Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mug Rug Swap

I must say that I am loving the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  Thanks for all your fabulous comments on my quilt.  I am slowly working through them all--checking out blogs of those who left comments and trying to respond.  I have now added several more blogs to my Google Reader.  I think I'm up to about 200.  It's been fun to find new bloggers out there with such great talent.

Thanks to all of you who voted for my Halloween quilt in the contest on Gen X Quilters.  I won third place with your help.  I fell into 4th place for a while there, and I admit I even posted it on Facebook.  Hey, free fabric is free fabric!

I signed up for the Mug Rug Swap and was accepted!  I found out today who my secret partner is and am really excited to come up with something for her.  She isn't super specific, which is good and bad.  She wants a Christmas Mug Rug, and I have been considering various ideas.  I have spent much of naptime browsing her blog and flickr stream trying to get a feel for what she likes. 

I put together a mosaic for my secret partner to give her some ideas about what I might like--pretty much anything.  I just love seeing what other people create.  Just a tip to her, I did say I wanted an everyday mug rug, but would be open to that or a Christmas one--whatever you want to make!

Now I'm just waiting to hear if I was accepted to the Pillow Talk Swap, and if so, who my secret partner is for that one.  

1. The Pillow Talk {swap} 3 Received!!!, 2. Side 1 or 2 ?, 3. Silvia's Quilt, 4. Another finish!, 5. French Botanicals Quilt, 6. Amber and Brown Polyptych, 7. T-Mellow, 8. putting an angel block to use, 9. It's a Baby Quilt, 10. Hexagon string baby quilt from Quilt Scene magazine, 11. Circle/bubble cushion, 12. baby boy jungle quilt, 13. Process pillow 2, 14. rubik's crush quilt top, 15. Finished front, 16. Patchwork Pillows

Have a happy Halloween.  Ours was technically yesterday.  Around these parts, the kids trick-or-treat on Saturday rather than Sunday.  The hubs took Miss C (aka the Nice Ghost) out candy begging to a few neighbors in the freezing cold rain.  I kept our pumpkin and ladybug home, let them eat a couple Smarties, took some pictures in their costumes and then put them to bed.  We got rid of our Starbursts by 7:30 and turned out the lights.  It was a pretty uneventful night.  Our major accomplishment for this weekend was purchasing and assembling Miss C.'s big-girl bed, and her quilt finally has a home.  I'll hopefully get a picture posted soon.  She loves her bed and her quilt, and that makes me happy.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival

When considering which quilt to post for the Blogger's Quilt Festival, I immediately knew I wanted to post a quilt back--the back to my strings quilt.  I've only been quilting for a year and have tried many different things during that time.  Several months back I hit a point where I was very dissatisfied with my quilting.  I felt that it looked generic and too similar to so many things out there.  One problem was that I was sticking to lines of fabric.  I knew I needed to branch out and start creating things all my own.

The idea for the back of my strings quilt popped into my head, and I was able to recreate it in a quilt.  Creating this helped open my eyes to the use of color rather than just lines of fabric someone designed to look good together.  I still go back to lines of fabric for projects, but since this quilt, I have also ventured into trying new things and become more adventurous in my use of fabric.  I continue to grow and improve in my quilting and imagine my quilting style will continue to change, but this quilt was a turning point for me.  It helped me love quilting again because I wasn't just making a quilt, I was creating something from inside me.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I'm featured twice today!

I had grand ambitions to take the kiddos to the aquarium today, but we woke up to multiple inches of gross, wet snow. It makes me a little sad that winter has started. It's our second snow this week. I think we'll stay home in our pjs and stay warm and dry.

On a happier note, my blog is featured in two different places today!
  • Also, AnneMarie from Gen X Quilters did a little feature on my 60-Minute Skirt Tutorial I posted yesterday.  While you are over there checking out her site, don't forget to vote for my quilt!  It's #1--the Spooky Wonky Log Cabin.

Thanks so much to Tara and AnneMarie.  It made my day!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

60-Minute Skirt Tutorial

I started working on this tutorial quite a while ago, but didn't get around to finishing it until yesterday.  It was another project I wanted to get done once the subway quilt was finished. 

I love this skirt and have made several different ones for my girls.  It doesn't take a lot of fabric, and it's super easy.  You really can get it done in about an hour.

This pattern is now only available on Craftsy.

Here is the link:  60-Minute Skirt Tutorial

Happy sewing!

Please let me know of any concerns or questions about the pattern.

