An Amateur’s Guide to a Patchwork Quilt – Part 1

An Amateur’s Guide to a Patchwork Quilt – An Overview and Picking Fabrics

In recent years I have dabbled in quilting (I’ve made 5) and find the process to be very fun and relaxing. I am embarking on my next quilt and thought it would be fun to blog the process this time instead of just the end result!

A long time ago my mom was going through her linen closet and asked if I wanted my old Muppets bedsheets from when I was little. The answer was yes! I love the Muppets and loved my Kermit and Miss Piggy sheets. I knew immediately I wanted to use them as a quilt backing. That was about five years ago and they have been waiting in my fabric bin. But now their time has come!

I plan to make a square patchwork style quilt topper in pinks and greens and use the sheets as the backing. This quilt will prove more difficult than my others for two reasons:

1. This is the first time I have any sort of pattern I want to follow – granted it is simple one. But all my other projects were designed to easily hide my mistakes! This time my pieces actually need to line up in a specific way.

2. This is the first quilt where I have a specific end size in mind. My other quilts have all been oversized lap quilts and I just figured it out along the way. I want this one to fit a twin size bed.

While I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to quilts I’d love to try making, I am sticking to a basic square patchwork style for this one. I am still a beginner, so no tricky shapes yet for me! Plus I think they look classic, warm, and cozy.

Picking Fabrics

Choosing fabrics was the hardest part. I looked for almost a year but every time I went I wasn’t ready commit. Finally one day I decided to go to Joann’s and pull the trigger. A long time back I bought a gorgeous kermit green and pink batik polka dot fabric. I wanted to find 8 more fabrics to go with it. (9 fabrics so I could make 3×3 blocked squares.)

I came home with this assortment:

As for the color family I was aiming for springy greens that weren’t too yellow, and berry mid tone pinks (not pastel or hot pink). And the fabrics had to blend with the existing colors on the Muppets sheets. I aimed for a mix of background colors, styles, and color combos.

I needed to make sure there was a nice balance of green based,  pink based, and white based. By using an even balance of background colors the squares will pop more.

I also wanted to make sure things didn’t get too busy. I made sure I had a nice balance of green/white and pink/white fabrics versus multi-color.

To help with continuity I also made sure that some of the patterns were duplicated. I have 2 batik style polka dot fabrics, and 2 triangle fabrics. Notice how both are a soft stamp-style pattern? I thought that would blend better with the vintage looking sheets on the back than all sharp crisp patterns.

This may sound too overwhelming to you or maybe you prefer more of a matching look. If so there are MANY places you can purchase fabric sets that were designed and printed to go with each other. Although many of these are very cute, I prefer to match the fabrics myself and think it looks less manufactured. If I am going through the trouble of making a quilt I don’t want it to look like I could have bought it at the store.

Next up is washing, ironing and cutting my fabric!

Now for the real question? Who is your favorite Muppet? As a kid I loved Animal, but now I would say the Swedish Chef makes me laugh the most. 

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Books I’ve Enjoyed Lately

I have read a lot of good books recently, and if you know me at all then you know I am always recommending books to my friends! I thought I would share a few here.

The Lakehouse by Kate Morton

Sometimes books follow me around. Do you know the feeling? A certain book will keep popping up everywhere I look until I finally bring it home. The Lakehouse was one of those books. I thought this was the book version of the Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock movie (which is why I kept ignoring it) – but it’s not! This is the story about a wealthy British society family who had a summer home in the bucolic English countryside. One night their baby boy mysteriously disappears. Is it an accident? A kidnapping? Something more sinister? The book bounces back and forth between the past and modern times. The stories are narrated by both the little boy’s big sister and a modern day detective who wants to solve the mystery. I can honestly say this book kept me engaged and surprised until the very end! And if anyone is throwing a Midsummer’s Night Ball in a country estate, I’m down.

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

If you’re missing Downton Abbey this book is for you! Written by Julian Fellowes, the Producer and Writer of Downton Abbey, this book hit all the notes of sumptuous period details, society drama, family dynamics, and surprise endings. This is the story of two young lovers that both died at a young age, and how their relationship changed both of their families forever. I don’t want to give too much away, but let me just say it’s all the delight of Downtown Abbey without the annoying presence of Lady Edith (whom I personally don’t care for).

Hands-Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford

“I want to make memories, not to do lists… I am letting go of distraction and perfection to live a more simple life consisting of what really matters. I’m living hands-free.”

This was one of the most convicting books I’ve ever read, in a good way. While this book is decidedly pointed to parents of small children, the lessons would apply to anyone wanting to wring more meaning out of their life. An easy read, this book focuses on ways to limit the intrusiveness of “busy life stuff” and the ever present technology to help you get the most of of your life. Is it groundbreaking? No. But this book is written in such a way that I was both inspired and happy to make some major life changes.

 

Other books I’ve read lately:

The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines – I’m a huge Fixer Upper fan and loved hearing all about their life and faith journey to where they are today.

The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner – I love reading memoirs. This one is about a young girl who was raised in and escaped a polygamous cult in Mexico. This is a story about human resilience. If you liked The Glass Castle you’ll like this book.

