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.

20170901_0805432-2

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

20170908_145400-2

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!

20171016_100339-3

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

20171113_161033-2

 

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?

image-20171120_134822-2

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.

Advertisements
Briar Rose baby quilt made by Cara Brooke @ thatcraftycara.com

Briar Rose Baby Quilt

Briar Rose quilt made by Cara Brooke @ thatcraftycara.com

Another baby quilt completed during this Year of ALL THE BABIES™!  This was for another friend from college, and I decided to bust out the coveted Briar Rose charm packs that I had been saving for “something special.”  She had mentioned in Facebook comments that she hoped to not “drown in a sea of pink,” and Briar Rose is the perfect amount of girly without a lot of pink, in my opinion.

Briar Rose baby quilt made by Cara Brooke @ thatcraftycara.com

My oldest daughter, Emily, helped me out with piecing the top as part of her summer chores (I’ve assigned one hour of sewing to her everyday in the hopes that she’ll start making  a dent in some of her WIPs).  I then took over from there with the quilting and finishing.

Vine and clover quilting on Briar Rose baby quilt made by Cara Brooke @ thatcraftycara.com

 

I was stressing pretty bad about the baby quilts when I started quilting this one, and I just decided to let go of all of the expectations of getting gifts done before the babies were born so I could actually enjoy the process of making the gifts.  I was going to burn through the quilting on this with a simple stipple design, but the quilt spoke to me and it wanted some sort of floral quilting.  Floral stipple?  Nope.  Chrysanthemum all-over design?  Nope.  And then the idea of vines and clover popped into my head, and the quilt clapped its hands in excitement, and off we went.  It took longer to do, but I’m so glad I went that route.  It was a good exercise in doing something new.

Back of Briar Rose baby quilt made by Cara Brooke @ thatcraftycara.com

I tracked down some Briar Rose yardage* for the back, which made my matchy-matchy heart so happy, and I dipped into my preciously-hoarded stash of my own Briar Rose yardage for the binding.

Briar Rose baby quilt made by Cara Brooke @ thatcraftycara.com

I decided to take some time and also have fun with the label, and I love how it turned out…little, teeny pinwheels!  Oh, be still my heart.  Love, love, love.

Quilt label on Briar Rose baby quilt made by Cara Brooke @ thatcraftycara.com

It’s simple patchwork, yes, but I’m super proud of it–beautiful fabric, new quilting design, and adorable little label.  It makes me smile to look at the pictures every time I see them.  AND it was a joint project with my girl…win-win all around.

Briar Rose baby quilt made by Cara Brooke @ thatcraftycara.com

*I found the Briar Rose yardage at Lark Cottons, and they still have yardage of various prints!

Snowflake Trapunto Pillow

Forget Me Not Rollie PollieIf you’ve been following me on Instagram (@thatcraftycara), you saw my announcement a few weeks ago that I was asked to be a “Fabric Ambassador” for Calico Cat Fabrics.  My first “assignment” arrived a few days after the announcement:  a rollie pollie of the “Forget Me Not” fabric collection by Sue Daley and made by Penny Rose fabrics.

My knee jerk idea for the fabric was to add a little red and go the patriotic route, but I knew I couldn’t get something made up fast enough for the approaching Fourth of July weekend, so I didn’t want to spend my time making something that would then sit in a box for a year.

So I sat that little roll of fabric on my cutting table and we had a showdown.

The fabric won.

Exasperated, I went to bed.

But the next morning…ah, dear readers, the power of the early morning walk.  I had too many ideas, and I eventually had an epiphany regarding how to deal with these cuts of fabric that will be making their way to me:  Forget that it’s an assignment and act like it’s a gift.  THEN make something that I’d want to make, rather than what I thought others wanted me to make.  I mean, I was selected for the role based upon the things I was making for my own amusement, so it’d probably work out well to keep up with how I was already doing things, right?

I asked myself what I would make if no one was ever going to see that roll of fabric ever again, and a vision flashed through my mind.  The blues of the fabric collection made for a good snow-themed project.  Never mind that it was June, the fabric wanted to be used for wintertime purposes.  So I listened to the fabric, paired it with a fat quarter of white-on-white snowflake print, found a quilt block with a large chunk of negative space in its center (“Star and Chains” from The Quilter’s Cache), and plunged forward.

