Wednesday, May 27, 2009

May Day Giveaway! Amy Butler and a Monster

Edited June 1 to Announce Winners!

Wow, thanks to all 911 of you who visited my site for giveaway day!

Melissa has won the monster
Mary (no blog) has won the Amy Butler triangles

Happy Giveaway Day everyone and I'll see you at the next one!

So what am I giving away? Well, first of all, this lovely monster designed and made by yours truly, all by hand, no machines needed. I made him up and I'm giving him away! He can't wait to come and lurk in your closet of the closet of your small friend.

He's just waiting for you to tell him where he's going to live so I can personalize him with his new mommy or daddy's name! Or, if you want to name your monster, I can sew his OWN name onto his back instead.

Secondly, I'm giving away some pre-cut Amy Butler fabric just itching to be made into a mini-quilt or table runner. There are 45 triangles of each fabric, totaling 180 triangles! The fabrics are from this quilt and this quilt, and make a 2 1/2" square when sewn together (so a 2" finished block size in a quilt). There are enough to make almost 90 squares! Or, you could pair them with white or another color and stretch them out into a larger quilt like redpepperquilts did.

To enter, simply leave me a comment on this post telling me what your favorite quilt on my site is. The main quilts are all lined up on the left side of this blog, and are all clickable to read more. That's it! Happy Giveaway Day!

Monday, May 25, 2009

I Won!

Thanks so much to Rebecca at blinkingflights for the gift of a free toy! Check out her cute blog and all the sweet toys I had to choose from. Thanks Rebecca, i'll be enjoying Francine (above)!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday Stash and a Sweetie

Today i'm featuring three of my favorite blues from my stash. I'm sure you recognize the Sandi Henderson in the middle, but the blue fish on the right is at least 8 years old! I love it and have used it in probably 10 quilts over the years. The one on the left looks great cut up in everything. I got a few scraps of it last year.

...and a sweetie! Gigi is into every single thing all the time. She's like a getting into things machine! Nonstop! As long as she's awake she will have everything you would ever not want her to have. She especially loves to peruse the garbage looking for interesting items that may be on top, that's why we call her 'our little raccoon'. My husband wants to dress her as a raccoon for Halloween this year!

We were making waffles and one got overly browned, so I tossed it on top of some newspapers at the top of the garbage can. A few minutes later I was on the computer when I turned around and saw this:

She LOVES waffles, and the look on her face was like, "Check out this gigantic waffle some idiot threw away! Yeah!" She was already nibbling on it. Since it was on top of clean newspapers, I let her keep it! She's used to dime sized pieces of food, so she was in heaven!


Friday, May 22, 2009

I Finally Dropped the Toys for Strangers!

Here are the two little chickies I made for the toy society toys for strangers project! I'm finishing stuff like crazy and crossing things off my list. Yay! I bagged them up according to the directions and took Wolf out to drop them. I'm trying to teach him a lesson in giving by having him give toys to strangers on his birthday.

I let him choose the locations. He first chose a low-income apartment house complex and we tied it to a fence. Some ladies across the street were watching us and when we left I saw one of them head over there! Next he really wanted to put one at his old preschool, so we did, though we were watched by a gaggle of kids in the front window. As we got in the car the owner came out with about seven kids and was reading it. I yelled, "it's safe!" and she seemed relieved. I didn't hang around to see how she'd split one toy among them all!

Yay for paying it forward!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Happy Birthday My Little Sunshine

The boy who made a mother out of me is turning six! Happy Birthday Wolfgang.
Seems like just yesterday...

First Halloween! Superbaby at 5 months old!

This is my favorite photo of him. I don't know why, I just love it. Double click to see it bigger.

Eating peaches at about one year old. I love the look on his face!

Silly two year old playing with his wolf tracks quilt.

Fierce three year old punching his power ranger training toy. Scary!

And a sweet five year old with his little sister Gigi. And wolf tracks quilt, of course.

And this was today! He got the scooter for his birthday. See how I sneaked the Amy Butler and Joel Dewberry fabrics into this post? My mom made that for Gigi.

