Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Sew, baby!

Well, I haven't been doing a lot of blogging lately, but that doesn't mean things haven't been busy around here. I've actually got a pretty big update to share, and it's all about making babies... 




The last quilt I made was a BIG endeavor, so after that one I took a BIG break. But then my sister got pregnant, and I knew I had to come out of semi-retirement to wrap that little bundle up properly. 

With every quilt I do (you can see them all on the blog, or via #bowdenismsews) I aim to try something new. And this time I tried.... KEEPING IT SO SIMPLE. That is basically the opposite of all of my instincts, so it was ironically, pretty hard. I am much more adept at being overly ambitious, complicating every detail, going about it all the most difficult way imaginable, and getting myself in WAY over my head with visions that don't match my skill level. 

But not this time! I had an adorable pin as inspiration...and that was it! I was off to the races. 
Yes, I spent at least an hour at JOANN torturing my mom/shopping assistant with endless hemming and hawing over fabric selection, but that's to be expected, right? She found the adorable backing fabric, and I settled on the two purple florals to serve as my "gingham" squares. 

But before I blather on too much (more) about the details of it all....let's just look at her for a minute: 

:overenthusiastic singing: 
Isn't she lovvvvvvely....made from love.

I started this quilt about a week before my sister's baby shower, so time was of the essence. The good news is...simple means fast (well...fast-ish...I'm still no speed demon with these things). I followed SuzyQuilt's chain piecing tutorial, which made sewing the squares together quick and easy. 

I've never made a quilt with a one-piece back before, but I thought it was a good fit for this quilt top (keep it classic, and classy). Plus my new niece's room has a woodland animal theme so featuring this little forest scene felt perfect. 

I had so much fun making this little piece. It was nice to do a simple pattern. Usually I love the planning part of the process, but it was honestly relaxing to just sew. I didn't have to agonize over measurements,or double check everything was working out how I imagined. There was no troubleshooting or forced improvising. I just sat down each night at my machine, popped my ear buds in, and stitched and podcast-binged my heart out. And of course it didn't all turn out perfectly (don't zoom in too closely where all of the corners meet up..or don't, quite...) and I still had my fair share of stitching re-do's and tension issues (mechanical, not emotional) but when all was said and done...I was proud of my hard work and in love with what I made. (Hey...it IS just like having a baby!)

So you know what had to happen next, right? Yep, Violet needed a little quilted sister. Meet Rose.

Practically twins! 

This one was for a friend of mine...I used the same adorable backing fabric but paired it with a pink/red liberty floral top. After finishing up the first one (and learning a thing or two), this version went even a little bit faster. That wasn't necessarily my goal, but is such a satisfying feeling to whip these up from scratch in just a few days. (If that's how pregnancy worked I'd have a lot fewer baby quilts, and a lot more babies). 

I did my own quilting on all of these (baby quits are small enough to be easily managed on my home machine), and I kept that simple too- just doing straight lines on either side of all of the seams. (I use the word "straight" loosely, of course). 

I love how simple they are..but so snuggly, soft, and pretty. (You know...just like babies!)

And now that I had two little lady quilts....you know what I had to do next...

Yep, give them a little brother. 

Isn't he the handsomest?!

This one was a birthday gift for my best friend's one year old. I coulda, woulda, shoulda made him a baby quilt for his actual birth, but sometimes sewing + life just doesn't work out like that. So I poured my love into it now, and tried to make my fabric choices extra-manly to please the sweet little guy he's becoming. I don't think he'll mind the delay...especially when he's all cozied up and sleeping.

(that stuffed globe is a project I did before Piper was born- or around that time at least, my brain is a little foggy that far back. Would you believe I've had the pieces for 2 more of these cut out and ready all these years, and I just haven't gotten to it? That someday pile just keeps growing...)

I tried something different for this one, still using the gingham pattern, but mixing in different fabrics. I chose about 3 fabrics for the dark blue (using the backer fabric for some of it, to bring it all together), 2 fabrics for the white (one plain, one with tiny white dots) and a big mix of things for the grey. It was extra special to me that I got to use some scraps I had from previous quilts, so his has pieces in common with my kids' quilts.

I chose a pop color for the binding (coordinated with the detail on the backer fabric) to keep it from being too serious.  (I always use Cluck Cluck Sew's machine binding tutorial) I was a little nervous about that choice, but when it all came together I was smitten.

