Thursday, June 25, 2009

Circus Embroidery - Free Patterns!

Last spring I posted about a circus embroidery piece my Grandma Nelson did for my mom when mom was a child. That would have been sometime in the 1940's. People really liked it and recently Shawn Lorette contacted me at Flickr to see if I would allow her to make tracings of that embroidery piece so that free patterns can be available to people who want to embroidery it themselves.

Clown and Duck Embroidery

HERE is her flickr photoset for the tracings. If you want to copy them, you choose the picture you like and click on "All Sizes" You can download the image to your own computer or print off a copy in a size you choose.

Circus Monkey Embroidery

Thanks, Shawn Lorette for making these available! Be sure to let me know at Flickr or here on my blog if you stitch any of these circus motifs. My Grandma would love it!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Own Kids' Baby Blankets

I want to share the quilts I made several years ago for my own sweet babies. My son turned 12 this spring and my daughter turns 9 next week. Where do the years go?

I was a very new quilter when I was pregnant with my son. Before I was pregnant, I tried to make a baby quilt for a nephew who is just a bit older than my son, but that quilt was a total disaster and I never finished it. I learned that I really need to work from a pattern with nice, clear instructions. That nephew received a sewn fleece blanket and a hooded bath towel instead of a quilt.
Sam's Baby Quilt

The pattern was in the book Quilts for Baby by Ursula Reikes. This is a great book and it is still widely available. I saw it the other day at my JoAnns. My son hid from the ultrasound camera so I had to make a gender neutral quilt for him. I hand quilted it. I always intended to quilt the border with some sweet handprint outlines, but I never got around to it and at this point, it does not matter. When he outgrew the quilt, I let my little daughter use it with her teddy bears. My son forgot about it until he saw it our baby photo albums and I told him the sweet story of how I was so excited to have a baby and I couldn't wait to make something special to wrap him up in. He reclaimed it from his sister and I noticed that the quilt was showing up in various places in his room and in his play. It has long since returned to the closet. Seeing it brings back sweet memories of new parenthood.

I have always had a harder time crafting things for boys and men, so just in case I had a baby girl, I made this flannel receiving blanket. Those look like little colorful bunnies, but they are really little stylized flowers.
Flannel Receiving Blanket

This was a pattern in a book or magazine I had at the time, but I forget which one. I used fuseable webbing to fuse the shapes down onto cotton flannel, and then I stitched around them with a blind hem stitch using the old sewing machine my grandma gave me. It is two layers of cotton flannel with a homemade double fold binding. I made it while I was dreaming about motherhood, and I didn't use it until my daughter was born.

This animal print blanket was one of the kid's favorites. I found that adorable print at the fabric store. It is backed in flannel and has a fluffy poly batting inside. I wish I knew what brand that batting is, because there is no bearding on that blanket at all. I hate the way poly batting beards...
Animal Print Blanket
I cut out some of the animal motifs and stitched them onto some baby clothes that became favorite shirts for our son. We particularly liked the jumping frog and we called our darling son "Froggy Man" when he wore it. I did several other fabric-flannel receiving blankets and another blanket like this one with cars and trucks all over it, but I just couldn't keep everything and those went away to a new home on a charity truck.

There is another gender-neutral quilt I made for my daughter when I didn't know if she would be a boy or a girl, but it is probably down in the basement and I don't want to go down there and face the epic-junk-room-mess, I'd rather be up here getting nostalgic with you.

When I had a new baby girl to craft for, I couldn't wait to sew up this pattern which was in one of my Quiltmaker magazines. I could use various colorful prints I'd collected and I liked the restful blue background. I used these leafy-viney prints to make some little accessories and curtains for her baby bedroom in our first house.

Flower baby blanket

I love this quilt, but it isn't my daughter's favorite. It simply isn't pink and girly or cute enough for her. She prefers the one that is down in the basement, because it has a fun jungle theme.
Flower Baby Blanket

These babies are growing up! My son is at sleep-away Boy Scout camp this week and my daughter is spending a week away from us alone with her Nana later this summer. Here they are on a weekend trip we took recently to the Wisconsin Dells:
Emma and Sam

Monday, June 22, 2009

Pom Review and Wedding

I reviewed another pom pom making tool for Craft Critique. Read my thoughts HERE. Turns out that even though it's cheap, it is still not worth it.


Today is my 18th Wedding Anniversary! The years tick by faster and faster all the time. I was almost the first of all my friends to get married right after college. We were so happy then and it has just gotten better over the years. We sort of only celebrate the big anniversaries every 5 years, but I think we'll go out to a nice restaurant tonight.
2007 09 13 020_edited-1

It rained on our wedding day in 1991, and that is supposed to be good luck. It was! We had a big traditional wedding early in the day. I was blissfully ignorant about wedding planning and just went with the flow. I remember my Mom planned the food and my younger brother figured out the wine-and-beer bar offerings. We hired a talented florist who was just starting out. I told her that I liked big romantic flowers and pink and she did the arrangements and they were perfect. Actually, the florist was a nervous wreck and my mom and I were calming her down.

