Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Marmalade Moda Charm Pack Baby Quilt

Thanks for all the love on this post! It's currently the most popular post on The Domestic Engineer. While the fabric I used isn't available any more, you can use the same type of pre-cut squares in many different patterns: Moda Charm Packs. Happy quilting!

I have a soft spot for fabric. Honestly, it's more of a lifelong love affair, and well, let's just say I have a pretty large bin of fabric that lives in my house.

Ben and I were up in the mountains over a weekend in January with some friends and we came across the most darling little quilt shop. It was filled with all kinds of beautiful fabrics and the walls were covered in quilts. When we walked in, this sweet old lady served us tea. Seriously girls, she served us tea in china tea cups. I decided right then and there I wanted to live in that quilt shop. Miraculously, I made it out without spending my entire life savings. I did, however, buy a darling little charm pack that turned into this quilt.

What's a charm pack you might be wondering? Well, Moda Fabrics sells packages of fabric pre-cut into 5 inch squares (and lots of others sizes too!). All the fabrics coordinate, but they're all different. That makes for a perfect quilt! I bought the Marmalade charm pack and turned it into this quilt I found through Pinterest.

You might have noticed a quilt in my post about the baby shower earlier this week, and that's the same quilt! My friend loved it and I had such a fun time making it.

The pattern I used can be found here and was quite simple. You just match up your squares, sew them together, and add sashing around them. All the fabrics in the center are from the Marmalade charm pack. The white was something I had left over from another project, and I bought the pink sashing and the polka dot backing at Joann's. 

I decided to try a new technique with this quilt and did a diagonal straight line quilt. I absolutely love the way it turned out! For the spacing, I moved my needle as far to the left as possible and used the right side of the presser foot as a guide. It ended up being around 1/2 inch spacing. 

Of course, Eli had to help by trying out the quilt. He seemed to give it his stamp of approval.

I absolutely love the way the colors worked together! Another great bonus was that the quilt only used 25 of the 42 squares in the charm pack. I realized that means that if I buy 2 identical charm packs, I can make 3 quilts. I'm planning to buy another Marmalade one and pick out one for boys as well. If your'e on the hunt for charm packs for your own quilt, check out Moda Charm Packs on Amazon! I'm always amazed at how much Amazon sells and their quilting precuts are no exception!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Pink and Gold Baby Shower

There is something so wonderful about a baby shower. The celebration is so exciting! And as the mama of a little boy, girl baby showers have a soft spot in my heart.

My friend Joy and I had the opportunity to throw a shower for a dear friend of ours who is having a baby girl in April. We decided on a princess theme, and created a pink and gold color theme. Both of our houses are covered in glitter, but it was worth it! Here are a few pictures of the day:

I think it turned out beautifully!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Warning: This Book May Change Your Life

At Ben's company Christmas party, his boss's wife mentioned a book to me called Half the Sky. She said it was a book about women in third world countries, but little more. I filed it away in my head to read later.

Then last month, I read a book my mom had given me that challenged our preconceived notions of biblical womanhood. One chapter was about oppressed women, and it mentioned Half the Sky. The author included a couple of the stories from Half the Sky, and I was hooked. I went out the next day and bought the book.

Since then, I haven't been able to put the book down. I finished it yesterday, and I want to find more books like it! What's so incredible about this book? 

The book is a chronicle of women across the two-thirds world who have overcome great adversity. They have triumphed where all hope was lost. They have fought monumental battles and won.

Authors Kristof and WuDunn (a married couple) write about their experiences as journalists traveling around the world, telling the stories of women they meet and highlighting women's issues around the world. They focus on three particular issues: sex trafficking and forced prostitution, gender-based violence, and maternal mortality. 

I knew very little about these issues before I read the book. I originally appreciated the book for highlighting such serious, and at least to me, fairly unknown issues. As I read further, I realized that an even greater issue was being presented. In my own life, I have been told "a woman's place is in the home" and was encouraged during my childhood to forgo avenues like college in favor of motherhood. As a mother now, I have struggled greatly with my life purpose. This book helped me realize that I do have a greater purpose. I am part of a greater group of women around the world championing women. I can prove that women are more than just a housewife, while championing the role of motherhood. I can be empowered to be and do great things in this world as a woman.

Beyond my personal response, Half the Sky is a call to arms for those of us in the wealthier world. Across the world, women are being killed, raped, oppressed, and so many more things. Through our money, our service, and our prayers, we can make a difference! The book was from a secular perspective, but I believe it is a message straight to the heart of every Christian woman (and man)! We have a responsibility to help our sisters around the world.

My challenge to you is to go out and buy the book! Read it and then do something. What will you do?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Beginning the Week

When I begin Eli's first Monday nap by cleaning up the front rooms of our apartment, I always feel better about life. It's funny how a quick vacuum, sweep, dust and a delicious Yankee Candle (a favorite at our house!) really make such a difference in my mood. Add that to some comfy yoga pants and it's going to be a good day! What do you do on Mondays to start your week off right?

We had a fun weekend with family and friends- did you all enjoy the Superbowl? I loved Beyonce and the commercials! I'm not really a football fan, but spending time with some good friends made it a great day. Our friends have a 3 and 5 year old, so Eli was absolutely delighted. He crawled around chasing after the two kids and they were sweet enough to play with him. I'm pretty sure he woke up with a play hangover this morning!

Also over the weekend, we took Eli's 10 month pictures. It's hard to believe how big that little guy is getting. This year has flown by. I'm beginning to plan his first birthday party and thinking back to all this year has held. Time has flown, and yet our life pre-baby seems like an eternity ago. I love that little guy and I'm so grateful he decided to come change our lives.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Organizing Your Fabric

Every January I find myself with an organizing bug. I suddenly cannot contain myself and feel the need to reorder our entire house. We're planning on moving sometime this year, so I particularly felt the need to go through and get rid of what we don't need this year. And the place to begin? My sewing bin! Last fall, I helped my mom (who is also moving) go through her sewing boxes, many of which were mine from childhood. There were hundreds of fabrics, lots of memories, and I only brought a few things home! I realized, as I tried to incorporate the "new" old fabric into my current collection, that it wasn't really fitting any more. So, time for some order!

Here's how things looked when I began:

I've found organizing fabric works best when types and colors are grouped together. I have mostly cotton for quilting, so my strategy was to group all non-cottons together, then sort the cotton by color.

I really made a point to get rid of small scraps and trimming pieces to a manageable size. I also folded everything. Most exciting moment? I found 2 almost pieced baby quilts in my bin! Who knew?! I know what I'll be working on this month! (Pictures coming soon I promise!)

Here's the finished bin:

Isn't that so much better?! Now I can easily sort through my fabric and find exactly what I need.

And of course, Eli helped!