How to Create a 9 Generation Family Tree for your Kids (or yourself)

This is not quilting related, but it stems from a post I made on Instagram that I have had a few emails and comments about so I thought I would share the information here.  I promise that I am still sewing and I will have something new to show you next week :)
When I was in elementary school, my class did a unit and we were asked to bring in our family tree.  My Mom and I spent hours and hours over several days writing in the names on a pedigree chart to bring in.  Even though the teacher was really only asking us to write up a family tree with our parents and grandparents, I have very fond memories of working on this project.

My daughter is starting a similar unit at school and she wanted to see her family tree.  If you are interested in generating a fan chart like this for yourself or for one of your kids, here is some info on how to do it.

I am a Mormon and family history is kind of a big deal to us, so I have benefited from work done by family members and my chart is almost full.  If you are just getting started on your family history work, you can print off your chart with the information that you have now and fill it in as you work. If you haven't done any family history work yet, I highly recommend starting with; it is free and has amazing resources.

1.  If you do not have a account with your information saved in it, you will need a GEDCOM file with your family history.  This is the type of file supported by most genealogy programs, including (directions here). You can actually generate a chart like this directly through Family Search, but the largest size it offers is 7 generations.

2.  Go to  From this website you can either login to your Family Search profile and download your information into a variety of charts (I used the 9 generation black and white chart) or you can upload a GEDCOM file without having to login.

3.  Pick the person whose chart you would like to generate.  It should give you the choice of you, your parents, or your kids.  Note that if you are making a chart for one of your kids and you are logged into your Family Search account or are using a GEDCOM file with your family history on it, only half of the chart will be generated.  If your child is older than 8 (mine aren't) they can have their own Family Search account.

If you are making the chart for yourself or for one of your parents, you are now done!  Skip down to step 6 for printing info.

4.  Once you have generated a chart that has your child's name at the base and half of their family history on it, login your child's father's profile and generate the same chart.  This should look just the same, except it will have information on the left instead of the right.

5.  Merge the images.  I'm sure there are multiple photo editing programs that are capable of this task, but I used Photoshop (and honestly this is so easy to do that if you just email me the files I can do it for you).  If you are using Photoshop, open both files (they are PDFs) side by side.  Hold down the shift key and drag one of the images onto the other.  Holding down the shift key centers the image when it is moved and since the image are the same size, it should line up perfectly.  Select the eraser tool and erase half of the image so that the information underneath will show through.  Save the finished images as a JPEG.

6.  Print the image.  I used the Engineering Print option from Staples.  My charts are 24" x 36" and cost a whopping $3.
I hope that wasn't too confusing because the process was really not difficult.  If you have any questions or if you are interested in learning more about family history work, please let me know!

Garden Gnome Costume Tutorial Roundup

For the past few weeks I have been looking forward to a Halloween in which I would walk into a store, buy the kids' costumes, and walk out with finished costumes in hand.  This plan did not involve a trip to Joann's, it did not involve time trying to sew sequins on my sewing machine, and it did not involve a battle to try to find a plain black t-shirt with no logos on writing on it (why is that so hard?).

But then I realized that this is the one and only Halloween in which I can put anything I want on August and he can't take it off.  My husband has been requesting that we dress him as a garden gnome and that seemed like a fun option so I went for it (if you want to see an adorable girl gnome project, check out this one that my friend Morgan made for her daughter).
lawn gnome baby costume

And I promise, this costume was not difficult so I thought I would share the tutorials I used in case anyone else is interested in making their own.

1.  Felt Gnome Hat - I cut my cone 19" at the widest point and 12" tall.
2.  The beard - This is a beard that is also secretly a bib because this child drools SO MUCH.  I was originally going to just use fleece, but it seemed too stretchy so I cut a piece of felt the same size and then edge stitched around the felt/fleece combo.  For the shape, I just traced a small bib onto the fleece for the top part, and used this image (enlarged 120%) for the bottom. 

