Ribbon Tag Baby Quilt

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Several months ago a good friend of mine sent me a facebook message asking if I could make a ribbon tag quilt for her newest daughter. I immediately said yes, and began searching through my fabric stash for coordinating fabrics. This quilt would quite literately be a sister quilt to the Self-Sashing Quilt I made a couple of  years ago.

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This time, I opted for the bright versions of the fabric, laid out in an off-set brick pattern. The piecing went very fast, but the ribbon tag border turned out to be trickier than I expected. I ended up putting the quilt aside for several months before finishing the edge.

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When I finally picked it back up, I powered through – but I’m still not 100% certain it was bound the best way. For the edging,I used 5 different ribbons, in varying widths – each cut to approximately 8 inches in length. I folded the ribbons in half, and spaced them about 2.5 inches apart. I ended up just turning the edges under and running a hem all the way around the border. Matching the edges and making sure I got each ribbon secure took much longer than I wanted.

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For the quilting, I just stitched in the ditch along the brick rows. All in all, I’m really happy with how it turned out- and so is the recipient, though I’m not sure I’ll be making another one of these anytime soon.

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Have any of you made a Ribbon Tag Quilt? Is there a better way to finish the edges?

Fairy-Tale Mini Quilt

I’m finally making some headway on all the mini-quilt swaps I signed up for back in the Spring – and have seriously limited myself on any new swaps I sign up for (too many swaps means too little time to finish a well-crafted quilt). Anyway, today I’m sharing a look at a quilt I made for a Fairy Tale Themed Quilt. With this one, I had a last-minute partner switch, and consequently had to adapt my plan fairly quickly. My original partner was keen on Snow White and I had these grand plans of using this block as a center and adding a border of Lori Holt’s apples. But, that went out when I got a new partner. Thankfully, I’m a procrastinator, and I hadn’t gotten past the planning phase when they switched. I would have hated to have made the Snow White Mini only to find that my new partner was not a fan of Snow White. FairyTaleMini_ - 2

My new partner was, however, a big fan of Alice in Wonderland, and immediately I thought about making a cake-themed mini with the “eat me” tag so indicative of Alice. I made the tag with my embroidery machine, and busted out some of my favorite fabrics (including that Wee Wander Mason Jar Print) for the cake layers. FairyTaleMini_ - 3

I finished it all with some 1/2″ matchstick quilting, a bit of ribbon to “tie on” the tag, and some pink bias tape for binding. All in all, I’m super pleased with how it turned out, especially considering it was a plan “B” quilt.

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How about you, are you involved in any swaps this summer?

 

Planting the Straw-Bale Garden – Year 4

The week I got back from Ecuador (back in April), my Dad and I planted our strawbale garden – and man has it taken off. Before I share some progress photos and stats (scheduled for next week), I thought it might be fun to run through the basics of this year’s spread. StrawBaleGardenPlanting2015_ - 2

After last year’s boxed in beds, we still had loads of great compost ready for planting – unfortunately, as compost tends to do, it had shrunk quite a bit. So, to bring up the level of the beds, we supplemented the compost with 2 additional strawbales that had been setting out all winter. We shredded these bales and stuffed them in the boxes where more dirt was needed. Afterwards, we topped the boxed beds with a thin layer of garden soil to help stabilize the new plants. In these boxes, we planted 6 tomatoes, 4 cucumbers, and 3 yellow squash.

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And, like last year – and every year we’ve been strawbale gardening – we doubled the size of our beds. Last fall we bought 14 bales and set them out parallel to the boxed in beds. They composted all winter, and were prime for planting this spring. In these, we 3 zucchini plants.

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The tomatoes and yellow squash have taken to their new homes brilliantly, and the boxed in beds are quickly converting to actual soil-filled raised beds, which is the long term goal. 

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All in all, it’s looking to be a very promising year in the garden. And I’m super excited to start harvesting tomatoes – BLT sandwiches are calling my name!

Have you planted a garden this year?

 

Helen Angela’s Duffel Bag

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Just like I did for my Ecuadorian kids, I made Helen Angela a duffel bag that matches her quilt. I started by using this pattern and leftover fabric from her quilt. Since it had been a couple of years since I’d made Helen’s quilt, and I didn’t do so great of a job keeping the scraps, I did have to supplement some of the duffel bag fabric with coordinating colors (especially for the lining). But man, I LOVE this pattern, and I LOVE the bags it makes. I love them so much that I’m picking out fabrics to make one for myself. 

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All in all, the bags are much easier to make than expected, and extremely useful. Plus, they hold way more than you’d think (with a pocket on each end and a trolley sleeve in the middle), and are a breeze to carry through the airport – and to cram into overhead bins. This duffel is perhaps the most patch-worked one I’ve made thus far, and while the patchwork takes forever to piece – think giant jigsaw puzzle where you don’t really know what the final picture is supposed to be, but you do know the size – I think it might be my favorite one yet.  I packed all of the clothes I took Helen in her bag, and she was ecstatic to receive it. I’ll be sharing more about what I took Helen and our day together in the coming weeks, but until then:

What fun things have you made lately?

