Tag Archives: sew

Lovey Beanbags for Mary’s First Birthday

My niece, Mary Constance, is a year old this month. I remember waiting by the phone on the day she was born, and being so excited to meet her in November. I even got to give her a quilt in person during that trip. I wasn’t able to be at her first birthday party, but several of her extended family members were so I’m grateful for that. Everyone should be surrounded by people they love on their birthday.

Of course, photographs were taken of the cake-eating. I love how Mary is focused on sharing her cake. It’s a serious job.

Mary sharing cake

 

She allowed others to feed cake to her, too. It became a big ‘ole finger-food experience.

Mary having cake

My Dad, brother, and I wanted to give her something special. I’ve been dubbed the artist of the group, though my Dad’s a great writer and my brother’s a musician. Plus I used to work as a nanny, so I know a lot about age-appropriate toys. So here’s what I came up with.

Mary Beanbags

The beanbags, sewn by Mary’s favorite Aunt Megan (me!) are developmentally appropriate for a toddler. They’re good to squish and throw. As she grows, I’m sure she’ll learn her colors in English and Spanish and these’ll be good tools for that too as they’re primary and secondary colors.
Beanbag Qualities

Can you see the qualities embroidered on the front of each beanbag? My dad, brother, and I each chose two things we see in Mary Constance. On the back of them is the name of the person who chose that word for her. Now they’re customized specifically for her and – BONUS – they’re super gushy mushy lovey.
Beanbag Names

 

I do custom orders! These were invented for Mary’s birthday, but if you like ’em I can give you a quote and make some for your special occasion. Just email me and we’ll make it happen.  mrs.megan.null@gmail.com

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Small Business Saturday Deals

FourFaces CompletedIn honor of Small Business Saturday, here’s what I’m offering in my etsy shop. These deals start now and are only good this weekend.

Everyone who buys anything from my shop will get a coupon code for 5% off your next purchase. This coupon is good through June 1st, 2014.

The first five people who order a custom portrait quilt will get 10% off the entire purchase price.

The first three people who order a custom portrait quilt that is no bigger than 50″ x 50″ will have it done in time for Christmas. Plus the 10% off.

Check out the listing for details on pricing and what we need to get started. https://www.etsy.com/listing/109205494/custom-fiber-art-quilt-portrait-from?ref=shop_home_feat

Update as of midnight Sunday 12/2: These deals have expired. Prices will increase on February 1, 2014.. so it’s still great to get these orders in before then. Or after then. I’ll have another post up soon. Until then, thank you and goodnight.

Koala in the Air

Just a reminder that I’ll be on vacation for the next two weeks. Here’s somebody I’m flying towards:

Panda MaryIsn’t Mary the cutest little Koala bear you ever did see? She flew to Dad’s (with her parents) from the other coast today. So excited to meet her.

I’ll be checking messages so feel free to write if you need me. Back to packing!

 

Inside Jokes Are Fun

Inside jokes are fun, but I can’t resist sharing these two with you. They came up yesterday on the retreat where I spent the whole day with good friends. We had a potluck lunch, sewed all afternoon, then went to an Irish Pub where I tried something new: a lamb shank. Soooo yummy. Anyway, here are the funnies.

I was poking at two of my friends who had stayed overnight at the hotel for reading my last blog post… because they’re on vacation. Then I realized how ridiculous it was for me to have anything negative to say about someone reading my blog. So, collectively, we decided that a great name for a blog would be, “Don’t Read this Blog” with the by-line of “I have nothing to say.” I’d check that one out at least once.

The other one happened when we were walking around downtown and came across a shop called, “Truffle Hound Chocolates.” Aptly named. I offered an alternate name which would not work from a marketing standpoint but meant the same thing. “Oink Schnauzer Delicacies.” Don’t think I’d shop there.

truffle pig

Alright, time to go back to binding a gift quilt and my Hulu shows. Grimm’s first in line.

Retreats and Vacations

My mini group is on a weekend retreat right now. I get to go play with them all day tomorrow. So fun! I couldn’t swing the hotel room and all weekend costs, but am extremely excited to spend a day sewing and chatting with some of my favoritest peoples ever. Soul food, for sure. Plus chocolate.

gone quilting

Also, I just wanted to give you guys a heads-up that I’m going on vacation for two weeks starting at the end of next week. My plan is to continue with my two-ish blog posts a week but it may be more or less than that, depending on the number of photographs taken and the time to actually write.

