Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Finish

My customer asked for a quilt in blue, green, choc. brown, and white.  She left the design up to me, but suggested I could make something with just squares, or the same pattern I used for the football quilt.

I really enjoyed making this one, since it's colors I like, and of course I couldn't go with the suggested design, but had to change it up a bit by adding some Kona Snow sashing.

I immediately pulled a few of these cute doggies from my most recent purchase.  For the rest of the quilt I used some oldies from my stash.  It feels good to use up some of the fabrics that I'm not really in love with anymore, and see them come together nicely.

For the back I used another stripe from my stash.  Now it's off to it's new home and I'm on to the next project.

Which includes finishing this top.

Can't wait till this one's done.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bee Advice

I am taking part in the Fresh Modern Bee.  It's my first online bee, and so far it's been piles of fun.  August is my month to send out fabrics.  I'm using pinks, oranges, and yellows with pops of bright green.  It's going to be a quilt for my little daughter.

My instructions for the blocks, as well as inspiration, are here.  Now I have a dilemma.  How much fabric do I include in each package?  I want to include plenty so that the bee members aren't cramped by shortages.  But since I am sending out all my most beloved fabrics, I don't want to send waaay too much either.  I am asking them to add coordinating fabrics from their stash, and my theme is scrappy and happy.  I also am planning to let everyone keep the scraps.

I'm thinking of sending a couple of larger pieces, maybe one fat eighth (9"x20") in a Kona solid, and four other pieces 9"x10" (this would equal a FQ). plus some smaller scraps. I would also throw in some smaller piece scraps, maybe enough to equal a half yard.  Would this be enough fabric for one 12.5" block, with some extra left over?

If you have some advice for me, I'd love to hear it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fabric Finds

I've mentioned this before, but is it only me that prefers to see an actual 'photo' of a fabric, rather than the swatch that shows up in an online store?  I find so often that seeing a photo of a fabric on a blog or Flickr gives me more of an idea if I like it.  Even so, I find that a fabric that I fell in love with just from seeing it on a computer screen, is only so-so in real life.  On the other hand,  I end up loving a fabric that I bought by mistake.  It just makes me weep thinking of all the fabric out there that I would potentially LOVE, if I could only see it in real life!  (Insert evil laugh from my husband)

So anyways, since I just received a large package of fabric, I thought I'd give you a few of my opinions.

First up is Valori Wells Nest Berries:

'Nest' is her newest collection, and I'm surprised that I haven't heard or read more about it, although I do believe she has an interview in this new issue of Fat Quarterly.  None of the other prints from this collection jumped out at me as 'must haves', but this print I fell deeply in love with.  I bought some in three of the four colorways,  (there's an orange too)  This did not disappoint.  My favorite is the white with pink.  It's just so simple and whimsical.

Next, I'm going to mention the middle fabric in this photo.

This is Freebird by Momo.  If you need chocolate brown in your stash, you can't go wrong with this one.  Such a cool modern design and a very nice shade of brown too.

Another collection that I'm surprised more shops aren't carrying is Boys will be Boys by David Walker.  When I saw this line in the Coming Soon section of Fat Quarter Shop,  I knew I'd be getting some.  Those little puppies remind me a bit of Heather Ross.  

This one is 'Spa' by Rosemary Lavin.  This is the only print I bought from this line.  I wanted more, but that envelope was full!  This is a great print as well that I would definitely recommend.

So was there any duds in this package?  Actually I think I was pretty happy with everything I ordered.  My only slight disappointment was these Michael Miller hearts.  In real life, the oranges were a bit more faded and neon colored, rather than rich and warm like I was imagining.  But they'll still be cute in a little girls quilt, so overall I'm very happy with my purchase.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Flat Rate Envelope Happiness

A bundle filled with 9 yards of yumminess just arrived at my door.

I took some closeups of individual favorites, and hope to soon write a post with some reviews on favorites, and not-so-greats.

Just a sneak peak of a few.  I ordered mostly 1/4 yards (from Fabric Shack)  so there's lots of selection.  More details coming soon.  

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More Hope Valley and a Winner

I've finally finished up a few of those small projects that have been on my to do list for so long.  I'm hoping to get a new couch soon, so decided that some of my little decor ideas for my 'parlor' should be done before.

First of all is this pillow that I made to replace the Hopeful Hexagons Pillow that I decided to give away.  Since I have a wierd quirk that renders me completely incapable of ever making more than one item exactly the same, this one is squares.

If you think this pillow looks a little flat and empty-looking, you're not mistaken.

When we got married, my husband came with a well worn cushion adorned with cows and a barn in faded burgundy and cream.  In all it's ruffly faded goodness, it stayed around here for almost seven years only because of it's single virtue of being soft and flat and perfect for napping on the couch.  I finally decided it must go, but wisely kept the old insert and made this new one to fit with lots of room so it feels well-used and so soft.  The family has deemed it the right feel and shape so I think it's here to stay!

Here's a gift we received in a generic grab box at Christmas time.

I don't know about you, but I'm almost tired of being told to "LIVE LOVE LAUGH", etc.  but I thought the black frame had potential, so I spent about an hour and made something that's more 'me'.

I used my favorite Hope Valley print (LOVE this bright green)  and used permanent ink to write the verse on Kona Cotton.

Now on to my giveaway.  Thanks so much for each of you that took the time to comment.  I was surprise that the majority of you liked the rocking chair picture the best.  I'll need to look into perfecting the lighting in that corner.  Now the random number man chose # 39, Tracy.  I'll be contacting you.

Monday, July 19, 2010


I looked out the window yesterday afternoon and the first thing I noticed was the perfectly overcast lighting.  I grabbed my camera, and one of my older quilts, and headed out for a practice photo shoot.

