Thursday, January 27, 2011

I was featured on Dandy Giveaway

Tara from Dandy Giveaway is an old roommate of mine from college.  She asked me to do a guest post for her site again this week and is featuring my 60-minute skirt pattern.  Check it out here.  Plus, take a minute to look around her site.  She has three fun giveaways going on this week.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

WIP Wednesday #6

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I used to pride myself on having just one WIP at a time.  Occasionally, I would have two projects going on, but only if I was making a gift for someone.  Things have changed.  I now have multiple projects going on and sometimes have a hard time keeping track of everything.  I do like having lots of options when I sit down to sew, though. 

#1--World of Goo:  I'm in the process of quilting this guy.  It's a beast to do.  I thought of several quilting options, but couldn't get this design out of my mind despite how hard I tried.  I knew it was going to be a lot of work.  I'm quilting it quite heavily.  I'm quilting multiple rows of stitching per block.  It's taking me almost as long to quilt a block as it took me to piece it.  I have 5 done and 7 to go. 


#2:  Innocent Crush Diamond Quilt:  I've finished cutting all my diamonds.  This isn't my final design; I just placed them on the wall as I pieced and cut them.  I'm not really sure how big this will be in the end..  It's one of those projects I started without a specific plan in mind. 

#3:  Another Valentine's pillow:  I figured the first one needed a friend.  I've finished the layout and now need to piece all these little blocks.

#4:  HST quilt:  No progress
#5: Modern Quilt Guild Challenge Quilt: A disaster that caused me multiple headaches.  I'm back to the drawing board on that one.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Diamonds the cheater way

Using this strip piecing method cuts out a lot of work when making diamonds, but it does limit your design options.  This works perfectly for a repeating pattern such as in my Valentine's pillow.  I'm also using this same method for my Innocent Crush diamond quilt, although I'm only stacking three fabrics with their sashing.  This still saves time, but allows me some flexibility to have a random design.

To make this pillow I cut 45 degree diamonds using 2.5" strips the WOF (width of fabric).

Sew your fabrics together in a stair-step pattern.  Line up the 45 degree line of your ruler along the bottom edge to make sure everything lines up as you add new strips.  I prefer to press my seams open.


After all the strips are sewn together, make the first cut.  Position the 45 degree line of the ruler along the bottom edge.  Trim off the outer triangles to even up your edge.

Now to cut the diamond strips flip your ruler around and line the 45 degree mark up with the top edge of the fabric.  Then line up the cut edge of the fabric with the 2.5" mark on the ruler ruler.   (For these diamonds I am using 2.5" strips WOF.  When cutting the diamond strips, they will also be 2.5".  Cut this strip width according to your fabric height.)


After cutting all the strips, start piecing your rows.  Remember when piecing the strips that your seams must be offset.  If you match your seams as you would in traditional piecing, your diamonds will not line up.  Offset the seams so they will intersect right at your 1/4" seam allowance.  (I forgot to take a picture of this step.  You can check out the tutorial from Urban Patchwork to get a better idea of how much to offset them.)

I've added lines on this picture to show how I pieced it.  I first pieced the four whole rows.  Then I added the partial rows to square up the design.  I unpicked the top diamonds from the partial strips. I continued adding whole rows to the right side until my piece measured larger than 20" for my pillow width.
I used the top portions of the divided strips to square up the top right corner of the square.
I guessed a bit on my measurements. Luckily it worked out.  I used 9 strips that were 2.5" x WOF.  I was able to cut 11 full strips of diamonds, and that's exactly what I needed to make a 20" pillow.  I quilted my pillow front before squaring it up.  I think it's a bit easier and more accurate to do it this way.

