I have been a little busy working on this quilt the last few weeks. I have been so excited about the way it turned out that it has been hard to keep it a secret. We celebrated my in-laws' 40th anniversary last night with a surprise party for them. Kyle has one sister and she has been working on doing something for this special anniversary for almost 2 years. She created this amazing slide show including pictures from their 40 years of marriage and then my sister-in-law hosted an amazing surprise party for them. Unfortunately, I didn't come up with the idea for the quilt until the last month before the big party, so I have been scrambling a bit to finish it. I had each of the grandchildren draw a 5 inch by 5 inch self portrait. The 2 grandchildren who were too young to draw their own self portraits had theirs done by an older sibling. I told them to try to keep the pictures fairly simple and most do outlining, rather than coloring in. They all used crayola markers, so the colors were pretty similar. There are 4 grandchildren that live out of state, so their mom just scanned their pictures and sent them to me. I traced each child's picture onto a 7 1/2 inch by 7 1/2 inch piece of muslin. Then I embroidered each picture to match their drawing. I used fat quarters and more muslin to put the quilt blocks together. I got the idea from the book The Creative Family by Amanda Soule. In her book she suggests embroidering children's artwork and using it throughout your home. My mother-in-law actually makes a similar quilt for each child using coloring book characters, so I thought it would be fun for her to have her own quilt with the kids' drawings on it. At the last minute I was panicked about what to do about the actual quilting. I have hand quilted a few quilts, but my skills are sorely lacking and my mother-in-law is a true artist when it comes to hand quilting. I don't know what I would do without her sister, our wonderful Aunt Sherry. She agreed to machine quilt it for me with only days left before the party. She had never machine quilted before and used a brand new machine that she is still trying to figure out. Amazingly, she finished the entire thing is less than 24 hours and it looks professional! It was such a fun project to work on! I hope to create some more quilts like this down the road, only hopefully next time will think a little more ahead and not leave myself such a short deadline. I would love to create one for myself that shows my kids' artwork evolving over time. That would just require a fair amount of planning, so we'll see if I can be that organized.