Jelly Belly Bars Quilt

That Crafty Cara's Jelly Belly Bars QuiltI just finished sewing up a lovely new pattern from Fat Quarter Shop called the Jelly Belly Bars Quilt.  It’s made from a jolly bar precut and a jelly roll precut, but I went rogue and made mine from a layer cake and, because the fabric I wanted to use for my frames didn’t come in a jelly roll, I hand-cut my frame strips.

Back in October, I posted on Instagram that I really wanted to make a low-volume quilt.  When I started brainstorming about what fabrics to use in my version of the Jelly Belly Bars Quilt, I thankfully remembered that desire and decided to move forward with that look in mind.

Cara Brooke's Jelly Belly Bars QuiltI used Modern Background Colorbox by Zen Chic for my prints, and the frames are Bella Solids in the “Ruby Ice” color (SKU# 9900-169).

My quilt looks a little different from the others you’ll see today because I added an outside border onto mine because the quilt as written finishes at 54.5 x 60″, and I’m just a little taller than average, so I knew it would be just a little too short for me to use it comfortably. I actually had a layer cake of the Modern Background Colorbox, so I just cut it in half and used the second set to piece a border.  Finished size with added border = 63.5 x 69″, which makes for an awesome-sized throw that will cover my toes.

That Crafty Cara's Jelly Belly Bar Quilt

For the backing, I used the “Sky Blue Picnic Basket” print (SKU# 24075-15) from April Rosenthal’s “Orchard” fabric collection.  I then bound the quilt with some more Bella Solids “Ruby Ice”.

That Crafty Cara's Jelly Belly Bar Quilt

The quilting was done by Ashley of Hen House Quilting.  I said that I wanted something modern, but not sharp; rounded if possible.  She picked out this quilting design and I couldn’t be more pleased.  It’s turned out exactly like I wanted.  Sweet, while still managing to be modern.  I absolutely love it.

Cara Brooke's Jelly Belly Bars Quilt

I mocked up a number of brainstormed ideas for this particular quilt, and I’d hate for them to go to waste, so I thought I’d share them with you, just in case they inspire you to go make a Jelly Belly Bars quilt of your own!

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Mock up of Jelly Belly Bars Quilt with Modern Background Colorbox frames, and Bella Solids Bleached White centers.

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Mock up of Jelly Belly Bars Quilt with Bella Solids Peacock (SKU 9900-216) frames and Modern Background Colorbox centers.

Thank you, Fat Quarter Shop, for inviting me to sew along with you!  You can visit their post about this new Jelly Belly Bars quilt pattern on their blog by clicking here.

Or, you can just jump on over to Fat Quarter Shop and download a copy of the Jelly Belly Bars quilt pattern for yourself! You can also buy a Jelly Belly Bars quilt kit, and backing kit! Happy sewing!

Sleighbell Sampler Quilt

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Four and a half years ago, I began working on it.  I was just getting started in quilt-making, and absolutely fell in love with both this quilt and Farm Girl Vintage, so I threw caution to the wind and decided to join both of their quilt alongs.  I did great on sewing up the blocks, but when it came time to put the sashing and borders on them, I FROZE.  It took me years to finally break through that block, but I eventually did it and now I get to bask in the delight of a freshly-completed Christmas quilt draped across my favorite couch.  I love this quilt so much.

Pattern: Sleighbell Sampler, by Sherri Falls, from her “Winter Wonderland” pattern book.

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Fabric: “Holly’s Tree Farm,” by Sweetwater, “Jingle,” by Kate Spain, and a few scraps from the stash. The backing is flannel from Bonnie & Camille’s “Vintage Holiday” collection, and I cannot remember exactly what collection the binding came from, but there’s plenty of bias candy cane-striped fabrics out there to choose from these days, so you’ll be ok to find some if you need some.
(Also, can we start a petition to #bringbackhollystreefarm in the future, please?  Love that collection.)

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Quilting: I tried out a new quilter this time ’round, Ashley of Hen House Quilting, because she’s more local than my usual go-to.  I’ll definitely be using her again; she’s really sweet and very professional, and I only have good things to say about the experience of working with her.  She helped me pick out a beautiful snowflake quilting pattern that just goes beautifully with the quilt, and I love it so much!  Thank you, Ashley!

Modifications: None.

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Yay!  I have a goal of a Christmas quilt or blanket for every bed, couch, and armchair in our house, and this guy puts us at a total of five…only six more to go!  Ha ha.  (Hey, we all need goals to work towards, don’t be afraid of how big they are!)

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Unicorn Star Party Quilt

Unicorn Star Party Quilt, sewn by That Crafty Cara/Cara Brooke

My first big finish to come out of the new craft room is this Star Party quilt for my Rachel-girl for her eleventh birthday.  I started it last year, and it only needed its binding, but binding is hard to do when you’re being yanked back and forth between “Yay, he got a job and we need to get packing!” and “Well, shoot, the job offer fell through at the last possible second…should I unpack the craft room?”  Ugh.  2018 was rough, folks.

But I digress.  We are where we need to be now, and the craft room is unpacked, and I’m never moving again (she said as she chuckled anxiously), and so we can get back to our regularly-scheduled crafting program ’round these parts.  Boo-yah!

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Excuse the dark/blue lighting–it’s winter…

When I saw the “Happy Little Unicorns” fabric collection pop up on the “Coming Soon” page over at Fat Quarter Shop, I immediately subscribed to be notified when it became available because I KNEW it was perfect for my unicorn/glitter/rainbows-loving girl.  I had a completely different pattern picked out to use it with, but found myself browsing the Robert Kaufman website last year to look at the free quilt patterns that they released for their Kona Color of the Year announcement, and lo and behold, they have patterns listed for almost everything they release, INCLUDING a quilt pattern for the Happy Little Unicorns fat quarter bundle, appropriately named “Star Party.”

It’s nine big blocks, which was fantastic and fast; and the only modification I made to it was to substitute some polka dot lavender fabric in for some of the solid lavender (I think it was Corsage) around the middle block because I…probably cut something wrong?  I don’t remember, actually.  (Never did I insinuate that I was perfect.  NEVER.)  I used Robert Kaufman flannel in lilac for the quilt backing.

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The quilting was done by Utah Valley Quilting, and Kerri found a unicorn motif and we used lavender thread on the front and RAINBOW VARIEGATED on the back.  I mean, could it be anymore perfect than that?

SONY DSCBut then we finally got a job offer that actually stuck, and moving sucks and unpacking sucks even more, which brings us to this year, and me frantically attaching the binding earlier this week so that I could give it to her for her birthday.

I really thought she’d figured it out that I was working on finishing the quilt for her birthday, but she hadn’t, so she was pleasantly surprised when she opened it.  Win!

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The Details:

Fabric: “Happy Little Unicorns” fat quarter bundle by Sea Urchin Studio for Robert Kaufman.
2.25 yards of white solid for background
0.5 yards of Kona Cotton “Surf” for binding
3.5 yards Robert Kaufman flannel “Lilac” for backing

Pattern: Star Party

Quilting: I can’t find it on the Utah Valley Quilting site, but it definitely was in one of the design books at the shop.  It’s been so long since I had it done that I can’t remember what the design was called, sorry.  But I’m sure Kerri could help you figure it out if you wanted to use it.

I might actually end up using this pattern again because I really liked making it.  And I rarely use a pattern twice, so that’s a big compliment.  Love the big blocks, and super loved the adorable fabric collection.

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But, most of all, I loved making my girl happy!

Oh, my darling Clementine

It’s the twentieth of the month, and, if you’re one of the Clementine Quilt Along contributors, that’s the deadline for submitting photos of this month’s block so that they can be posted on the Fat Quarter Shop’s blog when they do the official release of the new pattern for the month.  Come this month’s release, you will not find my name on the list of bloggers sewing along.

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, I announced that I’m no longer a part of the quilt along due to my husband’s employment relocation that then fell through–we got word we were heading to North Carolina, and a few days later were told, “Yeah, never mind.”  But, the damage had been done: I had submitted my temporary withdrawal from the quilt along, we’d talked to a realtor and started prepping the house to sell, AND, worst of all, I started packing up my craft room.  So when we got the whiplash announcement that the job was not going to happen, it was just more than I could do to unpack everything and reset my craft room.

