Thursday, October 28, 2010

A New Start

A smallish announcement:  I've created a new blog.  I'll leave this one sitting here for awhile, but from now on my home is over here.   Come on over if you're interested!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Claire's Quilt

Way back in August I sent out these fabrics to the wonderful people of the Fresh Modern Quilting Bee.   These folks bent their heads to the task and created some stunning and whimsical blocks, then popped them in the mail back to me. The month of September felt almost like Christmas, as almost every trip to the Post Office resulted in a fun package with another lovely quilt block.

  A couple weeks ago  my design wall was empty (this is totally amazing)  so I decided to put up all the blocks I've received to see them all together.  (I'm waiting on one more yet)

My sewing room has terrible lighting, so this picture looks a little washed out, but you get the idea.  Absolutely wonderful and fun, and exactly what I wanted.  They're a mixture of 12.5" and 6.5" blocks. I'm planning on adding some more blocks myself.  Probably a few very simple ones to balance it out and rest the eye.

The colors look a bit more true in this picture.   This quilt is gonna be so much fun to put together.

For those of you who asked about the pattern for the circle-star block in my last post.  It's called a New York Beauty.  The book I found it in didn't have a name for it, but I think you should be able to find a free pattern for this block online.  And if you haven't tried paper-piecing, go for it!  Once you get the hang of it, it's really fun.  Maybe I'll do a little tutorial on paper-piecing sometime, but before I do that I'll see if there's another comprehensive one floating around in quilt bloggy land.  

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


October was Shelley's month in the Fresh Modern Bee. I was sent these LURVELY fabrics to work with.  I had been wishing to see that middle print in real life and now I'm craving some for myself.  (The one just left of the bikes) A small piece of that bike fabric already lives at my home, or else I'd be drooling over that one too!

She asked for a 16.5" block with any kind of star.  She had some great inspiration photos for us, and I immediately was drawn to to the circle ones.  Me loves circles.  Me also loves paper piecing.  (In small amounts).  I would go entirely crazy making a whole quilt like this.  But one block?  Fun!  Fun!

The seams do get a little bulky, and I'm a little bummed about the color placement I used. The outside ring of points simply doesn't stand out enough and I wish I'd rather used the dark green on the outside. But there's no such thing as perfect in quilting is there?   And I really do love this block anyway!

Monday, October 18, 2010


A package arrived in the mail today.  It was such a long time coming, I'd forgotten about it.  Yes, it's Bliss by Bonnie and Camille.  Although I like the looks of this whole collection, I knew that these two dots were must-haves for my stash.  I only ordered a half yard of each, so I may need to go back for more yet.  Hopefully they're not one of those that are all snatched up right away, never to be seen again.

And yes, I ordered the same two prints in the flannel as well.  Can't wait to back some snuggly baby quilts with these.

Friday, October 1, 2010

I think basting is my least favorite part of the quilting journey.  (Ha Ha, big surprise)  I've heard a lot about basting spray, and I've been toying with the idea of trying it, but it's just one of those things that hasn't happened yet.  I do all my basting on the kitchen floor because I tape the backing down, and the kitchen is the only tapeable surface around here.  Baby tries to grab the pins, and 3-year-old must have some tape of his own to put onto every surface.  I suppose I should do it during nap-time.  But I love the way my boy's face lights up when I say "we're gonna pin a quilt now".  He loves to hand me pins, and pulls the tape off the edges when we're done.

The other day I returned from the nursery after changing a smelly pamper mid-quilt.  I noticed the sun streaming in on this partially basted quilt and my little orange pin canister sitting there so happy.  I had to show you this picture, not because it's anything special, but to me it signifies everything I love about this hobby of mine.  And it's a sneak peak of Rainbow Quilt #2.  (Those big empty brown spaces are getting some happy-colored hand stitching)

I have another toddler bed/lap size quilt basted and ready to quilt...
...piecing the back for my Hopeful Circles...
     ...and dreaming of new projects...I hope I have the self denial to finish these up before I even LOOK at anything new!

Should be back with some finished projects soon.

