Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Greetings from Tinkerbell!



It was cold today up here in Northern Indiana, so we took our little gal to the crazy mall for some trick or treating.  She could care less about the candy.  She just loves seeing people!  We got to see lots of other princesses and fun costumes all around.


FYI, It's SUPER fun to put an updo in a 2 year old's hair. (yes...sarcasm)  She doesn't get the "don't move" concept ;)  Oh and since we were at the mall we eventually took refuge in the Disney Store.  It was calm and peaceful in there compared to the rest of the mall (which tells you something about how crazy it was).  Caitlyn found the Tinkerbell doll and had a lovely double Tinkerbell moment.  lol


oh and you may have noticed that yet again I didn't make her costume.  I planned on it.  I bought the fabric and cut out a pattern and everything.  Ironically FOR a tinkerbell costume (aka I have NO reason to finish it now!).  But I don't regret it for a second.  She's the cutest tinkerbell I've ever seen.


Tinkerbell had to go to sleep, but she wanted me to wish you all a Happy Halloween!





Monday, October 29, 2012

Flowering Snowball Pillow - Complete

Well I did it.  I finished my pillow for round 9 of the Pillow Talk Swap.  You have all seen pictures of the progress but it is officially complete and may well end up in the hands of its new owner today.  I sent it off last week to my partner and I can't wait to see when she gets it!

Are you ready to see the finished product?  It's okay if you look at the picture a lot...I look at it ALL the time. lol  I won't see it again, so these pictures are what I have to show for my work.  And I'll admit, they make me pretty happy.  Happy pictures.


Flowering Snowball - Pillow Complete!



I took lots of shots of the pillow and this one I just fell in love with.  I thought it looked like it belonged to the fairies out there in the garden (forgive my whimsy...I have a two year old who is going to be Tinker Bell for Halloween, so I have fairies on the brain!)

Again, the pattern is called a flowering snowball and I printed the pieces off of EQ...but you should be able to google it and find something.  It's a traditional pattern with many iterations.  I used Flea Market Fancy and an assortment of Kona solids (and darn if I didn't JUST realize that I can't try to match up the Kona solids for everyone because I already sent it off.  Maybe my partner will be able to when she gets it!)


Flowering Snowball - Pillow Back Details


The pillow is fully lined, quilted and hand quilted.  It has a back flap covered zipper and a bound edge that is hand sewn.  Phew!  It's work to just write that out.  But to me, it's not worth doing all that work on the front of the pillow, only to crap out on the construction details.   So I made sure it was all put together well.  It is 24" square....which is BIG for a pillow.  But again, I didn't want to try that pattern and not make it worth it...and that's the size I needed to get the amount of the flowering snowball pattern that you see.



Flowering Snowball - Quilting Details


Hopefully in this picture you can see the quilting details that went into the front.  I machine stitched in white around every curve, making sure the pillow top was well in place.  Then I came back with embroidery floss in 10 different colors and added a bit of hand quilting.  There are two shades of each color to echo the two shades of solids in the pillow per color.  It's all in the details.



Those are the logistics of the pillow and I hope you find them interesting, but I wanted to share with you WHY I made the pillow.  I am SO OFTEN asked "How can you give that away?!" when I make a swap item.  I'll admit that the items I make to give away in swaps are some of my most treasured pieces.  I put my whole heart into each one and then send it on it's way.

But I don't even start out with the mentality that these items ever belong to me.  They belong to my partner from the moment I begin to come up with an idea that is hopefully perfect for that person.  Yes, they are all a part of me...I make them.  But they are not mine.  This pillow is no exception.  It would not exist if not for my partner.  SHE was the inspiration for it...her life, her style, her loves.  It is hers.


Really nothing makes me happier than creating something for someone that they will love.  My partner always has at least an idea of what it takes to make what I do for them.  They appreciate the fabrics and time involved.  And it is hopefully what they would make for themselves if they had the time and energy to tackle. Everyone deserves some extra special quilty love.  And this is my little way of giving that, one person at a time.


Linking up to the Blogger's Quilt Festival as well!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Project Hula Hoop Rug Fail

A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled onto a tutorial for how to make a woven rug using a Hula Hoop and an old t shirt.  I thought that the stars had aligned and the heavens sang.  But alas my journey did not come a happy ending.


Now I do think all of this was MY problem, not the problem of the tutorial.  Though perhaps the tutorial doesn't go enough in depth as I would like it to...but I'm kind of weird like that.  I want a discussion on how stretchy the knit should be, a guide for the gauge of the weave and other crazy things.  But I want to share this with you because I think some of you could get this to work and if I had the time I would experiment more with cotton strips vs knit.

