Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween!

It's just a little early, but we took pictures of the girlie today in her costume and orange and black. I pulled out one of my quilts and used my neighbor's pumpkins to get some shots. So this is pure eye candy and indulgence on my part!

























Friday, October 29, 2010

the online quilt festival!

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival


For my regular readers, you have obviously seen this quilt before, but for all the visitors, welcome! I hope you enjoy the story and the quilt and the journey to create both.

I made this quilt for the doll quilt swap on flickr and I was so happy to have the creative freedom from my secret partner to make the quilt that I needed to make. That's right..needed.


Where Bluebirds Fly



This quilt has a fairly obvious reference to the Wizard of Oz, but I wasn't just trying to make a story quilt. At least not that story. This quilt is about the story of my life for the last several years and my husband's and my attempts to have children.


Where Bluebirds Fly 2



We knew that we wanted to have children when we were dating. But thought that we might wait one or two years...I was fairly young and we wanted to enjoy our time together alone for a bit. And we did. We took lovely trips and enjoyed our very long honeymoon stage! But it became clearer and clearer that we would like to try to start a family.



Where Bluebirds Fly - dark side 2



But unfortunately for us, that was not a simple task. What we thought would be effortless turned into years of study, research, surgeries, a miscarriage, more surgery, fertility treatments, prayer, prayer and more prayer. All the while we saw families growing all around us.



Where Bluebirds Fly - witch, house and cat detail




We knew that God wanted us to have children and for me to conceive, but the years of waiting were extremely difficult as all the things that accompany being a married couple without children in a world focused on married couples with children. It became difficult to maintain hope when month after month, year after year, we still had the same struggle and felt little control.



Where Bluebirds Fly - tornado detail



And then it happened, on a miraculous Easter Morning I discovered that I was pregnant.



Where Bluebirds Fly - Colored Side



We were in a happy but cautious daze for months. I unfortunately get extremely ill when pregnant and by the end of the first trimester I had already lost 15 lbs. I couldn't get off my couch to sew!!! :( But that couldn't take away our joy.




Where Bluebirds Fly - sky quilting detail




Our baby girl was due December 21st and I was convinced she would be born on Christmas since we had found out about her on Easter. But she proved her independence early by thankfully coming early! She still was our best Christmas present though!


Where Bluebirds Fly - pond detail




The hardship didn't end with her arrival for me, but we were blessed with an enormous amount of care from family and friends for months afterwards. And Caitlyn has certainly turned out to be an angel baby. Sweet in every way and thankfully allowing her parents to get a decent amount of sleep.




Where Bluebirds Fly - tree detail




She is the greatest joy in our life and is truly a miracle. We tell everyone that we waited so long for her because God was working hard on making her so precious.




Where Bluebirds Fly - Back




So this quilt is a representation of our journey. We were on the dark side with that rainbow just barely glimmering above to give us hope. But since Caitlyn joined our life, we are living in the colored side. Every day is magical, seriously. We are so blessed to have her and she has brought color and joy to our life.



Where Bluebirds Fly - Back tornado detail




When we were waiting for our precious arrival, there was a song that always made us smile. It always made us peaceful and left us happy. That song is Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's Somewhere Over The Rainbow / What A Wonderful World. I'm sure that you've heard it...movies love to use it as a finale song! Well..that is our song. My husband even had a great moment in the hospital when I was (finally!) getting some sleep and brand new Caitlyn was sleeping in my arms. He was video taping and realized that in the background was this song playing on our ipod. He couldn't have planned the moment better. It was the realization of a dream. The reminder that God fulfills his promises in ways that we can't imagine.




Where Bluebirds Fly - bluebird detail




And so a quilt idea was born as well. "Where Bluebirds Fly" represents this journey. So many of you have asked me how I could possibly give this quilt away after all the work it took. But the reality is that I don't need this quilt because I am living it. I am in the magical world. I spend every day with this sweet girl.



Caitlyn and I




Where Bluebirds Fly  finished




Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cosmetic Bags

Keeping up with theme of the week, the NOLA modern quilt guild sewing retreat weekend, I have some more things to show you!

First off is the darling cosmetic bags that Kaelin showed us how to make. I have to admit that this was my suggestion for a group project because I wanted to make one for my partner in Modern Swappers. I'm selfish like that, but I thought this was a good thing to be shown how to make in person vs trying to figure it out myself. I'm showing you this to tease you. Kaelin's going to be doing a tutorial on how to make a similar bag on her blog sometime soon. So you too can make one!



Bags we made!


sweet little bags with a coordinating or contrasting lining!

