Friday, December 19, 2014

Wee Wandering {Part One}

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Sarah Jane fabrics.  My first three quilts were done with her "Children at Play" line.  Her latest line, "Wee Wander," was released one year ago and is (hands-down!) my favorite to date.  The fabric is so wonderful that I did not feel the need to go with a fancy or complicated quilt pattern (not that I ever feel that need).  

So both of these quilts are free tutorials from Amy Smart.  The tutorial for the above baby quilt can be found here.  This little quilt went to my brother's new baby, Nyasha.  She is his fourth child and is just as adorable as can be!

I backed both quilts with this print of fireflies and jars.  

This second quilt I shamelessly copied almost exactly, again, from an Amy Smart pattern.  (This pattern can be found here.)  And this quilt I made for my friend's baby, Evie.  It's just too bad that Evie has already celebrated her six month birthday.  Sigh... One of these days, I'll have a baby quilt ready before baby is born.

I just had to have the swirl quilting done on this, and I surely could not do it myself, so Logan helped me out again.  Thanks, Logan!

And with the scraps I put together a little boxy pouch, following this tutorial.  It was only my second time using a zipper, and I think it went pretty well... only... don't inspect the inner lining too closely, okay?

The little pouch turned out to be a perfect gift for Elyse when she turned seven years old earlier this month.  She was able to tuck her new camera and new binoculars right inside it.  What a pretty little lady.

It will probably be quite a few more months before I'm able to pull off a "Wee Wandering {Part Two}" post, but I do love this fabric so much that I am making a larger, lap-sized quilt for me.  The pattern is a bit more complicated (imagine that!), but I already have the cutting done.  Wish me luck!

Monday, October 27, 2014

The (less than!) One Dollar Quilt Top

You did read that correctly. This quilt top?  Yeah.  It cost me less than a dollar.  Shoot!  What a deal!

Sometime over the summer, one of the local quilt shops here decided to host a "yard sale."  So the customers brought in their unloved fabric, and it was offered up at about $3/yard.  In turn, the customers who sold their fabric received store credit for their sales.  (Isn't that just a great idea?!)

See all these pretty squares?  They were pre-cut, and in a scrap bag (with a bunch of other fabric!) marked at $2!  These squares did not take up even half the bag.  Hence, my less-than-one-dollar quilt top.

And check this out: Heather Ross matroyshkas!  Sheesh. I looked those babies up on Etsy, and don'tcha know it: someone is hawking these for $5 per 5-inch square!  Now that is surely highway robbery.  Still, as if I didn't already think I got a sweet deal, that discovery makes it even sweeter.

Now about the same time I made this sweet purchase, my friend adopted her darling, third child.  So I just sewed these little squares all together and voila : (almost) instant baby gift.

And really: isn't it just so bright and cheery?  Perfect for new babies and their cute, chubby cheeks!

(The backing?  More Heather Ross strawberries.  Love those.)

And speaking of chubby cheeks.... Here is the sweet baby, already getting in some good, old-fashioned tummy time.

Now this is why I make quilts!  What a precious baby girl!  Love her to pieces...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Mix It Up

Thank you so much for your kind comments (and even tears!) following my last post.  I am so grateful for this online community and for your cheering on my Charlotte in her journey.

Today I want to show you a quilt finish that is long overdue.  I started this quilt over a year ago.  It was the project that kept getting pushed to the side as other projects had actual due dates.  Since this one was for me and my husband "just for fun," it did not really get priority.

It goes very well with this month's Le Challenge theme, "Mix," so I'm going to use that as a starting point for sharing about this.

When the Alexander Henry fabric that I used for backing was released, I just fell in love with it.  Those skyscrapers and big flowers... they called to me.  So I started with that print.  And then I just bought this fabric and that fabric and used a bit from my stash.

I think this quilt fits so well under the "Mix" category because usually I don't mix designer fabrics so much.  My default quilting style is to use just one fabric line or a few different lines but from the same designer.  This quilt has prints from many different designers.  There is some Denyse Schmidt, Joel Dewberry, Aneela Hoey, V. & Co., and Lizzy House, among others.

This quilt measures about 72 x 72 inches.  It was too big for me to quilt, so I was happy to send it off to Logan to quilt for me.  She did the "square dance" pattern; same as on my Hashtag Glimma Quilt.  (I don't like change...)

I have it folded and sitting at the foot of our bed.  It is not big enough to have a "proper" drape, but I don't care.  I love it, and it perfectly matches the Glimma plus pillow that sits at the head of the bed.  More points for me for "mixing it up!"

I figure cute pictures of Charlotte never hurt, so here she is with Goldie again.  I didn't plan her outfit, but she looks straight out of the eighties to me...

...Ready to record her first mix tape!

