Valentine Exchange with Ladybird Ln!

Carlee at Ladybird Ln. was my very first blog-friend.  So I was beyond excited to exchange Valentines with her in the Valentine Exchange!

I received her gift early on, which just made me even more excited about the exchange.  The best part was that I knew she had my gift well underway when I mentioned in one of our emails, I needed to get organized with my meal planning!  Apparently, we were on the same wavelength there – I had NO idea that’s what she was already working on, but this is an incredibly useful gift.

Take a look at my big “Little Black Book”:

Awesome, right?  She included a few go-to recipes from her own kitchen to get me started, too!  If you want to read more about it, you can take a look at her post today over at Ladybird Ln.

She also made these adorable treat hangers – one for everyone in my family!

Meanwhile, I had something I was really excited about in the works for her as well: a rag quilt.  This will actually be the first time she sees any part of it, because this project turned out to be a HUGE FAIL!  Lesson learned: do NOT try something new as a gift, on a deadline.

I set aside about 8 hours to make this little lap quilt.  I have been wanting to try one, and when Carlee mentioned her favorite time of the day was winding down in the evening, sometimes with a good book, I thought a quilt would be perfect.

I do my crafting (as you know) an hour at a time.  After a week of planning just the right look, and raiding my stash to see what I had and what I needed, I had ten days before I *had* to ship it out to her.  Plenty of time, right?  Wrong!  This bugger took me almost twice as long as I had planned, so I ended up down to the wire, which is really unlike me.

With the color combination I procured from all my other Valentine projects this year, I found I only needed some flannel for the batting.  AT the fabric store, I decided on a red flannel for the batting, since the cool thing about rag quilts is that every layer shows and whatever I used on the inside would show in the fringes.  After cutting all my squares – which, of course took three times as long as a normal quilt top, because there are three layers – I got to work.  The piecing did go quickly.  Then all I had was the last step – snipping along the seams – which took another couple hours.  Invest in rag quilt snippers if you undertake this project.  Trust me. :)

Then, finally, finally, this baby was ready for the wash, to fray those seams and finish the overall look.  I washed it up and went to put it in the dryer – only to discover that it had turned terribly, terribly pink.  The red flannel batting I had chosen on a whim bled all over my hard work.

I do not have a photo of this.  I was too busy hyperventilating to grab the camera.

You see – even though I had pre-washed, I had no way of knowing, because it was in a load by itself.  It came out just as red as when it went in, and I’ve never had a quilt bleed on me before, so this was a shock I could have done without.  But, I thought, maybe if I wash it again, it will wash back out.

Nervous this time, I peeked in the washer, just to be sure, and was met with this sight:

Oh no.  No no no no no no no.

And then with a bit of squealing and a conspicuous absence of spin-cyle…  my washing machine DIED.  Out of spite, I actually think.

So on the night before I needed to ship my heartfelt gift, what I had was a wet, pink quilt and a useless washing machine.  I stashed it in the bathtub, where it continued to bleed red like a crafty crime-scene.  But with no time left to mourn, I took a deep breath, and surveyed my bins and shelves for something else I could make for Carlee on short notice, that would convey my sincere appreciation of our friendship.

I could make her a necklace.  I could, in fact, use the exact design I sent my other Valentine, Elaine.  It felt like cheating, but I was desperate and there are no craft stores open at midnight.  My choice was either to use what I had, or to send it late.  So I focused on how I could make it different, and I stamped her this message:

A friend is a blessing.

And I realize that’s a pretty crappy photo.  But there’s a definite shortage of natural lighting for photographs in my kitchen at night.

I also added a little chocolate and a handmade card, and packaged up my gift to send in the morning.  I was feeling a little bad about my original idea falling through, so I consoled myself with some (OK, all) of the chocolate Carlee sent me.  (It helped a little.)  But I decided that because we are friends, she would probably understand.

So there’s the saga of the nightmare quilt.  I did get a new washer out of it, and after about 8 washings (and 8 repaired seams, it seems I clipped a little too close in a few places and ended up with some pretty big holes) later, I still ended up with a rather unfortunate-looking result.  Had it all been a uniform pink, maybe it could have been salvaged – but the white squares turned out awfully spotty and dingy-looking.  I didn’t take a photo of the backside, but the white flannel absorbed the bleed mostly along the X’s.  It’s far from my best work.  Boo.

I still hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day, Carlee, and I’m glad your package arrived in time, at least!!


  1. Lish says

    Ahh…I'm sorry about your guilt! It does look like it would have been a great gift though!!! I love the Valentine's exhange you did, I was contemplating on signing up a few times, but didn't think I would've had the time :( Maybe next year?!

  2. Jean Davis says

    You know, the story along with the quilt makes it even more special, despite how it might look in person. From the photo, it doesn't look so bad at all – even if it wasn't your desired result. :)

    And this totally explains the total terror of the washing machine dying. Talk about horrible timing!

  3. Meeha Meeha says

    I still think it looks awesome, with all the coordinated happy patterns! I know how terrible it is to have something ruined in the washing machine…

  4. MrsFoxsSweets says

    The necklace is gorgeous! The quilt doesnt look bad either! We all have those days, but it doesnt make it any better. I am glad you got your new washing machine :)

  5. ????? says

    Beautiful necklace. The quilt looks like it was a lot of work. It's pretty in the picture.


  6. Ladybird Ln says

    Wow, Adrienne,you went through so much work… I am imagining you hyperventilating over the washing machine… I think it still turned out pretty good, and you will do even better next time (If their is one)! But I love the necklace, it is perfect. I am so excited to be your Valentine Swap Partner, this was a lot of fun! And your story is so funny… I think I will cherish that just as much. Thanks for making me smile:)


  7. Kassi Mortensen says

    I saw Carlee's post and had to come see what happened! So sorry it didn't work out! But a new washer was worth it maybe… huh?? :)

  8. Kadie says

    Oh, I am so sorry!! That is one of the worst feelings. All your very hard work ruined. It looks so cute from the photo. The necklace is beautiful. I'm sure she loves it. I LOVED the exchange SOOO much. It was my first. Thank you for putting it on and for all your hard work.:)

  9. Terry says

    Awww, that is so awful. It looks so cute. I'm with Kadie, by the way, loved this exchange.

  10. Carol-Anne (Use the Good Dishes!) says

    Just wanted to say thanks for hosting the Valentine Exchange! I so enjoyed doing it with Terry (whose comment is above mine!) and it was so nice of you to organize it. I can only imagine how much work it must have been and I really appreciated it!

  11. Cameron Meerdink says

    Oh my gosh – I think I would have melted into a useless puddle of sadness! My mom just told me about these color catcher thingies – I don't own any, though, so I'd be in the same boat if I made a red & white quilt! You did make an amazing recovery!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *