Giant Fall Star

Two posts in two days, can you believe it??  Amy’s Creative Side’s is allowing each person 2 entries into the Bloggers Quilt Festival and I couldn’t let my second entry go to waste.  This ginormous star quilt was made using Jeni Baker’s tutorial for her Scrappy Star Quilt.  Jeni’s blog, In Color Order, is another of my faves.



Most of my photos of this quilt are on my bed.  That was the only way that I could get a good photo of the entire star.  This is however a couch throw and I am entering it into the Throw Quilt Category.  It is a big throw, measuring 60 x 72.



The fabrics used were mostly Denyse Schmidt with a bunch of my favorite Architextures texty ledger print used as the background.



Simon was very involved in this quilt.  He made absolute certain that I used enough safety pins when I basted.







Thanks for reading,

Mara (and Simon)


Low Volume Happiness

I have been wanting to post about this quilt since I started blogging (you know, weeks and weeks ago, way back then).  But, I kept putting it off in the hopes that I could get some good quality, outdoor photos.  It really shouldn’t be so difficult.  I only need a couple things to make it happen, a sunny day and 2 quilt holders.  I think it’s that second quilt holder that has made things difficult.  My husband is always around and he can usually manage any quilt that I make, but his arms won’t stretch quite this far.  So I have decided to go ahead and post the photos that I have. This is the biggest quilt that I’ve made AND quilted (on my home machine), coming in at 85 x 90.  In all honestly, it was too big for me to quilt on my home machine and I had a lot of struggles getting through it.  I’m still very new to FMQ’ing and since I was dealing with a large quilt, I decided to keep it simple with a meandering stipple.


I made this quilt to go on my new bed in my newly decorated bedroom.   This was my first time buying a real set of real furniture for the bedroom, so I felt my beautiful new bed needed a beautiful new quilt.  I used the Sunday Morning pattern by Cheryl Arkison from the Book Sunday Morning Quilts.  She co-authored the book with Amanda Jean from Crazy Mom Quilts, which was the very first quilting blog that I started following.  Both Cheryl and Amanda Jean have wonderful blogs that I have learned so much from.


I had such a great time using up all my low volume scraps for this one.  My scraps got me about 3/4 of the way through the piecing and then I had to start “making” new scraps from my stash.  I think it’s safe to say that I used all of my very favorite fabrics in there.  My top 2 faves are the Heather Ross super cute goldfish and the siamese cat fabric (I believe that is Michael Miller).


Queen Scully, my oldest and dearest cat refused to leave the quilt in order for me to get a “cat free” photo of the quilt.  Once I was able to get her off……….


Nora decided she had a few things to say.  Kinda looks like she was saying them loudly too.



I had so much fun working with the low volume prints that I decided to make a couple pillow shams and a couple throw pillow.  I really am very fond of the low volume loveliness.  It’s very calming and I can always use more calming influences in my life.


Amy of Amy’s Creative Side hosts a Blogger’s Quilt Festival twice a year to coincide with Market.  Twice now I’ve watched without participating because I didn’t have a blog.  So finally I get to join in the fun :-).  There is so much creative happiness going on over there, please hop on over and spend the next 3 hours ooohing and aaaaahing and all the pretties.  I believe tomorrow is the last day to enter and then the voting starts.  I’m entering my Low Volume Happiness in the Bed Quilt Category.

Thanks for reading,


Pillows and Pencil Rolls

The Modern Quilt Guild is having their 3rd annual fabric challenge and this year it is sponsored by Riley Blake and my local modern quilt guild is participating.  Yay!  That means that I have an excuse to play with pretty fabrics, not that I really need one.  Riley Blake was kind enough to provide us with 6 fat eighths from their Basics Collection.  We are allowed to add any other Riley Blake print or any solid to make a quilt to be entered in the challenge.  Fortunately, I already had several other Riley Blake prints in my stash (mostly from Geekly Chic).  I still felt that I needed a bigger variety of color so I ordered a fat quarter bundle of Riley Blake Cotton Dots.  While I waited for that to arrive I went to work looking for a pattern to use.  I was pretty sure that I wanted to do something with half square triangles.  That may have something to do with the fact that I’m anxious to use my new Bloc Loc ruler.  I just wasn’t finding any patterns that got me super excited so, for the first time ever, I dug out the kid’s old colored pencils and started sketching.  I use the word “sketch” very loosely.  What I mean by sketch is taking colored pencils and graph paper and coloring in squares until patterns emerge and things started looking pretty.  That’s the extent of my artistic ability when it comes to “sketching”.  I’m very good at coloring in the lines.   I came up with 2 possibilities for my quilt and while I’m sure they’ve been done before, I still had a blast coming up with them this way.   My only complaint was that it was a real pain keeping my pencils organized while I colored sketched.  So I decided a pencil roll was necessary, because I really did need another project to add to do {smirk}.


