My Mother’s Placemats

It’s been a bit of a rough road.  My asthma got so severe in January I couldn’t stand long enough to do any sewing.  I thought it was bronchitis but turns out my airway was so swollen I could barely breathe.  It took waking up to my lips being a shade of purple to convince me I should go to the hospital.  My breathing is much improved!  I’ve been getting quite a bit of sewing done in the last two weeks, and it’s been worth the wait.

Sorry, Mom, for making your holiday gifts so belated!!!  She’s getting work-in-progress pictures to hold her over until I finish these.

So, she asked me very specifically to make a set of blue/green/aqua place mats.  She loves the set I made a couple years ago.  They’re all shades of summer and citrus, and they’re on her dining room table everyday.  Now she wants a change in color.  Who am I to deny her such a wonderful gift?

For this set I’m using a collecting of fat quarters she gave me.  They’re BEAUTIFUL!  Absolutely perfect for this set.  I also decided to make mats using foundation paper piecing (I’m hooked, okay?).  The blocks are from AQS Blog, and they’re the Colorado and Hawaiian state blocks.  They finish at 12.5×12.5 inches each.  That’s just ONE block.  After I decided on the blocks I had to figure out where I want the fabric to be.  That’s the tricky part!  Graph paper and color pencils are your friends.


That’s just the Colorado block.  I had to be sure of what I wanted to do because FPP is rather tricky sometimes.  Lessons learned, my friends.

I didn’t have enough fabric to make four identical mats, so instead I made two sets of two mats.  The fabrics are from the same collection, which makes it a perfect mesh of “they go together”.

The soft green in the corners is actually a sort of sage/sea green.  Not quite pastel.  The camera on my phone didn’t want to play nice, but pictures I take later when all four are done will look much better.  As you can see, I did make a few changes.  Namely to the border.  The border is a batik leftover from a previous project.  I usually get at least 1/2 yard more than I need for large projects if I really love a print.

My mother helped me figure out what to use for the binding.  Her mats, her call.  Thankfully we both agreed on the same fabric.  Yay!


The binding add that nice bit of closure and bring it all together.  For this particular block I wanted it to start dark in the middle and work its way out to being lighter.  I also wanted it to sort of look like blossom floating on the water.  Do you think I achieved that?

As for using the block again, that’s a yes.  It’s fairly easy, but the all the pieces do result in the unwelcome bump in the center.  A tip from my mother: for large FPP blocks start sewing in the middle and work your way to the corner.  Then do the same for the other direction.  This will make it less messy in the middle.  Yup!  Totally worked.  Saved me a big headache.

Now as for the second block…it’s beautiful.  And a pain in the butt to make.

Those small rectangular sections with the light triangle?  I got so angry at those.  A lot of fabric was wasted because of the way it folds over when the seams are pressed.  I just couldn’t wrap my head around how to get a rectangle to lay right.  Ugh!  I had little yellow pieces cut out with the butterfly print in the center.  Nope, did not work one bit.  So I have a lot of those pieces left.  I ended up using most of the yellow for the triangle and the batik for the strips.  May have been a sign from the high heavens because the result is far superior to what i had on paper.


See why I want to make a quilt with this?  GLORIOUS!  That strip I was angry at will be a single piece if I make a quilt using this.  A strip the same color as the center strip on the corners.  I think I’ll make this again, as a lap quilt, using a collection of yardage I have.  The two place mats used three fat quarters each!

Back on topic…

The result is stunning.  I’m going to use the last untouched fat quarter for binding this one.  It’s a butterfly and feather print, but looser than the one you see here.

My mother requested I make the place mats large, hence why they’re 18 x 16 inches when finished. I might make a set of coasters for her using the scraps, but that’ll be a Mother’s Day gift, which I have plenty of time to make.  I’ll make some wonky log cabin blocks at 6 x 6 inches finished.  That’ll be easy and quick.

What do you think about these?  The first block is great for beginners, the second for intermediate and up.  Unless you turn that one strip into a single piece, in which case it’ll be for a confident beginner.

For tips and tricks, and free easy lessons on foundation paper piecing, check out Teresa Down Under.  She’s the one who taught me out to do FPP!  I absolutely blame her for getting me so hardcore hooked on this.  There are some blocks you simply cannot make without using FPP.  The paper I use is cheap low-quality computer printing paper.  I tried newsprint, but it was too flimsy.

