Category Archives: Birthday Gifts

Loving These Handmade Gifts

My grand daughter turned two years old last week. Her parents and I wondered how this could be?? Those two years have buzzed by and here she is, a toddler who talks a blue streak, is starting to be potty trained, and has perfected the all-important sentence “I can do it myself”.

Oak and walnut step stool created by Grandpa.

My husband and I wanted to make her a gift from each of us. As one would expect, his was made of wood and mine of fabric. Ray made her a pretty step stool. My DIL actually asked him to make this. Recently they converted her crib to a toddler bed and it is a tiny bit tall for her still.

He laminated strips of oak and walnut together to make the top. Then he framed it with walnut. Always one to think of safety, he angled the legs on the bottom so it wouldn’t tip as she stepped on and off of it. He also put little grips on the bottom of each leg making it hug the floor for safety as well as avoiding any scratches on their hardwood flooring.

She loves her little seat. Such a sweet girl.

Gram-gram chose to make a little bassinet for her dollies and stuffed animals. H is at that age where she loves to put things and people to bed. Sometimes a doll or stuffed animal, sometimes her Gram-gram or her daddy – she loves to cover you up with a little blanket and say pat-pat when she tucks you in. Oh my heart.

I used a tutorial on Sew Mama Sew for this project. It was very fun to make. Nothing too unusual in the process at all, just boxed in corners, a lining of a stiff, fusible batting and a ruffle to decorate the outside. I used a home dec fabric from Jo-Ann’s for the outside. I love the whimsical birds. The lining, ruffle and pillow are made with a purple Kona cotton.

The bed was a little bit ‘floppy’ so before adding the band above the ruffle, I lined it with a stiff, fusible interfacing. That seemed to give it more structure.

A soft little dolly quilt too!

Of course a doll bed needs a little quilt! I used this little floral and just quilted a few lines across it each way. It is just the right size to tuck in a dolly or stuffed animal.

She loved it!

My grand daughter was all smiles when I gave it to her. She immediately loaded it up with a little doll and her stuffed elephant. (I blocked out the name on her hat, that is why it looks a little strange!)

How many animals can sleep in one little bed?

I really loved making this for her and hope she will play with it for a long time to come.

Using the little cushion as her own pillow. Testing out the softness for her baby dolls?

Of course she felt the need to do a little bit of quality control and lay on the cushion from the bed. Any good mommy has to make sure her dollies will be cozy, right?

Happy birthday to this two year old. Such a fun time for her as well as Gram-gram and Grandpa. Linking up with my usuals plus two new (for me) Linkys – one is called Show Off Saturday and the other is at The Crafty Quilter. Check the others out at the top of the page, under link ups!!

Remember that this Saturday, March 16th is National Quilting Day. Check your email first thing Saturday morning for a newsletter announcing some fun deals for just that day only! If you don’t subscribe to the Needle and Foot newsletter, this might be a good time to sign up!! Click here to subscribe – and remember, I won’t use your email address for anything else, nor will I share it.

PS – If you would like to see more of my husband’s woodworking, follow him on Instagram! He is @kringelwoods and is a talented kind of guy. (I may be a bit biased, but still….)

Tiny Baby Projects

A few posts back, I mentioned that our family will grow by three great-grandchildren in the first part of 2017? Guess what? One of those babies will be my first grandbaby. Does that make sense?? It sounds weird. Probably because I have been patiently waiting  for this for a long time. No, not really all that patiently. Sometimes Ray has to give me the stink-eye, reminding me to quit asking my kids about grandbabies. Finally, it’s going to happen– yahoo!! I get to be a Grandma, or Grammy. Probably Grammy, I like that better. My oldest and his wife are expecting their first baby, a sweet little girl, the first week of March!! Awesome news, this is.

I have sent a few little things to them for the baby. (They live in Vermont – Clearly, it’s not going to be all that convenient to play with my granddaughter.) Last weekend I really wanted to make something for her. It was raining like crazy though, making a trip to the store somewhat unappealing.  (Seriously, it was raining that hard.) I dug around in my closet of more-fabric-than-anyone-could-need and pulled some flannel scraps. These were scraps in every sense of the word. They didn’t really go with anything and were not very big. Certainly I could turn them into something. Babies start out small – these were small scraps, I didn’t need to make anything huge, right?

