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Molly's Sketchbook: Cheerful Quilted Playmat

We decided to make a playmat because it's a great gift for any time of year. You can throw it on the grass in August, or lay it on the living room floor in December. It's stuffed with our thickest cotton batting so it's soft and dense plus it's totally washable so you don't have to be precious with it. Best of all, even though it's hand quilted, it comes together really quickly since it's not basted. It's a perfect, breezy, end of summer project for any baby!

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Me-in Baby Alphabet Block Kit

With the arrival of Jen and Ray's new baby girl this week (welcome Bobbie Rae!) as well as the early arrival of our designer Brooke's new baby 2 weeks ago (welcome Baby M!), we've been taking a fresh look at some of our favorite baby toy kits.  It feels really nice to make something by hand for a newborn,

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Molly's Sketchbook: Lotta Jansdotter Printed Cocktail Napkins

Lotta Jansdotter is a super talented author and designer known for her beautifully modern sense of style. We recently got in her new Lotta's Printing Studio Kit and I knew I wanted to use it as soon as it come out of the box. It comes with a pretty and informative book that explains different printing techniques all of which are fun and do-able. It also comes with some beautiful stencils that make printing on fabric quick and easy.

I wanted to make something colorful and useful with this new (for me) stencil technique so I decided on some simple cocktail napkins.  I picked some cheery colors for my fabric paint the lovely Robert Kaufman Essex, in Natural, as the background so the colors would really pop. The napkins themselves were a breeze to sew. I didn't even use pins, which really cut down on the time factor. I love how they came out and I love the idea of having them all spread out on the food table welcoming guests to a summer party.

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Margaret Oomen's Little Urchin Crochet Covered Sea Stones 

For quite some time now we have been mesmerized and inspired by the work of the unsurpassable artist Margaret Oomen - we are particularly drawn to her crocheted stones.  Her creations and her talent leave us absolutely speechless, as does her wonderfully kind personality.  Resurrection Fern is her blog about her life as a mother of four, rural physician and textile designer.  She also has an Etsy Shop where you can purchase her gorgeous crocheted stones (if you're quick enough since they go so quickly!) as well as beautiful still-life photographs of her crocheted stones. Today marks a very special day for us because Margaret generously agreed to create an exclusive Crocheted Stone pattern for Purl Bee readers (pictured above). Below is one of our favorite shots of Margaret's work from her Etsy Shop.

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Molly's Sketchbook: Zippered Dopp Kit

I love my dopp kit! (I also love the phrase "dopp kit" which Joelle and Page just taught me, It's an old fashioned term for a toiletry bag). I think of my dopp kit as a little piece of home that I can carry with me wherever I go. I like to keep it well stocked with travel shampoo, toothpaste, and maybe an extra pair of earrings so I can just toss it into my bag when I'm packing and be ready to go.

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