Project Simplify - Day 52

Has this ever happened to you where you lay out all the blocks for the quilt, think you're done and then find a few more blocks that you accidentally laid down nearby - and promptly forgot about - and then you have spend like another 20 minutes re-jigging your layout?  You know, because you have all these weird rules about the same color and the same print not being allowed to touch each other?

No?  That doesn't happen to you?

Yeah, me either ... I was just wondering ... ;)


Project Simplify - Day 51

I have this thing (yes, another quilting foible) where I like directional prints to be going the same way (usually, not always ... I'm getting better about this).

See what I mean?  This kinda drives me a little nuts.  It just looks ... wrong.

Ahhh, this is soooo much better!

Mixed up directions used to ALWAYS bother me (please note that they only seem to bother me on MY OWN quilts.  For some reason, they don't have the same effect on me if I didn't make the quilt - go figure).  

But when my love affair with Japanese quilt books & magazines started, I noticed that Japanese quilters didn't seem to pay attention at all to that sort if thing.  They are interested letting direction just happen naturally (randomly) to create movement & tension and visual interest.  They don't seem to get all uptight about the "matchy matchy poo poo" stuff!

So now I try to not let it bother me as much.  There were a few stripes in the last quilt and I deliberately ignored them and let the laws of randomness rule.

But for this quilt, I kinda want everything to line up.  So I'm gonna make them.  Because I can. ;)

Do you care about print direction in your quilts? 


Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week 11

Blue & Green.

#2 - Autumn Tints

Despite the lack of pink in this block, I really like it.

#7 - Birds in the Air

And I am just so absolutely crazy in love with the teeny tiny little dots in the fabric below ... I don't know why ... I never use dots ... doesn't make any sense to me ... really ... !  ;)


Tooth Fairy - Mystery Solved

Dear Holy Cow Fabulously Lovely Readers Who So Awesomely Responded To Our Request For Help,

I am pleased to introduce to you my very first guest blogger - my 8 year old daugher who was the subject of Tooth Fairy Tale.  She'd like to share a few words with you ...

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Well i read all of your comments.thank you so much for answreing my questyen. Now i know that i am not the only one. Wow! Tooth Fairy Glitter. That is way cool and seeing your money jar lose some money and get some money now that is way way way cool!

I should look for Fairy Glitter.

Oh! I don't know if my mom all ready posted this but i knew that the money was not the tooth Fairy's money because i am not sure if she left me with coins or bills any ways one of the coins had four yellow dots on it and when i saw it i remembred that night when my dad was showing me a famous girl from the olimpics [Cindy Klassen] and i asked my dad if he could show me the new remembrince day coin that he all ready showed me and my dad asked if i could show mom the girl on the coin and the remembrince day coin and i was bored and i saw a yellow super endelebul never com off in till you are dead and maybe even later markers/sharpe

[Translation:  Super-Indelible-Never-Come-Off-Until-You're-Dead-And-Maybe-Even-Later Marker ... a funny from Purple, Green & Yellow, a family favorite book by Canadian author Robert Munch.]

and so i was holding the remembrince day coin in my hand and i put four yellow dots around the flower i know it was weird but i did it and that is how i knew that the tooth fairy took my perents money not her own.

Well that is the time i knew that she barroed the money :) Well keep reading my mom's blog!! ;)

best wishes to everybody,


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Thank you sweetheart for your wonderful post!  And to you, dear audience, thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping us solve the mystery. 

Now I'm going to dig into the now infamous loose change dish to pay her freelance fee ... that girl drives a hard bargain! :)


Tooth Fairy Tale

Dear parents of children who are visited by the Tooth Fairy.  The following story is a faithful account of what happened to my 8 year old this weekend.

She woke up Sunday morning and checked her Tooth Fairy pillow for the money she was expecting for the tooth she'd lost the night before.  She was a little disappointed to discover that the Tooth Fairy hadn't come.  But the Tooth Fairy has forgotten before and always shows up the next night.

Well, this time, my daughter returned to her room after watching some Sunday morning tv and discovered the Tooth Fairy had come while she was downstairs!  Wow!  We figure she was just running late.

