Friday, November 30, 2012

Kat Quilt - Blocks 17 & 18

Two more blocks to share today.  Only two more to make and then I can start putting together the quilt top. I'm very excited!  Of course, a lot of Christmas projects need to get completed and mailed within the next week so those last two may take a little while, but I'm still really happy with the progress.

This is a tobacco leaf covered in ladybugs.  It reminds me of my grandfather.  If you want to read more about the meaning of this one, you can look on the "Ladybug Hugs" tab at the top of this page. The third section talks about him, his tobacco plants and his ladybugs.

This one is a little quilt, made up with fabrics from some of my most favorite sewing projects.  You can see how many attempts I needed to get this centered properly.  Good thing all those chalk pencil lines will come out in the wash!

~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~

Thanks for stopping by!
~ Kat ~

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hot Pads and Kitchen Towels

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
~ John Steinbeck in Of Mice and Men ~

I took 3 days off from work last week to spend with my kids since they didn't have school.  My husband left Friday to spend the weekend with some high school friends in New York and I just *knew* that 5 days (including the weekend) would result in the completion of every single sewing project I'd ever dreamed of.  

OK... maybe not...  

I'm not complaining, though, honest!  I had a great 5 days off, including our annual "Give Thanks Day" tradition the day before Thanksgiving, a lovely holiday meal, our annual "Decorate for Christmas Day" on Friday, lots of baking, shopping (not on Black Friday!), nail painting, eating out, ornament making, and just having fun.

I did manage to get a few hot pads and matching towels made, to give as gifts.  I can't show them all here, though, because at least 1 person who will be getting a set reads my blog :-).

The hot pads measure about 8.5 x 8.5 inches.  I sewed a strip of coordinating fabric (about 3 inches wide) to some store bought towels.  I used 1 layer of regular cotton batting and 1 layer of InsulBrite batting on the inside, to make them heat resistant.

I did a meandering FMQ on the hot pads.  These are the first ones I made and I was just getting the feel of quilting through 2 layers of batting so these are pretty basic, but all in all, I'm pleased with how they came out.

I added the binding by machine, attaching it first to the back then wrapping it to the front.  No pins required -- I love that!

This particular fabric was purchased at least 5 or 6 years ago.  I bought the "cheater" print on the front of the hot pads, along with 3 coordinating fabrics -- the green (from the binding), the small flowers (on the backs) and the watering cans (on the towels).  I'm happy to have *finally* used them --- and even for the person I had in mind when I bought them to begin with!  Better late than never?

~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~

Thanks for stopping by!
~ Kat ~

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Kat Quilt - Blocks 13, 14, 15, 16

I. Just. Love. These. Blocks!!!

They are so much fun to make and I get more and more excited each time I finish one.  I can't wait to finish up the last 4 and start putting them together into a quilt!!

This first one is a knot.  I was terribly worried about messing up the lines and connecting something I wasn't supposed to connect, but it worked out perfectly on the first try.  This one stems from a very personal, dark story that isn't mine to tell... but overall it symbolizes the way families are tied together in the most unbreakable, never-ending bond.  The dark fabric underneath is intentionally very dark, which is part of the this knot's back-story.

This is New York state, where I grew up and lived until I was 25 years old.  I made it green to symbolize the lush trees and farmlands around my home town.  I put a ladybug over the area where I grew up.

This princess crown will remind me of the child within me, and that you're never too old to be a princess.  The fabric is from the second dress I ever made my daughter and I thought the princess accessory print was perfect just the way it was, so I decided not to do any piecing on this block.

This is a runner.  Running has become my passion over the last year and a half.  I searched far and wide for just the "right" graphic to use on this one.  It wasn't easy to find a "simple" shape that still looked like a runner, but I like the rounded, fluid lines on this one.  (Thank you, Internet!)  It doesn't show well in this photo, but the fabric is a neon / lime green, suggested by my daughter because I always wear bright colors when I run.  I say it's because "neon makes you faster" --- but in reality, it makes you so visible to people that you're embarrassed to slow down.  Hey, whatever works!

~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~

Thanks for stopping by!
~ Kat ~

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Kat Quilt - Blocks 9, 10, 11, 12

Slowly but surely, my quilt blocks are coming together.  Today I'm excited to share 4 blocks with you.  These all have a special story -- probably too long to tell here -- about why the shape, color and fabrics are all so important to me.  As I've told a few people already, this quilt will not win any awards for technique or color selection, but each and every shape, color and fabric means something very, very special to me.  I really can't think of any more perfect way to make a quilt.

During and since the race where Shelly passed away, there have been two absolutely amazing teams providing an overwhelming amount of love and support.  One of them is "Gabby's Purple Maniacs," who happened to be the only other team we knew prior to the race.  They are the running team for the Gabby Rocco Let It Shine Foundation, which I've mentioned on my blog before.  Their symbol is a purple butterfly, so it only seemed fitting to make a purple butterfly block.  The fabric in the top portion of the wings is from the very first dress I ever made my daughter, Rachel.

