Welcome, Baby Finn!

First comes the love, then comes the marriage, then comes… my very first nephew in a baby carriage! At around 4 a.m. on September 24, I was overjoyed to receive a message that Finn Joseph had finally arrived. Isn’t this the most precious baby you’ve ever seen? I know I’m biased, but… BEST. NEPHEW. EVER. Look at that baby burrito bundle. LOOK AT HIM. (It’s my job, as the auntie, to tell you to LOOK AT HIM in all caps. Because that’s what aunties do, and also, BECAUSE HE IS AMAZING.)

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Given my brother Jason’s love of planes, while most babies are delivered by a stork, I’m fairly certain Finn arrived via whimsical airplane, although my sister-in-law Sarah may have a different perspective. 😉 My brother is a recreational pilot, so him and Sarah like to go on lots of little adventures in their plane. Jason even asked Sarah to marry him while they were flying. And both of the baby’s grandfathers – mine and Jason’s dad, and Sarah’s dad – also have a special interest in airplanes. So needless to say, this baby has no choice but to love airplanes.

In fact, at just 6 weeks old, Finn experienced his first flight!

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When I heard a baby was on the way, I knew an airplane-inspired gift was in order.

I researched some airplane-inspired quilt patterns, and while there were many miscellaneous features that I liked with each pattern, there wasn’t one pattern that stood out as The One, so I decided to do my own thing.

I don’t know why I always choose to go down this road of doing “my own thing.” It’s mentally exhausting, I experience a ton of decision fatigue and I spend most days convinced that I’m just messing the whole thing up. But at the same time, I refuse to settle for what’s out there … and that’s why I love making things! Ahh, the beauty (and the pain) of DIY.

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I decided to take a risk and do something I’ve never done before, combining two skills from my sewing/quilting experience toolbox: foundation paper piecing and rag quilts. While I’ve done quite a bit of each of those things separately, I’ve never rolled the two skills together. But I’m most comfortable making rag quilts for baby gifts, and I was equally passionate about wanting to include paper-pieced airplanes.

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Other than substituting the airplane blocks for some solid blocks, the process was really no different than the typical raq quilts I’ve made. A few adjustments:

  • I added some additional fabric around the border of each of the airplane blocks to for extra seam allowance. Since the seam allowance gets cut up on a rag quilt, I didn’t want the planes to be cut up.
  • While I typically just quilt an “X” on each block for rag quilts, on the airplane blocks, I quilted around the border of the airplanes.
  • I made 12 airplane blocks total, and in order to best showcase them, I came up with a new, square layout versus the rectangular layouts I’ve used in the past.

I love the way this quilt turned out, and I was especially pleased with the fabric combination, the square layout and the inclusion of the paper-pieced blocks. I wouldn’t hesitate to make a quilt like this again, replacing the airplanes with any other fun paper-pieced shape.

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But the true test was introducing Finn to his quilt a few weeks ago when I met him for the very first time. Actually, it wasn’t really Finn’s first time seeing his quilt. He was already a month old by the time I got to fly across the country to meet him, and he had spent a lot of quality time in his nursery by the time I met him. But he was polite enough to act surprised for the photo anyway. What a nice boy!

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I think it’s safe to say – this quilt is Finn-tested, Finn-approved!

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Mother’s Day: I passed with flying colors

My mom knows the drill: Mother’s Day is the “homemade” holiday, and therefore, Mother’s Day gifts come from my craft room (whereas her birthday, one month later, is the “Amazon” holiday… LOL). Previous Mother’s Day gifts included a jewelry roll and a nail polish tote.

How do you thank the woman who taught you the invaluable life skill of using a photo booth?

This past year, my mom has really embraced the “adult coloring” craze – aka, the trend where adults get high-quality coloring books with really intricate designs, using colored pencils or gel pens to meticulously fill the page with color. Her coloring book collection has grown exponentially throughout the year and I’ve had fun sitting at her kitchen table coloring with her whenever I visit my parents. My mom even started a coloring group where a bunch of ladies get together and color and talk about life a few times a month.