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I also found a reasonably sized piece of white flannel and a tiny piece of white terrycloth. After an afternoon of playing around, this is where I ended up.

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I squeaked one bib out of terrycloth and flannel and the other bib is backed with white flannel and trimmed with white rick-rack. I used velcro closures because I was out of the little gripper snaps and it was raining….. remember?

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Joy (baby girl’s other Grammy), if you are reading this, the “I Love Grandma” bib is for both of us. This girl is going to have two really cool grandmas.

img_7962I also made three burp cloths. These are definitely scrappy. The elephant fabric was just a few bits so I mixed it with white flannel strips to get a large enough rectangle.  The lime green stripe was a narrow rectangle so I sewed it to a larger rectangle of white flannel, causing the white to wrap around to the front and create a large enough rectangle. That pink polka dot is adorable and I even had coordinating ribbon to embellish with. Fancy schmancy burp cloths for my special girl.  I sent them off to the kids with a note telling them that three burp cloths was not nearly sufficient but this would at least get them started. 😉

When I first started blogging, I posted a tutorial for burp clothes that wrap the backing to the front, like the green one.  If you want to check it out, click here.

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I can’t wait for this baby’s arrival. My son and DIL are so good about keeping all of us posted with ultrasound pictures and baby bump photos. She is clearly adorable already. For my birthday last week they sent me a lovely frame that says granddaughter on it and this TGIF mug. It is the perfect mug for me – holds a huge cup of coffee and reminds me I am soon to be a Grammy.

Linking to lots of fun places – check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Mini Charm Pack Finish

I have a quick finish to share with you today. It also means I can check one thing off of my aforementioned Q4 FAL list! Yahoo for checking things off the list. (I derive great satisfaction from such things.)

I made a zip pouch with a packet of mini charms. These were the Chic Neutral charms by Amy Ellis. I showed a peek at this project in an earlier post. My sister and I have birthdays that are just three days apart. Actually, three years and three days but who’s keeping track? Um, I am, she’s older. 😉  She sent me the Nani Iro scarf for my birthday and I sent her the zip pouch. It was really simple to make. I used this tutorial by Julie Hirt, published on Moda Bake Shop.

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The pattern is clear and quite easy. I lined it with a deep yellow print that was in the yellow stack in my closet. I used a neutral, tan zipper because I had one available.

img_7873This is the first time I finished off the ends of the zipper with a fabric covering. It adds a nice touch but the resulting thickness made it a challenge to turn it tight side out.

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It is such a cute finish. Hopefully Cathy will finds all sorts of really important things to keep in it!

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Also, I wanted to tell you that today I received Vinegar Girl, the Summer Book Share, back. This was the first, of many I hope, book that I shared with Needle and Foot readers. I sent it off to Tami in Wisconsin in July. From there, this little book traveled from to Idaho to West Virginia to Durham in the UK, to South Carolina and back to California! That makes me smile. Each person to read the book added a few fat quarters for the next person when the book was sent on. We tried to related the FQ’s to the story. Barbara chose the floral print because the main characters receive a Peony plant for a wedding gift. The print with the city on it represents Baltimore, where the story takes place. What a lovely selection of fat quarters. I will really enjoy using these pieces of fabric! Thanks Barbara! I enjoyed these notes that we left each other on the inside cover of the book.

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The Fall Book Share has already made it’s way from California to Minnesota to North Carolina to Wisconsin. From there it goes to Missouri and New York before coming back to me. Looking at the upcoming season of holidays, I think the next book share will begin in January.  It would be all too easy for the book to be set aside as busy at this time of year gets. So, look for a new book in January.

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Linking to my usuals. Find the links at the top of the page, under Link Ups.  Outside of the usually, I am linking up with Elm Street’s Bag It event! Have you checked this out yet? Also checking this project off of my Q4-FAL list for the event over at She Can Quilt!

See you all on Monday for the start of the Autumn Abundance Blog Hop!!

Birthday Surpise

It is still another week until my birthday but today I received a surprise in the mail. Who doesn’t love getting something in the mail besides junk mail and bills, right? It doesn’t happen very often anymore.

