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Category Archives: Spring to Finish

Spring to Summer?

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Although I had great plans for the Spring to Finish challenge, nothing ever goes the way I planned it to. [There were these short cartoons that used to appear between shows during the day when I was a kid, and one of them featured this miserable little guy singing the sad song, “Nothing ever goes the way I planned it to….” Guess what I sing when my plans start going down the tubes? And – sadly – nobody else remembers these cartoons or the song, which takes away from the experience.]

There were last-minute birthday gifts that cropped up [which, I must say, was just the excuse I needed to put together another one of these fun summer fun swim sets]: 

and graduation kind of snuck up on me, so that list dwindled rapidly, but I managed to squeeze in two of the six gifts I’d originally slated for production (and subbed in last-minute gift cards for some of the others — it does get easier!), including the traditional headed-for-college gargantuan laundry bag,

and something new, which I made using a pattern you may recognize from the Fall ’09 cover of Stitch magazine:

Can I just say how much I love this bag? True, I did put if off for several weeks (in typical fashion) because there appeared to be a lot of steps to its construction, but it was really very straightforward and fun. Also, let me just tell you that it comes to life when you add the quilted lines to the top portion. Such a great design! Oh, and the file folders I paired with the bag (which served to inspire the color choices for the bars on the bag) came from the Container Store.

So my quest to finish the million and one projects languishing away in a tub or buzzing around in my brain, continues. The way summer is already flying by, I doubt I’ll finish ’em all, especially since I keep adding new stuff.

Like the dress I made for the The Girl yesterday. Yep — more of those are pushing their way to the head of the line already….

For Marley

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I’d lost touch with my best friend from high school for about a year. Then, through the magic of Facebook, I found her again. During that time, though, she managed to cook up a whole new person: her fifth kiddo, another beautiful baby girl. The least I could do was whip up a quilt, right?

It took me a while to finish it up, but I did manage to get it to her before she turns one, which was my goal. In fact, I was so anxious to get it in the mail that I ended up stuffing it rather unceremoniously in a Priority Mail box so that I could ship it off at the same time as the bean bags. One must strike while the iron is hot, no? While I was at it, I also tucked in some mirrors that I’d painted for the girl’s mama.

They’d only been lying around for, oh, about five years. Yeah. The shipping anxiety? Not unfounded.

Quilt specs: I used this tutorial instead of my usual zig zag pattern, just to shake things up a bit. (I like to live on the edge.) The piecing is very simple, and the end result is a winner, but I don’t like the process of cutting off the points and squaring up the top. This shouldn’t be a surprise, since you all know that my cutting is not so strong. The super cute froggie flannel and the white fabric came from my mom’s collection; the rest came from my own. I had a great time pulling all of those pinks and greens and putting them to good use. The purple binding was a little bit of a wild choice, but the girls in that house especially love purple, and it tied in well with the back, so it all worked out. As for the zig zag strip that was pieced into the back, I’d hacked it off of the bottom of the quilt top when I realized I didn’t need it to be quite so large.  Since the backing fabric was just shy of what I needed, that turned out to be serendipitous; gotta love that!

A Family Affair

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As soon as I can get my hands on a box (tomorrow, hopefully), these two sacks of bean bags will be winging their way to LOEP (Craft Hope’s current project recipients.)

Originally, I committed to making one set. Then I teamed up with Mom, who was (in her words) “feeling ambitious”, so she made two. That’s right: I make the commitment, she produces. It works for us!

In the interest of full disclosure, because she’ll protest otherwise, I’ll tell you that I made the drawstring bags. And cut the denim for one of the sets, which thrilled me to no end, seeing as how I was able to burn through several pair of jeans in the process — woohoo! (The denim? Mom’s idea. Good one, Ma!)Then she did … the rest.  See? I wasn’t exaggerating by much.

Can’t wait to find out what the next project is going to be so that “we” can get to work!

A Banner Week

Actually, it’s been a banner coupla weeks. 

The Boy had a nasty little virus, which caused him to run 103 fevers several times a day for five days. Then Daddy went on a week-long business trip. Then The Girl had her turn with the same bug, and that pretty much sums up the last two weeks. Given that we are, perhaps, the most boring household in the West (and that is a good thing, in my book – a very, very good thing), it was quite a run.


Daddy’s home, the kids are fever-free, and Mama is very, very thankful.

It’s Spring to Finish time, and I have a list a mile long. I’ll share it with you when I get a minute; it’s definitely good for a laugh. Just to give you an idea, it took me two full days to put pen to paper and actually compile the list. Once I got started, I filled up most of the lines. Now does that combo sound to you like a recipe for success?

Time will tell.

Two Years in the Making

It shouldn’t have taken that long, but it did.

When I saw this on the Winter ’06 cover of Quilts and More, I knew I had to try it out. The following summer, I finished all of the blocks in about a week. Actually, most of them were completed in a single weekend.

Then I wasn’t sure how I wanted to border it…and then I found a flaw on the backing fabric that I’d originally chosen…and then I lost interest altogether. After leaving it to cool for another year, though, I’d figured out solutions to all the challenges and quickly fell in love again.

Since this was a gift for my brother, city slicker that he is, I decided to go with blacks and whites instead of reds for the background. Originally, my intention was to make all of the trees in shades of gray, with only a single green one in the center, but that didn’t work out. I still think that would be a cool idea. As you can see, I ended up going with a red(dish) inside border, to provide a little pop of color. You cannot see that I pieced the back, but that’s what I did.

It works out well that the boy (well, if you can call 25 “boy”) has an early December birthday, because I didn’t draw his name for the gift exchange this year. Besides, now he got to enjoy it for the whole season, seeing as how I actually managed to get it to him early. That’s what happens when you take two years to finish a gift: If you set your mind to it, you can get it out the door in a timely fashion (timely being a relative term, of course.)