There are a ton of tutorials online for crayon and pencil roll-ups.  In the end I just sorta winged it.  I love that I can easily see all of my pencils at a glance and that they are super easy to put away when I finish.


I had 32 pencils, which was A LOT compared to most of the pencil rolls that I saw.  If I had to do it again I would make 2 different roll-ups and I would secure them with a button and elastic instead of the ribbons.  The ribbons look nice, but they are time consuming to close.



I used scraps for the colors and linen for the pocket and the back.  It was a fun little project to keep me busy while I waited for my Riley Blake dots to arrive.  Every now and then I need that instant gratification that quick, small projects give me.

When I finished the pencil roll-up and my fabric still hadn’t arrived for the challenge I decided to finish up another small project that was almost finished.  Awhile back I decided that I wanted to give hand embroidery a try.  I was looking for something that I could do in bed while I watch tv and get ready to go to sleep.  Embroidery seemed like the obvious choice.  So I hopped on Etsy and found a beginners embroidery kit (complete with floss, pattern, stitch guide and fabric) that wasn’t too childish.  It was the perfect little project to start with and I highly recommend it if you are interested in giving embroidery a try.  The only problem was that I didn’t really know what to do with the finished project.  It was cute, but wasn’t really my “style” for wall art.  I had recently seen a quilt that had embroidered blocks mixed in with the regular quilting fabric and thought that was really beautiful the way the two art forms came together.  So I decided to give it a try….sort of.  Instead of working my finished project into a quilt I made it the center of a pillow.


It was a happy coincidence that I happened to have fabric that worked perfectly with it.  Now I have a beautiful new bird pillow for my still “In Progress” bedroom.  I discovered that I really enjoy embroidery and have made one other project so far…..


I made this cute little clutch for my swap partner in the Secret Tote Swap – Round 2 Nature.   My partner just received her tote this week so I can share now that it was Lia, the swap organizer herself!  I had such a good time making the Super Tote for her that I mentioned a couple posts ago.  I had picked up on her fondness for sheep while I was stalking her and I couldn’t find a way to work that into the tote, this clutch seemed like a fun extra and gave me another bedtime project to sew on.  While I loved the embroidery and the sewing of the fabric for the clutch was super easy, I did not care for the gluing of the fabric into the frame.  I’m sure if made a bunch of them I would get really good at it, but this was my first time and it was definitely challenging.  Lia was thrilled with it though and that’s what really matters :-).

My RB Dots finally arrived and I made quick work of cutting and sewing my HST’s.  Now comes my least favorite, but most important step….the dreaded trimming.  Bloc -loc to the rescue!  This is my first time using my bloc-loc ruler on a a big project and WOW, what a difference!  I wouldn’t go as far to say that I love trimming now, but I’m no longer grumbling about it and I can already tell that the process is going much quicker (good thing because I still have about 200 more to trim).  These are pricey little rulers, but in my opinion worth every penny and there are a couple others on my wish list already.




Thanks for stopping by,


It’s that time

It’s Christmas time in the land of quilting and crafting.  It’s that time of year when we start that new Holiday quilt or start scrambling to make all those gifts for our loved ones.  If you’re like me, you probably have a long list of wips or soon to be wips that you hope to have completed by Christmas.  So, naturally I decided to add one more to the list.

