25 Days of December Silhouette Album

IMG_2934_1_webEvery Christmas I try to tell myself that THIS year it’s going to be more about family, love, and giving. But like all the rest of you, I find myself completely caught up with the busyness that consumes my time during the month of December.  December happens to be a crazy time for designers ON TOP OF the usual craziness that happens during the holidays. For me, work revolves around CHA, new releases for first quarter, and the Atlanta GiftShow (for MiniLou). Despite all of this, I’m going to try (once again) to slow down during the month of December. And with you as my witness (See! I’m holding myself accountable to you!), I’ve decided to get on top of things THIS month to make December a little more cherry and bright.


First off, I already ordered my Christmas Cards (I think a sigh of relief escaped as I wrote that). They arrive December 2nd, and I plan on getting all my labels done this coming week. Yes, it is a relief to already have them printed, and no, I am NEVER this early. Second, I’m going to get all my holiday shopping done in November. Yes, you heard me. And no, I don’t have a plan for this yet. Any tips would be helpful!!! (Leave comments below.) And FINALLY, I went ahead and designed myself an entire 25 Days of December Album (that you can purchase in my silhouette shop), that I have already cut out and put together.


IMG_2939_1_webI have never done an album like this before, but have ALWAYS wanted to. I designed all of the albums and accessories to be super easy to cut out and use.

This year, I’m doing the 5 x 7 Album, but I also have available the 5 x5 Album and the 5 x 7 Horizontal Album. The 5 x 7′s are meant to fit a 4 x 6 photo per day. The 5 x5 Album is meant for instagram photos and fits a 4 x 4 photo beautifully (I love to use Persnickety Prints for my 4 x 4 photos).

Each album also comes with some different accessories. I plan on using the extra pocket pieces and fun shapes to add journaling and some of our holiday photos (and to stash my Christmas Card).

So if you are making this album, it’s pretty easy to put together, but here are a few hints to help you out:


1. You will need to cut 5 of each tabbed piece. That will give you 25 pages—one for each day. Cut one or two of the cover piece (no tab). I only cut one and used a pocket accessory for my back page.

2. Add as many accessory pages as you like. You can see in mine that I elected to put a few in the front and back of the album. Because I’m making this a “stress-free, expectation-free” album, I didn’t want to throw in pages that I then felt obligated to fill. However, I do think it would be pretty to throw in an extra shape or pocket page between each tab so that it goes to a specific day.

3. If you are looking to have this album “pre-made” in time for Christmas or you are making it for someone else, I recommend only adding “scraps” to the left-side of the page and leaving the tabbed side for the photo. (Like the second photo at the very top.)

4. Have fun or go simple with your paper choices. On mye tabbed sheets I elected to use kraft paper just because it was easy. I cut each tabbed sheet on an 8.5 inch x 11 inch piece of paper (one fits per sheet). I inked the edges a little bit to give it some dimension. (FYI, I use my newest Carta Bella collection Christmas Time for this book).

3. Glue is good. A stapler is better. ESPECIALLY on the pocket pages. The folds are pretty self-explanatory on the pocket pages. Once you fold them all in, I like to take a stapler to it. It adds some “scrappiness” to the album and helps secure the pocket in place. I’ve also used hot glue and a glue stick. They work great as well. Note: For the Mini Pockets, you may want to add a couple of extra staples right to the MIDDLE of the page to separate out the two pockets.

4. Use ribbon, twine, or O-rings to keep it together. If your album gets REALLY thick, you may want to consider O-rings (you can usually find these at an office supply shop). I wanted to keep my album “unprecious” and added different little bits of ribbon and twine. I want the kids to feel like they can handle and play with this album all through the season and beyond. Which brings me to my next point…

5. Have a plan. Especially when it comes to the photo part. Are you going to print at home or send out your photos? Are you going to print daily or weekly? Are you going to journal (or will it stress you out?). My plan this year is to print everyday at the end of the day. So I have a pack of 4 x 6 photo papers ready for December. As for journaling, this year the album is the “family” album. That means, I plan on having the kids write things they are thankful for or are doing for Christmas. Josh and I will add notes too. If you are doing a personal, reflective album, yours will be so different from mine.

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And that’s it! I hope you have fun making your book and you get to spend some time really showing off how wonderful the holiday season really is! If you are on instagram, you can follow me at @carinagardner. Make sure and hashtag #25dod (25 Days of December) so that we can all share in your journey in December!

Happy scrapping!




RBD Post Quilt Market Designer Blog Tour: Carina Gardner

IMG_2977_1_webI’m excited to be the next stop on the Riley Blake Design Blog Tour! I’m suppose to be introducing Primrose Garden, but for those of you who follow my blog, you know that I’ve been posting about this line for the last couple of months. It just barely hit stores so I’m excited to share the inspiration behind this line.

First of all, I designed this line at the same time that I purchased an old 1968 Jet Airway. The stove was original and turquoise (I may have purchased it simply for the stove…heehee). I started thinking about colors and patterns I would want in the trailer, if I were to, um, glamp it up :) . I started thinking about making the glamper red, blue, and black (and I did furnish it with a lot of laminates from my Evening Blooms collection). I wanted something that felt fresh, clean, but had a traditional appeal. And that’s how Primrose Garden came into being! You can see that I created wallpaper for the glampGLAMPER_carinagardner_1_web copyer kitchen from the red master colorway from Primrose Garden (see link to Glamper pics below).

This is my first collection with an 18 inch doll panel! You’ll see more of these from me in future lines.

Because I don’t want to bore you with things I’ve already posted, here are some other links that will help you should you be thinking about sewing with Primrose Garden:

Primrose Garden LookBook (all the fabrics and doll panels!)
18 inch Doll Panel Fully Illustrated Instructions (Free Tutorial)
18 inch Doll Panel Quilt and Pillow (Free Download and Tutorial)
Carina Gardner Aurifil Thread (matches Primrose Garden!)

And if you are curious about my Glamper Renovation, you can see all the posts here. If you just want to go straight to the final photos of the glamper, you can see them here.

Thanks for visiting my blog! For more updates on fabric, quilts, and giveaways, be sure to check out my Facebook page and instagram feed!~Carina

<<<See the previous stop on this tour with Lila Tueller
See the next post with Lori Holt>>>>

Visit the entire Blog Tour!

11/6 – The Quilted Fish
11/7 – Bella Blvd.
11/8 – Deena Rutter
11/10 – Lila Tueller
11/11 – Carina Gardner
11/13 -Bee In My Bonnet
11/14 – Fancy Pants Designs
11/15 – My Mind’s Eye
11/17 – Zoe Pearn
11/18 – Sue Daley
11/20 – Kelly Panacci
11/21 – Marin Sutton
11/22 – Lori Whitlock
11/24 – Melissa Mortenson
11/25 – Melly & Me
11/28 – Scott Jarrard
11/29 – Elea Lutz

Primrose 18 Inch Doll Panel Instructions

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 12.08.33 AMThank you for purchasing the Primrose Garden 18 inch doll panel! While there are instructions on the panel itself, I find that illustrations always help me see how to put something together. Sooooo, I’ve put together some illustrations that coordinate with these doll panels for you! Feel free to download and use as you put together these dresses!

If you are looking for this panel, please check with your local quilt shop first. There are also several online retailers carrying this line


If you are feeling extra sewerly today, you can also download the matching quilt and pillow instructions for this line. Or get the matching Auriful Threads.

Happy Sewing!

Primrose Garden 18 inch Doll Quilt and Pillow Pattern—Free Download

PrintMy new fabric line Primrose Garden will be hitting your local quilt shop this month! To celebrate my first ever 18 inch doll panels, I have a free 18 inch doll quilt and pillow pattern for you!

This is such a simple, easy project! It doesn’t take a lot of fabric and is such a fun gift for your 18 inch doll lovers (there are three in my house).


If you get the Riley Blake Newsletter, you may have also noticed a red quilt that I put together. It’s design was based on one of the free patterns available at Riley Blake called Whimsy. I changed a few of my dimensions to make it fit my office wall but it’s basically the same design.

Sneak peek at the quilt below if you don’t get the newsletter:). So many more projects coming with this line!

Happy sewing to me:).


Owl Halloween Wreath


IMG_1268_webI love Halloween. Just look through the archives of this site, and the love is evident. Two days ago, my next door neighbor Sara said she wanted to make some Halloween wreaths. I was along for the ride and decided to take advantage of the burlap craze to make a new wreath for my door. The end result was the wreath you see above. My kids are obsessed with the owls and I’m obsessed with the way the orange pops on my black door. Win-win!

These are not step by step instructions but a guideline for making a wreath like this:

Two owls
2 Black sparkly branches
Orange burlap (about 1 1/2 yards cut into 3 inch wide strips)
Styrofoam wreath form
Hot glue gun and glue sticks
Ribbon for a bow (or premade ribbon)

I should fess up now and tell you I simply bought the bow already made up from Michaels. It was the exact right pattern and I couldn’t find any ribbon like it so I just bought it.


IMG_6672_webHot gluing the burlap to the wreath was the longest part of the process. All I did was glue down one end of a burlap strip to the wreath form, make a loop, twist it a little, and glue the next part down. If you buy a wire wreath, you can use a method like this one here that I found on Pinterest.

Leave a small space in the burlap for the bow. Once you are done gluing down the burlap, add the bow and position the branches up. Glue in the owls.

Pretty simple huh?

And, for your crafting pleasure, here is a listing of other Halloween projects I have done over the years that you might be interested in checking out:

The Witch and Wizard Party:

IMG_1260_webFree Halloween banner download that I hung on my piano:

Free silhouette files and ideas:

Batty Wreath:

Halloween Advent class in the shop:

Happy crafting!


Feeling Blessed

IMG_1223_web1I always love September. With fall on the way and the kids in school, it feels like a time of renewal. This year has been no different especially with the official launch of my new company MiniLou. I just got back from our very first tradeshow. It’s been a whirlwind, but I’m excited for everything that we are trying to accomplish.

Of course, my two little companies are experiencing growing pains, but that’s part of it, right? I’m always trying to learn how to better prioritize, get organized, and balance family with work. It’s such a struggle. One of the things I struggle with is updating this blog. That means that my priority is to update you with new releases and designs—which means I hardly get a chance to tell you about my joys and struggles. Maybe some of you love that. Maybe some of you wished I would share more.

Either way, I hope you know how much I appreciate all the support you have given me. Whether it is through the emails sent to me, classroom forums, or the little tidbits I hear at a meeting (my assistant Susan just told me this morning that through our fabric sale someone was able to buy fabrics for a project for cancer patients…my heart was so filled with joy!), I feel so blessed to be able to do this for a living.

Hoping you are having a wonderful September too and that your life is filled with joy and love!



Clearance Fabric Sale

All of the inventory for MiniLou has arrived and even though we are leasing out more space for the new company, I’m ready to clear out some more space in the CGI warehouse. Call it an impulsive start-of-the-school-year clean out.

Each of these bits of pieces are the full 42-43″ width and 100% cotton from lines I have designed for Northcott. Once they are gone, they are gone!

Please note: If you decide to buy more than one piece of fabric, we will bundle your order together and you will only pay for shipping once. We will issue a refund in the amount of shipping you “prepay” through Paypal. Go ahead and buy to secure your order.


BABY SAFARI SCALLOP CIRCLES PURPLE  4 1/4 yards, $2 per yard = $8.50 + shipping ($5)

Fabric 1





BABY SAFARI SCALLOP CIRCLES BLUE 4 1/8 yards  $2 per yard = $8.25 + shipping ($5)

Fabric 2



BABY SAFARI TOSSED GREEN 1 3/4 yards, $2 per yard = $3.50 + shipping ($5)

Fabric 3




BABY SAFARI SWIRL GREEN 3 3/8 yards, $2 per yard = $6.75 + shipping ($5)

Fabric 4






BABY SAFARI SWIRL ORANGE 4 yards, $2 per yard = $8.00+ shipping ($5)

Fabric 5





BABY SAFARI TOSSED PURPLE 3/4 yards, $2 per yard = $1.50 + shipping ($5)

Fabric 6




COQUETTE LEAFETTE MOSS 1 3/4 yards, $2 per yard = $3.50 + shipping ($5)

Fabric 7




COQUETTE BLOSSOM 1 1/8 yards, $2 per yard = $2.25 + shipping ($5)

Fabric 8






COQUETTE GARDENETTE 3 1/8 yards, $2 per yard = $6.25 + shipping ($5)

Fabric 9









 DRESS UP ACCESSORIES 1 1/4 yards, $2 per yard = $2.25 + shipping ($5)

Fabric 10




RED DOT almost 7/8 yards, $2 per yard = $1.75 + shipping ($5)

Fabric 11




BABY SAFARI ELEPHANT WALK BLUE 3/8 yards, $2 per yard = $0.75 + shipping ($5)

Fabric 12





COQUETTE PRIMROSE 1 5/8 yards, $2 per yard = $3.25 + shipping ($5)

Fabric 13






LOVE NEST BIRDIE BLUSH 1 3/8 yards, $2 per yard = $2.75 + shipping ($5)

Fabric 14




LOVE NEST CALICO HEART RED 4 7/8 yards, $2 per yard = $9.75 + shipping ($5)

Fabric 15




PINFEATHERS FLYING TURQUOISE 4 5/8 yards, $2 per yard = $9.25 + shipping ($5)

Fabric 16





PINFEATHERS PARADISE LARGE FLORAL 4 3/8 yards, $2 per yard = $8.75 + shipping ($5)

Fabric 17








PINFEATHERS BLUE TOSSED 1 1/4 yard , $2 per yard = $2.50 + shipping ($5)

Fabric 18



pinfeathers4PINFEATHERS PINK BIRD ON A WIRE 1 1/4 yards, $2 per yard = $2.50 + shipping ($5)

Fabric 19







PINFEATHERS BROWN BIRD ON A WIRE 4 1/2 yards, $2 per yard = $9.00 + shipping ($5)

Fabric 20



pinfeathers6PINFEATHERS PEACOCK BLUE 4 yards, $2 per yard = $8.00 + shipping ($5)

Fabric 21





PINFEATHERS BLUE FEATHERS 3 1/8 yards, $2 per yard = $6.25 + shipping ($5)

Fabric 22




PINFEATHERS FLYING BLUE 2 yards, $2 per yard = $4.00 + shipping ($5)

Fabric 23




PINFEATHERS BLUE BIRD ON A WIRE 4 5/8 yards, $2 per yard = $9.25+ shipping ($5)

Fabric 24





PINFEATHERS PARADISE PINK STRIPE 1 yards, $2 per yard = $2.00 + shipping ($5)

Fabric 25




PINFEATHERS FLYING YELLOW 4 5/8 yards, $2 per yard = $9.25 + shipping ($5)

Fabric 26



Carina Gardner Aurifil Thread

IMG_0519_1_webI’m thrilled to announce that you will be able to find a selection of Aurifil Threads from me in quilt shops soon! This is is sort of a “sneak peek” into my Aurifil collection. The collection won’t be available for a little while yet (I’ll keep you posted on this on my Facebook feed). The colors I have chosen are ones that I use time and time again. I always use matching threads to create a finishing touch on my little girl clothing, 18 inch doll clothing, and other sewing projects.

(For quilt shops, I have listed on our wholesale page distributors who will be carrying this product.)


IMG_0511_1_webYou’ll notice that I have chosen several variations of blue, red, and green. I find that these are my go to colors and the shades help me choose the exact color I need for a project (Photo to the left is the Red 2265 from my collection sewn on the hem of the doll panel for my Primrose Garden fabric collection). A great matching thread really takes a project to a new level! I love it when the sewing lines on a hem line disappear.

I also chosen my favorite two shades of gray, a medium brown, and a yellow. These are colors that tend to show up in my fabric lines often and I find myself reaching for them a lot.

Other than Primrose Garden, which will arrive at your local quilt shop this October, this collection coordinates beautifully will past lines with Riley Blake including Little Ark, Paris and Co, SongBird, Remember, and Dainty Blossoms.

The twelve threads in this set are 50 weight on large spools. I love this weight on both my Bernina and Baby Lock machines for sewing garments and quilts.

(Photo below: Doll panel examples from Primrose Garden with spools that coordinate).


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If you are an Aurifil fan, I think you already know why I love this company and their products. If you haven’t used Aurifil before, I suggest you pick up a spool soon. The colors are so vibrant and easy to work with so many fabrics (not just mine).

Happy Sewing!

Primrose Garden Fabric Collection

primrosegardentitlepage_web I’m so excited to announce my latest fabric line Primrose Garden! This collection will be hitting your local quilt shop in October (2014). As always, check with your local fabric store to see if they are carrying it. There are also several online options where this line will be available.

The biggest goodie to come along with this line is an 18 inch doll panel. Yep. You heard me! This panel comes in three colorways and there will be a post exclusively dedicated to the panel coming in a couple of weeks. While there are detailed instructions on the fabric itself, I will also have a fully illustrated version to download as well. The outfit includes a 18 inch doll dress, bolero, and apron. Each has several versions so you can mix and match to your heart’s (or your tween’s) desire.

You’ll also notice a hint at the other cool secret I’ve been keeping on the second page of the Primrose Digi Mag (hint—it has to do with thread).

For now, check out the fabrics, the panel, and dream of projects and posts to come!

Visit the Primrose Collection here>>>
Sew on!


Silhouette Inspiration!

Right now in our Silhouette Shop at Silhouette Online many of our fabric die cuts are on sale for .69 cents! Deborah from Craftin’ Chaos has taken the Monster Pencil Case and done her own twist with it that you will love. She has also included a tutorial below on how to create this fun Felt Ipad Cover & Earbud Holder! ~Susan

I love to make felt projects but let me be clear I am NOT by any means great with a sewing machine. I am a newbie with sewing. But hopefully the one thing you will get from this post is that you shouldn’t be scared. I actually wanted a sewing machine to sew on my paper projects. Then I started seeing a lot of cute felt plushies and another craft was born. I had my sewing machine 2 years before I was brave and took out of the box! I was very proud of myself that I actually followed instructions and was able to get it set up pretty quickly. So step one is to not be intimidated. I know Carina is a an expert with sewing and I could let that scare me from posting on her blog a sewing project but I am hoping you all will get the courage to try it! My project is far from perfect and sewing felt (some spots 4 layers) is not easy as it seems because it moves a lot but the beauty of felt is that it is ok for it to not be perfect. You can do a lot of trimming, exposed seams are ok.

So I started sewing it up and left the top open. I sewed (ok that word just doesn’t look right) the divided sections on the two pencil pocket area’s but sewed them at various widths for notepad and some miscellaneous items. I created a button clip with one of the elements from Carina’s Monster Life Digital Collection. You can also use the Silhouette svg Monster Life Collection 1 for this last step.

On to the ear buds I figured the size I wanted to go with and using the Monster Pencil Case svg file just adjusted it to the size I needed (approx 3.5″ H x 2″ wide). Cut it out on my silhouette and then used as a pattern again. I handstitched around two pieces with a “Blanket stitch” and I sandwiched a piece of cardboard in between them to make it stiff to use to wrap the cords around from the earbuds. The ears and yellow pieces were quite small so I used felt glue for them. I did sew a little strip on the back to feed the cord through just to help hold on to the holder better.

I hope you enjoyed this project. I loved how it turned out. I am giving this away as well to a little guy in our family. I think he will love it!