Friday, September 24, 2010

I *Love* Amy Butler

When Amy's 'Love' collection came out, this print was my instant favorite.  I had to buy a piece, although I had no earthly idea what I'd do with something purple!

The yummy bright mint green background (what is this color called anyways?  I think of aqua as being more blue)  is one of my favorite colors, and this shade of purple is just divine with it.

When I read that Amy(not Butler) was having a big Amy Butler bash, I thought hmmm... let's make something with that yummy fabric on the pile that you've been looking at every day for months.  Of course I didn't sit down and make it till yesterday, and here it is in all it's brilliant purple glory.  In a house that doesn't have one other speck of purple.  But guess what?  I LOVE it!  

I used the quilt-as-you-go method, because I'm still not tired of quilting that way.  I used a funny old insert that had been hanging around my storage room for years.  I kinda like the rectangular shape cause it will be perfect for an afternoon nap.  (What nap?  asks the 3-year-old)

Another new thing I tried was an invisible zipper in the bottom rather than my usual envelope style back.  I like the more tailored look for a change, and I actually had a purple zipper in my drawer.  It's been sitting there for years, waiting for purple to come back into style!

Anyways, thanks to Amy for hosting the Amy Butler Sew and Tell since it got this pillow finished for me.  If you like Amy Butler fabric or patterns, go check out her blog - she's having a link party (with prizes!).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fabric Stack

I love making stacks of fabric.  Few of them actually end up a finished project, but it's fun to dream!

The Amy Butler Love print on top is being sewn into a pillow right now!  

Hmmm...  I'm thinking this needs a few more solids, and then it would make a lovely quilt like this.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

An Evolved Rainbow Quilt

It started out with an idea to make a rainbow quilt.  I sewed 3" x WOF (width of fabric) strips together .  I didn't take a picture, but here's the little bit of leftover.  (After I had changed my mind and cut it all up into more strips, but more on that later)

I had envisioned a big happy stripey rainbow, with a small black applique down in one corner.  But once I had all the strips sewn together, it was just too....much!  Somewhere along the way I had the idea to make a few quilts out of this big rainbow chunk.  A mini 'series' if you will.   I thought I'd make one really simple quilt, and one with more complicated piecing, and maybe one with improvisational piecing.  Each quilt would use a different colored solid as the background.

For the first quilt, I cut three strips 6" wide and used Kona Snow to make a classic coin quilt.  

I did crosshatch quilting with double lines in one direction - Ashley's signature style.

Here's the back using Kona Aqua, another rainbow strip, and Kona Spearmint.

Next I pulled out some chocolate brown to make another quilt top with some more strips from this big hunk of rainbow.

I'll show you more of this one soon.  I'm thinking of backing this one with a snuggly pink flannel.

And here's the third one on the design wall right now.  I have enough rainbow fabrics left to make another quilt top, but we'll see.  I'm hoping to finish these up soon, but first on the list is a dress for my little girl's birthday.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Grey, Red and Blue

The days have been busy and drizzly, so there's been some finished projects, but no sun to take pictures, and no time to tell you about them.  I have a couple of finished, as well as works in progress, but I'll start by just showing you this simple one.  

My color inspiration began with the alphabet fabric.  It's a white background covered in all the letters of the alphabet in black.  I spotted it at the local quilt shop, and bought a small piece because I thought the letters would look cute cut up and put into something.  I decided to go with a restrained color palette.

Here's the back with a strip of my favorite blue elephants print.

Stippled with grey thread and bound with Kona Coal.

I'll soon be back with more on my next project.  

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Christmas in September

Is anyone getting in the mood for Christmas?  I'll have to admit that I'm not.  But I enjoyed making these blocks for Janice in the Fresh Modern Bee.

She sent some fun Christmas fabric and asked for pictoral blocks in any size ranging from 6.5" to 14.5".  First of all I made a stack of gifts.  

A snowy hillside with three trees.  I'm really enjoying this Bee, and can't wait to find out what next month will hold.

