Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fun things coming up

This is a little picture of my project on the design wall this week.

I'm using some more of my favorite Pure Elements solids from Art Gallery as well as Robert Kaufman Essex Linen in sand (which I love).  Finally, I'm using the EZ Dresden Ruler by Simplicity. That's the important part on this project.  A very fun challenge is coming with LOTS of prizes and several categories to enter. More info soon including a blog hop with lots of great projects and ideas.  Dig out your EZ Dresden ruler and start brainstorming.  If you don't have one, you'll have lots of chances to win your own during the blog hop.  Everything starts June 1st!  I'll post my completed EZ Dresden project on June 3. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

WIP Wednesday--5.23.12

This has been my biggest project focus for the past week.  No longer a work in progress, but we'll count it.  A while back Amy (Sukie) put together a little secret swap group for a mini quilt or pillow using at least one NY Beauty block.  I struggled on this one for a while.  I couldn't decide what to do for my swap partner.  It's always a bit hard knowing what someone else might want.  I finally came up with this after sorting through some Pure Elements scraps the other night.  The final size snugly fits a 20" pillow form. It's on it's way to a new owner now. I'm quite sad to say goodbye. I admit I really love the back.  I might need to turn that into a quilt someday.

I'm still not tired of these fabrics and colors.  Art Gallery just introduced new colors to their collection!  There are a few new ones I might need to add to my box. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Color Quilt--Finished

Amy's Creative Side

This quilt just makes me happy--1328 squares later.  Final size is around 70" x 90".  I'm so excited to have this one all finished, but I also really enjoyed the design process for the front and the back. Arranging and rearranging the fabrics is such a fun part of the process for me.  It's like making a puzzle fit together without a picture.  As many of you know, I love designing with lots of color.  This quilt was made from lots of charms from my color wheel swaps.  More about the making of this quilt top here.

The back is improv pieced almost entirely from my scrap boxes. I love the wonky-ness of it compared to the front.  I really do believe that quilts need fabulous backs too.

The color wheel binding:  I used about 18 different fabrics and sewed them together in order of the color wheel, of course. 

I used my standard loopy quilting.  I really need to get out of my rut one of these days.

I'm linking up to the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  Head on over to Amy's Creative Side and check out all the great quilts being posted!

Monday, May 14, 2012

On quilt bees and other things

I love getting my bee blocks done early in the month.  It's nice to have them finished and in the mail before the end of the month.

First up is a single girl knock-off for Sam in my local bee.  She used the pattern and created paper piecing templates similar to the original pattern.  This came together so fast.  If you are thinking about making the single girl, buy the pattern and create your own paper piecing templates for the rings. I have owned the pattern for two years, but haven't done anything with it.  After working on this block, I'm motivated to pull it out and trace my own templates for paper piecing and give it a try. 

Next up is a crazy-busy block for Felicity in our Stash Trad Bee.  These little churn dash blocks are only 6" finished.  They are going to make a super cute scrappy quilt.

Finally an improv pineapple block for Angela from the Sew Beautiful Bee.  I honestly loved this block.  I'm thinking really seriously about using her idea and some of my Heather Ross fabric. 

In iron news, I did make a new purchase.  I'm loving it so far--no fires and smoke are a good thing.    I have vowed to rarely put water in it and hopefully make it last for a very long time.  Thanks for all your comments.  I knew there would be a ton of different opinions, but there was some really good info in the comments that helped me weigh my options and make a decision. Keeping my fingers crossed this one lasts longer than two weeks. 

And finally, to add to the list of media time-wasters in my life, my sister encouraged me to get on Instagram and Draw Something.  My user name for Instagram is "the_blue_chair" and "the blue chair" on Draw Something in case you need more media time-wasters as well.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I am cursed by the iron gods

So, I haven't had superb luck with irons, but today was a little scary.

My last iron died.  It just stopped working.  The one before that overheated and scorched some fabric.  I bought this new one just two weeks ago and have already had issues.  It was steaming constantly and occasionally leaking water onto my fabric as I ironed.  Ironically, I planned to return it to Target this morning, but ran out of time.  This afternoon my twins are sleeping, and I thought I'd sneak in a bee block while it was quiet.  I figured the iron still works relatively well despite the steam issue, I'll just use it one more time before returning it.

