Can You Help Me Make My Own Baby Quilt?

 Three Little Kittens baby quilt with a complimentary book gift set. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Three Little Kittens baby quilt with a complimentary book gift set. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

"I saw your Three Little Kittens baby quilt on your website and would like to make my own baby quilt for a new grand child. I have made baby quilts for all of the other ones. They love cats and I thought this would be perfect. Can you make just the top so I can finish it?" -- Ellen

Can You Help Me Make My Own Baby Quilt?

Hi Ellen,

We sure can. We can either make another baby quilt top for you to finish in custom colors and sizes or we can send you a set of the original Three Little Kittens book page panels you can finish yourself.

We have one panel set left from when we made the first Three Little Kittens baby quilt we now offer as a gift set with a complimentary Beatrix Potter book.

 We had one set of Three Little Kittens book page panels left and shared with the grandma-to-be again. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

We had one set of Three Little Kittens book page panels left and shared with the grandma-to-be again. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Have fun making your own baby quilt and let us know how it turns out!

Charlotte

What Santa Dolls Do You Still Have?

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"What Santa dolls do you still have?" -- Mary

Santa Dolls

Hi Mary, here's the collection of one of a kind, handmade Santa dolls we have in stock, no two are alike.

The handmade dolls are made out of cutter or remnant handmade quilts. These Santa dolls have several with flower garden quilts, one red and white flower basket quilt, a couple of circle quilts and one little doll in a worn red Santa Claus cotton outfit.

Charlotte

Suggestions for Long-Lasting Flowers

 Red carnations and Peruvian lilies make a lovely, and long-lasting, flower arrangement.

Red carnations and Peruvian lilies make a lovely, and long-lasting, flower arrangement.

Suggestions for Long-Lasting Flowers

"...looking for some suggestions for long-lasting flowers. I love roses but they don't last long. Thoughts?" -- Pepper

Hi Pepper, funny you should ask, I just composted a gift bouquet from Christmas that had red carnations and pink Peruvian lilies (in top photo.) Both those flowers are usually available at most florists and grocery store flower corners because they are long-lasting. The Peruvian lilies are the longest lasting flowers I know, if you trim off the stems every week and change the water, they can last 6 weeks or longer.

Carnations also come in a variety of colors. Some also dip the flower heads in dye to turn them into theme colors, such as green for St. Patrick's Day. I prefer my cut flowers natural. Look how pretty a simple bouquet of carnations looks in a simple vase:

 Pink carnations also look nice all by themselves so don't pass them up if you see them on sale.

Pink carnations also look nice all by themselves so don't pass them up if you see them on sale.

The last long-lasting flower category is the chrysanthemum. This versatile flower family is now grown in a variety of shapes and sizes, including this simple white daisy.

 The white daisies in this flower arrangement are a long-lasting chrysanthemum.

The white daisies in this flower arrangement are a long-lasting chrysanthemum.

Regardless of what flowers you buy, trim off the bottom of the flower stalks to make sure it can absorb water.

Use those little floral packs they include with the flower bouquet, it will help keep the flowers longer.

If you don't get a floral preservative pack, add a clear carbonated beverage in the water, a few splashes will do.

Change the water every couple of days or when it becomes cloudy. Some flowers will darken the water faster at first so I check every other day or so. Enjoy!

Charlotte

Can You Make This Quilt for My Mom?

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Hi Bluebird Gardens!

Hope this finds you all well. I came across your quilts online, and they are absolutely stunning. I am interested in having a quilt made from my mom's 60th birthday. It's a huge milestone, and she's had a rough year. I wanted to see if it might be something you might be able to do. We travel a lot together and I'd love to make something with all the landmarks we've seen (e.g. the Eiffel tower, the US Capitol building, the Hagia Sophia, Statue of Liberty, etc.). I found this quilt (see attached) which sort of inspired the general idea of maybe doing a globe with all the landmarks in a circle. Not crazy about the busy border, and I'd be open to other ideas. -- Katie

Can You Make This Quilt for My Mom?

Hi Katie, 

Glad you enjoyed your visit to our website. That applique quilt is stunning and probably around $15,000 or more to make not counting the quilt design work. There are a lot of lovely details in the center and I agree with you, the border fabric takes away from the center design.

Unfortunately this is not a project we can take on for you but it's a lovely idea for your Mother's 60th. One option would be to send us photos of the places she's been and we can make a quilt from printing those photos on fabric, like this one:

http://www.bluebirdgardens.com/custom-quilts/custom-pet-photos-quilt-and-throw

If you have any other questions, please let me know. Happy New Year!

