A championship, a quilt, a tote, and some dice bags

So, something pretty cool happened since the last time I posted…my roller derby team won our championship bout!  My first year with Texas Rollergirls, and my team The Hell Marys comes out on top. What an exciting first season!



Another very exciting thing happened in the last few weeks…my great friends Karen and James welcomed their new daughter, Elena.  She is unbelievably cute, and I can’t wait to meet her.  Until then, I made her something to snuggle up with.


I used fabric from Zen Chic called “Comma” because Karen and I were in the same graduate program in English together.  We both have a love of language and reading, and I thought it best to introduce Elena to these building blocks of language early on.




My next quilting project is a pair of baby quilts for my best friends’ twins that will be arriving on November, so stay tuned!

I’ve been sewing a lot lately, and playing with a few textile, oilcloth.  I recently made a tote bag for a fundraiser for my derby team.  It was really easy to make, and super sturdy.  I have a feeling there will be more where this came from.



One last project…I love sewing gifts so much, but alas, it can be difficult to find homemade gifts that my husband will enjoy.  When he approached me and asked me if I could make some dice bags for him, I was elated!  Casey works for an amazing local comic book store that also has a board game store, art gallery, and secondhand comic store in its growing empire.  He has become the local expert on board games, and needed a snazzy set of bags to hold dice for the various games.


Look no further!  I grabbed some superhero fabric and went to work.  Casey has gotten quite a few compliments on them and suggested that maybe his store would be interested in selling some.  I made a few last weekend, and the store manager seemed interested!




Keep your fingers crossed for me!  Casey and I are saving for a trip to Nashville at the end of October for our fifth wedding anniversary, so it would be a nice little addition to our trip fund!





Dr. Mad Crafter, resurfacing from my cave

You know what happens when you have to finish, defend, revise, and submit your dissertation?  You grab several boxes of hard candy and descend deep into your cave.  Once there, you write…and write…and crunch on lots of gobstoppers to satisfy your nervous energy.  And then finally, after months of toil, you hit “save”, send it to your dissertation committee members, and cross your fingers.  You put on a fancy suit (with your sparkly, lime green derby shorts on underneath to make you feel like a superhero), answer a bunch of difficult questions, and at the end, your brilliant mentors hug you and congratulate you on becoming a doctor.  And then, finally, you resurface.

And you get to start sewing and cooking and playing roller derby and blogging and being a person again!  I began this process of resuming all of my favorite things by happily taking on a sewing request from one of my dearest friends, Sarah, who is just a few weeks from giving birth and wanted a maternity dress from some beautiful, summery lightweight fabric that she had purchased.  The only problem was that I had never altered a dress pattern before, especially one for someone whose body is providing a temporary home for a new little one!  But I was very excited to accept the challenge, and I was so happy to see Sarah walk out of my house today wearing her new dress.


Here she is with her son, Sam, who has become good friends with our kitty, Harper.  Sam likes to bring Harper “cat crackers” (cat nip) that we have growing in the yard.



And here is the back of the dress.  I am so honored that Sarah entrusted me with her gorgeous fabric, and I am so happy that after a few fittings and adjustments I was able to turn that fabric into something that so well suits the vibrant spirit of my beautiful friend.

Up next: some baby quilts (I bet you can guess who one is for!), a wedding gift, and perhaps I will finally finish The Pirate’s Daughter quilt!


Happy holidays!

I leave tomorrow morning to go back to WV for the holidays.  So excited to leave my dissertation behind for a few days and spend time with the fam.  I am planning to defend in March and graduate next term, so I don’t foresee much time crafting or blogging in my future.  I did manage to get a little holiday crafting in when my mom came up to visit after Thanksgiving.  I can’t post many photos until ater the holiday except for the gifts I made for my derby teammates since I handed them out at our first bout of the season which was earlier this month.  My team colors are black, silver, and lime green, so I made some festive brooches for my favorite ladies in green with glitter, star, vintage button, and feather embellishments.


My mom and I sprayed the glittery pieces with clear acrylic to prevent them from shedding (though my DFunk teammates are not strangers to glitter, and in fact that’s one of our cheers…”All guts, All gitter!”).  Here are some close-ups of the pins:




We made circular felt backgrounds fortified with thick interfacing in the middle (sewn around the edges to sandwich the interfacing between the 2 circles of felt), and attached all of the elements with a combination of needle and thread and E-6000 heavy duty craft glue (that stuff is amazing!).  Once the pins dried and were ready for packaging, I realized I didn’t have a bunch of small boxes to put them in, so…I made them!  I took some Martha Stewart Halloween craft paper with silver glitter, green skeletons, and other festive and derby-appropriate designs, and went to town using a paper box tutorial I found online.  A few nights later, all boxes were assembled and gifts ready to go!


Festive boxes with glittery brooches make the DFunk Allstars quite happy, it turns out.

I’m excited to share the rest of my homemade holiday gifts, but until then, I leave you with some photos of the last harvest from the garden.  So excited- the cold frame extended my growing season by 2 months (and the carrots LOVE the cold weather).




fall draws near

I picked the last summer beets this evening.  August tends to be a bitter month because I’m always melting in the heat and playing catch-up to finish the things I didn’t get to in May and June when I thought there was so much time left in the summer that I could blow off one more day to play in the garden instead of draft that article to submit for publication.  The nice thing about this August is how cool and fall-like the weather is, so it makes everything else a bit more tolerable.

