quilt tutorial-60_specialquiltEver since I was little, I’ve had a thing for blankets.  I used to tell my mom if she just got me a new comforter for my bed, I would be able to keep my room clean!   I love having blankets and quilts around to snuggle with.  There’s something so special about them.  Even my kids “lovies” are blankets.


Blankets are even better when they are homemade.


For Hanukkah this year, I made each of my kids a quilt.  I spent a long time wandering around the fabric store, picking fabrics that “fit” their personalities.  I wanted their quilts to be large.. so they could use them even when they are big and adult-size.   After I posted a few photos of their quilts on Facebook, I had people ask for instructions.   So here they are.


This quilt is QUICK and easy… and BIG.  50″ x 70″ (or so) finished (and washed) size.  And SO, SO cozy!   They have weight to them, also, so if you lay under one you will likely fall asleep.  OH!  And they are pretty cheap (when you get the “stuff” on sale).  NO pre-washing, NO ironing.


I’ve never written a tutorial before on anything, so bear with me.  But I hope you make one (or two, it’s always nice to give a homemade quilt to people who are special to you!) .. and when you do, please post a photo so I can see!!!!



1.5 y EACH Of 5 FLANNEL fabrics  (Coordinating)

3- 1.5y pieces of SOLID flannel (I used white).

(You COULD buy 4.5y and cut into 3 pieces, but SO much easier if the store cuts it for you)

Coordinating thread.

(You will also need to have (or borrow) a cutting mat, a rotary cutter, a sewing machine!, and a pair of these snippy scissors.)


1.  When you put a new needle in your machine, be SURE it’s in the right way. (Mine has the flat part towards the back).  This caused a LOT of trouble for me one day when I inserted it sideways and kept having my thread snap, get caught, etc.


2.  If you’d LIKE to use pins, go ahead.  I did it all with no pins. (But I’m not a perfectionist)


3.  When picking fabric (This is the hardest part for me), choose a “main” fabric and then use the colors on that to choose your other fabrics and threads.

Here is the “main” fabric for this quilt.  I picked it because it reminded me of the person I was making it for.quilt tutorial-5_specialquilt

Here is the main fabric with the 4 other coordinating fabrics.quilt tutorial-6_specialquilt

 4.  DO NOT WASH the fabric before you begin!!


OK, Let’s see if I can describe this well…ahem…


The GLORIOUS thing about the way I made this quilt is that a LOT of the cutting is already done for you.  So all you need to do is REFOLD the fabric like this:

Line up the fuzzy edges to fold in half.  (So folding the 54″ side- so it will then be 26″ x 42″)Folding_specialquiltstep2_specialquilt

Then, fold in half again (so it will now be 13″ by 42″).5_specialquiltquilt tutorial-7_specialquilt


Do this to all 5 main fabrics, and all 3 white pieces as well.

For your final quilt you will need the following of the MAIN fabrics:

4- 11″ pieces   (1 each of 4 fabrics)

6- 9″ pieces   (1 of 4 fabrics, 2 of 1 fabric)

10- 7″ pieces   (2 of each fabric)

1- 6″x6″ square (for initial)


You will need the following of WHITE fabric:

2- 11″ pieces

3- 9″ pieces

5- 7″ pieces


PHEW!  That is REALLY the hardest part (besides picking your designs).  To do this part, I use a mat and a rotary cutter.    I also got this super cool pair of snippy scissors for the final part.quilt tutorial-3_specialquilt

I just line up the fabric on the cutting mat (as shown above) and use a clear guide (I think that’s what it’s called) and slice with rotary cutter.  First, though, I slice off the top fuzzy part for a clean edge.quilt tutorial-9_specialquilt

After you have all your fabric cut, you will lay out the quilt pattern.  None of the six of these I’ve made so far have had the same “pattern”, so you can really do anything you like for this.  You will be making sandwiches.  Each sandwich will have 2 pattern pieces and 1 white piece.  The first pattern piece goes face down, then the white piece, then the other pattern piece.  The only real “suggestion” I have it to just be sure you don’t have the same pattern next to itself.  Other than that, go to town. quilt tutorial-10_specialquiltquilt tutorial-13_specialquilt

(Yours will be lines up better than ^… I just put them down and then had to run out the door.  Later, I made them nice, neat sandwiches.  The brown square is what I used to make the letter.