Can you tell this quilt has been washed a few times?

Trick on the deer!  These little rosebuds amazingly went undetected.

I made this quilt when I was 19, entirely out of scraps from the local quilt shop where I worked.  There's a few fabrics in there that still make me cringe, but as a whole, it works amazingly well.  Just goes to show that almost any fabrics can go together!  And I added a purple border to this long before purple was even thinking about being cool again!  Six years ago, I thought purple was just so hideously nineties, but somehow it seemed right on this quilt.  Now, it's in again, and I'm wondering what to do with my tiny purple fabric stash.  Like one fat quarter!  I think you'd agree that's reason to buy up. 

 I'll admit that I'm not just loving it yet, but when I made this block,

I fell in love with the bright green and purple combo.  (Oops, I guess I have two fat quarters in my purple stash.  I forgot about the Amy Butler Water Bouquet in Midnight.  And the two others were tiny scraps in my bin still from my quilt shop days)

I'm thinking bright purple with emerald green is needing to be paired up in a future quilt.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Photographing Quilts

...has got to be one of my larger challenges.  When I decided to start my Etsy shop 10 months ago,  I had never used a camera in my life.  (Crazy, huh?)  So, you can see that this presented a bit of a problem.  I was completely innocent to anything concerning lighting, aperture, focal points, point and shoot cameras versus DSLRs.  I thought you just pressed the button.  Ha Ha big surprise.  I now realize why there is a term 'professional photographer' and I highly respect them and their knowledge.  I'd love to take some basic photography classes someday, but with all the generous and knowledgeable people I've found online, I've learned a few basics already.

I started by digging out my husbands little point and shoot which he uses very occasionally for his business.

Here are some of my very first pictures.

This one actually isn't too terrible because I unknowingly chose pretty good lighting.  

I was in completely over my head, and I figured that out pretty quickly.  Now, any of these photos are fine when you want to show fellow quilters what you're making.  They want to see your design, the colors and fabrics, and they'll look beyond a bit of ugly gray carpet around your quilt.  But when you want to sell this quilt, you need it to look bright, cozy, and show them the details without seeing the toys piled up in the background.

I took inspiration from Camille's stunning photos of quilts, and read her post about photography.  And then I read Pioneer Women's advice, and soon I wasn't happy with my husband's camera any more.  I wanted to shoot with aperture priority (in my case, I wanted the blurred background).  So I bought a Canon S3 IS on Ebay for a good deal, and so far I'm really happy with it, although I haven't even begun to understand and put to use all it's capabilities.

I've mainly used my daughter's room for my shop photos because it has white beadboard and aqua walls as  well as cute old furniture painted white, and a large window.   The only problem here is that she actually USES this room, like, two naps per day type of thing.  So it can be a little interesting at times.  

I know I'm babbling on here, but I'm coming to a point, and it involves a giveaway, so bear with me:)

Originally I took all the quilt photos for my shop on this rocking chair in the corner.

But there's always such a nasty shadow in this corner.  So now I've started hanging them over the mirror on the dresser.

I'm curious which one you like better? Hanging over the mirror, or the rocking chair.

Or are outdoor photos still the best.  Please think in terms of buying a quilt from a shop, and what type of photo would be appealing to you.  Leave me a comment with your opinion, and I'll give you a chance at this little prize.

A Panache charm pack and one yard of coordinating fabric.  I'll pick the winner on July 21st.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Make... Sailboats

My second most loved aspect of quilting (the first is choosing fabrics and designing the quilt)  is pulling a quilt all warm and crinkly out the dryer for the first time.  Something about going through the rigors of a good washing and drying, just adds personality to a quilt and makes it the real thing.  Many quilts that I've been so-so about have turned to instant love when I pull them out of the dryer.

I quickly rushed outside to take one photo before the storm set in.

I find that I have to take two sets of photos, one for my blog, and one for my Etsy shop.  As a quilter, I find nothing more frustrating than seeing 'teasers' of beautiful quilts in styled photos with props.  All I want is to see the quilt as a whole.  Overall, I find the best pictures are taken out of doors, so I prefer to take some of the whole quilt outside.  But somehow, I don't like having outdoor shots in my Etsy shop.  I think people that are looking for a baby quilt to buy, want to see it in a soft clean enviroment.  (just my humble opinion.)

So here's the photo I took for you fellow quilters, and the shop photos will come later.

I was inspired by this quilt in an old quilting book,

It was a toddler size, and each ship was made from a single print.  I decided to make it a baby size (40" square)  and used a charm pack of Make Life... by Sweetwater.

I think next time I'd go with one print through out like the original, just because mine seems a little busy.  That said, I do think these fabrics were just the right colors for this pattern.  They're bright without being tacky.

...only three more projects to finish up before I can start anything new.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Time to Clean Up

First off, the block I made for KarrieLynne in the Fresh Modern Bee.  She asked for a 16.5" sampler type block using HST's.  Since I was on a roll with the paper pieced flying geese, I decided to make another one.  I learned another lesson.  Drawing out a block on graph paper and thinking it looks good, does NOT guarantee a stunning finished block.  I had huge misgivings, but now that the block is finished, I think it looks good.

She is using Make Life... by Sweetwater.  And I just happened to be making a quilt with a charm pack of this sweet fabric when her package arrived.  Hopefully I'll have a finished quilt to add to my shop soon.

Yesterday evening I said "Enough"  to my messy sewing room.

Amazing what half an hour with a bright yellow payloader can do for a room!

Can you tell that I don't sew alone?

I'm thinking that this cleanup might produce a small giveaway in the near future.

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