by Emma Thomas-McGinnis, artist & quilter

More Christmas Gifts to Share

January 4th, 2012 | Posted by Emma in Crafts | Quilting | Uncategorized - (3 Comments)

Ok, so I had a very productive holiday season of homemade gift-giving! Here are a few more I wanted to show you before moving on… (oh and stay tuned for a wrap-up of the gifts my husband made this year, with a little help from his wife!)

This is a package of three little gifts I gave to my small group secret santa, Veronica. Using a fabric line I knew she’d love, I made a button bag zipper tote, a pin cushion and a fancy twisted drawstring pouch.

Then I made a big quilted tote bag for my sister in law who loves to knit. It’s big enough to put a lot of yarn and a sweater in, I’m sure! I used a charm pack called “Cherish Nature”, that I totally love! I was actually starting to think I should keep the bag halfway through, because I loved those fabrics so much. But my generosity won out because it was Christmas and I wanted Jennifer’s gift to be great!

I loved the quilting on this! I used my favorite free motion pattern and it really looked nice…look at those beautiful fabrics!

Two big pockets inside and one on the outside, along with really big, sturdy handles, make this a really useful bag!

And this might have been the most fun project for me, because I truly love making stuffed toys…and I don’t have many girly gifts to give in my family!

Doesn’t look like much yet, but open it up…

it’s a dolly slumber party!

Here’s my hand holding a dolly, so you can see the fun little size they are.

The pattern came from one of my favorite stuffed toy books “Wee Wonderfuls” by Hilary Lang.


December 30th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Site may be looking a little different for a while until I land on my new look…please don’t be alarmed and thank you for your patience. Oh and feel free to voice your opinion if you like any of the new looks!

Christmas Quilties

December 30th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in Quilting | Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

I had a special custom order this holiday season, for a good friend of mine who wanted ornaments for her family. I was given suggestions as to the interest of each family member and came up with a little embroidery design for each. With a printed greeting on the back, I made mini quilt blocks for the front and back and turned them all into Christmas tree ornaments.

I didn’t make new ornaments for my shop this year, so this project filled that void…but I was very tempted to make more. Next year I hope to have more orders for ornaments like these, they were very fun! I think the customization made them even more special. I’m not sure if the photos do them justice, it is pretty fun to hold these tiny quilts!

Angry Birds Christmas

December 27th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in Crafts | Quilting | Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

My boys love Angry Birds this year…what kid doesn’t, huh? Well, I made them a few accessories to fill their requests for Angry Bird stuff.

By far the best was these hats!!

We had seen some knitted angry bird hats at a gas station and thought I could do a better job with fleece. I think I did!

Except that as you can see in the pic, Brennan’s was too small. I wanted them to be a surprise, so I couldn’t try them on the kids. I just measured from one of their current hats. But when constructing, forgot to orient the grain of the fleece so as to stretch AROUND their heads, so I did have to rip a few seams and reconstruct them once. Aw well. It was only too bad that I had made it fully-lined and top-stitched before realizing my error!!

The next thing I made was really my son Conal’s idea. He wanted a “Pig Fortress Building Kit.” His idea was to use foam or boxes to make bricks for building pig houses. I bought a sheet of 3″ thick foam and covered them with brick patterned fabric like you would a baby block. The roof is a sheet of heavy-weight plastic canvas covered in fabric and batting.

This was the tote bag and sign for storing the game.

Here’s a pig in his fortress!

And here’s the fortress after launching a bird at it! This makes me very glad they have a big basement room to go throwing around their toys in!!

Here’s a funny action shot of Conal trying out his angry bird hat and pig fortress on Christmas morning (hence the mess all around!)

I think I took enough photos of the process that I could write a quick tutorial, let me know if you’re interested.

Christmas Crafts

December 26th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in Crafts | Inspiration | Quilting | Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

Ok, before I tell you about my marathon of Christmas gifts, I have to say that I was still crafting today after making no less than 16 unique gifts this season! I just wanted to be back in my studio making stuff, so that’s what I did.

That and my friend Sherri’s suggestion to check out Pinterest was a good one. I had this inspiring pin board to get me crafting!

So I went to this tutorial at Retro Mama and made these little houses with Christmas fabrics. I have to say I like her fabric choices a lot better, but I started them with my Christmas bin of fabrics and they just turned out.

For Conal:

For Brennan:

For Dave (with Woodstock in the window):

And for me (yes, I wanted one too!):

They were really addicting and easy to make multiples of. I had to stop myself from sewing more of them and go play with my boys a bit!

If you want to get into Pinterest too or have already discovered the wonders…

Follow Me on Pinterest

Here’s another quickie project I did…by watching a video. They are just 4-strand braids in a ball, I’m going to add ribbons and make them into ornaments.

It’s still Christmas and the boys are happily playing with their new toys, I think I’ll go back to the studio! (Maybe I should clean up rather than making something this time, though!)

Merry Christmas!

December 25th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

Merry Christmas, Friends!

I’ll be back later with a run-down of all the santa’s workshop gifts I made this season…but for now, just enjoying the holiday with my boys!