Charlotte

 

 

 

Can I Embroider the Printed Fabric?

 I quickly and easily added embroidery to one of our printed custom photo fabric blocks.

I quickly and easily added embroidery to one of our printed custom photo fabric blocks.

"...I see the printed fabric is washable. Can it be embroidered?" -- Erica

Can I Embroider the Printed Fabric

Hi Erica,

Yes, you can easily embroider our printed custom photo fabric blocks. The brand new blocks are made out of a high quality cotton muslin, which holds the embroidery quite nicely using two and three-strand cotton embroidery floss.

If you use something heavier such as crewel yarn, ribbons or twine, or you plan to embellish the custom photo fabric blocks with sequins or other additions such as buttons, you may want to use a stabilizer on the back to give the heavier embroidery medium some support so it doesn't make the fabric bunch.

Once embroidered with cotton floss, these custom photo fabric blocks can be washed in cold water, dried on cool. We use a lot of them for our custom quilts.

 Printed photo blocks also nicely duplicate color photos and artwork for custom quilts.

Printed photo blocks also nicely duplicate color photos and artwork for custom quilts.

Depending on what else you add to the custom photo fabric blocks, you may want to dry clean the fabric to protect the embellishments.

Let us know what you end up making!

Charlotte

 

How to Care for Gift Poinsettia

 This was a large red Poinsettia I received as a gift right before Christmas, it's more like a shrub.

This was a large red Poinsettia I received as a gift right before Christmas, it's more like a shrub.

"Hi, I was given a lovely Poinsettia as a Christmas gift. It's still a pretty red color. How do I take care of it?" -- Joshua

How to Care for Gift Poinsettia

Hi Joshua,

Lucky you, poinsettias are a wonderful Christmas gift and has become a holiday tradition.

They are originally from Mexico, where they can grow the size of shrubs and small landscaping trees.

Legend has it that two children heading for the manger didn't have any gifts for the Christ child so they picked some weeds from the side of the road. By the time they arrived at the manger, the weeds had turned into the lovely red Poinsettias we see for sale around December.

Poinsettias are relatively easy to grow once they have found a home. The reason I say that is that poinsettias are popular church and office decor, where they can easily be exposed to drafts, bad lighting conditions and poor watering. Those poinsettias need a little more tender loving care to get them settled in once you take them home.

 I bought these three white poinsettias for 89 cents each right after Christmas, still enjoying them!

I bought these three white poinsettias for 89 cents each right after Christmas, still enjoying them!

There are now a variety of different-colored Poinsettias on the market including white, yellow and the ever-popular peppermint, which I am told tends to sell out first. 

 Poinsettia flowers are actually the little nibs on the inside of the leaves that have turned red.

Poinsettia flowers are actually the little nibs on the inside of the leaves that have turned red.

You may see some of the red, or in my case white, leaves falling off. That's natural. The flowers are actually tiny, located in the center, protected by the larger leaves that are now a red or white color.

The key to caring for Poinsettias is to keep them evenly moist and away from drafts. I have mine in indirect light and check them every day to make sure the soil is not drying out. If you have African violets and moth orchids, those lighting conditions are similar to the ones Poinsettias need.

If you need to find a different location, place the plants near a bright window, but not directly in the sunlight.  Ideal temperatures would be between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.  If the temperatures are kept above 75 degrees, the plants can decline quickly. 

Avoid overwatering, applying too much water can kill the roots of the plant.  Wait until the surface of the potting soil begins to dry slightly before watering. 

Apply water until it begins to run out the bottom of the pot, wait 30 minutes, and then dump out the water that remains in the bottom of the drip tray.  If you still have the plant in foil, remove it.

Don’t worry if the plant drops all of the bracts, or leaves, and looks like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree after the holidays.  Continue to water as needed until new growth forms. 

How to Get Poinsettia Leaves to Turn Again

Near the middle of September, the poinsettia should be placed in complete darkness from 5 pm to 8 am daily. Put it under a cardboard box or in a dark closet to provide the “short day,” which encourages blooming. Lights from any lamps will prevent the bracts from changing color and for normal flowering.

Continue this “short day” treatment until the plant bracts show color in late November. Don't forget to keep the plant watered during this dark period, it still needs moisture.

Until then, enjoy these lovely plants, they will hold their red and white colors through February. I love having my white ones on my dining room table.

Charlotte

How To Feature a Quote on a Quilt

 Here's one example of how a customer featured a quote in the corner of a quilt.

Here's one example of how a customer featured a quote in the corner of a quilt.


