Counting Down to Grinch-mas

grinchcountdownAs of today, there are 80 days left until Grinch-mas 2017! Yes, I’m counting them down… and I can’t wait to get to use my just finished “Merry Grinch-mas” quilted advent calendar.

It’s the standard design I created years ago, though the first quilted calendar I’ve done with a Grinch / Who-ville theme (check out others in my Whimzie Quiltz Etsy shop.) Each little pocket holds a single peppermint or Hershey’s kiss, so you can enjoy one per day – every day – until the BIG day!

This is the last calendar that my fabulous friend Shirley helped with. I’ve since purchased my own embroidery machine, and it’s a lot of fun, but I miss working with her terribly!

***

Love the Grinch as much as I do? Check out these blog posts with more of my holiday Who-ville decor – 

Advertisements

“Waste Not, Want Not” Times Three

A crafter never lets anything go to waste, right? I mean, that’s why my closet is bulging with scraps of fabric that might one day become a quilt. And the reason why when i open my craft supply cabinet, things fall on my head (no, really, happens every time!)

stikwoodSo when we had some Stikwood paneling left from a recent chimney remodel project, I knew there would eventually be a use for it. And there was! Three uses, actually…

Balanced by a Valance

Our chimney looked great wrapped with Stikwood, but that much wood on one side of the room needed balance.  The solution was wood paneled cornice boards for windows on the other side of the room.

We had 10-12 usable sized pieces of Stikwood left from the chimney project. Each valance used two of those panels, trimmed to cover maple backer board. The frames were miter cut from outside corner moulding to hide the edges and painted black to match the metal chimney trim.

We’d been wanting to replace our existing shades for better light control at night anyway and the new cornice boards were the perfect complement to the inside-mount honeycomb shades.

valances

To Top it Off

A couple of years ago, Santa left a Singer sewing table under the tree. I loved it, but the traditional table top that came with it never really fit in with our decor. Besides, I do enjoy making things feel personalized, even vintage items.

We created a new top around the existing one by adding a black painted frame, then trimming a few extra Stikwood panels to fit inside. The more rustic look fits in so much better!

sewingtabletop

At Your Service

I’ve had this tray for a while; to be honest, I don’t even remember why I bought it. (Ha! I just realized it’s another craft supply item that I’ve kept around… lucky it didn’t fall on my head at some point 😀 )

With just a few tiny scraps of wood left, this was the perfect small project. The new white paint pops next to the Stikwood paneled bottom and the twine handles add a homey touch. It’s ready to serve any purpose now!

tray

At this point, there are only 3 pieces of Stikwood remaining – one’s 9 inches, one’s 12 inches and one’s 20 inches. We’re keeping them around just in case, but even if they never get used, I definitely think we got our money’s worth out of this purchase so far!

Quilting and Fabric Shopping Are Two Entirely Different Hobbies

I finished my new fabric shopping tote just in time for this weekend’s San Diego Quilt Show… it’s quite roomy and I can’t wait to fill ‘er up!

fabricshoppingbag

I had the image printed on a t-shirt at VistaPrint – their heat transfer process does an amazingly crisp and clear print on bright cotton knits. Using 7 oz cotton duck for the stripe and black fabrics gives the bag enough heft for stability, but keeps it light enough to carry. And it’s fully lined with a super cute grey dot that coordinates with the image.

Speaking of that image – the utterly adorable seamstress is from LovelyToCU. I fell in love with her the moment I saw it on Etsy.  This one’s mine, all mine 😀 , but I’m considering purchasing the commercial license so that I can sell these bags – what do you think, fellow quilters? Would you want to own one of these totes for yourself or maybe gift one to a quilty friend?

SaveSave

From Quilt Back to Vintage Backpack

Along with the last quilt for customer Beth M.’s daughter, I sent a quilted backpack as a “thank you gift with purchase”. I thought a young girl might find it fun to carry a few things around with it. Beth, though, seemed to have other ideas… she told me it was so cute, she almost kept it for herself!

So what do you think I made as a thank you when I finished her latest quilt? Well, a backpack just for Beth, of course!

macmildredquiltYou can read all about the process of designing and creating the Princess Mildred and the Pea quilt, but part of the story is that I went to four different fabric stores to find enough of the 1930s reproduction kitten fabric for the backing. It really was the purr-fect choice, though, and worth it, even though, as a quilt back, it will rarely get seen.

Using that same fabric for the backpack, though, means it finally gets the attention it so richly deserves. After adding a pink gingham and a black dot, Beth finally has an adorable vintage backpack of her own!

