Monday, September 15, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

A big thank you to my sweet friend Nancy over at Pug Mom Quilts for inviting me to join the Around the World Blog Hop. This is my first every hop so I'm really excited to participate! This blog hop is like a giant chain letter that won't end until every Blogger on the planet has had a turn. How fun, don't you think?

If you've never stopped by before, welcome! And if you have, thanks for coming back. Friends are always welcome around these parts -- both the ones I've known forever and the ones I've yet to meet.

Before I answer the questions, I have to tell you a little bit about Nancy. What a talented lady she is! She not only has ONE beautiful quilt for her bed, but she has enough to swap them out monthly and still not get through them all. (I may or may not be a wee bit jealous about this... but I love her so it's all good.) She is involved with many different quilt groups and swaps and no matter what she's making or who she's making it with, she always seems to be having a blast (and usually eating some chocolate --- a girl after my own heart)!   Nancy is also mommy to 3 of the cutest little boys I've ever seen --- her little pugs Larry, Elvis and Romeo. You really need to swing by her blog to check out her beautiful work and her little sweethearts, too!


Now on to my questions. Drum roll, please!

1. What am I working on?
Like most quilters, I have a whole slew of WIPs, all in various stages of completion.  Some are just ideas in my head, some are cut and waiting for me to begin, some could be completed with an hour or two of work.  Sound familiar?  What I should be working on right now is sandwiching, quilting and binding a flimsy that has been hanging over my stair rail for at least 6 months. What I'm actually working on is trying to pull together a bunch of small, simple items that I can mass produce and sell at my first ever vendor fair. My older daughter is in the band at school and they are doing a fundraiser for an upcoming trip to play at Disney World (how cool is that?!?!). The price for a space seemed very reasonable so I'm working frantically to create enough items ready to set up a respectable table. I want to keep the price points very low (it's a school / family event) so I'm experimenting with things I can make quickly and easily from stash materials. I'm calling them my "Sew Super Simples."  Here are photos of a few things I've made so far, but check back for updates on my progress!

Sew Super Simple: Dish towel sets with cookbook weight
I've made 12 sets of these in different colors and holiday prints.  I'm adding a cute set of heart-shaped measuring spoons, which are left-over favors from my sister's bridal shower 4 years ago.
Sew Super Simple: Little zippy pouches
These finish at 4" x 6", a great size for phone, cash, keys, earbuds, iPod, gift cards, etc.
Sew Super Simple: ID Lanyards
The middle schoolers are required to have their school ID visible at all times, so I think these will be popular.  I'm experimenting with different rings/tags to clip the IDs on to the bottom.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I'm very glad to be answering this question, actually, because it took me a long time to come to terms with it. I spend a lot of time reading other quilting / crafting blogs and wowsers! There are some incredibly talented people out there who make things more beautiful than I could ever imagine. Gorgeous fabrics, perfect seam allowances, fancy FMQ, drool-worthy photos. I admire each and every quilter I come across for one reason or another. But, seeing all the "perfect" stuff out there --- while inspiring --- is also incredibly intimidating. What I used to think was pretty nice stuff (that I made) paled in comparison to so many other beautiful things I saw in the blogosphere. And it was discouraging. I tried to replicate, emulate, duplicate, you name it, usually with little success. Then it finally hit me.  That's not me. I don't always use designer name fabric, or the newest lines or the most recent patterns. Heaven knows my photography and photo editing skills pretty much stink.  But that's OK!!!  Don't get me wrong... from time to time I make something just because I like the fabric or want to try a new technique or pattern... but I'd say 90% of the things I make are made very specifically for the recipient. They're personalized --- either by color, fabric, pattern, hand stitched tags --- something that's very personal to the person who will receive it. It's OK that not every stitch is perfect or that every seam is straight. And honestly, the person's neighbor might hate it... but that's because it's made with love and ladybug hugs for the person who will receive it --- and it will be evident to that person that it was made specifically for them and only for them.  I love beautiful quilts and bags and there are definitely times I want to make something solely to make something beautiful, but with limited time (a full time job, 2 kids, training for races, etc), I tend to stick to very "purposeful" items... and I'm OK with that.  Here are a few photos of personalized items I've made:

