Tuesday, May 29, 2012

sewing weekend

I'm super busy at work today (two days' worth of work jammed into one) and don't have time to post much.  However, I did make yesterday a sewing day (my Honey even brought me breakfast and dinner while I worked!), which I had to interrupt only for a quilt guild board meeting in the evening.  I was able to finish up the Civil War Chronicles border and backing on Friday and Saturday, and got the shoes all set into shelf-like sashing boxes on Monday morning, so I rewarded myself with beginning a new project on Monday.

I had not yet made my Honey his own quilt although I'd bought a fat eighth bundle of Panier de Fleurs, which I thought was refined (prints) and masculine (colors).  I'd been tossing around ideas for a pattern forever until I won and received the latest Quiltmaker 100 Blocks issue.  Coincidentally, it's Lee Heinrich's block - it was at her blog, Freshly Pieced, that I won the issue - which I chose to make my Honey's quilt with.  I bought some Moda Bella solids that coordinate well with the line - Stone, Tomato Soup, American Blue - and used one of the alternative layouts that Lee featured on her blog.  I cut out the pieces while watching the 25th anniversary production of Les Miserables, which was very moving (especially on Memorial Day when working with French General fabrics!) and pieced a first block to test before I went through all the marking and piecing of all the parts which made up the block.

(Sorry about the shadow - it's hard not to get a little bit of shadow in a photo in my sewing room!)

As I worked, I thought about a title for it which would suit both the fabric and my Honey.  He is a big New York Yankees fan, and asked for a quilt which memorialized that, so I thought about backing the quilt with an applique logo in the center to make it reversible.  The Moda Bella American Blue really reminds me of the Yankees' blue, and the colors just strike me as so vintage patriotic.  I liked the word Yankee as he is a transplanted northerner - a freethinking atheist here in the Bible belt - but so many of the clich├ęd expressions with Yankee in them are so negative.  So I thought I might simply call it "Yankee Husband."

I am string piecing the rest of the quilt so I will probably not have another photo to share until all the blocks are done.  I love how crisp the solids look in Lee's Cathedral Square layout with the Panier prints mixed in.  I should have a few more sewing days on my agenda coming up so I think it will be done before we know it.  To speed the sewing of multiple blocks, I did sew 2" x WOF strips of stone and red together and crosscut the pieces next to the flying geese, and the flying geese method makes four at a time, so I can't imagine this won't go super fast.

Both Civil War Chronicles and Spanish Treasure to go my longarm quilter this week, the former to be basted and the latter quilted, so progress is being made right and left.  Yay!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Other crafty things

I'm not sure I had posted some of my non-quilty initiatives here or if anyone even has interest.  But here are a few of the things I did when I wasn't working on something quilty.

When we had our family wedding celebration a few weeks ago we held it at my dad's house so that my Honey's family could see his boat, a 43' Shannon yacht, similar to Morgan Freeman's Afrodesia:
image courtesy of the National Sailing Hall of Fame
We had the ceremony and dinner for the thirteen of us at a little local marina restaurant and while it was only our immediate families and I didn't want to go all out with stuff like centerpieces, I did want to give each person a little placecard souvenir holder. So I bought a bunch of these glass sailboat votive holders for a great price online and then made little burgee flags with each person's name, laminated (to protect against the flame) and attached with a toothpick.
Do you recognize the Moda Hoopla fabric?
They looked really pretty on the table at the restaurant.

The other thing I was bent on creating was a bed for our new cat, Jack.  We adopted him early in January and he had just been prowling around the house making it his home.  I learned pretty quickly what kinds of things he liked to claim for his sleeping quarters:
My UFO basket was NOT going to be a long term option for him.  So I covered that up with a piece of fleece (which he doesn't seem to like laying on - static electricity issue?).  He HAS seemed to gravitate towards the cushion on my bathroom vanity seat since I laid a towel over it, so once I figured out that terrycloth was a fabric that appealed to him, I developed his own bed.  I bought a wicker basket at Jo-Ann's, spray painted it to match our bedroom, and then took an old towel and sewed like a simple envelope to cover a pillow form I had laying around.  I stuffed that in the basket and placed it in our room (raised off the floor to appeal, of course). 
Now that doesn't look very comfortable to me, but considering it's where he is most mornings (even though he does like to climb up into the windowsills behind him), he seems to like it.  The cover will easily come off the basket for cleaning when it gets too full of hair.