Bags we made with the lining


It's a testament to our sewing skills that we were able to make these. I think we finished these around 3 am sometime Saturday night...and then we had to wind down by watching just one more episode of Glee. ;)


Bags we made!



I made the green polka dot one that looks like Flea Market Fancy. But I won't pull the wool over anyone's eyes...it's a lovely home dec weight knock off. But I don't care! I love the look and that's the whole point. I'm not going to be a snob about it. But don't get me wrong...if anyone wants to send me some of the real stuff or the real real stuff (the original feedsack) I'd happily accept!


bag for modern swappers


I added a little polka dot ribbon zipper pool to mine and the lining is done in one of the henna garden prints. It matches perfectly!



modern swappers bag - inside view


I hope that my partner really likes it because it's one of those things that I find difficult to let go of...but I know that I can make more. I can make the exact same one if I like. LOL. Still...


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

quilting retreat - a blatant use of other talented member's work! LOL.

I swear that I did indeed get some things done over the weekend, but unfortunately they are not ready to share yet. Darn. So you just have to believe me. In lieu of my own work, I'm going to shamefully delighting you with the work of some of the other clever ladies there. And here's where I am sad because I did not get pictures of everyone and their work. It was a little crazy at the end with everyone packing up. But I do have some eye candy of some of them to show you and you can read more about them on their blogs or see them on flickr.


First off is Kaelin's spider web quilt. This was made by members of the Bee a little bit japenese group...and that was while I was still in it! So she had two blocks made by me in her collection. Kaelin pointed out that she knew immediately which were mine because I had swirled the seams on the back. LOL.

Kaelin and her beautiful spider web quilt top!



Now Kaelin can't say it on her blog, but I don't know who made what and let's just say that some of the blocks she received were less than stellar. It frustrates me when people send really sloppy blocks not due to lack of ability but just...well...I want to say laziness but I don't want to judge. So let's just say that they have other priorities. But I always make a concerted effort to send my best work to people. So Kaelin had to spend a bit of time reworking some of the blocks...but she's clever so she can do that! And her almost completed top is gorgeous!


IMG_0042



And Kaelin looks pretty good in it too!


It's a bird, it's a plane...it's spider Kaelin!




Then there was a darling baby quilt that Cherie finished while she was there. A simple design but boy is it effective. It just looks great! I believe that she quilted and bound this in the first night! show off! LOL. I think I made one block in that time!


sweet Cherie with her baby quilt


And I have a great picture of her with her quilt, but I'll show you this tamer one instead in order to preserve her sterling reputation. Teehee!


Cherie and her finished baby quilt!



You already saw a picture of part of Karen's bento box quilt on the design wall, but she finished piecing that top and I never got a picture of it! Darn! But is was fun to help rearrange a few of her blocks for a more random look. It's so helpful to have so many good eyes there!


And Lana was working on what may be her very first quilt...a brick path quilt! She was a trooper and stayed up reasonably late with us sewing away. But did I get a picture of it? No! Darn me! and she was sitting right next to me!


Oh and another thing I didn't get a picture of...Mandi's freakishly talented ability to free motion quilt any animal into a baby quilt. "It's just like drawing" she said. Ha! My stick figures don't even look good. She had dinosaurs and puppy dogs (obviously a baby boy quilt) and was taking suggestions for anything else to throw in there. It was ridiculously amazing. Mandi has a fly by the seat of her pants approach to quilting which is good for me...because my perfectionism can sometimes get in the way of enjoying a project.


Stinking talented...every last one of them! I didn't get nearly as much done as everyone else, but I was on strict instructions from my husband to not completely wear myself out. Mainly I think I enjoyed shopping! LOL. I'll show you my purchases in my next post! See, I have a talent...it's called knowing how to give someone my credit card. ;)


Monday, October 25, 2010

Nola Modern Quilt Guild Retreat Weekend

Well I got home a little later than my poor husband would have liked (he had the baby all weekend) but just by a couple of hours. So I was gone for a wonderful 48 hours or so! I've been really worn out from a lot of projects lately so this weekend was a mixed blessing of getting to work more and just having a plain old good time.

There were 6 of us who got together for the weekend for our retreat for the modern quilt guild of New Orleans: myself, Kaelin, Karen, Mandy, Lana, and Cherie. We had a blast quilting, eating, making trips to the local quilt and craft stores and staying up way too late watching season one of Glee! Everyone came with different projects in different states of completion, so it was great to see projects begun and projects completed and everything in between.

We stayed at a house in Baton Rouge that is set up for quilting retreats. I think we all have mixed feelings about this house. It was great to have space devoted to quilters but the house was a bit, shall we say, strange. There was a lovely musty smell that permeated the place and caused my allergies to act up. I went out and got some air and fabric freshener and a clean linen scent candle to keep by my machine. That helped. LOL. There were stupid things like no toilet paper and dish soap and irons we had to beg for. Odd.




