Heart of a Hero

Today I have a super adorable quilt tutorial to share with you. But before I get to that I have an important piece of business to attend to. This quilt was made for Luke. Luke is the 2 month old son of very good friends of ours back in Florida. At his one week well-baby check-up Luke was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. The severity of his condition is still being evaluted, but it is likely that Luke will require surgery well before his first birthday. You can follow Luke’s story here.

This week (2/7-2/14) is Congenital Heart Defect/Disease (CHD) Awareness Week. Congenital heart defects are the #1 birth defect, occuring in 1% of newborns – in the US that’s close to 40,000 infants each year. While some heart defects can be detected during utrasounds before birth, a CHD is usually detected by an abnormal sound or murmur of the infant’s heart. Other symptoms include fast breathing, excessive sweating, poor feeding/weight gain, or a bluish tint to the baby’s skin, lips, or fingernails. Depending on the severity of the heart defect immediate surgery could be required. 25% of children born with a CHD will require heart surgery, however surgery isn’t always a cure and most will require additional procedures and medications as adults. People with CHDs have a life-long risk of health problems, including growth and developmental delays, difficulty exercising, heart failure, and sudden cardiac arrest or stroke.

The cost for inpatient CHD surgery exceeds $2.2 billion each year. Here’s how you can help: The Children’s Heart Foundation (CHF) is the only organization in America that solely funds CHD research. They have generated over $6.3 million towards CHD research since 1996. 75% of the donations CHF receives goes directly to research and research-related education.

Resources: The Children’s Heart Foundation, Mended Little Hearts, The American Heart Association

CHD Awareness

The quilt I made for Luke follows a pattern I found on Pinterest. This free pattern comes from favoritefabric.com. If you purchase new fabric for this quilt feel free to follow their instructions. I used fabrics already in my possession for this quilt and therefore have different (and in my opinion less confusing) tutorial steps. After piecing together the blocks the quilt was simply too big for a tummy time quilt – the original finished quilt was 40.5″ x 52.5″. Mine is 41″ x 45″. (You can probably chalk that extra half inch to my seam allowance “skills”.) With a total of 13 different fabrics, this quilt has a lot of character and dimension. Luke’s parents knew they were having a boy so I looked through my collection for some great blues, greys, and tans to use. It wasn’t until “Heart of a Hero” was well underway that we found out his nursery was to be yellow and grey; oh well! And now that this quilt is named, I can only imagine how it would look in reds! Looks like I’m getting an itch to make another version….

Here’s the how-to for “Heart of a Hero”

Cut fabric:

Heart of a Hero 1

  • 8 squares 6 1/2″ fabric A
  • 8 rectangles 6 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ fabric B
  • 7 squares 6 1/2″ fabric C
  • 6 rectangles 6 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ fabric D
  • 3 rectangles 6 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ fabric D
  • 7 rectangles 4 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ fabric E
  • 7 rectangles 4 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ fabric F
  • 7 rectangles 3 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ fabric G
  • 8 squares 4 1/2″ fabric H
  • 8 rectangles 4 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ fabric I
  • 8 rectangles 2 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ fabric J
    • for the border: 1/3 yd
    • for the back: 2 3/4 yd
    • for the batting: 2 3/4 yd
    • for the binding: 1/3 yd

Using a 1/4″ seam allowance:

Heart of a Hero 2

  • Sew A above B (unit 1)
  • Sew 6 C above 6 6 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ D (unit 2)
  • Sew 1 C above 1 6 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ D (unit 3)
  • Sew E above F (unit 4)
  • Sew 2 G to the left side of E-F (unit 5)
  • Sew 5 G to the right side of E-F (unit 6)
  • Sew H above I (unit 7)
  • Sew 4 J to the left side of H-I (unit 8)
  • Sew 4 J to the right side of H-I (unit 9)
  • Sew 2 6 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ D above 2 unit 9 (unit 10)

Using a 1/4″ seam allowance:

  • Sew 2 unit 5 above 2 unit 1 (unit 11)
  • Sew 2 unit 2 above 2 unit 9 (unit 12)
  • Sew unit 11 to the left of unit 12 (unit 13)
  • Sew 4 unit 2 above 4 unit 8 (unit 14)
  • Sew 4 unit 6 above 4 unit 1 (unit 15)
  • Sew unit 13 to the left of unit 14 (unit 16)
  • Sew 2 unit 1 to the left of 2 unit 10 (unit 17)
  • Sew 1 unit 3 to the left of 1 unit 6 (unit 18)

