Sunday, February 16, 2014

Riley Blake / MQG Fabric Challenge

Here is my entry for the Riley Blake fabric challenge hosted by the Modern Quilt Guild.

Riley Citrus
Measures:  15" x 19.5"
Fabrics:  The Orange and Yellow - Riley Blake
The Solids - Kona
Designed & Quilted by me on my home machine

Members of the MQG who particpated in the challenge were given a set of fat eighths of various Riley Blake fabrics, with the rules of being able to use only Riley Blake prints, any solids, and your item had to be quilted.  I was smitten with the orange print, and loved how it looked with the yellow, and from that point it just sort of evolved to sticking with fresh, spring-like colors.  Given how cold it's been here lately, no wonder I'm dreaming of spring!  For the quilting, I went with ascending curves, which reminded me of a slice of citrus fruit.  I'm so pleased with how it turned out!  A huge thank you to Riley Blake and The Modern Quilt Guild for providing the fabric and the platform for this challenge. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Review: South Park Bag


Welcome to my stop on the Crafty Traveler Blog Hop Series!  I am so excited to share my thoughts with you on the South Park Bag by Jennifer of Ellison Lane.  Let me first start off by saying I am not the biggest suck-up because I am reviewing a pattern designed by my friend and the host of this series.  Really, I'm not.  I truly do love this bag!  I had the chance to see the original version of this bag in action during a visit with Jenn last summer, and I was smitten with it's curved lines, ideal size, and structure.  When she asked for some pattern testers, I couldn't respond fast enough.  

Now, time for true confessions:  Prior to this bag, I had NEVER made a bag by myself (and only a couple with some serious hand holding).  Patterns scare me.  There always seems to be a lot of steps - lots of words to read, seemingly really important steps that I feel sure to mess up.  Even with quilting, my true crafty love, I very rarely use a pattern.  So I knew this was going to be a challenge for me, and I felt ready to tackle it.  

And look - I did it!  Whoever left this fantastic Ikea fabric on the Freebie Table at Sew South last year, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.   To be sure there is a special spot in heaven for you and I'm guessing you are smart and beautiful and gifted with many talents, such are the ways of a person generous with fabric. 

The other side:

 My favorite parts about this pattern:

* The steps are clearly written, make sense, and are broken up logically (meaning, there's not really 18 steps in 1).
* It was easy to understand and execute the steps even for a newbie bag maker.  Beginner friendly!
* The inside pocket.  Oh, the inside pocket!!  It is so simple, so polished looking, and the absolute perfect size with a slot for my cell phone and another for my sunglasses.  I LOVE that about this bag.  In fact, I have thought I would use this pocket in other bags I make (yes - there will be more!)  because I am always digging for my phone and glasses with other purses.  It is the perfect pocket.  Try it - you'll see what I mean!
* The handle.  One handle, cleverly attached with rings for a smart look, that is just the right size to always stay on my shoulder.  Love.
* As I mentioned earlier - the sloped shape of this bag feels very contemporary to me - it is simple and elegant at once.  The single handle complements this shape perfectly.
*The size of this bag is great - roomy enough for what I need without being too big to allow me to carry more than necessary.
*It really went together very quickly.  I am not a super fast sewer but was still able to complete this in just a couple of sewing sessions.
The Perfect Pocket

I get compliments on it all the time when I'm out, and people can't believe I made it.  I had such a sense of accomplishment when I finished.  And just like that, I became a maker of bags.  

(You can purchase the South Park Bag pattern here, you'll be glad you did!)  

OK, on to some details about the blog hop.  Be sure to check out all the stops in the series and link up your own handmade crafty traveler item on March 6 for a chance to win some great prizes!

This is the Crafty Traveler Blog Hop Schedule:

3/6: Link-up opens at
3/13: Winners announced!

A special thank you to these wonderful sponsors for the great prizes!
CT sponsors

CT prizes

Monday, February 10, 2014

Circle 7: Courtney

Time for another Circle 7 update!  This one is Courtney's quilt, and her theme was "Favorites. "   I absolutely love what everyone has made for her! 


This is the panel I added:
I started with the coffee pot - I happened to have the same black dot print she used around her mugs in her starter panel, so I thought that would tie in nicely.  I scanned the internet for inspiration and made up this block to get the scale right.  

Then I added these economy blocks with some of my favorite things that I also thought Courtney would enjoy - a recipe print, some HR, homey images...all in happy, bright fabrics.  

I met Courtney at Sew South last year and was instantly drawn to her warm and sunny disposition and great sense of humor.  And the girl can SEW!  Every time I looked up, she was finishing yet another awesome project as I was laboriously trying to finish The Duffle.  I should probably mention she was like 8 1/2 months pregnant at the time too...You can check her out at Mon Petit Lyons.  I'm so thankful to have had the chance to get to know her better in this bee, and look forward to seeing her again soon!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Thank You

This stack of quilts is on it's way to Guatemala this week thanks to the kind and extremely generous efforts of the quilting community.  I have been giddy over the last couple of months as these quilts have come in from all over to be shared with the children in the Safe House of the La Limonada community.  This week, 6 more kids will receive their quilts and I know there will be smiles all over their sweet faces!

A special thank you to the following friends for making this happen:
Lisa - HilltopHouseCreativeWorks
Lorna - SewFreshQuilts
Renee - SoulScrappin'
Nicole - MamaLoveQuilts
Megan - CrookedSeams

Truly, I am so thankful to each one of you for sharing your gifts and talents to provide care and comfort for people you've never even met.  Quilters are the best!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Circle 7: Lindsey


I am so late in posting my Circle 7 Bee updates, but I am really excited to share these quilts with you.  Each quilt in this bee has been an absolute delight to work on and I feel so giddy as I make each one - like I'm working on a surprise for that particular person each month!  That's not to say I don't stress about these quilts - trying to narrow down ideas and utilize designs that complement what the others in the group have contributed has been a fun challenge for me.

