Friday, 24 October 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival Strawberry Mini Quilt Applique Category Entry

Blogger's Quilt Festival opened today! Amy of Amy's Creative Side hosts Blogger's Quilt Festival to coincide with Quilt Market every Spring and Fall. This is a special treat for all of us who do not get to attend quilt market to show our work and view everyone else's beautiful work as well. Plus there are amazing prizes from the wonderful sponsors. I am entering my Strawberry Mini Quilt from this summer's Strawberry Swap on Instagram in the applique category for the festival.

Strawberry Mini Quilt for the Instagram Strawberry Swap by Anita LaHay.
I took my inspiration from a pillow on Pinterest that was similar to this but it was paper pieced. I created my own wall hanging version with appliqued strawberries. I changed out the thread for the blanket stitching to match each fabric so the machine applique work took a few sewing sessions. I quilted around the strawberries on the background with stippling so the strawberries really puff up off the quilt. A machine wash and dry enhanced this effect. I am so pleased with how it turned out and my swap partner was very happy too. This quilt measures 18 x 18 inches.

Update: I had a question in the comments for where I found the strawberry shape. I Googled free applique patterns and found my strawberry shape here.

Thank you for stopping by to see my quilt! Please check out the other quilts in the festival too. You can click the "Blogger's Quilt Festival" button in my button bar to get over there.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

A Thank You Gift for a Wonderful Doctor

It's not everyday that you meet a person whom you feel you can immediately trust with your life and the lives of your children. A person who disarms you and puts you at ease almost effortlessly. This is the type of person who delivered my baby girl last month. I truly felt that everything was going to be fine. And feeling that everything was going to be fine was a big deal because my pregnancy was a surprise and I am no spring chicken. Anyway, I wanted to make a gift for this doctor because he did make my life so much easier just by being himself and being here and also because I believe if it weren't for him I may not be here today to write this blog post.

Elephant Wall Hanging by Anita LaHay of Daydreams of Quilts
So here is the Elephant Wall Hanging that I have been working on this month. I was going for a South African feel as my doctor immigrated to Canada from there. I was inspired by a rainbow elephant that I saw on Pinterest. You can find that one in my Pinterest feed under the "Quilts" board. (Click the Pinterest link in the Mason Jars on the right side of the blog.) I am very happy with how this turned out. I wasn't going to put an eye on the elephant but a couple of people who saw it felt very strongly that it needed an eye so I quilted it in. This quilt is about 18 x 20 inches. I gave this to my doctor today and it made him very happy so that makes me very happy. I think it is important to tell people how much we appreciate them when we have the chance.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

Hi! It's my turn to write a post for the "Around the World Blog Hop." This post will be heavy on photos. :) Some of my quilts will be at the bottom.

I was tagged by Bethany of Sew Ruthie. She is a fellow quilter and we both also love entering giveaways. We "know" each other through our blogs and Instagram. You never know, maybe someday we'll meet in a quilt shop or at a conference! :) She wrote her blog hop post last week and is showing many of her lovely quilts in her post.

I was also tagged in September by the lovely Lori of Sew Psyched. Lori and I also met on Instagram and we read each other's blogs. She is the nicest person. I've never met her but I feel like we're old friends. You've gotta check out her blog too because she has amazing and funny stories about living in Alaska and her encounters with the wildlife that lives there as well as her beautiful quilts. Back in September I was having a baby and couldn't commit to posting on time but here I am today.

So! That's how I came to be writing this post. It's Thanksgiving Monday here in Canada so HAPPY THANKSGIVING! We had our turkey supper yesterday. My Mom, Dad, brother, sister and Grandma all came out to Wainwright from Edmonton. It's a 2 hour drive so not too bad. Mom and Dad came on Saturday and they prepared Thanksgiving dinner. Well, mostly Mom did the cooking but my Dad helped too. My husband and I are pretty busy with out new baby plus our other two kids but it was nice to be able to "host" even though we weren't cooking.

For those who haven't been to my blog before, Welcome! I've been out for a few walks this week to take some photos to show you.

There is a horse paddock at the end of our street and we often walk down there to see the horses. These three were very friendly last Sunday and came to the fence for pets.

Aren't they beautiful? We don't have horses but we do enjoy visiting with them.

This one really likes being petted and has a marking that looks like a lightning bolt on his forehead.

Here are my son and daughter with my husband (our baby girl was with me, taking the photo, in my baby wrap.) We pick grass for the horses as it's always greener on the other side of the fence. ;)

The neighbourhood where we live. The horse paddock is in behind the houses between the houses and the lake.

I was trying to get a close-up of this Great Plains Bison but he saw me coming and started running. Literally running!

Here he is trotting away. The bison live in another paddock. They are one of the town of Wainwright's tourist attractions.
We used to live in Edmonton but we are really enjoying the more relaxed pace of living in the country. It's much quieter here too. Sometimes at night we hear the railway trains blowing their horns and that usually sets the coyotes off howling but at least we don't hear traffic noise!

