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Silent Auction Quilt

So, remember the Spoonflower fabric I made with self-portraits of the kids in my daughter’s kindergarten class? Remember how I said I needed to use that fabric to make something for a silent auction, but I didn’t want to make a quilt?

Silent auction Spoonflower quilt

Well, of course, I made a quilt.

I considered a lot of other options, including pillowcases, a big pillow for a reading nook, a tote bag, etc. The problem was I had to make one large item that would entice people to bid high. Somehow, pillowcases or a tote bag just didn’t sound like something people would be willing to pay a lot for, even if it was plastered with their kid’s face! In the end, my husband was the unlikely one who talked me into a quilt. He said, “As much as I jokingly complain about all the quilts we have in this house, I do think people like them—I mean, who can’t use a nice quilt?” Thanks, honey. : )

Silent auction Spoonflower quilt

Of course, I spent so long trying to decide what to make, by the time I bit the bullet and committed myself to a quilt, I had exactly two days to make the thing, from start to finish. Ah, why do I do these things to myself??

But anyway, this is what I ended up with. I think it turned out really cute, in spite of being extremely rushed.

Silent auction Spoonflower quilt

Since I was working under such a tight time frame, I knew I wanted a simple design and a nice easy pattern to follow, so that I wouldn’t have to think. : ) Faith’s Lemon Squares pattern was perfect! It allowed me to feature some nice big squares of the kids’ fabric. I supplemented the kids’ print with some colorful fabric from my stash that coordinated with the little artists’ palettes.

Silent auction Spoonflower quilt

On the back, I used a nice big piece of the print, to show off all those great drawings. (FYI, some of these pictures were taken before the quilt was bound.)

The quilt ended up selling for $250, which I think is wonderful considering that it was a class project and therefore had a limited pool of bidders—only the parents of the other 20 kids in my daughter’s class would be interested in it, after all! I doubt a pair of pillowcases would have gotten even close to that much. And it fetched the highest price of all of the classroom projects (every class had its own). So I’m proud and happy that I could help raise some cash for the school, and I saw the high bidder walking out with it at the end of night, practically hugging it, she was so happy to have won it. That warmed my heart. : )

P.S. Just wanted to note that Heidi of Fabric Mutt has a blog hop starting today called “Girl Friday Sews”—all tutorials designed to freshen up your work space. I love stuff like that! Plus there will be giveaways, of course. : ) So head over there to follow along, and come back on Friday for my tutorial for a fabric-covered memo board!

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WIP Wednesday: New and Improved!

WIPWednesday

Welcome to Wednesday! Before I get to my WIPs, a little housekeeping is in order: Now that we’re topping 200(!) link-ups a week, it’s getting unwieldy to show all of them within the post. So I’ve decided to start using the new “paging” linky widget by InLinkz, which arranges the link-ups in multiple pages. What this means for you:

1. Check out the linky’s great new features. When you hover over any link, you’ll see options allowing you to pin the link, tweet about it, or mark it as read. It makes it really easy to keep track of which links you’ve visited and your favorite WIP projects by others.

2. Throughout the week, I’ll be tweeting about and/or pinning WIP Wednesday links that I find especially interesting and worthy of notice. In fact, I’ve set up a Pinterest board just for my favorite WIP Wednesday links. Follow me in both places to see what I’m loving this week!

3. At some point I hope to be able to run the links in reverse order, so that the most recent link will appear first instead of last. That seems more fair, because it would give every link a certain amount of time on the first page. That option isn’t available yet, but I’ll add it when I can. (Edited to add: InLinkz says this will be available in about a month – yay!)

I hope you like the new linky, but please comment or drop me a line if you have any feedback. Now let’s talk WIPs! I did very little sewing this week—instead I was helping both kids with their Valentines and working with my older daughter on a Daisy Scout project and two assignments for her class’s “100 Days of School” celebration.

Cutting for new pattern
But I did manage to cut into some fabric for my next pattern. I’m liking this palette, but I feel like it’s missing something. I might take out the olive crosshatch fabric and replace it with more of a lime green. Any suggestions?

