Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A not so serious post

Thanks to all of you who appreciated my last post. I know I was little less light hearted than I normally am, but unburdening yourself is not always a light hearted venture. I'm more light hearted as a result for sure...it's great to have just a couple less commitments and be happy that the groups will still continue well and I've done the best I can to make sure that happens.

But time for a not so serious post! Because, seriously (ha!), I don't want to be serious all the time. I'm starting to feel like I'm misspelling the word serious...do you ever do that? You spell the word so many times that all of the sudden it looks wrong? Or you think...is that really a word? serious...serious...serious...

See! Not serious already!


I've been working on a mixture of projects that have been keeping me busy. And inevitably I go into my sewing room intending to work on one thing and end up doing something else! In my efforts to "clean up" one day to work "seriously" on a project that needs some serious work, I ended up deciding to make a scarf out of some fabric that I bought for one project but it turned out not to work.

*I interrupt this post to tell you that my little girl is sitting next to me trying to get to my laptop and waving her hands in the air in celebration of herself. We say "yeah Caitlyn!" a lot around here.*

So, I had this remnant of fabric that I bought for a couple of dollars...some kind of rayon cotton blend. It was 54" long and 20" wide. I went the easy route and did a simple rolled hem on the two long sides and (gasp!) kept the selvages just as they were. Of course...I this wasn't as simple as it sounds because I spent at least an hour going through my feet for my machine to see if it came with a rolled hem foot. I have a mysterious foot that I cannot for the life of me figure out what it is! LOL. Not in the books, not on the websites...nothing!


Anyway, I made this little scarf!


A little scarf I made


Then I woke my husband up from where he was sleeping on the couch and made him take a picture of me. Yeah..it was at least midnight...so pardon my appearance. ;)


Me in my scarf


These little lightweight scarves have been in style for a while, but I've seen them priced at ridiculous prices upwards of $50! Crazy. I spent about $3 on mine! These are the moments when I love having easy access to a sewing machine and knowing how to use it (other than that whole machine foot thing LOL)



Oh and another totally not serious thing! I went to the most beautiful chocolate boutique the other night. I kept wishing that I had my camera with me because everything was like a piece of art. I swear that the store was created just for me. I loved everything about it! Each piece of chocolate was perfectly made and when you bought even two they put them in this tiny little pink container that looks like a little purse. The gelato and sorbets were scrumptious and the mini personal sized cakes were incredible! I had everyone I was with taste the almond butter cream filling in mine and they all caught their breath afterwards because it was soooo good!

And they had the cutest little onesie that I just could resist. I told you this store was made for me! Oh and some fresh marshmellows...


Sucre


seriously cute ;)




Monday, September 27, 2010

Beemoved

Well folks,
I've had to make some decisions lately about my priorities...don't we all? And looking at my schedule of projects that need to be completed (or started!) I've realized that I'm a little over extended. I had to make the tough decision about what to let go. The most logical thing seemed to be to look at my bees. They are the longest time commitments; they are monthly; and I have a lot of them that I am in. Note to self: 7 bees is too many!

I run 2 of them, so they didn't seem like good ones to back out of. I've been in a couple of bees where the leader backed out and pretty much the bees fell to pot. I wouldn't do that to the people in the groups!

Two of them, I've already had my month in, and it is one of the tackiest things (in my opinion) to pull out of a bee that you've had others do work for you but you haven't done work for them. This can be touchy because obviously there are any number of COMPLETELY valid reasons why this may need to happen, but it should be avoided if at all possible. I've also been in bees where people just drop out, take your work with them, and don't even say goodbye or give an explanation. I really do always try to assume the best, but it's still not great conduct on that person's part.

One bee hasn't begun yet and I think that I will have a lighter load by the time that it does...so I'm hanging onto that one for now.

But there were two other bees that I've really enjoyed being part of for the last few or several months that seemed to be the most reasonable to give up. In both bees I had the last or second to last month. In both bees I believe that there were more than 12 members, so technically I don't think that they would even have to go through the trouble of replacing me. And in both bees, I've felt that I learned a lot, met some nice people and gotten a taste of what the bee was about.

