Birds and Bees Quilt, Flora and Fauna in the Winter

This quilt was sewn and photographed during the great Mammoth Lakes snowstorm of January 2017. It was freezing AND snowing outside when my six year old daughter took this photo for me. We kept trying to get a picture in between gusts of wind.

After we managed to get a full shot of the front and a full shot of the back, C went inside to warm her freezing digits, and I grabbed a chair and started doing detail shots. Every photo is peppered with snow pellets. I kind of like the look, what do you think?

This is the perfect quilt to cheer you up and help you remember the promise of spring. It also coordinates with a pillow I've made which includes a quote by Emerson, "The Earth Laughs in Flowers."

Made of 100% quilting cotton fabrics, this is a whole cloth quilt from Hawthorne Thread's Nectar line of designer fabrics. The panel is free motion quilted (FMQ), so each quilt made in this line will be slightly different than the others. 

The back fabric and trim is Crosshatch in Niagara from Carolyn Friedlander's Architextures designer fabric line. The batting used is low loft for a light, snugly, and warm feeling. 

The quilt you see in these photos is being donated to Texas Equusearch for their annual auction and fundraiser. Texas Equusearch was the search organization that stayed after all the other agencies had given up on my finding my friend, Cidnie's daughter, Kitty. You can read about Kitty here. She will never be forgotten. You can help Texas Equusearch too, by donating to their important work here.

ABC Nature Walk Quilt for Laurie

In December of 2011 I started a small group called Women Who Sail (WWS). I've written about the group's genesis here. At the time, I thought that perhaps at its largest the group would swell to a few hundred women. I was wrong. Today Women Who Sail has over 10,000 members and its ranks grow steadily. The fact that the group continues successfully to this day, I believe is owed to three things:

  1. There was, and still is, a clear need for safe, supportive spaces online for women in the sailing and boating world.

  2. Every member of the group contributes to its success by following the principles of being positive, helpful, and supportive of one another.

  3. Without the group's volunteer admins, we would not be what we are today.

WWS's current admins are: Cidnie Carroll, LeeAnn Toth, Nica Waters, Behan Gifford, Anne Bryant, Annie Saylor, and myself. I'm honored to be considered their friend and to get to work with them everyday on making Women Who Sail a success. We've had two previous admins, Devi Sharp, and Laurie Felker Jones. Both have moved on from admin'ing, but they'll never lose my admiration or the debt of gratitude I owe them for the time they devoted to making WWS what it is today.

Laurie, her husband, Damon, and their kick-ass dog, Kemah on s/v Mother Jones. 

This post is about one of those admins, Laurie. When we (the other WWS admins and I) found out that Laurie was expecting, we all rejoiced. She told us the baby would be a girl, so that is what we were prepared for. But sometimes technology is wrong, and when her baby girl popped out, she was a he, and the whole world was very surprised to meet the little fellow.

This is surprise baby boy Dean. He is amazing. I would have made something a little more heavily on the traditional 'boy' side of things had I known he was going to be a boy, but again, Dean likes to shake things up. This is the new baby gift I sent Laurie a few months after he made his arrival. See the little boy peeking out of the fabric on the left? As Laurie said, 'that's kismet.'

Laurie and Damon told us a year or so after having Dean that they were expecting another baby. And this time they were pretty dang positive it was a girl. I wanted to make Laurie a quilt so I consulted with her on the kind of style she was going for with this second baby. Some moms don't like to go uber-girly, especially in this day and age, but Laurie was all about it. I got to work with pinks, and flowers, and frills.

This fabric is from Tamara Kate's 'Nature Walk' line. I've never found an ABC fabric more beautiful.

It took me a period of working on and off on it for months to complete this beauty. I was working around some intense pain, that eventually led to surgery in early May. My family watched this creation come to life with me, little by little.

At last, everything on the quilt was complete save for two parts, the binding and the tag. I was waiting on both to arrive. While I can (and do) make my own binding, I found this lovely fabric on Etsy pre-made and thought it would be the perfect way to finish Laurie's quilt. I had also, finally, ordered woven tags with Sew Sew Sew Your Boat's logo and I wanted to sew one in on the quilt before I sent it.

One of the things I love about my group of mom friends is that we all send each other kids' stuff. When one kid outgrows something, we send the hand-me-downs to a girlfriend whose kids are slightly smaller. My friend, Cindy, from Zach Aboard, made her daughter these beautiful, reversible pants and when Naia outgrew them she sent them to me for Lyra. Look at those sailboats! They lasted Lyra for two seasons and were her FAVORITE pants. Alas, summer was approaching and they would be too small for Lyra the following winter, so I patched them up and got them ready to send in the package to Laurie that included her quilt too.

One day I had everything assembled upstairs in my room in advance of mailing it out. C, my oldest, came into the room and saw the pants and exclaimed, 'are you getting rid of those?!' I calmly explained that they were too small for Lyra now and that I was sending them to a friend's little girl, along with the ABC quilt. At those words C's head whipped up, 'Wait. Wait, you are sending this away?' she pointed emphatically at the finished quilt.