But as my daughter was inspecting her payment, she suddenly announced that it WASN'T the Tooth Fairy who'd left the money.  The money was mine ...

You see, the Tooth Fairy left 8 quarters ($2).  One quarter was very special.  The Canadian Mint often produces limited edition coins and this one happened to be for Rememberance Day (I know November 11th is a special day in many countries) and it has a very distinct red poppy on one side of the coin.

Now it just so happens that my daughter had recently drawn faint yellow dots on this very coin and then returned it to the little spare change dish I keep near by.  She showed me the dots. 

You can imagine my surprise! 

The only thing we can figure is that the Tooth Fairy had run out of money for the night and had to borrow some from me. 

My daughter and I would like to know if this has ever happened to you.  She has read this story to verify it's accuracy and is looking forward to reading comments that will help us solve this mystery.

Many thanks for your input!


Project Simplify - Day 50

Ok everyone.  Are you ready for the last Project Simplify quilt?  I'm not.  I mean, I've been looking forward to making this quilt since I got the book and I'm excited to make it.  But I'm totally sad that it's the last one.  (Sigh.)

This quilt is called Dream Big.  I admit that when I started this blog on Valentine's Day of this year, I had no idea I'd be here right now with you.  And I had NO CLUE I'd have quilted my way through Camille's book and found so many of you to keep me company, encourage me, give me helpful bits of advice and just make me feel like I bring something worthwhile to this every-growing and fabulous on-line community. 

I'd been dreaming of having a quilt/craft blog for a full year before I finally turned it into a reality and just did it already!  I'm so happy I did.  This creative outlet has been satisfying for me in many ways.  The most important for me I think is that I've found a way to share my passion with others who "get it". 

See, when I talk to my non-crafty friends or the moms at my girls' school about my passion for sewing and how I spend my time, they look at me like I'm off my bleepin' rocker.  They don't understand why on earth I'd rather cut up fabric than shop for shoes.  Or how much fun it is for me to sew a bajillion little pieces of fabric together for hours on end instead of going out for coffee.  The polite ones pretend that it sounds cool.  Some are even genuinely impessed when they see something I've made.  But others just look at me wide-eyed as I describe my latest project, shake their heads and say, "You're crazy!" 

Yes, to each her own, I suppose.

But here, I feel at home with you.  I know I'm really just sitting in front of my computer, typing away.  But when I see you visiting me and leaving comments, I feel appreciated and welcomed.  I know time is valuable, and that you choose to visit ME and spend some of YOUR time HERE means the world to me.  So thank you.  Thank you very much. 

Ok, whoa!  Where did all that come from?  I wasn't expecting to say all that, but when I started thinking about my dreams ... 

Now, where was I?  Oh yes.  When I first came up with the idea for Project Simplify, I was so excited, but at the same time totally nervous that Camille might not like my idea.  I mean, she didn't know me from a hole in the wall.  I hadn't been blogging for very long at all and she didn't know what kind of quilter I was and how I would talk about her book.  It was a generous leap of faith on her part to give me her approval (and I wouldn't have done this project without it!)  It was a very big dream for me.  And, well, I guess you know how it turned out.   Thanks, C!

Fabric.  Hmmm, what to use, what to use.  Well, I've had this little Fat Eighth bundle in my stash since Quilt Market in Houston 2010. 

What's a Fat Eighth?  Good question.  It's half of a Fat Quarter!  These ones are 9" x 22". 

(Oh, please note, the pattern in the book does NOT call for Fat Eights.  I'm gonna have to do some fancy cutting and stuff here.)

This bundle has a great mix of pretty colors.  My favorite is the blue (I know!  I didn't say pink!)  The pink is my second favorite.  But that sky blue is just so clear and fresh and ... pretty!

Now in the interest of full disclosure, I am letting you know now that I'm not putting a border on this quilt.  I don't have any Buttercup yardage at all - just these precuts - and I'm not supposed to be buying any fabric for this project, remember? ;)   So I'm going to try a bit of an experiment.  I'm pretty sure this bundle has more yardage than what the pattern requires for the pieced part of the quilt.  So I'm just going to cut my Fat Eighths into as many blocks as I can and then build the quilt as big as possible.  Let's see what happens!


