Tag Archives: sewing

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

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.

Who’s Had an “Intentional Design Element” Recently?

I made a super-cute purse for a teammate from high school recently. (We were in the color guard together… you know, the twirly flag thing with the marching band.) Man my arms were in good shape then. Anyway…. oh yeah. She asked if I could make a purse with owl fabric so I sent her some links to several styles of owls. After she picked one, I just had to wait ’till it arrived and then I could begin.

This purse pattern by Sam Hunter includes a flap with a Velcro closure. I messed up the first one that I made. It’s supposed to be 10″ x 10″. I didn’t measure, just thought the strip size was aesthetically pleasing. It was. But it was too short, so I tried to fix that with another strip.

melissafirstflap

Now, had this purse been for me, I would have just run with it. Tell anybody who asked that it was an “Intentional design element!” Also known as, I figured it out in a creative way but you don’t have to know that! Other intentional design elements I’ve done have been caused by running out of fabric or piecing something wrong (sideways, upside down, wrong placement) and just running with it. When I run out of fabric on most projects I just add in something similar. Since this purse is a custom order for an actual paying customer (and I did have enough fabric) I made another flap. Here’s the completed purse.

melissafront

There are even little owls as the pockets and stiff bottom of the bag. (Stiff bottomed, not because it’s been at boot camp, but to help the bag keep its shape.)melissainside

 

P.S. This bag is only $85 + shipping. Let me know if you’d like to order one.

Four Faces: A Custom Portrait Quilt

When I started this blog way back in August of 2012 I gave you a sneak peak of a quilt-to-be. It was in the planning stages then and has long ago been completed. Somehow I neglected to show you guys the big finish! So here it is. I started with this photograph: 4 subjects photo

Then, taking several artistic licenses, I rendered it into fabric. I like to call it inspired by the photograph instead of actually copying the photograph exactly. Shading is important here as is texture. Plus the gravel backdrop was too boring and I’d rather not have that boot in the quilt. Two of the women in this photo are sisters, the ones wearing green and grey. You’ll notice they have the same eye color. I tried to use some of the same fabrics for these two faces to give you the sense that they’re closer related. The other two people are cousins of the sisters. Recognize anybody? Yup, that’s me on the lower left. I call this masterpiece, “Four Faces.”

FourFaces Completed

 

I’m working on a custom order now for a quilt of this sort. Instead of a portrait I’m working from a landscape photograph with an airplane in it. I can really do this with any photograph, people. The holiday gift-giving season’s coming up quickly but there’s still time to order one of these for someone you love. Check out my etsy shop for more cool stuffs.

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.

 

Weekends are for…

Help me fill in the blank. Weekends are for ______. Here are some of my answers.

Weekends are for

  • Staying up late and sleeping waaaay in.
  • Watching crime dramas.
  • Quilting!
  • Working on the house with my husband. Unpacking fabric boxes this weekend.
  • Conversations, with adults! Swearing allowed.
  • Cooking and eating first meals, not leftovers.
  • Playing on Facebook.
  • Setting goals for the week.

Keep Calm and Don’t Die

Image

I was feeling run down today. Just tired and discouraged in general. My new years resolutions for 2013 were to notice the goodness around and within me and to be my own advocate. So I decided to focus on those things once I got home from work. 

Goodness around me – my husband made me dinner, his shepherd’s pie recipe and pumpkin pie, too! He borrowed a toaster oven and we shared some of the pumpkin pie with friends here at the motel. 

Goodness within me – I’m good at my job and can stay calm under pressure. I understand the reasoning behind kids acting out and don’t take it personally. I appreciate positive things and can learn from the negatives. 

Be my own advocate – I’m grouchy when I’m tired, so a nap was in good order. Tomorrow’s Friday and I plan to get in some sewing time. 

And hey, if all else fails, remember this piece of advice that the three-year-old gave his screaming baby brother today: “Keep calm and don’t die.” Later, he gave the same advice to a toy car that flipped over.