My sweet friend Lindsey of LR Stitched requested vintage kitchen as her theme.  FUN!!!  Let me at it! She was open about colors, adding that she loves bright happy fabrics and polka dots.  Very doable!  I have always wanted to make one of those beautiful stand mixer paper pieced patterns, and this seemed the perfect opportunity to try it out.  But all the paper pieced patterns I found weren't as big as I wanted for Lindsey's block.  So, I think to myself - I can improvise a paper pieced pattern! Why not?!

Well, guess what??  Turns out, it's not that easy.  Especially when you don't have any software and you're going all old school with pencil and paper and such.  Ha!  I turned to the awesome tutorial here, but again, I wanted something significantly bigger.  And maybe y'all would know not to simply add inches around the pattern pieces because the proportions don't translate well.  Of course you would know that.  But I didn't.  I best learn lessons like this the hard way!  Long story short, I ended up paper piecing some sections, and free piecing others, and even using the freezer paper technique in spots too.  And lots of starting over.  And then starting over again.  But look - It turned out!

Please don't ask me how - I couldn't begin to tell you!  But it is done - it is a thing I made!  And I love it. And I love that Lindsey will have it.  I hope she enjoys it - I'm sure she will, as all of us quilters know what labors of love each stitch is.  I added the colorful patchwork along the sides to brighten it up and frame it out a bit, as well as the red-check to make the table it sits on since that reminded me of a tablecloth.  

I'll be back soon with some more progress on these Circle 7 quilts.  Hard to believe the bee is almost over as the year draws to a close.

Blogger's Quilt Festival Fall 2013

                                              Blogger's Quilt Festival -

Y'll know I'm a big fan of Amy's Blogger's Quilt Festival, where twice a year she hosts a giant linky party for quilters to enter their quilts in a variety of categories.  What a treat this online quilt show is!

I'm entering Claudia's quilt in to the Group/Bee Quilts category.  I know I've recently shared this, so if you'd like to hear the whole story, click here.  The quick version is that my sweet friends in That Stash Bee and I made this quilt for my friend Claudia and her family who lost their 6 year old son Michael earlier this year after a tough battle with Neuroblastoma cancer.  There are no words for this kind of heartbreak, but I knew I wanted to make them a quilt in the hopes of offering some kind of comfort.  I asked my bee mates for a variety of stars and the words Faith, Hope and Love in a rainbow of colors.  I was in awe as the blocks started coming in!  What a joy it was to put this together, although many tears were shed while making it in memory of that sweet boy.

Here's the back:

I did that giant LOVE banner and liked how it came together with the scrappy stars.  This quilt was full of significant coincidences such as Michael's birth year in one of the fabrics and birds on several of the fabrics, which is a favorite of Michael's and his family.  

I know this quilt is loved by my sweet friends, and I feel so grateful to my friends in That Stash Bee for their help in making this quilt for them:

It was so great to work together with friends across the miles to make this quilt.  Enjoy the rest of the Festival!

Thursday, October 24, 2013


I've been wanting to write this post for a while.  Years really!  Today is the day I share with you a vision I have had to spread some love and kindness in a particular part of the world that could use some good quilty cheer.  La Limonada is a community in Guatemala City where tens of thousands of people live in extreme poverty.  All the things that are associated with extreme poverty exist here:  Addiction.  Violence.  Poor housing conditions.  Lack of decent paying jobs.  For some, having safe water or electricity is a luxury. Things that I take for granted a thousand times a day before lunch.

But there is also hope.  Always hope.  Lemonade International has been working for the past five years in the people of La Limonada to partner in community development.  A school was started.  Then another school was started.  Scholarship programs started.  Sponsorship programs begun.  Micro-enterprise and vocational training programs are now available.  A fair trade coffee partnership with a coffee house here in Raleigh was recently launched (check out Jubala - the best cup of coffee in town.  Worth traveling for if you aren't in the area!).  I am always inspired with the creative and effective ways this organization utilizes to support and nurture this often overlooked population.  Perfect example - Establishing a shoe maker in the community as the official shoe provider for the children in the schools.  Lives are being changed here!

Perhaps the project most near and dear to my heart is the safe house that was started for children who were in dangerous situations.  The most needy of the needy.  Currently, there are 18 children living in the Mi Casita Safe House.  As a quilter and a mother, I want to wrap each of these kids up in a warm embrace, to whisper in their ears and hearts that they are loved.  That they are valuable.  That they matter.  That they are remembered!

I so want each of these kids to have their very own quilt - a spot of brightness that is made specifically for them and belongs soley to them.  I stepped out on a limb and told Cherie (of the husband/wife team Bill and Cherie who started the non-profit Lemonade International) that I would make a quilt for every child in the safe house, even if it took me 10 years.  I have already sent this quilt down for a special resident of the safe house, and have seen pictures of her enjoying this treasure made just for her.  Oh, my friends.  This feeling of being able to share a bit of comfort and cheer is one of the joys of being a quilter!

I would love your help in making some quilts for these kids.  I don't want any of the kids to have to wait for their turn to get a quilt.  I want to rain down some love on them!  And secretly, I would love to see quilts popping up throughout the community, beyond the safe house, spreading some tangible cheer in a place that so desperately needs it.  If you are interested in helping out, please leave me a comment or send me an email.  Thank you!

And so, Project Quilt Lemonade begins.