"Yes. I made if for Laurie's little baby. It's a gift."

"But. But..." 

I was so sure what was about to come out of C's mouth. I expected protestations at sending the pretty quilt away, at how much she loved it, and wanted it for herself.

"But, you spent all.that.time.on it. And you are giving it to someone else? How will they know about all that time?"

I was gobsmacked. I've been told over and over that your kids will know just how to get to you. They'll know how to push your buttons and get under your skin. But you know what, that's not all. They'll SEE you. They'll see you in good times and bad times, for better or for worse. And with those words, I had never felt so seen. C had noticed. She had registered the hours I had spent, in-between regular life, working diligently on this creation.

Her head drooped and I held back tears as I hugged her. What an amazing soul this kid has. "You're right. I spent a lot of time on this gift. That's one of the things that makes it so special. Thank you for noticing. Thank you for saying something." She nodded, touched her hand out to the quilt and ran off to play.

Here I give you the final photos of Laurie's quilt. Some of the pics include C also displaying a quilt. The quilt she is holding is one she worked on herself to make for a teacher who was expecting a baby.

Aren't those A, B, C's just stunning?

For a limited time, I'm offering a listing for a quilt like the one I made for Laurie in my shop. It is available in two colorways. You can find the pink/yellow version here and the blue/green version here.

Here is Laurie's daughter, Jane, on the quilt I made for her. Happy new baby, Laurie. Both of your kids are awesome.

Goodies for the Girls - Handmade gifts for the drive to Mammoth

{ This post was written on August 10, 2016 but is just now being published. }

I had been thinking about some gifts to make for the girls for the long car ride up to Mammoth and as a way for them to be happy and excited about the move. We bought them some new coloring and activity books and I squirreled them away until I could also make some colored pencil rolls to accompany the new books.

My plan was to make just enough for me, the girls, and a few more as gifts for the realtor, lender, and escrow agent that helped us buy the house in Mammoth. As I posted my progress pictures online though, friends inquired about buying some as well. So days before moving, I was also taking orders for Sew, Sew, Sew Your Boat. #ProblemsYouWantToHave

I listen to a lot of   Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me   while I sew.

I listen to a lot of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me while I sew.

So pretty! These hold up to 36 colored pencils, or gel pens, or whatever you want to put in them. I got the girls new gel pens for the drive. 

This fabric turned out two kitty plushies. They were just small enough to fit in the little bags I was making for each girl. I used fabric markers to write their names.

Next up were these Japanese knot bags. The concept is thus: You make one strap of the bag longer than the other in order to knot the longer one under the shorter, effectively closing the bag while you carry it without any hardware.

I had enough fabric from the Out to Sea quilts I'm making the girls to make Cora a pink bag and Lyra a blue one. I definitely wanted one for myself, and I thought my friend Mele Sato might like one as well, so I made two exactly the same for me and her. Ours were made from remaining fabric from the Starlight Quilt and some gorgeous, orange, organic fabric I'd had in my stash for forever.

Mele helped me to photograph and model them. She also painted the girls toenails while I finished up this project. Thank you, Mele. We love you.

This wasn't the first time I've spent sewing last minute before a tremendous move. I asked myself several times why I was spending so much precious moving, packing, and saying-goodbye time on sewing instead. After some reflection, I came up with two answers. The first is that sewing relaxes me. Similar to weight lifting, I find it meditative. In the midst of chaos, I can sit in front of a machine and focus on creating. Making these things for the girls and for clients, actually helped the move be less stressful.

The second reason is probably a bit of residual scarring from the loss of Rebel Heart at sea. I similarly spent a lot of time sewing and creating right before we left. 

There were the cockpit organizers, both for our shoes, and see those awesome canvas bags on either side of the seats in the second photo? So handy. So rad.

There were the sacrificial covers I made for my fave cockpit chair (a Thermarest folded up in a seated position), and the covers for the hydrovane.

I made a beautiful, large bag to hold Lyra's booster seat from some butter yellow Sunbrella I'd been hoarding. And I took one of our laundry bags and converted it into a bag for her little table. The remainder of that laundry bag was turned into a drawstring bag to hold loose toys in their berth.

There was everything I did for their berth. The organizers I hung, the baskets, the sheets and bedding. Oh those glorious sheets. Do you remember them, dear readers? Remember all the little children of the world on them?

Once the colored pencils rolls, the kitty plushies, and the Japanese knot bags were finished, I assembled all the goodies together. There were turtle plushies, coloring & work books, stickers, and blank art books too.

As I prepared everything for them to see I couldn't help but remember how I had meticulously packed little gifts and activities for the long crossing of the Pacific and for the time we had planned to spend in the Pacific. Maybe part of spending so much time on these gifts was a way to assuage the pain of the work and care I had lost at sea.

Tomorrow is our last full day in San Diego. I plan to give the girls their gifts tomorrow so they have something to occupy them as we pack up the house around them. I'll update on how they liked everything. We leave in TWO days!