I am starting to read more furniture and home decor blogs and plan to experiment with some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint this summer, as well as a back porch redesign which has been on my plate for a year or so.  I will be home with the kids for the summer beginning in July, so hopefully I will make some progress.  If you're interested in the occasional post expanding the blog to other crafty endeavors beyond the quilt studio, let me know and I'll post once in a while.

Another sale alert!

Did you like the Good Fortune Quilt I posted earlier this week (which I intend to make with Lily Ashbury Summer House fabric)?  What if you could make that entire quilt top for $50?

Quilt Kit Market is going out of business and selling off their inventory at amazing prices.  That includes the fabrics to make the top and binding of this quilt for only $50

Or how about the Terrain Quilt Kit for $48?
I know from my last giveaway that I have a lot of Kate Spain lovers here.

They also have precuts at incredibly low prices - charm packs for $6; layer cakes and jelly rolls for $24.50 each.  If I hadn't already placed three separate orders for fabric earlier this week I think I'd snatch some up myself.

As for me, I am itching to cut into my new fabric for my two new projects - one being a quilt made from French General's Panier de Fleurs for my Honey, and the other mentioned above.  But I need to get my recent projects to a better state of completion - Civil War Chronicles needs its border finished and attached and it has GOT to be out of the house along with Spanish Treasure to the long arm quilter, and my shoes quilt needs to be pieced into a top - before I begin cutting anything.

I am excited for a three-day weekend with no plans to go anywhere.   I need to be disciplined and get things done around the house, though, because at this point I would be happy closing myself up in my studio not to see the outdoors again until Tuesday morning.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What a sale!

Someone please freeze my credit card in a block of ice somewhere and change my Paypal password.

Last week I received advance notice that Thousands of Bolts was having a big sale and I stocked up on a few basics, including Moda Bella solids, for awesome prices.  Today I heard about Burgundy Buttons' blowout sale and had to check it out.  I wasn't looking for anything, but whenever I find a jelly roll for close to $20 I have to think long and hard.  Well, I picked up the last jelly roll of Moda's Summer House by Lily Ashbury.

Gorgeous fabric line, isn't it?  They also had yardage, so I thought quickly about what to do with it and decided to make the free pattern Moda had published for Kate Spain's Good Fortune Line (you do know how to download these free over at Moda's website, right?  Look for those black scissors to indicate free pattern):

It only takes a jelly roll, 2.5 yards of background (I have it on hand), 1.25 yards border and accent, and 5/8 yard binding.  So I bought some Summer House yardage also on sale (they price by the half yard which makes it look REALLY cheap, but it's still a bargain!), and when my package arrives, I will have everything to whip up this pretty little (little?  70" square!) quilt.

As if I don't have enough to do.  Honestly, though, The shoes top will be finished when my Thousands of Bolts order arrives, and I'm finishing up the border for Civil War Chronicles this week (I plan to photograph before sending to the longarm quilter to be basted for hand quilting), so this is perfect timing.  I think it will go together quickly.

Oh wait.  I also meant to start the quilt I've been meaning to make for my Honey when the Thousands of Bolts order arrives.  And I need to continue working on my Ghastlies quilt, and Quiltmaker blocks, and Dragonfly Summer, and a charity quilt, and a few other projects that have been languishing.

I have to prove my Honey wrong, you see.  The other day one of my recessed lights in my studio area blew and I mentioned it to him (he is my resident light bulb changer).  Apparently we are out of those bulbs.  He suggested that we take one from the spotlights in front of the fireplace in my studio since we never use those.  I said that I use those whenever I lay out a finished quilt on the floor to photograph and want the extra light on it.  His response:  "well, it's not like you'll be finishing anything anytime soon."  What???!  So you see, I HAVE to have some finishes soon to prove him wrong.  ;-) 

Anyway, go check out the sale prices over at Burgundy Buttons and Thousands of Bolts if you need to do some stash building or replenishing ... or maybe just need some of those low, low prices to tell you what to buy next.  I had confirmation from Leah at Burgundy Buttons that she shipped my order only hours after I placed it, using priority mail I can track as it works its way to me, so it's almost easier than intending to get to the fabric store!  Win-win!

