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in the works

There’s a bit of this and that happening around here. March was my month to design and quilt for the Grace circle of do. Good Stitches and I’ve been enjoying receiving my bee member’s blocks for the I Spy ABCs quilt. I’ve received a bunch of letter blocks since this photo was taken, but it’ll have to do.

I Spy ABCs Quilt

I Spy ABCs Quilt

Speaking of do. Good Stitches, April instructions for the Grace circle are out and I whipped up my blue star blocks. This was my first time paper piecing and I loved it. Well, I pretty much faced an epic fail on my first attempt. To be honest, these are my 2nd and 3rd blocks. Loved making them and am looking forward to more paper piecing in my future.

April Star Blocks for Grace Circle, do. Good Stitches

April Star Blocks

Also, I’m busy trying to finish up the Ocean Friends quilt, which was an order from Japan. I like to think of it in an improv sort of way. There’s no pattern and it’s just play by play. In this photo, the jellyfish and angelfish are WAY out of proportion. Since, I’ve down sized the angelfish and gave her an eyeball. Ha! Also, turned that massive “spaceship” jellyfish into 2 smaller ones. It’s a lot better now.

Ocean Friends Quilt

Ocean Friends Quilt

Still working on the larger Crown Royal quilt, which is another order for TipToeTango quilts. The top is made from crown royal bags and Kona in medium grey. The fabric for the back of the quilt hasn’t arrived at Hawthorne Threads just yet. Once it does, I’ll be able to finish. As simple as it is, I think the quilting will add some interest and I’m planning on a great finish.

Crown Royal Bags Quilt

Crown Royal Quilt

Last, but not least, I still need to bind my Double Disappearing 9 Patch quilt for my bed. Yes, occasionally I get to keep something I made. What a concept. Ha!

Double Disappearing 9 Patch Quilt

Double Disappearing 9 Patch Quilt

That’s quite a bit more WIPs than usual. Wouldn’t you know, I have more quilt orders that I haven’t started on too. It’s a busy time in my sewing room for sure.

♥ Robin

p.s. my apologizes for iphone pics, but sometimes that’s all i remember to do.

Our Kitchen Remodel

Today, we’re getting personal! Because. I’m. Stoked!

Kitchen & Living Room Wall

Really, I just want to share how excited I am. My husband and I have been wanting to redo our kitchen since we married 3 years ago. It was part of making his home, our home. Plus, there was a wall separating the kitchen and living room, which always made me feel like I was imprisoned when I was cooking. It already takes a good shove to get me in the kitchen in the first place, so I really wanted it to be more inviting. Maybe I would cook more…just maybe. Taking down the wall took a lot of begging on my part. Hubs did not want to deal with that. However, once I came up with this design he was in. As in, let’s get out the drywall saw and hammer RIGHT NOW! I was so excited.

Hubs and I both work at  Jay’s Custom Cabinets. Not only was this remodel important to us on a personal level, but necessary for us to represent our work. I designed and he built & installed. Nothing different from our regular day-to-day working life, but it was a special bonding experience for us both. It was a reminder that we work really well together and have fun doing it {most of the time}. Now, our home is more open and socializing isn’t awkward. It’s nice having people over and not being boxed in the kitchen or the other way around. The breeze and natural lighting is better too, which was an extra bonus as we really hadn’t thought about that. An all around incredible transformation.

You can’t truly appreciate the “after” until you’ve seen the “before”. Gulp. This is actually really hard show because it makes me cringe to the bone!

The old kitchen was a U shape. Pictures are from left to right.

Before

So bad. It was just sooooo bad! Blessed to have that OUT. GONE. BYE-BYE!

Here are some more pictures of the remodel. We aren’t finished yet, but we’re close. Still need to replace the old refrigerator, title the back splashes, and install the light rail (trim to hide the under cabinet lighting). Oh yeah, the under cabinet lighting too. Ha! Then we’ll attack the small bathroom with the same finishes. As homeowners, it never ends…as you well know.

Kitchen

Kitchen. Closer View

Pantry

Pantry

Paneled Refrigerator

Paneled Refrigerator

White Upper Cabinets

White Painted Upper Cabinets

White Base Cabinets {Roll Out Shelves + Trash/Recycle Pull Out}

White Painted Base Cabinets

Chocolate Bamboo Island – Left Side {Spice Pull Out + Pot Drawer}

Chocolate Bamboo Island. Left Side

Chocolate Bamboo Island – Right Side

Chocolate Bamboo Island. Right Side

Cambria in Torquay

{This quartz color closely resembles marble}

Cambria in Torquay

Well, that’s a warp so far. Just. Love. It!