Just a reminder.  If you leave a comment that you'd like me to reply to, please make sure your Account is not set to 'No Reply', or else I can't contact you.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Selvedge Spool

Since I was on a roll with the 'quilt-as-you-go' method, I made a little wallhanging to put above my sewing ma chine.  It was fast and easy to make, and I think it would be fun to make a few more spools, maybe a really fat short one, and a tall skinny one, and group them together on the wall.  

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Full Review

It's now quilted, bound and washed.  And I can say with great satisfaction that it was a success! 

Fun and Easy?  Check!
Soft and Cozy?  Check!
Lovely texture?  Check!
Nice looking back?  Check!

I used a Little Folks flannel by Anna Maria Horner for the back.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I didn't prewash the flannel for this quilt, in the hopes that it would shrink evenly with the heavily quilted front.  This worked out great!  The original instructions for this type of quilt were to stitch in the ditch around the outside of the blocks, and then either tie yarn in the middle of each block, or make a small decorative stitch in the middle.  I decided to rather quilt around another set of logs inside each 12" square.  It's completely invisible from the front, but looks nice on the back.  

I chose a dark gray  binding which I think looks deevine with the chartreuse back.  I had thought of using black, but I'm really happy with the gray.  It frames it well without completely taking over.

I was planning on putting this quilt in my store for sale, but I don't know if I can do it.  I just love it too much.  And it has so many of my favorite fabrics.  It would make a perfect playmat for a baby, but my baby doesn't stay in one place anymore for more than 30 seconds...   Maybe I'll just throw it over a chair to brighten up the room.  It's so brilliant you won't notice the toys all over the floor!

I just love looking at the beautiful hideousness of the clashing colors here.  It never ceases to amaze me how the texture of the fabric and quilting it, can make a deep rose pink look nice with a brilliant cherry red!

And by the way, I found some of that owl fabric.  I'm swapping fabric for the first time, and I may be addicted!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A New Love

A quilt-as-you-go has been on my list of things to try for a looong time.  I read that Heather would be starting a new quilt along with this method, and maybe that was what inspired me to try it now.  I was hesitant to make a big quilt right away, because I wasn't sure how if I would like a finished quilt done this way.  Would it be soft and cozy, or would it be stiff because of the dense quilting?  And I could never be sure how to do the backing so it wouldn't look funny.  I was concerned about the difference in shrinkage from front to back.  Because of the dense quilting on the front, I thought it would shrink quite a bit more than the back, and thus give the back a funny loose look.

So I started out making 12.5" blocks and decided to do a 3 block grid to make a small baby quilt.  Let me tell you.  These blocks are FUN!  Talk about instant  gratification.  I disciplined myself to use ONLY fabrics from my scraps, and I just love the bright funky look of all these clashing colors together.

I also had the brilliant idea (we'll see!) of using a non-prewashed flannel for the back.  I'm not a pre-washer, but I always pre-wash flannels, because they shrink more than cottons.  So I thought this might work out nicely since hopefully the heavily quilted front, and the unwashed flannel will shrink a similar amount.  I'll let you know how this works out.  And I'm so hoping that this quilt passes the snuggly baby quilt test, because I want to make more like this!

And does anyone recognize that chocolate brown owl print?  I had this one tiny piece that I received in a scrap pack that I bought once.  I always thought it was really  cute, but now it hit me that it would be PERFECT for some of my friend's babies.  Somehow I think it's exactly up their alley.  I'm having a bit of a hard time finding it since I have no idea of the designer or manufacturer.  Or maybe it's a JoAnn's special!  I found some on Flickr that a lady wanted to swap, but I haven't heard back from her...  Oh the joy of the hunt!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thank you for all your sweet comments on my 'new' cupboard.  It makes my day when I see that you take the time to comment.  I'll have to admit that I'm a lurker most of the time.  I don't mean to be this way, but I think it's an extension of my personality.  I'm not a chatty person in real life.  So I guess I'm not here either.  

I see inspiring projects, or read posts that speak to me, but I don't think of the fact that you can't read my thoughts.  So I rarely comment, (and it doesn't help that I usually have a squirming child in my lap when I'm at the computer!).  

But I do think that this is all a little selfish on my part, seeing how I love to have comments from others.  On the other hand, I'm SO with the whole 'quilting without obligation', and also 'blogging without obligation'.

