Tuesday, November 30, 2010

12 Days of Christmas Quilt

I finished up three quilts in the week before Thanksgiving.  It was a quilting marathon, but I had several projects that needed to be done.  This quilt was my second finish and has been in the works for a while.  It's made from a layer cake of 12 Days of Christmas by Kate Spain as well as some yardage.  I'm not sure where I got the idea for the pinwheel design.  I know I have seen it various places before.  It seemed to fit well with the fabrics.  The final measurement is approximately 65 x 85.  The back is a green flannel design from the same line. 




One of my favorite parts of this quilt is the binding.  I used the tutorial from TLC Stitches for a faux piped binding.  It's much more labor intensive than a normal binding, but I really loved the results.  Her tutorial was clear and easy to follow.  This isn't something I would use on every quilt, but it added a really nice touch on this one. 
This quilt now lives at my mom's house.  It was her Christmas present, and I let her open it early to enjoy all month.  Some quilts are harder than others to give away.  This one was a bit hard to part with, although, I know it will be well loved and taken care of.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Some Christmas gifts and a good mail day

I finished up a few Christmas gifts for some girlies on my list.  The fabric, though not my style at all, is highly appropriate for it's recipients.  I'm not a princess kind of mom.  I'm pretty anti-princess actually.  In fact my daughter has never seen a single princess movie, has no Disney dress-up clothes, and has no idea who Cinderella is.  I can be so mean sometimes.  It was a stretch for me to buy this fabric.  Luckily, I used almost all of it up in these projects for my nieces.  I'm not sure I could have princess scraps in my stash :)

I used the buttercup bag pattern from Made by Rae.  It's the perfect purse size for a little girl. 


I also used the apron pattern from Making it Fun by Michael Miller Fabrics.

Finally, the mailman knocked on my door this morning.  Good thing I shoveled that 10 inches of snow off our steps while the kiddos were eating breakfast (this is after the hubs shoveled about the same amount last night at 6 p.m.).  I think we're in for a rough winter.

Anyway, I got this super cute pillow in the mail from Val, aka PinkPlease!, for the Pillow Talk Swap.  I think it looks great on my sewing chair and adds the perfect amount of back support.  I'm really tempted to try a similar pattern for a quilt.  I love the triangles.  Sure, I might be pulling my hair out by the end, but they look really great!


It was fun, albeit a bit stressful, to participate in the Pillow Talk Swap.  I sent my Christmas Tree pillow off last week to travel 1000's of miles to live in a new home across the ocean.  I'm debating signing up for the doll quilt swap in January.  We'll see how things go.

City Green Quilt

Here is the quilt I made from my brother and his wife for Christmas.  We had a little family get-together the other night, and I was able to give it to them.  I think they really like it, and that makes me happy.  I used the City Green pattern from City Quilts by Cherri House.  I made it a couple rows longer, though I now wish I would have made it even longer.  My brother is 6'8" and needs a tall quilt, but this will do.  The pattern really grew on me after a while.  I wasn't sure about it at first.  The original uses a very dark sashing.  I like the ivory as I feel like it highlights the colors better. 


I love the back.  The main fabric is Kona green grass.  I also used a strip of Kona lime and some Nicey Jane.

 I did straight-line quilting following the ivory sashing.  I quilted a single row on the horizontal through each sashing strip.  I then quilted three rows on the vertical--one down the center of each sashing strip and one on either side, just inside the colored blocks. 

The final part of their present was the argyle pillow.  I know my SIL loved it and was super excited.  She said it's her favorite thing I have ever made.  My husband was a little sad though.  Looks like I'll be making another one.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thankful

The holiday weekend around here is wrapping up, and we'll all soon be back to normal.  Thanksgiving is a nice time to think about the things in your life that really make a difference.  Some of these are very serious, some not so much, but I truly am thankful for everything on this list.
  • I'm thankful for my family: a husband who is fabulously supportive of me; children who keep me busy and are healthy and happy; a mother who cares so much about me--enough to drive through nasty weather to spend the weekend with us; a father who left a great example for me to live up to; and siblings who work hard and are great individuals. 
  • I'm thankful to live in a place where women are respected.  I received a good education and am viewed as an equal to those around me.  There are many women in the world without that benefit.
  • I am thankful for hobbies that make me happy and fulfill my desire to be creative.
  • I am thankful for my warm home, especially when it's snowing and cold outside.
  • I am thankful for my dishwasher and my washer and dryer.  I honestly think about this almost every time I do dishes or wash clothes.
  • I'm thankful for my vacuum because dirty carpet is one thing I truly can't stand.
  • I'm thankful for online fabric shopping because going to the quilt shop with three small children is madness.
  • I'm thankful for Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath Scrubber.  Seriously, this guy is like magic.  
  • I'm thankful for my crazy dog, Pixel.  She doesn't get nearly as much attention as she did in our pre-kid life, but she still loves me anyway.
  • I am thankful for nap time.
  • I am thankful for Diet Coke.
I hope you all had a great weekend!

