Sunday, November 30, 2008

My next project...

Only an hour or two from finishing my current quilt... and I'm already prepping my fabric for the next one...

This one will be based on Alexander Henry's "2D Zoo"... such a cute & fun fabric!


Man do I hate sewing by hand...

But the results on my binding are just so very worth it...

Much better then I could have done by machine... so my fingers will pay the price- ouch!


Yesterday I was lucky enough to have three fabulous & crafty ladies over for an afternoon of food, fun, and of course, crafts!

Tracy, Nici (of ArtShapedWorld) and I made faux-quilted holiday ornaments from scrap fabric & styrofoam balls...

As Nici demonstrates here, the first step is to use a sharpie to divide your ball into 8 wedges... then you use an exacto knife to make deep cuts on those lines...

Then you take your leaf-shaped piece of fabric and using the back of your knife, press it into the cuts you've made...

Tracy is showing us that here on her gorgeous ornament... I just loved this one, so retro-modern! The fabric she's using are all Chez Moi by Moda... and they match her shirt pretty well too!

When you're crafting, even a mess can look beautiful & inspiring!

Here are two of the ornaments that I made...

And the very talented Nici's collection! She's so great with embellishments!

Sarah was working on some crocheted Christmas gifts...

Some very lucky recipients if you ask me... can you believe she only picked up her first hook this past summer?

Friday, November 28, 2008

How I spent "Black Friday"...

Almost finished now... just the binding to go.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I'm thankful for these cookies...

Sure, they’re delicious. They’re soft and moist and oh-so-chocolately. But that’s not why they make me so very thankful.

These cookies are a (secret) family recipe- specifically my boyfriend’s mother’s recipe. And I’m thankful because my wonderful boyfriend (of just over two years) has come into my life, cookie recipe in hand, and made it better. In fact, he’s made it amazing, wonderful & perfect.

And so these cookies, once served only at his own family’s holidays, have now started making appearances at my family celebrations. My father, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmother- they all enjoy these delicious treats, and as they do, our families are brought together. My family becomes his, and his becomes mine. We all become connected.

Just another way my life is sweeter since he came along.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thank you so much!!!

Thank you all for encouraging me to move forward with this quilt... after a couple days of soul searching, I decided that so many experienced crafters can't be wrong! Besides, I really do love this quilt, and I'm now quite sure that its my love for it that is making me second and third guess myself...

Nonetheless- I went ahead tonight and sewed those blocks together and now it is looking just gorgeous!!

So thank you all for your support, opinions and comments. I appreciate them all so much!

Oh, and when is blogger going to come up with a fix and make it easier to actually reply personally to all the great comments I get?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Need Your Opinion! Please?

So here is where my "Simple Modern Baby Quilt" is right now... the "wait and see" stage. Thats the point that I've finished all my piecing, and I lay the quilt out with the squares in the proper order. Then I come back periodically over the course of a couple days or a week and decide how I feel about it. I find that directly after spending hours and hours cutting and piecing, my view is different then it will be after I wait a bit and come back to it.

Unfortunately, I never get to see it through the eyes of someone who isn't me... which is where you come in... I need an honest opinion before I commit these squares to my quilt. Its meant as a gift- so I want it to be a nice as possible. The thing I'm having trouble with tonight is the light pink blocks I have around the main "Apples & Pears" fabric. Is it the wrong shade of pink? Do I need to go darker? Pinker? As long as the comments are constructive, I'm happy to accept some criticism.

Please share your thoughts!! Thank you!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My First Quilting Lesson!!!

Today I headed out to my neighborhood quilting shop- Jigglestitch, where I had scheduled a lesson on their giant sewing machine, the HQ Sixteen. Talk about intimidating- compared to this thing, my little home Janome is teeny tiny.

The lesson started with about an hour of cleaning the machine, threading the machine, and setting up the three layers of my quilt. I know it was all necessary- but imagine the anticipation, by the time we turned it on, I was really chomping at the bit!!

Its different then normal machines in that you lay your quilt material out, and then move the actual sewing machine around it, instead of vice versa. Its steered using two handles (an upper or lower set, depending on what kind of design you're doing). The whole thing just sort of floats along, and its kind of disconcerting at first- but I got it after a short while. You can set up a laser-pointer on top of the machine and use it to trace out designs, or you can use a special set of plates and a kind of stylus that moves within grooves in the plates. I also know the computer part mounted on top of the machine can do a number of automatic things- but they weren't covered in my lesson.

I was concerned at first that all the real "hands on" things I love about sewing would be too automated with this machine. For that reason- I sort of really dislike the plate & computer methods. I like to work directly on my quilt- not on plates, or worse, let the computer do everything for me. So unsurprisingly, I really took to the free motion quilting. It was very similar to quilting on my home machine. Just much, much easier.

