Isabella's Whimsy

handmade with love

Design Wall, or Something Like That

I’ve heard a lot about design walls that quilters use in planning the layout of their blocks.  Some bloggers told how they don’t have a wall they can dedicate to designing, and they have developed many different adaptations.  I’ve decided I need a design “wall” now that I am making memory quilts. I want to share my adaptation with you, maybe it will be one you can use, or maybe it will spark a new idea of your own to fit your needs.

I have a foam board from the local craft store.  It’s 32″ X 40″ and about 1/4″ thick.  I have room for that size of a design “wall”.  I went through my batting stash and found a piece just right for the board.  I just laid the batting on the rug and laid the foam board on the batting. I cut pieces from the corners of the batting so when I folded it over the board it wouldn’t be so bulky in the corners.

Next I used 2-3″ pieces of packing tape and taped the batting to the back along the long sides, then taped along the short sides.  Here is the finished back-

Design board backHere is the front with the board leaning against my desk-

Design board frontAnd one shot with some quilt blocks-

design board with blocksYou can see it’s a beautiful day here outside of San Antonio, TX.  Hope your day is beautiful too!




Memory Quilt – Baby’s First Year

Baby Clothes Memory Quilt

Favorite Clothes from Baby’s First Year

This was a new experience for me!  My younger daughter’s best friend since 2nd grade asked me if I would make a quilt using her and hubby’s favorite clothes from their son’s first year.  I expected baby-type prints…it’s been a long time since we had a baby around.  All those little knit onesies and t-shirts, so precious (well, not that scary one with the red eyes!).  I was amazed to see how different baby clothes are now.  I like all the colors, instead of all the pastels we used to have.  I had no idea so many slogans and pictures were out there on the clothes.  You can easily find daddy’s choices… not surprisingly, I’m drawn to the tiny baby patterns, but some of the others sure made me laugh!

This is the biggest quilt I ever made and the first t-shirt type quilt. It is twin size (58″X81″).

Ian's quilt backI did the piecing and layout, but sent the quilt out for long-arm quilting. I am very happy with how the back turned out, thanks to the long-arm quilter for aligning the top and back before she started quilting. Here are a couple of the early sections.

Oct 12-13  a Oct 12-13  bThe borders and main part of the backing match the fabric I used on this little guy’s baby quilt, per the parents’ request.

Ian's Baby QuiltThis quilt was quite a learning experience and I’m so glad the family is happy with it. With the nice batting used by The Scrappy Quilter in Schertz, TX for the long-arm quilting, it’s not too heavy and can hold up with lots of use.

God bless our little ones.


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Fishy Fun Baby Quilt

I enjoyed designing and making this baby quilt.  I especially like ocean themed baby quilts.  So, for this one I used a charm pack of Bartholo-mew’s Reef and fabrics from my stash, some that I had used in other ocean baby quilts. For the focal applique I used the Wonderfully Fishie #11 pattern from Fat Cat Patterns. You should see her cute, whimsical set of Fish Patterns, in fact you should see all her fun patterns.  She offers many free applique patterns and one or more BOMs (Block Of the Month), plus several appealing for-sale patterns. There are ten smaller fish on the quilt also, the one in the upper right corner is another Fat Cat Pattern, but made a little smaller and without the appliqued details. The other little fishies were cut out freehand from this-and-that. The charm squares surrounding the focal fish were from a pack of Bartholo-meow’s Reef.  The border is made up of half charm squares from the same pack and some pieces from my stash.  If you see a good deal on Bartholo-meow’s Reef, let me know – I really like it! Fishy FunFor the backing I used a deep, mottled blue-green with an accent strip of orange, and bound the quilt in the same orange using a double fold binding.

Fishy Fun back

I went back and forth in my mind trying to decide about the quilting and finally settled on random wavy lines for water movement.  I think it looks all right that I stitched right over the fish, as though they are moving through the current.

quilting details

quilting detail 1quilting detail 2

Fishy Fun label

This is another quilt finished from my WIPs and UFOs.  It now resides in California, not too far from the ocean.



