Monday, January 31, 2011

a new week

Hey all,
I'm finally starting to feel a little better...Here's hoping all the drugs work and my docs can get it all figured out! So I'm sorry, but I didn't respond to anyone who checked in for week #4....I just did not have the energy! But I'm proud and/or jealous of you all! LOL.

Confession time: I bought some fabric yesterday. I know. Sigh. But... I bought it for a bee for a quilt that is already designed and planned and will be completed. I bought it from a store on Etsy that is going out of business (I'm not sharing who because I'm not enabling anyone else! lol) and I only bought one fabric: 4 yards of a bella solid that I got for $2.50 a yard!!! Plus I had a little money on the paypal account, so I really only spent about $6. Not too bad. I can't begin to tell you what I wanted to buy!! Trust me, I was a really good girl! And as further justification for my purchase, I've been wanting to examine and work with the bella solids for a long time now to compare them to the kona solids. So it's all in the name of research. ;)


Moving on! I have exciting news...there are a number of sponsored giveaways coming up in the next month or so...and we should have some pretty fun ones to end our fabric diet! I'm very jealous of you all actually. More on that to come, but stay tuned because you lucky ducks will be getting some chances at some very cool prizes!



As promised I did take pics and have a tutorial on my fabric folding ready to go. I don't have time to post it now, but I may get it up later in the day. And then you can all start organizing your stash like me. You know...because you want to be just like me! lol....NO you don't! But regardless, I'll be sharing that method soon.


I also have a number of swaps in the works...so I'll talk about my methods with that as well.


Hmmm...I'm talking a lot about what I'm going to talk about and not about what I've done.

Well I did manage to finish my February blocks for Pretty in Pink (and it's still January)! Go me! Go me! Of course, it was quite helpful that Jackie chose a fairly simple concept of one traditional block and one wonky block. So I made a traditional log cabin (I'm not actually sure that I've ever done that before...how crazy is that?!) and a wonky nine patch...which was very intriguing. It almost makes me want to play with a quilt of wonky nine patches. But that is very low on the totem pole. Here they are:


Pretty in Pink February Blocks for Jackie




And, just because we haven't had any gratuitous pics of little girl lately, I'll leave you with these two pictures. I think she looks like Gretal from Hansel and Gretal...just perfect for a fairy tale!


(this was how she chose to pose...I'm sticking with the story that she likes a classic Greek influenced posture and not that she just wanted to stick a toy on her head)


Caitlyn - 13 Months



Here she is looking ready for that fairy tale!


My sweet girl

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Let's put it into context

So being on a fabric diet is hard... we all know. I know that not everyone is participating and that is TOTALLY fine. Ultimately I think we all just want to be wise purchasers. For some that means buying as much as we can of our favorite line because we'll use it forever. For others it means finding that oh so hard to find fabric and victory that comes with knowing that you own it. And for some it is finding the best possible deal for ANY fabric.


Unfortunately I think that I've found myself in too many of those categories too often. If you are only in one...then you're probably fine. I'm not your financial adviser though...don't go into debt buying fabric!! Okay, maybe I am your financial advisor. LOL.


It has really helped me to start going through the yards and yards and yards of fabric that I have accumulated in one way or another. It's pretty sobering to take every piece of fabric you own into your hands and begin to reorganize it. It's the literal touching of the fabric that gets to me after a while. You know you have too much when you are tired of organizing your own fabric...and you LOVE to organize.



So let me put a bit of my stash out there....


these are my blues:


The Blues


yep. it's a little ridiculous. Now it is true that I have far more blue fabric than any other color (although it is followed fairly closely by green!) but that is too much. How can I possibly use all of that and use what will inevitably join the pile at some point?


Honestly I think that I've justified a lot of purchases thinking that I will use the yardage to piece together backs. But that is all dependent on actually getting enough quilts made!!!LOL


I'm struggling to get the smaller pieces organized too. When you have enough scraps to fill over 6 of these drawers, you have a lot. 'nuf said.


Organizing




And you might notice in the above picture that I am starting to put aside my fat quarters. I resisted this for years! I think, secretly I've always been offended that they are even sold that way...like you shouldn't be cutting up the bolt in more than one way. (sometimes I'm a very linear thinker!) But I'm LOVING having them separated. It gives me a much better idea of what is yardage and what is smaller pieces.



There is hope...



Bottom row organized!



