Bailey’s Boutique Squeaks

BoutiqueSqueaksThis is Bailey’s favorite toy.  She love’s them.  I mean she absolutely loves them!  And because they bring her so much joy, they just might delight a little creature you know. Therefore, I have to share.  I used the word creature because although I designed these with a puppy in mind, I have had multiple people say that a baby would love them too. There are 3 bone plushies as well as a kitty and puppy plushy on each fat quarter of fabric.  Insert disclaimer here…Hopefully it is obvious that I wouldn’t be suggesting someone should give their kid a bone but one never knows who might read this in bloggy land…Animals for the kiddo and bones for the pets…capisce? But really it doesn’t matter…I know some of your senses of humor…you are going to let your kids have the bone.  Disclaimer part 2…Some dogs literally EAT squeak toys.  These doggies must be supervised so that they don’t choke if you put a squeaker inside the plushy.  My doggie prefers to fetch with hers, snuggle it, and race around the house with it in her mouth, holding it by its tag.

“How does one make one of these beauties,” you ask?  Why, I am delighted you asked, inquisitive reader…continue reading for the complete tutorial below!

Supplies needed to complete this project:

  • Fat Quarter of Boutique Squeak fabric design of your choice
  • Sewing Machine
  • Squeakers
  • Stuffing (method A) or Quilt Batting (method B)
  • 1/2 inch double fold bias tape (if you choose method B)
  • Thread
  • Scissors

There are four different Cut and Sew panels to choose from.

Boutique Squeak Blaze’s Favorite (pictured above)
Boutique Squeak Good Dog Bad Dog
Boutique Squeak Linen Looks
Boutique Squeak Painted Linen
Boutique Squeak Sampler (All 4 of the above sized to fit on one yard)

First, cut out the designs along the outer lines, then chose desired method to assemble.


Method A:  

1. Sew right sides together leaving an opening to turn


2. Clip corners.  When doing the kitty or puppy shapes, clip and trim the seams a bit to make turning easier.



3. Turn right sides out, insert stuffing and squeaker, and then topstitch closed


Method B:

(NOTE:  This is NOT my favorite method.  I tried it for the dogs I know that must kill stuffing, and their owners therefore try to have minimal fluffing arround.  It works for the bone shapes, but I wasn’t pleased with the results/lack of neatness of the bias application. And I even bought a special attachment for my sewing machine to try to assemble it all in one fell swoop.  However, if your machine and/or sewing skills are exceptional, then this could be a viable option, so I included it just in case!)

1. Trim batting slightly smaller than the circumference of the bone shape.


2. Sandwich squeaker between layers of batting with rights sides of design outward.


3. Pin and then staystich .25″ around edge and encase seam with 1/2 inch double fold bias tape.


Present to one lucky creature and watch them joyfully play!

Inspirational Scripture:
“The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.” Proverbs 12:10 (NIV)

Gift Wrapped


This season can either be my most favorite or most dreaded season of all.  I absolutely love fall.  On one hand it is full of beautiful autumn colors, crisp air (where I live), apple cider, and family birthdays.  On the other, as the leaves fall, it reminds me that life is fleeting, and winter is coming.  Perhaps it is because I grew up in Alaska, that winter has such an effect on me. To be sure, there is beauty to be found in the diamond encrusted branches and glistening snow, not to mention a good cup of hot chocolate, but the dormant season can be hard, and it can be long. Nevertheless, hope lives on! I have read that even in winter, although trees enter a “resting phase,” they still “maintain a readiness to grow.”

We all need “resting phases” throughout life’s seasons and although I must admit <cough> resting has not traditionally been my strong suit, I am called to learn how to rest.  It could take me months to share what I have been learning over the past few years about burn-out, rest, and recovery.  I hesitate to begin because I feel like I am still in the middle…or maybe at the beginning…of the journey.  Then I see the weariness in people around me.  Like a heavy blanket, the hunger for the truth that we can “cease striving” smothers the hope out of their eyes.  We must know and remember that God is God and He grants sleep to those (the whole world) He loves.  We can come to Him when we are weary and heavy laden.  Rest is a gift.  Peace is a gift.  Jesus says, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.  So don’t be troubled or afraid.”  John 14:27 (NLT).  The word for peace here is eirene, meaning peace, prosperity, quietness, rest. This truth compels me to begin to offer up the bits of wisdom I have grown to treasure, not as one who has arrived or figured everything out, but as a sister who is walking this journey as well.  So accept my musings or don’t, as you would a physical gift that you can receive and use or pass on to someone else!


Oh, and for anyone curious what was in one of the presents above, one was a toy for my kiddo’s birthday, and the other a pair of Pajama bottoms made from Bailey’s Good Dog Bad Dog fabric.  I was so excited that my order of gift-wrap came in time to wrap my first gifts for October Birthdays! At the moment he is the only one in the universe with a pair and so he feels quite special.PJsChild

Inspirational Music:
Nichole Nordeman’s song “Every Season“.  She has such a poetic way with words, and a beautiful way of recognizing her Heavenly Father at work in each season.

Inspirational Scripture:
“And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” 
Acts 20:35 (NLT)

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
Psalms 51:12 (NIV)

“They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:8 (NIV)

Vintage Tea Towels

JBalyeatTeaTowelsGiftSummer is finally here! Perhaps it is the idea of a peaceful cup of tea juxtaposed against the sounds of a barking puppy and little boy busily at play that make me smile when I look across my table strewn with a few thousand legos and see these little tea towels hanging from my oven. Regardless, I love them and the vintage charm they add to my kitchen. They are a snap to sew up, and four different designs come on one yard of Linen-Cotton Canvas from Spoonflower. There are two background pattern/color options. One is the black and cream version that is pictured, and the other is more of a burlap/linen color.