So what are these bees that I've had to drop out of? Well, the first one was the Japanese Bee. It's been very fun to see all those fun japanese fabrics and get to work with them. But honestly I've kind of gotten the japanese fabric bug out of my system. I feel like I've seen a lot of them and now I really know what I like. I know that there are some great months coming up, but I was overwhelmed by the commitment and didn't have a clear idea of what my own quilt should be. Plus, I was slightly concerned about the expense of buying enough Japanese fabric for the bee. All of these things have relatively simple solutions, but all being said and done, this was a good choice for me to let go.

The second bee I let go of is the Bee Liberated bee based off of the style of Gwen Marston. I've had great fun getting to be a liberated quilter and even purchased Gwen's book for this bee. She shows you how to be liberated...which is something that my straight line, right angled brain needed. But again, I feel like I've really learned a lot and can peacefully let go of this bee knowing that I worked hard for everyone and am only losing out myself on my own month.




So this brings me to an interesting point that seems worth bringing up. How do you gracefully pull out of a bee?

Well, it's important to contact the leader of the bee and let him/her know first. It's not nice to take them by surprise and let them deal with the aftermath.

Also it's very important that you either finish up the blocks you've been sent or return fabric promptly back its owner so that if they can send it off to the next person if needed. Or offer to send the fabric off to the new member yourself to save on time and postage for the owner of the fabric. Ideally, you would pull out before the newest fabric is sent off but after you have completed your commitment for the month.

Give the leader plenty of time to replace your month. ie. don't pull out abruptly when your month is the next one up. It can work out, yes, but it's still not polite. So try to avoid that. LOL.

I personally think that it is important to say goodbye to the whole group. It means more to me when someone explains themselves why they need to leave rather than leaving it to the leader to explain. Plus it helps to maintain those relationships and express your feelings personally to the group. You don't need to over share, but a simple goodbye goes a long way!


And for pete's sake don't burn any bridges! No need to say that you don't like what people's designs are, or you haven't liked the fabrics, or the members frustrate you. Save that for your diary. It doesn't do any good to go out in flames!


It's a reality of life that life itself can get in the way. Commitments change. Opportunities arise and sometimes tough decisions need to be made. But treat people the way that you would want to be treated and it should all go well.


take a lesson from me and try not to overcommit. Because sometimes I think that I should be committed to a mental hospital for all that I've taken on and want to take on!


I'm a little preachy today and no pictures, but that's where life is. Take me or leave me ;)




Sunday, September 26, 2010

Squared Straight - A Modern Baby Quilt

Squared Straight - overhead shot


This quilt has been a long time in the making. I believe that I started the blocks over 3 years ago. I had just discovered modern quilting and this was my very first attempt at not using a pattern for the blocks. Improvising was a completely new concept for me! I had a bit of extra Amy Butler fabric that is the orange and blue stripe and that inspired the color scheme.


Squared Straight - quilting detail



Each block is completely unique with the only thing they all have in common is the small orange center block. I wanted to do a modern interpretation of a traditional log cabin. Traditional log cabin quilts were often made with a small red center block. And though red would have been a great color to use too, I wanted to do something different. Orange and Turquoise are complimentary colors and as such create very high contrast with each other. Different shades of blue create some depth to the quilt while the orange maintains consistency.



Squared Straight - on a log



All the blocks were originally different sizes and the color scheme had me puzzled for a while. I think that I originally planned on using white as the main background color, but I ended up using an off white floral print that just would not work against a bright white. So I put these blocks in a bag and would pull them out every few months...look at them...lay them out and try to find the right arrangement...and ultimately put them back away still confused. I'm not quite sure why the pattern alluded me for so long. Because I look at it now and it just makes sense to me.



Squared Straight - A baby quilt



And then one day, out of the blue (so to speak LOL), I just knew what I needed to do. I needed a beautiful light shade of yellow that was pale enough to act as a background color but had enough color to not come off as cream. Thankfully I was able to find such a color...though don't ask me what it is called! I can't remember now. So I put a small white border around each block and then used the yellow background fabric to square up the blocks to the same size. The large amount of a peaceful background color really lets each block stand out on its own.



