Friday, December 31, 2010

#20--The new final quilt of 2010--Baby Lattice

Well, I made it to the quilt shop the other night and finished this little guy up.  I haven't done a small quilt in a while.  They really are fun, quick and super easy to baste and quilt.  While making this one, I took some pictures of the block construction process to give you some tips.  I'll post those on Monday.

In the meantime, here are pictures of my actual final quilt of the year.  That puts me to 20.  I'm starting to run out of reasons to make quilts.  My mom and in-laws have two quilts each.  I gave my husband's siblings quilts for Christmas.  I have three siblings left who will receive quilts sometime in the future.  I still need to make a quilt for my youngest, Miss A, and that's about it.  I have toyed with the idea of trying to sell some, but I don't know if it would be worth it.  Obviously I won't make much, but at least it would support my habit and pay for my fabric addiction.

It's been snowing for two days, so I finally just went out and took my pictures in the snow.

I quilted it using the same pattern as my other lattice quilt.  I thought about straight line quilting, but I really like how the loopy quilting comes out.  I quilted with a candy pink.  I've never done a quilt with a contrasting threat before.  I'm still debating if I'll do it again, although I do like it.


With all the snow, I didn't have a place to get a full picture of the quilt.  I just took these on the kitchen floor.  I might get outside and take a few more to replace these, once the snow stops.

I tried something new on this quilt.  I pieced my batting.  I used up my batting stash with all the Christmas quilts I made, but I have oodles of scraps so I decided to try it out.  I have an edge-piecing foot for my machine, and that helped so much.  It worked out really well.  I think I will make a few more Frankenstein bats before I venture to the store for more batting.  I'm looking forward to using up my scrap pile and cleaning out that basket.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


WIP #1:
I may actually have one more finish before the end of the year.  I put together yet another quilt this past week.  I used the lattice design one more time to make a baby quilt for a friend.  I need to get to the store to buy some binding fabric.  I don't have anything that works in my stash.  It's all quilted, and just needs finished up. 

WIP #2:
I have quite a large stash of green fabric-- about twice as much as any other color.  I started pulling fabrics the other evening to make an all green HST quilt, but I decided it needed a little bit more color.  Here's a quick look at how far I am.  I really like the springy colors.  I think it will be a good project for January.  One of my unwritten goals is to use my stash as much as possible.  Every fabric came from my stash. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

I do not sew clothes.

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend.  We're pretty well back to normal.  One toy has already been relocated to the basement due to the brawls it has caused between my three children.  Seriously, Christmas with three little kids is not all it's cracked up to be.  The present opening was over in 20 minutes, and then the fights began.  We put the babies back to bed by 9:15 a.m.  Despite the fights and tantrums, we did have a good day and were able to enjoy our kiddos and just spend the day with them.  Morning naps helped a lot.

Now, onto sewing related topics.

When I was in Houston at the International Quilt Festival last month, I had a moment of weakness.  I bought two patterns to sew myself a shirt and a skirt.  The woman running the booth was wearing this same top and skirt, and it looked so cute on her.  I thought, "I can do that."  I should have turned around and left. 


A few weeks later, I bought fabric.  Last week I cut up said fabric--3.5 yards to be exact.  The skirt takes A LOT of fabric.  It's like wearing your own personal quilt.  I really like the fabric.  It's from Innocent Crush and my favorite print from the line.  Unfortunately, I now seriously regret cutting the fabric.  I finally realized I don't want to make the skirt.  I don't even think I would want to wear the skirt.  It's just too frilly and girly for me.


Sure, I have sewn some simple twirly skirts for my girls.  I have even sewn a couple shirts for them.  Nothing hard.  Nothing with darts.  Nothing with a lining.  Nothing with a zipper. Next time I get the urge to sew clothing for myself, someone should make me write on the blackboard 50 times, "I do not sew clothes.  I do not sew clothes.  I do not sew clothes.  I do not sew clothes.  I do not sew clothes.  I do not sew clothes.  I do not sew clothes.  I do not sew clothes.  I do not sew clothes.  I do not sew clothes.  I do not sew clothes.  I do not sew clothes.  I do not sew clothes.  I do not sew clothes.  I do not sew clothes.  I do not sew clothes.  I do not sew clothes.  I do not sew clothes."

It's not that I can't.  I could probably figure it out, but it just gives me a headache to even think about it.  I really think each sewist has particular talents they can do well.  I can make quilts.  My SIL on the other had can find something at goodwill and remake it into something fabulous without any kind of pattern.  I have now realized that I just can't and don't want to make clothes.  I am pretty decided that this fabric is never going to be a skirt, so onto the next likely solution--a quilt.  What kind of quilt can I make from these fabrics:

I have almost 4 yards of the red (although in random cuts because I had completely cut out the skirt and ruffles).  I have fat quarters of the first three and about 3/4 of a yard of the yellow fabric.  I'm thinking of pairing it with an ivory Kona solid and might pull some additional fabric from my stash if I can find anything that works with this.  I'm debating on a design.  This might be the next quilt I put together. I'm kind of feeling like this fabric needs sewn up.  Any suggestions?  And, if anyone is interested in a couple patterns for a shirt and skirt, let me know.  I'll give you a good deal.  I don't think I'll be using them anytime soon.....

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My favorite French bread

I don't share recipes on here much because it's primarily a sewing blog, but also because there are so many fabulous cooking sites out there already.  Although, I did make my favorite French bread yesterday and thought I'd pass the recipe along.  It's really enjoyable.  The recipe is from an elderly lady in my neighborhood growing up.  It's very iconic.  Everyone knew her for her fabulous bread.  Then she put her recipe in our church cookbook, and now we can all make her fabulous bread.  When my younger sister got married I gave her all the fixins, bowls, pan and measuring cups to make this bread as well as this recipe card I made. We're all pretty addicted. 



French Bread
2 TB yeast
½ cup warm water
2 cups hot tap water
½ cup sugar
1 TB salt
½ cup oil
6-7 cups sifted flour (I use bread flour)
1 egg white

Start yeast about 10 minutes before making bread.  Place yeast into 1/2 cup warm water; stir and allow to sit.  In large bowl, put  2 cups hot water, sugar, salt and oil.  Stir, then add 3 cups flour.  Mix.  Add yeast mixture and mix.  Add remaining flour 1 cup at a time.  More flour may be needed.  Let rise 10 minutes then stir down, repeat.  Stir down dough a total of six times.  Split dough into two equal sections.  Roll out each section of dough then roll up into a loaf.  Tuck ends and seams.  Brush with lightly beaten egg white.  Let rise approximately 30 minutes.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until golden brown. 

This bread is wonderful to eat just straight from the oven, and it also makes great cinnamon roll dough.  Here are a couple other ideas for it.  My mom introduced me to this honey butter recipe over Thanksgiving, and I love it.  I've been looking for a recipe like this for a long time.  The Cool Whip is the secret ingredient.  It's perfect on the bread.

Honey Butter
1 cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups honey
1 ½ cups Cool Whip

Whip all ingredients.  Refrigerate for up to a week.  

Finally, here is my real reason for making this bread.  I'm doing a breakfast with my siblings and their families who are in town Thursday morning.  I am making this absolutely amazing French toast with my bread.  My sister got this recipe from a B&B they stayed at years ago.  I haven't made this in a long time, but it's so good.  We're all getting excited for Thursday morning.

King William French Toast
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup butter
2 tablespoons corn syrup
6 eggs
2 cups milk
1 tablespoons vanilla
1 loaf French bread

Combine butter, sugar & corn syrup in a saucepan & mix well.  Heat until boiling and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.   Pour into a 9x13 pan which has been sprayed with Pam.  Slice bread into 8 slices and arrange over syrup.  Combine eggs, milk and vanilla in blender for 15 seconds.  Pour over bread.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Bake at 350°, uncovered, for 45 minutes.  Sprinkle with pecans and powdered sugar.