Rocky Road to Kansas block
Made more Summer Sampler blocks with my ongoing Modern Sampler class. Most people in the class said this block (Rocky Road to Kansas) was their favorite so far. They thought the strip-piecing was fun and the paper-piecing was much easier for them than last week’s.

Class print
And I’ve been working on a new Spoonflower print featuring self-portraits of every child in my daughter’s kindergarten class. The fabric will ultimately become a silent auction item—maybe a pair of pillowcases for a kid’s bed, but I’m open to suggestions. What type of items made from this fabric would you want to buy? And don’t say quilt, because I’m not going there, sorry. : )

Okay, so let’s get linking! Here are the rules:

1. Link up any post from the past week that features at least one unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back here to my blog. (Or grab my WIP Wednesday button for your sidebar.)
3. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links. Because what fun is a linky party without comments?Have a wonderful week!

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Rain Boot Winners

Wow, thank you, everyone, for sharing all your wonderful nature memories with me. : ) I’m not able to respond to all of your comments, but I read every single one of them and thoroughly enjoyed them. I especially loved the camping-gone-wrong stories, since my main memory of camping as a child is of sitting in our pop-up camper listening to the rain pour down on us for days at a time. : )

Also, I am super flattered by all the interest in my little rain-boot print! Remember, if you didn’t win, you can buy it directly from Spoonflower—click here to purchase. And please let me know if you make anything with it, I would love to see pictures.

Okay, so the winners of the Rain Boots fat quarters who had my favorite comments are:

annabelle g, who said:
“One of my fav memories is of a huge mulberry tree at the edge of the woods. There was a small footpath through the underbrush that lead to a clearing just under the mulberry tree, our clubhouse. Daddy hung a tire swing and helped nail boards to the side for us to climb easier. You could not see anything from the outside, just the woods. So it was like our secret place. We spent so much time there, my brother, sister and I, esp in the summer. It was a wonderful place. I wonder sometimes if its still there. If its been found by other kids and is still a happy place, a happy tree. Fond childhood memories…..thank you :)” Awww, what a beautiful description of a magical childhood place. How could I not choose it?

and

Mary on Lake Pulaski
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“What a great design Lee! A few years after I survived major breast cancer, I signed up for Outward Bound to help me regain my self confidence. I spent seven days in the Boundary Waters with nine other women cancer survivors I had never met before. Nature is such a healer. We spent the time canoeing, navigating, rappelling, soloing, cooking and fishing. Nature and all of those women became my friends. I think I can say that is the reason I am a twenty-four year survivor. ” Wow, Mary, what an experience! A clear winner. : )

And the random winners of the FQs are:

#145 – lizmakesstuff
“When I was in high school, my family went on a trip to the Canadian Rockies. We went on several hikes that were ostensibly “easy” but in reality were anything but. One of them was a 23-mile round trip hike to a glacier. Though it was July (specifically Canada Day!) there was lots of snow on the ground, much of which had never been touched by humans. We had lots of fun playing in the snow that day (we’re Florida kids so snow is a novelty!) and we were exhausted at the end of it but it was definitely a trip to remember!”

and

#9 – Kristen
“These boots remind me of my pretty white and pink raincoat I had when I was 7. I used to hope it would rain so I could wear my raincoat to school. It was reversible so one side was pink and the other side was white with tiny little different colored hearts. I still remember splashing in the puddles on the way home from the bus and my mom being worried because it took me so long to get home. Thanks for helping me remember that! LOVE the fabric!”

Congrats to all the winners! I’ll be sending you an email to get your mailing addresses. Enjoy your fabric!

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Giving You the Boot(s) – A Giveaway!

Hot off the presses! The appropriate tweaks have been made, and my Rain Boots fabric from Spoonflower is now “final.”

Many of you may remember that this print was inspired by my daughter’s amazing nature preschool, and it was my entry for Spoonflower’s Project Selvage contest. Since then, I’ve made the scale of the print significantly smaller, moved the boots a bit closer together, and tweaked the colors, especially the blue. I’m really happy with this final version.

So, want some Rain Boots fabric of your own? I hope you do, because I’m giving some away! Just leave a comment on this post with your favorite memory involving nature. Four different winners will each get a fat quarter of my Rain Boots fabric. I’ll choose two winners at random, and two winners whose comments I love. Just leave your comment by Sunday, June 26. I’ll announce the winners on Monday morning.