The surprise was from my sister Cathy.  She made me a scarf with some gorgeous Nani Iro fabric. And guess what? She went all the way to Japan to buy the fabric. I know, she’s a little crazy. She could have ordered it online but she is the sort who usually goes the extra mile (or the extra 8,271 miles, as the crow flies)  🙂

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This scarf is absolutely stunning. She also put this darling trim on both ends.

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The fabric and backing are so soft. Yum.  I haven’t ever used Nani Iro fabric but have certainly read about it and maybe even coveted it just a little bit. Designed by Naomi Ito, for Kokka fabrics, the prints are lovely. Naomi is a painter, mostly water colors, and she designs these prints by painting first. Miss Matatabi has a wonderful interview with Naomi Ito on her site. It gives the reader a peek into Naomi’s world and her process for creating and designing these fabrics as well as a bit about her personal life. Take a minute and hop over. I know you’ll enjoy it. If you want to see some of the gorgeous fabric she has designed, click here. (Not an affiliate link but definitely a fabric enabling link!!)

Do you want to hear the other reason why Cathy went over to Japan? I mean other than to pick up some Nani Iro to use for my birthday gift? She went to spend a month with her new grandson! This is such a great story.

Last summer in early June, Cathy texted all of us (we always have a family group text going) and told us to check our email. She had written to tell us that her younger son and his wife (who live and work in Japan – somewhere – I am terrible with geography but I am positive it is in Japan!) had just adopted a baby who had been born just that day. I was stunned. None of us knew they were pursuing adoption so it was a huge surprise. She was thrilled, we were thrilled and the texting went non-stop all day long. So many questions! My nephew and his wife had just received the news that they were able to adopt a baby boy. They brought him home from the hospital two days after his birth.

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Cathy quickly scheduled a trip for the beginning of August and she was able to stay for four weeks.

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This was taken when she arrived. I think he was about 8 weeks old. He is just adorable.  We are really fortunate that his daddy is willing to indulge all of us and post pictures several times each week to a Google share account. I love watching this little guy change and grow.

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Looking at just these three photos, it is amazing to see the change and growth in an infant over five months time; these were taken at 3 days, 8 weeks and 4-ish months. What I wouldn’t give to smooch this little guy. Hopefully they will be able to come out to California sometime so we can all get to know him. He has the honor of being the ninth great-grandchild for my parents. This family just keeps growing. With three more babies due in the first months of 2017, the count will be up to twelve great-grands and 21 grandchildren. Doesn’t get much better than that.

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Reminder:  The Autumn Abundance Bloghop begins here at Needle and Foot on Monday, October 24th. I have projects to share and giveaways to give. See you Monday!

 

The Birthday Girls

Last weekend was the best. I mentioned in a post last week that five of my (six) sisters were coming for the weekend. No spouses or grandkids were on the guest list so Ray and Julia took off for Downieville for a couple of nights.

A few of my sisters and I, plus my parents, were in cahoots, planning a surprise birthday party for two of my sisters. Tina turns 60 this year and Alicia, the youngest, turns 50. When I look at that sentence, it doesn’t seem at all possible that the youngest in our family is 50. In my head we are all still 30-something. The passage of time is crazy hard to wrap my head around. We have always celebrated the 50th in a big way and we needed to do this for Alicia too.  We told Tina about the surprise for Alicia but we also (secretly)  planned a party for her. The surprise party was perfect – neither suspected a thing.

Trying to figure out a theme for Alicia’s 50th party, I came up with a “50 Shades of Gray” party. Not having ever read the book, I was going for the number 50 and the kind of raunchy theme that the the title implies. We agreed that the five of us would each bring ten gifts, some silly and some not, that were either gray in color or wrapped in gray/silver paper. That way she would have 50 gifts to open. It was so much fun to pick things out. Everyone went crazy with it. Lots of silly things and some pretty gifts too.

Being fabric obessesed, I headed for the sewing room and, digging through my gray scraps, made a few items.

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The potholder has a “50” FMQ’d into the upper right corner.

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The key fob was fun to make. A few months ago I bought a bag of the hardware pieces and hadn’t done much with it until now. Also made a cozy for her coffee when she is out getting coffee, as well as a tissue holder for her purse.

