Monday, June 27, 2011

Scrappy Tiny Fun...

Those squares are 1.5" to start, they're not all sewn together yet... but fused to interfacing.
I've been commissioned (hehe don't I feel special) by my aunt to make her some fancy pretty not-wrinkly fitted table covers (not table cloths) for her art show booth. It's time to bite the bullet and start working on them! I hope to be making some major progress on them soon (despite the fact that my family will be in this week... which = not much sewing time but lots of other kinds of fun time!).

This being considered I don't want to start up any major quilting projects until the table covers are finished. So to keep myself from making a million tiny (not so useable) things, I've made a plan to make my little intermissions of quilting time add up. I'm going to work on a quilt I'm calling "Scrappy, Tiny, Fun" (real creative right?). Here's what I'm thinking:

  • Stay focused on Aunt Kathy's table covers (don't start anything big where I'll want to only work on the new project and not the one which requires my time!)
  • try a new color scheme
  • try new blocks/be creative
  • use orphan quilt blocks (those test blocks from my bee... etc)
  • use scraps
  • make less mug rug / randomness (these small projects that I do all the time and usually give away since I just love finishing something!)
  • to have fun!
  • make a quilt I love that incorporates my love of tiny piecing (without becoming to overwhelmed by the tiny stuff).
This entire block is less than 5" x 7" ... average cross is about 1.5" finished
    • no pink 
    • no purple
    • (anything else goes... the above can be used very very sparingly)
    • mostly saturated and/or solid colors.
     Anyone want to join me? Feel free to do so if you'd like (please let me know - I'd love to be inspired by the sort of blocks you pick out!). This quilt can be whatever you like (duh). I'm choosing to list out many different blocks/block styles that I'd love to try. I've already got about 11 block ideas sketched out in my notebook... I'll just cross them off etc once I finish each one. I may make a mosaic of the different styles.
    Adding in a few orphan blocks... I forgot a couple of them though.
    Once I have the blocks all completed (give or take) I'll just sew them together into groupings etc. I have a general idea of how I'd like it to look. A modern wacky sampler if you will... with a pieced quote going through the whole thing. Will I be able to pull it off? Who knows. lol...

    FQS Bella Parade

    The link here has all the fabric names tagged.

    Shruti from 13 Woodhouse Road is hosting something called the Fat Quarter Swap Bella Parade on her blog and flickr. Aside from the fact that there will be a lot of cool fabric giveaways, I think this is going to be especially awesome because Shruti has asked many of us to put together some fabric choices to go with each Bella Solids color that they'll have on parade. Here's mine above. I was assigned Bella Solids Yellow (24). Above are my choices of fabrics to go with it. I love it! I kinda want to go order all those fabrics now and make a pretty quilt! Too bad I can't find them all at one online shop or I might just do it (that Ty Pennington fabric there is out of stock most places...darn!). Follow those links above to join the fun!

    PS - I never knew how much fun it is to put fabrics together even just on the computer. I think some fabric selling website should sell a FQ bundle of my choices. they're totally cool!

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    Sooo soon!!!

    You all better watch ABC on the evening of July 11th!!! Oh I'm still a bit nauseated by it... but I think this is going to help a lot of people. And I love how the shows have been so far! :)
    More info here.

    Maybe after that I can start sharing real family pictures again! I feel like my blog pictures look like I'm a single parent! :)

    Can someone help me?

    I can't figure out why Blogger is no longer sending me individual email notification of comments. I'm only recieving a few of them... I don't see a rhyme or reason to it either. Any tips? I went through my settings and re-clicked all those things to have the emails sent.... It's getting frustrating.

    Why Haven't I Posted This Yet?

    Haha. I just wrote half a post about a quilt that I'd already shared but thought I hadn't. Funny how that happens sometimes!

    Instead here are some pretty pictures that are lurking on my computer but don't qualify for their own blog posts. 

    (Above) Curtains from my old sewing room are now in Allie's bedroom. They look cuter than ever with little yellow fabric scrap ties. I love them. (Ikea rocks). PS When hanging the curtain rods I used a drill for the first time in forever (my BIL's) and I must say I like the power. 

    I love this picture. The look on Roseann's face is sweet. The girls looks so happy and chilled out. 

    Strawberry Buttercream. Need I say more? YUM!

    Haha. Funnest thing ever? Colored frostings in squirt bottles for decorating during a party!

    Awesomest kindergartner (holy wow is she getting old!) party game? Relay races with floaties on. No real reason for it. No prize for the winning team. No worries about who "won" (the girls actually tended to wait for the slower runner at the end before turning back to run to the finish line!). Fun. 

    Happy birthday sweet Rosemarie!! :)

    Pillow Talk Swap 5 - Sending soon!

    When I arrived home last weekend from visiting family out of state... there was a surprise waiting for me!! My pillow talk swap package had arrived!! Not only that, but it was the one I'd been pinning over since the first in-progress pictures were posted (I'd already even favorited all of them)!

    I received this lovely pillow from Michele of Delightful Disarray. She used my favorite - grey, and my other favorite - yellow, and my other favorite - stars, and my other favorite - FMQ'd words, and my other favorite - hand stitching. And... the zipper is blue, which in itself is amazing. I know I'm gushing a bit, bur really this is an awesome pillow. It fits my 18" pillow "insert" (not an insert at all) that I got on clearance at Target - it's by far the cushiest pillow insert I've used (way better than the expensive yet cheaply made ones from Joann's). 

    This week I also finished the pillow that I'll be sending out soon for my partner. My inspiration for this swap was to try something texturally outside of the box. I've been wanting to work with corduroy for a while now (ever since reading about the Gee's Bend quilts that used corduroy), and I think my partner would like the linen (light blue) that I paired it with. I also broke out the big guns and cut up a silk tie that I bought in Rome (at a farmer's market/flea market type deal) - I'd originally intended to use them to make another tie purse... but that never happened. The beautiful silk ties have been sitting around for years - and I recently "found" them when we moved. I also added in a bit of dots (to bind the envelope enclosure) and some printed linen that Shruti had sent from India in my DQS10 package! So the materials here all have a great story. That's a good starting point right?

    Pillow Talk Swap 5 - sending

    I started with this a-symmetrical rectangle thing. I really wasn't sure I was feeling it at all but pushed through to the finish. Even as I was putting the finished pillow case on the form I was unsure if I liked it.... As soon as it was all on the pillow though I was sold! The texture really does it. That corduroy makes you want it on your couch (if I had a couch)... and the soft silk middle, and the textured linen.... I'm in love with it! I think I have to make myself one! I sure hope my partner likes it!! I feel like while it's a bit more simple technically then I usually do, the texture and warmth of it sets it aside. I hope my partner isn't disappointed!

    Monday, June 20, 2011


    I'm an overachiever for June... somehow. lol

    As much as I've been working hard to complete all my swaps and my bee block in time for my end of June deadlines... I've somehow managed to grossly over do my bee requirements for the month. It's Cara's month for the Sew Beautiful Bee, and she's asked us for pieced houses to make a "home" quilt to be donated to her local NICU. The quilt will then be given to one of the families there... and they'll eventually take it home with them when their time there is done. :)

    Kara had mentioned that if anyone wanted to attempt a second block for her it'd be great to have some pieced words relating to the theme of the quilt. I have been wanting to give this style piecing a try (again) so today after finishing up my pillow talk pillow I let myself play with the itty bitty scraps I had left from the bee block. I ended up with a sweet little 3" tall "HOPE." I love it. (I referenced this tutorial when working on the words this time around.)

    Sew beautiful - June

    Yes you might remember the free piecing I have done before... it also was the word hope (you can see it here --apparently I never blogged about the finished product... you can see it here since my partner's pics are way better than my own!!**). I'm pretty attached to the word hope. It's really the greatest word ever. I think this stems from its use in relation to cancer and other sicknesses... you hope for a cure. You hope for great things to come. You hope that you'll be able to see that smiling face for years to come. etc etc etc... I could go on for some time about the word hope. But I think all in all it really applies to this quilt. Hope that you'll soon return home with a safe and healthy little baby. That's what time in a NICU is all about right?

    Wow that was a bit of a tangent.

    On top of that... I'm sending a couple simple houses (my test block, and the house that didn't work as a cool two story thing... lol). I've totally got June covered!

    Now to finish binding those two remaining mug rugs... and I'm off to the post office! :)

    **Wow, re-reading that post about my Urban Home Goods Swap package sent makes me miss it. I love that little quiltie! It makes me happy to know that it was well received and appreciated though! :)

    Pillow Talk Swap 5

    I just finished a freaking awesome pillow! I was really unsure of it until the moment that I put the finished thing on the pillow form. Now I'm in love and want to keep it. lol. Pictures will follow.

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    Bee Blocks, Mug Rugs, Pillow Swaps...

    It's been a finishing kind of week so far. I'm not nearly as far down my list as I'd like to be though. I'm pushing through all my deadline work right now so that I can clear out and work on the BIG project. :) The table covers for my Aunt's jewelry booth. Those will be a bit of a challenge (totally out of my comfort zone in a good way). I'm not going to let myself sign up for any other swaps etc until those table covers are finished! I"m aiming for an early August finish for them (so I can bring them with me the next time we come to visit).
    Sew Beautiful - June

    As for those finishes ... well I've only finished on of those things listed above. The bee block. Cara asked for a house block for the Sew Beautiful Bee this month. Her final quilt will be sent to a family during their stay at a local NICU. My neice was a NICU baby when she was born... and my other neice is in the hospital so often that we really understand the comfort and longing for "home." That's what this quilt will represent, their home.

    I had grand ideas for this block... I was going to make a two story deal with an "a-frame" entrance way... like my MIL's old house. I loved the shape of that entrance. But alas I started working on it and misused some fabric along the way... leading to my not haveing enough of that purple. I scrapped the original plan and worked with what I had. I think it turned out pretty nice... but I didn't have enough white to frame out the bottom. I'd still like to try a pieced word... maybe "Hope" to be used in the quilt too.... we'll see what the time allows me.

    I made some major progress on my two remaining mug rugs for the CMQG swap. I finished the backs of both of them this afternoon and I'm about to go work on quilting them up. I have no idea how to quilt the one... but since my main machine is still out of commission (and FMQ is pretty hard on my old machine) I'm thinking it'll be some sort of straight quilting. We'll see.

    Finally there's the Pillow Talk Swap. I've got my top almost all pieced. I am not feeling amazing about it... but I think it looks cool and is nicely executed. I've got to keep moving on it since it's due out soon enough!

    More on these things later!

    One of three finished - almost!

    Some of us from the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild are doing a mug rug swap. Signups were before my sewing machine(s) went crazy. And before we moved. I signed up to swap three mug rugs not thinking about how much I've got to get done just now. No matter, I love making these things. Sure, I could take the easy way and sew up some simple ones (I think I have half a dozen that I've made already that I could send out.... but I'd rather have the challenge of making something specifically with my partner in mind. I also join swaps as a means to push myself creatively and to grow my quilting skills.

    pretty quilting on the back...
    With all that being said I have two mug rug tops finished and today I went from a basic sketch and color idea to an (almost) finished mug rug. I love love love how it turned out! The big challenge on this one was not only the bias binding (which I typically don't do, I usually use straight cut binding), but also the circular shape. Without showing you a whole picture you'll just have to imagine how cool that is for me. I'll share lots of pictures of it once It's been received (since this is not a blind swap). Until then, I'll be working on sewing down the binding and finishing those other two mug rugs!!

    I can't resist keeping this... what use do I have for a circular scrap
    of beautiful quilted goodness? This is the backing fabric.
    PS - anyone trying to cut bias binding for a mini quilt and having trouble figuring out what size square to start with? Jay Bird Quilts has the equation and lots of info there, including an easy to use equation to figure it all out. :) I like math.

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    Funny monster pouch - recieved!

    I can finally share full pictures of this pouch! 
    This past weekend we traveled back home for my cousin Lindsey's graduation party. She'd been sending me links for a while - pictures of monster zip pouches from etsy. So I broke down and made her one. Thanks to Ebony for helping to de-mistify that type of zipper insert. It really wasn't too bad. I used a port-hole style block for the eyes (I'm not always a huge fan of buttons on finished works). And when you open it a big pink tongue lops out! 

    I hope Lindsey enjoys this while she's at college... hehe. Funny Lindsey.

    Things you didn't know... or maybe you did.

    1. I haven't bought a single inch of fabric (any) in a month. I'd like to say it's because I'm thrifty or something, but really, we're pretty poor these days.

    2. Whenever I need a good cry I turn to youtube. usually the culprit of the sad tears are kids with cancer and the related videos (try searching for "he's my son" by Mark Schultz seriously). Then there are the infant/pregnancy loss songs ("held" by Natalie Grant). Then finally I sometimes make it to happy... which includes videos of kids getting their hearing aids and/or cochlear implants turned on for the first time. Mostly though I get wrapped up in the sad ones... it's like picking a scab - you know you're going to be all torn up when you're done but you can't stop.

    3. Two of my three sewing machines are pretty much broken/out of commission. One of these days I'll take them in to be fixed... but until then I'm using my old old machine from Jr High... I just named her Betty. She's a White (hehe Betty White). I'm missing the detachable compartment that she came with (it's back at my parent's house somewhere I'm sure) ... so I managed to tape cardstock and a roll of batting as a makeshift piecing area. I'll take some pictures it's really lame looking! It's working though. I fear that it's affecting my piecing though. It's not quite at the quality that my sewing normally is.

    4. My friend Amy came to visit this week. It was great to see her and she's officially the only person to have visited me in all four places I've lived since moving here (well until my parents visit here that is). Pretty cool! :)

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    Fish Baby Quilt - Finished!

    I've finally finished this one... it has been a fun little project, but unfortunately one that nearly killed my sewing machine (you can get the whole store here and here.) I followed the tutorial from Sew Mama Sew; it came together perfectly (minus my machine issues). I fell for the quilt as soon as I saw the tutorial - I love square in square blocks! It was really a quick finish if you don't include the down time machine wise, and the fact that I procrastinated with the binding. 

    See, I thought I might send this away to a beloved friend (who is -surprise surprise - pregnant all my friends are right?). I think she'd appreciate the colors and the coolness of this quilt, but at the same time I want to make something beautiful and intricate as I know she'd appreciate it. She doesn't know if it's a boy or a girl so these colors work well. But... I've pretty much fallen in love with the quilt, and I don't know that I can give it up. I have no use for it though since it's tiny (about 38" square if I recall correctly). I may keep it just because I love it. We'll see. I'd really like to have a baby to wrap up in it (have I mentioned that before?). lol. 

    I am pretty lucky too, since this quilt was nearly free - the top is pieced almost entirely from the FQ bundle I won earlier this year from Michelle at I Like Orange, Too! (thanks Michelle!!!) I've been really lucky in the giveaway department this year! The solids are made by Free Spirit and they're lovely! I am pretty impressed with them.

    That's about it... I'm a little too tired to be typing this up tonight... I may revise it tomorrow. 

    Wednesday, June 8, 2011

    A quick little post.

    I do have a newly finished quilt to share... but that will have to wait until I have time to actually formulate a decent post for it! 

    Until then I'll show you guys a bit of my progress on another project. Some of the members of the online forums for the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild are having a little mug rug swap. I've been paired up with three different people (thanks to the spreadsheet guru Ebony!). This is not a blind swap - which is weird for me (it's actually my first non-blind swap!). So I can't really share all my progress or sketches etc. or else it'd give it away for my partners! I'll just share a little bit.

    A little peek at Rachel's mug rug.
    My goal in joining swaps is to pursue something a bit more challenging or different from my normal projects. Mug rugs are great for this since you only really make one block. This time around I'm working on perfecting a block that's troubled me thus far. My attempt this time turned out much better than my previous attempts (I actually read the directions... I hate following directions!). I'm really liking the color palate and it's pretty awesome so far if I do say so. This one is for Rachel.
    A little peek at Ebony's mug rug.
    Next is a mug rug for Ebony. She's the only one I was partnered up with that I have a better grasp of her likes and dislikes. That makes it easier but also harder. For hers I'm trying to think outside of the box using texture and color. There may just be some tiny piecing going on there too - because I can't keep myself from the tiny. The fabrics thus far for Ebony's mug rug have been chosen mostly for their pattern/shape. I'm really liking it so far but don't know where else I'm going with it.

    Finally I have a sketch and a great idea for Terri's mug rug... but I haven't gotten started on it yet. :) More on that later!

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    Happy birthday to me!

    hehe.. I just couldn't resist sharing some yummy cake pictures! Sunday was my birthday and my MIL made a yummy dinner for us and she made my favorite cake too (yellow with chocolate frosting). Allie helped with the cake (lots of sprinkles!). It was really nice! :) 

    As I mentioned before, Allie really liked the sprinkles. 


    Kindness is: (a sweet little stack of coveted fabrics - unexpectedly received.)
    In person discussions about swaps and fabric designers.
    Chatting and sharing some show&tell.
    (and getting a little bit of sewing in too!)

    I have touched upon this subject a couple times here before. I am not sure that I've ever been able to articulate the kindness that I have found in the quilting community. There's something to be said about kindness, it always comes at the best moments. Here I am trying to scrape by, making things work. And the unexpected kindness of people is pretty inspiring. A friendly welcome from our new neighbors. A lovely birthday dinner. A visit from a sewing friend. These things are inspiring.

    I don't want to be too repetitive, but you guys all rock. In the past couple years I've grown a lot as a quilter, and even more as a person. I may not have a lot of money in my pocket, but I've got gifts to give. I'll be giving compassion and hope, friendship and support, just as you all have done for me. I don't think much of the little things that I do for others, I don't dwell on them, but it's good to think that on occasion something I do for someone might be just what they needed at that given day.

