Monday, February 23, 2015

Celebrating Charlotte's Birthday

It happened a month ago now, but Charlotte turned four years old!  I can hardly believe it; it's almost too good to be true. Our family and friends alike marvel at Charlotte's life. I know that many pray for a "healing miracle" for Charlotte; truly, I marvel at the miracle that she is already.  Yes, she has a terrible cancer.  But for now, she also has breath in her lungs and joy in heart.  Darn it all if I don't love this kid to bits and pieces!

Alright, let me show you the pictures from her party.  First, I should explain that our family doesn't really "do" birthday parties.  Invite the grandparents, order a pizza and bake a little cake, and that's about all the hubbub our kids usually get. Three months ago, things got a little c-c-crazy when I bought some streamers for Elyse and Marian's joint birthday.  ;)

So you'll believe me when I say that we truly felt like a celebration was in order this year when we hosted 25 people in our home!  I suppose that six of those twenty five already occupy the home day in, day out, but still... that many people felt like a big deal to me.  We had both sets of grandparents come from Virginia, my sister, Shannon, flew in from New York City, and then local friends, too (including nurse-friends from Duke and Charlotte's oncologist with his wife).

Enough rambling. Here are some pictures.  First up, we did "Charlotte games."  Charlotte's arms have been paralyzed by her tumor, but no worries: she is quite adept with her feet.  It was important to my husband and me that the kids play games in the same manner as Charlotte.  So the first game we played was coloring with toes.

Next up: stacking blocks with feet.  We didn't get a very good picture of Charlotte doing this, but really: she is a pro!  I wish I had her abs of steel.  She doesn't even support herself with her arms (as you see Henry doing in the picture below), yet I have seen build a tower at least seven blocks high!  She amazes me.

My husband named the final game "The Rump Race."  When Charlotte is not in her wheelchair, she scoots across the floor on her bottom.  So we lined the kids up at one of the room, and they had to scoot on their bottoms all the way to the other end.  Here's Charlotte leading the pack:

After the games, we ate a little bit.  (But I will spare you pictures of us stuffing our faces.  Phew!)  Then presents.  Charlotte has such thoughtful friends and family members.  :)  My gift to her was a new quilt (imagine that), but I'm still working on taking some good pictures of it.  I'll share that quilt in a later post.  

Candles and cake!   These next two pictures are just absolutely priceless in my mind.

And Charlotte just had to keep Barney for herself...

This next picture of Marian?  I die.  If she isn't just the cutest little thing I ever did see...

I just love this picture.  These are my kids and Tracy's kids.  They are like cousins; they just love each other so much.

And here is Charlotte with "her" Dr. G. (She'll say, "When do we go to Duke and see my Dr. G?"  Isn't that so cute?  Stop being so possessive, Charlotte! He does have other patients, you know...)

One last photo: the birthday girl flying across the floor in the great little scooter her Papa bought for her.  

This was truly one of the happiest days of my life.  It was so special to me to have these particular people in our home: the ones who love Charlotte most and know all that she has been up against and has been through to get this far.  And while Charlotte has quite the spunky personality out of the house, she is even more vivacious in her own home where she is most comfortable and at ease.  So I just loved having our friends and family see that side of her, too.  I truly felt as though my heart might burst for joy all throughout the party.  It was so much fun and so very special to me.

If you're still reading this far... thanks!  :)  And a million thanks, as always, to my sweet friend, Kellie, who acted like my personal photographer and took all these great pictures.    

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Kate Spain Scrappy Quilt

Happy Saturday to you!  I don't know about you, but I just love a lazy Saturday with not much on the agenda.  And that's what I'm having today!  It's a welcome break.  

The past two weeks have been filled with planning, cleaning, and hosting Charlotte's 4th birthday party.  (That's right: she's FOUR years old!!!)  And then it took me a bit to recover.  Here's to life in my thirties.  Sigh.