Happy birthday my little love bunny!!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Going Batty

Okay, I'll admit, I've gone a little batty lately making toys, but I really like it! My 24 yo daughter Heather asked me to make this bat for her.

See, here is her sketch of what she wanted me to make.

....And here is what I made! Pretty close! I think it was drawn as a bat ninja, hence the sash tie on the right and the crosswise thing (a bow case strap?). I was going to add the cross strip in felt, but it interfered with the bat signal detail at the waist.

He's coming to get ya! The only thing I would improve is the stumpy wings. She had them drawn stumpy and I am running out of felt, so I only could make stumpy, but I feel like the body needs bigger wings to balance it out. Next time.

The end.

Enjoy! Wendy

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Stash - Batiks

Today I'm featuring some beautiful batiks I picked up during my batik phase several years ago. I love the saturated colors! Double click to see them larger and bask in the glow.


Friday, May 15, 2009

A Monster in My Closet (Plus a note about the Monster in My Closet quilt pattern)

Who's that peeking out of my son's closet door???

AAAAAAAGHH! It's a monster! A monster in the closet. I had such fun making the birdies that I decided to just cut out what I thought a monster would look like without a pattern and see if it was a disaster. I gave him some scary teeth and a belt buckle (?). I have to say, I'm very pleased!

My son is also very pleased! I told him that it was a monster whose job it was to scare away bad dreams, but he would only go to work for the person whose name was written on his back. My son said "but that's my name!" I also love the tail and the blockiness of the letters.

Edited to say - If you're looking for the quilt pattern for the "monster in my closet quilt", I noticed a lot of people were finding this post while searching for that pattern, so I scanned in my copy I'd saved from years ago and will send it to you. Just click on my profile to get my email. I'm glad to help!
Edited to say - It's 2016 and i'm still getting requests for this pattern : ) It's still available btw.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Made Toys!

Look at me! I'm a toymaker! I didn't know I had it in me. You know, the inspiration from all of you out in the blogging world is really opening me up creatively. I was only a quilter until I started reading blogs and now i've made pot holders and toys too. I'm slowly branching out.

I promised twohippos that since she paid it forward to me with the beautiful apron, I would pay it forward to others by making toys and leaving them for strangers. I chose an easy toy to make from this great tutorial. I love the blog I found it on, mollychicken. I liked that it had some felt and some fabric, plus the interactivity of the baby in the egg in the pouch.

I'm pretty proud of it! It's so cute! Here is the baby out of the pouch...

And here is the baby out of the egg. Well, I loved this little birdy, but she looked pretty lonely sitting there in her tree...

So I made her some family members! I enlarged the pattern and made bigger ones. That's daddy in the blue on the left with Junior in the front carrier, and that's mommy in the middle. I'm going to enlarge the pattern even more and make one medium teddy bear size! I can't seem to stop making these!

The End(s).

Monday, May 11, 2009

I Love You Grampa

Today I honor my grandfather, Aloys Jacob Willems who went on ahead of us last week at the age of 92. He was a good man, a kind man, and the kind of grandfather everyone should have. I was honored to have known him for 38 years. That's my grandfather as a boy on the left. I'm pretty sure that's one of his seven brothers, Fred (Fritz) on the right. He also had four sisters.

This is how I remember him best! Sitting in his chair in their old house, wearing his plaid shirt and laughing. He always had a joke or a math game to teach you. I loved him so much!

I asked my grandfather to fill out a memory book years ago. Above, he writes about his birth. Click to enlarge.

My grampa loved a family party! Here he is in the backyard of their house (right upper corner) telling a story to entertain the crowd. He loved all kinds of American comfort food, including turkey, dressing, fried chicken, lemonade, mashed potatoes and green beans. I'm not sure I ever saw him drink alchohol, maybe a beer once when Uncle Paul was over. That's my dad in the front foreground. I loved their house. A lot of my childhood memories were made there.

