an unexpected year

If I were to summarize 2011 into one word, I think I'd choose unexpected.

It was unexpected that I'd face so many trials and yet come out of them for the better

It was unexpected that I'd prefer a part-time job to a full-time real-world 60 hour a week gig. (I am a known workaholic)

It was unexpected that I'd yearn to move back to the West Coast (I guess I really am a California girl at heart)

It was unexpected to go snorkeling in the Florida Keys and even more unexpected that I enjoyed it and can't wait to go again (I have an irrational fear of the deep ocean)

It was unexpected that my super-smart husband spent even more time studying (I didn't realize how easy the first year of medical school really was)

It was unexpected that I was able to travel so often (I went to almost 20 different states this year alone)

It was unexpected that I managed to finish more than half a dozen quilts for near and dear friends (I've only been quilting off and on for a few years)

It was unexpected that I received such a generous response to the stocking drive I organized for the local foster children (I was so blown away that people all over the world helped me quadruple my goal)

It was unexpected how many friends I've made because of my quilting - both online and in person. (I've never had friends that quilted before - it's quite nice!)

And it certainly was unexpected how nice and welcoming the online community has been to a new blogger like myself.

Here's hoping 2011 had a few unexpected surprises and 2012 is full of even more!


Sneak Peek!

I've been working on many secret projects that I am so excited to share with you guys...I can't wait anymore so here's a sneak peek of one...full reveal coming to a blog near you soon!! =)


Happy Christmas Eve!

Today is one of my favorite days of the entire year -- we decorate our Christmas Tree, put up the stockings, make cookies, and enjoy some quality family time. It's a time of the year that's so full of traditions and makes me appreciate my family. This year, especially, my thoughts are with those people who don't have families to share the holidays with...people like the foster children I've been working with this year.

I am so thankful for the outpouring of support from people all over the world who participated in the Stockings for Kids drive. I received over 250 stockings from all corners of the globe -- my husband was quite excited when a package arrived from Turkey -- for the foster children in Central Virginia. Due to the generosity of local businesses, churches, community service groups, and people like you, we were able to stuff the stockings and tomorrow morning many children will get to open a Christmas stocking.

 A snapshot of some of the many stockings we got this year.

Toys ready to be divided up into the stockings

Just some of the many games ready to be divided up into the stockings.

Thank you again for your love and generosity this holiday season!


Zig-Zag Quilt: A Wordless Post

Plus Quilt

The other day I realized I never shared this quilt with you. Back in August, I really wanted to make a plus quilt and when I learned that some of my good friends were expecting their first child this year, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to give it a try. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the results. 

Quilt Stats:

Fabrics: Assorted blue, yellow, pinks, and kona white from my stash. 
Quilting: stitch in the ditch around each plus.


Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

So I recently hosted a giveaway of some purple fat quarters in conjunction with sew mama sews giveaway day (week). This allowed me to do some "market research" if you will. See, I was curious to see what colors people were sewing with these days.

And according to my completely scientific approach (i.e. tally sheet of color combos) it appears that most of you enjoy sewing with gray in almost any combo but especially gray and yellow and gray and purple. A lot of you also love orange. I have to say I haven't gotten on the orange band wagon yet, but I'm thinking about hitching a ride!

I am so amazed by how many of you guys entered my sew mama sew giveaway -- almost 400!! But after some tough deliberating by my friend Mr. Random, Gill was lucky number 86 and won the awesome fat quarters. Yay Gill!!

Blogger gill said...
I love turquoise and grey!
12/12/2011 4:22 PM

**I haven't figured out how to successfully copy and paste my random number generator thingy. If you want to give me a suggestion that would be appreciated.**


It's giveaway day! Yay!

If you are here from Sew Mama Sew, then welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere! I do hope you'll take a few moments to make yourself comfortable and look around...and maybe even come back from time to time to visit and say hi.

Today is the official start of the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway day where tons of blogs out there in blogland are hosting giveaways this week. Back before I had a blog, I stumbled across this and thought it would be a blast to be able to participate. I love it because you can find new blogs to follow AND win some cool stuff.