And What Did We Learn?

Here are the two final Spring to Finish projects completed during the month of April:


Oh, how I love this quilt. This was one of the first that I made a couple of  years ago, when I got on a baby quilt kick. Yet, here we are, lo these many years later, and I just finished it this week. Do you know what was holding it up, come to find out (because I’d long forgotten)? I’d missed one row when I was quilting it, so I need to go back and stitch that. Also, there was about a three inch piece I’d quilted by mistake, which needed to be removed. Yeah, so it took all of ten minutes to tackle both tasks. Then, it needed its bindings, which added a couple more days.



Do you know what’s funny? These colors are exactly what I used for the baby’s nursery. I guess I like what I like! As much as I’d like to hang onto this one, I think it’s going to be a donation quilt. It’s good to let go once in a while, no?

As for these, we can safely file them under “How Many of These Did I Make?!”:


Sweet fancy Moses! I opened up the works-in-progress box, only to find two more. One needed to have the threads cut, and the other was missing the stitching around the top. Done and done. . .and done, because these really and truly are the last two grocery bags. I actually could use a couple more, because the baggers have been filling mine to the utter brim. Maybe if there were more in the cart, they’d feel free to fill them a little less generously. Here’s hoping.

So, the lesson I learned is that I need to crack the w.i.p. box open a little more often to see what’s holding up production. Also, it would be a good idea to finish things in the first place once in a while, just sayin’.

Brought to You By The Letter “B”

As in: Bitter Betty’s Bowling Bunnies  [scroll down to 11/18/08; I was having trouble linking] are Brilliant!

Although I click through a lot of inspiring things online, it’s cause for celebration indeed when I come across something that makes me jump up and down, saying,”I *have* to try that!” , and I can actually remember exactly where I saw it when the time comes along. This was one of those projects. I knew I wouldn’t get around to it by Christmas, so it was filed away in my little old brain for a later date. What’s not to like about this idea? 

Seriously — brilliant, Bethany!

 The thing is, I was afraid that my kid (who was the youngest in the whole family until Bridget came along) might be too old. Why is three too old, you ask? Yeah, I have no idea. I’m not really good at gauging this sort of thing. Flash forward to January, where he and his cousin are setting up toys to bowl them down. We-ell!

OK, so I figured I would make a set for him for Easter. Considering I started on them very early, that shouldn’t have been a problem. Sadly, I didn’t make the deadline. Happily, he doesn’t have a real firm grasp on the whole Easter basket/bunny thing, so it didn’t matter to him in the least. Thanks to Spring to Finish, he is now the proud owner of his own Bowling Bunnies.


I got so excited once I started making them that I totally neglected to look at the original, which clearly shows three bunnies as a perfectly adequate number (hey, and maybe they would’ve been finished back in February!), with different facial orientation, and some good words on weighting the little guys. Nevertheless, this was big fun.


Even managed to finish the second set. Actually, this was the first set that I started (back in January), but a mother knows when it would be better to finish her own child’s gift first. Oh, the sadness when it is not for him!

As a side note, one fat quarter yields enough for the cotton pieces of two bunnies and two section of the ball. Finally, something to make a significant dent in the fat quarter collection!

Quilting is Fun

So, Spring to Finish is not going in any particular order. I started this quilt sometime this year, which makes it barely aged amongst its peers there in the box, but it still had plenty of rest-time. Also, I stalled out at almost every stage after the initial piecing of the top, which spells doom as far as finishing is concerned.


 Well over a year ago, I was admiring Mom’s collection of charm packs. Since she didn’t know what to do with them, I snatched one of them and offered to create something with these beauties. Of course, I had no idea either, but that’s beside the point. This chestnut provided the answer. (Yes, that makes this here quilt number 2 of 3. Well, or 4, if you count the one I sort of started for Kevin. I kind of got on a tear, and then burned out, if you can believe it. I know—shocking!) The large background squares are made up of some treasures of my own that had been wasting away on the shelves, just waiting for the perfect home.

Even though I didn’t participate in the very cool Oh Fransson Quilt Along – which, if you’re new to quilting and haven’t seen it, you should definitely check it out – I did pick up some really great tips. The section on free-motion quilting really got me over the hump this time around. I usually start in the middle of the quilt, which I hate. Turns out, you don’t have to. Great! Also, the way she stippled helped on this particular quilt, because I wasn’t sure how to get around the large squares without coming across the next ones (which I left unquilted). Once I worked that out, I decided to quilt the center of each block with a tiny flower. Surprisingly enough, it actually even looks like a flower.



The back got a little wild. Well, variety is the spice of life and all that.


I also tried the method outlined here  for attaching the binding, and like it so much better than the traditional double binding that I always use.

If I’d made a label for this quilt, it would have had something cornball like “To Mom: For everything, and just because”, which is the only way I can sum up the reason I wanted to move this one to the top of the list. My mom helps me hang onto my sanity in a million different ways every week, so there’s no way I could ever repay her, but I can make her a quilt. Besides, who fusses over your work like you mom? Talk about an ego boost!

And, as a bonus, now I can get back to #3, which is the one I’m making for myself.


Edited to add: And I finished it just in time to join the Bloggers Quilt Festival – extra bonus!

Now It Has a Friend


It only took better than a year, according to my records, but the mate to my first floor cushion is now complete. Would you believe that all I had left to do was install the zipper, and attach the front to the back? True. It took all of an hour. . .in addition to the fifteen month cooling off period, of course. Add another to the Spring to Finish “done” pile!