Saturday, November 28, 2015

Top Ten DIY Gifts

I wanted to curate a collection of easy DIY gifts to make for others (or yourself!) this year, and have found THOUSANDS, but these are my TOP TEN! (okay, top twelve, but I couldn't stop!)
But in the spirit of full disclosure, I haven't tried very many of these, they just look really great! Hopefully you won't be posting a #pinterestfail after trying one of these! :)

I found all of these on Pinterest, and give credit and links where they are due.

Enjoy! :)

1. Monogrammed Canvas Tote
I think this is incredibly classy, and (hopefully) easy to do! Teachers, nurses, bus drivers, babysitters, friends...I'm sure they would all love to have one of these!

2. Boot Socks
I know I'm a little tardy to the party, but I really think boot socks are cute! But at $20 (or more) for a pair, I'm more than happy to chop up a thrifted sweater and call it good!  (and use the body of the sweater to make a pillow! Double bonus!)  Who do you know that wears boots? Or has pillows?  Hustle to a thrift store and get cracking! :)

3. Burlap Monogram Tote
I made these a couple of years ago for the preschool teachers, and they continue to comment on how much they love them! It was a really easy project.

4. Lemon Bath Bombs
My mouth is watering at the mere thought of these! I haven't made them, but I imagine the fragrance to be light and invigorating and sunny. Make some for your favorite bath-loving friend, and make her day!  (obviously these are not for eating...)

5. Cinnamon Coffee Scrub

Who can use a little pick me up in the shower? Coffee and scrubbing away the callouses sounds like a great way to wake up! :) And the amount of cute jars available is astounding. There's really no reason you couldn't make this -- we all know SOMEONE who loves coffee, right?

6. Detox Bath
It's that time of year where we are exposed to a ton of germs, and are busy and stressed and aren't getting enough rest or water, so those germs can grab hold and knock us down! Well, this detox bath might be just the thing for a busy friend. We all love to feel pampered AND getting healthy at the same time!:)

7. Jasmine Bath Salts
Here's a true story: When I was pregnant with both of my daughters, I had to have non-stress tests in the hospital 2x a week for 7 weeks prior to their birth. Well, the courtyard outside the hospital was just flourishing with jasmine plants, and since this was April and May, they were flowering like CRAZY! I was always nervous going into those very stressful non-stress tests, and felt calmed by the fragrance of the Jasmine.  I've always loved the smell of Jasmine, but it now holds a special place in my heart. These bath salts will be a blessing for anyone you give them to. :)

8. Emergency Nail Repair Kit
I'm totally making these up for all the teachers to keep in the classroom. And I will, of course, be adding a set of JAMS to the kit! :) Gotta keep those teachers feeling pampered and loved and pretty, right? :)  Also, instead of a full bottle of polish remover, I'm just getting a box of polish remover wipes and putting them in the kit. No one likes a renegade bottle of polish remover! :)

9. Peppermint Foot Soak
I can only imagine how good this would feel after a long day of shopping. Or running errands. Or wearing the heels we tend to wear to any fancy Christmas dinners... I think a peppermint foot soak will be just the right mix of relaxing and invigorating. Perfect for anyone with feet. :)

10. Puzzle Collage
Doesn't this look fun?  When you're at the thrift store getting a sweater, grab a puzzle, and have your kids sort out the pieces by color. I know craft stores like Michaels are constantly putting canvases on sale, and then put the kiddos to work helping you! I think this would be a great addition to any room - for a young person or old!

11. Sugar Soap Scrub
I made this a few years ago for myself and keep it on the shelf in the shower. I love it. Seriously. I even changed the kind of soap we use in the kitchen because I love this fragrance so much! :)  It's an easy, and simple, and much-appreciated gift for anyone you know.