Squared Straight



So the top was created and I was pretty quick to get it basted with a sweet white and turquoise decorator fabric for the back. I even made the binding out of a matching polka dot orange fabric and had it in a roll all ready to go. And then I rolled it up and thought "I'll get to that soon". Yeah...hmmm... that didn't happen. Eventually it made its way under the guest bed where I didn't have to feel guilty that I hadn't finished it yet. Once again I was stumped.



Squared Straight - detail shot



And then, once again, inspiration struck and I knew exactly how I wanted to quilt this. So this week, I pulled it out, dusted it off, and unrolled it. Then I used my longest ruler and some tailor's chalk to create a layout of overlapping and interlocking squares. I wanted the quilting to stand out, so I chose to quilt in quite a bright shade of turquoise. The thread looks like the brightest blue in the quilt! It was a little scary to start, but I reminded myself that I'm not afraid of color and set about quilting.



Squared Straight - quilting details



The sweetest thing about making this was the very last part. I was hand sewing the binding (as I always do), relaxing in front of the tv watching the Glee season premiere episode for the 2nd time, drinking a cosmopolitan that my lovely husband made me...when my little 9 month started rocking out to the songs on Glee. It was so stinking cute and such a perfect moment.

A drink. Some fun music. Quilting. And my family having a great time. What more could I ask for?



Squared Straight - rocking chair



Friday, September 24, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A memory of a quilt

This is one of the first baby quilts that I made for a friend a few years ago. They, like us, struggle with fertility and they had decided to adopt a beautiful boy from Guatemala. It was very exciting to be part of their journey from home inspections, to placement, to knowing they were finally picking him up, and then being there with balloons in hand at the airport when they all arrived home. I was bawling like a baby (and at least one other person was too!) and so thrilled for them. Just yesterday, this little boy, now 4, was excited to see me and show me how well he could ride his bike.

Being that it was one of the first quilts that I gave away, I hadn't begun to properly document what I'd made. So I asked Joseph's mother to take some pictures of the quilt for me and I just recently got them.


Joseph's quilt 1



I designed this myself and I wanted to make a stars and stripes quilt to represent his new country and welcome him to his new home. I was even able to use her mom's embroidery machine to put his name on the quilt.



Joseph's quilt 3



I chose the fabrics to be kind of timeless...a little bit country but in an East coast kind of way. I love the ticking stripe for the back and throughout the quilt. I didn't want it to be super fussy so I decided to use star fabrics instead of piecing or appliqueing stars.



Joseph's quilt 2


I've done a lot of things since I made this quilt just a few years ago. My technique has improved. I've gotten a better machine that machine quilts much easier. But I haven't made one for a much sweeter reason. Celebrating families growing in any way is always an honor and I was so happy to be part of this one.


I've just finished another quilt that just may be for this same mom (hope she's not reading this! LOL). They, like we did last year, are having a miracle baby girl due one year and a day exactly after our girl was due. It's amazing and we're so happy to be celebrating with them once again as their family grows.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A collection of blocks and some blog button work

Somehow I've turned into a blog button designer for a couple of my quilting groups. I totally don't know what I am doing, but it all comes together in the end. And though my groups are all about fabric and quilting, I don't end up putting that into the button! LOL. I guess I like to look a little different...you know, because I am a little different. :)

I got upgraded to moderator status for Modern Swappers because I am officially, as Amy calls it, "Logo Girl". Hmmm...sounds like I need a costume for that. It's very super hero sounding isn't it? I offered my opinion on her first logo and sort of took it over. So she's handed it off to me. Haha! She didn't know I don't really know what I'm doing.

But I came up with this:

modern swappers 2


I wanted to do something that evoked packages being sent. After looking at lots of different graphics I decided that the simple mail box was the right image. Packages looked too much like Christmas presents.