Tips:
  • Don't be afraid to unpick. It's hard to get those points perfect.
  • Drop your stitch length down just a bit.  It helps hold the seams once you cut the diamond strips.  I normally use a 2.0 on my machine and used 1.8 on these.
  • Double check everything before cutting.  Precision in cutting is really important. 
  • Use a 1/4" foot with a guide.  It will help a lot.
  • Pin at every intersection.  If sewing with larger diamonds, pin in between the intersections as well.  
  • As with anything sewn on the bias, be careful not to stretch it too much.  
  • If you are making a larger project and will be repeating this process with multiple fabrics, make sure you ALWAYS piece and cut your diamond strips the same way.  (I've already made this mistake on my Innocent Crush quilt.  It doesn't work.) 
  • Pressing seams open will reduce the bulk at your intersections.  
Let me know if you have any questions or if something isn't clear.  Diamonds really aren't as bad as I thought, and they look so classy with almost anything.  This technique makes it easier and a lot less stressful.  Give it a try!  

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Valentine's Day Pillow

I finally put my Christmas pillows away.  I didn't have any other covers that fit these pillow forms so the Christmas ones stayed on longer than they should have.  I decided to pull a little fabric from my L'Amour stack and make a Valentine's pillow cover since I don't have any other Valentine's Day decorations.

I'm becoming a bit obsessed with diamonds.  I completely blame Rachel.  You definitely need to check out her fabulous Nook cover.  I'm also slowly getting better at them.  They are a little tricky.  I unpicked several rows trying to get all those crazy points to line up.  I did these the cheater way and saved myself lots of time.  I put this guy together in two nap times.

It's always fun to make something completely from your stash, although I didn't even make a dent in my massive L'Amour stash.  At least I used some of it.




 
I'm entering this pillow in the Blogger's Pillow Party over at Stitched in Color.  Head over and check out all the other cute pillows list this month.

Blogger's Pillow Party




Fresh Poppy Design

Friday, January 21, 2011

Pineapple "Ice Cream"

Rather than a sewing post, I thought I would share one of my favorite desserts.  I came up with this after watching the Food Network one day (at the gym no less--that's where I always watch the Food Network).  They were featuring a place in Hawaii that makes this wonderful pineapple dessert.  I figured I could do the same thing in my food processor, so I tried it.  It is so fabulous.  My daughter calls it pineapple ice cream.

Pineapple Ice Cream
1 pineapple (frozen in 1 inch chunks)
1/4 cup sugar or the equivalent of your desired sweetener

I chop several pineapples at once to freeze. It makes a mess, but you only have to make a mess once.

Freeze in Ziploc gallon bags. Usually you can fit about 2 pineapples per bag. During the freezing process, pull them out about every hour and shift the pineapple around in the bag. This will help it freeze in individual pieces rather than one huge pineapple chunk.

To make the ice cream, microwave 1 frozen pineapple at full power for about one minute until it's just starting to get soft on the outside of the chunks. Place in the food processor with the sugar.  (You really need a food processor. A blender won't work for this unless you have a pretty impressive blender.)

Start mixing. You may have to smash it down several times. The large chunks get stuck at the top and sometimes have a hard time mixing in. Just smash them down with a rubber scraper.

Keep mixing. Smash again.

Almost Done! Keep mixing until completely smooth and the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. Taste and add a bit more sugar if needed. Mix again until sugar is incorporated.

Store in the freezer. Like homemade ice cream, this is best immediately. It gets pretty hard in the freezer. Use within a few days.  Enjoy! 

My SIL has made something similar to this with frozen bananas.  We've also added some frozen mango to the pineapple for a change, and it's great too.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Diamonds

This was my nap time project yesterday afternoon.  The design wall was empty and needed something on it.  It isn't exactly the project I should have started, but I'm really excited it's working out.


I purchased various fabrics from Innocent Crush a while ago.  When it arrived, I didn't like it as much as I thought I would.  I think I just needed the right project.  I'm really liking it with the linen sashing and the diamonds.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

WIP Wednesday #5

Thanks to everyone who commented yesterday with ideas for my fabric.  It's always nice to get a different point of view.  I appreciate it.

Two fabulous things happened Tuesday.  I found out my machine was ready, and I basted the World of Goo.  The bad news is that I probably won't be able to make it over to the quilt shop to pick up my machine until Thursday.