I began blogging for myself, to chronicle my quilting and crafting journey.  The fact that anyone is interested in my 'adventures'  makes me feel great, and is a definite bonus.  

I'm not so great with communicating my thoughts to text, but maybe you catch my drift...

Basically I just wanted to say "thank you"  to all you amazing people who are interested in this part of my life which few people in my real life can relate to.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Paint in my bones

Paint and I have a love-hate relationship.  It's one of those things that I feel compelled to do.  When I decide to paint a room, or a piece of furniture, I get butterflies in my stomache.  Not because I'm nervous, but it's just so exciting to choose a color and pull out a clean paint brush.  By the time I'm halfway through a project, I'm just sick of it!  But wanting to see the final product keeps me going, and a few weeks later I'm ready to start something new.  

Since my daughter was born almost a year ago, I've done almost no decorating or renovating. (which usually involves paint).  Since I decided to dive in and paint my china cupboard, it feels like the floodgates have burst open, and the need to paint every surface in sight it tormenting me.  

I'll show you my lovely white cupboard soon, (this is a sneak peak!) but here I'm already deciding on colors for our bedroom, which hasn't seen anything new in about six years...

I'm so excited about this quilt, but I ran out of Kona for my sashing, so I guess it will go on the shelf for a few weeks.  Hey, that means I can start another one!

Monday, August 23, 2010

More Sailboats

You may know by now that's it's almost impossible for me to make more than one quilt in any design or color.  But I was asked to make another sailboat quilt in similar colors, ('similar' being the key word here!)  Since I didn't have any more of the Make Life fabric that I used for my other quilt with this design, I pulled out a charm pack of Happy Daisy by Chloe's Closet.  Using different fabrics adds a bit more interest so it's not quite so ho-hum.

If I ever made another quilt like this,  I think I'd add a wider white border around the outside.  This pattern just seems so vintagey to me, and I think it could use more white.  But I really like these fabrics in here.  They're a bit brighter than the original quilt.

Here's the first one, made with 'Make Life' by Sweetwater.

Now I'm off to work on painting my hideous china cupboard since the kids are both sleeping.  Maybe I'll show you a before and after once it's done.  (If it turns out, of course)  

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I can soon have some time to get this baby quilted!  I'm so excited to have the top put together.  It's going to be my own personal quilt to snuggle under, and it helps that it's just the perfect rich, saturated colors for my living room.

Looking at the whole Hope Valley collection together, one thing that surprises me is the way that one rich reddish brown print stands out as being so differernt from the rest.  I pieced this completely randomly.  I was waaay too lazy to lay it all out on my design wall, and it's kind of interesting to see how all the colors are quite well mixed in.  Although seeing it in the photo here makes me see that there's a fair bit of that dark brown in the bottom left hand corner!  

I'm happy I added this all time favorite print, as it adds a bit of fun and whimsy to this very 'grownup' fabric.

And of course I have to flaunt the wee tiny bit of Flea Market Fancy that I own!

Now I just need to decide on the backing.  A cozy flannel would be nice for cuddling, but a vintage sheet would be economical and fast.  And then there's this quilt back which I'm crazy over...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Snuggly Castles

This quilt is so BOY!  I'm really loving this blue castle print.  (Castle Peeps by Lizzie House)  It was my original inspiration for this quilt.  I pulled it out of my stash and decided to make something with it.  I was initially going to use only blues and yellows, but couldn't resist adding some red.

Another thing that I've learned when choosing fabrics for a quilt.  You can never have too many solids.  When you think you have the right balance, then add just a few more solids!  Of course this is only my opinion, but I think it just makes for a less cluttered look and helps the prints you use  to really shine.  And it's cheaper too!

Here's the back.  I don't do a lot of pieced backs on baby quilts, simply because they're so small, it often seems full and busy.  But this quilt just needed a few castles on the back, and I had only fat quarters of these prints, so I added some in here.

 A few cheeky monkeys (Boys Will Be Boys by David Walker) and some yellow reproduction print duckies, to add some fun and whimsy.  

Here's my latest stack, but we'll see if anything comes of it.

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