Isabella's Whimsy

handmade with love

Project QUILTING Off Season Challenge for April

What’s My Sign? – the challenge for the month of April for Project QUILTING Off Season

Even though I am not a zodiac person, I secretly am proud to be a leo. Who wouldn’t be? Regal. Strong. Fierce. And then there is the Lion and the Lamb…that appeals to me a lot.  And Lion of Judah.  So it will come as no surprise that for my “sign” quilting project I decided to make Aslan of Narnia, my favorite lion.

That sounds so simple and straight forward, “I decided to make Aslan of Narnia, my favorite lion”, but let me tell you it was definitely a challenge and a learning experience.  By the end (just now, with the deadline looming) I feel like Thomas Alva Edison and his 10,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb.

My first plan was to make a child’s quilt approximately 40″X60″.  The lefthand section would be about 40″ square with the body and head of Aslan looking to the right. The right hand section would be a set of 4 blocks made with different techniques: the lamp post in machine applique on a swirly gray backgroud with a bright yellow light beaming forth; the constellation of Leo embroidered on a dark blue printed with silver stars sprinkled about; the Dawn Treader at full power sailing across a wind swept sea, also machine appliqued; and Cair Paravel set high on the hill with banners flowing in the breeze, using the new-to-me foundation paper piecing technique.

With one thing and another…it just didn’t happen. A major “thing” was I was not at all happy with Aslan’s head and his body. They just didn’t go.  Plus I really wasn’t happy with his head.  Here is a before shot.

Just doesn't go... on so many levels.  Just looks silly, not whimsical or even cute.

Just doesn’t go… on so many levels. Just looks silly, not whimsical or even cute.

A friend suggest there was something odd about the feet, so I thought, hmmm, I’ll disguise the oddness with flowers!

Flowers on Feet

Those sweet flowers made the head even worse!

I worked on that head and made the nose smaller, the chin shorter, the mane a bit more tamed with a trim across the top…much better.

Time is running out and there is no way I will be able to finish all these pieces from Narnia.

blocks planned for Narnia quilt

I stepped back and opened the lines of whatever and decided it was time to be practical.  I would use the head and make a pillow cover or a wall hanging…pillow cover.

Well, in the process of making the quilted pillow cover I realized that the innovative (flying-by-seat-of-my-pants) techique for making the head just wouldn’t hold up under wear and tear, so the final answer…wall hanging. And that is what it is. Ta Da!

Aslan of Narnia

Aslan of Narnia


I huffed and I puffed and I ….

I huffed and I puffed and I almost fell down…but didn’t!

Wow! It’s only 70 outside! I’m going for a walk and enjoy this rare overcast day in Central Texas!

I don my cool shades,

The salesman said he picked these out for his wife, so he picked them out for me, too.  On another visit he said his wife rejected them...what WAS she thinking!

The salesman said he picked these out for his wife, so he picked them out for me, too. On another visit he said his wife rejected them…what WAS she thinking!

lock the door behind me, turn around and see Cali, short for California Girl – my Huffy bike. She returned my look with sad puppy dog eyes (must have learned that look from my grandog) because I hadn’t ridden her in months. Touched my ever so sensitive heart and before I knew it I was dialing in the combination to set her free.

I got Cali just before retiring. The day was eventful including a 30 minute romance in Academy. Wow! Who would have thought.

I got Cali just before retiring. The day was eventful including a 30 minute romance in Academy. Wow! Who would have thought.

So after a rough start (up onto the grass, barely missing that tree, and the decision to walk down the sidewalk instead of ride) things got better. A few scary moments at the start, then I got my stride and we sailed away…around the parking lot.

You would not believe how steep the way is back home from the other end of the parking lot! It’s deceptive…looks flat, but it is very very steep judging by my huffing, puffing and muscle strain. We made it back safe and sound in 2 pieces, one of me and one of her.

I haven’t figured out how to take a pic of me riding my own bike, so I will have to settle for a pic of me riding Friday, aka My Girl Friday who belongs to a colleague.

Julia's My Girl Friday and Janie_June 22, 2012

Life is fun!



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FMQ Elephant Mats Reveal, and More!

Now that we are all savvy with those quilters terms, I thought we would use them today.  Yes, I implemented FMQ on my recently made Elephant mats. If you saw the April 8 and 10 posts you saw bits and pieces of the mats, but not the completed mats, so as not to ruin the surprise for my friend.

She received the mats and was happy with them, so here they are all bound and finished.

Elephant with Pine Needles

Elephant with Pine Needles

Elephant with Rocks

Elephant with Rocks

I also completed a set of coasters and a small table mat for another friend.  Here are the pics she took – it’s a great living room, but look on the coffee table to see the mats. The reds look kind of pink, but they are really red; sorry you can’t see the FMQ, but it is there.

