{ love } the healing quilt

Thank you. Your comments and emails mean so much right now.

It's been seven weeks since we lost our baby and I am still going through the motions of daily life in a fog most of the time.  I have to concentrate just to remember what month it is. Or the day of the week. I'm already failing miserably with back to school deadlines and have what seems like fifteen alerts set up on my phone so I don't forget simple things like meeting Fidget at the bus after kindergarten or taking my medication. 

For one minute things seem better and then I spy a newborn baby girl or hear a song on the radio or smell something that would have turned my stomach while pregnant but doesn't anymore because, well, I'm not. And then I am plunged into the deep again, head spinning and emotions in full gear. 

I have also been moved to tears by the kindness and generosity of others.

While on a much-needed getaway with my husband on the Oregon Coast last week, my dear friend, Sarah, and her family met us in town for dinner.  We were staying at her family's cabin and I was already indebted to her for hooking us up with such a great spot at the last minute.

Cannon Beach, OR

Not only did they make a 90-minute drive to have dinner with us one night, but she surprised me with one of the most beautiful gifts I have ever received.  In the weeks since I had lost Darcy, Sarah and some of my closest crafty friends from all over the country had collaborated to create a quilt for me and my family.


Oh, the tears.


The word 'surprised' is totally inadequate.


So is the word 'beautiful'.


And 'thoughtful'.


And 'meaningful'.


Some of the blocks have butterflies -- in the print or in shape or, even, embroidered.  It was quilted with a butterfly pattern.  And our names are embroidered in the quilting as well.


As you can imagine, I am still overwhelmed by this generous and thoughtful gift. On the other hand, I am under strict direction to make sure this thing gets used, so I have it in my living room on the sofa for everyday use. Its presence is a gentle reminder of the love that surrounds and lifts us up. The girls are obsessed with finding their names in the stitching and it has already served to cuddle and nap, to crawl upon and hide under, as a tent and, today, as a giant Fidget Burrito.


Every time I open it, I notice one more detail.


The words 'thank you' are so ridiculously short of what I need and want to say.  I love this quilt.  I love the women whose hands and fabric stashes reached out to hug me the only way they could.  I still don't feel deserving of something so big, but I am so very grateful for their love.


Sarah has written a beautiful blog post about how the quilt came to be, and about blogs and friends and the universe. You should read it.


So, this post is my thank you to all of them.  My dear friends... Sarah Jackson, Jade Sims, Grace Snow, Erin Harris, Cathy Gaubert, Beki Lambert, Laura Capello, Lori Hanson, Alicia Alferman, Amy Harding, Michelle Needham, Emily Demsky, Sarah Brundage, Lisa Clarke, and Stacy Dinkel.  Thank you.  We love it.  I love it. 

The quilt also came with an original watercolor card painted by my friend, the sweet and talented Heather Smith Jones.  I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to have a third piece of hers in my house... you betcha I'm framing this one, too. 

hsj card (love)

It was quilted by Tillie Studio and I still marvel at how she got our names in there. Beautiful.


I'm looking back through this post shaking my head.  It's not enough. I need to shoot each square and post them in my flickr album so you can see who made what and appreciate each block individually. Later today, perhaps, when the sun is out and the light is better.

For now, I have a date with Spunky, a cup of coffee, and a comfy spot on the sofa. 

xoxo.  Love is all you need.

{ love this! } things I'd like to try + a baby blanket

blanket for ella

As if a mile-high stack of clothing projects in the sewing room, kitchen makeover planning, that etsy shop that keeps staring with sad doggy eyes, and a new workout regime weren't already fighting for every spare minute of my time... I keep finding little projects here and there and adding them to my list.


This tiny little play house at house wren studio

Alicia's wrist cuff tutorial

Dyeing trim and what not a la Beki

Crochet a flowered baby beanie cap once I have figured out how to crochet.