If you’d like a more specific guide to fabric placement, here is the way I did THIS quilt.  (Letter on left is on top FACE UP,  right is bottom FACE DOWN, and always a white piece in the middle)


A = bird       B = blue dot       C = green dot       D = brown        E = tan

11″-  A  W  D

7″-    E  W  A

9″-   B  W  B

7″-   D  W  C

7″-   C  W  B

7″-  B  W  D

9″-   D  W  C

7″-   E  W  A

9″-   A  W  E

11″-  C  W  B

PHEW!  That is probably the most confusing part.   Soooo.. now, you have all your sandwiches laid out on the floor.


First, you need to make sure you’ve made enough bobbins in your thread color.  I like to use a contrasting color… pulled from a fabric.  I know it’s hardly visible in the end, but I like it anyway!   I made 3 bobbins, but only needed 2.quilt tutorial-47_specialquiltBE SURE, IF YOU ARE ADDING A LETTER, that you sew it on to the top piece of fabric BEFORE You sew the sandwich together.

For each of the wider strips (9″ and 11″) you are going to sew a line (for the 9″) or two (for the 11″) down the strip.  It keeps it stable AND looks quilty then it’s done. quilt tutorial-21_specialquiltquilt tutorial-19_specialquiltquilt tutorial-22_specialquiltIt takes, for REAL, about 60 seconds MAX to sew each line.

And if you’re like me, your sewing machine will do weird things… and it’s OK.  Mistakes add character.quilt tutorial-14_specialquiltquilt tutorial-16_specialquilt

After you have all the “wide” sandwiches stitched, it will be time to assemble. I keep them on the floor in order.  And, if you’re anything like me, you may have a helper visit and check everything to make sure it’s lookin’ good.quilt tutorial-25_specialquiltquilt tutorial-26_specialquiltquilt tutorial-31_specialquiltThe edges will not be perfectly lined up.  I like to line up (the best I can) the left hand side of each sandwich.  It’s going to be trimmed at the end anyway.. so “good enough” is… well… good enough!quilt tutorial-32_specialquiltASSEMBLING

Now, you will just flip one sandwich on top of the one below it… line up pretty well.. and carefully carry to your sewing machine.  You will be sewing through SIX layers of flannel.quilt tutorial-33_specialquiltI use a 1/2″ seam…. And keep it as consistent as possible.  It wiggles sometimes, but I just do the best I can.  Here is how it looks on the machine:quilt tutorial-35_specialquiltquilt tutorial-38_specialquiltquilt tutorial-39_specialquiltquilt tutorial-40_specialquiltSee how the fabric pile is pretty much at 1/2″…..and how it’s not perfectly straight.  I’m fine with that.  If you’re not, use pins.  Remember, I am NOT a quilter!

Here’s another bonus…. you do not have to backwards sew to make it secure.  Just sew from one end to the other, then cut your string.

You will keep adding more rows on by flipping the next row up (I start at the bottom of the quilt) over on top of the one below… sewing 1/2″ seams.

I actually usually do the bottom 4 rows… the middle 3 rows… and then the top 3 rows.  Then sew each section together.  It just seems to make it go faster.  But it’s personal preference.

THIS ENTIRE PART…. takes less than 1 hour.

So… now you have the whole quilt sewn together.  WOO!  And you will notice something.  The edges are NOT great.  In fact… one side is ESPECIALLY uneven.quilt tutorial-42_specialquiltNot… to …. worry.

I just lay mine on my kitchen floor which has squares on it… line up the bottom (or top) and drag it over to a straight line and snip along the line.  Just to even things up.  I do that to both sides.  One will need more of a trim than the other.  I’m sure there is a MUCH more technical way… AND.. I’m sure these quilts are not perfect rectangles.. but I’m totally OK with that.  They are close!

After you have it more of less even, you will sew around the entire quilt.  Seam of 1/2″ (approx) as well.  The only important thing here is when you get to a seam, you are going to open it up and sew it flat.  And you WILL reverse at the beginning and end to keep this secure.  Like this:quilt tutorial-44_specialquiltquilt tutorial-46_specialquiltAnd VIOLA!!    Seriously… that’s it.. 99%.

Now, you will get your snippy scissors.  And you will turn on the TV… or chat with a friend.  And you will snip ALLLLLLL the seams. quilt tutorial-48_specialquiltquilt tutorial-52_specialquilt

And it will look like this.. ALLL around:quilt tutorial-51_specialquiltquilt tutorial-54_specialquiltquilt tutorial-56_specialquiltIf you are going to give it as a gift, you COULD give it like this.  Wrap with a nice ribbon and with instructions.  Just tell the recipient to throw it in the wash and then dry it.  It will FLUFF up.  The only reason not to do it yourself BEFORE you give it to them is because it will have little bits of lint, initially… stuck to it.


Throw the entire thing into the wash.  I usually toss a towel in with it too just to absorb water quicker in the dryer… because I’m impatient and can’t wait to see how it comes out.

Toss in the dryer.

And this is what it will look like:

quilt tutorial-59_specialquiltquilt tutorial-60_specialquiltquilt tutorial-62_specialquiltquilt tutorial-64_specialquiltquilt tutorial-66_specialquiltquilt tutorial-68_specialquiltPerfect, Cozy!

I’d love to know if you made one (or more!).  If you do, please share a photo with me here or on Facebook.

Focus Photography LLC serves Virginia in the Fredericksburg, Warrenton, Manassas, Culpeper and surrounding areas. We are available for travel as well. Focus Photography LLC specializes in newborn, baby, child and family photography.
Back to Top Contact Me    

quilt-42_specialquiltI decided, in preparation for my quilt tutorial, I should drag  my 4 kids out on a crazy cold and windy day and take pictures of them with their quilts.  I wanted so show how BIG they are (50″ x 70″- big enough for a grown up!) and also, my kids are just cuties.   They were good sports and we were out there for about 5 minutes.  I wish I had gotten a few more, but I didn’t want to annoy my models.


They played around by the door as we gathered our things and the girls got their swim practice stuff ready to roll.


And then we were off.


They weren’t quite as cooperative at first, and Rowen looks scared!quilt-10_specialquilt

But really, their goofy selves are what I love the most!quilt-12_specialquilt

It was SO windy… and Rowen using his blanket as cape inspired the next bunch:


I love these next few of Bryar! quilt-16_specialquiltquilt-17_specialquilt

I think the photo below will be one of her “hallmark” childhood photos.  I always work hard to get one like this of each child for my clients.  But my kids are tough since … you know… their mom is a photographer.  So when I get one that just captures the essence of them… perfect!quilt-18_specialquilt

It was So cold, I can’t believe they were so smiley!quilt-22_specialquiltquilt-24_specialquiltquilt-26_specialquilt

Their outfits crack me up… we were on our way to swim practice and they need me to do more laundry.  They threw on whatever they had and ran out the door… Pants too short, colors don’t match… and funky socks.


I love when Sage “let’s loose”


(Favorite of Sage below)quilt-32_specialquiltquilt-34_specialquilt

And can’t leave out Chase-T-Cakes



The kids ran back to the WARM car and I took a few last photos of their quilts.   I’m telling you, I am all about simple and easy… and these quilts are perfect.  Big, cozy, and special because I picked out fabrics that reminded me of each of them!  I hope you make one!!!quilt-40_specialquiltquilt-41_specialquiltquilt-43_specialquiltquilt-44_specialquiltquilt-46_specialquilt

Don’t you want to wrap up and snuggle in one right now? :)

QUILT INSTRUCTIONS here!  Follow link!


Focus Photography LLC serves Virginia in the Fredericksburg, Warrenton, Manassas, Culpeper and surrounding areas. We are available for travel as well. Focus Photography LLC specializes in newborn, baby, child and family photography.
Back to Top Contact Me    
  • Tara L Scansaroli - COOL! Dig it!!February 5, 2015 – 10:43 pmReplyCancel


So most years, I do a giveaway in the fall.  I call it “give and get” because you nominate someone to receive a session (for whatever reason you decide) and if they get chosen, you GET a session of your own.    But in 2014, I did it differently.