I will, once everything calms down/we’re settled wherever we’re going to end up, finish the quilt along.  I hope that I can jump back onboard before its official end because it’s a very fun thing to be a part of.  But, if life works out that I finally get to sew again after the quilt along is finished, then I’ll do it then.  It will still be cute even after the official ending date.

My kids are NOT happy about this, but it’s because I said I’d sew up the little cat and dog stuffies that come with the Woof Woof Meow fat quarter bundle once I was FINISHED with the Clementine Quilt.  (Apparently they don’t care about childhood cancer research, meaning that I’ve apparently failed as a parent…although they do think we should donate the one extra stuffed animal to a children’s hospital, so that makes me feel a little better.)

Obviously, things might get super quiet on the blog, but I do plan to come back after all this craziness subsides.  Any guesses where we’ll end up?  There’s been nothing local (except for, you know, that one job that wanted to pay him the same wage he made fifteen years ago when he was freshly out of college…um, no), so all his interviews have been out-of-state, which is…nerve-wracking, exciting, and dreadful all at the same time, ha ha.  It won’t matter much in the long run where we end up–we made Australia work, so we can make staying-in-the-same-country work rather nicely, too, I’m thinking.

I just hope our next house has enough room for a dedicated craft room.

Because I don’t think I can make anything work if I don’t have that.

(First world problem.)

(Whatever; I use my craft room to help raise money for childhood cancer research, yo–I’ll pine for a craft room all I want.)

Hopefully I’ll see you again soon with a new Clementine block, because that would mean we’re settled and all this craziness is done.  Let’s hope extra hard RIGHT NOW.  😉

Clementine Quilt Along Block #2

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It’s Clementine time again!  Woo-hoo!

This month’s block is called “Broken Berries,” and it boasts the nice little perk of using up any accidentally-made flying geese blocks from last month:

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It’s not too late to join up with this fun sew along that will benefit childhood cancer research at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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There’s a lot of us quilty bloggers participating in the Clementine Quilt Along, and you can check out their second blocks as well:

APRIL OF APRIL ROSENTHAL (@AMROSENTHAL)
BONNIE OF SUNSET FAMILY LIVING (@SUNSETFAMILYLIVING)
CARA OF THAT CRAFTY CARA (@THATCRAFTYCARA) <—THAT’S ME!
CARRIE OF MODA CUTTING TABLE (@MODAFABRICS)
DENISE OF PIECED BRAIN (@PIECEDBRAIN)
ELISE OF ELISE AND EMELIE (@ELISEANDEMELIE)
GINA OF CARPE QUILTIN (@GINA_TELL_CARPEQUILTIN)
HEATHER OF A CREATIVE PURSUIT (@ACREATIVEMAMA)
HILARY OF BY HILARY JORDAN (@BYHILARYJORDAN)
JAN OF COCOA QUILTS (@COCOAQUILTS)
JEN OF HERITAGE THREADS (@HERITAGE.THREADS)
JOANNE OF QUILTS BY JOANNE (@TURTLEQUILTERJO)
KAIRLE OF KAIRLE OAKS HANDCRAFTED GOODNESS (@KAIRLEOAKS)
KENDRA OF GOOD STARTER (@GOOD_STARTER)
KRISTEN OF 3 IN THE NEST (@THREEINTHENESTRALEIGH)
KRISTINA OF CENTER STREET QUILTS (@CENTERSTREETQUILTS)
LEAH OF PONDERINGS FROM MY HEART (@PONDERINGSFROMMYHEART)
MELANIE OF A BIT OF SCRAP STUFF (@MELLIERC)
MELISSA OF HAPPY QUILTING (@HAPPYQUILTINGMC)
PAT OF PAT SLOAN (@QUILTERPATSLOAN)
PAT B. OF LIFE IN THE SCRAPATCH (@SCRAPATCHES)
PATTY OF ELM STREET QUILTS (@ELMSTREETQUILTS)
REBECCA OF ONE WEE BIRD (@ONEWEEBIRD)
SARAH OF 123 QUILT (@123QUILT)
SEEMA OF SSK CRAFT SHOP (@SSKCRAFTSHOP)
SHERRI OF A QUILTING LIFE (@AQUILTINGLIFE)
SONDRA OF OUT OF THE BLUE QUILTS (@SONDRADAVISON)
STEPHANIE OF QUILT ‘N PARTY (@QUILTNPARTY)
TANYA OF TANYA QUILTS IN CO (@TANYAQUILTSINCO)
TERESA OF AUREA’S KITCHEN (@AUREASKITCHEN)
VICKIE OF CROCHETING VIXEN (@CROCHETINGVIXEN)

