Needles and a Pen » Knitting, Sewing, and Nursing School

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  • Welcome to my blog!

    Hi! I'm Traci. I'm a nursing student and CNA who loves quilting, knitting, cross stitch, Project Life scrapbooking, and the great outdoors. In my pre-scrubs life, I owned Real Photography, and you can still see my old wedding and portrait photography site here .

    I great big puffy heart *love* comments, so please let me know you visited! I try to always reply!

black tie cowgirl

I’ve had a week of completing the ‘should’ stuff–Ellie’s quiet book, cleaning, laundry, errands, starting my latest class–and I’m running out of steam.  After I cleaned up the mess from Ellie’s quiet book I thought I’d take a few minutes and test out my planned layout for my first new quilt of the year–a bow tie quilt from the Urban Cowgirl line.  I don’t normally name my quilts anything other than calling them by their fabric line or block pattern, but this one, a bow tie urban cowgirl quilt, just had to become my Black Tie Cowgirl.

The inspiration is from this quilt from Red Pepper quilts.  I absolutely adore it, and my first thought was to follow suit and do two solids (a cream and a deep pink) but I started feeling like I’d something more blendy (I like blendy busy quilts).  I was feeling good about that decision until about 30 seconds ago when I linked up that bow tie quilt and now I’m second guessing myself.  😛  That’s the problem with working with fabric you’re absolutely head over heels for.  Picking a pattern and layout are terrifying because you don’t want to let down your fabric stack!!!

Jessica - I like your version! I don’t normally like blendy busy quilts, but I like what you did. :)

nicke - oh i love this so much! i love urban cowgirl, so pretty and feminine.

Dolores - So far I like your version. I don’t like the version with two solids, I’m half-way through making a bow tie quilt with 1 solid.

Sherry - I LOVE this fabric line! I just bought a charm pack so I could have the whole line. I am also trying to figure out what to make. None of my ideas seem right for the fabric. I do love your bow tie look!

Jacey - I’m so into this line. I have some marinating in the stash, and I agree; it’s hard to find the right design for a fabric you adore!

Becky - Hi Traci! I wanted to let you know that I’ve passed a Liebster Award your way:) Congrats!

ellie’s birthday present!

The problem with kids whose birthdays are right after Christmas is that you can always lolligag on a project that was intended to be for Christmas and use it for their birthday instead.  That’s what happened to this Quiet Book (yep–I’m the worst sew along leader ever.  To the two people who said they would participate–I suck and I’m sorry!)

Anyway, it’s done.  And my feelings about it were all over the map.  At first I loved it.  I had high hopes for it.  It was going to be the best ever.  It was going to have the crap pinned out of it.  We’re talking amazing details, great interactive sections, Creativity-a-go-go.  And then the pages started turing out pretty blah.  Or even blech.  And it turns out that sewing snaps is absolutely NOT something I’m willing to do 18 times (cough–tic-tac-toe page that was intended to be snaps but is now held together by the power of felt and gravity–cough).   And then it became something I hated, but was hell bent on finishing at any cost.

When it came time for the cover, I decided to rally.  To do something special, creative, and pretty.  And I am so glad I did.  Because now when I look at it I don’t see the uneven page borders or inner binding that was an inch too short or the awful crooked stitching holding it in place…I just see that pretty cover.  And with it I am well pleased.

So, without further ado, and finished with six days to spare…we have Ellie’s birthday present:

For the pages, many are based on ideas I saw online, though some are my own creations.  I’m particularly proud of the Rapunzel page, which came to me after many days of pondering how to incorporate a bow page without having to figure out how to set grommets for the popular shoe activity book page.  And then it hit me–use Ellie’s favorite movie Tangled as the inspiration!  I also like that this can be used when she’s older as a learning-how-to-braid activity, too (the ribbon is sewn onto the page so it doesn’t get lost).  The camera page (which I’ve used as a title page) came to me as an obvious must since Nic and I are wedding photographers!  I printed a recent family photo onto ink jet printer fabric.  The tent idea is also a favorite, but I wish I’d made the sleeping bag interactive.  When I showed that page to Ellie (I showed a lot of the pages to Ellie as I was working on them) she kept trying to make the pillow move.  I wish I’d made a little camper and a moveable pillow and sleeping bag that opened to store him in.  For now the purse holds the Xs and Os, but it will hold crayons and paper, too.

Julia - Traci, this is just incredible! A fun play book now, but a keepsake for a lifetime!

erica - Traci – you are incredible! *I* want a book like this, lol…I could use some quiet contemplative time. I love all the pages but especially the tent. So good.

beth lehman - adorable!! way to go. that takes some dedication!