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Wishing for autumn again

    Miss C has been up and down several times tonight.  I'm afraid she is getting sick.  Rather than going back to bed like I know I should, I find myself in front of the computer working on photos from my "to process" folder that are long overdue.  I did a family shoot for a friend just as the leaves were turning about a month ago.  I stayed after we were done and took some photos of the leaves.  With inches of snow on the ground and lots more to come tomorrow, I really miss autumn.  It's my favorite time of the year to take photos.










    Monday, November 22, 2010

    A new Christmas pillow

    Saturday evening I had plans to run several errands and get lots done after the kiddos went to bed.  Also, a LQS was having Midnight Madness, and I was looking forward to heading over there to see the sales.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature didn't agree.  About 5:30 p.m. it started to snow around here.  Not the kind of snow that you say, "Oh look, it's snowing outside."  It was the kind of snow where you say, "Ack, that's awful.  I'm sorry for anyone who has to be out in that."  Our neighbor said he measured 17" by Sunday morning. 

    So instead of heading out to run errands, I stayed inside, drank hot chocolate and finished up this guy.  This is one of my favorite pillows ever.  I love it--almost so much that I don't want to put it in the living room where little dirty hands can get to it. 



    I paper-pieced the tree.  It was inspired by this quilt from Stitches and Scissors.  I adored it when I saw it and thought one of those blocks would make a perfect pillow. 


    Now onto other projects.  I finished quilting a quilt this morning during nap time.  I'll hopefully finish it up this evening and post some pictures after Thanksgiving.  I have another quilt basted and ready to quilt, but I don't think my back and shoulders can take it.  I might need a break for a day or two.  I need to learn how to stop tensing my shoulders while I free-motion quilt.  I'm always wishing for a massage by the time I'm done.

    Have a happy Monday!

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    A practice pillow

    My swap partner with the Pillow Talk Swap likes linen, and I'd really like to incorporate linen into the pillow I make for her.  I'm excited because I have been interested in working with linen on a project, but haven't jumped in yet.  I decided I needed a test run in using linen before actually making her pillow.  New Christmas pillow covers for the couch have been on my list for a while now.  I used my scraps from my Mug Rug Swap project.  I really like using the non-Christmas fabric in red and green.  It was a fun easy project and came together really quickly.  The white linen does add a really nice texture, but was difficult to use as it frays quite a bit.  I starched it, which helped.  The back is a simple envelope enclosure.  One half is solid red, the other green.

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    One More Mug Rug

    I put this second mug rug together for my swap partner yesterday during nap time.  It popped into my brain while I was making the first, and I really wanted to try it out.  I liked the idea of leaving the shape wonky rather than squaring it up like I usually would do.  I used the same fabrics as the first mug rug.  I think they'll make a fun set.


    Front

    Back

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    A "hallelujah" quilting moment

    Do you ever have "hallelujah" moments?  You know, when you are so relieved that you think angels just might start singing?  Okay, the angels are a bit extreme, but I did have a "hallelujah" moment this morning when I put the last stitches in the binding on a quilt I have been working on for a while.  It's a quilt that has plagued me.  I almost scrapped it a couple times.  I made multiple mistakes and had to unpick it many times.  The quilting didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked.  I'm just so relieved to be done.  The good thing though is that I actually really like it now that it's all bound and finished.  I cut it out a month or two ago when I was still working on the subway quilt.  This quilt is also made of lots of little squares.  I'm not sure what I was thinking when I decided on the pattern, but I might have a sickness.  I need to stop with the little squares. 

    It's actually a gift for my brother and his wife for Christmas.  I found out a few days ago that they are coming up for Thanksgiving as well as Christmas.  I really wanted to give them their quilt early since they live in a furnace and have about six weeks of "winter" each year.   I decided to push through and get it all finished up so I can give it to them while they are here.  They might as well get as much use out of it as they can. 