Now I must return to the sewing room to finish these up.  They’ll all be hand-quilted as well, because that’s how I roll.

Winnie the Pooh commission

I was hired by a fellow artist on DeviantArt to create a baby quilt for another artist on the same site.  What had me most excited is both these artists are very popular and well known there.  One of them is an employee of the site and the other a volunteer.  Exposure, anyone?

The quilt contract was put together during my Pay What You Want event, with a price of $120.  I broke even with the quilt fabric alone, but that’s okay.  The quilt was a delight to create!

It was my first panel quilt, so I designed it all around the panel.  The panel had two corresponding fabrics, which worked really well for me.  Those were used for the two borders as well as the foundation paper piecing I did.  I purchased eight fat quarters from BJ’s Quilt Shop in Bend, Oregon (my favorite local shop!) for the foundation paper piecing stars I added to the quilt.

full quilt

As always, I did all the quilting by hand.  For this quilt I followed the lines of stitching, the red border on the panel, as well as the black lines within the panel.  The flowers, arrows, butterflies, and characters are beautifully quilted using variegated thread.

In the bottom left corner I embroidered COMFORT.  All commissions receive a word or two on the quilt.  It’s a family tradition!  My mother used to quilt the name or initials of the person receiving the quilt, but now she gets her quilts machine-quilted and writes the name on the back with a marker.

The quilt arrived yesterday and the artist who received it is thrilled.  She just had a baby a couple weeks ago.  The theme of the nursery is Winnie the Pooh, and this quilt is large enough for mom and baby.  Total perfection!

Much to my delight, the person who commissioned me sent me a tip on my Ko-Fi page.  Note to those who commission artists: giving a tip is a great way to make us smile.

Now I need to work on the extremely belated holiday gifts.  This quilt took over the time I would have use for gifts.  I think I may need to start the next holiday gifts sometime in August to make sure they’re all done in time for arrival!

Quilt Commission!

I recently finished a quilt commission for one of my Instagram followers.  It’s a commemoration piece to his bird Boris.  I was given lots of photographs and video references to help pick out fabrics and a pattern that would work best to create a visual of Boris.  Apparently I hit the nail on the head.


It’s made entirely from batiks save for the solid black sections.  I was thrilled to find the wood print batik!  The pattern is a foundation paper piece patter you can purchase from TartanKiwi on Etsy.  I made a couple changes for the tail section because Boris’s tail was short.

The quilting was done entirely by hand using a rich rainbow variegated thread by Sulky Threads.  The stitch lengths vary because I wanted to create a more 3D look to this, and found that different stitch lengths helped a lot.

After quilting and binding the mat was washed.  It was only then that I hand-sewed the gems to the quilt.  On the brand are long tiger’s eye beads, and on the wing are round green aventine beads.  The quilt is now handwash only so as not to risk losing any of the beads.  I did loop through each of them three times for extra security, but machine washing will be a VERY bad idea.

Overall it took about two weeks to make once I purchased the fabric.  The total price was $60 USD.  Without the beads it’d be $45.  This finished at 14.25 x 14.25 inches.  RavenBara is thrilled with the result and followed the progress on Instagram.

A holiday theme

I’m not a big fan of holiday themed quilts.  They end up tucked away most of the year, coming out for only a few weeks or just days, then are hidden away again.  It makes me a little sad.  However, my sister send my HUGE collection of fabrics from her stash.  A good chunk of it was Halloween fabric.  I finished this quilt too close to the holiday, I think, and thus it didn’t sell.


For this particular quilt I use flannel for the batting.  It’s the perfect size for a table mat to put a bucket of candy or a pumpkin.  I didn’t want it being too fluffy because that can make it difficult to keep things sitting on it to remain balanced.

It’s a really playful and childish quilt, which is a huge change from my usual quilts.  I went a little different with my handquilting.  For this I used black thread and went in one diagonal line on the strip blocks and an X over the single print blocks.  The quilt is rather floppy due to the flannel batting, but it works well for the purpose I made this for.

It’s 24 x 27.5 inches, the perfect size for a table decoration.  You can purchase this in my shop here.  Sure, it seems silly to purchase it after Halloween, but it’s best to have it ready and waiting for the next time the season rolls around.

