Backyard Patchwork Quilt

I’ve had the itch to make another quilt ever since finsihing the first one I made last year for Ellery.  This time, a quilt to hang out on when we are playing outside- which this time of year is pretty much all afternoon.

I had a few requirements that I wanted to stick to: It had to be a STASHBUSTER, Colorful (enough to hide food and grass stains), Easy, and fast.


 I perused Pinterest, adding several beauties to my quilt board.  But, I realize I am not a “quilter” and I was putting it off because the whole process was starting to daunt me. Then, I remembered something an old Chef used to tell me in my younger days as a cook… when you get overwhelmed by what’s ahead of you, just use the K.I.S.S. system.  As in, “Keep it simple, stupid.”  And things will magically come together for you.  So I stopped pinning, and started pulling fabrics.


 I kept going back to the idea of using lots of florals, so I pulled anything I had that jumped out at me.  Also, I had a few Anna Maria Horner prints that I felt were just staring at me everytime I opened my fabric closet.  Like, “DO SOMETHING WITH US, LADY!”.  So, I used a few that I was pretty sure wouldn’t end up into any clothing projects- Coordinates in saffron, and Bubble Burst in Turquoise.  I thought those two would break it all up and add some pizazzzzzz….


I cut 10 1/2″ squares.  42 in all.  I used my Mom’s square ruler which made the cutting process go super quick and precise.

(Thanks Gee for owning every type of tool I could ever possibly need.  You always come through for me!)


I used Kona in Slate (i think?) for the binding and didn’t waste my nights hand-stitching it on… It was so fast using the machine and a walking foot really helped (again, thank you Mom for that!).  For the backing, I just pieced together any large pieces I had left, plus that green floral print, and also added a large piece of some eggplant-colored cotton.  When I asked my Mom if it that was okay to do, she laughed and said “I don’t think the Quilt Police will come after you”.  Hey, I don’t know these things!


I hand-tied the quilt with mustard colored floss at each corner where the squares meet.  I like how sort of loose and soft it is without the stitching all over… In fact, I would probably go that route again- it was so fast and easy.


I’m so happy with the result.  I am excited to throw it out on the lawn, picnic with the kiddos on it, and maybe even take a nap on it someday.  Just kidding.  That will NEVER happen.

But, I do feel like it’s very “Me”…. whatever that means!


And…. she’s done!


Awwww yeah….my first quilt is finished! 

Took me a while, but man… it felt good to wash it up and lay it on my girl’s bed.  I took my sweet time with this project- I probably worked on it once a week for about 6 weeks.  I chose a fairly easy design and I can honestly say that it came out almost exactly as I had envisioned.  I knew I wanted a lot of white- just to keep it nice and clean looking (though my friend Heather said, “good luck keeping that clean!” She’s right.  So no chocolate milk on your bed, Ellery!!!  Got it??  That goes for your little friend Grant too!).  

I kept the quilting to a minimum, and sewed 1/4″ along side of each seam, which is pleasing to my eyes- I tend to get a little double vision when I see a lot of stitching all over a quilt.  My favorite thing about it is that all of the patches of fabric are remnants from something I’ve made- mostly things for Ell- her 2nd birthday dress, some baby bibs, bed pillows, her skirts, a shirt, pj’s, etc…

Here she is getting to know it a little bit better:

I must say this quilt was not made without some tears.  When I had it all spread out ready to baste, Ellery woke up (way too early) from a nap, walked up to it and just burst into tears…”Why is there blue on my quilt?  I don’t like blue… give my quilt to another little girl!!”  Yup.  So, we had a nice little talk and she agreed to let me leave the blue- as long as there would be pink on the edges.  deal! 

Here she is pretending to be asleep.  Did I mention we sleep sitting up at our house?

After some consulting (thanks Mom, Lindsay, and Aunt Joan! p.s. joan, you need a blog!) I decided to use natural muslin to back the quilt.  Who knew I was hoarding about 9 yards of the stuff?  Anyway, I made sure there weren’t too many strings to show through since muslin is thin.  But, once it was on there and all washed up I knew I made the right decision.  It is so so soft.  Love! 

I also used a pink muslin for the binding- it’s kind of the perfect pink- not too pink to annoy me!  Not too pink to annoy Grant either I guess… he likes to snuggle up in it too.

And so she knows it’s hers and only hers, I hand-embroidered her name at the bottom. 

May she never forget who she is.

I hope this quilt will become as special to her as it was for me to make it.  And I take back anything bad I ever said about quilting!  This wasn’t boring!  It was such a satisfying project to complete.  I even enjoyed hand-binding it- which took me a few hours over a few days to finish, gave me multiple hand cramps, and even a couple of broken needles… 

This was a true labor of love.  You’re the best girl, Ellery….hope it always keeps you warm! 

Now… Onto having this baby sometime soon!


A pierrot dress (well, sort of…)

I took a break from all the quilt-making, baby-prepping, and freezer-stockpiling that i’ve been consumed with lately to make my girl a dress. 