    Now I just need to throw it in the wash and wrap it up!  I'll most more pictures after they open it. I don't want to spoil too much.

    My other project has been working on a mug rug for my swap.  Here is what I came up with.  I know, more small squares.  It really is a sickness.  I do think I'm going to make a second mug rug to send along.  I have a fun idea for a wonky log cabin that I want to try.  None of the fabrics I used are actually Christmas fabrics.  It was fun to pull together other things from my stash.

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    A couple more Dianne Firth pics

    I had a couple questions on the quilts I posted made by Dianne Firth.  I did take two close up shots and wanted to post those as well.  I uploaded these at full size so you should be able to click on the photo to open a larger version and really see the detail.  They are both some type of applique rather than pieced.  I'm not sure if she used any method to fuse them or just sewed her strips in place.  I googled her, and she doesn't appear to have a blog or site, but here is a little info about her.


    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    Back to real life

    I flew back from Houston yesterday afternoon.  I had a fun time with my sister and her family, although not exactly restful (ie, going to her son's soccer game at 7:45 a.m. on Saturday).  I also almost finished sewing a jacket for Miss C that I have had cut out for a month. We had project night on Saturday night and stayed up way too late.

    We went to the quilt festival all day Friday and had a good time despite the fact that we were the youngest there by two generations.  You really have to watch out for those ladies on the motorized scooters.  Some of them were honestly scary.  Plus, I was a little disappointed in the fabric selections at the vendors booths.  It all seemed so dated.  I found only one booth with fabric I was interested in.  Oh well, it's certainly cheaper that way.

    I really enjoyed the art quilts.  There was some pretty amazing stuff.  My favorites were by Dianne Firth.




    Here are a few others that were pretty impressive.  People can do amazing things with fabric.





    Now it's back to real life again.  I need to get working on my mug rug for the swap as well as finish up several projects for Christmas. 

    I've been looking around for other swaps to get a few on my "resume."  Which ones have you all done or suggest looking into?

    Have a great Tuesday.

    Thursday, November 4, 2010

    Happy Quilting Anniversary to Me!

    One year ago today I became an official quilter.  I finished my "first" quilt on November 4, 2009.  I made this for my little guy because I felt a bit bad I was always making skirts for the girls, but nothing for him. 


    I have actually made other quilts before this one.  The dino quilt is not technically my first.  I don't count the others though.  I made this quilt after I truly discovered the wealth of knowledge and ideas available on blogs.  I began to realize the possibilities for quilting.  I also realized that I could free motion quilt with my machine, and I was sold.  Many more quilts have followed.  This quilt started my addiction to quilting, google reader, free motion quilting, and the quilt shop vs. Joann's.  It's been great to try so many new things.  I wonder what creations will come in the next year.  I have a few in mind, we'll see what develops.

    Here are a few pics of Miss C's quilt on her new bed.  I think it looks pretty cute in her room.  The bed is from Ikea, of course.  One of these days I'll get around to making a pillow to match.  I also think that purple butterfly and her light pink shelf need a new, brighter coat of paint to match.  I'm thinking an orange butterfly would be nice.



    Well, I am on my way to Houston this morning to visit my sister and go to the International Quilt Festival!  My husband is bravely watching the kiddos while I'm gone.  Four days of quilts, sister bonding, shopping and eating good food!  Who could ask for more?  I think it's a great way to celebrate my Quilting Anniversary.  Have a great weekend!

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    A Get-Things-Done Day

    Do you ever have those days when you realize there are a lot of things to get done in the day?  Unfortunately, sewing will probably not be one of them.  The nice thing is looking back at the day and realizing how much you accomplished (sometimes).

    Wash the dog--check
    Wash the kids--check
    Wash 4 loads of clothes--in progress
    Wash the kitchen floor--not checked
    Vacuum the whole house--check
    Replace door stop that said kids broke--check
    Replace kick plate on the front door to match the new doorknobs--check
    Clean the high chairs and wash covers--not checked
    Pack for my trip tomorrow!!!--not checked

    And, maybe eat a few of these along the way..... I found them at Target last night.  I love when these show up in stores.  My husband hates them so I get to keep them all to myself.  Thank goodness the bags are small.


    Here are the final contestants for my scrappy mug rug for the swap.  I'm still debating on a design and which fabrics will make the final cut.