12. Tile Photo Coasters
Everyone loves to show off pictures of their kids and grandkids, right? But sometimes there's no wall space left! So a coaster is a great alternative. And these are really easy to make. Find your favorite pictures, and some simple tiles, and go for it! Have fun with it! Let the kiddos help! :)

So, there you have it! Some great ideas for gifts to make this year! I hope your holidays are wonderful and filled with blessings. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

TRANSPARENCY!! (Bee Sewcial Instructions for March 2015)

Hi!  This post is for the members of the Bee Sewcial bee, and those following along as part of the Inspired by Bee Sewcial team. Hi! :o)

March is my month to inspire and challenge my fellow Sewcialites to make blocks for my quilt. I'll be honest, my creativity is waning, and even though I've been ruminating on this quilt for a few weeks, I don't feel like I'm coming up with anything really challenging and innovative and unique. But as I have thought about it, I keep coming back to two features that I would love to have, and this is where I'm starting:

1. Cool blues and cool greens.
2. Transparency

Here are some color palettes for you to start with:
March ~ Melissa
And I would like any neutral to be a light/pale gray or light blue/gray, as you can see in some of the palettes.
As for transparency, I couldn't find a lot of images on Flickr, but I do love the original Traveling Quilt by Oliver+S, which can be found HERE

really love this watercolor quilt by Eliza Kenan HERE

and this doll quilt on Flickr by Lisa K.
Completed doll quilt: Strawberry-Rhubarb Πr2 by losabia

Cool, right?

So, here are my instructions. 
1. Please make 2 blocks -- one at least 14" unfinished square (trim or don't trim, I just need it to be at least 14" to start, ), and one at least 9" unfinished.
2. Using mostly blues and mostly greens, and a slight dash of light gray, please construct the blocks however you like, in order to create a sense of transparency. Strips, squares, circles...whatever! I just love how the colors blend. Think Venn Diagram. ;)


Here are the finished blocks on my design wall. There is no rhyme or reason for them to be where they are, and I have NO clue how to lay them out, but here they are! :)

And there you have it, folks! March for the Bee Sewcial bee! Transparency. :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

One Step At A Time: Stop One on C&T's Blog Hop ~ and GIVEAWAY!

Helloow!  And welcome to the first stop on C&T's "The Modern Medallion Workbook Blog Tour!"

C&T has just released The Modern Medallion Workbook, and I am so so so very happy to have my One Step at a Time quilt be a part of it!

When I first found out about this book, medallion quilts were just coming back into vogue, but I admit that I had NO clue what a medallion quilt was! So, if you're like me, wondering what makes a design a medallion, and if it is even possible to make it look modern, here you go! :)  Here's my definition: a medallion quilt is one where the center block is a point of interest, maybe a star, maybe a basket of flowers, maybe a swirl of hexagons, and then each border radiating away from the center is different, and unique.

The novel concept behind THIS book is that it truly is a workbook. If you are making your own modern medallion quilt and like the center block from one quilt, and then like the third border another quilt, but don't like the rest of the borders, just pull it out and incorporate it into your quilt! Easy peasy! You are literally able to resize and redesign any quilt you want by taking bits and pieces from all the quilts and making it your own! I love that idea! :)

Or what if you love a design, but don't love the colors the designer used? Well, you are in luck! There are coloring pages at the back of the book (and my oldest daughter is very interested in these!) :)

And as an added bonus, there are loads of techniques highlighted in here. Pieced curves, applique, paper-piecing...not only can you make beautiful quilts, but you'll become a more talented quilter along the way! Jackpot!

It's a great book. It really is. Again, I feel so humbled to be included in a publications with the likes of Latifah Saafir, Becca Bryan, Erica Jackman, and Janice Ryan (our fearless leader), to name just a few!  And not only that, but the quilts they designed are really, truly, STUNNING. Stunning. Those ladies have got some real talent! :)

So for me, when it came time to design the quilt, I started with a sketch using grays and yellows, but that was too dreary. And I didn't want to be a TOTAL broken record and design ANOTHER rainbow quilt, so I went with a color scheme I think is truly fresh and modern and delightful -- cool greens and blues with a pop of coral. One of my favorite outfits from 8th grade was a navy blue skirt and a kelly green sweater with blue trim. I loved this color combination then, and I love it now!
For my medallion, I went with a swirl of hexagons. I do love me some hexagons! I used an invisible thread and my blind hem stitch to applique them to the background fabric.