"...love your quilts, I want to buy a double wedding ring quilt as a wedding present but I don't know how to feature a quote on the quilt. Thoughts?" -- Marilyn

How to Feature a Quote on a Quilt

Hi Marilyn,

There are several ways you can feature a personalized embroidered quote on a double wedding ring quilt.

The key is to decide how important the quote is in relation to the couple's names and wedding dates. If the quote is something special to them, then I would place it in the center between their names in one quilt block and their wedding date in the opposite block, such as the photo example of one of our personalized Country Double Wedding Ring Quilt throws.

 Here is another personalized country double wedding ring quilt with a special quote.

Here is another personalized country double wedding ring quilt with a special quote.

If you want to emphasize the couple's names, don't be afraid to place their name sin the center block and move the quote off to one side, just depends on what you want to make the focal point in the quilt.

In terms of trends, our customers like to place the quote in the main center block and place the names in one side block, the wedding date in the other.

Charlotte

What To Do With Only One Quilt Block

 A 12x12-inch crazy quilt block that can easily be made into an accent pillow.

A 12x12-inch crazy quilt block that can easily be made into an accent pillow.

"Help, I only have one quilt block done, this was supposed to be a gift quilt for my Mom. Can you finish this for me?" -- Paulette

What To Do With One Quilt Block

Hi Paulette, 

We certainly can help you finish this quilt for you. However, wouldn't you like to finish it yourself so you can present it to your Mom as a handmade quilt you made just for her?

If you haven't discussed the quilt project with your Mom yet, take this opportunity to involve her in your project. If she is a quilter herself, she may appreciate discussing the project with you. Maybe you can ask her about the size of the handmade quilt she would like, the color of the quilt backing and binding, maybe even what kind of batting. Telling someone will also help keep you on task.

Does your mother quilt?  My mother was a great seamstress and to this day I can hear her in my mind giving me advice about something I am making.

If you have only one block finished and don't want to continue, make it into a throw pillow. Personalize it with custom embroidery with your Mom's name and a favorite quote. Choose a backing that compliments her home decor so she can easily incorporate it in her home.

Let me know what you decide to do!

Charlotte

 

 

 

What's Wrong with My Hanging Basket?

 Healthy hanging baskets grow slowly after being treated with compost at Bluebird Gardens.

Healthy hanging baskets grow slowly after being treated with compost at Bluebird Gardens.

"I bought the most amazing hanging baskets last week and they are now both dead. What happened?" -- Lisa

What's Wrong with My Hanging Basket

Hi Lisa, it's easy to over-fertilize plants, especially those in hanging baskets. They do grow quickly with fertilizers but once the fertilizer moves through the soil, nothing is left to sustain the plants and they die.

The hanging basket in the photo is the standard 12-inch hanging pot that gets treated with a good addition of compost before I add anything. The little limp start at the front will root in a couple of days and, with the help of rain water showers, this little hanging basket will have a  happy summer.

Growth, however, will be slow, keeping pace with the available space in the hanging basket. When the baskets get too full, I will trim them back and give them another amendment of compost.

Actually, this hanging basket spends all four seasons with me, wintering over inside and then getting placed outdoors for most of the growing season. I think I have had this hanging basket a good 5-6 years so keeping the soil happy is the key to successfully keeping hanging baskets alive.

When these hanging baskets get over-stimulated with too much fertilizer, especially the soluble blue kind, these baskets don't have enough nutrients in their limited soil to sustain growth. My advice is only to buy hanging baskets with plant starts and allow them to grow into the available space.

If you want a full hanging basket, know that they got that way by growing fast. Buy it for your event, then afterwards if you want to try to salvage it, remove the plants and soil; add new soil with compost and hope the plants establish themselves in their new growing medium.

Good luck!

Charlotte

How to Keep My Roses Fresh?

 This bouquet of red roses is ready for delivery on Valentine's Day at our local florist.

This bouquet of red roses is ready for delivery on Valentine's Day at our local florist.

"I received the most beautiful bouquet of roses for Valentine's Day. Is there something I can do to make them last longer and keep them fresh?" -- Peggy

 How to Keep My Roses Lasting Long and Fresh

Hi Peggy, there are several things you can do to keep your beautiful red roses fresh:

If they came in a vase, put them where you can enjoy them but keep them away from heat vents and sun. Don't place them on top of TVs or near electronic devices that get warm, the heat will shorten the lifespan of your beautiful flowers.

 Some gift red roses are delivered cut in boxes with stems in water in small water containers.

Some gift red roses are delivered cut in boxes with stems in water in small water containers.

If they were in a box, get a vase and make sure to wash it with hot water and dishwashing detergent, rinse and dry, then fill vase 3/4 full with room temperature water. Add a penny to water to help keep bacteria from growing. I have also used half an aspirin. Most florists also provide floral flood packets. Don't save them, use them!

