Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Evolution of a Fancy Forest Baby Quilt Part 2

In my last post I told you that I made an entire quilt before I decided I just couldn't give it to a friend having a baby. So less than one week before her baby shower I started making a quilt using Elizabeth Hartman's Fancy Forest Pattern

Of course there was absolutely no time to order fabric... So I started rummaging through my stash. I kept coming back to a fat quarter bundle of Persimmon by Basic Grey for Moda.

I purchased a complete fat quarter bundle well over a year ago when I just fell in love with the colors. I used it to make a few quilt blocks earlier in the year using Camille Roskelley's Mini Swoon Pattern and lets just say that it was a lot of little pieces! I loved how they turned out, but I got busy and didn't finish it or do anything with it.

I kept thinking the fabric wouldn't work for the Fancy Forest critters because there was not a lot of variation in the volume and some of the prints are rather busy. I decided to give it a try; I made a hedgehog and a fox... and they turned out fairly well.

I made the firefly along with 4 foxes and 2 hedgehogs. 

 I used Robert Kaufman Essex Linen for the gray background of each critter. I had a small fat quarter bundle of that, and I am not even sure the actual colors that I used. Of course by the end of I was stitching together small scraps of the background just trying to make it work.

I made three rows, the top and bottom each with 2 foxes and a hedgehog and put the firefly in the center separated by sashing.

I backed the quilt with a large scrap of brown minky, which I am not even sure which project that brown minky came from, but definitely not my favorite brand... It was a bit on the thin side. I used a 100% natural cotton batting.

I stitched in the ditch around the "critters" and boxes/borders so that the outlines showed up in the minky.

I used a scrappy binding with strips of Persimmon. I did have to machine bind the quilt due to lack of time, which not my favorite thing to do. I love hand binding quilts, it's one of my favorite things to do!

Even though it was a rather rushed quilt, and not what I would consider the perfect fabric, I love the way it turned out and I think the mama and daddy to be did too!

I look forward to making the other little critters in the pattern in the future. I have never used any of Elizabeth Hartman's patterns and I really loved the way I was able to make the critters with simple straight and diagonal lines. No paper piecing necessary, although I do love paper piecing, this went much faster.

- Jessica

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Evolution of a Fancy Forest Baby Quilt Part 1

Finally something new to share on the blog! It's been a long time. I have made some small projects here and there over the past year, but they have been rushed and with limited time I haven't written about them.

At the end of this Summer a new baby boy is due, not mine, but that of a close friend, and of course a quilt is in order. I waited with great anticipation until the day they announced the gender; a baby boy!

Promptly I searched the internet for fabric, and while I found several options I really liked, decided I really should take a look at my stash and see if I already had something that would be nice.

I came up with the following:

Urban Mod by Art Gallery Fabrics
Leftovers from my Philippians 4:8 Wall Hanging

Dr Seuss Fabric with Riley Blake Chevron
Leftovers from a baby quilt back in 2014 and Matias' First Birthday

I let my boys decide which fabric to use and they quickly selected the Dr. Seuss Fabric because they said the other fabric was too girly. I thought the geometric patterns with blues, grays, and mustard were masculine, but they disagreed. 

I found the following tutorial from Sew Mama Sew and decided I would make some pinwheels with my fabric. 

Some of my pinwheels:

 I then sashed them with white fabric. I really wanted to use the elephant portion of the fabric too, so I separated the sets of pinwheels with a wide strip of that. Once I started putting it all together I realized that I had a really long and narrow quilt so I needed to add some fabric to the sides to add width. By the time I put it together I had a twin sized quilt rather than a baby quilt.

I backed it with a beautiful aqua minky dot from Hawthorne Threads. I love their minky , it is the best minky  I have ever used. It is so soft and a little thicker than typical minky in my opinon. I did not use batting because I wanted the quilt to be light weight. It worked out pretty well, I have never done that before. You can see the "dots" of the minky dot on the front side of the quilt. In real life it isn't really noticeable, but in the pictures it makes the quilt look very wrinkled. 

I quilted it with a "stitch in the ditch" following the pinwheel on the front, so it made the pinwheel image into the minky. I really like how that turned out. 

I bound it with a red and white polka dot fabric. 

I had just about finished the binding, one week before the baby shower, when I decided that this wasn't the quilt for my friend and her baby boy!

It's a cute quilt, but it just wasn't the right quilt. I saw the pattern, Fancy Forest by Elizabeth Hartman online and I just knew that I had to do something with these adorable 'forest friends'. I just couldn't resist!

Image of FANCY FOREST pdf quilt pattern

I knew there was no way that I could make the whole quilt, but I had to do something with at least some of the woodland critters... So I had less than one week to make a new quilt, using this pattern, challenge accepted! Or I have serious mental issues, either way I was determined to make some of those little critters into a quilt.

Keep an eye out for my next blog post to see if I managed to get a Fancy Forest Quilt made in less than a week!

- Jessica

Friday, May 22, 2015

Paper-Pieced Stag Wedding Quilt

In December I began looking for the perfect fabric and pattern to make a quilt for friends that were getting married in April.

I wanted something hunting related or camouflage, but feminine at the same time, was that even possible?

Then I saw Brambleberry Ridge by Violet Craft in the Hawthorne Threads Newsletter. I fell in love immediately. I knew it was the perfect fabric.

I found several options for quilt patterns, but I was so drawn to Violet Craft's Forest Abstraction quilt, which is a paper pieced quilt. I decided to take the plunge and just do it. I decided to only try to do one block, the Stag, and then frame  it with coordinating fabric to make it larger.

I had a few complications as the process began, my printer doesn't print 11X17, so I traced the templates off of my computer screen. Yes, that was a bit crazy and I will definitely take the pattern to be printed if I do more in the future.

It had been quite some time since I paper pieced, so there was a bit of a re-learning curve. In fact I completely messed up the first 8 or sections. I had to re-trace those and start over. Also, I remembered why it is important to use the smallest stitch setting so that when you are removing the paper it comes off easily. I did not do that at first, and had some issues with my seams coming undone after I had put my pieces together.

I found this post (here) from the Violet Craft Blog helpful as I began piecing. Also, one of my very favorite blog posts/tutorials on paper piecing is from Six White Horses, you can find it here.

I think this project would have gone fairly quickly had I been able to dedicate several hours at a time to it, but unfortunately I can only steal a few minutes here and there between work, kids, the house, and church responsibilities. It took all of February and most of March for me to piece the Stag together. It was so rewarding to see all of the different pieces come together.

Once I got the Stag pieced together I had to make some decisions about framing it out so that the quilt would be the size I wanted.. 

I used Timber Valley in Fog from the collection along with more Cotton Couture Eggplant to create a lap sized quilt. I was a bit scared to quilt it because I didn't want to "mess-up" the Stag or the look of the quilt. I decided to take the plunge and free motion quilt around the Stag with a "tree bark" design. I used "very dark eggplant" Aurifil Cotton 40wt Machine Quilting and Embroidery Thread.

I had a very hard time capturing the quilting on camera. It did turn out very nice and was a great choice for the "rustic chic" quilt... 

My sweet in-laws and hubby helped me take the quilt for a little photo shoot before I had to give it away. I'll be honest, I fell in love with this quilt, and was a little sad that it wasn't mine to keep. But I was so thrilled to give it away to an awesome couple and I hear they love it! 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Dr Seuss Birthday Party

January 25, 2015 Matias turned 1 YEAR OLD!!! It was so much fun to plan his birthday party! I planned a Dr Suess themed party. Here are a few of the things that I did...


I made 8 or so centerpieces for the tables. I used $1.00 tin buckets and hot glued styrofoam balls into the bottom of the buckets, shoved tissue paper on top, hot glued cutouts of the #1 or the letter M, or Dr Suess Characters to shish-ka-bob skewers and stuck those in. Then I used curled pipe-cleaners, feathers (hot-glued to the skewers), and pinwheels to give each centerpiece its own look. The centerpieces turned out very nice and added a lot to the decorations.

Buntings and Banners

I wanted buntings for the cake and food table, the candy buffet, as well as over the windows. I used paper and my Cricut Explore to create the following buntings. 

For the #1 Bunting I cut out several large #1s, as well as printed Dr Suess "cupcake toppers" that I found online. I punched holes in these and threaded them on ribbon (I did hot glue them as well so they wouldn't slide around). Hung with balloons and ribbons on the side they worked out well. 

1-12 Months Bunting - I used my Cricut Explore to cut out circles of different sizes as well as numbers. I hot glued the circles to clothes pins and strung on a ribbon with pictures of Matias for each month. This bunting adorned the candy buffet. 

Happy Birthday Bunting - I made a template for the "triangle flags" and with a ruler and pencil drew lines and cut them out by hand. I used my Cricut Explore to cut the circles and letters. This large bunting was over the cake and food table.

Happy Birthday Matias

High Chair Bunting - I AM ONE - I used my Cricut Explore to cut out the squares and I printed the words for I-AM-ONE. 

High Chair Banner - I Am One

Quotes and Other Miscellaneous Decorations

I printed a lot of Dr. Seuss Quotes on card stock using free fronts I found online, then I glued the quotes to colorful paper and hung them on fishing line from the ceiling. 

As "filler" decorations I used Crepe Paper, Tissue Paper Pom Poms, Balloons, and Dr Seuss Cutouts. 

Truffula Forest Entryway

Tables and Stations - I had 4 tables set up to eat on, but we also had the food and cupcake table, as well as a candy buffet, and a sign in table. 

Party/Eating Room and Tables - Each table had an aqua or red table cloth, a centerpiece, two Dr. Suess books, and some Dr. Suess Character due cuts. 

Happy Birthday Book Table - I bought an inexpensive picture frame and hot glued die cuts to it, used scrapbook paper as a background and printed a sign. The sign said, "Stop here you see and write a very special message to me! A Birthday wish or just saying hi to your very favorite one year old guy! On the front, the back, or any pages it's something I will treasure all my ages.

Candy Buffet - Of course it was filled with lots of candy, but there were a few extra special touches, that made it a Suessical Candy Buffet. 

I included toothbrushes and a framed quote "Lots of sweets and candy may seem like dandy, but our teeth come in handy when we want to smile. So take a toothbrush and brush real good so you can keep your teeth around for awhile!" 

I made labels to go on paper goodie bags that said, "Today was great! Today was fun! Thank you Thank you Everyone! Love, Matias" 

Food and Cupcake Table  

We had Green Eggs (deviled eggs) & Ham

I printed the Dr Seuss circles and then used my Cricut to cut out the scallops and then hot glued them to lollipop sticks. 

I made the cupcakes - strawberry with cream cheese filling and chocolate with chocolate mousse filling. 

Nate (my husband) made this really fun and whimsical cup cake holder. 

Food - Unfortunately I didn't get pictures of the food... Things got kind of crazy right as guests were showing up and the pictures didn't get taken. We had Roast Beast (Smoked Brisket), Green Eggs & Ham, Poodle Noodles (Pasta Salad), and Chips. To drink we had Once-ler Wassail and Pink Ink Drink (Sparkling Strawberry Limeade). 

Birthday Boy's Outfit - I made a diaper cover, bow tie and suspenders. 

We had a lovely first birthday party for our baby boy and I am so glad that Nate convinced me to go with the Dr. Seuss theme! It was so much fun to plan and create a Suessical Party for my little guy!