Disclosure: This post contains Craftsy affiliate links.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Getting Organized

One of my goals now that I'm finished with the subway quilt is to get a bit more organized.  I'm a reasonably organized person, but there are certainly areas I'd like to improve on.  My first place to tackle is the kitchen.  I'm trying to tame the clutter while also making things a bit more streamlined.  One problem area is around the microwave.  We tend to stack stuff there that needs to be done such as mail to deal with.  I also have a couple lists tacked to the fridge of things that need done as well as a shopping list that I add to throughout the week.  I have decided to combine everything onto one clipboard.  If I have mail that needs dealt with such as a bill or my mail-in ballot for voting next week, I'll just stick in on the clipboard.  When I have a few free minutes, I'll sit down and go through everything at once, and it will all be in the same place.

I also put together two lists to keep on this clipboard--a shopping list and a to do list.

The shopping list is already divided in order based on the store where I normally shop.  When I realize I need something from the store, I'll add it to the list, but instead of it being in random order like it usually is, it will be ready to grab for a shopping trip.  No rewriting required.

I'm constantly forgetting to make phone calls or follow-up on things because I'm not good at writing down reminders of when I need to get things done.  Here is a simple list I can add to each week when there are certain things I need to do.  I have already included the cleaning I'd like to accomplish that day on top of my normal 1-2 loads of laundry, sweeping, vacuuming and normal kitchen cleanup.  Most of them are 10-20 minute jobs that I frequently just overlook, but drive me crazy, like washing the fingerprints off the kitchen and living room windows.  We'll see how it goes and if this helps me feel a little more on top of my life again. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Gen X Quilters Halloween Quilt Contest

The Gen X Quilters blog is hosting a Halloween quilt contest.  I entered my Halloween quilt I made last year.  It was actually one of my first quilts I made, and ironically, I didn't even start it until November.  Head on over to her blog and check out all the cute contestants.  This is also a shameless plug asking you to vote for my quilt.  Mine is #1--the Spooky Wonky Log Cabin.  Thanks!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bound and Finished

Finally, the last blog post about the subway quilt.  Thanks for all of your sweet comments as I made this quilt.  It's been fun to share my progress.

I quilted it this week and got it bound and washed yesterday.  The rain stopped today just long enough to get outside and take some pictures. (The picture above is technically upside-down.  I didn't notice it until I was going through the photos, and it had started to rain again so we weren't redoing them.)

I'm so glad I added the extra length.  It's the great couch quilt.  With the weather turning nasty and cold around here, it's perfect timing to have another quilt laying around. 

This is the first quilt I have straight-line quilted.  I have only done pillows before with this method.  I struggled a bit because it tended to pull, even with the walking foot.  I'm glad I quilted it this way, even though it didn't turn out exactly how I hoped.  I like how it goes with the pattern of the quilt. 

Here are the stats:
Started: September 1, 2010
Finished October 22, 2010
2080 squares
Finished size after washing: 57" x 73"

Now, I really should take a week off from quilting and clean my house!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Little Scraps of Happiness

I swapped several ideas with Jen from Little Scraps of Happiness last week for her business cards that she won in my giveaway.  We made a decision on Saturday, and UPS dropped them off today.  I'm so excited to send them onto her.  She decided to use this quilt as the back of the card.  I love this quilt and wanted to make one exactly like it when I saw it on Modify Tradition earlier this year.  It's a fabulous quilt that goes along so well with the name of her blog.

Here's a preview for Jen on how her cards turned out.

They'll be in the mail tomorrow, Jen.  Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Finishing the Subway

I guess I'm not very patient.  I got the Subway basted this afternoon during naptime.  The husband was home from work this morning.  I took advantage of the opportunity and went to the quilt shop sans kids.  This is the fabric I got for the backing and binding.

I'm actually liking it much better now that it's all basted.  I'm excited to start quilting it.

Last night I tried out an idea for piecing the back of my Subway quilt.  It just wasn't right, but I think it will make a cool quilt later on. 
There is enough piecing on the front of the Subway.  I decided it didn't need a pieced back as well. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I finished sewing all the rows together tonight.  I'm honestly feeling a bit "meh" about it.  I think I have been working on it too long.  It might get put away for a bit while I think about how to piece the back.  I'm tired of looking at 2" squares. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My first swap

I noticed that sign-ups for Pillow Talk Swap 4 have begun.  I have been interested in doing a swap, but it's a little intimidating.  I signed up this afternoon and even figured out how to make a mosaic for Flickr.  I'm really excited and looking forward to who my secret partner will be!  Here is my mosaic of some of my favorites from Flickr to provide ideas for the person who will be making a pillow for me.

