10 Year Anniversary Quilt

My sister and her husband recently celebrated their 10-year wedding anniversary.  I have been wanting to make them a quilt for awhile now and this was a great occasion to commemorate.  They have three little ones, so I decided to make an oversized throw for one-to-five people to share on cold winter evenings (assuming three of those people are kiddles).

Front of 10-Year Anniversary Quilt

Front of 10-Year Anniversary Quilt

My sister is not a fan of traditional quilt blocks with uniform sizes, sashing, borders, etc., so I knew I wanted to do a quilt with an allover pattern.  I decided to use the Giggles pattern from Jaybird Quilts using the Super Sidekick Ruler I picked up at last year’s International Quilt Festival and Market.

I dove into my stash and pulled out fabrics with blue, navy, turquoise, and teal.  Here are the fabrics I picked:

Penny in Navy (Handcrafted, Alison Glass)
Grove in Blue (Sun Print Grove, Alison Glass)
Arrows in Indigo (Moonlit, Rashida Coleman-Hale, Cotton + Steel)
Netorius in Teal (Netorius, Cotton + Steel)
Static Dot in Indigo (Moonshine, Tula Pink)
Little Town in Blues (Emmy Grace, Bari J)
Tomahawk Stripe in Night (Arizona, April Rhodes)
Visionary in Winter (Shaman, Parson Gray)
Optical Origami in Shine (Urban Mod, AGF)
Nap Sak in Lake
(Modern Meadow, Joel Dewberry)
Aztec Ikat in Deepwater (Botanique, Joel Dewberry)
Squared Elements in Teal (Squared Elements, AGF)

I did a scrappy version of the Giggles pattern without a solid break.  A few great uses of the Giggles pattern can be found at Hawthorne Threads and Sara Lawson’s Sew Sweetness blog.  I used the 6″ diamond shape from the Super Sidekick Ruler and did five pairs of diamonds on the width and 12 diamonds down the height of the quilt.  I put together a scrappy back using some of the isosceles trapezoids that I had left over from cutting my diamonds.  .

Back of 10-Year Anniversary Quilt

Back of 10-Year Anniversary Quilt

I also used a new quilt label I designed and purchased from Spoonflower, simple, but just what I needed.  I really like how it turned out and it was a great stash buster, except I love all those fabrics and will need to get more!

10-Year Anniversary Quilt featuring my new quilt label

10-Year Anniversary Quilt featuring my new quilt label

Dimensions: approximately 60″ x 80″
Batting: 100% Cotton
Binding: Navy Kona

-Stephanie, HoustonDIY

Pattern Review: Boxy Pouches FTW

I have a well documented (on Instagram) love of all things with zippers – pouches, cases, zippy bags, purses, etc.  One of the first pouches I made after I got back into sewing was the Boxy Pouch by Pink Stitches.  I first tried this pattern/tutorial for Christmas presents for family in late 2014.  I found it on Pinterest and it had been on my to-do list for a while.

I love this pattern and tutorial.  It is really easy to follow and has repeatable, lovely results. I would say it is best for an advanced beginner or intermediate sewist since some techniques will be easier if you have some experience with zipper insertion and other construction techniques.  I’ve used fusible fleece or ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable for the structure of the bag with great results.  The pattern is also easily scale-able if you have a particular size in mind.

I first made two medium and two large pouches for my aunts using Garden Bouquet by Patty Sloniger for Michael Miller.  I used long-handled purse zippers from Zipit on Etsy.

Boxy Pouches in Garden Bouquet (Patty Sloniger)

Medium and large boxy pouch made in Garden Bouquet in Violet (Patty Sloniger, Michael Miller)

Boxy Pouches in Garden Bouquet (Patty Sloniger)

Medium and Large boxy pouches in Garden Bouquet in Burgandy (Patty Sloniger, Michael Miller)

These pouches were well-received by their recipients, so I continued to make a few more for myself and other friends.  I made two for my gym bag using the two colorways of Rashida Coleman-Hale’s Gamaguchi print from Mochi (Cotton + Steel).  The fabric was perfect for my make-up, hair products, and other accouterments for early morning workouts.

Boxy Pouches in Gamaguchi (Rashida Coleman-Hale)

Medium and large boxy pouch for my gym bag

Definitely give this pattern and tutorial a try if you haven’t yet.  It’s easy to follow and an excellent project for an advanced beginner sewist.