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Fat Quarter Shop has kitted up fabric for both the top and also for the backing, in April Rosenthal’s newest fabric collection, Mama’s Cottage.

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For more information about the sew along, including this month’s pattern download, you can check Fat Quarter Shop’s Clementine Sew Along landing page.

If you’d like to sew along, Fat Quarter Shop is asking for a $5 donation for each block pattern download, which you can donate here, to help them reach their goal of $40,000 raised to help in the battle against childhood cancers.

Clementine Quilt Along Block #1

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YES!  It’s Clementine Quilt Along time!  Fat Quarter Shop has designed a new block of the month program to help raise funds for childhood cancer research at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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I signed on to sew along, and here’s my block:

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It’s called “Watermelon Wheel,” and, if I may, I have some advice about putting it together (aka “Don’t Be Dumb Like Cara Was”)

  1.  When you go to sew up the diagonal components of the block, don’t go on auto-pilot and turn them into flying geese, and
  2.  After you re-cut the pieces for the diagonals, CHECK THEIR DIRECTION before starting to sew them, or you may end up with a whole lot of diagonals that go the wrong way.

However, once you finally remember how to sew like a good little sewist, this is a nice little block to make.  It looks great when you’re done, and part of the fun of this particular quilt along is that you’ll make two sizes of each block:

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I think it’s going to look pretty great when it’s all done!

I’m joining other bloggers to get the word out about this great fundraising opportunity, and we’re all sewing up Clementine blocks of our own.  If you’d like to see the other blocks out there, here’s who’s sewing along:

April of April Rosenthal (@amrosenthal)
Bonnie of Sunset Family Living (@sunsetfamilyliving)
Cara of That Crafty Cara (@thatcraftycara) <—that’s me!
Carrie of Moda Cutting Table (@modafabrics)
Denise of Pieced Brain (@piecedbrain)
Elise of Elise and Emelie (@eliseandemelie)
Gina of Carpe Quiltin (@gina_tell_carpequiltin)
Heather of A Creative Pursuit (@acreativemama)
Hilary of By Hilary Jordan (@byhilaryjordan)
Jan of Cocoa Quilts (@cocoaquilts)
Jen of Heritage Threads (@heritage.threads)
Joanne of Quilts by Joanne (@turtlequilterjo)
Kairle of Kairle Oaks Handcrafted Goodness (@kairleoaks)
Kendra of Good Starter (@good_starter)
Kristen of 3 in the Nest (@threeinthenestraleigh)
Kristina of Center Street Quilts (@centerstreetquilts)
Leah of Ponderings from My Heart (@ponderingsfrommyheart)
Melanie of A Bit of Scrap Stuff (@mellierc)
Melissa of Happy Quilting (@happyquiltingmc)
Pat of Pat Sloan (@quilterpatsloan)
Pat B. of Life in the Scrapatch (@scrapatches)
Patty of Elm Street Quilts (@elmstreetquilts)
Rebecca of One Wee Bird (@oneweebird)
Sarah of 123 Quilt (@123quilt)
Seema of SSK Craft Shop (@sskcraftshop)
Sherri of A Quilting Life (@aquiltinglife)
Sondra of Out of the Blue Quilts (@sondradavison)
Stephanie of Quilt ‘n Party (@quiltnparty)
Tanya of Tanya Quilts in CO (@tanyaquiltsinco)
Teresa of Aurea’s Kitchen (@aureaskitchen)
Vickie of Crocheting Vixen (@crochetingvixen)

Fat Quarter Shop has kitted up fabric for both the top and also for the backing, in April Rosenthal’s newest fabric collection, Mama’s Cottage.