My old machine has been working fantastic.  I cleaned him up, gave him some oil, and we were good to go.  I decided to get this quilt off my design wall before I start other projects.  I basted it at 11 p.m. so the pictures are less than stellar. 

 I'm loving the back.  It was super fun to put together. 

Nothing has changed on any other WIP.  I'm debating how to quilt this guy once I get my machine back. I stitched in the ditch on my last wonky log cabin.  I can't decide if that is the right option for this guy though.

On a random note, we have new backyard neighbors. The home behind us has been vacant for almost two years.  A family bought it and moved in last week.  Until this past November, there was a huge tree in their yard that gave us lots of privacy.  Unfortunately a nasty storm brought it down.  Now we have a perfect view of their yard, kitchen and family room and they of ours.  We've met them and they are super nice, but I'm all of the sudden feeling very odd about photographing quilts in my back yard.  They are going to think I'm crazy--lugging my chair, camera and a quilt down the deck stairs and taking pictures.  They already think we're a bit strange because he saw my baby dancing on the table.  Doesn't everyone just let their kids dance on the kitchen table?  (I have to tie my kitchen chairs to the table when we're not eating or my kids would always be dancing on the table.  It drives me nuts.  The second there is an available chair, they climb right up on the table.)

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Leibster Award again and the Stylish Blogger Award!

Okay, although in the real world these little awards don't really mean anything, I love that it allows us to pass along high-5's to so many fabulous bloggers out there.


First off I was tagged a couple more times with the Leibster Award.  Sarah from Say Yes Juliet tagged me as well as Beth from Wee Pereas

I know this little tag has gone the rounds, and I'm not really sure who has received it or not, but here are a few more fabulous bloggers I follow.  They do great work!

1.  Kristen from So Happy is super cute and she makes fabulous birthday cakes for her kiddos.  I don't even make birthday cakes (I don't like cake).
2.  Lisa from Shiners View makes wonderful quilts.  Check out her beautiful HST quilt.  Although, she does post pictures from their fabulous cabin and makes me a bit jealous.
3. Felicity Quilts is another wonderful woman on my list of favorites.  I'm pretty sure she has already been tagged, but she is so sweet, makes wonderful projects, and well, I just love her name!


Kristie from OCD-Obsessive Crafting Disorder nominated me for this little award.  I'm not sure I'm exactly stylish, but I appreciate it just the same.

Here are the rules for accepting the award:
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pay it forward to 15 recently discovered great bloggers.
4. Contact those bloggers and tell them about their Blog Award!

Seven random facts about me:
  1. I eat my cereal a little backward from other people.  I fill my bowl with milk and then pour in just a few bites of cereal at a time.  I HATE soggy cereal.  This fixes that problem.
  2. I am addicted to Diet Coke.  I understand it's not a good habit, but I really like it.
  3. I grew up in the country, 5 miles out of town and 15 miles from a small city.  When we go home to visit, my husband gives me a bad time when I say "going to town" in reference to going to the store.
  4. My toenails are always painted.  Currently they are purple, but they are starting to chip.  I'm thinking teal is next.
  5. I write left-handed, but do almost everything else right handed.
  6.  I really love Godiva chocolates, but I do not love how much they cost.  I have my Rewards Club Card through them and get one free chocolate a month.  I never miss a month to pick up my free chocolate from the Godiva store at the mall.
  7. I have been a hobby-hopper much of my life.  I stick with something somewhat obsessively for a few years and then change. My first obsessive hobby was cross-stitching, then digital scrapbooking, then photography.  Now it's quilting.  I often wonder what I'll move onto next. 
Since I rarely share pictures of old projects, I wanted to include pictures of my favorite cross-stitch projects I made while in high school and college during my first obsessive hobby stage.  The Christmas tree is my favorite, and I pull it out each year to hang above the piano.  I don't display the others anymore, but I still love them.  They were lots of work. The bride took me over 200 hours to complete.  All four of these were stitched on linen.  I had forgotten how much I love the look of linen.