I've organized the red, pink, orange, yellow, green and half the blues at this point (haven't taken pictures of it all yet)



The fabric stash



there on the second shelf you can see "all" of the greens. Why the quotes, Angela? Well, I'm so glad you asked. Because I have fabric sorted also by collection, by fat quarter, by scraps, by solids and by bundles. Yep. Well...you did ask.




Here are the upper shelves which have yet to be disturbed...but they will be soon...because the fabrics are making their way up!

Fabric Shelves



But I do have one little corner that I am pleased with and don't feel is filled with excess at this point. And that is my new little bookcase for patterns and books. But honestly even that could be paired down. Living in New Orleans for the last five years has made me think about what I would be devastated to lose if there were another flood...or at least what I would take in an evacuation. Too much of this would not be it. LOL. But that's mainly because it is replaceable. :)


Bookcase for all things crafty!



The (somewhat delightful) insanity continues with my scraps of just KJR! LOL. That's what happens when you send out way more fabric than necessary for a bee and ask for it back...


KJR scraps!



So, for all of those participating with me. This is what I'm working with. It's about gaining control over this impulse to fill a room with fabric that I don't use and about really enjoying EVERY SINGLE PIECE I OWN. That is my true goal. I want to love everything so much that I'm just dying to use it. Otherwise...I probably don't need it...



So I'm going to start pulling through the fabrics soon and getting even more swaps going. I'll post what I'm willing to swap here as well as on Flickr. And even more importantly I'm going to make a concrete list of current and oop lines that I feel I love greatly or at least use greatly. Hopefully what is not my current love, may be one of yours!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fabric Diet Check In - Week 4

Okay everyone...how are we doing? It's getting harder isn't it? I'm making a mental list (and will probably start making an actual list) of the fabrics that I really do want to own...and try to avoid the "trends". That way I can begin to swap for fabric or perhaps sell off some of my stash. That would be good too.


Forgive the shortness of the post today, but despite all the meds the doc gave me yesterday, I'm still feeling quite unwell. I had to stay up very late working on a super secret project that must be finished today and shipped today and the whole time my hands were shaking! LOL. Oh goodness...the things we do for the craft we love. And trying to sleep is just a pretty pointless task. I may drug myself with some sleepy time meds today to see if I can get some more sleep than I did last night.


But despite that, I have successfully managed not to purchase any fabric...yes, even with the news that Aunt Bea's Fabric Store is closing and the facebook code for a 15% discount over at sew mama sew and the $3.95 fabric deals going on at Fabric.com. (As you can see, I clearly still look at all the fabric!) I've been busy doing many swaps! Yay! So I should have a number of fun packages arriving in the mail with new to me fabrics. And I haven't even begun to start really pulling from my stash what I would like to swap. That will be when I get it more organized. I'm well through the blue fabric now... so that leaves the second half of the blues, the purples, browns, blacks, creams, and some print on cream, and solids, and large yardage.....

okay...see why I'm on a diet!


So let's hear it. I have a feeling that I might be living vicariously through some of you with your happy purchases. Did anybody check out the swap groups and get something going?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sympathy Post

Today's post is made purely in self pity. I'm sick. And I don't like it. Yuck. I haven't been able to speak at all for about 48 hours and my throat hurts more than I can remember it ever hurting before.


I'm going to the doctor today and hopefully they can see if there is something "officially" wrong with me that can be cured with medication...unlike the cold which can linger forever. But if this is just a cold, then it better be the last one I get!


I actually had enough energy yesterday to get a little sewing done, but today...nothing so far. We'll see if I perk up at all as the day goes on. I am a night owl. My hands still work, so I can type...but my brain is moving pretty slowly... but still, maybe I'll at least be able to work on a quilt design or something.


I almost put out the emergency plea for fabric support last night because I was so tempted to buy something to make me feel better. Instead I had chips and dip. I'm still not sure whether I made the right call on that one. ;)


So whoa is me... :(

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bee Blocks!

It occurs to me that I have not shared my most recent bee blocks with you all. Don't you feel deprived? Of course you do! So in no particular order...here's some of the little sewing that I've managed to do lately.


For Pretty in Pink, Karie wanted pinwheels. She was very specific about her requests and had the fabrics neatly organized in their own pre-printed envelopes. LOL. It's nice to find a kindred soul organization wise. I believe that we were using Bliss...but I'm not totally sure on that.


