Thursday, December 31, 2009

Quilting Challenge

After seeing Em's post about the Alumni quilt, it reminded me of a little experience I had earlier this fall with our little neighbor friend. Miss J., who is in kindergarten, brought this picture (shown below) to me one afternoon and asked me if I could sew it for her.

At first I thought she wanted me to somehow sew the actual piece of paper into or onto something. But then I figured out that, no, this was a pattern and that she wanted me to duplicate it for her. J. put some serious time into this design. She used an 8 1/2 by 11 piece grid paper to draw out her design: 33 blocks by 43 blocks which equals out to 1,419 blocks!!!!

Anybody up for that quilting challenge?!

(When her mom mentioned to me a couple weeks later that J. had told her I was sewing something for her, I had to explain the whole story. Her mom just rolled her eyes and we laughed about it. I wish I was that good J., but I'm not.)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Graduation {turned} Alumni Quilt

This quilt has been a LONG time coming. Twelve years ago when my husband graduated from college I had tons of ambition and minimal quilting knowledge. But, I decided that my husband needed a quilt to celebrate his graduation! I designed a quilt, bought and sewed the fabrics and then put it away to finish after we got "settled" into real life. The more I learned about quilting the more I realized that my original idea was NOT going to work AT ALL. (It was basically a huge applique quilt with iron on lettering.) Plus, in all my graduation excitement I was making it to fit on our queen-size bed! (The thought of that still makes me laugh!)

My husband has known that I have this unfinished quilt but he hasn't ever seen it. He wants to be surprised when it's done. At least once a year for the past 12 years he has asked when he's going to get his Aggie Quilt. I just laugh and say "Someday..." Now that I've been making quilts for others this year he's really turning up the heat by asking "Are you ever going to finish MY quilt?" I just smile sweetly and say "Yes, dear! It's on my list."

Since my original idea was no good (and ugly), I've had to come up with a new design. When I came across this quilt I knew I needed to copy it for my husband. It is so fantastic!!

I've been trying my best to get this done without my husband knowing a thing. I've had to sew during the day and then make sure its all put away before he gets home from work.

I have to admit that I had to do some reworking of the rows so the colors wouldn't line up. It was kind of a pain and took some time, but I knew I wouldn't be happy with it unless it looked just so. Now that it's all put together I can see more places that I should've reworked, but it's staying put!

I had plans of getting the whole thing finished in time for Christmas, but life got in the way. I gave him the unfinished top instead (I know, kind of lame...) but he was REALLY surprised and excited none the less. Now I can quilt it without feeling pressured and stressed!

The details:This is the Plain Spoken pattern from the book The Modern Quilt Workshop.
I used 10 different colored fabrics in blues, greys, and white.

EDITED: The finished quilt can be seen HERE.

Monday, December 28, 2009


For Christmas this year I made Miss B. some dance leotards with matching skirts. Mostly I did it because the leftover fabric I had from making Jester costumes was just enough to make little leotards, and not much else. (Yes, I admit it. It is hard for me to throw away fabric if there is enough to do something with it--albeit it a small something.) I also found some ballet slippers that looked like new at one of our thrift stores for $2.99. Gotta love it! She just loves to dance and although we really can't afford dance classes or lessons, if she has the attire, she really doesn't care. Just turn on the CD player and there she goes.
Don't those over-the-knee sock just make the outfit?

Twirl away!! The b/w/green leotard is leftover fabric from this project. B says this is her favorite one. And yes, I still have paint swatches on my wall. Didn't get it done before Christmas, so it'll have to happen that first week of school when the kiddos go back.
This one can double as a swimsuit next summer.


Simplicity 7351 (dance leotards and accessories)--which is now discontinued; however, Kwik Sew has a number of leotard patterns to choose from. And to be quite honest this Simplicity pattern needed some tweaking in the leg opening. I haven't had those same issues with Kwik Sew patterns.

Kwik Sew 2422 (swimsuit pattern)--basic tank swimsuit. I used this one on the star print leotard.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Wishes

Merry Christmas
From all of us at Creative Chicks!

Carhenge, Alliance, NE.

We'll be back next week to share some of our Christmas projects with all of you. Hope you have an enjoyable holiday spending time with your family and friends.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sneak Peek

Here is a little sneak peek of my one Christmas project.

My husband has been saying that he wants to buy me a new machine for Christmas, so I'm holding off on quilting it in hopes that Santa brings me one!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dilemma Resolved

You may or may not remember that this past summer I had a little dilemma about whether or not to gift an item I had made. Well, here is the gift.

