Cowgirl baby quilt

September 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

Our little cowgirl made her entry into the world this week, and I have been fortunate to spend two afternoons with her!  She is lovely like all newborns are–all wrinkles and slow movements and stretches and sweetness.  When I visited today, I had a chance to sneak into her room to snap a couple of quick photos of the quilt I told you about over here.  As I mentioned, in the rush to get this one churned out, I managed to neglect my camera.  This one was truly finished up in the 11th hour, and only with the help of the fantastic Aunt Peggy!

For this one, I used the Building Blocks pattern from Moda Bake Shop’s online tutorial to create my squares.  My original inspiration for this came from the cowgirl theme of her room, and in my search at City Craft to find some fabrics that would give a modern twist to today’s cowgirl, I found the beautiful golden fabric from Anna Maria Horner’s Innocent Crush series.  I loved the modern feel and the color, and it went really well with the bandana-inspired fabrics I had also come across.  I rounded out my fabric choices with some classics from my Grandma Amy vintage stash.  Lots of delicate florals and soft plaids to compliment.

For the back, I wanted to highlight the Innocent Crush fabric, and I found another great purple/pink fabric at City Craft to pair it with in these fat stripes.  I wanted to keep the back simple, and use the beautiful cream floral design as a guidepost.  Please don’t look to closely at my stitching here.  I stitched in the ditch around my squares, and Aunt Peggy went through and helped me stitch little star motifs on the center squares of most of the blocks, tying the motif to the cowgirl theme.  We made a binding out of the purple bandana-esque fabric.

Baby girl’s room has this cute hanger in it, and Mom & Dad have used it to display the quilt.  Such a nice gesture, and it really looks great the way they have it hung!  It made a great addition to the nursery, and I hope to see her dragging it around behind her for years to come.  Hope she still likes cowgirls when she’s in college!

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Back to basics: a primary baby quilt

September 13, 2011 § 1 Comment

Baby Colin is going to be here in October, and we got him all ready with this sweet, transportation-inspired quilt in primary colors.  The nursery is going to be done in primary colors using this super cute bedding from Land of Nod.

I wanted to make a nice quilt to go with everything using some of my vintage stash, and then I lucked into this great fabric at City Craft.  It’s Minny Muu: A Little French Town, and it has these darling little geometric images on it of houses, castles, and transportation themed images along with sweet little sayings in French.  Since Momma & Daddy-to-be went to Paris on their honeymoon and his room is in primary colors and transportation, this felt like the perfect fabric to inspire the quilt!

I searched high and low on trusty Moda for a pattern, but I couldn’t come up with anything, and I was running out of time.  I started cutting 10 x 10 squares of my fabrics and laying them out in a grid, thinking I could do something with them.  Grandma Amy came over, and I showed her how far I had gone, and she gave very clear instructions that it needed some dressing up.  After some bouts of denial, I finally gave in and decided that maybe I could create some appliques out of the fabric scraps to match the simple designs in the Minny Muu fabric.

After tackling the train, I was inspired to take on a few more, and I added in the tug boat, the sailboat, the car, and a hot air balloon.  I limited it to one per row so that it wouldn’t get too crazy, and so that I wouldn’t get carried away and end up messing up a good thing.  These appliques are dead simple–I just cut out basic geometric shapes in various colors to match the designs on A Little French Town, and stitched them down with a zig-zag stitch.  This will allow for some fraying to give it a cozy, warn look in the end.  I washed the quilt to get the fraying started, and the appliques all held up pretty well.

I stitched my squares into rows and then my rows came together for the quilt top.  I happened upon a super soft throw last Christmas at Target in a basic cream color and picked it up to add to my stash.  I ended up using this ribbed throw as my quilt backing instead of doing a traditional sandwich so that it would be more user-friendly.