The second team is from Toronto, Canada.  I did not know them before the race but their helpfulness, support and generosity has literally changed my life.  This team -- who did not know us or Shelly -- held a fundraiser in Canada to raise money for Shelly's son's education.  They raised close to $3,000... for someone they never knew, just because she was a runner like them.  I don't have words to express how this has touched my heart.  In their honor, I decided to add a red maple leaf, representative of the Canadian flag. My maternal grandmother (who passed away 2 years ago) was also Canadian, and the two floral prints in this block were given to me by my mom, so this block will also remind me of my mother and grandmother.

The layout for my "HOPE" and "LOVE" blocks was inspired by a quilt Sarah from Confessions of a Fabric Addict shared on her blog a little while back.  The blue fabric in "HOPE" is very special to me.  It was given to me by my mother and used in a quilt she started 12+ years ago and I finished a few months back for my brother.  (More on that quilt here.)  I chose to go intentionally dark with this block, to show that even when HOPE may be hard to see, it's always there if you look.

Last but certainly not least, is "LOVE."  The color is a little off in this photo, the fabrics are more "red wine" color than "purple" in real life.  I chose these colors because they are similar to the color of the bridesmaid dresses from my wedding.  I am happy that I selected 4 different fabrics, and I won't tell if you won't that upper left fabric had Tinkerbell on it before I ever-so-strategically placed it under the "L."  :-)

If you've made it this far, thank you!  Just one more thing before I wrap up this long-winded post... my older daughter (Rachel) has just started her own blog.  She's 9 and it's about the life of a 9-year-old... but if you are so included, I'm sure she'd love a little bloggy love in the form of a comment.  You can find her here, at Roo's Room.

~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~ 

Thanks for stopping by!
~ Kat ~

Friday, November 16, 2012

iPad Carrying Case

I actually finished something from my "Projects I'd Like to Finish" list this week!  Whoop!  Whoop!  It's a padded iPad carrying case for the iPad I bought myself (using gift cards I've been saving forever!) a few weeks ago.

It has a zippered pocket on the outside front, to keep my screen cleaner cloth thingy.

The back is just plain.

I didn't have a brown zipper big enough to fit across the top of the bag, so I put it on the side.  I'm hoping the zipper being in the "wrong" place will deter my children from opening the bag and playing with my iPad when I'm not paying attention.  (Hey, a mom can dream!)

I actually finished something else on my list this week, but the "accessories" I ordered to go with it have not arrived, so I'll wait to share that one.  So much more I want to cross off that list.... looking forward to a few days off next week to get some more accomplished.

Linking up with:

Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for "Whoop Whoop Friday"
Karen at Sew Many Ways for "Find a Friend Friday"
Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts for "Finish It Up Friday"

~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~

Thanks for stopping by!
~ Kat ~

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Kat Quilt - Block 8

This block is a thunderbird.  It is the logo of Wakonda Family Campground in Pottersville, NY.  My parents were teachers so they always had lots of time off in the summer but never a lot of money.  Instead of annual trips to Disney World, we took annual camping trips to Wakonda.

Over the years my parents were able to "upgrade" from a week-long stay in an old pop-up trailer to a permanent campsite for the whole summer... progressively going from a used trailer that comfortably slept 3 (we were a family of 5) to now owning their own campsite with a 40'+ trailer, consisting of 2 bedrooms, a full bathroom, kitchen, dining area and living room.  Did I mention the WiFi, cable TV and air conditioning?  Yeah, they're roughing it :-)

I have been to Wakonda every summer since I was 7 years old.  As a teenager, I worked there as a lifeguard (and doing other odd jobs).  This is my very favorite place in the whole wide world and I look forward to taking my girls there every year as well.

Here are a few more photos from Wakonda, taken this year:

This is my favorite view... looking down the steps at Lake Wakonda.  I take this same photo every time we visit.  This one is from July 2012.

Looking out across Lake Wakonda - July 2012

The same view as the first photo, taken on a dreary day after the Ragnar Adirondack - October 2012

The leaves beginning to change across Lake Wakonda - October 2012

~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~

Thanks for stopping by!
~ Kat ~

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Kat Quilt - Block 7

I made this next block to represent my two beautiful little girls.  Rachel is 9 and her favorite color is blue.  Jessica is 6 and her favorite color is orange.  I let them pick the fabrics for their own heart and they each chose 1 solid and 1 print.  I was prepared for something incredibly more complicated, but who am I to argue with simplicity?