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Patriotic Patio Hanging

I had so much fun making this hanging for my patio.  Got it done in time for Memorial Day, and now I’m ready for Flag Day and the 4th of July.

I learned how to make the July Star Block from a free tutorial by Cluck Cluck Sew.  It was the Week 15 block in Quilt Block Boot Camp.  One of the quilters, Jodie, had made a set of 3 July Star blocks using dinosaurs in the centers and then three colors for star points and backgrounds, combining the colors to make a great coordinated look.  Her stars inspired me to use 3 colors and coordinate my blocks, and since red, white and blue are a great combination and the patriotic holidays are on their way, this is what I made:

Patriotic Wall HangingEach block is just under 12 inches.

I adapted a free motion quilting pattern for the star centers.  The pattern is by Leah Day of the Free Motion Quilting Project and is called Bright Star from Day 103 of the project.  I chose this pattern because I could easily adapt it to straight line quilting.  Thanks to earlier lessons by Leah Day I knew how to “travel” and move around the block in an efficient way.

DSCF1092 (2)I decided to finish the quilting with some simple lines inside and outside the star points and one single line of stitches between each of the three blocks.

The back? Yes.

DSCF1090 (2)Blessings,



Quilt Block Boot Camp – and what it means to me

You know Facebook? Well, yeah, everybody does.  So, there is a Facebook Group called Quilt Block Boot Camp.  I’m not sure how I found it, but somehow it entered my line of sight.  I LOVE IT! Such a group of sweet, fun, funny quilters as I have ever met.  First, they let me join.  Now they let me post.  Some even laugh! They always post encouraging, positive comments and LIKE everything…and, well, you know, I do that too! Life is meant for sharing the good stuff.

So the way it works is, every week the administrator (or her sub) posts a quilt block link to a free online tutorial. They started off pretty basic, but classy, and are now getting into more challenging blocks.  I started late (but as soon as I found them) on Week 13.  It was the Patchwork Wheel block, a tutorial posted by Don’t Call Me Betsy.  Here is mine.

Week 13 Patchwork Wheel and bonus (3)It would have been better to not use the yellow stripes with the yellow background in the lower right corner, but it works.  This block is about 12.5 inches and ready to be used in some undreamed of project.

I have been working on catching up over these couple of weeks and have 7 different blocks made, not in sequence, but that seems to be OK.

Picture Time!

Simple Heart DSCF1074 (2) Week 1 Raspberry Kiss Week 10 Flying Geese (2) Week 5 Pinwheel DSCF1092 (2)

I find that I eagerly look for the notifications that someone in the group has posted or commented.  I’m not a traditional quilter.  I’m way challenged by straight lines/seams, cutting out little pieces, trimming to straighten, etc.  But now I’m learning new stuff skills and gaining some improvement, in such a lovely, warm group.




My Postage-Stamp Scrap Fabric Patchwork Quilt

I cannot believe what I just found through Pinterest! If you want to make a Postage Stamp Quilt or any patchwork, you need to see this!

so resourceful

And finally I am back to blog about my second patchwork quilt that I talked about in my last post. We’ll gloss over the time-delay for now, as I want to get on with explaining how I made all the patchwork squares for this quilt! In case you didn’t read my last post, I made this quilt using nothing but my smallest pieces of scrap fabric (probably the kind of scraps most people would throw away). I cut my scraps into 2 inch squares and stored them all up, and then used 1620 squares to construct the quilt, which is big enough to cover a single bed.

The quilt is arranged in 45 blocks of 36 patchwork squares, and in order to sew all 36 patchwork pieces together with the seams lined up I found a brilliant technique online that I used. The technique involves ironing all 36 patchwork squares…

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A Little Fun

I know.  I’m supposed to be completing all my UFOs and WIPs.  And I am (update coming soon!), but I just HAVE TO start stuff.
I’m trying to stick to quick little projects that I will also finish, instead of adding to my WIPs-UFOs list.  So, here is a little project I made for a daughter who submitted a request – how can I turn down the mother of my grandson???