Mickey Irish Chain for Luanne
This was a thank you gift for a dear friend who happens to love Disney.  The center blocks have Mickey Mouse and the red fabric has Mickey heads on it. 
Aaron's Pond Pals
This was a baby gift for my nephew.  I personalized it by embroidering his name and birth stats into the sun (photo below).
I made this up as I went along, it's the only quilt I've ever made for myself.  Each block / shape / color represents a very important part of my life. 
Baby Megan's Quilt
This was made for my niece, personalized with her birth stats (see below).  The white fabric with the flowers and ladybugs is a crib sheet that matched her nursery bedding.
Paula's Purples
This quilt was made for my husband's second cousin (who loves purple and peace signs). 
You Can't Outgrow Memories
My dear friend Rita (on the left) gave me some dresses she had made for her daughters 35-40 years ago.  She saved them all these years, in case she had a granddaughter one day.  When the granddaughter came along, she realized the dresses were outdated and thought I could use the fabric for charity quilts.  I cut up the dresses to make the hearts for this quilt (we have a shared love of hearts) and gave it back to her for Christmas.  She loved it!
3. Why do I create what I do?  ~and~
4. How does my writing / creating process work?
These questions seemed a bit similar so I decided to combine the answer.  I think I'd definitely refer to my style as MUGA --- Making it Up as I Go Along.  Like I mentioned above, I usually start a project with a specific person or purpose in mind.  I think about what that person might like (color, pattern, fabric, etc) then do some internet and stash searching for ideas.  Once I find an idea I like, I try to determine the easiest way to make it (without a pattern) and just start cutting and sewing and piecing.  Once in a while there is math involved (usually not much) and once in a while it turns out like I'd hoped.  Often it doesn't but that's still OK.  The fact that the item is personalized lets the recipient know it was made just for them, even if it doesn't look like the picture in my head.  That's the other good thing about not using patterns --- no one but me knows what it was supposed  to look like in the first place!  In addition to making items (quilts, bags, etc) for family and friends, I try as often as possible to make items for friends of friends (especially children) going through hard times.  I make a lot of items to be donated but as with my "regular" projects, I usually know a bit about the recipient as I make the quilt. Here are a few examples:

I made this recently for a 13-year-old undergoing chemo. Her motto is "YOYO" (You're Only Young Once) and her favorite colors are purple and blue. I've always wanted to try a bagello quilt so I used my MUGA method on this one. I think the "waves" symbolize the ups and downs she's had on her long road toward a full recovery.

Made with Love for Ryan
This was made for a woman who lost her 9 year old son a few years back.  Every block is made from his clothes.  He loved Disney so that was the theme, with a few personalized (stitched, photo and applique) blocks added in at her request.  For example: At his funeral, buterflies were released, so she asked me to include a butterfly.  Toward the center of the bottom row is a blue & green butterfly on a red background.  I made that (applique) using pieces of his clothing.

Cars for Tyler
I made this quilt several years ago for a little boy undergoing chemo for brain cancer. Cars was his favorite movie at the time and I think there's something so special about a child having their own name on their own quilt.

Minnie Mouse for Sophia
My friend Rachel asked me to make a Minnie Mouse quilt for her niece. I couldn't find much Minnie fabric, so I made those Minnie heads (with the bows) myself (applique). I added Sophia's name in Disney font (also applique) to personalize it more.

I'm now going to invite two other blogging friends to join the Hop next week.  In the spirit of "Around the World," I picked two lovely ladies that definitely are around the world from me!

First up is Kim, who lives in the UK.  Kim has a way with HSTs like nothing you have ever seen.  Perfect every time!  Her love of them may be the only way that we are not exactly alike.  And the bags she makes?  Insanely beautiful.  We have children of similar ages, we both run, we both love wine and bread and chocolate.  I mean really, what more could you ask for in a friend?  We often talk about getting together to sew or chat or run or eat and though I certainly wish she lived on my side of the Atlantic, I can imagine it might be dangerous for us to spend too much "real life" time together.  The trouble I know we'd get into!  Kim blogs over at Brigantia Designs so be sure to stop by and see her!
Next up is Jean who writes over at All Points on the Compass.  She lives all the way in New Zeland and though I understand how geography and climate work, it still amazes me that she has snow when the place I live (South Florida) is in the dead of summer.  Jean has so much spunk, I don't know how she does it.  I "met" Jean when I was going through a pretty dark time and she was so kind to me with words and deeds that she will always hold a special place in my heart.  You MUST see her photography.  I aspire to someday have the eye and talent she has for capturing just THE most amazing pictures.

Happy hopping, everyone! 
~*~ May your day be full of Love and Ladybug Hugs ~*~
Thanks for stopping by!
~ Kat ~


  1. Wow, Kat, I'm totally in awe of all your finished projects, those you have made for friends, ones you know and those a lot further away, I'll really have to search some shelves and find all those unfinished ones to be part of my contribution. But maybe my photos will be a big part of my "hop". Looking forward to next week. Take care, Hugs, Jean

  2. Hi Kat! I'm so glad that I nominated you and I keep re-reading your post. It's so good! And I have to go back and re-read several years of your blog now! I always love seeing all of your projects!
    Pugs and kisses,

  3. You amaze me and I'm so happy to call you friend! I have two pieced quilts that desperately need their batting and several more waiting. I did get an apron done today and hope to post tomorrow, XOXO

  4. I always love the colours you choose for your projects - I'm going to have a hard time following this post!

  5. You are the busiest quilter I know! I have two quilts pieced, ready to quilt and about 4 ready to piece...wish you lived closer! XOXO


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