Isabella's Whimsy

handmade with love

8 is Great! #pqseason8

It’s Season 8 for Project QUILTING! Challenge 1 was 8 is Great, make any kind of quilt that features an aspect of number 8.

Here is the link to the Challenge. My entry is a modern quilt block that measures about 18.5″ square. I made it as a wall hanging or a table topper.

My inspiration came from Biblical Numerology (what?!) where number 8 means Resurrection or New Beginning. Number 7 means Completion or Perfection, so it follows that the next number is a new beginning.

I was happy to be able to incorporate some inspirational text fabric in this project that ties in with a New Beginning. There is a hanging sleeve on the back that isn’t in the way if the quilt is used as a table topper.

This week all 142 quilts made for Season 8, Challenge 1 are open for public voting, here. Everyone can vote for their 10 favorite quilts…in case you are wondering…mine is #76 (“remember 76 trombones in the big parade”).

I have Project Quilting albums on Flickr from the past few years if you like browsing this kind of thing. And the quilt is now in my Etsy shop, IsabellasWhimsy.

On Friday I want to share another Project QUILTING project that has worked out very nicely for me.

Thank you for taking time to visit the blog.

~ Blessings,



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Books, Travels and Row by Row Experience


Today is National Book Lovers Day, and that makes today special to me! Some of my friends, my sister, my daughter and I have formed our own 2016 Reading Challenge group on Facebook. We are using the popular SugarPop Challenge list. Some of us did the 2015 Challenge with more or less completion (my sister was the only one to finish last year). I think what we liked most was being prompted to try out new types of books.  We made some great finds in new authors, and a few sad finds in books to avoid (most notably the Pulitzers that we read). So with 4-5 months left to go, my sister has completed all the categories. Some just aren’t into it…at. all. I’m about halfway done; I keep getting side-tracked by additional books of new authors I find – and that’s nice.

Travels and the Row by Row Experience

Last summer while visiting my sister in Oregon and becoming acquainted with more of the new-to-me San Antonio area, I visited many quilt shops to collect their Row by Row Experience quilt patterns*. The Row by Row Experience is essentially a marketing campaign for LQSs (Local Quilt Shops), and quilters love it! This year all 50 states, all the Canadian provinces (I think), and even some European countries are participating in this amazing project.  Unlike last year when I collected 21+ row patterns, this year I am way too busy with IsabellasWhimsy on Etsy, so my collection will be MUCH smaller and only rows that I really, really like.

So this year I have gone to two Texas towns, New Braunfels and Bandera, and collected 2 row patterns. I still have a list with 4 remaining possible shops. Here are the patterns I have. I’m likin’ the Texan style here! Yaahoo!


Please know you are invited to visit Isabella’s Whimsy on Facebook and on Pinterest.


I’ll leave you with a sneak peek of the current baby quilt on my worktable,



Until next time,

Blessings to All,


*If you want to see the 2015 rows I collected look here, here, and here.



PQ Season 7, Challenge 5: Through the Eyes of a Child

Don’t know what Project QUILTING (PQ) is? Check this out, Project QUILTING at Persimon Dreams.


The inspiration for this challenge was children’s art. I did a search for “children’s art” and it didn’t take but a couple of minutes to find just the piece I wanted to make into a quilt.
Here is the link to the source: Fish

I took a screen print of the inspirational fish also,

Inspirational fish

This bright, charming fish was painted with watercolors by Bronte, age 8, from Australia.  I had the fabrics and started by drawing a pattern similar to her picture. I decided to make a quilted pillow for my project.

IsabellasWhimsy fish pillow 1

It is about 12″ high by 16″ long.

IsabellasWhimsy fish pillow 1 in chair

  The back has an overlap that is hemmed and left open to insert the pillow form.

IsabellasWhimsy fish pillow 1 back

I think a little more practice with pillows is a good idea.

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Public Voting Open for Project QUILTING


This is the 7th Season of Project QUILTING hosted by Kim of Persimon Dreams. Biweekly challenges for the first 3 or 4 months of the year are presented to quilters.  Kim’s mother-in-law, Diane, creates the challenges.  Both Kim and Diane participate, but they exclude themselves from winning any of the sponsor-donated prizes.