Monday, May 21, 2012

I need your help -- HELP RECEIVED! THANKS!

Update - Robin in Washington State sent me a message with exactly the link I had seen at Quiltmaker - and it IS in their May/June issue!

I could have sworn I checked it thoroughly before I posted this!  I think I didn't bookmark it because I used to get Quiltmaker and thought maybe my subscription hadn't expired.  But now I'm pretty sure it has, so I'd better get to JoAnn's and snatch up this one before it leaves newsstands (assuming it's still there - magazine issues go SO far in advance that I wouldn't be surprised to see September on there already).

Thank you!!  I must make "I Love My All Stars" for my son once I finish my own shoe quilt!

I must read a gazillion quilt blogs and get so many emails from quilt shops and magazines, and also do the FabShopHop when I can.  So when I see something quilty somewhere I like, I'd better bookmark it, because I might never find it again.

Well, this is one of those times.

A week or two ago I saw something about a pattern to make a quilt featuring many pairs of Converse all-star Chuck Taylor sneakers - high tops and low tops.  My son LOVES these shoes and collects them like I collect high heels (this past Saturday I bought four pairs of shoes for us - two for him and two for me!).  So when I saw the quilt pattern I knew I had to put it on my to-do list right after I finished my other shoe quilt:
(and all eight pairs of the shoes are now done, I just have to set them together in a top).

But I've forgotten where I saw it.  When I turn to Google, it only gives me Chuck Taylor sneakers in quilted fabrics ... cool, but not what I was looking for.

So fellow quilt enthusiasts - have you seen this pattern?  I seem to think it was in a current issue of a quilt magazine but I can't figure out which one (I thought I went through them all).  Can you tell me where it is??  A quilt featuring Converse all star (Chuck Taylor) sneakers like these?

Monday, May 14, 2012

weekend progress

Well, another Mother's Day is in the books, thank goodness.  This is one of those awful holidays that it seems everyone else in the world but my family celebrates.  My Honey calls it a "Hallmark holiday" which is true, although he does take his daughters to shop for a gift and card for their mother.  This year I did get a text message from my son - last year he forgot it altogether - and because I asked, a quick phone call.  Both my mother and my MIL are deceased so there is no one for me to honor.  Still, it stings a bit to read blog after blog full of family celebrations, breakfasts in bed, cards, gifts, and I-love-yous from children.  That won't ever be part of my life, but since being a mother is all about sacrifice, I guess it's time to suck it up.  I had a child to leave a bit of goodness to the world, not to get thanks and cards.  I guess I'm doing all right on that score.

It did feel like a nice long weekend since we weren't traveling for the first time in four weeks.  My Honey and I had date night Friday, and got up early Saturday morning to go to a number of local yard sales.  I perpetually have a list of things I have an eye out for should I see a bargain, and I was able to cross one of them off my list.  We also got to one of my favorite local places, Black Dog Salvage, to pick up some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  I've seen some amazing things done with it and am looking forward to working on a couple of pieces in my son's room ... but first I need to clean out all my mom's stash that is waiting for me to resell myself.  On Saturday evening we ran a 5K, and I met my goal of finishing under 45 minutes ... but I'm still paying for it in aches and pains today!

Also on Saturday I received my copy of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, volume 5 that I won from Lee at Freshly Pieced!

On Sunday I slept late and did some sewing.  I'm really trying to finish up the border blocks for Civil War Chronicles, but getting my new 100 Blocks made me motivated to do something fun.  I had started a little wallhanging from one of the previous issues called "Shoe Boxes" and I sewed another block for that before calling it a night.  I continued with two more tonight.