Our cake was a delicious chocolate with raspberry cassis. Our baker was being featured in Better Homes and Gardens and she called us up the week before the wedding to tell us that our cake was being photographed for the magazine! It was in the batter stage and the photos never ran, but still! That was fun!

We married in my north suburban Chicago hometown, but at the time we were living in hot and steamy south Texas and hoped for cool honeymoon location. My husband and I do not tolerate hot weather very well. It was our dream to go to Alaska, but we were young and low on funds, so we went to San Francisco instead. It was chilly and rainy there that week, but we loved the weather. Alaska is still our dream vacation and we have never been able to go. We have been to Hawaii and it was nice, but it was not Alaska... Maybe for the 20 year celebration.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Green Tote

I loved the Amy Butler Birdie Sling Totes I made for Mother's Day gifts so much that I had to make one for myself:

Birdie Sling Tote

Can you tell how large it is? This would make a great market bag. I plan to use it when I go on summertime outings with my kids and I need to carry a bunch of this-and-that.

Green Birdie Sling Tote- Inside

Last year when we were in Estes Park, Colorado, my mom and I found a fantastic fabric and gift shop. Mom picked out these lovely green prints and passed them along to me when she realized that she wasn't going to sew anything with them. The greens are Anna Maria Horner Garden Party prints. I can't figure out what the brown and blue print is, but I like it!

Green Birdie Sling Tote

I also made another simple styled square tote for my daughter's teacher, but I was in such a rush, I couldn't photograph it! I used four coordinating fat quarters and we packed it with some stuff for her dogs.

Its been really rainy and beautifully cool here and we have a sort of swamp in the backyard. This is finally the year all my neighbors are going to have drains put in so that we can use our yards again. My next door neighbors have younger children and this spring they gave up and let the kids be little mud people for an afternoon. It was adorable, but they didn't like getting washed with the garden hose!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Library Tote

I made my niece this little tote at the last minute for her birthday. Her mom suggested that she could use a bag for her library books. This fabric and straps are all from JoAnns. The red floral was a couple of fat quarters. I wish my store had that print on the bolt because I really like it!

Cute Library Tote

I backed both the lining and the outside fabric with interfacing so this little bag stands up on it's own and is quite sturdy.

Reverse of Tote

The reverse is cute too. The little pocket is for her library card. A couple of years ago, I made this same little girl a pink Hello Kitty tote. I always intended to make another one of those, but I never got around to it!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Vintage Tea Towels

I unearthed some more of the adorable embroideries Mom gave me from the things that were my Grandma Nelson's. She definitely used these tea towels. I remember them sort of in her kitchen.

Green Vintage Chickens

Don't you love the gingham applique? The angry flowers are so funny.

Purple Vintage Chickens

Here are a colorful girl and boy in their folksy clothes out in the jaunty garden.

Vintage Girl Embroidery

Vintage Boy Embroidery

Tonight I'm taking the Brownie Troop to see Mary Poppins downtown in Chicago. Everyone is raving about the show. This is our last activity as Brownies. Next year they'll be Junior Girl Scouts. How fast things change!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

More from Paducah

I'm still here! Arent' warm weather colds awful? First I thought it was allergies, but well.. whatever.. I also couldn't locate my camera for awhile.. While I have been away, I built and planted a raised vegetable garden bed. We've already had salad from the lettuce we started from seed.

My children are in the last waning days of the school year and I fear that my daughter will be way more busy than my son during the summer months.

I didn't share enough of the quilts I saw in Paducah. I'm sorry these photos turned out so bluish. I thought I fixed it, but now they really don't look quite right. Here is a beautiful one that is all done with fabric markers. I neglected to note the artist so if you know, please email me or let me know in the comments!

EDIT: Quilter Linzi Upton wrote to tell me that she suspects this quilt is by Irina Bluhm.

Paducah Quilt Show 2009

The quilting is incredibly detailed. I think I remember reading that she thought it would be easier to do a whole cloth quilt like this and then it ended up being this epic masterpiece:
Paducah Quilt Show 2009

I've been looking at paint to redo my bathrooms and green is really catching my eye. I want a bright green and white bathroom... This quilt, "Botannica Kentucii" By Linzi Upton, was an eye-catching and fresh colorway in oranges and greens.
Paducah Quilt Show 2009

She used these charming thread crochet motifs with buttons. I love this!

Paducah Quilt Show 2009

Rick-rack and vintage style feedsack prints! *swoon*

Paducah Quilt Show 2009

Anyone know why it is that when I switched over to my iMac from our PC, the little window on Blogger that I use to compose my posts got really really small. Also my font sizes go wonky. Usually I sort of embrace wonkiness, but this is bugging me.