And some of the plants are just now starting to flourish in the milder temperatures.  My dad grew Mexican sunflowers every summer and I took a bunch of seeds from his house to make sure I have enough to keep planting them year after year.  This is the first blossom.  So bold, vibrant.  I have been sad lately thinking about him being gone.  This helped, made me feel like he is still a presence in my life.

As I trudge forward into the busy months ahead (job market, finishing my dissertation, teaching), I still make time for the Pirate’s Daughter quilt.  I finally cut out all of the little pieces and am working on constructing the arcs.

20 complete and many, many more to go, but it feels like progress!  I love working with all of these colors.

I also made some quilted baby bibs for a dear expecting friend and derby sister last week.  A group of our leaguemates threw a really fun baby shower for Bridget (otherwise known as Oi!Rish) on Saturday.  A baby shower full of roller derby gals is quite different than the average baby shower…no one sits around and waits to be told to eat, we all just ravenously dig in; the shower games get super-competitive; and the language is not very lady-like.  I must admit, it was pretty refreshing.

 I made 2 bibs for Bridget.  For the first, I used the colors of her team, the Devil’s Night Dames: red, orange, and black.

The second was Star Wars-themed (Bridget is such a fan she has Han Solo tattooed on her leg).  And so many other crafty people gifted their handiwork at the shower as well.  There was a beautiful baby quilt and some great knitted caps, including a little green yoda hat.

Well summer, it’s been real.  Time for pumpkins and sweaters.  Hey, that sounds pretty great, actually.







Parisville pillows and a pie

It’s sort of embarrassing that my mom’s birthday was in March and I just gave her this present a week ago!  To be fair, I did give her a little gift back in March, but this was the real deal.  When I first saw Tula Pink’s fabric line Parisville, I knew I had to purchase some and make something for my mom.  We have both talked about traveling to Paris together for years and I hope some day soon I can get over my fear of flying enough to make the trip.  In the meantime, I wanted my mom to have a little taste of Paris in her very own home with these Parisville pillows.

I saw a similar pillow displayed at Tula’s booth from one of last year’s quilt shows.  I used a dresden pattern to create a similar look and made porthole centers to display my favorite print from the line.  I’ve never done anything quite like this before and was really happy with the result!

I also added piping to the top edge, another newly learned skill!

I backed the pillows with solid prints so she could flip them for a different look.

This was a ridiculously fun project because of the challenge.  And working with these fabrics was the most fun.  I never thought of myself as very interested in making pillows, but I may have turned over a new leaf.


Two other quick tidbits…I visited my friends in North Carolina last week, and couldn’t resist when I saw the peaches at the Farmer’s Market.  First peach pie of the year!

My friends had a little party so we could meet all of their local pals, and I think they all wanted me to stick around for the rest of the summer so I could make more pies.  Mission accomplished.

Finally, I returned home to some of my first yields from the garden.  I have tried to grow beets and cucumbers every summer since I moved to Ann Arbor, MI about 5 years ago.  I’ve never had luck…until now!

And there are many more to come!  Gonna go roast up some beets for dinner!



Congratulations, Sam!

Last week, my good pal Sam successfully passed the first round of skills testing for my roller derby league, the Detroit Derby Girls!  She’s been working so hard to get to this point and I’m so proud of her.  So I made a little gift to congratulate her.


I used the roller derby transfers from Sublime Stitching and made a few alterations to personalize it.

I don’t do a ton of embroidery, but Sublime Stitching puts out such awesome patterns that I’ve been wanting to try my hand at it for a while.  It’s super fun and I think you’ll be seeing a few more embroidery projects in the near future.  I’m tackling one of Ryan Berkely’s designs next.

And I’m so excited for Sam!  It was so much fun seeing her at practice tonight.  What am I gonna make for her when she passes the next and final round of skills testing?!

special gifts

My friend Renee very recently brought a new little one into this world.  I can’t wait to meet Olivia.  Until then, I sent off a little gift…some quilted hexagon bibs.

These were so much fun to make.  I wanted to go with a nontraditional color scheme, and Renee always looks so good in blues, so I thought maybe Olivia would like them too!  Here are some close-ups so you can see some of the details:

And here are the backs:

I hope Miss Olivia had a gentle journey into this world.  Renee has posted some photos of the little one and she looks quite beautiful and content.  I hope to meet her when I visit West Virginia next month!

I also had the opportunity to be a part of another very special gift.  One of my favorite roller derby pals, Rock Candy (derby name), approached me about helping her make a very special Father’s Day Gift for her husband (derby name Candyman!).  This is his first Father’s Day.  Their little one, Ava, was born last fall.  You may remember Ava from a post last fall about a gumdrop pillow that I made for her!  So Rock wanted to transform one of her husband’s old button-up shirts into a dress for Ava.  Such a sweet idea!  She found a pattern (the Poppy Dress Pattern) off of Etsy, and voila!

I added some contrast fabric at the hem to make it a little more fun and feminine.  I also did skinny straps at the top out of the contrasting fabric instead of doing the halter strap that was specified in the pattern.  I thought it would give little Ava room to grow and perhaps she could wear the dress a little longer.  Here is the back (before I added the straps).  It required some gathering with elastic, something I haven’t tried before.  It took a couple of attempts, but I love how it turned out!

And I used Heather Bailey’s Pop Garden Scrap Flower tutorial to make a little flower to go on the front.  I also made a flower out of the shirt cuff (like the one in the pattern) with a little pearl button in the center, and put a velcro attachment on both flowers so she could switch them out.

I was so honored to help Rock Candy with her Father’s Day project!  And happy first Father’s Day, Candyman!