Pinterested in a baby gift?

Last week, I saw a post about a Pinterest Challenge and, since I’m posting on a moderately regular basis, I decided it is high time to throw my hat into the ring.

I’m at the age of marriage and babies which provides plenty of opportunities for homemade gifts.  I’ve wanted to make a few small baby gifts and had pinned a few items over the last couple of months.  First up:  Purl Bee baby bib!

I printed the pattern, pulled some fabric from my stash and set off to the store in search of terry fabric.  The woman at Sew-fisticated (the closest fabric store to me with a very different vibe than Purl Soho) said it’s really hard to find and I’d be better off using a towel.  I thanked her and headed next door to Marshall’s and found a large white towel for $5.99—which is cheaper than a yard of fabric.  Sold!

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I paired it with some fun Farmer’s Market Fabric by RJR Fabrics.  Maybe a bib can inspire a diet?  I have a stack of fat quarters of Farmer’s Market line fabrics… this will probably be a go-to gift with these fabrics down the line.

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Next up… a baby rattle!  I found this pin and followed the link which lead to another link!  I used the idea as inspiration and set out to make my own stuffed baby rattle.  My plan was to make Mr. Sun and Miss Raincloud.  It turns out my stuffed rattle skills need some more time to develop so Mr. Sun is the only one who is ready to make his debut today…

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I used leftover Kona Cotton in yellow of his face and the backside is from a pack of dishcloths I picked up at Marshall’s with the towel for the bib.  I used ribbons and more fabric for the rays.  He is stuffed with 2 jingle bells and lots of stuffing.  He’s a little wonky on the side where I hand-stitched him closed… I think of him as a prototype!

Wedding Quilt: Progress (!!)

I’m making a quilt to give to some close friends to celebrate their wedding.  I shared some of my planning and brainstorming a few weeks ago.  Since then, I’ve made some changes to the plan and have made some progress!!

The pattern and inspiration haven’t changed.  The size and color ideas (purples and lavender) are unchanged as well.  After that, I veered off path.

I hit up two local fabric stores, re-raided my stash, and picked up a fat quarter in Yakima, Washington.  I’ve divided my colors in to sections: colors and greys.

These are most of the fabrics in the color group.  See the purple fabric with the peacock in the middle?  That’s Cuzco by Kate Spain for Moda Fabrics.  I think it’s called Sancturary in Orchid.  That’s my starting point.  Since the peacock is in a teal (or Robbin’s Egg Blue) I decided to pick blue as my accent color.  I added lots of shades and values of purples to the mix.  There are solids, almost solids, and some other louder patterns.

These are most of the grays.  My friend Tara saw my fabrics and commented, “Molly, you use a lot of grays in your quilts.” Perhaps this is emerging as my signature look?

Compared to the Florida Quilt and Clark’s Quilt, the Wedding Quilt has a lot of prints (both in number, kinds of prints, and scale of prints) as well as colors.  Usually I stick very close to my color choice and only choose fabrics with a two color pattern (white is usually one of the colors).  As I was shopping, I had a few moments of panic.  Should I simplify it?  Is this going to be too busy?  Was I going to hate it?  I gave myself a pep talk and handed over my debit card. 

I washed, dried, ironed, and cut cut cut.  I tracked my squares (a queen is a big quilt) and had to do an extra fabric store run.

Unlike the Angles Pillow, I cut the squares into triangles.  I figured it would save me some time and it would give me an opportunity to have a larger variety of HST blocks.

I’m at the pinning and piecing stage.  I’m doing it in batches.  I only have enough pins to do about 40 blocks at a time (I put two pins in).  I suppose it’s for my own good as I can get sore from hours and hours of sewing. 

I keep thinking about the different points a quilter makes design decisions during the quilting making process… this (and the piecing) is my favorite part.  I’ve crossed out the parts I’ve already completed!

  • Selecting a pattern
  • Selecting a color pallet
  • Choosing fabrics and patterns (I think I have 29! That’s crazy!)
  • Pairing fabrics for half square triangle blocks (In progress)
  • Organizing the blocks for the quilt top’s layout (my inspiration pattern will be my guide)
  • Choosing binding and backing
  • Adding quilting (thread and design choices)
  • Naming the quilt (not necessary, but fun!)

As I’m work with 29 different fabrics, and work to pair them in HSTs, I keep thinking about balance and interest.  The quilt pattern tells a big story—all of the squares work together to make a large image.  The quilt tells a lot of little small stories too—each fabric serves a purpose.  I think of the individual fabrics and their patterns as the characters and anecdotes in a larger epic novel. In my mind, this quilt is a novel and it’s just getting to the good part…

Lunch bag: an update

Remember when I posted the lunch bag I made?  I got to check up on it when I was visiting Amelia.  She said she uses it every day. 

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There’s a turmeric stain to prove it.

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When Amelia pulled it out of the drawer to show me, I exclaimed, “Look at those straight stitches!”  Amelia gave me a hard time after that.  I deserved it.  But the stitches were really straight.

Apron, the Retro/Hippie Edition

Last weekend, I visited Amelia in her new home base, Yakima, Washington.  I wanted to make something and bring it to her.  I asked if she’d like an apron or a pillow.  She picked apron.  I found some fun vintage apron patterns online at Tipnut.  I had never made a pattern like this and it was fun to figure it out.

I adjusted the pattern (it may be impossible for me to follow directions exactly).  I made the bib a bit bigger and added a backing so it could be reversible.  I left out the ric rac.  Here it is:

I stitched on the bib to the skirt with the same hidden stitch I use to attach binding to a quilt.  The denim is from my stash (probably from the bag of fabric Suzanne gave me years ago) and the batik was on super sale from the store up the street.  Amelia can rock a batik better than anyone I know.