And then, each border is a different method of creating a chevron. There are four unique chevron borders on this quilt, and I think each one would make a lovely quilt!

(In fact, the border that started this whole thing is the Palace Steps border, which I designed for this quilt that the Faith Circle of the do.good stitches bee made for Restore Innocence in 2013)

                                  Palace Steps ~ finished.  

When it came time to quilt it, I wanted to quilt each section/border in a way that was reflective of that border, if I could. And frankly, I kinda made it up as I went along. :)

In the center, I quilted a swirl of feathers...if you could call it that? I just wanted to mirror the hexagons, and I like how it turned out!

Then in the first border, I quilted half-flowers in each large triangle space. Maybe I should call it a fan? I don't really know! :)


And the corner treatment:


In the green quarter-circle border, I quilted what reminds me of a fern frond. There is a "stem" that curves through each "leaf" section, and then blades that are quilted on either side of that stem.

 The third border is quite possibly my favorite because I had a vision, but it was complicated, and then I came up with a method to create the border with a lot less trouble than my original idea! I love it when that happens.  Anyway...I quilted it with gentle waves.                         
And in the final border, I quilted more waves, but in both directions, as the steps went up and down.


And now for the true truth: this was hard for me! Even though I had the design, and had the skills to create the quilt and to write the pattern, this was possibly the hardest thing I have done as a quilter.  The perfectionist monster inside of me came out in an ugly manner more than a few times! I don't like that. Maybe if I were to submit another quilt to another book, I would be a little less wound up about it, I don't know, but this was HARD!! :)

Don't get me wrong, I am very glad I did it, and Janice was a PHENOMENAL asset to the completion of this book, she was on top of everything, encouraging the authors to get their stuff in on time, and patient as a dove with me in all my insecurities. She is the rock and the glue and the life that made this workbook really come together.  (FYI - in case you are wondering why I'm mentioning Janice so much, she and Beth split up the list of contributors so I didn't really hear much from Beth since Janice was my team captain.)

This blog hop continues for another 10 days, so please visit the other contributors and read about how their modern medallions took shape!

May 13thAmy Sinibaldi-

The giveaway is closed. Annmarie from Wisconsin is the winner. :) Thanks for all your lovely comments!

Now to the GIVEAWAY!!  I personally HATE Rafflecopter, so i'm not going to go that route.

C&T has offered to give one copy of the book to one lucky recipient here. If you win, and you live in the US, you will receive a hard copy of the book. If you live outside the US, you'll receive an electronic copy of the book. win, I would like you to leave one comment with what your favorite modern color combination is right now. :)  It's that simple! (Giveaway will close at 11:00pm MDT Friday the 15th of May)</s>

And then, tomorrow, go visit Amy's blog. ;)

Have a great day!

Monday, January 12, 2015


January is Human Trafficking Awareness month. (those stats are from 2011, but still very accurate)

As you may know, I've become very aware of human trafficking in the US, specifically Colorado, over the last 2 years through my involvement with Restore Innocence. Restore Innocence partners with law enforcement agencies and victims assistance units to help girls rescued from modern day slavery (sex slavery) restore their lives, and rebuild them, away from the depravity they have known. I love what they are doing for these girls, specifically, and to bring an end to slavery, globally.

However, because of the ages of my kids and the general chaos of my life, I can't really donate much time to the organization. But I do what I can. I'm a member of the Faith Circle of the do.good stitches bee, and we make quilts for Restore Innocence, and they give them to girls in their program that have been rescued from sex slavery.