Hubby’s not coming with me this time but I’m excited to spend some quality time with family I haven’t seen in a long time… including one I haven’t met yet, baby Mary! Expect an update on her quilt with full photographs of it and her sweet cheeked drooly-ness either during my stay or once I get back. I’m also super psyched to spend some time with my baby brother who’s growing into a man and my little sister who’s now a mommy. And my Dad. Sorry dude that you’re last on the list of shout-outs but we’ve had some really great phone conversations recently that make me feel like you’re not halfway across the country.

planes vacation

So, big plans for me. I’m sewing like crazy to finish up some projects before I go.

quilt all the things

Custom orders for Christmas are still available. It’s getting a little late in the season for Chanukkah, but you could always give a card saying what you’ve ordered and save the actual gift for when it arrives. Plus there are birthday and anniversary celebrations to be had.

I’ll have a few more posts up next week before I land in fly-over country.

Plan Wisely Then Go For It

I’ve participated in four round robins, three of which were by mail with people I only knew from an online quilting group. The other was through my local quilting guild. Two of those were donated to charity and the other two are so gorgeous that I haven’t started quilting them yet. I just look at ’em and drool. Here’s what I’ve learned.

First, let’s talk about the quilt you’ll be getting back. In a round robin, you make the center and others add borders to it. You can also include a note about the quilt: what the theme is, where it’ll end up, the colors and styles you like, what to please NOT do, etc. For example, here’s the center of “Calm Energy.” When I sent the project off, I included a letter about it. I knew the title already, that it was for a man (so please no pink, but the purple that is in the center is okay), and it has a lighthouse theme. I was able to be super specific about the intent of this project. Here’s the center I sent:

Dad's Center

And here’s the quilt top that came back to me. I call this an amazing success.

Dad's TopIf you don’t know quite that much about what you want to get back, that’s okay. Again, just be specific about what you know you want. I knew, for this next quilt, that I wanted it to have great contrast and only be red, white, and black. I also knew that I didn’t necessarily want it to be patriotic. I said that, sent the center, and got this back:

RedWhiteBlack

 

Okay. Here’s the other part of the round robin. And really, it’s the part you’ll be spending most of your time on. You make your center and send it off to make the rounds through other quilters’ hands and hearts but don’t really get to see it again for several months. So let it go! While it’s gone, you’ll be working on others’ centers. This can be very fun and stretching.

The red/white/black quilt was in a group of six. So I worked on five other quilters’ projects, one border at a time. I learned a lot about when symmetry’s important (or not), new border techniques, when a quilt needs some rest (two busy prints next to each-other look a mess), and how to work on something that isn’t my style.

As in-awe of these two quilts as I am, I think the real reason to do a round-robin isn’t for the quilt you get back. It’s for the experience of connecting with other quilters as you work on their projects. It’s an intimate thing, adding your art to someone else’s. I’m a big believer in collaborative projects.

 

Turtles, Turkeys, Wolves and Bears Oh My!

I love collaborative projects. They’re always such an adventure. This one is for the lodge at my childhood summer sleep-away camp, Crystal Lake Camps. I have such awesome memories of this place and the people I met there. So when the idea was pitched on the alumni Facebook page to make clan animal themed quilts for four rooms I was eager to help.

There many ways campers are grouped together at CLC. One is by age, which determines your cabin assignment. Another is girls’ camp and boys’ camp. Also your skill level in classes like swimming and horseback riding. Clans are something different and special. Boys, girls, and counselors of all ages are split into four groups: turtles, turkeys, wolves and bears. These clan groups compete in events like blueberry picking and tug-of-war, make their own cheers, and sit together at council fire. It’s another opportunity for bonding and though I haven’t been to camp since 2001 I’m still a proud turtle.

So here’s what we’ve done so far for these four clans… starting with the turtles ’cause, well… I’m a turtle. I’m collecting blocks that have a light blue background and one or more turtles on them. The blocks’ measurements must be divisible by 3, so they’re not the same size but I can puzzle them all together. So with seam allowances, you can have 3.5″ x 3.5″ all the way up to 15.5″ by 15.5″ and anything in-between. Here are some of the blocks that have been made.

more turtles coming in

 

I’m the maker behind this one. Can you tell? Its shell is crumb-pieced then reverse appliqued under the blue fabric and the rest is hand-embroidered. 12x15 turtle

Okay. Onto the turkeys quilts. This lodge room gets two because it has a set of twin beds.  I’m also coordinating this project. I sent off some quilt blocks to the alumni reunion weekend along with fabric markers. I haven’t gotten them back yet but am so excited to see what everybody wrote/drew on them for the turkeys quilt! I’m kind of hoping I get a hand print turkey or two back. Do you remember making those in elementary school for Thanksgiving? Anyway, alumni weekend was populated with several generations of alumni and their children so I’m sure the quilts will be awesome. Here’s what some of the blocks looked like before decorations.

turkeys

The next two quilt tops are for the wolves and bears. Their very talented maker Betsy Huffman gave me permission to share them with you guys. Another volunteer will quilt and finish them. So all four quilts are technically still UFOs (unfinished objects)…. with a lot of love put into them. See?

bear quilt

Yes, that bear quilt has a cat on it. My cats are also quilt-inspectors. I love how Betsy included the traditional “bear paw” block as one of her borders.

wolf quiltI love the howling wolf in the corner of this quilt. Did you notice that Betsy also made matching pillowcases? She said she made them with the leftovers from making these quilts. What a good idea.

