Feather on a Summer’s Night {& a Giveaway}

I’ve wanted to make the feathers from Shape Moth’s Forest Quilt Along since I first began paper piecing. After recently selecting a fabric bundle for Fiddlehead Artisan Supply, I was trying to decide what project to make with the bundle. I asked my friend Stephanie and she immediately replied, “Feathers!”. Done deal.

summer nights fabric bundle fiddleheadIt’s no secret that I love high contrast and bright colors. Dark midnight blues paired with bright oranges and yellow compose this month’s blogger bundle for Fiddlehead Artisan Supply. It’s called “Summer Nights“, reminiscent of fireflies and popsicles. Scroll down to enter for a chance to win a Summer Nights bundle for yourself.

summer nights fabric bundle fiddleheadThere’s just something about this bundle that was begging to be stitched into feathers, or maybe fireflies. I might have to work on a firefly pattern, now that we mention it. Inspiration is everywhere!

shape moth featherI love how bright and bold the yellow and orange look against the dark blue. The fact that the fabrics include some of my favorites (Doe, Prisma Elements, Plume, and a fun new find by Lecien) surely adds to the appeal.

foundation paper pieced back detailI used wash-away stabilizer sheets provided to me by Alyssa at Pile O’Fabric, and I’m both excited and nervous to soak this block in water so that the sheets dissolve. Imagine that–foundation paper piecing without having to remove the paper at the end! I’ll be sure to write a post about how it all goes once I build up the bravery to let the feather take the plunge.

Growth of a Feather
The growth of a feather, via Instagram #sewtake20 posts.
I’m not quite sure what I will create out of this bright feather block; I think for sure I will make its little buddy (the second feather in the pattern) before fully finishing. I’m on the fence about whether to make it into a pillow or a mini wall hanging. I’m leaning toward a pillow, with the Plume fabric as the back. What would you make?

summer nights fabric bundle fiddleheadFiddlehead Artisan Supply is generously offering a Summer Nights fat quarter bundle to one of my readers. The bundle includes fat quarters of the following six fabrics (clockwise from the feathers):

  • Plume in Onyx from Nomad by Urban Chiks for Moda
  • Lecien Chatter Tailors #40507
  • Doe Trellis in Blue by Carolyn Friedlander for Robert Kaufman Fabrics
  • Prisma Elements in Solar Quartz for Art Gallery Fabrics
  • Moda Half Moon Modern Scissors in Orange
  • Prisma Elements in Apricot Sunstone for Art Gallery Fabrics

To enter the giveaway today, share what you think of when you hear “summer nights”. Feel free to share word associations or stories; just fill the comments with summer night favorites! Leave a comment and make sure I’m able to get ahold of you if you win.  If you’re a follower of Night Quilter, leave a second comment telling me how you follow for a second entry. Like Fiddlehead Artisan Supply on Facebook or subscribe to their newsletter and tell me how you followed them for a third entry.

This giveaway is open to US and international participants.  The giveaway will be open until 8pm Wednesday 8/5 when I’ll select the winner randomly with random.org. Good luck!

I also completed my July Goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes, but I can’t show you yet! The goal was to complete the quilt and pattern that will be published in the September issue of Make Modern Magazine. Rather than post a boring, photoless post to document that I’ve met my goal, I’ll use this post as a multi-finish! I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday, and ALYoF as my July Finish post.

A New Endeavor: Creativity Inspired by Sizzix

A few weeks ago, I received an email inviting me to join the Sizzix Design Team as their English Paper Piecing (EPP) blogger. I was excited at the offer since I love EPP, but I had never used a Sizzix die cutting machine before (affiliate link), though I’ve heard many good things about them. For those of you who don’t know, the Sizzix is a die cutting machine that has the ability to cut fabric (or paper and other materials) quickly, easily, and accurately with the use of stainless steel dies (basically like cookie cutters in a foam protective layer) rolled through a pressing machine. Sizzix sent me a Sizzix Fabi Starter Kit (affiliate link) and a few dies to try out, and I figured if it was as helpful, safe, and time saving as I’d heard, I would happily sign on as a Design Team member.