Pretty in Pink Bee Blocks for January




For Bee Modern Too, Alexia asked us to do something unusual for our bee which was to use our own stash. (although we may be getting a fabulous scrap bag from her...) She wanted shades of grey and white in solids and prints done in basically a free form log cabin. Very loose requirements. I think that I may have made the blocks too small, but given the nature of them, she can slap on a piece of fabric and you'd never know. ;) I actually had a fair number of scraps to use so it was no problem to put these together. And of course I promptly fell in love with this "colorless" color scheme!


Bee Modern Too - January Block 2 for Alexia



Bee Modern Too - January Block 1 for Alexia



and no, these pictures are not in black and white. This is what you get when you photograph a grey and white block on a grey background. LOL.


Bee Modern Too - January Blocks for Alexia




And for our first month of the VIBees, Cherie sent us lovely Modern Meadow 2 to work with and we created picture window blocks for her. Maddeningly, I diligently designed this block and meticulously cut every thing to size...sewed it all together...only to find that it was a bit short on one end. Grr... I sent it off to Cherie regardless with the promise of a new block if she thought that one would not work.

I loved her response. I needed to have an extra cocktail and relax. (sounds like my husband LOL). So I let my perfectionism go.


VIBees January Block for Cherie



I'm still waiting on the fabric for one of my bees for January but I do have the fabric for February already for one of them and I think VIBees is doubling up this February too...so those will soon be here. So when that comes, I'll have more to share on the bee front. In the meantime, I have a number of quilts that need to be worked on...that very pink one and that doll quilt come to mind. ;)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Doll Quilt Swap 10 is calling to me...

I really want to work on my pinky pink pink quilt that is hanging on the design wall (mainly because I just want the satisfaction of finishing it!). But I wanted to put together some of the ideas that I have floating around in my head for my doll quilt. I know you'll all be shocked, but I am going to do another story quilt. I seriously considered doing a really complex star...because I want to do that too. But this particular partner just cried out for a story quilt. (I've got your attention now, don't I?) I'm keeping the identity of my partner firmly under wraps..only myself and my swap mama know.



So what's on this little quilt? Well, it's whimsical of course. I can't imagine creating without whimsy. So there are paper hat boats, sailor boys, and sweet girl and sea life galore. A sky that will range in color from dawn to dusk with stars and a moon with a mountain top background. It sounds very pretty when I describe it all written out like this. So I hope that once again it carries a little magic with it.


I put together a pretty rough sketch that I scanned to the computer and everyone on Flickr has already been so sweet about it. It's very rough! LOL.


dollquilt



No colors or anything yet...it's all still percolating in my head. I do know a few of the fabrics that I will be using, but I'm not quite sure on most of it yet... or exactly how big it will be. I find that often depends on the scale of the fabrics and I have to work around those. I'm not super keen on the idea of totally piecing the sailor boys and appliquing them. But if I did that Harold and the Purple Crayon quilt, then I can do this! Always stretch yourself. There has to be something in there that scares me just a little to make it all worth it. ;)


I've already had a couple of very sweet offers of fabric sharing to attain certain parts of the design. And I'm not turning anyone down...so if you have a fabric with sailors on it, give me a holler! LOL.



So, what do you think? Would you be happy with something like this?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Queensland Flood Appeal - Auctions Completed!

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The quilt auctions are complete and I am happy to announce that with the two quilts from my blog we were able to raise $370 for the Queensland Relief Fund!!! Thank you soooo much to everyone who bid. I am so delighted to be able to give something back to people who are flood victims as I have a great understanding of that being from New Orleans.

At least one of those quilts will be making its way all the way to Australia! So this was truly an international effort of support!


Please remember that the raffles throughout blog land will continue to be open for another couple of days and many of those are luscious fabrics! And also remember that anyone who is on my fabric diet has full immunity to purchase any fabric that is in support of this cause! You can find a list of all auctions by clicking on the icon at the beginning of the post.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fabric Diet Check In - Week 3

Well, it's that time again! Confessions! How did we all do? Do you have glorious fabric that you bought this week (Kelly?!) or were you able to resist the call of the siren?

You all gave a number of great tips last week on how to avoid fabric. The main consensus seemed to be to avoid temptation. For some of you that means avoiding the brick and mortar stores and for others that means deleting tempting emails about fabric sales. But some of you are really hard core! I love it! LOL.