The Japanese coin purse at Purl Bee

the nursery is red and black and white

And I have been terrible about reading up on everything these days, so I'm sure there are more fun projects out there.  What are you wanting to try???


Photos are of a baby blanket made for Fidget's former teacher, Miss Andrea.  Fidge was so excited to attend her very first baby shower.  

Like the blanket that Jade made for Wonderbaby, this one is backed with a fuzzy minky fabric, turned inside out and topstitched around the edge for closure.  There must be something to it, because WB kept wanting to snuggle it, too.

Happy Weekending! xoxo

{ sewing } baby quilt for Rory

We have been celebrating the sweetest news a la Fence.


There is a new cousin to love.


To snuggle.


To grow with.

rory quilt

Another little girl for the gaggle.


And we are so very very thrilled.

Rory quilt

Little Rory, we can't wait to love you up in person.   (New Mexico is So Far!)

Rory quilt

miss chris and her girlies


Supplies:  vintage sheeting + quilting cotton + flannel backing.  

Technique: In lieu of batting, I used simple quilter's cotton inside.  This is not a fluffy or stiff quilt -- very lightweight!  Running-stitch embroidery both before and after quilting.  Cotton heart doily applique on reverse.  Crazy quilted stripes in all directions. 

I loved making this one with all my heart.  The sheets are so incredibly soft, and the doily adds that special extra texture that babies love. We heard the nursery was pink and brown (or tan), so I just went with that. I hope it doesn't clash too terribly much and gets lots of use.

{ quilts } For Mack

I love it when the end product turns out just like what you imagined.


This baby quilt is for Mack.  Short for Macarthur.  Mack's Daddy -- ha!-- is one of hubs' best friends and this is about three months late.  But to be fair, they wouldn't reveal the sex until he was born, so I'm not going to beat myself up over it.


For this quilt, I used mens' dress shirts and some basic quilter's cottons.  I LOVE how the dress shirt cuttings work in there.  I wanted to make a boy baby quilt that didn't scream TRACTORS or DINOSAURS or BALLS or whatever... but something that would still read 'boy'.


I'm in love with this kind of random stripey crazy quilting.  (The results, anyway.  Machine quilting is still my second choice, but it is quickly becoming my favorite way to drive myself batty on a Saturday night.)


A good satin stitch project is one of the only ways I can sit still long enough to watch a show.  I loved using this font -- printed it out, and traced it onto the fabric using the light from a window.  Very high-tech. 


That's it. The one thing I would change maybe is to use a flannel inside instead of the batting.  As heavily quilted as this thing is, it feels a little stiff for a baby.  Hopefully, Mack's Mommy will wash it a lot and it will soften.  But I always worry that gift quilts are going to end up on a shelf.  

Jenny, if you're reading this, DON'T be afraid to wash it!  xoxoxo


FYI:  The Craft Hope for Haiti Shop is still adding new items!!

Beki Several of the mini quilts pictured in Pretty Little Mini Quilts from Lark Books (soon to be released) were listed for sale just last night.

This one was made by my friend Beki from artsy crafty babe.  Isn't it gorgeous?

Also, if you haven't checked there in a while, there are also a few hangbags donated by Amy Butler herself, like this Field BagAB-bag .  The pinkness is killing me.

There are also several books that have been donated -- including signed copies of Hh The Creative Family and Handmade Home, both by Amanda Soule.

According to Sarah and Jade, the shop has now raised over $30,000 for Doctors Without Borders in Haiti. Wow. That's something big.


{ sewing } Parade of Handmade Christmas: Table Runner

I'm telling you.  There was a reason this little blog was quiet in December.  I couldn't post ANYTHING without giving away secrets.

For Natalie, Christmas table runner + napkins

This table runner was for a girlfriend I have known for 4 years and never met in person.  We met online in a small group of moms who were due in March 2006.  Five of us still keep in touch almost daily and have exchanged gifts for years.   Natalie is a crafter, too, so I thought she'd appreciate a little handmade Christmas goody.