Subdued Storm

My sister gave some charm packs a few years ago, but they’re so beautiful I was afraid to use them.  I wanted to wait until I had the right pattern, the right fabrics, and overall better skills.

This is what came of one of charm packs…


I used schoolhouse blocks, two batik jelly rolls, and of course the charms.  I wanted something balanced and different.  This turned out better than I could have hoped.  It’s orderly but also a bit wild.  The colors and prints on the various fabrics remind me of the severe storms I witnessed when I lived in the Midwest region of the US.

I handquilted this using a variegated thread in autumnal colors.  The quilt fluffed up really well after washing, and this caused the quilting to stand out more.  You can see it better on the back.


The quilt is filled with texture.  All over the top it’s so different and the back even more so.  I love it!

It measures at 49.5 x 49.5 inches / 125.73 x 125.73 cm.  An excellent size for a lap quilt or a large baby quilt.

You can purchase this here in my shop.  With the holidays around the corner now’s a good time to get a one-of-a-kind gift.  This one is on the lower end of the price scale, and the colors make it great for any gender for it’s neither masculine nor feminine.

Small Projects

I’ve found that making small things to be very helpful.  It helps me understand some foundation paper piecing blocks, color combinations, design, and keeps me busy without taking too much time.  One of my recent mini-quilts was made using a rather elaborate foundation paper piecing block, and since making it I’ve decided I need to make a big quilt with it.


I added borders to give it a good finished size, but as you can see it’ll make for a rather elaborate quilt.  Absolutely perfect for a gradient design or starbursts.


I plan on using purple, white, grey, and black for it, but I want them to be different prints.  Lots of different purples, greys, whites, and blacks.  Small print, hint-of-a-print, and not a single solid.  I think there’ll be a lot of fat quarters used for it, and maybe some yardage.

As for the size…I think a twin or full size quilt will be good.  It won’t be made anytime soon.  I need to collect the fabrics first, then print out a color sheet so I can figure out the best arrangement.  This won’t be started until probably March 2019, and the top will take at least two weeks to make once I get started and not work on anything else.

This mini-quilt is available for purchase in my shop right now and measures 18.5 inches x 18.5 inches / 47 x 47 cm.

Pay What You Want

How This Works:

  1. Tell me what your budget is (can be anything from $5 to $5000)
  2. I tell you what I can make within that budget
  3. After going over details for the commission you pay 50% upfront
  4. I make the commission
  5. When finished I list it on my shop and charge only the other 50% + shipping
  6. Once I receive the payment I ship it off to you
  7. If you decide after I’ve begun/finished the commission you can no longer afford it I will keep the 50% upfront payment. The item will still be listed in my shop at 50% of the agreed cost.
  8. The budget does not include shipping.  Keep that in mind.  If your budget is only $5, and that includes shipping, it’s going to be a no.  Shipping in the US generally starts at $3 for small lightweight parcels.
  9. If you wish to commission me for more than one item assume you’ll need to have at least a $15 budget prior to shipping.
Specifically for Jewelry
  1. I need you to provide links to three pieces I’ve made that you favor most
  2. What you like best about them
  3. Color preferences
  4. Length of the finished piece
  5. I also need to know if you’re allergic to metal (I specialize in making metal-free jewelry)
Items already listed in my shop are unavailable for this event.  The link to my shop is at the top of this journal post.
Check out the links below to get a feel for my style.  I don’t always make brightly colored things; they’re just a personal preference.  If you want dark colors I can definitely do that.
If you decide you want a surprise
  1. I’ll need your budget
  2. What you love and what you cannot tolerate (colors, designs, texture, etc)
  3. General size (be it a quilt or jewelry)
  4. I may also need to write up a simple contract stating you want a surprise and want to see what I can do
  5. 50% payment upfront (as stated above) and the rest of the payment when I list the item in my shop
  6. If you, for whatever reason, don’t care what I make for you so long as I make something please let me know
  7. You are either completely mad or you know I’ll make something fabulous
My jewelry gallery can be seen here.
My quilt gallery can be seen here.
The event runs from now to December 31, 2018.  Seeing as the holidays are coming up now is a good time to get a head-start on commissions.  One-of-a-kind gifts are a wonderful things to receive, even if it’s just for yourself.
If you’re serious about hiring me for a commission please send me an email at with the title PWYW.  .
Examples of my work in no particular order
For something of this size and grandeur expect to pay no less than $1000 USD.  If you want this quilt specifically I have it available in my shop.
This is a set of six coasters.  If you want just a single coaster it won’t be from this set because this is already listed.  However, individual coasters will start at $5 USD.
If you’d like a quilt using this design but in a different size the price will vary.  This specific quilt is listed at $250 USD.
This was made using a technique called “foundation paper piecing”.  It’s more labor intensive, yes, but the results are well worth it.  If you want a mat of this design it starts at $35 USD.
I strongly recommend reading the information I have in the description.  For something like this it starts at $35.  This piece in particular is valued at $65.
A completely metal-free necklace!  It’s a simple design and the price starts at $25.  The design is simple but it uses a lot of cord length.
One of my chunky necklaces!  This is a flexible design allowing for all sorts of custom changes from what you see here.  It starts at $45 USD if using only one color, no beads, and no pendant.