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I did have to part with some of my Allison Glass scraps but Alicia is worth it. 🙂

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Here are the 50 items all together. Some of the highlights were: socks – lots of gray socks, Grey Goose vodka, two pretty gray mugs, bracelets, a knit beanie, flip flops, Earl Grey tea, denture cleaner, silly magnifier glasses, a book on becoming a mother later in life and a pregnancy test kit (apparently my mom is still hoping for more grandchildren??? Pretty sure that isn’t going to happen!), pretty gray towels, a picture frame and loads more. One of my favorite gifts was a plain, gray rock from my sister’s yard, all wrapped up. It cracked me up – look for it in the center on top of some cupcake liners (which were silver of course.) I also loved the tshirt in the front on the left. Awesome. It was so much fun.

For my sister, Tina, we honored her 60th with more traditional gifts. I had been planning for quite a while to give her the Classic Stitches row quilt. She had commented several times that it was her favorite of the quilts I had made. When I quilted it, I even wrote a little note to her in one corner. (I didn’t ever post about that for obvious reasons.)

IMG_20160222_4580Receiving the quilt was a huge surprise for her and it made me so happy to see that she loved it.

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Note the gorgeous birthday crown she is wearing. My sisters and I got a little crazy with some glue and stickers and made these gorgeous birthday crowns for the girls.

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Mom and Dad did a great job setting up the party at their house with delicious food and festive decorations. Mom pulled out their baby pictures and I got a quick picture of each sister with her baby photo.

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It was a perfect party that could only have been improved if the sixth sister were able to make it. We missed her. It is so hard to get everyone here at the same time.

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We also made a playlist of fun songs from our childhood in the 1960’s. Dad danced with each of the birthday girls.

We went back to my house on a stormy night and promptly lost power for the next 11 hours. Kind of a pain when you live in the country and rely on a well for water. At least it was later in the evening and we slept during most of the outage. The next family get together is one where I will be the missing cog on the wheel. There is a bridal shower for two grandchildren that are getting married. My family will be on vacation at the time though. Like I said, it’s always hard to find a time when the eight of us can be at the same place, at the same time. So it is important to revel in those times when we are (mostly) together.

Linking up with the usual suspects whose links are listed at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Sunday Stash Update

It has been a long while since I have purchased a set of precuts from one fabric line. Usually, I am too frugal to just buy fabric without having an intended project already in mind. Knowing me well, two of my kiddos recently gave me a great birthday gift; a three month membership to one of Pink Castle’s monthly fabric clubs. It is pretty amazing that a 25 and 28 year old guy when hunting for a gift for their fabric obsessed mother were fortunate enough to stumble upon Pink Castle’s fabric club options during a Google search. Actually I should say it was fortunate for me, huh? (Last year for my birthday, my three boys gave me a great gift of fabric. You can read about that one here.)

The boys selected the club featuring Art Gallery fabric. Although with the options offered at Pink Castle, they couldn’t go wrong. I would have been happy with any of them. Last week I received my first set. It is gorgeous.

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This is a line called “Dare” and was designed by Pat Bravo. It is modern and bold. The navy and dark pink are great together, especially mixed with the other shades of blue, pink and mustard yellow. I love it.

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So pretty!

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I am thinking about how best to use these. The pieces are fat eighths so not terribly large. My current idea is to make some sort of plus quilt design where the pattern of pluses (is that a word?) is surrounded by a coordinating solid, probably gray or yellow. I haven’t made a plus quilt yet and love them. I kind of see it where the pluses are clustered up in the right corner, working their way down to the below the midline and then a solid fabric surrounding them. It would be a great piece of negative space to practice some quilting.  We’ll see, I need to play around with it a bit more.

This is the perfect gift for me. I think the three month subscription is just the right amount. It will give me three new projects, which will take me well into the new year (and that’s just around the corner!!)

Hope you are all enjoying your Sunday. Yesterday I worked on a holiday project and it is coming along well. I’ll post pictures sometime next week.

Linking to Molly Sparkle’s Sunday Stash.