Sizzix Fabi die cutting machine

It didn’t take me long to be convinced at how big of a time saving tool the Sizzix machine was. It cuts eight (8!) perfectly even pieces of fabric at a time, including “fussy cut” shapes–of course I had to try to meticulously cut with the Fabi before agreeing to join as an EPP-focused Design Team member! While the meticulous cutting takes a bit more preparation to get lined up, it surely is faster than hand tracing and scissor-cutting, not to mention perfectly accurate in size and shape.

The biggest selling point for me was the safety of using the Fabi die cutting machine (affiliate link). As a mom of little ones, I can do all of the necessary cutting for a quilt with my kids around, even my very busy three year old son. In fact, my kids can even (eagerly) help turn the crank to cut the dies (with my direct supervision of course). There’s no way I would rotary cut fabric around my son and even scissors disappear off the table if my hawk watch falters, but the Fabi is definitely doable. Not only will I get more accomplished, but perhaps this will inspire my kiddos to try more fabric crafts as well.

fabric pull
A fabric pull for some Sizzix EPP playtime.

So, it’s official: I’m a member of the 2015 Sizzix Design team! I’m excited to be joining the team, and will be sharing posts and projects soon. (Who doesn’t love an excuse to start new projects!?) In the meantime, I’m playing around with my Fabi, starting a few projects, learning the ropes of die cutting, and experimenting with ways to use the Sizzix with EPP. I can’t wait to show you what I’m making! Here’s a tiny little peek to hold you over:

english paper piecing with sizzix

2015 sizzix design team member

Do you use a Sizzix or other die cutting machine to help speed up your quilting process? What’s your favorite aspect?

I’m linking up with Freshly Pieced’s WiP Wednesday.

 

3 Tips on Making Time to Sew Daily: #sewtake20

We all have busy lives. Whether it’s work, family, hobbies, friends, or chores that fill your days, there’s always something that needs to be done. As a full time mom with a newborn, I know that there is an endless list of chores–laundry, dishes, cooking, vacuuming, gardening, cleaning up after two busy toddlers, did I mention laundry?–on top of keeping my kids alive and of course loved and engaged in fun activities that easily fills my days and nights. I’ve been asked a few times how I find time to sew with three kiddos include a newborn. My answer is simple: I make time.

life is full with three kids
Life is full, but you can still make time to do the things you love.

At first I felt guilty taking time to sew and quilt when there was always a long list of chores that could be done.  But over the past few years, I’ve learned that I need to make time for myself in order to keep my sanity. Taking time regularly to create something beautiful (since that’s always what we’re doing when we quilt, right?) helps me to recenter and rejuvenate. “Me time” is a necessary part of my existence as a happy full time mom and wife. I know that now.

So how to “make time” in an otherwise jam packed schedule?

1. Set small attainable goals

For me, setting small attainable goals has the most success in helping me find regular sewing time while staying motivated and enjoying the process. As a yoga teacher, students often struggled with maintaining a personal practice at home. The best advice I heard during one of my teacher trainings was to set your bar LOW: make it your goal to roll out your mat and stand on it each day. That’s it. Roll out your mat. Stand on it. Goal accomplished! Once you are standing on your mat, it’s so easy to take a deep breath and do yoga. Rolling out the mat is the hardest part.

set a timer for 20 minutes and just sewThe same applies for sewing. Set your bar low. Make it your goal to step into your sewing space each day. Set a timer for 20 minutes and aim to create for 20 minutes per day. If the 20 minutes passes and you’re still going strong (and don’t have any crying kids or impending business meetings), go ahead and take 20 more!

2. Just do it! 

Nike was on to something. Take it from me, if you spend the entire day thinking you will take your 20 minute sew break later, there’s a good chance you will be too tired when “later” finally comes. Regardless of whether your goal is to go for a run, clean the bathroom, write a letter to your best friend, or sew for 20 minutes, it’s best to accomplish it sooner than later. Besides, who doesn’t want to start their day with a “win”? Get the hard stuff out of the way early in the day, and you will be surprised how much lighter and more motivated you feel. Who knows–maybe you’ll be inspired to find time to take 20 more later that day!

