Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Vintage Quilt Redux

This past year, I was commissioned to fix a filthy, torn, tattered quilt top and asked to "repair" it. I'm not sure if the owner even knew it was only an unfinished quilt top, and not a finished quilt until I told her. It was in bad shape.
I consulted my friends, quilty experts and contacts, including art restorers, wardrobe experts, people who market professional textile cleaning products. And then I dug in to the mess. I had to hand wash it 4 times in Soak textile wash just to get it clean enough to work on. 

Then I bought vintage feedsack scraps on eBay and made little patches for the really bad holes. 

There was lots of hand sewing to be done and much going back as I'd see more holes, ripped seams and tears, but slowly it began to come together.
I fell in love with the fabrics the more I worked with them, and found little gems and favorite spots throughout the quilt.

The more I worked with it, the more I wished I could speak to the woman who made it... The whole process felt like a conversation I was having with her. There was a distinct primitive beauty about it... I can't help but wonder if this was the only quilt this sewist ever made. So many quilter rules were broken (which reminded me a lot of the natural beauty in the quilts of Gees Bend) and I just loved the innocence of it all. As I finished the quilt, I didn't square it up, I left the edges all wobbly and dealt with the wrinkles that were there as part of the design. I told the customer that these were beautiful and should be preserved as the voice of the original artist.
What a joy it was to finish it. I quilted it really tightly and backed it with Denyse Schmidt's Greenfield Hill line, a vintage inspired line that matched really well.... When it was finally finished, it was strong and safe enough to wash thoroughly with some of my favorite handmade laundry detergent... And what came out of my dryer at the end was gorgeous. It was an absolute delight to work on.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The quilt that made me late to the hospital to give birth

I'm going to be transferring a few of the posts I had made on my Facebook page over here so that they can all be in one place again - to catch up...

Here's a post of the quilt I made up to the last minute as I left for the hospital to have baby Dax.

Here is the last quilt I finished before going into the hospital to give birth... It started off a few years ago as 4 leftover blocks from the quilt I made for our foster baby as he left our home... Then I made it into a small (too small) top.  For years I would pull it out and try different borders onto it to try and make it bigger, but none of them worked.  I finally pulled it out recently and found some fabrics I liked for it. I decided to hand quilt it, since it had been a while since I had hand quilted a project, and then when it was getting close to done, I couldn't imagine parting with it... So it had to be finished before baby came home.
I "may have" actually (read: I DID) delayed our departure to the hospital by 15-20 minutes as I begged Jay to understand that I needed to finish this binding before we left.
In the end, I could have brought it with me and worked on it for the next 24 hours before I finally had my c-section to get this little guy out...

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Healthy chocolate chip chia oatmeal cake

I love chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. I think they might be my favorite. I also love oatmeal in general, though until now there haven't been very many oatmeal fans in our house. Z has always liked oatmeal... I was sad when he stopped calling it "opee-mo", but Jay and Mimi aren't big fans. Until now.

Since I'm breastfeeding and wanting to keep my milk supply up, I was looking for less tired and time consuming oatmeal recipes online. I stumbled onto a chocolate chip baked oatmeal recipe that seemed good, but it was a bake-for-one thing by a single girl who clearly had more control over her mornings than I do. I need something good and fast.

So I messed with her recipe... Doubling/tripling it, adding things... Cutting out a lot of the sugar... And came up with something so good that I look forward to eating it every morning. And all I have to do is unwrap my little frozen tin foil square and microwave it for 1min 20sec. And my oatmeal hating husband loves it too... And pickiest of all, Mimi, will eat it (though few things tear her from her morning bagel and cream cheese)

The most recent batches have added in chia seeds for health reasons, but I've found they add some nice crunch too. 

Here's the recipe:

LibbyDibby's chocolate chip chia oatmeal breakfast cake

Preheat oven to 400 (I use the convection setting)

1 1/2 c. Milk
3T chia seeds
1 1/2 t vanilla
2T maple syrup

1 1/2 c applesauce
4T margarine

3 c rolled oats
1/2 c chocolate chips (I use mini- semi sweet)
3/4 t salt

Soak chia in milk for five minutes while you combine all of the dry ingredients. Then mix it up really well since the chia tends to clump.
Then mix all the wet ingredients into the dry ones. Pour them into a greased 9x13 pan.
I cook at least 30 minutes in my convection oven until done.

