Wednesday, May 2, 2018

my Rifle Paper Co. x Cotton + Steel Cooper Bag

I realized recently that I never wrote about the diaper bag backpack that I made before Rory was born, which is almost two years ago! His birthday is August 11th so I've been using this bag for a while now and I love it as much as I did when I made it. I knew I wanted a backpack for a diaper bag this time around because with two older boys and a baby I wanted to have my hands free. I looked at a lot of patterns and even considered buying one, but I couldn't find one that I liked that had the functionality that I was looking for. Enter Cooper by Collette Patterns.  It had lots of pockets, a non-fussy closure (so many backpack patterns feature multiple buckles and clasps and I knew I wouldn't feel like dealing with those during a newborn diaper blowout), and really nice details. I had the perfect fabric in mind - Rifle Paper Co. of course - and pulled some coordinates from my stash (more C+S). The hardware was the most difficult to track down because I wanted something bronze and there were so many pieces that I was having trouble finding each one in the right color as gold and silver as the most common. Eventually I contacted Fancy Tiger Crafts, where I had purchase the pattern, if they would consider making the pattern and hardware into kits. I was thrilled when they said yes! I ordered a kit for me and one for my friend Lorraine who was going to make the bag for her daughter.

Lorraine and I made a few modifications to the pattern - we added a few interior pockets including a lined zippered pocket, two slip pockets toward the top, and six elasticized pockets surrounding the bottom. I keep Finn's epi pens in the zip pocket, my phone and a lip balm in the slip pockets, and I organize various things in the elasticized pockets (currently diapers, wipes, a few Lara bars, my wallet, Finn's lotion, and a small Bible). We also added a lobster clasp for holding onto a key ring, but I always forget to use it and end up digging around in my bag for my keys anyway.

I forget where I saw the idea, but someone on instagram added a leather patch to their bag and I loved it and really wanted to add one to mine. I asked on facebook to see if any local friends had a leather embossing kit and lucky for me one of my neighbors did! She came over to give me a mini lesson and then I used her set to emboss my initials on a piece of scrap leather. I love how it came out, although I do wish I had used four rivets to secure the patch instead of two because it's curling a bit now.

I get loads of use out of my bag and lots of compliments on it too! It's one of my favorite things I've ever made and I envision using it for years to come!


Thursday, April 26, 2018

classic patchwork | a quilt for Seraphina

A friend of mine is having her first baby soon and asked me about making a quilt for her. We talked about fabrics and I suggested she look on etsy for charm packs. She found one she liked, had it shipped to my house, and pretty quickly I settled on this simple design. The fabrics she chose aren't prints or colors that I am usually drawn to so it was fun to work with something outside of my normal palette. I love the muted tones against the gray background, and I love the backing too. I love when I find the perfect combination in my stash. Both fabrics are low volume - one is a light blue polka dot and the other is the alphabet outlined in red. I wouldn't have put them together but they both coordinate with the fabrics in the quilt top and I love them together now! I think the quilt has a vintage feel, like it's an heirloom already. I quilted it with diagonal lines, a departure from what I've been doing lately (it seems everything I make gets the horizontal and vertical grid treatment) and I think it adds to the vintage feel. I bound it in a light blue flower print with a little scrap of mustard for interest. Scrappy bindings are so nice! I brought the quilt to my mom's house for show and tell and while I was there I decided to use her little quilt photo shoot set up to take a few pictures. I love how the quilt fits right into the clothesline/weathered fence aesthetic! I couldn't go to my friend's shower (I had already bought tickets to bring the boys to a local production of A Year with Frog and Toad) so I didn't get to see her open it, but of course I hope she likes it! Pretty soon Seraphina will be here to test it out. If I'm lucky maybe I'll see some pictures of her with it! 

