Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Something I've been working on for a while

We've pretty well recovered from Thanksgiving weekend around here.  The weekend laundry is done, although it already needs done again.  I mopped the kitchen floor today (only because I was basting a quilt).  We're back to a normal sleeping schedule.  Everyone loves having their own beds back.  We spent 16 hours in the car and spent two nights at each grandparents' home.  Miss A's voice is slowly recovering after screaming for two of the last four hours in the car.   I'm really glad we're staying home for Christmas.  So, onto some newly finished projects.

I've been itching to change up our bedroom a bit.

First it started with new curtains.  We got new neighbors to the back corner of us several months ago.  They leave their back porch light on all night.  I'm not bothered by the fact that they leave their light on.  We do the same.  The problem is that their light would shine right in our eyes at night through a crack in the blinds while we tried to go to sleep.  This is the first time I remember the hubs actually requesting I buy fabric and make a project.  He wanted curtains to replace our blinds. 

I tried really hard to find some fabric that matched our bed quilt, but couldn't find anything that worked and that I liked.  I came across this fabric and loved the pattern.  I decided to go with it since I'd been thinking about making a new quilt for our bed anyway.  This is some home dec fabric from Hancock Fabric.  I lined it with black out lining, and our room is so nice and dark at night now.

After the curtains were finished and up, I immediately wanted to replace our quilt.  I wanted something very simple with all solids.  I found a couple duvet covers I liked, but I'm not a big fan of duvets.  I prefer quilts.

This is what I came up with.  The fabric is from Art Gallery Pure Elements in linen and caviar.  I LOVE their solids.  I noticed they have some new colors I haven't seen before.  I'm excited how many manufacturers are printing more solids.

I also came across 26" square feather pillow forms from Ikea that I love.  I made covers for them from Amy Butler's Lark home dec fabric.  I actually made the pillow covers before I made the quilt.  The whole ensemble went together better when it was just in my head.  I'm still not convinced that I like the pillows with the quilt, but I love them both separately.  So, for now, they are together.  I'm thinking down the road I might make these faux pleated pillow covers from V and Co.

I did lots of straight line quilting.  I'm glad I started on the black because I was doing those lines 1/2" apart. The lines on the white are 1" apart and went much faster.

The frames are new too, and from Ikea as well.  I took the flower photos a few years ago.  Since taking the pictures for this post I actually switched the photos out with some new autumn ones that I took last fall and just barely had printed.

I love how clean my room looks when all the stuff can hide on the floor during pictures.

My prints that now hang in those frames:

And this is what my nightstand normally looks like.  At least I dusted when I cleaned everything off for the photos.

Monday, November 21, 2011

November Bee Blocks

Quilting bees can be lots of fun, but they can also be a bit stressful.  With Thanksgiving and the end of the month coming, I knew I had to get these done this week or else I'd be late. 

Lee's tree block for the Sew Beautiful bee.  Lee gave us a lot of freedom to create a block.  She simply requested trees.  This is what I came up with.  I paper pieced each side of the tree for precision.  She used linen for her background, and I loved it.  It fits so well with the fabrics she chose.

Krista's block for the Stash Trad Bee.  I've been procrastinating this block because Krista had us all sufficiently scared with the need to piece this with scant 1/4" seams.  This was not a quick block for me, but it turned out pretty good, and I think these blocks will make a great quilt.

Amber's DS inspired block for our local quilt bee.

Val's block for her Heroes Helping Heroes charity quilt.

This past month was my month for our local bee (it runs from one MQG meeting to the next).  I asked the bee members to make 12" strings blocks with some of my favorite fabrics. 

These are my blocks I received for the 4x5 bee a couple months ago.  I probably won't do another round anytime soon of the 4x5 so I've decided to use these on the other side of the strings quilt.  I think I will sash them and likely put them on point.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

On blogging and other things--including yummy chocolate cookies

When I told the hubs I was taking a bit of a break from blogging, he asked me if I was feeling okay.  Then he asked me why I needed a break from a hobby that is fun for me.  Good question.  I think it all reached the point where it really wasn't as much fun anymore.