♥ Robin

About 2 weeks ago, I was asked to make a blanket. You know, something simple. No fuss at all. Well, I can do no fuss, but let’s make a quilt instead!

I went from 1 quilt order to 5 in 1 month. How did that happen? Luckily they are all due in different months. Thank goodness.

This simple guy was due first.

Instructions were simple: Incorporate an elephant theme + grey, aqua and Chevron fabric.

After looking at different options, the final selections were:

Front: Caravan in Blue by Maude Asbury

Large Elly Print

Front Block Letters: Crosshatch Sketch in Aqua

Sketch in Aqua

Back: Medium Chevron in Aqua. Flannel

Flannel Med Chevron - Back

Binding: Crosshatch Sketch in Grey

Sketch in Grey

It’s fun to have a concept and see if it wall fall into place. It’s never exactly as you imagined. At least not for me. Sometimes it doesn’t work. Sometimes it does. Then there are times it’s so good you’re just blown away. That’s always fun. This layout was so simple that the end result felt somewhat predictable. However, I was really thrilled with the block lettering. I think it was the perfect touch to add something not only personal, but practical. Another popular method of personalizing is embroidery. However, with a lot of washing I was afraid it would fray. This way, there won’t be any issues.

Block Lettering

The name might be a little harder to read now that it’s quilted. Darn! Cute through, right? Speaking of quilting, I decided to sew along the chevron print in the back. Wow! What a chore. Start. Stop. Start. Stop. Start. Stop. You get the idea. When I close my eyes, I still see chevron. Okay, not really!

Chevron Quilting

The binding might be my favorite part. I wanted to incorporate some grey and also tie into the fabric on the block lettering, which was the Crosshatch Sketch in Aqua {if you forgot}. Crosshatch Sketch in Grey was the perfect choice. I really love to use Crosshatch prints for binding. They never disappoint.

BabyAnthony.Binding

This quilt certainly whipped up in a jiffy. Yay for that!

Finished Elly Quilt

BabyAnthony.Quilt

Now it’s off to get some snugglin. Oh but wait, baby Anthony is still cookin away in his mama’s tummy. Well, I think that means I’m way early! Oh yes, I like the sound of that.

BabyAnthony.ReadytoGo

Now, onto other WIPs and there’s a bunch. Here I go.

♥ Robin

WipWednesday

Ocean Blocks

Lately, I’ve been resisting taking any quilt orders. It’s not that I’m burnt out, but we’ve been focusing on our kitchen remodel and other household improvements. Plus, with only weekends to sit down and sew, it’s challenging with 4 busy children. Not to mention, I hate getting bad looks from hubby for ignoring life outside of my sewing room. Dang! I couldn’t honestly ignore them all for a very long time if they would just let me. Did I just say that? {Gasp!} Oh yes, I totally did!

Then, I received an emailed from a past client who I adore. She lives in Japan and has ordered two quilts in the past, one for each of her boys. Now, she’s wanting another for her sister -n – law who is expecting after 13 years of trial and error. Who can say “no” to that? Not me, obviously.

She only gave me a few tips regarding the design. It sounded simple enough, so I said “Yes!” After all, a baby quilt in blue and green with fish can’t be that hard, right? I looked online for something simple and modern. I really like the Kissing Fish Baby Quilt pattern by Freshly Pieced and had thought to use it once upon a time for another project. That never happened, but now was my chance. Although, I never use a pattern exactly as intended so I came up with a different fish block. This guy has a 3D fin. Oh yeah, good idea!

Fish Block

My idea was to make a bunch more and have two or three schools of fish.

School of FIsh

And that was it. She’ll be into that for sure, right? Of course, especially with the 3D fin action. It’s genius! Plus, that’s really all I have time to do.

Wrong! Turns out, the fish needed some friends, which is totally understandable. I mean, who doesn’t?

Now, her request sounds like this, “Hawaiian Sea Zoo.” Huh? You know the fish + a sea turtle, star fish, and shells. Ohhhh really? How did that just happen? I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and then remembered Ara Jane’s Bit & Blocks pattern. That made me feel extremely hopeful and filled with ideas. Funny how that happens. I turned the bits and blocks into seaweed, which will effectively use up a bunch of space. Score!