3. Be gentle with yourself

This is the most important rule, in my opinion. We are our own worst critics, and it’s easy to fall into the pit of “I can’t” or “I should have”.  I wish I could remember who told me: “Don’t should on yourself.” (say it out loud–get it?). Should is such a helpless word. The past has passed; there’s no changing it and no use in thinking about what you should have done. Think instead of what you will do now.

be gentle with yourselfTry to create new habits with a gentle heart. If you currently are not consistently sewing at all, maybe make your goal to #sewtake20 four out of seven days this week. (Remember tip #2, though–getting those days under your belt early in the week will keep you feeling pumped and motivated). Once you get into the rhythm of MAKING time for yourself, even if it’s only 20 minutes at a time, up the ante for your goal and try taking time for yourself five days a week. Before you know it, you’ll be taking those 20 minutes daily, feeling efficient, and seeing progress on your formerly stagnant sewing projects.

My friends Stephanie at Late Night Quilter and Mandy at Mandalei Quilts and I are trying a new project to help us make time for ourselves. We’re using hashtag #sewtake20 on social media to help track our progress, and create a support network for those of you who want to join us. We invite you to post your progress, your challenges, and your quilting eye candy so that we can all help encourage and inspire each other.

Are you feeling overwhelmed at your mountainous to do list? #sewtake20

Feeling like there’s just no way you can accomplish your goal? #sewtake20

Want to find a way to make more time for yourself?
#sewtake20

The wise Lau Tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Taking 20 minute sewing escapes daily WILL result in a finished project. And you just might be a happier, more relaxed mom, wife, friend, or coworker to boot. I know I am.

3 Tips on Making Time to Sew Daily

How do you make time to sew?

I’m linking up with Late Night Quilter’s Tips & Tutorials Tuesday.

Maine Quilts 2015

maine quilts quilt show 2015This weekend was the annual Maine Quilts quilt show hosted by the Pine Tree Quilt Guild, and I went on Sunday to see all of the gorgeous quilts. While there, I not only got to soak in the quilty goodness that comes with strolling around a quilt show, but also got to meet some of you quilty friends from blogland!

maine quilts quilt show 2015
Sue and Sharon next to their quilts. It was so great to meet you two!

Much of the quilt show consisted of traditionally pieced quilts, but the modern quilt movement is clearly taking hold in Maine. Here are photos of some of the quilts that grabbed my attention in the show, both traditional and modern.

maine quilts quilt show 2015
“Still Have Scraps Left!” by Diana Wells Rauch

maine quilts quilt show 2015I think the names of the quilts cracked me up more at this show than any other I’ve been to… okay, I’ve only ever been to QuiltCon. But still, some of the quilt names were great! Postage stamp quilts, or quilts made entirely from 1″ squares always amaze me. This one was no exception. AMAZING. And she still has scraps.

maine quilts quilt show 2015
“Ayah My Deeya Sistah’s Wicked Wahm Kwilt” by Allyson J. Korsiak

maine quilts quilt show 2015You know you’re in Maine when…. quilts have names like this! This one made me laugh out loud and I just couldn’t pass by without taking a photo. For those of you who need a translation, this says, “My Dear Sister’s Extremely Warm Quilt” in Maine-speak.

maine quilts quilt show 2015
“Convergence” by Beth Maitland

This was one of my favorite quilts in the show. I’m sure you have no idea why (rainbows, anyone?).

maine quilts quilt show 2015
“Icy Waters” by Betsy Cannan – Pattern by Amy Garro
maine quilts quilt show 2015
“Texting While Sewing Version 2.0″ by Nadine Villani – Pattern by Lee Heinrich

It was fun to see some familiar patterns sewn up by local quilters. I saw the original Icy Waters by Amy Garro at QuiltCon, and spotted this one by Betsy Cannan from across the room. The Supernova quilt by Nadine was another eye-catcher, and I know how much work goes into each of those blocks! Gorgeous!

maine quilts quilt show 2015
“Northern Wilderness” by Lynn Davis

maine quilts quilt show 2015This gorgeous quilt was one of the Viewer’s Choice winners. I loved the intricate detail and combination of quintessential Maine icons with quilt blocks.

maine quilts quilt show 2015
“Spirit” by Georgia Spaulding Pierce
maine quilts quilt show 2015
Sometimes, asking the white gloves to show you a quilt back is almost more inspiring than seeing the front!