1. Stars and Sea: The Reveal!, 2. Bee-Stitched Wonky Star Quilt Front, 3. Green Sunburst Quilt, 4. 15th October, 2010, 5. Challenge quilt 01, 6. Castle Peeps Quilt, 7. abstract quilt, 8. Patchwork Pillows, 9. Christmas Pillow, 10. lizzy's parade, 11. IMG_2235b, 12., 13. Modern Stripe Pillows, 14. Corey's quilt- HELP!, 15. Pillowtalk 3 Received from Quilting Barbie Front, 16. flea market fancy lattice baby quilt, 17. my new bedding set, 18. The back, 19. MT Swap Preview, 20. MiniQuilt Monday - quilting

Friday, October 15, 2010

A light at the end of the tunnel

Well, my friends, I am on the home stretch.  I have just one block remaining to finish piecing my Subway quilt from the Oh Fransson! quilt-along.  A few days ago I decided I was just sick of looking at this quilt on my wall, and it was time to finish it up.  I have since pushed through the last two rows.  I technically finished the quilt-along Wednesday night when I completed block 25 (which actually hadn't even been posted yet.)  I cheated a bit by designing my own pattern.

When this all started and I committed to making the quilt, I decided I wanted it longer so I designed 12 additional rows of 2" squares.  After finishing block 25, I really debated.  I wanted to be done, but I already had all those little squares cut.  I also wanted to add those extra rows to make my quilt look a little different from everyone else.  So I kept going.

I have the last block in little piles of squares ready to be sewn, but I think I might be done for the day.  I'm getting a little burned out again.  Now I have to start thinking about how to design the back.

This picture actually only shows the bottom half of the quilt.  I can't fit all the rows on my wall, but I'm really looking forward to laying all the rows out together to see how it all looks.  

Here is my design for the quilt based on the Oh Fransson! design.  The top 40 rows are basically the same as hers.  I designed rows 41-52. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Thanks to everyone who entered my giveaway.  It has been so fun to look over your blogs.  I have added many new sites to my Google Reader (which is pretty much out of control).

Here are our winners:

Business cards:  The winner is Jen who was #6. 

Fabric:  The winner is Regina who was #17.

Congrats ladies.  Send me an e-mail, and I'll get you your prizes.

Have a fabulous day!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

On the design board today

Months ago I bought a layer cake of 12 Days of Christmas by Kate Spain.  I love her fabrics, and this line happens to be my very favorite Christmas fabric this year (perhaps of all time).  I'm also very excited about the small preview of her new line Central Park.

While I love the idea of pre-cuts, I'm always stumped by them.  I'm afraid to cut them up and can never decide what to do with them. I have serious commitment issues with it comes to pre-cuts.  As such this little layer cake has been sitting on my shelf for a very long time.  I went through dozens of possibilities in my head, but nothing seemed right.  My main problem was that most of these prints are large designs.  I didn't want to cut too much and lose those images, but I also didn't want to leave the square whole and just sash them.

I started cutting a few days ago after finally making a decision!  I think it was a good choice.  I'm liking it a lot so far.

To get the diamond in the center of the pinwheel, I paired each block with a 3 1/2" square and sewed across the diagonal.  I was disappointed with how much waste that method created though.  I decided to sew a second line 1/2" down and cut between the two making some super cute little 2 1/2" HSTs.

I'm saving these little guys for later for a table runner or perhaps some hot pads.  The design possibilities are endless. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Halloween shirts and skirts

I found this cute little applique pattern and made my girls shirts to match their Halloween skirts that I made last year.  I just used t-shirts I already had on hand.  I made their skirts using my pattern.  Luckily they still fit.  Miss C. was really excited about her "hat shirt." 

Remember, just two more days to enter my little giveaway.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Business Cards and a Giveaway--Closed

I left a career I generally enjoyed to stay at home with our daughter when she was born.  While in some ways it was a relief to change gears, there are a lot of things I miss.  It might sound a little silly, but one of the things I miss is having my own business card.  I have a master's degree in social work, and I really felt that I earned those cards.  It was also a conversation piece that allowed me to talk with others about what I did.

I missed having cards in my wallet so I decided to make some for my blog.  Now, honestly, one of the reasons I wanted to make them is to test out this particular product from the photography printer I use.  These are not your average business card.  They are printed on very nice cardstock, and they look fabulous.  Sure, I don't have letters behind my name on these cards, but it makes me happy to carry them around in my wallet.  Now I can easily pass on my info if I'm chatting with someone about quilting or crafting.

Now for the giveaway.  If you want some of your very own blog business cards, just enter to win.  I'll design a full-color, double-sided card for you using your photography and logo (if you have one).  You'll get 50 cards 2.5" x 3.5" on your choice of cardstock: pearl, linen or watercolor (I used pearl for my cards).  This is a $50 value including the product, digital photo editing and design time.