Project Simplify - Day 49

Another one done.  And she is a beauty, for sure.  I think the most "traditional" looking quilt of Project Simplify to date.

A name didn't come very easily though, so we "brainstormed" a bit.  I was trying to get my little helper to go for "Christmas Bows" (because the fabric is Christmasy and the basic block in this quilt is called "Bowtie") but she didn't like it. 

To her, the strongest visual elements in the quilt are the cream circles.  In fact, she was very excited as we were laying out the quilt when she discovered that as the blocks were placed together, secondary circles were formed.  She just got such a kick out of that!

So we ended up calling it "Christmas Shortbread".  'Cause the color of the circles kinda remind us of the color of shortbread cookies.  Love it. 

Shortbread is the only Christmas baking I can do that's a tradition from my mom because my little one was diagnosed with Celiac Disease when she was just two years old and must follow a very strict gluten-free diet.  Shortbread cookies - it just so happens - are wicked awesome melt-in-your-mouth when made with rice flour.

Next week ... the very last chapter!


Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week 10

Classic Blue & White.

#3 - Basket

I love love love how this block turned out, even though the handle ended up a little crooked ... grrr ... (but I'm not redoing it!).

Now, you can either laugh at me for feel sorry for me.  I laugh at myself all the time.  But this is how I think ...

The gingham square in the middle of the basket is SUPPOSED to be white.  But I couldn't do that because to me it makes the basket look like it has a great big hole ... and then whatever you put IN the basket will just FALL OUT and get lost or broken. 

That totally stresses me out. 

Is that weird?  Does your brain work like that too? Or should I be seeking professional help?

#83 - Spider Web

I wanna meet the spider who lives here.  I bet she's really nice.  And pretty.  And I bet she'd invite me over for tea.  And she'd set out her best china cups.  And have pretty embroidered napkins and cupcakes with frosting.  And cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off.  And little sterling silver engraved family heirloom teaspoons that she freshly polished just for my visit. 

Wait, no.

I think the spider who lives here makes sure the silver is ALWAYS polished, just in case. 

She's very tidy and organized. 

Like Martha Stewart.


Too far gone for therapy?


Project Simplify - Day 48

Alright.   Top-stitching.  What's it gonna be?  Well, I can't copy the book this time 'cause Camille had her quilt professionally long-armed.  Not an option here for Project Simplify.

My first instinct was to do you know what (shhh, cross-hatch).  But that seemed the easy way out.  And plus I already did that for Moonlight.  And what I reeeeeally wanted to do was another try at flowers.  But somehow, flowers just doesn't seem to suit this quilt - not sure why ...

Anyhow, this is what I came up with.  Remember this quilt that had 3 different FMQ designs?

Well, it inspired me to do something similar for this quilt.

So I cross-hatched the middle - which looks totally awesome.

Now.  About that inner border.  It didn't go quite exactly as I'd planned in my head.  I didn't want to copy the same loop that I'd done before, so I thought of doing something like this:

But it started out like this ...

... so I went with it ... for a while.  But then it started morphing into this ...

... and THEN I got what I had planned!  (sort of)

The perfectionist in me is totally annoyed that it's not ... perfect .. or at the very least, consistent.  But the realist, humorist, glass-half-full girl in me (oh, and also the mom who's daughter is SO OVER the stitch ripper - bummer) is totally fine with it.

I finished the outer border with my now confident swirly twirly.

I guess you could say - at this point anyway - that "my FMQing is like a box of chocolates ... you never know what you're going to get!" ;)


Project Simplify - Day 47

Have you ever left a quilt taped & layered in the middle of the dining room floor - waiting to be pinned - for so long that your family (and by "family", I mean "husband") starts referring to it as "the carpet you're not allowed to walk on"?

No?  That doesn't happen to you? 

Yeah, me either ... I was just wondering ...;)


Project Simplify - Day 46

My helper in action.