So here's what I'm offering this year:

A fat quarter bundle of some of my favorite Kona purples! We've got Pansy, Magenta, Dark Violet, and Hibiscus. They are even more gorgeous in person. I also will most likely throw in some fun quilting tools/other purple fabrics.

My giveaway is open to readers ALL OVER THE WORLD! =)

Also it will close Friday, December 16 at 5PM PST.

To enter all you have to do is:

1. Tell me what your favorite color combo for sewing/crafty projects is. (Mine is dark purple+gray)

If you feel so inclined you may do the following for bonus entries:

1. Follow my blog
2. Tweet about winning some awesome purple fabric from PurplePandaQuilts!

Thanks for entering and good luck! Also don't forget to check out some other awesome blogs and see what they are giving away here!


I have gotten many comments from no-reply bloggers. PLEASE be sure to leave me a way to get back in touch with you (i.e. your email address) if you are a no-reply blogger so I can let you know if you win. Also please put your email address in this form: purplepandaquilts (at) gmail (dot) com so we can avoid spam. If I can't get in touch with you, I will put your name on my blog for a few days and if you don't respond then I will be forced to draw another winner.


The winner was # 86 Gill who said:

Blogger gill said...

I love turquoise and grey!


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

December is my favorite time of the year. I love Christmas and everything that it stands for -- family, celebration, giving, love, etc.  Many of my favorite memories as a kid are from my families Christmas traditions -- going to Disneyland, baking dozens of cookies, shopping for stocking stuffers, ice skating downtown, Hotel Del Christmas trees, sticky buns in the early morning, getting a Christmas tree on Christmas Eve, and more.  

We finally got our fresh Christmas tree up and decorated.

What are your holiday traditions? I'd love to know!


Stockings for Kids Giveaway Winners!

First off a GIANT thank you to everyone who participated in the first ever Stockings for Kids drive. I am very grateful to our awesome sponsors (go show them some love this holiday season please!) and to people who have sent in stockings from all over the world. As of this morning I have, wait for it...

219 stockings

I am seriously floored. That's more than four times the amount of stockings I was hoping to get. You guys rock! I never imagined that so many people from around the world would be willing to help make stockings for the foster kids. Not only have you made stockings, but some of you have donated money and even gifts to put in the stockings. Your generosity astounds me. I know it is because of you that these children will have a brighter holiday season.

Because I received so many stockings, I had to quickly figure out where the extras were going to go (my foster center doesn't need 200 stockings!) Most of them will be going to the foster children I work with and the rest will be distributed to other foster care centers in the central virginia area. I also will be taking a few to the hospital my husband works at where they will be given to kids who have to stay overnight on Christmas Eve. We are having a stocking stuffing party this next week so look for pictures of that soon!

Now on to the giveaway. Again another plug to go visit my awesome sponsors who have made this such a fun event. I used my friend Mr. Random Number Generator because my usual go to guy is very busy studying for an exam about how people breathe (apparently knowing that information is important). I thought I had saved the images of the random number but apparently I did not do that properly so you'll just have to take my word for it! =)

$50 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop goes to Ella

The countdown to christmas charm pack from Sweetwater fabrics goes to Joyce C.

The fat quarter pack donated by Tallgrass Prairie Studio goes to Melissa

The "Mystery" red and green fabric bundle donated by Pink Castle Fabrics goes to Jessica!

Happy Early Christmas to our winners and again THANK YOU to everyone who participated.

Quilters rock! 


Holiday Wish List

Happy December everyone! It is now the official start of the holiday season!

It is also the last day to mail in any stockings you have made for the Stockings for Kids drive. I have so many stockings right now and I am very appreciative of everyone who has contributed.

Also, don't forget to enter the giveaway that ends tomorrow at midnight EST for lots of fun prizes from our sponsors (lots and lots of fabric!)