Preparing for Peru: What I’m Changing from Ecuador

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It’s weird – this preparing for Peru. I knew it would feel rushed – having just gotten back from Ecuador a little under 2 months ago, but this feels nothing like what I expected. It’s already so different from Ecuador – so, so different. I have done so much less preparing – both physically and mentally. I actually haven’t even purchased my plane ticket to Miami yet. And yet, there is a peace about this trip that I didn’t have with either Ecuador visit. There’s this prevailing calm that assures me it will all work out in the end.

Part of that calm, a small part probably because let’s face it – the biggest part of the calm is completely God, is coming from the fact that after each trip I learn so much…and I continually tweak my traveling, and in that way, each trip gets easier. Peru is no different. This time, I’ll be:

  • taking 1 checked bag (not 2)
  • Visiting 1 child on fun day (not 3)
  • Possibly booking a flight with a layover instead of a direct flight to MIA – we’ll see, not totally sure on this one
  • bringing more family/home visit gifts (I wish I had taken more “hostess” gifts to Ecuador, but I just didn’t have the room)
  • buying actual headphones for the plane – my ears can only take so much of the earbuds.
  • carrying a digital scale for luggage on the return trip
  • taking my letters from Helen Angela to look at with Helen Angela
  • packing with a color scheme in mind – this worked so well last time!
  • pre-loading audio book after audio book for the plane – 7ish hour flights are ugh.
  • taking my phone battery booster – because audiobooks
  • writing to my Helen Angela while I’m waiting to meet her – because this is my tradition and I love it.
  • packing peanut butter just incase

When I sat down this past weekend and started my packing I had a small panic moment thinking I wasn’t going to be able to fit everything in a single checked bag – but that fear is unfounded. Even after packing everything I’d planned on putting in my checked bag, I have 7 pounds of room available – which means I can move some of the items from my carryon to the checked bag and still be fine.  I cannot imagine how light it will feel to travel with a single checked bag – again, from here it’s feeling like a calm sigh.

I’m continually amazed at how each of these Compassion trips have been exactly what I needed, when I needed it – and I know Peru will follow that pattern, and, I’m really looking forward to immersing myself again.

 

Spring Fling Mini Quilt

Just before I left for Ecuador, I finished up this pretty little quilt for another one of the mini-quilt swaps I signed up for through instagram. This time, the theme was Spring, and my partner had requested bright, non-pink colors. It took me a while to decide on a pattern, but once I did, it all came together in a matter of hours.SpringFlingMini_ - 1

I started by searching my pinterest board for mini-quilt inspiration. When I came across this pin, I knew I had the winner. Using Lori Holt’s book Quilty Fun, I followed the instructions for her tulip row and modified it to include 5 tulips instead of 11 – the perfect size for a mini-quilt. a From there, I searched through my stashed fabric for bright, spring colors that did not include pink – which was harder than I thought it would be. I settled on a couple of yellows, oranges, greens, and purples. SpringFlingMini_ - 2

I backed the quilt with a minimal daisy-like printed fabric that also screamed spring w/out being overly pink, and added my “label” written at the bottom of the bright oragne binding. For the quilting, I thought it would be fun to try out a raindrop pattern that’s been floating around in my head for a few weeks.  All in all, I absolutely love how it turned out – and completely wanted to keep it for myself…which, I have learned, is the sign of a project well-done.

SpringFlingMini_ - 3What fun projects have you been working on lately? I’ve got a couple more quilts/quilting projects I’ll be sharing in the next few weeks as I prep for Peru – some new ideas and some old. I can’t wait to share them all with you. And I’d love it if you link to your own projects and let me see what goodies you’ve been crafting.

Rainbow Mini Quilt

Several months ago, after, I had finished my first Schnitzel and Boo mini quilt, and had tons of rainbow half-square triangles leftover, I came across a rainbow themed mini quilt swap on instagram. I knew it would be the perfect project to use up all those stray HSTs, and immediately signed up to participate. Before I even had a partner assigned, I laid out the triangles in diamonds of cool vs warm colors, and created a large accent diamond in the upper left corner. All in all I think the quilt top itself took me just over a couple of hours to complete. IMG_1122
Which means that my entire quilt probably took 4-5 hours? But I’m a procrastinator and didn’t quilt/bind it until the very last minute – and I’m pretty sure it hit the mail a day or two later than it should have. This quilt was made completely with fabric from my stash – which makes me smile. I’ve actually done much better than I thought I would when it comes to purchasing fabric this year. Other than notions and specialty weight fabric (like the canvas used for the duffel bags) I’ve stayed away from the fabric stores. Slowly but surely I’m making a dent in this stash and cleaning out some room to breathe.

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To quilt this one, I stuck to a large diamond pattern. And, funny thing, the top turned out to be the exact size of a fat quarter – so that’s what I backed it with. I really love how it all turned out, and am so glad that my partner loved it, too.

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Right now, I’m finishing up several more swaps (I got a little swap happy back in January and signed up for a TON) – so I’m sure I’ll be sharing more mini-quilts soon. But until then, have you participated in a quilt/craft swap? I’d love to see your project!