Christa of Christa Quilts! announced back in September that she was planning to have a quilt along for her pattern Modern Trees.  I knew I wanted to join in and started shopping for solids right away.  Normally I would make due with whatever holiday fabric that I had (and I have plenty), but what appealed to me about this quilt along was her “suggested” colors and the fact that it was all solids.  I have been wanting to try an ALL solids quilt for awhile now and this pattern is perfect for that.  I already had plenty of Kona Snow on hand, so it was just a matter of stocking up on some holiday colors.  I ran across some great sales and managed to put this pile together.


That brown tree looking fabric at the top is from Lush Uptown and is called Wood Grain In Bark.  I adore that whole line and thought the bark fabric would look great as the tree stumps.   This was my first time participating in one of Christa’s Quilt Alongs and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.  She has a bunch of Quilt Alongs available on her blog and her instructions are very clear and easy to understand.   She encourages everyone to go go at their own pace, and while normally I fall behind pretty quickly (due to juggling too many wips) I’ve been anxiously awaiting each phase on this one.


It’s far from perfect.  I had a really hard time keeping my bottom triangle points on the trees.  But, I’m thrilled with it.  I love the bright, solid colors!  I added an extra row of trees to my quilt, as well as an extra white border, in order to increase the size of the quilt.  This will be my Christmas couch throw so it needs to be big enough to keep a lap warm.  My top is all ready to go and next week Christa will be posting the backing and basting segment of the Quilt Along.  I had a few extra trees, including this cute scrappy attempt.


So I decided to make a couple small table runners.

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I am still pretty new to free motion quilting and it usually takes a lot of thinking and planning for me to decide on a quilting pattern.  This is the first quilt top that as soon as I finished I knew immediately how I wanted to quilt it.  That was a really great feeling and one that I hope to have more frequently.  I have a commissioned quilt that is ready for quilting and needs to be done by the end of November.  I’ve been staring at that one for months now waiting for some good quilting ideas to pop into my head.  I recently signed up for Free Motion Fillers with Leah Day on Craftsy and I started watching last night.  I’m hoping I can find some good inspiration there.    What about you?  Do you ever find yourself struggling to find the perfect quilting pattern? I’m wondering if it’s something that I’ll eventually “outgrow” as I gain quilting confidence or if I’m destined to always second guess myself.

Secret Tote Swap – Received

I mentioned in my last post that I had finished my partner’s Super Tote for the Secret Tote Swap and was getting ready to pop it in the mail.  The day that I mailed my partner’s tote off I came home to find a lovely package waiting for me.   Talk about perfect timing!   I get excited when I pull in to the driveway and see a package on the porch and even more so when it’s clearly “squishy mail”.  And since I have been a good girl lately, and not placed any online orders for fabric, I was pretty sure it was going to be my tote. I was over the top thrilled though when I opened the package to discover this……


Super Tote – Front


Super Tote – Back

My very own Super Tote.  I have made 4 of these now, but always for someone else.  I really love this pattern.  It makes a nice sturdy tote that is easy to customize.  In this case, my very talented partner, Jera MacKenzie, quilted both the front and back panel.  The colors that she chose for me are perfect and I adore the appliqued kitty on the front.


Super Tote – Interior

She followed the pattern and included lots of pockets and was thoughtful enough to add a zippered pocket (which I really love!).  It’s difficult to see in this photo, but she also sewed a D-Ring into the lining and included a cute key fob hanging from it.  I really like that added feature and I always forget to add it to the totes that I make and get really bummed when I realize it.


Super Tote – Recessed Zipper

Last, but certainly not least, she included the recessed zipper, which I really love.  Jera did an amazing job putting this tote together and I am so thankful to finally have my very own Super Tote.  Lia has done such a great job hosting this swap.  From what I’ve been reading there is talk of a Scrap Swap and possibly a Round 3 for the Tote Swap (after the holidays).  I would encourage anyone interested in joining in to follow Lia’s blog.