-Stephanie, HoustonDIY

Abstract Cityscape Quilt for my Brother

My mother, sister, nieces, and female friends are the main recipients of my sewn goods – bags, zippy pouches, clothes, etc.  My brother has been sadly left out until last Christmas.

For Christmas this past year (I know this post is dreadfully outdated), I wanted to make him something for his new house.  He likes black, gray, and red and I wanted to make a medium sized wall quilt for him.

I can’t pinpoint the exact inspiration, but I had talked with my brother earlier about abstract cityscapes in quits or wall art and landed on this idea.  I started with a fabric pull of solid black, grays, black prints, and reds.  I knew right away that a dark gray-to-black Ombre blender (Springs Creative) I had picked up at a previous Quilt Festival would be perfect to create some interest in the foreground of the quilt.

I created a cityscape with various fabric strips from 1″ to 6″ (finished) with varying heights, offset with a solid black sky/background.  I tried to place the “buildings” randomly to create an even look.  I used the gradient solid on the foreground / ground to add some interest.

Abstract Cityscape Quilt

Abstract Cityscape Quilt – Front

I used straight line walking foot quilting with a variety of thread colors (black, red, gray, metallic silver) and geometric designs on each of the larger buildings. The backing is scrappy pieced to used some of the left over pieces from the buildings.

Abstract Cityscape Quilt

Abstract Cityscape Quilt – Back with quilting detail visible

I think he liked it and hopefully it found a cozy spot in his new home!

-Stephanie, HoustonDIY

Gray and Purple Circle of Geese Mini

For a swap at the Houston Modern Quilt Guild last year, I made a purple and gray mini quilt using a circle of geese foundation paper piecing pattern. The FPP templates I used were from Piece by Number’s website (Colorwheel Geese).  This is a pretty straightforward, four-piece, 12.5″ unfinished block.

I made this a bit ago when my stash wasn’t as extensive.  I stuck with my mainstay colors of gray and a gradient of purple.  I made the block and added some quick borders.  I’m usually not a huge fan of borders, but in this case I wanted the mini to be a bit more substantial.

I added some quilting to accentuate the circular layout of the geese and a purple border.

Gray and Purple Circle of Geese Mini

Gray and Purple Circle of Geese Mini

The swap was fun and I received a lovely mini from Amy at House of Bad Cats.

-Stephanie, HoustonDIY

Where Elsa and Anna can lay their heads…

… On Frozen pillowcases!

Were all aware of the phenomena that is Disney’s Frozen. My wonderful little nieces introduced me to the film awhile ago and sang so loud I couldn’t hear the clever songs.

I was lucky enough to happen upon some Frozen cotton fabric at Jo-Ann and knew my nieces needed something made from it.  I decided on pillowcases for each of them and my mom introduced me to the easy one-seam pillowcase tutorials. There are many out there, but I used this tutorial that included an accent stripe.

I used my stash to supply the accent fabrics. I made one in the colors of Anna (purple with gray) and Elsa (ice blue).

Frozen Pillow Cases

Frozen Pillow Cases

My nieces liked them and the construction was really quick and easy once I chose my fabrics. The Frozen fabric is frequently sold out at local fabric stores, but I know more will be coming out with Frozen 2 in a few years.

This is an exceptionally easy way to make quick pillowcases that you can donate to American Patchwork and Quilting’s (APQ) Million Pillowcase Challenge in your local community.

– Stephanie, HoustonDIY

A Lizzy House Catnap Tote

Tote 01

Lizzy House Catnap Tote

I’m in a swap with friends from the Houston Modern Quilt Guild.  For my friend Felice’s month, I wanted to use a new Lizzy House Catnap bundle I had ordered from Massdrop. She had this cute tote bag on her inspiration board that I was drawn to.

I decided to make The Long Thread’s Pleated Tote for Felice using my Lizzy House Catnap collection FQ bundle.  I’ve had this tote pinned for a while and the instructions looked straightforward and well written.

I used ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable Fabric in White for the structure of the bag (which made it ‘fluffy’, according to Felice).  The bag came together quickly and I made up the patchwork as I went along.  I wanted to feature the Kitty Dreams in Cranberry fabric on both of the main panels and added complementary pieces and quilting to create each piece outer body panel and outer band before final assembly.