Assemble quilt in three columns:

Heart of a Hero 3

  • From top to bottom, column 1: unit 17, unit 13, unit 16
  • From top to bottom, column 2: unit 13, unit 16, unit 18
  • From top to bottom, column 3: unit 17, unit 16, unit 16
    • Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew the units in the columns to each other before sewing the columns together

Once your center is sewn together, measure the sides and cut two 2 1/2″ strips of your border fabric to fit the left and right. Using a 1/4″ seam allowance attach the border strips to the left and right sides of the quilt. Measure again after the left and right sides are sewn on and cut two more 2 1/2″ strips of your border fabric to fit. Sew the top and bottom border strips to the quilt using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Measure your final quilt top. Now piece together your backing fabric to fit your quilt top plus some overhang. The amount of overhang you need will depend on your or your quilter’s preference. Cut the same amount of batting, piecing together if needed.

Heart of a Hero 4

Sandwich the batting between your quilt top and your backing fabric. Quilt! If I am not sewing-in-the-ditch I like to use painter’s tape and a washable fabric marker to give some guidelines.

Assemble and attach binding fabric using your favorite method. (Maybe some day I’ll be confident enough and have an almost-perfectly bound quilt to do a tutorial.)

Don’t forget a tag!

Quilt Tutorial | Sew You Think You Can Cook

Summer Babies

I was busy this past year making 3 four hour quilts (FHQs) for 3 very special summer babies. 

Peach's CircusToday my friend’s daughter turns 1! I knew I just had to make her a quilt because this little girl happens to share my birthday! My friend, Megan, blogs over at Project Mama and shares her adventures in sewing. She is very talented and creative at the sewing machine so I felt the pressure to put my best work forward. I have to say, “Peach’s Circus” is one of my favorite FHQs to date! I found the fabric at Sew Studio last Christmas. (Photo to the left courtesy of Megan!)

Little RacerAnother special summer baby is a sweet boy who is only one day older than my son. I was very excited when I found out that our friends were expecting their first baby only 10 days after our first. I was particularly excited because they happen to live in Ohio – where we were going to be relocating! I was looking forward to having another first time mommy friend and for Wesley to have a play date friend. We actually had our first “play date” last week – as much as 7-wk-olds can play. My friend knew she was having a boy so I had a lot of fun making a boy quilt with car fabric and reds, greens, and blues. (Photo to the right from February when “Little Racer” was under construction.)

And last but not least, I finally got the opportunity to make a quilt for my own baby! As we opted for the gender surprise package I made a gender neutral quilt. The back fabric, of course, is Winnie-the-Pooh and on the front I opted for tone-on-tone chevrons in colors white, blue, pink, purple, and yellow; colors of Winnie-the-Pooh characters! To keep it from being too feminine I used grey as my border fabric. (Photo below is my absolute favorite of Wesley sleeping in “Kerplunk’s Hundred Acre Wood”)

Kerplunk's Hundred Acre Wood

Old Glory

One of my favorite things about the Fourth of July is laying out a blanket and watching the fireworks with family and friends.

Once I learned how to quilt it became a goal of mine to have at least one quilt per holiday, but the one I most wanted to complete was one to spread out underneath the fireworks.

This is the plan for Old Glory.

Old Glory

Old Glory is what is considered a sampler quilt. So you will notice that, with the exception of the stars, not one block is repeated. I wasn’t sure the mathematical side of me would be able to handle this style of quilting, but in limiting the fabric choices I was able to find a little order.

Over the next month I will share with you tutorials for most of the blocks featured in my quilt. So hop on board and expand your quilt block knowledge!

Greek Eagle, a T-shirt quilt

Today my Mom’s little Valentine, my brother, turns 24! As it’s the 12th it’s like his double golden birthday!

Louie and I are 18 months apart and have always gotten along with each other. Sure, there was a stretch there when I was 2-3 yrs old and very bossy. We have home videos of me stealing all the bath toys telling him, “These are mine.”, of me pushing him off a lawn toy so I could ride it, and my absolute favorite – replacing his Looney Toons umbrella with a strap for my girly, pink strapless one. But he never seemed to mind, he always wanted to do what I did.

When Harry Pottercame out Mom would read us a chapter on the couch before bed each night. When we were old enough to read the series on our own, I’d actually read aloud to Louie. I have memories of reading with him after school and reading on vacations.