Measure the first stem against the vase you want to put them in and make them taller since you may be cutting them down several times. Cut the bottom of the stems under room temperature water with sharp pruners or a knife, making a 45-degree angle cut so the stem can take up water. The running water helps the stem take up the water; that helps keep the rose stay saturated.

Also remove all leaves that will be submerged in water. 

Add the florist food packet, mix, then add the remaining roses.

Whether already in a vase or you add the flower to a vase, plan on cleaning the vase, replacing the water with fresh, room-temperate water and making fresh stem cuts every 2 days.

On a personal note, keep the flowers where you spend the most of your time so you can enjoy them. Even though they may appear beautiful one day, room conditions may change and speed up their fading process so don't take them for granted. Enjoy!

Charlotte

Keep or Toss Paperwhites?

 Paperwhite narcissus bulbs are a popular holiday gift and very fragrant when in bloom.

Paperwhite narcissus bulbs are a popular holiday gift and very fragrant when in bloom.

Keep or Toss Paperwhites?

“...I gave my mother paperwhite narcissus for her birthday and she heard she should throw them away after they bloom, does that sound right to you?” – Mary

Mary, there’s nothing quite as fragrant, or suggestive of spring, as a little stash of blooming paperwhite narcissus, what a nice gift. Depending on how big the bulbs are, you might be able to save the bulbs by planting them outside after they bloom. It may take a few years before they build up energy back in the bulbs to re-bloom so don't get discouraged.

Since most paperwhite narcissus are promoted as gifts mid-winter, the ground in Missouri is usually too hard to even dig to plant them. In that case, best to compost them. The bulbs will be exhausted from blooming and unless you are willing to baby them until spring, chances are they won't make it.

If you want to try to keep them going, keep them watered and in a sunny window while they produce green leaves. Fertilize them with 1/4 to 1/2 the recommended fertilizer dosage. The leaves will store energy in the bulb so that when you plant them in the ground after the danger of frost is over, they may come back.

I think it's worth a try but there are no guarantees. Good luck!

Charlotte

What Do You Recommend for a Jewelry Gift?

Pearl grape cluster vintage pin makes a nice start for a pearl collection.

"...not sure what to get my wife for her birthday. She doesn't wear a lot of jewelry but I would like to get her a piece that she will appreciate...any suggestions?" -- Joe

What Do You Recommend for a Jewelry Gift?

Hi Joe, that's easy, give her a nice string of pearls, a set of pearl earrings, a ring with pearls or a vintage pearl pin.  I like pins because I can use them on a blouse, sweater, coat or hat.

Pearls are a reminder that life's aggravations can become a thing of beauty. The beautiful result of nature’s design, a pearl is generated by one irritating grain of sand. 

Just as pearls come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, so do life's trials.  We create our own beauty from the tragedies of our lives but often do not see it. Pearls are a nice way to remind someone of what is beautiful in life.

Charlotte

Quilt Gift-Selecting Tips

 Pink sleeping cats throw makes a good gift for cat-loving girls.

Pink sleeping cats throw makes a good gift for cat-loving girls.

"I'm having a hard time selecting gifts for my family, I don't even know what size beds they have. I love quilts so what do you recommend?" -- Alice

Quilt Gift-Selecting Tips

Hi Alice, it can be challenging to buy quilts when you don't know the bed size but you have other options if you like the idea of giving something quilted.

Start by making a list of some of your family members hobbies and interests, then look at lap quilts, also called throws. These smaller versions of quilts are perfect to curl up in and can nicely add color to a room by throwing them over the back of a chair or sofa. They are usually 50x60-inches and also can be used as a wall hanging.

If you are not sure of hobbies, do your family members have pets? Dog and cat throws have been customer favorites for gifts for all sorts of occasions, including birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas. 

Still not sure? Gift certificates are always a convenient choice, then add a card that says you and the gift recipient can have fun shopping online after the holidays for something that you both will like.

Charlotte

 

 

 

 

What Do You Recommend for a Wedding Gift?

"Hi, I really enjoyed reading through your blogs. My best friend is a big - I mean HUGE - gardener. She's getting married to another crazy outdoor person and I want to give them a gift that will reflect their love of nature and the outdoors. What do you recommend for a wedding gift?" -- Samantha

What Do You Recommend for a Wedding Gift?

Charlotte: Lucky you to have both in a couple loving to be outdoors, usually this question is about one person loving the outdoors and the other one scared to death of anything that moves.