And did you see that little sneak detail in the corner...

Aw, yeah...I'm legit now, baby. Real deal personalized tags!! My girl Carrie from Mission Market Co. answered my late night "Can we make these?!" texts with some professional level beauty!
They are better than I even dreamed, and now I want to make 10,000 more quilts just to be able to add these little labels. (Seriously, Carrie is next level with all things lettering/craft related...and she does custom orders for just about anything you can imagine.)

So there is the story of The Bowden Triplets. I crafted them with my whole heart, and now my beloved babies are off to their forever homes...The good news is I think making someone a quilt translates to a lifetime right to free snuggles, so I think my efforts are going to be well rewarded.


(Psst: If you're into the details, each quilt is 8 squares wide and 11 squares long, and uses 24 squares of the dark color, 44 squares of the medium color and 20 squares of the white. My squares were cut to 4.5", and I used .25" seam allowances, so they were all finished at 4". It ends up around 32" x 44". This works perfectly with precut batting (around 34" x 45"). I wasn't too strict on my math when I was buying fabric, so I ended up with more than I needed, so I don't have a yardage guide to share...if you think it through just a little you should end up in a better spot than I did. The backer piece can just be cut to around 48" though, which gives you a tiny bit to play with, and very little waste. You'll need about 4.5 yds of binding- I used two 3yd packs of double fold bias tape. All supplies are from JOANN). 
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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Haunted House of Bowden

I said to a friend recently, "If Christmas wasn't already my Christmas, Halloween would be my Christmas!" Costumes, candy, crafts, decorations, treats, books, movies, songs...and the PUMPKIN THINGS!!! There's just so much to love about this season! (and yes- Halloween is a season, not just a day!) I mean sure, there are parts of Halloween I don't like (scary or gory stuff) but for the most part...it's all fun!

We of course did the big stuff big...like hitting up as many fall festivals as we could, and dressing up no less than three times (unless you count spooky jammies or jack-o-lantern tee's as dressing up...because in that case some of us dressed up just about every day in October) and doing a few trick or treat outings. (That stuff could be several blog posts all on their own...but my blog backlog is deeeeeeeep...maybe someday...)

But this time around we did the little stuff up big too, trying to pack in as much festive fun as we could in one month. The kids were marvelously into it all, excited for all things spooky (just not too spooky) which made it pretty much irresistible for me (as if I wasn't all in already). They're in such a fun stage where they're young enough to still find magic in the simplest things (a family walk around the neighborhood where we counted all the pumpkins we saw was a big hit...and don't get them started on the joy of lawn inflatables!) but also old enough to be able to actually participate in things (I lost track of the festive treats we baked, and crafts we made...they couldn't get enough!)

With such an enthusiastic group of enablers, I felt the freedom to get a bit more into decorating for the season than I have in the past. I don't go crazy with the themed decor (honestly I think I deserve some sort of medal based on the number of adorable pumpkin tchotchkes I didn't buy on my most recent trip to Homegoods) but I pulled out some things we've had for parties in previous years, and added a few pieces to our collection (including: some colored lights, a DIY mouse-filled pumpkin, a "Mumkin" I managed to kill almost immediately, and a Frankenstein pillowcase Miller was too scared to sleep with).

I'll admit it maybe got a little out of hand once the "Spooky Tree" came out of storage...but I won't say I regret it. I'm a loyalist to the Kon Mari school of holiday celebrations: Does it spark joy? Then do it. (I may be taking some liberties with the way her principles are intended to be applied...but this tree sure does make me happy!)

I can sometimes be guilty of trying to pack our lives full of too many good things, so I have to be careful not to tip the balance from festive fun to frantic mess (it's a fine line...) But other than maaaaaaaybe buying about 7 too many Halloween books (to go with the probably 17 too many we already owned) I'd say I landed on the right side of the scales. No one suffered an acute sugar-overdose, and we got all the pumpkins out of the house before they rotted. WIN.

It was a month full of silly, spooky, over-the-top, cluttered-up, pumpkin-scented fun...and while it may not be my Christmas, Halloween did bring me a spirit of Thanksgiving. It's a wonderful(ly weird) life.

p.s. more decor peeks (#houseofbowden), and Halloween haunts (#costumeweekspooktacular) on the 'gram. (aka: where I do 98% of my "blogging" these days). 
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