She's awesome. 

And can I just say how much I enjoy her company in my little sewing room? 

We end up having the best chats ever. ;)


Farmer's Wife Quilt Along - Week 9

Pink & Blue.  Makes me think of babies ... baby showers, baby powder, teensie weensie finger & toes ...  (Oh how I miss that new baby smell - the fuzzy top-of-the-head end, not the other end!)

#71 Puss in the Corner

Oops, I already made this one a few weeks ago.  Oh well, I'll keep both for now and see which one makes the cut.  I like options. ;)

#92 - Streak of Lightning

Another reject this week.  I don't like how the gingham looks all wonky & blurry & crooked when it touches itself.  Makes my eyes water.   And plus it gives me vertigo.  (kidding)

Much better. :)


Project Simplify - Day 45

Oh I had such excellent help - as always.  She clipped all the triangle allowances for me.

And there was only one oopsies. ;)

No worries, I had more fabric!


Project Simplify - Day 44

There is something so exciting to me about a whole bunch (I was going to say schwack ...) of cuts, just waiting to be sewn back together into something pretty.

Look at all these happy little soldier, just waiting for their marching orders ... straight to my sewing machine!

Ten HUT!  ONE, two, three, four.  ONE, two, three, four ...


Project Simplify - Day 43

Second last quilt.  Yikes, can you believe it?  I'm having so much fun I really don't want this project to end.  I wish there was a Simplfy:  Volume II book ...

And for all of you lovelies who asked what I'll do next (and for the few of you who informed me I have a social obligation to continue with my little monkey & organ-grinder side show here in blogland!), I really don't know yet.  I've been thinking about that a lot, but haven't come up with anything that really floats my boat, if you know what I mean.  I'm open to suggestions, though.

Kay.  "All in the Family".  I love this quilt.  I think mostly because Camille talks about her family's quilting heritage, which I sort of envy, since I have no quilting ancestors at all.  But I love that kind of stuff ... the passing on of skill and traditions and passions to the next generation.

So what fabric am I going to use?  Well, I tried really hard to use all of Roman Holiday for Spot On, but that didn't happen. ;) 

Let's try again, shall we?

I think I'm so determined to use Roman Holiday because a few years ago I made a quilt (I'll tell you about it another time, promise) and this was supposed to be the backing. 

That is until I was accidentally looking on eBay and found something I liked better for that quilt ...

(You can't honestly be surprised it's pink, can you?!)

Anyhow, I've had this huge backing all folded up waiting to be used.  It's time.


PS:  Anyone else still "La la la la-ing" along with Bert & Ernie?  My girls hit replay all afternoon yesterday ...


Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week 8

Red & Yellow.

#5 - Bat Wing

Hmmm.  I think this block might be a bit too red for me.  I'm trying to use red only as an accent here and there.  In my mind's eye, I see this quilt finished with white sashing and red posts.  But I'll wait until I have several more blocks to see if this one will work.

#55 - Linoleum

I have ALWAYS loved saying that word.  Linoleum. 



I dare you to stay in a bad mood after saying it 5 times in a row ... but you have to say it in your worst foreign accent like Eliza Dooilittle or Jimmi Hendrix or Crocodile Dundee ... Bela Lugosi works particularly well.  And you have to do it in front of someone else. 

No, seriously!

They'll either think you've gone banana-nuts-crazy and start backing away slowly while looking for the nearest exit OR pee their pants laughing at you. 

Either way, their reaction will prob'ly make you laugh. 

Sigh.  I shoulda been a therapist ...  ;)


Project Simplify - Day 42

Here's our version of Happy-Go-Lucky.  We're calling it "Rolling Stones".  My helper has no clue who They are, nor does she know anything about not gathering moss.  But when I suggested the name she clapped her hands, pointed at me and shouted "Bingo!"  (I suspect she was simply tired of the whole naming exercise and just wanted to be done with it already ... apparently, our definitions of "fun" differ greatly.  Sigh.)

I've chosen an organization to give this quilt to for a fundraising event.  My brother-in-law is the music director for Orchestra Iowa and they have an annual Silent Auction fundraiser in November.  I'm very excited to contribute both the quilt & the pillow to help the arts.

