Saturday, October 30, 2010

Busy, busy, busy!

Have you visited the Blogger's Quilt Festival yet?  I've found a ton of new blogs to follow and found a great deal of inspiration as well!

I shipped out Brooke's Paramore quilt this morning, all quilted up and ready to be bound and finished off.  It was a lot of fun to work on someone else's quilt, and I'm really pleased with how it turned out.  I hope she'll love it, too!

Did you hear?  I won an awesome giveaway over at Freshly Pieced last week!  Lee a.k.a. Freshly Pieced, is designing a custom blog header for me.  I'm working with Lee today on it today and hoping to unveil my new and improved blog look sometime this week.  I am super excited about this and can't wait to show you all soon!

Getting ready for a big family fun trip this afternoon - to a Yo Gabba Gabba concert.  My munchkin adores Yo Gabba Gabba, and is positively going to flip out when we tell him where we're going this afternoon.  I am, embarrassingly, excited about this show/concert/thing, if nothing but to see the look on Ryan's face when he sees these characters that he adores in person.

Yo Gabba Gabba treats from the munchkin's 2nd birthday

And because it's just not normal for me to have a million projects going at once, I'm planning to get started on my quilt for the That Girl...That Quilt quilt-along that's just getting underway.  If you've got a charm pack lying about, come join in the quilt along fun!!

Hope you're all having a great weekend.  Happy sewing!
Friday, October 29, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival: 12 Charming Days of Christmas

I debated long and hard on what to write about this week for the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  I've been quilting like a madwoman all week, trying to finish a new quilt to feature today.  Somehow, thanks good coffee and Jimmy Fallon, I'm super excited to share this quilt with you, my hot-off-the-sewing-machine, newly finished 12 Charming Days of Christmas quilt.

Using a charm pack of Kate Spain's 12 Days of Christmas and some Kona basics, I feel like I made a super fresh modern quilt, and I'm so thrilled to share it today for Amy's Creative Side's Blogger's Quilt Festival!

I challenged myself a lot with this quilt, and that's part of why I'm so proud of having finished it.  I created the pattern myself, using Ashley's quartered squares tutorial as a starting point.  I adapted it so I could work with a charm pack, and next week I'll be posting the tutorial if you want to make blocks like these ones with charm packs you may have amongst your stash.  This block translates into an awesome throw pillow!

Figuring out the math was a nightmare at first, and I joked with my husband that I was using all of that algebra I swore I would never need in school.  I had him help me with a lot of the math, and despite his lack of quilting knowledge, it was a big help.  It's become abundantly clear that I will not be the parent helping with math homework in our household!

This was also the first quilt that I sketched.  After I created the block, I wasn't sure where to go with it, so I got out a composition book and just started sketching.  Did I want to do a whole quilt of these blocks?  Do a quilt with just one block in the center?  Try to make 12 blocks, like the 12 days of Christmas?  Maybe just some quilted throw pillows?

I ultimately decided against that, and made 5 blocks, framed them with some Kona Coal and sashed them in Kona White, for a super sleek quilt top that really lets the blocks shine.  I am really in love with how this quilt turned out.  I'm feeling a lot more confident in my design skills now, and am sketching several other projects in that composition book of mine.

I straight-line quilted this quilt, which is a new concept to me.  All of my big quilts have been stippled, and I enjoy stippling, but I felt like this quilt needed a more simple approach to the quilting.  I've quilted a few small mug rugs and a doll quilt using straight lines, but this was the first sizable attempt.  I used a boatload of painters tape, and I'm really pleased with how it turned out.  It was definitely a challenge, trying to keep things semi-straight, but my lines definitely have a dash of wonkiness to them.  It's a good thing that I enjoy that kind of thing!

I learned I still need to work on my basting skills - there are a few wrinkles on the back of the quilt, all said and done.  I just read an awesome tutorial on spray basting over at Stitched in Color, and I think I may try that next time around.  I learned that I also need to slow down when it comes to binding - I get so excited about finishing sometimes that I make silly mistakes.  I had to rip out a a zillion stitches on the binding, which was nothing short of irritating.  Lesson learned, though.  Slow down!

All in all, this is definitely my favorite quilt that I have made to date.  It makes me want to start decorating for Christmas, even though it's not even Halloween yet.

I can't wait to start blog hopping around to see all of the other quilts in the festival.  You can still join in, just visit Amy's Creative Side for more details and to find all of the other blogs participating!
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

WIP Wednesday

It's Wednesday, time for a sneak peek of what I'm working on in between literally tearing my hair out with my munchkin at the moment.

Thank goodness for quilting when your two year old decides to act like a two year old.  There's nothing like zoning out to some music on my iPod and quilting my heart out during naptime.

I'm making some serious progress here, quilting like a madwoman.  I'm hoping this WIP will turn into a reveal on Friday.  Fingers crossed!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A flimsy finish...but a festive one all the same!

This is the first quilt where I really feel like shouting "Ta da!"  I'm so proud of this quilt, my Charming Bento Box quilt, despite how simple it may seem.  I feel like this quilt is so "me."  I think what makes me the most excited about this quilt is the fact that it really doesn't come from a pattern.  This was the first time that I really made up a quilt as a I went.  I was certainly inspired by Film in the Fridge - Ashley's work is just so breathtaking and creative!

I'm still debating how to back this quilt, whether I go with a solid or find a coordinating print from this fabric collection, Kate Spain's 12 Days of Christmas, but I've got time to figure it out.  Since this quilt is staying at my house, I've got plenty of time to finish it up before the holidays!

I am working on writing a tutorial on how to make these blocks, especially since all it takes is a charm pack.  I love charm packs.  They're a great, inexpensive way to find yourself with a wide variety of complementary fabrics.  And they look so cute, to boot!

I'm sharing this almost-finish over at Fabric Tuesday this week. Have you visited Fabric Tuesday yet?  It's a lot of fun, and a great way to find more inspiration, so make sure to stop by QuiltStory.  Happy sewing!
Monday, October 25, 2010

A good day indeed

My to-quilt pile is multiplying.  Time to get started on some quilting this week!

I decided after the Rockets and Robots Oh My! quilt that I wanted to take a mini-break from quilting.  Not piecing or putting together quilts, just the actual free motion quilting part.  It was exhausting, moving that huge quilt around, but now I'm ready to go at it again.  Hardcore.

I started today with the quilt I'm making for my in-laws for the holidays this year, the Park Avenue quilt.  I used a different low loft batting rather than my trusty Warm and Natural on it, and wow, this thing moved like a dream through my machine!  I really didn't even need my quilting gloves, it was so smooth!  I started quilting early this morning before my munchkin woke up, then set it aside for the morning, and wrapped it up during naptime.  Awesome!

Next up is some binding for this one, then another gift will officially get crossed off my To Sew list!  Yay!

After I wrap up the Park Avenue quilt this week, I'm going to help a new quilty friend, Brooke, finish off a quilt, and then back to holiday gifts I go.  The 12 Days of Whirlygiggles quilt for my sister-in-law's family will be the next one to get quilted.  I'm still waiting for the fabric to come in for the back of this one, thanks to a super clearance sale at on this line, Kate Spain's 12 Days of Christmas.

Thank you, darling husband, for holding this quilt so long that you lost feeling in your arms!

And as if that didn't sound like enough to do, I've got various other fabric-related gifts to make for the holidays...a quilt-along with Jennifer that starts this week, a bag for my mother, some fabric-covered notebooks for other family members, and I'm planning to sew a few things for my son for Christmas, too.  And thank you, Lee, for adding to my list - have you seen Lee's  holiday advent calendar tutorial?  So cute!  My list just grew again.  Eek!  Then again, in my family, if you don't have too much to do this time of year, then it's just not the holidays.  I truly enjoy keeping busy like this!

I got an awesome surprise today, to make today even better - I actually won something!  Lee held a great giveaway last week for a custom blog header, and I was the lucky winner!  Woo hoo!  A new and improved look for my blog sounds good to me!

