Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Back in the Saddle

After much too long an absence, both from this blog and sewing, here I am again. To make a long story short, I am no longer am at the J-O-B, and everything is coming out of storage. I start in a new and exciting position on Monday so I've pushed myself to make a major effort on completing some U.F.O.s.

I've made some nice progress on the Swoon quilt I'm making for my niece's tenth birthday. We'll ignore the fact that her birthday is already past. She'll probably have it by Christmas (the quilter said with a laugh). I had a real brain block with this quilt, and it has been sitting and waiting for my love for much too long. I think the main issue was that I wasn't in love with the fabric that my niece chose. When I took it to a guild sew day someone said the combo made her eyes hurt. Sadly, that’s not too far off the mark, and that is why I only let my niece choose two of the fabrics for the quilt.


I cast around for a bit trying to decide WHAT to do with this fabric since it didn't really fit into my typical cast of characters. Being that the main fabric was a larger directional print it lead me to decide that it needed to be a center block rather than cut into pieces. After struggling with this idea for longer than I would like to admit I decided to make my niece Thimble Blossom’s Swoon quilt

The rainbow butterfly fabric is the center of each of the nine blocks making up the quilt and the rainbow stripe fabric will be the binding and on the back. The thing I love about the Swoon pattern is that each block is different and uses two fat quarters plus a solid to create it. I ended up using a beautiful purple for the solid fabric rather than white. White fabric and ten year-old just don't go together, especially since the other fabrics she chose are so colorful and vibrant. 
One of the completed blocks on my design wall.

The other thing i altered about the pattern is that it makes an 80" square. I wanted a twin size quilt so I added an additional border at the top and bottom to make it 80" X 90". I would share the completed top, but I don't want to ruin the surprise for my sister or my niece.

I'm working on piecing the back (another challenge for me) with scraps from the quilt's creation and other coordinating fabrics. After I get that put together I will be taking it to a long-arm quilter. I couldn't be more excited!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Absent Blogger

Hi everyone. Sorry that I've been missing in action with out explanation (I suppose that's absent without leave). Hubby and I recently decided to put our house on the market and as you might imagine that's brought any creative endeavors to a grinding halt.

In the mean time, Brittany took me to a Portland Modern Quilt Guild Meeting, and 30 minutes in I was hooked:


Then again, I'd been joining Brittany for their monthly sew days for a while, so it wasn't to far of a leap when I started to look for a guild that I would join up. I did audition a few other guilds at their meetings but this was the only one that really got my creative juices flowing and I think that's the most important thing when you're joining a group of fellow enthusiasts.

I may get time for some little projects here and there, but posts may be sporadic for now. Thanks for bearing with me!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Finished Jewel Box Quilt

My house has been in an uproar for the past month, plus the little girl is sleeping less in the morning than she used to. These things lead to a reduced amount of sewing time for me. So, even though I feel like I should have been able to finish quilting and binding the Jewel Box Quilt a month ago - well you know what they say about even the best laid plans...

So here it is!
Finished "Jewel Box" Quilt, 60" X 60"

 I took a short cut at the end that I never thought I would. I wanted to use the backing fabric for binding the quilt rather than solid using solid black, but I had used up all of my yardage for the backing.

Michael Miller's Apothecary Bottles

I used a trick I had come across on Pinterest (big shocker, I know). I pulled the backing up and folded it over to make the quilt binding. (Instructional Here)

It's a quick finish, but not as clean as I would typically prefer. This quilt has gone from almost being a donation item, to a UFO, to taking pride of place on the family room couch. Though, Hubby complains its not big enough and I told him he need to learn how to make himself one that is big enough.

Have you started a project hating it and end up loving it? 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

So Little Time to Sew

My big brother came out to visit from Nebraska for my mom's birthday over the weekend through yesterday. As you might imagine, I wanted to spend as much time as I could with him. This doesn't leave much time for sewing. What little time I did have I spent on quilting my Jewel Box quilt. 

Satin stitching around the Log Cabin medallion center.
Trace quilting other blocks.

I tend to forget how much "fun" it is to quilt a large project on my home machine... shove, pull, stuff, roll... we all know the game! I'm hoping to finish this up soon so I can get started on the quilt for my niece. I've dawdled enough that I'm down to two month for the whole thing. Whoops! Let's see if I can pull a rabbit from a hat on that one.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Small Projects

I'm still trying to clean up my sewing room. I've been having a hard time avoiding the distractions that are inherent in trying to control creative chaos. This means lots of quick little projects to try to keep me in line. My main goal is still trying to cut my scraps into uniform sizes. I've made progress, but it still seems like there are SO MANY that even after the time that I've put into it there is still a lot of work to do. Eventually I'll be caught up and hopefully I'll stay that way. 

My 2.5" squares box was starting to get a little full so I started sewing them together in sets of 4. That night I was over at my parents' house with Hubby watching my little girl play with one of my old dolls in a wooden cradle. The blanket that accompanied that little bed was horribly '80s. And girly. Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm not a fan of pink or "girly" things. So I decided to fashion the 2.5" squares into a scrappy doll quilt.


Unfinished doll quilt, about 18" x 22"

I decided to tie it instead of machine quilting it because I used a really high loft polyester batting and I hate putting that stuff through my machine. I finished tying it last night and I'll probably machine bind it later this week. 

I'd been courting the idea of making myself a new pincushion. I'd been prowling the internet for fun and interesting designs and came across a quilt guild website that linked to a bunch of patterns for an exchange. I wish I remembered that website, I would share it with you!

I made this lovely "Cathedral Window" Pincushion with a square of my beloved Parisville fabric. I love that shade of teal with it!

4.5" picushion

Quick and easy pattern through the Moda Bake Shop. Have your iron hot for this one! I'm amazed that this pattern takes a 10.5" square of fabric (the teal) and turns it into the window frame. It's beautiful though, I'm looking forward to making another one... some day.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

In the bag.

The annual celebration of my birth was last week, and I wanted to give myself a little something. I'd been lugging around the same purse for two years and have had the same wallet for more years than I can count and I had fallen out of love with both of them. So, what's a girl to do? I fell back on my Pinterest addiction. I scoured posts for a free purse pattern and tute that wouldn't be too complicated and still fit my needs. I discovered The Madeline Purse tutorial by imagine gnats. I LOVED this tute. She made it so clear and simple, especially with something like installing a zipper pocket, which I had never done before.

Pretty in purple!

I have gotten a ton of compliments on this purse. I used mostly leftovers in my stash for this with the pretty purple petal (say that three times fast!) fabric coming from a baby quilt I made umpteen years ago, the trim of multicolored Maori dots is a scrap from my good buddy Jessica, and the lining was the leftover teal dots from the changing pad I wrote about last week. I love it. I may make more as gifts! :)

Part two of my birthday project was the wallet. Unfortunately the tutorial  I used was horribly written. So much so that the project took me twice as long as it should have because I kept having to re-read the instructions - that will teach me to read through ALL of the directions before I start on something. I'm not going to link to it because I don't want to cause you the same frustration. 

Wallet exterior. Not happy with the interior showing!

The exterior is a print from Tula Pink's Parisville collection. My sewing bud Brittany gave me a quarter yard of it for my birthday. I thought it was from her stash - but we'll get to that later. I was so terribly in love with this print that it hurt me to think I wouldn't be able to use it in anything else once I had started on the terrible wallet tute. I had thought about cutting my losses and scrapping the project. A quick web search showed that since this print came out in 2010 it is not very available - I did find a fat quarter on Etsy for $15... but that's way more than I'm willing to pay. So, I pushed on and finished it.

Inside with a coin pocket, a place for cards, and a slot for bills to the right.

I'm using the wallet, though I'm not incredibly happy with it. I will mention that I'm very happy I made the purse first, because I reused her zipper pocket tute for making the coin pocket. I'll probably track down another pattern in a project lull and try again. 

This past weekend Brittany and I took a trip out to Cool Cottons so I could experience the awesomeness and spend the gift certificate she had given me. On the way there I was telling her my story of woe with the Parisville print and she told me she had gotten it at Cool Cottons. I was giddy. When we got to the store I tracked down the bolt and finished it off to be mine all mine! Maybe it was a little greedy to take the full two yards? My excuse it that it's a great blender and has all of my favorite colors in it.

Have you ever used a favorite fabric on a project that was ultimately doomed?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Changing Pad

A friend of mine is pregnant with her first baby and her baby shower was the last weekend in March, and you know me, I wanted to make her something. Now that I've had the benefit of having a child I started thinking about the things that made my life easier. I thought about the changing mat that came with the diaper bag we had registered for and how nice it was to have that. I am not a fan of putting the kiddo straight onto the public changing station. I also liked that I could easily clean it. I also considered the things I didn't like about that changing pad: 1) It's covered with a thin layer of clear plastic vinyl that started cracking and ripping after a little while and 2) it's really short. Little Girl was hanging off of it after 6 months.

So I started prowling the internet and found two patterns that I really liked this "diaper clutch" and this "sushi roll changing mat" and made a hybrid of the two with my own alterations. I liked the fold away aspect of the clutch making it easier to stash in a large tote or backpack. I also liked that you could put just what you needed in there to have it easily at hand. With the sushi roll I liked the extra cushion of the batting layer making it a little more comfortable experience for the baby. 

Folded away. Closure is a piece of 1/4" elastic and a large button.

I used PUL (the fabric they use for the outside of cloth diapers) for the changing mat side, it's a lot softer and easier to wash than straight laminate. I used quilting cotton for the outside, and a layer of cotton batting in the middle. 

The PUL has owl's saying "Whoooo's Cute?"

I used the width of the backing fabric for the length of the changing pad and folded the pocket up from bottom about 10". I also quilted the three layers together so there shouldn't be any weird shifting after it gets washed & dried. And that's the best part, it can be machine washed!

Just enough space for a few diapers and a travel pack of wipes.

What item can you not live without when you're out and about with baby?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Scrap-Happy

I had a lull in projects this week. It kind of made me a little crazy to think that there wasn't SOMETHING I had to finish in the near future. So I cast about my sewing room and decided it was time for a little spring cleaning and reorganizing. This was mostly the result of me being disgusted by the status of my cutting area. I had the remnants of the last ten or more projects strewn about the table and collected in my overflowing scrap bin as well as a few small shopping bags.

My scrap management system was not working. So I consulted my sewing buddy, and she suggested trying out Bonnie Hunter's scrap management system of cutting all of those random bits of fabric down to more manageable and predictable pieces. The first thing to consider: what's the smallest piece of fabric I'm willing to keep and use. First I thought 1", but then I thought about that further and decided that was the smallest finished size, and then decided on the other increments from there. 

So, I'm starting my stash sorting system with cutting pieces into 5" squares, 2 1/2" squares, and pieces from 1 1/2" square to 1 1/2" by 4". Any piece of fabric that I come across that's larger than 5" x 10" I'm leaving alone for now in their own bin. After about 6 hours of cutting pieces, I've cut into the mess by half. I'm hoping with a little more effort on my part it'll be taken care of by the end of the week. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Start on Spring Planting

Well, it seems like spring has finally hit the Portland area. With the weather so nice, I just couldn't sit inside at my sewing machine! This weekend I spent some time in the sun working on a planter for strawberries, something I've been dreaming of for years. We already have two raised planting beds which I use for vegetables like kale, lettuce, peas, and (my favorite) tomatoes. A lot of things tend to be trial and error for me in the garden. The climate is NOT what I grew up with in Sacramento so I have to give up things like growing bell peppers because I 1)don't have a green house, and don't intend to. 2) They take more work than I'm willing to put into it. 

So, once I set my mind to having strawberries this summer I did my best to find a creative and inexpensive way to do so. Initially I was planning to make a third planter bed to connect the existing two but soon decided that would take a lot more leveling and expense than I would like. So, I went to my new best friend Pinterest  to resolve my dilemma. I came across a few things that sparked my interest. I came across this project: DIY Garden Planter. While that project was geared toward a flower display I decided it would also be well suited for strawberry plants. 



Well, you know me  I can't do a creative project by someone else's plans, I've got to make it my own. Here's what I did: 
  1. Have a large decorative pot on the bottom with a hole drilled in the bottom. 
  2. Take a 1/2" rebar (I ended up getting a 10' pole and having them cut it down for me to 6') and drive it down into the ground through the hole of the base part. Ideally you should have a foot or two in the ground.
  3. Fill the base pot with soil. 
  4. Carefully thread the first terracotta pot onto the rebar and cock it to one side making sure that it is stably settled in the dirt of the base pot. I used 8.25" Azalea pots for this project, they're a little wider than they are tall to allow for more planting.
  5. Plant your first plant in the first terracotta pot. I found it was a lot easier to do this as I stacked the pots rather than having them all stacked and trying to put plants in them.
  6. Continue to the top of the rebar carefully cocking the pots to one side or the other and planting as you go.


Voila! I had a lovely time playing in the dirt with the little girl (you can see her little truck in the planting bed). I got my first round of plants at the same home improvement store I purchased the other supplies. That was a big mistake. We went to a local plant nursery down the way from us to get the rest of the plants: $12.99 for 25 bare root strawberry plants. I have planted 15 of them (not just in the strawberry tower) and will probably give the remaining 10 plants to friends. 

I'm very much looking forward to having garden-fresh strawberries in June!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Vintage Finish

After sitting in the closet for 6 months my vintage reproduction quilt top was finally finished. It was given some urgency recently as the deadline for donating to a charity auction drew nearer and the quilt I had intended to donate was not in state anywhere close to being ready. So, I pulled it out of storage and, with some trouble, found a backing fabric and got to work.

I ended up doing machine binding (I know I said I wouldn't do it on a larger scale project, but I wanted to save some time and I figured the practice couldn't hurt) after doing trace quilting inside of each of the squares.


A quick view of the back. It's close enough to being "vintage" that no one would likely take a second look unless they were an expert. I nearly went with a solid color before I happened on this print.


A close up of the machine quilting I did. I have to admit, I love all of the fabrics in this little quilt for different reasons, but I especially love the little boy with a kite. 

The little 36" square quilt was donated this morning. I wasn't going to put my label on it at first because I thought whoever buys it at the auction isn't going to care who made it. This is such a contrast to my normal soapbox of "every quilt must be labeled" that when I was talking to my mom about it she looked at me with shock and reminded me that it is art and art must be signed! This was reinforced by the person running the auction I was donating to. Glad I tacked on my label at the last minute. Now all that's left is to wait and see how much it goes for at the auction on 4/6. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Stuffed

Making stuffed animals wasn't something I had really done before. My sewn creations usually were 2D and flat. But as they say, addiction starts somewhere. When I made Katy Kitty for my little girl for Christmas it inspired me to create more snuggley creatures for my friends' kids. So I took to Pinterest (another addiction) to find some free patterns to get started on. 

The first challenge was a stuffed elephant for a little girl who was born around the same time as an elephant baby at the Portland Zoo. I wasn't able to find a free pattern that I really liked the look of so I ended up modifying one. The pattern I used was for a kids heating pad (aka flat) from the Riley Blake Website for Layla the Elephant. Here's how she turned out:


Made of pink fleece with quilting cotton for the inside of the ears, felt and buttons for the eyes. At one point I had to use the walking foot on my sewing machine to sew three layers of fleece together, talk about bulky!

Is it me or does the elephant look a little frightened? Maybe some eyebrows or eyelashes would have resolved that issue...

Ok, I have to show off the elephant's butt here, because this is part of where my creativity came in. Elephant needed a tail and making it of fleece didn't seem right. Using ribbon like the pattern suggested wasn't a good option either. I ended up using pearled cotton in a braid for the tail with a little bow at the end. We'll see how long that lasts with a 2 year-old, but I think it is quite cute!

Next came a sea turtle for a 1 year old boy. This pattern was fairly straight forward an uncomplicated from Positively Splendid. It did challenge my embroidery skills a bit, but I think he's quite cute. 


He didn't use much fabric either half a fat quarter for the shell, and another for the belly and fins, then scraps for the head and tail. 

Look at his sweet little face. I admit, I kind of love him.

Another friend's little boy is turning 1 at the end of March and I'm torn between making him a bear or a monkey. 

What was your favorite stuffed animal growing up? 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Jewel Box

It's been a busy week for me at the sewing machine (I love that that almost auto-corrected to the "doing machine"). Below are a few of the blocks I completed in my quilting class. The top pattern is called "Jewel Box" and the bottom one is "Pinwheel". Both were a lot simpler than expected, but I'm having a little anxiety over having enough contrast in my remaining fabric to finish the blocks. It's not as much fun with out the contrast (compare the blue jewel box to the purple one). In the end it will still be wonderful, but I'm considering buying another 1/4 yard of one or two of the colors just to make it look how I want...

I went to an all day sew with the Portland Modern Quilt Guild and my good buddy Brittany on Saturday and pounded out another large batch of the No Place Like Home blocks. After all the cutting was done these blocks are just zipping together. I have three more blocks to assemble before I can start putting together the top. I love how fast the Sweet Jane quilts go together.
"No Place Like Home" with Tula Pink's "Nest" collection

Right now I'm finishing up a few stuffies for birthday presents for two 1 year olds and one 2 year old. Pictures and links to patterns next week!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Terrific Triangles

Sorry for the late post, I had hoped to share pictures of the fun decorations from Little Girl's 2nd birthday party, but it turns out no one took a picture of them. I was running around crazily trying to get things taken care of and didn't think of it until we were all packed up to head home. Oh well. I plan to re-install them in her room at home so I will share them after that.

Time for the next installment from my quilting class. This past Friday we worked on an old favorite of mine: Nine Patch. I am truly loving the Nine Patch with the ombre batiks, even if there are blocks of the same color the variation of the dye process makes each unique. 

9" Nine Patch

We were supposed to make eight total nine patch blocks for the quilt, but being the over achiever that I am (hahaha) I decided to do twelve. No I'm not just making the extras for the fun of it. The finished sample quilt has 9" black squares in the corners and I wasn't too keen on that, so I did a little extra work hopefully it will pay off. I know my new pressing technique already is!

Next is the part of the class that I had simultaneously been looking forward to and dreading: triangles. Triangles are an aspect of quilting that I'd been trying (unsuccessfully) to avoid. I've never been any "good" with them and they never seemed to line up in a way that I was satisfied with. Enter the Flying Geese quilt block. The first help to me is that these triangles are rather large so it's easier to see if points are lined up or not (7 1/2" triangle). 
Two halves of a Flying Geese block

I'm still trying to decide on color arrangement that's why the two halves aren't paired. I've also got to trim all the little "ears" off of the other squares. Still loving the ombre batiks, both of those triangles are cut from the orange piece!

This Friday I get to look forward to a block I haven't tried before: Jewel Box. A lot more triangles in that one, wish me luck!

Is there an aspect of your favorite craft that you avoid because its "too hard"?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Back to Basics

The grocery bag tutorial will have to wait a few weeks as hubby gave me a laundry list of adjustments to make to my pattern.
 
For Valentine's Day was this past Friday I had a little fun with breakfast and added some red food coloring to the pancake batter. I kept adding what seemed like a massive amount only to end up with pepto-pink pancakes. Hubby said they looked more like candy than a healthy breakfast item. That's what I get for trying something fun and different... I think they still tasted good. :-)
 
Pink pancakes on the griddle.
 
If you remember I got a new sewing machine for Christmas from my family. I've been happily creating away on it, learning that it could likely do everything for me if it became sentient. Let's hope that doesn't happen as I enjoy being the creative force. With the sewing machine purchase came the option of two classes: Beginning Sewing or Beginning Quilting. Initially I scoffed at both. I've been sewing off and on for most of my life, and quilting for over half of it. Then I thought to myself, I have never taken a formal quilting class it couldn't hurt to try one now.
 
So my first quilt class was this past Friday. It did begin on a rather tedious note for me reviewing seam allowance, how to use a rotary cutter, and the like. Finally we got into the meat of the subject and started cutting pieces for our first pieced block. A basic log cabin 

A basic 18" log cabin using dip dyed batiks.
 
It felt right to me to start this class with a log cabin block as that was the very first pattern I sewed with my mentor back in 8th grade. I also learned a little historical tid-bit with log cabin quilts: traditionally a red center symbolized the hearth of the home, and a yellow light was a welcoming light through a window. I managed to have both.
 
Happily, it wasn't all review and history, I did learn some new cutting techniques and that I have some bad habits that I need to break. Next week we start on 9-patch and flying-geese blocks.
 
Would you ever take a beginner's class for a hobby you've been doing a while?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Winter Wonderland

It snowed for three days here in Portland which tends to  everything down because A) it's not normal to get ANY snow and B) the city doesn't have the equipment to deal with it. So we've been on house arrest since Thursday. Today they're predicting freezing rain on top of it all.  

Looking out my front window. 
Hubby asked if we should listen to Christmas music, I threw a shoe at him.

But you know what they say, you gotta make lemons outta lemonade.... or something more wintry... snow day equals sew day!

So with me, hubby and baby girl stuck inside for going on five days now I've been quite the domestic diva. Of course I've been sewing like crazy, but I'll get to that later, I have been making magic in the kitchen. This isn't a cooking blog, so I won't dwell on it, but wow what I little time and effort can produce!

I made a half mile trek in the snow to the grocery store to acquire a whole chicken. (It felt like it was up hill both ways, but hubby assured me it was not.) I found a recipe for herb rubbed chicken on Better Homes and Gardens which baked in the oven for a little over two hours. Man, that chicken was PERFECT and I didn't have to do much to it once it was in the oven. Last night I used what was left of the chicken and made pot pie, including the crust from scratch. Ok, I'll admit I made the pie crust a week ago and it's been in the freezer. The recipe is Perfect Pie Crust from the Pioneer Woman.

As far as sewing is concerned,  I got half a dozen block made for the quilt I'm calling "No Place Like the Nest", including one that I sewed backwards. OOPS... I think they're beautiful so far.

"No Place Like Home" blocks using "Nest" fabric collection.

I got a little bored slash side tracked with that project when I started poking around on Pinterest.  I was inspired to make my own grocery bags. However, after poking around for a free pattern or tutorial that I liked with no luck. I ended up making my own. 



I'm going to put them into practical use on our next grocery trip (whenever we dig out), likely make some adjustments, and then hopefully post a tutorial next week.

Monday, February 3, 2014

A trip down memory lane

One thing I love about having been quilting for a long time is all of the memories in the form of fabric scraps in my stash. As the history of the things I have made grows, so does the collection of scraps. I think that may be (another) part of the reason that I enjoy crazy quilts so much is I get to go through my scraps and experience a bit if nostalgia. I remember the quilts I've made and given away.

As I was finishing up another Franken-pillow, I was trying to decide on what fabric to use for the back. I initially was going to use a solid piece of fabric, but decided that that didn't fit the "theme" as well as a pieced back would. I dug into one of my bins of fabric from my first years as a "serious quilter". What discovered took my breath away for a moment because the fabric I found had so many memories tied to it that I was caught off guard. I'll be honest, I've dug past this fabric before, I've even used it in other quilting projects before but I found a completed leftover block.


This four-leaf-clover with lady bug print I bought to make my uncle a quilt when he first started going through treatment for cancer in 2004. He died in 2009 and his wife died in 2012, they didn't have any children so I have no idea where the quilt ended up. I feel like in a way these blocks and this fabric is a way of remembering him every time I use it.

There is one thing I do now with every quilt I make that I didn't then, and that's label it. I am very happy that my new sewing machine has the ability to do lettering so I can do things like this:



That way if the original owner is lost there is still memory of who made it and when.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Saturday Morning Ritual

I woke up at 5:30am on Saturday, naturally with no alarm might I add, and trekked to the kitchen for my first cup of coffee for the day. I'm thankful for a coffee pot with an auto-brew feature because how can anyone focus enough to make a pot of coffee before they've had their first cup? After that I was busy in my crafting space for 3 hours cutting fabric for a new quilt project and catching up on tv shows.

It always amazes me how long it takes to cut out pieces for a quilt, I think this is part of the reasoning for my new love affair with pre-cuts. This past Friday I was at Quilter's Corner Store and bought a layer cake of Tula Pink's "Nest" collection released in Spring of 2008. As usual, I love Tula Pink's color choice, subtle patterns, and fun details.

120 2 1/2" by 10" Strips

Speaking of love affairs, I am in love with patterns from Sweet Jane Quilts. I'm doing another one of her patterns, this time from her book. I haven't started sewing it together yet but once I do I fully expect it will fly together quickly. I haven't totally decided if this one will stay with me or be donated to a charity auction.

Tonight I'm looking forward to another meal from the slow cooker. Today's experiment: Throw a whole chicken in the slow cooker on low for 9 hours with some seasonings and hope it's as amazing as people on All Recipes say it is.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Crazy Quiltin'

I'm taking time away from structured patterns and having a lot of fun lately with crazy quilts. I'm in love with the anything goes mentality and also remembering other quilts that I've made in the past while using up scraps. 
 
 
In my fun, which started with the Franken-Pillow, I've ended up with more and more crazy quilt pieces ranging from 3" squares to rectangles 16" wide and varying heights. 

 
I'm not sure if they will ultimately end up all together, or continue to be their own entities which I build upon. I'm not even sure that the two pieces I show here will remain as they are...

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Good Day In From the Cold


Our house has been battling a cold as it makes its rounds, first me, then hubby, and now the little girl. It's keeping me on my toes, but when I've had time I've been busily humming away at my sewing machine since our return from sunny southern California last week.

I've gotten the majority of the top done from this pattern by Sweet Jane, I just have a pieced border and another solid border to complete. I'm really liking her pattern writing style and hopefully all of them are this quick to complete.
"A Good Day" by Sweet Jane Quilts using In From the Cold by Kate Spain for Moda Fabrics.
 
Let's just say my family and friends know me when its time to get a gift. I got four quilting books under the tree this year and I'm happy as a clam. I also received a subscription to a quilting magazine incase I got bored with the books.
Quilts from Sweet Jane by Susan Pfau, Sunday Morning Quilts by Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison,
Modern Patchwork by Elizabeth Hartman, and The Quilters Ultimate Visual Guide edited by Ellen Pahl

I scoffed to myself a little when I opened the package that contained this book. And my mom proudly cooed that she had discovered this great tome at a thrift store (note the price tag in the upper left) saying that it was a great find. I put it off to the side for a while expecting to be disappointed by its content.
The Quilters Ultimate Visual Guide edited by Ellen Pahl
 
I admit I'm a bit ashamed of myself. This book is a great source of information, yes some of it is our of date since it was printed 15 years ago, but all of the basics are there. I tend to forget that quilting isn't a new thing. It's been around for centuries and not much has changed in that time except with the advance in technologies. I must remember to thank my mom again for this book, as it has already been useful.