But I’ve got to hand it to my mom – her coloring skills are top-notch, and she has much more patience for the intricate designs that I do (I usually abandon my coloring page a quarter of the way into it). Even though my mom claims not to be creative, crafty or artsy – she’s always been a rock star when it comes to coloring. Whether it was a school project or a children’s menu in a restaurant, I remember watching her and thinking, “WOW. Moms are so good at coloring.” Turns out, it’s not all moms that are good at coloring. Just my mom!

Here are a few of her finished works of art…

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Given my mom’s love of coloring, this year’s Mother’s Day gift was a tote bag (possibly for toting her coloring books!) made with coloring-book-esque fabric… and of course, paired with fabric markers so the bag can be COLORED!

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The “coloring book” fabric is My Little Garden by Olivia Henry on Spoonflower (fun fact, this fabric is also available as WALLPAPER you guys – how rad is that!?) and the tote bag pattern is the Outta Time Tote by Dog Under My Desk. I have written about Dog Under My Desk patterns many times in the past and I really can’t gush about them enough. They’re the best bag patterns I’ve ever worked with and worth every penny.

I used black zippers (which killed me, because you know how much I love bright-colored zippers – but it was the right decision) and lined the bag with a generic black and white leafy print.

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I anticipated my mom would open the gift and immediately say, “I can’t color this bag! It’s too nice! I’ll ruin it!” Therefore, I also made this zipper pouch with leftover fabric so she could “test” the fabric markers and her coloring skills.

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Turns out, my mom’s reaction went exactly as planned, so the add-on was a good call. Plus, she really loves having the extra zipper pouch for carrying her colored pencils to her coloring group.

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Another Mother’s Day, aka Homemade Holiday, on the books! Till next year…

LindsaySignatureP.S. – For other completed Dog Under My Desk projects, check out my previous posts:

 

 

 

And the nominees are…

Recently, someone at work heard about my sewing blog and asked me which project was my number one pride and joy. A simple question that should have had an easy answer, but… I was baffled that I really didn’t have an answer.

The first pathetic thought that came to mind was, “my most recent project.” Whatever my most recent project is – I consider that the “new, shiny toy” that I am currently taking the most pride in. But that’s a kind of lame answer. How could I not have one standout project that is my favorite?

The second, less pathetic thought that came to mind: my favorite projects are the ones that I have made as gifts that are actually being used out in the real world. Remember the the Mustaches and Elephants quilt I made for baby Liam some time ago? Well, Mr. and Mrs. Liam recently sold their house, and I got to see the quilt displayed on Liam’s crib in the photos on the real estate listing. That was pretty fun! It’s one thing for people to tell me they like the gift – it’s another to see proof that they like the gift.

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I also regularly see my friend Joe’s “man bag” / toiletry kit in photos. Every time he travels, he sends me a pic of his bag in action!

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Yes, this was a Snapchat, and yes, I took a screenshot – blasphemous.

More gifts in action –  Maggie’s birthday countdown wall hanging and Sophia’s quilt!

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Another Snapchat screenshot on the left!

I continued to ponder this question, determined that there should still be a clearer answer – which project is my pride and joy? I eventually decided that I have a bunch of favorites – but each a favorite for different reasons. So I decided to break my favorites down into ten different categories of favorites. Because I can never do things the easy way…

Favorite fabric combo: Brittany’s shoe-themed jewelry pouch. The shoes are already so cute, and the fact that pink polka dot lining matches the polka dots on the pink shoes? Perfection. Throw in the minty zippers and ribbon with glittery chevrons? Stop it. I’m in love.

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Chris’s (Mega) Birthday

Here’s the thing about birthdays: they happen every year.

In the words of Michelle Tanner… DUH.

Michelle Tanner Duh

But for me, that means that someone I’m sewing for this year may have already received something crafty from me last year… so I need to mix things up!

Remember my friend Chris? Last year, he had a birthday… this year, he had another birthday.

Chris. You’re so stressful.

A non-birthday celebration with Chris... drinking from mason jars in Disneyland.

A non-birthday celebration with Chris… mason jar twins at Disneyland.

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A rag quilt for Baby B

I love experimenting with different patterns and projects, which means I rarely make the same thing twice. But recently, I’ve repeated some projects-from-the-past and learned the benefits of creating something familiar and dependable.

