the house and I got started right away.  When I saw this table runner in last winter’s edition of Modern Patchwork I knew it was only a matter of time before I gave in and made one for myself.  Here’s my Valentine’s version:

This was a great pattern to work with and it was an easy Saturday project.

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I wish the lighting and that honey oak table didn’t make it so hard to get a good picture!

It’s sweet and modern and probably too girly for the men in the house, but it’s just right for cheering up a gray February.  Even better, I have lots of fabric leftover from this bundle to add to my stash.  I can’t wait to see what color combination comes in next month’s package!


Vintage Holiday Twins

When browsing my local quilt shop this Fall, I came across a kit for the Vintage Holiday quilt pattern using In From the Cold fabrics on sale for a great price.  I couldn’t resist.  Well, maybe I could have.  But I didn’t.

It turns out that it was an even better buy than I’d originally planned.  When I got a good look at the pattern and included fabrics I realized that, with a little supplementing from my own stash, I could make TWO quilts!   And so the twins were born:


Wait…that doesn’t look like two quilts.  Yep.  I am an idiot.  I made two, but forgot to photograph the second one!


The second was exactly the same as the first, but that green backing that you see peeking at the edge of the picture above was the border fabric for the twin version.  One red, one green.

This was a great pattern and this collection of fabrics worked really well with it.  The extra red and green used in the outer borders was fabric purchased at Jo-Anns.  I should have thought twice about that – the red ran, even with color catchers – but with a second run through the wash all came out fine in the end.  I’m not a fabric pre-washer, but I need to start doing it with my reds, I think.  Especially when they’re not super high end.

I got adventurous and practiced a little free-motion quilting on these:


They were sent off to their new owners just before Christmas and so far, there are no rumors of re-gifting!  I liked these so much, I was tempted to keep one.  Maybe someday I’ll even make one for us.



Mini Moxie

It has been so long since I’ve made a blog post that I was tempted to just give up on blogging altogether. When looking through the pictures on my phone the other day I realized how many projects I’ve done since leaving Korea in July – so many that I’d started to forget them all. That was my point in blogging to begin with: I wanted to keep track of my many makes. Time to play catch-up. Let’s start with the most recent and work backward.

After a season of sewing and knitting holiday gifts, I wanted to start out the new year making something pretty for ME. Rememeber when I bought a bundle of Tula Pink’s Foxfield way back in the Spring? Well, it had been taunting me for months. When I unpacked our house, I intentionally left it on the cutting table where I could see it and be inspired. It was waiting to become a Moxie Quilt to be used it as a wall hanging. I have to confess I’m not sure how I feel about hanging up my quilts. I like to see them used. Snuggled. Moxie is a great take on a color wheel and it needs to be seen whole.

Tula Pink's Original Moxie

Tula Pink’s Original Moxie

The original Moxie pattern finishes up at about 50″x59″ which is a LOT of wall covering. Never having used a quilt as wall art before, I decided to start smaller. Behold the “Mini Moxie”:

Mini Moxie in progress

Mini Moxie in progress

I took the free original pattern pieces and sized them at 75% of original. Actually I first sized them down to 50%, but soon discovered that would be a mighty small wall hanging (can you say Micro Moxie?). Math is not my strong suit! At 75%, and leaving out the strips at the top and bottom in the original pattern, my Mini Moxie finishes at 36″x36″ – a great size for a wall hanging if I do say so m’self.  If you added the top and bottom background strips that I omitted it would make a great baby quilt, too.

This was a fun project. It involves curved piecing, so I did have to pin while piecing, but the curves are gentle and it went quickly and smoothly. I actually spent more time trying to figure out how I wanted to quilt it than anything else. I even took time out to try to beef up my WEAK free motion quilting skills by taking Christina Cameli’s The Secrets of Free-Motion Quilting class on Craftsy. It was well worth the time and money. Christina is a great teacher (and not just because her hair is awesome). I also love her book, First Steps to Free-Motion Quilting.

My FMQ still needs work!

My FMQ still needs work! Whew, messy!



But at least I’m brave enough to try, right?


My free motion skills are still pretty weak, but all they say about practice is true. I do see slow improvement. Meanwhile, I’ll just hope no one looks too closely at the stitching while taking in this quilt!

I do love the finished quilt on the wall:


One of the best things about my Mini Moxie:  I have so much fabric leftover from all those FQs!  What should I do with them?

Halloween Decor

Halloween is not a holiday I tend to go all out for. First of all, I hate how the horror industry has stolen it from little kids and made it terrifying for them. Have you seen what some people do to their yards and houses to make them “festive” for impressionable young kids to stop by for candy??? Seriously people!

Nope, you’re never going to see severed heads decorating my front porch, but I do have a family room in need of some improving.

We have only been in our new house for  about 2 months and we only just got the family room furniture delivered last week, so I had been procrastinating about what to do with our mantle.  I’d just let the unhung pictures and mirrors lean up against the fireplace and moved on to something else.  Thankfully, our friends came to visit from Texas and I HAD to do something to make it presentable before they came.  Rather than commit to permanent decor, I decided to use what I had or could get on the cheap and go seasonal.


Some creepy gauze fabric, lanterns and bat vinyl wall stickers from Target (under $10 for all) were paired up with old kids art frames (bought about a decade ago from PB Kids) and some candle sticks (also about 10 years old – Target clearance) and I had a start.