I think that my favorite tip was from Lindsay who said "To avoid buying I have just stopped looking... mostly... and I deleted the more addicting sites from my browser for now. I only kept the site I use for my Kona solids. " Now that is dedication! I'd be afraid that I wouldn't find those sites again. LOL.

So Lindsay, send me your address and I'll send a little something your way!!



Another favorite tip was to organize your fabric and literally see how much fabric you already own. That personally is probably what is keeping me sane...although it's a double edged sword. Because while I may see what I have, I also see what I don't have!



And I'm so proud of everyone who is doing swaps instead of purchasing! Yes, there is still some money spent in shipping. But you are getting rid of the stash that you don't need/want and getting in those more important pieces. That's going to be my plan of attack even more after I organize. I did already set up one major swap that I'm very excited about with the lovely cilvee. And I'm mentally compiling the fabrics that I'm ready to let go...



It's getting harder...but I think swaps could be the answer! That way you still have that high of packages coming in the mail! ;) So let's get some swaps going. There are a couple of groups over on Flickr set up for just this purpose if you haven't checked them out yet.


*update: a number of you have asked where to find places to swap fabric on flickr. I have a couple of groups that I know of. If anyone has any more please feel free to add them in the comments section.*

For Designer/Hard to Find/Out of Print Fabrics - to join this group you have to be approved, but just read the rules and see if they apply to you. Basically you need to have some desirable fabric to also swap....since I have no idea what fabric you are all swimming in, I thought I'd post this:

{ DESIGNER } Fabric - Stash - Swappy - Poo



Easy to join and all kinds of fabric, patterns, books can be swapped here. No restrictions on joining I believe.

Craft Room De-stash (Let's Swap)


There is often some overlap between the two with people from the designer fabric group posting in the general group as well. It just depends on what they are looking for. Good luck!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What's on the Design Wall?

Well now that you all know that I have this lovely new design wall in my sewing room, I figured that it was only fair to show you what I put on there! So I thought I would start a new little feature on what is on the design wall. I'd like to say that I will do this every week...but I'm not sure how realistic that is. LOL. It might not change that often.


Currently I've been using it to work on a quilt for my niece. A very pink quilt. All the blocks were made with the help of my Pretty in Pink Bee, but I've been working hard at all the sashing, the cornerstones, and the outer triangles. And let me tell you...I'm not sure that I could have done this complicated a quilt without a design wall!


Let me explain. All of the sashing fabric was cut from a running print...so the print runs not from selvage to selvage (as most do) but across the fabric horizontally. So I painstakingly cut out the pieces that I needed from a fabric from my stash (woohoo!) and when I didn't have enough...well, I made it work! Tim Gunn style! I pieced together partial pieces to create more sashing. And you wouldn't know it unless you were looking for it. Yay me!



What's on the Design Wall



Every single piece of fabric on this quilt has come from my stash. Not a single new print has been purchased! And I intend to keep it that way...through the border, the backing and the binding! It will be a twin sized quilt when all is said and done, so I'm still debating how I plan to quilt this one.


At this point each diagonal row is sewn, but now I need to sew each of them to each other to have the full top (minus the border). It's kind of a jumble of crazy pink, but I like it. It is for a 5 year old girl after all. She won't be five forever, but I like to think that enough of the colors are mature enough that they can transition with her for a while. Hey, I'd like it and I'm 31!


The Design Wall currently



It's been so lovely to have the design wall because those sashing pieces are different for every piece and there is a very specific arrangement...plus all of those out triangles to keep track of. It would have been a mess to try to keep this all straight on the floor. Plus, did I mention that my iron started beeping like the crazy watch in "Stranger than Fiction" and shooting out smoke!?! That put a halt to my sewing for a few days! I had to get a new iron...I'm not taking any chances with that one.


So that's "What's on the Design Wall". Hopefully I'll have progress to show you next week as well. The pictures may not look too different though because the benefit of the design wall is that it shows you what your quilt will basically look like as you are working on it! I can't wait to finish this and start in on another one of my UFO's. I already know the next one I want to do...and I think that it will go pretty quickly. (She says before she begins to work on it!) And I should again be able to use all fabric from my stash!



And speaking of fabric...don't forget that tomorrow is Check in Day for the Fabric Diet. Come with your tales of sadness...whether it was a successful week and you didn't buy fabric or it was an unsuccessful week and you did. LOL. Or call them tales of happiness...we'll look at the glass as half full. Can you tell that I was "successful"? tales of sadness... LOL.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Little Gifts

Honestly I've been having a pretty rough past few days...on Friday I almost did some therapy fabric shopping and trust me it would have been completely justified. But I somehow managed to step away from the fabulously wonderful things I had found on the internet.