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder – I love children’s literature. In another life I’ll be a children’s book editor. Although I hadn’t read the Wilder books in probably 20 years, for some reason I pulled this out while I was sick with the flu and loved re-reading it.

And as always, I keep track of everything I”m reading on GoodReads. Follow me or check out all my reads here.

And the only thing better than giving book recommendations is getting them! Please share any of your favorites recent reads in the comments. I’m always on the lookout for my next read!

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A Review of RugPadUSA

Disclaimer: This is an honest review of a rug pad sent to me for free by RugPadUSA.com to test out in my own home. All thoughts are opinions are my own.

There is a full-fledged toddler living in this house. Now that our little one is running around and the toy pile is growing, I knew it was time to get a playroom set up. I’m hoping to share a full reveal post on that soon, but not until we get all the finishing touches wrapped up! So today you’ll get a sneak peek of our new playroom.

In the middle of working on the playroom RugPadUSA contacted me about testing out one of their eco-friendly rug pads. The timing was perfect.

Honestly, I didn’t know there was more than one kind of rug pad. Our other rug pads are the standard thin grippy pad meant to prevent the rug from sliding around more than an actual “pad”. Once I visited their website, I was excited to see RugPadUSA offers all sorts of rug pads and you can pick and choose what is most important to you: gripping power in high traffic areas, soft cushion for living and playroom areas, and even pads that help with spills.

Why RugPadUSA

Bringing environmentally friendly products into our home is always important to us, but especially now that we have kids running around. I love that RugPadUSA offers an eco-friendly product that doesn’t have the toxic chemicals that come with traditional pads that are made from PVC and plastic padding. I’ve had bad experiences before with cheap pads disintegrating and leaving tons of residue behind. (Like the image below.) Especially with this being a kid-centric space I’m glad I don’t have to worry about that yucky residue ending up in the mouth. (Why does everything end up in the mouth with toddlers?)

Also, the chemicals in other rug pads can harm your floors. Flooring is expensive, so I’m happy to spend a little extra money on the rug pad to ensure no damage will be done.

RugPadUSA also provides maximum customization. Not only can you chose from different materials like rubber, felt, vinyl, or memory foam, but you can order the rug pad to a custom size for no extra charge. This came in quite handy for us as our rug was not a true 8×10 but a 7’10″x10.

Choosing a Pad

RugPadUSA.com makes it really easy to figure out which product will work best for your home and needs. You can sort the products by flooring type (laminate in our case) to ensure optimum protection for your floors. I decided to try the Superior Lock pad in the 1/3″ thickness for optimum comfort. I spend a lot of time on the floor these days playing with blocks and books, so an extra cushion-y rug pad sounded like what we needed. Plus, it’s extra soft for little baby knees and all the little ones that come over to play these days.

 A RugPadUSA Review

 

 A RugPadUSA Review

A RugPadUSA Review

A RugPadUSA Review

A RugPadUSA Review

A RugPadUSA Review

My Experience

The Superior Lock pad offers maximum cushion with a recycled punched felt surface and maximum stabilization with a high performance checkered natural rubber backing. The recycled felt surface grips your rug to help prevent bunching and rug corners from curling up. The rubber backing prevents the rug from moving around. The Superior Lock pad is soundproof, eco-friendly, odor-free, and even has a 20 year warranty.

I’ve spent the last six weeks testing it out and I’m very happy with it!

The Superior Lock rug pad does indeed offer a lot of cushion. The pad comes in 1/4″, 1/3″ and 7/16″ thicknesses. We chose the 1/3″ thickness to make sure that the closet doors would open easily over the carpet. While I’m sure the 7/16″ pad is even cushier, the 1/3″ is plenty thick. Although we currently have it paired it with a thicker rug, I’m sure that if we ever changed to a flat-weave rug that it would provide plenty of comfort by itself.

The other great part about this pad is that it hasn’t budged an inch! Between little feet running back and forth pushing a toy grocery cart, and dragging chairs all over the room, I feel like we’ve really pushed it to the max. This rug has stayed put. Once we get the television mounted I also plan to do some of my exercise DVDs in here (need to take advantage of the open space!) and I’m sure that even a Jillian Michaels routine won’t be able to shift this baby.

 A RugPadUSA Review

 A RugPadUSA Review

 

When I first opened up the plastic wrapping there was a distinct rubber smell, but it dissipated very quickly (in just a few minutes) and I didn’t notice any smell at all after that. That is honestly the only critical remark I can make.

The product selection and ordering process was intuitive and easy. Our custom ordered size came perfectly cut and the shipping was very quick! I also love that these products are made in the USA (Georgia).

Overall I can confidently say that I’m thrilled with the rug pad we chose and we’re already planning on ordering additional ones for our living and family rooms.

Check out RugPadUSA and all their products here.

Happy Monday to you all!

 

 

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A DIY Kid’s Rocking Chair Makeover

Kids DIY Rocking Chair Makeover

This sweet miniature wicker rocking chair was mine. It was given to me by my Grandparents when a was a toddler and it sat in the corner of my childhood bedroom holding stuffed animals while I grew up. It now has a new home – mine! My daughter loves climbing in and out (and in and out), sitting in the chair to look at books, and stand on it and rock like a wild woman.