Finding Balance

I’ve been so busy sewing the last couple weeks that I forgot to blog about it.  That is definitely going to be an adjustment for me, but I should be fine once I settle in to a routine.  I’ve spent the last couple weeks working on my partner’s tote for the Secret Tote Bag Swap – Round 2.   I decided to go with the Super Tote pattern by Noodlehead.  I love that pattern.  I used it for my partner in Round 1 too, so I already had the pattern pieces cut out (and that’s half the work).  The fact that my partner expressed an interest in that bag was just a happy bonus.  This should be going out in the mail Friday, right on schedule.  This swap coincided with my daughter’s 19th birthday and it seemed like a pretty perfect birthday present for her as well.  So I made 2, almost identical, Super Totes.  I just barely finished them in time for my daughter’s birthday and I was in such a hurry I neglected to get any photos of her tote.    My daughter, Emily, has it’s twin and will send me photos once she gets a chance.  The only real difference is that I used Essex Linen in Putty for her gussets and handles.  I can’t say enough wonderful things about Noodlehead’s patterns.  I’ve purchased 3 now and haven’t been at all disappointed.  Their instructions are very easy to follow and they have just the right amount of helpful photos.  One of these days I’m gonna have to make myself a Super Tote.  Or better yet…. maybe I’ll get one in the swap this round.


Secret Tote Bag Swap – Round 2 (Front)


Secret Tote Bag Swap – Round 2 (Back)

My other finishes were purely selfish.  About a month ago I started redecorating our master bedroom.  It was originally a sorta light brown, beige-y kinda color and made the room rather dark and depressing.  I chose a light grey for the new wall color with the intention of lightening things up a bit.  I was going for a softer, beach-y cottage type feel.  I love the color of the walls now.  It was supposed to be light grey, but depending on the time of day it looks a little blue.  Blue or grey, doesn’t matter because I love it.  We were in desperate need of a new mattress and well, one thing led to another and somehow I ended up with a whole new bedroom set.  Those salespeople are sneaky like that.  We actually got a great deal and I couldn’t be happier with the furniture.   Once I get the bedroom completely finished I’ll take you all on a virtual tour of the whole thing.  In the mean time, I’ll show you the 2 projects that I was able to accomplish the last couple weeks.

I turned this IMG_1603 into this IMG_1604IMG_1624

You can find the tutorial here.  Crazy Mom Quilts was one of the first quilting blogs that I found when I started quilting and she is still one of my all time favorites.  I love everything that she does and I especially like that she uses her scraps.  This project on canvas is the same pattern as one of her quilt patterns, Ticker Tape.  I haven’t had a chance to make the quilted version yet, but I’m looking forward to it.  I used 11 x 17 canvases for mine, but you could really use any size canvas.  I look forward to making more of these.  It’s a great way to use tiny scraps that you would otherwise throw away.  Next time I will space my fabric out a little more so that more of the white canvas is exposed.  And I’d like to make one that is all low volume scraps.  That would probably compliment my new and improved bedroom more too.

IMG_1612While shopping for the canvas I ran across this teeny tiny easel with a teeny tiny canvas on it and I HAD TO buy it.  I had no idea what I was going to do with it at the time, but I knew I needed it.  Hmmmm, guess that explains the overflowing fabric cabinets too. I have a very small amount of this Heather Ross fabric that I keep in an airtight container on a golden pillar in the middle of the room with spotlights trained on it and motion sensors surrounding it.   OK, well maybe it’s just in a ziplock bag in the top drawer of my sewing cabinet, but it’s precious to me.   So I decided it should be showcased as the work of art that I feel that it is.   It sits in my bedroom on a shelf and makes me smile every time that I walk past it.

Last, but not least, I finally got around to making curtains for the bedroom.  I made a little deal with myself that everything in my new, light and airy, beach-y bedroom that could be handmade, would be handmade.  About halfway through the curtain making process I was wondering if that was really such a great idea.  It’s not that they are difficult, in fact that may have been part of the problem.  I was a little bored making them.  Definitely nowhere near as fun as making a quilt.  But, in the end it was worth it.  I found the fabric on the sale table at my LQS for $4/yd and I bought 10 yards.  We installed some heavy wood blinds on the windows so I decided not to bother lining the curtains.  So for $40 and a couple hours I ended up with 2 sets of curtains.  It would have cost twice that to get comparable curtains from Target so I’m very pleased.  What do you think?


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I goofed and forgot to write down the fabric info before I threw away the selvage.