EliseAndEmerald

The Crafting Adventures of Elise and her alter ego – Emerald


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365 Quilt Challenge

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I have always been intrigued by the various craft-a-day challenges that my fellow artists bind themselves to for a whole year.  Be it the crochet/knit temperature blankets or the #1yearofstiches, I have often thought of giving them a go.  So, when 2017 came I decided I would like to get on the bandwagon and start a daily craft challenge of my own.  Actually I wanted to do them all. Simultaneously.  Because I’m crazy like that and think I can add a million new things to my plate on a whim.

You can do ANYTHING, just not EVERYTHING.  This.  I need this tatoo-ed on my forehead AND embroidered on a pillow case! I have a bad habit of trying to take on more than I can chew and making myself miserable in the process. So, I decided to just do ONE!

My mother has quite the craft stash (like I can talk) and people are frequently gifting her more items to add to her collection.  When I come to visit she usually lets me go through the treasures to see if there are any that I would like.  In one of my most recent visits, I came across this page-a-day calendar for quilting.  And this became my inspiration for the #365quiltchallenge

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For me, this challenge is about more than just quilting.  While I am getting better everyday at reading new patterns, matching seams and points, and sewing the correct 1/4″ seam allowance, I am also working on me.

I tend to have a plan for everything.  I am generally uncomfortable with “going with the flow” in my daily life and like to have plans prepared for my day, week, month, year, and beyond.  Now you may say that planning to do a quilt block everyday from a pre-designated book of blocks doesn’t really get me out of my comfort zone.  But, consider this – I have no idea what I am going to do with all these quilt blocks when I’m done.  They are not even close to all the same size (by design, not by poor sewing skills) and 365 is way more than I would need to make one quilt.

The point of this exercise is exactly that.  I have no idea what I am going to do with these blocks when I am done.  Sometimes, life if just a series of tasks, lessons, experiences and events – you have no idea how they will transform you until they have already happened.  For me, that IS just going with the flow.  It is letting someone else decide my plan and only making my own adjustments when absolutely necessary.

This is also an exercise in letting go.  Letting go of trying to have the perfect life.  I have been holding on to this box of fabric for quite a while now.  I started with just a few fabrics in yellow and teal because I HAD to have one of the fabrics.  I attempted to make a quilt with the fabric and it just didn’t feel right.  So I stuffed it in a box and pulled it out every once in awhile to see if inspiration would strike.  I also added more fabric to the box -hoping that the “perfect pattern” would materialize so that I could finally do something with this stash of fabric I had been collecting.  But life doesn’t work like that.  You can’t just keep your dreams in a box and hope that someday inspiration will strike and you will have this perfect storm, whirlwind, fairy tale life.  You have to work for it.

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So I dug out the box and let go of the notion that I would find the perfect pattern. I set to work to just USE the fabrics I had been holding on to for so long.  Pretty fabric sitting in a box does no good at all.  I have decided it is better that they be made into SOMETHING than never doing anything with them at all.  As they were varying sizes, shapes, and colors – it was extremely unlikely that I would ever find a pattern that would make all these scraps work together anyway.  So I let it go.

Letting go actually feels pretty good. I am really enjoying using these beautiful fabrics to make scrappy blocks.  Each and every block has a new and different combination.  Each block is unique.  It makes me happy to finally be doing something with these fabrics.  I get to see them and use them every day.

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This 365 Quilt Challenge has also been a lesson in consistency.  Humans thrive on routine and I feel more balanced when I can maintain my daily habits.  Too many days, however, things get off track and my schedule goes haywire.  It is nice to have one consistent thing everyday.

Likewise, this challenge forces me to be creative everyday.  I consider the quilt block of the day my warm-up for creative work.  It gets my brain in the right frame for creativity and often I remain in my craft room to continue working on other projects as I feel inspired.

So far I have made 20 blocks!  I have missed a few days but I am pretty proud of my overall consistency!  If you want to follow along with my daily blocks – follow me on Instagram! @EliseandEmerald

Thanks for visiting!

~Elise and Emerald

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Naught to Nautical Quilt

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Hello my lovely readers!

My favorite big brother is a submarine Sonar Technician in the United States Navy.  We are all very proud of him and his service to our country.  As he has been in the Navy for almost 15 years, he has been given a whole bunch of Navy/nautical themed items.  As I prepared to make a quilt for him, I wanted to be sure it paid homage to his long-standing military service while also being not too nautical.

My mother had gifted me a box of fabrics from Connecting Threads that was full of fat quarters in fun colors. One half of the box was solids with white polka dots and the other half was solids with white stars.  When I came across the Suburban quilt pattern in the Quilty Magazine in the Sept/Oct 2013 issue, I knew it would look FABULOUS with some of the star fabrics.