While it was still in relatively good condition, it was in need of a little love. A fresh coat of paint was in order. The wicker was cracked in a few parts as well so I decided that making a chair cushion would be the best way to prevent it from getting further damaged.

Kids DIY Rocking Chair Makeover

Kids DIY Rocking Chair Makeover

After wiping the chair down with some wet paper towels I took it outside and gave it a few coats of Krylon white spray paint. I thought about going with a crazy fun color for a few minutes but decided to keep it classic white. I know you can’t really tell from the iPhone snap, but this made a HUGE difference!

Kids DIY Rocking Chair Makeover

Making the Pattern

Instead I decided to bring in some fun in the form of a chair cushion. To make a pattern for myself I used a large piece of sketching paper. I roughly cut it in the shape of the cushion I would like to make. I folded it in half where the bottom and top would meet.

Then I took it off the chair and folded the paper vertically. I trimmed the shape some more to make sure both sides were symmetrical.

Kids DIY Rocking Chair Makeover

Sewing the Cushion

Next I took some quilting batting and fabric (already washed) and cut them according to my pattern. For the fabric you will want to cut out two shapes for the front and back of your cushion.  For the batting you will want to cut it out according to the pattern, and then go back and trim off about 1/2″ from all sides to account for the hem.

I sewed the fabric right sides together (pretty sides both facing in) with a 1/2″ hem and left a 4″ opening on the side. I turned it inside out through the gap.

Kids DIY Rocking Chair Makeover

Next I stuffed the batting inside the fabric pillow I had made. This took a little bit of finessing, but with the help of a few pins I was able to smooth the batting out and keep everything in place.

Kids DIY Rocking Chair Makeover

I knew I wanted to sew my batting into place, as I had made that error before on other projects and they got lumpy from the batting moving around!

First I sewed straight across where the bend in the cushion would be where the top and bottom cushions meet. Next I sewed around the entire border (about 1″ in from the edge). Lastly I sewed three vertical seams inside the border. That batting should not be going anywhere! I hand-stitched the gap closed.

Kids DIY Rocking Chair Makeover

The Tiebacks

To attach the cushion to the chair I decided to make some small tiebacks out of the same fabric. You could also use ribbon or string. I cut four 12×3″ strips. Using my pins I folded the short end in about 1/4″. Then longways I folded each end into the middle and then folded it in half – although it’s a bit awkward, this left all the rough ends tucked inside and made for minimal hemming needed. To finish it off I sewed the three folded sides closed. After checking where the best place to tie it to the chair would be, I hand-stitched these to the back of the cushion.

Kids DIY Rocking Chair Makeover

Kids DIY Rocking Chair Makeover

Kids DIY Rocking Chair Makeover

Kids DIY Rocking Chair Makeover

I’m very happy with how it came out and so is my little girl. I couldn’t keep her out of her new chair today, which makes all the effort worth it! Between running around after her, freelancing, and regular life stuff I don’t get nearly as much DIY time in these days so the reward is much greater!

Do you have anything from your childhood that is just waiting for a makeover?

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Decorating with Vintage Pennants

Vintage and retro travel ephemera is one of my favorite categories of art. I love that period of graphic design and adding a little kitsch to my home makes me smile. A while ago I purchased some vintage pennants and have been pondering where and how to use them. Today I’m rounding up a few ways I am considering how to display mine.

vintage pennants

My new collection!

 

Frame Them

I’ve come across this amazing Wisconsin hotel before for it’s fun interior design. I love the large square frame with the pennants arranged in a circle as a focal point above the bed. Source: Wandawega Hotel

Here is another amazing circular display for above the bed. I wonder how they attached this to the wall? Source: Country Living – Marisa Bistany home tour

An easy, classic alternative is to frame them individually. Source: Country Living – Holly Kuhn Home Tour

Hang Them

I love the added campiness of hanging them along a tree branch. Source: HGTV blog

This bunting of pennants is calling my name! Source: Home Tour of Hula Seventy on CafeStir

Another option shows them displayed on an old window. Source: Red Cottage Chronicles

Sew Them

Source: Thistlewood Farms

Source: MG Designs

I love these two pennant pillow ideas. My pennants are a little large for a pillow, but I do have one smaller one (my favorite one actually) that doesn’t match the others in size, so this could be a fun way to use it.

How amazing is this pennant quilt? I would imagine it’s quite scratchy, but a fun statement for sure. Source: I was unable to find the original source of this photo. If it is yours please comment so I can give you credit! Pinterest is a wonderful search tool, but can cause a lot of trouble in finding sources.

I love this kitschy Christmas tree skirt. What a unique idea. Source: HGTV blog

 

I came across these Harry Potter pennants on my search. How cool are these!? Source: Society 6

Pennants come in all different sizes and mine are on the longer end. While most people I’ve seen just hang them on the wall, I am leaning towards some sort of group arrangement in a frame to make it feel more finished. We shall see!

 

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