And Ladybug Hugs

My heart has always been with our men and women who serve so bravely as part of the U.S. Military.  I have supported the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and the USO for many years.  Recently, I found another organization to support and I couldn’t be more excited!

Operation Kid Comfort (OKC) is a non-profit group run through the Armed Services YMCA.  This group solicits volunteers to donate and cut fabric, assemble “quilt kits” and/or sew quilts.  All quilts are donated — free of charge — to a child who has a deployed parent. 

From their website:

Operation Kid Comfort creates custom-made quilts for children of deployed military personnel who experience grief from missing their mom or dad.

Created in 2004 at Ft. Bragg/Pope Air Force Base in Fayetteville, N.C., ASYMCA’s Operation Kid Comfort is designed to address the emotional stress that children of military personnel suffer during a parent’s absence from home, providing free quilts for children ages 6 and under and pillows for children ages 7 and older. To date, the program has been extended to 10 ASYMCA branches/affiliates and over 18,000 quilts/pillows  for children of deployed parents have been distributed.

ASYMCA volunteers collect photographs from military families to make “photo-transfer” quilts that feature images of the deployed family member. With the help of local quilting artists, volunteers are taught the basic steps of quilt making, how to crop and scan pictures, preparation of the fabric, and use of equipment. Once the quilt is complete, it is given to the child to play with, sleep with, or use to comfort them from the grief of missing their mom or dad.

I just received my first packet of photos, which brought tears to my eyes.  I can’t imagine being away from my kids for more than even a few days, and I don’t think they could imagine being away from me.  Heck, my “baby” started kindergarten today and I’ve been crying since I dropped her off!  (She was fine.)

I will be making 3 quilts for one family — a 6-year-old boy, a 3-year-old girl and a 3 month old girl.  OKC provides a very simple, standard pattern (or you can use your own, within some basic guidelines) and I can’t imagine it will take more than 5-7 hours per quilt.  Though I have a long WIP (work in progress) list already, I feel like these really take priority and time is definitely of the essence when your Daddy is deployed overseas.

My daughters were excited to get involved, as well.  They understand how important it is to help take care of our nation’s Brave Heroes (service members) and they had a blast helping me pick the fabrics for these quilts.  (I opted to only receive the photographs — not the fabric and batting — from the OKC team, to save them on cost.)  I started cutting the strips for the first one (for the 3 year old girl) this morning and I hope to have some pictures to post very soon.

If you are interested in donating your time and your talents to this great cause, I am sure they would love more volunteers!  You can choose a single child or a family.  You can ask them to send you all the supplies (photos, fabric and batting) or just the photos.  They even send you a postage-paid strip you will use to mail the finished quilts to the family.

If you have made on OKC quilt before, please leave a link to your photo(s).  I’d love to see some!

~*~ May your day be filled with Love and Ladybug Hugs.  Happy Quilting! ~*~

This quilt was another first for me… I used both paper piecing (for the grass) and also applique stitching. The paper piecing wasn’t so bad but that applique stitch took a bit of practice.  I’m pretty impatient (in general) so when I first started this project, I was trying to stitch too fast or pull the fabric more quickly through the machine.  Let me tell you…. ripping out applique stitching is not fun!  Once I conceded to letting the machine do the work at the speed the machine wanted to do the work, it was all good.

This pattern is called “Pond Pals” and it appeared in the Winter 2008 edition of Quiltmaker magazine.  This one was made for my nephew, Aaron.  I had a great time picking out the bright colors and the animals were so cheerful that I smiled the whole time I was working on this quilt.

Here’s how it turned out:

Since it was a gift for a new baby, I hand-embroidered his stats onto the sun:

Some close-ups of the animals:

The pattern called for buttons, but I was worried they might be a choking hazard, so I made them out of felt circles.  The circles were too small to applique, so I hand stitched them together.

I’d love to see what applique quilts you have made.  If you have pictures, please leave me a link in the comments!

~*~ May your day be filled with Love and Ladybug Hugs.  Happy Quilting! ~*~

I wish I could say that I love all my quilts equally, but I’m sure any quilter would agree that’s never the case.  Some patterns don’t work out or the color choices don’t pop.  This, however, is not one of those quilts.  If I had to pick a favorite, I think it would be this one.  It’s the first (and perhaps the only??) time I ever followed a pattern exactly as it was written.  It was the first time I saw tiny little pieces of fabric come together into larger blocks, then an entire quilt.  I was overwhelmed that finally, finally I had made a quilt the way you’re supposed to make a quilt!!

The pattern for this quilt is a Double Irish Chain, which I printed for free from the Quilter’s Cache site.  I’m not sure what drew me to this particular pattern, but I’m glad I tried it.

This quilt was made for my friend Luanne, as a thank you gift for generosity she has shown to my family over and over again.  As you might guess from the fabrics, Luanne is a big fan of Disney.  (She even has a Disney themed guest room!)  I knew that Mickey would be the way to go on this one.

Finding the fabric was a challenge.  I wanted Mickey but not “little kid” Mickey.  I searched and searched and finally found 2 fabrics (via eBay) that I thought could work.  I was unsure how to make the red and the pink work together, so I added in a black polka dot and hoped for the best.  Here is the result:

And the back.  Those dark “dots” are shaped like Mickey heads:

Here are a few pictures of the process of how it all came together:

The hand-embroidered quilt tag in Disney font (I blocked out the last names):

And of course, the ladybug.  No quilt is complete without a ladybug!  (Can you find it?):

~*~ May your day be filled with Love and Ladybug Hugs.  Happy Quilting! ~*~

Welcome to my new blog, And Ladybug Hugs!  Thanks for visiting!

My name is Kat.  I’m a married mother of 2 beautiful girls (ages 5 and 8) and I also have a full-time job outside the home.  I have been quilting for about 8 years as a hobby.  My pipe dream is to someday be able to make quilts as my full-time job but until then, I’m happy to squeeze in as much quilting s as possible in my free time. 

Recently I started bumping into a few blogs about quilting, and I really enjoy seeing what other quilters are working on, learning new techniques, finding new ideas and hopefully — one day — expand my comfort zone with the fabrics, colors and patterns I use.  I have never taken a quilting class or a sewing lesson so I’m completely self-taught.  I don’t necessarily recommend this method, as I’m sure there are better ways to do most of what I do, but it has worked for me so far.  I hope this blog will inspire someone else to try something new, or share an idea or a pattern or some tips with me.  I’ll start with a few posts about some of my favorite past projects, then hopefully venture in to the insanely too-long list of WIPs I’ve got sitting in pieces around my house.

You can read more about me by clicking on the “About Me” link at the top of the page.  If you’re interested in why I named this blog “And Ladybug Hugs,” you can read more about that by clicking on the “Why Ladybug Hugs?” link.

~*~ May your day be filled with Love and Ladybug Hugs.  Happy Quilting! ~*~

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