Right sides together, I stitched along the outer edges with a 1/2 inch allowance, and left an opening about 1/2 a square wide to turn the quilt inside-out.  After turning it, I pinned it together, and then ran a stitch around the outside about 1/4″ in to tack down the outer edge.  For this quilt, I rounded the corners before I stitched the two sides together to give it a more finished look and so that I wouldn’t have to worry about the edges.  Also, Grandma Amy tells me this is her preferred finish on baby blankets and quilts, and I don’t argue with experts!

After I finished the outer stitch, I went back through and stitched in the ditch along the seams to give it a finished quilted feel.  I just ran a stitch down each row and column to get all my squares tacked down so that it won’t give the new parents fits in the washer or dryer.  After a washing here, it held up beautifully, so I packaged it up with a few matching burp clothes and toted it over to the shower.

I’m proud of this one!  I didn’t have a pattern, and I let the fabrics inspire some fun elements.  I think the finished product turned out way better than I expected, and I think it will make a fun quilt for Baby C to enjoy through the years. I envision lots of wrestling matches on it with Baby Mac.

Hugs and kissies to Momma & Baby–King Baby is super excited for his playmate to get here!

Frogs and snails and puppy dog tails: a shower story

September 9, 2011 § 3 Comments

One of my very dear friends is welcoming a sweet baby boy in just a few short months.  I secretly think she’s doing it so that Ben will have someone to play with, but she tells me that she and her husband had this planned for a while.  Anywho, what’s a baby without a welcome party? Since she has a little bit of everything boy going on in the nursery, we decided the shower should also be all things boy, so we decided on a Frogs, and Snails, and Puppy Dog Tails theme!

This shower was exciting for me on a lot of levels, but mostly because of the food, the desserts, the theme, and the invitations! The invitations (look at the first pic!) were designed by the fabulous Kara Leone, who I have bragged about a multitude of times here.  After hours of online searching turned up only one mediocre invite, I pleaded for her help, and she managed to hit another amazing home run.  She drew the dog and frog and snails! Love that lady.  More about her later because we were able to use the invitation design in a number of ways throughout the shower.

My fabulous friend offered up her lovely home and was the hostess with the mostess.  She even made these super cute polyhedron ceiling hangings that we found over here.  Two different colors of paper plates, some staples, and some patience yielded these show-stopping hangers. She put them together and had them hung over the food table to add a fun touch.  The food table was decked out with all kinds of amazing finger sandwiches, a beautiful vegetable spread in vases, and an incredible pasta salad.  Not to mention some cute labels for everything adapted from Kara’s design.

The vegetable spread was put together in a group of vases, and we were able to use the beautiful blue dish, courtesy of Grandma Amy, for the dip.  It was a really colorful take on the typical veggie spread, and the pop of color really made the table. Kudos to the creative gal Ashley with the vision for this piece.

Of course, veggies were just a first course.  There was the lemon cake with vanilla bean buttercream that I mentioned to you before, and these amazing cake balls.  I will tell you that the cake ball adaptations with less frosting and no lollipop sticks turned out fantastic, and they filled this tiered tray beautifully. Of course, we tied them with puppy paw print ribblon and some Minny Muu fabric from their Little French Town collection.  These were joined by the lemon cake, the train cake, and some adorable duckie cookies that had an orange glaze on them. Needless to say, there were a few desserts.

There were also a few decorations! These little hats and onesies took their places over the mantle, and my friend did an amazing job attaching the little beanies to the frame to create a beautiful center piece.  She had a sign with the them, along with wiffle balls in multiple colors and adorable pull toys to match decorating the mantle for mom-to-be to take home with her. And…there were a few gifts. Just a few.  Girls…we go overboard.  Sigh.  There were even customized onesies with baby’s name on them! We all took a theme…airplanes, sports, puppies, cars, construction…and brought a corresponding outfit for the clothesline.  It turned out adorable, and big shout out to the hostesses who made that come together in a unique way.