If you don’t happen to win, never fear—my Rain Boots fabric is now for sale through Spoonflower! Click here for buying options. And if you’re part of the awesome Spoonflower Swap with Gen X Quilters, you’ll be getting a few squares of this from me via the swap. Enjoy!

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Bee Blocks and Project Selvage

First of all, unfortunately, my little print didn’t make the 75 semi-finalists for Project Selvage. Disappointing, of course, but that’s life—I’m glad I gave it a shot! And I can’t thank you guys enough for all the wonderful, incredibly supportive comments about my print. To know that so many of you are in my corner is a reward in and of itself. : ) Made my day!

As for the prints that were chosen, from an illustrative/design standpoint, I think every one of them is beautifully done (click here to view them and vote). There are obviously some very talented people in this group. But (and hopefully this doesn’t sound like sour grapes), I have to say that I am disappointed in the subject matter and tone of many of these prints. Sorry, but to put it plainly, I think most of these designs are kinda boring. Sure, they’re pretty, but in my opinion, most them look very much like fabric that’s already available from the major manufacturers. And if that’s the case, what was the point of even holding the contest? By my count, there are 9 semi-finalist prints with owls in them. NINE. This means that fully 12% of the semi-finalists were under the impression that the world needs yet another owl fabric. Really, Spoonflower?

Okay, I’m done. Thanks for letting me vent. : ) There is at least one print in there that I love: “Windy Day” by Patty Sloniger. It’s from a work-in-progress collection called “Backyard Baby.” Check it out the other coordinating prints she has on Spoonflower, they are totally covet-able! I know absolutely nothing about the designer, but I would buy that collection in a heartbeat. And for those of you who are wondering: Yes, I am still planning to come up with some coordinating prints for my boot fabric, and yes, “Boots” and any future coordinates will be available for sale on Spoonflower at some point. I’ll keep you all posted!

Anyway, moving on! Let’s look at some March bee blocks, shall we?

First up, Do. Good Stitches. Ara Jane asked for these “Bits and Blocks” blocks. I think everyone in the Love circle is pretty curious about how exactly Ara Jane is going to lay these out. But aren’t they great? And so quick and easy to make. Here is Ara Jane’s tutorial if you’d like to whip up some of these yourself.

Elizabeth requested spiderweb blocks for her month in {Sew} Beautiful, and she sent this fun Good Folks fabric by Anna Maria Horner. Isn’t it absolutely beautiful? All those skinny little strips in such bright, gorgeous colors! I can’t wait to see this one come together! And Elizabeth is now in the process of making 18 more of these, so it’s going to be a biggie!

Beth wanted a slightly wonky drunk love block for her month in the String Me Along Bee. Well, you’re in luck, Beth, because “slightly wonky” is one of my specialties. : ) This was my second drunk love block in Anna Maria Horner fabrics in as many months, and I have to say, something about her prints really lend themselves well to this style of block. Love it!

Last but not least, I participated in the first quarter of the 3×6 Mini Bee. In case you’re not familiar with it, this is a quarterly bee in which you make blocks for your “hive” of six other people from your own scraps, so no fabric mailing is required.

These are the blocks I made. I used the “Lil’ Twister” ruler, which Quilt Story blogged about here. I adore this ruler! But instead of following the Lil’ Twister’s usual directions of cutting and turning, I mixed up the cut pieces so that the colors stayed together, and they alternated with the white background.

And here are the blocks I received from my hive. I requested green, aqua, and gray blocks. I’m still waiting on one more, which will hopefully show up soon. Thank you, ladies, I love them all! I’m signed up for the next quarter and I’m keeping the same colors, so I’m looking forward to having a nice big sampler quilt eventually.

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Project Selvage: Pick Me, Please!

Here’s the thing. My daughter goes to the best preschool in the history of ever—her school is at a nature center. They take those kids outside every single day, rain or shine, regardless of temperature. There aren’t any playgrounds there, at least not in the traditional sense. Instead, the kids are encouraged to splash in puddles, dig for worms, climb on logs, play with sticks, run after butterflies—in short, they’re encouraged to be kids. I think it might just be where childhood makes its last stand against the modern age.