This is my second favorite photo of him, he's on the front porch of their house. I think this is when he accidentally hammered a nail into his knee - you can see the crutch on the ledge. He was a carpenter and was always in his basement shop making things. I still use the bookcases, chairs and jigsaw puzzles he made. He also made porch swings, decorative family name wind hangers, and fences, among other things. He once fixed my car with wood! I can still see his woodshop clearly in my head and smell the sawdust and woodburning stove. Around the corner in the basement was my grandma's canned food nook, full of glass jars of peaches and plums.

We ate Sunday dinner at my grandparent's pretty much every week of my life until I was 27 and moved from Milwaukee to Texas. This is my entire family at the time. From right, my grandpa, my dad, Uncle Jerry, Aunt Mary, my aunt Sister Mary Alice, my mom, me, my cousin Sean, my sister Heidi, my cousin Jacob and my grandma. I got very attached to that house. My sister actually bought it from them later and lived there with her family for a while.

This is a great childhood memory - On Christmas, my grandpa would sometimes take us caroling in German. That's their nativity scene in the background and my cousin Sean studying the German lyrics so we could sing. We sang Oh Tannenbaum, Stille Nacht and others.

Here are my grandpa's words telling about his own grandma and grandpa. You can see he learned the German songs from them! On the left he tells a story his grandpa used to tell. The word that's hard to read toward the bottom of the page is "owed". The story finishes at the very top of that page. Click to enlarge. He loved a good story.

Lighting the Easter Candle with my sister (i'm on the right). That's my mom and dad and I'm sure you recognize grampa by now!

Here's me (right) with my grandparents in about 1973. My mom is 29 years old, or maybe 28. She's holding my cousin Sean and my sister Heidi is on her right.

I love this picture! That's me with my grampa and Heidi with grandma. This must be before my grampa built the window boxes for their flowers - they should be right behind us.

Here's Heidi and me with grampa in later years - judging by my spiral perm and Heidi's acid green and huge earrings, i'd say late 1980's! That's their front porch again. I love you grampa.

After I moved to Texas and started a family, I continued to visit. My grampa loved his great grandkids as much as he loved us. That's my son Wolfgang with him about five years ago.

And here's the whole group! Heidi and her husband and kids and me with my husband and one kid I had then.
I love you grampa, you were the best, kindest man i've ever known. You will live forever in our hearts and the hearts of everyone whose lives you touched. I'll never forget any detail about you.

I'll leave you with my grampa's words about my grandma. They were married 69 years and she was the only girl he ever went steady with. Goodbye for now grampa, I love you.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Vintage Feedsack Sunday Stash - Show and Tell!

A few years ago I was obsessed with authentic vintage feedsacks, and with buying them on ebay. After making the GFG with one inch hexagons, I was done with feedsacks. I haven't opened this box in four years! But I will open it today for show and tell.

So here's some of the loot, all carefully stored in what occurs to me now are tolulene off-gassing plastic bags and box, sealed to create harmful micro-environments. Sorry, my museum conservation training slipped in there for a moment!

I've got lots of stuff! In the lower left is a feedsack dress that I bought that was never finished. I REALLY want to wear it, in fact I would wear vintage dresses every day, but alas, I don't know how to make clothes. I will ask my mom to help me when she comes. There are a few stacks of large pieces, then bags of six inch squares and bags of piles of 4 inchers. Of course I have no real plan for any of these, though I saw a quilt by Darlene Zimmerman once that was a simple square pattern sashed with "that 30's green" that I want to make. Also, this one by Darlene is in my future.

Here are some of the "novelty" print squares I have. I have some that are considered very rare, so I was pretty proud. Click to enlarge.

Now these guys are another story! I bought these on ebay precut. They came in a box that clearly had been sealed since the 1940's. This is how I found them, carefully bundled and tied with red thread. Then I made a classic mistake. They smelled like moth balls so I thought, I'll just give them a nice swim in the sink with some Tide and then dry them in the dryer. Yeah....not so much. As you may imagine, they frayed like crazy and I ended up having to individually iron them when I was done! There must be 1200 of them. Although, I have to admit that I did love looking at each one of them individually as I re-piled them. I LOVE tiny pieces of fabric. Just love anything close up or tiny.