Bits and Blocks Seaweed

Then, it was sea turtle time.  I’ll be honest, I ran straight to google and flickr to find something…anything to help me. NADA! Nothing at all that wasn’t appliqued or too realistic. I was pretty much starting from ground zero. Although, I did find this cute land turtle {although, technically it’s called a sea turtle} for a bit of inspiration. He’s paper pieced and I don’t do paper piecing. Scary! {note to self – just do it already} I just needed to figure out how to make him a sea turtle with flippers and in blocks. Easy!

Inspiration from Shape Moth

turtle block

Pffft, 8 hours later {banging my head against the wall}, but he’s pretty dang cute!

Sea Turtle Block

Yeah, I know. Don’t compare them. Joanna’s turtle is WAY cuter, but mine can swim…so there!

And then, last night I found an easy enough crab block online. He whipped up in a jiffy.

Crab Block

Whelp, that’s it so far. I plan on some other creatures. What? Not exactly sure yet. I do know i’ll be using my own version of monkey wrench blocks to make waves across the top. That should be fun {Wink}.

EDITED IN AFTER POSTING:

Here’s the altered monkey wrench blocks. Too good, if I must say so myself. Now we have waves!

Wave Block

Truth be told, I’m happy for the push. The challenge keeps me interested and I know the expecting mama will love it that much more.

♥ Robin

♥ This post is intended for the members of the Grace Circle of do. Good Stitches. Charity Bee. If you would like to participate in future projects, please visit this link for more information. ♥

Maybe we should call this a DIY tutorial? Warning! Warning! I’m not going to be holding your hand on this one. Between the 2 1/2″ X 2 1/2″ squares, HSTs and 1 fussy cut square, you won’t need much help. Promise! It’s really simple. Hopefully not too simple. Here’s the plan…

I Spy Pixilated ABCs Quilt Layout

{I’ve colored in the completed blocks}

I Spy Pixilated ABCs Quilt Layout

The pattern for each letter block is pretty straight forward. There’s a few tricky ones, but I stitched those up and now they’re out of the way. The “S” might need a little more direction, but I can email you directly if that’s the letter you pick. There are now 18 letters left…just enough for 2 each. Perfect!

Here’s a closer look. Each grid square = 2 1/2″ X 2 1/2″ square.

Block Patterns

Before plugging in your iron, please let me know what 2 letters you choose. To select your letters, please note your choices in our flickr group discussion for March’s blocks. Not here! That way they’re all in one place  and you’ll know what letters are left from looking at your circle member’s selections. I’ll update the list when I can as well.

Here’s some food for thought before you make your letter picks.

First, you’ll be matching the letter of your choice to the solids you have in your stock pile or vise versa. Color choice for each letter is completely up to the stitcher. They just need to go with the letter…even if it’s a stretch. For instance, T = Turquoise and/or Turquoise = T (depending on how you’re going about this process). Also, Q = Quail Gray…ha! That’s what I mean about a streeeeetch! It’s okay to be pretty liberal if necessary. The letters “D”, “G” (completed), “P”, “R” and “Y” are outlined in a box because they are selected to be print fabrics. Let’s say a stitcher decided to use yellow for “Y”. The print would need to be ALL that color {tone on tone}. Yes, 100% in yellows. Not yellow + a little orange…don’t even ask me if it’s okay. It’s not! *Wink* Please refer to the stitched letter “G” for reference, below. If you need help with a tricky letter, visit this link for a list of color names. This was extremely helpful when I was puzzled with “Q” & “Z”.

Second, each letter will have an “eye spy” element. Using the same concept as your letter to color match, you’ll match your letter to your fussy cut square. For instance, T = Turtle or Toy or Tiger, etc. You’ll need to find something in your stash that fits nicely in a 2 1/2″ X 2 1/2″ square. Also, this is totally my thing, but I noticed they look better if the background color goes nicely with the color of your letter. It just helps to define the letter a bit better. My “G” (Green + Giraffe) does not and it kinda bugs me that it blends in with the background rather than the letter. Ack, my “Z” too…ugh! Okay, enough about my OCD issues…your squares are up to you. I have noted a ♥ where you’ll place your fussy cut square.

Any questions so far? It’s not too complicated, right?

Good. Let’s talk construction. Again, it’s a cinch! Each block consists of 15 – 2 1/2″ X 2 1/2″ blocks. Many blocks don’t have HSTs, but some do. Whatever method you choose to use for your HSTs is fine. This may not be the best use of fabric, but I simply used 1 – 2 1/2″ X 2 1/2″ background fabric with 1 – 2 1/2″ X 2 1/2″ color fabric, right sides together, stitched corner to corner, trimmed 1/4″ away from the seam, and ironed open the seam. That’s because I wasn’t in the mood to trim down HSTs, but you do what works best for you.