Free Motion Quilting Project

December 8th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in Design | Quilting | Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

Recognize this?

Well, if you quilt, you should! It’s a great source of inspiration for free motion quilting! From Leah Day’s blog Free Motion Quilting Project.
The above is a pic of the place to go to see all Leah’s designs in a Flickr gallery. Handy for finding what you want on a quilt…then go back to her blog to watch the video on how to make it…Easy! Free Motion Quilting Design Flickr Gallery

How about this?

Free Motion Quilting Project

Well, you probably don’t because I just designed it. It’s Leah’s new logo for her blog. I hope you see more of it now and visit her blog often.

She wrote a nice post about it here, with a link to my professional graphic design site and a button you can copy to put in the sidebar of your blog, if you have one!

Happy Haul-idays

November 19th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in Crafts | Uncategorized - (13 Comments)

Ok, so I’m still not feeling well and too tired to even “work” in my studio, so I thought it would be fun to do a little shopping. But I thought this would be a fun way to shop without saving money! Chronicle books has a sweepstakes such that if I win I will get my wishlist of up to $500 of books, one person who comments on this post will also win and they will donate $500 of books to my favorite charity! Cool, huh?!

Holiday Crafting & Baking with Kids: Gifts, Sweets, and Treats for the Whole Family! 19.95
Craft, Inc. – Revised Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Turning Your Creative Hobby into a Successful Business 16.95
Instant Iron-Ons 14.95
Little Bits Quilting Bee: 20 Quilts Using Charm Squares, Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes, and Fat Quarters 24.95
Graphic Design Thinking: Beyond Brainstorming 24.95
1, 2, 3 Sew: Build Your Skills with 33 Simple ProjectsBags, Accessories, Home Accents, and More 24.95
The Button Factory: Everything You Need to Instantly Create 25 Fabric-Covered Pins! 18.95
Paper + Craft: 25 Charming Gifts, Accents, and Accessories to Make from Paper 19.95
Lotta Jansdotter’s Handmade Living: A Fresh Take on Scandinavian Style 29.95
Amy Butler’s Style Stitches: 12 Easy Ways to 26 Wonderful Bags! 29.95
Every Day’s a Holiday: Year-Round Crafting with Kids 22.50
Whip Up Mini Quilts: Patterns and How-to for More Than 20 Contemporary Small Quilts  24.95
Denyse Schmidt Quilts: 30 Colorful Quilt and Patchwork Projects 24.95
Applique Your Way: 35 Pretty Projects and Patterns  19.95
French General: Home Sewn: 30 Projects for Every Room in the House  24.95
Open Studios with Lotta Jansdotter: Twenty-Four Artists’ Spaces 24.95
Creatures & Critters Origami Craft Pad  12.95
Squiggles: A Really Giant Drawing and Painting Book  $19.99
Same Place, More Space: 50 DIY Projects to Maximize Every Room in the House 24.95
MoMA Make Art/Make Mistakes: A Creativity Sketchbook $16.99
Sparky: The Life and Art of Charles Schulz $16.99
D.I.Y. Kids $14.95
52 Great Art Projects for Kids $6.95
Petit Collage Eco-Keepsake Notecards $14.95

Be sure to leave me a comment if you like my list…we could both be winners!! (Can you imagine the boxes these would come in?! You’d need a new bookshelf just for your winnings!!)  My charity of choice would be the Sauk Centre Public Library. While, yes, I should probably choose the school or library near me, I think that I’m already blessed living nearby the really great Urbandale Public Library.  Instead, I would choose to give back to the library I grew up walking to.

Be Brave or Buy Pins?

November 18th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Hi, just a quick note to let you know what I’ve been up to…mostly being sick (it’s the season for colds & sinus infections). But finally starting to lay out the monster quilt too.

Now my dilemma is this…should I lay out the entire quilt, pin it all in place then sew it all down? That’s what I think I should do, but then I need to buy more pins!!

Or I could just start sewing down this corner, because I like it and I’m ready to get out my needle and thread! Hmm, how impatient am I? Or rather how brave am I? I do want it to be funky and fun, not too seriously planned out!

Oh, yes, I have the octopus-like monster on there, Natalya!


Lil Monsters

November 5th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in Quilting | Uncategorized - (3 Comments)

I’m working on a super-fun project and I’ve been dying to show you my progress, but I had to wait for my replacement camera cord to arrive in the mail. It did just 10 minutes ago!! Here’s what I’ve been working on!

There! Those were the most fun pics! Before you start thinking I’m that clever, know that Kellie of “Don’t Look Now” is the author of this very fun pattern called “Lil Monsters” here’s her blog post about it. Please click the link to see the whole quilt pattern, it’s pretty great!

Here’s a few in progress pics, which I had hoped to show you last weekend.

I used my fiskars circle cutter to cut a whole lot of freezer paper circles.


I had fun making striped fabric out of plain fabrics.This will be cut into triangles for the border.

The most fun, of course, are the monsters!

I’m loving Lite Steam a Seam 2 fusible web. I’ll have to write a post about that later, but it is the best stuff for making fusible applique easy!

Hope you’re liking it too, Paxton’s Mommy!