At middle school and high school age, on nights when one of us couldn’t sleep we’d sneak into each other’s rooms and play board games – Chinese Checkers, Sequenceor Harry Potter Mystery At Hogwarts. (I know, watch out, we were bad kids!)

Louie even followed me to Auburn to pursue his degree! He now has a Bachelor of Sciences in Business Administration and a Masters of Accountancy. My senior year, his sophomore, we actually lived together. My only regret is that we’d lived together sooner. It was absolutely my favorite living situation. We both had busy schedules and different circles of friends, so were never on top of each other, but were still able to enjoy childhood nights playing Monopoly Dealand watching movies. We got along perfectly, and he loves to vacuum!

I am one proud big sister of the hardworking man he’s become.


For this blog post honoring my brother I present to you his t-shirt quilt! This weekend it will be sent to the quilter’s and I hope to get it back in April or May. Again, this quilt followed the method by Andrea T. Funk.

Quilt from College T-Shirts

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. 

Let it Sew

As I mentioned in my Christmas Time is Here post, 2013 is The Year of the Snowman.

My mother-in-law taught my friend and me how to quilt last August and we knew we wanted to make her a thank you gift – once our skills improved a bit. We decided on creating a Christmas gift for it. When it was declared that there’d be a theme to the presents this year we started searching Pinterest for snowman ideas. There were a handful we liked, but most quilts were beyond our skill level or not in our style.

Using Electric Quilt we decided to design our own!

My MIL’s favorite fabrics are batiks so we knew we’d go with that for our fabric palate. My friend found some great snowman batiks at a local quilt shop and we spiraled off of that.

With the back of the quilt we decided to be more ambitious than a one-, two-, or three- paneled back and added some letters! We laid out our completed letter blocks until we decided on a layout and pulled out the graph paper to determine how to piece it all together.


When we went to the fabric store to buy the backing material the sales associate said, “You must be engineers” when we told her we’d designed the front ourselves. We laughed and said, “We are!” We still haven’t settled on whether or not that was a compliment. 😉

T-Shirt Quilt

I played golf in high school and my coach was kind enough to pick me up after school and drive me to practice and games. I got pretty close to her, and we talked about everything on our commute. One day she told me that she wanted to send off her son’s t-shirts to be made into a quilt. I, being a slightly emotionally nostalgic packrat, fell in love with this idea!


Fast forward 4 years and I discover that my now mother-in-law makes quilts, including t-shirt quilts. Because I loved Stuart’s from his high school days, she very kindly created one for me.

Fast forward 4 more years and now I can make my own t-shirt quilt! My friend Kate and I made one out of her shirts from Auburn (her very first quilt, “Spirit”!).

1 year later I completed my first t-shirt quilt. “Aero Force” combines Stuart’s shirts from ROTC and my shirts from Aerospace Engineering. If there was a t-shirt to be bought in any of the organizations I belonged to, I shelled out the 15 bucks for it; Stuart didn’t have enough shirts on his own to make two quilts, so I did one for the both of our Auburn careers.

Aero Force

How to make a Too Cool T-shirt Quilt

*We follow the T-shirt quilt method by Andrea T. Funk.*


Adding sashing (those pretty inner borders) to a quilt can give it a clean and completed look. It’s quick to do and actually very simple!

Heres the How-To for Sashing:

Measure your completed block. Do not cut your sashing fabric until you’ve completed all of your quilt blocks. Cut your sashing fabric into strips with a length of your block size and width of your desired sashing thickness plus ½”. For this tutorial, I’m doing a finished sashing width of 1” so these strips are cut at 1 ½”. You will also need to cut 1 ½” squares (whatever size sashing you’re using). These squares are “keystones”, you could do them as a miniature block or a different color or use the same sashing fabric like I did. These squares will ensure straight lines throughout your quilt.

Sashing Tutorial

Sew the vertical sashing strips onto the blocks, creating a row.

Sashing Tutorial

When you iron, iron towards that sashing (away from the block). I find this creates a cleaner, sharper look.

Sashing Tutorial Sashing Tutorial

Sew the horizontal sashing strips onto the keystones.

Sashing Tutorial

When you iron, iron away from the keystones. This will insure your sashings lock together nicely when you put it all together.

Sashing Tutorial Sashing Tutorial

Sew sashing row to block row.

Sashing Tutorial

Repeat until your quilt is completed.