beach boy | a quilt for Carter

It seems every Rhode Island has a thing for the ocean, so when I found out my friends and fellow RI residents Jen and Chris were having a baby boy I knew exactly what fabric I wanted to use to make a quilt for their little guy. I had bought a jelly roll of this Riley Blake nautical themed fabric a while back and then changed my mind about using it so it's been sitting on a shelf waiting for the perfect project. Since the fabric was precut I thought it would be fun to try out a herringbone pattern that I've been wanting to make for a while. I used a tutorial by Maureen Cracknell for quilt-as-you-go and I really like it. It seemed to make the project go faster but I'm not sure it was actually any quicker. Either way, I enjoyed it! 
I pieced the back with blue fabrics from my stash. I love the whale print! It's quilted along all the seams of the herringbone strips, and then after basting I quilted along the vertical seams to hold the top and back together. I can't remember what I bound it with and it's hard to tell in the photos, haha, but I think it's a crosshatch by Carolyn Friedlander. I gave it to Jen at her baby shower a couple months ago, and now Carter is here and hopefully snuggling with it!

still love | a pixel heart for Parkland

Many times quilters come together to make quilts for people who have been affected by tragic events. I read on instagram that one of my online quilty friends (@foxfishe) was making a quilt to give to someone affected by the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL and I immediately knew I wanted to make one too. As a teacher, a mother, and a concerned citizen, my heart has been hurting for the people of Parkland. A quilt won't do much to heal the pain, but I hope it brings some measure of comfort and peace to whomever receives it. I have been and will continue to pray for those affected by the shooting, and I'm also committed to supporting legislation to help events like this from happening in the future. 
It was Kelsey's idea to make a pixel heart quilt. I've made one other but I really like how they look so I was happy to make one again. I enjoyed picking out what seemed like neutral fabrics from my stash and scraps. The background is all white (Kelsey's backgrounds are scrappy but I don't have that many low volume fabrics to make it work) and the backing is a shot cotton orange. I quilted straight horizontal lines, and now I kind of wish I did vertical lines too. I think it looks unfinished, but it's too late now! It's bound in the solid orange too. We went to Tallulah's Taqueria, one of our favorite lunch spots downtown, last week and I brought the quilt along hoping to get some good photos. The outdoor seating area was perfect like I thought it would be. Of course Finn and Rory wanted to get in the shot :) 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

wonky stars | a quilt for Kyle

One of my oldest friends recently welcomed her third baby into her family. Her husband plays guitar so I included guitar fabric and I used lots of white, blue, and gray. I included lots of other fun prints too, like typewriter keys, graffiti, and little fish that remind me of sardines. The quilt pattern is by Vanessa Christenson but I didn't use the pattern, I just figured it out and used scraps to get the look I wanted. The back is more scraps from the front, but I didn't get a picture of it. I quilted it with straight lines in a grid (big surprise!) and bound it in a black and white chevron. I hope Kyle loves his quilt!

the ocean and the lakes | a quilt for Lenora

Our friends Jess and Chad recently welcomed their first baby into the world. They named her Lenora, but they didn't find out the gender until she was born so I made a quilt that I hoped would work for a boy or girl. I chose lots of gray and added blues and white, some solids and some prints. It's a log cabin but it's not really recognizable as one to me because the way I joined the scraps was completely improvised. 
Jess and Chad are from Michigan so I was happy to find this little scrap of All the States by Alexia Abegg for Cotton + Steel in my scrap basket.
I quilted it with straight lines along the sides of all the horizontal seams. I'm pretty much a one trick pony lately - gray and blue, straight lines, grid quilting. That about sums up my sewing.
Of course Rory had to test the quilt out while I was trying to take pictures of it. The back is a gray and white ikat print with a small piece of gingham.
I bound it in - wait for it - chambray. Usually I attach my labels the opposite way, with Tara Celeste Quilts on the outside, but for Jess I flipped it. She loves Rhode Island so I thought that little state outline would make her smile when she sees it. I hope this quilt brings smiles to Nora too.