Remember the Mustaches & Elephants quilt I made for my friend Amanda? It doesn’t seem that long ago, but Amanda’s little guy, Liam, is now over a year old – it’s crazy how time flies! And Liam will soon have a buddy to hang out with on weekends, because mine and Amanda’s mutual friend Beth is now pregnant with a little boy too.

So naturally, I decided Beth’s baby boy needed to have the same quilt as Liam. Only, instead of mustaches and elephants, I went with “sports” to match the theme of the shower and the baby’s nursery. Puppies playing sports, to be more specific. Who doesn’t love puppies??? Playing sports??? Continue reading

Starring Winnie!

The night before my roommate Katie‘s birthday, she heard me rustling through my craft supplies and asked what I was doing. I told her I was making her a birthday coupon. She thought I was kidding, but I wasn’t.

FYI, a "cug" (according to Katie's niece) is a combination cuddle/hug. Also, Winnie hates balloons - hence the PSA.

FYI, a “CUG” (according to Katie’s niece) is a cuddle/hug combo. Also, Winnie hates balloons – hence the PSA.

The idea of a “coupon gift” seems a little silly in adulthood, but I really wanted Katie to make the decision about what I should make… using this INCREDIBLE WINNIE FABRIC.

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Yes, that is Katie’s dog, Winnie. I designed this custom fabric using real photos of Winnie and printed a yard of it at Spoonflower.com.

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In defense of making doll clothes…

As a baby of the eighties, my most defining childhood moments took place in the 1990’s – so just add me to the long list of millennials who get a misty, nostalgic look when reminiscing about American Girl dolls. Yes, American Girl dolls are still around and have continued to exponentially grow in popularity… but there’s something special about those early years when there were only three historical dolls and purchases only followed hours and hours of pouring over the snail mail catalog.

For anyone who has ever had an American Girl doll, there’s something sort of defining about declaring who “your” doll was – your first doll, or your doll of choice, that is. For me, that was Molly, the character representing the World War II era. I received the book Meet Molly as a gift in 1990, and the rest is history. I quickly plowed through all the books in the series and the Molly doll was at the top of my Christmas list for Santa that year.

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Over the years, I received a few additional outfits and accessories for Molly from the beloved, dog-eared American Girl catalog that arrived in the mail every few months. Then I received a gift for my First Holy Communion from a family friend — a First Communion dress for Molly that even included a clip-on veil. Whaaaaaaat??? My eight-year-old mind was blown. There were doll clothes out there that weren’t in the catalog. There were people out there who could make anything I wanted for Molly. This was all news to me.

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DONUT underestimate the power of paper piecing

This post is about donuts. And paper piecing.

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…
Bright frosted DONUTS that haven’t been bitten…
Quilty techniques on the gifts Santa brings… 
These are a few of my favorite things.

I looooooooooooooove donuts.

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Donuts complete me.

So does my roommate Katie. When one of us says, “I want donuts,” the other roommate says, “NOM” and then we’re in the car en route to our local donut provider in a matter of minutes. We have donut ornaments on our Christmas tree. And the dog has donut toys.

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I’ve already told you about how Katie is crafty (or rather, “Krafty”) so this year’s Christmas present for Katie was a combination of our mutual love for both donuts and crafts.

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Throwback Thursday, sewing edition: Casserole Carrier

I recently scrolled back in my blog draft archives to look at some entries I started and never finished. I had completely forgotten about some of these unfinished drafts (oops) so thought I’d take advantage of the #ThrowbackThursday trend to highlight some oldies-but-goodies!

Today I’m throwing it all the way back to Christmas… of 2013! Yikes! I’m over a year overdue on this one. Insert “embarrassed” emojii here…

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This is my creepy, personalized “Bitmoji”

 

Anyway.

Last year for Christmas, I made my mom a simple casserole carrier, knowing that my parents are often attending parties in their new retirement community. It’s lined with Insul-Bright, which is a heat resistant insulating material that can be used for making things like oven mitts. The Insul-Bright will ensure the dish stays hot and my mom doesn’t burn her hands when handling the carrier. Safety first! Continue reading