And then yesterday I was surprised with a few little gifts of fabric! Just the thing to lift a heavy soul. My friend Kaelin, of theplaidscottie (blog in my sidebar), came over to cheer me up and brought me some fat quarters of a new line she had ordered, Hideaway. So sweet and so generous!! What a blessing. Plus she happily entertained my daughter for a good 20 minutes...or Caitlyn entertained her. I'm not sure. It was pretty mutual. LOL.


Then later I received an unexpected email from sew, mama, sew telling me that I had won a $15 gift certificate from my submission about my predictions for 2011. I posted about that days ago and had completely forgotten that there was even an opportunity to win something. So it was a complete shock and a much desired one. I promptly spent the next 1/2 hour scouring their site for what I wanted to buy. I haven't bought it yet, but I'm strongly leaning towards an Echino print on there and blow all the money on one glorious yard. I don't usually buy fabric that expensive per yard and it feels like a major indulgence. But I think I'm going to take advantage of the fact that it is not my money and just buy what my heart desires instead of "wisely" buying things on sale or other lines that interest me which are less expensive.


I feel quite rewarded for my ability to restrain from fabric this week. LOL.


On another note, if you have not yet checked out my auctions for the Queensland Flood Relief, please do so! I know many of you are quilters yourself and could easily make these items, but perhaps you have a friend who would be interested in both purchasing something fun and donating to a great cause at the same time.

I also officially give anyone a pass on fabric spending this week if you are bidding on any of the fabric that is being auctioned for this cause! There are times for a diet and there are times to think about much more important things and help those in need. So buy all those luscious fabrics that so many generous people are donating and know that while you may get some pleasure from it, someone else's life will be better because of it.



Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Queensland Flood Appeal - Auction #2

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* the auction has ended! thanks to all who bid!!*
This is an auction for the flood victims in Australia. Please see this previous post for more information on that.


Please place all bids in the comment section of this post. Bidding will start at $25, but it had better go up! ;) I normally sell this type of quilt for $150. Be as generous as possible and share the information with friends. The bidding will be open until January 24th, after which I will contact the winner and you will pay the relief fund directly. All international bidders are welcome. I will pay for the shipping of the quilt to you wherever you are.


Here is the quilt you are bidding on:


small wave quilt1



This a beautiful heirloom quilt perfect for any parents-to-be and their special someone. High quality cotton fabrics are used along with a cotton batting. The bargello style quilt creates a peaceful wave of color. The colors are truly spectacular in person! The quilt is largely stippled throughout the center of the quilt and again along the large border.



small wave quilt 2



Just perfect for a baby girl, a beautiful striped fabric by Prints Charming is on the reverse side of the quilt.


small wave quilt4


Fabrics are prewashed for minimum shrinkage. Wash and Dry.

Quilt is approximately 45" x 60".




Please join in and help create some peace among lives that have for the moment been destroyed.


Check out my second quilt auction here

Queensland Flood Appeal - Auction #1

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* the auction has ended! thanks to all who bid!!*
This is an auction for the flood victims in Australia. Please see this previous post for more information on that.


Please place all bids in the comment section of this post. Bidding will start at $25, but it had better go up! ;) I normally sell this type of quilt for $150. Be as generous as possible and share the information with friends. The bidding will be open until January 24th, after which I will contact the winner and you will pay the relief fund directly. All international bidders are welcome. I will pay for the shipping of the quilt to you wherever you are.


Here is the quilt you are bidding on:


Playing with the Boys Quilt



Playing with the Boys Quilt


This a beautiful heirloom quilt perfect for any parents-to-be and their new baby. High quality cotton fabrics are used along with a cotton batting. The colorful green and blue stripes in this quilt are perfect for a little boy. (fabric lovers will notice the green ribbon Katie Jump Rope fabric immediately!)


Playing with the Boys Quilt- Detail Shot


The quilt has a pleasing repetitive straight line pattern quilted throughout. A soft home decor fabric with white stars on light blue is on the reverse side of the quilt.



Playing with the Boys Quilt- Detail shot with Backing


The playful scrappy binding is meticulously hand sewn in place for a flawless finish.



Playing with the Boys Quilt- Detail shot of binding


Fabrics are prewashed for minimum shrinkage. Wash and Dry.