For Natalie, Christmas table runner + napkins

I used a combination of linen, flannel and quilting cottons.

For Natalie, Christmas table runner + napkins

My favorite part is the crazy machine quilting.  I'd never quilted anything so densely before, but the runner size made it easy to to.  And now I'm hooked.

This is the back.

For Natalie, Christmas table runner + napkins

And another shot of the front:

For Natalie, Christmas table runner + napkins

She got some coordinating napkins, too.  Just because.


For Natalie, Christmas table runner + napkins

Next up, monogram pillows.  And then I think I'm done.  Sheesh.

The Olivia Baby Quilt

I tell you what, my friends sure are keeping me busy making baby gifts these days.  Not that I'm complaining; I'm getting my fair share of snuggles and baby breath.  Is there anything that compares to that?  Because I really don't think so.

olivia quilt

This quilt was made for Olivia Christine, born on October 27.  She is delicate and coo-ey and has the most beautiful full lips -- just like her mama. 

In general, vintage sheets are so pretty that I don't like to cut them up very much.  Bands of color are just fine by me.  It also makes them easy to personalize with embroidery.

olivia quilt

I usually mix a band of a new fabric in with all the older sheeting, mostly to stretch my vintage stash and also to break things up a bit.  But this front and back are made completely from the vintage goods and are ever so soft.   { I used a new cotton print for the binding, which I do prefer for its strength.  Sometimes those timeworn lovelies are prone to tearing. }

olivia quilt

I hope sweet Miss Olivia enjoys her blanket and her mama lets her use it and spit up on it and everything else that goes along with babies.  This one was made with love and should stand the test of time. And if it does need repair, I'm pretty sure they'll know who to call.  ;)

olivia quilt

Hopefully, before too long, I'll have nursery room pics to share.  I'm kind of loving how it's turning out. 

the gift reveal

Running short on time today... babygirl sleeps really well at night, but it translates to very short naps during the day.


for huff's baby girl. vintage sheets + HB fabric

Here is an almost-full shot of the baby blanket I made for a friend of mine who is a couple weeks away from being a first time mama.  I used a combination of vintage sheeting (the pink stripes), and some stash fabric (from Heather Bailey's Pineapple Brocade to stock quilter's cotton; the blue has polka dots).  I trimmed it with a dotted pink minky left over from Figet's nursery bedding, made three years ago.

I loved the combination so much that I think I'm going to use that yellow for curtain's in the new nursery.  I'm not kidding.  I have about 10 yards of it that I bought for another project that will never happen and I think it would look smashing as full-length curtains.  Anyone think I'm nuts?

and a matching onesie

I also made a matching onesie for the babe.  This little newborn onesie was worn by by my own babygirl once or twice and I was getting ready to put it in the goodwill pile.  Ten minutes and a little heat-n-bond later, I had part deux of the baby gift.  Voila. 

I'm making more of these.

That's a promise.  And a warning.  I do have a bagillion baby gifts to make, after all.  :) 


hello hello!

That dust-cloud you see just over the fence? 

It's me, spinning around like a whirling dervish, getting my creative-on and trying to keep up with the laundry and baby apparati.  I have a theory that the smaller children, the bigger the accessories.  Bouncer?  check.  Bumbo?  Check.  Swing?  Check.  Playmat?  Check.  Pack n play?  check.  Baby bucket carrier thing?  Check.  Exersaucer?  Check.  I always forget that part about having babies.  Suddenly your house feels like a clown car stuffed with baby equipment.   All my 13 year old needs is her ipod, cell phone and lip gloss and she is good to go.  I can tell you these are tiny because she is constantly losing them.  No way I'm losing that swing.  Might break a leg tripping over it, but I won't lose it, that's for sure.

But I digress. 

It happens.  A lot around here these days.  Mostly because I am busy making kissy faces and oohing and cooing at babygirl.  I swear this girl is a chatterbox already.  I know.  Crazy, huh?