Completely ignore the fact that this recipe has no business being in the breakfast section of any cookbook.  It should probably be listed in the back with the desserts, but for some reason we all pretend that 6 eggs and some bread make it a breakfast dish.  Just enjoy!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Done!

I finished my last Christmas projects yesterday.  I made a pile of potholders for a few close neighbors and Miss C's preschool teachers.   I didn't do anything fancy--just some cute kitchen fabric.  I plan to give one of each to those on our list.  After I had them all almost finished, I realized other people might not share my love of the color orange.  I hope they like them.



I also finished wrapping all the presents last night.  We will do a quick grocery trip on Wednesday for a few things, but that's it.  It's so nice to be done.

My husband is extremely hard to buy for.  He is pretty specific in his interests and hobbies, and I don't even try to get him gifts in those categories.  Gifts for him are generally useful, but there is one gift I always give him that isn't clothes or something else useful--a Dilbert Desk Calendar.  He relates to Dilbert and always enjoys the comics.  I hate being horribly obvious in my purchase of this item, so this year I bought it from Amazon rather than the Calendar Club in the mall.  The other night I asked the hubs to get the mail.  He came inside with his calendar and a mangled box.  It seems the mailman was too busy to just drop the box by our step so he shoved that thing into our lock box so tight that it was impossible to get out from our side of the box.  My husband had to open the package inside our box to get everything out.  He came inside a bit sheepishly and showed me what happened.  He then proceeded to tell me that he already knew I had ordered it because Amazon makes recommendations based on what you just purchased.  He happened to notice what I had been browsing for.  I knew this.  Why didn't I think of that?  Stupid mailman!  Stupid Amazon!  So much for Christmas surprises.  I still wrapped it up even though it's not a surprise at all.

Monday, December 20, 2010

2011 Quilting Goals

Elizabeth from Don't Call Me Betsy is hosting a link-up party on her blog for people to share their 2011 goals for sewing and quilting.  She mentioned last week that she would be doing this, and it got me thinking.  I'm still in a bit of a slump with my creativity and haven't had any great ideas recently.  I'm currently working on relatively boring potholders for the neighbor Christmas gifts, but no new quilts.

I was honestly a bit overwhelmed when I put together my list of finished quilts for 2010.  I was able to accomplish a lot because my kids have been fantastic sleepers this past year.  For most of 2010 the babies took a 1 1/2 hour morning nap, and all three kids took 3 hour afternoon naps.  That is my secret folks.  I don't have many outside obligations and my kids are marathon sleepers.  Then the babies are in bed by 6:30 and Miss C is in bed by 7:30.  That's how I have gotten so much done.

This has changed quite drastically recently, and my sewing time has suffered a lot.  Naptime is shorter for the twins and pretty much non-existent for Miss C.  I miss it.  I am certainly not going to make 19 quilts in 2011, and that's okay.  I also want to be much more selective about the quilts I do make.  So here goes.

1.  A HST (half-square triangles) Quilt:  I plan to do 12" blocks with sashing.  Each block will be made up entirely (or almost entirely) of HST.  I had the idea last week and then saw this pillow and knew I wanted to make a quilt like it.  I'm still deciding on fabrics, but I think this will be one of my first projects of the year.  Here are some other ideas for my blocks:

  
1. SNTMVQB Block from Lisa P, 2. SNTMVQB Block from Gretchen, 3. SNTMVQB Block from Jessica, 4. February Block for Bee Crazy, 5. Urban Circus Quilt, 6. Half Square Triangles Galore

2.  A Flying Geese Quilt:  I'm not sure on a design yet, but I have wanted to try flying geese for a while.
1. Sarah's quilt (quilt4), 2. Another Mug Rug..., 3. Front, 4. flying gooses, 5. Patchwork Pillows, 6. The critics  (#3 is actually HST, but I like the idea of offsetting the flying geese so I included it.)