There was a shower.  So, I made a quilt.  This one was inspired by the primary colors in the little tyke’s bedding, but I did manage to get a few creative touches in there.  After a tutorial from Grandma Amy, which I’ll tell you more about later, I was able to combine the quilt top with a super soft backing so that this little guy would have a snuggly tummy time blanket to use this winter.  The fabrics are a mix of Grandma Amy vintage, Minny Muu imported from Japan depicting “A Little French Town,” and some appliques that I pieced to mimic the drawings in the Minny Muu.  It turned out great, and I’ll be sure to share more details about this piece later.

The other thing from my sewing machine for this shower was the cute little pennant that greeted guests.  It was my first attempt at what I think is referred to as free needle embroidery. Grandma Amy came over and gave me a tutorial, but in no way am I qualified to pass on her tips here.  It’s basically a lot of trial and error and referring to your Bernina manual on the subject.  All I can tell you is that, if you’re attempting this, remember that your needle is the center line.  Not the right or the left, but the center.  A little rick-rack and this was pretty cute.

Before guests could leave, I hounded them into taking a little “dirt-to-go” as their favor.  These sweet little jars were topped with a one-of-a-kind thank you from Kara, and filled with a jello/mouse/whip cream/gummy worm concoction that I’ll explain better later.  The layered dessert fit in perfectly with our theme, and the personalized topper made them a real stand out. Yes to Success! We put them in baskets for guests to take as they left.

We couldn’t have asked for a better turn out or a better group of gals to host this shindig.  It came together in a truly memorable way, and I can’t credit these ladies enough.  Here’s to a happy, healthy, playmate for King Baby–Cheers!

Baby shower round up: cowgirl up

September 2, 2011 § 4 Comments

My cousin is welcoming a little gal to the family in just a few short weeks, and we had a great time putting together a shower for her.  Galilee Bell is going to have a cowgirl room, so we followed suit and decided to get her cowgirled-up.

Amazingly, I did manage to get a really sweet quilt wrangled and done for little missy before the big day, but in the rush of things, I didn’t take any photos!  The super talented Aunt Peggy helped me stitch the last of the quilt together, and in my hurry to get just one (okay…three!) last three things stitched, I didn’t mess with the camera.  But, the day of turned out amazing, and here’s all the cuteness:

You can’t possibly have a cowgirl shower without sweet tea and pink lemonade, but this lemonade has a twist, or rather a pump.  We added in some vanilla syrup (like the kind used in coffee) to taste–talk about a quick and easy punch alternative!  These sweet boots (center) are my husband’s from when he was a tyke, but they fit perfectly in the hall tree and helped set the mood when you walked in the door along with the cowboy hats we hung.  The other decor touch was a sweet rocking horse wall hanging that had actually been in my cousin’s room as a baby.  My aunt dusted it off and replaced all the ribbons to bring it up to date and ready to give some other little girl dreams of rainbows and ponies.

The quilt we did get photos of is this darling wall hanging.  Inspired by the Martha Stewart shirt pocket wall hanging, my super talented aunts went the denim and corduroy pocket route with a little animal print thrown in for good measure.  They had the center square embroidered with baby girl’s name, and we filled all the pockets with fun goodies for mom-to-be.  And, of course, no cowgirl is worth her salt if she doesn’t have a trusty stick horse!  The pink bandana fabric tied it all together, and we ran a sweet lasso-inspired decorative stitch around the binding of the entire square.

Speaking of personalized flair, we had a fun time adding her name to a number of touches throughout the shower.  The fabulous designer Kara Leone, who did the number print for Baby Mac’s room, whipped up a special cowgirl-inspired print complete with Galilee’s name on it! Then the aunts-to-be baked up these sweet sugar cookies pressed with “Welcome Galilee” using the really cool Message-in-a-Cookie set from Williams Sonoma.  And, the grandma-to-be picked up this sweet charm from a specialty shop in Louisiana for momma to commemorate her two blessings.

We found cute little metal signs that momma can use in the nursery to decorate the tables throughout the shower.  Soft peppermint sticks and candy-filled mason jars took center stage with a collection of My Little Ponies and pink bandanas.  Did I mention we used pink?

