In Praise of Ayumi’s Patterns


Patchwork Please! Book

I just got Ayumi Takahashi‘s new book, Patchwork Please!  I have plenty to keep me busy for the next few weeks, but I know that eventually I’ll end up making lots of things from it because of how much I’ve loved her patterns in the past.  They’re easy to follow and so much fun to make, I end up making everything in multiples!  Like her Patchwork Wristlets, which actually taught me how to do zippers.

CoopCraft Tag


Her Fabric Basket tutorial is probably one of the most shared tutorials on the internet.  It’s also a great way to learn patchwork if you’re a beginner.  Her tutorials are very clear and take everything step by step.

Project Basket

They are great as gifts, so make lots!

Thank You, Ayumi!

My favorite so far might be her Checkerboard Tote from the Summer 2011 issue of Stitch magazine.  I made one for Mom using vintage sheets.

Checkerboard Tote, Vintage Linens

And one for my best friend.

Kim's Checkerboard Tote

Then one to keep!

Checkerboard Tote

And I can’t forget her lunch bag.  I made a couple for my sister in law and her best friend.

Lunch Totes

They’re also great toy totes!  Filled with bean bags, the totes make a great family gift for little ones.

Number Bean Bags and Tote

So you can see why I wanted Ayumi’s new book, as her previous tutorials and patterns have taught me so much and helped me make wonderful things.  Off to read — Thank you, Ayumi!


Scrappy Organizer Bags


Scrappy Organizer Travel Bags

I’m getting ready for Mother’s Day and I don’t think my Mother in Law reads my blog, so I feel somewhat safe posting here.  (And if you see these before you get them Linda, Surprise!)  My Mom is getting the same thing, but we discussed sizes and so on to best suit her needs.

This set of scrappy travel organizer bags clips/unclips to a ring so you take only the ones you need with you. I made them in graduated sizes, color coded, with mesh “windows” so you can see the contents without having to dig through them all to find something, and I threw in lots of extra little sewing details to make them stronger and a little nicer looking. I even sewed in little travel related quote tags inside the bags as a special little surprise. This is one project I’m definitely going to make for myself, too!  My best friend has been wanting something that will help her store all of her many gadget cords when she travels for work, and I think this would do the trick nicely.

Just in case you sew and want to whip up some of your own, I got the little clips from Natalie and Stacey’s Etsy shop, the mesh is from and the zippers are from the fabulous Zipit Etsy shop.


Jacqui’s Tote of Many Colors


Jacqui's Tote of Many Colors

Hopefully I’ll get this off in the mail after work, on it’s way to my friend Jacqui in England.  Years ago we used to send each other decorating magazines, so they were the first thing to pop into my head when I felt the urge to send her a little gift.  Then I remembered that I can sew now, a skill I didn’t have back then, and thought I’d make her a little something, too.  My “little something” morphed into this roomy Tote of Many Colors made with part of a Michael Miller Cotton Couture charm pack and a yard of fabric I bought while shopping with my Mom in Tennessee.  (That’s the lining and straps.)

The little tag was so much fun to make, I’m sure I’ll end up making more!

Jacqui's Tote of Many Colors Tag

Diego watched me turn the bag right-side-out when I was done sewing, and I swear his eyes lit up when he realized that was something he could crawl inside.  He followed me around until I set it down for a picture and he tried to see if it might be a good place for a nap.  Yep, I’ll be packing it up right away.  (I’m trying to keep the cat fur off it, Jacqui!)

Tote of Many Colors with Deegs

He is such a quilter’s cat.


WIP: Tote Bag


Working on a Tote Bag Gift

I have a friend who is doing poorly lately.  Years ago we used to trade decorating magazines, so my first thought was to get that girl some colorful magazines.  And now that I can sew, I should make a pretty little tote for them, maybe with a personalized tag.   I’m using Michael Miller’s delicious Cotton Couture solids — I can’t resist the colors!   I’ll show you more when it’s done.


TWINS! An I-Spy Quilt and a Spectrum Quilt


My friends Desiree and Al just publicly announced Dez’ pregnancy — by showing off pictures of the twin boys, already here!  Now if THAT isn’t a surprise, I don’t know what is.  :)

See, little Frankie and Charlie have two older brothers.  Cole is in college, and baby Gianni is in heaven, looking out for them all.  After the heartbreak of losing their beloved baby, Dez and Al wanted to be very careful with spreading the news of her pregnancy.  I can’t say I blame them at all, and WOW is it fun to see the joy of all their friends!  Love is floating thick in the air, giving all of us goofy grins.  Babies are the most amazing of blessings!

Of course those boys were anticipated, the news was quietly shared, but carefully, carefully.  I often show my excitement by sewing and made two unmatched quilts for the boys.

Twin Quilts

Twin Quilts

One is an I-Spy circle quilt, the other is a spectrum quilt.  Both were designed and personalized just for this family.  On the I-Spy quilt, I threw in patches that would have special meaning in the boys’ lives.  There are a couple patches for the New York Giants, one cropped to look like Gianni’s name.  There are patches of African wax prints brought back from trips to St. Monica’s, a place that brought them hope and healing.  Kanji characters can spark a conversation about their family in China.  Of course there are dogs, because this family is known for their care.  A patch of their home state.   A bike patch for their Dad.  Many colorful patches of random things to look for and learn.  Tummy time should be interesting for Charlie and Frankie!  (There’s a better full view here if you’re interested.)

I-Spy Quilt Detail

Twin Quilts I Spy

The Spectrum quilt has special meaning as well.  After the loss of Gianni, a friend said that the sunrise was Gianni playing with his colors.  I’ve tried to look at the sky each morning, take notice of the sunrise and say a little prayer for their family.   When thinking of quilt patterns for these boys, my first thought was to make a rainbow for their parents — the promise of better days and the lessening of a storm.

Spectrum Half Square Triangle Quilt

The back is an adorable world map that even has a square for Nairobi!

Spectrum Quilt Map Back

Frankie and Charlie, we are so glad you’re here!  Welcome to the world!