The theme of this week’s challenge was “I Need a Vacation”.  All finished quilt entries were welcomed by noon today.  Then Public Voting begins and runs for several days. So, today is the start of Public Voting for the Vacation challenge.

Here is my entry, please excuse the poor lighting.

IsabellasWhimsy PQ7Ch4 Vacation

Here is a link to the Voting Page. This week everyone is given 4 votes to use on their 4 favorite quilts. There are some really clever quilts that you are sure to enjoy!

Please leave a comment and let me know where you would go for a great vacation.




PQ Season 7, Challenge 3 – Thread

The challenge for Project Quilting hosted by Persimon Dreams is to make a quilt of any size, in any manner, so long as it is a finished project completed within the week and contains one or more of these:

  1. Include patchwork.
  2. Include appliqué.
  3. Have 3 layers stitched together by hand or machine.

The 3rd Challenge topic for this week is Thread.

As soon as I read ‘Thread’ I knew I wanted to make some Spool Blocks.  The spool block is an old-fashioned blocked that is pieced.  I also knew I wanted to make a mug rug because, well, because it’s small; I was confident I could complete a mug rug in a week.

Here is the thread mug rug.  Titled: Spools. Size 8.5″ X 6.5″. Made by me in my home in San Antonio, TX.

IsabellasWhimsy Thread 1

First I made the two larger spool blocks in the traditional way, but I used my own dimensions to cut the pieces.  I quilted the mug rug and added the binding, but there was too much white space left, so I made three little spools and appliqued them.  I like their wonkiness. I think they add some motion to the mat.


IsabellasWhimsy Thread 2.JPG

If you are interested in how to make the spools, just let me know and I’ll share what I used and what I have access to.

You can vote on the Thread entries starting tomorrow afternoon/evening by going here: Viewer’s Choice Voting from February 7th – 12th  You will need to scroll down a ways to find it, but it’s worth the effort!

Is there a quilt block that you like a lot? Don’t be shy…just tell us which one!




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Another UFO Completed!

A finished UFO from spring 2013.  This wall hanging is my first free motion quilting project.  If I remember correctly, it is the Bethlehem Star or possibly a Carpenter’s Star.

DSCF1452It’s about 28″ square.

Here is the link to the original post about this project.  If you read it you will see why I was confused about the name…hmmm.

Anyway, here’s to a completed project from the past!



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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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Spontaneous–An Off Season Project QUILTING Challenge

If you know me at all as a quilter, you know I enjoy Project Quilting, an annual experience hosted by Persimmon Dreams. You can read more about it here, here, and here.

2015 is Season 6 of Project Quilting.  The Challenges are presented every two weeks January through March, then April through December brings Off-Season Challenges.  The April Challenge is just coming to a close, so I want to share my project with you.  The theme of this Challenge is Spontaneous, here is where you can find the original Challenge with details.

I was a little hesitant about improv quilting until I did some “surfing” and found that improve isn’t necessarily random, as I had imagined.  When I realized I could control the colors in my project, it was easy to decide to make a companion table mat to the one I made for the Project Quilting Season 5 Challenge in January 2014, String Along with Me. For both table mats I used my favorite color combo of blue, yellow, and white.  I also used an applique bird this time, also from Rachel at Stitched in Color, the other bird from her class Penny Sampler, but I reduced the size of her bird to work with this mat.

Improv quilted table mat

Improv quilted table mat

I have to admit it is not a daringly spontaneous project, in fact, maybe it wasn’t spontaneous very much at all… Maybe I don’t really know what ‘spontaneous’ is beyond agreeing to do something that is suddenly suggested to me.  It takes all kinds, and all levels of spontaneity, to make the world go ’round. I FELT spontaneous when I made this.

Here are the two companion mats.

Table Mats made for two Project Quilting Challenges.

Table Mats made for two Project Quilting Challenges.

I made this 12″ X 12″ mat in my home in Universal City, TX – just outside of San Antonio to the north.

The Linky Party for this Project is tomorrow, April 30.  Some people have already linked their Spontaneous projects; you can see them by scrolling down on the Persimmon Dreams blog post.  Thank you, Persimmon Dreams!

~ Isabella

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Sunset over the Ocean


It’s Off-Season for Project QUILTING now, so we only have 1 challenge per month through the end of the year. The April Challenge is related to birthdays. Kim of Persimon Dreams created a colorful calendar with 30 boxes and a border for #31. We were directed to select the two colors that correspond with our own birth month and day, to interpret the colors the best we could based on our monitors, then to create a quilted project using those two colors. Other colors were allowed, but the two birthday colors were to be clearly predominant. My birthday is August 20, so according to the chart my two colors are deep gray and bright salmon.

birthday colors

This year in Project QUILTING I have been trying to use tutorials and patterns that I’ve been saving and dreaming of making some day.  I decided to use a pillow design and a messenger bag tutorial in combination for my project.  Here is a link to the pillow design.  And here is a link to the messenger bag tutorial.  I adapted each of these resources, not only to my colors, but also in size and construction.  Basically, I made the pillow design into the flap for the messenger bag and omitted all but two pockets from the messenger bag, as well as messed around with the lining construction (I didn’t want to use any bias binding).

The other adaptation is that I created my own fabric through quilting.  I really liked the sunset for the flap, so I decided to go all out and make two more sunsets, one for the front and one for the back panels.  I’m happy with the bag.  It is roomy and colorful.  What do you think?


Here is the messenger bag showing the flap.

Here is the messenger bag showing the flap.

Here is the back panel of the bag.

Here is the back panel of the bag.

This side pocket is just right for a water bottle.

This side pocket is just right for a water bottle.

The other pocket is handy for sunglasses.

The other pocket is handy for sunglasses.

It is quite roomy in there!

It is quite roomy in there!

Trying to show size: there is a pile of 3 DVDs down in there.

Trying to show size: there is a pile of 3 DVDs down in there.

The bag is about 13″wide with 2 6″ sides, 14″ high, 6″ wide bottom, and a 33″ strap.

I started the bag at home in College Station, but finished it in Carrollton while tending my daughter post-carpal tunnel surgery.

~ Janie at Isabella’s Whimsy



30/30 Challenge, End Week 3

Berry Barn Designs

Week 3 has ended and I only have 2 sessions of 30 minute sewing for myself to tell about. Actually each session was more than 30 minutes if you count selecting fabric, reviewing instructions, prepping the template, and cutting – OK, let’s count all that, too! :0)

I have two more blocks for the Penny Sampler Quilt completed, the Long Churn Dash and the Mitten blocks.

Long Churn Dash and Mitten Blocks for Penny Sampler Quilt

Long Churn Dash and Mitten Blocks for Penny Sampler Quilt

I just love these sweet blocks. I have loved the churn dash since I first saw it and plan to make a small churn dash quilt…someday…ahhhh….
I used the red and white check for the background and the white for the churn to represent the Danish flag on this Scandinavian-inspired quilt.  You can see a nice pic of the Dannebrog/ Danish flag on Flickr.

I have had a love for Denmark since I was 11 years old and the most handsome young Dane moved to my town and was in my 6th grade class…ahhhhh….. (again). Then as a teenager I had some penpals from Denmark for several years, one of whom I was able to visit for a few days while I was doing study-abroad in college (1973). She took me to visit the original LEGOLAND, a rune stone, and to the North Sea to suntan in 60 degree Fahrenheit weather with a wind blowing in off the sea, brrrrrr!  Happy Days!

The fabrics in the appliqued mitten are a whimsical floral and bright teal tonal print; both fabrics are used in other blocks also.

But just so you don’t think I was lazing around all week, let me show you the 42″ X 50″ quilt I made for the final Season 5 Project QUILTING challenge; made start to finish in 4 days (counting time needed to rip out and redo, several times!).

PQ 5,6 Triangles 2

Here’s looking ahead to Week 4!

~Janie, Isabella’s Whimsy


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