Here's a picture of the last Faith Circle quilt I finished for Restore Innocence in August.

Dave and I also give financially to them so they can come along side girls rescued in Colorado, and all over the country. And, possibly most importantly, I use my voice. I post about trafficking on Facebook and Instagram. I have talked about it here and here and here in the past.

Here is an excerpt from the last post I tagged above:
It's going on right under your nose. That van in front of you on the highway? Maybe he's driving a few girls to a "date"... The girl in line behind you at the grocery store that won't make eye contact? Maybe she's buying diapers for her baby that was born into this slavery. The billboard advertising a "massage and spa" at the truck stop???


There are hundreds of people who "listen" to me, and sadly, many of them were unaware that modern slavery is happening in my backyard, and in theirs.


Once the veil is lifted, and we begin to really see the depravity that is happening around us, we either retreat and hope someone else does something. ("I don't know what to do, I can't help!"). Or we feel compelled to help in whatever way we can. We volunteer our time, our talents, or our treasures. Like I said, for me, I make quilts and donate money, and talk about it.

This January, I'm going to be doing two things. First, I'm going to be talking about trafficking more than I have in the past. Here, and on Facebook and on Instagram.  Second, for the month of January, I'm going to be hosting a fundraiser for Restore Innocence  with Jamberry.

As you may or may not know, I've just recently started selling Jamberry nail wraps, and so I'm going to host a fundraiser with 20% of the sales of the party   (which is 2/3 of my commission) going to Restore Innocenc so they can make restoration bags to be given to girls at the moment they are rescued.

The fundraiser party will be mostly held on Facebook, so if you would like to be a part of that party to learn more about Jamberry, play some games, maybe win some free nail wraps, as well as be able to purchase nail wraps or other Jamberry products, then let me know. If I'm not already friends with you on Facebook, let me know how, and I'll find you.

If you would like to simply place an order, you can do that by going to my website:, or by clicking THIS LINK, which will take you through to the party directly Just remember to select the Restore Innocence party.

Or, if you would rather make a simple, tax-deductible donation to Restore Innocence, you can do that by going to their website, and scrolling to the bottom to give.

I don't honestly know that we will see an end to modern day slavery in my lifetime, but I do pray that it will end in my children's lifetime. It needs to end. The way these girls and boys are treated is simply inhumane and wrong. I want to be a part of bringing and end to it, and bringing hope to the ones who are rescued from it.

If we all do something, then we know an end will come. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Whole New World!

I'm very excited about my most recent quilt finish. It's been a long time in the making because I was waiting for a few key elements for quilting: 1. Inspiration, and 2. A ruler base for my long arm. ;)

In late June I had the very unique opportunity to spend the day with Angela Walters and a few other VERY exceptionally talented long armers in Denver. The airlines almost didn't let it happen, but Angela persevered, and made it to Denver, and we just really tried to suck as much information out of Angela's brain as conceivably possible in a 6 hour span of time. ;o)

 (Susan (front right) made each of us these little placemats, it wasn't part of our class)

One of the take-aways for me (of MANY) was how to use a ruler for quilting. I have a few quilt tops that are awaiting quilting inspiration, but I only really have one that was right for using the ruler base. (It's basically an acrylic add-on, similar to an acrylic extension table for your domestic sewing machine.)

(this isn't me practicing with a ruler, obviously, but it's the best picture of me and my BFF, Angela!) ;o)

So after that amazing "mountain top" experience, I seriously debated buying a ruler base for my long arm. It was $100, and I just wasn't sure it would be worth it, you know? I spend SO much money on stuff that I don't need or end up using (Hello, Accuquilt Go cutter!), but I decided to take the plunge on this one.

The Shape Shifters quilt that the {Faith Circle} of the Do. Good Stitches bee made in April was perfect for ruler-guided quilting. The problem? I needed to piece the top!! There were a few blocks that I had to re-make because they were trimmed wrong, but it really is an amazingly easy set of blocks to make. (You can find the tutorial HERE) Once I got the top pieced and the backing selected, it was time to get to work!