A while I back I met a fellow quilter who complained about sewing bloggers who post too much about their kids and family.  She said, "I don't care about them or their kids.  I just want to see their quilts and sewing projects."  I was really taken back and didn't know exactly what to say.  I've thought about this statement a lot over the past few months.  I accept the fact that this is her opinion; I just don't agree with it.  I think one of the best parts about blogging is connecting with others who love quilting and are struggling with some of the same issues in life that I am.  I like knowing bits and pieces of their day-to-day lives.  Her statement made me think a lot about how I blog, what I write about and why.

I started this blog only because it was fun to share my projects.  Having lots of readers wasn't my initial goal.  That changed as my blog started to grow, and I felt pressure to post even more projects, tutorials and continue out-doing past projects.  As a friend said, it's like keeping up with the Joneses.  I was trying to keep up with other bloggers while my available time to sew was quickly decreasing due to kids' needs.  I feel I'm getting back to that point where I just want to share my projects.  I just want it to be fun.  The posting will probably be less frequent.  There will be less tutorials.  I probably won't be great about posting my process, but I will have a lot more fun just sharing.  I don't want to make this into a business, I just want to enjoy it. That's what it's about.

A few weeks ago I took a break from Reader as well.  I realized I was spending too much time looking at everyone else's ideas and wasn't working on my own.  I didn't read any blogs for almost a week.  Then I went through and purged.  I deleted almost half of the blogs from my reader.  Lots of them were the ones I realized that just make me feel like a bad mom in general--you know the ones.  They make a gazillion craft projects, have perfect houses, perfect photos, cute kids, and amazing vacations.  I know it's all part of their business.  They just don't share the bad stuff.  I just didn't want to read it on a regular basis anymore since I'm trying to cut back on screen time as much as possible.

So that's where it's at for now.  We'll see how things go.

Onto fun things:

The current Color Wheel Charm Swap is making great progress.  This is what I have sorted so far:

I pulled fabric for a scrappy quilt at 2:30 a.m. the other night when I couldn't sleep:

My kiddos were super cute at Halloween.  I adore them:

TimTams are back in the stores for the holidays.  I so wish I could find these year-round.  Okay, it's probably best that I can't.

Here is your food tip for the day (as if we need any food tips this time of year).  My sister lived in London for a semester in college and became addicted to TimTams and hot chocolate.  She brought some home to share and taught us her trick.  First make a nice hot cup of cocoa--we're not talking Swiss Miss here.  Use the good stuff with whole milk.  Then take a small bite out of opposite corners of your cookie.  Sip the hot chocolate through the cookie like a straw until your cookie starts to melt and you can't sip anymore.  Then enjoy your divine, gooey cookie.  The hubs and I ate a whole box last night doing this.  Good thing there are only 9 cookies in a box.
Have a wonderful day!

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Memory Quilt

I debated entering a quilt into the Bloggers Quilt Festival, seeing how I'm on a blogging break and all.  I decided to squeak this one in right at the end of the festival.

My mom just turned 60.  My siblings and I debated on what to get for her.  She doesn't need stuff and is constantly dejunking her house.  It's like she is on a mission to declutter.  I suggested a quilt, of course.  When I saw this quilt by Faith on Fresh Lemons, I knew the design would be perfect.

This quilt has been on my mind for a couple years.  Almost 10 years ago my dad passed away from a Multiple Myeloma which is a cancer of the plasma cells.  We've definitely had our ups and downs as a family over the years after losing him.  A while back my mom gave each of us a few items that belonged to my dad.  Among other things I received two shirts.  My dad owned a construction company and built custom homes for a living.  As long as I remember he wore the same type of plaid flannel work shirts of various colors.  The blue plaid in this quilt is from one shirt he used to wear to work.  The red fabric is from a much nicer Eddie Bauer heavy cotton shirt that I remember my dad wearing a lot in the winter.  He would wear the red one around the house or out on errands and such, but it wasn't ever a work shirt.  I liked the idea of combining the two shirts in this quilt.  It represents the two major areas of his life--his family and his work. He took great pride in both.

Although I've been thinking of making these shirts into a quilt for about two years, it was amazingly difficult to actually cut them up.  I thought a lot about my dad as I made the quilt.  I know he would have liked it.  It's his style--nice and simple.  I used a super soft minky on the back that makes it a great cuddle quilt.

Happy Birthday Mom!