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For more information about the sew along, including this month’s pattern download, you can check Fat Quarter Shop’s Clementine Sew Along landing page.

If you’d like to sew along, Fat Quarter Shop is asking for a $5 donation for each block pattern download, which you can donate here, to help them reach their goal of $40,000 raised to help in the battle against childhood cancers.

Classic & Vintage: Double Nine-Patch Quilt

Good morning, friends!  Today I get to FINALLY share Fat Quarter Shop’s newest pattern with you!  It’s from their “Classic & Vintage” series of patterns, and it’s called the Double Nine-Patch Quilt!

You probably aren’t aware that one of my most favoritest, favoritest things about quilts is NESTED SEAMS.  Seams that have to match perfectly, and so you press the seam allowances opposite each other so they’ll nest into each other and lock themselves into place…oh my goodness, sign me up for THAT.  You can imagine my exclamation of joy when I first laid eyes on the mock-up of Fat Quarter Shop’s newest pattern in their Classic & Vintage line-up, the Double Nine Patch:

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Just. look. at all of those nested seams.

Putting this quilt together is pretty simple–I’d even suggest that it’s accessible by a “gettin’ tired of making charm pack patchwork quilts” kind of beginner.  I actually kept track of how long each of my sewing sessions were with making this quilt, and I went from starching my pre-washed fabric to finishing attaching the borders in a little under twenty hours (spread over five days).  And the finished quilt is sooo beautiful:

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I just love classic patterns, and this is such a clean, pretty look.

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I chose to go with a fat quarter bundle of Riley Blake’s “Comfort & Joy” fabric collection, because, hello,  CHRISTMAS, and I decided that I was going to keep this quilt for myself and I have been in love with this collection since it was first released last year, so “Merry Christmas” to yours truly, mwa ha ha.  I love, love, love the red, green, and white together.  Oh, be still my Christmas heart.

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I had the quilting done by Utah Valley Quilting, in their “Holly AB” pattern.  I love how it turned out!

Fat Quarter Shop has a kit available with Sweetwater’s “Project Red” collection included (oh, it doesn’t get more classic than red and white, does it?), and also a backing kit to match.  (Seriously love the print they chose for the backing!)

As always, there’s a cute little video explaining the new pattern, and you can watch it here:

Oh my goodness, I love this quilt.  Thank you, Fat Quarter Shop, for the opportunity to help you spread the fun news of this new pattern!

Linking Up:
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict

 

My “New & Improved” Plan for Battling UFOs and Scraps

Last year I came up with a plan that would allow me to work through more UFOs, whittle down the overflowing scrap baskets in my craft room, and allow me to work, guilt-free, on some new projects.  In the past, I always start the new year with grandiose plans to blast through all of my UFOs, and the white-knuckle willpower would only last about six weeks because the textile world is constantly releasing new fabric, yarn, and pattern collections.  So, I came up with this project rotation:

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The Original Project Schedule

And it worked really well for about six months until I discovered a glitch with my system–I never chose fabric from my stash when it came around to make a “new” project, choosing instead to use new fabric from a new collection that excited me.  The stash was starting to grow faster than normal, and I had this weird reluctance to cut into any of it because it was dear to me.  You don’t buy fabric or yarn with no plan unless you’re really in love, which makes it hard to use said fabric or yarn.  But, as a wise homeschooling parent told me about art lessons with my kids, “Art supplies is meant to be consumed, not conserved.”  The same is true of fabric and yarn.  USE THEM.

Plus, I’ve been noticing a lot of my contemporaries breaking into the pattern market, and they are killin’ it, which made me start wondering if perhaps I should start at least trying to write my own patterns for my use?  I know how patterns work by this point in my creative “career,” and the challenge involved excited me as well.

And then we did some charity blocks in quilt guild and it just made me feel good to make those.

So my project rotation schedule needed a few tweaks:

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And it’s been working WONDERFULLY.  I love the challenge of coming up with my own patterns, and I really love the idea of #everytenthproject being a service project–it’s like paying tithing on my creative abilities, for which I am so grateful to possess.

