Once upon a time I fell in love with an adorable fabric, and I made the cutest baby quilt top I could imagine. Thanks to recent snow days, it is now finished!



And it’s about time, too, because come August…



… Our family of two will become three!

Looking forward to lots of baby and pregnancy sewing to come! Oh, and the bun in the oven, needless to say, is a dream come true. We can’t wait to meet our tiny human soon!

This past week had me iced- and snowed-in for several days. The few days I did get to work were a delight as our clientele (i.e. the city’s poorest 3- to 5-year-olds) could not be bussed in. Thus, I had days on my sewing machine at home and days with portable projects! Oh, such glee and delight! I have several completions to report!

I have been sewing through my quilt resolutions, but on occasion, some spontaneity is needed. With the wintery weather, I felt blue for my second home in Newcastle, England. Putting my heart into action, I decided to make something for my English mama, a thank-you for precious breakfasts of dippy eggs and buttered toast soldiers and proper tea.









The block “Love in a Mist” seemed perfectly reminiscent of moist, windy English weather. That bunting print was too apt to chop up, so I modified the block slightly to compensate. I made two small blocks for a tea cosy and a 12-inch block for the table topper. That table topper got bigger and longer spontaneously (there’s that word again!) but I couldn’t help using as much bunting as I could, and I couldn’t get enough of that charcoal grey dot!

Both gifts are tucked away with a handwritten note, ready for a stop at the post office. There is something so indescribable about making something for someone you love, but I guess that is the point of creating:  the creation speaks for you. These pieces are memories of kindness, appreciation for tenderness, a reflection of my DNA which now spans two continents in a way I could never have anticipated. It is a small thing, a small gift, but it is one more point of connection, and my heart feels so much in the giving.

Snow days are ideal for plumbing the depths of the heart and drawing it out into something beautiful, so many  more emotional makes to come!

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This was a Christmas present for dear friends. Only last week did I get proper photos of the front and back. I used five-inch charms for the center squares, choosing colors and prints to reflect each member of the four-person-one-cat family. Though this block has many names, I went with the more modern “economy block”, entitling the quilt, “God’s Economy” to honor the extravagance of the Father who motivated its making. It finishes at 81×72 inches, a suitable size for family snuggles. Best of all, it is kitty-approved!

That really is all of my holiday makes. Now to get onto my list for 2015!

How do I begin the attempt at writing about this particular quilt?

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It carries for me a sense of closure, and yet into its making I poured so many complexities of my heart, feelings and wrenchings and delights and great sorrows, that that closure is superficial at worst, temporary at best. Though life has layered many profound experiences since its making, still a dull ache remains, like the ten drops of wine removed from a Seder glass in recognition that some sadness, while not significantly affecting the feast, is still there. Yet we do not cease to celebrate because of it.

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I miss a land that was mine for a moment, a family made quickly, friends who forever changed me. Northern England did a number on me.

And so I made this quilt for the Mama of the house in which I lived and served. She requested one, and I planned the design, bearing in mind her tastes. At the last minute, I felt it needed to be hand-tied, reflecting the choice to give the best of me, piece by piece, knot by knot.

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Originally I entrusted it to a certain friend, a fellow American who came home just long enough to get her visa in order. But circumstances changed, and thus, though I completed the quilt in March of last year, it took another friend’s visit – this one with plane tickets already in hand – to carry it safely home to its intended recipient.

A few days ago, my inbox surprised me with a short video from Sunderland: Mama of the house receiving her quilt, sending her love, brought to tears by the gift.

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Even now, I do not pretend to comprehend all the impact of those months in England. But I have a sense of settling, deep within, and a knowing in my bones that I have been through fire and seas and come out again, having given the best from the depths of me, and coming out richer for it.

In years past I’ve happily participated in monthly groups encouraging finishing sewing tasks or works-in-progress. This year, I cannot break down my list so easily, so I’ve decided to join up with others on a quarterly basis.

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

I made a preliminary outline of what I think I can accomplish. Based on this, I can bang out all my works-in-progress (or perpetually abandoned) within the year.

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The above group stipulates that a project must be complete in its entirety in order to qualify as a finish, which means my list for this quarter is as follows:

Tula Pink City Sampler
Black and White Sampler play mat
Blue Rings bee block quilt
Love Stream baby quilt

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My first priorities are my City Sampler and Blue Rings, which require me to finish piecing the tops and backs so I can have them long-arm quilted, then I’ll bind them myself. The other two, at smaller sizes, I think I can handle on my own machine. I’d hoped to already be knocking through this list by now, but I’ve had some unexpected drains on time and energy this month in particular, so making it a quarterly goal is more manageable, I hope!

I’ve never before mapped out my quilt goals so specifically. I am very excited about this new format and all this year will bring! And I must say, pulling out pieces I’ve not touched for awhile was a delight and a joy. I love when I love what I make, and I can’t wait to bring these favorites to completion!