The Welcome Galilee cookies were joined on the dessert table by these amazing Texas Sheet Cake cupcakes.  I’ve regaled you with tales of Texas Sheet Cake before, but the adaptation to a cupcake was genius!  The key I think is the liner that we used.  You can order these tulip style liners from Amazon and they’ll prevent any dripping from occurring.  You can see here that we used them in brown and white and just used a cupcake holder to display them.  The fabric underneath is just a sheer pink and paisley fabric piece overlapped on a white table cloth.

There was tons of great food, and these little smores cakes in a jar were no exception.  A girlfriend of mine pointed me to this recipe over on How Sweet It Is, and I was so glad to finally have a place to try them out.  I modified the recipe slightly to fit these smaller ball jars, and I used miniature marshmallows to give the top more texture.  The dream team of hostesses found this set of rub on scrapbooking decals, and what do you know, they worked perfectly on our metal lids!  They were meant to be a take home, but after everyone popped the metal tops off and put ’em in the microwave for 20 seconds, they were eaten right there on the spot!  And let me just say…they. were. good.

Luckily we had a back up take home favor–these cute bags of trail mix in pink satchels.  My talented cousin cut out squares of pink checked fabric and tied them with twine with little tags that read, “Happy Trails to you.”  It was a nice alternative to all of the super sweets that we had at the shower, and pretty inexpensive as far as favors go.

So much fun getting Miss Galilee ready for her debut.  Now all she has to do is show up.  I’m pretty sure I can think of at least one person who is quite ready for that to happen!

A garden party baby shower

August 25, 2011 § 2 Comments

The little lady from this post was celebrated with a shower a few weeks back that we had a great time putting together.  Her bedroom has lots of flowers in the bedding, so we went with a garden party theme, and it snowballed from there!  The celebration brunch featured tons of great food, pretty flowers, paper lanterns, pinwheels, lots of pink, mimosas, and some fun treats for guests to take home.  Keeping it simple was really not in the cards, and we may have gone a little overboard, but it was a great time, and hopefully you’ll find some inspiration in here for your next shindig.

We started with the table, and some fun pink, white, and green fabrics and napkins to create lots of soft, colorful layers.  Two nice, tall vases filled with daisies and mums were joined by some pinwheels that I picked up at Hobby Lobby.  The chocolate cake took center stage, and we put all the brunch goodies around the table and labeled them with fun, pink sparkly labels in floral photo holders.

A great way to use my scraps from the quilt, I cut strips of the fabrics from the quilt and used them to dress up the pinwheels in the floral arrangements by tying the strips around the top of the stem.  I cut them with pinking shears.  I used about four or five 1 inch tall strips, measuring about 6 to 8 inches long on each pinwheel.  You can also see where I used them on the metal sign above to soften up the welcome plaque.  If it was sitting still, I probably tied some of these around them–on the basket handles, on the treat sacks, on the flowers…

My favorite chocolate cake from the amazing Barefoot Contessa made an appearance.  I embellished it a bit with these little ducks that I cut out from candy coating left over from the cake pops.  Oh yes, you read correct, there were cake pops!  And, since I had the vanilla left over, I spread it thin on a sheet of wax paper and let it set in the freezer for a bit and then cut out these little guys to swim around the bottom of the cake.  I used a small rubber duck metal cookie cutter to do the handy work.  This cake is always a hit.  And why wouldn’t it be? It has a pound of butter and an amazing amount of grated chocolate in it.

And here they are–cake pops!  I used the recipe from Bakerella, but I made the balls ahead of time, so they set up really well in my freezer.  I had them on the sticks and on cookie sheets all frozen before I melted the candy coatings.  The coatings were a bit of a mess, so I had to make these pretty with extra sprinkle and drizzle.  Crazy enough, I think they turned out better for it!  Cellophane bags and more fabric scraps used for ties, and these little tasty treats found homes in flower pots throughout the party.  On the food table, by the guest book, you name it!  We made sure everyone went home with a couple as a favor.