Quilt is approximately 45" x 60".



Please join in and help create some peace among lives that have for the moment been destroyed.


Check out my second quilt auction here


Queensland Flood Appeal

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There continues unfortunately to be flooding throughout Australia. So many have lost their homes and lives. Living in New Orleans as I do, I feel a particular pang for the victims of this flood and have been intending to start an auction to help raise money as soon as I heard about the relief effort. Though I was not here for Katrina, we moved a few months later and have certainly been very effected by the process of recovering from a disaster of this nature. It's devastating in spirit.



So I would like to do my own little part to help contribute to the relief efforts for the victims of the floods in Australia. You can learn more about the women behind this huge fundraiser and the disaster by clicking on the icon above. But for my part, I intend to auction off two baby quilts that I have made. They are currently for sale in my Etsy shop, but I will be removing them from there and all proceeds will be given directly to the Relief Fund.


I will set up a separate post for each auction to keep things simpler. But here's the plan. I will post pictures and descriptions of the quilts and then in the comment section you can state your bid. The bidding will be open until January 24th, after which I will contact the winner and you will pay the relief fund directly. All international bidders are welcome. I will pay for the shipping of the quilt to you wherever you are.


Please bid on these items and be generous. If you don't need the item yourself perhaps you have a friend who might. Have them come and bid. This is for charity and begging for money for flood victims is a noble thing! Let's out do one another in kindness!


I will post links to the auctions on this post as soon as they are set up!
Thank you in advance for your support and generosity!

Auction #1: Baby Boy Quilt - Playing with the Boys

Auction #2: Baby Girl Quilt - Sunset Wave


Sunday, January 16, 2011

How do you live up to your own standards?

So I find myself in a mental pickle. I'm delighted to participate in the Doll Quilt Swap for the second time, but I find myself a bit uneasy. I entered into the last round as newbie. I had no expectations of getting in and no expectations of what I might receive. I had, what I thought was, a simple idea for a quilt. A contrast of black and white vs color. Good vs Evil. Despair vs. Hope. And of course a lot of whimsy. The Wizard of Oz seemed the perfect way to pull some of my ideas together.


That quilt grew to take on a life of its own. I envisioned parts of the quilt, but others were merely opportunities that I saw as the quilt developed. An interesting character here and a new fabric there. I used techniques that I never had before and worked at a tiny level and yet at a grand scale. There was so much packed into that one little quilt. I wondered at times if there was too much. But everyone seemed to enjoy each new piece...and so I plodded forth.


And very much to my surprise, the quilt became quite well liked (although I'm still somewhat convinced that it is the mere presence of Mendocino mermaids that draw people in). In fact, some liked it so much that I was often asked how I could possibly give it away or told that I shouldn't bother entering the DQS again because I could never out do that quilt.


It's that final statement that really sticks with me. I don't want to be a one note wonder and nor do I want to recreate what I've already done. I don't need to make that quilt again. It's been done. But how do I make a quilt that will be utterly me, utterly my partner, and yet be no less than the previous quilt? How do I meet the expectations that I have set for myself and perhaps others have come to expect?


I'm quite delighted with my partner and that may be part of the difficulty. But I've been at odds with what to make for the swap for quite a while. The last quilt was so very personal, I'm not sure that I can, want, or need to do that again. But will I think less of myself for doing something less "magical" than the last quilt? Or am I merely a victim of vanity, striving to outdo myself?


I hope to find an idea that settles with me soon, so I can stop worrying (something that I'm very good at). I don't fear that my partner will not like what I make, but rather that I won't.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Liebster Award :)

The Liebster blog award? Have you heard of it? For those of you who haven't, it's an award for all of us "little" bloggers with 300 followers or less. The idea is in order to accept the award, you have to pass it on to a few fellow bloggers. Sweet Cherie from Sew and So Quilts has nominated me as one of her top three favorite blogs. Cherie, if you don't know her, is so sweet and generous! She's fairly new to quilting but you wouldn't know it to look at her work!! I'm lucky enough to be in the New Orleans Modern Quilt Guild with her...although she may have branched off to her own because she is unfortunately a couple of hours away from us. :(



So, in no particular order, some of my very favorite "small bloggers" are:

1) Rachel from Stitched in Color has such a lovely blog. She is constantly doing demonstrations for basic and not so basic sewing and quilting skills. Her photography is amazing and definitely adds a very professional touch. At the time that I am writing this, she has 299 official followers...but I'm sure she has more. I think that is part of her recent switch of something on her blog. LOL. But I'm taking advantage of that under 300 number!