Happy Birthday to Me

Warning, this post contains some parental bragging.  If this is going to annoy you, I will understand if you decide to skip over this post.  However, my kids are pretty awesome and that is what I plan to brag about.  The decision is yours.  🙂

Saturday was my birthday.  I am even older now than I was last week. I find this mildly irritating but what am I going to do about it?  My youngest son came over Sunday for the night.  He brought me a gift that was from him and his two brothers.  It was so cool. The way I hear it, they were emailing back and forth trying to decide what to get me for my oh-so-special day.  They wanted it to be a quilty gift.  That right there is amazing.  Three guys, ages 24, 27 and 29 and they are thinking along the quilty gift lines.  I raised them right. They finally decided they would just pick out fabric for me.  Again, amazing – three guys fabric shopping for their mama.  Not even on-line shopping.  Real life quilt shops with all the rows and rows of bolts of fabric – that kind of shopping.

This was quite the task because the three of them live in different parts of the country.  One in Chicago, one in Delaware and the youngest is in Central California.  They decided that each of the boys would select six 1/2 yard pieces of yardage thus giving me a custom assortment of their choosing.

My Chicago guy actually found his way to a quilt shop in Chicago – not a quick trip since he lives in Hyde Park which is home to no fabric stores. He traveled to Lincoln Park to a shop called The Needle Shop and picked out a lovely assortment of fabrics. According to Kyle, the lady there was really helpful and he highly recommends this shop. If they can so impress and help a 27 year old guy, they are doing something right. Look at his choices:

20141026_2001This assortment totally looks like Kyle.  Check out the Wee Wander piece on the front, on the far right. I love that piece.  The little girl is only on the print two times on the 1/2 yard so I will choose carefully how I use the piece. Love the little super hero print too.  Love them all actually. He swiftly mailed off his assortment to the youngest brother since he was going to bring the gift to me.

Andrew, the Delaware guy, worked with his youngest brother to pick out his assortment. Youngest brother, Ian, was shopping at Cloth and Quilts in Turlock. The process was described as such.  Andrew told Ian that I needed to add some excitement to my stash.  He wanted to go bold.  And he did.  He would describe something to Ian who would then take pictures of what he thought worked and text them to Andrew.  This went on and on while Andrew deliberated and told Ian what to purchase.  Here is the set Andrew came up with:

20141026_2003Looking at these pieces, it is obvious that they are completely versatile. I will be able to use them in pretty much any design (hee hee hee). Check out the super hero piece. Amazing.  Also love the robots which are from the line “Where the Toys Are” by RJR Fabrics.  That is a really cute line.  The llamas are hard to explain but represent a private joke we have going on about my (and everyone else in the world’s) ridiculous obssession with Pinterest.  I can’t quite picture what I will use that baby in, but you can bet Andrew will be the recipient of it in some fashion or other. He tossed in the tan piece because he felt like he needed to ‘calm his assortment down’. 🙂

Ian had the advantage of knowing what the other two assortments contained.  He made a brilliant move and gave me this rich assortment of the colors of the rainbow.  Here they are, in ROYGBIV order!

20141026_2002These are gorgeous.  The colors are crisp and pure and I love them all. Have to say that even though I am not usually a huge fan of orange, it and the red piece are probably my favorites of this set. He made absolutely the right move.  When you look at all three of the collections together, it is easy to see that these brights will work with many of the pieces his brother chose (well ….. maybe with the exception of those little llamas.) Ian was telling me that the gals working at Cloth and Quilts were politely trying to steer him in the direction of buying some pre-cuts. He said they suggested trying a jelly roll or maybe a ‘nice set of fat quarters’.  I appreciate what she was doing.  It must have looked like complete madness – this young guy pulling bolts down right and left, texting pictures of them.  But really, she didn’t know who she was dealing with.  I am so happy to have my three custom collections rather than some matchy-matchy sets  of fat quarters!

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My stash grew significantly this weekend.  Total of NINE yards of new fabric.  Cannot wait to decide what to create first with ths gorgeous assortment of yardage.  The gift is definitely one of the best I have received.  The thought  and planning that went into it touches my heart.  Love my boys!

Linking to Stitch by Stitch, Freemotion by the River, Sew Cute Tuesday and Let’s Bee Social. As f before, all of these lovely blogs have links listed at the top of the page, under Link Ups.