The front

The back

~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~

Thanks for stopping by!
~ Kat ~

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Very Sweet Care Package

My very favorite part about blogging is being able to "meet" people from all around the world who share similar hobbies and experiences as me.  One of the many, many sweet "bloggy friends" I have made is Kim from Learning to Quilt (with a Chicken on my Knee), who lives all the way across The Big Pond, in the UK.

This past week I received the most amazing care package (and beautiful note) from Kim.  She sent me 1/2 yard of *the* most adorable ladybird fabric (they call them ladybirds in the UK... isn't that so much prettier than ladybugs?) and a whole bunch of chocolate!!!  Does she know how to put a smile on this girl's face or what?!?!  I honestly can't think of a better combination!!

The two big chocolate coins are for my daughters.  They're easily 6" across.  The two bars of chocolate (with the Union Jacks on the packages) are quite possibly the best chocolate I've ever tasted.  One is milk chocolate with toffee bits and the other is dark chocolate with subtle strawberry and white chocolate swirls.  Oh.  Em. Gee!!!  It has taken every ounce of willpower I have, but I haven't opened the Green & Blacks yet.  I'm trying to save a little something for a special treat later.

SOOOO many ideas for this fabric.. I just love it!  It's from The Birds & The Bees collection by Tula Pink.  Decisions, decisions, decisions.....

Thank you, Kim, this package made my whole week!!

~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~

Thanks for stopping by!
~ Kat ~

Friday, November 9, 2012


There are so many projects I'd like to finish.  In some cases, projects I'd like to start.  I guess we all have a WIP list and there are some great weekly check-ins out there already, like "Make a List Monday" over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and "W.I.P. Wednesday" over at Freshly Pieced and "Finish it up Friday" over at Crazy Mom Quilts (just to name a few).  If you haven't seen them, go check them out!

My problem is that I don't always have an update on those days and I tend to stress when I have a deadline.  I love a list but hate a deadline.  (Please tell me I'm not the only one??)  I decided to make my own list of "Projects I'd Like to Finish" that I'll update when I can. It might be once a day or once a week or a few times per month.

Some of the items below have due dates, some don't.  Some are just ideas in my head that I'd like to try out if I can get to them.  Cause ya know, the mothering and wife-ing and working outside the home-ing and the training for a half marathon thing sometimes doesn't leave much time for the sewing :-).

  • Make 20 (total) blocks for my "Kat Quilt" --- in progress --- no due date --- my goal is at least 2 blocks per week
  • Make a carrying case for my iPad --- no due date
  • Finish the Phoenix quilt --- no real due date, but before the end of November would be ideal
  • Finish the ice cream cone skinny (x2) --- in time to mail out for a Christmas gift
  • Decide on a plan for more skinnies --- soon!
  • Finish the overly ambitious hexagon quilt --- baby shower is in NY on January 13
  • Make a quilt out of baby clothes --- no real due date, but ideally this would get mailed to NY with the overly ambitious hexagon quilt in time for the January 13 baby shower
  • Accomplish something on The Forever Project
  • Make at least 1 journal cover and decide if this will be the gift I make for my daughters to give their friends for Christmas
  • Make at least 1 zipped pencil pouch (pattern pending) and decide if this will be the gift I make for my daughters to give their friends for Christmas

Do you have a list of projects you'd like to finish?  Whether they're started yet or not, I'd love to see it!

~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~

Thanks for stopping by!
~ Kat ~

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Kat Quilt - Block 6

I probably don't have to say much about this one, given the name of my blog.... but there's more here on why ladybugs mean so much to me.

It seemed a little too fussy to leave black spots on this gal, so I'll just quilt a few circles onto the wings where those white chalk circles are now.

This is the back.

The red fabric is from a quilt I made my sister (and her new husband) for their wedding 2 summers ago.  She shares my love of ladybugs so using "her" fabric in this block makes it even more special to me.

Can you see the ladybug?  I made sure it was placed on her side of the bed/quilt so she'd always have a ladybug watching over her while she slept.

This last picture has nothing to do with my quilt block, but it's one of my favorite photos of all time.... my baby sister with my first baby girl.

~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~

Thanks for stopping by!
~ Kat ~

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Kat Quilt - Block 5

My maiden name is "Valentine" and my favorite color is pink.  Need I say more about this one?

I did learn something else on this block, though, which may have occurred to all of you 4 blocks ago.... 

I had been adding fabric to the outsides of the patchwork, to make the bottom layer the same size as the top layer (12.5"), even though it wouldn't show through to the front.  

This is from my 2nd block.  I completed the piecing I'd need to show through the opening on the front, then added solid around the edge to make the block 12.5".

See the black stitching line?  Only the inside of that shows through to the front.  All the extra fabric around the edge is hidden and would just add bulk to the seam lines once I start sewing these blocks into rows.

I realized that probably wasn't necessary, I only needed enough fabric to fill the opening plus my 1/4" seam around the stitching.  After all, there are plenty of other 1/4" seams laying nicely on the back of every "regular" quilt block I make.  Why should this be any different?  