A second winner will receive four fat quarters from one of my favorite lines of fabric--Modern Meadow by Joel Dewberry.  I'm so happy it's back in print again, although I have enough leftovers from our bed quilt to last me a long time.  

You have three chances to win.  Everyone knows the drill.  Make sure I have your contact info either in your post or through blogger.  One comment for each of the following:
  1. Your name
  2. Become a follower (reader counts too)
  3. Blog about this giveaway or pass it on to friends by e-mail, facebook, etc...

Thanks so much for following.  Have a wonderful day.  The winners will be announced Wednesday, October 13th.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Kitchen Table Redo

My new dining area is finally finished.  This is exactly what I envisioned, but it really feels like the project that should have never been.  Everything just kept going wrong with it.  I swear this project was doomed.  I know every project has it's quirks, but this project had way more than its fair share.

I grossly underestimated my spray paint needs.  I was thinking 6 cans.  I used 20 cans of paint and almost 5 cans of primer.  Then I tried to use a spray lacquer which didn't work super well.  After letting the paint cure for a few days, we brought it inside, and I knew within hours that I had to do more to protect it.  Back to the garage it went for three coats of brush-on polycrylic.  We were without a table for almost two weeks.  We already have some chips in the chairs from the three mini-destroyers around here.  I'm thinking of going to Home Depot and getting a quart of black paint in their ultra paint with primer to do touch-ups.  The table still looks good, no chips that I have noticed.

I follow several refurbishing blogs, all of which use spray paint almost exclusively.  I must say after this project, I doubt I will do much spray painting again.  I painted my blue chair with regular paint and had much more success with that project.  I am not enamored with spray paint like the rest of the blogging world.  I pretty much hate the stuff now. My finger has still not recovered.  Spray painting hurts.

When making the curtains, I headed to Joann's to get some fabric for curtain liner.  I bought the stuff with the rain coating.  DO NOT believe the lady who cuts your fabric when she tells you it should be fine to pre-wash.  That coating washed right off.  After pulling it out of the dryer, I realized I was left with some expensive white muslin.  The curtains went together pretty well, but as I tried to hang the curtain rods I realized I was not able to screw them into studs.  I had to use those drywall plugs, which I hate.  As I tried to put up the rod on the left, I realized the stellar individuals who built our home did not actually center the middle window.  It's closer to one side than the other--meaning my curtain rods would not fit where they meet in the corner.  I had to drill more holes and adjust.

But, it's finally done, and I really love it.  Amazingly, the kids have pretty much left the curtains alone.  We'll see how long it all lasts. You might noticed that we only have three chairs.  That's because mini-destroyer #2 broke the back off one of the chairs.  He also started breaking the back off another which I fixed with superglue.  That kid is a brute, and he is only 18 months old.  It's no wonder our house looks like it's been through the war. 

I used Cherry Wall Flower by Amy Butler for the curtains.



Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Path to Imperfection

I finished my imperfect quilt.  It's actually hanging in my living room currently.  I'm trying to decide if I want to keep it there.  I've mentioned before that I'm just not really into hanging quilts, but I like the idea more when it doesn't really look like a quilt.  The final size is about 31" x 31".

This was actually a really great creative experiment for me.  It was harder than I thought, and I learned some things along the way.  I'm not sure I will be doing quilts like this regularly, but it was really great to change things up and allow myself to make a quilt that lacks perfection.  I never used pins or my rotary cutter.  I did mark cut lines so my curves would match up (at least somewhat).  I learned that fabric can stretch-- a lot.  I basically soaked a lot of these pieces with water and pretty much cooked them with my iron.

Here is an example of adding a new row to the quilt.  I trimmed up the bottom edge of the quilt then laid it over the next row.  I marked it and cut 1/4 inch from my mark so my seams would pretty much line up.  If I were more patient, I would have pinned it like crazy, but I'm not really patient so I just sewed.  Then I pressed it flat.

After sewing all my segments together, I quilted it.  After quilting, I squared everything up and did a simple brown binding.  

I quilted each segment differently to create more of the image I was going for.  Initially I had no plan for this quilt, but it quickly became obvious to me that the yellow was the sun and the blue was the sky.  I added a hilly forest, brown path and dark blue river as the creation process continued.  I quilted the yellow in straight lines from the center as rays from the sun.  The sky is quilted in a loopy pattern showing the movement of the air.  The forest is quilted in a zig-zag shape mimicking the triangle shape of a pine tree.  The path is quilted in pebble quilting as rocks and the river in a squiggle showing waves. 

Overall, this was a great challenge to myself.  I was inspired by the Mod-Mood quilt-along from daintytime and used her piecing technique.  The quilt is machine pieced and quilted.