I used the Pierrot Tunic pattern from Rae, but changed it up a bit by extending it about 6″, adding a contrasting border, putting elastic casings in the sleeves (which i shortened about an inch or so), and leaving the ruffled neckline off completely.  You can see my first Pierrot here.

It came together pretty quickly (especially since I didn’t make the neck ruffle)… and she likes it!  Ellery’s gotten so particular about clothes…It’s got to be a dress.  Every day.  Jeans are out of the question, leggings are questionable.  I can’t wait for warmer weather so I can let her be bare-legged all of the time!

She figured out early on that the (first) Pierrot tunic I made wasn’t quite a dress even though I tried to pass it off as one.  I’m sure we’ll get a lot more wear out of this one.  And, as long as some shade of pink or purple is involved, we’re all good in the ‘hood! 

The plum cotton is from a local shop here- it’s really light and soft.  The green is kona cotton- i think Artichoke?

Anyway, I’m a big fan of this pattern.  You should get it.  🙂

I’m also a big fan of this girl…even though she did tell me last week “Mommy, your bum grewed really big!”  Thanks Ell!  See if you get anymore dresses from me!  pshh!

Oh, and I’m thisclose to being done with my quilt! I just have to finish stitching the binding and then wash it up. 

Here’s a sneak peak:

I hope to start a little baby sewing this week.  I don’t really need anything since between me and my sisters, we could open a baby consignment shop, but i’m thinking some kimono pjs are in order…if only for their cuteness factor. 

Alrighty… I have a date with Ben & Jerry now.  So…. peace out!



My quilt for Ellery is slowly coming together.  After cutting out all my small pieces, they sat on my kitchen counter for a good 2 weeks.  I just couldn’t get motivated to sew them together for some reason. 

I did make some other stuff while procrastinating though….

A plethora of pillows for her new bed.

 And lots of baked goods for moi.  I can’t stop.  It’s all I want to eat these days.

And now that I’m in the 7 week stretch, I’ve been on a serious home-organization kick. 

Goodbye fabric closet!


…Hello under the bed storage!

Anyway, Leave it to an episode of the Bachelor to help me get my quilting mojo back. I sewed all my patchwork pieces together and looked up just in time to see Chris Harrison announce “Ladies, this is the final rose of the night.”


Like you don’t have a guilty (reality tv) pleasure? 

I don’t believe it.



This weekend, I got around to sewing all the white sashing to my strips.


Next up is piecing together the back- I’m really trying to use up what I have, so it might just have to be a bunch of random large pieces of fabric.  Unless some specific design jumps into my head. 

I really started to like this project once I began to sew all the strips together. And, especially since Ellery kept coming up to tell me how pretty it was. And that means a lot considering she’s only worn the tutu I made her a few times and the doll carrier (yet to be blogged about) not once- i think it was too much of a contraption for her? 

Who knows…Maybe I’ll just make her a closet full of quilts.




Fit for a princess

My husband called me one day from work to tell me that they were having an employee furniture sale- (he’s the executive chef of a 48-room hotel here in Charlottesville that was once the home of (now deceased) Sir Bernard Ashley- as in the husband of the late fabric designer Laura Ashley).  When Sir Ashley sold the home in 1999, all of the furniture and decor was included- I’ve heard that at the time it was decked out in Laura Ashley everything… curtains, wallpaper, bedding, you name it. 

So you can imagine, there are lots of treasures tucked away in the attic of hotel today.  Anyway, the hotel decided to clear up some space by selling some furniture that didn’t really have a place anymore.  So Dean called with a few things he thought we’d like, and though it was hard to give the go-ahead without seeing everything, I knew he’d do me proud.  We scored 2 beautiful vintage wooden sleigh beds for $15 each, and a great old white desk for $30 (which has now become my spacious sewing table).  Seriously good deal if you ask me- good job Deano!

  I wonder if they actually belonged to the Ashleys or if that’s something I just like to daydream about since it sounds cool… hmmm. 

We finally set one of the beds up in Ellery’s room yesterday.  She calls it her ‘Princess Bed’ :).  Hey, whatever keeps her in it at night, right?! 


Ah… don’t even make me get into it….

So, for such a special bed, I decided this princess deserves a new bedspread… A quilt to be exact.  Made by… a-hem…ME.

Since I started sewing 2 years ago, making a quilt has been the last thing to interest me.  I don’t like busy geometric designs, I am not a pro at math, and between making clothes and having babies, I haven’t really given it much thought.  BUT, I’ve really started to become interested in making one after finding ones I liked on certain sites- my favorite blogs for quilt-spiration are this one and this one.  I love the simple, clean asthetic that they both have.  (go to their sites and then search for quilts to see the many beautiful ones they’ve made.)

So, I’m holding myself to it.  I’ve got a lot of scraps lying around- I’m going to make a Chinese-coin quilt, which I can use lots of little squares and rectangles for…. and then lots of white to break it up and keep it clean looking.  Plus, it’s an easy enough design for me to (hopefully) not screw up.

I’m happy with my color-scheme, especially since it reminds me of springtime- which is when my sweet girl was born.

I’ll post my progress as I go. 

Wish me luck-  I have no idea what I’m doing!