The quilting on this quilt was absolutely stunning. It makes me want to practice my free motion quilting skills and densely quilt everything!

I am definitely going to submit a quilt (or more) next year, and am newly inspired to get some finishes completed!

 

 

Color Inspiration Thursday {55}

It’s time to share another color scavenger hunt! Today’s inspiration comes from the findings of the red-orange-yellow scavenger hunt around our July gardens and fields in rural Maine. Color palettes are made using Play Crafts’ Palette Builder 2.1 and my photographs. Flowers were found by my five and three year old kiddos.

red orange yellow flower scavenger hunt color paletteCorresponding solids from left to right:
Bella Lead, Bella Cayenne, Bella Clementine, Kona Grellow, Bella Acid Green, Kona Mint

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
1158 – Med Grey
2395 Pumpkin Spice

2390 – Cinnamon Toast
2975 – Brass
2120 – Canary
2886 – Lt Avocado

This was a very fun scavenger hunt, since the yellow flowers just kept multiplying. It was great to look at each new flower and try to decide whether it was one we already had, or if it was a different species. The environmental scientist in me was thrilled to see my daughter reason through similarities and differences in the flowers, and of course the quilter in me was thrilled to play with flower arranging layout once we retreated to the cool porch.

yellow flower color paletteCorresponding solids from left to right:
Kona Steel, Kona Sunflower, Bella Sunflower, Kona Citrus, Bella Orange, Kona Gold

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
2625 – Arctic Ice
2125 – Wheat

1135 – Pale Yellow
2120 – Canary
2975 – Brass
2155 – Cinnamon

Oh, these yellows! I will never cease to be amazed by the varied textures within flowers. It’s like a whole new world within the center of this tiny, dime-sized flower. Want to explore? Me, too!

orange flower color paletteCorresponding solids from left to right:
Kona Pewter, Kona Nectarine, Kona Cayenne, Bella Clementine, Kona Persimmon, Bella Golden Wheat

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
2620 – Stainless Steel
2215 – Peach

2395 – Pumpkin Spice
2350 – Copper
2150 – Pumpkin
6010 – Toast

The woman who originally planted our gardens LOVED lillies. There are such a wide variety of colors and species of lily, it’s impossible to capture them all. We chose two different flowers as a sampling, and this vibrant orange daylily is like a fiery volcano (you can thank my three year old son for that comparison; he’s all about hot lava these days). So gorgeous!

Dropping in on A Quilter’s Color Weekend

Last weekend I had the pleasure of taking an entire day for quilty crafty inspiration. I didn’t even touch a sewing machine, yet I spent the day immersed in color inspiration of one kind or another. With five week old Finn snug in my Ergo and the big kids excited about a Daddy day, I began the day at Fiddlehead Artisan Supply, my gorgeous local quilt shop, where Amy Butler, Heather Jones, Samantha Lindgren from A Gathering of Stitches, and the rest of the Quilter’s Color Weekend retreaters were having a visit.

heather jones and amy butler at fiddlehead artisan supply belfast maine
Heather Jones and Amy Butler browse the gorgeous displays at Fiddlehead Artisan Supply.

Walking into a quilt shop as gorgeous as Fiddlehead is inspiring in and of itself; walking into a quilt shop as gorgeous as Fiddlehead and packed with fabric, color, quilt-loving women made my heart happy and my inspiration cup runneth over. It was fun to see Heather again (we first met at QuiltCon), and meet Amy. I also got to meet Kerry Goulder from Kid Giddy, another Maine sewist with whom I’ve communicated via Instagram but had never met in person. There were snacks, book signings, chatting, and of course fabric buying!

Kerry of KidGiddy and Amy Butler sign their books at Fiddlehead Artisan Supply Belfast Maine
Kerry of Kid Giddy and Amy Butler signing their books at Fiddlehead.

After all of the retreaters swarmed back onto their bus to head back to their retreat haven, I spent some time catching up with Abby from Fiddlehead and selecting a new fabric bundle (stay tuned–you’ll hopefully see it later this week!). Of course, snuggling, nursing, and changing Finn peppered the day.