*Background Fabric – Kona in Steel. If you need some, let me know. I’m loaded!*

Looking at the quilt layout may be all you need to do, but if you’d like to enlarge your block for a more detailed pattern, go for it! Fyi, this is the DIY part. Hehe.

Pattern

Remember to leave at least 1/4″ for seam allowances when cutting out your fussy cut square at 2 1/2″ X 2 1/2″.

Fussy Cut Square

Lay out your blocks to match the pattern.

Layout Pattern

Stitch each row with 1/4″ seams. Here’s what that looks like. If you could do me a HUGE favor and double check your 1/4″ seam, that would be great. If you haven’t noticed, I’ll be matching up A LOT of seams and this will definitely aid to maintaining my sanity. I hope!

1/4" Seam

Next, iron your seams open or in different directions. Whichever you’re best at is fine with me. It’ll work out!

Ironed Seams

PIN PIN PIN your rows together before stitching with 1/4″ seams. Please & thank you!

Pin

Iron once again. No trimming necessary. Finished size 6 1/2″ X 10 1/2″.

Letter N

That’s it! Now, go ahead and let me know what blocks you want. Also, don’t forget to let me know in advance if you need me to mail you Kona in Steel. I also have TONS of fussy cut possibilities. If you get stuck, let me know. It’s not worth stressing over because I really have enough to go around and I’m happy to ship anything out. I posted directions early just for this purpose, so please take advantage of it if you need.

Finished Letters:

B – Blue + Birds

B

G – Green + Giraffe {Printed Fabric}

G

M – Mustard + Mushrooms

M

N – Navajo White + Nuts

N

Q – Quail Gray + Quail

{Ha, streeeeeetching}

Q

V – Violet + Vegetable

V

W – White + Whale

W

Z – Zucchini + Zebra

Z

Hope you all have fun with this! I’m looking forward to seeing your blocks!

Xxo,
Robin

Tree Skirt Crackers

I’ve been on a hunt for a tree skirt pattern for quite some time. This year, we opted for a Hawaiian Christmas tree, which is very sparse and when we put it up, it literally screamed, “I NEED A SKIRT NOW!” And this was true. Very true. The tree stand was wide open and desperately needed to be hidden. Of course, I hadn’t found a pattern yet. So I hit pinterest and linked up to Renee’s free pattern for Tree Skirt Crackers. I was smitten. Not only did it seem simple, it was so super cute. I still have young children in my home and this pattern allows for some whimsy. Plus, my tree is totally quirky. They were a perfect match.

Crackers Prep

Crackers Prep

Crackers {Remind me of Jolly Ranchers}

Crackers

Tree Skirt Crackers. Top

Tree Skirt Crackers. Top

Tree Skirt Crackers. Tag + Jean Back {I’m shameless}

Tree Skirt Crackers. Tag + Jean Back

Tree Skirt Crackers. Button Closures {Variation from Renee’s version}

Tree Skirt Crackers. Button Closures

Tree Skirt Crackers. Complete

Tree Skirt Crackers

+ Tree

Tree Skirt Crackers + Tree

Now, she’s ready for the holidays.

Thanks to Renee for sharing her pattern at Nellie’s Niceties. The only issue I had was that I didn’t need 12 cracker triangles. 11 was perfect for the top to lay flat. Of course, that could just be me. Otherwise, this pattern is pure joy. And hey, now I have an extra cracker to find something fun to do with. Never a bad thing…

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
♥ Robin

Simple follow up to the tutorial below.

My bee members at do. Good Stitches. Grace were such troopers and pumped out some killer blocks. Although I had different plans for the sashing, it made sense to bring it all together with one color and let the various shades of sashing in the blocks be the main focus. You all picked such great neutral tones. I was so thrilled. Anyway, finished quilting & binding last night. It’s one of those quilts you can’t stop looking at. Yup, she’s a beauty!

Quilt Top {60″ X 74″}

IMG_0405

Quilt Back {Style Mod. Floral in Natural. Style Par Mo}

IMG_0400

Straight Line Quilting

IMG_0431

Binding {Sketch in White & Black, Crosshatch. Timeless Treasures Fabric}

IMG_0425

Kudos to my bee members. You guys really impressed me with your blocks & everyone was on time.

Thank you,

Robin ♥

WipWednesday

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