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Encourage.

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I want to be an encourager like my friend Amy. She has a way of speaking truth into my life at just the right times. She is the queen of sending cards or writing texts that brighten the dreariest of days.

Amy sent a package this week with a gift inside for my birthday boy. The thoughtfulness meant almost more to me than the gift itself (though it's an awesome gift, too.) Her encouragement and generosity makes me want to a better giver and encourager.

Do you know anyone who could use a pick-me-up? Someone who needs to be reminded that she is wonderfully made? or that she is a woman of dignity? or that she is strong?

So here's the deal: If you buy a print in the next two weeks and drop me a line letting me know it is a gift of encouragement, I'll cover your shipping fee. I'll even send it right to your friend's address with a note saying it's from you, if you want.

Let's be better givers and encouragers and dreary-day-brighteners like Amy.

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Stay.

Did you ever have it when you make a friend and think that person is so super cool that it's hard to believe she wants to be friends with you? I have that sometimes. When I was in college, I met Brittany when she started dating my friend Josh - who I also thought was so super cool. They made the perfect couple. They were hipster, but not intimidatingly so (like you could still bring them to a restaurant without them asking if the free-range chicken on the menu had a name.) They were always up for hanging out, but still knew when to hit the books with you in the library. They were nicer than nice, and always seemed to be the most positive people in the room.

Seriously super cool people. You can see why everyone wanted to be their friends, right?

After college, they got married. Moved south. Started jobs and law school. Stayed awesome (even if they didn't stay near me.)

And now they are having a baby.

 Not this baby... this baby's mine. But the quilt will be theirs.

Not this baby... this baby's mine. But the quilt will be theirs.

And guess who decided that new baby needed a new quilt? So I asked Brittany what colors she had in mind for the nursery. And then I went crazy buying half-yards. Brittany is an artist, so when she has a vision, I take note. As I put their baby quilt together, I took lots of photos to document the process.

First, I cut strips and triangles. I did not cut my finger this time. hooray!

The strips were sewn together, and then those were cut into triangles. The triangles were sewn together to make squares. And then all were laid out on my clean (?) floor.

Those squares became rows and those rows became a rectangle. I threw a couple borders on that rectangle, and the top was done! Now on to the actual quilting.

I try to stay away from spray adhesive when making baby quilts. Call me overly-worried (just not to my face.) But really, I was the kindof pregnant lady who didn't wear nail polish because I didn't know what chemicals could affect the babe.  I think the fewer chemicals the better in regards to anything that might come in contact with the littles. So... to sandwich this quilt, I pinned. Lots of little pins held the front to the batting to the back.

I quilted in straight lines and then added my binding and voila! Another quilt under the belt!

If there is anyone who is going to be an amazing mother to this new little one, it's Brittany. I hope this quilt sets the backdrop for lots of happy naps and warm picnics and tummy times.  So even though after her baby shower Brittany will fly back down south again, my prayers for her beautiful family will stay with this quilt.

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Flip.

One quilt. Two quilts? Two-in-one quilt?

I made the top first - and don't worry, no quilts were harmed in the photographing of this baby - but couldn't for the life of me figure out the back situation.

I had the hardest time deciding on a color for the back. One minute I'd think, "Plum!" The next minute it'd be, "Mint!" Then, I'd see the top and say, "It's gotta be eggplant!"

Then I realized I was hungry and got a snack.

And as always, snacking was the right choice. Because it hit me, "Why do I have to choose?" (This, by the way, is what my grandpa would always say when someone gave him the choice between a piece of pie or a brownie. Smart man, my grandpa.)

I decided the back would have to be plum and mint and eggplant and blackberry and grape, too. And now I almost like the back even more than the top. Two quilts in one, people.

Start lounging with it one way and then flip it over and you've got a whole new situation.

This Modern Reversible Geometric Quilt is up on Etsy - get it before it's gone.

 More quilt Glamor Shots

More quilt Glamor Shots

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Snuggle.

About a year ago, I met a friend of a friend named Lauren, who is a Residence Director at a Christian college. Over the past year - through Bachelor-viewing parties and craft nights and Noonday Collection shows - she has become not just a friend-of-a-friend but a real friend. We can talk about our shared love of HGTV's Fixer Upper, flea markets, and fitness, and also confide in each other about dreams and sorrows, too.

And we also talk quilting.