3.  A quilt to donate to the bone marrow transplant unit at the University Hospital.  My father received two stem cell transplants in this unit.  He then passed away in this same unit from treatment complications.  I visited him almost everyday while he was there for his second transplant because I was close-by, attending grad school at the U of U.  I still miss him terribly.  Patients receive a quilt on their "birthday" or their transplant day.  This quilt was very important to him and also to my mom now that he is gone.  It's something I have been thinking about for a while.  Our local modern quilt guild is donating a quilt to this unit, but I also really want to make my own to donate.  Even though he has been gone almost nine years now, I feel like it's part of the healing process for me.  I want to give something to someone going through the same thing. Cancer treatment is a nasty thing.

4.  A new argyle pillow.  I miss ours.  I think our couch needs a new one.  I'll also put together a tutorial on how to do it.

5.  A lattice baby quilt.  A friend of mine had a baby months ago.  I have wanted to make a baby quilt for her and just haven't gotten to it.  I'm thinking of doing the lattice quilt pattern again because I love how it comes out and also so I can put together a tutorial for that one. 

6.  A cathedral windows pillow.  I loved Brooke's ever since she brought it to quilt guild.  It's been on my list to try for quite a while.  I just think they look so classy.

7.  Finish my wonky log cabin quilt.  I've only made one block, but I really like it.  I just need to make 11 more.

8.  Participate in my first quilting bee.  I'm really excited about our group and all the fabulous quilters who have signed up.  I can't wait to see what they request as well as what everyone makes.

9.  Use my Bliss fat quarter pack I won from Adrianne at Little Bluebell.

I think that's a good list to get me going.  We'll see how 2011 compares to 2010.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Winners!

Wow, 638 comments on my post.  Thanks to all who entered.  Thanks especially to those who are sticking around here on Reader or by following my blog.  It was fun to read all your comments and check out many of your blogs as well.  Here are our winners:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
271 618 
Timestamp: 2010-12-18 17:03:48 UTC

271--SoozeM said...
    Thanks for a great giveaway, I would choose the Origins charm pack! I love your lattice quilt, just gorgeous!
    December 13, 2010 5:06 PM

618--Lynne said...
    Beautiful fabrics! Thanks for the great giveaway!

Congrats to our winners.  I hope you all have a fabulous holiday season!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A nice surprise after a very long day.

Look what arrived in my mailbox today, courtesy of Tammy from a content life  and Marmalade Fabrics (by the way she is having 20% for her grand opening right now).  Tammy was hosting a giveaway a week or two ago, and I won!  I'm really excited about this book and hope I find lots of good ideas in it. 

It's always nice to have a happy surprise during a rough day.  I've been dealing with a sick Miss C. for a few days.  Neither of us got much sleep last night, but she had the luxury of laying around on the couch all day watching TV.  I still had to be the mom.  She was pretty much in heaven, despite being sick.  You see, we don't have a TV around our house.  We don't have room for it, we don't have cable, and we're just not big TV watchers.  We have a little 13" DVD player we bring up in crisis situations (when a kiddo is sick or when I was out of town).  It's a pretty big deal to Miss C. because it's so rare to just veg on the couch and watch Little Einstein shows or Toy Story.  She threw up Sunday morning about 6 a.m. and as soon as she finished she looked up at me and said, "I'm sick.  Can you bring the TV up from the basement so I can watch?" I guess she has to take every opportunity she can get.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Giveaway Day! -CLOSED



I'm joining in with the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!  There will be two winners.  The first winner chosen by Mr. Random will be able to choose their prize. The second winner will receive the other prize.

You can win either six fat quarters of Innocent Crush:

Or a charm pack of Origins by Basic Grey from Moda:

I used Origins to make my most recent finish--my lattice quilt.  Here's just one picture for now--fresh out of the dryer last night.  We'll see how the weather looks today, and I'll try to snap a few more outside. (Edit--I made it outside for two minutes this morning during naptime to take some pictures.  Check out the following post about my finished lattice quilt.) 