    Here are a few fabulous bloggers I'd love to send this Stylish Blogger Award to.  Some of them I've followed for a while and some are fairly new to me.
    13 Woodhouse Road

    Have a wonderful evening.

    Project Conundrums

    I made a list of my current projects the other day, and there are quite a few.  I don't exactly need to add more to the list, but I have a couple stacks of fabric that I have been thinking about recently.


    First off I have a ton of L'Amour.  I was a pretty new quilter when this fabric came out last year, and I loved it.  I bought lots of it. Shamefully, I have only made one small baby quilt from it.  A while ago I cut lots of it up into charm squares and jelly roll strips.  Unfortunately, I honestly can't remember what direction I was going with it.  I have no clue why I cut it.  The main problem is that I don't love it anymore.  It's too cutesy for me now. My taste has changed a lot.  I don't even really like Valentine's Day decorations, but I have been thinking of making this pile into a quilt just because. 

    Here are my two big stacks of jelly roll strips and the charm squares.  I also have a stack of 2.5" squares leftover from the one project I have used this for.


    This is the yardage I have left.  I have about 1/8 yd left of most of these, but have 1+ yards of the brown w/red hearts and the stripes.
    My question is what would you do with it?  I'm considering using it to join in on Rachel's quilt-along from p.s. i quilt.  I think I could make it work by pairing the lighter strips with darker ones.  Other than that I don't have any ideas.

    Secondly, I have three charm packs of Central Park.  I love the colors from these fabrics.  I also love the designs.  I don't really want to buy more fabric for borders.  I just want to go with this, but a plain old charm square quilt seems boring.  Any ideas?  Thanks!

    Finally, I just wanted to do a quick follow-up from yesterday's post.  A few of you mentioned concern at what I paid for Kona.  Just to clarify, the $7/yd was their new list price.  I never buy anything from Joann's without a 40% off coupon.  I actually order the majority of my Kona online from the Fabric Shack.   They are only $4.19/yd and have super cheap shipping.  They also carry almost every Kona color. They are the most inexpensive online store I have found.  I buy from Joann's in emergencies, especially since their selection is so slim.

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    "New" chairs

    Day 4 has passed without my machine.  I'm surviving.  I did bring my old machine up from the basement, but have not plugged it in yet.  I have found that in all my spare time, I am coming up with lots of new projects.  I just have too much time to think about sewing because I'm not sewing.

    There has some been some work going on around here though.  I recovered a few more chairs.  I so want to paint these red to match the fabric, but I'm holding back (AKA the hubs asked me not to).  We have moved our twins to boosters and got rid of the high chairs.  That was a glorious day.  The problem though is that we only have three kitchen chairs.  Our little man broke the back off one after pushing it over way too many times, and our table only came with four.  That left the hubs and I chair-less now.  I priced chairs and didn't want to spend $70 on a chair from Target.  We don't really want to buy anything new for a few years since the kids just destroy everything.  The hubs found these at goodwill for $5 each.  They are in pretty good shape, but the seats needed help.  I picked up one of my favorite fabrics to match my kitchen curtains.  They will do until we decide it's safe to buy a new table and chair set.



    My stack of beautiful blue fabric arrived from Fabric Shack so I'm currently in the planning stages from my Modern Quilt Guild Challenge quilt.  I got a lot more excited after sorting my fabric based on my design.  It's going to be a bit out there, but I think it will work.

    I might have to do a bit of sewing this afternoon just to make sure I don't get out of practice.  I think I'll spend some time on the World of Goo.  I stopped by Joann's the other day to pick up some more Kona Ash because I'm almost out.  They raised their prices to $7/yd!  I hear price hikes are coming for all cotton fabric though.  Another good reason for a fabric diet.


    Fresh Poppy Design

    Sunday, January 16, 2011

    Swaps--Doll Quilt 10 and Spicing up the Kitchen

    I received my secret swap partner last night for the Doll Quilt Swap 10.  This is my first time participating in this swap.  I'm excited, but a bit nervous.  My partner has very different tastes from me.  This is going to be a big challenge.

     Here is my mosaic with some items I currently love.