JBalyeatTeaTowelStoveI just finished sewing up the 4th towel in the set.

JBalyeatTeaTowels4If you would like a tutorial on how to sew these, check out my blog on making cloth dinner napkins here!

*For more pictures or to purchase a finished set of these vintage tea towels, visit

Inspirational Scripture:
“He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord.”
Psalm 113:9 (NIV)


A Cosmic Voyage of Discovery

IntergalacticChalkboardA little over a year ago my imagination was captured by the Geek Chic Fabric 8 contest for which I entered Intergalactic Scrapbook, a fabric design that extends the vintage linen, French travel postcard look to the vast galaxy of science fiction. I have been both humbled and thrilled by the number of fellow “creatives” who decided to use this design in their own projects. If you are among them, thank you! May you live long and prosper! Since then I have released over 150 different fabric designs, most of which can be ordered as wallpaper, decals, and gift wrap as well. I am just getting started!

This year the Fabric 8 contest description reminded me of last year’s entry, but a new fresh design is required. Therefore, I am excited to present Intergalactic Chalkboard. I believe that this design is perfectly suited for Spoonsflower’s new Faux Suede fabric and I can’t wait to receive my order!

The reason I am excited about this year’s design goes beyond the trendy chalkboard to the message written on it. Each person (whether they prefer to live on the planet or off of it) has a purpose and destiny to find and fulfill. So many aimlessly float in a blank empty space waiting for destiny to find them. To me, life is like a Cosmic Voyage of Discovery. True adventurers employ creativity, vision, and imagination, to discover secrets pertaining to their identities and destinies. That is why these chalk silhouettes of Starships, Spaceships and other adventurous vessels that could have flown through worlds like Star Trek, Star Wars, Firefly, Stargate, and Doctor Who spell out the words Voyage of Discovery, Creativity, Identity, Imagination, Vision, and Destiny with their flight paths as they fly through space on quests that at their core are not so dissimilar from our own. My hope is that everyone who sees this fabric will discover their personal “For What” and “For Whom” they are created to be. Because then the TRUE adventure begins!

For those who can, please login or create a quick account on Spoonflower’s site so that you can “favorite” this design. It just may help Intergalactic Chalkboard make it into the top 100 designs. From all of the entries submitted, 100 designs will be chosen for the semifinal round of voting, which will be open to the public. The top eight designers will be asked to develop three more designs to round out their collections, and then the public will choose the winner from the eight collections. The winner receives a contract to design a small collection for a fabric manufacturer (Robert Kaufman). This is definitely on my bucket list! Plus the royalties would be a huge help to me as my 7 year old design software is in desperate need of an upgrade! There are so many designs still longing to escape my imagination to become a part of yours! Thank you all for your support!

Inspirational Scripture:
…For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

Can You Make a Quilt in a Day?

JBalyeatQuiltI certainly cannot make a quilt in a day!  But that is because when I set out to do something I know nothing about, I have to learn through trial and error…sometimes a tiny error that turns out to be massive by the time I follow it to the end.  I was staring at some 8 inch swatches, trying to decide what to make with them, when the thought of a guest room quilt to go on my not-so-lovely air mattress, popped into my mind.  The trouble is, I didn’t want to do squares.  So I  found a lovely little tutorial on how to make a diamond shaped quilt on Pinterest.  But the process looked way too time consuming for my short attention span.

Then inspiration struck.  What about designing a “cheater” quilt with fabrics from my collection?  (For those who don’t sew, a “cheater” quilt is a panel of fabric with all the designs printed, so all you have to do is sandwich some quilting batting between the decorative front side and a coordinating back side, sew along the lines, and add a binding.)  Easy peasy right?  Well, theoretically…

My problem was that I had to design the decorative panel template before I could “sew it in a day”.  Also I wanted to make it a bit bigger than a twin…just in case I wanted to use it on my double size bed.  Well, at last it is designed, but the whole design process from start to finish was much longer than a day!  Through trial and error, I discovered that when doing a diamond pattern, one must be sure to line up the diagonal axis not just the horizontal and vertical axises.  Um…’bout that, I didn’t discover the offset diagonal until I went to sew.  JBalyeatQuiltCloseUpThe picture above shows the weird jog I had to do in the intersections to get my needle back on track.  I have since fixed this in the design template so anyone else who orders yardage of the JBalyeat Quilt Sampler won’t have that to deal with.  The upside is that my sample is still usable, arguably plenty nice for an air mattress.  Also, Blaze, who is seven, was able to sew with me (since my personal “perfection meter” was stuck in “reboot” for an entire 30 minutes after seeing my mistake).

So, let’s tally up the time all together now shall we?

  • Time surfing pinterest for quilt ideas = Not countable.
  • Planning dimensions = At least a day
  • Designing template = At least another day
  • Trying to visualize the binding I wanted = A day
  • Pinning and sewing the top = Portions of two days
  • Trying to be frugal and piece together scraps of a friend’s discarded satin sheets for the binding = Another day
  • Redesigning the template after realizing my geometry gift hasn’t evolved since high school = Another day
  • Waiting for my computer to upload the file to Spoonflower = Another day…ok, not really but it felt like it!
  • Setting up the dining room like a pretend guest bedroom and photo-shopping a sunset outside the window to make a pretty picture = Yep, you guessed it…part of another day.

So for me it was more than a week.  But anyone content to start with a template already made, do a traditional binding, and not rearrange their entire house for a photo shoot, could totally pull this off in a day…Easy Peasy!

JBalyeatQuiltCornerOh, and for any one who wants to make their own template.  Just a couple days after I ordered my sample, Spoonflower posted a tutorial on how to make your own cheater quilt…hummm…must have been a good idea after all!

Inspirational Scripture:
Proverbs 31:22