My older daughter plays piano and the younger plays violin.  (Maybe it'd be more accurate at this stage to say they're taking lessons ... ;)

I took piano lessons growing up and feel strongly that learning music has far-reaching benefits.  I'm very lucky that I can offer the same opportunity to my girls.  Although I do have my days when I swear I'm gonna go all "Van Gogh" if I have to listen to "Twinkle Twinkle" one.more.time. ...!  kidding ;)

Now this quilt comes with a monogram option.  I love it and really wanted to include it.  But considering I'm donating this quilt and don't know the recipient I thought it best to leave it out.  It is a super cute thing to add, though.  I love personal touches like that.

Oh I almost forgot.  At one point during my 4-day marathon Stones FMQing, I was in my husband's office and noticed this:

Nearly peed my pants laughing! 


Alright.  Where are we in the Stash Redux department?

  • Yardage - 8.6 yds / 7.9 m
  • Weight - 2.1 lbs / .9 kg

For a grand total of:

  • Yardage - 59 yds / 54 m
  • Weight - 21.1 lbs / 9.8 kg


Only two more quilts left!


Project Simplify - Day 41

I have a confession to make 'cause I'm feeling a little guilty about this quilt.  I sort of cheated and ... well ... I didn't add the outer border.

But can I defend myself before you bring out the pitchforks & torches?


Defense #1:  This project is getting a wee bit on the expensive side - especially for batting.  And I had a piece of batting that was big enough for this quilt ... without the border.

Defense #2:  I only had two (ok ok, three) prints that would look good and I'm just not ready to part with them yet.  They are my all time favorite Japanese prints.  (I know that's so lame, but I just couldn't do it!)

I'm really sorry.

But I will argue that if you never saw the original quilt, you'd never know it was missing a border.  And plus, I think excluding a border can be a solution for other problems too.  So maybe if you're a quilter that fears deviating from a pattern, I've now given you permission to alter any design to suit you, no matter the reason.

So at the end of the day, I really love how this quilt looks - even without a border.

Am I forgiven? ;)


Project Simplify - Day 40

Also known as "the day she went and lost her mind ..."

Did you watch the video tutorial on how to do this FMQ design?  It does caution that it takes a long time to do and that it's best to just use it for small areas.  But I seem to have a little defiant streak in me that surfaces every once in a while when I'm not looking.  (Shhh, please don't tell my 8 year old - my credibility with her is hanging by a thread as it is!)  I thought if I made the Stones bigger, it'd go faster.

Yeah, TWELVE hours later ...

I think it's safe to say I have successfully nailed this design - as in slam dunk, wipe the floor and "you can kiss my grits" NAILED it!!!  (I don't usually talk smack, but you guys I'm feelin' so victorious!)

After 12 hours I should be able to do it in my sleep ... in fact I was.  I FMQed this quilt over a 4-day period.  One evening I was working on it for a few hours just before I went to bed ... my brain was making stone after stone after please-make-it-stop stone for a loooong time after I closed my eyes.

I straight-lined the inner border.  Wowzers, eh?. 

[singing]  "It's by blog and I will brag if I want to,

brag if I want,

brag if I want to ...

You would brag too if this happened to you!"  :)


And I only used two large pieces of fabric for the backing.

Oh sweet irony that I'm good at rocks.  How come I can't be totally awesome with flowers too?  This blog is called PRETTY by Hand, not ROCKS or CAVEMAN TOOLS or BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA WEAPON by Hand ...


Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week 7

Pink, Blue & Green

No special celebrations this week.  Just summer garden colors!

#71 - Puss in the Corner

I fussy cut the flowers in the middle, remembering that the finished block will be set on point.

#8 - Bouquet

Ok, I had a little trouble with this one.  The first time I made it my leaf and flower pieces were flipped around. 

It doesn't LOOK wrong, unless you compare it with the second one I made ...

I know, I know ... I COULD have just kept it ... and I WOULD have, but the seam allowance was all messed up. 

This is better. :)