My first attempts at free motion quilting were all about getting a feel for the weight and movement of the machine.

My doodling skills were put to great use here...

I couldn't get over how much freedom of movement I had!!

I took to meandering (or stippling) really quickly... and it was my favorite thing to do, both in practice and results. It was sort of zen, just doodling around and around, making loops and lines... and I think it really looks great! I can't wait to try it on a real quilt.

This was some more random practice- trying to make some really tiny designs using the lower handles on the machine.

And here is my full finished practice quilt (five hours of work!). I'm feeling pretty proud of myself, I may even give this monstrosity a binding and hang it up on my wall for the sake of posterity. Besides, it sort of makes me giggle!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Adorable Drawstring Pouch w/Carrying Strap

Here is a cute little bag tutorial for you, created by orange flower... I haven't tried it yet, but the instructions look super-easy to follow (lots of great photos!), and as you can see below, the bag is just adorable!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Du nähst wirklich wunderschöne Sachen!!!

A comment left on my blog recently, translating from German into the English "You sew really beautiful things!!!".

I never really thought about how crafting overcomes language barriers... but I've seen enough gorgous fabrics from across the world to know that whether its schön, όμορφος, bello, 美しい, bonito, hermoso or beau... this stuff is beautiful in any language.

I know that "Elemental" has some pretty dedicated fans in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, New Zealand, Brazil, Spain, Oman, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Malaysia, Greece, Singapore, Bulgaria, Argentina, Turkey, Isreal, Finland & Mexico... and I just wanted to give a big "Hello!" to everyone out there that is visiting, linking and commenting. I'm so glad to have you as my guests!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Simple Modern Baby Quilt Weekend...

Well, I didn't lock myself in the craftroom ALL weekend (just a good chunk of it)... and I didn't quite FINISH the Simple Modern Baby Quilt (just a good chunk of it). Two of the main colors are pink and green... you can see some of my cut squares here waiting to be stitched together.

I really need to learn to read instructions more carefully before I begin- I wasted a couple hours cutting 12 of each square, when I only needed 6. Oh well, maybe I'll make a second quilt with them someday!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rainy Day Quilting

Spent part of this rainy day in my craft studio... quilting up some adorable baby bibs. They're not quite finished yet- but I do hope to have them up on etsy soon!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Heather Mulder Peterson Patterns

Here is someone I just happened up on in a post at Craftgossip... her name is Heather Mulder Peterson, and apparently she just came out with some new patterns. Well, I wasn't even aware of her old patterns, until now. Oh Heather- where have you been all my life?! I love these!!! You can pick them up here. She also has an excellent blog that I'll be sure to add to my lists...

Free Quilt Pattern!

From Chickpea Sewing Studio... its made with 56 four-inch squares... and of course some white!

oh fransson quilt pattern- finally!!

All week, Elizabeth from oh fransson has been tempting and teasing us with sneak peaks of her new quilt pattern, a Simple Modern Baby Quilt. I can honestly tell you- I've never awaited a pattern with so much excitment. I actually woke up this morning and thought, first thing, "Oh yay!!! Its quilt pattern day!!!". Thank goodness she's an early riser and the pattern is already up at her etsy shop!!

It is a 33-page pdf tutorial that includes full color, step-by-step instructions for simple patchwork quilts with luxurious chenille or microfiber fleece backs and adorable animal appliqués. Finished quilts are approximately 40” square – the perfect size to take along in a car seat or stroller!

Would it be terribly rude for me to cancel all of my plans this weekend in order to lock myself into my studio and try out this pattern?!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Free Amy Butler Holiday Patterns!

Some gorgeous new patterns available from Amy Butler just in time for the holidays. Best of all- they're FREE!

Tula Pink - Neptune!

The much awaited Neptune collection from Tula Pink has finally arrived!! Much to my excitement- its similar to Flutterby in that it has tiny little creatures peaking out from the designs... just look at those adorable sea turtles!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

"Boy oh Boy" Baby Quilt

A woman I work with commissioned me to make a quilt for her grandson (who is on the way soon!). I used "Boy oh Boy" by Lakehouse. Some of the fabrics have a really great shimmer to them... I really enjoyed working with them!

It's a tie-quilt... I'm still working on my free motion quilting technique, and I wasn't ready to take on a full quilt.

It's got a pretty high loft- she wanted it to be "really fluffy & thick". The binding gave me some trouble- but ultimately, I think it ended up pretty cozy!!

They really loved it, and have already commissioned a second one!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


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