Next, we stopped in for a visit at the Quilter’s Color Weekend Retreat at Point Lookout in coastal Northport, Maine, only another 15 minutes from Fiddlehead. The weekend quilting retreat was one of the first of its kind in Maine, organized by Sam at A Gathering of Stitches, and it happened practically in my backyard (sooo exciting)! The location was stunning, and situated on the top of a mountain, it was peaceful as well as having amazing views. I have never been to a quilt retreat before, but even spending an hour in that room with a bunch of happily sewing, newly inspired, and eagerly learning women was enough to convince me that quilting retreats are where it’s at. I definitely absorb positive energy by being around excited, inspired, colorful quilters, and living in rural Maine, my chances at surrounding myself with such people are rare. This day was a treat for sure!

color stories inspiration
Color stories created by one of the retreat-goers.
finn snuggling at the retreat
Kerry snuggled Finn for a while so that I could walk around to see the inspiring creating taking place.
sewing retreat a gathering of stitches
Sewing and chatting and laughing and creating and soaking it in.
quilt retreat maine
Heather Jones and Sam Lindgren, sharing their wisdom.
amy butler
Amy Butler and a retreat-goer talk quilting.
baby quilt
Even Finn had a good time! (Kerry shows off her progress while Finn happily wiggles).
point lookout maine quilt retreat
The gorgeous view from the dining room at the retreat. Bliss!

After getting my quiltspiration fill for the day, Finn and I headed home and met the rest of our family in Belfast for a quilt photo shoot (you’ll have to wait until September to see those photos, though!). It was a busy but inspiring and refreshing quilt-fabric-color-filled day!

After stopping in at the Quilter’s Color Weekend Retreat, I’m even more excited about the next AGOS retreat in a few weeks: Slow Stitching Retreat at Medomak Retreat Center in Washington, Maine with Carolyn Friedlander, Chawne Kimber, and of course Sam. As she so eloquently states, Sam envisions this retreat as a “long weekend full of the lush, yet cool, woods of Maine as the backdrop for an enthusiastic group of stitchers sharing their knowledge, their ideas, and their practice.” You can read more of her reflections on Slow Stitching HERE, as well as more about this idyllic four day retreat.

With a little babe and an extended family visit overlap, I sadly cannot attend the entire retreat, as much as I would LOVE to. I am hoping to find a way to go for at least a day, though. This summer, especially with a newborn, I’ve been very much embracing the slow stitching idea, learning embroidery, playing with EPP, and taking the time to do hand quilting. It’s no secret how much I love Carolyn Friedlander’s work, and to get the chance to explore, learn, and share techniques and ideas not only with her, but also Chawne and Sam sounds amazing. I can only imagine how blissfully serene it would be to spend four unplugged days stitching, relaxing, and enjoying the Maine woods in the best of company. If you go, will you send some of your slow stitching bliss my way!? Thank you!

Color Inspiration Thursday {54}

This is the time of year when colors pop up all over our gardens and the surrounding fields. We spend much of our days outside, either swimming at the lake or staying around home, where Finn and I relax in the shade while the big kids play in the kiddie pool and jump through the sprinkler, snuggle chickens, or just explore like curious kids do.

Earlier in the week, when I started thinking about my color inspiration post this week, I decided that I really would love to get some color sans green. Don’t get me wrong–I love green! But sometimes, the gorgeous colors of the flowers beg to be the star without the background sea of green. This thought led to a fun, family-involved activity: color scavenger hunts. So far we’ve completed two color scavenger hunts, where my big kids and I walk around the yard, finding and collecting colors from a specific color family. Then, we head to the shady porch to lay out our finds and arrange them in a fun way.

pink purple color scavenger hunt july maine Corresponding solids from left to right:
Bella Lead, Bella Plum, Bella Berrylicious, Kona Violet, Kona Mulberry, Bella Baby Blue

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
1246 – Grey
2566 – Wisteria

2535 – Magenta
2479 – Med Orchid
4225 – Eggplant
2562 – Lilac

Here’s our fun collection of pink and purple flowers both cultivated and wild found in rural midcoast Maine in July. I’ll be sharing our results from different color scavenger hunts over the next few weeks, with the full palette and then some closer detail shots purely for the fun of seeing the tiny variations in floral anatomy and color.

zinnia color palette pinkCorresponding solids from left to right:
Kona Medium Grey, Kona Ash, Bella Peony, Bella Orchid, Bella Berrylicious, Kona Sunny