As I walked into the laundry room to iron my pieces, I thought, "Wow, that's really putting out a lot of steam."  Then I realized it was not steam, but smoke.  In just the few steps it took to cross the room it turned to a dark grey smoke pouring out of the top of the iron.  I quickly unplugged it and ran outside with it.  I put it under the outside faucet, drenching it with water to cool it down. Afterward, I started to freak out a bit.  What if I had left it for a few minutes?  What if I hadn't caught it just as it started to smoke?  Things definitely could have been worse than a smoke-filled laundry room.

I haven't ventured into the realm of expensive irons.  I usually stick to the $30-$40 range.  I'm now debating on what to do about a new iron.  Should I get a nice one?  This is iron #3 in about 1 1/2 years.  It seems I might need to do something different. 

What is your favorite iron?

WIP Wednesday 5.9.12

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I haven't participated in Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday recently.  Mostly because my main project is one I can't share pictures of right now.  It's always fun to have a secret project.  I plan to quilt it this week!  You'll see pictures in a few months.

My current project on the wall is my progress for the Retro Flowers Quilt from Sometimes Crafter.  I admit these blocks are getting the best of me.  I cut these out with my Go and then trimmed because I don't think I'd ever have the patience to actually cut them by hand.  The sewing is slow.  I was able to get a nice stack of the curves pieced at our guild Sewing Saturday then finished them over the weekend.  I'm thinking this project might go back in the bag for a while.  I think I need a little break from these guys.  Don't get me wrong, I love how they are turning out.  The quilt design is adorable, I've just realized it's not my favorite type of piecing.  They'll come out again in a few weeks hopefully. 

Also, I finished my Color Quilt last night!  I can't tell you how excited I am about this one.  I have literally been working on this one all year.  My first post about it was in January.  I'm so excited to share, but I think I'll save it for the Bloggers Quilt Festival next week.  I love participating in Amy's festival.  I was planning to do a simple grey binding on the quilt, but with the hub's encouragement I went scrappy.  It really is a perfect addition to the quilt.  Here is my stack of fabric for the binding--organized by the color wheel of course!

For the coming week I hope to quilt my secret quilt and whip up three bee blocks.  I also plan to pull a nice stack of pink fabric for a twin quilt for my niece.  My SIL "commissioned" me to make her a quilt like the Bubble Baby Quilt I made earlier this year, and I'm excited to give it a try.

What are you working on this week?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Thanks for all your kind comments last week.  Events surrounding my grandma's funeral all went well.  I had such mixed feelings because she was 88 years old and lived a good, long life.  There is still sadness, but it was also enjoyable seeing family I haven't seen in years.

Miss C and I took a trip back home for the funeral.  We left the hubs and the twins to fend for themselves.  Three of my four siblings made it home.  My youngest brother from Boston didn't make it, but we understood his absence considering his wife gave birth to their second child just four days before the funeral.

I returned to the normal craziness including two little kiddos who seemed to have saved all their grumpiness for me while I was gone.  I did get to sew on Saturday for our guild sewing day.  That's always a highlight.

I've been thinking a lot recently about how grateful I am for things.  Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed with all I try to fit in.  I get frustrated will all the little petty things in life.  My life gets a bit frantic and very frustrating with three small kiddos.  I even get overwhelmed with all the blogs I follow and projects I see.  For some reason I see all this great inspiration and feel like I have to keep up with everyone, make spectacular projects constantly, and do it all right now.  I seem to forget what is right in front of me, what I have, and what I have actually accomplished.  It's too easy to compare ourselves.

I was reminded last week how much I have as I again heard stories of how little my grandma had and how difficult her life really was at times.  She grew up in poverty, lost her first husband in a hunting accident when my dad was just five years old, then married again to the man I knew as Grandpa, but the marriage was very difficult for many, many years.  Through it all she was a survivor.  She raised four children and two step-children, and has 26 grandchildren and 83 great-grandchildren with four more on the way very soon.  Her family was always very important to her.

Right now I'm trying to focus a bit more on what I'm grateful for and enjoy it.  I'm grateful for my cute little family, for a home that keeps us safe and warm, for a husband who supports and loves me, and for a hobby that is fun for me and brings many wonderful people into my life.  Even though I will never meet many of you, I appreciate the chance to get to "know" so many great, creative people who love this crazy hobby just like I do.  Thanks so much to all of you for sharing what you love.  That's what this whole blogging thing is really about--just sharing what we love.

Finally, just a few fun pictures from recent days around here of some "things" I'm grateful for.

Wishing you all a wonderful day.