Just leave a comment.  The giveaway will run through Friday, December 17th at midnight MST.  I'll announce the winner Saturday, December 18th.  International participants welcome!

Just a reminder--please leave your e-mail if you are a "no-reply blogger".

Finished Lattice Quilt--My 18th and final finish of 2010

I put together pages for all my finished 2009 and 2010 quilts.  The tabs for the links are at the top of my blog.  I was really surprised when I put them together and looked back over what I have finished this year.  I really can't believe I actually finished 18 (Edit: 19--I found another one I forgot to list) quilts this year.  I'm not sure where I found the time.  One recent commenter mentioned I should do a post about my time management because 18 quilts is pretty astounding.  I agree, and I'm not sure how I did it.  (Although, I think it's just plain crazy that I have made this many quilts.  I often ask myself, "Why am I starting a new quilt?"  It really is an addiction.)


I used Ashley's idea from Film in the Fridge for this quilt.  I loved her lattice quilt she posted earlier this year.   I chose not to paper piece this guy though.  I used a jelly roll of Origins by Basic Grey for the center strips.  I cut each jelly roll strip into 4 pieces (10" each).  I then pieced 4" tall 90-degree triangles on either side of the strip, just eyeballing it to make sure they were centered with each other.  Then I squared it up to a 6.5" square.  (I will post a tutorial with pictures to better explain this, but probably not until January).  It actually came together relatively quick.  I arranged the blocks randomly rather than attempting a pattern. The layout is 10 blocks x 12 blocks.  It measures about 60x72. 



I only quilted the white space doing a dense loopy free-motion stitch.  I used a thin loopy stitch to travel between sections.  I was a bit afraid of how it would shrink up, but it turned out really well.  No super weird puckering.  


I used brown flannel for the back and a 10" tall strip of left over pieces.  I used almost the entire jelly roll.  I love it when that happens.  It's always satisfying to use up exactly what you bought. 

This photo is overexposed to better show the quilting detail.  The brown color of the flannel is truer in the previous picture.
Now my design wall is cleaned off.  I spent time organizing my space last night and putting things away.  After going through my fabric and organizing things, I still have no new ideas so I want to hear yours.  What is on your list for next year?  Post links for tutorials, flickr pics, any ideas you have planned for future projects.  I'm looking for inspiration. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mug Rugs Received

Thanks again to AnneMarie for featuring me on Gen X Quilters.  I passed 100 followers yesterday, and I know most of the newest followers found me through that feature! 

I just wanted to post a quick "thank you" to Kendra (AKA Mccuisti) who sent me my mug rug package from the flickr Scrappy Mug Rug Swap.  She was my secret partner for the swap.

She sent me a little blue chair mug rug.  I think she was pretty brave to put this together.  It looks like it was a lot of work. 


She also sent me a second one that's a bit larger.  I love how she quilted this one.

Finally, she sent me a couple cuts of Tula Pink's Nest. 
Thanks again, Kendra!

I finished putting the binding on my lattice quilt this afternoon.  I'm very excited about how it turned out and can't wait to show pictures.  Hopefully, I will have a chance tomorrow to get a few.  Also, don't forget to stop by tomorrow for Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!

Friday, December 10, 2010

I am featured today on Gen X Quilters!

Check out Gen X Quilters today.  AnneMarie is featuring me and my blog for her Follower Friday!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Veggie Tales vs. the Dancing Queen and other randomness

I pretty much allow my three-year-old, Miss C, to have control over our car music.  It's important to her, and it's not really important to me.  So, generally we listen to Veggie Tales.  A while back we introduced her to Abba in attempt to add some variety to our car rides.  She loves it.  Now we switch back and forth between Veggies Tales and Abba depending on her mood.  Yesterday, while getting ready for preschool, she asked if we could listen to Abba in the car.  I told her that would be fine.  She then said, "I want the Dancing Queen!" 

I'm not sure how to feel about the whole thing.  We have gone from singing, Christian veggies to the Dancing Queen.  It just made me laugh. 

Happiness for the day:  All three of my children are currently napping.  This is the first nap Miss C has had in over a month.  I'm thrilled!

On another note, Monday was another good mail day.  I received these fun fat quarters in the mail from Lisa at This Domestic Bliss.  I've actually been super lucky recently in the giveaway department.  It's been fun.  Speaking of giveaways, I am joining in on the Sew Mama Sew giveaway day.  So make sure to stop back on Monday to check it out. 


Finally, here is the final layout of my one and only WIP; the blocks just need to be sewn together.  I have absolutely nothing else going on.  I don't even have any ideas in the works except a skirt I might be brave enough to make for myself.  I have finished up all my projects.  It's actually kind of nice.  I think I'll finish this guy up in the next few days and take a bit of a break.  Lately, I've just felt a bit quilted-out.  I might have had too much time at the sewing machine trying to finish up all the Christmas gifts.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tree Pillow Pointers

Here is a quick tutorial for those interested in doing your own Christmas tree pillow.  All seams are 1/4".

The tree section is paper pieced.  If you are unfamiliar with basic paper piecing, Ashley has a great tutorial on Film in the Fridge.

Cut your green strips 1.5 - 2.5", cutting each with a slight angle.  Cut red strips between a fat 1/2" and 3/4".  Cut your paper triangle (a piece of lightweight scrapbook paper works great) and start with your first slightly wonky strip of green.


Then add your first red strip.  Sew using about a 1.5 stitch.


Continue adding strips, alternating the wonky sides, until you have completed your tree.

Square it up using the paper as your guide then cut your side pieces.  Use your tree as your guide while cutting these strips to get the angle correct. Sew the tree to the white side pieces. 


Square up your tree section.  First even out the base of the tree, lining up your ruler with the bottom of the tree.  Then line up the base with your cutting mat and even out the top line.

Make your wonky star using 1.5 inch squares.  The Silly BooDilly has a great tutorial for wonky stars.  That's where I learned to make them.  I do like to use slightly larger triangles, though.  I cut my triangles for the star points from 2" squares. 

Piece your finished star to your side strips.  Then do the same with your trunk piece.  Finally sew all your strips together making sure to center the star, tree and trunk. 

Add a layer of batting and a lining on the back.  Quilt as desired.  I stitched in the ditch with matching thread on the tree, star and trunk, then did a tight loopy free-motion stitch on the white.  Square up to 20.5" after quilting and finish your pillow using an envelope back or invisible zipper.

To add the 1/4" red border, square block up to 18" before quilting.  Add 3/4" red strips to top and bottom then sides.  Finally, add 2" white strips to top and bottom and then sides.  Finish as described above.

Monday, December 6, 2010

More Christmas Pillows and another good mail day

I was able to finish up two final throw pillows over the weekend.  I made a new tree pillow because my other one is on its way to a new home.  I also make a strings pillow to match the group.  I tend to go through pillow phases, making several at once.  I think I'm about done with this phase.  It's time to move onto a new project.

 

I also did piping on this pillow using a tutorial from Edeenut, an old college roommate. I've done piping once before, but I cut my fabric on the bias this time, and it worked much better.  I found this tutorial Stop Staring and Start Sewing about making bias tape, and it worked out pretty well.  It was a bit tricky the first time, and I had to unpick, but I think I'd be much quicker at it the second time around.  I also quilted this guy with metallic thread.  I bought it for a previous project, but never used it.  I think it adds a nice touch, but it was a beast to use.  It broke multiple times.  I don't know that I'll be using it again any time soon.

The back is a simple envelope back from linen and a strip of Nicey Jane.

 My Christmas tree pillow is almost the same as the last one.  I added a thin inside border in red.  I also did piping on this pillow rather than binding like I did on my last tree pillow.



Saturday was definitely a good mail day.  This arrived.  I won a giveaway from Adrianne over at Little Bluebell, and she sent a full fat quarter pack of Bliss my way.  I'm not really sure what to do with it yet.  This is a lot of fabric!


And finally, my current WIP.