See, there was a specific family I wanted to give a session to.  The year prior, the mom of this family nominated another family- who got CHOSEN.  Then, instead of taking her “get” session, she gave THAT away to another family.  She also gives her time to a fantastic local non-profit (Fairy Godmother Project) that supports families that are dealing with pediatric cancer.  OH.. and did I mention I had never met her, yet she has been supporting MY business for years through comments and encouraging messages.


And remember, we’d never met.  I don’t know why she chose ME to be so sweet to, so caring.  I think it just goes to show who Katy is.  And so I chose her family.  And because I own this business, I can do things like that!


Oh!  And Katy and her husband have SEVEN kids… in 7 years (if I recall correctly!).   I am SO happy I met this bunch!  They are so sweet, loving, caring and fun.  You can tell they value each other and it was fun to see who gravitated towards each other!    They make me want to have 3 more kids!


With no further ago, I’d like to introduce you to a great bunch!  I am SO happy I chose them!   (And regular give and get will be back this fall!)baker2014-5_lakeportraits

I, of course, grouped the girls together and the boys!



And then it was time for each kid alone!   This was so cute because there was a LOT of action going on behind me during these!

Kelly- off to college next year!baker2014-19b&w_lakeportraitsAllison


Mary Katebaker2014-14_lakeportraitsRobbie


Jimmybaker2014-42_lakeportraitsAnniebaker2014-9_lakeportraitsJoeybaker2014-46_lakeportraitsI love how they all have their own “look”… different color, types of hair, eyes, etc.  Genetics are so incredible.
And THIS is what was happening behind me:baker2014-30_lakeportraitsAfter this, we left the dock for a few and headed over the field you see behind them!baker2014-64_lakeportraitsbaker2014-68_lakeportraitsbaker2014-52_lakeportraits

And I did a little explanation on depth of field and aperture with the help of Annie.  I could take pictures of her ALL day!baker2014-60_lakeportraitsbaker2014-61_lakeportraits

After that it took a few minutes to get all 7 kids standing…baker2014-75_lakeportraitsbaker2014-73_lakeportraitsbaker2014-69_lakeportraitsAnd then we headed back down to the docks.baker2014-78_lakeportraitsbaker2014-84_lakeportraitsbaker2014-82_lakeportraitsSince I have been friends with Katy on facebook, I always saw her photos of her kids.. which are SO SO cute.  She is great!   She almost always had them in age order, so I thought we should mix it up a little.baker2014-80_lakeportraitsbaker2014-81_lakeportraits

And we ended with this photo… as a means to get the last image.  Apparently Rock-Paper-Scissors is a great problem solver in their family!  Especially between these 2 boys!baker2014-92_lakeportraitsbaker2014-91_lakeportraitsI am SO SO happy to have captured these portraits and silly moments for such a great family!  I am so excited to watch them all grow up and to keep on chatting with Katy!  Such a wonderful, wonderful afternoon!

Focus Photography LLC serves Virginia in the Fredericksburg, Warrenton, Manassas, Culpeper and surrounding areas. We are available for travel as well. Focus Photography LLC specializes in newborn, baby, child and family photography.
Back to Top Contact Me    
  • Shannon Flynn - Great photo shoot of a beautiful family!January 31, 2015 – 12:57 amReplyCancel

  • Tara L Scansaroli - Fantastic!January 31, 2015 – 1:39 amReplyCancel

  • Rosemary Flynn - The whole group is sweeter than pictures show. -No, I’m not biased. Gorgeous pictures!January 31, 2015 – 1:54 pmReplyCancel

  • Lorraine S Wagner - I cannot get enough pictures of this group They are indeed awesome. Wish they lived closer!January 31, 2015 – 6:00 pmReplyCancel


I love that I get to do portraits for my siblings!!!   My brothers don’t partake regularly, but my sister and her family do a little session each year.  And of COURSE it’s usually kinda last minute.  This one was interesting because the only time to make it work was 11:30am… which is pretty much one of the worst times to take photos.  In addition, the sun came out from behind the clouds AS SOON as we headed out the door… and we planned to do most of the photos on the docks (WIDE OPEN SUN).