The ones that got away…

My New Year’s Resolution continues… a place for everything has reached my bedroom.  My bedroom is also home to my desk.  I recently rearranged all of the furniture to accommodate my small printer.  It’s overkill (but also fun).  To make a place for everything that lives in my desk, I realized I was seriously lacking a functional lamp and storage. 

In between shoveling, I scoured the internet for lighting and storage.  I did pick out a few things and they are one their way, but in the meantime, these are some things I loved, but are not meant to be.

I love everything about this… the delicate details in the shade, the simple (yet awesome) hanging, and the unexpected ballerina pink-neon yellow combo. I was looking for a pink or yellow lighting… this gets both!

I love this pink lamp from PB Teen… It’s functional, it’s a beautiful pink, and the switch is on the base (my preference).


This Isosocles Table Lamp from Land of Nod is rad.  Yellow? Check. Triangles? Check. Versatile? Double check.  Kids stores can be cool.

On to storage… this was a little trickier.  My desk has 3 narrow shelves and one deep shelf. 


West Elm’s Square Lacquer Trays are shinny! I like the citron and silver ones best!

Vintage lunch boxes like this one would have fit on the shelves and would have added a sweet retro feel to the desk.  I even committed to this look enough to bid on one on ebay.  But I lost. 

I’ve looked at these Container Store storage boxes several times.  If my other ideas proves to be terrible, I’m going back to this one.  The tricky part?  Picking a color.

Stay tuned for the big reveal!

A look back: Stitching Awesomeness

My first embroidery masterpiece dates back to 7th grade FACS class (Family And Consumer Science was the new Home Ec in the 90s).  Our sewing unit consisted of a drawstring bag and a small cross stitch.  I was pumped to learn to cross stitch.  If you’re thinking, “Wow, that’s weird…” then clearly you didn’t grow up in the midwest where cross stitching is the coolest.  I was so proud of my pattern, it was a Precious Moments runner girl  (Is this the first time you’ve thought about Precious Moments in the last 20 years?  You’re welcome.)  Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my hands on a Precious Moments lady runner pattern (probably because it doesn’t exist), so I doctored a baseball player running to base and added a pony tail.  The cross stitch turned out beautifully.  You’ll have to trust me since I don’t have a photo… for now. 

I digress.  The point of this story was to say that I learned how to cross stitch when I was young, maybe even before 7th grade.  But Mrs. Smith’s class definitely solidified my skills.

Ten years later, I tried it again.  This little lady bounces from apartment to apartment with me.  I think it’s time for me to find a home for her in my current place.

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Tags: embroidery diy

A look back: Crazy Blue

Shortly after I took the quilting class at the Eliot School, I signed up for a Crazy Quilt class.  I just found the square I made as I was going through my craft closet.  Like Picasso, I too went through a blue period.

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Super Bowl Bunting

A few days ago, a friend emailed to ask if she and her fiance and nephew could watch the Super Bowl at my apartment.  For someone who considers herself a big sports fan, I don’t get very excited about the Super Bowl.  I do get excited about entertaining.  And decorating.  I said yes and asked a few other people to come too.  A Super Bowl Party was on!  I whipped up salsa, salad, and baked potato wedges.  Instead of emptying the dishwasher, I made this little Super Bowl Inspired Bunting. (Is it a bunting if it’s not flags?)

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Who knew I’d get so much use out of a bag of mini clothes pins from Michaels and a package of construction paper from Target?

Planning for a Wedding Quilt

There’s a wedding coming up and I’d like to give the happy couple a quilt.  I had no idea what kind of quilt they’d like so I sent them a bizarrely elaborate quiz to get a bit more information to help be get started. 

This is what I have so far…

Size: Queen

Primary Color: Purple/Lavender

Pattern Inspiration:


Quilt image found at WaterPenn’s Etsy Shop.

I’ve done a little math to see how many blocks I’ll want to use and what size fabric I’ll need.  I’ve played around with 9” finished blocks and having the quilt be 10 x 12 blocks.  There are certainly pros and cons from that block size… on one hand, it would be quick to sew and I ccould showcase interesting prints.  On the other hand, fat quarters wouldn’t be practical and I worry about how big blocks will hold up in the long run…

Next, I’m raiding my stash to see what I can use.  I have 2 yards of purple Marimekko that I’ll use for the back (or most of the back) and a few other things to help me get started…

Like my inspiration pattern, I’ll make HST blocks with a neutral and statement color.  My neutral will be gray and the statement will be purples and lavenders.  I’ll throw in a few green highlights to keep things interesting.  I’m mulling over a few fabrics on etsy but I’ll probably shop at the local fabric stores before ordering anything…

And these…

Here’s where an idea starts… I’m excited to see where it ends!

Tchotchkes on Parade

My New Year’s resolution is “A Place for Everything”. The kitchen is my first victim (winner?) of this rampage… I’ve tackled just about every shelf and cabinet.  The weird floating shelf that holds all of our pens, post-its, bungee cords, and matches did not escape my scope.  I even redid the top of it… updating the parade of tchotchkes.

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The blurry wide angle shot. If you feel like playing I Spy, try finding a bungee cord, tacky glue, spirit shakers, fireworks sparklers, foreign currency. And yes, I do want a lemon tree.

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Here’s the ridiculous parade. I know, it’s out of control. The fun of this kind of decorating is that there isn’t anything permanent about it. Left to right: a robot toy, tiny bottle of Tabasco, Sparklers, Army men, baseball cards (Barry Bonds and Cal Ripkin), ballerina, miniature MCM chairs, and monster finger puppet.

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This isn’t my usual jam but I kind of like it.  It will be good for a giggle every now and again.