And speaking of to-go, little jars of sweet treats are my new favorite ever since my aunts used them for Baby Mac’s shower.  I decided to try something quick and easy, a recipe from my grandmother called EZ Lemon Cheesecake, that set up beautifully in these little jars.  These are the 4 oz size, and I just made a quick label for the tops and set them in a basket at the front.  These little pies-to-go set up in the fridge overnight and were ready for guests to take home the next day.  More on that recipe soon.

The brunch went down as a success, and I topped it off with one last scrap-busting project.  Little “Thanks a Bunch” fabric cards to send home with Momma-To-Be.  A big shout out to the Aunt-To-Be and my mom who helped me get it all put together.  The support system was in full effect and helped me let the creativity flow.  More fun inspirationals to come from this one!

Quilt and pillow for little miss

August 8, 2011 § 3 Comments

I think I may have mentioned that there are a few babies on the way in my circle of friends.  And by a few, I mean six.  Yes, I said six.  That’s a lot of projects, folks.  But nothing inspires a project like a sweet little babe on the way, and this quilt and pillow were made for a little lady who is set to make her debut September 1 (although my money is on August 23rd!).

I think I may have seen a pillow like this one when I was out and about…perhaps Anthropologie?…but I decided I could recreate something along these lines by cutting petals of increasing size and appliqueing them onto a pillow top.  Then I used a trusty bowl to outline petal lines on the pillow, which I stitched in red thread.

The quilt itself is another trusty Moda Bake Shop pattern.  I cheated a little and didn’t use the same fabric for the four inner diagonal squares on the pieced squares.  Instead I alternated two and two so that I could use four different fabrics on the pieced squares.  This was really just because I had such a hard time focusing on so few fabrics!

You see, I recently came into the jackpot of vintage fabrics from Grandma Amy.  They’ve been moving, and she has been stashing away fabrics since the 60’s and they needed a good home.  Add that to the scraps of lovelies that I can’t seem to ever part with, and you have a great combination of vintage and modern fabrics in this yellow, orange, and pink layout.  Also, I’ve sorta, kinda figured out how to use the alphabet key on the Bernina!  Cute, huh?

And, I’m loving all the new fancy stitches that I’m figuring out how to apply from the machine.  I ran this beauty around the binding to give it a little flair since it was prepackaged binding.  I’m becoming a big fan of packaged binding these days since by the time I get to that step, the last thing I want to do is piece it together–I’m almost done!

I love the sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing a quilt.  I have another new one to share with you soon, but in the meantime, I’m going to bask in the glory of having number two down…only four more to go!

Time for a tummy time mat

July 6, 2011 § 3 Comments

So many babies, and so little time!  But, I’m determined to make cute things for each and every one of them!  The latest is for a little lady who is on her way in September.

Grandma Amy was so sweet to give Ben a special Tummy Time mini-quilt that we are getting a lot of use out of these days, so I put the inspiration to good use and busted out some of my favorite fabric from Anna Maria Horner.  I love the bright colors, and hope it helps little Peggy Grace enjoy her tummy time–anything that helps, right?

And, I got to check out some of the fancy stitches that my new machine does.  Check out these sweet flowers!  I used them to go around the inside of the middle square–I stitched in the ditch for the rest of the quilting to give it a good hold, but wanted to do something a little special in the middle.

And, with each project, I feel like my corners get better and better!  Hallelujah!  I used a pre-made pink binding for the edge of this quilt, which really helped me get nice crisp edges.  I secured it down with another “fancy” stitch that I think added just that extra hint of girly.  You can also see here where I got to put some of my fabulous yellow ribbon to good use on the outer sides of the mat.  Love that stuff.

Because no baby gift is complete with out some cute burp cloths and a sweet onesie, I also made these little cuties to go with the mat.  I made these a little differently because they’re out of a different kind of diaper, but I’ll have to explain that on another day.  In the meantime, I have a post office to get to!  These little pretties aren’t walking themselves to that baby.

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