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
2625 – Arctic Ice
2600 – Dove
2479 – Med Orchid
1103 – Burgundy
2535 – Magenta
2214 – Golden Honey

Such gorgeous details jump out at you when you get really close. The sunny little flower bursts dancing around the center of a zinnia is my favorite part of the flower.

astilbe color palette pinkCorresponding solids from left to right:
Kona Pewter, Bella Lead, Bella Plum, Bella Magenta, Bella Petal Pink, Bella Barn Door

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
2606 – Mist
1246 – Grey
2566 – Wisteria
2455 – Med Carmine Red
2562 – Lilac
1103 – Burgundy

If you have young children and are looking for a fun activity to help them explore and notice details in the environment around them, I definitely would recommend going on a color scavenger hunt. Finds don’t need to include only flowers; yesterday at the lake, my daughter found a tiny blue jay feather and some berries from a Blue Bead Lily and the colors matched beautifully. Sadly, I didn’t get a photo, but at least the idea of finding colors in nature stuck with her. If you have older children, they can each conduct their own hunt and displays can get even more intricate–think mandalas and imaginary scenes! I’d love to see what colors you find!

Okay, back outside we go! Enjoy your day and enjoy the color!

All color palettes were created using Play Crafts Palette Builder 2.1 and my photographs.

 

Babies on Quilts and a Big Thank You

I’m thinking I should rename my blog “Babies on Quilts” these days. Babies abound in these parts (seriously, don’t drink the water if you don’t want to join in the new baby snuggles), so many quilts are being created for these new little members of our world. I’ve written about how wonderful it feels to give a quilt to a brand new baby, with wishes that the quilt will accompany the child on his/her grand journey through life. Today I get to write about the immense joy of receiving such a quilt from some dear friends.

gift package from stephanie and michelleI received the sweetest package from my dear quilty friends Stephanie and Michelle (from Late Night Quilter–we are sewing soul sisters half a country apart). They made a gorgeous Delectable Mountain quilt for Finn and included some sweet additions for mommy–a teething necklace and magnetic hexie puff, both in my favorite color!–as well an adorable applique bird onesie for Finn. Finnian loves the quilt already, and clearly the sleepy magic is in it. The first three times I put him on the quilt, he settled right down to sleep!

Finn on his Delectable Mountain quilt
Some big baby laughs before settling down to sleep.
sweet sleeping babe on quiltBabies on quilts–I just can’t get enough!

baby on quilt

baby on quilt

baby on quiltThis quilt is the perfect size to take with us everywhere. It fits right in my bag, and will be making memories with us daily, even if that means mostly diaper changes and spit up-filled tummy time in the beginning. Thank you so very much, Stephanie & Michelle. Your love is clearly in this quilt, and it makes me so happy to see it be a part of our daily lives.

This gift is just one example of the wonderful community of quilters of which I’m blessed to be a part. I have been overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of my quilting blogging community, and I not only enjoy conversing with many of you via blog comments and resulting email conversations, but I find myself calling many of you friends. I want to extend a special thanks to Nancy–your care package with such well thought gifts for the entire family is cherished and still appreciate daily in our home. Just yesterday, Maddie made a very special spirograph flower for me to hang on our bedroom door. <3

Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl, another dear friend in our blogging community, wrote a wonderful reflective post about community and what it takes to cultivate relationships with people you know purely through blogging. It’s all about authentic connection. I love that her final tip on how to cultivate community is to be you. That’s part of what I love about blogging–I’m free to be me, and share the parts of life and my creative process that inspire me. Amazingly, by doing that, I in turn inspire you, or at least inspire the spark of conversation that begins a relationship. It was just such a spark that began my conversation with Stephanie and Michelle over a year ago, and since then we’ve not only become friends, but we’ve also roomed together at Quilt Con, worked together on many projects, and provided daily support and encouragement to each other from a far.

folded quilt

Thank you, Stephanie and Michelle. Thank you, Nancy. Thank you, Yvonne. And many, many thanks to all of you readers, many of whom I’m now blessed to call friends.