Mermaid’s Treasure

I had a blast quilting this.  I also fell asleep three times because this quilt is so cozy.


The fabric I used for the squares in the center of the blocks is also used for the binding.  A great way to balance it all out.

It measures at 78 x 75 inches / 198 x 190.5.

All the quilting was done by hand.  I used painters tape to help keep the lines straight across the blocks to create an X.


You can see the quilting much better on the back.  The thread is variegated and blends in with the top while standing out on the back.

Photographs don’t do this justice.

Currently the quilt is available for purchase in my shop.  Check it out here.  With the holiday’s coming up now is a good time to get the one-of-a-kind gifts.  This one will serve well as a family heirloom, passed from generation to generation.

Vote Winner

I had the hardest time figuring out which quilt to finish first and needed a little help.  I received said help via tumblr, twitter, and Instagram.  What was voted on?

After saving some money I purchased wide backing (108″) fabric so I could finish these.  I just…couldn’t decide which one to work on first.  The winner is Mermaid’s Treasure!  I’ve basted it and now have it on a lap frame.  It won’t be on the larger frame simply because I’m working on multiple projects right now and need the space.

You can see all the progress on my Instagram page: ReneetheChaosfay

Threads for August

I’m keeping very busy as of late and haven’t really gotten around to uploading pictures of my current work to my computer.  Here’s what I’ve finished over the last four weeks!  Nearly all of it is for because it’s about the only thing preventing me from feeling lonely.  A lot of quilters are there.


The theme for this was “August” and we had to make a mug rug.  For me August has become a month of smoke.  There are a lot of wildfires in and near my area, smoke from distant fires travels here as well.  It chokes out any colors and makes the sun a dim circle in the sky.  All colors are subdued by the grey-brown haze and landmarks are sometimes hidden entirely.

For this I used a foundation paper piecing block I’ve been wanting to try out.  The results are 1) it’s a fast block and 2) it’s super easy but gotta mark the colors.  I’ll definitely use it again, but for a much larger project.


Not for swap-bot!  This was done entirely on a whim.  It wasn’t until I made the final square that I realized I didn’t have enough butterfly print.  The block was a lot of fun, not too demanding, and the color arrangement will make a HUGE impact when I make a larger quilt out of it.  A gradient look will be very appeal!


I finished it!  The receiver looooves it, and that’s all that matters.  Made entirely from scraps!  I used foundation paper piecing (seeing a pattern here?  Oh, look, a pun!) for the hearts and added borders around them.  It finished at 34×34 inches, a little larger than intended but totally worth it.


This one was for swap-bot as well.  We only had to make a strip-piece mug rug with at least five strips no larger than 2″ wide.  I couldn’t do just five strips though.  I decided to play with arranging the strips to keep the roses aligned.  No idea why the background is pink in the picture.  Weird.


Last but not least is my favorite creation of the month!  I titled it “Wonderful Creation” and used foundation paper piecing.  The theme for this swap was to make something using a 6×6 inch square provided by the swap host.  I used two batiks and a solid.  The binding is spot-on perfect!

That’s August for you!  What have you been doing to keep your hands busy?

In non-quilting news I’ve been playing with makeup and loving every minute of it.