Even though Mother's Day is not a holiday in our home, my Honey still pampered me as if it were.  He brought home a little DVD player for my studio - all I had was a VHS player - and made me a delicious dinner complete with homemade blackberry cobbler for dessert.  And then he beat me at two consecutive games of Scrabble, which NEVER happens.  So it was a nice Sunday.

Now just to finish the rest of these.  I have slightly more than half finished, but like my running, sometimes it's easier to get it done without really knowing how much further I have to go.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Last night I finished sewing and trimming all the HSTs for the border to the Civil War Chronicles quilt.  I have half of the blocks done, I think, and will work on sewing the other half and attaching the border this weekend.  But things don't always go as quickly as planned in my sewing room.
Hi mom.  Remember me?
The main reason I gave into the kids' pleas to get a feline companion for our poor anxiety-ridden rescue dog was that I often feel rather lonely squirreled away in the basement sewing alone.  The dog prefers to spend time in places where no one else happens to be - if you walk in, he gets up and leaves.  Eventually, that gives a person something of a complex and I thought it might be nice if I had company in my sewing room for a change.  Well, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

You didn't need those pieces that are now on the floor, did you?
Jack the cat has some lovely ways of distracting me from making progress.  Trying to push my sewing machine out of the way is only one of them.  He also gets up on the chair behind me and tries walking up my back.  He hops up on my cutting table to lay down on my fabric.  He tries grabbing at the cord on the iron.  He kicks over my trash cans and he chews up pieces of paper that have instructions on them. 

While I do sometimes enjoy the presence of another living creature in my space with me, let's just say that I don't seem to sew at the same pace as I used to.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A glimmer of light ...

... it's either the sun peeking out from the rainclouds or the light at the end of the tunnel, but things are starting to brighten up.

Last night I rediscovered my sewing room for the first time in SEVENTEEN days.  That's right, I counted.  I had to skip quilt guild to do it, but that wasn't that hard a choice, since it was our social that started at 6 PM and I could not even get myself there by then, let alone bring a covered dish to share with the members.

Anyway, I can't show you what I worked on, though, because all I had time to do is catch up on my deadlines for Quiltmaker Magazine and testing the blocks for their upcoming 100 Blocks, Volume Six. I will say though that one of them was particularly fun to make and only required that I dive into my bin of precut strips and squares to do!  I've made five blocks so far and am really enjoying the challenge, and I can't wait to share more with you.

Since I've had the 100 Blocks issues on the brain lately, then, imagine my excitement when I found out that I was the lucky winner of the Volume Five issue that Lee Heinrich gave away over at her blog, Freshly Pieced, as part of the 100 Blocks Tour!!  I have been SO BUSY with work and personal life (I think I have now had three different weddings to my Honey since the beginning of the year) that I did not have much time to visit many of the blogs on the tour, and yet I kept peeking at my email on my phone all weekend to see if maybe I got a "Congratulations, you won!" email.  It didn't come until yesterday, but despite the odds, it came!!  I can't wait to get my copy and, well, let it distract me from the projects I have started from the previous issues ...?

Anyway, work is calling for now, time to get back to it.  But I am bound and determined to get back to finishing the border for Civil War Chronicles soon ...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

April by the Numbers

Clearly I seem to have lost momentum.

In April, I added a little something to Michele's challenge and noted on my calendar what projects I worked on.  QM stands for the Quiltmaker 100 Blocks issue texting, ST stands for Spanish Treasure, CWC for Civil War Chronicles, and DS for Dragonfly Summer.  As you can see, after a certain point I haven't even had time to pick up hand sewing in front of the TV.  May is equally barren so far.  It was a strong start but April finished with 16 out of 30 days, including a stretch of two full weeks. 

I've been out of town every weekend since the last day I sewed and working like crazy (and training for May 12th's 5K) during the weeks.  I'm pooped.  Last weekend was particularly fun, though, with six of our best friends arranging a celebration of our wedding, complete with cheesy wedding outfits from Goodwill and a professional photographer.  Warning:  if you elope, your friends may feel so cheated out of a celebration that they might stage their own!  We have another celebration with family this coming weekend and then after that I might be able to get back into my sewing room for a bit.  My sanity is lacking something, being kept so long from fabric and needle.