After the oatmeal has cooled (I usually eat one serving while it's hot, because it's so yummy, I can't wait) I usually cut it into little squares wrap it in tinfoil and put them in the freezer then I can pull out one serving of cake for breakfast every morning I usually microwave it for one minute and 20 seconds. I find the recipe makes about 9-12 servings, depending how you slice it  ++UPDATE! - I'M NOW MAKING THIS IN A SILCONE MUFFIN TIN - WAY EASIER TO GET PORTIONS EQUAL AND EASIER TO CLEAN UP. I GET ABOUT 15-16 LITTLE SERVINGS++

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Little surfer quilt

Many times when I am working on a project, some scraps will fall to the side and will end up becoming random quilt blocks. As I spent my last few months before having the baby, last year, I became driven to use up whatever unfinished blocks and quilts and projects I could find. I came up with the hashtag #crazypregnantladysewing and posted my ridiculously prolific work on there. Insomnia helped with that too... One of those projects was this sweet surf turned quilt ... These four very simple blocks had been sitting neglected after another baby boy quilt was made a year earlier, and so I turned them into a surfy baby quilt for a baby boy born to an old friend of mine. It was backed with the softest brushed cotton and gifted just in time for both of us to have our little guys.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Sturdy fabric baskets

I've made a couple different styles of fabric baskets and recently needed a gift so I decided to make another one. But I wanted something that was a little stiffer than the ones I had made before, so I opted this time for a pattern I saw in an Instagram feed... The #sturdyfabricbasket by LillyElla's World - click this link for the pattern ( it was a fast and easy pattern and I had fun filling the end result with goodies for the gifted one and remotes (!) for my practice one... My favorite part is the $2.50 thrifted leather belt that I used for handles...

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Twin sized quilts for twins

Two of my very best friends had twins this past year, their birthdays bookend Dax right in the middle. Both of these friends are quilters and Alissa had two little girls just a few weeks after Dax was born. Alissa also has a toddler for whom she has been painstakingly hand piecing a twin sized quilt made of tiny hexagons for over a year. When she got pregnant, we teased her that she was going to have to make another (no, TWO!) twin sized quilts for her new girls.
So instead of giving her a bunch of baby quilts (she still got a lot of them from the other quilty friends), Latifah and Hollie and i collaborated to make two twin sized quilts for the twins. They're bright and scrappy log cabin and log cabin house blocks with I-spy centers to make them fun for the girls.

The log cabin house one was a pattern that I had made two blocks for my friend, Janice, in BeeHappy a few years ago and had always wanted to revisit. It's such a fun block to make that I may have more in my quilting future still. :)

I've also included a pic of Dax and the twin girls on another one of their amazing quilts, made by the uber talented Liz Harvatine.

Friday, February 6, 2015

New jewelry

Every once in a while I get the urge to pull out my beads and jewelry making supplies. When I was making a birthday present recently, I really wanted to make something special for the birthday girl... She's a knitter, so I started with some stitch markers made from tourmaline I've hoarded for years... But then the bin with tourmaline also had fluorite and amethyst and this necklace also just sprung out of thin air that night too. Lucky birthday girl!
The earrings are smoky topaz (oh how I love deepest browns) and pearl... And I'm keeping them. :)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Men Quilters exhibit

An artist friend of mine, Luke Haynes recently opened a show at the Craft and Folk Art Museum near my house. It's a show of quilts made by men, and it was a wonderful, very creative and liberating show to see. The emphasis was on the creativity and message and some of the quilts there simply blew my mind. Luke once introduced me to the artist Joe Cunningham, and I was excited to see he also had quilts in the show. Joe's quilt, the black/white/chartreuse one that I have details of here was so stunningly quilted that I nearly cried with inspiration. There was also another quilter who I had not yet heard of, named Jimmy McBride, who made this Mars moon quilt which took my breath away. I would have loved to stay so much longer than I did, but alas, I had a date with me names Dax, who was getting a little bit squirrelly by the end... His buddies Dash and Vaughn were also there (since their mom, my girlfriend, Hollie) was there as my real date. We figured that as quilter moms of boys, this was a great way to expose our babies to quilts as art.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A birthday celebratory giveaway

I have so many things to catch you up on... Dax is now almost 8 months and my feet are finally underneath me, I think... Though my house is a mess! I'm starting to get my energy back and a little of my creative mojo too.
This Christmas only one family gift was homemade - if that doesn't tell you the state of things!

But here we are in February and it's a great month to be born in. It's always made me feel a little weird and a teensy bit special to have my birthday on Leap Year - this year I will be 9 - again, for one last time. ��

I've decided to celebrate my birthday month by giving away some treasures. This first one is a 9 piece collection of red fabrics. Which I seem to collect, but never use. Well, no more... Each of these is 1/4 yard of something I bought and have been sitting on way too long. So I'm sharing them instead.

The giveaway is being handled completely on Instagram, but you can find it there at #libbydibbybirthdaygiveaway

There will be more too, so keep your eyes open

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Charity quilts

I love sewing. Like really love it. And there just aren't enough bodies or beds in our family to justify how many quilts I make. So a favorite way of mine to help the quilts find homes is to sell them and donate the money to good causes. Here are some I sold in the beginning of this year.



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