And WORK it was!! Man alive. Practicing on Susan's long arm for a few minutes was NOTHING like actually doing the quilting on my own quilt, on my own machine. The first block took for. eh. ver. Forever. Or at least four hours, which felt like forever! 


But then I figured out how to stream-line the process a bit, and eventually got to where each block was taking me about 30 minutes. All in all, though, I believe I spent about 20 hours quilting this quilt.

Totally worth it, yes, but goodness gracious! My arms ached, my legs ached, my back ached...Ruler-guided quilting is not for the weak, that's for sure!


Now it's bound, and I'm going to put on the label, and take it to Restore Innocence so they can give it to a girl rescued from sex trafficking.

Here are a couple of pictures of the secondary design of the blocks, and the quilting in each.


And one more glamour shot for good measure. ;o)


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Rolling the Dice with Urban Zoologie and Remix

(actually, it's only one. It's a "die", but I didn't like the alternative title.) :o)

I recently had the opportunity to take this adorable panel of Urban Zoologie by Kelle Boyd of Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman, and make it into something fun for a baby gift.

When I first saw the panel, I immediately saw a giant stuffed die (dice...why are plurals so difficult?!)  I wasn't entirely sure how to make it, but I knew I could figure it out. After a brief consultation with Pinterest, I confirmed my suspicions, and got to work!  (I started with this tutorial by London Mummy, if you want to follow her great instructions!)

I don't think I had to, but I chose to back the panel with interfacing (SF101) to give the fabric a bit more stability. I added a ribbon handle to the side, and thought it would be fun to include a little bell. :o)

All of my kids love this die. It's just FUN! :o)

Since I couldn't make a baby gift without making burp cloths and a receiving blanket, I used some YUMMY Robert Kaufman flannel to round out the gift. If you've never used it, you need to. It feels soooo soft and fluffly and strong compared to other flannels I've used!  (Note: I always prewash flannel, and I used a 1/2" seam allowance)

I know a number of people like to use prefolded Gerber cloth diapers to make burp cloths, and I admit I've made my fair share of those, but I've recently started making my own entirely out of flannel. And I will. NEVER. Go. Back.



I'm not sure I save that much money doing it this way, but I really do love how dreamy these burp cloths are.

I used white flannel for the base, but could easily have used any other color, and made these the same size as the Gerber diapers. And I know no one will be surprised to know that I used some of Ann Kelle's Remix rainbow chevron for the accent and the receiving blanket.

(this is just such a happy sight!)

These are just so soft! And the receiving blanket? Even softer. Not that I want another baby, because I DON'T, but I'd be willing to hold a baby swaddled in this. Mama ain't got no chance for the baby blues with her baby swaddled in this! :o)

All in all, this was a great challenge (not really a challenge, mind you!), and I had fun using Kelle's Urban Zoologie panel and Remix flannels. Love them BOTH!!  Thank you to both Kelle Boyd and Robert Kaufman for the fabric and the chance to make something new and different. :o)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

{WiP} Wednesday ~ 24/56

I haven't sewn much lately. My family and I just got back from an epic 12-day, 3000 mile road trip in an RV. Yes, it was as exhausting and crazy as you are thinking. It was also as good as you are thinking. :o)

And while it was (technically) possible to have a sewing machine in the RV, it wasn't really possible to sew while in motion, with 3 small children and their constant needs. And their constant motion. And their constant talking. 

Thankfully, I was able to work on my Schnitzel and Boo swap mini at my in-laws' house. I didn't do much, but I did attach the Dresden blades to the background for my partner. Then I hand-stitched them down on the drive home. 

I don't think it will be that big, though I do want it to be off-set. Here's a picture of just the Dresden plate.

Now my question to you is, how should I quilt it? What do you think?  What would you love if this was given to you?

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced