Monday, January 30, 2012

Hopping Down A Rabbit Trail

I always have a hand project going to keep me busy on car trips, at baseball practices, in the doctor's office, and so forth.  These projects don't ever move along very quickly because I don't usually get them out to work on here at home.  However, we had some family movie nights planned this weekend, so I settled in with my current embroidery endeavor, which is a Crabapple Hill pattern.

My color in these photos is completely wacky.  I should retake them all tomorrow in proper light.  But well intentioned plans like that have a way of never getting done, so I'm sharing the ugly pictures with bad color.  :-)  These are actually done on white fabric, not blue!

I originally bought all the DMC floss as instructed on the pattern, but I quickly abandoned the official rules in favor of picking whatever colors pleased me at the moment.  That way, I don't have to think (or plan) too hard.

I have three blocks completed so far and am working on the fourth.  There are five blocks total in this set.  I have not fully decided if I will construct a quilt to be displayed at Easter or if I will make a spring table runner for the dining room.  At the rate I go on these hand projects, I have plenty of time to decide!

I've also been stitching a label for my latest quilt backing.  This is for my Bliss quilt.  My original plan was to embroider a gnome by the little house, but now I'm thinking about leaving the empty space so I have more room to write.  In truth, I'm eager to finish the label quickly so I can get this layered and on the machine!

Hope everyone's week is off to a great start!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Neat as a Pin

Happy Little Cottage made one, and I am grateful to her for providing the link to the tutorial, because the minute I saw hers I became a green eyed monster.

I simply couldn't imagine getting on with my Valentine quilt until my pins had a new, happy, Valentine-y place to live.

This was amazingly fun to make.  And addictive too.  I can see why Happy Little Cottage couldn't stop at just one.  I'm happily flirting with the idea of making a cathedral window pillow.

Someday.  For now, it's back to our previously scheduled Valentine quilt.

A question for those of you who love making pincushions...

What do you like to stuff them with??  I used crushed walnut shells and fiberfill in this one.  I'd like to know what others find works best.

Monday, January 23, 2012

What I'm Loving This Week

I have two quilts going at once right now and I'm loving it!  My Bliss top is ready to be layered, but first I need to piece the backing.  I also started an impromptu Valentine project which has been a lot of fun.  I love piecing patchwork...simple, rhythmic, therapeutic.  I also love being awash in a sea of reds and pinks.  Just makes me happy.  And who doesn't need a little Happy on a Monday morning?  :-)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Bobbin Buddy

Amanda Jean made one today, and the minute I saw hers I knew I wanted one.  I'm always inspired by her clever ideas, but I thought she really outdid herself this time.  I had no intention of a project today.  No kidding....I happened to be making an appetizer this afternoon to take to an open house tonight, and the recipe called for a tiny can of olives, exactly like the one she used to make a bobbin holder!  I took it as a sign that it was meant to be.  :-)

I sure hope Amanda Jean considers imitation to be a sincere form of flattery, because I couldn't really think of a way to improve on her perfect design.  In other words, I shamelessly copied!

I'm not the machine quilting diva that she is, so I embroidered my label.  I really LOVED the look of her linen, but I don't own any of that, so I made do with the Kona I had on hand.  I also lined my can with felt so my bobbins don't clang.  (I know.  I couldn't help myself.)

Is this the cutest thing?  Makes me want to go wind a dozen bobbins, just because.

Making one was so much fun....

...they multiplied!

One for me, one for a friend, and one for the sweet lady who is teaching the quilt class I'm attending tomorrow.

I just need to eat two more cans of olives before I head to class!  Ha!

I'm linking up with Amanda's Finish-It-Up-Friday.  
Thanks, Amanda Jean, for a fun Friday project!

Fabric = Verna by Kate Spain for Moda


So last weekend Wendy and I went to the quilt shop together to pick up our BOMs.  While we were there we noticed a class being offered this Saturday for a quilt we both liked.  It didn't take us long to rationalize that a Girl's Night would be a great way to start off the new year.  So we signed up.  Without calling our husbands to make sure our schedules were clear.  We're crazy like that.

I hadn't anticipated signing up for a class, and in an uncharacteristic effort to be especially thrifty, I wanted to try to make the class work without having to buy new fabric.  So, Wendy and I dug through my stash.  She noticed my jelly roll of Bliss by Bonnie and Camille.

It's my favorite jelly roll.  I was saving it for a special occasion.  No pattern could ever be deemed worthy of taking the coveted Moda ribbon off that jelly roll.  So, when Wendy suggested I actually use it for the class, I snorted all over her sweater.  It just so happened I had a little yardage of Bliss too.  Just the right amount.  And there really wasn't money in the after Christmas budget for new fabrics.  And then the nearly unthinkable happened.  My four year old ripped the ribbon off the jelly roll and untangled the entire thing into a heap.


I've never had more fun cutting fabric.  I worked on it Tuesday, my "blissful" day off that I wrote about yesterday.  Those sweet and cheerful colors and patterns are just plain fun to touch.  I cut out all the pieces needed for my class, then I savored and squandered every smidge of scrap I could possibly muster.  I wasn't willing to let a snip of this precious fabric go to waste.  I made two blocks to use for pillows.  This was all that was left of my jelly roll when I was done with it.  Not too bad!