It all starts with a t-shirt.... (and I cheated and cut up yardage of knit fabric for the weaving)

I followed the directions and cut 1.5" strips.  And I think that is fine for the fabric you wrap around the hula hoop.  But for the fabric I wove, it ended up being way to skinny.  I think the bulk of the problem lay here because this made my weave too tight.



And next came the hula hoop....

wrap those strips you cut from your t-shirt around the hula hoop.  I thought that they would move around a lot, but they actually stayed right in place.


And then you start weaving... and weaving... and weaving... in and out, in and out.  over, under, over, under... stop when you are ready to shoot yourself. Cut the knit spokes and knot around the edge of the rug.


And if you are lucky, then you end up with a rug.  I however, due to major tension issues, ended up with a sort of baskety bowl.  But not strong enough to be an actual basket mind you.  Then I could count this as a success. 




Hmm.. it's not quite right.  Oh well.  The colors weren't making me happy either.  I quickly decided to emotionally let go of this project and hand it over to my daughter to enjoy.  

I think she is channeling her inner Jamaican.  lol 


It may actually have found some use as a nest of sorts for a few precious stuffed animals.

Project rug fail


Well, you can't win them all.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Moments

Sitting here trying to work up the energy to type up a post on Monday Morning and I think I've become inspired to start one of those blogging days where you just post a picture and let it speak for itself.

So let me introduce Monday Moments.  I'll be sharing a picture or two from my weekend that says more than words.  Enjoy.


Pillow Talk Swap - quilting sneak peak




Saturday, October 20, 2012

Feeling like Fall

Today we decided to brave the slightly chilly weather and take Caitlyn to the Pumpkin Patch.  But don't be fooled by the low key name.  This is no Charlie Brown pumpkin patch.  No siree.  It's full of fun and activities...we didn't come close to doing them all!  There were cow trains and giant jumping platforms, pony rides and hay rides, animals to pet and corn mazes.  There were giant slides and potato guns, three wheeler tracks and of course pumpkins!!  Here's a peak at our day.


Pumpkin Patch 2012


and more!

Pumpkin Patch2 2012



Some day we'll actually do the corn maze (Caitlyn is still pretty young for that) and it will be even more fun.  I'm not much for scary fall things...I get scared WAY to easily.  There is an AWESOME haunted house not far from here but it's just too darn scary for me.  So I'm happy to do the fall festive things instead.

Oh and I got the sweetest package today from my friend Kelly, Kelbysews.  I didn't go to Sewing Summit, but she did (and was a fabulous teacher!) and she bought some of us little packages to let us know she was thinking of us while in Utah.  Quilty Friends are the best.  And no Kelly, I'm still not going to share my Orla Kiely numbers book with Caitlyn.  I did let her read it though. ;)


I love my friends! Thank you @kelbysews




Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sewing Room Redo

I've been living with my new sewing room for a week or so now and I'm finally here to share it.  As much as I love certain parts in the room, the overall layout was not working for me.  It became clear that I needed a lot more space to work (that was not my floor!).  Here we are with painter's tape on the floor trying to plan out the new layout.  You can see that my work space was overflowing...and I think I had cleaned up!

Sewing Room Redo



We decided to move the desk, add in a 10' long countertop, and convert our old dining room table as new work space.  We put some storage cases as support below the counter top.  And we got them on clearance!   Score!


Sewing Room Redo



It's going to be good storage for those things I don't use super often but need space for.  There seems to be a lot of stuff lying around...like batting and such.

Sewing Room Redo



My husband recessed my Janome sewing machine into our old dining room table (no, we haven't bought a new one yet...one thing at a time).  It's soooo great to have a handy husband.  He was able to do this whole room in one long afternoon.  We cut the table down to be more ergonomically correct.  And I'm in the process of getting an adjustable chair to help with that as well.

Sewing Room Redo



It's great.  There is a hole for my knee lift and extra access on the sides to get to all the power buttons etc.  The only thing you can't do with the machine like this is use the arm for small sewing like sleeves on garments.  But thankfully I have more than one machine. ;)  It's been amazing to quilt on this.  I've already done three quilts and they have remarkably simpler with the large flat surface.  So much better!


Sewing Room Redo



With lots of new space to work, I can spread out my projects.  But here was a moment of cleanliness before I added to it.

Sewing Room Redo



We put my Brother sewing machine on the long counter top, and I had my husband cut out a circle for the power cords so all would be nice and tidy.

Sewing Room Redo



I now have room for all three machines!!  Two sewing machines and a serger!  All in a little u shape just ready for me to work.  I'm just waiting on some caster wheels for hard wood floors for my new rolling chair. Soon I will be rolling from one machine to the next.