What better place, then, to look for inspiration for my Project Selvage contest entry? And there is no better symbol of everything my daughter’s school stands for than colorful rain boots, which can be seen cramming the shelves and cubbies on any given school day. My entry may not scream “baby” (which could be a problem, given that the entries were supposed to be “baby boy”-themed), but I hope it reflects one of the simple joys of being a young child: Pulling on your boots and exploring a pond. Or the world in general.

Going into this, I had several other ideas all inspired by my daughter’s school, so on the off-chance I make Spoonflower‘s 75 finalists, I know I could come up with a whole line centered around this print. In fact, I might just do that anyway, even if I don’t make the 75 finalists. At the very least, I could make some awesome potty-privacy curtains for the school. : ) And of course, with a real live contract with Michael Miller on the line, the Project Selvage competition is unbelievably steep. Click here to check out some of the other entries—there are some very talented people over on Spoonflower, you guys. They announce the 75 finalists next Thursday, March 31, and voting will begin at that time.

As an aside, if Project Selvage is Project Runway for fabric designers, then where’s our Tim Gunn? As I toiled into the wee hours on my entry, I longed for somebody who would walk past, peek over my shoulder at the computer screen, study it thoughtfully with his chin in his hand, and say something along the lines of, “Those colors are fabulous. But the scale is all wrong.” Maybe they’ll line up somebody to make home visits to all the finalists? Think about it, Spoonflower! : )

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Wordless Wednesday


Okay, not so much. (As my husband would surely tell you, I’m bad at “wordless”. )

My Kissy Fish quilt is being featured on GenX Quilters today! Head over there and check out Anne Marie’s excellent blog, if you haven’t already. And Spoonflower linked up to my blog on their Facebook page yesterday! Thank you, Spoonflower! How cool.
Meanwhile, in addition to finally cutting into my Modern Meadow, I’ve also decided what I’m doing with my stack of Hope Valley FQs. Hint: It involves more squares and half-square triangles. I’m into those lately.

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Spoonflowering

So, who else out there has tried out Spoonflower? I’ve been dabbling in it for over a year now, and every time I get something printed with them, I love it a little more. The first time I heard about it, I got positively giddy: You mean you can get anything you want printed as a repeating pattern on fabric? With no yardage minimums? Anything? The possibilities seemed endless.

This is probably old news for some people, but if you’re not familiar with it, Spoonflower is a digital, on-demand fabric printing service. Basically, if you can design a repeating pattern, you can be a fabric designer. Right up my alley!

I made these tote bags as a class gift for my daughter’s preschool teachers last year. Another mom and I had each child draw themselves, and I scanned the drawings, assembled them into a repeating pattern, and had it printed on Spoonflower’s canvas-linen blend (which is nice and heavy and perfect for tote bags).

I also made throw pillows for the class volunteers and a rag quilt for my daughter using the print, as a memento of her first year in school. I had labels printed for each item, which made me think that this would be a great way to make all my quilt labels. And a print made up entirely of my daughter’s own artwork is definitely on my to-do list! See what I mean about possibilities?

More recently, my mom was lamenting the lack of cute tennis-themed fabric. She’s quite the bag-maker, and some of the ladies on her tennis team had requested tennis totes, but the few tennis-related prints she could find out there were tacky, tacky, tacky.

And so, my debut fabric line was born. : ) I finally got the printed samples a few days ago. I tried to make it recognizably tennis-themed without being too literal. (Okay, the double-racquet print is pretty literal, but other than that.) I even got a little crazy and put it in two color ways: Yellow and black, or the green and blue shown above. They should make some good totes for my mom’s “tennis ladies,” and anybody else out there who happens to want a tennis bag. I may tweak the blue a bit (it’s looking a little too royal for my taste), but otherwise it turned out just as I envisioned. Click here to see the full collection on Spoonflower’s website.

If you’ve made something cool from Spoonflower fabric, I’d love to hear about it! And if there’s any interest, I’d be happy to post some tips on designing for Spoonflower, based on lessons I’ve learned.