This certainly reduced the amount of time it took to make this block. It'll also help out on future blocks which have more than one opening on them and will need different fabrics under each.  

I'll probably go back and trim the "extra" off the back of the first 4 blocks at some point, too.  I think leaving the full layer on the back will just add bulk to the seams, which I don't need. 

I'll continue to share 2 blocks per week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) until they're all done.... 15 more to go!

Here are the other blocks: Block 1 --- Block 2 --- Block 3 --- Block 4

~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~ 

 Thanks for stopping by! 
~ Kat ~

Friday, November 2, 2012

Zig Zags for Phoenix

The day after my birthday, my husband gave me one of the best gifts.... 3 hours of "alone" time so I could get some sewing done!  Don't get me wrong, I love my husband and my kids very much... but what a great treat for him to take them out for a few hours so I could do nothing but sew!

I have had a terrible fear of HSTs for a long time now so when my friend Corynn (aka, Phoenix) admired a quilt I had made for my sister, I knew that making a HST quilt for her would be the perfect time to overcome my fear.  After all, Phoenix was the woman who ran 8.3 miles with me in the cold, pouring rain in the middle of the night after our teammate passed away during the race I ran in New York last month.  There's a picture of us together over here (it's the photo with the "22" sign).  If anyone deserves a "have no fear" quilt, it's Phoenix!

Phoenix (yes, I really call her that) just bought a new house (yes, in Phoenix).  She told me her bedroom has black furniture and white bedding and she hasn't decided on any "real" colors yet.  I went online and purchased some pre-cut 4" charm squares (3 packs of 40 each) and started sewing.  

Some of these fabrics read as "obviously black" and some as "obviously white."  A few were a bit ambiguous  but had to go into the "white" pile since I didn't have enough "obviously whites" in this mix.

Using this quilt as my inspiration, I started making HSTs and arranged them into a zig-zag pattern.

It's not big enough yet.  It only measures 36" x 42" right now.  There is a thin black border then a border of black with tiny white dots.  I'm planning to add another black border and have ordered two more packages of the charm squares to use as more border.  I'm making this one up as I go along... though that seems to be pretty much how all my quilts come together.  

I've decided I like the look of HSTs (so many options for arranging them!) but I'm not in any hurry to make more.  They were a bit bulky to put together, but overall my points lined up fairly well and the "off" spots are hidden by the fact that the prints are busy and are only 2 colors.  (I don't think I would be as satisfied if I was using a solid or anything with more contrast.)

This isn't a finish so I'm not linking up anywhere today, but be sure to visit some of the other great projects going on at these awesome Friday linky parties:

Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for "Whoop Whoop Friday"
Karen at Sew Many Ways for "Find a Friend Friday"
Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts for "Finish It Up Friday"

~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~ 

 Thanks for stopping by! 
~ Kat ~

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Kat Quilt - Block 4

Last Saturday was my birthday, I turned 37.  Two years ago I would have told you that I had turned 29 (again) but I have realized lately that I'm much better now than I ever was at 29.  I'm stronger, happier and so much healthier.  I've faced challenges in the past few years that I wouldn't wish on anyone, but I've been able to overcome them all and to come out on the other side with a renewed sense of purpose, perspective, faith and strength.

This year on my birthday, I woke up early and took my two daughters to a 5k walk/run called "Every Boob Counts," which raised money to support the Susan G Komen breast cancer research organization.  We were joined by some wonderful friends and celebrated after the race with a brunch at my house.  It was the most wonderful birthday I can remember.

Pre-race at 6am with my beautiful girls -- Jessica (age 6) and Rachel (age 9)

After the race with Rachel and two of my dearest friends, Petrina and Laura.
Do you notice the quilt block hanging from the knob of my china cabinet?

Every participant received a medal like this one.

I want this quilt to reflect where I am in my life right now, so I'm adding a block to remind me of this fabulous day and love I felt from so many of my favorite people.  I decided to be very literal about it and add in a "37."  

I wanted to use the polka dot fabric in the top of the next picture, since it reminded me of the race logo, but I didn't have enough left.  As I was going through my stash, I found this pink camouflage fabric that seemed perfect.  Camouflage always reminds me of strength and "toughness" and the fact that it's pink reminds me that girls can be kick-a** strong, too! 

All my other blocks so far have piecing underneath, but this print was such a perfect match for the "37" that I used it exactly the way it was.

Here is a photo of the quilt pattern that inspired me, called Circles at Midnight (click for link to the pattern).  These crescent shapes are all done in batik and are appliqued on.  I loved how it mimics light shining through the darkness, so I used this basic idea and put my own twist on it.

Here are the other blocks: Block 1 --- Block 2 --- Block 3 

~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~ 

 Thanks for stopping by! 
~ Kat ~