Happy creating and hoping equal joy for you!

Whew! Happy New Year! I definitely have some sewing resolutions, but I don’t feel right addressing them until I’ve blogged the rest of Christmas.

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At the eleventh hour, I finished a gift for my mother. I made the table runner with solid white 10-inch Dresden plates. I wanted to add my modern touch to a traditional design, so the background is slightly wonky striped. I love how it turned out and might be making a similar piece for myself next Christmas!

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These potholders went to special recipients: my brother, and my matron of honor. I love the simple masculinity of the one. For the other, I sorted the selvedges I have hoarded for years, carefully selecting words that carried significance and choosing the most prolifically colorful pieces.

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Said friend also adds a pair of birds to her tree every year, so I couldn’t resist crocheting her a few after I came across this pattern. I think they’re adorable, only I’m not sure the species. Wrens, perhaps?

There is still one more Christmas present I’ve not reported, but it deserves a post all its own. Until then, hope your 2015 is exponentially better than 2014 (I know mine is!)

Christmas has come and gone. Our tree is down, and most of our decorations are in the woodpile. I am finally able to report on the gifts I made for friends and family this year! I decided on potholders. Since I now have in-laws to make for, I thought they would be an easy make, plus they would be fun to personalize and budget-friendly to ship.

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Can you tell I had fun trying to personalize each pair to the recipient’s style? Everyone really seemed to appreciate them. One of my brother-in-laws especially said he was needing some! The other brother-in-law hadn’t even received his on Christmas because he forgot to check the mail. Oops.

Having attempted potholders in the past, I decided to modify the design this time around. I packed a layer of Insul-Brite between two layers of batting, plus the top and bottom fabrics. My machine was chomping to sew through all those layers! But I think the extra protection is worth it. Plus they can double as trivets this way! Each finishes at about 8 inches square with a 2-3 inch loop for hanging, which is just right average-sized hands, I think!

There’s actually two more sets I’ve not completed, but those are for me. (My old ones are wearing out!) And the sets I made for my oldest friend (longest length of relationship, that is) and my brother will be pictured in another post. But I wanted to go ahead and document these while I have the energy!

Hope y’all had a merry Christmas and joyful holidays!

My husband and I talked about choosing a different theme each Christmas of our marriage. Knowing something of the traditional wedding anniversary themes (silver at 25, gold at 50, etc.), I thought it would be sweet to start there. With his affinity for reading, it was an easy sell. We visited our favorite used bookstore and picked up some older, free books. After a little Pinterest scrolling, we ripped out pages and set to work. I’m quite happy with the results!

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My priorities, they have been rearranging! I am purposefully minimizing time spent blogging because I’d rather be living this new married life. But I do want to report a few bits of sewing (I have more going, but that’s for Christmas).

This weekend, I’d had enough of sending my husband to work with his lunch in a plastic grocery bag. I scanned the interwebs and decided to modify this Purl Bee pattern.

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Husband was happily surprised and delighted. He loves what I make in general and encourages me to sew as much as I can, recognizing how important it is for me to create.

I also worked on something just for me this weekend:

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I had two charm packs of “Quilt Blocks”, the line of fabric Ellen Luckett Baker designed for Moda. I added a little black corner to each and pieced them together, then put them away for a long time. I held onto them through my pre-international-moving fabric purge, and as I was looking for my sewing mojo after the wedding, I pulled them back out. Today I finished the hand stitching on the binding. This is my soaking quilt, something to drape over me when I lie down to spend time with God, usually right after work, letting the day slide off me into a restful peace.

There are a lot of challenges to this marriage – emotional, physical, financial, spiritual – but the best constant is Father God. He who created me made me to be creative like Him, so when I sew (or paint or cook or knit or craft), I am most like Him. If I’m not very frequently blogging, that’s where I am – with my new husband and with my Forever-Loving Father. Joy and peace to you until I write again!

My last female housemate before marriage had a birthday this summer, and I neglected to blog her gift. I also decided to make a “thank you for being an awesome roomie” gift. It was meant to be finished as my September Lovely Year of Finishes goal, but I was late. So I’ll share both now!

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My friend is a fantastic hostess and often bakes elaborate treats (honey mead spice cake was her latest – yum), but she had no apron! She also tended a raised bed this summer, and I thought her apron could be useful for gathering her harvest. So I made it a cheery rose print and backed it in sturdy denim. I named it “Happy Gathering”, and she loved it so much!

This she requested:

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She asked for a Bible cover and chose the prints. A grey exterior with a unicorn inside was also a must. It took me a bit of time to get around to, but the result is a snug fit to protect her precious book. I’m so thankful for my sweet friend! Making one-of-a-kind, personally-designed gifts is one of my life’s great pleasures! Beauty, function, and relationship – it can’t get much better than that!

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