3.  The shirt - I used this tutorial, but sized down based on one of August's t-shirts, but if you can find a shirt in the right color you can just buy one.

4.  Pants - I already had these navy pants from here

5.  The belt - It is 1.5" black elastic found in the by-the-yard trim section at Joann's.  The belt buckle is 2 pieces of brown felt cut into 3.5" square.  I edge stitched around the shape, then cut 2 slits in the middle and then I wove the elastic in between the slits.  

6.  The boots - I am definitely going to be making more of these in the future.  They are adorable and super easy.  Mine are made out of fleece.  

lawn gnome baby costume

And just a little plug here, no matter what costume you are making.  I have discovered and have fallen in love with  They sell reasonable priced, super soft, super cute clothes that don't have any labels or sparkles or characters on them.  And if you use this link you get $10 off your first purchase of any amount (I get a little credit too, so it's helping both of us).  My kids now have pants, shirts, sweatshirts, and dresses and we are so pleased.  Their shirts, pants, PJs, sweatshirts, and dresses are perfect basics for costumes. 

My older kids ended up with improvised, store bought costumes.  Since we live in Southern California and late October can still be pretty hot, they both refuse to wear long sleeved costumes.  Jonah wanted to be Batman and Harper wanted to be Batgirl, so this is what we ended up with.
batman and batgirl costumes
Just ignore than Jonah insisted on wearing his blue and orange sandals and Harper somehow ended up with mismatched socks.  

If you are still looking for handmade costume ideas, this Craftsy class is awesome!


EPP Sew Along Star Pillow

For the past few weeks I have been working on a little EPP (English Paper Piecing Project) with Melody Miller's beautiful Picnic line.  The Fat Quarter Shop has a great kit that has everything you need to get started with EPPing, as well as a kit that also includes fabric for this project.

I have very limited EPP experience and found the kit very useful.  This was also my first time glue basting my shapes and it was so quick and easy.
EPP Sew Along Star Pillow
To be honest I wanted to use all of the apple prints and I ended up spending entirely too much time trying to figure out an arrangement that used all of them.  But I will have to save the other apple color ways for another project, because this was the layout that I eventually decided on.
EPP Sew Along Star Pillow
While I don't think that any EPP projects are quick, this one was a nice length.  My skills are not awesome, but they are better than they were when I started.

Since I spent all of that time hand sewing the pieces together it seemed wrong to do the quilting by machine.  The hand quilting is pretty simple.
EPP Sew Along Star Pillow
The original EPP Sew Along was intended to produce a mini quilt, but I decided to turn mine into a pillow cover. 

If you would like to make one of your own, you can find step by step instructions on the Fat Quarter Shop's Instagram account.  The fabric I used it available here.

Wonderland Quilt (with flowering snowball template)

Today is my stop on the Wonderland blog hop.  If you haven't had a chance to see Katarina Roccella's new collection yet, it is whimsical and wonderful.  She is the sweetest and I have honestly loved each of her collections.  
wonderland flowering snowball quilt
I picked a few of my favorite prints from the collection and made flowering snowball blocks.  This was my first time making this block and I am in love with the effect.  They were only mildly annoying to make and my points matched up nicely.  
wonderland flowering snowball quilt
(if you are interested in making these blocks there is a tutorial for the 12" block here, my blocks are 9" and you can download the template here)
wonderland flowering snowball quilt
For the quilting I did an organic, somewhat wonky, diagonal crosshatch.  I was going for a whimsical Alice in Wonderland look and I also just really love how this type of quilting makes the quilt feel.  
wonderland flowering snowball quilt
I know you are going to want to see more of these fabrics, so jump in on the blog hop.
1. ERICA TOOLE - October 5th
3. DANA BOLYARD - October 7th
4. RACHAEL GANDER - October 8th
5. HEATHER and MEG of QUILT STORY - October 9th
8. ERICA JACKMAN - October 12th October 12th
9. KATHLEEN RIGGINS - October 13th3th
10. MARIJA VUJČIĆ - October 14th
11. SVETLANA SOTAK - October 15th
12. KYLIE KELSHEIMER of SEW KYLIE - October 16th
14. MICHELLE WILKIE - October 18thth
15. HEMAMALINI - October 19th
16. LYNNE GOLDSWORTHY - October 20th