Okay, so here's some questions for me to answer on the blog hop:

1. What am I working on?
I am currently working on the "Scattered" quilt from the book "Modern Quilts From the Blogging Universe." I just need to sew the squares into rows and put the top together.
The squares are all stacked up by my sewing machine but I've been too busy to sew them together yet.
I am also working on an elephant wall hanging for my doctor who delivered my baby to thank him for being an awesome doctor and for basically saving my life. He came to Canada from South Africa so I am trying for an elephant in a African sunset type of look. I will show it here when it's finished.

2. How does my work differ from others in it's genre?
Sometimes I make a quilt almost exactly as the pattern writer made it just because I love the quilt on the pattern so much. Sometimes, as above, I use different fabrics in the pattern. I do often use patterns for the quilts I sew so in that way my work isn't always different. Sometimes I do also "invent" my own quilts, or "improv" them, as in the wall hanging below.

Maple Leaf Modern Mini by Anita LaHay.
So I just sew what I love and if that makes me different or the same it doesn't really matter to me as long as I am happy. :)

I have sewn three Quilts of Valour for Canadian soldiers. I have known all of the soldiers I have sewn for so I know some of what they went through and that makes the process all the more special. Here are my Quilts of Valour:



3. Why do I create what I do?
In the case of the Quilts of Valour it is to thank a soldier for their service and sacrifice to my country and to comfort them in their suffering and hopefully help to heal them. In the case of my other quilts it is to create a personal gift, fill a need in my own home or challenge myself. In the case of all the quilts it is to keep my own sanity by doing something I love. I often say the only thing I love more than quilting is my children. So that's some serious love! :)

4. How does my creating process work?
One of the things I find comforting about quilting is that there's an order to things. First choosing the pattern or drawing up my design. Then choosing the fabrics and auditioning them for the quilt. (One of the best parts!) Then cutting, piecing, quilting and binding. So in that way the projects have their own process. I'm just immersed in it. And so is my sewing room judging by the mess!

I could go on but if you've made it this far you are probably needing a coffee! So I'll tag two more bloggers to keep the blog hop going. Please visit their blogs and show them some love! Their posts will be up next Monday.

I am tagging Erin of Wild Creative Soul . She is a writer and fellow quilter as well as a mother, birthing doula and early childhood educator among many other talents. Plus, an all around wonderful person.

I am also tagging Willa of Jawk Studio who is also a wonderful quilter and she does creative work in her professional life as well. She and I met through Instagram when we both joined a birthday club for Canadians! We are having loads of fun getting to know other quilters in our country through the club where we create and buy birthday gifts for each other.

Thanks for stopping by my blog on the Around the World Blog Hop! Here's a few more photos. :)

A strawberry mini I made for the Strawberry Swap on Instagram.

Camille Roskelley's "Hashtag" quilt that I finished in August and donated to a charity.

Hand embroidered and sewn gifts for the birthday club's September birthday girl.

A Great Plains Bison in winter. I am not looking forward to the cold coming back. Apparently we are in for a long cold winter this year.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Instagram Halloween Swap Projects

I have been having so much fun joining swaps over on Instagram. Sewing for someone you don't know is a fun challenge. It's also exciting because the other person also sews and/or quilts so you know they will truly appreciate all the work you put in to your projects.

This is what I made for the Kawaii Halloween swap. Kawaii is Japanese for "cute" so our swap items had to be cute (not scary.) I made these adorable zombies. If you want to make some too there is a free tutorial here.


I used fabric from the Riley Blake "Zombie Apocalypse" line for my zombies. The blush on her cheeks was done by rubbing a crafting sponge onto a red ink stamp pad, blotting most of the ink off on paper and then carefully rubbing her cheeks in little circles. I made the skull zipper pouch with the skull fabric from the Geekly Chic line. I'm not sure of the name of the spider web fat quarters that I put in the package. I also made some little greeting cards with white flocked pumpkins with my Stampin' Up supplies.


Sorry, this image is a little blurry. I was in a rush to get these packed up and out to the post office on the mailing deadline day. Our post office closes at 3:00 p.m.! I hope my partner will love these as much as I do. I made a set for myself too! (And also some for my Aunt who saw them on my Facebook page and wanted some for her Halloween collection. It really was a Zombie Apocalypse in my craft room!)

The photo below is what I made for the Trick or Treat Halloween swap on Instagram. It was harder to "stalk" my partner as her Instagram account was not available to me but I found her on Flickr and she had this little bat in her feed. I clicked through to the tutorial to get the pattern to make him. If you want to make one you can find the tutorial here. Everyone in the swap was told to make a bag using this tutorial. The drawstring bag was easy. The paper pieced bat was not so easy (for me) but I made it through. I messed up and put a background piece where his tummy should be so I just filled it in with embroidery stitches and now he has a fuzzy belly. :)

This swap partner only wanted sewing notions in her treat bag so I hope what I bought for her is to her liking. I made a skull zipper pouch again here and small skull Halloween cards too with metallic silver embossing.