Anyhow, here's a finished quilt!  Hooray!

Do you remember my Kate Spain HST Overload quilt?  Well, I had a few scraps remaining, and I just could not part with them.  So I sewed them together, then cut them up, sewed them together again, and came up with some scrappy half-square triangles.

If I remember correctly, I believe I cut the squares to 4-inches, before doing the HSTs.  So they are rather small.  Which means the scraps are even smaller!

Then I added the border, and then I didn't like it.  :(

So I sent it off to Anne, and wouldn't you know... she saved it!  She did this very tight meander only in the negative space, leaving the triangles and border with quilting.  The texture is fantastic.

I think I found the smallest scrap.  In the picture above, see the blue patch on the top?  That's made up of TWO fabrics.  The one on the bottom right is probably not even as big as half my pinky nail.  Teeny tiny!

And I love the texture on the back, too.  I did a strip of that gorgeous peacock fabric.

What I think really rescued this quilt in my mind is the binding.  Anne took it upon herself to do that for me.  Isn't she a dear?  I was going to do a scrappy binding, but boy does she ever have an eye for these things!  The gray stripe on the bias is just fantastic.  Now I simply cannot part with this quilt.  Perhaps it is time I start to keep more of my quilts, anyhow.  Thanks so much, Anne!  :)

What's so great about this "finish" is that I feel like my quilting has been in a slump lately.  When we moved early in the summer, I was able to set up a really lovely quilting space out in our sun room.  The problem with that is that the sun room is not at all insulated.  So it's about 30 degrees out there right now!  And that has put a damper on my productivity.  But I have been getting quilts that I worked on earlier in the year back from quilters, and so I still seem to have a "finish" or two each month.  

How about you?  Are you busier than ever this winter?  Or has quilting taken a backseat to other endeavors?

(Linking up Amanda Jean and with Cynthia for "Oh Scrap!")

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Harrison's Gray + White Mod Quilt

My sister, Theresa, is having her first baby soon - hooray! I am so thrilled for her and for her husband.  Of course, I had to make the baby a quilt!  My only regret is that I did not have it done in time for the baby shower last month.  :(

Anyhow, Theresa decided that she would do Baby Harrison's nursery in gray and white.  (And by the way, isn't "Harrison" just the best name?)  Theresa has a very clean and modern aesthetic, so I thought that more modern quilt would appeal to her.  I came up with this:

I just did a "stack and whack" technique that my friend, Anne, taught me after she pulled off this gorgeous quilt for her brother.  I added the borders then quilted along the vertical seams and voila.

I also put together four, little burp cloths backed in gray minky.  Theresa's husband is a Virginia State Trooper, so I thought they might like this "civil servant" style fabric.

It's my first attempt at a modern-style quilt.  Theresa loves it, and her State Trooper husband loves the burp cloths, but what do you think?  Please be honest... Modern is not really my style, but maybe I'll give it another shot in the future.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Wee Wandering {Part One}

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Sarah Jane fabrics.  My first three quilts were done with her "Children at Play" line.  Her latest line, "Wee Wander," was released one year ago and is (hands-down!) my favorite to date.  The fabric is so wonderful that I did not feel the need to go with a fancy or complicated quilt pattern (not that I ever feel that need).  

So both of these quilts are free tutorials from Amy Smart.  The tutorial for the above baby quilt can be found here.  This little quilt went to my brother's new baby, Nyasha.  She is his fourth child and is just as adorable as can be!

I backed both quilts with this print of fireflies and jars.  

This second quilt I shamelessly copied almost exactly, again, from an Amy Smart pattern.  (This pattern can be found here.)  And this quilt I made for my friend's baby, Evie.  It's just too bad that Evie has already celebrated her six month birthday.  Sigh... One of these days, I'll have a baby quilt ready before baby is born.

I just had to have the swirl quilting done on this, and I surely could not do it myself, so Logan helped me out again.  Thanks, Logan!