Anyway, there is serious gift-making happening.  I have six -- yes, SIX -- friends who have either just had a baby or are getting ready to, and there is some crazy sewing happening down in the studio.  They are surprise-ish, so the reveals will be slow but steady here.  I promise.

(here's a peek at one that gets gifted tomorrow... I don't think she checks my blog. )

I love the colors in this quilt.

Also, I am in the process of the nursery design.  What ho!  Are we having fun around here!  I picked up a dresser for $25 at a thrift store and hubs has made me promise to fix it up this week so we can get it out of the garage.  So I have a deadline, which is always nice.  Now that I'm officially a full time stay at home mom I need a Real Challenge.  Thanks, honey.  I'd hate to sit around and eat bon-bons all day.

getting back into things. Step one.

I am so ready to get back into the swing of things around here!  Naps are becoming something I can depend on and I'm busy making lists already.

sewing again

First, though, I need to take care of the pile of past-due projects on my sewing table.

Like the JUNE quilt square for Sarah, who asked for "whatever." 

for Sarah

And the AUGUST square for Kate, who asked for a scrappy log cabin.


I love getting my quilt square fabric in the mail each month.  It's a little like Christmas.  Plus, I think you can see each of the quilters in their fabric choices.  Even if these came without a nice little note attached, I'm pretty sure I could guess who sent it. 

August square

September is my month, and I've got my stacks ready to go.  My plan is to get them in the mail on Friday... can you guess what kind of fabric I'm using?  :)

Okay, off to the dentist. Joy.

because Hope is worth it

Princess McGassypants is making things tricky around here.  It's hard to carve out enough time to craft, let alone take pictures and blog about it.  You know the drill.  Feed baby.  Rock baby.  Make the super-gentle transfer to a cozy spot for a quick nap.  Cross fingers and let go.  Tip-toe across the room, hoping to squeeze in a teeth-brushing, and maybe - MAYBE - a shower.  And toss in a load of freshly pooped-on stuff.  (It's all worth it, of course, and life WILL return to normal.  I'm just sayin'.  It's tricky to be all craft-blogger these days.)

But some things are even more important than showering and doing the laundry.  Like the difference craft hope, the little craft-for-a-cause brainchild of my dear friend jade, is making all over the world. 

for a craft hope baby somewhere on the other side of the world...

This little baby blanket will be off to a needy newborn in India before long.   I still haven't made a thing for my own little newborn (unless breastmilk counts, ha), but this was something I really wanted to do.  My own children are so fortunate, so comfortable and so loved... my heart couldn't help but break for the tiny babies in India.  It's a small contribution, but I know it will make a difference.

Please take a few minutes to read Eren's account of the doll deliveryto the Casa Bernabe orphanage in Nicaragua. I cannot convey how amazing it feels to know that the first little doll I made is making some little girl happy, somewhere so far away.  Even if you don't have enough time to read Eren's amazing trip report, take a moment to see the beautiful photos.  Craft Hope is making a difference.  It's such a privilege to be part of it. 

Here's the thing.  You don't need a blog to participate.  You don't need to be an accomplished crafter.  You don't need to spend a lot of money.  It doesn't even take that much time.  Just sign up and send in your project donation.  There is no long term commitment (but you'll want to join the cause again and again).  I'm just saying, if a mom with a newborn and two other kids can squeeze in a little time, it isn't impossible.  I'll let you know about the next sign-up and maybe you can join in, too.  You know you want to...  

And honestly, it's crazy how much it fills you up.  You might be making a difference for someone far away, but I'm pretty sure you'll notice a difference a little closer to home, too.  Crafting Hope feeds your soul.  xoxo

{ blanket details, for those of you who are curious: It's a thrifted vintage sheet on one side, and reused pink flannel gingham baby blanket on the other.  Both sides are so soft.  No batting, but it is quilted together to keep its form.  It's bound with simple white bias tape and only about 30" square.} 

Ok, now it's shower time.