P.S. If you like the pattern, I used the measurements found here.  But if you need a full tutorial on how to do this, I suggest the one from Film in the Fridge.  It will be a different size block, but lovely results all the same.

Le Challenge

Friday, October 3, 2014

Last Day of Chemo

It was almost a month ago now that Charlotte had her "last" chemo. She has been receiving weekly chemotherapy for her brainstem and spinal cord tumor for two years now.  The tumor has been stable for one year, so we decided that it was time to take Charlotte off of treatment.  For her last chemo, our friends, Kellie and Grace, came along, and Kellie took all these lovely pictures for us.

 So here is a day in the life:


When the nurse assistant showed us to our room, we found the door decorated with streamers and with the poster: complete with "Frozen" and "Barney" figures!  These folks know my Charlotte so well.  I cried.



The first thing to do is to don our masks in order to access Charlotte's port.  She is so brave.  She doesn't cry, but only sings us songs as they poke her with a big needle each week (the numbing cream helps).




All done!  See that little pink pig?  She received it the previous week from the girls in the radiology department after being a rockstar during a CT scan.  I admit: I was not too thrilled to have a gold-hoofed pig join the ever-increasing stuffed animal farm we seem to run.  But Charlotte loves the darn thing so much that she even sleeps with it!  It fits so perfectly right under her little arm that it really grew on me so quickly.  In case you were wondering, we named her "Goldie."



Then it was time for a wardrobe change.


That does not usually happen during a chemo day.


Here's the story: a few months ago, the kids and I passed by a yard sale going on just down the street from our old home.  And hanging from the tree, wouldn't you know it, a little Indian dress just in Charlotte's size!  Well, Charlotte's oncologist is of Indian origin, and he loves Charlotte, so I thought he might find it fun if she showed up for chemo in this little dress.  Surprise!

Needless to say, he loved it.  But the dress (called a "pavadai") didn't quite fit her (too small) and he said that there is also all this jewelry that goes with it and he is visiting family in India this summer so why doesn't he get her one to fit and with all the accessories to boot?  Now, how could I turn that down?  I couldn't.


So Dr. and Mrs. G did a little shopping for Charlotte, half-way across the world in India!  And now doesn't she look beautiful, all dolled up?!

I admit: I think she's so funny!


Look at her pretty necklace!


Charlotte must have cracked a joke here, too.


Next, while waiting for Charlotte's labwork to process and for her chemo to be drawn up, we headed out for an ultrasound and to deliver cookies to thank all our friends.  Above is our Child Life Specialist, Katie.  She's just the best.  And below is one of the pharmacists.  (One time, they invited us in to the pharmacy for a tour.  I got all gowned up and they took me back to where they make the chemo.  You just would not believe all that goes into that!  They follow about a hundred different safety precautions.  It's amazing.  We are so grateful that they are so careful.)



The lady in the above picture works in the lab and is a fellow quilter!  I always peek in to see if she's there; we swap quilt pictures and stories when we run into each other.  Fun!


Marian starts to look a little rough when it's well past her naptime.  But this is the yard sale pavadai that she's wearing!  See!  Isn't it just gorgeous?!  I tell ya: that $4 purchase has yielded the best return I've ever seen.  



Then it's time for the actual chemo infusion.  It only took a minute to push the drug into her port.  





And more party!  Here the nurses came in singing, "Happy Last Chemo to you" to the tune of "Happy Birthday."  It was so sweet.  And they gave Charlotte this doll (which Marian claimed as her own once home, but Charlotte has been too preoccupied with Goldie to mind).



Here we are with (most but not all of) our favorite nurses. It is so hard to put into words how much we love her nurses and doctor.  Do I like that Charlotte has cancer?  Not at all.  But am I so grateful that we have the privilege of knowing these wonderful people?  Absolutely.  This might be what Ann Voskamp calls "the ugly beautiful" of life.  We must try to see beauty in all things.  Even in cancer.



And Elyse and Henry were invited to choose a toy, too, because it's as they say: cancer affects the whole family.



We think she looks like such a princess here.


Charlotte loves Dr. G so much.

Raising funds for research is so important to me because while we called this "Charlotte's last chemo" it is most likely her "last" just for now.  She still has her tumor, and this type of tumor will typically progress.  So we will keep scanning her periodically and will put her back on therapy if/when her tumor progresses.  And that's why I want to help raise funds and support research initiatives that are pediatric specific.  The chemotherapy that Charlotte was most recently on might not work the next time her tumor grows.  There will most likely always be a need for more money because there will most likely always be a need for more therapies because of the nature of these tumors; namely: they keep changing.

So thank you for all of your support: in prayers, words of encouragement, quilt donations, and cold hard cash for those quilts.  :)  Charlotte is nearly four-years old and a delight to us.  We are constantly in awe of the grace of her growth and of her life and are thankful to God for these good gifts.