Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Calico Days Cocoa Cups

It’s official.  Quilters aren’t the only ones who experience fabric addiction.  The other night my mom texted me to say that she might take up quilting. It turns out she wasn’t serious about the quilting part, she just wanted a good excuse to buy bundles of the new “Calico Days” fabric by Lori Holt for Riley Blake Designs.  Now that is the sign of a great fabric line, when non-quilters are surfing the internet gazing at pictures of fabric and wondering, “Would it be silly for me to buy that fat quarter bundle just to sit on my end table and look pretty?”  Well the answer is no, that’s not silly at all!

When I got my hands on “Calico Days” a few weeks ago, I posted to Instagram and
Facebook that I was smitten, and I wasn’t kidding.  This fabric just feels like home.  It totally takes me back to hot summer days playing in the hay loft, canning sweet corn with Grandma Audrey, and riding bike down the gravel roads without a care in the world. I’m sure that was the emotional pull for my mom too.  She was likely taken back to her days as a young girl on the farm in South Dakota . . . playing with her brother, doing chores, singing in the pasture.

My mom didn’t give in to her impulse to buy, so I thought I should give her a quick fix of "Calico Days." I whipped up this little mini quilt that I hope brings a smile to her face.  (I know I was smiling like a fool when I was making it.  Too cute!!)  So this is for you . . . my tea drinking, coffee loving, cocoa sipping mom.

The pattern is “Cocoa Cups” from Lori Holt’s book Quilty Fun published by Fat Quarter ShopQuilty Fun is a fabulous book chalk full of fun projects.  The instructions and illustrations are top notch and the photos are so inspiring.  If you don’t own this book yet, please visit Fat Quarter Shop online (click their banner ad in my left sidebar) or contact your local quilt shop for a copy!

The hardest part was choosing only four fabrics!  I'm glad no one was around to hear me talking to myself.  "Oh this one is my favorite. No, this denim blue is my favorite. These chicks are so cute. Oh man I love this yellow!"  

Four little cups . . . oh so cute.  I need to make more!

The red check makes a great binding!

Even the cutting and planning was fun.  I am a big fan of the Fat Quarter Shop's "Alphabitties."  They are a great way to keep all your bitsy pieces organized!

Alphabitties . . . so much better than sticky notes!

I have made a small dent into my half yard bundle of “Calico Days” with this cocoa cup project and another small quilt I am saving to show you in a few weeks.  Each time I make the smallest cut, I re-fold the sweet fabric and tuck it back into its basket and look at it for a while, because . . . well . . . that’s what quilters do!

Pieces for another small quilt I will show you in a couple of weeks . . . featuring one of my patterns!

All of my blog sponsors carry “Calico Days.”  These wonderful online shops have great customer service and a real hometown shop feel.  I hope you will visit them soon!  Just click on their banner ads in my left sidebar.

Thanks for stopping by the blog today. I hope 2015 was a blessed year for all of you, and I hope you get carried away quilting often in 2016!


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Romantic Patchwork Pillow

Earlier in December I stopped at an antique store and found a lovely loop of vintage crocheted trim that was still attached to a band of white linen. It likely came off of a very pretty pillow case, and my plan was to reuse part of it on a smaller, decorative pillow.  I just needed the perfect fabric for this special little project.  Not long after, the sweet folks at Fort Worth Fabric Studio (check them out using the link in my sidebar!) sent me a mini charm pack called "Dogwood Trail II" by Sentimental Studios for Moda Fabrics. This feminine, romantic fabric was just right!

The complete line of "Dogwood Trail II" includes some yellow, blue and brighter pink prints, but for my pillow project I pulled just the pale pink, grey, and a few green prints.  I also dug around in my stash and found "Sealed with a Kiss" by Lauri Wisbrun for Robert Kaufman Fabrics. I think the text print really adds a nice visual relief.  And of course, the messages in the print are also quite nice! The finishing touches on my pillow are three silver buttons from Grandma's button jar.

Playing with these sweet pastel prints in the middle of winter was a nice pick-me-up!  I think this pillow would be a lovely touch in a guest room to cheer whomever is staying overnight.

Both of these fabric lines are available at Fort Worth Fabric Studio! (link in sidebar)  I've included a photo tutorial below if you are interested in making a similar pillow.

Thanks for vising the blog today!  I hope you are making some time to get carried away quilting!



For a festive holiday inspired version of this pillow, check out this post!

Romantic Patchwork Pillow Tutorial


Finished size: 12" x 16"

Step 1. 
Collect all the goodies: 

  • (24) 2 1/2" squares from a mini charm pack or your scraps
  • decorative trim (crocheted trim, lace, ribbon)
  • 1/3 yard coordinating fabric
    (cut into three pieces: 8 1/2" x 12 1/2", 10 1/2" x 12 1/2" and 10 1/2" x 12 1/2")
  • buttons or other embellishments
  • 12" x 16" pillow form
  • 1/4 yard binding (optional)

Step 2.
Using (24) 2 1/2" squares, sew together a 4 x 6 patchwork panel for the left side of the pillow.  Finished size will be 8 1/2" wide x 12 1/2" tall.  (Use a 1/4" seam allowance throughout.)

Step 3.
From your coordinating fabric, cut a piece that is 8 1/2" wide by 12 1/2" tall.  If your fabric is directional, take that into account when cutting.
Also cut a piece of decorative trim 12 1/2" long.

Step 4.
Layer your trim onto the left hand edge of the coordinating fabric.  (Both pieces are face up.)  Then gently layer the patchwork panel right side down onto these pieces, making sure left edges are lined up.

Step 5.
Pin along this left edge and sew all three pieces together.

Step 6.
Open and press gently.

Step 7.
Stitch down your trim piece so that it is secure.  

Step 8.
Optional:  At this point I ironed on a piece of Pellon 987f Fusible Fleece to the back of the front panel of the pillow.  I like the additional stability and structure. 

You could also use batting. You may wish to quilt your pillow top.  I did not quilt this pillow top, but I did quilt the Pixie Noel Christmas version.

Step 9.
Add buttons.  I used pale pink embroidery floss to attach the silvery buttons.

Step 10.
To make the back of the pillow, cut (2) pieces that are 10 1/2" wide by 12 1/2" tall.  (Remember, if your fabric is directional, take this into account when cutting.)
Sew a 1/2" seam on the right edge of one piece and a 1/2" seam on the left edge of the other piece.  These two pieces will overlap in the middle and need finished edges.

Note:  These instructions call for a simple "turn inside out" method for making the pillow cover. You may also choose to do the binding method (similar to binding a quilt) that is quite popular. I have a photo of that type of finish posted here

Step 11.
Overlap the two back pieces so that when overlapped, the entire piece measures 16 1/2" wide.  Then lay the front of the pillow face down onto these two pieces. You can adjust the back to pieces to the left or to the right slightly to make sure all outside edges line up nicely.

Step 12.
Pin and sew around all four sides.

Step 11.
Your back will look like this.  Turn your pillowcase inside out through the overlapped pocket you created in the back.

Step 12.
Push out the corners, insert your pillow form, and you are done!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Barn wood backdrop for Moda Love Quilt

Hello quilting friends!  I’ve had some requests for information on the barn wood backdrop for my “Moda Love Charm Quilt.”  While I can’t take credit for the construction, I can give you the scoop on how and why we put it together.

I’m a fusser.  I like putzing around in my house and making it pretty and inviting for the people I love.  My little family has come to live with the annoying fact that Mom likes to rearrange often, and repurpose “junk” to make it cute.  They are good sports. 

I will admit that if there is something that doesn’t look quite right to my eye, it will drive me crazy until I resolve it.  I rarely go out and purchase something to fix the decorating dilemma.  I usually try to make something myself or move things around.  Such is the case with a troublesome hallway in my home.  It’s a high traffic spot.  It’s narrow.  It’s dark.  It’s totally uninspiring.  Ugh.

When I made my Moda Love Charm Quilt last year using “Somerset” by Fig Tree & Company, I thought, “Well THERE it is!  The perfect quilt to hang in that UGH hallway.”  The colors are rich yet bright, the pattern is so pleasing, and it’s just the right size for the spot!  (This is a free pattern from United Notions and comes in three sizes based on your choice of precut:  layer cake, charm pack or mini charm pack.)  Here it is as pictured just back from the quilters, waiting for some binding.  (I added borders, so my quilt is 36” x 36”.  The original pattern with no borders yields a 32" x 32” quilt.)

So I sewed up a sleeve and hung up the quilt.  Well, hmmm . . . the hallway stopped being UGH, but as far as I was concerned it only moved up a few notches to “Ehhh . . . okay.”  And since I’m putting all my cards on the table, that little light switch was really bugging me too.

I spent a couple weeks living with this slightly improved hallway, and then it came to me.  What I needed was some type of frame, something chocolaty brown that pulled out the rich brown star points in the center of the quilt. I emailed our family friend, Dan, who is both a teacher and a talented carpenter/builder.  I explained my situation, told him what I was envisioning and asked if I could purchase some barn wood from him.  He said he would stop by that evening and take a look.

Dan did stop by that evening alright.  He stopped by with exactly what I had in my mind already built!  He really is an artist, and he totally appreciated my need to make this quilt pop in this troublesome spot.  What a guy!

I took the barn wood backdrop downstairs and set up shop, deciding that a warm cinnamon gel stain would provide the perfect finish.

My husband helped me make a cleat so that we could hang it on the wall properly and remove it as needed. (Measuring at 46" x 46”, the piece is quite heavy.)  The cleat also allows us to pull the frame forward a couple inches to turn the light switch on and off . . . an easy solution to hiding that switch!

Dan cut the barn wood to length and connected the pieces using two vertical rails.
My husband and I added the cleat to the top so it would hang securely.

I feel quite happy now when I look at this hallway as I’m buzzing from the kitchen to the laundry room.  I'm pretty sure this decorating project has drastically improved the lives and well-being of the people I live with . . . well maybe not, but it's a darn good excuse to quilt and decorate!

Thank you for stopping by the blog today.  I would also like to give a sincere thanks to these new sponsors of Carried Away Quilting.  They help make it possible for me to share my ideas and love of quilting with you! Please visit these fine shops using their banner links in my left sidebar!

Lou Lou’s Fabric Shop
Fat Quarter Shop
Fort Worth Fabric Studio
Stash Addict Quilts

Here’s hoping you get carried away quilting often!


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Holiday Book Bag

Every year as I decorate my home for the holidays, I also set out the children’s books.  I guess it’s kind of silly now, since my children are 17 and 19, but I love these books.  Truth be told, I miss the days of snuggling with my kids and reading these stories every December.

Flipping through the pages and feeling quite nostalgic, I thought it might be fun to sew up a book bag to store them sweetly. I went to my fabric bins and began pulling traditional reds and greens from some of my favorite fabric designers, but then I realized what my kids would have really liked was a bag suited to them.

At my local quilt shop I found this oh-so-cute “Frosty the Snowman” print by Quilting Treasures. (Does anyone else get a warm, sappy feeling thinking about watching "Frosty" on TV? You remember, way back when you had to wait for the TV station to air it!) Well, paired with some fabrics I had at home and a bit of pom pom fringe, I think this makes a perfect little bag.

When I was young I would have loved a reading nook like this. 

You can make a book bag using my Easy Fat Quarter Shoulder Bag tutorial.  It truly is easy and very quick. You will need three fat quarters, a little interfacing, and buttons or trim if you choose!

Hope you find some time to snuggle and read with the young ones in your life!
Happy holidays!


Frosty the Snowman copyright of Warner Bros. Entertainment & Classic Media LLC. Based on the musical composition Frosty the Snowman copyright Warner/Chappell.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Winner: Spread Some Christmas Cheer Giveaway

Okay, okay . . . I realize you just want to know the name of the winner from my “Spread Some Christmas Cheer Giveaway”, but first things first.

I want to thank everyone who posted comments on Instagram and on my blog. After totaling up the comments on Instagram, the reposts on Instagram, and the comments on the blog, there were nearly 150 entries.  My intent was to do something nice for someone else, and it turns out something really nice was done for me.  The Christmas cheer was spread to me many times over by all your sweet words, and I simply cannot thank you enough.

I took all of those comments, copied and pasted the entries into an Excel spreadsheet (I love computers), did several random sorts to get the entries good and mixed up, and then hollered to my husband in the living room,  “Honey, pick a number between 1 and 148.”  He hollered back, “24!”

Well 24 turned out to be an Angie from Tennessee.  I have made contact with Angie via email and will be sending her some Christmas cheer.

Thank you all for joining in! 


Crossroads Quilt Along with Fat Quarter Shop

Good morning quilting friends!  I’m feeling blessed and excited to share some news with you today.  I will be ringing in 2016 by sewing (and blogging) along with Fat Quarter Shop’s Crossroads Quilt Along benefiting the March of Dimes. I will be using the beautiful Strawberry Fields Revisited fabric from Fig Tree & Company. (Yes, I’m over the moon!) I am so anxious to get my hands on this fabric and piece together an heirloom quilt designed by Joanna of Fig Tree & Company. 

The program starts in February and ends in September.  You can get all the details by visiting the Fat Quarter Shop and the Jolly Jabber Blog (click their link in my left sidebar)!  They have kits available in Strawberry Fields Revisited, or you could use fabrics of your choosing and download the PDF pattern free each month starting in February. They ask that you donate $5 to the March of Dimes for each pattern you download. 

The kind people at Fat Quarter Shop asked that I share a transforming event in my life, a Crossroads if you will.  Without hesitation I knew what I would share, and those of you who know me well have probably already guessed.

My father has Alzheimer’s disease.  He is only 70 years old and was diagnosed about five years ago . . . much too young.  It is a sad, tough business to witness.  It's an awful disease with no hope of improvement.  There is only a gradual decline, and then a quicker decline, that is like watching a loved one sink into a deep, dark hole.  This spring we moved my dad into a memory care unit.  He is receiving great care, and we are thankful for that.  My mom visits him daily and has enveloped herself into that family of people, making the best of a bad situation.

I can still point to a day in June when I had an “ah ha” moment . . . my Crossroads moment . . . after visiting my dad. As I walked to my car, I felt the warmth of the early summer sun on my face and smelled the lilacs in bloom.  Suddenly I was struck by the beauty of the day and the beauty of the life around me, and I remembered how lucky I am.  I am here.  I am able.  I can pursue my passions and I am thankful for it.  The very next day I started my quilting blog, and a new chapter of my life was born.  At 46 years old, I finally took a brave step to chase after a dream.

I know my dad would be proud.  He was always proud of all of us.  When I was young, my dad often said to me, “Run fast, jump high, do good!”  Years later, he repeated that mantra to my children.  We were and are a sports-minded family, but we all know that Grandpa's go-to line meant a lot more.  It meant “get after it, pursue your passions, do your best.”  When I get tired or cranky or doubts creep in, I remember that and keep plugging away.

Who's Quilting Along?

Here is a list of the quilters who will be sharing their progress each month! Check out their blogs and follow them on Instagram.  The journey begins in February!  

We each have been asked to share a crossroads moment in our life. Kimberly (Fat Quarter Shop) and Joanna (Fig Tree & Company) have also shared their thoughts here. We all have our own unique stories, our own crossroads, but it seems that we are bound together by so much that we have in common beyond quilting!
Thank you for stopping by my blog.  I hope you’ll follow our progress and consider joining in the fun!  It is a great way to connect with other enthusiastic quilters and donate to a wonderful cause, the March of Dimes You can share your progress and creations on thCrossroads Facebook group. And be sure to post your own blocks using #crossroadsquiltalong on Instagram!  I can't wait to see what all of you lovely quilters in the IG community come up with! 

Thank you to the Fat Quarter Shop people for letting me quilt along!


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Spread Some Christmas Cheer Giveaway

Last week one of my Instagram quilting friends, Sterling Labosky of Sterling Quilt Company, thrilled her Instagram followers by announcing a "Spread Some Christmas Cheer Giveaway."  She made a darling Christmas pillow, encouraged all her followers to enter, and then announced her winner today.  I can just imagine how tickled that lucky winner is!

Sterling inspired me to do the same, and she was kind enough to let me jump on her Instagram hashtag bandwagon (#spreadsomechristmascheergiveaway). If you'd like to enter, please leave a comment below telling us your favorite way to spread some Christmas cheer.  If you are on Instagram, you can also enter there.  Yep, two chances to win. 

Well, after I got on the bandwagon, I realized I needed to make up my gift . . . and quick! This weekend I rummaged through my patterns and knew immediately what I wanted to make: the small "Feed Sack Bag" pattern from Fig Tree & Company.  I chose red, green, black and cream fabrics to give it a holiday feel, but none of the fabrics have a Christmas design.  So if these are your colors, you could use it all year long.  I think it would make a great Christmas card holder!  It would also be a handy place to store trims, ribbons and other sewing doo dads.  

Choosing the fabrics was so fun--mostly Fig Tree with a couple others thrown in.

A little straight line quilting to add dimension.
Moda's Cross Weave in Graphite makes a nice neutral for the bottom and handles!

I did get a little nervous on this step.  No turning back now!

The finished bag is a little honey!  How can I give him away?

Don't you just love that little bit of math on graph paper?
If someone knows what that line is, please comment below!

Comments are open through 5:00 pm (CST) on Wednesday, December 9.  (Don't forget that you can also enter on Instagram to double your chance.) That evening, I will do a random draw and announce the winner.

Thanks so much for reading my blog today.  Good luck to all!


*Only one comment per person/per email address.  Email me if you are having trouble leaving a comment and I will leave a comment on your behalf.  (