Are you surviving these winter months? It’s cold in Indianapolis and I’ve been spending time indoors. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed I’ve spent some time at my parents. We have been prepping for a family birthday party next month. My twin uncles are turning 80. Yes, 80.
There is just a small age gap between my mom and her brothers. It makes for an interesting family dynamic. My closest cousin in his 50’s. But my second cousins are closer to my age.
My uncles for decades had dinner with my grandma every Tuesday night. As a kid they would come and do yard work, etc. Then February would roll around. The boy’s birthday approached. There was no question what the dish would be. They always got liver and onions for their birthday.
Yeah, liver and onions. No clue how this tradition got started, but it stayed until my grandma went into a nursing home at 96.
I got the idea to add a small touch of my grandma for the boy’s birthday. Let’s get the boys a smash cake that looks like liver and onions. In my local swap group, a number of cake recommendations are made regularly. I reached out one with my odd request.
She delivered. Look at this gem.
It looks disgusting, which is what I ultimately wanted. While it looks disgusting, it tasted AMAZING!!! The baker made a moist chocolate cake, it was just the right amount of chocolate. The onions are made with cooked apple slices.
At first, I wasn’t sure how the apple slices would work. They look gross but were perfection. There was a cinnamon strudel light icing mixed in. We got to taste test the cake on Monday. Hey, someone had to make sure it would be right for the party.
Check back in February to see how the boys reacted to their surprise. It’s a wonderful personal touch to incorporate my grandma into their birthday.
As 2018 came to a close, I began a new quilt project. My festivities for the evening including an anxiety ridden dog that farts all the time, snuggling P, and not much else. Once P went to bed I started messing around in my sewing space.
At an IMQG meeting a while back I picked up some scraps from our 2017 Quiltcon Charity Quilt, as seen below.
These scraps had been sitting on a pile in my sewing space and an idea sparked. Why not just bust out one last project for the year? What came about was a quilt that resembled my 2018. Here’s how.
In 2018 my life felt like millions of pieces not really sure how it all fit together. Maybe you noticed a change, maybe it’s you’re first time here. Either way I’m glad you’re reading.
It was nice to work with something my friends had worked on. Friends helped get me through 2018 and this incorporated that detail into the quilt.
Layout | Design
The design for this quilt happened organically. My brain may have subliminally arranged the quilt. All the blocks were pointing up but one. This one changed it’s focused. It shifted. Once I saw how I had laid them out on my first pass, I left it, and knew I needed to build the quilt from here.
That’s how my life felt. My focus shifted, my life shifted. This quilt was becoming an interpretation of what I had felt. It felt like a true artistic breakthrough. Then quilty tetris happened and it I loved the top.
Can you guess how many Y-seams are in the top?
I used a Kona (maybe Navy) solid that was in my stash that coordinated perfectly with the blue in the backing. It’s an African Wax print from Crimson Tate. I had picked it up from a neighborhood garage sale site and it’s been waiting for the right project.
It wasn’t easier to piece together the top. Some time, rearranging, and lots of trial and error to get it exactly how I wanted it. There are TWO Y-seams in the quilt. They were challenging but necessary with my block placement.
As the top was coming together, I envisioned a heart in the shifted block and then quilting out ripples. My quilting had other thoughts. My heart was messy and wasn’t looking great. Let alone decent to keep going.
So I ripped it out and started with another option. Wavy organic lines. The year had been full of curves. Some bigger and some tighter. The lines felt much better in telling the story for 2018. They are not perfect, but got better by the end.
I do love a solid binding. In the scraps from the IMQG meeting, I had found an orange binding ready to go and thought this could work. Once the quilt was finished it needed more of a frame to complete the piece, not accentuate it. The Kona solid binding won.
Typically, I machine stitch the binding to finish up a project. However, this quilt needs the hand stitched binding. Spending some time snuggled under the quilt, sewing along slowly, to finalize the overall look.
In 2018 my life took a change. Right now I’m not ready to discuss anything publicly, maybe eventually. What you should know that while it’s been challenging, it’s also been a time of growth. There has been much reflection. I’m in a much better spot than where I thought I would be.
Finishing this quilt going into 2019 was refreshing. I can complete 2018 and feel like I’m truly moving forward. In all the quilts I’ve created I’ve never had an AH-HA! moment. I used to call them Oprah moments when I was coaching people since those typically feel like a breakthrough.