And with the scraps I put together a little boxy pouch, following this tutorial.  It was only my second time using a zipper, and I think it went pretty well... only... don't inspect the inner lining too closely, okay?

The little pouch turned out to be a perfect gift for Elyse when she turned seven years old earlier this month.  She was able to tuck her new camera and new binoculars right inside it.  What a pretty little lady.

It will probably be quite a few more months before I'm able to pull off a "Wee Wandering {Part Two}" post, but I do love this fabric so much that I am making a larger, lap-sized quilt for me.  The pattern is a bit more complicated (imagine that!), but I already have the cutting done.  Wish me luck!

Monday, October 27, 2014

The (less than!) One Dollar Quilt Top

You did read that correctly. This quilt top?  Yeah.  It cost me less than a dollar.  Shoot!  What a deal!

Sometime over the summer, one of the local quilt shops here decided to host a "yard sale."  So the customers brought in their unloved fabric, and it was offered up at about $3/yard.  In turn, the customers who sold their fabric received store credit for their sales.  (Isn't that just a great idea?!)

See all these pretty squares?  They were pre-cut, and in a scrap bag (with a bunch of other fabric!) marked at $2!  These squares did not take up even half the bag.  Hence, my less-than-one-dollar quilt top.

And check this out: Heather Ross matroyshkas!  Sheesh. I looked those babies up on Etsy, and don'tcha know it: someone is hawking these for $5 per 5-inch square!  Now that is surely highway robbery.  Still, as if I didn't already think I got a sweet deal, that discovery makes it even sweeter.

Now about the same time I made this sweet purchase, my friend adopted her darling, third child.  So I just sewed these little squares all together and voila : (almost) instant baby gift.

And really: isn't it just so bright and cheery?  Perfect for new babies and their cute, chubby cheeks!

(The backing?  More Heather Ross strawberries.  Love those.)

And speaking of chubby cheeks.... Here is the sweet baby, already getting in some good, old-fashioned tummy time.

Now this is why I make quilts!  What a precious baby girl!  Love her to pieces...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Mix It Up

Thank you so much for your kind comments (and even tears!) following my last post.  I am so grateful for this online community and for your cheering on my Charlotte in her journey.

Today I want to show you a quilt finish that is long overdue.  I started this quilt over a year ago.  It was the project that kept getting pushed to the side as other projects had actual due dates.  Since this one was for me and my husband "just for fun," it did not really get priority.

It goes very well with this month's Le Challenge theme, "Mix," so I'm going to use that as a starting point for sharing about this.

When the Alexander Henry fabric that I used for backing was released, I just fell in love with it.  Those skyscrapers and big flowers... they called to me.  So I started with that print.  And then I just bought this fabric and that fabric and used a bit from my stash.

I think this quilt fits so well under the "Mix" category because usually I don't mix designer fabrics so much.  My default quilting style is to use just one fabric line or a few different lines but from the same designer.  This quilt has prints from many different designers.  There is some Denyse Schmidt, Joel Dewberry, Aneela Hoey, V. & Co., and Lizzy House, among others.

This quilt measures about 72 x 72 inches.  It was too big for me to quilt, so I was happy to send it off to Logan to quilt for me.  She did the "square dance" pattern; same as on my Hashtag Glimma Quilt.  (I don't like change...)

I have it folded and sitting at the foot of our bed.  It is not big enough to have a "proper" drape, but I don't care.  I love it, and it perfectly matches the Glimma plus pillow that sits at the head of the bed.  More points for me for "mixing it up!"

I figure cute pictures of Charlotte never hurt, so here she is with Goldie again.  I didn't plan her outfit, but she looks straight out of the eighties to me...

...Ready to record her first mix tape!

P.S. If you like the pattern, I used the measurements found here.  But if you need a full tutorial on how to do this, I suggest the one from Film in the Fridge.  It will be a different size block, but lovely results all the same.

Le Challenge