 

 

 

The Gift of Love {Why I Quilt}

We’ve all heard it many times: it is better to give than to receive. Especially with handmade gifts of love, I fully agree with this sentiment. That doesn’t mean I don’t love to receive handmade gifts–don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love handmade gifts! But seeing someone using and loving and enjoying a quilt that I stitched full of love especially for them, warms my heart and reminds me of yet another reason I quilt. Quilting allows me to give the gift of love in a warm snuggly form that can literally wrap around the recipient, and that will hopefully last a lifetime.

reagan on her hazel hedgehog quilt
I realized recently that I had yet to share photos of baby Reagan on her Pinkalicious Hazel Hedgehog quilt and thought it was high time I rectified that!

Take, for instance, a baby quilt. I know a few grown adults who still have–or even sleep with–a handmade blanket or quilt that was given to them at birth. There’s just something about a baby blanket that is especially comforting.

gift of love quiltQuilts are also infinitely useful to babies and their doting, toting mamas. Babies spend a lot of time on the floor (quilt!), need diaper changes (quilt!), need to stay warm (quilt!), need tummy time (quilt!),… the list of uses goes on and on, and evolves as the child grows (think superhero capes, club forts, and picnics galore).

dreaming of love on baby quilt

baby reagan on her quiltI absolutely love seeing babies on the quilts I’ve made for them. It reaffirms all of the time, effort, money, and LOVE that I’ve put into the creation of the quilt and inspires me to create even more. I’m looking forward to seeing Reagan grow with her quilt, and her cousin Finn is sure to join her on it whenever the opportunity arises!

cousins on hazel hedgehog quilt
Cousins Reagan and Finn, born one day apart (Reagan is older!), sharing some time on Reagan’s Pinkalicious Hazel Hedgehog quilt at less than a week old.

More Baby Quilt Beginnings and a New Goal

It all started as a joke. Sitting around the breakfast table on the morning of Finn’s one month “birthday”, I jokingly said to my husband, “So what stuffed animal should we use in Finn’s one month photo shoot? What outfit should he wear?” I know that it’s all the rage to buy those monthly milestone stickers and find a cute stuffie and a big chair in which to take photos of your baby each month, but Finn is the third child. I didn’t make it past 4 months with Max, my second, and didn’t even plan to attempt this time around. We take lots of pictures day to day, so the memories will be made.

My husband, joking right back, said, “Didn’t you whip up a quilt block for his one month photos?” But instead of laughing and enjoying a mutual “poor third child” joke, I gaped. What a great idea! Now this idea of a quilt block per month was stuck in my head. How long could it really take to sew up a quick simple block? There was no turning back.

20 minute quilt block finn 1 monthRecently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of making time to sew, and how a simple 20 minutes per day can add up to progress. I decided to put this to the test, set a timer for 20 minutes, and use whatever block resulted from my timer sewing endeavor. I opted for a simple log cabin block, inspired by the recent log cabin blocks made by Kim at My Go-Go Life and the epic log cabin quilts made by Luke Haynes. It was also the perfect choice since I could use scraps and just sew whatever strips fit without too much thought.

20 minute quilt block finn 1 monthTa da! The project was a slam dunk (get it? Finn is slam dunking… kind of?). I had to pause the 20 minute timer once for a baby nursing break, and I ultimately decided to hit snooze and sew for 30 minutes, since I had the opportunity, but it worked! Making the goal to sit down and sew for 20 minutes got me at my machine and resulted in a 12+” block.

baby finn smile 1 month

My friends Stephanie at Late Night Quilter and Mandy at Mandalei Quilts and I are going to try out a goal of sewing (or making other sewing-related progress) at least 20 minutes each day. We are all busy moms with full plates, but setting a small, attainable goal will help us make sewing progress, too, without stress. We will be sure to post about our experiences on our blogs as well as on Instagram using hashtag #sewtake20. My first #sewtake20 trial run was a success and resulted in a great start to a new project, documenting how a quilt can grow along with my baby with only 20 minutes per month.

Finn 1 Month quilt block tealThey are both getting soooo big!

I’m linking up with Freshly Pieced’s Work in Progress Wednesday, and will be posting more about my #sewtake20 progress on Instagram. If you feel like you need a little boost to get sewing daily, feel free to set a timer for yourself. Tag #sewtake20 so that Stephanie, Mandy, and I can see your progress and cheer you on!

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