Hope you're all having a wonderful start to your week, too.  Happy sewing!
Friday, October 22, 2010

TGIF! But in a good way...

It's Follower Friday today over at Gen X/Y Quilters, and I'm the lucky follower being featured today!  Can you believe it?  I am indeed a Gen X/Y girl, still listen to a lot of alternative and grunge music from back in the 90s when I sew.  I have really enjoyed the blogs and bloggers I have found over there, and found some serious inspiration, so you really ought to check their blogroll.  There's some seriously inspirational quilters there, and I'm really proud to be in their group.

This has been a seriously awesome week, between being featured on QuiltStory and then today, being featured at Gen X/Y Quilters.  Not only that, but I'm making some serious progress on my To Sew list...although it keeps growing.

If you're curious about my quilt-in-progress post from earlier this week, I'm hoping to wrap up the quilt top this weekend.  I really appreciate all of the comments about where to go with the sashing of the quilt.  Here's a sneak peek of how it's coming together so far...

I'm loving this quilt so much, I've decided to write a tutorial on it, so stay tuned!  I need to tweak the math and make sure it all makes sense, but I'm hoping to release it soon.

As if I don't have enough things on my To Sew you need to whip up a quick holiday gift?  Want to be part of a fun quilt-along?  Make sure to visit Jennifer over at That Girl...That Quilt, she's got a great charm pack quilt-along that's just getting started.  Join in the fun!

Have a great weekend!  Happy sewing!
Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Work in Progress: Charming Bento Boxes

My mind works a lot faster than I sew.

No, that's not really true.  I am able to sketch out a quilt a lot faster than I can actually find time to sew it in.  Not a huge surprise, but I haven't quite found the time to finish this quilt top, but I'm so excited about it that I can't wait to share how it's coming together now that I've made all the blocks.

Like so many of you, I am a big fan of Ashley's tutorial on bento boxes.  I recently found myself with a couple of extra charm packs and a hankering to try making a bento box block.  So...I improvised.  I read through Ashley's tutorial and adapted it the best I could to make it work with the fabric I had on hand.  And, well, I think I'm pretty proud of how it's turning out.  It was tedious work making these blocks, but once I got the hang of it, I really enjoyed it.

I'm going for simplicity here, so the design is going to be pretty simple.  I'm considering making a border around each block before sashing it them in Kona Bone, but I'm still debating on that.  Naturally, I want to use my most favorite Kona, Kona Coal, but I'm not sure I want to use a dark gray in a holiday quilt.  And if I don't use Kona Coal, I'm not sure what color solid I would use.  I'll probably waffle on this for the rest of the day and then make a decision and go for it.

Thoughts?  Feedback?
Monday, October 18, 2010

Castle Peeps Doll Quilt - done!

Woo hoo, my first homemade Christmas gift is done!

I have officially finished a doll quilt for my six year old niece, made to (sort of) match her twin sized Castle Peeps quilt.  I actually wound up having to rip this quilt apart before it turned into what it is now.  I royally screwed up the sashing and then forgot to take pictures of how shoddy it looked, so you'll just have to take my word for it.  It was seriously, heinously bad.

I also wound up scaling down the size of the quilt considerably.  I had started out using Elizabeth Hartman's Mixtape Quilts pattern, but between recutting the quilt blocks after my sashing disaster and then shrinking the quilt to better match the cradle it will be going with, it's turned into a pretty different quilt.  I like how it turned out, all in all.

My sister told me recently that my aunt happened to be in her area, and got a chance to see the quilts I made for my niece and nephew.  I can't even describe how excited that made me.  My aunt is the person who got me interested in quilting, back when I was a kid and my mom would tell me about how my aunt used to quilt.  She wound up getting carpel tunnel syndrome in both hands, and had to stop sewing, so I wasn't lucky enough to receive one of her quilts, but I heard lots of stories about the quilts she made for people.  My sister mentioned that my aunt was quite impressed with how much I'd learned about quilting already, which made me so happy.  It was so good to hear that she was proud of me.  That meant almost more to me than my niece gushing about how much she loves her quilt.

This is one of my first attempts at straight-line quilting, and it was kind of fun.  Great for a small quilt, but I can't imagine straight-line quilting something big, like a bed-sized quilt.  I did gridlines on this quilt, marking them with various chalk and wash-away fabric markers to make sure they showed up while I was quilting.  I've heard about using painter's tape, I'll have to try that next time around.

I'll be linking up with Fabric Tuesday, over at QuiltStory.  Make sure to check them out, I always spot some great inspiration there!

P.S. - I'm being featured on QuiltStory today!  Have you checked their features out before?  They tell the stories behind quilts, which is something I think is really cool.  I love hearing about how someone was inspired to make a quilt, and more than that, I love to read about what a quilt means to someone.  Good reads!
Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday is all about finishing things up

Woo hoo!  Today is all about finishing up a few projects...

I'm going to finally finish up the Castle Peeps doll quilt!  

Some cute mug rugs for my house...I finished up one last night and have one more to finish today

And naturally, I'm going to either start up a new project or pick up an old one.  I'm going to do one of three things next:

1. Pick up the Park Avenue quilt and baste it - it's going to be a holiday gift for my in-laws

2. Work on the layout for the Christmas throw quilt and sew the top together

3. Work on making growth charts for my son and my nephew for holiday gifts

Tune in Monday to see what's brewing next and to see how to doll quilt turns out!
Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rockets and Robots, Oh My!

The whole room, all done

Once upon a time...there was a little boy who was unusually tall for his age.  And his parents talked in passing about moving him into a twin bed, with him quickly outgrowing his toddler bed, and suddenly, lists were being made.  Shopping trips planned.  My husband and I are pretty project oriented, so when we decided to move our son Ryan into a big boy bed, it was full steam ahead for both of us.

Ryan's really big on rockets and astronauts, so I thought outer space would make a great theme for the new room.  And then, I remembered the box of clearance fabric in my closet. Oh,, your blowout sales are so killer sometimes!  I snapped up the whole Robots collection by David Walker for $3/yd earlier this year, not really knowing what I would do with it, just that it was adorable, and I that it would make my munchkin smile.  I knew it was the perfect place to start for a twin-sized quilt to go with this new big boy bed.

Rockets and Robots Oh My! quilt front
At first, I wanted to make another mixtape quilt, but then, I decided for the sake of continuity for my son, I would use the same pattern I used for his baby quilt, the Zoology quilt.  I adapted Elizabeth Hartman's Simple Modern Baby Quilt pattern to fit a twin size bed, causing a big headache for me, thanks to all the math, but leading to a really adorable quilt finish.

The fully randomly pieced back
I threw in several other fabrics, after visiting some local quilt stores, including some Moda marble dots and some Heather Bailey.  I worked on the quilt slowly, while also working on all of the other facets of the room - painting, adding wallpaper decals, shopping for the furniture, and so forth.  Every time Ryan would see me working with the fabrics, he'd ask what I was doing, and I would say I was working on his special treat.  He was quite patient for a toddler!

An attempt at being arty...
When we finally declared the room complete, he was more than excited.  He was positively ecstatic.  He ran around, looking from piece to piece in his room, from the artwork on the walls that his father and I painted to the wallpaper die cuts to the quilt and so on.  The room has become his little sanctuary and he just loves it.  I love that my living room is no longer decorated in the primary colors of his toys!

He even snuggles on the couch to watch TV with the quilt sometimes.   So sweet!
Even now, six weeks after he's been in the "big boy room," he still shows it off to everyone who visits, and tells everyone about his "special treat" quilt.  I love how much he loves this quilt, it just makes me smile to see him with it.  It's the first quilt I've ever hand-sewn the binding on with, as I normally machine everything since I am completely unskilled in hand sewing.  It was tedious, hard work, but it sure does look awesome.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Getting ready for a boatload of quilting

My sewing desk is, once again, a mess, but this time in a good way.  I did a lot of prep work on several projects today and I'm hoping to finish several of them in the next few days.

I worked on my first pair of shorts, for my munchkin's Halloween costume.  It's shocking how difficult it is to find a simple pair of black knit shorts for a toddler.  Hence, the sewing of them.  I've never really sewn any garments to speak of, other than my first skirt recently.  I think garment sewing is a whole different ballgame than quilting, one I don't know all the rules to yet, so I feel a little hesitant on wrapping this project up.  I want to re-read the pattern one more time before I make the elastic casing and sew the hems on the shorts, just to make sure I'm doing it at least 80% right.

Haven't tried these on the munchkin yet, but boy, they sure seem big!

After wrapping up my Boss's Day gifts yesterday, I felt compelled to make more mug rugs, this time to grace my own house.  No one warned me that these things are addictive.  I'm starting to wonder if I'm going to find myself making sippy cup rugs for my son's Christmas stocking or something equally strange.  These are cute, though, and used real scraps, so I can't wait to see how they turn out after I finish them up.

 I just adore this colorway of Amy Butler's Lotus line!

Real leftovers from the Boss's Day mug rugs - must be a record for the quickest turnaround for scraps!

The doll quilt for my niece has been glaring at me the last few days.   I've neglected it, I know.  It's been ready to baste and quilt for weeks and I've put it off and off and off again, so today, I busted out my basting pins and basted that little bad boy together once and for all.  Then, I proceeded to waffle for a full twenty-one minutes as to how I wanted to quilt it.  Yes, twenty-one minutes.  I think I'm going to go with an all-over stipple, but I'm not 100%.   Feel free to try to sway me another way in the comments!

Straight lines?  Stipple?  Straight lines?  Stipple?  Maybe I'll toss a coin...

And that, my dear bloggy friends, is all for today.  Thanks to all of my new followers out there, new followers always brighten my day.  And tell your friends - when I hit 50 followers (which could quite possibly be years from now), I'm planning on a pretty awesome giveaway!  :)
Monday, October 11, 2010

Why is there not an official parenting handbook?

Argh, toddlers are tough.  Potty training is such a the rear, for lack of any better reference.  We're knee deep in attempting to introduce the potty at the moment, and it's going over like trying to offer chocolate covered brussel sprouts to a child.  It's not pretty.  Naptime is a serious sanctuary at the moment, the only time of day where I don't feel like a nag, where I feel like an adult.  Sometimes I truly wish there was an official parenting handbook, something to tell me exactly how to deal with every facet of parenting.  Flying by the seat of my pants has never been my specialty.

I've been pretty haphazard with my time in the sewing room the last week or so, despite the amount of time I've been spending there.  I keep starting projects, and stopping midway.  I've got a lot of balls in the air at once at the moment.  I took a few moments today to jot down what exactly is in progress and what's in the pipeline or on my sewing desk.  I'm making a boatload of gifts these next few months for various holidays and occasions.

Today, I was focused on Boss's Day, since it's the soonest.  My husband has three bosses, so that means three gifts.  In past years, I've just baked for them, but it seems everyone is dieting so baking is not an option.  The next logical option?  Mug rugs!

This is my personal favorite so far, still to be bound!

A more manly mug rug...working on binding now

So, I took some random scraps from other projects and put these little bad boys together.  I really liked being creative and not following a set pattern.  I haven't done that much in the ten months in which I've been sewing.  I'd forgotten how much fun being creative can be.  I'm really digging these.  I am definitely making some more, I want one for me!

The first finished product?

Mental note: always make sure to use my walking foot for binding.  The first side I stitched on, I forgot about that cardinal rule and cursed myself for it, but fortunately, there's no way you could tell.  I really love how this one turned out!

Ooooh, pretty.  Must.  Give.  As.  Gift.  Must.  Not.  Keep.  Mental note: make another one for me!

And I've got another project on my sewing desk, too, that's starting to come together: patchwork napkins.  I'm just making some random scraps into some nice napkins, since I'm going to be hosting our family Thanksgiving festivities this year.

I've even worked in some of my current favorite fabric, Moda's Bliss!