I kept a spreadsheet detailing my projects for last year, and it really helped me with my stash management and with branching out of my comfort zone:

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(It also alerted me to the fact that I tend to only knit with new yarn, which led to the decision to stop stashing yarn completely…because once it goes into the stash, chances are high that I’ll not be interested in using it EVER after that.  Interesting.)

It worked extremely well until I started sewing again for Fat Quarter Shop–by the very nature of those projects, they are always “new” fabric projects, which very quickly started eating up the next available “new” slots in my plan.  I’ll have to watch out for that this year, and possibly come up with a plan to accommodate those projects–the turnaround time on them is tight, so it’s not possible to actually have a “plan” to include those projects into my schedule.  I might leave them out of the “rotation” altogether, actually, and just enjoy the ride when I’m asked to ride along…because, duh.

Oh, another important note: Babies and weddings don’t have to follow the schedule because they are also impossible to plan around.  I just plug them into the spreadsheet where they belong and then work around them as necessary because I LOVE BABIES AND WEDDINGS.  I’m a gift-crafter at my core.

What I find, though, is that this schedule greatly reduces the chances of acquiring more UFOs.  I’m horrendously distracted by the new-and-shiny, but when I’d start thinking about cutting for or casting on a new project, I’d consult my spreadsheet and see if it could fit into the next category up for grabs.  If it didn’t, I’d tentatively schedule it; but more often than not, when I came up to its turn in the rotation, my excitement for the new pattern would have waned and I could move on to something that had been on my bucket list and would truly bring me pleasure.  I started 2017 with thirty-eight UFOs, finished (or donated or frogged) nine UFOs, and am taking in two new UFOs–that means I now have thirty-one UFOs, which is totally an improvement!  I have never ended a year with less UFOs than I had at the beginning of it.  Feels good.

And now it’s onwards to a productive 2018!  Happy New Year, and may you find a little time each day to move forward on your projects.

clementine-qal-e1504126058289And if you’re looking for an idea for a service project, maybe you want to consider joining Fat Quarter Shop’s Clementine Quilt Along?  I’ve committed to it, and it would be lots of fun to have some more friends quilting along, too!

You can find more information about the Quilt Along by clicking here to visit the Fat Quarter Shop Blog.  Proceeds from this quilt along will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

 

The Nutcracker Mosaic Quilt Story

My mother and I adore decorating for the holidays, and we send each other new Christmas decorations most years, specially timed so that they arrive in the mail right about the day after Thanksgiving.  (Because it’s silly to give a Christmas decoration to someone to open ON Christmas–it just gets packed up the next day and you don’t get to use it for almost an entire year!)  My decoration theme is gingerbread men and woodsy greenery, and her decorating theme FOR YEARS has been snowmen.

But a few years ago she decided she was done with snowmen, and that she wanted to instead decorate with nutcrackers.

190e6f6925a9ba7931102d1122490416Last spring (think 2016) the fabulous “Nutcracker Christmas” fabric collection by Riley Blake came out, and the first time I saw it I thought, “Oh my goodness, that would be perfect for my mom!”  But money was tight, and it was softball season and I had no time to make anything anyway, so I told myself I’d revisit the idea at a later date.  Softball season came and went, and I kept catching glances of the collection and thinking every time that it really would be just perfect, but everything was working against me to buy the fabric.  But the pressure to make something with it kept hounding me.

Finally, one evening in July after having seen a whole bunch of mentions of the collection throughout the day, I had enough.  I was saying my evening prayers and I was so weighed down by thoughts of this fabric collection and really frustrated, so I decided to just be straight with God about my dilemma.  I told Him that I felt like He wanted me to make a nutcracker quilt for my mom for whatever reason, but that I just could not make the financial aspect of getting the fabric to work out, and if He really wanted me to make the quilt, then He needed to figure out how to get the fabric to me for free.  I was instantly washed over with a feeling of relief, and, thinking that the matter was settled and I was freed from the obligation, I crawled into bed, sighing with gratitude that I wouldn’t have to worry about the nutcracker quilt anymore.