It was therapeutic. Not sure where this quilt is going to live. In my stash or out the door. Maybe this needs to stay with me for a bit to remind me that everything shifted and I’m still fine.
As a mom, Christmas isn’t about me. It’s always about P and others. This year was no different. There are needs and wants that I have this holiday season. I’m too proud to share my needs.
However P was asking what I wanted. My response has been just hugs and kisses. He told my mom and she helped him make it happen. He was so excited to show me. On Christmas morning this was his gift.
I loved it and I teared up at the idea. He was very excited for me to open it. My next gift was socks, exactly what I needed. Boxing wears your socks out. Ha. P got me exactly what I wanted and needed this Christmas.
The rest of the day was all about P and the magic of Christmas for a five year old. It was magical and full of family time.
Maybe a little too much family time. Boss had enough.
As a mom, I think this was the best Christmas. Now I wonder how much of that candy P actually eats instead of me.
Creating a project out of your color palatte can present some challenges. Mostly that I didn’t have much in my stash to use. After digging through scraps, it became apparent these softer colors were just not there.
I was able to pickup a few fat quarters at Crimson Tate to start building the colors of the quilt. The request was for muted/soft pinks, neutrals, and maybe some accent colors. For a girl, but not overly girly and muted.
After the fabric was selected, it was time to solidify my design idea. Since this was a different palatte for me, I wanted to stick with a comfortable design. Half Square Triangles came to mind. Cutting into the fabric and making 5″ squares allowed me to think about a way to add Wow to this project.
In my stash was some leftover triangles from another project. Could they be the twist? I dug around and found them. The piecing began on a beautiful Sunday morning. My favorite is to sit here as the sun is rising before the house awakens to all the noise of the day. Soft colors and soft lighting make for a great way to start the day.
Once the half square triangles were created, it was time for the little bits of wow. On a number of blocks, I took these little triangles and added them to a corner. Not to every block, I think it was just about half.
Look at those colors? They are out not my normal, but goodness I love how they came together.
The little corners add a bit more design to the quilt. It’s backed in a coordinating print with gray and some gold. There are a few metallic fabrics sprinkled into the fabrics as well.
Quick overall loops for quilting. For binding there was just enough left of a couple gray and white prints with gold. The best last touch for this quilt.
The quilt was finished just in time as it’s owner decided to enter the world a few days early. There is enough fabric left over to make another quilt in this palatte in 2019.
If you are looking for a custom quilt in 2019 I currently have space. Please connect with me here.
Not much sewing happened during October, but stashing did. Stashing can be fun. Curating a wonderful collection around an idea. Most recently has been around adding some color to my living room. Here’s what I’ve added to the stash in October and their projects.
Thought I had enough of this long ago for my original idea. However, with my change of design, there is enough. Do you know how hard it is to find this line? Let alone this print? I ordered four yards just for good measure.
Art Gallery Floral:
New pillow covers. Recently I added some pillows in a big black and white buffalo check. They are backed with a vintage sheet. These will pair nicely with the next fabric.
Black and White Polka Dot:
Yep, more pillow covers. Polka dots, flowers, and buffalo check will surround my couch. Now I will have to fight the dogs off the cute pillows.
New pillowcases for my bedroom are in order. The rest is just stash.
Over Labor Day weekend I took these to the lake and started sewing. Are you surprised? I take my machine everywhere. The hum of the machine in nature was quite refreshing. I did some early afternoon sewing, most people were out on the water and our area gets pretty quite.
Once I got home, I pressed the small squares with seams open and began adding 2″ Kona Ash strips. Why is it every time I go to type ASH, I type AS*? Adding those strips takes no time and creates an interesting look.
Once P was in bed I could lay out the quilt in the house and piece the rows. My process involves piecing all the rows, then pressing. I also don’t press the seams between rows until the top is finished. From my stash I chose a blue backing that I had picked a while back.
For the binding I had a large scrap of a Robert Kaufman print that was a wide back. White bindings are scary on a baby quilt, but sometimes it just works. Quilting is my go to all over loops.
Time to refresh my scraps and maybe mix them up a bit. The scrap bin is overflowing. Anyone up for a scrap swap?