Bloggers’ Quilt Fest –I’m Bringin’ Backyard Baby Back

Today begins the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival on Amy’s blog, Amy’s Creative Side.

Quilt bloggers submit posts to the festival with their favorite self-made quilts, and when the deadline for submission passes, Amy’s readers vote for their favorite quilts in over a dozen categories. It’s a fantastic way to see some exceptional work (OMG, 90 mini Farmer’s Wife blocks?!), and a way for someone like me to revisit a quilt that holds a special place in my heart. I’m always interested to see which quilts others pick as their favorites, and it’s exciting for me to read the stories behind why. One of my favorites so far is my friend Emily’s Wonky Crosses quilt. I love the irony in her story about the quilt being for her husband, but that he said he would’ve like it to be more bright/colorful (go figure!).

I’m submitting my Backyard Baby quilt, which is easily my favorite quilt to-date. I won’t start off with a fancy shmancy picture; instead you get to see a photo of the cutest little boy on the planet devouring my quilt on the day he received it for his 1st birthday. Behold little Caiden in all his quilt-hungry glory:

What better way for a baby to receive your quilt than by eating it? This, to me, spells approval. I could eat him up, to be honest.  He’s so stinking adorable!  His personality totally reflects Amiee’s (his mom’s), and he always has this glorious look of mischief on his smiling face. Seriously, the kid is always smiling. He’s extra special to me because I got to hold him in the hospital the day he was born, and Amiee, though she moved back home to Oklahoma last year, remains one of my dearest friends. Here’s just one more picture of Caiden before I move on to the aforementioned fancy shmancy shots of the quilt. He’s too cute to only be featured once in this post!

And here are pictures of the quilt itself. You can read about my process in my original post.  Much to my astonishment, Backyard Boy was also featured on GenQ magazine’s blog (that was an EXCITING day!).

Thanks for revisiting this special quilt with me.

Spring Album 2012

Two years ago my mom and I planted around 800+ bulbs (mostly tulips, but also daffodils and crocuses) in my front garden.  It took us an entire weekend because the corner area of my front garden had a ton of rocks buried in the soil.  Each time we would go to dig a shovel in the dirt: [BONG!]  We’d hit a rock.  So we ditched the shovels and were forced to get down and pick all the rocks out by hand.  I swear we could’ve filled a riverbed with all the rocks we collected.

When it finally came to the fun part of laying the bulbs down, I planned everything in rows.  The front rows contain bulbs that bloom the earliest, and the back rows have late-Spring bloomers.  This way, when one row dies, another row lies in wait directly behind it to take its place!  This is how I get to have beautiful flowers blooming throughout the entire season.  We bought all the bulbs from Breck’s, whose bulbs come straight from Holland and who has never let us down in all the years we’ve been buying from them.  A good bulb can make all the difference!

Below is my Spring 2012 album showing the wonderful reward for all our hard work.

Please don’t hesitate to let me know any questions you may have about planning, planting, upkeep, etc.  I’m no expert but am happy to lend any gardening knowledge I do have (and if I don’t know the answer to your question, I’ll ask the real expert: my mama).

A Quilt pour Moi

Mikey (boyfriend) pops into my sewing room to say hi, checks out what I’m working on today, and asks the usual question.  “So who’s this one for?”  Well guess what, my man.  It’s for US!  YEP.  This one will finally be for our house.  I’m stoked.  I’m making a spiderweb quilt using Essex cotton/linen blend and the Washi Tape collection by Rashida Coleman Hale.

These blocks come together quickly and are easy-peasy.  The only reason I made just one today is that I spent a couple hours cutting the background fabric and all the strips.  I could see myself making this quilt top in a weekend (it would help if I had Season 3 of Downton Abbey to keep me company, but National Geographic specials will hold me over until then).

Here’s Layla girl (a/k/a Beanie/Brownie/Brownlee/Weanie) standing guard to make sure my block doesn’t get stuck in a Ziploc bag, packaged and shipped to some lucky recipient across the country.  This is her “don’t even freakin’ think about it, crazy lady” face.

(She doesn’t stand a chance!  I could eat her in one bite.  It’s impossible for me to even look at her without gritting my teeth from the cuteness.  Do you know what I’m talking about?  That thing you do when you see something so cute you can’t even handle it so you have to grit your teeth?)  ANYWAY.  In case you’re wondering how I got the picture to look “Instagramy,” I used this tutorial, which I found–where else?–on Pinterest.

Here’s a picture of the back of the block, because I have a weird love for the backs of blocks and quilt tops.  I just think the seams look cool.

One block down, 29 to go.  As my dad would say: “i dats it!”  (Polish/English ebonics for “and that’s it!”)

Project Runway, here I come.

Yeah, right!  But I have finally tried my hand at garment sewing.  Behold my first Tova top (don’t look too closely):

My greatest triumph (besides tackling sleeves for my first time) was trying it on and finding that it fits!  I need to get my mom over here to model it so you can see what it looks like on someone.  After a morning spent finishing up the sleeves and collar, I’m in no position to be modeling anything.  Yesterday I was tempted to just hem the sleeves and leave this as a tank top.  Wouldn’t it be adorable?

I learned some new sewing techniques, and learned a whole lot about pattern language and cutting that I was clueless about when I undertook making my Halloween costume a couple years ago (a Pocahontas dress I wouldn’t dare show you).  A big mistake I made, though, was not cutting outward tacks in the pattern, so I had to mark them instead with my FriXion pen.  It would’ve been way easier to have tacks actually sticking out that I could match up while sewing.  I ended up having to put my fabric in the freezer a couple times to make the ink from the FriXion pen show back up because it disappears when you iron it so my marks were of no use!

Overall, I’m really happy with how it turned out.  When I make other ones I’ll be able to do it faster and with greater skill.  The good news is that after I’ve finished this little project, quilts seem much less fussy.

Speaking of quilts, I’ve got some bee blocks to catch up on.  But not before I work my butt off in the garden until sundown.  I’m clearly turning into my gardening fiend of a mom, who picked me some tulips and hyacinth from her garden and brought them over yesterday.  She’s just wonderful like that.  I love how even the smallest bunch of flowers lights up an entire room.

Meanwhile, the early-Spring tulips in my garden are blooming strong.  I’m looking so forward to the next couple months when the garden explodes with color!