Mat and Coasters, FMQ and Log Cabin pattern

Mat and Coasters, FMQ and Log Cabin pattern

Matching the home decor

Matching the home decor

Then I took a detour from the sewing machine and made a necklace:

Maroon Necklace       Go  Aggies!

Maroon Necklace…Go

Before I became Isabella’s Whimsy, I was Janie’s Beads, but haven’t done much with beads for a couple of years.

I took another detour from quilting to hem a bridesmaid dress. It is a coral colored satin.  So I needed to shorten it by 2 and 5/8 inches.  I learned to use the narrow hem foot, but not well enough, so I ended up taking out all those stitches (a post about ESS coming soon, so remember this comment about taking out all those stitches) and using the regular foot and carefully turning a narrow hem myself.  Then I shortened the lining and finally I cut the same amout off of the tulle that is used between the dress and the lining to puff out the skirt a bit.

Now I have started a set of spring-y/summery coasters and am also designing a quilt for Project QUILTING Off Season Challenge 1, What’s My Sign? (Mine is Leo.) More of that to come.




2012 Taxes

♥ ♥ ♥ X X X X X O O O O
I'm so happy! My 2012 Taxes are DONE!!!

I’m so happy! My 2012 Taxes are DONE!!!

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FMQ applied

I probably shouldn’t be making gifts with these early stitches, but I am.  This friend has been so interested and supportive of my efforts that I think it is OK.

So today the stitches are a little more like the ones Leah Day teaches in the Craftsy class, Free Motion Quilting.

There are lines of U’s:

U lines - a simple meandering wiggle stitch

U lines – a simple meandering wiggle stitch


and Wandering Clover

A close-up of the Wandering you can marvel with me...

A close-up of the Wandering Clover…so you can marvel with me…

and my own interpretation of Pine Needles

Recognizable as Pine Needles stitches, but a bit more showy

Recognizable as Pine Needles stitches, but a bit more showy

Who knows what tomorrow will bring!!! :o)



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Another set of quilter’s letters: FMQ

Maybe I already mentioned FMQ, but to help me learn it is good to repeat and use in my own context. FMQ is free motion quilting, meaning, with your sewing machine you buzz around on your quilt top through all three layers of your quilt sandwich and make lines of stitching. There are many designs you can use…after you learn them and practice plenty.
So here are some designs of my own that are definitely related to jumping-in-the-ditch mastery level.

Outlining designs in the Fabric

Outlining patterns in the Fabric

Wiggle Lines

Wiggle Lines

Echo Lines around bottoms of flowers

Echo Lines around bottoms of flowers


Some Rocks

Some Rocks

I can’t show you the whole project because it is for a friend of mine and I don’t want her to see it yet.

I would like to thank my online Craftsy teacher Leah Day for getting me started. Now Leah probably couldn’t recognize these designs as any she is teaching me, but hers were my inspiration. ♥ I am really enjoying Leah’s instruction, she is a great teacher and reminds her pupils “It’s OK” and “It doesn’t have to be perfect.” That gives me confidence to try, knowing that I can only get better!

Click here to see Leah’s site.

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BOM, yes, you heard me right…BOM

BOM? you might be asking? I had the same bewildered feeling once (or twice, well, until I could remember what it means). BOM is quilters’ lingo for Block of the Month. As other quilters, I am quickly becoming a BOM fan. I’m following 3, no 4, no 3 BOMs now. I waver because one of them I’m following but not attempting to make any of the blocks yet. Actually, I’m not making blocks for 3 of the BOMs, so I guess really I’m just making blocks for 1, and I have just finished the January blocks (yes, I said blockS) even though it’s April now. Just trust me.

So, in keeping with the idea sparked by the artist Kylie Bowers, I am committed to posting 2 projects per week, showing new techniques or blocks that I am trying out. I know it’s Friday already, but I have made a few items.

In the Craftsy BOM 2012 Class two blocks are given each month. (How does this sound: BsOM? Not so good.) They are both slash and stitch projects. The first one is the Asterisk block. Have a look:


I was concerned there would be too much bulk in the center of asterisk, but my seams were superb and there was no problem! Thank you for your applause. :o)
Since that block went so well, I went ahead and made the second January block, the Wonky # Sign Block. (I’m finding that “wonky” is a common term used among quilters.) Ta Da!

Wonky # Sign

It’s OK too and another slash and stitch block.

I have 2 purposes for making these blocks in addition to just learning the techniques. 1) I will use them to learn free motion quilting in another Craftsy class, and 2) I will include them in the red, white and blue quilts I am making for my great-great niece and -nephew. The quilts are memory quilts of their Papa Jack, great-grandpa.

I can’t post the other project because it’s for a friend’s birthday and her party isn’t until April 13! But I can post another project tomorrow, maybe. The one I’m thinking of isn’t a new technique, so I may fudge and use it anyway, or do something else tonight!
~ Isabella
aka Janie


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