And because I'm always volunteering to tackle things like this that I don't know how to do, a while back I made a button for a new bee that is starting in January. It's been named the V.I.Bees, a little play on VIPs. So I thought the button should have someone that looked like a very important person. But we're not talking Brad and Angelina here or (and it seems ridiculous to put them in the same sentence - I'm not equating them!!!) a President or World Leader. I wanted something sweet and yet a little classy. So I opted for this:


vibees


Isn't she cute? I love the colors and her necklace! So Thoroughly Modern Milly! (How many people did I just lose with that reference? LOL)



And I finally have all 6 of my blocks from beehive in the 3 x 6 Bee! You might remember that a couple of months ago I made a collection of the same block design in different colors. Well each of them got a block from me, and now I've got a block from each of them. My color scheme was grey, white and green. Look at what the lovely ladies made for me (if you click on the picture you can see who made what)


My Blocks received from Beehive 12 - 3rd Quarter


I think that they look great together! It's just amazing that they all blend together so well...and I can't wait for the next round and my new hive to see what new blocks I get. I'll need a few rounds of this in order to make a quilt! I've already been collecting block ideas for what I would like to do. Thinking simple. ;)


So thanks to my peeps from Beehive 12! We were awesome and you all did great work.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Bees, bees, nothing but bees...

Well I've been hard at work finishing up my September bee blocks. I finally have my swap commitments done and before the next round of swaps begin I want to get some work done of projects of my own. What a concept! LOL. But before I get to those, I needed to get some sewing done for others.

First up, the Pretty in Pink Bee (see the link in my sidebar). It's exactly what it sounds like...we make blocks out of pink fabrics! I joined this one because I realized that I was growing a stash of pink fabrics and didn't seem to use them that often. Are you all afraid of pink people? Use it! It's fun and liberating and makes me want to break into the song "I enjoy being a girl!". I really love our palette of pinks and greys this month. The theme was strings and we could interpret that in any way that we wanted.


So first I made a fairly traditional string block. I played with the gradation of colors and I really enjoyed how it turned out. I can definitely imagine a whole quilt made like this! I deliberately only had the center cream fabric match up around the block.


String block



Then, she had also sent along the large scrap of fabric tree panel and I didn't want to cut it up. Instead, I chose to frame it in "strings". A looser interpretation of the idea, but I liked how this one turned out too. The fabrics all just matched so well, it made me very happy. LOL.


String block with tree



So here they are together...the beginnings of the makings of a very pretty and pink quilt!


The two blocks together!



Next it was on to my Bee Liberated group. This is usually a very free and "liberating" bee because perfect is not even wanted. It's all about winging it and being off kilter. But I have to admit, that I was either too liberated or couldn't get in the mind frame on this one. I can't tell. The whole time I was making these blocks I kept thinking "fact or crap?" LOL. Luckily the person they are made for loves them...so it all worked out. But I've realized that it's hard to go from teeny tiny detail and precise work like the Harold quilt to free piecing.

The theme was hugs and kisses or x's and o's. I had lots of ideas...but this is what came out! ;)


Block one... liberated x and appliqued scrappy pieced o.


Liberated Hugs and Kisses Block 1


Block two...this is the one that did me in! LOL. It's kind of cool and kind of not. I can't decide.


Liberated Hugs and Kisses Block 2



Then I put them together and remind myself that they will be in a quilt filled with other liberated blocks and I'm sure that they'll look just fine there among blocks of its kind. They need to be with their own kind! LOL.


Liberated Hugs and Kisses Blocks


And on that note, I leave you to think about whether you could make pink blocks for a year or create liberated blocks for a year. I don't think we're half way through yet on either...and let's just say that it's already been interesting. Definitely helping me grow and I keep saying that is what I want to do. ;)





Sunday, September 19, 2010

And the winner of the fabulous quilting book is...


Rachel from Stitched in Color


Congratulations Rachel!

And thank you to everyone who entered and to Cherri for her great interview.  You all should really keep this one on your Christmas list if you don't buy it before then. ;)


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Harold and the Purple Crayon

Okay folks...here it is...the last mini quilt I think that I'll be making for a while. And when I say Mini I mean it! This little quilt is about 13" tall and 9" wide. And it's all based on the children's book "Harold and the Purple Crayon".