I did make 2 of these and am keeping one of them, at least for now, for my own family.

This one is heading out to Idaho as a Christmas present. I hope that it is well received. I did enjoy putting it together and finding something fun and crazy to put on the back so that it can be used as an all-around picnic/ park/ watching kids' sports games/ keep-in-the-back-of-the-car blanket.

I've decided that I like using pockets when I can. Kids especially think it is cool to have a pocket on their blanket.

Above is the stitching that I used on each disappearing 9 patch--double needle with denim topstitching thread.

This stitch I used around the 9 patch and along the sashing.

Crazy fabric backing--I like it. All I did was sew the front and back, right sides together, leave opening, turn right sides out and then top stitch along outer edge to hold it all in place basically. No batting on this one since it's meant only to keep your backside clean and/or dry while outside.


  • Cut 6" squares of denim (144 total squares)

  • Make 16 - disappearing 9 patch squares--on this one no 2 were alike

  • Cut 4" and 3" sashing of denim

  • Cut 3" border of denim

  • 5 yards of 45" wide cotton fabric

  • Finished size approx. 72" x 76"

I've still got more jeans to cut up and then put them together into another blanket, or two. (Just when I think I've depleted my stash more pairs appear--like they've been multiplying somewhere) I've got a friend who is not so subtly hinting that she'd like one too. Besides, she's been donating old jeans to the cause, so it looks like she'll be next on the receiving list for a recycled jean blanket.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Jester Costumes

After last year's involvment with making costumes for my oldest daughter's middle school musical I swore I wouldn't volunteer or get involved again. (Never say never, right?!) With that being said, I wasn't involved.....until a week or so before Thanksgiving. I just can't deal with paying a $40 RENTAL fee for a costume. You want me to pay that much to borrow a costume? Really??!?! It makes me CRAZY!!! This is middle school for crying out loud.

Since my daughter only needed one costume this year I told them I would make it. O.K. actually I asked, but I think had the director said "no" I would've made it anyway and then gone on ahead with it. I actually made 2 jester costumes (one for the jester/girl in the other cast) for this year's musical, "Cinderella". They were so quick and so easy and if I do say so, so dang cute. I only spent $25 for the 2 costumes, too, thank you very much! My #2 daughter tried on the 2nd costume while in the process and now she wants me to keep the costume so that she can wear it next year for Halloween. She is dying over the star leggings (no pic right now). We'll see how badly they want to add it to their stash of costumes. I may just keep both of them for our personal costume stash.
Anyway, the patterns I used were:

Kwik Sew 1591 for the leggings, which I made out of swimsuit fabric. They are awesome!! This pattern is now discontinued or out of print, but Kwik Sew 3476 is the current leggings pattern that I found.

Simplicity 4860 for the tops. Out-of-print pattern Simplicity 3617.

The musical started on Wednesday night---"Break a leg, girls!!"

Friday, December 11, 2009

Authorized Personnel Only

I don't know about you, but right around Thanksgiving time my sewing room becomes off limits to everyone but me. There are things that start happening in there that can't be seen by certain eyes.
I don't officially put a sign up on the door (actually I don't even have a door) but I do make a public announcement that my sewing room is now only accessed with my permission and if I am present. So far this has worked at my house. My kids have been good about asking if it is "safe" to enter if I happen to be working in there. That isn't to say that may change, but for the most part they must love good surprises because I haven't ever caught anyone sneaking around in there. And they have not been good about turning off the light in there once they've entered. So really, I usually do know when the security has been breached.

So with that being said, I have just finished my latest Christmas project--5 pairs of pajama bottoms. This one isn't necessarily sneaky as my kids have come to expect and enjoy this tradition of new pajama bottoms on Christmas Eve. However, they don't know what kind of fabric I will be picking for them. Can I just say that I love being able to pick and not have them know what other choices were available? That way they aren't upset that they didn't get whatever it was that they saw. I am also happy that I won't be still working on these 2 days before...been there done that. (That pile you see is the remaining fabric--now I need to come up with a little blankie project or something--or maybe new Rice packs for each kid.)

Purple horses
Green geckos
Pink ice skating monkeys
Camoflauge dino skulls
Pink hearts

Now I just need to make a mental note that next year when I go at 6 a.m. on Black Friday to brave the masses at Jo-Ann's (because that is when you get the best price on flannel, unfortunately) that I should go ahead and buy 2 pieces of fabric per kid so that I can save some for the next year and then maybe, just maybe, I could ignore a Black Friday and sleep in. ...That just may be too much to expect, however.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The "Receiving Blanket" Blanket

Here's an idea that I got from our mom.

We had one of these blankets when we were growing up. I don't remember any one kid being particularly fond of the blanket, but it was always in mom's stash. She used old receiving blankets (that we all have and our babies quickly outgrow) to make it. Through all of my babies I kept thinking "when I'm done having kids I'm going to make one of those blankets."

I dutifully used and reused my blankets for each baby and saved them away for "later." I'm not exactly sure when "later" happened, but now we have this great blanket just like mom's.

My youngest daughter, now 3, has adopted it for "her" blankie and gets pretty nasty when anyone else tries to touch it. I love it because it is so soft, big, and not super heavy. When it needs a wash I just toss it in with my whites and bleach the heck out if it. Other than the fact that it's faded, it's still well loved by the girl.

So here's what I did: I had 7 blankets. I used 4 for the top and 3 for the bottom. I just stitched them together to make different patterns for each side and then sewed the two larger pieces together with right sides facing.

I left an opening for turning right sides out and finished it off by top stitching it. I didn't put anything in between, just the blankets. Super Easy Project! I love that I could do a bit of recycling, too.

Finished blanket measures 48" square.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Another Boy Version

This one wasn't part of my original count of four unfinished projects for the challenge, but since it has been sitting in my sewing room for over six months I'm counting it!

It was supposed to get done in time to send off to Margaret's Hope Chest. But, it didn't. When I sent off my other ones, though, it got me thinking. I had three other quilts that were done and all three were for girls. Most of my fabrics could be classified as girl fabric, and I've made tons more girls quilts than boy ones. It got me wondering what the ratio of girl to boy quilts received was. I venture to say that there were far more girl quilts than boy ones.

Are boys really getting the raw end of that deal? I'd really like to know! Until I find out I'm purposely going to try and make more boy quilts and donate them in hopes of evening out the score so to speak. This one will be the first to go.

What do you think?

(You can see the whole gallery of donated quilts for Margaret's Hope Chest here.)

Friday, December 4, 2009

S{Crap}-Tastic Blocks

I'm all for keeping it real and showing my mistakes, not just my triumphs.
Today I'd like to introduce you to some scrap blocks I made, or what I like to call "When good scraps go Bad!"

Sometimes scrappy just turns out crappy!

I'd love to hear about a projects of yours that has gone terribly wrong. C'mon, there's got to be one?! Besides, I need a good laugh today!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Quilt

I made this quilt using the leftover fat quarters from my Advent Calendar. I hadn't intended to make a quilt--at all...really! I was going to make another 1 or 2 more advent calendars to give away and then changed my mind. To those of you, who shall remain anonymous, who I had considered giving those calendars to, I'm so sorry.

I didn't intend for the reds or greens to line up as they did, but that is how my repeated "random" placement ended up in the final product. It's all good!

The quilt measures 64" W x 84" L---BIG!!! Which works out great for us tall folk. Those are my pink crocs peeking out at the bottom of the picture. I should've had my daughter take a picture of me from that back side so you could see just how big it really is. I was standing up and holding my arms up as high and as wide as I could just to get it to not hang on the ground.

This picture makes it look a bit crooked, but I am sure it it just how I am holding it. Or maybe I should blame the 13 yr. old photographer. ;)

I just did diagonal quilting through ALL squares. I am very happy with how it turned out. And even though I made it so that it would be used, I have felt a little protective of it already this month.


  • Cut 4 1/2" squares
  • Cut 2" sashing (white) between squares and on the top--3" sashing on the sides
  • Cut 3" border (yellow) for entire quilt
  • Cut 2 3/4" binding strips--and sew a 3/8" seam (I machine bind, not hand bind)10 squares across by 14 squares down = 140 squares total. (I maybe should have gone 11 by 13, but oh well...I'm still learning)
  • I used 18 different prints or solids. Mostly fat quarter pkgs. from Jo-Ann Fabrics.

I also made a little doll quilt (23" x 17") just to use up the remainder of the remainder. I used a disappearing 9 patch pattern. (It is 2 complete 9 patch down and 1 1/2 - 9 patch across). So now there are no more Christmas scraps floating around my sewing room. Whew!!
Stay warm and cozy this December holiday season!!


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