    I'm still dancing around my thoughts **like a ballerina on crack**, but I fear I'll have to keep doing so for a while. It's times like these that I should pull out one of those paper journals that I wrote in for ages. I'm too lazy for that right now (and God only knows what box they're in).

    In case you're wondering. That little unexpected stack? From my CMQG friend Emily. Thanks Emily! That was totally awesome and unexpected! :) The rest of you can feel free to covet those little beautiful flowers (with matching konas). :)

    Monday, June 6, 2011

    Extreme Makeover Weight Loss: Alex

    Did you all watch this show tonight? I think I started tearing up at around the 5 minute mark. Alex is a great guy. It's good to see him so happy and confident. I may be a bit biased but this episode truly was pretty awesome. If I feel so emotional about Alex's episode... what will it be like for Wally's? Stay tuned to find out!! Just a few more weeks!


    I'm 92% finished sewing a mug rug for a guild swap... and my tension somehow gets knocked out of whack. The top thread is looping on the bottom of the fabric. I've cleaned out the hook area (and all the other areas for that matter), oiled, precisely re-threaded, changed needles, changed bobbins, changed thread. Nothing. I've checked the top tension. I've checked that there's not any fuzz between the tension discs. Seriously? This is annoying. I've done everything but change the bobbin tension (it's too late at night to commit to something like that).

    Does anyone know where I can get a replacement table top type thing for an old White machine? I'm about to give up on this singer. Ok I'm not going to do anything that extreme, but I'm really getting fed up with this. This machine is less than two years old and is well maintained.

    Sunday, June 5, 2011

    Some actual sewing pics!

    Last night while I should have been sleeping, I sewed. I had an idea for my partner for the Pillow Talk Swap 5. The idea was to use lots of texture. I pulled out a pair of corduroy's that were saved to be cut up... some essex linen, some linen from a swap partner in India (cool right?), some DS Joann's dots, and a tie that I bought in Rome while studying there. It's scary to think of cutting into all these special fabrics but It'll work out (I hope). 

    Here's my first attempt. I'm not sure that I like it so much. Mostly since I think something needs to be tiny. lol. I'm trying to stretch myself here... and didn't allow myself to fall back on that tiny border I always use. We'll see. I think I'll carry on with this idea and see how it finishes out. 

    I also started up another idea with the same fabrics. This time it's a zig-zag without triangles. But as late as it was I didn't cut all the pieces so I'll have to go back and do that later so that the zig-zags match up by color. 

    Either way I am thinking some dense straight line quilting to add more texture. We'll see. My hope is to get the "top" of the pillow made and quilted tomorrow. Or maybe I'll be working on those three mug rugs for our guild swap? :) hehe. I can't help myself.

    Friday, June 3, 2011

    It's starting to look like home.

    Last night I set up the furniture in my "studio." We decided since we no longer had an extra bedroom for my sewing room, we'd be using the dining room. We no longer have a dining room table set so it works great (since I do have sewing room furniture. Wally will have his painting supplies there too, and Allie has her own little art table too. It makes the house feel more like home! Though, I am missing a couple mug rugs there... they must have landed into a different box. lol. :)

    Good news, I did get my June fabric for my bee in the mail today. So tonight I'll be breaking in the new studio! :)

    Thursday, June 2, 2011

    Wow it's been a while.

    Allie finally has some little bookshelves in her room. I love them!
    We're all moved in at our new apartment. It's much roomier than our old one, and has more closets (praise God!). But to say this in the gentlest way possible, my husband is not much help in the unpacking department (at least not if I ever intend to find those things that he "puts away"). It's exhausting. I have nearly the whole kitchen unpacked. Our pantry rocks (although there isn't much food in there yet). I just need to go through the box of random spices etc from our old pantry. 

    Who knew I had so many small kitchen appliances?
    My sewing room is the last on the list to be unpacked... mostly because it involves moving the furniture into it's place (as I'm yet undecided about where to put it), and partly because I wouldn't get anything else done if it were unpacked. 
    how sweet do Allie's dresses look all lined up there?
    I'm so exhausted. Now it's off to work soon.

    **Could you tell that I had to run and take a couple pictures around the house? I though I'd taken at least one picture during the move... nope. lol. 

    Also, I'm nearing 100 followers and at some point once I reach that number I'll do a giveaway (once the sewing room is unpacked). So follow up if you don't already! :)