2) Kaelin from The Plaid Scottie is one of the most delightful people I know and I'm blessed to call her a friend. We met through the New Orleans Modern Quilt guild and she was one of the very first people I could talk to about Modern Designers. She has a wicked sense of humor (in the best way) and a movie quote for any conversation you can think of. I also happen to know that she has a stash of fabric that would make you all drool! Check out her great tutorials and super generous giveaways! (hmmm...she has just over 300 followers but we'll pretend that we don't know that. LOL)


3) Lizzy House from Lizzy House is one of my favorite designers. Don't ask my why her site has so few followers. Maybe people don't know that it is there! But in addition to obvious talent as a fabric designer, I find that Lizzy is an eternally honest soul about the business of quilting. The ups and the downs. She shares at a very personal level that I really appreciate. And of course I love all of her projects!


That's just a few of my favorite blogs. Check them out! I'm probably not telling you something you don't already know, but these are fabulous ladies. It's worth your time to hear what they have to say.


Friday, January 14, 2011

A fabulous giveaway...specifically for people on a fabric diet! LOL.

Check out this amazingly generous giveaway over at the blog Lucy & Norman!


You could win all of this!






Fabric Diet Check In - Week 2

Alright everyone!

It's confession time again. ;) How did we all do this week? I've already confessed my purchases which took place right after last week's check in so I almost wrote that I didn't buy anything. It's just been a (gasp!) whole 6 days and that feels like forever.


I even went to our Modern Quilt Guild Meeting last night which was at a fabric store with plenty of fabric on sale, but I resisted purchasing anything. And you know what? It felt really good to do that. I know that I would have bought a few things otherwise and I'm not sure that I really need them. In fact, there is only one that I can think of that I want to go back and get at the end of this. And if it is still on sale (or maybe more on sale!) then I will be getting enough to back a quilt...because it just speaks to me. (But not in a creepy I'm insane kind of way).


I also did a couple of swaps that make me very happy. And I'm working on organizing my fabric so that is a healthy reminder of the amount of fabric that I already have.


So tell us all how your week went. Two down, 6 to go...I know we can do this! But let's have a little extra motivation...regardless of whether your diet was "successful" this week or not, also let us know what is your best tip for avoiding buying fabric. I have a few methods, but I don't want to steal anyone's ideas.

And...the best tip might just get a little prize! Just for helping us out so much! ;)


So confess and support!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tutorial on Building a Design Wall

My sewing life has been infinitely improved recently with the addition of a new design wall. I can't begin to describe how wonderful it is to have a place to layout your quilt where neither small children nor cats can run across it and destroy all your hard work. I can easily see where I need to make changes in scrappy quilts (where the colors might be unbalanced, etc) and all the pieces are kept nicely pressed. It also motivates me to work on the quilt on the wall because it is right there...I don't have to get a bunch of things out, only to put them away at the end of 10 minutes, an hour or the day(!).



However, I doubt that any of you would deny the benefit of having a design wall but the reality is that many of us do not have the room or inclination to build one. So here's just one way of making a design wall that can hopefully be adapted to many of your spaces. My intention in creating a design wall was to have one that was permanently installed on the walls of my sewing room....I designed the room specifically so I could have this. But in theory, this method can be used to create portable walls or smaller versions of the ones that you see here.


So on with the show!



First off, determine how much room you have for a design wall. I was trying to make mine as large as possible for maximum benefit, but honestly even the tiniest design wall would help most of us! I specifically arranged the furniture in my sewing room so that I would have one "long" windowless wall on which to install the design wall. It is important to determine how high you would like the wall to be and how low to the ground (are you short? even if you have 12' ceilings, that is probably not a very practical height... is it difficult for you to bend down? then you probably don't want your wall to go all the way to the floor or moldings.)



I believe that this is really a two person project if you are doing it on the scale that I have done mine. Obviously if you are making a small design wall you may be able to manage on your own...but it is still helpful to have more than one set of hands for this project. So find a helpful friend and rope them into making this with you. Lucky for me, I have quite a handy and helpful husband. :)



The base of the design wall is made with sound board. Sound board can easily be found in your local hardware store in 4' x 8' sheets. For the space I had, we needed two boards that cost around $11 a piece. Not too bad! We chose sound board for a few reasons. First, it is relatively light weight which makes it easier to work with than drywall board or some other type of wall material. Second, it is made of a material that allows me to put pins in easily if I chose to do so. (for instance I pin the directions for a quilt on the wall with the pieces so that it is all in one place). And third, it is sound deadening. While that may not matter to some, it is helpful for us to lessen the noise coming from the sewing room while perhaps a little babe might be sleeping or I feel inclined to sew in the middle of the night with movies on.