    I also received my swap partner for the Spicing up the Kitchen Swap.  It's extra fun because she is someone I already "know"!  I love her style and am excited to come up with something for her.  Here is my mosaic for this swap.  

    1. Apron Giveaway!!!!!!, 2. UHG Swap Sneak Peek, 3. HR dog quilt done!, 4. Stay-Put Kitchen Towel, 5. New potholders, 6. Flower half apron, 7. metro cafe apron, 8. Block for windowshopmom, 9. Christmas Towels, 10. hostess apron - red blossom, 11. Untitled, 12. chalkboards, 13. IMG_6035 (Small), 14. Tiny Squares Mug Rug {Front}, 15. Challenge quilt 01, 16. Baby quilt - for baby William

    I'm now waiting to receive my secret swap partner for the Urban Home Goods Swap.  I think that is enough for now.  I really shouldn't join any more. 

    Thursday, January 13, 2011

    Off to the spa

    My sewing machine, that is.  She really needs a break.  She is overworked and running a bit rough. She really needs some pampering and love.

    I spent my evening working on this new project before I packed her up into the car for tomorrow morning.  I'm a little sad about losing her for 1-2 weeks.  I do have my old machine as a back-up.  I might have to pull it out while she is away.

    I was hoping to get farther along on this project..  I wanted to get a bit more work done so I could see how it was actually going to come together.  I ran out of time.  So far I just have 4" strips sewn to sashing.  It will have to wait. 

    I am very excited to get my machine running perfectly again.  I have lots of things coming up.  In addition to my current WIP's I have these fun projects in the next few months:
    • I've been accepted into the Doll Quilt Swap 10 and will receive my swap partner any day now.  I'm excited to try it out.
    • I should get my swap partner for the Spicing up the Kitchen Swap any day now.  
    • Finally, I have decided to participate in the Modern Quilt Guild Project Modern Challenge.  My package from Fabric Shack should arrive also any day now so I can get started.  Sorry, but that is one that I won't be posting about on my blog.  Winners aren't announced until April, so you'll just have to wait. 
    I will be a fun couple months.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    WIP Wednesday #4

    I've made progress on the World of Goo.  It's the only quilt I worked on this past week.  I'm currently 2/3 done.  The final size will be 60x80.  I'm getting a bit tired of if though.  It might come down for a while.  I have two new projects in mind that might take over my design wall. 


    As I was finishing up one of the blocks and sewing on the last piece, I noticed this on another strip already pieced into the log cabin.  Yep, that's a slice in the fabric about 1/2" long.  I was not super thrilled.  Luckily, it was only one row down.  I just unpicked things, replaced this strip and sewed it all back together.  I'm not sure how it happened, but seeing how it's a nice, perfect slit, I'm guessing I did it with my rotary cutter sometime.  I think I need to be more careful when I cut.

    On a side note, Lee from Freshly Pieced tagged me to help spread the word about fabulous smaller blogs out there.  It's just a little way to highlight those of us who are among the "little guys"—blogs with fewer than 300 followers.  Here are a couple of my favorite "little guys" that you should check out.  There are so many talented quilters out there.  I love finding new people to follow.

    Here are the rules:
    • 1) Tell your readers who tagged you.
    • 2) Add a link to their blog.
    • 3) Award 3-5 bloggers who you think deserve this award.
    Inform them and post directions to your blogspot. Please don't tag people who already have 300 followers. The goal of this award is to get more publicity to blogs that are good, but not so well known.
    1. First up is Val from How About Pink Please.  She sent me my super fun pillow for the most recent round of Pillow Talk Swap.  Val is new to this blogging thing.  Check out her cute work and say "hi".
    2. Next up is Amy aka Sukie.  We met through quilt guild.  She is just starting the Tokyo Subway quilt.  I wish her luck. 
    3. Finally, there is Jessica from Sew Crafty Jess.  She has wonderful projects.  I love the quilt she is finishing up right now. 
    So go check out their blogs and maybe even stick around.  I love following their work!  Have a great Wednesday.

    WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced