Saturday, July 8, 2017

Q3 Goals

I love the motivational link-up party that is the Finish Along. I had a really great Q1 and a reasonable Q2.  I tend to list way more projects than I will actually complete because I never know what I will be in the mood to work on.

I break my goals into 3 categories: general quilts, mini quilts and pillows, and quilts for Project Linus.

General Projects and Gifts
1. growth chart for friends
After making a growth chart for my niece last month, I had leftover strips.  So I am making a chart for friends who live in town and have 2 kids.

2. Savannah
I took this class in 2011 and haven't touched it since the day of the class.  It's time to either finish it or pass it on.

3. Rin
I did the Rin-Along recently and completed a block.  Now I need to turn it into something.

4.String Blocks
Inspired by a bee block I was making for someone else, I got to playing with my strings a few days ago and made a whole stack of string blocks--enough for a quilt!  This is my first quilt-as-you go project.

5. Magical Forest
I need to assemble my blocks from Stash Bee 2017--I'm making a magical forest!

Mini Quilts & Pillows
Pillow Menagerie
I am slowly making us a menagerie of animal throw pillows four our couch, as I got rid of the big cushions that came with the couch because they were so big it was annoying.  The following are pillows I have patterns and fabric for, and I've spent time getting the pattern pieces enlarged and color coded.
6. Lion--pattern is from the zoo animals collection by Kristy @ Quiet Play
7. Giraffe--pattern is from the zoo animals collection by Kristy @ Quiet Play
8. Bear--pattern from Juliette of The Tartan Kiwi

9. batik hexies
This might be the project that never ends! My hand sewing batik hexie project is progressing slowly. I'm sort of making up the finishing process as I go along, as I haven't found a tutorial for finishing hexies that completely works for me. I made no progress during Q2. I need to layer and quilt.

10. Vintage Holiday
I've had this one on my to-do list for a while and started the sewing on a recent work trip when I wasn't driving.  It is my current hand sewing project.

Project Linus

11. Noah didn't build a log cabin
I was fooling around one day and framed a donated Noah's Ark fabric with some large log-cabin style blocks.  It needs to be layered, quilted, and bound.

12. Princess
I have a donated Disney Princesses print that I plan to give the same log-cabin treatment that I gave Noah, above.

13. Western/Cowboy Quilt
This one has been cut and put together in a kit for Project Linus sewing.

14. Monopoly
Another one that has been made into a quilt-in-a-kit I have ready to go, this one with some Monopoly fabric my mom gave me a couple years ago.

15. I Spy Jelly Roll Twist
My current Project Linus sewing: Fat Quarter Shop's Jelly Roll Twist pattern with some I Spy strips from a swap, plus Kona Highlight.

16. Sports I Spy with Munchkin
I've been doing some sewing with my son and have a stack of sports-themed I Spy squares set aside for when he wants to sew. This one will depend completely on his pace.

17. Girly I Spy
These are some squares, most from my friend Snow, that are kind of girly.  I have a donated piece of Minky for the back that will dictate final size.

18. 3 1/2" square purple quilt
I Spy scraps with purple as the alternating fabric.  Since this photo was taken, all the rows are made and need to be assembled together.

19. 3 1/2" square blue quilt
I Spy scraps with blue as the alternating fabric.

20. Poodles
Someone donated this fabulous pink poodle fabric to my local Project Linus chapter.  I'm going to keep it as a whole cloth quilt and use it as FMQ practice. The only reason I didn't finish this in Q2 is that I temporarily misplaced it with only a small amount of binding left to finish.  It has since been found, so this one should be done shortly.

I've been doing lists of 20 so far this year, so I will keep that trend going.  I know I won't finish that many, but it does feel good to cross at least some things off the list.

Friday, July 7, 2017

July OMG

I'm not sure how much sewing time I'm going to have in July and I'm feeling pulled in lots of different directions in the sewing room, so I'm not sure what will be close to finishing by the end of the month.  I've picked a simple goal for this month: labels. I currently have 3 wall hangings and 1 throw quilt that do not have labels.  My goal is to make and attach labels for all 4.  It's not an exciting goal, but it needs to be done.

The 3 minis needing labels

The three wall hangings are for my office, where I have a goal of covering one entire wall with small quilts.  The existing five are ready for some friends!

I am linking up with Patty of Elm Street Quilts for her fabulous motivational link-up, One Monthly Goal.
Elm Street Quilts

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Carolina Dancing

About a year and a half ago, I was working on a quilt while my Dad was visiting.  He mentioned that someday, he'd like a quilt--no hurry or timeline.  Since he's the only one in my immediate family that doesn't have a quilt I've made, it seemed like a totally reasonable request.

That was September 2015.  I decided to use Scrap Dance Tango, the 2016 mystery quilt by Carole of From My Carolina Home for my Dad's quilt--when it was still a mystery and I had no idea what it would look like.  (Interestingly, the quilt I was finishing when Dad mentioned he wanted a quilt was Carole's 2015 mystery, the original Scrap Dance.)
all quilt pictures need a dump truck!
I chose Kona Blueberry as the background fabric for my Scrap Dance Tango. My Dad got his master's degree from the University of North Carolina and is a big Tarheel fan, and the Blueberry looked to be a really good match for Carolina Blue.

I set very few limits on my scraps for this quilt. I did not use batiks, solids, novelty fabrics, or anything that was too close to the background fabric.  Beyond that it was anything goes!  Lights, darks, stripes, florals, anything.

When the mystery started, it turned out that I needed 1,100 half square triangles for the double bed size.  The mystery started in January.  I think I finally finished making HSTs in December?  The mystery had long since been revealed at that point, and I did have some blocks completed. I pushed on.  I knew Dad would be visiting in June, and his 75th birthday fell during the time he'd be with us.  With a hard deadline, I spent most of the spring trying to get the top done.
When I finally finished the top, I sent it to Irene of Patchwork & Pastry to quilt.  Irene & I met online last year during the New Quilt Blogger's Hop and met in person in February at QuiltCon--she generously offered me the extra bed in her Airbnb, allowing me to take the trip!  We talked about her longarm services one morning when we walked to breakfast.  I've sent exactly 2 quilts to a longarmer previously and they were both over a decade ago to a quilt shop where I was living in Michigan during grad school.  Irene assured me that even imperfect quilts deserve to be quilted and I knew that when I finally finished Tango, I'd send it to her. She knew I was trying to get it done for Dad's birthday and put a rush on it, even though I told her I knew it was short notice and as long as I had it to give Dad before he left the east coast, that was fine.  But thanks to Irene, I gave it to him on his birthday!!
close-up of the quilting
When it came time for a name, I didn't stay with Scrap Dance Tango.  My Dad isn't really a tango kind of guy.  But I like that Carole has kept the Scrap Dance theme and names each of her mysteries with a specific dance, so I wanted to keep the dance theme.  I picked "Carolina Dancing" because it kept that theme, I used Carolina Blue for the dominant color, and both the designer (Carole) and the maker (me) live in North Carolina. 

I have to admit, this is not my favorite.  I think it comes down to the block not being symmetrical or distinct enough for me.  Maybe it's because I didn't limit my scraps to one color family and mixed darks and lights.  I don't know.  But I'm thrilled it's finished and I love Carole's yearly mysteries and my Dad is thrilled which is really all that matters.

Scrap Dance Tango was #3 on my list of Q2 goals for the globally hosted finish along.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Yellow Elephants

At the end of May, I started wondering what June's color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge might be.  I guessed yellow.  And come June 1st, it really was yellow!

Yellow Elephant Family

The patterns are the small and the large elephants from the Elephant Parade quilt along by Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts.  For each color, I'm making 2 large and 3 small elephants.  By the end of the year, I'll have a rainbow elephant parade!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Doll Quilts

My niece, age 3, has doll bunk beds that used to be mine.  I've been wanting to make her some doll quilts for those bunk beds. I love that she has a toy of mine from my childhood, and I think it doubly cool that I can make quits now for those same beds that I played with. 

a trio of doll quilts

"vintage" doll bunk beds
The first quilt I made was a rainbow.  I used Kona Cardinal, Orange, Lemon, Sprout, Willow, Malibu, Morning Glory, and Carnation in the rainbow and Medium Gray for the binding.

I found a fabulous fabric featuring unicorns with rainbow manes at a LQS recently and knew I had to have some.  I immediately had my niece in mind for the fabric, since both rainbows and unicorns are on her list of favorite things. I used it on the back of the rainbow quilt. I don't think this picture does the fabric justice.

Since the bunk beds have rails, I made this one to the dimensions of the mattress. I was worried the rails would mean that overhang would be a problem.  But it felt too skinny, so I made the next one bigger.  I liked the dimensions of that so much better that I decided to make a third, so there would be two the correct size.  Keep in mind that the beds themselves are on the other side of the country from me, so I haven't seen how they look on the bed.

The second quilt is a simple checkerboard with 2 1/2" I Spy scraps.  I used Kona Mulberry leftover from her growth chart as the solid fabric.  The back is an Eric Carle Very Hungry Caterpillar print that my niece loves--she actually asked her mom to buy some when she saw it at a local children's museum.  Turns out Aunt Emily already had some, and I gave most of it to her mom.  But I kept enough to back a doll quilt since I knew she liked it.

The third quit was on a whim since I was unhappy with the size of the first quilt. My niece is crazy about cats, so I used the Missouri Star Quilt Company tutorial for their cat block.  I made this block as a hive crash for one of my bees last month and it's super easy.  I used scraps of a purple batik for the cat and Kona Blueberry leftover from Scrap Dance Tango for the background.
For the back, I used the last of the cat print that is on the back of her growth chart.  There wasn't quite enough for the entire back, so I pieced in some more of the purple batik used to make the cat for the front.

When my niece turned three, my sister-in-law made her this amazing purple doll house that is occupied by a family of small bears.  When my SIL sent me the picture of the bunk beds and the dimensions, she also sent me a picture of the bears' bed and said, "And just in case you feel like making a teeny tiny quilt for The Bear House...that measures 5"x7""  Well, how could I not??
You can kind of see the awesomeness that is the purple Bear House

Obviously, a purple Bear House needed a purple quilt.  I decided to make it reversible.  I couldn't think of a good pieced pattern for something so small, so I went with embroidery.  For one side, I chose a unicorn.  The fabric is Kona Lupine, with Bright Periwinkle binding.

For the other side, I chose a bear in a bed.  Yes, it's a bear in a bed, being covered by a quilt, as a design for quilt that will cover a bear in a bed.  It's probably the most meta thing I've made. This fabric is Kona Lavender.

Both embroidery designs are from this book, which we have had in my house *forever!*  We traced designs and used them for coloring when I was a kid.  I can't tell you how many school projects that needed to be illustrated I turned in with pictures I traced from this book.  And the most surprising thing is, the transfer ink still worked!  Now that I know that, I suspect there will be a lot more small embroidery projects in my future!

Doll quilts were #2 my list of Q2 goals for the globally hosted finish along.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Growth Chart

One of my favorite projects is the growth chart I made my son.  When my brother and his wife and daughter were visiting last December, I asked if they wanted a growth chart for my niece.  And I was thrilled that they did!  While visiting, my sister-in-law went through my 2 1/2" I Spy strips and picked out the ones she liked and created the order she wanted, and she used my Kona color card to choose Graphite for the background and Mulberry for the name & numbers.

I used a fun cat print for the back because my niece is crazy about cats. Her best friend is her cat, Orco.

I used the same method & measurement for this chart that I did when making my son's.  I combined this Moda Bake Shop tutorial by Vanessa from the Craft Gemini, with this picture of charts made for twin boys, which were based on this picture into something that works for me.  I am really happy with this chart, and the idea in general, and I am now thinking these might make good baby shower gifts when the name is known ahead of time.

Sadly, I don't have a picture of this one in use.  She should be getting it soon, though, as it is currently on a cross-country trip with my dad, her Grandpa, from North Carolina to Oregon.

This chart was my June OMG for the monthly motivational link-up hosted by Patty of Elm Street Quilts (I was goal-setter #72) and was #1 on my list of Q2 goals for the globally hosted finish along.
Elm Street Quilts

New Look!

I've been gone from Blogland for most of June, but part of that is due to time going in to changes behind the scenes.  You may have noticed that The Darling Dogwood has a new look! 

Every year, my husband asks me what I want for Mother's Day.  This is the first year I had an answer: a logo!  I talked to my friend Paige from Quilted Blooms about her logo and she referred me to Valerie of Inkblot Design Studio.  Valerie was awesome to work with and custom designs are remarkably reasonable. I love what she came up with!

Once I had a fabulous logo, I decided that the blog itself needed a little bit of polish.  I picked out a template from Blogaholic Designs.  I communicated with Emily, the designer, and she was amazing.  She answered my questions before I even bought anything and gave me support way beyond what I expect for a standard, non-custom, as-is template. If you are looking for a new blog look, check out Emily's templates for quick and affordable options.

I did get some projects done in June; there will likely be a flood of posts as I try to get caught up!