Sashing Tutorial

For an example of a completed quilt using sashing, check out the one I made in honor of my grandmother – “Violet”.

Four Hour Quilts

Conveniently, my quilting hobby was born in time for the baby boom that occurred in within my circle of friends. These lucky children instantly became guinea pigs. The perfect baby quilt is the Four Hour Quilt (FHQ). I’ve completed 3 baby sized FHQs so far and even though the pattern is the same, each quilt has its own personality.

Here’s the How-To for a Four Hour Quilt:

For a baby quilt that finishes to 40×48″, you will need 67  4 1/2″ squares (this is a total of approximately 1 yd of fabric). You can use as many different fabric choices or as few as you like. I typically choose 3-4 different fabrics for these squares. The strips for the inner border are cut to 2 1/2″ and the outer border to 4 1/2″. I typically use the same fabric for both borders, but you can be as creative as you want! (this is a total of 1 3/8 yd of fabric)

The center of the FHQ is assembled from 35 of the 4 1/2″ squares in 5 rows of 7.

Once your center is sewn together, measure the sides and cut two of your inner border strips to fit the top and bottom. Measure again after the top and bottom are sewn on and cut the other two inner border strips to fit. You now have a framed center.

With the remaining 4 1/2″ squares, sew 4 rows of 8. Treat these new rows as if they were the border for the FHQ center.

Repeat the border process, attaching the 4 1/2″ outer border strips to the outer squares. Your quilt top is now complete.

Create a sandwich with the quilt top, batting, and backing (1 1/2 yd of fabric). With something this small I use my sewing machine to do simple quilting – the stitch in the ditch method is always a good go-to.

Once you have your quilt, trim it, and bind it (5/8 yd of fabric). And don’t forget to give it a name! 🙂

Below are the 3 FHQs I’ve done to date. The first (forgot to take a final photo w/ binding) was for my friends little boy, Evan, on his first Christmas. I’m told he kisses every animal on the quilt before going down for his nap. ❤ The second was for my best friend’s daughter, Elle, on her first Christmas. The Chevron FHQ was for a friend back home who didn’t know if she was having a boy or girl, but I had it ready before Mason was born. She’s sent me pictures of him playing on it.

Evan's Safari
Evan’s Safari
Bug's Garden
Bug’s Garden


When my grandmother passed away in March, I knew I wanted to make a gift for my mother.

Mom with "Violet"
Mom with “Violet”

Busia was what we call “a snowbird” down in SWFL. She spent her summers in Lake Geneva, WI and the rest of the year in Ft. Myers Beach, FL. My parents purchased the summer home in Lake Geneva and this is my mom’s first summer continuing the “snowbird cycle”.

I wanted to make a quilt in memory of Busia to have at the Lake house. She had a twin bed in her master bedroom at the lake that I loved to sleep in, so I knew what size to make it, and the color choice was a no brainer – her favorite color was purple. I designed the quilt using a software called Electric Quilt on the flight after Busia’s memorial service and presented it to my mom 2 months later. I had a friend do the quilting for me in an afternoon so that I would have it completed before Mom left for Lake Geneva. Below is Busia at the Lake and “Violet” in its new home.

Busia  Violet

Violet Details

Blueberry Pickin’

When my husband asked me what my next post was going to be about and I told him, “Blueberry Pickin'” I could see the wheels start to turn as he tried to remember when we went blueberry picking. The answer to that question would be never, but it didn’t take too long for the light bulb to go off.

And now you’re confused! Bare with me and you won’t be for much longer.

My newest hobby is quilting. My mother-in-law taught me how to quilt almost a year ago. I am now making quilts for all of my friends’ new babies, for my mom, and even a couple for me!

My first quilt is a blue and neutral Disappearing 9-Patch. Super simple, yet looks complicated – exactly what you’re going for in a quilting project.

Here’s the how-to for a Disappearing 9-Patch Quilt Block:

Start with a simple 9-patch.9 patch

Cut the 9-patch in half both ways.

Cut 1 Cut 2

You now have 4 pieces. Rearrange them.

4 pieces Rearrange

Sew the 4 pieces together and you now have your Disappearing 9-Patch!Disappearing 9 Patch

And now I will answer the mystery about the title of this blog post. Every quilt you make should be given a name. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but you. Below is the photo of my first quilt. When I looked at it it gave me a “country/homey” vibe and the name “Blueberry Pickin'” was born. Blueberry Pickin'