Anyway with the beginning of December, I know many of us are struggling to finish up our holiday shopping (or perhaps finishing up our handmade gifts as the case may be) and so thought I'd share what sewing/quilting things are at the top of my wish list this year...who knows maybe it will inspire you (or your loved ones) in their holiday shopping...and hopefully you can share what you want so it can inspire me in my holiday shopping!

Ly's Sewing Wish List 2011

1. A binding foot for Nina (the Bernina) because that would speed up my quilt making process - and with a busted wrist it sure is difficult to hand sew those bindings on.
2. A fat quarter/half yard/yard/however much santa sees fit to give me set of Lotta Jansdotter's new fabric line Echo (loving those grays and blues and purples right now):

3. The new Modern Blocks book. A lot of people I know have contributed to this book and I am excited to see all the different blocks in it.

4. Block Party. I've heard nothing but good things about this book and think it would make an excellent addition to my sewing library.

So, what's on your holiday crafty wish list this year?


Stockings for Kids Tutorial Tuesday: Tutorial Round-up

Well friends, the time has come for the last edition of Stockings for Kids Tutorial Tuesday. I am so grateful for everyone who has participated in the drive. The stockings have been rolling in. In fact, the post man has resorted to delivering my mail in special, fancy boxes.

Also, don't forget to enter the stockings for kids giveaway! It ends at midnight on Friday December 2nd and is such a great opportunity to win some awesome prizes from our sponsors. And here's a friendly reminder that all stockings need to be mailed on Thursday December 1st!

Stocking Tutorial Round-up

Super Simple Stocking Tutorial

Lined Stocking with a Cuff (presented by Cluck Cluck Sew)

Confetti Christmas Stocking (featuring Kate Spain fabrics)

Appliqued Stocking (presented by FunThreads)

Striped Stocking Tutorial (presented by In Color Order)

Reversible Stocking with Pockets (presented by Sew BitterSweet Designs)

Photo Stocking (presented by Sew Sarah Sews)

Herringbone Stocking (presented by Swim, Bike, Quilt)

Felt Garland Stocking (presented by Bijou Lovely)

I hope that you have enjoyed these tutorials as much as I have. Please don't forget to post a picture of any stockings you've made in the Stockings for Kids Flickr group so we can admire all your beautiful work.


F is for Friendship

It is no secret that I have 3 major loves in my life: books, quilting, and of course my husband.

I grew up on books - my mother doesn't believe in watching television, so my childhood revolved around book characters rather than television characters. My room had floor to ceiling bookshelves and books were piled on every surface imaginable. To say that my sister and I adore reading is an understatement - in fact our punishment when we got in trouble was that we weren't "allowed" to read for a certain amount of time. Yes, while my other friends got their phone or driving privileges revoked, I got my reading privileges revoked. It was a tough life.

Anyway, armed with that knowledge, imagine my delight when a package arrived at my door the other day containing none other than a book about quilting! Now I know you're probably thinking that it isn't that exciting because we all have read pattern books and various other quilting books. But no ladies (and gentlemen) this book is a child's picture book.

Now this book is fantastic. Not just because it is literally the ABC's of quilting,

or because it is chalk full of information about quilting - historical facts from how the sewing machine was invented, or what a quilting bee is, or even the effect the internet has on quilting -

but also because it has gorgeous illustrations.

I highly suggest that everyone out there who loves quilting or books - or even both - go out and get F is for Friendship: A Quilt Alphabet written by Helen L Wilbur and Illustrated by Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen

And while it is a picture book meant for kids, I think you will enjoy it too.


Stockings for Kids Tutorial Tuesday (on a Friday): Felt Garland Stocking

Hi gang. Today's edition of Stockings for Kids Tutorial Tuesday is brought to you by seriously one of my favorite people in blogland -- Holly of Bijou Lovely. And yes, I realize it is not a Tuesday but I figure with the deadline coming up I'd post her stocking tutorial early so we all have a chance to try it out before December 1. When I first started quilting and looking at blogs, hers was one where I found myself looking at over and over again. If her blog isn't on your google reader, add it - trust me you'll be glad you did!

Oh and don't forget to enter the Stockings for Kids giveaway to win all sorts of cool prizes from the sponsors of the drive!