Close-up of That Crafty Cara's Snowflake Trapunto Pillow

I’d seen mentions of “trapunto” quilting, or “stuffed quilting,” in random corners of the blogosphere, and I’d always thought it was pretty, and I thought the technique would make for some extra prettiness on this particular project.  It wasn’t hard at all, and I’m totally planning on using this technique to beef up some of my future quilting projects!

I chose a simple snowflake shape for the trapunto portion of the pillow:

Trapunto quilting

Snowflake Trapunto Pillow featuring

Patchwork pillow featuring

This pillow used five of the fabric strips from the roll, leaving sixteen left over, so I have a second project in the works using up the other sixteen strips.  I thought I’d make a second pillow at first, but I’d used up most of the dark strips on this pillow alone, and I didn’t want a pillow with less contrast.  So, I’m dusting off a pattern I’ve had my eye on for a year and giving it a go with the leftovers.  Two projects from one little rollie pollie!

Thank you so much, Calico Cat Fabrics, for allowing me the opportunity to work with you and to stretch my creative muscles a bit.  I’m looking forward to our future projects together!

And, yes, I’m writing up a tutorial about trapunto quilting that I hope to share with you next week!  See you then!

Linking up with:
Link a Finish Friday @ Richard and Tanya Quilts
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Let’s Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts

Scrappy Snowman Pillows

That Crafty Cara's Scrappy Snowman Pillows

My first finish of 2015!

Quarter Square Triangles

Quilting on Scrappy Snowman PillowsThese were made with the insane amount of snowman fabric that I found in my stash during the great stash re-organization a couple of months ago, and I thought I’d be clever and use it up in a project.  Ridiculously, I have continued to find more and more of this fabric as I continue to unpack.  I’m drowning here, people.

The pattern is Sherri McConnell’s “Sugar Pine Pillows” from her Fresh Family Traditions book.  I followed the pattern exactly, even down to the quilting.

I didn’t have any pieces of the snowman fabric large enough for the backing, so I ordered some cute Dear Stella Tinsel Town fabric for the backing and binding, which was wonderful because the cute little snowman fabric has been catching my eye for months.

Pillow backing on Scrappy Snowman Pillows
I’m not sure if I’ll keep these or if I’ll give them away.  My kids think they’re pretty awesome, and they’re rather festive…so, we’ll see.

Linking up with:
Scraps Monday @ A Quilting Life
Sew Cute Tuesday @ Blossom Hearts
Let’s Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts
Needle & Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation
Finish It Up Friday @ crazymomquilts
Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday @ TGIFF
Link a Finish Friday @ Richard and Tanya Quilts
Scrap Happy Saturday @ SoScrappy

Finished: Cheerful Baby Quilt

My dreams have finally come to realization! I am a completely finished blanket! Oh, it’s wonderful!

The oldest girl really likes me and I’ve victoriously been added to the necessary accessories needed for her to go to sleep each night. It also appears that I am her go-to television blanket. She wraps me around her like a shawl whenever she watches TV.

It’s really happened, I’m finally finished. It’s taken years to get to my completion, but it’s been worth it when I’m lovingly dragged around the house and demanded for each night. Life is good; downright cheerful, I’d say.

Yee Haw, Movin’ Along…

Well, the Cowboy Quilt is officially pieced. All that stands between it and completion is a couple of trips to the quilting shop; one to pick out the fabric for the backing and binding, another to drop it off with its backing and batting to be quilted and one last trip to pick it up to take home and sew on the binding. (I’m going to have it professionally quilted because I don’t like to machine quilt and, truthfully, their quilting just plain looks better than mine.)

Rabbit thinks the quilt top makes a swell picnic blanket. (Too bad she dumped that cup of water on it about five seconds after the picture was taken.)

Yes, the blanket seems small; but, in my experience, it’s the smaller baby blankets (24 x 36 inches or so) that become children’s favorites. I’ve made some 36 x 48″ blankets, but that size seems to be too cumbersome for little people to tote. Both Bluebird and Rabbit have adopted “blankies” that are about 2 x 3 feet, so I started making my gift blankets that size as well.