Wonderland fabrics are available at Fabricworm and the Fat Quarter Shop.  

baby boy postage stamp quilt

This seems to be a bit of a baby boom year among my friends.  I had 4 friends that had baby's within a few weeks of when August was born, and there are several more due before the end of the year.  I would love to make quilts for all of them, but I need times to do things like sleep and do the laundry so it isn't really possible ;)
But I have a friend who is having a baby boy and who has a son in my son's kindergarten class, and I thought would really appreciate something handmade.  So last week I started to pull out some blue and teal and black and white and brown scraps and put them together.  

I wanted to do a postage stamp quilt, but I wanted to add a little structure to the scrappiness so I arranged the darker squares in plus signs with low volume squares between them. 

Initially I wasn't even going to share this quilt because it is pretty basic and while it makes my heart happy, it's not really anything new.  But I did want to share the fabric that I used on the back which is Robert Kaufman 1" Carolina Gingham.  It is wonderfully soft and I absolutely love it as a quilt back.
postage stamp baby boy quilt
I also did one other thing differently on this quilt: I cut my binding strips to 2.75" strips.  It didn't make a huge difference, but I enjoyed the change and I think I might play around with even wider binding in the future.  

Thank you so much for your support on my last post.  I hope no one got the impression that I was negative towards people who sell their quilts, because I'm not, I think it's great!  All I wanted to get across is that we all have our own feelings and intentions and goals with quilting and we should respect and understand that there is more than money to gain.  

I do not work for free

There have been several posts over the last few years about appropriately valuing the things that you make.  Let me start out by saying that I think these are very valid posts and many people probably find them helpful and validating when they price their handmade items, but they have left me feeling a little uncomfortable and belittled when I don't think that I deserve to be belittled. And today when I was washing dishes in my kitchen, I realized the reason why these posts have made me a little uncomfortable.

I never work for free.

That doesn't mean that I make money off of all of my quilts or that I make a decent hourly wage when I do charge money.  It means that every time I make a quilt, something valuable happens as a result.

Many of my quilts go to my friends and family.  And when I am able to give them a quilt I feel love and gratitude that I am able to have that person in my life and that I am able to give them a gift that helps them feel loved.
flower garden quilt
Some of my quilts are donated to people in hospitals or foster care.  When I donate these quilts I am able to give someone comfort.
February do. Good Stitches
Sometimes I do sell my quilts to someone who will love and appreciate them.  I am able to cover the costs of the project and make a little money (which I then usually re-invest in quilting supplies), and I am able to share something that I love with someone out there who will cherish it.
sundown II quilt
Occasionally I make a quilt for a book or a fabric manufacturer.  Sometimes I receive a fair payment for this contribution and sometimes it is just the satisfaction of contributing to the quilting community.
welded quilt
Some quilts are made for no particular purpose and are more of an exercise in creativity.  Sometimes I am able to sell these and sometimes they get donated.  Sometimes they sit on a shelf in my house until I realize the perfect person to give them to and I realize that there was a purpose, it just took a while to reveal itself.
small world quilt
And sometimes I make quilts for my own home and these are the most valuable.  Being able to see my family snuggled under something that I made is amazing.
verdant quilt
I am so proud of the people who are able to contribute an income to their household by their quilting.  But for me, at least right now, quilting is something else.

I guess my point is that are all in different situations and we are all here doing different things for different reasons, and that is okay and wonderful and I am glad we can be here to support and help each other.
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