It is a very simple pattern, but it has a lot of visual interest. Couple that with a repeating pattern in multiple colors and it is a beautiful match!  For the rest of the quilt I added some navy solids and military green solids to break up the pattern.  I searched through Moda’s Because of the Brave fabric line to find one in blue that featured dog tags.  I used it for the binding and it went perfectly with my quilt top.  In addition, it is butter soft and so nice to sew with!  Moda makes some great quality fabrics! For the back I used a navy minky fabric.  Even though my brother lives in Hawaii, I couldn’t resist using minky on the back – it is just too soft!   I told him he could use it on the cold submarine or pack it when he comes to visit us in the freezing tundra of Northern Iowa!

Before I shipped him the quilt for his birthday,  I had a little photo shoot!  Enjoy!

Thanks for visiting!

~Elise and Emerald

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The Peacock Quilt

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I made this quilt for my sister-in-law. *Confession* I have actually been working on it for a few years….. While I was working on it I told myself it was a Christmas present, then a birthday present, then Christmas again.  Finally I couldn’t take it anymore.  My SIL’s birthday is in April and this year I got it SO close to being done I just couldn’t wait anymore! I had to give it to her!  When I gave it to her on her birthday it still wasn’t quite done – just needed to be quilted and bound….

Yesterday I finally gave her the completed quilt!  Feels so good to be done with it! It took me awhile to finish because the quilting design I chose was challenging.  I felt so bad giving it to her late that I had to get a jump start on the next quilt I am giving as a gift.  So I was a few months behind on the last one, BUT I am a few months ahead on the next one! (I may even get the blog post done early too – wowza!)

My SIL love peacocks and her whole house is shades of blue, grey, green, and brown. I think this quilt turned out so well!  I was most nervous to choose a binding fabric – but I think I chose wisely!  It really ties the whole thing together! Of course I had to take it out for a photo shoot before it could go home with its rightful owner.

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Estelle, my Bernina Record 830, and I quilted it using a modified stippling technique.  I made squares and boxes instead of loops and hoops to meander around on the whole quilt top. This was a new method for me – and I love how it turned out!

Thanks for visiting!

~Elise and Emerald

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The Thank You Quilt

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I made this quilt as a thank you to some family friends who gave us a vintage Kitchen Aide mixer and a gas grill as newly weds when we were first starting out.  I was so grateful that they had thought of us.  These items would normally be big ticket items and they gave them to us for FREE! I had to make them a ‘Thank you’ quilt!  This was actually the third attempt of mine to make them a quilt.  I had decided on a color palette and purchased all the fabric to go with a pattern I had chosen.

Pattern #1 was a template pattern – which I do not ever use.  The rotary cutter was one of the greatest inventions, in my opinion.  I did, however, try to make a go with the templates as the pattern was very pretty.  I didn’t have good luck with it and grew frustrated.

Pattern #2 involved cutting up all the fabric into strips to sew into strip sets.  I struggled with this pattern too as it was one of those cut-your-own-cardboard-triangle-ruler patterns.

Thus I became very frustrated since all of my fabric was already sewn into strip sets.  Luckily I had this little Mardi Gras pattern by Villa Rosa Designs in my stash.  Although mine used different dimensions and ended up being quite larger, I was able to get a good idea to finally make all this fabric into a finished quilt.

All in all, I’m glad that it took me three tries to get this quilt made.  It turned out beautiful and the recipient loved it!

I quilted it on my regular Bernina sewing machine using an all over swirls and curls method.  I did do some piecing on the back – which I think turned out very well.

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Thanks for visiting!

~Elise and Emerald

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Mint Green and Hot Pink – Picnic Pattern Baby Quilt

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One of my favorite (and the most nerve-wracking) parts about making quilts for other people is picking the fabrics and pattern that will allow me to encompass their person style and unique personality in a quilt. It can be a very daunting undertaking to pin down the exact right look.  This bright and funky baby quilt was for a friend of mine who is expecting a baby girl at the end of this month!  I wanted her baby’s quilt to be modern, feminine, and trendy – just like her mama!

To make this quilt I pulled out all of the scraps in my stash I could find in shades of hot pink, mint green, and aqua blue.  I used solid mint green for the background to keep it balanced with all the bright colors.  Mint green minky was my choice for the back because, let’s face it – it is the softest, cuddliest fabric ever! I love including it in baby quilts knowing that baby will have a snuggly quilt.  I machine quilted it and added hot pink binding for that extra *pop* of girly-ness.

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The pattern I used for this quilt was called “Picnic” and it was from the book Scrap Basket Sensations by Kim Brackett.  Her original pattern was for a full-size quilt and I adapted it for a baby quilt. I used the same block sizes but made the quilt 5×6 blocks.  In hindsight, I should have made it 6×6 blocks.  The pattern is meant to be 4-patch blocks that make flowers when you put them together. I had to improvise and make one straight-block line down the middle.  It turned out fine – I think it looks like a stem down the center.  The finished quilt is 30″ x 35″.

I couldn’t resist – I love this pattern, I had to make a boy version! 🙂 I did make this version to be 6×6 blocks.  It doesn’t have a home yet, but I do have a really fun idea for the back. To be continued…

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Thanks for visiting!

~Elise and Emerald

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