Heather - This is freaking unbelievable!! I will hang up on you if you ever tell me on the phone about anything that is wrong with it! It is beautiful and thoughtful and personalized exactly for Miss Ellie… the only thing I don’t understand is how she can possibly be two years old already! With love and amazement, Heather

Amanda - Great finish, glad you completed it! Liz’s is still just the backgrounds :) so I didn’t get very far – my modivation for it dwindled also! I have till mid-March to get it done her birthday! [and I really would like to…]

Jolene - Wow wow just WOW! You set the bar incredibly high for yourself! (although I know all about hating your own stuff while your making it and then eventually you forget about those feelings and learn to like it)

But this little book is absolutely amazing! That tent is incredibly cute, and I’d like to make one of these books just so I could have a tent like that! and yes the Rapunzel braid is genius too!

Jennifer G - Well I think it turned out pretty ding-dang perfect if you ask me… AND it’s something she will cherish and keep FOREVER. Be proud! It’s a fantastic accomplishment to complete a project when you have kids and a family to look after ;o) I can relate to the emotional roller coaster of needing to finish a project you lost steam on, too.

Kristie at OCD - Wow. Wow! Such amazing details, and the cover is the cutest thing ever!

Alli - The cover is adorable! I think your quiet book is wonderful! I especially like the zippered tent flaps and the handles to carry the book. :)

Colleen S - I am so loving this. And you have inspired me to make my own!! Thank you. Would you mind sharing the size of your pages and how you assembled each individual page? I would so appreciate it. If you don’t want to do a whole post on it I understand maybe you could drop me an e-mail. Thanks and I seriously LOVE it!!!

Susie at ProsperityStuff - This. Is. Adorable. Love it! Nice work, very creative, and soooo cute!

Bruna - Hi! This book looks fantastic! I love each detail and the cover is so so cute :)

Kim - LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! So beautiful and the cover is perfect!

I’m still working on my quiet book that was supposed to be a Christmas present… but my little one’s 3rd birthday is at the end of April, so I still have some time :) haha.

Amie - I LOVE this! I’m contemplating a quiet book at the moment, trying to decide what materials I want to use. I love how you layered your pages. I’m new to sewing, but want to work those skills on this project. What material did you use for the foundation? It looks like a linen or a muslin maybe?

This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing! And thanks even more for your honesty about the process!! Makes me feel normal!! :)

Bekah - I love it! I’m wanting to make some for the children I babysit, I’m thinking of incorporating a matching game. Love your ideas!

Emmaline - This is incredible, Traci!! I am currently creating my own ‘Quiet Book’ for a Visual Communication and Design project, so I know first-hand how much work went into this!! Ellie’s book has given me so much inspiration, but one regret. I WISH I had seen this before I started on my own. Mine is made of plain old felt… now seeing this, I WISH I did it in gorgeous materials like you have!! ESPECIALLY love the front cover!! Amazingly crafted :) Do you mind if I include some of these photo’s in my research folio?

Took Ellie to Mass today for the first time in ages.  It did not result in an epic family meltdown the likes of which the world as previously seen (twice).  Success.

In other news, I couldn’t figure out why, every time Ellie gets access to a ball point pen, she always puts it in her mouth like a dog.  Until I caught myself helping her to the potty today with a pen in my mouth and realized THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT I DO WITH A PEN EVERY TIME SHE INTERRUPTS ME IN A WRITING TASK.  Ooops.

When Will looks back on his childhood and remembers all the times I was cranky or short with him, the times I ‘mm-hmmed’ his stories or was “too busy” to play leggos…let him also remember that on the night when he lost his first tooth, I sprinkled tooth fairy glitter on his pillow…knowing full well what the cleanup would be in the morning.

poor child

Tonight I made popcorn.  But the pan I normally use was dirty and since I can barely stand up right now (thank you mystery illness) I used a different pot.  It didn’t turn out well.

Back on the sofa, Will says “what’s that smell?”  I say “popcorn, but I burned it.”

He disappears to go investigate.  Comes back chewing.  ”Why didn’t you bring it out to us?”

“Because I burnt it, baby.  I’m sorry.”

Crestfallen, Will whines “but I like burnt stuff.”

Which made me flash back to a few days ago, when I was making quesedillas for lunch.  I burnt the first one (having been dragged to the sofa by Ellie and enticed with ‘huggies’).  The burning smell had me back in the kitchen, making attempt number two.  At which point I started looking through the mail.

Will came into the kitchen.  ”Is my lunch ready, Mom?” 

“Sorry, buddy—I burnt the first one but I’m working on the second one.”  I go over to the pan, flip it.  “Oh man.  I burnt this one too.  I’m so sorry Will, I’ll make another one.”

“No!  I like the black part!  I like it crunchy!”

His future wife will likely thank me for setting Will’s culinary standards so incredibly low.

My current favorite Ellie phrase: “What you say Mom? What say?” (just like her brother says “what did you say?” all the time).  Although a close second is the way when she’s coming to find me she shouts “COMING! COMING MOM! COMING! COMING MOM!” as if I’d been calling her.