It was a challenge!  I like that!  And I love how they turned out.  Here they are (in reverse order, again!):

And since she’s my sister we can do cheesy stuff for fun!grzy2014-66_lakeportraitsgrzy2014-65_lakeportraitsgrzy2014-63_lakeportraitsgrzy2014-61_lakeportraitsgrzy2014-60_lakeportraits


I love these of Craig and his little man.grzy2014-55_lakeportraits


You DON’T have dance parties in the middle of a field?grzy2014-54_lakeportraitsgrzy2014-52_lakeportraits


Sweet Lev.  We skipped the kids birthday photos in 2014, sadly… can’t wait to do them in March!grzy2014-50_lakeportraitsgrzy2014-47_lakeportraits

My sister wanted to do a yoga theme for her New Years cards this year…  “Have an Ommmm-azing new year”grzy2014-46_lakeportraitsgrzy2014-38_lakeportraits

I love these faces!grzy2014-30_lakeportraitsgrzy2014-29_lakeportraitsgrzy2014-27_lakeportraitsgrzy2014-25_lakeportraits

I told Shaili to pinch Levin’s tush!grzy2014-19_lakeportraitsgrzy2014-21_lakeportraits

Mommy and Shai time!grzy2014-14_lakeportraitsgrzy2014-13_lakeportraitsgrzy2014-11_lakeportraitsgrzy2014-9_lakeportraitsgrzy2014-7_lakeportraitsgrzy2014-1_lakeportraits

Lake Anna sessions are usually some of my favorite ones ever!!!  If you are interested in booking a Lake Anna session, please contact me!  All seasons are perfect there!

Focus Photography LLC serves Virginia in the Fredericksburg, Warrenton, Manassas, Culpeper and surrounding areas. We are available for travel as well. Focus Photography LLC specializes in newborn, baby, child and family photography.
Back to Top Contact Me    
  • Tara L Scansaroli - YES! LOVE!January 28, 2015 – 11:41 pmReplyCancel

Something changed with my blogging site since my posts in 2014, and now it won’t let me put the pictures in the order I’d prefer.  I usually go beginning to end of a session, but this time… it’s backwards.  That’s OK because we can start with my favorites!


I have known (and photographed) this family for 5+ years now!  They are one of my favorite families in all the world.  Nice, thoughtful, caring, giving.  Not only do we love having any/all of the kids over…. the big girls now babysit for mine.  I couldn’t ask for better friends, neighbors… people!

As I’m sure you  know if you read my blog ever, I love to take a few pictures of the parents together at each session.  Amy and Tom are the cutest.  My #1 favorite photos from this session are the ones of them!!!!  Especially how Tom looks at Amy!

lacey2014-63b&w_bigsisterlittlebabylacey2014-63_bigsisterlittlebabylacey2014-61_bigsisterlittlebabylacey2014-55_bigsisterlittlebabyKaila!  Such a funny girl!  My littlest son LOVES her so so so much!lacey2014-51_bigsisterlittlebabylacey2014-49_bigsisterlittlebabylacey2014-47_bigsisterlittlebaby


Sierra always makes me smile!  She is a goofball in the best ways!lacey2014-37_bigsisterlittlebabylacey2014-42_bigsisterlittlebaby

If you know anything about me, you know I have a soft spot for sisters!!!! lacey2014-36_bigsisterlittlebabylacey2014-30_bigsisterlittlebaby

This little man is James!  He is my 8 year olds best friend.  I couldn’t ask for a better friend for her!  His smile lights up the room!lacey2014-28_bigsisterlittlebabylacey2014-26b&w_bigsisterlittlebabylacey2014-22_bigsisterlittlebaby

One day I will post some of the photos of these 3 from the past few years.  They all resemble this:lacey2014-19_bigsisterlittlebabylacey2014-17_bigsisterlittlebaby

Always have to get one of them all looking and smiling!  And no one BLINKED!lacey2014-16_bigsisterlittlebabylacey2014-13_bigsisterlittlebaby

I just LOVE winter for photo sessions!!!!!



When I think of this family, this is what I picture!  Perfect!lacey2014-3_bigsisterlittlebaby


If you’re interested in a winter session (or any season!), contact me to set one up!



Focus Photography LLC serves Virginia in the Fredericksburg, Warrenton, Manassas, Culpeper and surrounding areas. We are available for travel as well. Focus Photography LLC specializes in newborn, baby, child and family photography.
Back to Top Contact Me    
  • Tara L Scansaroli - Fabulous!January 24, 2015 – 6:17 pmReplyCancel