Patchworking

I'm moving on with my life since those shorts.  They kind of put a damper on my sewing for the weekend, but they're now in the past.  And PS, I'm going to try the Sewaholic Thurlow pattern, I think.  They look like they're more my style, with a lower waist and back pockets (a flat butt's best friend).  I haven't ordered it yet, but I'm considering it.

Anyway, I read a lot of Amanda's blog this weekend, going through the archives and looking at pictures.  I love her blog, if only for the visual inspiration.  She lives a very pared-down lifestyle, has an awesome stash, runs her own business and just is pretty cool in general.  I wish we were friends (virtual or real-life) because I really admire her.  But, of course, now all I want to do is embroider and patchwork.  She cross-stitches, which is something I haven't done since middle school (and I don't think I ever finished a project) but her patchwork is just so damn inspiring I can barely stand it.

I couldn't get off the ground with any experimental patchwork yesterday, so instead I spent hours and hours looking at quilts online.  I have three planned for Christmas gifts, but is that being ambitious?  Wait, I'm a pretty ambitious sewer, right?  So it's okay.  Anyway, here's some inspiration I found around the internet yesterday:





Thimble Blossoms' Dilly Dally, Merry and Swoon patterns are gorgeous and fresh, and we need some stockings anyway.


Jeni B.'s Patchwork Picnic quilt looks super easy...but almost too easy.


However, her Plus quilt is something I'm dying to make for Nicholas for Christmas.  We're only exchanging one gift this year, and I kind of want to make him a quilt in his favorite colors (eggplant, charcoal, white and black).

I'm also thinking of spending lots of money and buying some Medocino to make my mom a quilt for Christmas.  We're going no-frills this year--normally Christmas is lots of money and lots of presents--so I'd like to give her something meaningful and something handmade.  I've found a few FQ sets that won't break the bank, but I'll need more than that.  Does anyone have a resource besides Etsy and eBay?

What do you all think?  Are you a quilter?  What would you recommend for a beginner who likes a challenge?