She commissioned me to make a black-and-white swiss cross quilt that she could throw across the back of her couch, and I have to say that this turned out to be one of my faves. It is big - almost the size of a twin quilt. Definitely snuggable. As I was sewing each piece together, I was thinking about all the young women who will be snuggling with this quilt as they sit in Lauren's living room gleaning wisdom from their RD. Lauren is so full of insight and tenderness, I just know that the conversations that happen between her and her students are life-changing. I am beyond blessed to know that a piece of my work will be in the room, too.

 quilt glamour shots

quilt glamour shots

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Measure.

With great fabric comes great responsibility.

And with great triangles comes lots and lots of measuring. My brain was not made for such math! The accuracy will pay off in the end, though. (Literally, I hope.)

The quilting elves need to get working on sandwiching, quilting, and binding. But I like the way it's coming together. More photos when it's done.

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Grow.

Spring is the best. Finally, we see green and new life and growth. To celebrate the new season - and momma's day coming up in May - I made some botanically-themed prints. All are available at etsy.com/shop/birdsongnotes

Tell your friends! Except don't tell your mom because you'll want her to surprised when she opens the package you give her containing a beautiful frame with this lovely print inside (see what I did there?)

I so hope that this Spring you get a chance to smell some fresh cut grass and see a bird's nest and hear the rain on your roof. And I hope that you get to see God doing work anew in your own life this season, too.

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Announce.

Every once in a while, the people who buy my products tell me their stories. And boy does that make all the work I put in more than worth it. Savannah and her husband are expecting their first child and wanted to use my print in their birth announcement. She sent me the photos after their big reveal, and I am so honored to have been part of their celebration. If you think of it, say a prayer for this little family. What a fun journey awaits them!

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Relax.

I've recently hopped aboard the pillow cover bandwagon. It gives me the piecing and quilting I love but takes just a couple hours. hooray! Now that it's complete, this pillow just makes me want to sit back and relax a bit.

And he has company! TWO PILLOWS to snuggle into! Ahhh... Excuse me while I kick my feet up. :)

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Celebrate.

I made this quilt for my beloved cousin (Steve) and his soon-to-be (also beloved) wife (Kat). I call it the California Quilt. They live in California. It's a quilt. You get it.

They both are into cats and warm weather and Lululemon, so I thought these colors and prints would be perfect for them. It was so much fun to make. When I wasn't distracted by the History of English podcast (nerd alert), I said a couple prayers over this quilt, asking that God would bless their marriage and new life together. Huzzah! Here's to Kat and Steve!

They loved it and I love them there's love everywhere.

 

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Read.

I made my son a quiet book for Christmas. I think I liked making it even more than he likes playing with it... and he LOVES his quiet book. Hours of entertainment here.

 wait for it....

wait for it....

 Peek-a-boo!

Peek-a-boo!

 You can't see it here, but Mr. Bear is roasting a marshmallow over that blazing fire.

You can't see it here, but Mr. Bear is roasting a marshmallow over that blazing fire.

 Mrs. Elephant and Monsieur Monkey are velro-ed on, and Miss Hippo hides behind the pool of water

Mrs. Elephant and Monsieur Monkey are velro-ed on, and Miss Hippo hides behind the pool of water

 We could open and close those barn doors and zip and unzip those ladybug wings all. day. long.

We could open and close those barn doors and zip and unzip those ladybug wings all. day. long.

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Sew.

                                                                                                             My biggest fan

                                                                                                            My biggest fan

If I made a bucket list, I would include things like:

  • get a family portrait taken - in Dutch costumes
  • keep a plant alive 
  • buy a house
  • make a quilt

About two months ago, I decided I wanted to tackle the quilt one.

I had a little sewing machine and a church chocked full of quilters, so I was all set. One of the quilter-ladies became my Yoda, and taught me how to purr and sandwich and stitch-in-the-ditch and do all kinds of other fancy tricks. So I made this here black-and-white swiss-cross quilt. Matt loves it.

And in the process, I discovered something: I LOVE IT. I love quilting. so much.

I had a moment last week where I was feeling anxious and benout, so I said to my hubby, "Can you take the baby so I can quilt? Just an hour." And he did, and I did, and something happened. It was like I could physically feel the tension loosen. After an hour of quilting, I was a new woman.

Creating has that power, I think. Maybe that is Imago Dei for me. Maybe I inherited the "making" trait from the Father. Maybe I get so much joy from creating because He does, too.

So... I sew.

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Begin.

You have to start somewhere, right?

I have a dream of creating prints and cards and quilts that people put in their homes.  So here is where I begin. a blog. a place to share my latest creations. I do find it all a little ego-centric. So sorry about that. We will see where we go from here. Some dreams are never realized, but then again, some are.

It's a start.

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