Whew! So relieved to have these out in the mail. I can't wait for my own swap packages to come in. :)

Monday, 29 September 2014

Lua Sleep Sack - A Finished Project

I have been meaning to sew this for about three months now but I finally got it finished yesterday. It's a "Lua Sleep Sack" for my new baby daughter. I used a pattern by Straight Grain Patterns. If you want to make one too you can find it on An's website I found this pattern to be very well written and I had no problems following it. The most tricky part was putting in the zipper on the side but once I got it straight in my head by reading the instructions it was not a problem at all. I recommend this pattern (and no one has asked me to say that... that is from my own experience and opinion.)


I used Tula Pink's squirrel fabric from her "The Birds and The Bees" line for Free Spirit Fabrics. The pattern has an option of sewing a lovely piping detail on the bodice but I opted not to use that on this one due to the large print on my fabric and also because I wanted to use some matching Tula Pink Ribbon that I bought especially for this project. This is size 0-6 months. I plan to sew more in sizes 6 months-1 year and 1-2 years. For this sleep sack I decided not to have batting between the layers as small/new babies have trouble regulating their own body temperatures. The lining is Bonnie & Camille's Sundae print for Moda in flannel. For the larger sizes I will probably use batting between the layers unless the sleep sacks will be used in the summer.


Here is my little girl in her sleep sack. It is still way too big for her but she is growing fast. (Her feet are just  at the flowers below the big squirrels under the ribbon on the bodice.) I like sleep sacks because babies cannot kick them off and wake up cold. There's already enough waking up in the night as it is! :)

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

WIP Scattered Quilt

I have a WIP and a finish to show you today. First up is my finish. It's a baby wrap! I tried it out today for my first walk outside with our new baby Aylin. We walked up to the post office with Daddy to check the mail. (There were two packages of fabric for me! Hooray!) The walk is about 1 km round trip and it went very well with the new wrap.

Briar Rose baby wrap.
 I used a jersey knit from the Briar Rose line by Heather Ross for Windham Fabrics for the wrap and then put a panel of the orange Nanny Bees from the same line on the front. The panel does not stretch as much as the jersey so baby is more secure. Plus, it looks cute. :) I had a general idea of how to make this in my head as I owned a wrap the last time I had a baby (almost six years ago!). Just to confirm I was on the right track I looked up a "how to" video on YouTube. I watched this one by "Mikmaq Mama" to get a general idea. I used 2.5 yards of jersey and cut it in half on the fold line. Then sewed the short ends together to make a 5 yard piece. I am finding it could have been longer so I would recommend using 3 yards and creating a 6 yard long wrap. I then cut my panel from a half yard of the Nanny Bee quilting cotton as it was slightly bigger than a fat quarter. I just sewed the panel right on top of the jersey to cover the middle seam. Then went all the way around with a stretch edging stitch on my sewing machine. That part took the longest. There are YouTube videos on how to wear the wrap that popped up with the Mikmaq Mama video. I really only know the one way on the front.

And here is my W.I.P. (work in progress). Daddy and Baby are sleeping this afternoon so I got my "Scattered" quilt laid out on my "design floor" a.k.a. the kitchen floor.I am now ready to start sewing the top together.
Scattered Quilt using "Barcelona" by Zen Chic. Quilt designed by Allison Harris for "Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe."
I was originally sewing this because I have meant to sew it since the book came out and I first saw it on Allison's blog . I was also sewing it as part of the "Sewvivor Sewalong" on Instagram hosted by Rach at Family Ever After . I'm not sure I'll be done in time for the sew along but I do plan to be done soon. I think this will be a nice quilt for my son's bed.

My wrap will get a lot of use for sewing with baby... especially when Daddy goes back to work at the end of next week. It will be interesting to see if I manage quilting while wearing a baby. I think piecing will be fine but maybe not quilting.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Baby News

I haven't blogged here in a while and this is why. Our new baby girl was born on September 10th. I named her Aylin after a fellow quilter and blogger in Germany who blogs at www.aylin-nilya.blogspot.de  I had won an Instagram giveaway from Aylin a couple of months ago and I thought her name was so beautiful that I decided to give it to my daughter. Aylin tells me the name means "little moon" or "the shadow around the moon." We love our new little girl and her beautiful name.
Baby Aylin dressed and ready to go home from the hospital Sept. 13th.

Aylin wearing a baby bib received from a quilty friend on Instagram. Bib made by Becca Cleaver.

Hanging out with Mommy on a quilt on the couch.
Isn't it so fascinating how we quilters can make friends with each other online across miles and oceans? I love it! I am off pain killers now and we are into day 10. I think I might be up to sewing soon and the first thing I want to sew is a baby wrap. I am also busy scheming up a mini quilt idea for the Instagram Mini Swap.