Anyway here is her adorable felt garland stocking. 

Felt garland stocking tutorial

Materials - Old stocking for tracing or there is a template available for free HERE (printed on 11x17 paper)
- 1/3 yard of outer fabric
- 3/4 yard of lining fabric (will be enough for 2 stockings)
- 1/3 yd quilt batting
- 1/4 yard of cuff fabric
- 1/8 yard of felt - 6" length of ribbon or bias tape for hanging loop 1.

First, either trace a stocking that you already have, or use the template stocking to make your pattern pieces.  For this stocking, make sure the width of the opening of your stocking is at least 8" so you can fit the stocking around the arm of your sewing machine later in the tutorial.  You can always modify your stocking pattern to make it wider if the stocking you are tracing is skinnier than 8".

2.  Cut your pattern pieces.
a. You'll need 2 outer fabric pieces.  If you're using a print, make sure the fabric is folded in half to cut your pieces out, as you'll actually need the pieces to be a mirror images of each other so the print will shown on both sides of your stocking.

b. Cut two pieces of fabric for the outer cuff (which won't actually show when it's folded over), that are 6.5" x the width of your stocking.

c.  Cut two pieces of fabric for your inner cuff (which will show when the cuff is folded over), that are 4" x the width of your stocking.
2.  Next, trace your outer stocking fabrics from 1a onto your two lining pieces, adding an extra 3" to the top of the lining pieces (this will be the part of the lining that shows on the outside once you fold over the cuff).  If you're outer stocking pieces are as tall as the width of your outer fabric, you will probably need to cut along the length of your fabric for the lining.

a.  Trace your outer stocking piece onto two layers of quilt batting, adding an additional 6.5" to the top of the stocking.

3.  Sew the outer cuff to the outer stocking pieces, right sides together, using a 1/4" seam allowance.  Press seam allowances open.

4.  Sew inner cuff to inner stocking pieces, right sides together, using a 1/4" seam allowance.  Press seam allowances open. 5.  Baste outer stocking pieces to batting pieces (I used spray baste).

6.  Cut about 15 small felt circles (mine were a little over 1" in diameter).

7.  Arrange the felt circles on the outer stocking piece that you want to be the front.  It might be easier to draw on the garland lines with a disappearing fabric pen before placing your circles.  Then pin the felt to the stocking.

8.  Using a walking foot, sew along your traced garland lines in contrasting thread.  I actually sewed along each line three times to make the stitching stand out a little bit more.

9.  Quilt the cuff of the stocking and the back outer stocking piece however you'd like.  I used random straight lines.

10.  If you want to add decorative stitching along the seam where the lining meets the inner cuff, add it now.

11.  Pin your outer stocking pieces right sides together.  Trim any excess length of the quilt batting along the top of the cuff so it matches your outer stocking fabric.  Sew along the sides and bottom of the stocking using a 3/8" seam allowance.  Do not sew the top edge of the stocking.

12.  Pin your inner stocking pieces right sides together.

13.  Cut a 6" piece of ribbon or bias tape to make a loop to hang your stocking from.  Fold it in half lengthwise and pin it into the side of the lining on the heel side of the stocking, 3" down from the seam where your lining and inner cuff meet.  The edges of your ribbon/bias tape should be along the edge of your fabrics, as shown here, with the loop part in the middle of the stocking (I pulled it out of my seam a bit here, you can align the edges with the edges of your lining).

14.  Sew along the sides and bottom of the lining using a 3/8" seam allowance, leaving a 3"opening on one of the sides for turning.  Do not sew the top edge of the lining. 15.  Clip the curves of your outer stocking and lining pieces.

16.  Insert the outer stocking into the lining, right sides together.  Match up the seams and pin along the top edge of the stocking.

17.  Sew along the top edge of the stocking, using a 1/2" seam allowance.

18.  Turn the stocking right side out through the opening in the lining.  Slip stitch the opening closed, press the stocking, and topstitch along the top edge of the stocking.

19.  Fold down the cuff and hang your new stocking!