Harold and the Purple Crayon - Quilt and Book



Being a new mom, I'm not super in touch with popular children's books. But Harold is one of them here. Considering I bought the 50th anniversary edition, I think that he's been around for quite a while. ;)


I made this quilt for the Mini QT Swap over on Flickr. Our theme was books and this is one of the books that my partner said I could pick from. I loved the little story and Harold's journey. So that's what I wanted to depict in my quilt: part of Harold's Journey.


Harold is quite a clever fellow. He creates what he needs or wants by drawing it with his purple crayon. First there is the moon...


Harold and the Purple Crayon - opening scene



Later, Harold wants to draw a forest and starts with this tree...


Harold and the Purple Crayon - tree scene



Uh oh...Harold gets stuck in the water and needs a way to get out! Clever Harold draws himself a boat!


Harold and the Purple Crayon - boat scene



At some point in his journey, Harold needs a balloon! So of course he draws one!


Harold and the Purple Crayon - balloon




But as many good stories do, in the end Harold decides that he really just wants to go to sleep. So he draws himself a window to climb into and ends up back in his bed.


Harold and the Purple Crayon - final scene




Definitely a sweet story and one that I am sure that I will be reading to my daughter many times in the future. I really liked the simple illustrations that were very powerful at the same time.


Harold and the Purple Crayon - quilt with book and illustrations



One of the biggest challenges of this quilt was obviously the small nature of it. I had to make the images even smaller than they are in the book and they are already pretty darn small. But remember I like a good challenge...and I'm good with details so I gave myself a pep talk and set about making this little quilt. Everything about the book is very simple and I didn't want the quilt to be boring, so that's why I chose a slightly more interesting background fabric than plain cream...plus I liked how the lines of that fabric are in keeping with the lines drawn by Harold.



Here's a US penny on one of the scenes so that you can get a sense of the tiny scale that each scene is.


Penny perspective


I broke out the micro pen on this one. After stitching down all the pieces, I knew that there was no way that stitching would work well at this scale. It's actually the first time that I've drawn on the fabric in a quilt. It was quite liberating in some ways. In other ways I feel guilty that I couldn't make it entirely out of thread and fabric. But it's just another way to add to a fabric piece, so I'm trying to get over it. LOL. I console myself with the fact that I freehand did all the pen work just looking at the pictures. I was really worried about that.


And on the back I used a pretty purple fabric that kind of reminded me a scribbles or doodles you might do with a crayon...just go with me people. It's a loose interpretation ;)


Harold and the Purple Crayon - Back



I chose to make the quilt in the little house shape because I wanted to single out each scene and I have a sneaking suspicion that Harold never actually left his house while on his adventures. ;) Oh and the shape is also crayon like...a short stubby crayon, but you can see it. right?


All in all, I'm pretty pleased with how this turned out and glad to have it completed. It's been on the to do list for far too long! I'm going to send it off with some crayons and house push pins and call it a day!


I do need to thank my husband for going above and beyond by setting up a light outdoors for me when it was pitch black so that I could do the tracing that I needed to do. I couldn't work on it during the day because of the girlie. So here's to him and here's to Harold!



Thursday, September 16, 2010

Giveaway Day!

*the giveaway is now closed*

oh I love a good giveaway! It's fun to win them and it's fun to host them. I happen to be in possession of an extra copy of Cherri House's lovely new book "City Quilts". And I want to give it to one of you!


City Quilts


If you haven't seen or heard about this book climb out from under your rock and embrace the fabulous world of quilts made entirely of solids. That's right...no prints. We love them, but when you see Cherri's quilts you'll want to buy every single solid fabric you can get your hands on!


Cherri, oh so sweetly, answered a few questions for me a la interview style so that you can all get to know her (and her family!) a bit better. Take the time to read it...she's got some wisdom! And enjoy some pictures of the quilt patterns available in this book along the way.



City Circle



Angela:
You do amazing work with solids obviously, is there one brand that you prefer over another or is anything of good quality something you use? I really want to know if you own all 221 Kona solids!