I'm linking up with Fabric Tuesday over at QuiltStory - make sure to check them out, I find some great inspiration there!
Friday, October 8, 2010

If I had a million dollars...

...I would not buy you a house.  Well, maybe, but not after I spent my pennies opening a modern quilt shop in my area.

I recently read Jennifer a post from That Girl...That Quilt about her experiences at her local quilt shops, and I'm sad to say that I have to echo some of her observations after visiting my local quilt shop last weekend, one of the biggest in my state.

Not only did I not even get a hello, but I spent nearly an hour there without a single person asking if they could help me find anything.  I was looking for a few specific things, most of which I did not find.  I did observe the workers having many lengthy conversations with older quilters and sewists, but the younger shoppers, myself included, seemed to get the cold shoulder.  While this shop may have more bolts than most other shops in the state, they sure weren't bolts I was looking for.  Even when I checked out with my lousy three Michael Miller fat quarters for my aqua/red collection, I still was barely spoken to.  I sure didn't feel welcome.

courtesy of The Consumerist/Flickr

My husband has always joked that if we ever opened a business, it ought to be a Dunkin Donuts.  Mostly, I think, because he loves their coffee, but also because it seems like a reasonable venture.  Sure, coffee's yummy, but it's not exactly pretty.

I think if we ever happen to find ourselves with considerably more cash, I'd talk him into opening a modern quilting store in my area and carry loads and loads of modern quilting fabric.  No roosters.  No cute cats or over 35 different bolts of cupcake fabrics.  And I'd make sure to carry every color Kona cotton comes in.  Not just the same selection that Jo-Ann's has, which is to say, very little.  And we'd carry lots of modern quilt books and modern quilt patterns.

After this last trip to this shop, I've decided I'm going to stop making the drive because it's just not worth it.  I almost always leave empty handed, and it's just not worth the gas.  It's a shame that I don't have a nicer local quilt shop nearby, but I'm glad I know where to look online.  I'm so thankful for awesome online shops like Sew Deerly Loved, Hawthorne Threads, Fabricworm, Fresh Squeezed Fabrics and Pink Chalk Fabrics.  I don't know what I would do without them.  So, thank you, ladies, for keeping my fabric stash overflowing with beautiful modern fabric!
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fabric Tuesday: Blissful

Oh, how I love Moda's new Bliss collection. I just love the aqua and red together, it's so trendy right now in quilt design, and I'm probably late to the aqua and red party, but boy oh boy, I love those two colors together.

 Last week, I decided to put some Bliss to good use to create a good sewing notebook, where I can keep track of my fabric stash and projects and such. And voila! I just love it. I love it so much that I haven't written a thing in it, for fear that whatever I write won't live up to the loveliness of this notebook!

Have a recent fabric craft project to share? Visit Quilt Story, they've got a great linky every Tuesday!
Monday, October 4, 2010


I've been busy with Halloween this year for once.  Usually, I'm not terribly into Halloween, but now that I have a child who adores dressing up, Halloween has become a big deal.  His first Halloween, he was a teddy bear.

I just can't wrap my head around how long ago this picture was!

Last Halloween, he was a monkey, which was quite possibly the hottest costume in the entire state of Florida.  This probably bordered on cruelty.  Lesson learned.

This photo was taken before he was drenched in sweat, thankfully.  It was not pretty.

This year, he's going to be the Cat in the Hat.

Yes, I know I could have bought the hat from the party store, but making it was a ton of fun.

He's obsessed with all things Dr. Seuss, especially the Cat in the Hat and the sequel, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back.  When we went shopping for the felt to make his hat at Jo-Ann's, he told everyone who was willing to listen that he was going to be the Cat in the Hat for Halloween.  Keep in mind, this was the first week of September.  So far, the excitement's carried through to October.  When he sees the pumpkins in stores and such, he'll talk about trick-or-treating, though he has no idea really what that means.  He just know he's going to be doing it.  And soon.  That is, after Mommy gets her act together and makes the rest of the costume...

Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a mood teen boy and a chatty six-year-old girl and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
The Epic Sampler BOM Club kicks off Oct 1st
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