The cover for the sound board can be a material like cotton batting or flannel or curtain lining fabric. I personally chose the batting option because one prepackaged queen sized batting covered my two boards perfectly.



I don't have pictures of this first step (sorry my husband was too quick!), but you need to cut the board to size. You may be able to have your hardware store do this for you if you do not have the necessary tools at home. Once again, I am a very lucky lady with a very handy husband who did have the correct tools for this. It only took one simple cut for each piece for us. We decided to make the sound board 7' x 4' because we only have 8' ceilings and part of the wall space has been taken up with moldings at the bottom and top of the wall. You may also need to make small cut outs for electrical fixtures such as outlets or light switches. (*my husband tells me that the sound board cuts very much like drywall...you can score it on either side with a utility blade and snap off the cut!*)


Now, onto the pictures!! Trust me there are plenty.

Cut your batting slightly larger than the sound board, giving yourself enough room to wrap the batting around the back of the board. We will be using basic upholstery techniques, so have a staple gun ready. (Remember for my boards I was able to use a prepackaged batting and simply cut it in half. lovely!)


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You don't need to be worried about it being completely flat (a more difficult task with batting at times than other covering choices) but it should be reasonably flat laid out on the floor. Place your sound board, right side down, on the batting, centering it over the batting.


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Pull the batting taught but do not stretch it, and staple ONE long edge in place from end to end.


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This next step is one of the times where it is particularly useful to have two people working on this project. Lift the board up from the stapled edge. Working from the top center, smooth your covering flat but not stretched over the sound board. The batting easily attaches itself to the sound board so no adhesive is necessary, but feel free to add that at this point if you feel your wall will need it.


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As you reach the bottom, you will want to tuck the covering underneath the board so that it is viewable from the back of the board.


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Carefully lay the sound board back down on the ground, confident that the batting is laying smoothly. Begin to staple the other long side from end to end.



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A closeup of the back...don't worry if it's not pretty. No one will see it! We are stapling approximately every 4" or so.


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CAUTION! Tiny helpers may become distraught at the sound of the staple gun!


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They may vocalize this more loudly than the noise of the staple gun.


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They may cover their ears to block out the noise.


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Ultimately, tiny helpers will need to be comforted and removed to another, more quiet, room.


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Continue on with your project, stapling the two short ends in place as well.


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When working on the corners, feel free to cut away any bulk or extra fabric/batting that is in the way.


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Smooth the remaining fabric in place and continue to staple until the whole piece is completely in place.


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At this point, you can now work on any special cutouts you may have in the design wall.


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Move the design walls to the location where they will be installed.


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Without the noise of the staple gun, tiny helpers may feel that they are quite useful once again.


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In order to attach the design wall to the wall of your room, it is best to find the studs of the wall and use those as an anchor for the boards. You don't want them falling down and ripping apart your walls! Here the studs are marked with blue painters' tape.



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Most likely two sets of hands are needed again to install the boards on the wall. Measure in increments where you would like to attach your wall, being sure to say on one of the studs. We chose to screw the design wall in rather than nail it because that will make it easier to remove at a later date with out destroying the design wall if you find you need to do that. We used 3 screws across the top of each panel, 2 across the bottom of each, and 1 on the far side of each panel approximately halfway down the wall.



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Take advantage of any "help" that you can get to attach these to the wall.


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Be sure to line up the boards around your outlet cutouts.


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When all is up in place, step back and enjoy your handiwork! You will be pleased beyond measure to have such a wall in your sewing space.


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My design wall measures 7' x 8' and happens to blend pretty seamlessly with my current wall color, making it very unobtrusive despite its large size.



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Now that you are done, put that wall to good use! I immediately started putting blocks on the wall for the quilt I wanted to work on next! So fun!


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No pins, no nothing! The blocks just stick to the board and will not fall unless you remove them.



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And now you may be able to finish some of those quilts that you have been dreading because the layout! It's fun to lay out a quilt on the wall. ;)




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