Cherri:
I do own all 221 Kona Solids...I have a fat quarter of each. Since I only used Robert Kaufman solids in my book, I needed every color available, to provide to C&T for color references. The day the box arrived with 221 fat quarters, was a really sweet day!
The only other solids I have used, and have confidence in, are Moda's Bella Solids. They are great to work with, and the quality is excellent.



Angela:
Your inspiration for this book was cityscapes. What are the other main inspirations for you? Do you find yourself seeing inspiration all around you?


Cherri:
The biggest reason why my inspiration was cityscapes, is that is where I work, it’s where I go every weekday. I’d love to live by the sea or the mountains and soak up the inspiration there. Inspiration is truly everywhere – the challenge isn’t to find it, but be aware of it, capture it, and translate it into whatever you love!



City Green




Angela:
Solids are an underused part of the quilting world in my opinion. But there is no denying that there are delicious prints all around us and the selection is growing constantly. Other than your daughter (because that answer is too easy!) are you drawn to any particular designer or fabric line?


Cherri:
I love Kaffe Fassett fabric – the saturated colors, pattern, everything. There isn’t necessarily another designer that I’m drawn to, but I do love fabric with text, organic patterns, Moda has a scissor fabric that I absolutely love. Pretty eclectic I guess!



Angela:
Often finding that exact right shade of fabric can be elusive and frustrating. Since you have worked with so many different colors, are there any solid colors by particular manufacturers that you can point us to as completely necessary to any quilter's stash? That perfect shade of green or the not too bright red?

Cherri:
I’m most familiar with RK Kona Cotton Solids, and I definitely have my go to colors, my favorite being Chinese Red! My best recommendation to avoid frustration would be to first get a fabric color card, and a standard color wheel. I know several places sell RK’s, I’m not sure about Moda’s color cards, and you can purchase a color wheel at an art store. If you are building a stash of solids I strongly recommend (as your finances allow) using your color wheel as a guide, start for example with RED, YELLOW, AND BLUE. Purchase in ½ yard increments 5 reds, 5 yellows, and 5 blues. On your next shopping trip, work your way around the color wheel, until you have a full range of colors. In working with the various shades, tones, and hues you will discover your favorites, your ‘can’t live without colors’.



City Tracks



Angela:
I'm so intrigued by the obvious talent in your family. Are there any plans for collaboration between your fabric designing daughter Lizzy and yourself? She seems to specialize in whimsical prints like Castle Peeps, but I think that many of your quilt designs could be the perfect showcase for her prints.

Cherri:
I do create quilts using Lizzy’s fabric; generally it is done through her fabric manufacturer. I am interested in designing fabric, and I plan to pursue that in the upcoming year. Currently Lizzy and I have no plans to do fabric together. In regards to Lizzy’s fabric designing, my only interest is to support her, to be a sounding board if she needs me, give the occasional yay or nay if she asks for my opinion.



Angela:
One final question. Do you have any advice for quilters new to the world of solid fabrics? Any pitfalls that you should avoid when working with solids?


Cherri:
Printed fabrics can do much of the work, as far as making a quilt have visual excitement, depth of color, etc. They also can hide a world of sins, so to speak…less than stellar piecing, or quilting can be easily masked with a busy print. Not so with solids! Mistakes and a lack of precision are all too visible when there is nothing to distract the eye. Don’t avoid solids because of these realities; just beware of them before getting started.



Thanks so much Cherri for all of your advice and information!


She's so sweet. You should all check out her site Cherry House Quilts and if you are twitterer (is that what they call people?! LOL) you can follow her here http://twitter.com/cherryhouse


Okay. So how do you get a chance to win this lovely book of Cherri's? Let's break it down.

1. Tell me what your favorite Kona solid color is! Lots of sites have them available like Pink Chalk Fabrics and Sew Fresh Fabrics and Fresh Squeezed Fabrics. And I'm sure they wouldn't mind if you picked some up too...but that would just be for yourself ;) (I'm not getting anything for recommending them...just ones I came up with off the top of my head)


2. Become a follower or tell me that you are a follower. (It's so nice to see that number grow and it matters to some people out there LOL.)