Tote 02

Close up view of main panel with quilting

-Stephanie, HoustonDIY

Tutorial: Sewing and Quilting Design Wall

It’s well documented here that I have a great, although small, sewing room. Adding a design wall has been on my list for a while and I was inspired to get it done after seeing my friend Mona’s modular design tiles.

She sent me to The Quilting Edge’s tutorial on her design wall which I used as my starting point. This tutorial is great and I only made af we modifications.


1. Gather materials and plan. I planned my design wall to maximize a small section of wall I had available. Mine was 34″ wide x 70″ tall. I wanted one continuous piece so I started with a 4′ x 8′ piece of foam insulation. You can cut multiple pieces from this for your space or use the precut foam insulation squares. When you decide your finished dimensions, you’ll need both kinds of batting with that dimension, plus at least 4″ on each side.

2. Cut out foam board. Using a metal straight edge, tape measure, and box cutter, I cut out a 34″ x 70″ piece of foam insulation. The best approach was to first score the foam with the box cutter down 1/8″ to 1/4″ into the foam using the straightedge. When the piece was fully marked, I went back and gently sawed through the whole thickness of foam with the box cutter.  It isn’t as hard as it looks, the foam is pretty forgiving and remember that if it isn’t totally straight, we’re going to have layers of batting wrapped around each edge that will smooth everything out.

3. Attach the high loft batting. This is where I deviates from The Quilted Edges’ tutorial. I wanted a bit more loft in my wall since I was using thin Warm and Natural on top so I added a layer of high loft poly batting. I used The Quilted Edges’ method of cutting a piece to size, attaching to the foam with spray adhesive, and then using duct tape to secure the batting to the back. This worked very well and I had a secure high loft batting layer.

4. Attach the top batting layer. Next, I attached the top batting layer using the same method. I used the spray adhesive on the low loft batting and glued the top batting right to that layer. I secured the back with duct tape.

Design Wall 02

After using spray adhesive on the front surface, duct tape easily secures the edges of the batting on the back.

5. Hang up your design board and start sewing!  As recommended in the tutorial, I used Command Medium Picture Hanging Sawtooth hooks to hold up my design wall.  The wall has very little weight and I used 4 hooks, 1 in each corner.

Design Wall 01

New design wall in action

Possible modifications and improvements
– Run your batting through the dryer to loosen up any creases or bumps.  I didn’t do that and wish I had.
– Consider using black batting for a different look for your sewing room.

Since making my design board I helped my mom make one for her renovated sewing room.  The great part about this tutorial and using the 4′ x 8′ piece of foam insulation, you can cut it down to fit any area of wall you have.  In my case, it was tall and skinny while my mom needed a wide, short board.

– Stephanie, HoustonDIY

Tutorial: Resin Coin Display

Finshed display

Finished foreign currency display

A colleague was retiring from my group at work and he left some foreign currency in his office when he left.  A few colleagues and I thought it would be a great retirement present to preserve and present this money to him as a reminder of all the business trips he went on during his career.  Being the DIYer I am, I volunteered to make a display for him for the upcoming retirement party.


  • Wood for frame (I used a scrap piece of 1×8 for the back of the frame and purchased a strip of trim that was 1.25″ tall with a decorative detail)
  • Finishing nails
  • Wood Glue
  • Clamps
  • Hand saw or table saw
  • Gel stain and polyurethane (or your desired finishing technique, e.g. spray paint)
  • Resin epoxy kit (I used Parks Super Glaze (1 qt) from Home Depot)
  • Disposable plastic buckets (1 qt or larger), wood stir sticks
  • Coins and paper money or other items you want to preserve
  • Picture hanger with small nails (I used a sawtooth style hanger from the hardware store)

1.  Plan Frame.  Depending on the amount of currency, or other display items, you want to show, plan the size of the frame you want.  I used scrap 1 x 8 for the base, which dictated by width at 7.25-inches wide.  To fit the coins and bills I had to display, I made the base approximately 18-inches tall.  I cut pieces of decorative trim to frame the base, cutting the corners at 45-degrees to miter the corners for a tighter fit.

2.  Build Frame.  Assemble your frame according to your plan.  Be as precise as possible when fitting the frame around the base.  When you pour in your epoxy, you’ll want as tight of a seal as possible.  I used wood glue and a few finishing nails on each of the four pieces of trim along with clamps to hold it all in place while the wood glue dried.  I filled in any gaps with wood filler and used gel stain to stain my frame a mahogany color.  I applied two coats of polyurethane, focusing on the side trim pieces since the main front piece will be covered with coins and resin.