30sbackpack

Princess Mildred and the Pea Quilt

Ok, apologies up front, but I’m going to do some gushing about this custom quilt because it’s just so cool and I’m just so excited to send it off to customer Beth M. today…

macmildredquilt

This is the 6th quilt I’ve made for Beth (returning customers are the best!) and it is the culmination of a lot of thoughtful effort to bring together everything she loves into one final piece.

IMG_2920Beth’s love of quilts is genetic – she’d inherited several gorgeous quilts from her great-grandmother that she shared photos of with me. There are nods to her great-grandmother’s work in the choice of 1930s reproduction fabrics and in the baptist fan quilting that I did in the border (see right). Great-grandma did her baptist fans by hand, though!

The bottom quilt in the center represents Beth’s favorite family quilt – a traditional nine-patch. In an effort to replicate it closely, I tea-stained modern fabric the right shade for the vintage muslin. The other four quilts are based on quilts she had me make for her children – love of quilts will carry on in this family for sure!

The pieced kitty sleeping on top of the quilts is the family’s much loved tuxedo cat, Mildred. Mildred passed on during the year we’ve been working together, so this quilt has become a memorial to a much missed furry friend, as well.

In working with Beth, her devotion to her children and her desire to create a loving home for them were her most obvious characteristics. So I chose a block for the border called “Nest and Fledglings” to reflect that dynamic. Using those Nest and Fledgling blocks around the outside to pull everything together was the perfect metaphor for a mom’s warm embrace.

Literally every design element in this quilt was chosen to have a meaningful association for Beth and her family, past and present. And I wanted every detail to be perfect. For instance, the backing features a 1930 reproduction fabric with tiny black and white kittens tossed on a mint background – I went to four different stores to get enough of it! And that’s even knowing she plans to hang this quilt and the backing will probably never get seen 😀

Again my apologies for the long post. But this feeling of happiness mixed with giddy satisfaction is just spilling out of me this morning. I’ve been blessed to make something so beautiful – and so meaningful – for another person.

This is why I create custom quilts.

SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

Now’s the Time

If you’ve ever considered having a custom Irish Chain quilt made for you by Whimzie Quiltz, now’s the time – you’ve got 100 new designs to choose from!

I just finished my 2017 #100Days Project, a creativity challenge where I designed a different Irish Chain quilt pattern every day for 100 days. (Didn’t skip a single day, either; thank you very much 😀 ) I learned to see the classic quilt layout in so many different ways; it’s AMAZING what you can do starting with one simple idea!

Sample the collection of some of my favorite designs from the project below…

or visit them all at 100 Whimzical Chains and let me know your favorite in the comments…

or have a completely new one designed just for you at Whimzie Quiltz. After all, I seem to be on a roll here and I’d love to keep the creativity flowing!

 

Giving a WINQ, Up the Chimney It Rose

stikwoodAlthough I hoped to finish a quilted tote bag I’ve been working on instead, this weekend was set aside for a When I‘m Not Quilting (WINQ) project – adding wood paneling to our upstairs fireplace.

The fireplace is designed to be a divider between two rooms (we don’t use it much here in Southern California, but it’s come in handy on a few winter nights when the desert chill rolls in.) The chimney part that hides the vent rises to the ceiling and was done in traditional drywall and orange peel. It was calling out for something more dramatic, though!

So we decided to add Stickwood paneling.

We hadn’t planned to do this project until later in the year, but Stickwood was discontinuing the Honey color wood we wanted; luckily, we snatched up the planking before it sold out (at clearance prices!)

Since this was our upstairs fireplace, and the table saw was downstairs outside the garage, we hired a friend’s son to be the runner between us. (It had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that our ancient knees couldn’t take the repeated strain and don’t let anyone tell you differently. 😀 ) Having his help cut the time in half; we finished measuring, cutting and attaching all the planks – including some not quite level rip cuts along the top – in less than 4 hours.

Although Stikwood offers edging, I found the metal corner trim we decided to use online at Home Depot. It did require a special metal blade/grinder to cut, but with the right tools it wasn’t a problem.

We’re really pleased with the way it turned out – it does make the fireplace focal point much more dramatic!

However, in the interest of being completely truthful, I’m going to mention one note of caution.  If you are a stickler for precision, Stikwood may not be for you.  It’s a natural product, made from reclaimed or sustainable wood.  There are tiny gaps here and there and some edges that don’t match up exactly. I’m sure some of that is installer error – our first attempt! – and some is caused by a 15+ year old house which was never level to start with.

But you definitely end up with a rustic look. Which is perfect for what we wanted, but may not be for everyone. I have to admit, though, the whole time I was working on this project, I kept imagining an entire accent wall of wood with an antique quilt hanging in front of it.  It would be absolutely lovely!  Maybe that’ll be my next WINQ…