That sweet sign used to hang in my kitchen.  I took it down over Christmas break to hang something different in its place and it got set on my sewing desk just until I could decide where to go with it.  I've rather enjoyed seeing it there, so I think I'll hang it permanently in my sewing nook.

This is the first pillow I made from the scraps.  I'm thinking I need to trim it in pom poms, don't you?

My second pillow.  My first ever Wonky Block!  How much fun to make!!  This took me hours to do...I watched an entire DVD while puttering with it.  I have not squared up the outer edges yet to fully set the "wonky" angle because I want to get my pillow form first.  I'd love to do an entire quilt of these someday.  They are really fun.

I've got all my pre-cutting and sewing done, and am fully ready to head to class tomorrow.  I'm hoping to have a completed quilt top by the end of the night.  I'm anxious to see it all come together, and hoping it proves to be Bliss worthy!

How about you?  What's on your weekend sewing agenda??

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Pressing Matter

WHEW.  My sweet daughter climbed aboard a plane back to college Tuesday morning, drawing our extended holiday break to an official close.  We had a wonderful Christmas, but boy was it l-o-n-g.  Between December 15th, when she arrived home, and January 10th, when she headed back to school, we had precisely TWO DAYS without company in our home.  As much as I dearly love to entertain and adore being surrounded by family and friends, I spent every drop of my emotional, physical, and financial resources and really needed to recharge my battery a bit.

We drove home from the airport in the rain. Temperatures were only in the 40's.  It was gray.  And cozy.  Emma was at preschool, and Max had class away from home.  It wasn't my day to carpool.  I came home, made a pot of coffee, climbed into pajama pants and fuzzy slippers, and retreated to my sewing nook for the entire day.


Then, my rock star husband came home from work and I took a dinner break.  He did all the dishes, played a game with the kids, and completely handled bedtime routines so I could crawl back into hiding and sew some more.

I'd never loved him more.  What a hero.

The day was BLISS.  It was like a healing balm that completely refreshed my soul, and I woke up yesterday ready to face the whole "re-entry" process and get life back on a normal track around here!  Breaks are super fun, especially when surrounded by constant chaos supplied by Many Excited Children, but after several weeks I was craving structure, routine, and schedule.  BADLY.

So, here's a peek at what getting back to normal looked like around here...

First, I transferred all my information to my new calendar.  Isn't a new calendar thrilling??  I have a two calendar system going this year.  My mother in law gave me a functional, practical calendar book (with lines!) that I just love.  I keep that one by the computer to keep track of absolutely everything.  I also need a second calendar; one that hangs in plain sight and displays all the family activities so the hubby and the kids (theoretically) can know what is happening and when.  This doesn't stop them from asking me incessantly, but it makes me happy to know there is a place on the fridge that I can direct them to for useful information.  IF they would just look.  :-)  Anyway, the official family calendar rocks this year.

It was a gift to me from my awesome friend Jackie.  Did she hit it just right, or what?  Love it!  (It comes complete with patterns to make each of the 12 quilts.  So fun.)  I feel so organized.  (And busy.)

I tidied up the sewing space too.  The absolute worst thing about being a quilter?  (And quite possibly the ONLY downside?)  You're destined to have a completely disgusting ironing board.  Is it just me?  Oh, how this grosses me out.  I hate for things to be dirty.  So, I decided to "splurge" and start the new year with a CLEAN slate instead of this ugly mess. 

Super Target, I love you.  Twelve bucks.  I'm such a happy girl.  It doesn't take much.  And look!  It's dark gray!  Maybe that will hide the stains for longer??

Now, I've been having some iron issues for some time now. They've come and gone over time, but lately they've come.  And stayed.  I'm getting this on my fabrics, and I'm NOT HAPPY about it.  Hubby got me a deluxe Rowenta about a year ago.  The gift was so sweet and thoughtful that I didn't want to replace it, but no amount of cleaning seems to help.  Really, when this happens on a block that is already pieced it is so incredibly frustrating.

Today, while choosing my ironing board cover, I checked out the cheap-o irons.  I found one that looked pretty good but had no price.  I sent one of the boys to scan it and he was gone forever.  Turns out, it wouldn't scan so he went to find a manager for help.  The manager couldn't get it to scan either, so she looked it up in the system and made a special sticker for him.

I wasn't even sure I wanted to try a new iron, but when he came back with this I figured I'd be crazy not to try it!  A $40 iron for $10?  I even asked the lady to confirm this for me because it seemed too good to be true and I didn't want to be dishonest to the store. She assured me this was correct; that it was a clearance item.  Well, a mighty fine how-do-you-do.

I just unpacked it so I have not given it a test run yet, but my new pressing quarters sure look snazzy!

Sometimes it's the little things that make getting off to a fresh start feel exciting.  Here's to a happy (and much more quiet) January! 

Friday, January 6, 2012

BOM - January

My block of the month is due this Saturday, so last night I fed my Mom a taco salad in exchange for her keeping me company in the sewing nook and helping me get this block completed.

Here are the three I have completed so far.  Nine to go!  Jury is still out on this color combo, but I'm going to give it some time.  It's growing on me.