Sewing Room Redo



Now to organize it!  Believe it or not there is much left to be organized.  A book case full of too many books and a closet stuffed full of supplies.  But it will happen.  Slowly but surely.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Super Mario Brothers QAL - Turtle Shell Block

Cut To Pieces

This is part of an ongoing series of posts for The Super Mario Brothers Quilt Along I'm hosting here on my blog. You can join in at any time! You will find the links to all steps in my top bar. Also please feel free to join the Super Mario Brothers Quilt Along Flickr Group.


♪do do da do. Da do da do...do do da do do do da do do do♪


Ready? It's Turtle Shell time!





Oh those pesky turtles.  Sometimes the shells are conveniently empty and you can just use them as a weapon to destroy your opponents.  But most often, the turtles are still walking around in these and you need to "bop" them down and then bounce them away.  Oh wait...you have to make sure you don't bounce one off of a green pipe and send it right back at yourself.  I've done that more times than I care to admit.  Nothing more ridiculous than being taken out by a turtle shell you already hit.  So these can be your friend and weapon but they are also a deadly opponent if you're not careful.  But most certainly they are EVERYWHERE!


It's Block #9 in our QAL and I've got this one all ready to go and be sewn.  Along with finishing up a few of the previous blocks.  I'm human...I get behind.  lol

Super Mario Bros QAL - Turtle Shell Block



You can download the PDF of the Turtle Block HERE

If you are looking for other blocks from the quilt, look HERE.

Also, I've newly added all of the blocks as PDFs in Google Docs as so many people were having problems with Scribd.  Sorry about that!  But so far everyone seems to be having good luck with the Google Docs (and bonus! I have all 12 blocks there already!).  So you can also find the PDFs available HERE


I can't wait to finish up the last three blocks and have a whole quilt worth of fabulous Marioness!

Super Mario Bros QAL - A few of the blocks




But before those last three come (mushrooms and the shy guy), I've got to catch up on my sewing for the last four blocks.  I had two of them well in hand with motivation raring to go...and then I couldn't thread my machine needle.  Never happened before and never happened since.  I took it as a sign from God that I needed a break at that particular moment.


Super Mario Bros QAL - Pipe Block



We're getting close to the end.  I really want everyone to be able to finish these as Christmas gifts if you need to.  I'm not going to tell you how many days out we are from that, but it's quickly approaching!  And if you are like me, you have bunches of other projects going too.  So take some time and throw together a couple million tiny squares for these blocks.  I promise, they really do make you smile when you are finished with them.



Be sure to add your creations to the flickr group so we can all see how we are doing!



Saturday, October 13, 2012

Flowering Snowball

Well, I was so excited to see how this pillow would turn out that I just kept working on it.  And let me tell you...I could not be more in love with it.  It's not mine...it will go to someone in the swap, but I'm soaking in the beauty of this piece for now.



Flowering Snowball



I just keep staring at it.  I think I could stare at it for hours (which is a good thing! because I need to quilt it and still turn it into a pillow!).  I've used bits of Flea Market Fancy here and there throughout my sewing career but mainly because someone was sweet enough to give me a scrap.  And then gloriously, they re-released a number of the prints from the collection and I was able to get some for myself.  So this is the first project that I've ever been able to do with unlimited access to this collection and create what I needed.


Flowering Snowball - Detail



When a collection  has been out as long as Flea Market Fancy has and been sooooo loved, I feel a certain pressure to create a piece that uses the fabric in a new way.  Or makes you fall in love with the fabric all over again.  This pillow certainly does that for ME, so mission accomplished.


Flowering Snowball - Putting it Together



I put together this little mosaic as a sort of visual guide for how I sewed the pieces together and to show the complexity of the pattern.  Like any pattern, it's all about breaking it down into steps that make sense and are not overwhelming.  I chose the fabric, cut the fabric out using the templates, laid out the pattern on my design wall (crucial for this particular pattern).  Then I sewed and sewed and sewed some more.  Each block was broken down into one curve at a time.

Flowering Snowball - on point


One thing I did this time that I've never done before is sew my curves together without pins (with the exception of one pin where I had to get seams to match).  I think the whole pattern seemed so impossible to me from the beginning that I was willing to try another thing that seemed impossible...curves without pins.  And it worked beautifully.  I don't know why it clicked this time, but it did.  And I won't fight it. ;)



Flowering Snowball - at home



Next Step:  Quilting.