But our work space was probably the highlight. Here's my machine all set up!

My station




Everyone hard at work quilting late into the night!

quilting late into the night




Large design walls perfect for pinning up projects (like Karen's fabulous Bento Box!).

Karen's bento box on the wall




Sometimes we were working...LOL.

Part of our work space


Cherie picked up a pack of fat quarters for us at a local quilt show for us to give to Kaelin for all her hard work on organizing the retreat. Kaelin was pretty excited about them! Yay! She made it hard on us because we wanted to buy other fabrics, but then she would buy them herself! Grr.... LOL.

Happy Kaelin


Karen working hard on sewing her Bento Box. She was right across from me and my roommate! We had a fun time making each other laugh! That's what she said!

Karen working hard!




Karen's so shy I could never get her to pose for anything. ::cough::
Here she is wrapped up in her table topper made from darling sheer witch fabric edged with crazy black trim.

Karen all wrapped up!



I'll share more later, but I want to make sure that the other ladies have the opportunity to blog about their own projects before I show them. ;) It's so hard because they are all fabulous! Woohoo! And I did not get enough pictures!!!


All in all, we had a fabulous time hanging out and sewing, taking trips to quilt stores and singing along with all the Glee episodes...and of course eating. We even got to see some prostitutes...errr...teenagers all dressed up for a school dance having lots of drama! I think we're still all having nightmares about their shoes! I swear some of them must have gotten redressed in the car because if I ever let my daughter out of the house dressed like them someone shoot me! Good times. LOL.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Off to the sewing retreat!

I won't be blogging anything of significance today other than the fact that I'm leaving in about an hour (ack!) for the very first annual New Orleans Modern Quilt Guild Sewing Retreat Weekend. Okay we really need a shorter name for that. LOL. I'm super excited because it will be a blast with all the lovely ladies. There are just 6 of us I think going and we always have such a great time whenever we are together! And we finally get to meet Cherie in person! Yay!

So...no time to chat...must continue packing all my crap..err..projects for the weekend. I have aspirations of getting many things done. I'm sure that I'll get about half of them done. LOL.

So I'll let you know what I accomplished when I get back!



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Caution...baby in the house!

Well that was quite the topic yesterday! It got a lot of you out of the woodworks. I was beginning to think that I was just writing to myself again. I know how busy everyone gets and sometimes I have to remind myself to go read other people's blogs and then remind myself not to jealous of all the beautiful things they seem to create each day! LOL. Trust me...I remind myself often. "be happy for other people and their successful projects" "it's great that there are so many wonderful quilters" "every once in a while you DO produce something that you can show on your blog" Gotta love it when you are giving yourself pep talks about the virtual world. LOL.


But oh what happened yesterday in our house! We, as many of you might know because I talk about her excessively, have a l0 month old little girl. She's slowly learning to stand, but that girl can crawl faster than some people can run! There are two rooms that we make an effort to keep her out of...my husband's office (mainly because the cat food and kitty litter is in there!) and my sewing room...because as I posted pictures earlier this week, it's pretty much a disaster area lately with all my projects. It's killing me because I'm so type AAA, but it's necessary for now and I'm trying to live with it.

Unfortunately due to my lack of space, I have to do all rotary cutting on the floor in that room. (can you see where this is going!?) And trust me...that door to that room is almost ALWAYS shut! But of course she found it when both my husband and I were distracted by reasonable other projects (no we're not neglecting her) and made a bee line for the room. My husband noticed that it was far too quiet. Ominous sign.

He checked his office and then found her in the next room with my sewing supplies. Shame on mommy, earlier in an effort to get her daughter away from some other "danger" I ran out my sewing room to grab her...hence the door was left open and yes, the rotary cutter was left on the floor with the blade out. (I'm slapping my own hand!) Little one had happily picked up the rotary cutter with the blade in her hand and was beaming as she showed her daddy what she had picked up. Didn't bother her at all that blood was dripping from her hand. Not one little bit. Girl of steel!

Lucky for us, the cut was fairly shallow and we are now making the futile effort to keep antibiotic cream on her hand and a bandaid so that it cannot get infected. But we were both shaking a bit after that...and I still had to go back later that evening and sew with the paper pieced pattern that had her blood on it. :(

Lesson learned. Won't make that mistake again. We were spared what could have been a very bad thing...can't think about what might have happened. But that girl did not cry one single time. Never. Not when she cut her hand, not when we were cleaning it and not when we bandaged it. She was far more annoyed to have her hand wrapped up. So at least we were spared that. Her guardian angel was looking out for her.


reason 10,001 why I need a bigger and better space to sew in. Blah!



Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Spray Basting

I swear that I'm still alive. Life is just busy with the little one right now. She's learning to stand and making all kinds of sounds...she even has a few words at 10 months! I would say that her first official word is "kitty cat" due largely to the fact that we do have a cat, Tabitha. Even as I write this, I have to stop to rearrange our bookshelves so that she cannot pull off anything that she can destroy! I turned on the pop hits music channel because she loves to dance and it's working to keep distracted by working on her "dance" moves. LOL.

But enough of my excuses...let's talk about something fabric related! The topic of the day: spray basting!


My world has officially changed in the light of spray basting. I'll just start with that. So you know right off the bat that I'm a newly converted fan.


I've been intrigued by the idea of spray basting for quite a while. Let's face it, I don't know anyone who enjoys the basting process. It's sort of a necessary evil. And you can mess it up pretty easily...which can take a beautifully pieced top and make it less than it could be because the basting wasn't accurate enough.


Most people baste with safety pins but I'm supremely lazy when it comes to basting and I used extra long quilting pins to baste. I used the same technique as safety pins... using them often and everywhere.

This is a shot of my little container of pins and a quilt all ready to be basted.

Caitlyn's Quilt

My pictures of quilts that are basted with these pins are too far away for you to really see what it looks like. But what I will tell you is that because the pins are open ended is that I got stuck with them ALL THE TIME. Obviously this is why people use safety pins...because they are safe. But remember...I'm lazy and pricking my fingers was always worth it for the time I save both putting in safety pins and removing them as I quilted. But it made me dread working with any quilt that was basted...the quilting gloves helped protect me! LOL.


So all that being said, I was ready to experiment with the scary thing known as spray basting. Would it work? Would it make my needle all gummy? Would I destroy a quilt top with need to be even lazier? Where would I do it? What kind of product should I use? Oh the questions!!! It was enough to prevent me from trying it for a very long time.


But it was time...so I researched online to find reviews about what to use. Overwhelmingly quilters agreed that 505 spray and temporary adhesive was a safe and effective choice.



It's a slightly more expensive option and available I believe mainly at your local quilt store (or online). I figured I would give myself the best chance of success and suck it up and pay for the more expensive product since I didn't have anyone I knew who had tried other ways.


And my life was changed.


The first quilt that we (because my husband helps me out with the quilts on this part) spray basted with this baby quilt.


Squared Straight


I foolishly forgot to take pictures for you all when we were doing it, but I did remember the next time. Albeit it was for a much smaller quilt, my doll quilt.



So we pick a nice large flat vertical surface and for ventilation purposes we chose to go outside. Using blue painters tape, we smoothly taped the quilt back to the side of the truck with the right side of the fabric next to the truck. Manufacturer's instructions I believe say to spray only the batting, but we occasionally cheat here and spray the back directly. Then we smooth the batting over the back starting from the center and working our way out.


My husband with the batting!


You can see why you need two people for a larger piece of batting. But this process is so forgiving. Don't like where the batting is? Just pull it back and put it where you want it. No loss of adhesion or destruction of the batting. Easy peasy. Smooth away!


Then spray the batting side that is now facing you. You don't need to douse it!! A little goes a long way which is nice. But spray in nice even strokes and completely cover the batting...especially the edges so that the top layer can be placed firmly in place.


My Hubby with the can of spray baste


Then, the final and very satisfying part of laying your beautiful quilt top on as the last layer. Line up what you need to just like regular basting and again start in the middle and smooth your way out.


Doll Quilt Spray Basted


All done! You now a quilt that is basted and ready to be finished.


The largest quilt that I've used this method on is the baby quilt see above which is approximately 45" x 60". Also, of interest to note, I let this quilt sit for few months in the spray basted form all rolled up. It was waiting for me to get to it. LOL. When I was ready to quilt it, I simply unrolled it and had some very minimal straightening or smoothing of the layers. The adhesive was still active and making adjustments was just as easy as when it was first applied! That's months later people!


Since then I haven't looked back! I will never baste with pins again if I can help it. Because let me tell you that it is soooo much easier to quilt a piece that has no pins in it. And I found that there was no shifting of the fabrics. Overall, very successful.


I have yet to try a full bed sized quilt yet, but I don't anticipate any troubles and I have a bottle of cheaper spray adhesive that I would like to try as well. I can give small projects a quick spray in my sewing room like my mug rug or mini quilts. Yay!!



So have you spray basted? any tips? still afraid to try it? Tell me your thoughts! I'm a strong convert and have had no problems with the process at all...but perhaps you have a warning tale for the rest of us. Share!



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