The next day was quilt guild, and I set out for my meeting with a peaceful heart, settled into my seat on the front row, and chatted with my friends while waiting for the meeting to begin.  A member of my guild, Shannon, asked if she could make an announcement.  She walked up to the front of the room carrying a large basket and said that she had lots of scraps leftover from some quilts she’d made and that we could have anything we wanted that was in the basket.

Guess what was sitting on the very top of the pile?  Yep, a bundle of Nutcracker Christmas fabric.  I looked up at the ceiling and shook my head in humbled amazement.

il_340x270.1029714215_rds0Upon getting home, I measured the fabric in the bundle and I had roughly a fat eighth of every print in the collection, plus about a yard of all three colors of the border print.  That’s A LOT of fabric to get for free!

I decided to use the fabric with the “Mosaic” pattern found in Fat Quarter Style, and that I wanted to fussy cut the border fabric for the Christmas trees, gifts, and individual nutcrackers, using  the rest of the fabric to fill in the mosaic blocks.

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I chose to use Kona “Snow” for the borders and sashing, and ordered some more of my favorite print for the back.

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Utah Valley Quilting did the quilting; it’s “Christmas Pano 2009 SD,” using a light mint/seafoam-colored thread.  I went into the shop thinking white thread, but Kerri, the shop owner, talked me into a little bit of color and I’m so glad I listened to her!  The quilting really pops on this quilt!

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Last, but not least, the binding is made up of leftovers of the diamond section of the border print fabrics.

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I apologize for the photos–in my haste to make sure that the quilt got to my mom on the day after Thanksgiving, I rushed it to the post office and forgot to do a photo shoot!  “Draped over chair in living room so I could show the binding to my best friend in a Google Hangouts photo” is all I have of it in its completed state.  At least there’s that, right?

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I love how this quilt turned out, down to its cute little quilt label!  My mom phoned me half an hour after opening the box, apologizing that it took so long to contact me because she’d “been staring at it for twenty minutes” before remembering to give me a call.  She’s extremely pleased with her gift, and even more so after I told her the backstory of how this quilt came into existence.  Perhaps she just needed a reminder that God loves her?  It was fun to let Him work through me.  This has been a Christmas gift for both my mother and myself.

Life’s Simple Pleasures

I was driving the Brookelets home from school the other day and noticed that a tree on the side of the street had a lot of its leaves twirling towards the ground, which prompted me to exclaim, “Oh!  Falling leaves!  One of life’s simple pleasures.”

Miss Junebug scrunched her nose at me and asked, “What does that mean, ‘life’s simple pleasures’?”  I explained that a simple pleasure was a rather ordinary occurrence that just made your heart happy, and generally didn’t cost any money, which made it all the more special because it reminds you that you don’t need to spend money to be happy.  My girl nodded and went back to reading her book.

What I thought was a quick little explanation of some random phrase has apparently been percolating in her mind because we were driving to the library today, and saw a maple tree whose leaves had all turned a brilliant scarlet, but hadn’t fallen off the tree.  Junebug saw it and said, “It’s too bad those leaves aren’t falling off the tree because then they could be a simple pleasure for Mom.”  I explained that, even though the leaves were still on the tree, it was still a simple pleasure for me because I liked how it looked.

She looked at me through narrowed eyes, “Does that mean that simple pleasures can happen even if you spend money on them?”

“What? How did you make that leap?” I asked.

“Well,” she said, “you spend a lot of time just looking at your quilts and the things you knit, and it makes you really happy.  But you spent money on them, so I thought it was a complicated pleasure.”

I laughed, “A complicated pleasure?  No, spending money doesn’t take away the simple pleasure of admiring a job well done.  I’m proud of myself for finishing a big project, and I’m pleased with the good job that I’ve done on that project, so it makes me happy to look at it a lot and just be pleased.  It’s fun to make stuff.”

“Really?” she said, “Because it doesn’t seem like you have a lot of fun when you’re making stuff.  You yell a lot, and you breathe angrily when you run out of thread.  And sometimes you burn yourself on the iron or cut yourself with the circle blade…”

I studied her face for a moment, then turned away to stare at the traffic on the road while I thought about her statement.  Then I nodded, glanced over at her and said, “You’re right…it’s complicated.”