Building my frame

Building my frame

3.  Resin your coins.  When your frame is ready, arrange your coins and paper bills as desired.  I played with my layout for awhile to make sure the paper money was lying flat and the best side of each coin was showing.  Read the resin directions thoroughly if this your first time using this product!  Have all your supplies ready to use and arranged for easy access.  Have extra rags or paper towels handy to keep the area as clean as possible.  Mix the resin according to the instructions and pour over your display pieces.  Tap the frame and use a hot blow dryer to remove as many bubbles as possible.

Supplies for resin

Supplies gathered and ready for the resin step

4.  Finish display.  When your resin has dried completely, add a sawtooth picture hanger to the back.

Lessons Learned:
This was my first time working with the resin and I learned a few ways I would improve my process the next time.

1. The key to this resin is to use as thin a layer as possible.  I used most of my 1-qt of resin and filled up my display more than was necessary.  This led to a very heavy display and wrinkles in the surface of my resin as it dried.  Next time, I would make sure my coins and paper were as flat as possible and just put enough resin to cover everything.  you’re tempted to use all you resin since it is pretty expensive and one-time use.  if you can estimate how much you need more accurately, you can get a better result.

2.  Make your frame as square as possible using as light of wood as possible.  I used a 1″ x 8″ as the base of my frame and had some gaps in the trim when I assembled it.  This lead to a heavier item and more work in trying to seal the gaps with wood fill before the resin step.  The resin with dry quickly, but I got some leakage in the very beginning.

– Stephanie, HoustonDIY

Pink baby quilt for Winslow

Front of Quilt

Front of quilt with pink checkerboard

A colleague had a lovely baby girl named Winslow recently and I made her a baby quilt to celebrate.  I pulled out pink and purple fabrics from my stash and set to work.  I chose a purple flannel for the backing that would be soft and cozy for the new little bundle of joy.  For the front, I combined a pink, plaid flannel with eight pink cotton prints.  I chose a simple checkerboard design with the plaid flannel dispersed throughout.

As with all my baby quilts, I machine bound the edges.  I always feel this is more secure and up to the task of many washes and tougher use.  I used a decorative leaf stitch with variegated pink thread.

Baby quilt

Baby quilt for Winslow with solid purple back ground and pink checkerboard front

Binding detail

Binding detail with leaf stitch

Dimensions: 42″ (l) x 42″ (w), approximately
: Pink plaid and purple marbled flannel from Jo-ann’s, assorted pink quilting cottons, Aurifil pink variegated thread for binding.
Assembly: Pieced, quilted, and bound on home machine

– Stephanie , HoustonDIY


Rainbow Bright Pillow Covers

The Houston Modern Quilt Guild, which I am a proud member of, has regular swaps at our monthly meetings. In March of last year we exchanged small items with a closure and I made a yellow and black ID wallet. In April of last year, we exchanged pillow covers. The only rules were that it needed to be 16″ x 16″, 18″ x 18″, or 20″ x 20″ to fit a standard pillow form and be modern fabrics/designs.

I wanted to make something colorful so I made up a drew up a pattern after thinking about easy to assemble rectangles and giving them a modern, slightly wonky feel. I decided on a 20″ x 20″ pillow and drew out a design on graph paper.

Sketch of my design

Sketch of my design

Since I’m trying to practice free motion quilting (and quilting in general), I cut out pieces enough for 4 pillows. I use two different shades of gray for the background with the same set of 20 bright fabrics from my stash. This would be a great project to use up scraps since the cut pieces range from 1.5″ to 6.5″ x 2.5″.

After piecing all four pillows, I tried a few different techniques for the quilting – 1/4″ spaced parallel lines (pillow A), modified chevron with straight lines (pillow B), and pebbles filling in the background grays (pillows C and D). I assembled them all in the same way using a bright color zipper and scraps to cover the zipper. I followed a tutorial I found on Pinterst for a covered zipper on the backs.

Completed rainbow bright pillows with varying quilting techniques

Completed rainbow bright pillows with varying quilting techniques

I decided to keep pillows C and D for myself as a matching set, gave pillow A to the guild swap (hopefully Tammy likes it), and gifted the other to a friend. All in all, it was a fun project that was a good opportunity to be creative by designing a block, practice my quilting techniques, and practice my zipper insertion techniques.

-Stephanie, HoustonDIY