I Have Helpers, Don’t You?

Doesn’t it feel good to finish something? This time, I had a lot of help. Here are my helpers, in chronological order.

  • My own desire to make a quilt for my first biological niece. (I married into a family with babies, so technically this isn’t the first time I’ll be Aunt Megan.)
  • My Aunt suggesting that we paint the letters of my sister’s baby’s name during her shower weekend… which didn’t work out because the parents were keeping that a secret until she was born.
  • The flash of creativity that gave me the idea to make a signature quilt. We would write our guesses for the baby girl’s name on fabric and I’d make it into a quilt.
  • All of the family members who came together to celebrate my sister in January of this year… and also happened to sign blocks for the baby’s quilt.
  • A deadline. Yup, I’ve had this quilt in the works since January… and by “in the works” I mostly mean sitting in a drawer being ignored. I get to spend this Thanksgiving with my family and deliver the finished quilt in person. That is, if I finish it in time.
  • My online quilting group. We call ourselves Snowflakes. I posted photographs of the quilt and said that I was basting it… which gave me accountability and made me actually do it.
  • A dear friend who invited me over to sew with her on Saturday. I borrowed her marking pen and quilted the whole thing in one sitting. Straight-line quilting is much less boring to do when you’re across from a chatty friend.
  • My Hulu shows. I enjoy hand-stitching the binding on quilts late at night with the TV on. Unfortunately, late night TV isn’t something I enjoy watching but there’s always “Bones” and “Once Upon a Time” in my queue.

So here I am putting the last few stitches on the binding. I’ll add a label tomorrow and toss it in the wash to minimize the amount of cat hair I’m giving away. And TA-DA! Done.

Binding Mary

Binding Doesn’t Have to be Boring

Creativity is allowed when you bind your quilt, too. Baby Mary’s quilt is getting a pretty pink binding around the light green border… but it isn’t a solid pink. There are monkeys involved here. And yes, lots of them will have their heads or butts cut off once it’s double-folded and sewn down to the edges of the quilt. But that’s okay. I think it’ll still be cute, and add some interest.

Monkey Binding

In the past I’ve also pillowcase-turned quilts instead of binding them and even fringe-cut one. So really, it’s up to you to decide on the look you’re going for. Don’t be afraid to audition new fabrics and techniques. If you don’t like it, there’s always your handy-dandy seam ripper.

 

 

Did you know I do custom orders? This baby quilt is an example of a custom quilt that will be given as a gift. Actually, most of my work is custom…. whether it’s for myself, as a gift, or for paying customers. Interested? Contact me and we’ll talk about it.

Somebunny Hid the Cottons!

I’m working my way through Tula Pink’s newest book City Sampler: 100 Modern Quilt Blocks with some quilty friends of mine. One of the cool things about this book is that the author encourages you to name your own blocks, providing numbers to reference them by.

Here’s my version of #87. I call it “Hide the Cottons!” It reminds me of a map of a fabric store. Not a quilt shop, mind you, but a JoAnns-ish fabric store. Where are buttons? All over the store. Where’s the fabric? Easily accessible and plain to see. How about the quilting cottons? Well… those are hidden in the dark recesses of this itty-bitty corner where the dust bunnies breed. Ugh!

#87 Hide the Cottons!

 

Speaking of bunnies, I had the chance to meet one that wasn’t made of dust (or cat hair) this weekend! Our neighbor’s cat chased him into the garage, where we had to move a bunch of boxes and poke him with a 2×4 before he was caught. We decided to put him in a cat-carrier cage until the neighbor’s cat had been let in for the night, hoping to save little cotton tail from becoming dinner. I even offered him some carrots but he was busy being scared out of his mind. Here’s the little guy in the carrier.

caged bunny

When it was time to let him go, my husband picked him up with welding gloves on. Wild animals are known to bite, right? Safety first!

he has ears

I gave him some pets before he hopped home. He calmed right down and squinted his eyes when I stroked the top of his head and the base of his ears. Hubby said his heart-rate slowed way down, too, from what he could tell through the gloves. Somebunny likes pets

So cute.