Our customer's favorite wedding gift is a traditional double wedding ring quilt, either in a throw size or a bedspread size. Our made in USA double wedding ring throws are oversized - we call it snuggle size - so two people can comfortably curl up with it. 

If the groom is tall, think about getting a twin size quilt for a nap quilt. The extra length will make sure his toes are covered, such as this Vintage Lime Double Wedding Ring Twin Quilt.

The best selling of all of our double wedding ring quilts is our Country Double Wedding Ring Quilt. The fabrics can fit into most bedroom colors.

The second most popular double wedding ring quilt is a blue one, a testament to blue still being a favorite master bedroom color.

Regardless of what quilt you choose, custom embroider their names and wedding dates to make your gift extra special.

 Personalize your quilt of choice with custom embroidery of the couple's name and wedding date.

Personalize your quilt of choice with custom embroidery of the couple's name and wedding date.

Some of our customers just add the first names and dates, others include the last name and even more add a favorite quote, Bible verse or saying.

You are only limited by what you can imagine doing!

Charlotte

What Is Your Source for Made in USA Quilts?

 Our custom sleeping cats quilts and shams are proudly made here in USA.

Our custom sleeping cats quilts and shams are proudly made here in USA.

"Really enjoy your blogs. Wish I could visit your garden. Where do you get your made in USA quilts?" -- Linda

What Is Your Source for Made in USA Quilts?

Charlotte: Thanks, Linda, glad you enjoy the blogs. You will always be welcome to visit my garden.

Our made in USA quilts are primarily made in Missouri. We have a couple of quilters in other states who make specialized custom quilts but all of the quilts certified as made in USA are - well, made in the United States of America.

To make sure our customers know what they are buying, we designate in the quilt descriptions whether the quilt is made in USA or imported. They also get a certificate card with a care guide and custom quilt details. One of our customers favorite custom quilts is this Ten Inch Squares Custom Quilt we pare with Sleeping Cats custom shams.

In terms of our imported quilts, we only offer imported quilts that we give, and would want to give, as gifts ourselves. 

The same concept applies to our baby quilts, throws and quilted wall hangings. Each one of our made in USA quilts are designated as such and certified as being made in USA.

If you have any other questions, please let me know!

Customized Quilt Blocks Options

"Do you make customized quilt blocks? I am making my own customized throw quilt but I would like a block or strip to sew into it with names and possible a wedding date." -- Lecia
 

Customized Quilt Blocks

Charlotte: Hi Lecia, we will be delighted to help you with customized quilt blocks for your handmade customized throw.

We can customize your custom quilt block in a number of ways:

Print photos onto fabric blocks

Custom embroider designs on fabric blocks

Custom embroider names on fabric blocks

For custom embroidery, we offer a number of fonts. The name of the font is an example of what the embroidery looks like:

 Custom embroidery font choices.

Custom embroidery font choices.

In terms of pricing, we start with 1/2 inch letters for 50 cents each up to $4.75 cents for 4.75-inch letters.

What can we help you make?

 Here's the final custom embroidered quilt block we made for Lecia. Thanks, Lecia!

Here's the final custom embroidered quilt block we made for Lecia. Thanks, Lecia!

Where Do You Get Your Inspiration?

 Native Black eye susans are long-lasting cut flowers and are one of my favorite summer flowers.   

Native Black eye susans are long-lasting cut flowers and are one of my favorite summer flowers.

 

"Where Do You Get Your Inspiration?" -- Marie

Charlotte: Some people shop; I go out into my garden. Whether it is something to celebrate a special day, or moment, or cheer someone up, I can usually find something on my one-acre Missouri hillside garden.

It's not always flowers but those aren't a bad choice. Flowers are always welcome, especially ones we have "grown ourselves."

My garden also inspires me in terms of colors. Nature in a garden has a way of blending colors beautifully, a wonder place to be inspired when stumped selecting quilt fabrics.

I also enjoy my garden for all of the living creatures it hosts. Now when I look at a flower, I also look for its tenant, whether a spider or frog or ladybug. If I'm lucky, it's one of my honeybees visiting to pick up pollen. I sometimes stop for a minute. That is all it takes for some scene to unfold right before my camera eyes, if I'm lucky enough to remember to take my camera. Now I try to have it in hand at all times; I don't want to miss what my certified wildlife garden and monarch way station has to offer. 

So what else can you get inspired to do? 

Let's see, a jar of fresh herbs is a wonderful gift for a cook; a plant start is always welcome to a gardening friend. I will also share recipes to make gifts from the garden, and I look forward to hearing about the garden gifts you make. 

What kind of gifts do you like to give from your garden?