Friday, October 12, 2012

I got sucked into a swap

So I got sucked into a swap...or perhaps more correctly, I allowed myself to do another swap.  Because I have so much free time right now.  (read sarcasm here)  But I just finished my last bee block for my last bee and I haven't done a swap in about 6 months or so...so I felt like I needed a little participation event.  So I joined the Pillow Talk Swap on Flickr.

I have a fun partner whose style seems quite similar to my own.  I like her favorites, her mosaic and general style.  So I felt pretty confident going into this that I would be able make a pillow that she would love.  And my stalking of her commenced!


Pillow Talk Swap - Fabrics



I offered this picture as my selection of fabrics: Denyse Schmidt's Flea Market Fancy, an assortment of solids (no I don't know the names!...I just grabbed them from my stash) and an adorable lined print from Cosmo Cricket (whose appeal is COMPLETELY lost on my husband but I know you all get why it is TOTALLY awesome).  Again, it's pretty hard to go wrong with Flea Market Fancy and I've hardly used any EVER...and I was dying to cut into some.


I'm just giving sneak peaks so far of my pillow.  But I'm pretty much in love.

Pillow talk swap - sneak peak



Taken late at night...one block of 16 (!) finished.  This measures 6" square...so yeah...some tiny piecing.  And yes, I'm certifiable.  But you all know that.  I always like to push myself on a swap, making something extra special for my partner.  And this block is no exception.  Curves, curves, curves...and then some more curves.


Pillow talk swap sneak peak today!



But I hope you'll agree that it will be worth it.  I soooo want to make a huge quilt like this.  Again, in my very free time.  lol  I would definitely enlarge the scale for a quilt.  But it could be really cool to make this with layer cake pieces or something.  The pattern is called a Flowering Snowball and I printed my templates from EQ. So far, 9 blocks done and 7 more to go.  Then I need to quilt it.  Suggestions?!




Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sweet Celebrations Blog Hop




Sweet Celebrations with the Moda Bake Shop Chefs

It's so close!  Sweet Celebrations, Moda Bakeshop's second book, is almost here.  And I'm lucky enough to be a part of it!  My quilt (that I can't show you yet) is Christmas themed.  And I like to think that it is Holiday Fun without being over the top.  But you tell me when you see it. ;)  Since this is a bakeshop quilt, obviously it was made with precuts.  And I loved using a few layer cakes of neutral Bella solids in combination with a mix of fat quarters from all kinds of designers.  And yes, I did my own quilting on that thing...I think it was 14 bobbins I went through?!


Oda May, Moda's hard hitting journalist, sent me a few questions to answer so you all can get to know me a bit better.  If you are a regular reader, some of these may be old news to you.  But if you are new (first of all, welcome!) you may be at least slightly amused by me. 

OM: Do you prefer a corner piece or a center piece when eating cake? Or do you not like to discriminate?

Angela: It depends on how good the frosting is!  If it is light and fluffy and made with almond flavoring then I will most definitely take a corner piece.  Yum.  Otherwise, I'm not too picky....well I am but I try not to be. ;)


OM: Tell us about your favorite apron.

Angela:  Well....I wasn't going to bring it up, but I am kind of partial to this certain Apron I made for a certain competition *cough...the Moda Bakeshop Sliced Competition*.  It's hanging in my kitchen now and I'll be sure to wear it this holiday season for serving cocktails to my guests.  I love how it's dressy but still an apron.  I just love aprons that look like clothing.



OM: How do you press your seams?

Angela:  I was once a die hard press your seams to one side kind of gal.  But now I've learned that sometimes it is better to press them to the side and sometimes it is better to press them open.  Either way, I'm very thoughtful about them.  When I have a lot of seams that meet at a point, I tend to press them open.  When I have a lot of blocks to sew together, I press to one side but I am sure to alternate my seams so they butt up together and have less bulk.



OM: Do your pets/kids/spouse help or hinder your creative process?

Angela:  Uhm...yes?  Often!  Both.  I have a husband, a two year old and a cat and between the three, I'm lucky to get some time to sew.  As you might expect both the cat and the two year old are drawn to anything fabric and sparkly.  And my husband just wants my time (can't blame him!).  But in the end, they are the greatest inspiration.  I doubt I would have made this backpack without the inspiration of an adorable toddler to wear it.  (And I'm happy to say that she uses it all the time for preschool!)




OM: If you could have a quilt shop spree, which items would you snag off the shelf?

Angela:  Is that a trick question?  EVERYTHING!!



And in keeping with the Bakeshop and Celebration theme, here is a recipe (a food one!) that we make every year especially at Christmas.  It's the perfect, make ahead, bake and bring to a party kind of food.  It truly is scrumptious.








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