I thought about buying pumpkins – either paper mache or real – but thriftiness got the better of me and I dug into the fabric stash and onto Pinterest.   Here’s what I came up with:IMG_0008IMG_0006IMG_0007

Reusable pumpkins made with fabric from my stash.  I started with this tutorial and made some changes.  Once I’d made one pumpkin according to the tutorial, I started playing with the size and scale of the pumpkins so I’s have some short and fat and others tall and narrower.  I like the variety.  I also played around with the stems, making some curly to give them a little spunk.  I really love how they look on an old tea stand I’ve just inherited from my grandmother.


I’ll get to enjoy these for a few more days and then I guess I’ll have to pack them away for next year and actually think of something to do with my mantle!

Happy Halloween!

Travel Sewing

We’re finally getting down to our last weeks before our big move back to the States.  This has meant lots of errands, paperwork and closet cleaning.   In addition to move business, it’s almost the end of the school year, and we have Bink’s high school graduation around the corner.  Other than fixing some loose draping on a prom gown, I haven’t had much chance to sew or knit anything.  If Handsome sees me working on a project this close to the move, he just gets wiggy, so it’s not worth it.  This our 10th move in 20 years and yet I still can’t seem to convince him that we could do this in our sleep.

Today I snuck in one teeny bit of crafting.  You see, any time we are traveling anywhere I am always thinking about what I am going to bring to DO.  I can’t stand sitting on a plane or in a car for hours just watching movies or reading.  This summer will be all about traveling by car and plane, so I need to plan for that, right?

I will pack some small knitting projects, probably socks, but I hate the idea of not getting to play with fabric until all of our household goods and the sewing machine show up again in August or September.  Thankfully, I’ve got lots of work to do on this English Paper Piecing project:


I just needed a way to keep it organized and portable for a car or plane seat.  I probably should have stuffed it all into a ziplock freezer bag and gotten back to cleaning out the junk drawer, but that’s no fun!  So after a little internet searching and a few hours of sewing I have this:

PicMonkey Collage


This little kit holds just what I’ll need to work on the journey.  I plan to stuff some more uncut fabric and work already done in my suitcase to replenish as needed.  This project came from a great tutorial by lots of pink here!  It was quick and easy to follow – thanks loph!  I used three fat quarters from the Waterfront Park fabric collection by Violet Craft.  Thankfully, I have plenty of scraps leftover to use in another project – I love that fabric!

Wonder what that dark  background is in the pictures?  Handsome finally finished (maybe with some help from the wood shop guy) my sewing table just in time for Mother’s Day.


It was worth the two-year wait!  This is a work of art.  It has drawers for all my sewing stuff and a cupboard that holds my smaller Brother sewing machine.  My Janome sits on a hydraulic lift, and when it sinks down under the table and the whole thing folds up into a cabinet.  I just love it.  Pretty cool, eh?



When life gives you a month of lemons…

Remember March, when I cranked through THREE quilt finishes?  I was sure that was the start of something big.  I was becoming a finishing machine, right?  WRONG!

Apparently March needed to be epic because April was going to be a total fail!  What a rotten month.  It was full of stress and frustration and no time for sewing to make it bearable.  Let’s hope I don’t see another month like that for a long time!  I have a feeling with the move coming up and my sewing machines getting packed into a shipping crate to sail across the world, my whole summer might be craft-deprived.  I’d better sit down and plan some hand sewing and knitting to take with me.

I realized late last week that, not only was I missing out on the fun, but I was also letting down my Believe sewing circle from do. Good Stitches.  I’d completely forgotten to make my April blocks, so this weekend was time to catch up and get those in the mail, even if they are a little late.  Maybe the best way to get over an awful month is to try to do something that will brighten someone else’s life.

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Viola – the April blocks – Scottie dogs!  I have to admit that when I first saw the block that had been chosen for us to make I wasn’t all that excited.  “Picture” blocks aren’t really my thing.  They’re too primitive and traditional for my taste, but of course, this quilt isn’t for me.  That’s what I love about belonging to a charity quilt circle.  It forces me to stretch out of my comfort zone a bit, all while spreading some joy to someone else.  I might not make a scottie quilt for myself, but I can just imagine the joy it will give some little girl to snuggle up and name all the dogs or pick which bow she likes best.  I know I’m going to love seeing this finished quilt.

Since I had taken so long to make those April blocks, the May block assignment had also been posted, so I got to work on those, too.  These were more my thing: wonky improv-pieced fun.

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These are intended for a boy’s quilt, based on this design.  I just love this block.  I do think its a challenge to piece in the strips and then match up the background fabric.  I’m really not good at angled piecing.  There must be a trick, but I haven’t learned it yet.  I just started with a 15″ square so I had plenty of wiggle room to cut it down to the 12.5 finished block.  Looking at these pictures, my finished blocks look crazy and way out of square.  It kind of freaked me out and I just went back and checked.  Nope:  optical illusion, they’re really square.  Whew!

Well, these will go off in the mail tomorrow and I will feel a little less guilty!

One of our great quilters from the group, allisonsews,  just posted the finished pictures of our February quilt:
Shades of Blue
Isn’t this gorgeous?  I love the way she laid it all out!  It’s such a thrill to see our little blocks come together into something amazing like this, and so much more interesting than what I could make on my own.  Normally, our Believe Circle quilts go to foster children, but this one is going to victims of the Oso, WA landslide disaster.  Maybe it will bring some beauty and comfort to someone who has lost nearly everything.