patchwork pond | a quilt for Wesley

Our friends recently welcomed their first baby into the world. They named him Wesley, but they chose to find out his gender when he was born so a gender neutral quilt was in order. I picked a mix of gray, white, linen, and chambray fabrics with one square of gingham for fun. I made a granny square patchwork design, although I wish I hadn't set it on point.  I would have needed more white fabric to make it work the regular way and I was too impatient to order more.
The back is a print by Sarah Watts for Cotton + Steel from her From Porto with Love collection. Nate, Wesley's dad, is big into fishing so these gold metallic fish were perfect. I love when I have just the right print in my stash.
I quilted it with a simple grid and finished it off with dark gray polka dot chambray binding. Britt and Nate loved it, and I hope Wes enjoys lots of snuggles under it!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

modern aztec | a quilt for Theo

As fellow makers know, it's always nice to be sought out to make something. When someone asks me to make a quilt it shows me that they see the value in the things I make and it brings me great pleasure to make a quilt with someone special in mind. In this case it was for my friend Kristin's sister's unborn baby boy. Kristin and I reconnected at the birthday party of our mutual friend's one year old son, and we caught up on the years since college. She complimented my quilts and later messaged me to see if I would be interested in making one for her soon-to-be-born nephew. I jumped at the chance, especially when she told me I would have mostly free reign. We discussed her sister's style and settled on a minimal design with solid colors on a white background, and a fun farm animal print for the back. Like I do with all the quilts I make, I prayed while I planned and cut and sewed. Kristin gave it to her sister just before Christmas and she said she loved it. About a month later I learned that Lauren's baby tragically died during childbirth. His heart stopped beating during labor and doctors were unable to do anything. My heart breaks for their family, that they didn't get to keep Theo here and watch him grow. I'm thankful that they have hope in Heaven and know that they'll see him again. 

If you'd like to read more about Lauren, Brad, Theo and their story (including their faith) you can visit the YouCaring page that Kristin set up. The fundraiser is no longer active but you can still pray 

Monday, January 15, 2018

flowers for Flora | a quilt for Susanna

Our friends Dawn and Andrew are welcoming their second baby girl into the world soon, so a pretty kitty quilt was in order. They have two cats and I made their older daughter a cat quilt so it only seemed right that their second daughter have one too. I had the perfect fabric, a charm pack of Posy by Aneela Hoey , so I combined that with a few other prints and solids from my stash to make a simple patchwork quilt. 
 The back is a strip of C+S gingham and a fun print by Suzy Ultman - I love the ice cream truck! I used it on the back of the quilt I made for Mykenzie too. It's just so good for a little girl.
 More grid quilting and scrappy binding, and that pretty much sums me up as a quilter lately. I can't wait to meet little Susie!

purple patchwork | a quilt for Tabitha

 Finn is always the first one (actually the only one) to volunteer to hold quilts for me. Luckily for him, my quilt photography standards have declined significantly and I don't mind if he holds them crooked or even if the pictures are blurry. I just want to be able to remember what I've made. I made this quilt for the third daughter of a friend from church who I've known since I was a little girl. My mom made the little pink and purple panel a long time ago and gave it to me recently, suggesting I might use it in a quilt for a baby girl. Since Brenda was having a girl I knew just who to use it for. I pulled some coordinating fabrics from my stash (the seersucker is always so nice in baby quilts - it's so soft and crinkly) and made a simple improvisational design as I was working with a tight schedule - Brenda was past due to have the baby and I had only just decided to make the quilt!
I chose some nature and vintage inspired prints for the back. Brenda and her husband and three girls live in (what I think is...) an old farmhouse with a big yard and she's always posting pictures of them exploring outside, so the birds and florals felt just right for a little girl growing up in such a setting. 
I did some free motion quilting in the patchwork panel and along the top edge where the birds are on the back, and the rest I quilted with straight lines, echoing the shapes and angles of the fabrics. I made scrappy binding which is always one of my favorites, and already gave it to mom & baby. Hopefully it brings them warmth while they snuggle up on these cold New England days!
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