It’s an oversized mug rug that I call Split Personality.  She’s more on the elegant side and loves neutrals, so here it is with the fabric she picked out for the mug rug top:

Split Personality Mug Rug frontShe also requested brights for the back, hence the title.

Split Personality Mug Rug backI used a double layer of cotton batting for moisture absorption, and semi-dense straight-line quilting so her drinks wouldn’t wobble.  She and baby were happy with it.

A special Thank You to Mel at The Quilting Room with Mel for featuring my Spring Petals QAL – Roses last week!

Mel's Quilting Room



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Spring Petals QAL – Daisies

Don’t be confused, it’s OK.  If you already saw a post for the Spring Petals QAL you may be wondering…

but, it’s OK, I made two!

Julie @ The Crafty Quilter said we could make more than one table topper to enter in the QAL.  She said two toppers would give us two entries for the prizes!  How cool is that! So, instead of just going a tiny bit off track from finishing all my WIPs, I was a little side-tracked, but not by much.

Spring Petals Quilt Along @ The Crafty Quilter

The plan was/is the same:

  • April 4    Pattern available as a free pdf; pick out your fabrics (you can visit Julie’s site for the pattern and such)
  • April 10  Cutting and piecing
  • April 17  Applique
  • April 24  Basting and quilting
  • May 1    Binding
  • May 8    Final thoughts and Linky Party
  • June 7   Giveaway winners announced

Because I couldn’t make up my mind on the fabrics to use for the Roses table topper, I went ahead and made a second project, Daisies, while I was figuring out the original (Roses) fabrics to use. Now I have 2 completed projects to submit to the Linky Party on Friday and have two chances at winning a prize! I also have two sisters… (smile!)

Daisies was much easier for me to pull together with this as the inspirational fabric

Daisies Inspiration Fabric

Here is the Daisies fabric collection.

Daisies Fabrics Selection

and the completed Daisies table topper (24 in).


As I said in the Roses post, I had been wanting to make something with the petals pattern, it’s so popular now in the quilting world.  I think that the toppers look distinct not only by using different colors, but also by varying some of the petals as leaves in the Roses design.

I’m pretty sure that Julie will leave the pattern and instructions available on her blog, so you can visit and make one (or two) toppers yourself.

~Enjoy, Isabella

p.s. Be sure to check out the Linky Party sometime on Friday (or after) to see the variety of Spring Petals. You’ll need to scroll down until you find it.


Spring Petals QAL – Roses

You may have seen my Facebook post about joining in with the Spring Petals Quilt ALong (QAL) hosted by Julie @ The Crafty QuilterI had not joined a QAL before and jumped at the chance to join reasoned that even though I committed to finishing all of my WIPs and UFOs, I ought to experience a QAL; after all it’s one of those 3-letter quilting thingies. And I am still finishing the other projects. So, as is the case all too often, I started a new project.

Spring Petals Quilt Along @ The Crafty Quilter

The plan for the QAL was/is:

  • April 4    Pattern available as a free pdf; pick out your fabrics (you can visit Julie’s site for the pattern and such)
  • April 10  Cutting and piecing
  • April 17  Applique
  • April 24  Basting and quilting
  • May 1    Binding
  • May 8    Final thoughts and Linky Party
  • June 7   Giveaway winners announced

Here is the inspirational fabric for the Roses table topper.  I have just a small amount left from a baby quilt I made about 5 years ago, and I cannot find more of this fabric anywhere.

Roses Inspiration Fabric

Here are most of the fabrics I used for background, petals, flower center, accents and binding.

Roses Selection

Here is the completed piece, Roses (24″).

Roses… a peek at the quilting and label.

Roses QuiltingRoses Label

I had been wanting to make something with petals, a trending pattern in the world of quilting, so now I can check that off the bucket I-want-to-do list.  Julie, the Crafty Quilter provided the table topper pattern and basic instructions for free plus  professional, week-by-week (that’s the “ALong” part) Tips and Techniques with various options for each step of the process.  I suggest you visit her webpage to see her pretty work.

~ Love, Isabella


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