3. Blog about this giveaway on your blog and come back and tell me.


4. Add me to your blogroll in your side bar or tell me that I'm already there. (Woohoo!)


5. Don't worry, I'm not going to make you compliment my daughter this time...but it would be great to hear what you are excited about in Cherri's book. Anything will do. I'm sure that Cherri would love to know!



Okay...sounds like a plan. I think that I'll keep this giveaway open until Sunday night September 19th (my time!) so you have plenty of time to find that perfect Kona color. LOL. Good luck!



Wednesday, September 15, 2010

check out Stitched in Color's Giveaway!

You could win these fabrics plus 4 kona solids of your choice. Sweeeeet!



http://stitchedincolor.wordpress.com/2010/09/13/fabric-giveaway-from-sew-fresh-fabrics/


A mug Rug...good enough to drink!

When I signed up for the Mug Rug swap I foolishly thought "oh good, a quick little swap that I can whip out in a couple of hours". Then I realized that I am who I am and that just isn't my style. LOL. I rarely whip anything out. It's been known to happen and I do work efficiently. It's just that I'm always challenging myself with something new so that I can continue to learn more techniques and grow.

And then I saw who my partner was and I knew that I didn't want to do something less than worthy for her. For a long time I was planning on doing a new hexagon technique I had seen but I thought my partner might appreciate a little scene more. (not that she wouldn't have loved the hexagons I am sure!) I researched (stalked) her thoroughly and came up with this idea.


Mug Rug Complete


The front is actually what I decided to do when I figured out the perfect backing fabric for her. One of my lovely swimming ladies that I had purchased a while back without the faintest clue of how to use them...but knowing that they would be just right for someone.


Mug Rug Back



She was begging me to use her in this glorified coaster. So I really designed around her. I'm usually inspired by the fabric and come up with a design from that and not the other way around.



But this is supposed to be a holder for a drink...a mug really. But me being me, I had to do what worked for me and I'm really more of a cocktail girl myself. Plus I think that putting a mug of coffee on a beach scene just wouldn't have worked as well. ;) It deserved this.


Cocktails anyone?



See?! It's really quite functional. The water is the perfect spot to place a nice cold beverage. And it even looks good on the back too. ;)


Mug Rug Back - can also work as the front



There are a lot of sweet details to this little mug rug: the sand pebble quilting, starfish, the surf on the water, the beach umbrellas (with each little piece hand cut!), some pale skinny legs (LOL) and speaking of tiny pieces, a little book tossed aside for reading later and some flip flops. Oh and there is a special something hidden under one of the towels for my partner. I can't show what it is because it would give it away!


Secret places


I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. I'm a perfectionist so I always see where I can grow if I ever did this pattern again, but I know I see that with my eyes and I'm my biggest critic.


Now, you want to know a secret? I am NOT an artist. I soooo wish that I was. I have all these ideas in my head and I wish that I could just draw them out myself and go from there. But instead what I do is figure out what I want my piece to look like; for instance I knew that wanted some beach, water, umbrellas and legs sticking out from under an umbrella. (I in no way wanted to tackle a full body!) So I searched and searched the internet and graphics sites until I found the pieces of the picture that I want. I gather a bunch of different images and then decide what I like best and what I think my partner will like best. Then I can combine different elements together and create a scene like this one. I can drop out some things from pictures and add in my own elements (like a 3D towel).

Sometimes I do draw things out. For instance, my doll quilt I did do a sketch for...and surprisingly it turned out alright. But the minute I knew I wanted to do legs, I was on the computer looking for images...and when I decided that I wanted to do an angled or aerial view I knew that I need to at least see pictures taken from that angle so that I could get a feel for the perspective of the piece.


A little long winded today, but I thought I would share some of my process with you all. I really feel like everyone can do these kinds of little quilts. It really helped me to start with comfortstitching's pattern for the girl on the swing so that I could get used to the idea of raw edge applique and decorating with thread. But I haven't looked back!

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